Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Tue Jan 17 14:44:48 EST 2012

On Jan 17, 2012, at 11:29 AM, Michael Sokolov wrote:

> Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:


>> The ITU standard is the standard for radio broadcast time. That's why

>> everybody broadcasts UTC (+/- some fixed offset) today. To conform with

>> international standards, they would broadcast the new timescale.


> But how are you going to enforce it? Suppose "rogue" country X decides

> to operate, say, a 1 MW (megawatt) transmitter broadcasting a time code

> that deliberately disobeys the ITU-R recommendation. Furthermore,

> suppose that transmitter operates on a "squatted" frequency without

> asking anyone else for permission. The transmitter is physically

> located on the sovereign territory of country X, but its emissions can

> be easily heard well outside of that country.


> Are you (USA or whoever) saying you are going to drop atomic bombs on

> country X for doing this?

Peer pressure and the lack of a real, alternative time scale would likely bring about this result.

>> So the more pertinent question will be 'what are the labs going to do?'

>> since that's what everybody, or nearly everybody, will blindly follow.


> But not every country has its own time lab: some poorer countries

> (including most micronations) can't afford one. A country that can't

> afford its own time lab has to rely on the time broadcasts from other

> countries. However, such a country could choose to apply an offset to

> those foreign transmissions to get its legal time.

Why would they bother doing their own when it is so much easier to piggy back on someone else? and if they are really micro nations with requirements that are costly, then they should bear the cost of their requirements. If this change were to happen, they would either need to spend the money to implement those requirements, or they'd need to say that costs too much and just go with everybody else.

> Suppose that the time code transmitted by WWVx in USA, whatever its

> name, gets 1.5 s ahead of UT1. Let's say a hypothetical micronation

> located 14 nautical miles off the coast of USA chooses UT1 as the

> basis of its legal time, but can't afford its own time lab, so it has

> to rely on WWVx transmissions instead. The nation in question (micro

> or otherwise) could easily make a law that requires every user of WWVx

> transmissions to subtract 1.5 s from the time received from WWVx

> before using it in any legal context.

An interesting hypothetical. However, this hypothetical nation would need to publish time tables to do the conversion, or realize that it is too high a financial cost to implement this requirement and just go with the flow. If such a micro nation made such a law, then its people would pay the cost for the decisions made by the micro nation's ruling body.

> Furthermore, if country X can afford its own time code transmitter but

> not its own time lab, it could set up equipment that receives foreign

> time codes, automatically applies an offset that is locally controlled

> to bring the time back into alignment with some form of MST, and

> retransmits it back out (maybe even at a megawatt or more on a squatted

> frequency) as "rubber time" that is directly usable as a realization

> of MST without the user having to apply any offsets. Or if a megawatt

> transmitter on a squatted frequency isn't an option, substitute a

> publicly reachable Internet server instead.

Allocation of frequency for such broadcasts happens at the UN level. If they got spectrum, it wouldn't interfere with other countries broadcasting. SUch things could be ignored.

>> They are the domain experts, they deliver time to me, why would I

>> use anything else[*]?


> Religious/philosophical reasons.

All behavior has a cost. Your philosophical reasons would cost you $X per year if this resolution passes. Only you can decide if $X is too much.

>> Who wants to be the first lab that's the "odd man" out? The time community

>> is very tight knit and my sense is that peer pressure will keep everybody

>> doing the same thing.


> It is indeed rather unlikely that any of the already existing time

> labs would have the courage to act on a leap second notice sent from

> Daniel Gambis' personal Gmail account instead of the IERS servers,

> unfortunately. However, if some highly ideologically-driven nation

> that does not currently own a time lab ponies up the cash to set a new

> one up, it could very well be set up to deliver an atomic clock-based

> timescale that is steered into alignment with MST.

Yes, if someone payed the cost of it, then it would happen. My guess is that it would be hard to find someone with both the money and the legitimacy to make it a real problem. Again, my speculation based on the hypothetical "this vote passes." The micro-nations that want to do this would be free to do so, but would have an increasing cost associated with it. Since there would be a cost, I'm guessing that few nations would actually do this, so the predicted chaos wouldn't happen, or would be only on a small scale.


More information about the LEAPSECS mailing list