[LEAPSECS] Testing computer leap-second handling

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Mon Jul 9 11:17:35 EDT 2012

On Jul 9, 2012, at 7:21 AM, Warner Losh wrote:

> The biggest problem with leap seconds is the attitude "Well, it is only a second, I don't have to worry about getting it right."

I can't say that's the operative attitude. More generally the response seems to be "Say wha?!?"

> Turns out, getting them wrong can have worse effects than things being off by a second. Summarizes a key point I've been making for years... Leap seconds are hard, so no body bothers to get them right... I get shot as the messenger, when really the problem is much more deeply engrained in the computer community.

There are multiple messages and messengers. More deeply engrained yet is the simple fact that "day" on any planet, dwarf planet, or (spheroidal) moon means the synodic day. There are one fewer days per year than rotations. Orbital mechanics and the geophysics behind Earth orientation are hard, but the fact that we lap the Sun once per year is simple.


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