[LEAPSECS] Does the "leap second" matter?
seaman at noao.edu
Wed Aug 7 19:07:56 EDT 2013
> I have to admit that the idea of biological clocks makes me cringe a bit.
> This is because "clock" is a metaphor that is constraining biological and
> neuroscientific research right now.
We traded some email earlier and I don't disagree with anything said. I might assert that "clock" is just as misleading a metaphor in the physical sciences :-)
> Biological systems are not clocks. If they were good clocks, we'd have no
> need for clocks.
Something like http://youtu.be/q030WNZvXrA
...and it's decimal!
> Instead, the circadian cycles that Dava talks about and
> which Cziesler has done extensive research on are systems that are very
> good at maintaining themselves for durations on the order of a few days,
> but they need a time time reference to continue to function properly. In
> most species, the time reference is exposure to light (particularly
> sunrise). Without the time reference, the cycles drift.
Just as with the 10,000-year clock:
> As a result, time in biological systems is different from a continuous
> timescale since the biological systems are designed to reset every day
Distribution of a "continuous" timescale depends on the same requirements:
"...an electronic timekeeping protocol needs some wiggle room to adjust the rate of each clock to maintain nominal time agreement with the national timescale." - D. Mills, Computer Network Time Synchronization, p.2
Just a matter of the size of the wiggles :-)
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