[LEAPSECS] Bulletin C and all that

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Mon Jan 26 16:34:32 EST 2015

> I spent many weeks this year frantically trying to head off exactly this 
> problem in a standards body defining a timing protocol. It had been 
> written to insert Leap Seconds "at midnight", which we know from Rec 460 
> is not correct.


Please make sure the word "insert" is never used. That fails for the case of negative leap seconds. Perhaps use "apply" or "implement" or "introduced" or other words that are positive/negative neutral. Some HP products avoid words altogether and simply report how long the last second of the current month will be: 59, 60, 61 seconds.

While you're at it, make sure the words June and December are also never written into the standard. Only IERS gets to pick the month, and everyone one else follows what they tell us. That goes for code, tables, scripts, standards, man pages, etc. We can assume with near-term modest earth rotation rate offsets that IERS will pick June and December, but as the offset grows then March and September, and then other 8 months are fair game as well. So if you want a standard to be robust, please avoid any hard-coded reference to "preferred" months. Note that the current "6 month" advance warning is also not set in stone so no one standard should ever depend on that either.


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