[LEAPSECS] dismaying news

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Wed Nov 18 01:42:30 EST 2015

On Nov 17, 2015, at 10:32 PM, Warner Losh wrote:

> "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice" -- Rush

But, “the risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision" -- Maimonides

On Nov 17, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Steve Allen wrote:

> The dismaying news in that document says there will be no decision from WRC-15.

I’m not sure “dismay” is quite what I’m feeling, and certainly little surprise.

> The news item reads
>>    ...The draft Resolution sets out the framework for further work in
>>    collaboration with relevant bodies (i.e.  BIPM/CIPM/CGPM etc) as
>>    ITU is not a proper body to decide the definition of UTC, and will
>>    report back in 2023 and meanwhile the ITU-R Recommendation
>>    TF 460-6 (with leap seconds) will continue to apply until 2023...
> By 2023 the process of reconsidering leap seconds will have gone on for more than two decades.  I suspect that many technical applications will find they have enough agency to choose a better time scale in the absence of an international recommendation.

Enough agency to choose better time scales – plural.

The literature on material agency versus human agency is pertinent to timekeeping (see Pickering’s “Mangle of Practice”). One thread of this multi-decadal discussion has been the perception of how incapable our new robotic overlords are of dealing with the existential horror of leap seconds – like some Star Trek computer driven mad by overly emotional human Kirk posing a logical contradiction.

	“Intercalation does not compute! But planetary orientation irrelevant!
	Self-destruct canceled! I go now to meet my Positronic forebears!

On the other hand, there are likely to be three or four leap seconds before 2023. The ITU is apparently not choosing to regard occasional intercalary corrections as a clear and present danger. That said, it may indeed be time for the denizens of this list to make their own choices, rather than following the ITU’s "ready guide in some celestial voice” ;-)

seaman at nwtime.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://pairlist6.pair.net/pipermail/leapsecs/attachments/20151117/53919e1d/attachment.html>

More information about the LEAPSECS mailing list