Re: [LEAPSECS] Leap second status?

From: Seeds, Glen <Glen.Seeds_at_COGNOS.COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 12:17:55 -0500

This is a true scientist's answer, and illustrates the core of the problem:
we use the second for two different and conflicting purposes. UTC with its
leap second is the compromise that allows us to patch over this conflict.
Getting rid of it simply brings the original problem back.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan [mailto:jcowan_at_REUTERSHEALTH.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 6:31 PM
Subject: Re: [LEAPSECS] Leap second status?


> In summary, a long term solution is to periodically (like every few
> thousand years) redefine the second to handle the long term trend,

Auuugh! The second has *nothing* to do with the Earth's rotation!
You might as well say "If people move to Mars, let them redefine the
second locally so that there are exactly 31556925.216 seconds in each
tropical year."

No, no, the second is a fundamental unit of time duration. It must not
be futzed with. If civil time has to be kept in sync with astronomical
time, it will have to accept that some days are longer than others (or
that days aren't an even number of seconds in duration, which would be
far worse).

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Received on Wed Dec 04 2002 - 09:33:03 PST

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