Re: [LEAPSECS] religious concerns

From: Markus Kuhn <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 09:17:11 +0100

Steve Allen wrote on 2003-07-13 06:51 UTC:
> On Sat 2003-07-12T11:19:22 +0100, Markus Kuhn hath writ:
> > It seems, the true quarrel of this particular community is more with the
> > Earth not being flat any more
> Nevertheless, most of the people in the world have not traveled more
> than a few hundred miles, have never crossed a timezone boundary (let
> alone the International Date Line), and have not read Jules Verne.
> It seems that the majority of people have been willing to accept the
> creation of standard time zones by the railroads, and that they have
> been willing to accept the biannual shifts of daylight/summer time.
> Apparently those changes did not deviate enough from the pre-existing
> notions of keeping time-of-day to cause widespread consternation.
> A change which would eventually make day into night and Tuesday into
> Wednesday does not meet that criterion.

I haven't seen any proposal here so far that would "turn day into
night". If we introduced TI, there would still be local time zones, and
they would just start to wobble by +/- 30 min with a period of initially
about a kiloyear, the interval with which their TI offset needs to be
updated (which thanks to DST is a routine operation).

The only deviation that is actually noticeable for the mere mortal, who
is not into astronomy and navigation, would with my proposal be that one
weekday is skipped when we drop the Gregorian leap day 29. February 5600
in civilian time zones to get both local time zones back into TI +/ - 25
hours and also to correct at the same time for the residual error of the
Gregorian calendar. Whether we should keep weekdays constant in either
local time zones or in TI is, as far as I am concerned, still open for
debate. I could give a long list of technical reasons for why it should
be TI that carries along the uninterrupted weekday sequence (in a
nutshell: date functions in computers remain simpler and compatible with
today's implementation practice).

Don't forget that there are also religious reasons for correcting the
Gregorian Calendar eventually. More importantly, don't forget that the
Gregorian calendar was introduced for the very reason that the religious
communities were faced with the difference between UT and ET (ephemeris
time) and decided that in a way ET (in the form of the long-term
longitude of the sun) was of crucial importance in their calendars.

TI, the long-term longitude of the sun, and the phases of the moon will
deviate from each other many orders of magnitude slower than UT from TI.
Therefore, moving to an atomic time base will also have clear advantages
for those religious communities, where the solar year and the lunar
cycle (both far more tightly linked to TI than UT) play important roles
in their calendar, which seems to include most. It will increase
long-term predictability of their calendar calculations.

In your enthusiasm about arguing against getting rid of the leap
seconds, please try not to get carried away too much into purely
single-sided arguments. The argument that atomic times is incompatible
with religious calendars turns against your agenda, once you look at the
importance of ephemeridis time in the long-term evolution of many
religious calendars.


Markus Kuhn, Computer Lab, Univ of Cambridge, GB | __oo_O..O_oo__
Received on Sun Jul 13 2003 - 01:17:24 PDT

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