Re: [LEAPSECS] timestamps on death certificates

From: Brian Garrett <>
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 13:04:07 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kevin J. Rowett" <krowett_at_ROWETT.ORG>
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: [LEAPSECS] timestamps on death certificates

> Many wills and living trusts these days are written to provide
> for concurrent death events of both spouses, even to the point of
> defining concurrent to be within 30 hours of each other.
> KR
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Leap Seconds Issues [mailto:LEAPSECS_at_ROM.USNO.NAVY.MIL] On Behalf Of
> Steve Allen
> Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 8:45 AM
> Subject: Re: [LEAPSECS] timestamps on death certificates
> On Fri 2003-06-06T07:37:57 +0100, Peter Bunclark hath writ:
> > A husband has a will leaving everything to his wife, or if she dies
> > to their children. The wife has a will leaving everything to her secret
> > lover. They are together in a car crash, and are put on life-support
> > systems including heart monitors. They both, sadly, die at around the
> > same time; both have a last-recorded heartbeat.
> But suspecting her nature, the husband had insisted on a prenuptial
> agreement that nullified her inheritance rights until the marriage
> passed its first anniversary. After having tea at home with his kids,
> they were travelling on their way to a second honeymoon. Their
> recorded times of death were both only seconds past midnight.
> While preparing for probate some of the lawyers note that the recorded
> times of death were after midnight according to the new leap-free UTC,
> but before civil midnight as defined by existing statute. During the
> ensuing legal discovery free-for-all other lawyers find that one of
> the hospital maintenance technicians sets the clocks on the heart
> monitors using new leap-free UTC, and another sets them according to
> the GMT-based statute.
> After the judge awards the inheritance, the losing parties sue the
> hospital for failing to maintain standard practices.
> Leap Free Civil Time: boldly going where no mysogynistic case law
> fantasy has gone before.

I see the makings of a new TV series here: "Law and Order: Timekeeping
Division". In episode one, things turn ugly when a terrorist threatens to
blow up the firm's office by placing
cesium he managed to steal from their HP5071 in the basement into the water
cooler. :-)

Seriously, these are,uh, interesting scenarios, but as you just pointed out
and as Tom Van Baak mentioned, birth and death are processes that do not
span a discrete instant such that a particular second (leap or not) should
make a difference. I'm still intersted in finding out about UT1 (or UT2)
being the basis of civil time; I thought we in the U.S., atavistic though we
may be about switching to SI units, were at least on track with the rest of
the world by making UTC the legal basis of civil time.

Brian Garrett
Received on Fri Jun 06 2003 - 13:04:26 PDT

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