Re: [LEAPSECS] What problems do leap seconds *really* create?

From: Rob Seaman <seaman_at_NOAO.EDU>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 22:07:54 -0700 (MST)

Mark Calabretta says:

> I agree with you that there is plenty of time to make an informed
> decision, that nothing need be done on a timescale of decades, and
> also that the process to date appears, at least to some of us, to
> have bordered on Machiavellian, though I'm sure it was not.

I'm glad the subtleties in my arguments haven't been lost :-)

> However, your "consistent slope of about 7 seconds per decade"
> obscures the basic point about the long term future of UTC. Your
> graph shows a linear approximation to what is actually a parabola.

Indeed. The biggest problem I've seen with this discussion since the
beginning is a too eager willingness to move into a sky-is-falling
debate about extremely long term effects. Perhaps I over simplified
as a result. That UT1 and TAI are diverging quadratically can be used
to strengthen the argument for civil time to track the former - after
all, day will turn into night all the quicker.

The question under discussion has never been how to *improve* UTC and
civil time. In fact, it appears that a committee met exactly once and
voted to reject all possible options except for discarding the standard
entirely. Now, either that committee has also been discussing this
issue privately on some other forum that is closed to us - or they
haven't been discussing it at all. I'm not sure at which of these
options I'd be more offended.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Wed Jan 29 2003 - 21:08:02 PST

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