Re: [LEAPSECS] Leap-seconds, the epsilon perspective

From: John Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 23:10:07 -0500 (EST)

Dr. Mark Calabretta scripsit:

> Much of the problem boils down to the question of why we would want
> to continue to pretend that a mean solar day has exactly 86400 SI
> seconds when in fact, it has 86400+epsilon SI seconds.

I at least care that a *civil* day be 86400 SI seconds in length.
Mean solar days don't affect me to speak of.

> This suggests that, in order to eliminate leap-seconds, we should
> quit pretending that a mean solar day has exactly 86400 SI seconds
> and instead construct our clocks so that they measure its true length.

What for? Why should we (the people of the Earth) care about mean
solar days? For some purposes, apparent solar time is important, but
most of the time it's civil time that counts. Why should that be tied
to mean solar days?

> 1) Any clock which keeps time to an accuracy of less than a few
> millisec per day (a few parts in 10^8) would not need changing.
> I suspect this would account for 99.9% of the world's clocks,
> including the clocks inside most computers, VCRs and microwave
> ovens; on your wrist; or next to your bed.

Hmm. How reasonable is it to expect this to change in future?

You are a child of the universe no less         John Cowan
than the trees and all other acyclic  
graphs; you have a right to be here.  
  --DeXiderata by Sean McGrath        
Received on Tue Jan 28 2003 - 20:10:25 PST

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