Re: [LEAPSECS] CNN "story" and more media coverage

From: Markus Kuhn <>
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 2004 11:12:14 +0000

Tom Van Baak wrote on 2004-01-01 21:26 UTC:
> A CNN popular spin on leap seconds:

Including the usual mixup between the two astronomic oscillations that define
our calendar:

  At the National Institute for Science and Technology in Boulder,
  spokesman Fred McGehan said most scientists agree the Earth's orbit
  around the sun has been gradually slowing for millennia. But he said
  they don't have a good explanation for why it's suddenly on schedule.

Leaving aside the fact that the length of the year has nothing to do
with leap seconds, is the "Earth's orbit around the sun" really slowing
down in a measureable way? Would that be the angular or linear velocity?
Wouldn't a slowdown of Earths angular velocity around the sun mean that
our distance from the sun increases, following the theories of Mr.
Kepler? Where does all the energy necessary to achieve a larger orbit
come from? Is the AU in trouble?

The world can't be too troubled if even the absence of a leap second
makes it as a news item, and this always provides a welcome opportunity
to calibrate one's personal trust in the accuracy of mainstream media

This week also saw the 10-th media article on the UTC-reform discussion
within the past year:

  Roger Highfield: Hang on a second, what's the real time?
  Daily Telegraph, 31 December 2003

which seems to have in part been inspired by an earlier piece in the New

Full list of media coverage so far at the bottom of


Markus Kuhn, Computer Lab, Univ of Cambridge, GB | __oo_O..O_oo__
Received on Fri Jan 02 2004 - 03:12:25 PST

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