Re: [LEAPSECS] Stupid question from programmer: Why not just eliminate ALL UTC corrections ?

From: Scott Moore <>
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 19:33:54 -0700

Ed Davies wrote:

> Scott Moore wrote:
>> ....
>> So lets say we get rid of UTC corrections, leap seconds, hours,
>> everything.
>> No corrections, because UTC will be defined as "whatever the freaking
>> planet is doing". If user X is capable if figuring out the current
>> solar/earth time to 10 places, cool. All that matters is that the time
>> reference generators like WWV, and Internet time servers have good to
>> excellent accuracy, I.e., they can calculate solar time from atomic
>> time with enough places to satisfy everyone concerned.
>> ....
> What you are failing to realise is that the "time reference
> generators" you mention serve two purposes: to transmit a
> reference time (as you mention) but also to act as a standard
> frequency service. Using UT1 or somesuch (Earth angle time) as
> you suggest results in variable length seconds. This was what
> was done prior to 1972, when UTC was introduced to fix this.
> Ed.
I'm not proposing that. Please read the message again.

I'm saying that reference time and solar time go their own
separate ways, once and for all.

Let me put it this way. Atomic time became possible, and
astronomers went to an absolute, unvarying reference, independent
of the (inaccurate) clock that is the planet.

All that has really changed is that more folks want to join that
club, because GPS, the network boys, and I'm sure other users
want their time to advance without odd corrections that are
leap seconds.

So the ship has sailed. Atomic time, abosolute seconds time,
these things are becoming the way time really works. Computers
are either run from atomic time, or synced to it, and programmers
don't appreciate having it moved around on occasion (leap seconds).

So do what the Americans want, go to atomic time, stop changing it,
only forget about leap hours, seconds, or whatever. I know there are
lots of ways to look at solar time, but the current method of
"average time of day as averaged to the year", or whatever
astronomers decide is fine.

To beat this into the ground, let GPS and computers, etc. go to
atomic time, and just tell us what current interesting fiction
you wish us (the computer programmers) to present users with,
which can be done by a formula, or by broadcasting a "UTC offset"
along with the current (fixed) time reference.

Samiam is Scott A. Moore
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Received on Wed Aug 03 2005 - 19:34:13 PDT

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