Re: [LEAPSECS] Wall Street Journal Article

From: Rob Seaman <seaman_at_NOAO.EDU>
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 11:02:24 -0700

On Jul 31, 2005, at 12:19 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> The topic is: why do IT installations and manufacturers not test
> leap-seconds. The answer is: because it costs too much.

Bull! They don't test against UTC (the full force of an
international standard) because they are ignorant of the need to do
so. One more time - the solution to ignorance is education, not
dumbing down the curriculum. Leap seconds represent a real world
constraint. The commercial world is expected to deal with other real
world constraints. And, of course, there is the little matter that
nobody has bothered to conduct a meaningful survey of the commercial
communities no more than the technical communities. The fact that
some may have ignored elementary real world tests doesn't imply that
their competitors were so cavalier.

> We're all entitled to our own realities. Yours seem to not
> coincide with the IT industry to any great extent.

George Orwell would be proud: the Sun is fantasy and the IT
industry, reality.

> I don't hear the counter proposal from the astronomers to fix leap
> seconds.

You don't perceive even the possibility of risks associated with
disconnecting civil time from solar time - therefore such risks don't
exist. You don't hear a counter proposal - therefore such proposals
don't exist. Piaget tells us that children should achieve object
permanence by the age of two.

As Steve Allen says, leap seconds ain't broken. The current standard
is viable for hundreds of years. Replacing it with another that
guarantees a colossal headache on a similar time scale is daft. But
if you want a counter proposal, see
leap, originally submitted to this list more than four years ago.
The current standard is fine - the only problem is that we aren't
taking full advantage of it. I'm sure the clever fellows currently
wasting their time pushing the ITU proposal could come up with
something better than my counter proposal. It sure would be more fun
to seek a consensus for improving civil time, rather than continuing
to pursue this one-dimensional failure of a debate - in a more and
more public arena.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Sun Jul 31 2005 - 11:02:40 PDT

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