Re: [LEAPSECS] Wall Street Journal Article

From: Rob Seaman <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 10:17:33 -0700

On Jul 30, 2005, at 11:23 PM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> When you start out on a long march, you don't put a stone in your
> boot deliberately, and if one is there already, you take it out.
> Leapseconds is such a stone for real-world IT installations.

No. Leap seconds are the real world. Your long march, like others
before, is a retreat from reality.

> If I were a professional astronomer, I would be busy with all those
> things, but as it is, I have not a single computer anywere which
> will be negatively affected by missing leap seconds.

A) Why do you believe that astronomers are not preparing for the
worst - an unfunded, unnecessary, naive and senseless mandate that
will likely cost us millions?

B) You better hope you are right - a lack of imagination is poor
protection. The short cut of eliminating leap seconds will introduce
more risks than it will avoid.

> I thought I heard some astronomer say in this discussion that all
> applications which need proper timekeeping should use TAI ?

Hearing voices again?

There is no one single solution to all problems in time. There are
many different time scales that are appropriate for different
purposes. I would be just as upset if the time lords were attempting
to subvert TAI - which, as a matter of fact, they are. If they want
to celebrate TAI, simply base civil time directly on TAI, not some
odd number of seconds difference that will forever confuse
"users" (meaning anybody with a clock). At least now we get
bulletins a couple of times per year that explicitly provide the
formula for converting between civil time and TAI.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Sun Jul 31 2005 - 10:17:39 PDT

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