Re: [LEAPSECS] independence day

From: John Cowan <cowan_at_CCIL.ORG>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2006 04:22:06 -0400

Rob Seaman scripsit:

> The point is, however, that nothing - absolutely nothing -
> would then protect legal timekeeping in the U.S. or elsewhere from
> the whims of future timekeepers at the ITU.

I regret to state that this remark appears to me no more than
scaremongering. The laws of the United States are not the
laws of the Medes and the Persians[*], subject to no repeal.
If the U.S. tied its legal time to the ITU, it could untie
it in future if that seems like a good idea.

In any case, changing the legal definition of U.S. time from GMT
to UTC merely regularizes the de facto position, since GMT no
longer has a specific international definition.

> What in practice would stop these individuals
> from leaping the clock forward or backward at will, or from changing
> the rate of UTC, or for that matter from making the clocks run
> backwards?

The fact of being rendered irrelevant, not to say a laughingstock.
What is to prevent the IERS from issuing bogus leap second announcements?

[*] I am not referring here to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

LEAR: Dost thou call me fool, boy?      John Cowan
FOOL: All thy other titles    
             thou hast given away:
      That thou wast born with.
Received on Wed Jul 05 2006 - 01:22:21 PDT

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