dysfunction or dereliction?

From: Steve Allen <sla_at_UCOLICK.ORG>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 21:52:42 -0700

On March 21 the branch of the IERS at l'Observatoire de Paris
issued Bulletin D 93, visible at
which says, in brief, that starting "27 April 2006, 0h UTC"
the value of "DUT1 = +0.2 s".

The US broadcasts on WWV and WWVH now have two double ticks.
That's good for NIST.

Things are not so good at the US Naval Observatory.

The usual Thursday copy of IERS Bulletin A, Vol. XIX No. 017,
came out on April 27
and it says
         DUT1= (UT1-UTC) transmitted with time signals
             = +0.3 seconds beginning 01 January 2006 at 0000 UTC
Which is to say, USNO did not assimilate Bulletin D.

Look for it quickly, for they may rewrite web history.

This is not the first time something like this has happened.
After IERS Paris issued Bulletin C 30 on Monday 2005-07-04 there was
a disagreement between two files issued by the USNO on July 7.
ser7/ser7.dat had the leap second.
ser7/finals.data did not have the leap second.
This was quietly fixed before the end of Friday July 8.

I've used this word before, and I'll use it again,
the IERS is dysfunctional.

There are international agreements which are apparently being
implemented with techniques that have not changed since someone had to
punch a new Hollerith card, hand insert it into the deck, and
re-submit the batch job. This is not a system of the 21st century.

In this case I suppose it would take a judge advocate to tell whether
this lapse by the USNO reaches to the level of dereliction of duty,
but I don't think that failure to follow prescribed procedures on the
part of the USNO justifies the abandonment of leap seconds.

Steve Allen                 <sla_at_ucolick.org>                WGS-84 (GPS)
UCO/Lick Observatory        Natural Sciences II, Room 165    Lat  +36.99858
University of California    Voice: +1 831 459 3046           Lng -122.06014
Santa Cruz, CA 95064        http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/     Hgt +250 m
Received on Fri Apr 28 2006 - 21:53:06 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Sat Sep 04 2010 - 09:44:55 PDT