Re: An immodest proposal

From: Rob Seaman <>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 09:25:12 -0700

It has been more than a week and there hasn't been a single response
to my proposal (excerpted below) to build a TAI testbed. I assure
you the proposal was serious - no agenda other than curiosity to see
what implications the existence of such an infrastructure might have
for timekeeping policies. Astronomers are big supporters of TAI as
well as UTC, after all, and I didn't even feel the need to consult
(in advance, or since) with any of my astro-temporal associates.

So - did the message get lost? Or are folks simply too busy to
consider volunteering - no matter how noble the cause? Or perhaps
the great millennial leap second debate has finally become so
polarized that no further productive communication is possible? Or
might it simply be that nobody actually perceives a need for building
a TAI-based timekeeping infrastructure?

If the reality is rather that my proposal is too skimpy or appears
technically unsound for some fundamental reason - well, I might have
expected somebody to "politely" point that out to me :-) But I would
also welcome a counter-proposal with corrected and extended details.

Rob Seaman

> Proposal:
> 1) TAI can be recovered from UTC given a table of DTAI.
> 2) NTP can convey TAI as simply as UTC.
> 3) Deploy a small network of NTP servers to keep TAI, not UTC.
> 4) NTP client machines could therefore trivially select between
> TAI and UTC by subscribing to different servers.
> 5) This would provide an unbiased experimental sandbox for civil
> timekeeping issues.
Received on Tue Feb 14 2006 - 08:25:54 PST

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