Re: [LEAPSECS] The nature of risk

From: Rob Seaman <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 12:33:00 -0700

>> Leap seconds are asserted to be a risk. Does their lack present
>> fewer risks? Prove it.
> No, you prove it. Such rhetorical devices are designed to divide
> and separate,

No, my rhetoric really isn't designed for that purpose. And even if
it were so - how does that possibly undermine the idea that risks
should be explored before decisions are made? "Look before you leap"
is not usually considered controversial.

> rather than to understand the problems at hand.

The problems at hand have been rejected out of hand. The initial ITU
position from six years ago has not budged an inch - simply cease
leap seconds. Meanwhile, have significant issues been raised by the
recent leap second? If so, no one has made them public.

On the other hand, we are simply to take it as a matter of faith that
not only do no communities outside of astronomy possibly care - but
that no possible negative outcomes can occur from blindly making such
a momentous change to the practice of timekeeping.

Imagine changing not just the definition of the meter, but the
underlying concept of "length". Wouldn't the governments of the
world first demand proof that vast infrastructures wouldn't topple?
Why then are the timekeepers so cavalier with the time they are
keeping? If nothing else, one might imagine that the potentially
immense insurance liability would give them pause.

Other names for "rhetorical devices" are paragraphs and sentences.
I'll not apologize for knowing the difference between zeugma and

Received on Wed Jan 25 2006 - 11:33:39 PST

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