Re: [LEAPSECS] Approach to leap second discussion

From: Ed Davies <>
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 23:47:15 +0000

Rob Seaman wrote:
>> I hope we can all continue this discussion in a more positive manner.
> I'm of the opinion that messages on this list (no matter how
> "tricky" :-) are always positive. Timekeeping is a fundamental
> issue. It would be remarkable if there weren't diverse opinions.
> Any negative aspects of this discussion are related to those who
> don't choose to participate. Which is to say, those who claim to
> have decision making authority over UTC at the ITU, for instance.
> The folks on this list appear to cluster into two groups (speak up if
> your opinion diverges from both):
> 1) Civil time should remain layered on UTC. UTC should remain
> largely unchanged. Leap seconds should continue.
> and
> 2) Civil time should be layered on some flavor of interval time.
> That timescale might be a variation of TAI called TI. TI will not
> have leap seconds.

OK so far. Actually, I've yet to see any argument which would make
me deeply unhappy with either of these outcomes.

> The proposal submitted to the ITU is neither of these. It is:
> 3) Civil time should remain layered on UTC. UTC should be modified
> to no longer be a useful approximation to "universal time". Leap
> seconds will be issued 3600 at a time.
> You all know where I stand - but there are worlds of difference
> between #2 and #3 as alternatives to #1. All three proposals face
> the same looming quadratic emergency.

Again, OK so far except perhaps a quibble that it seems to be widely
expected that the leap hour probably would never happen.

What bothers me about this discussion is that we don't seem to be
able to get beyond bouncing backwards and forwards between 1 & 2.

As soon as anybody puts up any proposal for further detail with
respect to either of these possible outcomes almost all of the
response comes back in the form of arguments for the other outcome
rather than sensible discussion of the idea in itself.

Maybe for the next little while we should assume one or other
outcomes each week (1 in odd ISO 8601 numbered weeks, 2 in even
numbered weeks) and carry on all the discussion in that context.

Received on Sun Jan 22 2006 - 15:47:43 PST

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