Re: [LEAPSECS] the tail wags the dog

From: Nero Imhard <nimh_at_PIPE.NL>
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 23:04:28 +0100

Michael Sokolov wrote:

>Steve Allen <sla_at_UCOLICK.ORG> wrote:
>>TAI is the mathematical (really the political or diplomatic) entity
>>upon which UTC is ostensibly based, but the practical and legal
>>reality is the other way around.
>Has it occurred to any of you that *THIS* is the very root of the problem,
>that *THIS* is what we need to change?
Frankly, I didn't understand Steve's remark at all.

Practical reality is that most national standards laboratories use
precise frequency standards to maintain a count of SI seconds as a
rendition of TAI. When it comes to establishing and distributing UTC or
legal time, they consult the publications of the IERS and/or local law,
and do some simple math.

Legal reality (I speak for The Netherlands) is also not "the other way
around" but appears to ignores TAI and the leap second issue
completely. Legal time is equated to CET (or CEST) which is considered
sufficiently well-known to leave it at that. In practice, the VSL
laboratory of the NMI in Delft, which is supposed to provide legal
time, works as described above. I can imagine other countries are not
much different.

So from a legal standpoint, there is no problem. Countries will happily
folow any standard the scientific community comes up with, finds general
use, and is halfway usable. Like they did with UTC without caring a ***
where it actually comes from.

Nero Imhard
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
Received on Sun Jan 22 2006 - 14:14:54 PST

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