Re: [LEAPSECS] Monsters from the id

From: John Cowan <cowan_at_CCIL.ORG>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 00:07:13 -0500

Rob Seaman scripsit:

> I went rummaging through the ITU proposal and back as far as Torino.
> Found this comment from a LEAPSECS thread on 28 July 2003:
>
> >>> At Torino the proponents of omitting leap seconds supposed that the
> >>> governments of the world might handle this situation using leap hours
> >>> introduced into civil time by occasionally omitting the annual ``spring
> >>> forward'' change to jump to summer/daylight time.

This is definitely the PHK/JWC proposal rather than the ALHP: "civil time"
refers to local legal/business time.

> >>The difference of UT1 from UTC should not exceed 1h.

This, however, clearly is the ALHP.

> The point I was trying to make is that you can't simultaneously omit
> the overlaps/gaps and preserve anything even vaguely resembling the
> familiar relationship between our clocks and the solar day.

The relationship between our clocks (legal time clocks, the only kind
I am concerned with) and the solar day is very weak, as I have established
over and over. If local 0000 is the middle of the night, the practical
requirements of legal time are pretty much satisfied.

> people everywhere in the world
> would have to deal with the repercussions. That the situation will
> degrade slowly over a few hundred years before collapsing
> catastrophically doesn't really seem to recommend the plan.

There will be no catastrophic collapse, just a gradual local adjustment
as needed.

> It may not sound like it, but I am willing to be convinced otherwise
> - but you'll have to do a lot better than rivaling the scant length
> of the ITU proposal. How about a detailed scenario of exactly how
> you see this working for a couple of neighboring but distinct local
> timezones? What is the precise mechanism that might be used?

A sovereign country will notice that there is too much discrepancy
between solar time and legal time to be comfortable: perhaps kids are
waiting for school buses in the dark, as happened in the U.S. in 1974.
The country will then adjust its legal time, perhaps in coordination
with its neighbors, perhaps not.

> The subtext of both your position and the "absurd leap hour proposal"
> is that civil timekeeping is so trivial that everybody from barbers
> to burghermeisters should be encouraged to make public policy - after
> all, these aren't "important" scientific and technical issues.

Those who want UT1 or TAI know where to get it.

> Rather, civilian users deserve as good or better a timescale as the
> technical users (who ultimately can take care of themselves).

Good for what? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

> Aliens? Us? Is this one of your Earth jokes?

No.

--
John Cowan  cowan_at_ccil.org  www.reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan
The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand
on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability.
Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land,
to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.
        --Thomas Henry Huxley
Received on Thu Jan 12 2006 - 21:07:41 PST

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