Re: [LEAPSECS] Monsters from the id

From: John Cowan <cowan_at_CCIL.ORG>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 02:36:44 -0500

Rob Seaman scripsit:

> Folks have been tossing around the notion of aligning this with daylight
> saving time - but DST in what locality? Does anyone really believe that
> a leap hour would be introduced on different calendar dates worldwide?
> (It seems to me that the one time it is guaranteed NOT to occur is
> during a daylight saving transition.)

No one, at least not on this list, is arguing for an alignment of the
absurd leap hour proposal (henceforth ALHP) with DST changes. What PHK
and I are arguing for is this:

1) the abandonment of UTC as the worldwide base from which local
        time is set in favor of TAI (minus some constant offset); and

2) the recognition of the right of local jurisdictions to alleviate
        any practical difficulties of this change by changing their offset
        from TAI from one value to another. (I speak of recognition
        because of course sovereign jurisdictions can already change
        their offsets for any reason or no reason.)

This has nothing whatever to do with inserting leap hours into UTC,
except in the sense that it might be tactically sensible to support the
ALHP in the expectation that no such leap hour would ever be introduced.

> Not satisfied with the ITU position that UTC should merely be
> emasculated to correspond to TAI - 33s - Nx3600s (which, of course,
> really has the effect of ensuring that TAI itself will remain a
> completely irrelevant mystery to the public), some would completely
> eliminate UTC from the equation (or is it that they would eliminate
> TAI?)

It is UTC that would be eliminated as the basis for local time. It could
be maintained for such other purposes as anyone might have.

> But under this interpretation we're to believe that the very notion
> of international civil time is anathema (except perhaps for TAI with
> some oddball persistent 33s offset and either a one hour gap or one
> hour repetition every few hundred years). What this means is that
> *local* civil/business/legal time contains this gap or this
> repetition. I suspect we can agree that the civilians/
> businesspersons/lawyers won't care whether the issue is local or not,
> all they are going to see is a repeated time sequence or a gap - and
> with no possibility of appeal to standard time, because standard time
> as we know it simply won't exist anymore.

We already have that repeated time sequence and gap in much of the world,
and live with it. These repetitions would be no better and no worse;
when a gap is present, the local sovereignty can omit the gap, but this
is not a necessary feature of the proposal.

> And historical time? Well, historians will simply have to get with
> the program. Suck it up. Perhaps loudspeakers will announce the
> arrival of the leap hour (or leap timezone migration event) with the
> admonition to refrain from historically significant activity for the
> space of one hour.

Historians already deal with the discontinuity between Julian and
Gregorian calendars, which was similarly conducted in a decentralized
fashion between 1582 and 1924. And that's to say nothing of Sweden,
which made 1700 a non-leap year (thus using a non-Julian, non-Gregorian
calendar as of March 1) and 1712 a double leap year (reverting to the
Julian calendar after February 30), switching finally to the Gregorian
calendar in 1753.

Worst of all, Nova Scotia was settled by the French in 1605 and put on
the Gregorian calendar, and then switched to Julian with the British
conquest in 1710 so that the dates October 2-13 were *doubled up*,
first as Gregorian, then as Julian. Eventually, it switched back to
Gregorian in 1752 with the rest of the British Empire. (Grotty details
at .)

They tried to pierce your heart                 John Cowan
with a Morgul-knife that remains in the
wound.  If they had succeeded, you would
become a wraith under the domination of the Dark Lord.         --Gandalf
Received on Wed Jan 11 2006 - 23:38:47 PST

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