[time-nuts] FW: Bulletin C number 30

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Tue Jul 5 02:34:39 EDT 2005

In message < at mjs.alientech.net>, Mike S writes
>At 03:02 PM 7/4/2005, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote...
>>Instead, if we abandon leap-seconds, then we finally have a _truly_
>>universal timescale.
>>It will not be locked to any more or less random piece of geophysics,
>>anyone with a cesium clock and a set of gen-rel coordinates will be
>>able to figure out what time it is, and time intervals can be measured
>>and compared without weird gottchas.
>If that is to be the case, then we should move to decimal time, instead of the awkward 60/60/24/365.x we have now, for the same reasons the metric system has been applied to other measurements. 

See, that on the other hand would benefit anybody at all.  Scientists
already have the JMD decimal timescale for such needs, and most people
are able to implement the conversion correctly.

>What sense does it make for an astronaut on mars to keep 24 hour
>days? Why not make the second 10^9 Cs transitions, instead of

Because 10^9 is no less a magic number than 9,192,631,770.

And remember, the human circadian rythm is roughly 24 hours, (Mars'
rotational rate is close enough btw) you _really_ don't want to
mess with that.

>Fact is, time measurement _is_ based on geophysics, and the absence
>of leap seconds wouldn't make it "universal" in any way. That being
>the case, it is not unreasonable to keep it properly aligned. Leap
>seconds have been around long enough that any IT system which can't
>accommodate them is poorly

If we took a vote, then there would be 100 times more badly implemented
IT systems than systems which needed the alignment, and the average IQ
of the people doing the alignment requiring systems would be 20 points
or more higher than the people who mess up the IT implementations.

It just doesn't make sense to put the hard problem to the less bright
and larger population.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

More information about the time-nuts mailing list