[time-nuts] Solving the UTC drift problem

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Thu Jul 14 03:27:18 EDT 2005

In message <a05210605befbbf78c6f7@[]>, David Forbes writes:
>At 8:25 AM +0200 7/14/05, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:
>>In message <a05210601befba18cc387@[]>, David Forbes writes:
>>>A modest proposal:
>>>Instead of adding randomly-placed leap seconds to UTC or allowing UTC
>>>to drift from UT1 etc, the timing community should just change the
>>>second's definition from time to time as needed. That is, dither the
>>>Cs transition frequency between 9,192,631,770 Hz or ,780 Hz annually
>>>to make time speed up or slow down to match the earth's rotation.
>>That has already been tried (1958...1972)  It was not a success.
>I can see that it was not a success at the time, but the equipment of 
>the time was rather primitive compared to today's digitally 
>programmed electronics. It used to be difficult to synthesize a 
>microwave signal with 10 Hz resolution; now it's done in less than a 
>square mm of silicon.
>However, the argument presented in the Metrologia article that 
>physicists would not have a fixed SI unit called the second is a 
>valid concern.

The third argument is that this proposal has the exact same flaw
as the leap-seconds:  You cannot know the timescale in advance...

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.

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