[time-nuts] Re: UTC - A Cautionary Tale

Mike S mikes at flatsurface.com
Sat Jul 16 08:15:58 EDT 2005

At 07:37 AM 7/16/2005, Robert Lutwak wrote...
>Personally, I'd like to eliminate timezones and daylight savings, as well as leapseconds.  Why is it so important that everyone on the planet clock in at 8 a.m. or that we all have dinner at 6 p.m. ?

That's a short term view. Eliminate the leap second, and we'll clock in at 1 a.m. in the year 4500.

_All_ uses of civil time expect it to be synchronous with astronomical time, to varying degrees of precision. An absence of leap (seconds) will eventually cause it to be dark at noon, unadjusted use of the current formula for leap days will eventually shift the seasons. That's unavoidable and unacceptable.

The proper solution is the one which can accommodate the differences between our ability to accurately measure time intervals and the fact that our fundamental basis of time measurement (astronomical positions) is not long-term stable. Leap periods for day and year are simply unavoidable, so we'd best learn to accommodate them. Be thankful lunar months aren't expected to be accommodated.

Eliminating leap seconds only creates a long term problem to provide short term convenience. It is not a logically consistent solution. It will not make the real issue go away.

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