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Subject: [IP] Leap second fight brewing

  • From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>
  • To: Ip ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 15:48:07 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <Bob2-19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
Date: July 29, 2005 2:45:46 PM EDT
To: dave@farber.net, ip@v2.listbox.com
Cc: 'Wulf Losee' <qx49@comcast.net>, 'Keith J Winstein' <Keith.Winstein@wsj.com>
Subject: RE: [IP] Leap second fight brewing



Special interests!!! Lazy! Bullshit -- it's like blaming mathematicians for
being lazy in insisting that pi isn't 3.


I've written more reasoned pieces on this
http://www.frankston.com/public/writing.asp?name=SATNEndLeap
http://www.frankston.com/public/writing.asp?name=SATNPreciselyWrong
http://www.frankston.com/public/writing.asp?name=LeapSeconds

But it's worth of a rant -- both because of this attempt to blame &quot;special
interests&quot; and also the realization that this is a form of fundamentalism in
which people take a story too seriously. These are scientists but they are
acting as fundamentalists in assuming that they have the one precise truth.


They fail to understand that the human use of time is at odds with their needs.
By their reasoning we should lash up 200 horses to a car to show it has 200
horsepower.


This is science at its most foolish and intolerant. It's pretty trivial to have
a correction factor for calculations that need it. After all you have to be very
very aware to need such precision.


Instead they make the length of a minute intrinsically ambiguous and blame &quot;lazy
programmers&quot; for not being able to know the length of a minute! And worse you
can't even calculate the length of future time spans because you don't know the
future need for leap seconds.


How can astronomers be so earth-limited as to define their time terminology in
terms of the position of the earth anyway?


When I read people complain that removing the leap seconds would reduce the
value of GMT -- c'mon. New York renames the time already. Or, for that matter,
Spain which prefers to associate with the rest of Europe. It's just a naming
convention!


It's not so much whether we should abolish the leap second but whether we should
demand an apology for the damage it has caused.


Aw, the astronomers need to upgrade their telescopes -- well, better than have
the rest of the world cater to their whims when they require all other software
do the impossible.


Eliminate the leap second! No! Roll it back. HUT -- Human Universal Time should
be calculable as if leap seconds were never introduced to bedevil us!


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ip@v2.listbox.com [mailto:owner-ip@v2.listbox.com] On Behalf Of
David Farber
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 11:51
To: ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: [IP] Leap second fight brewing




-----Original Message-----
From: &quot;Wulf Losee&quot;<qx49@comcast.net>
Sent: 7/29/05 10:23:15 AM
To: &quot;dave@farber.net&quot;<dave@farber.net>
Subject: Leap second fight brewing

Dave:
The US has secretly proposed abolishing the leap second (that is
ocassionally added as the earth slows its rotation) claiming &quot;safety&quot;
reasons. Evidently this is at the behest of special interests whose
software is unable to deal with the additional second.

From the WSJ online: &quot;Word of the U.S. proposal, made secretly to a United
Nations body, began leaking to scientists earlier this month. The plan
would simplify the world's timekeeping by making each day last exactly 24
hours.&quot;


http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB112258962467199210- H9je4Nilal4o52nbYCIb
q6Em4,00.html


--Wulf




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