[ntp:questions] Purpose of a leap second file?

Richard B. Gilbert rgilbert88 at comcast.net
Sun Mar 4 22:44:33 UTC 2012

On 3/4/2012 3:37 PM, unruh wrote:
> On 2012-03-04, John Hasler<jhasler at newsguy.com>  wrote:
>> nemo_outis writes:
>>> It was specifically chosen, not because of its deep significance as a
>>> 'universal physical constant', but specifically to make the 'new'
>>> second very close to the old 'earth-rotation' second.
>> But not exact.  Can't be: the rotation is not stable.  I'm not
>> advocating the elimination of leapseconds: just a cessation of the
>> practice of treating them as if they were corrections of errors in the
>> atomic clocks.  Let the clocks run on TAI (and so record time stamps) and
>> then look up and insert leapseconds as needed for display.
> Nor is the measurement of the transition of the Caesium atom stable. In
> fact the best clocks are no longer those. No clocks are "stable" They
> all have variation and inaccuracies in measurement of them. That atomic
> clocks now happen to more stable than the earth's rotation is an
> accident of history, and in future there may well be other even better
> clocks, and the second will get redefined again.
> If you want your clock to run on TAI, let it. But for most of the
> population, time is something used to organize your days. And they will
> become more important again as energy becomes so expensive that people
> will not have lights on at night, except in special cases. To organize
> the day, the sun is pretty important.
> But if you want to measure time with TAI, go ahead. Noone is stopping
> you. It is just when you claim that your religion is the one and only
> true religion and everyone should comply with the church of the TAI that
> people get a bit upset.

Joe Average will almost certainly fail to notice. He is concerned about
getting to work on time, and getting paid for the hours he works.  He 
also cares that television shows start at well known and predicable times.

The physicist, OTOH, needs a very precise time and one that can be 
communicated to other physicists!

I don't see any reason why Joe and the physicist can't use the same
seconds, minutes, hours, and days.  Joe can certainly live with an 
occasional leap second or leap minute.

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