[ntp:questions] A Suggestion For Abolishing the Leap Second

Quadibloc jsavard at ecn.ab.ca
Sun Jun 3 03:34:18 UTC 2007


Jason Rabel wrote:
> Seriously considered? The more I read it, the more I think it is just a bad
> joke taken too far. Instead of being happy with just adding a leap second
> every now and then, you want to screw with and break every time scale
> possible and every piece of electronic equipment on earth.

I am happy with a leap second every now and then.

But some people aren't happy with that, and so they want to just
abolish the leap second, without changing anything else. So, perhaps
as soon as the year 2,700, we would need to have a *leap hour*.

I don't think that's a good idea, even if it takes time for the
consequences to become apparent.

So I want to have a fallback proposal ready, one that gives these
people what they want - no leap seconds, so that keeping computer
networks synchronized won't be problematic - but without losing the
relationship between the time on our clocks and the time of day.

But I don't want to upset frequency standards, and so I tried very
hard to design my proposal so that it would use a time scale that
would still have a close relationship to atomic time. There may well
be better ways to do this than the one I first proposed, as I have
started learning more about the difficulties of this. So I have gone
on to suggest other alternatives as well, such as adding a 'leap
millisecond' to one second every eight hours so that the SI second can
be kept most of the time.

John Savard




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