On Thu 2005-01-20T12:34:09 +0000, Clive D.W. Feather hath writ:
> I may be wrong here, but I thought the "leap hour" idea did *not* insert a
> discontinuity into UTC. Rather, in 2600 (or whenever it is), all civil
> administrations would move their <local>-UTC offset forward by one hour,
> in many cases by failing to implement the summer-to-winter step back.

The text of the document from USWP 7A continues the trend that has
been displayed publicly for several years now, namely that UTC would
officially switch from leap seconds to leap hours.  This is clearly an
artifice, for there can be no expectation that people 5 centuries
hence will respect the content of any revision of ITU-R TF.460 made
today.  It is not even clear that the BIPM is ready to respect it now.

Looking at the players, however, a plausible reason for the artifice
becomes clear.  Many of the proposers are employees of agencies of the
US Federal government.  Under federal law the legal time of the United
States is specified as "mean astronomical time", and in the parlance
of the era of that legislation that clearly must be interpreted as the
form of earth rotation time known as mean solar time.  The most recent
attempt to change the wording of the US Code failed.

To propose the complete abolition of leaps would be to propose a time
scale which demonstrably violates federal law.  To propose leap hours
is to propose an artifice which keeps the proposers from using their
positions to advocate a violation of federal law.  Legal fiction is
a well-tested means of effecting change.

It is hard to say what the actual intent is when so few documents have
made it out of the inner sanctum of the Time Lords.

In the hopes of enlightenment for this list, but without the ability
to authenticate these draft documents, I offer the following:


It seems that atomic clock keepers have lost all interest in the
continued existence of mean solar time, sundials, or the analemma.

Steve Allen          UCO/Lick Observatory       Santa Cruz, CA 95064
[EMAIL PROTECTED]      Voice: +1 831 459 3046     http://www.ucolick.org/~sla
PGP: 1024/E46978C5   F6 78 D1 10 62 94 8F 2E    49 89 0E FE 26 B4 14 93

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