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: http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/leapsecs/SRG7Afinalreport.doc http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/leapsecs/PropRevITU-RTF460-6.doc 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