On Sun 2006-12-31T07:59:35 +0000, Poul-Henning Kamp hath writ: > Rob, If you feel uncomfortable with calling leapseconds > discontinuities, then we can use the term arrhythmia instead.
The point of my allegory about unplanned pregnancies is that all practically available time scales have arrhythmias. Almost everything has jumps at some point during power on self test, and the national time bureaus (and the GPS almanac) publish their current estimate of their deviation from regularity. If you can handle leap seconds, then you can handle reality. The decision made 37 years ago was that the reality of most systems didn't/couldn't care about seconds, and that's the part that now is getting scrutiny. What tweaks me is that I get the impression that a lot of folks are perfectly willing to accept those irregularities and to let Dave Mills diddle with the rates of their system clocks so long as they never have to admit the existence of a named leap second. It's as if everything is okay so long as the baby never comes to term -- everyone can live in denial about those things going on behind the scenes -- but as soon as the county recorder gets that birth certificate with Mr. Astronomer named as father the social order of the world breaks down. I see this as a form of denial. Almost all applications may be capable of tolerating the level of irregularity in the currently practically available time scales, but they are irregular. What happens in a world with terabit per second information streams coming over fibers from sources whose clocks, even if they are ion-trap clocks (especially if so), are different tidal potentials that vary diurnally? (Of course the glib answer is that if the optical fiber engineers do manage to notice this first then they will win the Nobel prize just as surely as Penzias and Wilson did after they found that cleaning pigeon shit out of their microwave horns did not manage to make the background noise go away.) What happens in a world where systems begin to be sensitive to the effective leap microseconds or variations in length of seconds which happen even if Dave Mills is conditioning their clocks? It's my expectation that if all systems are allowed to deny the reality of precision time keeping we will eventually find ourselves living in a timekeeping world that resembles C.M. Kornbluth's story The Marching Morons. -- Steve Allen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> WGS-84 (GPS) UCO/Lick Observatory Natural Sciences II, Room 165 Lat +36.99858 University of California Voice: +1 831 459 3046 Lng -122.06014 Santa Cruz, CA 95064 http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/ Hgt +250 m