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    Re: Leap second decision this week?
    From: Russell D. Sampson
    Date: 2022 Nov 15, 16:32 -0500
    Frank:

    Very interesting.  In your email you state:

    1. [negative leap second] In effect, a second will vanish. Such an experiment has never been tested on computer systems, and many metrologists fear a digital disaster.
    2. The first time in the history of U.T.C. that a negative leap second occurs, and nobody knows what to do.

    This is all sounding a little familiar.  I suspect there is a possibility of yet another Y2K-like boondoggle from the data industry.  I recall the last time this happened.  I was a graduate student in 1999 with the hottest new computer in the department - students and faculty would parade into my lab to see the damn things.  But I also had another less important computer and I was skeptical of all this Y2K doom 'n gloom, so one day I decided to do an "experiment" and demonstration on this backup PC - before our IT department got to it and downloaded all that expensive Y2K proofing software.  I gathered a crowd of like-minded physicists, started up the important software and then went and changed the computer's clock to 23:59:00 December 31, 1999 and then we all watched and waited.

    Tick, tick, tick, ... midnight ... tick, tick, tick.  

    Nothing!  No explosion, no fatal digital error, no airplanes falling out of the sky (someone looked) I didn't even get a kiss from anyone ... the computer just kept on going. Everyone then just left the room.

    Russ 



    On Tue, Nov 15, 2022 at 1:32 PM Frank Reed <NoReply_FrankReed@fer3.com> wrote:

    There's nothing I can do about the paywall, of course. But I'll say that the article in question is strictly for "popular consumption" and doesn't offer much content that would be new for NavList readers. I'm attaching their artwork to this post for its entertainment value. I included a list of quotes from the article in my original post:

    • A vote, in the form of Resolution D, is expected on Nov. 18 at a meeting in Versailles of the Bureau’s member nations.
    • It should have happened 20 years ago, and if not for political maneuvering, it probably would have happened 20 years ago.
    • Coordinated Universal Time is the world’s official time scale, and will continue to be whether or not it incorporates leap seconds.
    • [negative leap second] In effect, a second will vanish. Such an experiment has never been tested on computer systems, and many metrologists fear a digital disaster.
    • The first time in the history of U.T.C. that a negative leap second occurs, and nobody knows what to do.
    • Whatever the outcome of Resolution D, time would retain its ancient link to the stars.
    • 'We know the relationship between atomic time and the rotation of the Earth.' The differences would continue to be calculated and made available, just not actively implemented.

    A few other details from the article... The Russian Glonass (GNSS) apparently depends on UTC directly. I don't understand that, but they say that the Russians are in no hurry to adjust global time-keeping just to satisfy the demands of the world of western technology. Imagine that. And by the way, if the proposal is approved, the article says that the termination of leap seconds would not occur until 2035. Given the serious concerns about introducing a negative leap second --and yes, it would probably fail on a majority of systems worldwide-- it seems to me that waiting until 2035 might turn out to be too late. Maybe that will be counted as a "no later than" date.

    Frank Reed

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