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    Re: Leap seconds
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Jan 11, 18:58 -0800

    Gary L, last week you wrote:
    "I remember back during the fuel crisis of the '70s when the idea of 
    going on DST all year round was proposed the ordinary people protested 
    "we don't want our kids going to school in the dark" and the farmers 
    complained " the cows don't like being milked in the dark." "
    Yep. These things come up on a regular basis. DST/"Summer Time" always sparks 
    controversy --and well it should! Briefly during the first world war and 
    again during the second war, the US was on year-round DST. It was more 
    controversial in the 70s because people seemed to have a better understanding 
    that the supposed savings in energy costs were smaller than claimed, and, as 
    you noted above, the impracticalities were worse. I remember going to school 
    in the dark. It made me sleepy and the teacher, too, and I am quite certain 
    that I didn't learn as well. I don't remember, but I wonder if anyone pointed 
    out that the US was putting itself on the same standard as Stalin's "decree 
    time" by going on year-round DST. I bet that would have made scored some 
    points back then!
    What's less well known is that local regions have been steadily moving their 
    time zones east for a century. If you look at the boundary between Eastern 
    and Central Time, it was originally in western Pennsylvania up north, and in 
    the south all of Georgia and Florida were on Central Time (though some towns 
    in eastern Georgia kept Eastern Time locally). Then in 1918-1919 when the 
    federal government first set official standards (the time zones in the US 
    were informal, but almost universally used, from 1883-1918), the boundary ran 
    through central Ohio and also central Georgia. Later, I believe in 1942, most 
    of the rest of Georgia moved to Eastern Time. Ohio and Michigan, even most of 
    the U.P. which is far to the west, are now on Eastern Time. And as you know 
    just recently, Indiana formally moved itself to Eastern Time. These areas are 
    all west of the 82.5 longitude line which should, from a purist standpoint, 
    be the dividing line between the time zones. So they are well ahead of the 
    You added:
    "The ordinary people didn't understand that they could just change the number 
    of the hour of school time and milking time and keep the same schedule in 
    relation to sun time."
    In practice, this is harder than it sounds. The big benefit of standard time 
    is synchronization. And it's hard to escape that.
    And you concluded:
    "So I don't think they will do well unless we keep our ordinary time close to sun time."
    It's all a matter of education. Dropping leap seconds would have the same 
    effect as moving the time zones a tiny bit further to the west (the 
    boundaries wouldn't change --it's the same effect without moving the 
    boundaries). This would occur at a rate of about 1 second every two years 
    increasing to one second per year by 2100. So a century from now the 
    difference would be around a minute and a half. This would be completely 
    un-noticeable except for folks like us. At some point, in three or four 
    centuries, the difference would add up to an amount that might be 
    inconvenient. At that point, Indiana and western Georgia might want to vote 
    themselves back to Central Time.
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