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Thomas

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Slashdot + leap seconds = troll city [Sunday 31st July 2005 at 12:44 am]
Thomas

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So the USA is considering using leap hours instead of leap seconds, because of a couple of glitches that happened that last few times a leap second was added. And predicitably, the slashdot crowd has heard of it. Nevermind the fact that I thought it was us Brits in control of time and stuff, or did the Americans move the Meridan while they were at it? There is a reason why 0° longitude passes through the middle of London - it's not just because we won the arguement over it.

They've also got it wrong as to who the last bunch of people to mess with a calendar were - it was us, when Parliment stole a week or so from us back in 1752 (okay, Russia and Greece didn't adopt the Georgian calendar until the 20th century, but slashdot's still wrong).

Anyway, to the guys who suggested changing to decimal time, or to a 13-month year. It's been tried before, and for one reason or anothe never stuck. I seem to remember around the time of the year 2000 some noise about changing to a different calenday, which had 13 equal months and a 'worldday' every so often for holidays. Never heard of it again, and we still have the semi-random holidays which are more fun. Nice try, though.

To the idiot who suggested changing the second: well, that's fine, as long as you don't mind changing all the other core constants, and so screwing with most of physics while you're at it. Oh, and you'll mess up bits of maths as well. Still think it's a good idea? You do? Oh, that's because you're a slashdot troll.

Kudos to the one who saw the humour and sutpidity in it all by suggesting that we "adjust the planet's rotation and orbit so we have perfect intervals." The runner-up prize goes to the one who followed this to its logical conclusion by saying that we should "just blow up the moon" because "that little bastard is just slowing us down."

And one person has managed to see through the politicians and realise the real problem:

The article talks about lots of problems that leap seconds cause with software.

The problems don't come from the complexity of the underlying problem of adding leap seconds, but rather because leap seconds are added so infrequently that the code to handle the leap seconds isn't well tested.

So the real question here (to me, at least) is this: what do the leap second problems tell us about how software is developed?
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