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Leap seconds- the debate communicated by a designer.

  1. Nov 4, 2011 #1

    Firstly, it's necessary to point out that I'm a Graphic Design student from the UK, and although I take a general interest in science and technology, my grasp of anything as academically demanding is nothing compared to what I expect of the forum members here, so I apologise if I seem simple.

    I am asking for the help of anyone interested, and I hope that in return, I can assist the leap second debate. I am designing something as a means of communicating the debate of the use of leap seconds to the general public in an informative yet easily accessible format. The main basis of this will be typography (using fonts creatively).

    I understand the general arguments both for and against retaining the leap second system, but I feel that I am not informed enough to be able to create a piece of design that will do the debate justice yet. I would really like to hear your views- both sides of the debate, and know what information is vital to include from a physicist's viewpoint.

    Of course, I shall credit you in my research, and let you see the final piece, hopefully with approval from people who know what they're talking about!

    Feel free to get in touch, either on this forum or by PM.

    Many thanks for reading,

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2011 #2

    D H

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    OK, I'll bite: How does the debate over leap seconds have anything to do with typography?

    A couple of articles for readers who don't even know what the debate is about:

    The Debate over UTC and Leap Seconds, http://www.agi.com/downloads/resources/white-papers/Debate-Over-UTC-and-Leap-Seconds.pdf [Broken]
    The Future of Time: UTC and the Leap Second, http://arxiv.org/pdf/1106.3141

    My thoughts: "Past surveys have suggested that precision users of UTC are “overwhelmingly satisfied with the current method of determining UTC (leap seconds).”" Spot on.

    If you truly do need a continuous time scale that ticks at the same rate as TAI, use TAI. UTC should be viewed as civilian time. There's a reason for having leap seconds. It keeps our civil time in sync with time of day. The necessary corrections, leap seconds, are so small that most people are completely unaware they exist. To those who don't think that keeping time in sync with time of day is important, they should look back to the conversion from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. What a mess that caused!

    That some organizations use GPS time while others use TAI and don't tell each other the details when exchanging time has caused problems. This proposal will have unintended consequences of even more problems in this vein. We don't need a yet another time scale that ticks at the same rate as TAI and has a fixed offset from TAI. We need one fewer than the number we already have.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Nov 7, 2011 #3
    Thank you for your response, it's really useful and will be relying on it over the coming weeks.

    What does the leap seconds debate have to do with typography? Absolutely nothing. But in that train of thought, nothing has anything to do with typography. I have been given a brief which requires a theme of time/ recording/ measuring time and because this came in the news on the day I was given this brief I have decided to run with it. This is a very high- end competition brief and wanted to do something different so it may stand out amongst the other entries.

    Many thanks again for the help, it's greatly appreciated.

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