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1 “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so,” joked Douglas Adams in The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Scientists aren’t laughing, though. Some
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speculative new physics theories suggest that time emerges from a more ❍

fundamental-and timeless-reality.
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2 Try explaining that when you get to work late. The average U.S. city commuter ❍ 7 Crimes That Will Get You a Smaller Fine than
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began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright

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summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It
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4 Green days. The Department of Energy estimates that electricity demand drops by ❍ 8 Tools to Prep for the Apocalypse
0.5 percent during Daylight Saving Time, saving the equivalent of nearly 3 million ❍ The 10 Most (& Least) Prestigious Jobs in America
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5 By observing how quickly bank tellers made change, pedestrians walked, and
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postal clerks spoke, psychologists determined that the three fastest-paced U.S. ❍ 10 Great Bands That Don’t Actually Exist, but
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7 One second used to be defined as 1/86,400 the length of a day. However, Earth’s ❍ Random Charts & Flowcharts to Make You Smile
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rotation isn’t perfectly reliable. Tidal friction from the sun and moon slows our planet
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8 This means that in the time of the dinosaurs, the day was just 23 hours long.

9 Weather also changes the day. During El Niño events, strong winds can slow
Earth’s rotation by a fraction of a milliÂ-second every 24 hours.

10 Modern technology can do better. In 1972 a network of atomic clocks in more


than 50 countries was made the final authority on time, so accurate that it takes
31.7 million years to lose about one second.

11 To keep this time in sync with Earth’s slowing rotation, a “leap second” must be
added every few years, most recently this past New Year’s Eve.

12 The world’s most accurate clock, at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology in Colorado, measures vibrations of a single atom of mercury. In a billion
years it will not lose one second.

13 Until the 1800s, every village lived in its own little time zone, with clocks
synchronized to the local solar noon.

14 This caused havoc with the advent of trains and timetables. For a while watches
were made that could tell both local time and “railway time.”

15 On November 18, 1883, American railway companies forced the national


adoption of standardized time zones.

16 Thinking about how railway time required clocks in different places to be


synchronized may have inspired Einstein to develop his theory of relativity, which
unifies space and time.

17 Einstein showed that gravity makes time run more slowly. Thus airplane
passengers, flying where Earth’s pull is weaker, age a few extra nanoÂ-seconds each
flight.

18 According to quantum theory, the shortest moment of time that can exist is
known as Planck time, or 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
second.

http://www.bspcn.com/2009/03/16/20-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-time/ (1 of 2)8/27/2009 12:53:15 PM


20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Time | The Best Article Every day

19 Time has not been around forever. Most scientists believe it was created along
with the rest of the universe in the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.

20 There may be an end of time. Three Spanish scientists posit that the observed
acceleration of the expanding cosmos is an illusion caused by the slowing of time.
According to their math, time may eventually stop, at which point everything will
come to a standstill.

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5 Responses to 20 Things You


Probably Didn’t Know About Time

joblo
March 17th, 2009 at 10:45

Good to see this website has resorted to stealing articles from


discover magazine without acknowledging the source. Im
totaling reporting this to them. This website just sinks lower
and lower everytime I rarely visit it. This is just stupid.

No mention of anyone but the article writer is NOT a source.

Joe
March 17th, 2009 at 11:33

Clicking on the author’s name leads to the original article…

The Major
March 17th, 2009 at 13:46

I’d be worried. He’s totaling reporting this to them.

Just Jon
March 19th, 2009 at 21:43

Joblo is an idiot. People like him deserve to die.

PFC Miller
April 21st, 2009 at 17:22

Joblo has nothing better to do with his time than tattle on


others. What a sad and pointless life.

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http://www.bspcn.com/2009/03/16/20-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-time/ (2 of 2)8/27/2009 12:53:15 PM