Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Time, time, time

Can you stop time?

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Tuesday, July 31, 2007   18 comments links to this post


At 31 Jul 2007 17:48:00, Blogger Dibutil Ftalat said...

Cool. It stops.

Have you ever had such days when everything starts happening at the same time? In those days my Swiss mechanical chronometer runs ahead (up to five minutes!) as if my local tempo increases and I can do more in the same common interval. On the other days when no one reaches me and I do only nothing my watch slows.. pity that such days are rare :)

At 31 Jul 2007 22:34:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

I can't make it stop. The second-hand just keeps sweeping along at its regular pace ...

At 31 Jul 2007 22:46:00, Blogger eolake said...

Me either.

At 31 Jul 2007 23:15:00, Anonymous ttl said...

I can make it stop, for very brief moments but clearly noticeable. It looks as if the second-hand got "stuck" momentarily and then continue its movement. It's rather spooky.

I think you need to relax your attention a little to experience the effect.

At 31 Jul 2007 23:48:00, Blogger Alex said...

I got a subjective 4-5 second pause. It seemed to slow to a stop and then resume, no skipping.

I wasn't running anything heavy on my PC at the time, sure a lot of RAM in use, but hardly any CPU.

I seemed more able to stop it near the top of the sweep.

I've had a lot of trouble with time this week. I'm working on a system where the RTOS was second guessing the RTC. If its estimated seconds were short it would count each minute multiple times. The spooky one was if it was too slow it would stabilize itself and service each minute 12 seconds into the minute?

At 1 Aug 2007 00:08:00, Blogger eolake said...

"I'm working on a system where the RTOS was second guessing the RTC."

Me too! And my OYHIU is flirting with my UGIU77. All on top of the EGHJHHH going down every time the VGYR5 is £$%$%*%^.

At 1 Aug 2007 00:25:00, Anonymous ttl said...

I feel for you Alex and Eo. Those are tough situations. I hope you can sort it out!

At 1 Aug 2007 01:38:00, Blogger Alex said...

I was speaking English, honest. All I was saying was I was having time paradoxes at work.

RTOS - real time operating system (to nearest 5ms in my case)
RTC - real time clock.

My concept of time is more relaxed now. I used to have to care in the sub nano-second range.

I'll try not to sound so geeky...

At 1 Aug 2007 01:46:00, Blogger eolake said...

I like it, just so I know what's what.

How does milliseconds influence your life?

At 1 Aug 2007 01:54:00, Blogger Alex said...

"How does milliseconds influence your life?"

Airbag deployment
Engine ignition timing
GPS navigation signal timing delays
Microwave telephony
etc etc etc

At 1 Aug 2007 02:50:00, Blogger Dibutil Ftalat said...

GPS is not milliseconds, in fact, it is nano-seconds! Just read some GPS reviews with deep analysis of parameters. They do track time with 2ns presision...

At 1 Aug 2007 05:41:00, Blogger Alex said...

Actually, a better example of miliseconds on this board - shutter speed. 1/2000th sec exposure is 0.5ms.

I stand corrected about GPS. All I could remember from what I learnt 13 years ago was that you triangulate based on time signals from multiple satellites. I remember when we used to take up to 2 minutes to lock onto the first two satellites, and that would have a 50% chance of putting you in the right place. Aparently you also collect an almanac to say where the satellites are.

If you have a 2GHz processor, then your system clock ticks every 500 pico seconds. Your processor completes an instruction almost every tick, though it may take many ticks to perform a whole instruction.

Life gets really strange when you start looking at high speed circuits, all your digital signals (on/off, high/low, 1/0) start becoming analog!

The time it takes to deliver your clock everywhere become significant, gates (transistots) near the clock see it before gates further away because your clock pulse is only moving at the speed of light, and the distance through you microprocessor is not infinitesimal, its sometimes more than a couple of millimeters.

At 1 Aug 2007 06:13:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

I'm a Luddite. Maybe that's why I can't get the clock to stop. :P

At 1 Aug 2007 06:59:00, Blogger Alex said...

F.I. If you were a Luddite, you'd take a big axe and break the clock wouldn't you.


At 1 Aug 2007 07:11:00, Blogger A. Friend said...

After a long jog, I once felt like I was suspended in time.

A most eerie feeling.

Also, through Holosync technology (www.centerpointe.com), I entered the Delta state for 30 minutes.

In that time, time disappeared.

At 4 Aug 2007 05:00:00, Anonymous Pascal said...

It's all about perception. Time is more relative to us as sophisticated thinking beings.
Here's a very simple counter-test: look in the manner that has the seconds hand seem to stop (worked with me, you need to be a little patient and try looking in several manners), while having someone else keeping an eye on its motion. They can testify that it never stopped, and it only appeared so to you because of the specificities of human peripheral vision and the way our brain processes it.
Different sources of information, different priorities in the perception. To the mammalian brain, motion in the peripheral vision field is mostly pertinent (and therefore "seen" by the BRAIN) when it is irregular and sudden. You wouldn't detect a danger easily if your perception and info processing was distracted by the rocking leaves or the flowing river while a tiger was pouncing!

"When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity." -- Albert Einstein

Final Identity said...
"I'm a Luddite."

Hunh? Whuzzat?

A. Friend said...
"I entered the Delta state for 30 minutes.
In that time, time disappeared."

Time disappeared for 30 minutes?
Is that a conundrum, or a koan?...
I mean, you know, that sounds like saying that 40 pounds of your body became weightless. Or stating out loud that you're speechless. ;-)

It's true that intense physical exercise can act exactly like a natural drug, via endorphin secretion induction.

- Hansel: So I'm rapelling down Mount Vesuvius when suddenly I slip, and I start to fall. Just falling, ahh, ahh. I'll never forget the terror. When suddenly I realize, "Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking peyote for six straight days and couldn't some of this maybe be in your mind?"
- Derek Zoolander: And?
- Hansel: And it was. I was totally fine. I've never even been to Mount Vesuvius.
-- [Zoolander]

At 4 Aug 2007 11:51:00, Anonymous terry in timeless flight said...

Isn't space itself timeless? I know God is. In eternity time exists but I don't think you can measure it in any form. JMHU.

At 5 Aug 2007 21:52:00, Anonymous Pascal in class cleared his throat & said...

"Isn't space itself timeless?"

Actually, it's not, only a figure of speech toward the immensity of its age scale to us. The Universe is in constant expansion, which is even accelerating, and it is an expansion of Space itself. Therefore related to Time.

It's not just that things are getting further away from each other, it's DISTANCE itself that is growing. Meaning that, for example, atoms are getting much less compact than they were when they first appeared into existence. You might wonder how we can tell that distance and space are dilating. Well, it's all based on physical constants of measure, properties, and phenomenons. An atom of C12 carbon is always an atom of C12 carbon, and they're all alike. It can define mass, and energy. 6.023 x 10^23 atoms of C12 are 12 grams exactly, it's the standard for mass. The standard for the metre is 1,650,763.73 x the wavelength of the Krypton86 radiation in the energy transition between electron levels 2p10 and 5d5. The standard for the second is the time (or, more aptly, the duration) in which light in the void travels 299,792,458 metres.

General Relativity has proven that space and time are joined at the hip, so to speak. (Not literally, Eolake, but I'll let you imagine what that might look like!) Atomic clocks, with their incredible precision -see Krypton86 above, but this time they use Cesium-, have shown that time isn't strictly identical on every point of Earth, hence the Universal Earth Time (used by the GPS system for optimal precision) is an average of several atomic clocks set all around the globe. Near each other, in practically "the same place", their time is identical. Move them elsewhere, they tell you that time is slightly different, due to gravitation not being exactly the same everywhere over the globe. It's not the same at the top of the Chrysler Building and at street level. At great speeds or near great masses, it is not the measuring instruments that change, it's space and time themselves that are modified. And the same thing happens in the Universe, globally, on a scale that requires astronomical measures to detect, but the effect is proportionate! The constant speed of light means that in one second, 299,792,458 metres are slightly more today than last year, and a LOT more that 13.7 billion years ago when the Universe began.

Therefore, conversely, Time isn't spaceless either. Time AS WE KNOW IT began at the instant of the Big Bang, when Space came into existence. There might be some form of "before", eventually considered as "before in God's Time" or "before in a meta-Universe from which ours emerged like a bubble of quantum fluctuation with new physical laws", but it's physically impossible to compare them. Our physical Time is like the counter of a movie called The Universe where conscious Humans existed, and it can't be rewinded further back than zero. (It currently reads about 13.7 billion years, give or take a few eons.) A previous Past simply does not exist as far as we are concerned. Why? Because, as the Anthropic Principle explains, we're PART of the Universe, so we cannot study it from "outside". (At least until the Disappearance of the Universe. ;-)
And I believe that, by definition, God is "outside", being more than Creation itself. There's no other possibility. Otherwise, God wouldn't be God.

This would be a good explanation why proving the existence (or the non-existence) of God is none of Science's business. It's pointless by definition. You can't really appraise love with Statistics, either: it's outside numbers and calculations. At best, Mathematics can give you some information (like brain chemistry concentrations when in love) which is totally irrelevant to the emotion itself and its value to us.
Science shows us that God isn't holding the strings of every planet, atom and living being, making them move at His will like mere puppets. This is all we can know for sure. The rest, we have to believe. Or disbelieve, depending on your individual choices. Einstein himself was a firm believer, but in his own enlightened way:
"If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity." -- Albert Einstein

In a way, and some scientists describe it that way, it's like we were all characters in a gigantic, very sophisticated version The Sims. Sims exist solely within the software and the game machine. They cannot conceive the world outside their "Universe", even if they could become self-aware and hypothesize it. (Which might happen soon. It's all about processing information and levels of "awareness".)

This tends to go along with what Gary Renard says. This Universe definitely exists ("I think, therefore I am"), but whether it is as hardly material as it feels, or simply an indistinguishable simulation, this can't be accessed by Science. Science, by definition, would be making out the rules/laws of the simulation, from inside. Already a very useful endeavour! It is completely possible that we're all part of God's videogame, or dream, or something of that sort.

I just can't help wonder this: considering the relative size of the Universe (whatever it truly is "outside"), and of our own selves, are we as important to God as we've narcissically convinced ourselves that we are?
Only if our conscience, which is unique in Creation (as far as we know, or at least it's a very rare thing), makes us as precious as a diamond in a mountain of mud. Hey, it's quite possible!
Provided we are worthy of the comparison. A diamond with impurities in the crystal loses much beauty value. So we definitely need to keep our spiritual inside as dirt-free as possible. :-)


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