Friday, January 30, 2009

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This is how long a second is:

"The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary says it is, "the 60th part of a minute of time : 1/86,400 part of the mean solar day; specifically : the base unit of time in the International System of Units that is equal to the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between to hyperfine levels of ground state of the cesium - 133 atom."

Have you ever wondered about time?  Our entire concept of time is based upon the earths rotation on its axis, its path around the sun, its faulty axis which causes it to tilt, and the math that makes it fit.  60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day, 7 days to a week, an average of 4.348 weeks to a month, and twelve months in a year.

And yet, if the earth was a couple thousand miles closer or farther to the sun, all of that would change.  Mars has a 686 (earth) day year.  I had to look that up, and I found a great quote:

"We find that one Mars year is 686 days, a period that is not seen with the eyes, but with the mind."

Did you get that?  Units of time are relative to gravity, and it only so happens that 1/86,400th part of an earth year can be compared with whole numbers to the vibration of a cesium atom.  But something more than atomic vibrations are happening, if time was dependant on atomic vibrations we could slow down the atom and slow down time.  Better yet, we could combine the vibrating electron with a positron and completely annihilate time.

Time has to be more than its units say it is, and I think that it exists in an immeasurable way... in the mind.  It seems like the older I get, the faster time goes.  Ever felt like there aren't enough hours in the day?  Yes.  Ever thought that if you slowed down the rotation of the earth it would fix the problem? No.  The City of Time by Eoin Mcnamee (novel) presents time as a substance that can be bought and sold.  

Is time dependant on the person expiriencing it?  Obviosly, the solar system will continue to spin even if I think it doesn't, but what if time is completely seperate from the solar system?  Waiting for Christmas is a pain when your little, but when you get older, it feels like it comes too fast (never enough time to get your shopping done).  Is it because patience comes with maturity?  Or is it because time actually moves fast or slow depending on who is expiriencing it?  As in, the atoms are vibrating at the same speed for both people, but for one, it takes longer.  It's completely contradictory, but what other explaination is there for the seeming reletivity of time?  Does time waltz through itself independant of those it passes by?  Or does time walk step by step along your liferoad, always keeping pace with you?

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