Sorry about the blocked view on this video, but if you click play and then click on the YouTube link, you can view this excellent video. I promise it is worth the trouble.

First, Let’s talk about the BIG PICTURE:


Sometime ago, I was sitting on the top of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City. The wind moaned softly. There were mountains in the distance and people down below on the causeway between the pyramids. I could hear my heart beating.

I was struck at my sense of being distant from time and the people below, a sensation I have had before from the tops of mountains or staring across the ocean or up at the stars. It is a feeling of timelessness. Sometimes it is so quiet you can hear your heart beat, measuring out your lifetime: … Thump-thump, thump-thump - like this recording:

Some cultures say each person has only so many heartbeats in their lifetime. There has been some talk that animals get about one or two billion heartbeats, regardless of size - whether you burn them up fast like a hummingbird or slow like a blue whale. But surely heartbeats are the beginning of our concept of time. A second is a heartbeat. Minutes are 60. An hour is 3600. A day is 86,400. >>>

Hourglass 001

If you started counting the atoms in one pinch of carbon at one per heartbeat - you would need a million times the age of this universe to count them.

Time flies, you say. But no, my friend.

It is we who fly and time that stays.

The hourglass that sits on my desk. >>>

A video done with time lapse photography:



Flat Earth, Round Earth, and on and on ...

Every day, many of us walk around as if the Earth were flat - and for short distances and low speeds, that’s close enough. By now, most of us have learned that the Earth is really round. Newton, perhaps the smartest man who ever lived, conceived of space like a stage but infinite and unchanging whether there were objects in it or not. On that stage, objects moved and interacted. While Newton though of space as absolute, others, like Leibniz, though that space was merely the relations between objects.

The ancients thought like that too, Plato and Aristotle, typically thought as space as nothing more than the distance between objects. How far space reached and whether it was inert were not discussed. The nice clean geometryof Euclid ruled, except:

more here later ….



Grace Hopper - This is a nanosecond - Amazing Grace was a computer pioneer, eventually Admiral in the US Navy. She came by the Computer Center at UT Austin from time to time while I was there in the 1960s and 70s. When she gave talks, she often held up a piece of wire about a foot [30cm] long and said: "This is a nanosecond." She was right, of course, distance is time, especially in a computer, where signals often get into what we call "race conditions." We are medium sized animals, moving slowly but already in the modern technical world we run into the connection between time and space.

BTW, Grace took clocks apart as a youngster too, until her mother limited her to one clock. Bet my parents wish they had tought of that one - to stop me.



Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving Universe — and one of the most colourful. The study is called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project.

This is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, a portion of sky smaller than one tenth of the diameter of the Moon.  No, these are not stars. Each bright spot is a galaxy. There are at least 10,000 galaxies here, maybe more than a hundred billion in the whole sky - that we can see. Each galaxy typically has hundreds of billions of stars. We are seeing back about 13 billion years here, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.


Remember Voyager, launched in 1977? One of the fastest things humans have ever built, Voyager has just now reached the edge of our solar system after thirty years of traveling. In about 75,000 years it could reach a nearby star.

The size of the universe is unknown. It may be infinite.
We can observe a sphere about 100+ billion light years in diameter.

How big is the universe? consider:


Time Lapse Videos

I found so many good time lapse videos that I could not choose what to include.
So, opening in a separate window: 
Here is a link to one collection
Then another 
And another
And of course Randy Halverson’s DakotaLapse
… You choose.

More here later …. promises, promises ...

Besides more CS - computer science - research, I need some fun.
I have decided to return
 to photography in 2016.
First step: update my gear.  [Insert $$ here]
Photography technology has changed dramatically since 1950.
So have I. This should be fun.


Next >> Matter & Energy

© Gareth Harris 2016       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com