— TIME & SPACE — 

But I find that yet there is time:

Time flies, you say. But no my friend. It is we who fly and time that stays.


First, Let’s talk about:

TIME

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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. >>>

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Next, Let’s talk about:

SPACE

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 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. Others thought that space was merely the relations between objects.


Today we speculate that space is granular, reality perhaps making a lattice  of space, time and matter.

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The nice clean geometry of Euclid that we learned in school ruled,
... until that we learned that:

Space = Time !

Grace Hopper - This is a nanosecond - Amazing Grace, as she was called, 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.

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Next >> Matter & Energy

© Gareth Harris 2019                                      Email: garethharris@mac.com                  See also: ThinkingTalkingComputing.com