Musings, Physics
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Modest noodlings…

Did you feel it?
Did you witness it?

Last night.
Around 8:00PM.
Or thereabouts.
I felt it…
Kinda like a hiccup.
Or maybe just a tiny bit of gastric inconsistency.

Honestly, I thought the carpet had bunched up a bit.
Just the tiniest bit of an unconscious stumble.
A stutter.
A hitch in my giddy-up.
A catch in my ketchup.
A tick in my tick-tock… 

That last one is rather close to what actually happened.
Last night we had another “Leap Second”.
The second second in the last three years.

I’m currently trying to picture just exactly what a second looks like.
Perhaps something like the above picture, which was found here.
You know… all times exist simultaneously, in an infinite number of universes.
Shooting off every which way but loose.

Although, technically speaking, I suppose an infinite number of universes would eventually have to give in, and cough up a bit of time which, in fact, does go off all loosey-goosey.
It’s that whole ‘multiverse’ thing physics is so gaga over these days.
(Jet Li did first, you guys… (okay, no… not really…))

Or maybe a second looks something like this:

Scribble_lamp

A scribble lamp – depicting what time was likely to do, if that ‘multiverse’ idea were to ever pan out into to something we could actually prove – a scribble lamp, I say…
…which was found here.
I’m thinking this isn’t a product for the faint of heart.
Or those with arachnophobia…

Any-whoo…

How would a leaping second wear its cape?
Straight up, or off the shoulder, like a Musketeer?
You can’t be a gallant, dashing sec about town, jumping all over the place, without a cape, you know.
It just isn’t done.

And now, back to our story…

It seems that atomic clocks, by which time is kept on this planet, are – and I quote – “programmed to tick away at pretty much the same speed over millions of years”.
Another place on that page says that “atomic clocks are slightly too accurate”.

“Pretty much”, and “slightly too” are not phrases that leap to mind (see what I did there?!?) when talking about an atomically accurate Timex.
And they go on to say that there’s a difference between International Atomic Time (based on a series of atomic clocks around the world), and Universal Time (based on the time it takes Earth to rotate on its own axis).

The problem, it seems, is that the Earth is ‘slowing down’.
Not a lot. By all counts, it’s been about 26 seconds worth of slow down over the last 43 years. But enough that we have to adjust the clocks ever so often.

The hubris involved in preferring our man-made time devices to what the universe is actually doing need not be pointed out to any great degree.
Although that’s kinda what I’m doing with this post.
And don’t even get me started on that whole calling what the Earth is doing “universal” thingey.

One might get the impression that when they say an atomic clock is “slightly too” accurate, what they really mean is “yeah… well… not really that accurate, after all…”

To say that the Earth is slowing down, simply because it’s not keeping pace with our ‘clocks’ would seem to contradict the assertion that the Universe is speeding up, which is what a whole lotta physics-type dudes maintain.
Well… come on… which will it be?

Why, it’s almost like there’s something out there, in the absolute vacuum of space, that’s causing a bit of friction in the Earth’s rotation.
Oh, we’ll have to come up with something to explain that!
Something we can’t see.
Something we can’t prove.
And we’re gonna use all the vast artistic resources we have to hand, and come up with a name which will conjure the vast majesty of the unknown universe; the grandeur and the beauty.
Something evocative, like…

Dark Matter.
That ought to do!

And then they have the temerity to say our days aren’t 26 seconds longer than they used to be.
Well… yes, they are.
Either the Earth is slowing down, or it’s not. If it is, then the days (as defined by how long it takes the planet to complete one revolution) are longer.
“No, they’re not, because our clocks say they’re not. We just add a second ever so often, and then everything’s hunky-dory.”

Honestly, who writes these articles…?

And it’s not like Time itself is slowing down.
Time, a condition of our existence – that method by which we can observe the limited reality that this method allows us – can’t be added to or subtracted from, merely because we say so.

That’s like a fish in the Pacific Ocean saying the addition of a gallon of water has made things much easier to keep track of.
The ocean simply takes no notice of all those rather hubristic halibut.

 

Oh, yeah…
Today’s also the ‘birthday’ of zip codes:

ZIPScribbleMap-color-names-borders-thumb

(Kinda looks like some of those seconds got ahold of it.)

And the Sony walkman:

sony_walkman

Now, that was an innovation.

The zip codes came first, followed by the first Leap Second, and then the Walkman…

Wait a tic…
That ‘timing’ seems a little suspicious to me.
Why are we adding time to the clocks, while the US Government is trying to overthrow the sovereign people of the state of Tex-ass?
What is this; some sort of cosmically fixed Champions League match?

Actually, that might explain all the discrepancies in the time keeping, in all those soccer/football matches around the globe.
Maybe the real reason the planet is slowing down is all those footballers are running against the grain, if you will.

Run to the East, I say.
Run to the East.

Then global warming will disappear, trade deficits and human rights violations will mysteriously vanish, and all will be right with the world.

Nah…
That can’t be right.
Probably just a co-winky-dink.

 

Map image found here.
Walkman image found here.

 

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