Fun or Not — Time’s A Flyin’

March 10, 2012

Now we’re taxiing in, she says, “Welcome to O’Hare International Airport . . .”
Well, how can someone who is just arriving herself possibly welcome me to a place she isn’t even at yet?
Doesn’t this violate some fundamental law of physics?
We’re only on the ground for 4 seconds; she’s coming on like the fucking mayor’s wife!
“. . . where the local time . .”
Well, of course it’s the local time.
What did you think we were expecting — the time in Pango Pango?
George Carlin

(The guy quoted above touched the dumb-ass lives of well-beyond an entire generation — I use his shit here a lot along with my stuff).

Anyhow — tomorrow starts Daylight Savings Time, and also tomorrow marks one-whole freakin’ year since that earthquake and corresponding tsunami created that corresponding nuclear horror at Japan’s Fukushima power plant.
One year — 12 months passing like a snap of broken fingers.

During this past week, I’ve been pestered by time — the actual movement of life through periods that can actually be timed — and a totally unfamiliar-déjà vu sense of how seemingly fast these measured intervals appear to be traveling.

(Illustration found here).

One personal illustration is the seemingly-accelerating Wednesday-to-Wednesday cycle — payday is Thursday at the liquor store I manage, so Wednesday is the end of the work week and the subsequent time-card paperwork — so Wednesday feels like it gets here way-fast.
So fast in fact, I usually end up somewhere along that day saying to somebody, either co-workers, customers or salesmen: “I just can’t believe it’s Wednesday again!”
And by now, most just nod, look off, like into a camera on ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and make a WTF face.

Crazy alone, however, I just ain’t.

As a discovery that Albert Einstein’s theory that nothing moves faster than the speed of light might be wrong, time then itself and how we calculate/view time could be wrong — as shit happens, time correspondingly travels faster.
(For a look at the neutrino experiments at OPERA, an over-my-scientific-head background story can be found at Wired).

Age does have something to do with it — us older folks feel time has quicken.
From NPR a couple of years ago:

As people get older, “they just have this sense, this feeling that time is going faster than they are,” says Warren Meck, a psychology professor at Duke University.
This seems to be true across cultures, across time, all over the world.
No one is sure where this feeling comes from.

The list of encoded memories is so dense, reading them back gives you a feeling that they must have taken forever.
But that’s an illusion.

“Of course, you can see this in everyday life,” says (neuroscientist David) Eagleman, “when you drive to your new workplace for the first time and it seems to take a really long time to get there.
But when you drive back and forth to your work every day after that, it takes no time at all, because you’re not really writing it down anymore.
There’s nothing novel about it.”

Apparently, everything nowadays is novel — so the confused time speed.
Machines make the novelty and technology fuels the accelerated pace.
Even in the the mundane world of cell phones — if there’s nine billion of us on earth right now, then reportedly, just about every other guy you’d meet on the whole-freakin’ planet would have a cell phone.
There are about 234 million US peoples age 13 or older using a mobile phone.
And beyond just chatting, there’s 101.3 million smartphone subscribers in the US at the end of January, a jump of 13 percent from last October.
Just can’t live without them sonofabitches.

And life has so quickened that we’re even walking faster: It is something many of us have long suspected — if only we had time to think about it. The pace of life is speeding up, with stressed-out men and women walking 10 per cent faster than just a decade ago.
(New York the fastest-walking US city).
And it’s time-warping machines that creates a desire for time to quicken: “With mobile phones and email, you expect almost instant responses. You email someone and if they don’t get back to you in 20 minutes, you think ‘What’s that about.'”
All these devices indicate a growing perpetual contact between all of us, and with so many voices in so many different rooms, time can become confused — go faster even, looking for results.
And there’s an AppTime Flies is designed with simplicity and purpose: Use it to keep track of how long it has been since you did something.
Accelerating boxed-in confusion.

Michael Tchong‘s view of ‘Technology’s Time Compression‘ is it’s all mental:

Time compression is the driving force behind many lifestyle changes.
Just 15 years ago, most people, when asked how they were doing, would say “good.”
Today’s answer is much more likely, “busy.”
The state of mind has become a state of time.

Technology, of course, is the chief engine propelling time compression.
While the trend began some 150 years ago with the introduction of time zones, it got a big boost in the ’40s with the debut of fast food and the microwave oven, instant photography, and commercial jetliners.
The jet age helped compress time zones, an advancement that unfortunately came to a halt with the demise of the Concorde.
Technology added yet another twist, Moore’s Law and 18-month cycles, which moved the product development needle from steadily to fast.
The media also rose to the challenge with Sesame Street and MTV, turning Generation X and Y into adept multitaskers, a computer-derived solution to making things happen faster.

At the core of the time compression hurricane lies a little understood technology called “codec” — a compression/decompression algorithm — that holds the key to squeezing more bits into ever smaller packages.
Who could have guessed that something that geeky would one day rise to dominate the online mindset?
Sure, the term had become lingua franca for music, but the techno savvy knew that the codec had finally achieved global recognition.

And time can be manipulated; eventually it will as the first steps have already been taken.
From ABC News in January:

Forget wrapping an object — say, Harry Potter — in a cloak of invisibility.
How about hiding an event using time?

The approach is dubbed “temporal cloaking,” and it builds on experiments researchers have already conducted to demonstrate that they can hide objects from view.

University of Rochester physicists Robert Boyd and Zhimin Shi, who are not members of Dr. Gaeta’s team, liken the phenomenon to traffic at a railroad crossing.
The crossing gate falls, interrupting traffic (the laser beam) as the commuter train passes.
From the perspective of the train, for a brief period there is no traffic and it can freely pass (the hidden event).
Yet once the gate rises, traffic resumes and speeds up.
To an observer a mile or two away, the flow of traffic shows no evidence of interruption — no evidence from traffic flow that a train had ever been there.

Real, actual time, most thusly, may not be on our side.

Time compressed in the worst possible way: A waterspout made landfall on the Hawaiian island of Oahu Friday morning on the east shore town, becoming a rare Hawaiian tornado as it moved through the towns of Lanikai and Kailua. The twister, rated an EF-0 with winds of 60 – 70 mph, tore holes in roofs and downed trees along a 1 1/2 mile long, 20-yard wide path of damage. No injuries were reported.
From Dr. Jeff Masters at his WunderBlog today.
Weather’s getting too freaky way-too quickly — seems just yesterday when talking about the weather was social blather, now it’s serious, confused and dramatic discourse on the shape of bad shit.

Last month, four US Senators — Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Tom Udall and Sheldon Whitehouse — took to the floor of the Senate for about an hour to make a plea for saving mankind.
In the 500 trillion hours articulated year-round in such an august body, publicly bullshitting on thousands of mundane subjects, and then contribute just one hour…

Bernie Sanders explained reality in accelerated time: And people are mistaken if they believe that the impact of global warming will just be in decades to come. We are seeing very negative impacts today, and what the scientific community tells us, if we do not begin to reverse greenhouse gas emissions, those problems in America and around the world will only get worse.
(Via Climate Progress).

Jim Hansen recently said the same thing, and asked, “…what would you do if you knew what I do?…”
And what Hansen knows (along with a shitload of similar types) is this change in earth’s entire life is way-quickly here already.
See and listen to Hansen on a TED video at Climate Central.

And these foretelling words of Anote Tong, president of Kiribati: “We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it,” Tong said. “It wouldn’t be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won’t be a matter of choice. It’s basically going to be a matter of survival.”
Kiribati is a Pacific archipelago that will disappear due to climate change — Tong was talking about relocating the entire population of 103,000 people.

Time is also relative.

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