Monday, March 28, 2005

tempus fugit

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Time, like God, is either necessary or nothing; if it disappears in one possible universe, it is undermined in every possible universe, including our own.**

We lost an hour yesterday, but in North America, for example, they have to wait another week for Daylight Saving Time to kick in. I don’t know what’s happening in other parts of the world, but doesn’t this inability even to agree on what time it is interfere with business, global markets, international travel, teleconferencing appointments, something neither here nor there but nevertheless of consequence?

That hour we lost is still over there; I wonder if anybody exploited it for us, if my 60-minute loss was somebody else’s gain. The kids had an extra hour to eat jelly beans and suffer the consequent belly aches, while Terri Schiavo suffered and starved one hour more than she would have here.

An hour disappeared. An hour (give or take a minute or two) is someTimes all it takes.

* These hieroglyphs "belong to" The British Museum
** from an article I read recently (I won’t be redundant by saying where) about Einstein’s relationship with Kurt Godel


Blogger Oneiros said...

Thank you; a little investigation and I discovered ISBN 0465092934.

Finding out about the incompleteness theorem during my undergrad years completely rocked my perception of mathematics and philosophy, but I wasn't aware of Goedel's work on relativity, let alone his friendship with Einstein. It's fascinating to learn that, besides burning a hole in axiomatic systems and confounding Einstein, he also undermined the notion of time!

Philosophically, I think the import of Goedel's work is that we shouldn't take our theories (or Life, the Universe and Everything) too seriously..

PS: The incompleteness theorem inspired at least one excellent scifi short story.

1:12 pm EEST  
Blogger talos said...

Well if you're concerned about one hour, how about the 11 lost days of September 1752, due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in Britain:
"Finally in 1752, the English Government changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar and ordered that 11 days be dropped between September 2nd and 14th in that year. This prompted riots in various parts of the country with mobs of people waving banners and crying: "Give us back our 11 days." ..."
This was celebrated in passing in Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, where the author suggests that a tribe of pygmies were brought in to colonize the missing days (if memory serves me well)...
Of course in 1924, we in Greece were robbed blind of 13 days (the Sun is a merciless judge of calendar miscalculations), when we were belatedly forced into the Gregorian (popish!) calendar, to the disdain of quite a few, who still won't give the days up!

12:01 am EEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relevant: L' Isola del giorno prima .

PS. Eee, den paizw... sto xarth sou exeis 9 kokkines boules, egw exw mono 5...

2:23 pm EEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wx! molis ginhkane 10! Diamartyromai, ase kamia kai gia mas...

2:25 pm EEST  
Blogger sissoula said...

Oneire, sorry I made it tough on you (not really), but I'm glad you found what you were looking for. Talos, your comment outdid the post -- fascinating. Thanks for the great links. As for those little dots... I'm not so sure they're reliable. Once I was clearly online, but the map was empty.

Maybe I've lost more than just an hour...

6:11 pm EEST  

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