Time Is Up!

Before writing this blog, I’ve never noticed how many online publications and blogs are out there talking about important findings in our lives. I knew of Cracked, of course, but I had never found the incentive to visit it (not as much as TVTropes, certainly). But ever since my blog, I’ve found greater curiosity in places like Kotaku, Psychology Today and also the links that I find in forums and as recommended by friends. And we know in a previous Saturday article that we learn better when we process the semantic meanings of texts, so by writing about them, I learn and remember a lot more from them than if I merely read them without thinking them through.

And of course, not to mention the many videos that have broadened and enriched my mind while entertaining me immensely.

And today, we talk about an article that has to do with time. Or rather, time that exists in our minds.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/06/10-ways-our-minds-warp-time.php

So interestingly, the whole deal with relativity and time was right. I’d always thought that Einstein had been kidding when he gave his quote about pretty girls and time (he didn’t look like a very successful playboy to me). Old people really do perceive time differently — my father and great-aunts like to theorise that time is moving more quickly now than before — and the second hand illusion doesn’t occur to me alone. A watched pot really never boils!

I wonder if these phenomena have implications for time travel. If time is not perceived on a constant basis, would people miscalculate the amount of time they should be going back? Ideally, time is objective outside of human consciousness, that a second is a second even though happy people see it going more quickly and sad people more slowly. And so there are definite unquestionable fixed points in time when things happened. Even if the person in the cave thought he took 34 days, the true fact was that he took 59 days, and this information was provided by a mechanical clock rather than observer accounts. Time travel, being governed by machines, should be quite free from human error.

But what about something that is closely related to observer accounts then? What of eyewitness testimony? Are eyewitness accounts of time ever reliable then? Unless they looked at their watches at the time of the crime, there is a possibility that their estimated time of occurrence is grossly inaccurate, as well as the duration of the crime. This is quite an important negligence in crime detection, and  is essential in alibi cross-examination. Most people use indicators to signal to them the time, such as “oh, I remember it was 9.18 pm because that’s when a certain TV show begins” but you don’t get such a luxury everytime. So maybe we need more technological computerised ways of measuring out time.

It’s funny that whenever we think of human errors, we think of computer technology that we can invent to counteract them. Because computers are perfect and systematic; if they’ve an error it’s rarely a random one. We’ll know when they’ve an error, if that ever happens. Just as how clocks won’t lie about the time, only humans will. Such a dangerous prospect to rely on machines. Then again if we don’t rely on them, will we ever get anywhere with certainty?

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