"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Monday, February 27, 2006

About Time

Excellent four-part documentary series started last night on BBC4, in which a world-renowned physicist examines the philosophy, history and science of time. Although it didn't mention Seamus's bete noir, the alarm clock, it did cover the tyranny of 'public time' - apparently Henry Ford and WWI are largely to blame.

It also filmed some fascinating experiments about biological body clocks and how we perceive things time differently (rats on cannabis and cocaine were quite amusing). For instance, a man was given a LCD which was flashing too fast to read the number being displayed. He was then dropped from a crane at a height of 12 storeys. As he fell (into a safety net), he stared at the LCD and could read the number. The idea that is in moments of intense panic/stimulation, our brains process information faster - hence the reported sensation of things appearing to slow down when people are involved in car accidents etc.

1 comment:

Colin said...

But I'm usually in a state of intense panic in my day-to-day life, and I don't seem to be able to process things quickly at all!

Glad you posted this, as I had it on the background last night, but the sound was turned down as my flatmate had a friend round. I kept seeing rats on cannabis followed by a bloke falling off a crane and couldn't work out what the hell was going on.