Time

I accidentally left my watch in Iowa this past weekend. My wrist feels naked. It's almost as bad as not having my wallet, wedding ring or glasses. There are just some items that I expect to always have on my body. I don't think I'm bothered as much by not being able to check the time. After all, I can check the time on my computer, my phone, my radio and myriad other locations. It's the nakedness that is distressing.

On a related note, How Stuff Works had an article about the concept of time. Time is one of those concepts that is ubiquitous, but agonizingly abstract, similar to the concept of money. If you try to think about how time or money works in detail, after awhile it makes your head hurt.

Some interesting points from the article:

An atomic clock measures seconds by the oscillations of a cesium-133 atom.

Daylight Savings Time's origins lie in WWI efforts to conserve fuel by better aligning the time that people are awake with natural light, thus reducing the need for artificial light.

The concept of leap year was implemented to bring the average number of days per year as close as possible to the actual "time" it takes for the earth to rotate around the sun. Every four years is a leap year, except that every one hundred years is not a leap year, except that every 400 years is a leap year. Confusing.

The concept of the week has no natural basis, unlike that of the month, year or day. Instead, the concept of a week comes straight out of the Bible.

The names of the days of the week were originally set by the Romans as the names of the Sun, Moon and the 5 planets known at the time. Hence, Sun (Sunday), Moon (Monday) and Saturn (Saturday); the three names that made it through to the English language.

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