Me. And me now.


In recent years, numerous studies have shown how music hijacks our relationship with everyday time. For instance, more drinks are sold in bars when with slow-tempo music, which seems to make the bar a more enjoyable environment, one in which patrons want to linger—and order another round. Similarly, consumers spend 38 percent more time in the grocery store when the background music is slow. Familiarity is also a factor. Shoppers perceive longer shopping times when they are familiar with the background music in the store, but actually spend more time shopping when the music is novel. Novel music is perceived as more pleasurable, making the time seem to pass quicker, and so shoppers stay in the stores longer than they may imagine. […]

While music usurps our sensation of time, technology can play a role in altering music’s power to hijack our perception. The advent of audio recording not only changed the way music was disseminated, it changed time perception for generations. Thomas Edison’s cylinder recordings held about four minutes of music. This technological constraint set a standard that dictated the duration of popular music long after that constraint was surpassed. In fact, this average duration persists in popular music as the modus operandi today. […]

Neuroscience gives us insights into how music creates an alternate temporal universe. During periods of intense perceptual engagement, such as being enraptured by music, activity in the prefrontal cortex, which generally focuses on introspection, shuts down. The sensory cortex becomes the focal area of processing and the “self-related” cortex essentially switches off. As neuroscientist Ilan Goldberg describes, “the term ‘losing yourself’ receives here a clear neuronal correlate.” […]

But it is Schubert, more than any other composer, who succeeded in radically commandeering temporal perception. Nowhere is this powerful control of time perception more forceful than in the String Quintet. Schubert composed the four-movement work in 1828, during the feverish last two months of his life. (He died at age 31.) In the work, he turns contrasting distortions of perceptual time into musical structure. Following the opening melody in the first Allegro ma non troppo movement, the second Adagio movement seems to move slowly and be far longer than it really is, then hastens and shortens before returning to a perception of long and slow. The Scherzo that follows reverses the pattern, creating the perception of brevity and speed, followed by a section that feels longer and slower, before returning to a percept of short and fast. The conflict of objective and subjective time is so forcefully felt in the work that it ultimately becomes unified in terms of structural organization.

{ Nautilus | Continue reading }

‘Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. EAT ME NOW. Too late.’ —Avocados


Time travel has captured the public imagination for much of the past century, but little has been done to actually search for time travelers. Here, three implementations of Internet searches for time travelers are described, all seeking a prescient mention of information not previously available. The first search covered prescient content placed on the Internet, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific terms in tweets on Twitter. The second search examined prescient inquiries submitted to a search engine, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific search terms submitted to a popular astronomy web site. The third search involved a request for a direct Internet communication, either by email or tweet, pre-dating to the time of the inquiry. Given practical verifiability concerns, only time travelers from the future were investigated. No time travelers were discovered. Although these negative results do not disprove time travel, given the great reach of the Internet, this search is perhaps the most comprehensive to date.

{ arXiv | Continue reading }

But it didn’t take physicists long to realise that while the Wheeler-DeWitt equation solved one significant problem, it introduced another. The new problem was that time played no role in this equation. In effect, it says that nothing ever happens in the universe, a prediction that is clearly at odds with the observational evidence.

{ arXiv | Continue reading }

So that I longed to go to. And still with all.


US scientists have performed a dramatic reversal of the ageing process in animal studies. They used a chemical to rejuvenate muscle in mice and said it was the equivalent of transforming a 60-year-old’s muscle to that of a 20-year-old - but muscle strength did not improve.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

Researchers have discovered a cause of aging in mammals that may be reversible.

The essence of this finding is a series of molecular events that enable communication inside cells between the nucleus and mitochondria. As communication breaks down, aging accelerates. By administering a molecule naturally produced by the human body, scientists restored the communication network in older mice. […]

“The aging process we discovered is like a married couple—when they are young, they communicate well, but over time, living in close quarters for many years, communication breaks down,” said Harvard Medical School Professor of Genetics David Sinclair, senior author on the study. “And just like with a couple, restoring communication solved the problem.”

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading | more }

Dusk and the light behind her


Everyone grows older, but scientists don’t really understand why. Now a UCLA study has uncovered a biological clock embedded in our genomes that may shed light on why our bodies age and how we can slow the process. […]

While earlier clocks have been linked to saliva, hormones and telomeres, the new research is the first to identify an internal timepiece able to accurately gauge the age of diverse human organs, tissues and cell types. Unexpectedly, the clock also found that some parts of the anatomy, like a woman’s breast tissue, age faster than the rest of the body.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

photo { Ray Metzker }

The hard rhymer, where you never been I’m in


The explosion in music consumption over the last century has made ‘what you listen to’ an important personality construct – as well as the root of many social and cultural tribes – and, for many people, their self-perception is closely associated with musical preference. We would perhaps be reluctant to admit that our taste in music alters - softens even - as we get older.

Now, a new study suggests that - while our engagement with it may decline - music stays important to us as we get older, but the music we like adapts to the particular ‘life challenges’ we face at different stages of our lives.

It would seem that, unless you die before you get old, your taste in music will probably change to meet social and psychological needs.

One theory put forward by researchers, based on the study, is that we come to music to experiment with identity and define ourselves, and then use it as a social vehicle to establish our group and find a mate, and later as a more solitary expression of our intellect, status and greater emotional understanding.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

photo { Olivia Locher }

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself


Animals living in marine environments keep to their schedules with the aid of multiple independent—and, in at least some cases, interacting—internal clocks. […] Multiple clocks—not just the familiar, 24-hour circadian clock—might even be standard operating equipment in animals.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

photo { Thomas Prior }

The mirror of the will has appeared to it in the world as representation


Subjective experience of time is just that—subjective. Even individual people, who can compare notes by talking to one another, cannot know for certain that their own experience coincides with that of others. But an objective measure which probably correlates with subjective experience does exist. It is called the critical flicker-fusion frequency, or CFF, and it is the lowest frequency at which a flickering light appears to be a constant source of illumination. It measures, in other words, how fast an animal’s eyes can refresh an image and thus process information.

For people, the average CFF is 60 hertz (ie, 60 times a second). This is why the refresh-rate on a television screen is usually set at that value. Dogs have a CFF of 80Hz, which is probably why they do not seem to like watching television. To a dog a TV programme looks like a series of rapidly changing stills.

Having the highest possible CFF would carry biological advantages, because it would allow faster reaction to threats and opportunities. Flies, which have a CFF of 250Hz, are notoriously difficult to swat. A rolled up newspaper that seems to a human to be moving rapidly appears to them to be travelling through treacle.

{ The Economist | Continue reading }

photo { Paul Andrews }

That’s four times twelve, times nine… No, it’s less than that. Anyway, that’s more than I’ll ever live.


Running late is often referred to as a time management issue, but try thinking of it as life span management and commitment integrity. It has impact on many areas of your life but especially on your relationships. Your ability to arrive and depart according to your commitments is one of the ways people ascertain if they can rely on you or if they will respect you.

{ Max Strom | Continue reading }

He assumes that if the infinite series of divisions he describes were repeated infinitely many times then a definite collection of parts would result


In the middle of the 20th century, experimental psychologists began to notice a strange interaction between human vision and time. If they showed people flashes of light close together in time, subjects experienced the flashes as if they all occurred simultaneously. When they asked people to detect faint images, the speed of their subjects’ responses waxed and waned according to a mysterious but predictable rhythm. Taken together, the results pointed to one conclusion: that human vision operates within a particular time window – about 100 milliseconds, or one-tenth of a second.

[…] Pretty much anyone with a pair of eyes will tell you that vision feels smooth and unbroken. But is it truly as continuous as it feels, or might it occur in discrete chunks of time?

{ Garden of the Mind | Continue reading }

screenshot { Ivan Mozzhukhin, Le brasier ardent, 1923 }

She’s a moving violation, from her conk down to her shoes


Researchers placed an atomic clock on the ground, and another one in a high speed aircraft. The scientists found that less time passed on the clock in the plane. The faster we move, the slower time passes; and if we travel fast enough, theoretically we could go backwards.

{ IEET | Continue reading }

We were just here, what was the point of that!? This is where we were. Why didn’t we just stay here? We would have been first.


Would Time Travellers Affect Security Prices?

Financial markets in a world with time travel would look very different from ours. But would time travellers come to our time, making our markets look like theirs? This paper discusses this issue and related matters such as the problem of prediction in financial economics, the nature of security prices, the social and mental nature of financial reality, and the relation of Financial Economics to Physics. It presents a solution to the problem of bilking behaviour of time travellers, and gives a definite answer to the title question.

{ Richard Hudson | Continue reading }

art { Alexander Calder, Gibraltar, 1936 }

Uncovers himself but, seeing them, frowns, then smiles, preoccupied


In school they tell you time is an illusion, but the profs over-complicate it if you ask me. There’s no such thing as before and after, just a big mash of now. “Time” is something our brains make up to help us get from point A to point B. Like the long path up to Stacy Adams’ house. Someone put it there so you wouldn’t walk around the woods in circles, not getting anywhere. Soon as scientists figured that out, they knew you could make time your bitch. You can stretch it and squash it and reshape it. You just need the right drugs and hardware.

Someday we’ll tell our kids about the night we saw our first Quantum Condenser, that’s what my Lou says on the path up to Stacy Adams’ house. Lou’s into the steevy new gear. I tend to wait for the third or fourth gen when shit actually gets good. But I have to admit I’m excited to see a real life QC. Stacy’s family was the first in the boro to get one. Her dad works at Bubble Labs, where they invented the thing.

You think she’ll let us use it? Lou asks.

I shrug. Then I tickle him because he’s obviously so excited. He shoves me away and then pulls me in and we go arms-around-waists, bumping against each other up the path. Me and my Lou.

Up the hill we go Hi Ho, up to Stacy’s big glass house at the top of the town like Mount Olympus (we just did that mod in Ancient History), and when we ring the bell Stacy’s there in her green double-breasted party suit.

Boys, she goes. Party’s in the back. Come on in.

{ John M. Cusick | Continue reading }

photos { Lorenzo Sala | Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin }

Come along with me now before worse happens. Here’s your stick.


The Phantom Time Hypothesis is a conspiracy theory developed by Heribert Illig in 1991.

It proposes that periods of history, specifically that of Europe during the Early Middle Ages (AD 614–911), did not exist, and that there has been a systematic effort to cover up that fact. Illig believed that this was achieved through the alteration, misrepresentation and forgery of documentary and physical evidence.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | via Nick Moran }

All the best sands of my life are somehow getting into the wrong end of the hourglass


Ask most people how to determine a dog’s age in human years, and they’ll probably say, “Multiply by seven.” However, this method is inaccurate, and more so the older a dog gets. […]

Dogs mature faster than humans, reaching the equivalent of twenty-one years in only two, but then aging slows to an average of four human years every year after.

So, next time someone asks you a dog’s age in human years, you’ll know how to give a more accurate answer. Subtract two from the age, multiply that by four and add twenty-one.

{ Cesar’s Way | Continue reading }

How can the past and future be, when the past no longer is, and the future is not yet?


We have past, present and future; we can imagine various time relationships such as imagining some time in the future from the prospective of looking back at it from even further into the future. But we can also abandon identifying a particular time when we imagine. For example we can simulate what it would be like to be in another’s shoes or what it would be like to be in a different place. Instead of time-traveling, we can space-travel or identity-travel. It seems that the evidence so far implies that future and atemporal imagined events are represented similarly. But there are differences between temporal and atemporal imaginings.

{ thoughts on thoughts | Continue reading }

A lifetime in a night. Gradually changes your character. Living all the day among herbs, ointments, disinfectants.


Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, which takes the view that all points in time are equally “real”, as opposed to the presentist idea that only the present is real.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | Thanks James }

‘And so this world itself is the worst of all possible worlds.’ –Schopenhauer


Imagine a clock that will keep perfect time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe. This is the “wow” factor behind a device known as a “space-time crystal,” a four-dimensional crystal that has periodic structure in time as well as space. However, there are also practical and important scientific reasons for constructing a space-time crystal. With such a 4D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective means by which to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles, the so-called many-body problem of physics. A space-time crystal could also be used to study phenomena in the quantum world, such as entanglement, in which an action on one particle impacts another particle even if the two particles are separated by vast distances.

{ Berkeley Lab | Continue reading }

I’m on a roll just like a pool ball baby, I’m gonna be there at the roll call maybe


Although real ‘clock measured’ time is passing at a constant rate, experience tells us that our subjective sense of the amount of time that has occurred, or the speed at which time is passing, can vary, leading to distortions in the passage of time. When we feel like less time has occurred than actually has, time feels like it has speeded up. When we feel like more has occurred than actually has, time feels like it has slowed down.

Despite being commonly experienced, the mechanisms behind distortions of the passage of time are underresearched and, as a result, poorly understood. Anecdotal accounts imply that our experience of time is influenced by our emotions and the activities we engage in: ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, but not when an car is hurtling towards you.

It is not only enjoyment and fear that affect how quickly time appears to be passing: other alterations in subjective consciousness have similar effects. The consumption of drugs and alcohol has long been known to warp time experiences. […]

Having experienced distortions in the passage of time whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol, there is some concern amongst users about whether any effects could be permanent. Heavy drug and alcohol use can result in long-term neurological damage (Harper, 2009) and impaired cognitive function (Fisk & Montgomery, 2009), both of which may alter timing ability even when drug use has ceased. Chronic cocaine and amphetamine use reduces dopamine D2 receptor availability (Volkow et al., 2001), and, because animal studies have demonstrated that dopamine levels influence duration perception, it is possible that chronic users of cocaine or methamphetamine may show impaired timing even after drug use has stopped.

{ The Psychologist | Continue reading }

photo { Janine Gordon }

Regardless of their innate gifts and instruction, and irregardless of their character or sex


Arousal, the researchers contend, actually affects our perception of time. […]

The researchers presented 116 males with images from an online Victoria’s Secret catalog and gauged their response to receiving one of two fictitious Amazon.com promotions: a gift certificate available that day or one available three months from now. They asked the subjects the dollar value that would compensate for having to wait. Those exposed to sexually charged imagery (versus those in a control group exposed to nature images) were found to be more impatient and expressed that future discounts would have to be steeper to compensate for the time delay.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

painting { Willem Drost }

Beautiful language. I mean for singing purposes.


Thinking about eternity is not simply an esoteric mental exercise. It’s a cure for boredom. […]

Witness the man of stone. It takes an eternity for his eyes to blink even once. He stares at the sun, the moon, and the stars as they pass by turns overhead. One day he crumbles and only a pile of rubble remains. He wasn’t cut out for the eternal.

{ The Science Creative Quarterly | Continue reading }

photos { Nadav Kader }