A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Next Sunday in North America, we are switching to Daylight Saving Time, which means we move our clocks ahead one hour. What a crock! That’s like cutting the top end off a blanket, sewing it to the bottom and saying you’ve got a longer blanket! Here’s the deal. Time is a telescope. It contracts and expands and, depending on how you look at it, throws everything out of proportion. For example, an itch in the middle of your back can seem like an eternity; whereas a kiss, no matter how long it lingers, is always gone too soon. When I was a kid, Saturdays were too short, summers were too long and February frequently had 35 days. Now that I’m an — uh — older gentleman, days, weeks, months and even years are flashing by at warp speed.
The reality is, though, time is actually getting bigger. The rotation of the Earth is slowing down ever so slightly, so a second is now an itty-bitty bit longer than it was when we first discovered them. Luckily, the international time people (Coordinated Universal Time) have noticed this, and they add a leap second to the clock every once in a while so we don’t stray that far from solar time. Cool fact, huh? Here are a few more that might change your concept of time.
It takes most people more time to tie their shoes than it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres.
There are only 525,600 minutes in a year.
Cleopatra’s reign in Egypt is closer to our time than it is to the time when the Pyramids were built.
Oxford University is older than the Aztec civilization in Mexico.
Spain was a predominantly Moslem country for 200 years longer than it’s been predominantly Christian.
Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone the same year Crazy Horse and his buddies killed General Custer and all his troopers at the Little Big Horn.
The 10th President of the United States, John Tyler, who was born in 1790, has a grandson, Harrison Tyler, who is alive today — and living in the family home, Sherwood Forest Plantation, Virginia.
This year’s Oscar presenter Eva Marie Saint is older than the Empire State Building, Hoover Dam, Mount Rushmore and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Barbra Walters, Christopher Plummer and Anne Frank were all born in the same year.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show toured Germany and Austria in 1906 — when Adolf Hitler was 17 years old.
William Shakespeare and Pocahontas were contemporaries.
But my absolute favourite is:
According to The Economist, the median age of all the humans on our planet is 28 years– which means that half the people on Earth were born after the first episode of The Simpsons!