From the earliest recorded date, people have tried to organize their lives according to the movements of the sun, moon and stars -- and have, for the most part, gotten it wrong. In his bestselling book Calendar, David Ewing Duncan takes students on an extraordinary journey through humanity's reckoning of time, ranging from the earliest calendars to the atomic clocks of today, which measure time too well for an ever-slowing Earth.Our present calendar system predates the invention of the telescope, the mechanical clock, and the concept of zero, and its development is one of the great untold stories of science. How did Pope Gregory correct a calendar which was off by at least ten full days? What did time mean to a farmer in 800 C.E.? Stonehenge, the Mayan observatories at Chichen Itza and the pyramids of Giza are all featured in this compelling volume. Duncan explores fascinating questions about the nature of human timekeeping and the remarkable achievement that is our calendar. David Ewing Duncan is the author of five books, including the international bestseller Calendar, and writes for Wired, Discover, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is a freelance producer and correspondent for ABC's Nightline, and a commentator on NPR's "Morning Edition." He also writes the popular "Biotech and Creativity" column for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2003, he won the Magazine Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in San Francisco, California. "David Duncan illuminates our calendar's remarkable evolution not just by telling us about time but also by letting us travel through it." -- Toronto Globe and Mail
Using the designing and building of the Clock of the Long Now as a framework, this is a book about the practical use of long time perspective: how to get it, how to use it, how to keep it in and out of sight. Here are the central questions it inspires: How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare? Discipline in thought allows freedom. One needs the space and reliability to predict continuity to have the confidence not to be afraid of revolutions Taking the time to think of the future is more essential now than ever, as culture accelerates beyond its ability to be measured Probable things are vastly outnumbered by countless near-impossible eventualities. Reality is statistically forced to be extraordinary; fiction is not allowed this freedom This is a potent book that combines the chronicling of fantastic technology with equally visionary philosophical inquiry.
J.W. Dunne (1866-1949) was an accomplished English aeronautical engineer and a designer of Britian's early military aircraft. His An Experiment with Time, first published in 1927, sparked a great deal of scientific interest in--and controversy about--his new model of multidimensional time.
A series of strange, troubling precognitive dreams (including a vision of the then future catastrophic eruption of Mt. Pelee on the island of Martininque in 1902) led Dunne to re-evaluate the meaning and significance of dreams. Could dreams be a blend of memories of past and future events? What was most upsetting about his dreams was that they contradicted the accepted model of time as a series of events flowing only one way: into the future. What if time wasn't like that at all?
All of this prompted Dunne to think about time in an entirely new way. To do this, Dunne made, as he put it, an extremely cautious investigation in a rather novel direction. He wanted to outline a provable way of accounting for multiple dimensions and precognition, that is, seeing events before they happen. The result was a challenging scientific theory of the Infinite Regress, in which time, consciousness, and the universe are seen as serial, existing in four dimensions.
Astonishingly, Dunne's proposed model of time accounts for many of life's mysteries: the nature and purpose of dreams, how prophecy works, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of the all-seeing general observer, the Witness behind consciousness (what is now commonly called the Higher Self).
Here in print again is the book English playwright and novelist J.B. Priestley called one of the most fascinating, most curious, and perhaps the most important books of this age.
Presents a study of the human fascination with time from a psychological, biological, and cultural perspective, tracing the development of measuring time and exploring ways in which we try to stretch our allotted time
From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated author of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today's world.Most of us suffer some degree of "hurry sickness." a malady that has launched us into the "epoch of the nanosecond," a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet for all the hours, minutes, and even seconds being saved, we're still filling our days to the point that we have no time for such basic human activities as eating, sex, and relating to our families. Written with fresh insight and thorough research, Faster is a wise and witty look at a harried world not likely to slow down anytime soon.
We have widely varying perceptions of time. Children have trouble waiting for anything. ("Are we there yet?") Boredom is often connected to our sense of time passing (or not passing). As people grow older, time seems to speed up, the years flitting by without a pause. How does our sense of time come about? In Felt Time, Marc Wittmann explores the riddle of subjective time, explaining our perception of time--whether moment by moment, or in terms of life as a whole. Drawing on the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience, Wittmann offers a new answer to the question of how we experience time.
Wittmann explains, among other things, how we choose between savoring the moment and deferring gratification; why impulsive people are bored easily, and why their boredom is often a matter of time; whether each person possesses a personal speed, a particular brain rhythm distinguishing quick people from slow people; and why the feeling of duration can serve as an "error signal," letting us know when it is taking too long for dinner to be ready or for the bus to come. He considers the practice of mindfulness, and whether it can reduce the speed of life and help us gain more time, and he describes how, as we grow older, subjective time accelerates as routine increases; a fulfilled and varied life is a long life. Evidence shows that bodily processes--especially the heartbeat--underlie our feeling of time and act as an internal clock for our sense of time. And Wittmann points to recent research that connects time to consciousness; ongoing studies of time consciousness, he tells us, will help us to understand the conscious self.
Ishmael Reed has created a sharp, wildly funny slave's-eye view of the Civil War.Three slaves infected with Dysaethesia Aethipica (a term coined in the nineteenth century for the disease that makes Negroes run away) escape from Virginia. Not satisfied with leaving slavery halfway, one of the trio has vowed to go the whole distance to Canada; his master, Arthur Swille, determined to recover his property, pursues, hot on Raven Quickskill's trail. With myth-bending ingenuity, Reed merges history, fantasy, political reality, and high comedy as he parodies the fugitive slave narrative: the slave-poet Quickskill flees to Canada on a nonstop jumbo jet; Abe Lincoln waltzes through slave quarters to the tune of "Hello Dolly"; the plantation mistress lies in bed watching the Beecher Hour on TV. Flight to Canada's preposterous episodes leap out from the pages of history to reveal a keen sense of America past and present.
For centuries, scientists have strived to predict the future. But to what extent have they succeeded? Can past events-Hurricane Katrina, the Internet stock bubble, the SARS outbreak-help us understand what will happen next? Will scientists ever really be able to forecast catastrophes, or will we always be at the mercy of Mother Nature, waiting for the next storm, epidemic, or economic crash to thunder through our lives? In The Future of Everything, David Orrell looks back at the history of forecasting, from the time of the oracle at Delphi to the rise of astrology to the advent of the TV weather report, showing us how scientists (and some charlatans) predicted the future. How can today's scientists claim to anticipate future weather events when even thee-day forecasts prove a serious challenge? How can we predict and control epidemics? Can we accurately foresee our financial future? Or will we only find out about tomorrow when tomorrow arrives?
- Richard Price: "An Introduction to Spacetime Physics"
- Stephen Hawking: "Chronology Protection"
- Igor Novikov: "Can We Change the Past?"
- Kip S. Thorne: "Speculations about the Future"
- Timothy Ferris: "On the Popularization of Science"
- Alan Lightman: "The Physicist as Novelist"