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Scaling

by Gary D. Crawford We’re not talking about fish here, you understand. Nor is our subject dental cleaning or rust removal. I refer here (initially at least) to the scaling of time. Time is so important to us, but it is such an elusive thing. It is difficult to pin down, to measure, to examine, even to understand. After all, by definition, it only exists in relation to change. If things didn’t change ~ the earth rotate, plants grow, people age, waters flow ~ would there be time? We refer to it as the passage of time, don’t we? It seems to be in motion, something that moves past, or through, our lives. Or does it work that way? Have you ever sat on a train in a station, looking at somebody in the train beside you, as his train begins to move out of the station? Then when the trains separate you’re surprised to discover you’re moving through the rail yard, because it was your train that pulled out, not his? Perhaps time is fixed and we are in motion instead. Poets and philosophers and scientists have had fun pondering these questions down through, well, time. In any case, we do know our perception of time varies considerably. My fourth grade

summer lasted at least three years, and it was still too short. Perhaps it seemed that way because so much was new, there was so much new data flowing in, so many new thoughts and feelings. Although we lived mini-lifetimes every year as a kid, the years now flash by. It’s now 2014? Impossible. Wasn’t it just two or three years ago we were worrying about the Y2K collapse of civilization? What I find sobering is that so few people can remember World War II. The U.S. is at 317 million Americans, and counting. But less than 8% were even alive on December 7, 1941. Only 35% of us were alive at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident when, in effect, the U.S. declared war on North Vietnam. If we assume that kids aren’t much aware of the significance of world events before the age of 10, then those people born since 1991 didn’t really experience the 9/11 catastrophe. That’s some 92 million of us, or a whopping 30% of the U.S population. (Gee whiz, wasn’t that just yesterday?) The point here is that time is devilishly difficult to get our minds around, to “grasp.” When the date in question is just, say,

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April 2014 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times April 2014

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