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WHY YOU SHOULD MANAGE YOUR TIME (4 of 6)
Dr. James Merritt
1. The subject I am going to talk about today was
described by the following:
Sometimes it flies, sometimes it crawls, but it
always passes in inexorably. We mark it, save it,
waste it, bide it, race against it. We measure it
incessantly with a passion for precision that borders
on the obsessive.1
2. We are obsessed with it; we never seem to have
enough of it; and yet scientists don't even know how
to explain it. When St. Augustine was asked to
describe it, he said: "If no one asks me, I know what
it is; but if any person should require me to tell
him, I could not do it."2
3. What am I talking about? I am talking about time.
Never before in the history of the world has time ever
been so important, so valuable, and so precisely
measured as it is today.
4. Think about this: In 1790, less than 10% of
Americans had a clock of any kind in their homes, and
the vast majority of those had no minute hand. Alarm
clocks and wristwatches were unknown until the end of
the 19th Century.
5. But today computers, communication satellites,
global-positioning receivers, and telephone-switching
systems need a precision beyond anything conceivable
even fifty years ago.
6. On my desk in my study at home is a unique clock.
It is attuned to an atomic clock that calibrates the
exact time to one billionth of a second for the United
States of America. In Northwest Washington, on the
grounds of the United States Naval Observatory in a
concrete building, is the nerve center of the U.S.
Directorate of Time.
7. In that building sit 28 atomic clocks, four of
them holding atoms of hydrogen and the rest cesium.
When hit by lasers or microwaves, the atoms begin to
dance with a vibration that is monitored by computers.
Once each second the results are fed into America's
master clock. The mea ...
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