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Frank and Ernest

Published 2001-05-27 (Image 71913)


Timekeeping. Mankind has constantly improved the technology of keeping time. Ancient societies had celestial calendars to measure the days of the year. Sundials and early mechanical clocks divided the days into smaller units. In the seventeenth century pendulum clocks kept time accurate to within a few seconds per day and by the nineteenth century they were within hundredths of a second. Further improvements cam with the quartz clock , and today atomic clocks are accurate to about on-millionth of a second per day! Look Frank! This says we can measure time in really tiny bits. I wonder --- what is the smallest fraction of time there is? Im not sure. Its either the time between when the polls close and when the networks declare a winner, or the time between when the traffic signal turns green and the driver behind you honks his horn.

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