Whoever did the Photoshop job on this picture should have used a donkey instead of a cow.

And don’t try to argue with me about this picture being shopped. I can tell. I’ve seen a lot of pixels on the internet.

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I found that picture while looking for the picture for todays post. It’s not one I had saved or anything. And it’s not exactly what I wanted, but I decided to use it anyway. Because I like it. And the others I had selected just didn’t do anything for me.

I originally searched for pictures using ‘boy do I feel dumb’, but couldn’t find anything suitable. That is, no suitable ones that had no text. Then I searched under ‘I’m an idiot’. Found a couple, and then ran across this one. It would just be a picture of a horse that got stuck in a fence except, someone photobombed a cow into the picture. And that makes it all worthwhile.

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I decided to have some fun today. I’m going to tell you an odd fact, that’s for sure. But I’m also going to attempt to teach you something that is hard to understand. Well, hard for the majority of people to understand, at least. For some reason it’s a concept that just seems natural to me. I have no idea of when I started to understand it, nor what I read/heard/saw that brought the thoughts into my head. I do know I have tried to explain it to others before and they didn’t understand. I’m sure part of the reason was because I sucked at explaining it. So maybe by typing it out I can reach some level of clarity that makes it easier for others to understand.

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First, the hard part; time does not exist.

It’s true. Time, as you perceive it, does not exist. It is something the human mind came up with to put a sense of order into our lives. People talk about ‘the passage of time’, but that’s false. What they are really talking about is the passage of distance. What we call ‘time’ is a way of conceptualizing how far we have travelled in space.

Because space and time are linked. In fact, it’s called spacetime.

Here, let me make a feeble attempt to bring clarity to you before I get on to the important part; proof. (the proof is also todays oddity)

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First, let me ask you, what is time? Time is how we measure the passage of the minutes, hours, days, weeks and years, right? Ok, now tell me, what is a day?

If you answer a day is 24 hours, you are thinking about time as we have been taught our entire lives. But days came before hours. So what I want you to tell me is, what is the thing that makes up the thing we call a day? If you think about it, the answer is clear; a day is what we call it when the Earth makes a full rotation on it’s axis. If you set up a stick to point at the left edge of the Sun you will notice that after a very short period, it’s not pointing at the left edge of the Sun anymore. But, eventually the edge of the Sun and the stick line up again. That is a day. One full rotation of the Earth.

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Now, what is a year? A year is what we call it when the Earth makes one complete orbit around the Sun. The Earth doesn’t sit in one spot in space. It is constantly moving. And as it rotates on it’s axis, it also orbits the Sun. Infact, the Earth will rotate 365 times before it completes one orbit.

So a day can either be used to measure how far along our rotation we are, or it can be used to measure how far along our orbit is. Both are measurements of distance, not time.

Now, what is an hour? Hours are an arbitrary division of the day. They were created to add some form of marking the passage of a day. 24 was chosen in part because it split the day into manageable sections. Minutes and seconds were created for much the same reason.

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We use hours, minutes and seconds to mark the passage of the day. They allow us to lead orderly lives. But all they are doing is breaking the day into more precise segments. Segments that still are a measure of distance.

Time, you see, is relative. Because we have determined a day is how long it takes for the Earth to rotate on it’s axis once. But what about when we leave Earth? How about when we colonize Mars? Mars is smaller than the Earth and it rotates on it’s axis at a different speed. As a result, a day on Mars equals about 9 hours on Earth. (for clarity, I am using Earth-based time references)

So I ask again, what is a day? Now it depends on where you’re located, right? If we go ahead and split the Martian day into the standard 24 hours, we are still measuring the same thing; the rotation of Mars on it’s axis. Since Mars is smaller, it has less distance to rotate. But it still takes a day.

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Now let’s say we figure out space travel and we go visiting our closest neighbor, Alpha Centauri. We just lost all reference to time the moment we left our solar system. Our concept of time is based entirely on the Sun. A day is how long it takes the planet to rotate on it’s axis once, in relation to the Sun, while a year is how long it takes to orbit the Sun.

Once we leave our solar system, we lose the Sun as a reference. So when we get to Alpha Centauri, how do we measure time?

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You may recall that some TV shows, like Star Trek, have tried to come up with a universal system for keeping track of time. They call it the Stardate. But even thier time system is based on distance. The people who came up with the idea for the stardate even stated that it would change based on your location in the galaxy and the velocity of your travel.

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What all this means is, time is not immutable. It is variable, not constant. Because time does not exist as a separate entity.

Confused? Don’t feel bad. Lot’s of people are. But that’s nor surprising when you take into account that it’s part of Quantum Theory. And Quantum Physics is to regular physics as telecommunications are to hand signals.

Einstein himself hated Quantum Theory. He didn’t like that suddenly there were two schools of physics; one had rules for the world we can see and one had rules that applied at the particle level. That’s why he spent the last half of his life trying to find the grand unified theory. Something that would make the rules of quantum physics work with ‘normal’ physics.

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But I did say I was going to provide you with proof. And an oddity, too. So here you go:

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You’ll remember that a day is how long it takes for a planet to rotate on it’s axis. Venus takes 243 Earth days to make one rotation on it’s axis. That means one hour on Venus equals 10 days on Earth.

But wait! There’s more!

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Let’s look at a year on Venus. Remember a year is how long it takes a planet to make one full orbit of the Sun. It takes Venus 225 Earth days to orbit the Sun.

I’ll pause for a moment for you to process those numbers and come to the conclusion that one day on Venus is longer than one year.

And that is the odd fact I had for you today.

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If you want to learn more about the time=distance theory from a real physicist, read this article on the Theory of Distance-Time by Keith Maxwell Hardy.