It's Easy When Someone Else Does It

Starts With a Bang: A Brief History of Time… in the New World!

It was only about a week before people noticed that the Sun and Moon weren’t rising and setting at the times they were supposed to! Apparently, the clock was running at the wrong speed, and was running slow by somewhere around a minute per day. This brilliant clock, which was accurate to within two seconds a day in Holland, must have broken somehow during the journey.

So what were the colonists to do? There was no clockmaker (or clock repairman) in the new world, and this clock was handmade and very valuable. They had no choice; the clock needed to be shipped back to Europe for repair.

So they ship the clock back to Europe, and they go to take the clock into the clockmaker, and it does the exact thing that your car does when you take it to the mechanic because it’s making a noise. It starts behaving like it’s perfectly fine. The clockmaker winds up the clock, and it immediately starts working properly, and keeps time to within two seconds per day!

The needed to appreciate the gravity of the situation, of course.

A very nice story, up until the last sentence:

So go ahead and take your standardized time for granted, but remember that it wasn’t always as easy as it is today!

Easy for whom? The dragons currently live at several picoseconds per day instead of several seconds per day. Scientists doing research are always trying to be on the part of the map that says “Here be dragons.”

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