blank'/> Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen: My Crazy Thought On Time

3.16.2009

My Crazy Thought On Time

(Edit: The picture is not of a basketball clock. Just demonstrates what a clock depicting hundredths of a second looks like.) I think about this every time during March Madness, but I've never posted it because it qualifies as Crazy Talk. Several years ago, someone with a big brain figured out that when the scoreboard clock rolled down from "0:01" to "0.00" there was actually still a second left on the clock. So they added tenths of seconds to the game clock. So instead of seeing the old countdown in seconds of 00:02 00:01 00:00 <----Horn sounds We now see this: 00:02.0 00:01.9 00:01.8 00:01.7 00:01.6 00:01.5 00:01.4 00:01.3 00:01.2 00:01.1 00:01.0 00:00.9 <-- This is where we used to see the four zeros and assumed game was over 00:00.8 00:00.7 00:00.6 00:00.5 00:00.4 00:00.3 00:00.2 00:00.1 00:00.0 <---Horn now sounds But here's my crazy issue: Once the tenth of a second goes to 0, isn't there a hundredth of a second that needs to be counted off as well? If we added another digit to the clock, and continued the countdown from the last example, we'd see this: 00.00.10 00:00.09 <---Where the horn sounds now 00:00.08 00:00.07 00:00.06 00:00.05 00:00.04 00:00.03 00:00.02 00:00.01 00:00.00 But here's where I really lose my mind. Can't we continue to add a digit every time our clock goes down to all zeros? For example, once the clock reaches 00:00.00, can't we now divide the last unit of time into thousands of a second starting with 00:00.009. And once we get down to 00:00.000 can't we start all over again with 00:00.0009? Does that make sense? It seems like that last second, if we continue to divide it up by adding an extra digit, would never end. My brain tells me that once a second passes a second passes, but it seems like we could always divide the last portion of it up just a little bit more. And, I'll admit, this is my nuttiest post ever. Edit: And this post is about time and the concept of slicing up time. Not about whether anything can possible be done on a basketball court within a fraction of a second. Edit: Thanks for (some of) the helpful comments. This really is akin to Zeno's Paradoxes -- something, I'll admit, I had never heard of.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

The last two minutes of African Handball already lasts at least 20 minutes with all the time outs, fouls, and commercials. Now with your logic it will go on forever.

Anonymous said...

Time to go home BCG and get a nights rest. A second ends in a second.

Anonymous said...

Nice thought, but hardly the first to bring it up. Zeno, the Greek philosopher (495 - 445 BC), brought up similar issues of the infinite divisibility of space and time to argue about ... well doesn't really matter what it was about. Goggle Zeno's paradoxes. Admittedly, I think most of his arguments dealt with space, and not time, but you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

BG = WC square. Aw just kidding. It's good to ponder crazy thoughts like that. It's how things are discovered. At some point in history, the fool on the hill thought that maybe the earth was going round the sun, instead of the reverse. And the fool was right.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this IS your nuttiest post ever.

Of COURSE one could continue to divide those final increments of time into infinitely smaller bits. The point is that, mechanically, not only can the clock not change the numbers fast enough, but our brains cannot recognize those changes fast enough and, more importantly, the players bodies cannot react fast enough to get a shot off.

In fact, the general consensus is already that no player can get a shot off in two tenths of a second or less. So once you are down to 2 thenths of a second for an inbounds play, the only option available is the "alley oop" for the receiving player to tip in at the rim.

LandShark 5150 said...

Strange dream last two nights -- Baylor and Kentucky with Kentucky wininng in the final. Strange Cause I've never dreamed of basketball before.

Anonymous said...

Minor flaw in your logic Bubear...the horn did not sound at .9 seconds in the old days. It sounded at 0. There was actually a delay between 1 second and 0, but, since there was no value on the clock below 1 second, once 1 second past, the next value was 0, meaning, end of game.

Same thing now existed for .1 seconds today.

Plus, the NBA came up with the .3 second rule, meaning that a player cannot catch, set and shoot in less than .3 seconds.

So in the NBA, if there are .3 seconds or less on the clock, only redirections and tap ins are possible, catching a pass and shooting are not possible.

So your thought of .01 seconds means, it is not possible to accomplish a basketball move in that length of time, therefore, game over.

Obviously these guys didn't see your skills in Jr. High.

Double Fake VM Hill

Anonymous said...

Here's one for tonight.....which came first, the egg or the chicken?

Your 8th Grade Math Teacher said...

Now I know why you are a lawyer and not a mathematician.

Anonymous said...

BUbear just because Baylor went temporarily insane and beat the longhorns doesn't mean you can do the same

Anonymous said...

On December 21 2012 @ 00:00:0 the horn will sound.

Anonymous said...

Barry,
Just look at the clock at the beginning of this endless blubbering. It already shows; Minutes:Seconds:Hundreths of a second. Where's th' beef?

Anonymous said...

You are now officially the mayor of Crazytown.

Anonymous said...

VM Hill?????


Hilarious.

Jarhead said...

Puff, puff, give.

Xanthippas said...

Well Barry, this is apparently right up your alley:

www.timecube.com

Anonymous said...

I've had the same brain strain with the atom. Yes, there are sub-atomic particles...but if you divided those in half.....and those in half......and you divided for one million years, what would it looked like?

The best thing you can do is just not think about.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Green. You have now made yourself attack-proof from the Apaches.

Anonymous said...

Boys and girls.....if you wanna see some weird crap check out that www.timecube.com. If you can decipher any of it let me know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barry:

I'm guessing you never took a course in calculus :)

Incidentally the add an extra zero thing is pretty much a variation of Zeno's paradox involving time instead of distance. I think this is from Plato's phaedrus.

mudwatcher said...

I now have Tired Head.

Anonymous said...

Barry
From your posse down in Poolville....It is called rehab, give it a chance.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have too much time to waste!!!

Anonymous said...

Like others said, research Zeno's paradox and you'll basically understand that some guy a really long time ago thought about this too.

Or, you could rephrase the question as "What is the smallest unit of time that can be measured?"

Now, google Planck Time
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=planck+time

From the wikipedia entry:

"The Planck time is the time a beam of light needs to travel 1 Planck length. According to quantum theory, 1 Planck time should be the smallest unit of time physics can reason about in a meaningful way. As of 2006, the smallest unit of time that was directly measured was on the order of 1 attosecond (10−18 s), or about 1026 Planck times"

Anonymous said...

I'm somewhat disappointed in the lack of responses that would have included a Chuck Norris comment...Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds 'till." After you ask, "Two seconds 'til what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.