(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.
at 4:58 PM