Friday 21st of September 2018


joke one


The delivery of a good joke relies on precise time increments. 
In comedy, "timing is everything". It’s the increment between being hit by a flower-pot falling from the third floor, or not.

This could explain why are we are obsessed with time. Fun. So we count the seconds, the minutes, the hours that we spend on this planet and do a lot of statistics about longevity — and stale bread. What we really measure is the relativity of change. The ultimate inquiry lies in our mortality. 

Are we better knowing that the opera by Wagner is three/four/five hours long, when the first 20 minutes of it seem to be two hours of our existence, gone forever — or that it tells us we’re going to die from boredom before the interval?

Is time real? At photon speed, time does not exist despite what we statically measure in light years. Is motion and time so related? Does a photon exist unless observed?

A while ago, I mentioned on this site that the satellites of the GPS network need to be time adjusted. This is due to relativity of speed — the same clocks on satellites would be slower than those on earth. It’s important in order to aim a rocket/bomb with a 20 centimetre accuracy, even for ordinary car drivers to know which street we’re on. A small error in the time measure of satellites would soon create accidents, especially with self-driving cars. I actually believe that self-driving cars should use the military grade GPS to function properly.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) is a miniaturized, ultra-precise mercury-ion atomic clock for precise radio navigation in deep space. It is orders of magnitude more stable than existing navigation clocks, and has been refined to limit drift of no more than 1 nanosecond in 10 days. It is expected that a DSAC would incur no more than 1 microsecond of error in 10 years of operations. It is expected to improve the precision of deep space navigation, and enable more efficient use of tracking networks. The project is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and it will be deployed as part of the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in November 2018.

Astrology is a fiddle-fuddle science that was forbidden by Pope Pius V (and possibly others before him but he convinced more people with more efficient torture and imprisonment), because "god cannot be told by the stars what to do”. In astrology, our time and place of birth is important as it is said to regulate our character and future trends, but not our “free will” which we can exert at our own discretion. In the Christian religious beliefs we are also “free-willed” to chose between god and the devil, yet the punishment for choosing the wrong one is imprinted with the importance of a contract written on loo-paper — in our toilet-trained mind since our birth. We should know which side our bread is buttered on. In the Islamic religion, should you publicly wish to stop believing — and become an atheist— you might get charged, sentenced and killed. Only Nostradamus could predict the future. He is still dead.

The DNA timeframe is a funny one. Ageing, that is to say the time it takes for the rise and degradation of individual DNA is different for various species. Fruit-flies last a few days. A dog lives about 15 years. Elephants live up to 75 years. Tortoises live beyond 250. Some trees are about 4,000 years old. For the animal kingdom, according to some controversial research, the DNA timeframe is relevant to the number of heartbeats per life. If your heart beats fast, your life is shorter. But a lot of accidental event can interfere with this. For example if your heart beats too slow, you could die. 

Strangely enough, quantum mechanics is quite more deterministic than religious beliefs or astrology. The theory goes that because of entanglement, a core concept in what makes all your electronic atomic clock gizmos work, the universe is pre-ordained in chaos and precise randomness. I prefer the word randomity. It has a certain egalitarian anonymity value in it. But apparently, particles learn from each other that they "have been observed" — and have to behave accordingly... And the universe is full of those since the big bang.

Meanwhile we should not think as we eat. Thinking tends to make our expression muscles move unconsciously. So when we chew on our morning prune and think at the same time (superimposition/multi-tasking), there is a chance that we bite our tongue. We damage the particles by doing two things at once. This, quantum mechanics knows.

But time is money. This has been well imprinted in our cash-register brain as we spend our time on earth, greasy like corner-shop grocers or sly as future stockbrokers who are now both unable to compete with the faster time-wise machines.

Our own internal clock gets upset when we travel too fast from one side of the planet to the other, unless we’re a nightshift worker on holidays. Brilliant.

To celebrate the passing of time we have created rituals that define us. Birthdays, Christmas, Ramadan, Memorial day, lunchtime, Mass, time to raise our arse in the air with our head bowed towards Mecca, so that the gods, who are crazy, don’t get upset and let us win the war. It’s all in the timing.

Music relies on rhythms that rely on timing.

And we have had to calculate with more precision where we’re at. Enters Pope Gregory XIII. He was the fellow that defined the Western civilisation calendar. The vagaries of planetary motions do not follow the precise phases of atomic constructs. An electron has to be on a particular level to achieve perfect energetic phase in its spin around the nucleus, which is constructed of various bits such as protons and neutrons, themselves made of bits, mostly quarks and other bits such as gluons. My guess is that should the electrons get out of phase, all hell would break loose in a giant universal atomic collapse. Bye.

But planet earth is totally out of phase. It spins like a mad top at the end of a gravity elastic attached to an orange we call the sun. Before we knew this, we had to fiddle with more complex calculations to make the orange spin around the earth. Our interpretation was faulty but accurate.

The publication of Copernicus' model in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), in 1543, was a major event in the history of science, making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution. No-one believed him.

Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia. A polyglot and polymath, he obtained a doctorate in canon law and was also a mathematician, astronomer, physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist. In 1519 he formulated the famous economic principle, the Gresham's law — so named because a fellow called Gresham stole (“discovered”) the idea later on. It states that "bad money drives out good". Don’t we all know it: “throwing good money after bad”. We’ve been trying to catch the end of our tail with a capitalist system that is not declared bankrupt because we have been printing more money, good and bad, ever since. The slavery of debt rules if you are a pauper — while debt will give you freedom if you borrow a lot of money and do a runner (bankruptcy, etc, Trump)...

So, Gregory XIII (1502 – 1585), born Ugo Boncompagni ("good company"), Pope from 13 May 1572 to his death in 1585, invented a revised timeline which has nothing to do with the long 4.6 billion years history of the earth, but with the birth of a Male-god-child in some stables. Quite a few astrologers did the child chart and noted that all was good about him, considering three kings came to visit him amongst the cow-poop, by following a star. The astrologers would not dare say anything else, as the inquisition was in full-swing.

Despite the Christian orange spinning around the earth theory, the average length of the year in the Julian calendar was too long – each year being given as 365 days, 6 hours in length, whereas new precise calculations showed that the actual length of a year was slightly less at 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes. This is why we have leap years, because, even with precision, the earth is still out of phase with the orange. 

In the early 1580s, the equinox had slipped to March 10 over the course of 13 centuries, while the computus calculation of the date of Easter still followed the date of 21 March. Plants were blooming earlier.

This was verified by observations from Clavius — the Pope’s astronomer. The new calendar was instituted when Gregory decreed, by the papal bull "Inter gravissimas" of 24 February 1582, that the day after Thursday, 4 October 1582 would be not Friday, 5 October, but Friday 15, October 1582. His new calendar replaced the Julian calendar, in use since 45 BC.

The switcheroo was opposed by the populace, who feared it was an attempt by landlords to cheat them out of a week and a half's rent paid in advance. Too right. However, most Catholic countries — Spain, Portugal, Poland, and Italy — complied. France, some states of the Dutch Republic and various Catholic states in Germania and Switzerland followed suit within a couple of years. Hungary adopted the new dating in 1587. 

It is notable that France, always in search of doing things differently, adopted the decimal Republican calendar (a weird monster), for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days during the Paris Commune of 1871. This showed that communes, the metric system and republics don’t work well outside the Christian calendar.

Protestant Europe accepted the new Gregorian calendar, after a few years. By this time, the old calendar trailed the seasons by 11 days. In Great Britain and its American colonies,  Wednesday, 2 September 1752 was immediately followed by Thursday, 14 September 1752; they were joined by Sweden, on 1 March 1753. This switch obviously faded the curtains faster than daylight saving.

The Gregorian calendar was not accepted in Orthodox countries for several hundred years, and then was only taken up as the civil calendar. Islam still use its own: tomorrow is Christmas 1439, should they believe in Christ which they don’t, or the 10th of September 2018. The Chinese live in the year 4000-something calculated on a solar year being about 365 ​1⁄4 days, and 12 lunar months are about 354 ​3⁄8 days. So the Chinese date moves about 11 days backward or 19 days forward depending on the moods of the moon. The Chinese decided to use the Gregorian calendar for official functions and dealing with Trump's tariffs.

Even with the new calendar, the orange only stopped spinning around planet earth when Galileo came onto the scene and when he supported Copernicus' idea.

Cardinal Bellarmine wrote in 1615 that the Copernican system could not be defended without "a true physical demonstration that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun”. Galileo considered his theory of the tides, possibly based on his earlier observation of pendulums, to provide the required physical proof of the motion of the earth. This theory was so important to him that he originally intended to entitle his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems the Dialogue on the Ebb and Flow of the Sea.

The reference to tides was removed from the title by order of the Inquisition, because there was two tides per day which contradicted the one moon per day. So there.

Galileo defended his observations of 1609 (Sidereus Nuncius 1610), In 1613, when the Grand Duchess Christina of Florence confronted one of Galileo's friends, Benedetto Castelli, with biblical objections to the motion of the earth. This was done in a friendly and gracious manner, out of curiosity. But Galileo wrote a letter to Castelli in which he argued that sun centering of our world was not contrary to biblical texts, and that the bible was an authority on faith and morals, not on science.

By 1615, Galileo's writings on sun centering had been submitted to the Roman Inquisition by Father Niccolo Lorini, who claimed that Galileo and his followers were attempting to reinterpret the Bible. This was seen as a violation of the Council of Trent and looked like Protestantism.

We know the rest about the debate about the orange (sun), now not even remotely considered at the centre of the universe, but only that of the solar system… Galileo was only exonerated for telling the truth, by the Church in the 20th century.

Earlier, prehistoric man, by simple observation of the stars, changes in the seasons, noticing day and night, came up with primitive methods of measuring time for planning nomadic activity, farming, sacred feasts, etc..  Meanwhile prehistoric women had no idea about anything. Some women became witches and predicted the fall of men. Still going on today, especially in political circles and Hollywood.

The earliest time measurement before sundials, were poles and sticks planted in the sands of time, as to cast telling moving shadows. Objects such as pyramids and structures such as Stonehenge could be defined as large sundials. 

Modern eggtimers are versions of the hourglass used in antiquity. 

Another ancient time measuring device was the water clock. It was an evenly marked container with a spout in which water dripped out. As the water dripped out of the container one could note by the water level against the markings what time it was. 

A huge advance occurred in the 1300s when mechanical clocks, using weights (or springs) were invented. At first, they only struck a bell every hour. Later on, some clever dudes invented clock faces with hour and then minute hands.

Mechanical clocks work by using a lever, linked to a timed pendulum, that pivots and meshes with a toothed wheel at certain intervals. This controls the movement, or "escape" of either the weights or the springs that power the cogs. The timed pendulum regulates the speed at which the gears and wheels turn.

In the end or in the beginning, time is the essence as they say in a multiple of clichés… I hate the world “multiple” being used this way… When we have perfectly good words that say what we mean, like “several", “many" and “365"… Using this mathematical concept to describe the number of injuries is injurious. It’s like saying there was 354 multiplied by 37 fatalities today. Work it out. Mind you, “multiple" bananas make as much sense as a "non-mechanical quantum" world — that’s the one we live in, according to quantum physicists such as David Bohm, counting our blessings and the minutes till we reach the place where time is forever dead.

Who laughs last, wins the game. Politics are unfortunately nothing to laugh about as they are a waste of time. 

Gus Leonisky
Your local time keeper

time dilation...

The quote in the heading at top is one by Jerome Cardano: TIME IS MINE...


More to come if I feel like it...

Note: the cartoon at top by Stan Cross is by no means posted here as a racist cartoon. It represents the way Gus often feels after having missed the punchline of a joke, because the delivery was poor, a plane passed overhead or the joker did not speak clearly. Here the character actually got the joke and chose to delay laughing about it. I think this is very very clever of him.




It appears that some critics are upset that I wrote at top that "only Nostradamus could predict the future". Okay folks, it was written in jest. It's satirical, like one of the soft watches above, hence me writting after this, that "he is still dead".

the probable odds...

We live in a world where a lot of things seem to happen by pure chance, from winning the Lotto to losing your car keys.

But the truth is, the likelihood of many everyday things happening is heavily influenced by other events having occurred beforehand.

In the mathematical world, we refer to this idea as "conditional probability".

And in case you've forgotten: probability is a mathematical process that puts a number on the likelihood of something happening.

When we toss a coin we can observe the frequency of an event (such as getting heads) occurring over time.

This can then be compared to the number of possible events (two: heads or tails) to give us a "frequency probability" of 1 in 2. 

But say we wanted to find out the probability of the coin being "fair" — we would need a very different mathematical approach.

This is where "Bayesian probability" comes in — and the logic used is surprisingly every-day.

Read more:


This item is in here because of Jerome Cardano (1501-1576) who "invented" probability and statistics so he could gamble and win.

Read from top. See also: