Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Time Doesn’t Stand Still

A lot of things in life depend on clocks. Even though it’s easy to have a general feel for what time of day it is – morning, afternoon, evening, night – most things call for a much more precise figuring of what the time actually is. That’s the only way, for instance, to make sure that one doesn’t miss an appointment with the doctor and wind up rescheduling.A sundial can be used in some cases to meet this need, but it is not the most accurate timepiece on which one can rely and it also depends on always having direct sunlight in order to function. People spend at least as much time indoors as outside, so making use of clocks is the only way to be sure that one knows the time at need.

Moreover, the sundial is not as accurate as most clocks are. The sundial only has one arm, as a result of only one shadow being physically possible to cast from the sun. That can provide which hour one is in, but it can’t get much more accurate than which quarter of the hour. Individual minutes are impossible to determine unless one has a sundial that is so large as to be ridiculous.As a result, clocks that have separate minute and second hands are far more accurate, because they can tell anyone exactly what time it is.That makes it possible to be sure that one will be where one needs to be, when one needs to be there. Otherwise, one is back trying to manage things based on a rough understanding of what point in the day one has reached.

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