Thursday, November 20, 2008

Speed of Desire

Here's a question for ya. What's the shortest span of time ever recorded? I'm confident I know the answer because it happened in my house. Please allow me to explain.

But first, a bit of history of quantum physics theory and application.

Remembering a few things I learned in college physics classes ...(It's amazing the things I do remember from the days I wasn't cutting class, or sleeping in class, or cutting up in class,or trying to get up the nerve to ask a girl for a date... while in class. None of them said 'yes,' by the way. But, I digress.) ... I recall a bit about the functionality of speeding up materials, measuring the speed, and the goal of controlling the material while at high speed.

Much of what the professors would teach in the early 1980's was theory and not actually observed or repeatedly measured in the laboratory, until some late advances turned theory into reality. An example is the millisecond. By definition it is one thousandth of a second. But, it wasn't until the brains in the labs in Silicon Valley began to shrink the silicon wafer circuit board was it possible to measure and control electrical signals moving that fast. Today it's a term we see often and is commonly used in measuring the time to read to or write from a hard disk or to measure packet travel time on the Internet.

Not long afterwards things were being measured, built, and regulated in micro-seconds or one millionth (10 -6 ) of a second. That lead to Moore's theory of computing speed doubling every 18 months and soon computers were accessing RAM at the speed of a nanosecond which is one billionth (10 -9 ) of a second.

And close behind were the ubersmart kids of the late 90's who use lasers to transmit digital code at a femtosecond which is one millionth of a nanosecond or 10 -15 of a second.

In 2004, scientists in UK's National Physical Laboratory observed electrons moving at 10 attoseconds! That's 10 one quintillionth (10 -18 ) of a second; or 10 one thousandth of a femtosecond.

And that brings me back to my discovery of the fastest thing ever recorded. Yep, standing in my kitchen on an ordinary afternoon I observed, measured, and felt the power of the fastest thing ever measured.

And that is.... the time between telling a ten year old I will buy her a new bike and her asking to go get said bike! Before I could say, "how about after dinner?," she dashed from the kitchen to the garage and buckled herself into the car. The whole thing took 1 attosecond! I'm sure of it.

She's had her eye on this little 21-speed Trek number for a while. Nothing like finding a bike that fits and is in your favorite color too!

So, all of you Einstein types, put down your lasers, photon microscopes, and spectrometers and turn your focus to the speed of desire of a kid for a new bike.

Now that I think about it. The same can be said for grown ups too.

Stay tuned...


tri.bassett said...

Like Einstein said.. it's all relative..

Your daughter's brain works at a speed that is light-years faster than yours. What seems instantaneous to you is careful deliberation to your daughter..

don't fight it, it's just the way things work...

And congrats to your daughter for the new, sweet ride!


21stCenturyMom said...

That's great! Another cycling enthusiast is born.

21stCenturyMom said...

That's great! Another cycling enthusiast is born.

UntPawGal02 said...

Oh wow... didn't realize you were so smart... j/k!

Yay for a new bike :)

Wendy said...

That's wonderful, Boomer! I'm sure she'll enjoy it no end.

Jamie said...

Your house is turning into a triathlete farm. That is awesome! Haha. Get her some nice new running shoes too.

Brent Buckner said...

Planck time!