Measuring Elapsed Time In Hours

I just saw, for the first time ever, a reference to “96 hours” when referring to elapsed time. That’s four days to you and me.

I *think* that this is an indication, albeit a small one, that what pundits have been calling the 24 hour news cycle is more real than ever before.

Data point #2: I was watching Olbermann tonight and he made a passing reference to the McCain Blackberry brouhaha as if it were ancient history, even though the briefing that kicked off the incident took place only yesterday morning (about 38 hours ago).

Data point #3: We’re barely over the collapse of one financial institution when we are eagerly anticipating news of the next. Lehman Brothers? Old news. Bear Sterns? Pleistiocene.

I might have more to blog on this later, but this addiction to recency is an interesting phenomenon.

p.s. I probably also noticed this because I’ve been reading a lot of Charles Stross and Vernor Vinge, and they both use their own alternate time systems in their novels – a decimal-based system – kiloseconds, megaseconds, gigaseconds, etc.

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1 Response to “Measuring Elapsed Time In Hours”


  1. 1 Cassie September 18, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I totally agree – this is a new pace we as a society have never been at until now. I think it’s worse the more connected you are. There are still those who will get their news once an evening from a broadcaster, or even only on Sundays from their newspaper, and frankly, those people will probably live longer than those of us constantly online, coping with the stress of the details coming in at us through our RSS aggregators and our Twitter feeds and our news feeds and our FriendFeeds. It’s no wonder we’re stressed out and out of time – we’re taking on the whole world of business and politics, and it’s changing every hour on the hour.

    But we’re the microwave generation. We want information, and we want it now. And if we go “off the grid” for two hours in a meeting, we get a little stir crazy. We’re addicted to the flow of information and constant communication. We’re part of the collective hive-mind now, and it’s all voluntary. It’s an odd thing that’s never been possible before.

    I guess, to steal a line from Jurassic Park, we worked so hard to see if we could do something, but never stopped to think if we should do something.

    Time seems so precious these days, I have trouble seeing the value added from pushing it to speed up so like we have. At some point, there’s certainly diminishing returns on cramming more and more into your life. When it comes down to it, time is the only resource we’ve really got.


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