Wednesday March 3, 2010: Not Enough Minutes

You know how it is:  sometimes there are just not enough minutes in the day to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  Well now the days are even shorter.  Literally.  And why is this?  The earthquake in Chile.  Really!

Yesterday on NPR, there was an interview with   NASA Geophysicist Richard Gross, who said that, according to his calculations, the shifting of mass during the earthquake actually threw the planet off kilter to the point where it actually knocked a micro-second, or one-millionth of a second, off our day.  Not just on the day of the quake, but permanently.  Here’s how he explains it:

This happens because the earthquake moved a lot of mass around on the Earth. So just like a spinning ice skater, as she pulls her arms closer to her body, this earthquake moved the Earth’s mass a bit closer to the Earth’s rotation axis and made the Earth rotate a bit faster,  just like the ice skater rotates a bit faster.

You can read the transcript of the interview here or, if you have the time and the inclination, you can listen to the interview here:

So now, we have one-millionth of a second less than we had just last week in which to get everything done.  But wait!  There’s more!  This isn’t the first time this has happened. So every time there’s been a huge, major earthquake, it has shaved another millionth of a second off the day.  No wonder time keeps on rushing by…

Until I move back to State College, these blog posts may become a bit shorter from time to time.  This is because there’s so much I have to get accomplished to make that move, and I have very little help.  Okay, well, none.  But I’ll still post something every day.  And when I get on the air at WBLF, it will open up more subject matter to write about.  Anyway, I need to go pack something.  Or clean something.  Or worry about something.  So I’ll see you tomorrow.  But we can’t neglect…

…Today’s Curiosities

  • I’ve always been a fan of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which bad writing is celebrated.  Contestants write

    Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton

    the opening lines of a novel,  intentionally badly.  The results are hilarious.  It’s named for Baron Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who is said to have started a novel with the breathless words, “It was a dark and stormy night.”  Enjoy these entries from last year.

  • What news anchors do during commercial breaks:  WGN News anchors Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange have been together for many years. This whole thing started out really small and simple. And then along came the internet, and a video camera, and …

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by david maser on March 3, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    At my age and circumstances, any millio-second counts. Take care and my best to you!

    Reply

  2. I’m with ya there, David. Good heavens it’s almost ten! I’d better get to bed. And I missed the reruns of Murder She Wrote and Matlock. Damn.

    YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!

    Reply

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