# Thread: More Stupid Time Questions

1. Some Dumb Questions

1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?

2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?

3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?

4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?

5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.

2.

3. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
Some Dumb Questions

1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?

2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?

3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?

4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?

5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.
There is no such thing as momentum in time.

Time is not based on the sun. Time on another planet would be measured the same way that is measured on Earth, for instance oscillations of the cesium atom.

If the sun did not exist no one would be alive. The sun is the ultimate source of almost all of the energy on earth.

A person in a box would probably use his watch.

Time can't freeze.

You picked a very accurate title for the thread.

4. 1) Time doesn't have packets, energy has packets.

2) The different planets have different day/year lengths

3) Yes, it wouldn't be different.

4) The same as everyone else, unless they're moving very fast.

5) This won't happen.

5. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?
That's actually a good question. Personally I think there must be a smallest unit of time, just as there must be a smallest unit of mass/energy, distance, etc.
Perhaps this is the Planck Time

6. Originally Posted by gc
Personally I think there must be a smallest unit of time, just as there must be a smallest unit of mass/energy, distance, etc.
You finitnists just can't leave well enough alone. :x

7. Originally Posted by Pong
Originally Posted by gc
Personally I think there must be a smallest unit of time, just as there must be a smallest unit of mass/energy, distance, etc.
You finitnists just can't leave well enough alone. :x

8. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
Some Dumb Questions

1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?

2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?

3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?

4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?

5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.
2)we'd probably use the same time, but a different amount of hours in each day.

3)We get hungry and sleepy at quite regular intervals

4)With light cycles. There have been experiments increasing and decreasing the length of a day for test persons in a box. I don't remember the outcome, though.

5)It takes time to transport signals in our nerves and brain, so if time froze, it would be impossible for us to notice.

9. general relativity and special relativity states that the time is based relative to our speed, not proximal position, or presence of our sun perse

10. 1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?
The movement is not time,
that cause the time does not exist,its a human tool for appointments.
You can give any logic to calculate what ever that its just a play.

2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?
There's no such time thing.

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`3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?`
Again,time at it is is just a play,the movement is what it is.

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`4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?`
By its thoughts,else theres no movement,therefore no way for experience anything like.

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`5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.`
What actually you want to say is ,"what if the movement stop".
If you also stop too,theres only your thought if it still works for to supply

11. Originally Posted by Heinsbergrelatz
general relativity and special relativity states that the time is based relative to our speed, not proximal position, or presence of our sun perse
You have totally mis-stated the lessons of special and general relativity.
It is not even correctable.

"That's not right. It's not even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli

12. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
1) How fast is a moment in time?
Time is not divided into pieces of a certain size, the same as length is not. Every unit of measurement of time could be halved, or divided by 10, to get a new unit, and this in turn could be further subdivided, and so on.

As with length, the universe is not composed of pieces of a certain length that make up all space, so every unit we use to describe time, length, energy, and so on is in fact completely invented by us, and bears no real relation to the universe.

Essentially, what you are asking is "how long is nothing?", which is a meaningless question.

Originally Posted by rsantiago501
2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?
The sun was used by early man as a reference to record time by. The sun does not actually affect time, but its cycles in the sky (day/night and years) were regular and so could be used as a scale of time, before we had seconds, minutes, hours...

Time itself would not be affected by the disappearance of the sun, although there may be some relativistic effects from the sudden absense of a fairly large mass (my knowledge of special/general relativity is poor).

Originally Posted by rsantiago501
3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?
Yes. The sun is only a reference to approximate the relative time in arbitrary units: we use the sun only to define what part of the sun's cycle we are currently in, so that we can say with some certainty how long it will take untill, say, midday, or untill the sun rises again.

With the development of technology, our new reference point, used to quantify the second, is the changes in energy levels of (usually) caesium atoms.

Originally Posted by rsantiago501
4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?
Because our bodies have evolved to react to changes in sunlight, this might actually affect your perception of time. For instance, most people around the world sleep when it is dark and wake when it is light, but without being able to see the sun, your natural 'body clock' can be disrupted. However, this is because of the way you subconsciously react to varying levels of sunlight; not because the sun directly affects time.

Originally Posted by rsantiago501
5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.
A very good hypothetical question, to which the only realistic answer is that time can never stop: at best it can pass infintessimally slowly, in which case it would just seem like normal anyway, unless time was only slowing in a certain area: this being the hypothetical situation, I would suggest you look up the theories of relativity, but simply, it would look like everything else was moving faster.

13. Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
Originally Posted by rsantiago501
1) How fast is a moment in time?
The sun was used by early man as a reference to record time by. The sun does not actually affect time, but its cycles in the sky (day/night and years) were regular and so could be used as a scale of time, before we had seconds, minutes, hours...
i been asking myself something similar that is related in this topic.

I was taught that time is relative to mass - if this is the case surely time is relative to the mass of our sun.........which also means that time is relative in this sense to the size of the sun we might happen to orbit at any given time.............is this true?

14. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
Some Dumb Questions

1) How many moments are in a second?
c, the cardinality of the continuum

15. You have totally mis-stated the lessons of special and general relativity.
It is not even correctable.
well of course i know the difference between Special, and general relativity, and yes they are not related, its just that i didnt wanna go on explaining, but here it is anyway;
a) special relativity states that all laws of science should be same to the observer neglecting their location and motion throughout absence of gravitational fields.(Special relativity considers space-time to be a flat 4 dimensional space (3 space + 1 time,In this 4-d space-time, there exists a quantity called the Lorentz interval which is the same for all observers.)

b)General relativity considers space-time to be a curved 4-dimensional surface-so mathematically speaking it is a manifold, Genreal relativity also states that the laws of physics are the same in all reference frames. You can already spot the name differences, "general" and "special", general referring to all reference frames, and special referring to certain inertial reference frames.

16. Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
Time is not divided into pieces of a certain size, the same as length is not. Every unit of measurement of time could be halved, or divided by 10, to get a new unit, and this in turn could be further subdivided, and so on.

As with length, the universe is not composed of pieces of a certain length that make up all space, so every unit we use to describe time, length, energy, and so on is in fact completely invented by us, and bears no real relation to the universe.
That is debatable. I think there is good reason to believe that both time and length are quantized.

"According to quantum theory, 1 Planck time should be the smallest unit of time physics can reason about in a meaningful way. As of 2006, the smallest unit of time that was directly measured was on the order of 1 attosecond (10^−18 s), or about 10^26 Planck times." Wikipedia
"Doubly-special relativity (DSR)— also called deformed special relativity or, by some, extra-special relativity — is a modified theory of special relativity in which there is not only an observer-independent maximum velocity (the speed of light), but an observer-independent minimum length (the Planck length)." More Wikipedia

17. Originally Posted by gc
1 Planck time should be the smallest unit of time physics can reason about in a meaningful way.
This does not mean that a smaller scale cannot exist: only that a smaller scale would be useless.

18. Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
This does not mean that a smaller scale cannot exist: only that a smaller scale would be useless.
This is beyond my level of expertise, but is that really true?

Time requires some sort of "change" or "event". One planck time is the time it takes for the fastest thing possible (light) to move (arguably) the smallest distance possible (one planck length). If no "change" can happen faster than this, then how can time really be divided further?

Even if the planck length and time are not the smallest distance and time possible, surely these things must be quantized at some scale?

19. Originally Posted by gc

Time requires some sort of "change" or "event".
Interesting idea. Prove it.

20. Originally Posted by DrRocket
Interesting idea. Prove it.
It's a bit difficult to prove, but can you think of any example of time that does not involve some sort of change?
Every method we could possibly think of to measure time requires some sort of change, no?

edit: It would help to have a definition of time. Is it even possible to define time without some sort of change or event?

21. Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
This does not mean that a smaller scale cannot exist: only that a smaller scale would be useless.
That caught my attention! Are you suggesting that a smallest scale of time or space might not exist, i.e. infinity in that direction?

22. The challenge, of course, is that once you think you've found "the smallest scale" you could essentially jut cut it in half... Then, once you've cut it in half, cut it in half again... Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum.

23. That's common sense to some people. I don't believe physics can grasp it though.

24. Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by DrRocket
Interesting idea. Prove it.
It's a bit difficult to prove, but can you think of any example of time that does not involve some sort of change?
Every method we could possibly think of to measure time requires some sort of change, no?

edit: It would help to have a definition of time. Is it even possible to define time without some sort of change or event?
Then define time.

25. Originally Posted by DrRocket
Then define time.
My best definition: Time is what fills the void between two (or more) events.
Based on that definition, you can not have time without events.

Can you think of a definition of time that does not involve events?

26. Originally Posted by inow
The challenge, of course, is that once you think you've found "the smallest scale" you could essentially jut cut it in half... Then, once you've cut it in half, cut it in half again... Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum.
Maybe not. If energy and matter are quantized, then why not time and space (or anything else for that matter)?

A lot of people can't get their head around the idea that time is quantized, but to be honest I can't get my head around the idea that it's not.

27. Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by DrRocket
Then define time.
My best definition: Time is what fills the void between two (or more) events.
Based on that definition, you can not have time without events.

Can you think of a definition of time that does not involve events?
Given your definition you cannot measure time either. It is an unworkable definition. It is not particularly useful either. Now you have the undefined term "event" to deal with.

The problem is that there is no fundamental definition of time. It is not sufficiently well understood for that. The best that we have is a purely operational definition -- time is what clocks measure. That seems to give enough for formulation of physical theories, such as quantum mechanics and general relativity.

But there is no good fundamental definition of time. General relativity tells us that time is local and dependent on the reference frame of the observer. But the theory only explains how time works locally and how it is measured differently by observers in motion with respect to one another. It does not provide a fundamental definition.

28. Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by DrRocket
Then define time.
My best definition: Time is what fills the void between two (or more) events.
And the challenge with this is that your "void between events" cannot exist unless time does. It's a sort of circular (or, at least self-referential) reasoning you're using.

Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by inow
The challenge, of course, is that once you think you've found "the smallest scale" you could essentially jut cut it in half... Then, once you've cut it in half, cut it in half again... Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum.
Maybe not. If energy and matter are quantized, then why not time and space (or anything else for that matter)?

A lot of people can't get their head around the idea that time is quantized
No... I'm okay with that. I tend to think that planck time is the smallest quantization possible, and applies equally to time as it does to length since length and time are inextricably linked (as spacetime). I was making a more conceptual point above. Sorry for not making that more clear.

See my sig... "Time is one of those concepts which is profoundly resistant to simple definition."

29. Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by inow
The challenge, of course, is that once you think you've found "the smallest scale" you could essentially jut cut it in half... Then, once you've cut it in half, cut it in half again... Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum.
Maybe not. If energy and matter are quantized, then why not time and space (or anything else for that matter)?

A lot of people can't get their head around the idea that time is quantized, but to be honest I can't get my head around the idea that it's not.
Have you ever swam in the ocean, and felt that it's bottomless? That approximates a particular sense of infinity (and relation to the world) that some people are most comfortable with. I think it's a very fundamental distinction between people, which determines, among other things, whether someone finds reassurance in mathematics and physics, and pursues those.

30. If space-time is expanding at the speed of light, then time is related to one unit, C. As the distance from observer changes the speed changes, and time slows down. This cannot be divided, as this is a constant in one medium. Gravity can bend light, and the expansion of space accelerates with distance from observer.

What about the wave-particle duality. If something travelling at C, like a neutrino, is a particle, then it's got no mass. A particle which contains energy and is not divisable is not matter.

If space-time is at C, which is a constant, then how is it accelerating at a rate, relative to the observers position, and if mass has energy which can be converted into light, which would then travel at C. You can divide up mass/energy but not time. It can't be divided. If you divide energy and/or mass, time remains the same, C.

This asks more questions than it answers. It's a bit of dribble.

31. Originally Posted by DrRocket
Given your definition you cannot measure time either.
Sure you can, just count the number of events that occur between those two events. For example, if event A is the rising of the sun and event B is the rising of the sun on the next day, we can measure the number of times the hour hand on a clock moves (about 24). An hour can further be divided into minutes, seconds, etc., until we come to the Planck time. At that point we can't divide it any further because this is the time it takes for the "fastest" event - that is the fastest thing (light) moving the smallest distance (Planck length). Of course, that means we can't measure time smaller than the Planck time, but I don't see any problems with that.
Now you have the undefined term "event" to deal with.
I would define an "event" as a particular state (or perhaps a change in states?).
The problem is that there is no fundamental definition of time. It is not sufficiently well understood for that.
Maybe, but at least I tried
The best that we have is a purely operational definition -- time is what clocks measure.
I actually sort of agree with this definition - that time is nothing more than what we can measure, whether it be the rising & setting of the sun, the motion of the hands on a clock, etc., but what these all have in common is that they require events.

32. Originally Posted by inow
And the challenge with this is that your "void between events" cannot exist unless time does. It's a sort of circular (or, at least self-referential) reasoning you're using.
I'm sorry, but I don't see how it's circular or self-referential. If I defined a "gap" as the "void between two objects", would that be a circular/self-referential definition? Anyways, perhaps I am not explaining it well, it's hard to put into words what I mean.

33. Originally Posted by Pong
Have you ever swam in the ocean, and felt that it's bottomless? That approximates a particular sense of infinity (and relation to the world) that some people are most comfortable with. I think it's a very fundamental distinction between people, which determines, among other things, whether someone finds reassurance in mathematics and physics, and pursues those.
I started a thread a little while ago in the "New Hypotheses and Ideas" sub-forum about infinity, which might interest you. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, if you're interested in joining the discussion.

34. Originally Posted by gc
Originally Posted by inow
And the challenge with this is that your "void between events" cannot exist unless time does. It's a sort of circular (or, at least self-referential) reasoning you're using.
I'm sorry, but I don't see how it's circular or self-referential. If I defined a "gap" as the "void between two objects", would that be a circular/self-referential definition?
Okay, but that "gap" you reference is only describable if the concept of time already exists. The gap is a separation in time and nothing more, so you really can't use that gap to define time itself.

Think about it... How would you describe that "gap between events" if you were asked to do so? You'd call it a "minute," or an "hour," or a "day," or some other duration... All of which require existing concepts of time to describe. You can't use a duration to define time since time itself is required to understand what a duration is. Hence my comment about being circular.

I fear we're venturing too far into the realm of metaphysics now, though. This is the physics forum, and I don't want to risk derailing the thread. Just sharing some thoughts in response to the comments. Cheers.

35. I think Geo pointed this out very early on:

Originally Posted by Geo
1) Time doesn't have packets, energy has packets.
However, energy has a time component. If you can come up with a shortest unit of distance, and a smallest unit of mass, then you could use those two units to deduce a smallest unit of time. I get the impression it will be a variable thing, however, even if we are able to deduce it.

As it stands, I guess all we have is a smallest unit of kilograms per meter squared divided by seconds squared, which scales with frequency.... but it's a start!!!

36. Originally Posted by kojax

However, energy has a time component. If you can come up with a shortest unit of distance, and a smallest unit of mass, then you could use those two units to deduce a smallest unit of time.
The shortest unit of distance is very important here?

An "event" could be the conversion of energy from one form to another, the conversion of mass into light, one's divisilble the other's a constant - only one value, if you divide it into smaller pieces, it's no longer light?

You have the sub-atomic zoo, which is the division of mass, light has no mass, and it has one value C, in any one medium, which is the expansion of time?

37. Originally Posted by rsantiago501
Some Dumb Questions

1) How fast is a moment in time? I know it is instantaneous but there aren't an infinite number of moments occurring because then time would never move forward. How many moments are in a second?

2) How would we measure time on another planet if time is based of the sun?

3) If the sun never existed and we were all somehow still alive, would we even perceive time?

4) How does a person in a box with no windows or doors experience time?

5) If time froze, what would happen? If time froze we wouldn't ever realize it would we because time makes things advance. So we would never process the stop and if time never unfroze we couldn't just experience black forever because we would be conscious of being stuck in blackness which would require a perception of time in the first place.

1. got this from a VERY good book. Think of the fastest thing possible, the absolute fastest thing...no faster than that...even faster, That is a moment

2. Time and the sun are completely irrelevant, god only knows where you cooked that little doozy up from, Time is simply a rate of atomic decay.

3. see 2, atomic decay is universal, ergo time is universally identical, an atom decaying here and an atom decaying in alpha centuri decay at the same rate.

4. exactly the same as we do, albeit in much more mundane circumstances.

5. your perception of time freezes when you sleep, it's why you don't sit there asleep and bored stupid waiting to wake up, if time stopped you would experience the same as sleeping until it started again

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