Posts tagged with time

English predominantly talks about time as if it were horizontal, while Mandarin … commonly describes time as vertical.

Lera BoroditskyDoes Language Shape Thought?: Mandarin and English Speakers’ Conceptions of Time


see also

  • Jenn-Yeu ChenDo Chinese and English speakers think about time differently? Failure of replicating Boroditsky (2001)
    By estimating the frequency of usage, we found that Chinese speakers actually use the horizontal spatial metaphors more often than the vertical metaphors.

Warning: this story is not suitable for children.

Thinking about hate. I’ve felt hatred before. And I’ve been hated. There are people I still have it out for. And there may be people who still have it out for me. I’ve been on someone’s sh*t list. I’ve been happy when someone died. I’ve maybe even been someone’s worst enemy. I still hold certain grudges.

But sometimes if you hold a grudge for long enough, the person you hate has changed. They’ve moved on with their life, past the person they were when they screwed you. Like if you wait 20, 30, 40 years to really prove your parents wrong—I’ll show you! When you’re old and weak and I’m middle-aged and strong, then we’ll see who laughs last!—by the time they get there, they may be so feeble in body or in mind that the thing you’re still mad about, they’ve totally forgotten, or could no longer conceive of doing, or now it’s like you’re going to beat up on a little old man|woman. That victorious retribution you dreamt of…can it ever be found? Likewise with their dreams of a million-dollar adventurous retirement—with their sedentary habits formed, their medical bills rising, and their bodies too feeble to adventure so much anymore—where did that go, either? Something to think about.


The kid from the Nevermind album cover today.

Afghan Girl

Jonathan Lipnicki then & now:

POSIXct is the signed number of seconds since “the epoch”. For example it was

  • 1351298112 UTC (GMT)

when I wrote this. (1351298112 UTC = Sat Oct 27, 2:35 am GMT = Fri Oct 26, 8:35 pm EST = Fri Oct 26, 5:35 pm PST = 2:35 pm HST)

POSIXlt is one of many text | character | string formats such as:

  • May 17, 2017
  • 17/5/2017
  • 17-5-17 05:24:39


Forestry is the province of variability.

From a spatial point of view this variability ranges from within-tree variation (e.g. modeling wood properties) to billions of trees growing in millions of hectares (e.g. forest inventory).

From a temporal point of view we can deal with daily variation in a physiological model to many decades in an empirical growth and yield model.

Luis Apiolaza


Categorial decomposition of Galilean spacetime.

Sean Carroll tells us that it was Galileo who first si rese conto che motion can be separated into:

  • motion in the x direction — or x′[t]
  • motion in the y direction — or y′[t]
  • motion in the z direction — ż or z′[t]

and, importantly, that physical laws should be the same for all the 360° × 360° orthonormal choices of (x,y,z). It was Galileo’s idea that you can draw axes, that forces can be decomposed onto those axes, and that forces along one axis behave independently of each other.

For example if you kick a football, it goes forward x′[t], chips up y′[t], and bends left z′[t]. If you kicked it off a cliff, it would retain its exact same forward x'[t] speed even after it dropped y<0 below the plane of the cliff at an ever increasing speed. (NB: That’s not actually true, which is why we say “in a vacuum”.)


The traditional way to talk about a path γ is talking in tuples:

  • First, you have some points
  • Then, you have a 3-basis.
  • Then, you have an interval.
  • If you want to talk about kicking the ball, you would probably call the ball a point, say “there is” a vector space tangent to the ball, and your single kick of the ball constitutes a single force-vector applied (instantaneously) to the point, I mean ball. “Then” — by which I mean “at higher values of t∈interval" — the ball "is" chipped up in the air, "then" back on the ground.
  • The path γ is any member of the product (pairing) of 3-basis with interval.

path γ ∈ time × space*

* space in the geographer’s sense; the casual, not mathematical, sense of the word space. Lawvere calls mathematical space a “universe” … like the theoretical universe that the theory lives in

All of this “you have” — it’s a violation of E′. The “false subject” in English sentences that start with “There are” is repeated over, and over, and over again in mathematics (hence the invention of the symbol ∃).


Now cometh F William Lawvere, 3 centuries later, with a conceptual breakthrough.

path γ : time  space

The categoryists use labelled dots and labelled arrows to sketch concepts. So in pictures 2 and 3 you can see projection arrows splitting 3-space into a 2-plane (ground) and a 1-line (air). (Arrows sometimes seem backwards in category theory. Galileo projects 3D onto 1D + 2D, so something like “coprojection” would be the natural piecing together of independent sub-motions to get the full picture.)

And the Galileo example is just meant to be a shared thing we can all discuss. But this same thought-pattern — categorial decomposition — I can use on non-chalkboard things from my life as well. Gottman-style 2-eqn relationship dynamics; speculating about some economics in the news; love triangles; the deeper you plant this seed, the more places you see it.


Tim Maudlin reformulates topology using open lines as the basis rather than open sets.

He thinks this sheds some light on the “arrow of time" question (why does time only move forward, when physical equations can be used to postdict [forensically a bullet, for instance] motion just as easily as to predict [planning a rocket, for instance] motion?).


  • If you don’t like some mathematics, just go make your own.
  • It’s nice to pay homage to the accepted standards, if’n you’re trying to impress people.
  • Yet another use of directed arrows (see noncommutativity and quasimetrics).
  • A “topological line” is just a total (linear) order. If you want to join two topological-lines and get another line, you have to make sure you don’t form a circle (two endpoints equate) or a loop-dee-loop. But segments can overlap if they share the same linear order.
  • A nifty slide on standard topology (as well as Maudlin’s new idea):
  • His “open lines” basis leads to an interesting conception of neighbourhood on a discrete lattice (shown on a square lattice):

(Source: supervenes)

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Aymara-speakers conceive of time as flowing away from them [1], whereas we Anglophones think of ourselves as moving forward through time. They say “way back in the future” and gesture behind themselves when talking about what’s to come.

  • It’s logical because you can see what’s in front of you — you’re aware of what’s in front of you, just like you’re aware of the past. And the future you can’t see — just like you can’t see behind yourself.

Another “language” comes to mind. In physics they say that space & time have opposite signs. It’s not agreed whether time has + or .


There is a prejudice in society against people who wake up late.

Obviously, someone who wakes up at 3pm, eats and gets ready, then works from 5pm until 2am, can get as much done as someone who works from 8:30am until 5:30pm.

And there are even more nocturnal schedules for sure. I used to finish work at 4am or 5am. (EMT’s, I feel ya!)

You would think that a diverse economy like ours could support multiple time-lifestyles, without prejudice. And there are indeed 24-hour Krogers (thankfully) as well as convenience stores. But doctors’ offices, job interviews, government agencies, banks, and gyms are all difficult-ish to access when you get home from work at 5am.

What’s the deal?

Aren’t there profits to be made by keeping your store open later? Plus, drawing customers away from the busiest store hours would reduce stress, mistakes, and costs during peak operating hours. Not to mention, traffic congestion would be reduced if more people commuted at 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 5am, or other times.

Maybe it is the priorities of people with kids forcing the rest of the world to conform to their preferred schedule?

(Source: beckyrussoniello)