10-16-10 Saturday

Status: 9.0/10.  Feeling good.  No issues.  Progressed to a regular diet.  Likely to go home tomorrow with an “on call” for re-admission Tues or Wed, to start over again.

Events:  Lisa and Ethan spent the day.  Apparently the Baltimore Marathon was run today with a 5K, 10K, and relay race.  Most of the roads were blocked off, so Lisa made a circuitous route to the hospital.

Comments:  Not surprisingly I’ve had a lot of opportunity these last 6  months to think about time.  First of all, it doesn’t seem like 6 months to me – much, much shorter.  I guess time does fly when your having fun.  In fellow Memphian and MITer Alan Lightman’s wonderful book Einstein’s Dreams, he imagines all the different thoughts Einstein had about the flow of time.

  Rachel asked me a few days ago about time zones, those 24 lines of longitude from pole to pole we use to tell local time.  They are not all straight lines, but have little jigs and jags to conform to state and international boundaries.  Each is about 1000 miles from its neighbor (the circumference of the Earth is ~ 24,000 miles, and of course it takes 24 hours for the Earth to make one revolution), thus making each one an hour apart.

  If you are at the edge of the Eastern time zone and see the the sun rise at 6:00 AM, you won’t see it rise at the Central time zone line until an hour later (actually 7:00 AM Eastern time), but we call it the 6:00 AM Central time.  If not, someone in China would say it rises at 6 PM, and not make much sense.

  But someone standing in the middle of two time zones would see the Sun rise at 6:30 AM.  In fact, every 16 miles  west of a Time Zone line, the Sun rises 1 minute later, until just 16 miles east of the Central Time Zone line it rises at 6:59 AM, then magically turns t0 6:00 AM in Central time.  And invariably a person standing just 10 blocks west of someone else would always say that the sun rose 4 seconds later.  Now there’s something very wrong about this.  It seems that no two people can agree on when an event occurs, even if they are standing right next to each other.  You can’t tell what time it is unless you know where you are.

  It was Einstein who first understood this, and that we don’t live in a world of 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time.  They are all combined together in the proverbial “space-time continuum.”  And so intrinsically mixed that you can’t tease them apart.

    My space time continuum has moved back and forth from Bethesda to Baltimore a number of times, and we hope next week will be our last time travel.

 Enjoy your weekend.  We’ll let you know when we’re coming back.




7 Responses to “”

  1. Judi Golding-Baker Says:

    My dear Bruce

    You are one amazing time traveller…I’m sending you love and strength for a speedy trip ahead. You will get through this. Hang tough.

    Love you

  2. Warren Says:

    The best times are the ones we spend with those we love. Thinking about you all the time.

  3. Esperanza Says:

    Just lots of Love coming your way, every day in every way!

  4. Henry Miller Says:


    Your wonderful explications of science and technology remind me of the “Watch Mr. Wizard” TV programs that aired from 1951 to 1965 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch_Mr._Wizard). I assume you grew up with them, too.

    I hope you’re having a good weekend. Having grown up in Philly and now living in the SF Bay Area, I’m enjoying the Giants-Phillies series.


  5. joel steinberg Says:

    Wow. You actually were awake some of the time at MIT. For a fascinating historical perspective on time-keeping, time zones and lines of longitude, read “Longitude” by Dava Sobel. We await news of your transplant. Jole and Margaret S.

  6. Gail Lehmann Says:

    We appreciated your education on time zones. We are going to Australia and New Zealand in November and expect to experience a variety of time zones on this long trip.
    We think of you everyday…
    Gail & Mark

  7. Cliff Karchmer Says:


    Best wishes from this ex-Memphian! You must be in great shape to handle the time zone discussion with so much enthusiasm and such lilting dexterity! Who knew? I will be kestay in close touch with you and Lisa.

    Cliff Karchmer

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