Saturday, October 08, 2011

Chronometers tick and cannon boom.


Pretty in pink. York Street, Sandy Bay. September 2011.

I've been following the progress of the Detroit Tigers baseball team of late, and have to say that I really do like the MLB.com interface for live coverage. Go Tigers!

Quite what that has to do with a pink flower and a poem by Czech poet and immunologist Miroslav Holub, I shall leave t you to figure out!

Brief reflection on accuracy, Miroslav Holub

Fish
always accurately know where to move and when,
and likewise
birds have an accurate built-in time sense
and orientation.

Humanity, however,
lacking such instincts resorts to scientific
research. Its nature is illustrated by the following
occurrence.

A certain soldier
had to fire a cannon at six o’clock sharp every evening.
Being a soldier he did so. When his accuracy was
investigated he explained:

I go by
the absolutely accurate chronometer in the window
of the clockmaker down in the city. Every day at seventeen
forty-five I set my watch by it and
climb the hill where my cannon stands ready.
At seventeen fifty-nine precisely I step up to the cannon
and at eighteen hours sharp I fire.

And it was clear
that this method of firing was absolutely accurate.
All that was left was to check that chronometer. So
the clockmaker down in the city was questioned about
his instrument’s accuracy.

Oh, said the clockmaker,
this is one of the most accurate instruments ever. Just imagine,
for many years now a cannon has been fired at six o’clock sharp.
And every day I look at this chronometer
and always it shows exactly six.

Chronometers tick and cannon boom.

3 comments:

Roddy said...

And now fortunately we have the Atomic clock. Is it as precise as the cannon?

Kris said...

More so.

Roddy said...

Is time finite? Where does it begin and where does it end?
Who sets the parameters as far as measurements go?
What time did we start counting?
Do we believe because we have to, or do we believe because we want to?
What if we are one second out?
From what? Or when?