The only unit of time that matters is heartbeats.
Notes about time
From Physical Review A, a new method for keeping precise (like nearly atomic clock precise) time using a diamond and a laser:
Frequency standards based on atomic states, such as Rb or Cs vapors, or single-trapped ions, are the most precise measures of time. Here we propose and analyze a precision oscillator approach based upon spins in a solid-state system, in particular, the nitrogen-vacancy defect in single-crystal diamond.
Oh good, now if Jay-Z is still worried about his Rolleys that don’t tick-tock, or his Audamars that’s losing time hidden behind all those big rocks, he can just shoot a laser at them.
(yep, I just attempted a Watch the Throne / Nature magazine crossover joke. goodnight, everybody!)
Another SIGGRAPH, another mind-bending example of video being freed from linear time — Jiamin Bai, Aseem Agarwala, Maneesh Agrawala, and Ravi Ramamoorthi’s Selectively De-Animating Video:
We present a semi-automated technique for selectively de-animating video to remove the large-scale motions of one or more objects so that other motions are easier to see. The user draws strokes to indicate the regions of the video that should be immobilized, and our algorithm warps the video to remove the large-scale motion of these regions while leaving finer-scale, relative motions intact. However, such warps may introduce unnatural motions in previously motionless areas, such as background regions. We therefore use a graph-cut-based optimization to composite the warped video regions with still frames from the input video; we also optionally loop the output in a seamless manner. Our technique enables a number of applications such as clearer motion visualization, simpler creation of artistic cinemagraphs (photos that include looping motions in some regions), and new ways to edit appearance and complicated motion paths in video by manipulating a de-animated representation.
(Via O’Reilly Radar)
[Video no longer available]
Paris Qui Dort (Paris Which Sleeps, aka At 3:25), an early short film by René Clair: a mad scientist uses a time-freezing ray on Paris, pausing everyone in their day-to-day life throughout the city. Everyone except for a random handful of people who happen to be up in the air at the time, who decide to take advantage of the perfectly still city. Proto-surrealist sci-fi with a dash of percolating social commentary.
I learned about this one from The Invention of Hugo Cabret, an excellent children’s historical fiction novel about early cinema, magic, automata, and Georges Méliès. Worth reading if you’re into any of those things.
Kottke linked to this time-stitch-stretch video, which is kind of fun to watch. Reminds me of the 1990’s video morphing work done using Elastic Reality, especially Michel Gondry’s video for Björk’s “Joga” (which I think was done with ER…anyone know?)
Revolver, a brilliant series of short looping animations by Jonas Odell (codirected with Stig Bergkvist, Marti Ekstrand & Lars Olsson). I loved these when they ran serialized in the early days of Hotwired.com’s Renaissance 2.0 / Kino section, circa 1995, and hastily squirreled away all of the QuickTime .mov’s from the site for archiving. Benefit of having the .mov’s? You could have all of them open and playing simultaneously!
Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth
it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners
the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water
I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days