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Empathy and Time

Empathy is a clock that ticks in the consciousness of another: The Science of How Social Interactions Shape Time.

“We may be born alone, but childhood ends with a synchrony of clocks, as we lend ourselves fully to the contagion of time.”


[ Before Casual Physics ]

Burdick begins at the beginning — the ur-question of how the universe originated from nothing and what this means for time, a question at the heart of the landmark 1922 debate between Einstein and Bergson that shaped our modern understanding of time. Burdick asks:

"For argument’s sake, I’ll accept that perhaps the universe did not exist before the Big Bang — but it exploded in something, right? What was that? What was there before the beginning? Proposing such questions, the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has said, is like standing at the South Pole and asking which way is south: “Earlier times simply would not be defined.”

[ Reductionist Metaphors ]

Nearly a century after Borges’s exquisite refutation of time in language — “Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” — Burdick adds with an eye to the inherent limitations of our metaphors:

"Perhaps Hawking is trying to be reassuring. What he seems to mean is that human language has a limit. We (or at least the rest of us) reach this boundary whenever we ponder the cosmic. We imagine by analogy and metaphor: that strange and vast thing is like this smaller, more familiar thing. The universe is a cathedral, a clockworks, an egg. But the parallels ultimately diverge; only an egg is an egg. Such analogies appeal precisely because they are tangible elements of the universe. As terms, they are self-contained — but they cannot contain the container that holds them. So it is with time. Whenever we talk about it, we do so in terms of something lesser. We find or lose time, like a set of keys; we save and spend it, like money. Time creeps, crawls, flies, flees, flows, and stands still; it is abundant or scarce; it weighs on us with palpable heft."


[ Temporal Explorations ]

From the temporal meditations of the ancient philosophers to the last hundred years of ingenious psychological experiments, Burdick goes on to explore such aspects of his subject — a nearly infinite subject, to be sure, which makes his endeavor all the more impressive — as why time dilates and contracts depending on whether we are having fun or facing danger, how fetuses are able to coordinate their circadian activity, and what we are actually measuring when we speak of keeping time.

[ Social Synchronization ]

In a fascinating chapter detailing the complex ecosystem of time-making — the inventions, standardizations, and global teams of scientists responsible for measuring and synchronizing earthly time — Burdick reflects on the tremendous coordination of human efforts keeping the world’s clocks ticking:

"Time is a social phenomenon. This property is not incidental to time; it is its essence. Time, equally in single cells as in their human conglomerates, is the engine of interaction. A single clock works only as long as it refers, sooner or later, obviously or not, to the other clocks around it. One can rage about it, and we do. But without a clock and the dais of time, we each rage in silence, alone."


[ Technological Extension ]

But our technologies are always prosthetic extensions of our consciousness — time, it turns out, is an innately social phenomenon not only in how it is measured, but in how it is experienced. In one experiment, she presented people with images of human faces — some neutral, some happy, some angry, some frightened — each displayed on the screen for anywhere between half a second to a second and a half. The research subjects were then asked to evaluate how long the faces appeared for. She found that across images displayed for the same duration, happy faces were perceived to last longer than neutral ones and shorter than angry or fearful ones. Burdick explains:

[ Emotional Anticipation ]

"The key ingredient seems to be a physiological response called arousal, which isn’t what you might think. In experimental psychology, “arousal” refers to the degree to which the body is preparing itself to act in some manner. It’s measured through heart rate and the skin’s electrical conductivity; sometimes subjects are asked to rate their own arousal in comparison to images of faces or puppet figures. Arousal can be thought of as the physiological expression of one’s emotions or, perhaps, as a precursor of physical action; in practice there may be little difference. By standard measures, anger is the most arousing emotion, for viewer and angry person alike, followed by fear, then happiness, then sadness. Arousal is thought to accelerate the pacemaker, causing more ticks than usual to accumulate in a given interval, thereby making emotionally laden images seem to last longer than others of equal duration… Physiologists and psychologists think of arousal as a primed physical state — not moving but poised to move. When we see movement, even implied movement in a static image, the thinking goes, we enact that movement internally. In a sense, arousal is a measure of your ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes."

[ Mimetic Interaction ]

We perform this kind of emotional mimicry intuitively and incessantly over the course of our daily social interactions, in some degree donning the emotional and mental outfit of each person with whom we come into close contact. But we are also, apparently, absorbing each other’s sense of time, which is encoded in our psychoemotional states.

[ Temporal Perception ]

In another study, Droit-Volet found that research subjects perceived images of elderly faces to last shorter than they actually did and misjudged the duration of young faces in the opposite direction — viewers were essentially embodying the typically slower movements of the elderly. Burdick explains:

"A slower clock ticks less often in a given interval of time; fewer ticks accumulate, so the interval is judged to be briefer than it actually is. Perceiving or remembering an elderly person induces the viewer to reenact, or simulate, their bodily states, namely their slow movement."

[ Empathy as a Clock ]

A book, Rebecca Solnit memorably wrote, is “a heart that only beats in the chest of another.” In a very real sense, we are each a temporally open book and empathy a clock that only ticks in the consciousness of another. Burdick writes:

"Our shared temporal distortions can be thought of as manifestations of empathy; after all, to embody another’s time is to place oneself in his or her skin. We imitate each other’s gestures and emotions — but we’re more likely to do so, studies find, with people with whom we identify or whose company we would like to share."


[ Social Emergence ]

"Life dictates that we possess some sort of internal mechanism to keep time and monitor brief durations — yet the one we carry around can be thrown off course by the least emotional breeze. What’s the point of owning such a fallible clock? … Maybe there’s another way to think about it, Droit-Volet suggests.

It’s not that our clock doesn’t run well; on the contrary, it’s superb at adapting to the ever-changing social and emotional environment that we navigate every day. The time that I perceive in social settings isn’t solely mine, nor is there just one cast to it, which is part of what gives our social interactions their shading."

[ Time as Multitude ]

“There is thus no unique, homogeneous time but instead multiple experiences of time,” Droit-Volet writes in one paper. “Our temporal distortions directly reflect the way our brain and body adapt to these multiple times.” She quotes the philosopher Henri Bergson: “On doit mettre de côte le temps unique, seuls comptent les temps multiples, ceux de l’expérience.” We must put aside the idea of a single time, all that counts are the multiple times that make up experience.


[ Advantageous Synchrony ]

Our slightest social exchanges — our glances, our smiles and frowns — gain potency from our ability to synchronize them among ourselves, Droit-Volet notes. We bend time to make time with one another, and the many temporal distortions we experience are indicators of empathy; the better able I am to envisage myself in your body and your state of mind, and you in mine, the better we can each recognize a threat, an ally, a friend, or someone in need.

[ Atemporal Transition ]

But empathy is a fairly sophisticated trait, a mark of emotional adulthood; it takes learning and time. As children grow and develop empathy, they gain a better sense of how to navigate the social world. Put another way, it may be that a critical aspect of growing up is learning how to bend our time in step with others. We may be born alone, but childhood ends with a synchrony of clocks, as we lend ourselves fully to the contagion of time.

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"Carbon dioxide in remote parts of the world's oceans will be measured by a new instrument being developed by scientists.

The CaPASOS (Calibrated pC02 in Air and Surface Ocean Sensor), created by the University of Exeter and the National Oceanography Centre, will be carried on unmanned robotic boats to locations including the Southern Ocean.

Ship-borne sensors gather data in many parts of the world, but hostile conditions in some oceans - especially in winter - mean few ships go there.

Exeter's part of the project has been awarded £521,000 in grants, including £425,000 from the Natural Environment Research Council, announced last week.

"Climate change is largely being driven by burning fossils fuels, but only about half of the carbon dioxide released ends up in the atmosphere," said Professor Andrew Watson, from the University of Exeter.

"The other half is being absorbed, it is believed, in approximately equal amounts by 'carbon sinks' - vegetation on land and uptake by the ocean.

"The ocean uptake slows climate change - which is of great value and is the focus of intense research - but that process also causes ocean acidification".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)

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I live in the salad area, but I'd really like to visit the biscuit/rolls area next Thanksgiving!

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President #Trump's #JusticeDepartment just became the first since the Carter administration to fight a #merger between 2 companies in different lines of business. Because those so-called #verticalmergers typically don't reduce competition, U.S. regulators very rarely try to stop them. The government's effort to block AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner would be a stunning move for an administration of either party. It signals a stark change in how #antitrust law is enforced in the #UnitedStates. But it's particularly surprising for a Republican president who campaigned on a pro-business, anti-regulation platform.

The Trump administration is reviewing or set to review several high-profile mergers over the next few months. Sinclair is trying to buy Tribune. 21st Century Fox is reportedly looking for a buyer, and United Technologies is trying to acquire Rockwell Collins. #CorporateAmerica will be watching the outcome of each of those deals closely as other companies consider their own merger plans.

#Mergers #DealMaking #Takeovers #Acquisitions #MediaIndustry #Media #Broadcasting #MergerandAcquisition #Regulators
Trump Justice Department puts Corporate #America on notice

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It's not a happy holiday for Amazon.

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In gesturing toward a new friendliness, #Japan is motivated in part by the recognition that as the #UnitedStates retreats, it needs stronger trade with #China. Having watched Mr. #Trump heap praise on Mr. Xi in Beijing last week, Japan is also propelled by fear that the United States may develop a closer rapport with China that would exclude Japan.

And as China seeks to strengthen its power, it realizes it may have more success exerting authority in the region with Japan as less of a rival. At the same time, Mr. Trump’s visit showed China that the United States is unlikely to get in its way, allowing a more confident Mr. Xi to be more generous toward Japan.

#GlobalEconomy #Geopolitics #Economy #Diplomacy #EconomicCooperation #ChinaJapan #AsianEconomies #Asia
Seeing U.S. in Retreat Under Trump, Japan and China Move to Mend Ties

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All California state parks with redwood trees are giving out free parking passes the day after Thanksgiving.

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Celebs Are Calling on Ivanka Trump to Support the DREAM Act

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LONG-RANGE FORECAST: Mark your calendar. NOAA forecasters say there is a chance of moderately strong G2-class geomagnetic storms on Dec. 4th and 5th when a fast-moving stream of solar wind is expected to engulf Earth. Sky watchers in northern-tier US states from Maine to Washington may be able to see and photograph auroras.

SPOTLESS SUN SPARKS PINK AURORAS: On Nov. 22nd, the face of the sun was unblemished by sunspots, and NOAA classified solar activity as "very low." Nevertheless, the skies above Tromso Norway exploded with a remarkable outburst of pink auroras. "Suddenly, the whole valley turned white (with a hint of pink)," says Frank Meissner, who witnessed and photographed the display. "It was over after about 20 seconds."

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Beyonce's Pregnancy Pics - See The Star's Beautiful Pregnancy Pics With Twins

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Did life hitchhike through the Solar System?
Astronomers suggest microscopic organisms, such as tardigrades, can be transported between planets by fast-moving streams of space dust.
#Astronomy #NASA #Hubble #ESA #SETI #ISS #Science #Science64

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Giants vs. Redskins: Score, live updates from Thanksgiving night game: For live scoring updates, results and highlights from Thursday night's Thanksgiving finale in Washington, follow along here.

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#DealAlert Solid Explorer File Manager is on sale with 50% off in IAP of the app go and grab this amazing deal!
Please +1'd/Share/Follow.

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In late September, Spencers Creek was under 240cm (94") of snow. Yesterday, snow banks still lined the creek, one of the highest creeks in Australia. Snow melt feeds the cascades and waterfalls along the creek, which can dry into a string of waterholes in summer's heat.

Snowfall in Australia has been measured here since 1954 (when the maximum snow depth was 100cm and it took 2 days on a sled to get to the creek). It is an unlikely front line in the climate wars, but arguments rage over what the snow depth reading mean. The data from 1954-2016 can be found here:
And the data from 2016-2017 is here:

The water was a mix of warm and icy cold - it was inclined to be sluggish in places. I tried a couple of different approaches here, starting with using a CPL filter to remove water reflection. Note that a CPL filter allows you to 'see' through the water surface, deeper into the water. It is an inexpensive addition to your kit if you buy online and you can hold one in front of a camera phone or fixed lens camera to good effect.
In the end, i didn't use it for this shot, as it masked the flow of the water, and the'sluggish' feel of the stream.
A simple shot from my iPhone, toned for structure, white levels rebalanced, and output sharpened. i will post a zoomed DSLR shot in comments with a CPL filter by way of comparison.

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Chandratal crepesculars

Spiti, Himachal, India

The sun was moving fast towards the horizon as I was approaching the Chandratal lake campsite, and I was fearing I would not make it in time as the language barrier between me and my driver made it impossible to clarify whether the camp site was by the lake or not.

When we arrived at the very end of the road I got my answer – no lake in sight! I was still unable to get any idea as to the distance to the lake and just had to walk as fast as I could on the trail. When I finally got the view of the lake I quickly realized I would not have a chance to get a capture of the lake and the sunset before dark, and instead had to find a suitable location just west of it.

As the beautiful crepuscular rays became more and more prominent I knew they would diminish very soon and I set up gear here on this flat area as a contrast to the snow capped mountains and the dramatic ridge just ahead. It is a rather unusual looking location with a redness to it that made me think of Mars

I wish I had more time here, but at least I got some beautiful sun rays.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 10 October 2017 17:44
Altitude: 4295 meters

#landscape #mountains #himalaya #spiti

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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“Smile at each other. Smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other- it doesn't matter who it is- and that will help to grow up in greater love for each other.”
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#pakistan #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #monochrome #monochromephotography 
#portrait #portraiture #portraitphotography
+Promote Photography #promotephotography +Edith Kukla +ShowYourBestWork +Britta Rogge
+BTP Editors' Choice (Top Photo page) +BTP Monochrome Pro +BTP Portrait Pro
#hqspmonochrome for +HQSP Monochrome

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My site

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Recurring Martian Streaks: Flowing Sand, Not Water?
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On Thanksgiving 2017, we mark the beginning of Internet censorship in the United States.

We will no longer have equal access to all websites on the Internet.

Welcome to #fascisminamerica

Investigation of fake net neutrality foes has been stymied by the FCC, New York attorney general says

By Eli Rosenberg November 22 at 8:24 PM

The reports started trickling out in May, in the weeks after the Federal Communications Commission had begun soliciting public comments on a proposal to repeal net neutrality rules that govern the flow of information on the Internet.

A large number of messages lambasting the Obama-era regulation began appearing on the FCC's public forum with the same text. While it is not unusual for commenters to use form letters provided by activist groups, people began complaining they hadn't submitted the comments that carried their names and identifying information.

They were being impersonated.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman started to investigate after noticing many of these comments involved people in New York. There was an unexpected roadblock along the way: the FCC declined to cooperate with his office’s investigation, he said, rebuffing requests for logs and other records associated with the comments.

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President Donald #Trump weighed in briefly on the government's attempt to block the $85bn AT&T-Time Warner merger. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday to block the deal, calling it 'illegal' and saying it would raise prices for consumers and stifle innovation and competition. AT&T has vowed to fight the lawsuit in court, resisting suggestions it sell some of its divisions to win regulatory approval.

#Mergers #DealMaking #Takeovers #Acquisitions #MediaIndustry #Media #Broadcasting #MergerandAcquisition #Regulators
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With the help of model-turned-chef Candice Kumai, author of Cook Yourself, we’ve come up with five delicious, protein-packed breakfasts that will fuel you up without slowing you down.
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