Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number. How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past.
Do animals and small creatures, like ants and spiders experience time differently than we do? Like is a day longer for an ant because they are smaller? Would one day for an ant feel the same as a month for us? because time, like hours, days and months are a human construct, but small creatures do still recognize changes in the day and seasons otherwise they wouldn’t prepare for winter. But how long is a day for an ant? How do small insects experience time?
Hey, what a fantastic question!
Everyone knows that animals experience time to some extent—I know my dog always seem to know when it’s time for dinner—but it’s thought that animals’ memories aren’t tied to the passing of time like human memories are. Humans live life linearly, and our ability to remember the order of past events and predict future events plays a large role in our perception of time. Animals, on the other hand, are believed to have a less “episodic” view of time, and live more in the moment.
Human time doesn’t have a lot of significance to animals, because they have no needs for clocks and hours and seconds, so it’s important to think about time in a different way. Perception of time isn’t only about remembering what events happened when, but it’s also linked to how quickly we can process the world around us.
There was a recent study (September 2013) published in Animal Behaviour that suggests that the speed at which creatures perceive time is linked to their metabolic rate. (See: how metabolic rate is linked to life span.) The researchers used a technique called “critical flicker fusion frequency”—basically, measuring the speed at which the eye can process light—and found a strong relationship between body size and how quickly the eye responds to changing visual information.
Small animals with fast metabolisms, like birds and insects, take in more information per unit of time. This means they experience time slower than larger animals with slower metabolisms, like turtles and elephants. They can actually perceive time as if it’s passing in slow motion, meaning they can observe movements and events on a finer timescale. This would definitely be an advantage in some situations, increasing their reaction times and allowing them to escape—like dodging bullets in The Matrix—from larger creatures who perceive time slower, and so might miss things smaller animals can spot rapidly.
Some of the fastest visual systems recorded by the researchers included golden mantled ground squirrels, starlings and pigeons.
As the lead author of the study, Kevin Healy, remarked: “We are beginning to understand that there is a whole world of detail out there that only some animals can perceive and it’s fascinating to think of how they might perceive the world differently to us.”
So there’s still a significant amount of study to be done, but it’s a really intriguing question, and it seems so far that differently-sized animals experience time—i.e., perceive events—on different time scales!
Phantom Islands | Tobias Wüstefeld
Phantom Islands or Flyaway Islands, are Islands which can be found in historical maps or ancient documents, but maybe have never existed.
Galileo’s sketches from Sidereus Nuncius (1610), the first published scientific work based on observations made through a telescope
Dublin has a rich history of hand painted signs decorating the city. Although it is not as common today, the craft still continues.
To view work by the sign writers and artists featured in the documentary visit the links below:
Kevin Freeney - flickr.com/photos/gentlemanofletters
Colm O’ Connor - colmoconnorsignwriter.com
Maser - maserart.com/
James Earley - inputout.com/
Kevin Freeney Jr - kevinfreeney.com
This is an excerpt from the record, Years, created by Bartholomäus Traubeck, which features seven recordings from different Austrian trees including Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Beech. What you are hearing is an Ash tree’s year ring data. Every tree sounds vastly unique due to varying characteristics of the rings, such as strength, thickness and rate of growth.
Father, Son, And An Elephant
By Traer Scott
Skateboarding is getting crazy! Nine-year-old Sabre Norris from New South Wales, Australia just landed her first 540 on vert. Here’s the story in her own words:
“My skating all started because I wasn’t allowed to get a bike because we don’t have a garage. So my mum bought us skateboards instead. I started from rolling down my dad’s business car park. I’ve been skating for about 3 years. My favorite trick is a 540. I watched Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins do it on the internet, and I just had to do it. That was my 75th attempt of the day. Every time I tried one and didn’t land it I put a rock on the table. It ended up being my 75th rock. I was frothing. I did some 720s too. Not proper. I called it 540 to revert to splat. I didn’t cry though. My goal is to do 100 of them before this Saturday. I’m up to 75. I still can’t ride a bike, but I can do a 540.”