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守时的历史

The History of Keeping Time - Karen Mensing

我们每天看时间,整天看。
We check the time every day, all day long.
但是你是否想过,计时源于哪里?
But did you ever wonder – where did telling time come from?
什么是时间为什么这么重要
Why does it matter what time it is?
谁决定了时钟的时间
Who determined the clock
为什么地球上有这么多时区?
and why in the world are there so many different time zones?
第一个计时器是日晷

The first form of telling time was the sundial
我们所知道的最早的日晷来自考古学记录
and the earliest sundials known from the archaeological record
记录在方尖碑上,早在5000年前。
are obelisks from nearly 5,000 years ago.
日晷用太阳的投影来表示时间
Sundials indicate the time by casting a shadow
投影在表面上
onto a surface.
这物体是一根棍立在中央像一根指针,投射出影子。
The object that casts the shadow is a stick in the center known as a gnomon.
一个精密构造的日晷可以卓越准确的度量时间
A well-constructed sundial can measure time with remarkable accuracy,
日晷曾经被用于检测钟表的性能直到现代。
and sundials were used to monitor the performance of clocks until the modern era.
但是日晷也有它的局限性
But sundials have their limitations too.
显然它需要有阳光,
Obviously they require the sun to shine,
所以它到了夜晚天黑的时候就不能工作了
so they don’t work at all during the night when it’s dark.
在过去的年代里,很多设备曾经被用来估测过去的时间
Many different devices have been used over the years to estimate the passage of time:
用蜡烛和烧香看烧完的速度来估测时间
candles and sticks of incense that burn down at fairly predictable speeds
也曾用过沙漏。
have been used, along with the hourglass.
沙漏的器皿内要装优质的细沙
Hourglasses are devices in which fine sand
沙子用恒定的速率从一个细小的洞中流下
pours through a tiny hole at a constant rate
来表明预设的一段时间。
and indicates a predetermined passage of an arbitrary period of time.
最初期的沙漏是靠不住的
The origin of the hourglass is uncertain,
尽管十四世纪开始沙漏就已经普遍的被使用了
although beginning in the 14th century, the hourglass was used commonly,
尤其是在出海的船上
especially on board ships.
船在大海上的移动并不影响沙漏的计时效果
The motion of the boat on the water did not affect the hourglass,
不像其它时间测量设备。
unlike other time-measuring devices.
机械钟在十三世纪被发明
The mechanical clock was invented in the 13th century
这在传统方式计时上发生了一个非常大的改变
which sparked a big change in traditional timekeeping methods.
这个现代的钟依靠摆动的钟摆
This modern clock relied on the swing of a pendulum
或者依靠石英结晶的震动,这比沙子精确多了,
or the vibration of a quartz crystal, which was far more accurate than sand
比蜡烛也是。
or candles.
今天,科学计时的基本原则
Today, the basis for scientific time
是持续用秒来计数
is a continuous count of seconds
以原子为基础的钟表遍布全世界,被认为是国际的原子计时
based on atomic clocks all around the world, known as the international atomic time.
我们持续关注时间有何用呢?
Why does it matter that we keep track of time?
好吧,时间控制着我们的日常生活
Well, time regulates our daily lives
使时间精确的传达给人们
and makes it possible to accurately communicate with people
传达给全世界
all over the world.
没有时间系统,我们面临更多挑战在农耕上
Without a time system, we would have many challenges in farming,
社会结构,交流,和贸易。
social structures, communication, and business.
举一下美国铁路系统作为例子
Take the American railroad system, for example.
在十九世纪中期,每个铁路公司用他们自己的时间标准
In the mid-19th century, each railroad used its own standard time
一般按着总部提供的本地时间,
generally based on the local time of its headquarters,
铁路公司的列车时刻表发行也用他们自己的时间。
and the railroad’s train schedules were published using its own time.
一些主要的铁路公司相互连接。
Some major railroad junctions
为几个不同的铁路公司提供服务
served by several different railroads
每个铁路公司分开的计时,每个显示不同的时间。
had a separate clock for each railroad, each showing a different time.
纽约和波士顿之间的间隔大约是两分或者八分钟,
The distance between New York and Boston is about 2 degrees, or 8 minutes,
这就点不同可能使你错过列车。
which can be the difference between making or missing your train connection.
如果纽约和波士顿之间的差异
If the difference between New York and Boston
是八分钟,想象一下
is 8 minutes, imagine the difference
波士顿和澳大利亚之间的差异。
between Boston and Australia.
时区的使用消除了这些差异
The use of time zones irons out these differences
使沟通变得顺畅。
and makes communication significantly smoother.
一个时区是在地球上的一定范围。
A time zone is a region on earth
统一了标准时间。
that has a uniform standard time.
陆地上有四十个时区
There are 40 time zones on land
因为最早和最迟的时区
because the earliest and latest time zones
相距26小时
are 26 hours apart.
日历上的日期存在相同的情况
Any given calendar date exists at some point
全球有50个小时。
on the globe for 50 hours.
所以下次有人问你
So the next time someone asks you
时间是什么?
"What time is it?"
你的回答可能比之前复杂太多。
Your answer may be a whole lot more complicated than it used to be.

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