Print 68 comment(s) - last by masher2.. on Aug 3 at 12:37 PM

Redefining time

According to reports published in the Physical Review Letter, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) published a paper indicating that it had discovered a new type of atomic clock based on mercury-ion. The report said that the new atomic clock is so accurate it's nearly 6 times more precise than the current cesium-based atomic clock.

The report said that the NIST currently operates a cesium-based atomic clock called the NIST-F1, which is accurate for roughly 70 million years. If operated continuously, the NIST-F1 would only be off by 1 second after 70 million years. The new mercury-ion atomic clock on the other hand will take 400 million years.

The new experimental clock measures the atomic resonance frequency of a mercury atom. The atom itself is electrically charged and kept in an extremely cold suspension. Using the new mercury-ion atomic clock, scientists at the NIST say that they will be able to conduct more precise experiments and further develop applications that rely on atomic-time accuracy such as GPS systems. Currently, the international standard that defines what one second is relies on cesium-based atomic clocks -- 9,192,631,770 radiation cycles of the change between two energy levels of a cesium atom. The NIST says that it will be five to ten years before we see mercury-ion clocks replace cesium ones.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: .
By rklaver on 8/1/2006 11:22:02 AM , Rating: 3
drink cleaner water, and breathe cleaner air.

Are we living on the same planet? :-)

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/06, Rating: 0
RE: .
By GhandiInstinct on 8/1/2006 12:13:36 PM , Rating: 5
Optimistic to say the least masher.

We are at a time now where we have the capability of finsihing each other off faster than ever before.

We don't need to wait until any point in population growth, where World War 2 lasted 6 years any potential conflict of mass puportions will end swiftly and catastrophicaly.

Screw dirty water we have dirty bombs.

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/2006 12:30:42 PM , Rating: 1
> "We are at a time now where we have the capability of finsihing each other off faster than ever before..."

Oops, incorrect. We hit that peak shortly before SALT I, in the early 1970s. Nuclear stockpiles have been decreasing ever since then.

Perhaps in the future we'll be back at the point of total global destruction at the touch of a button-- but we're not there now.

RE: .
By GhandiInstinct on 8/1/2006 12:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
Let me enlighten you my friend since you have been kind enough to attempt the same:

Countries with Nuclear Warheads as of 2004

United States





United Kingdom



North Korea


Surely 20,168 Nukes raining across Earth isn't enough to do anything ^_^

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/2006 12:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
> "Let me enlighten you my friend "

Nuclear proliferation is a subject I've studied extensively since my days in graduate school. Here's a chart of US nuclear stockpiles over the years. As you see, its been well over 30,000 weapons in the 1960s, down to less than a third of that today. Same for the Soviet Union.

The figures fail to show the status of those warheads as well. In the 1960s, the majority were not only active, but pretargeted and ready to launch on a moment's notice. Today, the vast majority of our arsenal is in essentially in a "warm standby" mode.

In the past 40 years, the number of nuclear-capable nations has increased. That certainly increases the risk of a small nuclear exchange, but the risk of "destroying ourselves" as you put it, has declined dramatically over the years.

RE: .
By Griswold on 8/1/2006 12:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
What does nuclear stockpiles have to do with it? There are still more than enough nuclear weapons around and ready to be used to lay waste to the human race.

If you're a frequent reader of the bulletin of atomic scientists, you will also know that the threat of such a holocaust is steadily increasing since the end of the 90's, after its all-time low in the early 90's - and that is not just because the doomsdayclock says so.

I know you like links, so here is one for you:

RE: .
By kitchme on 8/1/2006 1:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if that's an atomic clock displaying minutes till midnight.

RE: .
By AndreasM on 8/1/2006 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Similar doom-and-gloom predictions have been made at regular intervals in the centuries since then. So far they've always been proven wrong. But people still love to believe them.

Or maybe because people believe in them, they take the necessary steps to avoid such a future?

RE: .
By rushfan2006 on 8/1/2006 12:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
I meant to say in 200 years I'll be gone so will my children and my children's children too.....;)

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/2006 12:28:23 PM , Rating: 1
> "Or maybe because people believe in them, they take the necessary steps to avoid such a future?"

An excellent reply...but one that's quite wrong. When Malthus predicted world starvation in the 1700s-- we kept having babies faster than ever. Same in the 1960s, when movies like "Soylent Green" predicted we'd soon have nothing to eat but plankton.

Also in the 60s, it was popular to predict upcoming shortages of metals and other natural resources...all of which are more abundant today. And none of which did we cut back our usage of.

In the 1970s, it was popular to claim we had "30 years of oil left". Period. Now its 30 years later, and our oil reserves are larger than they were then. That's despite our using oil at an ever-increasing pace.

Doomsaying is popular, period. People love a crisis...even an artificial one.

RE: .
By rushnrockt on 8/1/2006 4:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the reply is quite on the ball and you yourself gave support for it. For everything, from food to minerals, that we were supposed to run out of, there were DRASTIC improvement in locating and making of. A simple example is corn, the yield per acre has been increasing for years and still is, despite the supposed "biological" limitations. And it is safe to say that the economics (i.e. need) are the main factor for finding new/better ways of producing more food and other essential materials.

RE: .
By xsilver on 8/1/2006 10:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
just to point out something obvious
If you're told that the wold is about to end, what are you going to do????


RE: .
By epsilonparadox on 8/3/2006 12:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Soylent Green is people? ;)

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/3/2006 12:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
> "I thought Soylent Green is people?"

No, it was a plankton-based food substitute.

RE: .
By Shoal07 on 8/1/2006 12:17:10 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks masher2. I always enjoy your comments and how you can prove what you say when challenged. I actually cited you in a very similar debate I was having with several classmates. Its nice to see other educated people who don't buy into the theory that we should flush money down the toilet "just incase" people like Al Gore are correct (even if still unproven).

I also just cited a Newsweek article from 1975 talking about "Global Cooling" and how if we didn't put soot on the ice caps to melt them and divert artic rivers now we would all freeze to death. Imagine if we'd taken steps back then to advert global cooling, we'd all be on ocean front property (or under it).

RE: .
By TomZ on 8/1/06, Rating: 0
RE: .
By Ard on 8/1/2006 2:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, I forgot, global warming isn't real. I guess all that ice is just melting as a normal course of things. Please, you sound worse than our idiot President.

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/2006 2:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
> "That's right, I forgot, global warming isn't real"

Global warming is real. What's not real is the belief that its an impending crisis caused by humanity.

It's not clear how much of the warming, if any, is due to human activity, nor how long the warming will continue, nor whether or not the overall effect will be beneficial or harmful. The earth warms and cools constantly...its been much hotter and much cooler than now in the past, and will be so in the future. With or without our help.

RE: .
By ceefka on 8/2/2006 7:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
Recently global dimming is also becoming an issue.

This definately has to do with burning fuels. It means less of the sunlight is getting through because particles stay in the atmosphere, in the cloulds. They act like a giant filter.

While oil reserves may be bigger than they used to be, that isn't a good thing, really. I'd be happier if they were smaller, so that we'd all be forced to use it wisely and think about alternative, read more enviromental friendly, energy.

RE: .
By masher2 on 8/2/2006 7:53:25 AM , Rating: 2
> "Recently global dimming is also becoming an issue. "

Oops, the most recent research has shown just the opposite-- that the "dimming trend" first observed has since reversed:

Newly available surface observations from 1990 to the present, primarily from the Northern Hemisphere, show that the dimming did not persist into the 1990s. Instead, a widespread brightening has been observed since the late 1980s...

> "I'd be happier if [oil reserves] were smaller...

As would most rabid eco-guerillas. However, cheap abundant energy is the single most critical factor affecting standard of living. I realize many environmentalists would be happier with us living in a stone-age culture (or so they think, at least), but the rest of us prefer progress forward, not backwards.

RE: .
By Ringold on 8/1/2006 3:14:31 PM , Rating: 3
There are boatloads of studies from universities around the globe supporting the global warming trend or theory, more every day..

..but on the other hand, I think there's a little too much worrying, and ten times too much worrying for a thread about an ATOMIC CLOCK.

Global cooling: dump greenhouse gas in to the atmosphere.
Global warming: New study out the other day sez: dump sulfur in to the stratosphere, where even small amounts would stay for up to 2 years and reflect huge amounts of heat back out to space. There's been two or three other plans I've read up on and they're all sensible and relatively cheap. Yeah, billions of dollars, but thats all of about two seconds of imperial misadventure in Iraq, out of a global economy of trillions and trillions, so it's nothing. A small maintenance fee for survival.

Mass extinction is a larger problem it seems to me, along with clean water (at least here in Florida), but both have simple solutions at different price levels.. Water desalination, genetically engineer creatures that, eh, eat sewage and taste like prime-rib and exhales oxygen. No matter what we get ourselves in to, we'll be willing to pay our way out, and there will be people willing to take our money to get us out.

400 million years from now, some species that hails from our heritage but looks nothing like us will still be here, and they'll be a million other places, and still capitalistic as ever. :)

No thanks to fear-mongering, though.

RE: .
By Xenoterranos on 8/1/2006 1:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
The beer thing was primarily only in England, and that's because they boiled the water to make the beer. The rest of those problems, although endemic to cities, could be avoided by becoming a hermit and pissing in a well maintained trench. If anything needs to be pointed out, I think it's that today, one would be hard-pressed to find a spot one could live and be a hermit.

RE: .
By TomZ on 8/1/06, Rating: 0
RE: .
By masher2 on 8/1/2006 1:17:51 PM , Rating: 3
> "If anything needs to be pointed out, I think it's that today, one would be hard-pressed to find a spot one could live and be a hermit."

Take a flight over the continental US and say that. There are still tens of millions of acres virtually empty. Nations like Canada and Russia are far more sparse than the US.

The belief in a world so crowded people will be forced elbow to elbow is held only by people who spend most of theirlives within 100 meters of a road.

RE: .
By kattanna on 8/1/2006 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
The belief in a world so crowded people will be forced elbow to elbow is held only by people who spend most of theirlives within 100 meters of a road. someone who spent a year and a half hitchicking all around north america i can tell you there is a LOT of wide open space.

RE: .
By kitchme on 8/1/2006 1:30:21 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they just liked a good pint of beer. Why didn't they just boil water, and then drink it?

RE: .
By Ringold on 8/1/2006 3:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they just liked a good pint of beer. Why didn't they just boil water, and then drink it?

And pass up a chance to drink beer?

More seriously though, didn't beer at the time have a ton more in it than just alcohol, like our beers today? It was my perception they weren't just a drink but actually practically a meal replacement. I could be wrong, though. Probably am.

Beer only drank in England back in the day...
By blckgrffn on 8/1/2006 11:53:07 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, the beer thing was across the Europe and the world, basically wherever a bunch of people lived close together.

The alcohol killed the nasty crap and the calories and vitamins provided by beer sustained many, it was referred to as "liquid bread".

Beer is considered by many to be the cornerstone of civilization, as it allowed people to live in concentrated city without a pure water source. Also, there is discussion as to weather agriculture was advanced through the need for food or rather for beer ingredients to keep making safe drinking possible.

Yay for beer!

RE: Beer only drank in England back in the day...
By TomZ on 8/2/06, Rating: 0
RE: Beer only drank in England back in the day...
By masher2 on 8/2/2006 9:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
> "I would just like to point out that the sterilization effect in beer is due to boiling during preparation. "

I've read the antiseptic properties were due more to the natural acidity of beer, as opposed to the alchoholic content.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki