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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.

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RE: .
By TomZ on 8/1/2006 1:20:16 PM , Rating: 0
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.

LOL, I always think about predictions in the 1970's that we were about to enter another ice age whenever I hear about "global warming." IMO the only action to be taken today with respect to global warming is to fund further research to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Attempting to change human behavior and economic activity is clearly premature. Politicians like Al Gore in the US should be ashamed of themselves for beating the drum at this early point and turning this into a political issue.

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.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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