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It's All Relative

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Both physicist Brian Greene and neurologist Oliver Sacks explain the very strange, very subjective nature of time.

The elasticity of experience is expressed by sound artist Ben Rubin in a piece he produced for The Next Big Thing. We include an excerpt on being in "the zone." His story features track stars: Shawn Crawford, Amy Acuff, Brendon Couts, Jason Pyrah, Derrek Atkins, Jon Drummond, and Larry Wade.

Comments [8]


Like Aaron, I was interested in learning more about these disorders and I can't seem to find the medical names are for each of them.

Apr. 20 2013 10:28 AM

Please pass this on to Dr. Sacks,

I'll share with you a more translatable way to speak of people "going at different speeds" from one another, and how we got to it.

My friend, and then roommate Ron is fast. Catlike, freak you out, actual ninjitsu fast. Not only that, but he has high perception skills and does "tricks" like carve plastic models while taking in all the details of what's on TV. We're film and sci-fi geeks. (Good enough to have made money. But that's another story.)

When the first season of LOST came out on DVD Ron got it and we all saw the episodes for the first time. This included an effect monster in it dubbed the black smoke. Ron said he saw images in it. We three roommates didn't see anything. After replaying it twice we didn't see anything but smoke FX. Not even in slow motion. Not for sure. Then he got the high-end player to loop the segment one frame at a time. A bear? A plane? A desk?... Indeed, there were grainy objects spinning trough the grey-black smoke tornado.

That was when Ron could get across what the world was like in his eyes. In a word- Framerate. He was seeing more frames per second than everyone. Most of us are VHS, he's DVD. More importantly, he was seeing- processing fast enough to time share his focus from what's in the center of his view, and thanks to the ninja practice (told you) accept input from every point peripherally. His framerate lets him "name that tune", sometimes in half a note. His frame rate lets him keep perfect time by thinking on how much time has passed, and catch the cup without spilling.

Think of reaction time as Framerate.

Nov. 17 2012 06:10 PM
ClareMac from Denver

AaronL from Cape Cod-

I think it's called Parkinsonism

Nov. 17 2011 01:05 AM
Martin Stirling from London, UK

I made a film inspired by this episode, loosely based on the story of Myron and Hester. You can see it it below:

Jan. 15 2011 07:34 AM
Cindy from Upstate New York

Yes, I was wondering about Myron's speech as well functioning normally though his perception of time was slowed down. Any explanation on that? Thanks.

Oct. 12 2010 08:44 AM
AaronL from Cape Cod

What are the medical names of the diseases involving Myron and Hester, respectively? Very interesting stuff. Would love to investigate more on the matter.

Also, the Eisntein link does not work.

Oct. 07 2010 03:38 PM

Fascinating! One thing I'd like to know: When Dr. Sacks is talking about his interaction with Myron, he makes no indication that Myron's speech was slowed. Certainly his speech wasn't slowed to the same degree as his physical movement, evidenced by his ability to converse. In contrast, Hester's speech was described as being so fast that it was impossible to even properly imitate it. If Myron is "absorbing and performing at drastically different tempos from the rest of humanity", why doesn't that affect his speech as well as his movement?

Sep. 27 2010 01:05 AM

I the link broken for "Play with Einstein's Theory of Relativity"? I can't get it to work.

Sep. 16 2010 01:51 AM

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