Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Variously Granulated Differently Frictioned Time Telling Through Diversely Sized Holes

A timepiece that operates with differently granulated differently frictioned materials passing through differently sized holes.
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If you cut a corner of a plastic bag of sugar and pour the sugar out through it into another receptacle, it will go slower, or faster, according to how wide your hole is, but also according to what sort of sugar it is. White refined granulated sugar will just rush out, but the very light brown raw cane sugar slows itself down due to a degree of friction - grains sticking to each other, and presenting a larger mass than the hole affords easy passage through. A darker stickier sugar can clog a small hole entirely, almost. Maybe a few grains a day.

It occurred to me that a typical hourglass is a bit one- dimensional. We could have many and varied plethora of myriad materials, and hole sizes, to create a timing machine that can pour, trickle and drip in a fairly controlled manner. Some materials with small granularity, some with larger. Some with almost frictionless characteristics, some with quite sticky character. Some light, some heavy, some pink, some green.

Ian Tindale, Aug 31 2010

"After That, This." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395829/
Amusing [8th of 7, Aug 31 2010]


       Like an egg-timer filled with eggs ?   

8th of 7, Aug 31 2010

       Ideally this device would be tuned to your subjective perception of time, perhaps based on a continuous monitoring of endorphins and adrenaline and other substances in your bloodstream. So, it is well-known that when you are under extreme stress, such as when having a heart attack, or when having a serious car accident, that time appears to slow down. This hourglass would compensate for this perceived slowing of time by using a smooth, quick-flowing, fine-grained powder, to make it look like time is passing at a normal speed. Equally, when time is passing too quickly, such as in the last half-hour of a really important exam, the hourglass would switch to the sluggish, sticky powder.
Of course hourglasses on spaceships will have to be equipped with a range of hourglass powders of different speeds to counteract time dilation effects when travelling at near-light speeds.
hippo, Aug 31 2010

       just so long as you don't rely on it to measure time.
WcW, Aug 31 2010

       //hourglasses on spaceships// have more problems than just time dilation, I fear
pocmloc, Aug 31 2010

       So is this why we haven't heard from Beanie for a while? He's spending his time developing titles for [Ian]'s ideas?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 31 2010

       Nice idea, a complete bugger to calibrate!
gnomethang, Aug 31 2010

       It’d be interesting to simulate a sort of “digital clock” by having six hourglass tubes: tens of hours; hours; tens of minutes; minutes; tens of seconds; seconds, where each tube is the same size — only the hole size and the friction/stickiness of the contents differ. Behind the glass would be parallel horizontal lines with the markings for the units. It’d be even more rustic than nixie displays.
Ian Tindale, Aug 31 2010


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