Accurate Internal Clock

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stolid
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Accurate Internal Clock

Postby stolid » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:34 am UTC

I was wondering if it was possible to train yourself to keep track of time. I realize we already do this, but few of us can actually say its ##:## and be off by a minute at most. I thought I'd get some input before wasting my time on such an idea.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby |Erasmus| » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:58 am UTC

certainly not to that kind of accuracy, but I usually manage to know roughly what the time is, without having to regularly look at a clock.

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Xutar
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Xutar » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:00 am UTC

I once spent a week in my basement (for funsies) and just slept and ate when I wanted. I tried to guess the time when I came out.
I guessed 3:30pm.
It was dark out....
I don't think it's possible, you'd have to spend every second of you're day counting. not fun (unless you're Hanners from QC)

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby PhatPhungus » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:20 am UTC

I got pretty good at it when I was backpacking, I was usually less than 45 minutes off, and I was getting better. Check the time and look at your surroundings often (surroundings is most important), and try to guess the time, then see how much you were off by.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Whelan » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:00 am UTC

I used to impress people by looking at the sun and guessing to within 5 minutes. This was back when I was <10 so it was impressive to my peers at least.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Lord Aurora » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:11 am UTC

Xutar wrote:I don't think it's possible, you'd have to spend every second of you're day counting. not fun (unless you're Hanners from QC)
I would argue that that's exactly what Hanners does.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby smw543 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Xutar wrote:I once spent a week in my basement (for funsies) and just slept and ate when I wanted. I tried to guess the time when I came out.
I guessed 3:30pm.
It was dark out....
I seem to recall an experiment from somewhere in Europe where they locked a woman in an underground room (with her consent, of course) for several weeks. After only a few days, she had absolutely no idea what time it was. Not longer after, she stopped menstruating, and, IIRC, she started going crazy.

As for looking at the sun and calculating, that wouldn't really "count" in terms of what the OP was asking about. While it's partially based on the sun (as per the above experiment, circadian rhythm, etc.), the body's internal clock is essentially instinctual. However, there are some ways to improve it, including a regular sleep schedule (ridiculous notion, I know) and practice (every once in a while, guess what time it is, and see how close you were; I used to do this and it definitely made me more accurate.)
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Sp00n » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:03 am UTC

Ummm.

At the risk of sounding pretentious, I can generally tell what the time is within 5 minutes.

That said, I usually need a point of reference; "I left home at 2:30, which means it is about 3:15 now".
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Schmut » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:11 am UTC

I tend to be pretty good at guessing the time. Though, when I'm accurate, it generally hasn't been any more than three or four hours since I last checked a clock. And now that I'm awake at... (guesses 7:45) 8:02am, having not slept, it happens to be the case that I'm much less accurate. But sleep deprivation is one thing that throws my sense of time way off. I only guessed so close to eight 'cause it started got light out not too long ago. Last night, I thought it must only be 10pm before checking my clock and finding it was just after midnight. Another thing that throws off perception of time is activity. Particularly if it's one of those things that makes "time fly".

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby PhatPhungus » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:24 pm UTC

smw543: I wasn't talking about looking at the sun and "calculating". More just look at the sun, and something tells me "oh, it's 3:30". Then I check, and it's 3:40.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Kyran » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:25 pm UTC

I find people that do loads of cooking (I have lots of chef friends), are much better with their internal sense of time than others. 90% of the time I know within 5 minutes, if not more accurate. Every once in awhile, if I was seriously distracted, I'll be waaaay off. It's usually when I'm walking alone and thinking for the heck of it, or doing some sort of sport,etc; that I lose track of time. I do think it's possible to be accurate within a minute or two all the time with training, but what an odd thing to train for.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Mous » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:40 am UTC

My internal clock works once a day, waking me up exactly 17 minutes before my alarm clock goes off without fail. Which is, as it turns out, just long enough to be really fucking annoying.

But I have a horrible sense of time. Sometimes I think five minutes is an hour, sometimes I think a week is a day. I have to look at a clock every couple minutes so I don't lose all sense of reality.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Gojoe » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:44 am UTC

When I am NOT at work, my clock is VERY accurate, to within 5 min usually. In saying that, when daylight savings changes... It throws me so so so hard.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby the_stabbage » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:15 am UTC

When I used to wake up every day at 6 a.m. and set an alarm clock for that time, I'd start to have dreams where I had to wake up really soon, then I'd wake up, and it'd be 5:58. Friggin weirded me out.

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Subliminity » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:22 am UTC

...I don't want to sound like I'm lying, but...I can ALWAYS guess the time within 2 minutes. I SWEAR.

(13 years old)

Do younger people have a better internal clock?

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Chuff » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:24 am UTC

Subliminity wrote:...I don't want to sound like I'm lying, but...I can ALWAYS guess the time within 2 minutes. I SWEAR.

(13 years old)

Do younger people have a better internal clock?

Mine has gotten better as I've grown older. Not that I'm old, but it was worse when i was 10 than now, at 15.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Whelan » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

Well perception of time changes as you age, so that might have something to do with it.
Anyone else remember how damn long your first summer holiday was, and how quick the last one zipped past?
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:54 pm UTC

Whelan wrote:Well perception of time changes as you age, so that might have something to do with it.
Anyone else remember how damn long your first summer holiday was, and how quick the last one zipped past?
It seems like I've only been out of highschool for.. I don't know.. 4, 5 years maybe....

...

I graduated in '98.

Every damn year goes by faster and faster.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby postinonthenets » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:21 pm UTC

I've got a create internal clock when it comes to waking up. I rarely need an alarm to wake up, as long as I've had a decent amount of sleep.

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby seladore » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:29 pm UTC

Dragging this from memory, but I think I read somewhere that our internal body clock cycle is about 23 hours long. People kept in isolation without signs of day/night tend to eat and sleep on this 23 hour cycle. So, we use external clues to keep us continuously adjusted for the 24 hour cycle.

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Whelan » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:41 pm UTC

Odd, I heard 25 hours.
Although I heard this from someone who was trying to use it as evidence that we were Not of This Planet. So, whatever.
Although, due to gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, it's thought that days were 23 hours when Dinosaurs roamed about, so our evolutionary ancestors might have been genetically predisposed to days of that length.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

I think it's very easy to set your clock to something observable and constant around you, and keep that rhythm for a little while. For example, I went on a 3 weekish kayaking trip and was waking up every morning at 4am for a weather check. During this time I could tell time from the stars and without prompting could wake myself up at 4am. For about a week after the trip, I would wake up every morning at 355 or so, regardless of when I went to bed.

Now, because I work a 9-5, no matter what time I goto sleep, I will always wake up at around 8. On weekends I'll get up and get a drink or something, and go back to bed.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby nightlina » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC

I like my body clock.. kinda..

Mine is perfectly set up with the microwave. If I set something to cook for 1 minute (or however long), I can turn around and do something else and then turn back to the microwave in time to press the button just as it ticks down to '1'.

Also this past week my boyfriend has just started night shifts. The first night he finished at 2am, so my body woke me up spot on 2:30am so I could call him. Then the next shift he finished at 4am - my body woke me up at 4:30 am.

Last night it got completely confuzzled, though - I went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 12:30am fully thinking it was closer to 7am..... I was wide awake and all. Randoms :P
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby SOSkanesumi ARK » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:33 am UTC

yeah, its kinda like that with me and school, i usually stay up until roughly 3 am, sleep, then wake up at 8:50-10:10 am, say screw my morning classes, and sleep until 11:30, then go to school. in retrospect, its not a good habit, nor anything to be proud of...
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby psychosomaticism » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:45 am UTC

Zeitgebers!
Things like the sun's position that gives us a biological understanding of the time.
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Hypothalamic nucleus that runs rhythmic functions of the body, I've heard that it acts on the assembling and breakdown timing of chemicals, though don't quote me on it.

In general, I guess the best way to tell time is light, with other cues like hunger and tiredness, though the latter of these could be reasoned to be a cause of time passing, or triggered by perception of time passing, or none of the above.

I guess in terms of savantism, one could be able to tell exact time; however, I wouldn't want the adverse effects of it at the same time.

In further discussion, what about time outside of the day cycle? Without cues, could you tell what day of the week, or month, or even what year? See: Infradian Cycle.

Then again, in the words of some show that used to be on, ""Day" is a vestigial mode of time measurement, based on solar cycles. It's not applicable."

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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:30 am UTC

Another point I've absorbed, which I'm not sure about, is that blue light makes the brain think it's day time, and cues wakefulness. Most computer monitors blast varieties of blue light at your face, which explains feeling awake while sitting at your desk late at night.

I make a point of staring at blue sky to try and wake up, it seems to work. But I qualified for a study a few years ago when a survey and interview demonstrated that I, like many, many others our age, am a 'night owl', or experience increased wakefulness after hours, and have a harder time waking up in the morning.

But hey, like that xkcd comic, if I was left to my own devices, my 31.6 hour day would eventually make me go nuts.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby mrbaggins » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:08 pm UTC

I, without fail, wake up 24 seconds before my alarm goes off each morning. If I change my alarm for whatever reason, I'll wake up 24 seconds before that time too. (IE: It's usually set to 730, but it's not just habit, as it works when I set it for other times for special days or weekends)

Why 24 seconds? I'm guessing because my watch is 24 seconds faster than my alarm clock, and my watch is the last one I see before going to sleep.
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Re: Accurate Internal Clock

Postby Delass » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:43 am UTC

Ok, this is kinda weird. Last night I had a dream that i looked at a clock, and the dream clock said 12:30. I woke up instantly, because I had to be somewhere at 12:30, checked the real clock, and it was 8:30. So I went back to sleep, and before I woke up again, I had the same dream, only the dream clock said 2:30, and when I woke up it was now 10:30. I guess its weird that I dreamed about a clock, but its really weird that the dream clock was keeping consistent time, just 4 hours off.


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