Saturday, December 14, 2013

So which is it? Early or fast?

We are having an interesting discussion at our house.  It centers around my alarm clock, but is probably not the sort of discussion you are thinking of.  But if you are, please tell me I'm not alone...

When every other clock in the house displays 9:30, the clock in my room shows 9:34.  When making note of this discrepancy I commented that our clock was early.  You would think I'd suggest that the Pope was Buddhist.

Apparently, the proper nomenclature is that the clock is fast.  But I don't think it is.  Day after day, week after week, when every other clock in the house displays 9:30, the one in my room shows 9:34.  If the clock was fast, it should say 9:42 by now.

Ergo, it is early.
No question, this is an 'early' clock

Think about it for just a minute.  The clock in my room reaches 9:30 four minutes early.  It doesn't get to  9:34 faster, just sooner.  To be fast, it would have to keep adding to its lead but since it keeps the same distance from normal time we know the clock works fine and does not run fast.

Now, the clock in the van shows 9:37 when the clock in my truck shows 9:30 but that's because my truck's clock is actually slow (I've lost three minutes this year) and may also be because the van goes faster than the truck.  But then, the speed of the van shouldn't impact the speed of the van's clock, and in thinking about it, I know that it actually doesn't since on numerous occasions, the van goes fast but arrives late while the clock remains early.

Am I being too precise?  I decided to ask Google.  Google was no help.  The only place I found that actually addressed the issue was Yahoo!Answers and they are notoriously untrustworthy and filled with profanity.  And disagreed with me.

1 comment:

  1. Your discussion is amusing, entertaining, and thought provoking. "Early" is used to denote "ahead of the expected time or the usual time." A train can arrive early, before it was scheduled to arrive. Hopefully, someone wanting to catch the early morning train won't miss it if it arrives early. If an alarm clock goes off early in the morning, that can be at the time it was set to sound, but before most other (normal) people get up for their alarm clocks. However, if you set the clock for 5:30 and the alarm sounds at 5:27, the alarm was early. In order for the clock itself to be early, it would have to arrive from some other location. My brother used to get up when his alarm sounded, then he would reset the alarm and put it next to my bed while I was still asleep. Usually the clock was set next to my bed around 6:30; but some days the clock arrived at my bedside early. If the clock is set for a time earlier than the actual time, the clock is fast. A clock is fast if it shows a time that is ahead of the actual time. Sometimes a clock gains time or loses time. That is an adjustment problem and has nothing to do with being early.