Slow Motion

Two days ago, I men­tioned how the event of slip­ping while car­ry­ing the buck­et of sauce took place in “slow motion”. I assume most have expe­ri­enced this phe­nom­e­non, but for any­one who has not…

Some­times in a moment of “cri­sis” events seem to take place very slow­ly in rela­tion to one’s thought process. The result is that in what is a frac­tion of a sec­ond, one can ana­lyze what is hap­pen­ing, go through a hand­ful of pos­si­ble respons­es, choose one, and still react quick­ly (not move quick­ly, just react quickly).

I have a the­o­ry on how this hap­pens and it has to do with yes­ter­day’s top­ic, con­scious­ness.

Nor­mal­ly, the con­scious mind has some­what lim­it­ed access to the sub­con­scious. Yes, infor­ma­tion read­i­ly moves from the uncon­scious to the con­scious, but the con­scious mind plays the pas­sive role of accept­ing the info with out hav­ing any role in its pro­duc­tion or any insight into how it is produced.

But some­times, in a “cri­sis” sit­u­a­tion, that rela­tion­ship changes and the con­scious mind is allowed access to the sub­con­scious work­ings. I sus­pect that the sub­con­scious process­es infor­ma­tion at a much faster rate than the con­scious mind can. When this faster pro­cess­ing is avail­able to the con­scious mind’s purview it seems like time moves more slow­ly than otherwise.

It is noth­ing more than “see­ing” the sen­so­ry infor­ma­tion processed at a much high­er rate of speed than the con­scious mind nor­mal­ly “sees”.

Tomor­row: déjà vu


Some cool videos of what hap­pens when a sphere falls into sand…

…from NPR’s Sci­ence Fri­day.

…from Dis­cov­er Mag­a­zine.

…from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go.

Below is my favorite:

This reminds me of when I worked for Domi­no’s Piz­za in Bloom­ing­ton, Indi­ana. I was a Man­ag­er Trainee (inden­tured ser­vent). One day we were set­ting up for open­ing and I was car­ry­ing buck­ets of sauce from the walk-in cool­er to the make line. A buck­et of sauce was maybe two gal­lons of sauce.

I walked out of the cool­er and slipped and fell. Every­thing hap­pened in slow motion. As I start­ed to fall my pri­ma­ry con­cern was to not spill the sauce. So I held on to the rim of the buck­et tight with both hands and tried to “catch” my fall with the upright buck­et. I was sur­pris­ing­ly suc­cess­ful at this and for a mil­lisec­ond I thought all was going to be well.

But then the sauce moved. It hol­lowed at the mid­dle and then gath­ered togeth­er and rose in a col­umn to the ceil­ing. There was very lit­tle left in the still upright and unmoved buck­et when all was said and done. The sauce was on the ceil­ing, the top of the cool­er, the table, the floor, and me.

It was worth it.

The above video’s also bring to mind one of my favorite sci­ence fic­tion reads from the six­ties:  A Fall of Moon­dust by Arthur C. Clarke in which a moon vehi­cle sinks into the fine dust of the moon’s surface.