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Re: Analog and Digital Clocks, Part 2
Posted By: Faux Pas, on host
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2001, at 06:42:27
In Reply To: Re: Analog and Digital Clocks, Part 2 posted by Don the Monkeyman on Wednesday, October 10, 2001, at 05:53:03:

> > I'm the opposite, that's for sure. I can look at an analog clock, and my mind instantly knows what time it is without having to really think about it. However, if I look at a digital clock, it takes my mind a split second longer to think of the numbers in the large scope of things.
> That sounds kind of familiar.
> > I take in the whole clock on one glance, rather than looking at each hand separately. Sometimes I do this so quickly that I have a mental image and knowledge of the time in relation to the rest of life, but some part of my brain doesn't finish thinking about the time. So, when I glance at my watch, someone sees me do it, and they ask me what time it is, I usually have to look down at my watch again. It's not that I forgot the time, or that I was having trouble thinking about the numbers, but I just hadn't put the time into a solid thought. (People usually give me a funny look when I have to look at my watch again.)
> That sounds VERY familiar.

I, too, find it much easier to tell time using an analog clock than a digital one. Sure, when your digital clock reads 10:37, you know it's 10:37. But if you're waiting for something at 11 o'clock, you've got to do math. Looking at an analog clock, I can see -- instantly -- how long it would be until 11 rolls around.

Perhaps it's because those of us who prefer analog clocks visualize time not only as temporal, but also a physical measurement (of degrees or radians): i.e., fifteen minutes from now is 90 degrees from now on the clock. Although that 90 degree thing isn't something I internally visualize when I view the clock, it's something innate, much the same way I don't visualize physical quarters when figuring the cost of a six-pack of soda in a vending machine.

I'm much the same way with speedometers. When you're accelerating in a car with an analog speedometer, you can see the rate of change in your speed on the dial. When I drove a car that only had a digital readout of the current speed, I could tell that I was going 43 mph at that exact second. I couldn't tell how fast I was accelerating or braking. (Without looking out the window, Grishny.) I hated that car.


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