Day 59: Play Chopsticks on 'The Big Piano'
When children misbehave and are worried they may be caught, many times they look for the quickest and most direct solution to their misconduct. An 11-year-old boy puts a hole in his bedroom wall when roughhousing with a friend; he puts a poster over it. A eight-year-old girl ruins a newly-purchased dress; she hides the article of clothing and puts on something else. Many times, children seek...
Day 58: Learn to toss pizza dough
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate that it took 3 minutes and 10 seconds to toss and shape the pizza dough into a circular shape. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 57: Eat a rose
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 4 minutes and 7 seconds to eat only one pedal from a red rose. I definitely do not recommend doing this, by the way. It was definitely one of the worst tasting things I have ever put in my mouth. Just disgusting. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 56: Serenade a dying houseplant
A self-appointed herbalist and confidant in Berkley, California, once told me that it is imperative for my well-being and personal growth to “think of plants as friends”. “And I have many… friends that is,” he said, waving his hand across a shrub-filled third floor walkup - one which surely produces enough oxygen to support the entirety of San Francisco. “They’re here for us, so take advantage....
Day 55: Learn American Sign Language
The origins of sign language can be traced back to Latin Bibles of the 10th century, when illustrations of hand symbols and gestures were used to communicate the meanings of words. The recorded history of the language, however, was first seen in the 17th cenutry, when Juan Pablo Bonet, a Spanish priest, founded a school for the deaf and published the book “Reduction of Letters and Art for...
Day 54: Eat breakfast upside-down
I briefly attended magic school as a child, a truth I have been told by friends — but never admitted to strangers. My passion for the mystical trade was prompted by yearly elementary school field trips to the one and only museum in the world solely dedicated to Harry Houdini, conveniently located in my hometown. Harry Houdini emerged as my idol and, for at least one painfully...
Day 53: Give away a favorite possession
My one terrible vice: jackets. I own four pairs of jeans, six long-sleeve shirts, three pairs of dress pants - and eight jackets. It was autumn in Osaka, Japan, in 2005. Hidden in a sea of department store knickknacks and packages of carelessly stitched thermal underwear sat a dark-brown leather motorcycle jacket, to which which I would later refer only as “Sheryl”. I remember the...
Day 52: Tag a bathroom wall
As a kid, I was convinced that when I finally reached the age of 18, I would legally change my name to Daniel, after the leading role in 1984’s spellbinding action/adventure The Karate Kid. The classic car, the sensei and the crane kick - Daniel had everything, and I was sure that if I could just shed my unremarkable name, I’d quickly be graced with the life of a California samurai. In...
Day 51: Run down the up escalator
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe I got down the up escalator in 18 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 50: Embrace a stranger
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe the hug and interaction afterward lasted 19 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
49: Power a light with electromagnetic waves
I am reporting from the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference this week and have spent the past several days chasing down scientists and engineers doing fascinating research in fields like brain tissue imaging and robotic engineering. Check out a story I did yesterday on a robotic hummingbird that may one day be used by the US military for surveillance purposes. With...
Day 48: Make prank calls (to friends)
I’m reporting from the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference this week, so there will be no written posts for Thursday and Friday. In the meantime, check out an interesting piece on adaptive optics technology I filmed two interviews for yesterday. And although there may not be a written post today, I did have time to place a few prank calls for the...
Day 47: Write a thank you letter to a former...
I thanked a man driving a Cadillac yesterday for not hitting me with his car. I had been crossing a busy intersection in downtown Washington DC when the driver, making an abrupt turn around a corner, thomped on his breaks a meter away from my quivering kneecaps. “Oh, phew, thanks,” I said, hopping out of the way. The driver peered at me from behind a cloudy windshield for a few...
Day 46: Post urban trail markers
Pure was a baseball field-sized nightclub in the electric Sinsaibashi neighborhood of Osaka, Japan. Each Saturday evening in 2006, waves of Japanese 20-somethings, dressed in neon styles that have yet to surface in the American mainstream, crashed through unassuming sidewalk doors looking for equal parts fun and debauchery. The club was a hotbed for the strange and unusual and the aging lasers...
Day 45: Sculpt facial hair into a mustache
A friend and I recently spoke about Oliver Sack’s work, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinic Tales, which covers neurological disorders including visual agnosia — a condition characterized by the inability of the brain to recognize familiar objects or faces. During our conversation, I admitted to not immediately recognizing myself in the mirror on occasion in the...
Day 44: Wash hands in New York's East River
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe it took 3 minutes and 5 seconds to wash my hands in the New York City’s East River. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 43: Get a foot massage
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I believe the foot massage at Apple Spa in New York City’s Chinatown lasted 52 minutes. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 42: Ride the subway without touching the floor
New York City train facts If laid end to end, New York City subway tracks could reach Chicago, 840 miles away. The city’s trains ran a total of 344.5 million miles in 2009. With 486 subway stations, New York City Transit has only 35 fewer stations than the combined total of all other subway systems in the United States. The annual ridership of New York City’s subway system totals...
Day 41: Draw a window mural
The branches of six 80-foot-tall oak trees form an elaborate, web-like umbrella over the stucco carriage house where I was raised. Some of my earliest memories are of peering up at the indestructible mammoths from what seemed like light-years below. Their arms raised in celebration of the sun, the trees gently fanned the property in the summer, cradling and warming it in the colder months. And in...
Day 40: Undergo physical therapy
Components of every day items: Computer: a microprocessor, memory, drive controllers, a CPU, RAM, a power supply, hard drive, sound card, video card and a solid state drive, if you’re lucky. Video camera: an infrared autofocus mechanism; a charge-coupled device, made up of hundreds of thousands of photosites; beam splitter; viewfinder; filters; focusing lens; and a host of motors, to...
Day 39: Fill out a last will and testament
Testators are permitted by law to leave their money, possessions or other assets to individuals or organizations with any number of stipulations attached. Testators can force beneficiaries to meet unending objectives before cashing out in the name of the deceased. Many have taken advantage of these parameters before they have passed away, which has resulted in some rather unusual wills. ...
Day 38: Eat rice one kernel at a time
After getting lost in the unnerving bedlam that is college graduation, I awoke months later in Osaka, Japan, working for the country’s board of education. I was an employee of the JET Programme and found myself eating lunch each day in Japanese public school cafeterias, striking up conversations with adorable children who referred to me as Mooshu-sensei (Matthew teacher). At lunch, the students...
Day 37: Throw a paper airplane from atop a...
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate that the paper airplane, which struck a window and plummeted straight to the ground, flew for 11 seconds. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 36: Take a tour of a Greenpeace boat
Weekend post REMEMBERED TIME I estimate the tour of the Greenpeace boat, Arctic Sunrise, lasted 54 minutes. ACTUAL TIME How long did it take? Find out here. (The timer resets to 00:00:00 after one hour.) Why don’t videos or images of time appear on this site?
Day 35: Make a duct tape skirt
Duck tape, or duct tape, was developed in 1942 by Permacel, a former division of Johnson and Johnson. The cloth-and-plastic tape was originally invented to keep water out of US soldiers’ ammunition cases in World War II. Polycoat adhesives gave the tape its stickiness, while polythylene, a common plastic, allowed producers to coat the tape with a cloth backing, making it strong and...
Day 34: Confess to a priest
It was an early Sunday afternoon, three weeks before we were to be confirmed into the church. Conversations on scripture spun the white walls of the rectory classroom in circles. Outfitted in polo shirts and Sunday dresses, boys and girls in the room sat in a full circle, split into two distinct halves by gender. Street hockey sticks and soccer balls could be heard faintly slapping the parking...
Day 33: Eat 'sugar on snow'
It was Saturday night in the small borough of Throop, Pennsylvania, and scores of families sat arm to arm on worn, wooden bleachers, peering at a large dairy cow pacing uncomfortably across a football field. “Seventy-eight! Come on, buddy. Seventy-eight!” a man’s voice could be heard cutting through the evening’s humid air. It was 2001 and the night of the town’s annual cow flop, a local...
Day 32: Get an unexpected compression fracture to...
The Time Hack is an experiment at exploring how an individual’s perception of time changes during new experiences. But it may be interesting to note that emergencies also tend to elicit the same manner of perception shift. Following crisis situations, some report being able to recall the environments around them in an unusually lucid manner, also claiming to have experienced a slowness of...