Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
Go to the Fire Alarm Home Page of Douglas Krantz -- Describing How It Works
Go to the Fire Alarm Operation Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the General Electrical Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Description Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Installing Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Maintaining Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Alarm Testing Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Fire Suppression Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Science Article Map Page of Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer
Go to the Writer Home Page of Douglas Krantz -- Describing How It Works


Time as we know it is not time as others know it. For us time is going faster than for others and time is going slower than for others.
Time for us is going at a certain speed, and for others it is going faster or slower than time for us.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

Time - It's Not What It Seems

By Douglas Krantz

Imagine that you're in a tall office building in a large city, overlooking a street. There aren't any cars, but below, it's crowded.

People are moving around. Some seem to be walking normal speed, some seem to be walking moderately slow, some seem to be really slow, and some seem to be still as statues.

But look a little more closely at all the walkers. It's not that people are walking fast or slow, or even stopped, they're all actually walking normal, but most of them are walking in slow motion.

Even the statues, moving so slowly that you can't see any movement, if sped them up using slow motion photography, would be walking normally. It's just the way the statues are now, pigeons are roosting on them.

Slow Motion

But wait. You're seeing the people down on the street from an overview; each person on the street sees the world differently.
  • From the point of view of the fast walkers, everyone else looks to be in slow motion.
  • From the point of view of the moderate speed walkers, a lot of people are walking slow, but some people are walking faster than normal.
  • From the point of view of the really slow speed walkers, the really fast walkers are just a blur - almost too fast to see, the moderate walkers are really fast, but some of the statues are just really slow.
  • To the really slow walkers, almost all of the statues can be seen to be slowly moving, but some of the statues are moving faster than others.

Now we look at the point of view of the statues.
  • The fast statues see some flashes of the really slow walkers, and they don't see the fast walkers at all.
  • The slow statues (none of them are actually stopped, they're just really really slow) see the fast statues as streaks. For them, there's no one else on the street.

Each person walking on the street thinks they're walking at a normal speed, but in comparison to them, everyone else seems to be moving fast or slow.

The Perception of Time is Relative

All of these people on the street are seeing time as relative to them. They're looking at everyone else and comparing the others to how fast they, themselves, are moving.

However, no one can see themselves from your overview position. You, on the other hand, are seeing an overview. You are seeing all of them on the street from the real speed: the real time.

Was this
Yes   No

Theory of Relativity

Getting back to reality though, real time exists but we can't know how fast real time is going: we have no reference, we're on the street, we can only guess.

Einstein, when explaining the Theory of Relativity, was trying to explain that time, as we see it, is time from the street view. Time from an overview, time that we cannot actually see, is still there.


Douglas Krantz

Describing How It Works

View Douglas Krantz's profile on LinkedIn


Readers Questions

Short Circuit
Free Subscription
I'll Send You the
Fire Alarm

Get Short Circuit


How Does Class A Fire Alarm Wiring Work?-- Fire alarm systems save lives and protect property. Fire alarm systems also break down because... Read More

Just What Is a Signaling Line Circuit (SLC)? -- The SLC (Signaling Line Circuit) is another way of saying Data and Power Circuit. Along with added power to run the sub-computers and their input and output circuits, it's a computer data-buss ... Read More

How is a Buffer Relay Wired Into a Door Holder Circuit? -- Like a door stop, a door holder keeps a fire door open. When smoke is detected, the door holder releases, allowing the door to shut. The door holder looks simple and innocuous enough... Read More

How Does One Find a Soft Ground Fault? -- Normally, we think of resistance like that of a resistor. The amount of resistance is built-in; no matter what voltage is used to drive the electrical... Read More

Can a Magnet Really be Used to Test a Smoke Detector? -- Smoke detectors usually have two ways of being tested. Smoke (smoke particles in the air, or some sort of canned smoke), and magnets (the activation of an internal magnetic... Read More

Electrical Flow

On this website, most references to electrical flow are to the movement of electrons.

Here, electron movement is generally used because it is the electrons that are actually moving. To explain the effects of magnetic forces, the movement of electrons is best.

Conventional current flow, positive charges that appear to be moving in the circuit, will be specified when it is used. The positive electrical forces are not actually moving -- as the electrons are coming and going on an atom, the electrical forces are just loosing or gaining strength. The forces appear to be moving from one atom to the next, but the percieved movement is actually just a result of electron movement. This perceived movement is traveling at a consistent speed, usually around two-thirds the speed of light. To explain the effects of electrostatic forces, the movement of positive charges (conventional current) is best.

See the explanation on which way electricity flows at