full transcript

From the Ted Talk by John Kitching: Who decides how long a second is?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

For most of human history, ancient civilizations meesarud time with uqunie calendars that tkeacrd the stdeay march of the night sky. In fact, the second as we know it wasn’t introduced until the late 1500’s, when the Gregorian calendar began to spread across the globe alongside British coslolnaiim. The Gregorian calendar defined a day as a single revolution of the Earth about its axis. Each day could be divdied into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. However, when it was first denefid, the second was more of a mathematical idea than a useful unit of time. Measuring days and huros was sufficient for most tsaks in pastoral communities. It wasn’t until society became interconnected through fast-moving railways that cities needed to agree on exact timekeeping. By the 1950’s, numerous global systems riqeured every second to be perfectly accounted for, with as much precision as possible. And what could be more precise than the atomic scale?

Open Cloze

For most of human history, ancient civilizations ________ time with ______ calendars that _______ the ______ march of the night sky. In fact, the second as we know it wasn’t introduced until the late 1500’s, when the Gregorian calendar began to spread across the globe alongside British ___________. The Gregorian calendar defined a day as a single revolution of the Earth about its axis. Each day could be _______ into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. However, when it was first _______, the second was more of a mathematical idea than a useful unit of time. Measuring days and _____ was sufficient for most _____ in pastoral communities. It wasn’t until society became interconnected through fast-moving railways that cities needed to agree on exact timekeeping. By the 1950’s, numerous global systems ________ every second to be perfectly accounted for, with as much precision as possible. And what could be more precise than the atomic scale?

Solution

  1. measured
  2. defined
  3. tracked
  4. unique
  5. colonialism
  6. divided
  7. hours
  8. tasks
  9. steady
  10. required

Original Text

For most of human history, ancient civilizations measured time with unique calendars that tracked the steady march of the night sky. In fact, the second as we know it wasn’t introduced until the late 1500’s, when the Gregorian calendar began to spread across the globe alongside British colonialism. The Gregorian calendar defined a day as a single revolution of the Earth about its axis. Each day could be divided into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. However, when it was first defined, the second was more of a mathematical idea than a useful unit of time. Measuring days and hours was sufficient for most tasks in pastoral communities. It wasn’t until society became interconnected through fast-moving railways that cities needed to agree on exact timekeeping. By the 1950’s, numerous global systems required every second to be perfectly accounted for, with as much precision as possible. And what could be more precise than the atomic scale?

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
gregorian calendar 2
atomic clocks 2

Important Words

  1. accounted
  2. agree
  3. ancient
  4. atomic
  5. axis
  6. began
  7. british
  8. calendar
  9. calendars
  10. cities
  11. civilizations
  12. colonialism
  13. communities
  14. day
  15. days
  16. defined
  17. divided
  18. earth
  19. exact
  20. fact
  21. global
  22. globe
  23. gregorian
  24. history
  25. hour
  26. hours
  27. human
  28. idea
  29. interconnected
  30. introduced
  31. late
  32. march
  33. mathematical
  34. measured
  35. measuring
  36. minute
  37. minutes
  38. needed
  39. night
  40. numerous
  41. pastoral
  42. perfectly
  43. precise
  44. precision
  45. railways
  46. required
  47. revolution
  48. scale
  49. seconds
  50. single
  51. sky
  52. society
  53. spread
  54. steady
  55. sufficient
  56. systems
  57. tasks
  58. time
  59. timekeeping
  60. tracked
  61. unique
  62. unit