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Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception

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Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, plus original research, writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception and offers advice for how to better manage our own. Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does the clock in your head sometimes move at a different speed from the one on the Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, plus original research, writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception and offers advice for how to better manage our own. Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does the clock in your head sometimes move at a different speed from the one on the wall? Have you ever tried to spend a day without looking at a clock or checking your watch? It's almost impossible. Time rules our lives, but how much do we understand it? And is it possible to retrain our brains and improve our relationship with it? Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, and using original research on the way memory shapes our understanding of time, the acclaimed writer and BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception. Along the way, Claudia introduces us to an extraordinary array of characters willing to go to great length in the interests of research, including the French speleologist Michel Siffre, who spends two months in an ice cave in complete darkness. We meet one group of volunteers who steer themselves towards the edge of a stairwell, blindfolded, and another who are strapped into a harness and dropped off the edge of a building. Time Warped is an absorbing and interactive guide to one of the strongest, most inescapable forces in our lives, which ultimately teaches us how we can improve our own relationship with time. Claudia Hammond offers insight into how to manage our time more efficiently, speed time up and slow it down at will, plan for the future with more accuracy, and, ultimately, use the warping of time to our own advantage.


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Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, plus original research, writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception and offers advice for how to better manage our own. Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does the clock in your head sometimes move at a different speed from the one on the Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, plus original research, writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception and offers advice for how to better manage our own. Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does the clock in your head sometimes move at a different speed from the one on the wall? Have you ever tried to spend a day without looking at a clock or checking your watch? It's almost impossible. Time rules our lives, but how much do we understand it? And is it possible to retrain our brains and improve our relationship with it? Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, and using original research on the way memory shapes our understanding of time, the acclaimed writer and BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception. Along the way, Claudia introduces us to an extraordinary array of characters willing to go to great length in the interests of research, including the French speleologist Michel Siffre, who spends two months in an ice cave in complete darkness. We meet one group of volunteers who steer themselves towards the edge of a stairwell, blindfolded, and another who are strapped into a harness and dropped off the edge of a building. Time Warped is an absorbing and interactive guide to one of the strongest, most inescapable forces in our lives, which ultimately teaches us how we can improve our own relationship with time. Claudia Hammond offers insight into how to manage our time more efficiently, speed time up and slow it down at will, plan for the future with more accuracy, and, ultimately, use the warping of time to our own advantage.

30 review for Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    The moral of my review is when Xmas shopping, and deciding to grab an interesting-looking book for yourself from the shelf, read the whole title. This is not 'Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time', but instead, 'Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception'. So instead of pop-physics, about what the hell time is, instead this is pop-psych, about things like how time seems to move more quickly when you are older because a year is only 1/60th of your life, and not 1/8th of your The moral of my review is when Xmas shopping, and deciding to grab an interesting-looking book for yourself from the shelf, read the whole title. This is not 'Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time', but instead, 'Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception'. So instead of pop-physics, about what the hell time is, instead this is pop-psych, about things like how time seems to move more quickly when you are older because a year is only 1/60th of your life, and not 1/8th of your life, as it is when you are a kiddling. Hammond's discussion on the spatial conceptualising of time was interesting, but other parts were too generalistic and made culturally-specific assumptions. Example: on page 37 Hammond restates the impulse control test of asking the reader if they would like 100 pounds now, or 200 pounds in a month's time. Hammond repeats the common misunderstanding that most people will pick double the money later, but people with ADHD will take the money now: that is, they are unable to wait. However, like the marshmellow test, this is not a test of self-control or of understanding time duration; this is a test of trust. What is the subject's previous experience with getting things that have been promised? Do they usually have to share resources? How do I know you will give me 200 pounds next month? I might never see you again! You might be lying. Someone else might find out I have 200 quid coming to me and make sure they benefit, not me. Taking 100 pounds now is clearly the more rational choice under many circumstances. Overall, mildly interesting, not brilliant.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Non-fiction authors, I'm going to give you like. A tiny little tip. Take it with however many grains of salt you like. But. Maybe. Just maybe. Don't treat your book of information as a collection of personal essays. Look I love personal essays; they're one of my favourite forms of writing. But that's just it: they're a form. And when I'm reading a topic-centered non-fiction book, while I always appreciate a sense of the author ----- chances are I'm 0% interested in your trip to Costa Rica or that Non-fiction authors, I'm going to give you like. A tiny little tip. Take it with however many grains of salt you like. But. Maybe. Just maybe. Don't treat your book of information as a collection of personal essays. Look I love personal essays; they're one of my favourite forms of writing. But that's just it: they're a form. And when I'm reading a topic-centered non-fiction book, while I always appreciate a sense of the author ----- chances are I'm 0% interested in your trip to Costa Rica or that you like painting or that you do a lot of radio shows and just can't bear to be without work to do if you have five minutes of free time. All that to say -- having finished Time Warped, I feel like I know much more about Claudia Hammond than I do about the nature of time perception. And judging from this book, Claudia Hammond is too narcissistic and annoying for me to really give a shit about her adventures and foibles. So. That said -- there was a lot of really interesting information here, and some of it was engagingly presented. The chapters on mind clocks and time speeding up as you age were the most interesting, with some cool tidbits scattered throughout the others. Did you know that there's a specific area of the brain that controls physical manifestations of emotion?? Anterior insular cortex. Rec me a book on that if you got one. I'm obsessseddedd. But what does that have to do with time, you ask? Good question. It's not always clear. Much of this book is only cursorily related to time perception (and doesn't even mention the physics of time -- check out Sean Carroll's From Eternity to Here if you're looking for something in that vein), and heavily focused on Hammond's personal interests. Really though: an entire chapter on synaesthesia was unnecessary at best, boring and jarring at worst. And the last chapter was almost exclusively therapy strategies (?? I know this is pop-psychology, but if I wanna read a self-help book, I will). So -- a lot of missteps -- but I did enjoy this book, overall (2.5 stars, really), and found a lot of interesting germs for conversation/further reading. But if you're looking for a well-written, marginally-unbiased trove of information, this ain't it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda Robinson

    I enjoyed this book and I learned a thing or three. Research + engaging prose = a great experience. Hammond herself describes what she's written as a "sweep across the research in the field." She educates us about further reading opportunities, researchers who have dived into the time machine and brought out something of interest. The conclusion that we don't know how our brains keep track of time altogether is not disappointing because Hammond provides plenty of gates to open if the reader need I enjoyed this book and I learned a thing or three. Research + engaging prose = a great experience. Hammond herself describes what she's written as a "sweep across the research in the field." She educates us about further reading opportunities, researchers who have dived into the time machine and brought out something of interest. The conclusion that we don't know how our brains keep track of time altogether is not disappointing because Hammond provides plenty of gates to open if the reader needs to research more. And, of course, the research is ongoing. I like this book for the many reasons other people did not: it's not preachy or didactic, Hammond is clearly fond of her subject and enjoys discovering more, and the history of research into time perception is highly entertaining as she presents it. Blindfold yourself and see if you can count 40 seconds/avg. stride before you fall down the open stairwell. Or immerse yourself in an ice cave at the bottom of a bottleneck S chute for 2 months to discover if you can keep track of time without a clock or sunlight or email or twitter or your mom reminding you to get your butt out of bed. Record everything you do every minute of every day for 10 years, then see how much of it you remember 3 years out. Why is the return trip faster than the outbound? Fascinating to read about synaesthesia (time in space visualization) and what parts of the brain may contribute to our perception of time. The anterior insular cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum each have a role. Read how emotion pins occurrences into memory, and test yourself on remembering the year a current event happened. Highly recommended to people who like brain research without the stuffy stuff.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Claudia Hammond does a great job in presenting a long series of psychological experiments on the time perceptions we all have. This book is well structured, didactic and insightful. She gives away the essence of her view on time perspective already in the intro: "The foundation of this book is formed by the idea that our mind deliberately creates our time perceptions. Our memory, our concentration and our emotions are of great influence on this conscious process, as well as the idea that time ha Claudia Hammond does a great job in presenting a long series of psychological experiments on the time perceptions we all have. This book is well structured, didactic and insightful. She gives away the essence of her view on time perspective already in the intro: "The foundation of this book is formed by the idea that our mind deliberately creates our time perceptions. Our memory, our concentration and our emotions are of great influence on this conscious process, as well as the idea that time has a spatial aspect. The latter enables us to do something extraordinary, namely to travel through time in the mind, to the past and the future whenever we want." For a more elaborate discussion, see the review in my Sense-of-History-account on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm Everett

    There tends to be a lot of overlap between books when it comes to reading pop psychology, but Time Warped offers something different. It is narrow in focus yet broad in scope, examining time perception, the idea that the experience of time is created by our minds—that time is weirdly elastic. The book covers a panoply of topics, from how our brains seem to naturally measure time passing to our visual representations of time (The latter section was very abstract to me, probably because I always vi There tends to be a lot of overlap between books when it comes to reading pop psychology, but Time Warped offers something different. It is narrow in focus yet broad in scope, examining time perception, the idea that the experience of time is created by our minds—that time is weirdly elastic. The book covers a panoply of topics, from how our brains seem to naturally measure time passing to our visual representations of time (The latter section was very abstract to me, probably because I always view time as linear and not as a three-dimensional slinky or oval. Now I feel boring). The journalistic writing style is very engaging, combining human interest stories with research studies, à la Malcolm Gladwell. The anecdotes were fascinating; you’ll read about a cliff diver, a prisoner in Gaza, a man isolating himself in a cave in France, and a plane hijacking, among others. The sections can feel disjointed, as if part of separate news stories. There’s a lack of flow. The topics are obviously related, but Hammond lectures like a passionate professor, excited to blurt out every piece of information that comes to mind. You can hear her enthusiasm in the tone and it is very contagious, but hard to follow at times. One other minor annoyance for me was the repetition of “I’ll talk about X more in chapter #,” even toward the end. I know there’s more book left! You don’t need to tell me that every time. There was one idea that particularly resonated with me, and it is the idea that our brains are stuck in the future tense. The anticipation of a trip as you’re planning it often feels more gratifying than the trip itself (like a different definition of “it’s the journey, not the destination”). You try to “be in the moment” and take in a beautiful view without allowing yourself to be distracted by dinner plans or what to see next. Most of us don’t keep journals describing all the big and small moments of happiness in our lives, and those memories fade quickly into obscurity, forever lost. It can be depressing to think about how our brains are wired. Hammond also provides insights about memory that I hadn’t considered: “Our unreliable memories might feel like a deficit, but they facilitate mental time-travel into the future.” Less cognitive load means more flexibility. She also suggests that perhaps the primary purpose of memory “has nothing to do with looking back, but more to do with allowing us to look forward and imagine possible futures.” I have read a lot about memory over the years, but that blew my mind. People seem fond of turning their noses up at self-help books, but I really enjoyed the practical tips given at the book’s end. Here are a few of my favorites (mostly for the benefit of my future self): + Practice mental imagery for the things you want to accomplish. If you need to remember to get eggs at the store, visualize the steps it takes to get there, including finding the aisle and checking for cracks in the eggs. Instead of imagining the outcome (like acing an exam), imagine the process (studying at your desk in the evenings). Picture every detail. You’ll be more likely to complete the task. + To make time pass faster and increase concentration, practice mindfulness techniques. Take deep breaths. Notice the details in the mundane. + You will not have more time in the future. Before you agree to do something, imagine that it is happening next week instead of months from now and see if you feel the same way. + To better estimate how long something will take, ask someone else how long they think it will take you. We tend to underestimate the duration for ourselves but not for others. (I asked my wife how long she thought it would take me to finish writing my novel and she said, quite frankly, “Two years.” I’m banking on that.) + If you’re constantly anxious about the future, imagine putting your individual worries into a box under the bed and closing it until you decide to retrieve them again. Or set aside 15 minutes in the morning to do nothing but worry about the future. Make a list of your worries and think about them, but once the time is up, remind yourself not to contemplate them again until your next scheduled worry time. + Most importantly, more memories are the key to a longer life. My own advice: Have a lot of interests and be open to new experiences. Plan vacations or even day trips throughout the year. Visit museums, eat at new restaurants, volunteer, go for walks in a different park every weekend, seek out events and classes, from blacksmithing and painting to improv comedy and LEGO conventions. There is so much to do and see in this world. Experience it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jay The Crippled God

    Time Warped: A beautiful name attracting the reader to the book and describing the main theme covered within. Claudia Hammonds takes us through different experiments and theories regarding Time perception and how our brains perceive time in dual method (prospective and retrospective) simultaneously all the while clearing some of the vague concepts regarding our perception of time and how we experience time subjectively and not measure it. Each of the 6 chapters ask a specific question to shed a Time Warped: A beautiful name attracting the reader to the book and describing the main theme covered within. Claudia Hammonds takes us through different experiments and theories regarding Time perception and how our brains perceive time in dual method (prospective and retrospective) simultaneously all the while clearing some of the vague concepts regarding our perception of time and how we experience time subjectively and not measure it. Each of the 6 chapters ask a specific question to shed a light upon a single concept of the time perception and one topic that is vague regarding time warping (longer or shorter than expected.) And she covers different theories (holiday paradox, forward/reverse telescoping, impact bias and others) that are mostly new in the fields of neurology or psychology and cements some of those theories with some experiments that have been conducted in those corresponding fields. After covering some of the basic theories, she provides her own theory that is (what she believes to be) the best description the phenomenon and it’s solution. By the end of each chapter the ambiguity of the subject or topic will diminish helping the reader to look at the concept regarding time perception in a new way which will enhance the way he deals with facts and daily life routines ( speed time forward or slow it down at will.) Dislikes include: while discussion or elaborating a certain topic, Claudia repeats and explains the thing twice or more. But on the other hand, sometimes this helps clear the confusion if you didn't understand from the first reading. Personal note: I struggled with the book because I was expecting and anticipating reading the 2nd book of my favorite series (Malazan book of the fallen) so my mind was always there all the while I was reading Time Warped. But this is a personal Fault. Claudia Hammonds, Thank you for the beautiful journey through this wonderful book and the intriguing experiments. Most wonderful experiment was of the man who lived in the cave for 2 months and lost his sense of time entirely while time warped ahead so fast that while he counted from 1 to 120 it took him 5 minutes rather than 2. And I think it is amazing the way you handle the experiences and experiments in a humorous caring gentle way as if the people included where your family or friends. Self-notes taken from the book: Our brain measures time by neuronal processes thus having a sense of time not literally measuring or counting time. Different parts of the brain contribute to the measurement of sense of time. Our mother language is a factor of time perception as well as attention and emotions. Theories like forward scoping, holiday paradox and others where covered in this book. If time flies fast then this is a sign of a healthy happy life. Factors showing deceleration of time include depression, boredom and attention to passage of time. Do we really want to slow it down? If you must, the best way is focus your attention on one thing and try to recreate a holiday filled with new experiences rather than putting your brain on auto-pilot mode which will lead to time slipping without your notice. FILL YOUR TIME WITH NEW FULL HAPPY ACTIVITIES TO SLOW IT DOWN WHILE ENJOYING IT. Dear readers, Thank you for your kindness and time bearing to read my review <3 I wish you all a happy happy lovely day <3

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sense of History

    This book was entirely in line with what I read last month from Alan Burdick, Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation but it is written much better. And it partly overlaps with that of Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life but it is much less of a self-help book. Just like Burdick, Claudia Hammond examines in detail how we experience time, psychologically, and she deals with the many experiments that have been conducted a This book was entirely in line with what I read last month from Alan Burdick, Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation but it is written much better. And it partly overlaps with that of Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life but it is much less of a self-help book. Just like Burdick, Claudia Hammond examines in detail how we experience time, psychologically, and she deals with the many experiments that have been conducted around time perception, but she does so with much more structure, and summarizes everything much more clearly. What was new for me was the extensive chapter in which she explains that we, usually unconsciously, make a spatial representation of time, and that that representation both expresses and determines our time perspective (positive or negative). This suggests that we also store the past, and more specifically our own past in our brain in connection with a spatial aspect (that spatial aspect is also connected to language: in the West we automatically put the past on a timeline on the left side, but that is because we read from left to right; for Arabs and Chinese for example it is different). This is an insight that offers perspectives for a better understanding of the (sometimes defective) way in which our memory functions, although for Hammond it is a trick that makes memory more flexible (without this trick there just wouldn’t be enough space in our brain). And even more interesting was her finding that the most important function of our memory perhaps is the ability to look into the future: because it is precisely on the basis of memories and experiences from the past that we can form a certain image of the future; a child up to 3 years cannot do that yet, it lives completely in the present, but from that moment on the brain develops the ability to store past experiences and to actively use them, and that forms the basis to have certain expectations in connection with the future. This link between memory and expectation will certainly come to the fore again, when I go into historical temporality in my current reading marathon on time. As stated, Hammond also somewhat ties in with Zimbardo's therapeutic approach to manipulate time perspectives, in order to achieve better well-being. But fortunately, she is much more realistic and between the lines I clearly read some criticism on the reductionist and voluntarist character of Zimbardo's book. Finally, a downside in Hammond's book: I guess she presents the scientific research results in a too universallistic way, because perhaps what is described only applies to people in the Western world, and not in other cultures. It's a thought I'm going to explore further. (rating: 2.5 stars)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    Time is a funny old thing. It drags whilst we’re at work or in a waiting room yet flies by at the weekend and everyone is convinced that times speeds up as we get older. In Time Warped, Claudia Hammond looks at the theories behind why this happens, investigating the mind boggling world of time perception. It’s an incredibly fascinating book for anyone that has wondered why time appears to change so much. Perhaps if you already know a lot of psychology the book re-treads familiar subjects but for Time is a funny old thing. It drags whilst we’re at work or in a waiting room yet flies by at the weekend and everyone is convinced that times speeds up as we get older. In Time Warped, Claudia Hammond looks at the theories behind why this happens, investigating the mind boggling world of time perception. It’s an incredibly fascinating book for anyone that has wondered why time appears to change so much. Perhaps if you already know a lot of psychology the book re-treads familiar subjects but for the curious minded, it is at just the right level to be educational and entertaining. The inner workings of the brain are miraculous and mysterious, and Claudia is keen to imply that there are no absolutes in the science of psychology. There are many theories mentioned which have been debunked but overall it gives an all-round picture of what might be going on inside our heads. Some of the experiments are downright bizarre. Most are historical and none are Claudia’s doing; from the volunteers who were dropped backwards off the top of a skyscraper to the Frenchman who lived in an ice cave for two months. Yet what strikes me most, is that most of what we’ve learned has come though those who have suffered brain trauma or live with mental illness. Whilst it’s not a self-help book, the final chapter is entitled Changing Your Relationship with Time which gives a few tips to some of the most common aspects we perceive as problems. I had joked at work that I’d learn how to make the day go faster by the end, but this was the weakest part of the book. Some of it was due to the nature of my job and others felt like things that you could have picked up easily by paying attention to the previous chapters. Yet overall, it was a fascinating read and has made me want to read her other book, Emotional Rollercoaster.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fred Darbonne

    Probably most of us have wondered why time seems to speed up as we grow older, slow down while we are bored or waiting in lines, and go fast while we are on vacations yet feel as if we’ve been away for a long time when we return. In this work Claudia Hammond shares insights from the emerging field of the psychology of time, showing us how we subjectively experience time. She asks the critical question of whether the stretching or shrinking of time is an illusion, or whether the mind processes ti Probably most of us have wondered why time seems to speed up as we grow older, slow down while we are bored or waiting in lines, and go fast while we are on vacations yet feel as if we’ve been away for a long time when we return. In this work Claudia Hammond shares insights from the emerging field of the psychology of time, showing us how we subjectively experience time. She asks the critical question of whether the stretching or shrinking of time is an illusion, or whether the mind processes time differently at different parts of our lives. A central idea explored in this book is the view that the experience of time is actively created by our minds, influenced by memory, concentration, emotion, and the sense we have that time is rooted in space. This last influence, time as rooted in space, is particularly enlightening. Some of us visualize time concretely as a line or continuum that moves from the left or right, or that moves toward or away from us depending on our mental construct. Not everyone visualizes time, but the idea that some of us can do so is potent for how we personally experience time. Writing in a warm, accessible style, and drawing on fields as diverse as neuroscience, psychology, and biology, Hammond helps understand how time, and our interaction with it, shapes our lives and how we can improve our relationship with time, using it to our advantage. This work is difficult to put down in places as its insights lead to personal reflection and frequent “aha!” moments. Claudia Hammond is the voice of psychology on BBC Radio 4 where she is the host of All in the Mind and Mind Changers. She is a part-time member of faculty at Boston University in London, and has won awards from the British Psychological Society, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the British Neuroscience Association.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Having just read Charles Fernyhough's excellent 'Pieces of Light', which was all about memory, this book just paled in comparison. The research was less thorough and the explanations were repetitive and sometime unclear. Where Fernyhough's book was a mixture of fiction and informed neuroscience, 'Time Warped' was a crossover between science and self-help. I enjoyed reading about how some people experience a kind of synaesthesia when visualising time, viewing time as a slinky for example, or a sh Having just read Charles Fernyhough's excellent 'Pieces of Light', which was all about memory, this book just paled in comparison. The research was less thorough and the explanations were repetitive and sometime unclear. Where Fernyhough's book was a mixture of fiction and informed neuroscience, 'Time Warped' was a crossover between science and self-help. I enjoyed reading about how some people experience a kind of synaesthesia when visualising time, viewing time as a slinky for example, or a shroud which wraps around their body. Apparently we all spacialise time - backed up by the fact that those of us that read from left to right view time in space that way whereas cultures that read from the right to the left or from the top to the bottom of the page view it that way. Some of the descriptions of experiments were also interesting but more for the extremes that people will go to in the name of science rather than for explaining their actual scientific value.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lars K Jensen

    As someone who is interested in the workings of our brain and our perception of time (for instance how the same period of time can be experienced as both passing fast and slow by two individuals), this book ought to be a sure winner with me. Alas, it's not quite there. The topic is plenty interesting, but the way Hammond tells about it is - well, it doesn't work for me. For one thing, I believe the author herself takes up too much space, insisting on adding her own anecdotes and life experiences - As someone who is interested in the workings of our brain and our perception of time (for instance how the same period of time can be experienced as both passing fast and slow by two individuals), this book ought to be a sure winner with me. Alas, it's not quite there. The topic is plenty interesting, but the way Hammond tells about it is - well, it doesn't work for me. For one thing, I believe the author herself takes up too much space, insisting on adding her own anecdotes and life experiences - plus trying to coin the 'holiday paradox' theory and making it her own. Maybe that's why it keeps popping up throughout the book. At places the book also seems to veer of and be just as much about memory. Naturally, memory plays a part in our perception of time, but the book could stay the course in a better way. Or, acknowledge, that we've left the path and go further into the memory research. For example, when we hear of Henry who lost his ability to create new memories after failed brain surgery (the surgeon sucked part of his brain out), part of what is truly fascinating is that the researchers through interviews and tests with Henry discovered that we have a procedural memory as well. He was given the task of drawing along the lines of a shape, viewed through a mirror, a task that he got better and better at despite the fact that he couldn't remember drawing the shape before. "This is not a self-help book", Hammond writes on the first page of the last chapter which is in fact quite self-help. Not that there necessarily is something wrong with that, but I feel it disturbs the focus of the book - and when she gets to the part about mindfulness, I am glad that the last page of the book is fast approaching, if only it could happen faster. All in all, I feel I've been through a lecture on a really fascinating subject, but with a lecturer that couldn't really catch my attention.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Lecturer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond's Time Warped continues a great year for brain books (The Power of Habit and Wait being only a few examples). Hammond examines how our minds perceive and construct time, and her descriptions of just how elastic and malleable it can be are truly surprising. Illustrating her ideas with plenty of individual stories, from glider pilots in free fall to scientists secluded in caves for months at a time, she explains how time changes speed, how we measure and co Lecturer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond's Time Warped continues a great year for brain books (The Power of Habit and Wait being only a few examples). Hammond examines how our minds perceive and construct time, and her descriptions of just how elastic and malleable it can be are truly surprising. Illustrating her ideas with plenty of individual stories, from glider pilots in free fall to scientists secluded in caves for months at a time, she explains how time changes speed, how we measure and conceive of it, and how it is central to both memory and the ability to think about the future. Hammond also makes some interesting observations about cultural constructions of time; most Westerners picture it moving from left to right, while Chinese describe it moving up and down (think about their respective written languages). This was an easy book to relate to because we all experience time and intuitively understand that it can drag, pass by too quickly, or simply warp. If you're like me and have the occasional (my wife would say frequent - but that's just a perception of time) confusion about time, then you'll certainly enjoy Time Warped. On Twitter: @Dr_A_Taubman

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Wong

    Time is one of the least understood variables that can be measured, because it's seemingly so temperamental. Time can drag or speed up, depending on whether you're bored or having fun. This book shows how we can exercise a little bit of control over the lucid creature that time is, and so gain a little control over our lives. Time is one of the least understood variables that can be measured, because it's seemingly so temperamental. Time can drag or speed up, depending on whether you're bored or having fun. This book shows how we can exercise a little bit of control over the lucid creature that time is, and so gain a little control over our lives.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Time, like money, invokes an emotional response in people because of how it is perceived and, according to author Claudia Hammond, it is based on a person’s age, level of activity, state of mind, social engagement and medical issues. Hammond writes an informative, thought-provoking book on how people view time—even literally and spatially. Several interesting pieces of information brought up early in the book is how about 20% of the population sees time in some type of graphic (or illustrative/p Time, like money, invokes an emotional response in people because of how it is perceived and, according to author Claudia Hammond, it is based on a person’s age, level of activity, state of mind, social engagement and medical issues. Hammond writes an informative, thought-provoking book on how people view time—even literally and spatially. Several interesting pieces of information brought up early in the book is how about 20% of the population sees time in some type of graphic (or illustrative/pictorial) form. This reviewer must confess to a graphic image when thinking about time in relations to decades and centuries, not quite up there with Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time continuum but part of the 20%. Also intriguing was the cultural and societal views toward time as illustrated in the language used. English speakers tend to use spatial such as long or short and others use amount such as little or much. The discussion on synaesthesia, where different senses perhaps blend in the brain, was something to consider—as anyone who has studied chakras understands the centuries old beliefs of color association with the body’s energy flow. The brain for decades has been described as a jungle no longer as a filing cabinet with things placed orderly in a location. The jungle analogy seems to lead credence to the possibility of synasesthesia. Hammond claims that it does lessen with age as the brain prunes out unwanted connections or tidies up the vines and branches which one would suppose is applied to both semantic memory (of factual knowledge) and episodic memory (of personal events). Hammond presents many studies, experiments and ideas which do as intended to get the reader to think about the mysteries of time perception—least of which is that our hypothalamus clocks the body’s basic rhythm at 24 hours and 31 minutes. One area she does stress is the time travel in the mind. Humans body processes also need the psychological elements of memory, concentration and emotion and the ability to time-travel in our minds---that is the imagination. Remembering the Future chapter brings to mind to this reviewer the basic difference between humans and other animals is that we have the capacity for an imagination. While an animal must rely solely on its senses to perceive let’s say a threat behind a tree, a human can imagine what could be there. Future thinking is to mentally time-travel to imagine our future and plan our lives. Thus, I was surprised when on page 309 a physiologist's report was shared which suggests that people abandon their imaginations altogether in order to understand how they feel about the future. The writer went on to discuss how the government can create adequate pension planning if citizens were asked to live on a fixed income next week rather than think of it as a couple of decades from now. This is intriguing but many people do live on minimal fixed incomes already. To scare people into saving more to save the public money and prevent old people from living in poverty, seems a bit cruel to those already living on a small income. Paired to this is the author’s the theory that emotions are there to prepare us for action—in other words for the future-- as we do not need to be readied for action when it comes to the past, “so memories need not have such strong emotional content as thoughts about the future” (page 232). Therefore, we can use the emotion of fear to save the government money? Obviously, this reviewer did not appreciate that use of imagination and emotion. So how can time often feel that it has passed quickly while simultaneously, slowly? The Holiday Paradox was an excellent explanation and one we all can relate to. Memory makes the holiday seem far away because of the known events and things as we come home = retrospectively viewing time. This is why time speeds up as we get older. Experience has given us so many memories that new perceptions are further away from each other and that slows down the time-frame. One thing covered by Hammond that got my attention was how scary it is for people who cannot envision a future. The hostage relayed on page 293 the need for goals or a plan to keep seeing some semblance of a future. Is this what experts warn retirees about? Time is rushing by although they are doing something different it feels that way every day. Not new, but different. Hammond actually has given people permission not to freak out. It is their choice, to make the decisions and set their itinerary. They can decide how to feel about time rushing. If they want to slow it down, they can try mindfulness -- to try to notice some things or accept that it takes too much energy and routine is easier and realize that new things are the ‘prospectively’ view of things and slows time down. Hammond ends with an excellent summary of her theories and a self-help section on how a person can make his/her personal time as they want it. She does lean towards wanting to slow down time but acknowledges that there are some situations in which a person’s preference may be to speed up time. Adjust your thinking about time speeding up and slipping by without you realizing it or slowing down (such as when you are in a line at the market and want time to pass quickly). Bottom line, if you want things to slow down, you must embark on unique and varied experiences; if you want time to speed up, then establish routines with just enough difference to awaken and create memories. As reported, Winston Churchill declared, “The longer you look back, the farther you can look forward.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sunrise (Brit)

    85% = 5 Stars Spoilers throughout This book is about our experience of time. It combs through examples of how time feels as though it is passing faster or slower and which activity generates this effect. For example (SPOILER), in moments of fear or stress, more sensory data is processed and causes time to seem to slow down. This explains why, when someone who fears public speaking has to give a five minute speech, time seems to pass very slowly. My favorite portion of the book to really think abo 85% = 5 Stars Spoilers throughout This book is about our experience of time. It combs through examples of how time feels as though it is passing faster or slower and which activity generates this effect. For example (SPOILER), in moments of fear or stress, more sensory data is processed and causes time to seem to slow down. This explains why, when someone who fears public speaking has to give a five minute speech, time seems to pass very slowly. My favorite portion of the book to really think about was when the author covered the making of memories. She points out something called the reminiscence bump: the period of time (age 15-25) when most memories are made. The reason for so many memories to be made during this time is because we experience many things for the first time such as relationships, jobs, travel, living alone, and etc. Also, we perceive time much differently when we have no access to regular schedules and daylight cycles, of if our frontal lobe is compromised, or our dopamine levels are off. I loved that the author took future thinking and referred to it as the ability to mentally time travel. That is going to have my imagination tied up all week I know it. Think about next winter, feel the blanket wrapped around you, smell the Christmas cookies, listen to the fireplace crackle... What have you been doing all day? They will ask me, and I will respond - Time Traveling, in my brain, of course. The author suggests that you can make your life seem longer by making every day special. Honestly that is good advice. While I am a lot like Alice in that I often give myself good advice but very seldom follow it, I totally agree that letting our lives be so routine, so full, and so monotonous, we make fewer memories. Variety is the spice after all ! Side thought - the author's last name being Hammond consistently reminded me of Jurassic Park, and made me feel slightly happier.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Fischman

    Claudia Hammond writes in an entertaining way about a topic that's both engaging and very hard to grasp: time and how we perceive it. I enjoyed learning about how imagining the future is a lot like remembering the past. We don't have direct access to either. It's not like we can take a recording off a shelf and play it in the theater of the mind. Instead, we construct memories and futures each time we think of them. We use several different areas of the brain for each. Just so, we use different Claudia Hammond writes in an entertaining way about a topic that's both engaging and very hard to grasp: time and how we perceive it. I enjoyed learning about how imagining the future is a lot like remembering the past. We don't have direct access to either. It's not like we can take a recording off a shelf and play it in the theater of the mind. Instead, we construct memories and futures each time we think of them. We use several different areas of the brain for each. Just so, we use different areas to keep track of time's passage instead of having one internal clock we can just glance at when we wish. Hammond tells wonderful stories of people in unusual situations, from the man who couldn't form any new long-term memories to the one who voluntarily spent two months in a darkened cave, that tell us something about how we normally perceive time. She talks about the effects of paying attention, of novelty, even of heat and cold, on our sense of how fast time is passing. I did have a couple of problems with this book, only I'm not sure if Hammond is unclear or I'm obtuse. The whole idea of "time passing more slowly" kept confusing me. I wasn't sure whether she meant I would think that three hours had passed when only two had or the reverse. No matter how often she explained it, I couldn't wrap my head around it. The other problem was that I wasn't sure Hammond was actually talking about the same thing from one page to the next. Is my sense of the passage of time really the same thing as my sense of what date something happened? Is either of those the same as my sense of how long it takes to do a task, or how much free time I have? By the end of the book, it felt less coherent than it did at the beginning.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Manny in da house!

    i find the subject of time to be incredibly interesting, but this really isn't what i was expecting. the author brings up many very interesting ideas and studies, but spends FAR TOO MANY pages going into endless details about the most mundane details. after reading most of the points made early in the book, i found myself skipping sentences, then paragraphs, then pages, until i finally realized that i wasn't going to find anything of further interest. i couldn't believe the amount of rehash as w i find the subject of time to be incredibly interesting, but this really isn't what i was expecting. the author brings up many very interesting ideas and studies, but spends FAR TOO MANY pages going into endless details about the most mundane details. after reading most of the points made early in the book, i found myself skipping sentences, then paragraphs, then pages, until i finally realized that i wasn't going to find anything of further interest. i couldn't believe the amount of rehash as well, which is such a pity, as i find the topic very interesting, and found that the author genuinely knows the subject well and has done a lot of engaging research, but just couldn't deal with the way it was presented. i would much rather re-read stephen hawking's a brief history of time, one of brian greene's books or watch an episode of through the wormhole with morgan freeman.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matteo Mortari

    I was always interested in some of the concepts I actually learned from this book; in the past I did find myself questioning my perception of time during some episodes: after reading this book I finally found some answers! I really like the style of the book, although I am not a native English speaker and I found a few parts maybe a bit too verbose. Anyhow concepts are very well explained, scientific literature and studies referenced, which I appreciated a lot. Concepts are also discussed in suc I was always interested in some of the concepts I actually learned from this book; in the past I did find myself questioning my perception of time during some episodes: after reading this book I finally found some answers! I really like the style of the book, although I am not a native English speaker and I found a few parts maybe a bit too verbose. Anyhow concepts are very well explained, scientific literature and studies referenced, which I appreciated a lot. Concepts are also discussed in such a way I found it very easy to compare with my own experience: finally I found something to resonate with! :) I especially enjoyed the last chapter, where some proved strategies are explained if one chooses to counter-balance, or augment, some of the experiences of time perception described in this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    I must agree with many of the other reviewers. There was a lot of repetition in this book. It could have been a lot shorter without losing any ideas. The big takeaway from this look at time research (actually the human experience of time) was that if you want to slow it down you have to get busy and have fun. The time will go fast but when you look back on it, it will seem slow. That at least, is how she describes the holiday paradox. I'm not sure I buy it, but having fun seems like a good idea. I must agree with many of the other reviewers. There was a lot of repetition in this book. It could have been a lot shorter without losing any ideas. The big takeaway from this look at time research (actually the human experience of time) was that if you want to slow it down you have to get busy and have fun. The time will go fast but when you look back on it, it will seem slow. That at least, is how she describes the holiday paradox. I'm not sure I buy it, but having fun seems like a good idea. There are more ideas in this book, of course, but that seemed to be her primary point. She refers to it as mental time travel, experiencing the now plus looking back and forward, to where we want to go and where we have been. Isn't that what we do already?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jo Kaiser

    Very interesting book; I like how there were activities scattered throughout it for the reader to do thus creating an involving environment, I do, however, feel a lot of it was 'dumbed' down and there was quite a bit of repetition. It read like a massive, overgrown essay but not an unenjoyable one. I liked Hammond's participation in the text, how she described the way she thinks about time as well as how others thought. This personalisation made it all the more enjoyable. Managed to read it in o Very interesting book; I like how there were activities scattered throughout it for the reader to do thus creating an involving environment, I do, however, feel a lot of it was 'dumbed' down and there was quite a bit of repetition. It read like a massive, overgrown essay but not an unenjoyable one. I liked Hammond's participation in the text, how she described the way she thinks about time as well as how others thought. This personalisation made it all the more enjoyable. Managed to read it in one go too, although the ending is a bit of a blur as the repetitiveness of her story got to me and I found myself skimming whole sections to finally reach her conclusion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book had a really cool cover and falls in to one of my favorite non-fiction catagories, but I was disappointed with it overall. There wasn't much science behind it. It felt like mostly conjecture on the author's part. This is a subject I, like most people find interesting..why time speeds up as you get older..but the author's explanation was too simplistic to really hit home for me. This book had a really cool cover and falls in to one of my favorite non-fiction catagories, but I was disappointed with it overall. There wasn't much science behind it. It felt like mostly conjecture on the author's part. This is a subject I, like most people find interesting..why time speeds up as you get older..but the author's explanation was too simplistic to really hit home for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sally Ember

    Very interesting and often intriguingly different stories, perspectives, facts, research results and speculation about the nature of time and its impact on existence (not just for humans, either). A bit repetitive; could have used a good editor to tighten it up, but well worth the read/skim.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    A pop-science, Mary Roach-style take on how we perceive time. Lots of tiny anecdotes and little pieces here and there that make for an interesting read that fails to be either substantive or in-depth enough to be recommendable, but still fun and straightforward enough to be readable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Carr

    Fun, easy to get into, and with a decent amount of science (and footnotes!) behind it. Time is the one resource each of us has equally, but how we perceive it can change radically over our lives, or depending on our memory, attention and emotions.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    I was looking forward to reading this book, but I lost interest around chapter 3. It's not a bad book, but I just didn't find the topic as interesting as I anticipated it to be. I was looking forward to reading this book, but I lost interest around chapter 3. It's not a bad book, but I just didn't find the topic as interesting as I anticipated it to be.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I loved this. It's exactly the kind of non fiction book I enjoy, packed full of interesting research that I can understand and look into further if I want to, but enjoyable, personal, and easy to read. Some of it is quite practical too. The book ends with specific advice about how to make time feel like it's going faster or slower or how to "live in the moment" although the author questions if those things we think we want are actually what we want - living without access to past and future is a I loved this. It's exactly the kind of non fiction book I enjoy, packed full of interesting research that I can understand and look into further if I want to, but enjoyable, personal, and easy to read. Some of it is quite practical too. The book ends with specific advice about how to make time feel like it's going faster or slower or how to "live in the moment" although the author questions if those things we think we want are actually what we want - living without access to past and future is a torture. I was fascinated by how much the future is built on memory, and how we seem to default to future thinking - daydreaming. The research on time perception is really interesting, especially in the sad cases where people have lost parts of the brain that process time and memory. She talks about how time seems to speed up as we get older, why time flies when you're having fun but looking back on a fun holiday it tends to expand in retrospect (The Holiday Paradox, which I heard about several years ago and actively employ in my life). The visualization of time as a kind of synesthesia was completely alien to me but I love that other people might have this going on and not realize that it's rare, or not realize that other people do it differently. My husband and I took one of the time orientation tests mentioned in the book and compared our results. His were unsurprising, mine might signal a need to take a more active role in giving myself agency over time. It would be interesting to see if the results would be different after the pandemic. I have recommended this book to several friends - it doesn't seem to be in our local libraries but is available second hand online. It's a much faster read than it looks from my dates. I could've read it in a few days if I'd had less going on. But as much as I enjoyed the "flow" of reading it in a concentrated session, I also enjoyed savoring it, looking forward to getting back to it, and thinking about it. All good strategies I think the time perception experts would support for maximum enjoyment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    The book explores the significance of time perception, the accuracy of which underpins life patterns, communication, co-operation and human relations. Time warped (or disorder in general) is one striking illusion that our mind creates. The interplay of emotions (e.g. fear, misery, boredom, rejection), memories (in terms of richness and freshness), body temperature and attention among other physiological factors renders different experience of time, prospectively and retrospectively. While a desi The book explores the significance of time perception, the accuracy of which underpins life patterns, communication, co-operation and human relations. Time warped (or disorder in general) is one striking illusion that our mind creates. The interplay of emotions (e.g. fear, misery, boredom, rejection), memories (in terms of richness and freshness), body temperature and attention among other physiological factors renders different experience of time, prospectively and retrospectively. While a designated organ for time sensing is yet to be discovered, several areas in our brain appear to implicate time perception such as cerebellum (which means "little brain" as it accounts for just 10 per cent of brain volume's yet contains half of all our brain cells), frontal lobe or pre-frontal cortex specifically (which is associated with the ability to hold working memory), basal ganglia (which helps control movement through dopamine to put brakes on muscles) and anterior insular cortex (which gives us a reading of our emotional state through interoceptive awareness). A chapter is dedicated to the ability to picture time in space and its intricate relationship with time perception, language we use and mental time-travel. There is a classic question that makes people stop short of giving a straight answer (I pose this question to my friends and am always asked to clarify further): "Next Wednesday’s meeting has been moved forward two days. What day is the meeting happening now? Monday or Friday?" Both answers are equally valid and may reveal whether we perceive time through time-moving or ego-moving perspective given any situation (e.g. an event we either dread or anticipate happily). Claudia also delves into other time's mysteries (e.g. why time seems to speed up when we get older, Holiday Paradox, fading effect bias) that revolve around our perception of the past and self through time (i.e. autonoetic consciousness). We are more likely to remember the timing of event if it was distinctive, vivid, personally involved and is a tale we have recounted many times since. The book also revisits a concept I learnt through Meik Viking's The Art of Making Memories - the reminiscene bump with novelty of experience as central feature which explains why we tend to remember our youth so well. It's a time for firsts that coalesce into our identity - first kiss, first experience of living away from home, first job. As we progress towards our thirties or forties, novelty becomes a much rarer commodity unless we experience another major transformation of identity. The second last chapter takes a closer inspection into mental-time travel to the future through imagination that once again relies on past memories (which is stored in the brain's hippocampus) to conjure up ideas of time yet to come. This facilitates planning and emotional regulations that are not at disposal of other animals or babies before the age of three or four. However, imagination with inherent flexibility also introduces an element of fallibility to our memories. I'm fascinated by the hypothesis that maybe memory exists not simply to allow us to look back but to look forward and imagine possible futures. This might be a no-brainer but now I understand why I can imagine events in the near future more acutely than those in the distant future (so please do not ask me what I want to become in next ten years). Having said that, there are few problems with our forward thinking. It does not make us an expert at predicting the future or how we feel about it. We tend to focus on the initial and chief features of the future experience (good or bad) and ignore other typical (can be neutral or less glaring) factors, which results in a rather skewed assessment. An interesting take on procrastination is it has less to do with laziness than our poor judgement of how busy/free we are in the future. Claudia wraps up book with some tips on changing our relationship with time in accordance with our needs: - The end game is not to slow time down if we plan to derive such perception through boredom, anxiety and unhappiness or speed time up if we take it upon ourselves to squeeze as many activities as possible into our waking moments. - Personally speaking, I always struggle with the problem of "too much to do, too little time". A few choices are presented: slim down my commitments but hold onto those that benefit my well-being, accept that my timetable is full and will continue to be so for a long time, view time as a gift and choose whom to give it to (think of Phoebe from Friends saying "Oh I wish I could (help) but I don't want to"). - If you ever find yourself constantly agonizing over the future, setting aside 15 minutes daily to do nothing but worry about it may sound incredulous but can actually help you regain control. - While living in the present is desirable state of mind, we need not have a concrete idea of how long we might have been absorbed in an activity, especially when it is of flow nature, an illuminating concept by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. - Lastly, when facing an important or life-changing decision, try asking yourself how you will feel in the future holistically or better yet, seek out assessment by others that have gone through similar experience Closing this book for the second time, I can still hear the echo of Victor Frankl's words of wisdom: "Between stimulus and response there is a place. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I took my time reading this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue Smith

    Ironically - I was finding it hard to find the time to write a review on this one! Kept thinking about what to write, you know - wanting to give it a bit of justice and not just slap something down but time just kept slipping away from me! (Truth be told, there were a lot of other more pressing personal issues that crept into my life and took over all of my time so that this just didn't seem like much of a priority). This is an interesting little book about the concept of time, how we perceive i Ironically - I was finding it hard to find the time to write a review on this one! Kept thinking about what to write, you know - wanting to give it a bit of justice and not just slap something down but time just kept slipping away from me! (Truth be told, there were a lot of other more pressing personal issues that crept into my life and took over all of my time so that this just didn't seem like much of a priority). This is an interesting little book about the concept of time, how we perceive it and what it means to us and our mental health. There were some very interesting points and examples that definitely make you ponder, as well as some reasonable ideas to try to change aspects of your life to enhance what you want from time. I especially liked the suggestion to add more change or variety in your routine so time becomes more enhanced and your life doesn't just feel like it's sliding away. Although, I do believe that it's sometimes easier said than done. Never the less, it's always worth the effort! And I can honestly say that the last 6 days - which were spent enjoying a mini holiday out of country - felt more like 2 weeks and I feel completely wonderful. But that could have been because of the wonderful weather, or because of the freedom to do what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it. Regardless, it didn't involve reviewing a book about time. That could wait for the appropriate time. It ends up that time and our ability to think forward from our point of now, makes a huge difference on one's mental health - that depression affects the ability to do this. Who would have thought. Or that some people 'see' time in a dimensional fashion (I found this perplexing, so I don't believe that I'm one of those said people ... which made me feel a little sad. Seeing time would be cool!) And, for the most part, we spend next to no time in the now as we are continually time jumping to the next thing or the next event. (Which is soooo true!). It's a part of our biological system that happens unawares,yet affects a lot of things that we have no idea of. Anyways, you're aware of time and use time but you can't control it. Although you can manipulate aspects that make you think you're mastering it! Great ideas to discuss or think about.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    This is a really interesting topic, but I had to skim sections of it because I was short on time (lol.) I would love to see an updated version w/ info on how smartphone use affects our time perception. I suspect they contribute to the feeling of time flying. TLDR - If you want time to go slower, disrupt your routine occasionally and do lots of different things. The more memories we make, the longer time seems to last. That was mostly what I was here for, since time is beginning to fly by for me a This is a really interesting topic, but I had to skim sections of it because I was short on time (lol.) I would love to see an updated version w/ info on how smartphone use affects our time perception. I suspect they contribute to the feeling of time flying. TLDR - If you want time to go slower, disrupt your routine occasionally and do lots of different things. The more memories we make, the longer time seems to last. That was mostly what I was here for, since time is beginning to fly by for me at an alarming rate!

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