25: The Timeline of Timekeeping, Origins of Speech, and the Birthday of Birthdays


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By Tom Lum and Maximum Fun. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

It's the show's birthday! And we're going to celebrate with LEARNING! How much do we really know about the history of keeping time? When did human speech first arise, and how would we even figure that out? And when did the concept of birthdays have its birthday?


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We also learn about: Your favorite podcast on your favorite torso, the blind watchmaker, time technology is not like iphone upgrades, Ancient or Recent, France’s decimal clocks, counting knots on a ship, of course people cared about keeping time back then, escapements brought us TikTok, the not so timey wimey etymology of clock, putting clock inventions in the right order, we had sundials in the 1800s, you’re holding like 20 different iphones, redefining the second, ephemris time was a “ridiculous decision”, keeping time in space without the Earth, the importance of NTP, UTC is confusing fairly for everyone, what is speech? language vs speech, are there speech fossils? diaphragm is the only one we don’t talk about, laryngeal descent theory, teaching monkeys to talk, is this theory good science? “you guys are so smart”, speech research is so multi-disciplinary, you love a great review, deconstructing the theory, the reconstruction was so bad the mouth wouldn’t have been able to swallow, they forgot to check other animals for descended larynxes oops, speech may have developed waaay earlier, bodies ready for speech vs brains ready for speech, research beef, quoting “mic drop”, “i thought the answer would be simple and i was really really wrong”, one of the hardest problems in science, the birthday of birthdays, what do you need for a birthday? defining birthdays by caesium, Wurdi Youang, pharaoh “birthdays” being born as gods, celebrating my birthday by driving away evil spirits, celebrating the mother on birthdays, i brought you “pure intentions” for your birthday, Claudia Severa’s birthday invitation tablet, the first birthday candles, god i hope they get the short candles this year, and a fun science burrito blanket.


Scientific American Chronicle of Timekeeping
Helen Morgolis' History of Timekeeping
History of the Hourglass
History of 1900s Clocks
Louis Essen's Account of Redefining the Second
Atomic Clock History
Modern Atomic Clocks
NPL on Atomic Clocks
Nasa JPL on Atomic Clocks
History of NTP
Google on NTP
The Atlantic on Modern Time Phone Lines


The New Review of Speech Origins
The descended Larynx is not uniquely human
A ‘Mic Drop’ on a Theory of Language Evolution
Human Ancestors May have Evolved Speech more than 25 Million Years Ago
NPR on When did Human Speech Evolve


BBC on Stargazing in Ancient Australia
The Guardian on Wurdi Youang
Calendars of the Past
Roman Birthday Rituals

44 episodes