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Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Intelligence

10 out of 10 stars (111 votes)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956, defines it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines." The field was founded on the claim that a central property of humans, intelligence—the sapience of Homo sapiens—can be so precisely described that it can be simulated by a machine. This raises philosophical issues about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings, issues which have been addressed by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Artificial intelligence has been the subject of optimism, but has also suffered setbacks and, today, has become an essential part of the technology industry, providing the heavy lifting for many of the most difficult problems in computer science. AI research is highly technical and specialized, and deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. Subfields have grown up around particular institutions, the work of individual researchers, the solution of specific problems, longstanding differences of opinion about how AI should be done and the application of widely differing tools. The central problems of AI include such traits as reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, communication, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence (or "strong AI") is still among the field's long term goals.

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Artificial Life

What is Artificial Life? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Life

10 out of 10 stars (110 votes)

Artificial life (commonly Alife or alife) is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986. There are three main kinds of alife, named for their approaches: soft, from software; hard, from hardware; and wet, from biochemistry. Artificial life imitates traditional biology by trying to recreate biological phenomena. The term "artificial life" is often used to specifically refer to soft alife. Artificial life studies the logic of living systems in artificial environments. The goal is to study the phenomena of living systems in order to come to an understanding of the complex information processing that defines such systems. Also sometimes included in the umbrella term Artificial Life are agent based systems which are used to study the emergent properties of societies of agents. While artificial life is, by definition, alive, artificial life is generally referred to as being confined to a digital environment and existence.

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Astronomy

What is Astronomy? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomy

10 out of 10 stars (112 votes)

Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Prehistoric cultures left behind astronomical artifacts such as the Egyptian monuments, Nubian monuments and Stonehenge, and early civilizations such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, the making of calendars, and astrology, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.

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Astrophysics

What is Astrophysics? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrophysics

10 out of 10 stars (123 votes)

Information and resources on Alternative Astronomy, Astronomers, Cosmology, Eclipses, Occultations, Extrasolar Planets, Galaxies, Interstellar Medium, Observatories, Planetariums, Research Groups and Centers, Solar System, Star Clusters, Stars, etc.\ Astrophysics (Greek: Astro - meaning "star", and Greek: physis – φύσις - meaning "nature") is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior. Among the objects studied are galaxies, stars, planets, exoplanets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background. Their emissions are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. The study of cosmology addresses questions of astrophysics at scales much larger than the size of particular gravitationally-bound objects in the universe. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists typically apply many disciplines of physics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics. In practice, modern astronomical research involves a substantial amount of physics. The name of a university's department ("astrophysics" or "astronomy") often has to do more with the department's history than with the contents of the programs. Astrophysics can be studied at the bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. levels in aerospace engineering, physics, or astronomy departments at many universities. Although astronomy is as ancient as recorded history itself, it was long separated from the study of physics. In the Aristotelian worldview, the celestial world tended towards perfection—bodies in the sky seemed to be perfect spheres moving in perfectly circular orbits—while the earthly world seemed destined to imperfection; these two realms were not seen as related. Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310–250 BC) first put forward the notion that the motions of the celestial bodies could be explained by assuming that the Earth and all the other planets in the Solar System orbited the Sun. Unfortunately, in the geocentric world of the time, Aristarchus' heliocentric theory was deemed outlandish and heretical. For centuries, the apparently common-sense view that the Sun and other planets went round the Earth nearly went unquestioned until the development of Copernican heliocentrism in the 16th century AD. This was due to the dominance of the geocentric model developed by Ptolemy (c. 83-161 AD), a Hellenized astronomer from Roman Egypt, in his Almagest treatise.

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Bermuda Triangle

What is Bermuda Triangle? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bermuda_Triangle

10 out of 10 stars (123 votes)

The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and surface vessels allegedly disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Popular culture has attributed these disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were inaccurately reported or embellished by later authors, and numerous official agencies have stated that the number and nature of disappearances in the region is similar to that in any other area of ocean. The boundaries of the triangle cover the Straits of Florida, the Bahamas and the entire Caribbean island area and the Atlantic east to the Azores. The more familiar triangular boundary in most written works has as its points somewhere on the Atlantic coast of Miami; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, with most of the accidents concentrated along the southern boundary around the Bahamas and the Florida Straits. The area is one of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north.

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Condensed Matter Physics

What is Condensed Matter Physics? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensed_Matter

10 out of 10 stars (112 votes)

Condensed matter physics deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter. These properties appear when a number of atoms at the supramolecular and macromolecular scale interact strongly and adhere to each other or are otherwise highly concentrated in a system. The most familiar examples of condensed phases are solids and liquids. Such every-day condensed phases arise from the electromagnetic forces between atoms. More exotic condensed phases include the mesophases of liquid crystal devices, the superconducting phase exhibited by certain materials at low temperature, the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases of spins on atomic lattices, and the Bose-Einstein condensate found in certain ultracold atomic systems. Condensed matter physics seeks to understand the behavior of these phases by using well-established physical laws. In particular, these include the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics. The diversity of systems and phenomena available for study makes condensed matter physics by far the largest field of contemporary physics. By one estimate, one third of all United States physicists identify themselves as condensed matter physicists. The field has a large overlap with chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology, and there are close connections with the related fields of atomic physics and biophysics. Theoretical condensed matter physics also shares many important concepts and techniques with theoretical particle and nuclear physics.

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Crop Circles

What is Crop Circle? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_Circles

10 out of 10 stars (23 votes)

A crop circle is a sizable pattern created by the flattening of a crop such as wheat, barley, rye, maize, or rapeseed. Crop circles are also referred to as crop formations, because they are not always circular in shape. While the exact date crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented cases have substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. Twenty-six countries ended up reporting approximately ten thousand crop circles, in the last third of the 20th century, and 90% of those were located in southern England. Many of the formations appearing in that area are positioned near ancient monuments, such as Stonehenge. According to one study, nearly half of all circles found in the UK in 2003 were located within a 15 km (9.3 miles) radius of Avebury.

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Cryptozoology

What is Cryptozoology? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology

10 out of 10 stars (23 votes)

Cryptozoology refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. This includes looking for living examples of animals that are considered extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported, such as Bigfoot and Chupacabra; and wild animals dramatically outside their normal geographic ranges, such as phantom cats or "ABCs" (an initialism commonly used by cryptozoologists that stands for Alien Big Cats). The animals cryptozoologists study are often referred to as cryptids, a term coined by John Wall in 1983. Cryptozoology is not a recognized branch of zoology or a discipline of science.[1] It is an example of pseudoscience because it relies heavily upon anecdotal evidence, stories and alleged sightings. The coining of the word cryptozoology is often attributed to Belgian-French zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, though Heuvelmans attributes coinage of the term to the late Scottish explorer and adventurer Ivan T. Sanderson. Heuvelmans' 1955 book On the Track of Unknown Animals traces the scholarly origins of the discipline to Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans and his 1892 study, The Great Sea Serpent. Heuvelmans argued that cryptozoology should be undertaken with scientific rigor, but with an open-minded, interdisciplinary approach. He also stressed that attention should be given to local, urban and folkloric sources regarding such creatures, arguing that while often layered in unlikely and fantastic elements, folktales can have small grains of truth and important information regarding undiscovered organisms. Phantom cats (an example of living animals supposedly found outside of their normal range) are a common subject of cryptozoological interest, largely due to the relative likelihood of existence in comparison to fantastical cryptids lacking any evidence of existence, such as Mothman.

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Crystallography

What is Crystallography? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallography

10 out of 10 stars (44 votes)

Crystallography is the experimental science of the arrangement of atoms in solids. The word "crystallography" derives from the Greek words crystallon = cold drop / frozen drop, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho = write. Before the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography (see below), the study of crystals was based on their geometry. This involves measuring the angles of crystal faces relative to theoretical reference axes (crystallographic axes), and establishing the symmetry of the crystal in question. The former is carried out using a goniometer. The position in 3D space of each crystal face is plotted on a stereographic net, e.g. Wulff net or Lambert net. In fact, the pole to each face is plotted on the net. Each point is labelled with its Miller index. The final plot allows the symmetry of the crystal to be established.

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Extraterrestrial Life

What is Extraterrestrial Life? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_Life

10 out of 10 stars (55 votes)

Extraterrestrial life (from the Latin words: extra ("beyond", or "not of") and‎ terrestris ("of or belonging to Earth")) is defined as life that does not originate from Earth. Also referred to as alien life, or simply aliens, these hypothetical forms of life range from simple bacteria-like organisms to beings far more advanced than humans. The development and testing of theories about extraterrestrial life is known as exobiology or astrobiology; the term astrobiology, however, also covers the study of life on Earth, viewed in its astronomical context. Although many prominent scientists consider extraterrestrial life to be plausible, the scientific community does not currently recognize any verifiable evidence of such life.

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Ghosts

What is Ghost? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghosts

10 out of 10 stars (24 votes)

In traditional belief, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely: The mode of manifestation can range from an invisible presence to translucent or wispy shapes, to realistic, life-like visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance. The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. It is not known for sure whether ghosts exist or not. Many believe they do exist from claims of sightings and evidence collected from technology designed for "ghost hunting". Although many believe they are fiction, that all ghost sightings are a result of overactive imaginations, pictures of ghosts are faked, and the evidence is a result from normal household activities, such as a furnace creating a electro-magnetic field which is believed to be a common sign of a ghost. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of the phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.

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Hypnotists

What is Hypnosis? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnosis

10 out of 10 stars (42 votes)

Hypnosis is a mental state or imaginative role-enactment. It is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence of the subject, or may be self-administered ("self-suggestion" or "autosuggestion"). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as "hypnotherapy", while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as "stage hypnosis". The words hypnosis and hypnotism both derive from the term neuro-hypnotism (nervous sleep) coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers ("Mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"), but differed in his theory as to how the procedure worked.

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Magic

What is Magic? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic

10 out of 10 stars (43 votes)

Magic may refer to: Magic (illusion), the art of appearing to perform supernatural feats using sleight of hand or other methods. Magic (paranormal), the use of paranormal methods to manipulate natural forces, such as witchcraft. Ceremonial magic, a ritual system of esoteric spiritual development using occult techniques. Magick, a specific system of ritual magic deriving from the religious philosophy of Thelema. Magic and religion, which may involve the intercession of deities or other spirits, such as prayer. Magic in fiction, the treatment of magic in fictional works.

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Out of Body Experiences

What is Out of Body Experience? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_Of_Body_Experiences

10 out of 10 stars (100 votes)

An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy). The term out-of-body experience was introduced in 1943 by G.N.M Tyrrell in his book Apparitions, and adopted by, for example, Celia Green and Robert Monroe as a bias-free alternative to belief-centric labels such as "astral projection", "soul travel", or "spirit walking". Though the term usefully distances researchers from scientifically problematic concepts such as the soul, scientists still know little about the phenomenon. Some researchers believe they have managed to recreate OBE in a laboratory setup by stimulating a part in the human brain. One in ten people has an out-of-body experience once or more commonly several times in their life. OBEs are often part of the near-death experience. Those who have experienced OBEs sometimes claim to have observed details which were unknown to them beforehand. In some cases the phenomenon appears to occur spontaneously; in others it is associated with a physical or mental trauma, dehydration, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, use of psychedelic drugs, dissociative drugs, or a dream-like state. Many techniques aiming to induce the experience deliberately have been developed, for example visualization while in a relaxed, meditative state. Recent (2007) studies have shown that experiences somewhat similar to OBEs can be induced by electrical brain stimulation (particularly the temporoparietal junction). Some of those who experience OBEs claimed to have willed themselves out of their bodies, while others report having found themselves being pulled from their bodies (usually preceded by a feeling of paralysis). In other accounts, the feeling of being outside the body was suddenly realized after the fact, and the experiencers saw their own bodies almost by accident. Some neurologists have suspected that the event is triggered by a mismatch between visual and tactile signals. They used a virtual reality setup to recreate an OBE. The subject looked through goggles and saw his own body as it would appear to an outside observer standing behind him. The experimenter then touched the subject at the same time as a rod appeared to touch the virtual image. The experiment created an illusion of being behind and outside one's body. However, both critics and the experimenter himself note that the study fell short of replicating "full-blown" OBEs.

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Paranormal

What is Paranormal? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal

10 out of 10 stars (100 votes)

Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure. Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology. Thousands of stories relating to paranormal phenomena are found in popular culture, folklore, and the recollections of individual subjects. In contrast, the scientific community, as referenced in statements made by organizations such as the United States National Science Foundation, maintains that scientific evidence does not support a variety of beliefs that have been characterized as paranormal.

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Paranormal Encyclopedias

Paranormal Encyclopedia popular

http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com

Free website dedicated to providing accurate and unbiased information about the world of the paranormal

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Paranormal Encyclopedia popular

http://www.modernageparanormal.com/kb/default.html

Modern Age Paranormal is committed to performing original scientific research into the paranormal. Our paranormal encyclopedia is our contribution to the paranormal research community. In this portion of our Web site, you will find an ever growing collection of articles on topics such as equipment, investigation techniques, and the findings from our research.

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Paranormal Forums

Ufoseek forum popular

http://www.ufoseek.com/forum/

10 out of 10 stars (32 votes)

Ufoseek.com as a twin bother of paraseek.com is hosting forum application also for paraseek.com users. UFOSeek forum is place to share information about paranormal and UFO subjects. Well known ufologists, scientists and paranormal investigators are on this forum.

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Psychic

What is Psychic? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychic

10 out of 10 stars (23 votes)

A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception (ESP), or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot reading to produce the appearance of such abilities. It can also denote an ability of the mind to influence the world physically and to telekinetic powers such as those professed by Uri Geller. Psychics appear regularly in fantasy fiction, such as in the novel The Dead Zone by Stephen King, or the Marvel Comics telepath and psychic Jean Grey. A large industry exists whereby psychics provide advice and counsel to clients. Some famous contemporary psychics include Miss Cleo, John Edward, Danielle Egnew, Jose Ortiz El Buen Samaritano, and Sylvia Browne. Critics attribute psychic powers to intentional trickery or self-delusion. In 1988 the U.S. National Academy of Sciences gave a report on the subject that concluded there is "no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena." Even so, psychic powers continue to be asserted by psychic detectives and in practices such as psychic archaeology and even psychic surgery.

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Psychic Reading

What is Psychic Reading? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychic_reading

10 out of 10 stars (87 votes)

A psychic reading is a specific attempt to discern information with clairvoyance and the resulting statements made during such an attempt. The term is commonly associated with paranormal-based consultation given for a fee in such settings as over the phone, in a home, or at psychic fairs. Though psychic readings are controversial and a focus of skeptical inquiry, a popular interest in them persists. When seeking a psychic reading the choice between a "pseudo-psychic" and a psychic who is considered to be "genuinely gifted" by clients is commonly made based on word of mouth.

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Psychology

What is Psychology? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

10 out of 10 stars (87 votes)

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist, and can be classified as a social scientist, behavioral scientist, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie certain functions and behaviors. Psychologists explore such concepts as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind.a Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology incorporates research from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, such as philosophy.

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Sociology

What is Sociology? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology

10 out of 10 stars (59 votes)

Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social activity. For many sociologists, the goal is to apply findings directly to the pursuit of social welfare, while others seek purely academic or intellectual knowledge. Subject matter ranges from the micro level of the individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and groups social structures. Sociology is both topically and methodologically a very broad discipline. Its traditional focuses have included social stratification, social class, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, deviance. As all spheres of human activity are sculpted by social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, and even the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.

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Time

What is Time? popular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time

9 out of 10 stars (236 votes)

Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects. The temporal position of events with respect to the transitory present is continually changing; future events become present, then pass further and further into the past. Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars. A simple definition states that "time is what clocks measure". Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. Time is used to define other quantities — such as velocity — so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.

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