I once saw a great description of a nanosecond (10^-9 seconds) on PBS: a scientist held up a piece of string 11 3/4 inches long, and said, "this is how far light travels in a nanosecond." Then she held up a huge coil of rope and said "... and *this* is a microsecond!"

see also: femtosecond, picosecond

Now, one day back at Data General, his weariness focused on the logic analyzer and the small catastrophes that come from tying to build a machine that operates in billionths of a second. On this occasion, he went away from the basement and left this note on his terminal:

I am going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.

The Soul of a New Machine, Tracy Kidder

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