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ucme's avatar

What else can be done in a millisecond (clarification awaits below)?

Asked by ucme (45479points) January 9th, 2013

We see it all the time, some user or other given a GA/GQ highlighted in the community feed as “0 milliseconds ago.”
This seems astonishingly fast, in the blink of an eye a portion of lurve is dished out, all day long.
So, what can be achieved in such a miniscule timeframe?
Humour/theory or factual, they’re all welcome here.

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16 Answers

Pachy's avatar

An epiphany can strike you in a millisecond. So can a drunk driver.

Shippy's avatar

What can I say? I am a woman who knows what she wants.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Some of the devices we built can count to 15 million in a millisecond.

Seek's avatar

You can retrieve the Google results for “Find Chuck Norris”.

zenvelo's avatar

I work at the stock exchange. We often handle missions of orders and quotes in a millisecond.

Coloma's avatar

For a brain like mine, the manifestation of a thought to 300 words per millisecond. lol

wundayatta's avatar

Pork bellies.

zensky's avatar

Some of my dates have complained about that.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@zensky I’ve heard of premature but that tops the field so far.
A good New Yorker can blow the car horn in a millisecond after the light turns green

gasman's avatar

A modern computer CPU can execute something like a million instructions.
Light, traveling at one foot per nanosecond, covers 186 miles.

How short an interval can humans perceive? I’m not sure but my own experience with auditory stimuli, trying to resolve one click into two clicks closely spaced in time, back when I was learning about heart sounds, is on the order of 10 milliseconds.

But how fast can you act? Surely much slower than you can perceive! Acting requires formulating the intent to do something in your motor cortex (thought process), then telling the spinal cord, which then activates muscles. The body is fast but not that fast – I don’t think you can literally do anything in the time frame of one millisecond because your nervous system is too slow.

Durations of action potentials – electrical impulses that mediate nerve transmission – are on the order of many milliseconds; transmission speeds are no faster than about 100 meters/second, so to go one meter (from brain to fingertips) takes at least 10 msec just to cover distance, not counting processing along the way.

Even nematocysts, the stinging cells on the tentacles of us jellyfish, take hundreds of milliseconds to fully discharge their coiled tubules ref. But wait, my fellow cnidarians! When our nematocysts are triggered there is an initial deployment of a stylet, like a microscopic harpoon. According to this site,

Nüchter and colleagues used a state-of-the art camera to finally resolve the kinetics of nematocyst discharge. With exposure times as short as 200 ns, they were just able to capture nematocysts in motion for the first time…What they found was truly astounding. Discharge of the barbed stylet was complete in about 700 ns (0.0000007 s), which makes it one of the fastest biological events ever measured.

So there you have it, @ucme, poetic irony and all: Jellyfish take less than a thousandth of a millisecond to grab prey.

janbb's avatar

@zensky beat me to it (hah!) but I was also going to say a guy coming.

Earthgirl's avatar

I can change my mind twice in a millesecond…I’m that good.

Blondesjon's avatar

The big bang that created the universe.

i can also kill a twelve ounce beer in that time

ucme's avatar

Cheers folks, good stuff!

mattbrowne's avatar

Our sun producing 100000000000000000 kWh of energy.

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