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Old 04-11-2009, 10:28 AM   #16
cinder_darkskys
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Time is a component of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. 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.

In physics as well as in other sciences, time is considered one of the few fundamental quantities.[1] Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition.[2] 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 brings the nature of time into association with related questions into the nature of space, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.

Among prominent philosophers, there are two distinct viewpoints on time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Time travel, in this view, becomes a possibility as other "times" persist like frames of a film strip, spread out across the time line. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.[3][4] The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz[5] and Immanuel Kant,[6][7] holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.

Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, and the beat of a heart. Currently, the international unit of time, the second, is defined in terms of radiation emitted by caesium atoms (see below). Time is also of significant social importance, having economic value ("time is money") as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human life spans.

The Fates were three mythological goddesses and may refer to
The Moirae or Moerae (in Greek Μοῖραι – the "apportioners", often called the The Fates), in Greek mythology, were the white-robed personifications of destiny (Roman equivalent: Parcae, euphemistically the "sparing ones", or Fata; also equivalent to the Germanic Norns). Their number became fixed at three.

The Greek word moira (μοῖρα) literally means a part or portion, and by extension one's portion in life or destiny. They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death (and beyond).

The Parcae, in Roman mythology, were the personifications of destiny (often called The Fates in English). Their Greek equivalent were the Moirae. They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death. Even the gods feared the Parcae. Jupiter also was subject to their power.

The names of the three Parcae were:

Nona - spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle.[citation needed] Her Greek equivalent was Clotho;
Decima - measured the thread of life with her rod. Her Greek equivalent was Lachesis;
Morta - was the cutter of the thread of life. She chose the manner of a person's death. Her Greek equivalent was Atropos

The Norns (Old Norse: norn, plural: nornir) are a kind of dísir,[1] numerous female beings who rule the fates of the various races of Norse mythology.

According to Snorri Sturluson's interpretation of the Völuspá, the three most important norns, Urðr (Wyrd), Verðandi and Skuld come out from a hall standing at the Well of Urðr (well of fate) and they draw water from the well and take sand that lies around it, which they pour over the ash Yggdrasill so that its branches will not rot.[2] These norns are described as three powerful maiden giantesses (Jotuns) whose arrival from Jötunheimr ended the golden age of the gods.[2] They may be the same as the maidens of Mögþrasir who are described in Vafþrúðnismál (see below).[2]

Beside these three norns, there are many other norns who arrive when a person is born in order to determine his or her future.[2] There were both malevolent and benevolent norns, and the former caused all the malevolent and tragic events in the world while the latter were kind and protective goddesses.[2] Recent research has discussed the relation between the myths associated with norns and valkyries and the actual travelling Völvas (seiðr-workers), women who visited newborn children in the pre-Christian Norse societies.[3]

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The Three Witches or Weird Sisters are characters in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (c. 1603 - 1607). Their origin lies in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of Great Britain. Other possible sources influencing their creation include British folklore, contemporary treatises on witchcraft, Scandinavian legends of the Norns, Greek and Roman myths concerning the Fates, and the Bard's own imagination. Portions of Thomas Middleton's play The Witch were incorporated into Macbeth around 1618.

Shakespeare's witches are prophetesses who hail then-General Macbeth early in the play with predictions of his rise as king. Upon committing regicide and being seated on the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears the trio deliver ambiguous prophecies threatening his downfall. The witches' dark and contradictory natures, their "filthy" trappings and activities, as well as their intercourse with the supernatural all set an ominous tone for the play.

In the 18th century, as Shakespearean as well as supernatural art began to become popular, the witches were portrayed in a variety of ways by artists such as Henry Fuseli. Since then, their role has proven somewhat difficult for many directors to portray, due to the tendency to make their parts exaggerated or overly sensational. Some have adapted the original Macbeth into different cultures, as in Orson Welles' performance making the witches voodoo priestesses. Film adaptations have seen the witches transformed into characters familiar to the modern world, such as hippies on drugs or goth schoolgirls. Their influence reaches the literary realm as well in such works as The Third Witch and the Harry Potter series.
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