credit: Exploratorium Besides having one of the best names in the museum business, San Francisco's Exploratorium is widely considered to be among the most beautiful and well-designed educational institutions on the planet.
Its oddball, hands-on exhibits are considered a model for the modern participatory museum. The Exploratorium has famously been termed a "mad scientist's penny arcade."
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It turns out the Exploratorium makes apps, too. The latest from the museum team is called How Many Saturdays? and it's a lot of fun.
Simple, playful and gorgeously designed, the iPad app is intended to encourage users to think about time in different ways. As they've done previously with apps on color and sound, the designers have come up with some creative approach vectors to exploring our perception of time passing.
Enter in your date of birth and the app will give you personalized estimates about the time you have lived and the time you have left. But rather than split things up into the usual units of years or months, the program suggests some different metrics.
For example: According to the app, I have 1,910 Saturdays left until I die. Also, 109 Friday the 13ths, 18 blue moons and - as of the typing of this period - 1,155,478, 849 seconds.
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During that time, Mount Everest will grow about 18 inches. More than 1 million pounds of space debris will fall to Earth. Also, I can expect to laugh about 227,350 times. Less than that, presumably, if I keep watching these terrible Adam Sandler movies.
The data is generated from statistics and probability studies, and each info nugget features drop-down elements which you can tap for more information.
For instance, the section on dreams explains that the typical person averages five dreams each night, or around two hours of dream time in total. Keep tapping through and you'll get more information on the different stages of sleep.
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A slider function at the bottom flips numbers the other way, and provides some food-for-thought temporal metrics on things that have happened since you were born. Evidently, two trillion chickens have been killed for food since I was brought into the world, and 184 years have passed on the planet Mercury. I've also seen 11 presidential elections, which is at least 11 too many.
The app is a kind of sideways portal into interesting information, and everything is delivered with accompanying photos, sound files and sometimes videos. It's like a little Exploratorium exhibit on your iPad. Pretty neat.