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We note that at the instant the swimmer touches the edge of the pool our wristwatch reads and 53 seconds.

How long has the competitor taken to swim the 1,500 metre race?

But without reliable witnesses the accuracy of the watch makes no difference.

You can only establish the time for the race if it was timed by two or more qualified eyewitnesses who observed the start, the progress and the finish.

That is why you need at least two, sometimes three judges to measure the time of the race to the standard needed to enter the record books.

Without these observations you cannot be sure that the time is valid.The small pieces of bone were combusted to produce carbon dioxide which was then put through a mass spectrometer.Testing two pieces each at two different facilities should provide consistent results – and indeed it did. The proportion of C-14 in the atmosphere, and hence in living things, is not constant but varies over the centuries, and it also varies between the atmosphere and the oceans.Without the starting time it is Actually, knowing the starting time is still not enough.During the race you have to watch the swimmer and count how many laps he has swum so you know that he has done 1,500 metres.

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When I have asked an audience this question they have looked at me incredulously and said, “Starting time?

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