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Kin Cheung / AP

The language you speak can alter the way you think about and understand the passage of time, according to a recent study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

The focus group: The researchers gathered 40 Spanish speakers and 40 Swedish speakers to complete a series of tests using computer animation to show one of two conditions: estimating how long it took for two lines to grow and for a cup to fill up with water. Swedish speakers, like English speakers, tend to think of time in terms of length (i.e. "It's been a long day") while Spanish speakers typically describe time in terms of volume (i.e. "It's been a full day").

What happened: The first test showed two separate growing lines, one four inches long and the other six inches. Participants were explicitly told that each took three seconds to grow, but Swedish speakers thought more than three seconds had passed after the six-inch line grew to completion. Spanish speakers maintained that three seconds had passed, no matter the length.

Test #2: Although Spanish speakers understood the passage of time with growing lines, they were tripped up when asked to estimate the amount of time it took for a cup to fill halfway and completely with water. They estimated that more time had passed the fuller the cup was filled, while Swedish speakers didn't have a problem estimating how long it took.

Why it matters: The results suggest that language influences how we understand the passage of time, whether in terms of length or volume. One researcher, Emmanuel Bylund, told PopularScience, "Even babies who don't yet master language seem to have an association between physical length and temporal length." That means we may have an inherent tendency to associate physical length (or volume) with longer time.

But: It's important to remember that it's not binary — in some tests administered by the researchers, the participants weren't given notice of how long each task took; in those cases, both Spanish and Swedish speakers were fairly accurate in their estimations.

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A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

First look: Biden summons top CEOs on supply chain

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President Biden will meet Monday afternoon with CEOs of big retailers, grocers and consumer-products firms to send this message, according to the White House: Products will be on shelves for holiday shopping.

Zoom out: Black Friday sales rebounded from 2020.

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

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