Nautilus

When Bad Things Happen in Slow Motion

Nothing focuses the mind like a moment of peril. John Hockenberry, the heavily-decorated journalist and commentator, had one of those nearly four decades ago. Yet it has never left him, and it always plays out in his memory, as he puts it, “in super slo-mo.”

“About 38 years ago, I was on a road in Pennsylvania. I was sleeping in the back of a car. I woke up. The driver of the car was also asleep,” Hockenberry recounted from his wheelchair in early June at this year’s World Science Festival in New York as he opened up a panel discussion on time perception.“ The car was veering off the road. The passenger next to her reached over very slowly, it seemed, grabbed the wheel, and pulled that wheel as hard as she could … and the car veers to the right. And very slowly we hit the guardrail, the car flips into the air, and I can feel in my gut

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