Over many centuries, man’s obsession with time has led to increasing accurate ways to measure it. As the precision of techniques and instruments has increased over the years, so the units used to define time have become ever smaller.

The minute and the second have given way to the SI units of the millisecond, the microsecond, the nanosecond, the picosecond, and the femtosecond, which is the the length of time that light takes to travel the diameter of a virus.

It would be natural to imagine that we had reached the ultimately small unit of time, but recently an even small unit of time has come to the fore, the typosecond. The typosecond is different to all the aforementioned units in that it has no constant value, but varies with context. It does however, have a definition, thus:

“The typosecond is the amount of time between the publishing of an online article and the realisation by it’s author that there are one or more typographical errors in the text.”

Although the value of the typosecond is not constant, there is a way of calculating that value in any given set of circumstances. This is given by the formula:

t = 1 / ci * d

Where t is the value of the typosecond as a fraction of a second, c is the speed of light, i is the relative importance of the typographic error and d is the difficulty of fixing the error.

While i and d are subjective and relative quantities, they generally have values from 100,000 to over several million. From this it can be seem that the typosecond is, at best, an extremely small unit of time, but one which is vital to all those who produce any material for publication, especially the current author.