I know what an attosecond is. (It's 10-18 seconds.)

What surprised me was seeing the word used metaphorically and in passing in a general-interest news article:

Stress may be most readily associated with the attosecond pace of postindustrial society, but the body's stress response is one of our oldest possessions.

I'm used to seeing words like "millisecond" or "microsecond" in that kind of context. These days, maybe "nanosecond." But this New York Times article's author has skipped all the way from nanoseconds past picoseconds and femtoseconds to attoseconds.

Side note: That article also has a headline I particularly like: "Brain Is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop." And I like the phrase "chronically stressed rats lost their elastic rat cunning."