Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ontological Paradox

Here's a clip explaining the Ontological Paradox, like the kind found regularly on Quantum Leap, or on Back to the Future when Marty McFly shows Chuck Berry how to play Johnny B. Goode.

She explains it way better than I could, even with that terrible accent. Plus she's much prettier.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stealing Time Short Film

This is pretty awesome!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time Travelers

Do you remember John Titor? He's the time traveler from 2036 who started posting on message boards from 2000 until 2001 and then was never heard from again. Well now that 10 years have passed in our time line, it appears he is back again (who knows how long it's been in his time) and it looks like he is now trying to influence our present (his past) by posting letters on-line which counsel and warn us of what is to come. To see his letters, go HERE and search for "John Titor".

Here is a guy named Dash Motohito who is blogging back through time from the year 2062.

You may remember on this blog a couple years ago I posted some pictures of Axl Rose: Hungry Time Traveler. Well, now I have started a new blog entirely devoted to the photographic evidence of his time travel adventures. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Space Moose: Master of Time

I'm probably blowing our PG-13 Rating with this comic, but what the heck! Here goes

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time Travel Bingo

Thanks to Torley, who made this and emailed it to me...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chinese Authorities Discourage Time Travel

The New York Times reported that Chinese Authorities have issued new guidelines discouraging TV shows from featuring time travel in their plot lines. They say it "lack positive thoughts and meaning".

You know up until now, I have been very open minded when it comes to China and its history of brutal human rights violations. But now they're restricting the basic right of its people to enjoy televised time travel fiction? Well I for one can no longer keep silent.

It's one thing for General Mao to have been directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of 40 to 70 million people in his 27 year rule. But now you can't even allow your people to imagine traveling through time to prevent those deaths in a serialized video format? Maybe those Tibetans were right about you after all!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Light Reading

Check out the latest article on Cracked's website.

8 Things To Try If You Get Trapped In A Time Loop
by Chris Bucholz.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time, Motion and Consciousness

In Zeno's paradox where he argues that there is no such thing as motion, I have found to be quite fascinating. The concept of motion, first of all, is hard to define, in fact, in regards to Zeno's argument, saying what is wrong can be difficult because by theory we can disprove the idea of motion. That is to say, by theories in quantum mechanics we are able to see that objects move like pictures moving in a 64 bit game—there is no motion, only changing of pixels to give the illusion of motion. However, by direct experiment it seems as though we can prove motion does exist. I find this troubling as Quantum Mechanics is quickly overtaking classical physics and in this it is evident that what we discover in quantum mechanics must be right, (or very near the truth).

However, I would like to make the argument for motion, in a sense, relating it to spacetime. Movement can be defined as an objects motion through time. Time passes; therefore, any change can be categorized as movement. We experience time or we are conscious of the passing of time, therefore we must assume that it exists. In this we can assume the premise that movement can be categorized as an objects experience through time.

This argument, although not disputing on a strictly scientific level, can be a valid argument for motions existence. Consciousness plays a vital role in this view of motion. If we adhere to the thought that reality is what we perceive and that there is nothing other than what we perceive to be real, then motion is only those instances that lead from point A to point B. Motion does not necessarily need to be fluid movement through space, but the directional change through time. Our consciousness tells us that we are experiencing a change in time by the way we see (long or short term) those changes unfold.

Therefore, through our own consciousness, as well as through our experiencing of time we can assume that there is in fact motion, or the movement of a solid state object through time. Consciousness brings time, time brings experience, and experience indicates movement or motion.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ontological Paradox in Quantum Leap

Among our primary criticisms of the show Quantum Leap are all the ontological paradoxes that are created, and never explained.

Indeed, while the time travel premise of he show is intriguing, as is the idea that he actually takes the place of someone in the past, the show essentially uses time travel as nothing more than its premise, and never really explores the field.

The ontological paradoxes alone are enough to drive you crazy. He teaches Buddy Holly the lyrics to Peggy Sue, gives Stephen King the plot to Christine, and - most seriously of all - he even gives his time travel theory itself to an earlier version of himself (albeit accidentally).

Some of us dislike the show because it would establish rules in one episode only to be broken in another, and some of us dislike it because the time traveller is trapped in time and never seems to make any kind of effort to return home, but we all dislike it because it never seems to make even the slightest effort to examine time travel in a plausible way.

Note: Occasionally we get together to review time travel movies, discussing their approaches and how they relate to today's theories. You can check out the one we did for Back to the Future, and we've recorded one for Star Trek that's coming soon. In the mean time we're taking suggestions for what to review next. Please either email us your requests, or post them as comments here - but please don't ask for Quantum Leap!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Pillar of Salt" Novel Excerpt

Here is an except from my latest novel "Pillar of Salt". I chose this portion because of how it deals with time travel, and it's effects when one has the ability to travel backwards and forwards in time within a given limit. (In this case, about 1300 years). I hope you enjoy it.

**You can purchase a copy of my book here, for the hardback. Or here, for the paperback

His flight, to Portland, Oregon would take two hours and he had brought along the book Slaughterhouse-Five; a favorite of his. He loved the play on consciousness traveling through time. Billy Pigrim, the main character in the story would not physically travel through time, but his consciousness would. He would enter his mind at different points in his life, experiencing them and always seemingly staying the longest as it followed his life in world war II. It almost seemed like there was a linear constant for his body that his consciousness would always revert to.

This was something Jude had a hard time with. He understood time travel enough to know that he was most likely not the oldest version of his self. If he traveled to some time, in the future or past he could possible run into an old man named Jude Tab who would be his own self; just a different version. This also led to multiple dimensional decisions all within one spacetime dimension. He never could wrap his brain around the concept. What he does now, does not mean that there aren't other possibilities.

He thought about how this would happen. When he had first called his professor after exiting the CTT in 2672 the first time his professor answered. Because of his interference with that, his own self who had tried to call his professor and had gotten no response very well could have turned around and gone home. Or FORCE could have captured him first and he could be somewhere completely different. It was somewhat worrisome to him that his roommate had never mentioned another him—another Jude—had come home. So did he never make it? he thought.

He didn't like the idea that his linear and current self could be somewhere else and not experiencing what he was currently experiencing. It was unnerving. Because he was currently experiencing and currently making his own decisions how could he be anything but the current linear version of his self. This reminded him of a simple line in the book. It came from the aliens Tralfamadorians, “Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.” He wanted to know if what he was currently doing was predestined by some more current linear version of his self? An old gray haired man, laying in bed dying who had determined that he'd see his parents at this time...

He stopped himself. People had dwelt on this problem for centuries. Even in 3127, a little more than two-hundred years from the CTT-End, they still had no way of telling who was current. This led to great debates as to the aspects of freewill. How could anyone account for their actions if there was an older version of their self’s dictating what they were eventually going to do. The notion of freewill was muddled and in a abominably wrong way they incorporate the God creation theory of worlds. Skewing it to say that with each alternating jump—like that of Jude jumping again, affecting his previous self who called the professor—a new possible world or linear current time line is created.

This was even scientifically studied for several hundred years, working on the theory that they should be able to track a person’s linear self starting at birth. They took a group of twelve infants and injected them with a certain protein stand that should eventually, through time, slightly alter their DNA. Mutating them into something inhuman but unrecognizable to anyone but those studying them. The results were inconclusive at best as the radiation from traveling through the CTT's—although it was slight—progressed or digressed the protein strand until there was no common ground to determine where the individual’s linear current self ended. It was also impractical to mutate the entire human race to keep track of their linear selves.

Jude had decided some time ago to not worry about it. He felt that what he did now, inevitable would affect his most current linear self and so he could argue that all instances of a person were linear and affecting each other to eventually bring about an end result.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Swedish Time Traveler

Alberto sent me this article about a man who was caught trying to sabotage the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland last year - he claimed to be from the future. The article is an April Fools joke from the site, but I did like this part...

Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Håkan Nordkvist: Swedish Time Traveler

Håkan Nordkvist claims to have traveled to the future where he enjoyed spending quality time with an older Håkan Nordkvist. His means of time travel is not unlike how one might enter Narnia, but he does have some video proof...

Thanks to Alberto for sending me the link!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Bee's Ability to Tell Time

I am currently reading a book called "Time". It discusses the different aspects of the element of time. It is written by Eva Hoffman, and goes through the human relationship with time through out body, culture, and mind. The understanding of time in regards to ourselves is an interesting concept.

In regards to time and our body, I have found a new appreciation for our "biological clock" and how it related to our lives so specifically. How in relation to our surroundings we judge time differently, or how our biological clock knows when our metabolism should start running (even if we don't help in the morning), or how during pregnancy a womans body relies on their biological clock in relationship to stages of the pregnancy, all the way down to the 40 weeks of pregnancy and birth of all health babies around that same time period--or how the body knows when it is time.

However, one thing that I had not know, or not thought of was that of the bee, and their own abilities in relation to time. Bee's, through their dance or "waggles" are able to not only give details directions on how to get to the flower(s) that are pollinating, but are able to give accurate details indicating when time during the day the flower is best pollinating. The bees biological clocks are able to judge and give accurately a telling of the time in which a certain location of flowers are pollinating. I thing this is an incredible example of the differences in viewing time.

There will be more to come as I continue reading this book. It's a new and different insight to time and its personal relationship with us.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Benjamin Sisko And An Alien Species Discuss Linear Time

In the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Comander Sisko makes first contact with an alien species which communicates with him through his memories in what is one of the coolest sequences I’ve ever seen in any science fiction story. As part of that conversation, if becomes clear that the aliens do not experience linear time the way humans do and here are some selections from the script written by Rick Berman and Michael Piller…

SISKO: You and I are very different species, it will take time for us to understand one another.
ALIENS: What is this “time”?


SISKO: It can be argued that a human is ultimately the sum of his experiences.
ALIENS: “Experiences”? What is this?
SISKO: Memories. Events from my past.
ALIENS: “Past”?
SISKO: Things that happened before now… You have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.
ALIENS: What comes before now is no different than what is now, or what is to come – it is one’s existence.
SISKO: Then for you, there is no linear time.
ALIENS: “Linear time”? What is this?
SISKO: My species lives in one point in time. And once we move beyond that point, it becomes the past. The future, all that is yet to come, does not exist yet for us.
ALIENS: "Does not exist yet"?
SISKO: That is the nature of linear existence.

The aliens later appear to Sisko in one of his memories of a day he spent with his late wife at the park…

ALIENS: "Jennifer".
SISKO: Yes. That was her name.
ALIENS: She is part of your existence.
SISKO: She is part of my past. She is no longer alive.
ALIENS: But she is part of your existence.
SISKO: She was a most important part of my existence. But I lost her some time ago.
ALIENS: “Lost”? What is this?
SISKO: In a linear existence, we can’t go back to the past to get something we left behind. So it’s lost.
ALIENS: It is inconceivable that any species could exist in such a manner… You are deceiving us.
SISKO: No. This is the truth. This day, this park… it was almost fifteen years ago. Far in the past. It was a day that was very important to me. A day that shaped every day that followed. That is the essence of a linear existence. Each day affects the next.

There’s much more to this exchange, including how our actions have consequences, how our past affects our future, and how Commander Sisko personally remains emotionally trapped in one particular moment from his past.

I recommend everyone watch it. It’s some awesome stuff!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

B Minus Time Traveler

Rob's post about Ignorant Time Traveler got me thinking about this classic sketch from the Ben Stiller Show...

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Ignorant Time Traveller

There are those that claim you can't go back in your own timeline and change anything without introducing a paradox of some kind, correct?


First of all there is the case of the Ignorant Time Traveller. If someone who had never heard of the Titanic were to go back in time and inadvertantly convince it to go off-course (and therefore avoid the iceberg), there is no paradox, since there is no reason why the Ignorant Time Traveller wouldn't do it again.

The Ignorant Time Traveller could travel to places and times with which he or she was unfamiliar, and even if the changes were deliberate rather than accidental, they would still not necessarily introduce paradoxes.

It is naturally possible that the Ignorant Time Traveller could accidentally kill a key ancestor, or somehow affect something that prevents his or her ultimate ability to travel in time, but it's not guaranteed - it is possible that the Ignorant Time Traveller would not, and that's the point.

There is also a scenario where time travel is possible even with those who aren't ignorant. Though the Knowledgeable Time Traveller could not prevent the Titanic disaster, he or she could arrange for a rescue ship to save everyone and take them somewhere (or some time) where they couldn't (or wouldn't) tell anyone who they were. Perhaps even to a point in the future, beyond the point from which the Knowledgeable Time Traveller originally went back.

Of course, this would require a great deal of precise knowledge about the Titanic disaster so the right evidence could be left behind. Perhaps he or she would have to bring and leave behind certain realistic-looking corpses, know exactly when and where to show up, and with what, in order to leave no evidence of the rescue mission behind. In essence, he or she would have to be a Very Knowledgeable Time Traveller to leave no evidence of the incursion.

Though paradoxes are still possible, the absence of paradoxes is also possible.

Therefore, time travel within one's own timeline without paradox is possible at opposite ends of the spectrum: the Ignorant Time Traveller and the Very Knowledgeable Time Traveller, but not necessarily at any point in between.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time Traveling Silent Film Extra?

I've had a couple friends (thanks guys) send me this video with what appears to be an old lady using a cell phone in the background of a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film. Or as the poster suggests maybe it's a man in disguise (not that that would make a difference other than to address people's stereotypes of overweight old ladies not being time travelers).

Now there weren't cell satellites back then right? Unless the future went back and sent one up. Or maybe they have different technology in that old lady's time that doesn't require satellites and towers to use a cell phone. Who is she talking to? Another time traveler? Maybe it's come kind of communicator with the ship that is orbiting above? I don't know. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Warning From Mister Spock

"Suppose an unscrupulous man were to gain certain knowledge of man's future. Such a man could manipulate key industries, stocks and even nations - and in so doing, change what must be. And if it is changed, captain, you and I and all that we know might not even exist."

- Spock (Tomorrow is Yesterday)

Ethics Of Time Travel Sex (Quantum Leap and Being Erica)

Remember when Sam Beckett would jump back into someone else's body and would end up having sleeping with a lady? I always felt a little weird about that. First because it seems wrong that he would be making that decision for the person whose body he is in. And second, it seemed kind of like he was taking advantage of the woman he was with - since she was making her decision based on the person she thought she was being with.

It seems kind of unethical. But at the same time, if Sam is going to be bouncing around in time for the rest of his life, does that mean he has to be celibate for the rest of his life? He's doing a lot of hard work to fix the wrongs of history, shouldn't he be able to get a little something for himself?

Also I've been watching a show on Hulu called Being Erica (which is okay, but so far nothing great), where a girl keeps jumping back through time into her own body to fix some personal mistakes she's made in her life. In one episode, she goes back to when she was in high school and she ends up sleeping with a teenage boy.

So that got me wondering if that's wrong or not. She is mentally and emotionally an adult even though she is physically inside her teenage body. But the boy is mentally, emotionally and physically a minor. So let's forget for the moment about the morals of pre-marital-sex and the ideas about whether teenagers should participate in consensual sex with each other (since we may have different views on that) - I think I can assume that we would agree that an adult sleeping with a teenager is immoral. So based on that assumption, did she do something wrong? Or does the fact that their bodies are the same age make it not wrong?

I don't know. It's something to wonder about. What kind of rules should a time traveler follow in these types of situations? What do you think?

Friday, October 22, 2010

To The Best Of Our Knowledge: Facing Time

On a recent episode of PRI's To The Best Of Our Knowledge, they discussed a couple interesting aspects of time. CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast where they discuss...

A mechanical clock which measures astronomic and calendric cycles which is being designed to run for ten thousand years.

Is time travel science fiction or science fact?

In a musical composition, does time flow from point A to point B?

The cultural revolution of slowness.

An Aboriginal concept which rejects linear time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Time Travel In Comics: Ultimate Fantastic Four

Ultimate Fantastic Four wasn't a great series, but it had it's moments. My favorite storyline in that series was called President Thor and contains a story where they go back in time and stop the event which led to them becoming the Fantastic Four. In issue 27 (written by Mark Millar with art by Greg Land), they introduce some giant cosmic spiders that Reed Richards calls "Argiopes" whose "function in spacetime" is to devour "threats to the reality fabric" such as the Reed from the future touching the Reed from the past.
It's an interesting idea of nature having its own way of protecting the continuum.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Black Holes and Time Loops

I've known for some time now of the effects a black hole can have in time travel. A very fundamental role in Physics is the more massive an object, the slower time goes. So, if you were able to travel to the center of the galaxy to the Super Massive Black Hole and start flying your spaceship in a circle around it the time difference would be something like 50 Earth years go by for every 10 or yours. However, in Dr. Ronald L. Mallett's book, Time Traveler, He speaks of his continuing journey to find a way to travel back in time.

One way, that he has found is that because of gravitational waves given out by black holes time loops are created. (To know more about the affects of a time look watch the movie with Christopher Reed, Bid Time Return). So in theory, we could travel to any rapidly spinning black hole, get caught in this time loop, go back in time, and then fly out. Hmmmm.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Butterfly Effect

"Eh... Close enough."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

T = Time Podcast: Back To The Future!

So Rob and Bryton and I recorded a podcast where we discussed the Back To The Future movies and you can check out the MP3 HERE.

Let us know what you think and maybe we'll be able to put together another time travel podcast in the near future.

(I know the audio isn't great, but we'll try to figure that out for next time)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario

The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, a short story by Steve Peck starts out with the main character naked bleeding in a forest in an unknown place and time. Immediately he begins to beat himself, holding a rock and pounding it against his chest, arm, one of his eyes and finally his nose. He then lays himself down on a street, waiting for the famous and kind hearted Lord Harrington.

The reader has to ask, "what is going on?" It doesn't make any sense. And I have to say, the odd beginning had me hooked. I needed to know more. I needed to understand why someone would willingly inflict this kind of pain on themselves. We find out soon.

The man we learn to call Dr. Benjamin Quay is not from the 19th century, when Lord Harrington lived, but from the future. A future where time travel has been made possible. However, the world in which Quay comes is ending. In a last attempt to save humanity from an asteroid nearing Earth time travel into the past becomes a reality. But here is the catch. Not only do you travel back in time, but you travel to another dimension with no belongings and no way of ever returning.

This concept, I feel is fascinating. The ability to travel back in time, however there is a horrible catch. One that would only be used in the situation that is presented: The end of the world. You travel back to the point to designate--into another dimension and time. What effects come from this blunt disturbance in space and time?

Steve brings us such a hauntingly original idea in The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario of the affects of time travel and the price that is paid in traveling back through time, space as well as into another dimension.

Please click on the link to read the full short story:

Monday, August 2, 2010

City on the Edge of Forever

Last year Matsby asked me to write up a review of one of my favourite Star Trek episodes. Now I've finally gotten around to it, which is actually quite soon by his standards.

This is a hard review to write, because "City on the Edge of Forever" is one of the four or five Star Trek episodes that bring a few tears to my eyes. Although, in fairness, "Spock's Brain" probably shouldn't count because I cried because it was so bad.

The story begins when Dr. McCoy "accidentally" drugs himself, and has a bad trip. He beams off the ship to the mysterious planet below, and Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock chase after him, bringing along two red shirts (wise), Scottie, and, for absolutely zero reason, Lieutenant Uhura.

While searching for Dr. McCoy, they stumble upon something shiny and completely forget about their friend and his potentially fatal condition.

Turns out that it's a gateway into Earth's past, into which druggie Dr. McCoy suddenly leaps. Moments later the Enterprise disappears because of something McCoy did in the past. Only Kirk, Spock, and the others are safe because they're on the planet protected by the gateway (and not wearing red shirts). Everyone else, including all of Star Fleet, apparently ceases to exist.

I know this seems like the most amazing device, and it probably gets destroyed at the end of the episode, right? Wrong. The time portal works just fine, it's just one of those amazingly powerful devices that we never hear from again. There are countless occasions in future episodes and movies where time portals, mind-controlling bugs, Genesis weapons, and countless other discoveries would have been invaluable, but are completely forgotten. To me, it's kind of a running gag.

Anyway, Spock and Kirk decide go back to try to find McCoy, figure out what he did to screw up the future, and stop him. And maybe play the stock market a little.

Turns out that McCoy went back to America, in the 1930s. One of the first rules of time travel is that you never wind up in Africa, or Asia, or some rinky-dink Pacific island, nope you always wind up in New York.

The first person McCoy meets, before passing out, is some random homeless guy. For no particular reason the homeless guy steals McCoy's phaser and accidentally vaporizes himself. Turns out this homeless guy had no more effect on history than he does the story. Moving on ...

Spock and Kirk show up next, and they try to find McCoy, without success. Spock decides to invent the world's first computer, but unfortunately this was well before there was any Vulcan porn on the Internet.

So instead he hooks it up to his tricorder so he can help locate McCoy, which is pretty amazing because I can't even find a cable that will hook my old camera up to the computer and it's only ten years old.

Eventually, with Spock's primitive version of Google or something, we learn that McCoy saved the life of a war protesting pacifist. The pacifist was a wonderful person, but convinced Americans not to enter World War II until it was too late, and the extra time that bought the Nazis was enough for them to get the Atomic bomb, and presumably destroy the planet.

So far, the morals of the story include:
1. Homeless people are of no consequence
2. Protesting war is BAD!

Back to the story. Turns out that Captain Kirk accidentally fell in love with the pacifist (relax, she's a woman, and played by Joan Collins actually), and is hesitant to let her die. So far there have been more accidents in this one episode that in an entire season of Three's Company.

Finally they find McCoy, and in a very gripping scene Kirk is forced to stop McCoy from saving her life. McCoy is furious that Kirk stopped him, either because he didn't know the whole story, or because he was secretly a Nazi - this was never revealed.

Fortunately letting the war protester die restored their future, and all was well. But since they didn't know how to get back to their own time, they were stranded on Earth where they eventually wound up meeting up with this young man named Gene Roddenberry. They tell him about the future (their past) and eventually help him write a TV series called "Star Trek."

The end.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stopping Time

We already have the technology to do so.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time Travel and Religion

I once saw Michael J. Fox at a charity event, and one of the fans asked him if the reason the DeLorean always broke down whenever it was used was because God disapproved of time travel. The threat of he and his loved ones being erased from existence, was that a warning somewhat similar to others God has sent (for different reasons)?

Before I proceed further with this discussion, I ask two things: first, that we all engage in this discussion with as much respect for each other's religious opinions as possible and secondly, that those that may be offended by a religious discussion choose not to participate and read no further.

In preparation for posting this, I read through the religious text with which I'm most familiar, the Bible, but could not find anything related to time travel. I did some searching on the Internet and while I found some discussion, I could find no actual scripture addressing it. I understand there are many other holy books out there, and I'm hoping that those more familiar with the Qu'ran and others can offer up any references they find.

Once time travel is possible, the first application is likely to be religious in nature. I'd imagine one of the first trips would be to travel back and witness our own origins ("Genesis", in Christianity). The next trip may be to witness our endings ("Judgment Day"). And at some point I would imagine we'd travel back in time to connect with key individuals and prophets. All of these trips would have tremendous religious overtones and we'd be deeply reliant on religion not only to put whatever we learned into context, but to make the right decisions about who to send, and when, and how they should conduct themselves.

Think about it - if tomorrow there was an announcement that we could send a man back or forward through time, who would we send, where would they go, and what would we hope to learn? Those are not scientific questions, and Stephen Hawking couldn't help us.

Let the discussion begin. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time Travel In Comics: Demo

Demo #5 "Stranded" just came out last week and is an awesome one-shot story written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Becky Cloonan. It is about a successful investor named Elisabeth who has the ability to time travel. But as a child, she was raised in an abusive household and now has difficulty in her personal relationships. In this story, she goes back in time to visit herself when she was a young girl. She gives herself some advice...

and does something major to change the events in her past. When she returns to the present, will she see that things have changed as a result of her advice? Or will her actions come back to haunt her? And how exactly did she get this time traveling ability?

It is available now at your local comicbook store and is only $2.99, so I suggest you check it out yourself for a cool little time travel story.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Newspapers from the Future

A common plot device in time travel shows is either people bringing back newspapers from the future, or else being in the past and using a newspaper to determine the exact date.

Time travel is also a common plot device in comic strips, so when I saw this one recently I thought I'd share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Space-Time Twisting

Have you ever heard of (the aforementioned) Ronald Mallett? He's at the University of Connecticut and has a theory on how to use light to convert time into space, so that someone in the future can travel back through time the same way one would travel through space.
If you're interested in space-time twisting, he's taking donations.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time Travel & Death

“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive . . . All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist . . . The can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follow another one . . .”
-Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Regarding time travel, can a person truly be dead? Billy Pilgrim brings an interesting idea to the philosophy of Time Travel. The Tralfamadore see their lives as individual moments and so, upon seeing the corps of a dead person they think that that person is not doing so well at that particular moment, but there are many other real moments that the person is going perfectly fine in. These moments can be visited and are tangible to the Tralfamadore’s.

So, if time travel was possible—-going forward and backwards in time—-would we see things the same way? Could we go back in time and prevent a death of someone? This belief of Vonnegut’s aliens I feel showed the fluidness and multidimensional aspects of time. Putting these principles into play brings many philosophical questions on moral behavior which I find fascinating.

Seeing like the Tralfamadore’s what could we learn? Going back in this fluid time that they seem to have, or going forward changes you perspective of death. Now, his life is not ended, but merely in a bad state-—in another moment he is perfectly fine; and that moment is just as real and tangible as any.

It’s an interesting and important concept. Although we cannot time travel we can still see that when a person dies they do not have to be dead—-they are still very much alive in time and that time is completely and forever there. Time and time travel make death impossible. It’s an interesting concept.

So it goes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Paradox Problems

Paradoxes are the biggest setback for anyone wishing to travel through time. Are you going to screw things up for the future? Who will notice? Is it even possible? I have so many questions. I have researched this and other questions I have quite thoroughly and believe that we are looking at time in the wrong way. (These, of course, are my own theories).

The problem with the paradox theories is that they assume that throughout time travel the chain of events is still current. They treat non-linear time as linear. The fact of the matter is that when you travel back in time you create a new timeline—one that has already been created in the future. It is as if we are all suckers to fate. Therefore, if someone was to go back in time and kill both of your grandparents or even you; as long as you had broken that linear time-line by traveling at some point back in time you sever all connections with your previous time-line. You essentially are born again each time you travel through the cylinders.

But wouldn’t that mean that there are multiple copies of yourself?


But how would your mass be in two or three places at once?

This is a problem that I have been wondering/studying for some time and have come to the conclusion that your mass is not associated with the space-time entanglement that has become a part of time travel, (especially that in the past).

So, how it is possible to travel back and not screw up your analogous self? If you go back and stop your parents or your grandparents from meeting than your analogous self is never born, therefore you never travelled back in time.

I feel, in regards to time travel, this is an important thing to understand. One of the important things to remember is that you travel through space-time, not only time—our matter is transferred.

*Look at graph below.

If a traveler from point c returns to space-time point b where they did not exist before and causes a new branching, one where their parents never meet and travels down this new branch they are then free to bring about the non-existence of their analogous self on timeline b-e-f.

Now, the grandfather paradox generally says if we interrupted the causal chain that happened on b-c-d, (kill our grandfather) which had brought about that persons own existence; and if this interruption resulted in her nonexistence of her analogous self, the person would than cease to exist—that person then will not journey into the past from point c therefore that person would not have travelled back in time and now ceases to exist at point b or after.

However, interrupting one’s own timeline in no way affects the existence of the time traveler who left at point c—only the possibility of development of their analogous self.

*graph starts at the bottom and works its way up.

So, does your memory change

No. If you go back in time and visit yourself, that version of you will have the memory of his future self talking to him. Once that version travels through a cylinder the memory stays with it—it’s another dimension within the same physical dimension. It’s another dimension of time. There are past versions of yourself but they themselves will live out an existence different than the one the future self lives.

Time is the fourth dimension, but within time’s dimension there lies many, many dimensions. These, however, only exist within our one physical dimension—this is why there would be multiple versions of ourselves and occasionally different outcomes in our lives.

Looking at time as it should be looked at, (as a fourth dimension), will help to understand that there is a way to travel back in time. If you travel backwards in time, you bring your matter with you onto that new causal time period that just with your existence changes things. However, rest assured that you can indeed kill yourself and live. It’s a nifty trick.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where Are All the Time Travelers?

Apparently the lack of time travelers is caused by the time travelers themselves.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Time Traveller Saves the Day

I just read an awesome story of a guy that saved a woman from getting hit by a bus, and then on the spot came up with the idea of pretending that he was from the future, and was sent back to prevent the grandmother of a famous man from getting killed in the past.
I'm totally going to do something like this myself next time I save someone's life. (Finally there's an upside!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time Travel In Comics: The Sentry

He always says that. And he's right.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Neil Peart: futurenaut?

You are no doubt familiar with the musical stylings of Rush, the greatest band in the world. Consider though the thoughts of Neil Peart, who in the song "Time Stand Still" apparently has access to a time dilation machine, or perhaps that stopwatch from the Twilight Zone that froze time (I submit to you that freezing time is, in a relativistic sense, time travel).

Anyways, the relevant lyrics:

Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away

and later:

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around

Dear reader, the evidence is plain for those with eyes to see: the author of this song clearly is in possession of a device which either slows time, freezes it entirely, or permits travel within the operator's lifetime. In any event, I demand access to this device, or at the very least I demand that Peart travel back in time and undo some of the synth-heavy stuff he put out in the late 80s.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Time Travel List

I assume that anyone who visits this site has a list of what they would do if they could travel in time (if not, check Space Moose for some NSFW suggestions). I just added something to my list and I thought I would share it and maybe you'll add it to yours.

Heraclitus of Ephesus, who was known as "the Weeping Philosopher" claimed that you can not step into the same river twice. He argued that by the time you stepped into it again the river into which you originally stepped had flown away and now it was a new river.

Well when I get a time machine, I'm going to go back and meet him at a river and step into it. Then I'm going to travel back in time again to the same time and join him and the earlier version of myself yet again, and then step into the river at the same time as I had before. That means I'd have stepped into the exact same river twice.

Then he'd probably start to weep.

Is Time Travel The End?

I have been playing this new game called Civilization Revolution. In this game you start with one city and you explore the world, research technologies, expand, fight wars, and there are four ways to win:
1. Conquer everyone
2. Build a "World Bank"
3. Build the "United Nations" (I think this is an evolved version that's actually a world government)
4. Colonize another planet

To win the 4th way you have to be scientifically advanced, have the industrial strength to build a space ship, and then wait.

I think there should be a 5th way you can win, and that's to invent time travel. At first your time travel would be pretty primitive, but eventually you'd be able to see the future and use its technologies in the present day, or travel to the past and change things to your advantage. That, to me, clearly makes you the winner.

Even if you believe in the "alternate universe" theory of time travel, at least you'd be changing things to your advantage in that other universe, which is still a victory. If it is an alternate universe, you could give them time travel technology and give them instructions to travel to another one and do what you've asked until eventually someone else would travel to your universe and do it to yours.

Any way you slice it, you'd definitely "win" the game if you invented time travel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time Travel Limerick

There was a young lady named Bright
Whose speed was much faster than light;
She set out one day,
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.

- Arthur Henry Reginald Buller, 1923

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time Flies / Great Minds Think Alike

Last month I posted some of my ideas about manipulating the way we experience time. I was thinking maybe if we could change the way time feels to us we could make unpleasant situations feel as though they were going by more quickly.

Well THIS new article talks about scientists who are thinking almost the same thing as me. But their idea is that by tricking the brain into thinking time has gone by more quickly, it actually can make you think that the unpleasant experience is actually more pleasant...

"In another study, the researchers misled people about how long they'd be listening to some unpleasant sounds. When people were made to feel that time had dragged by, they reported really hating the sounds. 'But in the 'time flies' condition, they just sort of slightly disliked it,' says Sackett."

And they even touch on the idea that maybe time didn't go by quickly because you were enjoying yourself, but maybe you remember having enjoyed yourself because time went by quickly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time Travel Texting

If I was a time traveler and I was texting a time traveler friend of mine, instead of texting "How RU?" to each other, we would text "When RU?"

Other useful time travel texting abbreviations:

STC - Space Time Continuum
WH - Worm Hole
GP - Grandfather Paradox
DTESDITRTS - Due to electro-static disturbances in the relative time stream...
HOS - Hitler Over Shoulder

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. Mallett on This American Life

This American Life Episode 324: My Brilliant Plan

Act two: Tragedy Minus Time Equals Happily Ever After

I love this interview with physics professor and author of Time Traveler, Dr Ronald Mallett. It's a very personal and touching story about time travel.

Also this podcast is where I got the name "T = Time".

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Controlling Time By Controlling Our Perception Of Time

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it feels like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it feels like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” – Albert Einstein

I think most people can relate to that and at one point or another have said “time is dragging” or “time is flying by”. So my question: is there a way we could possibly control how we experience time psychologically? Is there a way to make time feel like it’s flying past you while you are in an unpleasant situation and make your time experiencing something pleasant feel like it is stretched out longer? Is there a way to do so without making yourself have to consciously enjoy the quick passage of time and be miserable during the slower passage of time?

This is different than Time Dilation (where if I am moving fast, I experience time differently than someone who is standing still), this is about how we perceive time and how time feels to us depending on our situation.

THIS ARTICLE talks about how you can make time slow down (like the baseball batter who can see the ball coming at him slowly enough to make impact) though focus and concentration and being in the moment. But that takes a conscious effort and does not seem the same as time flying by when you’re “sitting with a pretty girl”. That phenomenon seems much more subconscious.

Some people who have been in an accident or some kind of emergency have said that time seemed to have slowed down for them in those last moments before the accident. But THIS ARTICLE says that in those circumstances where we are scared, “a brain area called the amygdala becomes more active, laying down an extra set of memories” causing you after-the-fact to remember the time differently.

But the perception of time moving slower while you are on an airplane next to a weirdo and the different perception of time being next to a beautiful woman are not experiences triggered by fear – though maybe they are experienced by the joy and the misery we’re experiencing - so actually these phenomenon may be related.

Anyway, it would be great to be able to control the way we personally experience the passage of time. If I was a brilliant physicist I would totally figure that out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Radiolab: Time Podcast

You must download and listen to this podcast about time.

It talks about time dilation, and relativity.

The hummingbird and the tortoise experience time differently than we do. Oliver Sacks (the Neurologist who the movie Awakenings is about) tells about his patients who have also experienced radically different universes of time. One example is a guy who at times moved so slowly that he appeared to be frozen in place – but when he was asked about it later, he had remembered time moving at a normal rate.

Seriously download it, it has a lot of really interesting things. Also available on iTunes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Did You Set Your Clocks Back?

Measuring time is nothing new. They’ve found time measuring devices dating back to 1500 BC in ancient Egypt. The first mechanical clocks were invented sometime in the 11th century. People have had clocks and had been carrying around pocket watches since the 1400s.

But for hundreds of years all those clocks were working off of local time (based around noon being when the sun is directly over your head wherever you are).

Greenwitch Mean Time was established in the United Kingdom in 1848 and the United States and Canada first had their time standardized and zoned in 1883 by the railway industry (Railroad Time) in order to coordinate their train schedules.

Daylight Savings Time was established in the United Kingdom in 1916 in an efficiency measure during World War I. Two years later, on March 19, 1918, the United States also adopted Daylight Savings Time – and at the same time established Standard Time.

Daylight Savings Time has been controversial since it was introduced and there have been many enactments, adjustments, and repeals all over the world. In fact just this year, Western Australians voted to reject Daylight Savings Time (for the fourth time since 1975).

Despite my personal views, we have chosen to observe Daylight Savings Time in my household - but if I didn’t have a job or ever want to see a movie on time, or make any kind of appointments or know when a place is going to close, I might not. Also I didn’t need to set back the clock in the basement bathroom, because I never set it forward last Spring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Baghdad Battery (A True Story)

In 1936, while excavating the ruins of a 2000 year old village near Baghdad, archeologists discovered a mysterious clay pot. Inside the pot was a copper cylinder soldered with a lead-tin alloy and an iron rod suspended in the center, which showed signs of having been corroded by an acidic agent. This mysterious pot dated back to the early AD period but was almost identical in design to the electric battery which was invented by Alessandro Volta in 1799.

How is it possible that a complex battery was built in ancient Sumeria some 1,800 years before such a battery was invented?

Well perhaps someone living after 1799 traveled back in time and for some reason needed to make a battery (maybe in order to power their return trip). A person who has mastered time travel would surely have known about Volta's battery and would have known it was one of the easiest batteries to create in such a primitive setting. And perhaps the battery was left behind when the time traveler returned to his or her origin in the space time continuum.

It's an interesting idea at least.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hello again, and Picard is stupid.

It's good to see you all again. Yes, I know to you this is the first time I've blogged here.

Sigh. It's complicated.

I was thinking about the various Star Trek time travel episodes, from the ol' Kirk-Spock slingshot technique to the TNG alterna-dimension time travel eps. And it occurred to me: the Next Generation writers are real wimps when it comes to time travel. They're too afraid to have someone REALLY travel into the past or future, so they tend to set it up under quantum dynamics as an alternative permutation of reality. WUSSES. The JJ Abrams Star Trek movie also went this route, causing Old Spock and Nero to end up in an alternative past. They thereby avoid pissing off the trekkers who suckled on the crippled teat that is TOS.

That goes double for Deep Space Nine, who were so afraid of Sisko time travelling that they had to make him a delusional writer for it to work!

You know what show wasn't afraid of ballsy time-travel? Voyagers! Gimme an Omni and Phineas Boggs any day over the knock-kneed futurists of Starfleet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five

You should read it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Teaching People in the Past

Recently, Matsby wrote about how much he disliked Quantum Leap, largely because of times when they wouldn't stick to their own rules. Love it or hate it, at least the show got people thinking and talking about the possibilities of time travel.

For example, in one episode Sam Beckett teaches the song "Peggy Sue" to Buddy Holly. But when you think about it, the only way that Sam Beckett could know the song is if Buddy Holly came up with it on his own. If the only reason Buddy Holly knew the song "Peggy Sue" was because Sam Beckett traveled back in time to teach it to him, and Sam Beckett couldn't know the song unless Buddy Holly created it on his own, then the song should never exist.

Maybe Buddy Holly came up with the song on his own, but later in life. That means that Sam Beckett's time travel just meant that Buddy Holly came up with the song earlier.

It reminds me of Star Trek IV, where the Enterprise has traveled back to the 1980s to bring some whales to the future. To get them out of a jam, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (aka Scotty) gives the formula for "Transparent Aluminum" to some scientist. The formula for transparent aluminum wasn't discovered until far into the future.

When Dr. McCoy (aka Bones) chastized Scotty for giving away the formula and potentially messing with the timelines, Scotty said "How do you know he didn't invent the thing?" Dr. McCoy seems satisfied with Scotty's answer and they carry on with presumably no tangible effect on the timeline.

What Scotty doesn't realise is that if that guy actually was the guy to invent transparent aluminum, then we have the same sort of paradox: that guy couldn't have invented it unless Scotty gave it to him, but of course Scotty wouldn't know the formula itself unless that scientist had invented it on his own. Transparent Aluminum couldn't exist.

The only way to avoid the paradox is if that scientist did invent it on his own, but later on, so Scotty just helped him invent it earlier. Or if some other scientist had invented it in the original timeline, but in this new timeline he doesn't bother because it was already invented. In this case, it was only "invented" because Scotty gave it to the first scientist, making yet another paradox.

If this isn't a paradox, then you could essentially create anything - anything at all! Go back to the past and teach an inventor how to create something, and then it'll be created, giving you the knowledge to give it to the inventor. In fact, you could even use this to invent the time machine itself.

I guess in the end what I'm saying is that if you ever travel to the past, don't teach anyone anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time Travel On TV: Quantum Leap vs. Journeyman

Quantum Leap (1989-1993) and Journeyman (2007) have a lot of similarities.

Quantum Leap is about a scientist, Sam Beckett, who creates a time machine which sends his consciousness back into the bodies of different people in the past who are in a position to right the wrongs of history. Once the wrongs are righted, his consciousness leaps into the body of another person and his next mission begins. Although he does not return to his original place in the timeline, he is assisted by his business partner, Al from his time who can appear to Sam in the form of a hologram.

Journeyman is about a newspaper journalist who also jumps into the past against his will to right the wrongs of history. He will jump back to pivotal point in the life of the person who he is trying to help and then return to his present for a time before lumping back to a different point in that person’s life. Once he has changed the past and “fixed” history, he returns again to his time for a while before it starts all over again.

A couple years ago I bought all of the seasons of Quantum Leap on DVD and watched them all over again. It was interesting at first, but after a while I found the premise and the characters somewhat grating – especially the character of Al. Also there were a lot of inconsistencies with the mythology of the show that I found disappointing. I ended up selling all of the DVDs on eBay and have not missed them since.

Journeyman on the other hand is possibly one of my favorite TV shows ever. The time travel was interesting and the stories were always exciting. Which is of course why it was canceled after the first season. The biggest strength of the show is the ongoing story about the lead character, Dan Vasser and his wife, Katie and how they deal with his time traveling and the effect his absences have had on his marriage. Although it never made it to DVD, the episodes are still available on Hulu.

Quantum Leap: 2.5 Stars (out of 5)
5 Stars (out of 5)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time Travel Movies

Dr Ronald Mallett (a physicist who is working on time travel and author of the book Time Traveler) has a list of his favorite time travel movies HERE. That link also shows a good list of other time travel movies and their plots.

The website just recently listed their top 10 greatest time travel movies HERE.

My favorite time travel movie is Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington. I also really like Frequency a lot. Even though there’s no actual time travel, there is communication across time and changing history happening.

Also I saw Timecrimes last night and although it's not my favorite, it does introduce some very interesting themes and I would recommend it to everyone (warning: it does show boobs). 

What’s your favorite time travel movie?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interesting Time Travel Video

Last time I tried to embed a video, I couldn't get it to fit right. So HERE is a link I was sent by Christina of a YouTube video called Time Machine: Do Not Enter that her friends made. Check it out. I think it's got an interesting concept.  

Thanks Christina. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time Travel Review: Stan Lee's Time Jumper

Produced by Disney? Nice. 
Created by Stan Lee? Awesome. 
About a time travel? Now we're talking!

BUT it turns out this digital comic available from iTunes was kind of a disappointment. 

The basic setup is pretty descent. I like that the time travel device is a handheld machine that looks like an old Gameboy and it's kind of cool that the machine can only be used by someone with his DNA. The plot has a lot of potential. Good job, Mr Lee. 

BUT the digital comic production was weak, even for digital comics (if there is a soundtrack including voices, then you don't need to have the words) - and the writing is somewhat cheesy (it is not written by Stan Lee - maybe it should have been). 

Over all, I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. The first episode is free on iTunes, so you can give it a try. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

this is what time-travel looks like

First of all, I found this awesome site: io9. Seems to be an aggregate of sci-fi/future links from throughout the web.

io9 led me to this website, also awesome: Information is Beautiful.

The fellow from information is beautiful has created this image charting the time-travel of all the major time-travel themed television shows and movies (not counting Dr. Who cause that would be too messy).

I implore you to click here to see a larger version of the chart (which is, well beautiful) and read about what went into creating it.

The Timeline Chart.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the importance of time travel

Some people might wonder why I have an interest in time travel. Maybe it's because I dare to dream. Dream that someday I might find myself... SIDEWISE IN TIME.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time Travel In Comics: Captain America

Right now in the Captain America Reborn mini-series (written by Ed Brubaker with art by Bryan Hitch), Cap's consciousness is bouncing around in different times throughout his life. He is reliving events in his history and is faced with the decision of whether he should be trying to change events or not. He is confused because he doesn't understand what consequences might follow having changed history. In issue 2, he thinks "If I am really in the past... I could... no. It's too big to think about... I need Tony Stark or Reed Richards... someone who would understand this..." If only he could ask the advice of one of his genius scientist friends... 

And then he ends up in his body right before he became Captain America. He knows he is about to witness the death of Doctor Erskine (the scientist who gave him his powers) and he has to decide if she should try to save his life or not - and luckily he is speaking to a genius scientist (Erskine) who can answer his question, so he asks it using the old "kill Hitler" idea...
Steve Rogers (Cap): There was this idea that someone could go back in time and kill Hitler... before the whole war started. Before he took power...
Dr. Erskine: I am sure many must dream of this. Of course the trouble is in doing this, one would alter the future. And in this altered future, you or the ones you love may no longer exist. It's action and reaction, my boy... a ripple in time's pond. 

He ends up heeding to the doctor's advice and watching the doctor die (again).

It's also kind of like the Star Trek episode, City On The Edge Of Tomorrow. Which Vollman should write a review of (do it Vollman!).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Visit From A Time Traveler

TIME TRAVELER: Hello Matsby.
ME: Hi. Uh… do I know you?
TT: Yes, we’ve met… but in another time.
ME: Another time?
TT: Yes. See, I’m a time traveler. And I have come to deliver an important message.
ME (excited): Oh… awesome! Are you really from the future?
TT: No, not from the future. I have traveled from the past. From the year 2003.
ME: (confused) So you have come from the past to give me a message?
TT: That’s right.
ME: So why didn’t you just tell me back in 2003?
TT: We needed to be sure it would be safe.
ME: So it wasn’t safe to tell me then, but it’s safe to tell me now in 2008?
TT: Correct.
ME: Why didn’t you write it down and put it in an envelope? Then you could have just handed it to me and told me not to open it until today.
TT: (getting irritated) Look, that’s not these things work okay? I mean if you want to argue about it…
ME: No, I don’t. I… I’m sorry, go ahead. Tell me. Give me the wisdom of the past.
TT: Are you making fun of me now?
ME: No. I mean it. I want to hear it.
TT: Well… in the year 2001, there was a terrorist attack…
ME: On the World Trade Center?
TT: Yeah… how did you know?
ME: I was there.
TT: You were at the world Trade Center?
ME: No. I mean, I was alive in 2001. I saw it on TV.
TT: Oh… Well, I need to warn you that Global Warming is a real issue...
ME: Yeah, I know.
TT: (getting flustered) Oh... um… Well, you need to be careful… uh… because the economy is in decline. In the year 2003, we are paying over two dollars a gallon for gas!!
ME: Yeah. I remember what that was like. But it’s even worse now.
TT: Wh… What are you doing, dude?
ME: What do you mean?
TT: Look, I have traveled across time to bring you this important information and you are acting like you don’t even want to hear it.
ME: No, I do want to hear it. It’s just… I already know these things. You are from the past… so I already know this stuff.
TT: Oh, so you know everything because you’re from the future? You’re just the all-knowing future-guy now huh?
ME: No, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s just…
TT: Alright. Look… We are not really supposed to tell you personal stuff because of all the paradoxes and stuff. But in the past, you had a child and his name was Legend.
ME: Yeah, I know. I was there. He's my son.
TT: (desperate) I can tell you who won games… I can tell you who won the Super Bowl in the year 2002!
ME: Yeah, or I could just look it up on-line.
TT: I can… oh… hey I know… I have one! This is one you won’t get… In the past, there is a tragic accident that results in the death of a famous R&B singer. Her name was…
ME: Aaliyah?
TT: Ha! No!!! Nope, her name was Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. You see? You see? I do have important information for you.
ME: Wait a minute. If I had said “Left Eye”, you were going to say Aaliyah weren’t you?
TT: (no answer)
ME: Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t I tell you about something from the future? Listen… There is a great leader who will rise from the African American community to…
TT: I already know about 50 Cent!
ME: No, not 50 Cent. I mean, right now the president of the United States is…
TT: No! La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! Don’t tell me! Don’t tell me!
ME: What? You're worried about spoilers?
TT: No, you don’t know what kind of paradox you might create if you tell someone in the past about…
ME: So you’re going back?
TT: No. Of course not. You can’t go back. You can only travel forward through time. Never back!
ME: Well, then you had better not read the paper or turn on the TV if you are afraid of learning something about this time.
TT (he is getting irritated): Of course I won’t! What are you crazy? Anyway, this… This is bullshit… I came to you with information all the way across the space-time continuum and you’re just being a total dick about it. Do you even know how hard it is to open a wormhole and leap across the very fabric of time?
ME: No, I…
TT (very angry now): Seriously, I’m out of here dude! You missed your chance… Look, I am going to go ahead another couple of years and hopefully when I find you again you are more open-minded and hopefully you are ready to learn from us.
ME: Alright. Alright. Uh… I do have one question. You said I had met you back in your time?
TT: Yes… Yes, I’m Chris… Remember?
ME: Oh yeah. Chris! That’s right. I didn't know you were a time traveler. 
TT: Yeah, well I couldn't tell you... paradoxes, you know. 
ME: Look, I’m sorry about all of this, Chris… I mean...
TT (calming down): No. It’s okay… Like I said, hopefully when I travel to your future, you will be ready to hear the message and the warnings we have to offer you.
ME (confused): Okay… Yeah. I guess. I… I guess I’ll see you in the future then.
TT: Oh, hey. Is there any message you want me to give the future you. Any kind of warning or anything he should know?
ME (still confused): No… Nope, that’s cool. I’ll uh… I mean… it doesn’t matter because I’ll already know it…
TT (rolls his eyes and shakes his head disapprovingly) Goodbye Matsby.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching Time Travel to Kids

You have to expose children to time travel ideas when they're young, before their minds are stuck in 3 dimensions, seeing time as being linear. When I visited a friend recently, I started immediately with this 5-year-old son.

5yrold: Who are you?
Me: I'm Robert.
5yrold: My little brother's name is Robert.
Me: I know, I'm him from the future.
5yrold: What?
Me: I've traveled through time to spend time with myself and my family when we were young.

He was skeptical at first, but I told him that when the first time travel machines came out in 2022 time travel was pretty expensive, so I didn't make my first trip until 2025. First I went back to see the dinosaurs, but it was hot and hard to breathe, so it wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. Then I went to see Jesus speak, but I don't understand ancient Hebrew so I really didn't get much out of the experience. So when I had saved enough for a third trip I figured I'd go back and see what my parents were like when I was barely out of diapers. Plus, I explained that even though I was just a young child, I distinctly remembered being visited by myself from the future around this time, so since I was going to take this time travel trip anyway, I might as well take it now.

His parents are cool and played along. They called me "son" and I called them mom and dad. The 5-year-old was pretty skeptical about the whole thing, but it's pretty easy to outsmart a child when they try to expose your fibs. For example:

5yrold: Ok if you're from the future then you know if I'm about to cough.
Me: How would I know that? I'm not here - I'm in the next room.
5yrold: (calls his brother into the room). Robert, watch me carefully and remember if I cough.
Robert(not me): (Nods, watches carefully)
Me: I remember this conversation.
5yrold: So did I cough?
Me: I remember me from the future saying that you wouldn't, and then you coughing just to prove me wrong. So ... no.
5yrold: (thinking very hard) Cough.
Me: See?

Later on we were in the car driving home from somewhere and he really wanted to get home so he could play. The drive would take a half hour and he didn't want to wait. So I told him to just go forward in time to when we were home and he could play right now. Then, he could always come back and do the drive home later tonight. I explained that we don't have to experience the week in a linear order: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc ... that time was all relative and that we could do Monday then Wednesday then back to Tuesday. He seemed to understand this.

After a short pause, I welcomed him back. He said he didn't go anywhere, and I said yes, he went to the future to play, and now he was back to do the drive home. When he said he didn't remember playing, I said that's because it's the drive home now, so he doesn't have the memories of having played yet. Memories are stored in the brain, so if he wants to remember playing, he needs to go forward to and experience a time when those memories existed. But I assured him that he has, in fact, already played, eaten dinner, and gotten into bed.

Anyway I'm not sure how much sense any of this makes to him, but I've got him thinking about time in non-linear terms, so he may one day be the guy to invent time travel.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Free Time Travel Concept Album

Click HERE and download for free a concept album by an artist who performs under the name Fakesensations. The album is called Isaac And the Secret Chord and is actually really good. That link will allow you to download all the tracks but two. Those two are not essential to the story but can be purchased at iTunes in case you want the story a little more fleshed out. 

I liked the album much more than I thought I would and I am actually very excited about the story it tells. Here is what I understand of the story (though it could be I understood some of it wrong)...

George is a physicist who has discovered a means of time travel (a secret chord played on a special guitar – he discovers this chord after listening to Leonard Cohen’s album, Various Positions) and has gone back in time to the 1966 to visit a woman he once loved named Sylvie – who I believe had died (though maybe she had just left him?). 

Isaac is his son in the present. Isaac goes through his dad’s notebooks and learns about the chord. He goes back and finds his dad with Sylvie. He urges George to come back, but George doesn’t want to go back. He has chosen to trade that timeline as it was for a chance at a life with Sylvie.  

Then we discover that the reason Sylvie and George had ended in the original timeline is because Professor Rex (George’s old lab partner who did not want Sylvie and George’s relationship interfering with their work) had shown up at her door one night after George left. But now because the timeline had been changed, Professor Rex ends up abducting Isaac to learn the secret means of time travel.

The story ends with Isaac “stranded in time” by Professor Rex who has sent him into the distant future. And Sylvie saying that we need to find Professor Rex.  

Listen to it. I'd love to hear what you think.