Sunday, January 23, 2005

Seventh Edition

The Time Traveler

Tonight's special on the Science channel was pretty far out stuff - the first real Time Machine. The idea has long been the realm of science fiction and whackos, yet here are scholars actually building a machine they believe will work. The function is hinged on powerful ring lasers, which will twist space and time into a loop, whereby sub-atomic particles and information can be passed through the loop to any point in time. The caveat is it can only send particles into the past as far as the point where the machine was first switched on, it cannot send particles beyond that point.

This restriction does not appear to be realistic. For one thing, what restricts the aiming of this laser ring of light, to some point in Earth's past? To someone at that point in the past, a ring of firey light would suddenly appear, and particles would pop out of it, seemingly from nowhere. I don't think they have considered this aspect, that the loop might be aimable, of course the exact calculations would have to be made to find the exact position of Earth at the desired point in the past, since our planet (and solar system, and galaxy, and the universe) are all moving in spirals at tremendous speeds this would be a tricky thing to calculate. If a larger version were built, allowing a human being to be passed inside the ring of laser light - then you could 'transport' a human being to any point in the future or past by aiming the spiral of lasers at the desired point. If your calculation was off by the tiniest fraction, the human being could be transported into a point a mile under the ground, under the ocean, 10,000 feet in the air, or miss the planet entirely and step off into the near vacuum of space!

If these calculations could be done with good accuracy (say within ten feet or so of the desired spot) then you could safely aim a point where nothing is known to be a danger and transport away. This person would then be able to act in the past or future! Current ideas hold that if the person did anything which would alter history enough to cause a paradox, he would either instantaneously be translated into an alternate universe (and yes they now are saying that a nearly infinite number of alternate universes DO exist) or some subatomic particle would interfere to prevent his actions from being successfully completed. So, a person might step into the time machine, step out at the Nuremburg rallies in Germany 1938 with a loaded sniper rifle, intending to assassinate him and avoid the second world war (and the murder of millions of Jews and other innocents) but when he went to fire - either the bullet would misfire, some particle would alter the flight of the bullet and cause it to miss, he might then be arrested and history would not be measurably changed. Some lone nut with a gun was arrested and imprisoned, the Nuremburg newspapers would say, this nut claims to be from the future, to be an American citizen - but when the American consulate was contacted they said they have no record of any such person ever existing. They would be telling the truth - for this person did not exist in their time previous to the assassination attempt.

Then there are historical evidences that time travelers have been at work. Leonardo Da Vinci is one example pointed to by the television program, with his futuristic designs. There have been failed assassination attempts by people who seem to have no past, such as the several attempts made on the Archduke Ferdinand prior to the successful attack by Gavrilo Princip, which sparked World War One. There is even a person who has been suggested as the first time traveler, (not referring to Nostradamus, who seems to have peered into the future, not traveled personally) but the Comte de St. Germain. St. Germain was sighted by witnesses for a period of over 200 years, never appearing to have aged and with no clear record of his birth or death. There have been found dinosaur bones with clean round bullet holes in their skulls! There are fossil footprints, millions of years old, made by what appear to be human feet wearing shoes or boots! Strange artifacts such as the "geode" found to contain what appears to be a spark plug, more than 250,000 years old have turned up, not to mention the strange items found in ancient coal beds. We may have already seen plenty of evidence of time travelers, but not recognized them.

The strangest point about this in my view is the remarkable similarity to the old television series "The Time Tunnel" which had a machine with a spiraling tunnel, into which the heroes stepped to step out at points in the past. To return, they had to step back into the tunnel, which was not always visible to people in the past. So will human beings master time travel? I believe so, though I do not believe they will be able to alter the past with much effect, they might be able to be 'witnesses' and be able to report back with photos, video footage etc. Items which were lost to history, (important documents, artifacts etc) could be stolen without affecting the future, and brought to the future where they could be preserved. Then there is another aspect - what would prevent someone from traveling to ancient Judaea and melding into the crowds who were gathering to hear a prophet from Nazareth, Jesus? When he or she returned to the future, a film could be shown of Jesus healing the sick, preaching the gospel or perhaps audiences would be more interested in watching the horrific tortuous death he suffered? Judging by the reaction to Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion of Christ' I think they would prefer to witness the brutal death of the Saviour of humanity. Then too, a time traveler might secret him (or her) self near the tomb, and try to capture the actual resurrection! What would this mean to non-Christians? I suppose they could claim it was all faked, special effects etc and probably that would suffice to keep the followers of the False Prophet (Mohammedans) and the other religions satisfied. They might even claim that our time traveler actually revived a dead Jesus, thus intervening and creating a reality that did not exist previously, using futuristic medical science to save the dying man.

It might even be possible to bring people from the past into the future. To avoid paradoxes, they could never return, but in the case of people who were pronounced dead, or went missing - these people could be abducted with impunity. You would then have people with views and lives of experience that people of the future could only have read about - and frequently history is not so accurate in depicting the true events.

It is fun to ponder the possibilities as they say, though I hope that our attempts at time travel are done with a view to record history rather than change it. Traveling to the future holds terrific risks every bit as great as altering the past - for one could win the lottery every week, manipulate the stock market, learn secrets of science without having to invent it, the list boggles the mind. Such a simple act as sending a warning of an impending earthquake; with the idea being to save many lives, might actually be altering the past for the future and creating an unforeseen time paradox. It would be a hard thing to do, to avoid saving many lives - but absolutely necessary.

We are in the grip of Old Man Winter here now, got a fresh 11 inches of snow coupled with below zero temps and high winds. Just about as unpleasant as it gets around here. I really don't want to spend another winter here, and going to do something about it this time.

That is it for this edition.
Oroblanco - Roy

"Whoever said the dead don't come back to life has never been around here at quitting time." --anon


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