34 thoughts on “Anachronism?”

  1. You know, I don’t believe there’s anything in physics that forbids traveling “backwards” in time, like Wheeler’s electron. The problem, as far as the time traveling tourist business goes — assuming the technological problem of reversing momentum and spin for every particle in the traveler simultaneously without (1) blowing the fuses, flux capacitor or warp core, and/or (2) blowing the traveler into a fine pink mist — is just that you can’t travel “backwards” in time any “faster” than you ordinarily travel forward.

    So if you’re going to depart from 2010 and travel back to 1928, the trip will take you 82 years, one way, and travel to the future any faster than you’re already going there is flat impossible.

    But of course this is based on physics as we know it. An intriguing possibility is that the speed of light is not actually constant. For example, it’s possible to explain the Hubble expansion and its apparent acceleration just by assuming the speed of light is gradually slowing down, making physical distances between objects seem larger, and, because all correlation lengths grow shorter, making the universe gradually more chaotic and lumpy.

    Now if the speed of light were also not uniform, i.e. in your immediate vicinity were less than it is elsewhere, you would personally experience events slower, from our perspective, than we do. You would be “traveling” forward in time faster than we are. (You can travel backwards faster, too.)

    The only tricky part of this scheme for making money off sportsmen eager to hunt T. Rex is that even if the speed of light varies locally, it would seem to be an intrinsic characteristic of the local bit of space in which you are located. But so are you. It may be no more possible for you to enter and exit that patch of local weirdness than it is to jump out of your own skin. Or maybe not! Maybe it all just awaits an entrepreneur with mad black hole wrangling skillz and a tourist with a daredevil edge and paid-up life insurance.

  2. As to the previous comment, it certainly is possible to travel through time ‘faster’. Just accelerate to relativist velocities for awhile and return. Depending on your Tau, you can return to Earth at any arbitrary time in the future and within your own lifespan.

    Time travel ideas I have read about mostly have to do with spacetime that is bent so much that time becomes one of your spatial dimensions and thus something you can traverse and different speeds.

    Then there is the Bob Forward idea, you make a worm hole at Earth, take your space ship to relativistic velocities and go far away. Now you have a loop in time because one end of the tunnel has experienced a different time rate than the other.

    There was a fun paper on ARXIV some years ago about negative feedback through a time loop such that you could go to the past and change anything which did not cause any change on you the time traveller. That is to say, you could kill the grandfather of someone whose life never impacted your own past.

  3. There are also stories like this one about supposed UFOs, which I assume are Time Safaris which didn’t realize their cloaking device was malfunctioning.

    I mean, really, what’s more likely- that aliens travel across interstellar distances to watch us up close, but not contact us or try to exploit any resources, or that humans in the 25th century are pretty much the same curious history buffs they are today, but with flux capacitors? I know where I’d put my money.

  4. There are also stories like this one about supposed UFOs, which I assume are Time Safaris which didn’t realize their cloaking device was malfunctioning.

    “Did you eat a lot of acid back in the hippie days?” /repoman

  5. The problem with a person reversing their direction in time is running into themselves going forward in time. Worse if the time reversed person is an antimatter version of themselves.

    A wormhole time machine nicely avoids this problem, but can’t take someone before the creation of the time machine.

  6. I think occam’s razor leans toward dementia/scizophrenia.

    Crazy old lady talking to herself with her hand on her face or old lady/man tranny time traveler.

    I doubt 1928 Hollywood would be at the top of many people’s lists as time travel destinations. A Charlie Chaplin premier isn’t exactly a momentous occasion in history.

  7. It does look like she is holding something. My guess is it is a little book or maybe a brochure folded over being used to block the sun.

    Maybe a crazy transvestite talking to the little baby Jesus hiding in their pocket bible.

  8. I remember seeing a picture on the Coast to Coast site some time ago with a young man with modern looking clothes, sun glasses, and hair cut at some event back in the 40’s or 50’s. Turned out he was just a young hip kid and styles repeat themselves.

    Maybe this is an old woman with a radio up to her ear and is singing along to her favorite music.

    If it was time travel, would she be talking to fellow time travelers or talking to people in the past/future? Why would a person so advanced that they had time travel use a cell phone or something that looks like one?

  9. Maybe a crazy transvestite talking to the little baby Jesus hiding in their pocket bible.

    This. Emininently more likely than a time traveler.

    Besides, if time travel were possible I’d have people from the future knocking on my door constantly…

  10. She would have to be a time traveler from a future in a parallel universe(where they can travel time but not fix ugly). I do not believe one can travel into the past of one’s own timeline. I believe even subtle actions would cascade changes throughout the timesline over a short time.

    It could be as simple as causing a bus to run a second late by crossing a street in front of it. Think of it like the Heisneberg Uncertainty Principle writ large. You have to interact just by being there.

    Because the bus ran a second late and missed clearing a stoplight, the bus was now two minutes later. The husband arrives home late and does not copulate with his wife at quite the time he was meant to getting to bed two minutes later than normal.

    Even a minor disruption in timing would result in different people being born. Remember, sperm is like a one in a billion thing as to which one makes it. A tiny difference in timing means a different sperm and egg combo.

    Cascade this a few weeks or months into the future and you have disrupted the timing of the entire world.

    The only way traveling into your own past would be ok is if what you did was a necessary condition for your timeline to unfurl as you had originally percieved it.

  11. Here are some radios from 1928, Wodun. Biggish. You forgot the transistor was invented in the 50s, I think.

    An easy mistake to make. I myself tend to think sex was invented in 1979, and therefore am in some difficult to explain my own birth.

  12. The interesting and maybe sad thing is that if she is using an old school hearing aid, it is so she can talk to herself.

  13. If you have the technology for time travel, why are you using a cellphone?

    Overheard at the scene: “They didn’t have cellphones in 1928? I thought Alexander Graham Bell had already invented them. I guess I should have bought the more expensive guidebook after all. On the other hand, that might explain why everyone seems to think I’m an old lady. I need a drink…What was that? Prohibition? You’re kidding. Oh, so I can get alcohol? What do I need to ask for again? A ‘disco’?”

    Related: http://xkcd.com/771/

  14. “Well, if it is a time traveller in 1928, who is she talking to?”

    Maybe someone back at the Enterprise?

  15. She’s holding an ice pack against her toothache. The pain is so intense that she stops walking and shouts “F*** it hurts!”

  16. This is the premiere of a comedian’s movie. In the epicenter of odd behavior. Somewhere where saying “I’m counseling my pet ferret through a divorce” wouldn’t be exotic.

  17. Okay, I’ve watched that clip about a thousand times now, and I’m convinced that this mysterious time-traveling person did, in fact, kill JFK.

  18. “Did you eat a lot of acid back in the hippie days?” /repoman

    No UFOs, Titus? You’re a member of the brain trust here, aren’t you? What do you make of the little transparent blobs of glup that drop in, hang out, brighten up, sneak away and nose around above the woods in this lady’s videos? She’s filmed hundreds of hours of footage of their m.o., shot in both low lux and IR. Low-flying ghosts for you for Halloween.




  19. Thanks, Titus. Funny flick! You’re right, I haven’t seen it.

    Srsly, did you watch any of those videos? Or any of Olegen77’s in Moscow, RU, from the list on the sidebar? Same activity being filmed worldwide. Glowing orbs to ersatz aircraft, in what looks like manipulation of matter and energy.

    I’m a firm non-believer in space brothers, time travelers, celestial beings, etc., just find these (unidentified flying) objects interesting, and am guessing they’re probably natives.

  20. Srsly, did you watch any of those videos?

    Sure, and I’ve seen many before. Some are hoaxes, some are natural phenomenon and others are I don’t know wtf. Unfortunately, there’s not much to punch down into — videos of weird clouds, lightning patterns, Top Secret spacecraft and their byproducts have limited entertainment value and no power to resolve any other interesting issues.

    So are there martian anal-probers walking amongst us? Well, there’s not much evidence for it. Are UFOs their vehicles? Maybe. That’s about as far as we can go thanks to the massive global government cover-up conspiracy! 🙂

  21. O.K., your research into the phenomenon appears more exhaustive than mine.

    Still, I vote “no” on Martians, probing or otherwise, and if our government hides its top secret craft in people’s backyards, we’re in a lot more trouble than I thought.

    Thank you for giving the matter your consideration. I shall turn my attention toward more relevant issues. 🙂

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