If you had a time machine…

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April 19, 2003 at 8:29 pm #1157
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Cometgreen

Yep. You have to imagine the universe as a blanket being held up from the ground, and the planets, stars, etc are on this blanket. The more mass they have, the more the objects sink closer to the ground. Time is slows as you get closer to a large gravity point. Which is why, if you go near a black hole, people on earth may be a year older, while you’ll only be a minute older. If you go into deep space, say inbetween our galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy, people on earth may be a minute older, while you’ll be a year older. The basics of relativity isn’t that hard to understand.

energy=mass*speedoflight^2 ;)

Cometgreen

April 19, 2003 at 8:38 pm #1158
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RevMen

Actually, I think Einstein’s stuff is more like this:

Nothing can go faster than light.
No matter how fast you are going, light ALWAYS appears to be going the same speed.
So if you’re travelling very fast, for light to maintain its same speed, your time needs to slow down.
If I watch you as you zip by at .99 times the speed of light, you’ll appear to be moving very slowly. If you watch me as you zip by me at that speed, I’ll appear to be moving very quickly.
Time slows down for the object or person that is moving very quickly.

This is a major portion of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. It has been experimentally verified. Certain particles (I can’t remember their name) will always disintegrate after a certain amount of time. By speeding these particles up in an accelerator, scientists were able to make them “live longer.” From the particles’ point of view, they lived exactly the same amount of time, but from the scientists point of view, the particles’ time was slowed down as they were going very fast.

Very cool stuff, and provides an opening for forward time travel. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to go back. This was the premise behind the original Planet of the Apes, incidentally.

Edit————–
Cometgreen posted his while I was writing mine. What’s he’s describing is the General Theory of Relativity, which is much more compex and harder to understand than the Special. It also provides for forward time travel, but doesn’t support backward time travel. Too bad.

April 19, 2003 at 10:11 pm #1163
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Drunken Farmer Ben

What have I started? :oops: (I havent been to school in a week, and won’t for another week, so I’m just not going to think :) )

April 19, 2003 at 11:23 pm #1165
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Cometgreen

LOL. Well, at least the topic has turned into an intelligent debate. That’s better than a random question that has nothing to do with brickfilming. :P

Revmen, the general theory is more complex than the special theory? Heh, I always thought it was the other way around, just by looking at their names. I haven’t checked them out in a few years. But thanks for pointing one thing out that many scientists stress: You can’t go faster than the speed of light. I guess we’ll have to depend on wormholes then…

I actually read in a quantum physics book a theory for backwords time travel. I believe it said that you need to shoot massive amounts of positive particles at negative particles, and somehow get them to smash into each other. It sounds like it would make one hell of an explosion, which might be the point. It’s been a while since I read it, I may dig it up and look for the theory.

Cometgreen, who would want to go deep into the future, where we get those flying cars we were promised

April 19, 2003 at 11:26 pm #1166
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Ferder

“Drunken Farmer Ben” wrote:
Time can be altered by moving at high speed. But I’ll let you guys read and figure out Einstein yourselves. I don’t feel like explaining it :P

Hmm, if I could go anywhere…if I were to go and kill myself when I was born, I would cease to exist. But, if i ceast to exist, then how would I be able to kill myself? If I were to steal my Lego collection from myself in 2030 (Geez, almost 50, I’ll just steal my Ferarri instead), then, I would possess it right now. then, in the future when I buy it, until it is stolen, I would have two :? So, if we were to go and steal stuff from ourselves, we can have duplicates of thigns. So, why not steal our lego collections from ourselves, and have twice the Legos! And when we steal them from ourselves in the future, we will have the set we stole from ourselves in the past. So, your taking them on loan from yourself, without any loss :o This would also work with money. Get soem money from yourself, put it in a CD or something low risk, and bling bling 8)

THAT is why it’s soo hard to write a story about time travel. I have read books though that have helped me understand it all. Harry Potter and the Prisinor of Azkaban, and The Mystery of the Cuboard by Lynne Reid Banks. In those books time is treated as though history is pre-planned: any changes in history you made when you went back in time were already there in the future.
if you’re feeling a little :? by my bad explenation, you’ll just have to read the books to know what i’m talking about.

April 20, 2003 at 12:54 am #1171
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Brian of Paco

But thanks for pointing one thing out that many scientists stress: You can’t go faster than the speed of light. I guess we’ll have to depend on wormholes then…

anyone understand the logic behind that? if speed is relative, then how the hell can there be a limit to how fast you can go?

April 20, 2003 at 2:24 am #1173
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Cometgreen

In those books time is treated as though history is pre-planned: any changes in history you made when you went back in time were already there in the future.

I’m glad those books got something right. Many scientists believe that, basically, time is straight. Whatever happened in the past, happened in the past. You can’t change it. If you went back in time, killed your grandfather, and did the dirty with your grandmother, then you’re your own grandfather and always were (kudos to anyone who can pick up that reference). That’s what makes time travel to the past so confusing. If you were framed by someone, then went back in time and stopped yourself from being framed, then you were never framed, which means that you never needed to go back in time in the first place. This of course means that it wasn’t stopped, so you will be framed, and then the vicious cycle will start once again. :)

I must applaud Buxton for making his time travel crew in OOT move forward in time, instead of backwards. I was so relieved when they said that their machine moved them forward in time. It kept me from getting analytical.

anyone understand the logic behind that? if speed is relative, then how the hell can there be a limit to how fast you can go?

Heh, I always found that confusing too. I guess you have to read Revmen’s post. There’s just something special with light. A friend of mine says it is possible to travel faster than light, you just have to “jump into it.” I think he may have missed something there. He said that you can’t accelerate past the speed of light, you just need to burst into the speed of light. I don’t know, he was probably just trying to act smart.

Cometgreen, realizing he’s a nerd

April 20, 2003 at 3:16 am #1175
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Blunty

what I find incrediable about this thread, with all the talk of time travel, and grandfather paradox’s… in the astounding coincidental timing of it… you’ll see what I mean when I finnish my new movie ;)

April 20, 2003 at 3:33 am #1176
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Cometgreen

Uhoh…

Wait, yay! New Bluntman flick!

Cometgreen

April 20, 2003 at 4:29 am #1177
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legogod

At my high school, senior year, there was a talent show for five guys called “Mr. PHS.” The winner got his tuxedo for the prom paid for by the school (limo, tickets, food included). I entered and sang “I’m my own grandpa” (for the talent portion) in front of an audience of five hundred. Even though I didn’t win first, I made a big enough impression to gain second :P

As for the relativity principle:
It’s something everyone should ponder at least once a day when time is brought up in conversation. “Things are going too fast.” “If we hadn’t changed our clocks ahead, it would be 5 pm right now.”

Now, a movie explains (and doesn’t explain) this principle very well. Donnie Darko is THE best film about time travel I have ever seen. I recommend it to everyone who has answered this thread, and even those who think daily about time. If you like it enough, I’d be happy to discuss it through email or PM.

Jared

April 20, 2003 at 6:13 am #1178
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RevMen

“Brian of Paco” wrote:
anyone understand the logic behind that? if speed is relative, then how the hell can there be a limit to how fast you can go?

It has everything to do with energy. Einstein really came and screwed everything up with his relativity theories. In Einstein’s world, energy and mass are two versions of the same thing (e=mc^2 and all that). (I’m going off of memory here, so I might get some of this stuff wrong) Mass, instead of being its own thing, becomes something called rest energy. As you speed something up, more of its rest energy becomes kinetic energy. Eventually, when you reach the speed of light, you’ve got all kinetic energy and no rest energy, and so there’s no way for it to be any faster. At least that’s how I remember it.

People often sum up the relativity theories by saying “everything is relative” or “speed is relative.” This is very far from the truth. It is possible to have an absolute speed, which would be speed with respect to the universe. All of our usual equations for speed and acceleration are designed around the concept of choosing a point of reference, and so that’s the way we think. For the vast majority of cases, they work fine. Same with Newton’s gravity equation, for the great majority of applications, it’s fine. Problems start to arise when you deal with extreme speed or gravity. That’s where Einstein made his “adjustments.”

The key to understanding special relativity is the speed of light. The most important concept is this: no matter where you are or how fast you’re going, light will appear to you to be traveling at 300k km/s.*

So what if you’re in a car that’s going 200k km/s and you have your headlights on? Does the light from your headlights appear to be going 100k km/s? Nope, to the person driving the car, the light from the headlights is moving away from the car at 300k km/s.

So what if I’m standing by the side of the road and you go zooming by me at 200k km/s, does that light appear to be going 500k km/s to me? Nope, if I’m standing by the side of the road when you go zooming by, the light from your headlights is going 300k km/s and your car is going 200k km/s. To me standing by the road, you are indeed going 2/3 the speed of the light from your headlights.

These seemingly contradictory points of view are reconciled by
1) A change in time, which has been discussed quite a bit here and
2) a change in length, which is really freaky. I don’t remember enough about it to explain it clearly, I’m too lazy to go look it up, and I’m not sure anyone’s interested in reading about it here.

*In a vacuum. Light actually moves a little slower through gases and liquids. This gives rise to a very cool phenomenon called Cherenkov radiation. It happens when subatomic particles travel through a medium at faster than the speed of light for that medium. The particles are still traveling slower than the speed of light in a vacuum. Cherenkov radiation is a very pretty blue glow that comes from whatever liquid or gas the particles are traveling through. If you’ve ever seen the blue glow from a nuclear reactor core, that is Cherenkov radiation. I have personally seen a Cherenkov glow when I looked into the core of a training reactor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics where I was studying abroad. Yes, I looked directly at the core with no barriers of any kind blocking my view. The power from the reactor was very small, as it was only a training reactor, but radiation is radiation, and I couldn’t stay for very long. It was the truest color of blue I will probably ever see.

Ever seen or read Starship Troopers? Their ships were powered by a “Cherenkov Drive.”

April 20, 2003 at 6:13 am #1179
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Flash1015

I don’t know, Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly make it pretty obvious that the future is more of “Random” events then a set plan, but back on the “setting the molecules to it’s exact spot and order to go back in time is pretty interesting to me” Maybe it’s possible to Isolate a chamber and then rearrange the particles in there to go back in time, Then you can brag to your friends saying you were breathing air from 2 weeks ago ;)

also, very interesting Paradox Cometgreen maybe you should have a discussion with Phillip J. Fry from Futurama and he can tell you his grandfather story.

April 20, 2003 at 6:48 am #1181
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Cometgreen

*gives a Kudos bar to flash* ;)

Thanks for that more indepth explanation Revmen. I’d like to see one of those reactors too, it sounds pretty cool. At least I’ve now learned a little bit about Cherenkov radiation.

Cometgreen

April 20, 2003 at 7:44 am #1182
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Drunken Farmer Ben

“legogod” wrote: Now, a movie explains (and doesn’t explain) this principle very well. Donnie Darko is THE best film about time travel I have ever seen. I recommend it to everyone who has answered this thread, and even those who think daily about time. If you like it enough, I’d be happy to discuss it through email or PM.

Jared

Geez, that movie is confusing :? And that bunny was scarry :-( But it was good when at the end it all came together (just to be screwed up again at the very end :o ) (NOTE: Parts of the movie aren’t really appropriate for younger kids. You’ve been warned, so dont come to us :P )

======================
I just need to replace my flux capacitor, and I’m good to go!

April 20, 2003 at 8:46 am #1183
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Stefan

RevMen missed a small point: depending on your definitions, Einstein’s most famous formula is not relativistically correct. It should read

E = gamma m c^2, where gamma is 1 over the square root of 1 – gamma^2/c^2.

That square root is what causes all trouble in the theory: as the speed approaches c, the number under it goes to 0 and consequently the energy approaches infinity. Another way to look at it is that your mass increases as you approach light speed. Accelerating further costs increasingly much energy, and reaching light speed costs an infinite amount of energy. Only particles with absolutely no mass (photons) can therefore travel at light speed. It is debatable whether wormholes will solve this problem, but new theories of physics (most notably string theory) might provide workarounds by introducing a set of new dimensions, which are curled up…

Confused yet? Donnie Darko (which I saw only last week, and which is one great film) certainly won’t make things clearer! I was most puzzled by the man in the red suit: why does he re-appear just when the party starts?

Oh, personally I’d travel about 20 to 30 years back and buy all these great sets at retail-prices!

Stefan.

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