Monday, February 16, 2009

An Idea

A very goofy idea, in fact. Perhaps two, in the form of a conversation, because that's how they came to me.

"You've heard of time dilation?"
"It sounds familiar."
"It's the idea -- if you move fast enough, time moves differently. So you can go faster, and depending on how fast you go, you either move forward or backward in time."
"Is that the idea?"
"No -- everyone is working on that, just like everyone is working on wormholes. Everyone and their prehistoric ape cousin. But there are plenty of other ideas. For example; what if you stop moving?"
"What?"
"Time dilation; it works with acceleration, basically. But what if you slow down? Or stop?"
"You mean, like just sit around all day?"
"No! Even if I don't move a muscle, I'm still moving; the planet is spinning on its axis and traveling around the sun, and that in turn is torquing through the galaxy. And every molecule, every atom, every subatomic particle in my body is flitting around even faster than the earth is moving through the universe. I can't stop; can't break the inertia, can't go lower than ground state, but what if I could? If I could stop moving..."
"The world would move without you?"
"Time would move without me."
"So, you'd be taken to the future."
"Perhaps. Even if I was, I'd be floating out, who knows where relative to the Earth's place in the expanding Universe. And I might not travel at all; I might just spontaneously decompose into dust."
"Is that what you're studying? How to do it safely?"
"Heh. Not quite. I'm studying tea kettles."
"Tea kettles?"
"Well, and pasta pots. Containers for heating and boiling water, basically."
"Um. What does that have to do with time travel?"
"Haven't you heard the phrase, 'A watched pot never boils'?"

3 comments:

Alex said...

this is why bad jokes need to exist.

ayn said...

I like it!

Duff said...

Newton and his absolute frames of reference would be proud.