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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time Travel Part One

My fascination with time travel came from a short story I read years ago where a guy shows up and hires a thief to steal a list of items which are literally all priceless and scattered around museums all over the world.  The guy hiring the thief gives him a watch that when you adjust the settings it allows the wearer of the watch to basically live and exist in a time in which hours to you would be the blink of an eye to the rest of the world.  So essentially the thief could waltz right in and collect the priceless pieces of art and history right under every body's noses.
Years later I read an article in Discover Magazine where 10 different Physicists were asked two questions.
Is Time Travel possible?
Give a hypothetical situation which might be used to make a time machine or be used to move a person through time?
All ten physicists said, Yes, time travel is possible.
Along with that where ten different hypothetical situations which might be used as a time machine.
I was flabbergasted!  If that wasn't enough . . .
Years ago I ran into a mathematician and physicist who asked me how I would build a flat force field?  We discussed the idea and after some time I got to go by his house and in his work shop was a wooden frame with dowel rods suspended from the frame by string with magnets placed at different spots along the dowel rods.  The amazing part of this apparatus was that the strings holding the dowel rods came off the frame at 45 degree angles to where they attached to the tops of the dowel rods which were hanging from the frame.  The dowel rods should have hung straight down from the frame, but they didn't because of the magnetic field pushing or pulling them away from each other.  The space in between the dowels rods was empty but at a glance you could see the empty space made a virtual wall between the different dowels hanging from the frame.  It was a flat magnetic field.
Later I bought hundreds of magnets and played around with different experiments and one thing I learned through all that was there is a process you must go through in order to build something.
First you come up with an idea for what you are going to build.  Maybe draw it out.  Take measurements, and then figure out a parts list.
Secondly you start to gather the bits and pieces you will need to build your project.
Thirdly you begin construction of your project which I found was always the hardest part because inevitably something wouldn't fit just right, hold together the way you had planned, and unless you have the capabilities of working with any medium (wood, metal, plastic), things just never turned out how I had planned for them to go together.
I bring up all that old stuff because in 1995 I remember a small news blip about a guy named Michael Marcum from a rural area in northern Missouri who after high school got a job with the local utility company.  Over the course of the next few months the area kept experiencing brown outs or lowered power at residents.  The utility company investigated and found power transformers missing and poles set up where one transformer was trying to do the job of two.  Later it was discovered the only common link between these odd setups was the worker who had lasted performed work on these poles, Mr. Marcum who at the time in 1995 was 21 years old.  When investigators came to his house they found six power pole transformers hooked up in series in his basement.  When he was asked why he had stolen them he replied that he was constructing a time machine.
As a person who has come up with some strange things and then subsequently attempted to build apparatus to test said crack pot theories, I know you don't just go and start hooking things together until you get an idea of what you're trying to build.  This guy went to all the trouble of stealing power pole transformers and taking them to his house to assemble them in some planned fashion.  He had an idea on how to build a time machine.  For what it is worth after serving his time in jail it appears Mr. Marcum has disappeared, and is not available for comment.  As Science Fiction writer I can't help but think he is working in some secret government lab performing experiments with time travel using a machine of his construction.
So I conclude with that I believe time travel is possible.  I don't honestly know if anybody has ever figured out a way to do it, but if they did I would be sure our government would control it and use it at just a few people's whims, and probably not for good and humanitarian means, probably more for the accumulation of wealth and power.  In later posts I want to discuss the do's and don'ts of time travel.  What would you do with your own time machine?  What time would you want to live in?  Time travel as a means of historical recording, to be able to send a third party to a scene in time and determine once and for all who did what to whom for how many cookies?

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