Saturday, January 06, 2007

About time

In case you are wondering why I am not posting very often, it is because I still have this cold. It got worse, and only now is beginning to get better again, but not much. It is taking a long time because my doctor still isn't back, and I'm too lazy sick to go and find another one, so don't have a lot of lovely medicine to make me sleep or give me interesting dreams. So I have been resting a lot but not sleeping so much, and my life has been excessively boring, at least in terms of bloggable material (unless you are entertained by vast quantities of snot). Isn't it about time I got better?

Speaking of time, to make things more interesting for myself I have been reading. One book I have been reading on and off in these miserable, sniffly days, is, coincidentally, About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, by Paul Davies. I haven't finished it yet because I am reading parts of it backwards. That is because the book is about time, and time doesn't NECESSARILY have to go forwards, so neither do I. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Ask any quantum physicist.

The idea of time going backwards appeals to me, but it occurs to me that things could be even more interesting if it went sideways. This has not come up in the book so far, but I haven't finished it yet, and live in hope. I hope Davies is not such a binary thinker he can only conceive of the two options of forward and back. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that time should move sideways occasionally, just for a lark. Also, it would avoid the problem of people bumping into themselves and creating a paradox.


No reading today, though. I have to catch up on work. I was supposed to be finished with the stacks of paperwork by now and out having a good time, but everything ground to a halt when I got sick. No good times for me! Classes start again on Tuesday. I cannot spend any more time lying around sneezing and coughing and complaining. From now on I will be WORKING and sneezing and coughing and complaining.

This post was supposed to get me kick-started, but now I'm feeling a bit zonked from the effort of writing it. For the last five minutes I've been staring at the word paradox. It's starting to look funny.

What colour is YOUR paradox?


Anonymous said...

Mine's green.

And I think it is assumed that time can go sideways too. If that's how you interpret the many-worlds hypothesis. Certainly if you travelled between two universes that had split off from each other like that you would have to say you were going sideways in time.

I want to know whether time can also move kata and ana.

(These are the sorts of things you end up thinking about when you live with a quantum physicist. What's your excuse? :) )

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Geekman just chimed in to say that if you believe in Stephen Hawking's postulated 'Imaginary Time', then you have an entire plane of time to move about in, so you can go sideways, forward, backward or diagonally.

Anonymous said...

When your body is crying for more rest, it is kind of hard to NOT listen to your natural instincts. But that's where motivation books come in. Grab one, and envy at someone else's success, or get cheesed enough to lift the backsides off the bed to do something else other than "nothing productive" for a change. Ugly deadlines; they are like whips. Hope you get them cleared as soon as possible!

Anonymous said...

Try reading your book forward, backward *and* sideways. Let us know what happens. Unless you find yourself in another dimension of space and time.

If that happens, maybe your cold will cease to exist.

And I checked my paradox color; it's set to "imaginary." Hmm... remember The Device? I wonder if it could be programmed to monitor paradox color.

kenju said...

I think my paradox vacillates between green and blue. Time goes in all directions, just as space does. There is a theory that all things happen at the same time, and we divide them into days, hours, minutes, etc., just so we can keep track.

I am getting a cold, so I hope both of us feel better soon.

Kay said...

Wow--must catch up with this book, if not with Time. When you are done, you might try "Faster Than The Speed of Light"--wonderful not only for the current take on Einstein's theory, but for the world of academe lurking in the background.....

Badaunt said...

Styleygeek: Wouldn't time HAVE to move kata and ana, if time is the fourth dimension...? What other way could it move? But it kata and ana are, sort of, like 'back' and 'forward,' then what's the word that corresponds with SIDEWAYS?

Also, I just got to the bit about parallel universes, and I'm confused. Is that time AND space moving sideways, or just time? Eh? Explain it to me!

I got to the bit about imaginary time, too, and got kind of confused. It's like imaginary numbers. From what I understand, the square root of -9 = i3. (Or is it 3i?) Does that mean imaginary time is the square root of negative time? What IS negative time, anyway? Is negative time what happens when I have six hours of work to do and three hours of time to do it in? When I concentrate really hard so I'm not aware of time passing and finish the work anyway, did I use imaginary time?

Pkchukiss: Motivation books don't seem to work for me. I read them, feel all energized, and need to have a nap.

RaJ: My paradox seems to be imaginary purple, at the moment anyway. It's what happens when you calculate the square root of minus purple. And I'm sure The Device could take care of it SPLENDIDLY.

Kenju: I have a sinking feeling that we might all be ALREADY going backwards in time. It's just that we're facing the wrong way, so we haven't noticed yet. Time is just one thing before another. I'm sure you must have noticed that you've had this cold before. Right? I know I have.

Kay: I read Faster Than the Speed of Light - and even blogged about it! Brilliant book. I loved it.

kay said...

omigosh--who knew? And your June blog on "Faster than the Speed of Light" sounds like I wrote it...I got so annoyed with those pompous reviewers who said it was whiny and anti-academia and self-involved--NONE of the above! I LOVE present simple....a blog after my own heart (and, secret, helping me keep sane).

Anonymous said...

But kata and ana are movement THROUGH the fourth dimension. And if the fourth dimension is time, how can it move through itself? If it was moving through itself, it would have to go twice as fast as itself (if going forwards) or stand still (if going backwards), wouldn't it? Maybe negative time is what happens when time runs through itself in the opposite direction.

And the square root of minus purple is plaid.

Anonymous said...

Time is fluid. Must be. How else can you explain the speeding up of time when you've got too much to do (and therefore not enough time to do it in), and slowing down when you're bored. Like I am. Cos I'm back at WORK! GAHH!

It's STILL not 5 o'clock! I can't believe it!!