Friday, February 27, 2009

A brief encounter with BLACK HOLES

When time travel really began titillating physicists' minds, they got together with some astronomers to investigate what may very well be a physical porthole for traveling through space and time. First came the black hole. Then, the wormhole.

Black holes can slow the passage of time (spacetime, 4 dimensional playing field) simply because they have enormous gravitational fields* but physicist Ronald Mallett realized that light can affect time (spacetime) too because it carries energy, and Einstein, among one of the many fundamental things he did, showed that energy and mass are equivalent. One of the crucial aspects of general relativity is the link it creates between matter and the geometry of spacetime.

Matter literally warps the space and the time that surrounds it. Special relativity forces us to think of time and space as being intertwined... past and future are just as real as present. Some spacetime continua have closed, time-like curves, which violate standard ideas of causality (as opposed to past affecting present affecting future, it could be that future events are affecting past ones..) In relativistic contexts time cannot be separated from the three dimensions of space, because the rate at which time passes depends on an object's velocity relative to the speed of light (and whos watching) and also on the strength of intense gravitational fields. The duration of time can therefore vary for various events and various reference frames.

Wormholes are like black holes, except they have an exit point (Tunisia, perhaps?). However, physicist Leonard Susskind argues that there is no way to achieve a navigable wormhole without violating two laws of nature:

1. The conservation of energy
2. The Uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics

These are my friends simulating the material of spacetime with rubber sheets and balls.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you Casey

Oh Ben

What's more

Einstein postulates that the speed of light c is constant, in order for this to be so, time and space must be relative. If two observers are moving relative to one another, they can disagree about the time interval between two events or the distance between two points in space. Time dilation, again, is observed when a clock moving at high speed will appear to tick slower than an identical clock that is stationary- that is, either of the two clocks can be said to be the one thats moving-the slowing down, due to c, always retaining the same value of 300,000 km/s according to Einstein's postulate that there is no preferred reference frame.

In 2007 Gerald Gwinner and team confirmed time dilation when they used an accelerator in Germany to whip lithium ions through a circular tube at 6% the speed of light, then used a laser to stimulate ions forcing them to give off radiation. Radiation is an oscillating electromagnetic wave (like light) and can be used as a clock where one tick equals one cycle. At the high speeds the 'ticks' slowed down/a lowering of the frequency of the radiation.

Light cones-to be discussed at a later date-inspired Hilary Putnam to argue that future events are fully predetermined when considering the absence of the universal now (the concept Einstein more or less proved fallible with relativity of simultaneity). This in effect means an event x in my future might be one in your past (depending on speeds and distance involved) and the moment we pass, I'd be obligated to consider real everything that you do, including the yet to be experienced (from my perspective) event x from your past.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ah, Desmond Hume


-the dearly dedicated scotsman, namesake of David Hume*, could put my roommate the Doctor to shame in any number of drinking scenarios.. undoubtedly our constant in a tight situation..a brave man, courage to the brim.. a good man.. the reason to wake up when there is just not.. to thee, a tribute-

In the episodes chronicling time travel, a group of survivors return to the point in time when Des is solo in the hatch pressin the button, two months into the future. Daniel* knocks on the door repeatedly until Desmond, wearing a HAZMAT suit and wielding a rifle, appears. Daniel, to Desmond's confusion, told him that he was "uniquely, and miraculously special", and that he was the only one who could save them.

*David Hume was an 18th century Scottish philosopher. He rejected Enlightenment positivism and the power of reason to determine all truths and espoused the idea that human nature and ultimately what we define as culture should be the criteria when one defines the ways in which we come into our beliefs or ideas and actions. He was impressively influenced by John Locke.

*Initially it's Sawyer who pounds on the door but to no avail for he has not yet met Desmond, Daniel on the other hand, Oxford.


Though shrouded in mystery, this much is known about the Valenzetti Equation: it is a mathematical calculation designed to predict nothing less than the exact number of years left before the extinction of the human race.

According to the 1975 orientation film in the Sri Lanka Video, the Valenzetti Equation "predicts the exact number of years and months until humanity extinguishes itself." During the video, Alvar Hanso also states that the radio transmitter on the Island, will "broadcast the core numerical values of the Valenzetti Equation."

The numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, are explained in the Sri Lanka Video, as the numerical values to the core environmental and human factors of the Valenzetti Equation. Alvar Hanso also states in the video that the purpose of the DHARMA Initiative is to change the numerical values of any one of the core factors in the equation in order to give humanity a chance to survive by, effectively, changing doomsday.

S04E03 The Economist and time-transported consciousness

To begin to reveal the layers of time travel embedded within season four we might first consider time dilation. This phenomenon occurs when one of two identical clocks appears to count time slower than its twin. This 'slowing down' is only considered so in the context of the observers frame of reference. In Einstein's theory of special relativity, the time dilation effect is reciprocal: as observed from the point of view of any two clocks which are in motion with respect to each other, it will be the other party's clock that is time dilated.

Time dilation would make it possible for passengers in a fast-moving vehicle to travel further into the future while ageing very little, in that their great speed slows down the rate of passage of on-board time. That is, the ship's clock or a human travelling with it shows less elapsed time than the clocks of observers on Earth. For example, one year of travel might correspond to ten years at home. Indeed, a constant 1 g acceleration would permit humans to travel as far as light has been able to travel since the big bang (some 13.7 billion light years) in one human lifetime. The space travellers could return to Earth billions of years in the future.

In the Economist, Daniel Faraday asks his colleague on the freighter to launch a projectile onto the Island. As we hear his team member count down the kilometers, we, like Daniel, cant see or hear anything. Curiously, the projectile lands thirty minutes later and we find that the clock extracted from the depths of the payday is not synched with Daniel's clock anymore, meaning time on and off the island are different, meaning Lost is employing time dilation in an attempt to deconstruct time. Excellent.

In The Constant, when Des and Sayid leave the Island on the helicopter back to the freighter it appears on the beach that a day passes before Jack et cie hear from them even though the freighter is only 40 miles away, arguably a 20 minute flight. When questioned, Daniel admits that the perception of time on the Island might be different than the time experienced off the Island otherwise known as a contraction of time when leaving or coming to the Island. He says that as long Frank uses the bearings that were given to him, the people on the helicopter should be fine. If not, there could be "side-effects".

Miichaael ...Faraday?

Michael Faraday was an English natural philosopher in late 18th and early 19th centuries. Faraday was not considered a gentleman. Faraday, did however study the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a DC electric current, and established the basis for the magnetic field concept in physics. He discovered electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and laws of electrolysis. He established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.

The SI unit of capacitance, the farad, is named after him, as is the Faraday constant, the charge on a mole of electrons. Faraday's law of induction states that a magnetic field changing in time creates a proportional electromotive force.

In 1845, Faraday discovered that many materials exhibit a weak repulsion from a magnetic field, a phenomenon he named diamagnetism. Faraday also found that the plane of polarisation of linearly polarised light can be rotated by the application of an external magnetic field aligned in the direction the light is moving. This is now termed the Faraday effect. He wrote in his notebook, "I have at last succeeded in illuminating a magnetic curve or line of force and in magnetising a ray of light". This established that magnetic force and light were related.

When Daniel Faraday first arrives on the island, he remarks on the unusual scattering of light on the island.

David Arthur Faraday was the first victim of the Zodiac (also the name of the raft) Killer in the 1960's.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jin su shi yobo

Understanding Korean is not difficult on the Island. Understanding Jin and Sun,