Thursday, May 14, 2015

Time Travel

I've been telling people for years that Pikes Peak is named after me, so they can invest in my time machine because they already know it's a sure thing. Despite this, I've still had my share of naysayers and detractors. Last night, I proved them all wrong.

I've been working on my time machine on the sly. Since these are the types of things that one must be careful with, I decided early on that I would need a disguise. A police telephone box from Britain was too on the nose, so I decided to build mine to look like a stone chest.

But the externals aren't really that important. The key is the theory that goes into it. Ever since Einstein, we've begun to realize that time and space are intertwined. And moreso, there is an upper limit on velocity. You can go through any of the three spacial dimensions--up/down, left/right, forward/back--and through time, but only a set speed. The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time, and vice versa. Once you're moving at zero velocity in time, then you are maxed out in space at roughly 3 x 108 m/s. If you could go faster than that, then you would actually end up going negative speed in time, which would mean you're going back in time.

So far, that's nothing new. Superman used it to spin the world backwards and save Lois Lane. Although why he didn't save every single person on Earth by doing that is something he has yet to adequately explain to the Hague.

But of course, it's well understood that nothing in real physics can go faster than light. Except that's not true! Consider a black hole. Once you're past the event horizon, where gravity is pulling so strong that light cannot escape, then all of light's spacial velocity is transmitted into time. But since gravity is so strong at that massive black hole, then not only does the spacial velocity become 0, but it in fact becomes negative. And that means that the extra velocity has to balance out in time. Thus, at the black hole's event horizon, time travel occurs.

The key here is to realize that spacial travel, which can be described by geometry, is equivalent to temporal travel, which can also be described by geometry. In other words, geometry alone can solve the conundrum of space travel. If one is able to draw the correct figure in the correct dimensions, one can harness the very same principals at work in the event horizon simply by carving the geometric pattern into a sculpture.

Through trial and error, I discovered that the best material to use for such a sculpture is solid mercury. However, the heat of time travel effectively renders it impossible to adequately cool mercury to a solid state. Even running at full capacity, my heat sync can only cool the interior of my time machine to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, a close second for adequate material is the time-honored gold.

So I set to work carving the patterns needed into the surface of some gold plates I created just for the occasion. This required bit of carving in the 4th dimension, which was not without its own risks, but suffice to say I was able to follow the equations I had mapped out.

In order to function, I needed a destination time plate, and I needed an origin plate. The origin plate required at least six months of work to carve, so I had to first calculate where the Earth would be in space and time at a date in the future I could use. Then I carved that plate for the origin, as well as the plate needed to take me back to 1806 at the top of Pikes Peak.

I can tell you that it was with great anticipation that I climbed into the time machine late last night. I knew that my theory would work, but to actually watch it happen was even more impressive! While in the box, I felt a sudden whoosh, almost like I was folding up inside my chest. Then, an exhilarating drop.

But almost immediately I realized that something was amiss. The box began to shake and I was suddenly cast out of it at great velocity. I appeared about five feet above a meadow in a region that looked nothing like the Pikes Peak area. After falling to the ground with a rather undignified whump, I took a moment to gather my bearings and stood.

A young man was standing in the field holding a dowsing rod. His mouth was open in shock at what he had just seen. He was wearing trousers and a shirt that looked like some movies I'd seen, so I prayed I was still in America somewhere in the past, hopefully near 1807. I said, "Hello there, my good man! What is your name?"

"Smith," he replied, and I knew at once that I was in the company of someone who spoke my language. This was a relief to me, for if he had responded in German I might have felt obligated to hunt down the great-great-grandfather of Hitler. But instead, I said: "Can you tell me, my good man Smith, by what name is yonder town known?"

"This be the town of Manchester," he responded.

"I always wanted to visit England," I said with a smile, but inwardly I was at least 6% miffed. Somehow I had miscalculated and ended up completely across the ocean.

"Nay, sir. Manchester, New York," Smith responded.

Well, that was certainly closer than England, I realized. I wondered how I had miscalculated the trajectory so it was halfway across America but not the world. Then I realized he had asked me a question. "Beg pardon?"

"I asked, kind sir, what is your name?"

At that exact moment, it hit me. The final angle in my plate was wrong! I had calculated the cosine instead of the sine. "The angle!" I cried out to myself. "Moron! I--" I glanced at Smith once more. In addition to the dowsing rod, he was carrying a shovel. "Yes, that's it!"

With that, I did a quick mental calculation and determined that my time machine would have embedded itself inside the hillside just a mere twenty yards away. With Smith in tow, I rushed up the hillside and said, "Dig here."

After a few minutes, we uncovered the time machine, and I was grateful it resembled a stone box instead of a police box! We hauled it out of the ground and I opened it up. Smith looked inside in amazement. "What are these?" he asked, pointing to my origin plate.

I knew that I had to be careful. If I messed up the timeline, it could have disastrous consequences. "Plates," I hedged.

"But there's writing on it."

If Smith realized that these were calculations for time travel, it could be ruinous. "It's Reformed Egyptian," I said. "No big deal. Leave them alone."

I dug out the destination block and quickly flipped the angle on the last diagram. "Please excuse me," I told Smith, climbing into the box. I powered the machine on and seconds later appeared...exactly where I'd been before. Although things looked a little different. Smith had appeared to age. I'd say about a year.

I grumbled and hit the switch again, and for a second time appeared in the exact same spot about a year later. I hit the switch, and wouldn't you know it? It happened again! That this was annoying should be obvious to all. Smith seemed glad to see me, though.

This time I spent a few more minutes and realized that in my haste I had mistakenly left about a micron of extraneous gold on one of the ridges of the destination plate. I buffed it out, hit the switch, and appeared atop Pikes Peak exactly when I should have appeared the first time!

I cannot describe the joy I felt at becoming the first person to visit the summit of the mountain named after myself. Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived, for it was then that I realized I was missing the origin plate. Smith had taken it out of the time machine! That meant I couldn't use it to return to when I'd left.

Now more than 20% miffed, I re-reversed the angle on the original destination plate and went back. In my rush, I wasn't quite as precise as I needed to be, and thus I didn't make it back at the exact moment I had disappeared, as I'd planned. But luckily I was able to track Smith down and demanded he give me my plate back. He said he was finished with it, and I gladly took it from him without having to resort to violence. Who knows how the timeline might have been altered if I had been forced to kill him to retrieve my plate?

Anyway, I flipped the plates and this time used extra care so I returned to my own time just five seconds after I had left. I can now conclude that time travel is a hazardous adventure, to say the least. I got out of this trip without ruining our timeline, but I feel like I dodged a bullet. Next time, I must be far more careful.

Still, I've proven the concept works beyond all doubt now. So you can start investing now.

Note: This is based off a short comment I left on one of Steve Hays's posts earlier. My good friend Travis convinced me it should be fleshed out and become a short story.


  1. Thus, at the black hole's event horizon, time travel occurs.

    Which is fine, except for the deleterious effects of the gravity.

    1. That's only deleterious if you're expecting to *survive* the journey.

    2. Well, if you're going to put it that way, I see your point. :-)

  2. At least you didn't miscalculate and end up in the ocean.

  3. Bravo! More more more! I loved it. What fun.

  4. I know what I can see in my mind, but I'd love to see a sketch of what you imagined the "carvings" to look like.

    1. They looked about like this: