too much time on my mind

Artist concept of Gravity Probe B orbiting the Earth to measure space-time, a four-dimensional description of the universe including height, width, length, and time.

Artist concept of Gravity Probe B orbiting the Earth to measure space-time, a four-dimensional description of the universe including height, width, length, and time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Probably because I’m unemployed and have been spending too much time watching Sci-Fi shows when I’m not sending out resumes or writing something. I’ve recently seen episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, Stargate SG-1, and of course Dr. Who, all dealing with time travel. Yes, I watch too much Sci-Fi Channel.

Time is a relative concept. It seems like time has been flying by for me these days yet when I was working at CDS it seemed to crawl. To define an event you need a location and a time, more precisely, three coordinates and a time. As an example, one hundred years ago Black Beard buried the treasure twenty paces from the cliff, fourteen paces from the fallen rock, and and ten feet down. There are tons of relativities in that one sentence. First you need to define the current time to know when one hundred years ago was, then you need to know how tall Black Beard was to figure out how long a pace is, and then you have to figure out where the twenty paces and fourteen paces intersect before you know where to dig and that’s all assuming you know what island, cliff, and rock are used in the description.

Now that we’ve proved time is relative, is it really part of the fabric of space or simply an observable effect? I think this is an interesting distinction. If nothing ever happened, would there be time? If a tree falls in the woods, does it cause a sound. That answer is yes, because there is an event and it has clear physical ramifications, I.e. soundwaves. Enter Schroedinger’s cat. Put a cat in a box with some poison, release the poison, and then determine when the cat dies… not very humane, true, but it clearly illuminates the concept of time only being relative in conjunction with an observable phenomenon.

Many smarter people than I have contemplated this concept and there are many theories about time. It just seems to me like time is not necessarily complete in and of itself, it must have action. That’s why we have the intuitive phrase “time standing still.” If every atom and electron in existence was to stop moving simultaneously, time would cease to exist. Or would it?

– jay a. moore

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