Sunday, September 9, 2012


There's this particular scent that I catch sometimes, that smells like nothing so much as my grandmother's house.  To be around it, it's almost as if I had just walked in off her front porch, on to the atrocious yellow carpeting that had probably been installed in the 70's, and in to the kitchen where she was over-boiling green beans.  It reminds me of sitting cuddled up on her pseudo-suede couch while she read through one of her catalogues, showing me the things she thought were pretty, or pointing out articles in the Jonesborough Herald and Tribune, or trying to explain the bizarre comic strips that ran in their paper, like Snuffy Smith or Andy Capp or the Phantom.  I can barely, nearly even hear her voice - and her sweet country accent - explain her opinion on various characters in the panels.  Sometimes she would save clips from the paper, and after she passed away, as we went through the clippings, my cousin remarked wonder at whether she saved a clip because one side was about the king of England abdicating, or because the other side mentioned a sale at a department store.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thought Experiment on Entropic Restrictions in Time Travel

In a discussion of time travel, questions will come up about freewill and causation.  I have always found this conversation frustrating because the common view is just so plainly wrong.

The common view is the one espoused in Back to the Future, which arguably is where most Americans get their understanding of time travel. (I guess as opposed to empirical time travel science?)  Everyone knows this so I don't even have to summarize it, but here goes:  You go back in time but you have to watch out that you don't accidentally change anything, because if you change something because then you will change the future.  In particular, you need to make sure that your introduction to your parents when they were in high school doesn't keep them from falling in love, or else you would undo your own existence, the fact of which alone should point out that there is something screwy here.

In this idea, because you can change the future you came from, there are different "timelines".  When you go back in to the past you go to a different timeline or split the universe or whatever and the effects of your meddling will be in the new timeline and not the one you came from.

So why do we think there are multiple timelines?