Hands off, Einstein, she's mine!

The results from my experiment with time dilation are in: despite playing with the twin paradox, kissing my wife makes the universe a safer place!

My experiment with a pretty girl. Hands off, Einstein!

Last week I posed the question if I kiss my beautiful wife for a minute and for her it seems like an hour, does that make me a good lover?

The results are in. (Don’t worry – this remains a post relating to time travel! πŸ˜‰ )

Time dilation from kissing.
Image credit: Prashant Soni

My wife feels pretty much the same as I do, i.e. when she kisses me for a minute it seems like a second.

This has interesting ramifications – and not just for my pride! πŸ˜‰

If we’re both kissing for a minute and each perceive it to last a second, two questions are raised:

Where has all the time gone?

Our bodies are tangled in real time for a minute, so somewhere 59 seconds remain unaccounted for. Where has that time gone?

The obvious answer is that love clouds the brain and as a result we simply think slower and subsequently perceive time differently. Amorous or amorphous? So let’s be a little more scientific; let’s talk time dilation.

Did the Earth move bringing a change in the reference frame? Or were we swept off our feet taking us to a lower gravitational potential? I’ll say yes on both counts, and the time as experienced by us and that experienced by external observers (which I hasten to point out that there were none – despite living in Holland!) differed.

But how does it stand for the passage of time within the ‘experiment’?

The original postulation was that time passes at differing rates for the (willing) kisser and the (perhaps not so willing) kissee. But it turns out that my wife feels the same as I, i.e. that she suspects that during her minute of kissing, an hour has passed for me.

So question 2…

Have we stumbled on the twin paradox?

If both of us feel that for us time is passing more quickly than for the other, have we bumped into a kind of reverse twin paradox?

The twin paradox is where one twin zooms off at high speed and comes back to find that he’s aged less than his Earth bound brother. The paradox arises (though disputed by some experts on wikipedia) that the laws of sibling rivalry mean that the brothers argue, in this case about who has moved relative to who and thus which one of the two has aged less.

The parallel with my wife is that we argue which one of us is experiencing the second and which one experiences the hour.

Well. There are ways to make up with your wife after an argument! πŸ˜‰

One possible explanation for the paradox is that the traveling twin accelerated away from the other, had a change of mind and slowed down to a stop, turned round, and came back home again. Or in other words, there was a change in the reference framework and special relativity no longer holds. i.e. the twins are identical in looks, but not in experience. They are different from each other. (Obviously; one’s into space travel and the other one wants to sit at home writing up his blog). I still suspect that if the twins were truly identical in all respects, and experienced identical circumstances, the paradox would remain.


So the mindset needs to be the same. But bringing this back to my wifey, if we are both feeling the same way then there is a very real risk that universe will shake itself apart because nature abhors paradoxes.

At the same time – and I can’t stress this strongly enough – kissing my wife without consent is a highly dangerous activity. Universes have heaved under the strain of the knowledge, black holes have collapsed, and supernovae have extinguished themselves and hidden themselves under a safe rock.

There we have it. Kissing with consent in the time2timetravel HQ makes the universe a safer (and much happier) place!



safer universe
Image credit: Marc Garrido I Puig

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up here to receive future posts sent direct to your email!

An Experiment with Relativity

Einstein is famous for his theory of relativity, but he also described it using hot stoves and a pretty girl. This lead me to conduct my own experiment.

Einstein described relativity using hot stoves and a pretty girl:

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

I got round to thinking about combining the two – not by sending the pretty girl into the kitchen (yikes!), but thinking about something far more interesting:

When I kiss a hot girl for a minute, it seems like a second.

For the hot girl though, it would probably seem like an hour.

So the question is this: if I can make it last an hour for her…does that make me a good lover?

So much for thought experiments. I’ve got something I want discuss with my wife…


Einstein's theory of hot girls, stoves and relativity.
Image credit: Gabriella Fabbri.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to visit, like or circle time2timetravel on Facebook and Google+

Sign up here to receive future posts sent direct to your email!

A train of thought

Some time ago I wrote about an infinitesimally small moment in time by using a thought experiment involving a fly and a train.

We know from harsh experience that trains don’t run on time. Like mine this morning, which was cancelled. Or perhaps occupying an infinitesimally small spaces. Whilst watching the wheels on the…train (on the opposite platform) go round and round, I got round to thinking about the point of contact between the wheel and the rail.

Let’s assume that the train wheel is perfectly circular and incompressible, and that the train line is perfectly straight and also incompressible. How much of the wheel touches the train line?

Point of contact

OK, I’m no graphic designer, but I’m trying to show that no matter how much you zoom in, the point of contact between a circle and a straight line remains just that – a point.

No. I can see no other way of seeing it – the wheel is lucky to be touching the track at all! Well maybe that explains the hovering time travel train in Back to the Future III ! πŸ˜‰

Image courtesy of movieboozer.com
Image courtesy of movieboozer.com

On a more serious note…this linking between time and space. If I can just figure out the implications on time, then maybe I’ll know if my train will turn up on time tomorrow…


Watch the time machine!

Place a thermometer into boiling water, and it will read 100 degrees centigrade. Now plunge the same thermometer into a bucket of ice. The difference in temperature is (at least) 100 degrees, but there is a lag with the thermometer reading. It won’t immediately read 0 degrees, but it will go through the intermediate temperatures (albeit quickly) from 100 degrees, down to 0.

It can easily be argued that the thermometer is in part reading the temperature of itself – it’s own internal temperature, rather than the true ambient temperature.

Keep this in mind as we take an instantaneous journey through time in a time machine…

In an earlier post I demonstrated how the progression of time through space is instantaneous. But how does time progress in a time emachine?

Consider this. A person goes in a time machine and is instantly placed from the present to say 100 years into the future (as far as “instant” is possible…let’s call it experienced time).

Will the watch he’s wearing read t = 0 and instantly transform to t = 100 years? Or like the thermometer, will it pass through all the intermediate times like the thermometer read intermediate temperatures? Will he?

It might seem that a watch, by changing from one state of time to another, intrinsically needs to go through the intermediate times. But this implies a non instant travel. It sounds a little paradoxical that instant time travel means travelling [instantly] through all times in between!

Alternatively, does the watch measure the moment of ambient time, such as a GPS receiver ‘checking in’ to a satellite clock signal? Or does it measure the progression of experienced time?

I mentioned that this particular time machine operates instantaneously. That is to say that the “experienced time” is zero. Ambient time, therefore undergoes an instant change. This raises the question of how is an instant change in time possible?

Let’s pause for a moment on a slight detour and consider a well known thought experiment. On a train.

A train is traveling at a constant speed of 125 mph towards the west. A fly is buzzing in exactly the opposite direction, on a collision path with the train.

The collision inevitably takes place, and I think it’s fair to say that neither the train or the fly are aware of the event.

Now let’s consider the movement of the train and the fly.

The train is moving to the west at constant speed, collides with the fly, and continues its movement to the west (with a very slightly reduced velocity owing to increased combined mass with the fly).

The fly was flying towards the east. It collides with the train, then moves with the train towards the west. This means that the fly’s velocity changes sign, i.e. it goes from an arbitrary positive, through zero, to negative.

At the moment that the fly had zero velocity, it was in contact with the train. It might seem logical to assume that the train must therefore also have a zero velocity…but we know from experience that this is not the case.

We have therefore defined an infinitesimally small moment in time, but how to explain it? (Aside – this is the great thing about time travel – one question leads to another! πŸ™‚ )

I was spinning on a roundabout with my daughters last week trying not to retch. They were fine; they were sitting near the middle, whereas I was on the outer rim. How was it possible that I had a greater linear velocity than they, and yet we were all in contact, much like the fly and the train?

The clue is that we were sitting on the same roundabout, undergoing the same angular velocity. Even the infinitesimally small point in space in the dead centre…was still rotating at the same rate as the rest of us.

And there it is. Angular velocity. I suppose that it’s not for nothing that people talk about the wheel of time! πŸ˜‰

So back to our question of how is local ambient time experienced in an instantaneous time machine. Could it be that the local time is compressed or contracted to a point of ‘zero time’, (not to be confused with t = 0, an arbitrary reference time point) and regrows back to a new time? This zero time point would be analagous to the ‘fly point’ of zero velocity, or the zero space point on the roundabout.

Progression along the radius of the roundabout maintaining constant angular velocity showed that these zero points are possible. How that can be translated to time, or get it to regrow again…well there lies the magic of a time machine!

Time in an Instant

There is nothing instant about “instant”.

Not in coffee, not in two shakes of a lambs tail (or a coffee spoon) and not in love at first sight.

I’ve harped on before about the importance of the speed of light, and how nothing can go faster than it.

In the latter article I gave the example of the Earth rotating around a non existent sun after for some reason the sun ceased to be; the transmission of information that the sun ceased to be (one parameter being the existence of gravity) would take some 8 minutes to reach the Earth. The Earth would therefore remain in orbit around a non existent sun for those transitional 8 minutes.

Archimedes had his brainwave whilst he was taking a bath. I had mine during a shower, watching the waste water spiral down through the plug hole. In true Archimedian style I thought to myself “Screw it.”

Why? Surely there must be something out there that can exceed the speed of light.

And I might have found it.

Let’s return to our orbiting Earth (or at least, remain firmly affixed to it’s surface, thanks to our gravitational friend).

As far as we are concerned, sitting (or showering) on the Earth, everything is hunky dory until the Sun disappears, the light goes out and we are flung into space obeying Newton’s second law of motion (i.e. that we travel in a straight line at constant speed unless an external force [in this case, the Sun’s gravity] is applied.

We know that the sun must have vanished 8 minutes ago, so let’s call that moment t = 0 and the present t = 8.

So from the perspective of the Earth at t = 8 we know that the sun vanished at t = 0.

And on the sun, the sun vanished at t = 0. At the same time, i.e. at t = 0. The event of our hindsight knowledge and the event itself was simultaneous.

Is hindsight instantaneous?

I think the example shows that the progression of time across space is instantaneous, although I do concede that it’s a bit strange to give time a speed when it is itself a term in the equation! (speed = distance divided by time!

I’ll conclude with a quote from Bill Nye (more time and time travel quotes here):

Ò€œWhen we see the shadow on our images, are we seeing the time 11 minutes ago on Mars? Or are we seeing the time on Mars as observed from Earth now? ItÒ€ℒs like time travel problems in science fiction. When is now; when was then?Ò€ Γ’β‚¬β€œ Bill Nye.


The Importance of History: An Unexpected Part 2!

Yesterday (or was it last week? πŸ˜‰ ) I posted a timely thought which explained why history is important. I used an example of flipping an unbiased coin which repeatedly turned up tails, and stated that even though historical performance would suggest another tails on the next flip, the chances of heads showing on the next flip was still 50%.

I think a 50% chance of a heads showing is incorrect. It should be higher!

This is because that there are 2 possible outcomes of a flipped coin, so 50% chance of getting either one of them. The implication then is that with 2 coin flips, we’d expect 1 head and 1 tail. With 4 flips we’d expect 2 heads and 2 tails.

With 100 flips, we’d expect 50 heads and 50 tails.

But who’s to decide the order in which those heads and tails come? Alternate? Or all one and then the other?

So take the example in my original post where 50 flips had given tails. I’d stated a 50% probability of the next flip being heads. But if the probability is 50% for 100 flips, then the probability of the 51st flip being heads is now…100% !!!

So it seems that history is even more important than I had previously thought…although I wonder whether this is because we know something about the future i.e. there will be 100 coin flips and then no more.

But let’s add in a parallel consideration…we’ve considered this particular coin, but shouldn’t we be taking in all coins, and all of their flips, ad infinitum? That would mean we’re back at a 50% chance of a head.

So boundary limits impact the probability; events at all places at all times impact the importance of history and what that history means for the future.

Interesting that although I’m now a little wiser in the future…a little hindsight about foresight would have helped when I first wrote!


Is History Important?

I’m not one for history. It relates to things in the past. Not necessarily forgotten about, but it’s been, it’s gone, and it’s over. Done and dusted.

But however dusty those history books might be, I do concede that history is important. I hold no sympathy for the “You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been” line, but history can effect the present and the future.

Here’s an example.

An unbiased coin is flipped, and tails comes up.

It’s flipped again, and again it’s tails.

And it’s tails again and again and again, and so on…at 50 flips the coin is still coming up tails.

The probability of heads coming up for the 51st flip, mathematically speaking, is still 50% i.e. there is an equal chance of getting either heads or getting tails.

But given the history, what would you bet on…heads or tails?

See how history is important?! πŸ˜‰