We now know that time is a thing and not just a meaningless manmade concept, a thing that can speed up and slow down and be warped, but what the hell is it exactly and why does it seem to march forward unimpeded by much of anything else at all? Why does it not jive with any bit of classical physics and only barely seems to work with quantum physics. Now, physicists are unmasking a more fundamental source for the arrow of time: Energy disperses and objects equilibrate, they say, because of the way elementary particles become intertwined when they interact — that strange effect called quantum entanglement.
This is a question a friend asked recently, and while she was looking for a much more practical answer, like using a wooden clock to teach the long hand and short hand, it made me wonder how you would try to explain something like “What is time?” to a three year old? It’s a question that isn’t clearly understood at even the deepest levels of physics… we know time is a real thing, but we don’t know exactly what it is, and yet how would you explain to a three year old the very essence of time stretching across the universe and back?
In the past several years, there have been advancements in developing visual cloaking devices that bend light around an object to make it appear invisible. But even cooler is when you can hide something in time, or temporal cloaking. Such a sci-fi feat is now possible in the field of data transfer— scientists have been able to hide data in a beam of light, hidden in time itself to make it appear to have never existed.
The problem with thinking about the improbability of a perpetual motion machine is that regardless of how clever you think you are, forever is forever, meaning even our own universe will one day, a long time from now, completely run out of energy and will die. This situation is known as the heat death of the universe, and at that point, nothing will be left. Except perhaps this clock…
It’s the current accepted wisdom that the universe is expanding and expanding, and at one point, it might all just drift apart or it could contract into a singularity again. Or, as an alternate theory, at some point, billions and billions of years from now, time could eventually come to a stop and everything just freezes in place forever.
In 1927, an Irish aeronautical engineer named JW Dunne wrote one of the most influential and controversial books that you’ve probably never heard of called An Experiment With Time.
Last week, there was an article on IHC from November of last year on how temporal cloaking was very possible and recently, a team at Cornell university actually fucking did it— they created a temporal cloak and a hole in time itself. Fuck.
"If you had someone moving along the corridor, it would appear to a distant observer as if they had relocated instantaneously, creating the illusion of a Star Trek transporter," says McCall. "So, theoretically, this person might be able to do something and you wouldn’t notice."