Hermann Minkowski's light cones gave us a visual idea of how the possible may be situated within relations of causality. Then, in the mid-20th century, those ideas were carried into the realm of geopolitics by the threat of nuclear war. With a flight time of 30 minutes between the Soviet Union and the United States, rocket technology shrank the future to a point where speculation became a key asset in the arsenals of the superpowers. Big think tanks like the Californian RAND Corporation, scientists, and engineers were systematically mapping out possibility spaces.
Tag Archives | time
Want to visit somewhere on Earth where reality as defined by civilization starts to break down? Via Wikipedia, the surreality of time in Antarctica, where it is possible to slip back and forth between 11 different zones:
Wikipedia lays out the phantom time hypothesis, the odd belief that certain eras of history did not occur:
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The Phantom Time Hypothesis is a conspiracy theory developed by Heribert Illig in 1991. It proposes that periods of history, specifically that of Europe during the Early Middle Ages (AD 614–911), did not exist, and that there has been a systematic effort to cover up that fact. Illig believed that this was achieved through the alteration, misrepresentation and forgery of documentary and physical evidence.
The bases of Illig’s hypothesis include:
The scarcity of archaeological evidence that can be reliably dated to the period AD 614–911, on perceived inadequacies of radiometric and dendrochronological methods of dating this period.
The presence of Romanesque architecture in tenth-century Western Europe. This is taken as evidence that less than half a millennium could have passed since the fall of the Roman Empire, and concludes that the entire Carolingian period, including the person of Charlemagne, is a forgery by medieval chroniclers, more precisely a conspiracy instigated by Otto III and Gerbert d’Aurillac.
Mysterious Universe ponders times slips — cases in which people temporarily experience the future or past, or briefly interact with people or objects from a different era:
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Physicists like Albert Einstein, Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking have all said time travel is theoretically possible; our science just can’t achieve it. But what if nature can?
Time slips have been reported throughout history. English women vacationing in France in 1901 claimed they stepped into the French Revolution, and two English couples traveling in Spain in the 1970s stayed at an oddly archaic hotel that was simply gone on their return journey. RAF pilot Sir Victor Goddard encountered airplanes in 1935 that didn’t exist until 1939, and a 100-year-old Swiss watch found in a Chinese Ming dynasty tomb. People may slip like this all the time.
During the Aurora Borealis of 2004, visible in North America as far south as the lower Midwest, Jake, 15, stood outside his parents home in the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, around 10 p.m.
Science fiction is tackling the issue of economic inequality using the metaphor of rationed time and mortality. Radical blogger and professor of ‘cultural analysis’ Mark Fisher doesn’t see this as too far from the truth.
His writing examines autonomy, workerism, post-Marxism, post-Fordism, punk, post-punk, neoliberalism, new atheism and anarchism. As fear of losing one’s job, debt closing in, mortality, apocalypse, the devastating end of capitalism or Malthusian collapse tick away in our background, all of us feel that constant tremor, further emphasized by the endless updates to our devices, making us addicted to our own anxiety. Society stalls and experimental innovation is crushed under the systemic pressure of time constraints. As he writes: “Given all of this, it is clear that most political struggles at the moment amount to a war over time.”
Via Gonzo Circus:
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For most workers, there is no such thing as the long term.
Wondering about the end of everything? At some point, the world may freeze into a single giant photograph-like state, for eternity. Via Unexplained Mysteries:
In a startling new theory, scientists have predicted that the passage of time will stop altogether.
The theory is based on research conducted at two Spanish Universities aimed at explaining why the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating, a conundrum that has puzzled scientists for years. What they came up with was the notion that the expansion of the universe isn’t accelerating at all; instead time itself is slowing down at an imperceptible rate and that eventually it will stop entirely, resulting in a perpetual static snapshot for the rest of eternity.
“We believe that time emerged during the Big Bang and if time can emerge, may disappear as well as the opposite effect,” said cosmologist Gary Gibbons.
From Jim Henson's 1966 Academy Award nominated short film. Henson, as the writer/producer/director/star, created the experimental short about the effect of time keeping on us all:
An interesting read for night owls and early birds alike. As Robert T. Gonzalez writes on io9.com:
Just because you sleep later than your early rising friends doesn’t mean you sleep longer than they do; nor does it make you lazier. And yet, the association between the time of day that a person wakes up and how proactive or driven they are is just one example of the many preconceptions that society upholds regarding sleep and productivity.
But here’s the problem: these expectations might actually be working against us.
In his recently published book, Internal time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag and Why You’re So Tired, German chronobiologist Till Roenneberg provides numerous examples of how social expectations surrounding time may be having a detrimental effect on large sections of the human population. Over on Brain Pickings, Maria Popova walks us through one of Roenneberg’s examples, wherein he examines the clash between adolescents’ sleep cycles and the starting times of typical school days…
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The Amondawa lacks the linguistic structures that relate time and space — as in our idea of, for example, "working through the night". The study, in Language and Cognition, shows that while the Amondawa recognise events occuring in time, it does not exist as a separate concept. The idea is a controversial one, and further study will bear out if it is also true among other Amazon languages. The Amondawa were first contacted by the outside world in 1986, and now researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the Federal University of Rondonia in Brazil have begun to analyse the idea of time as it appears in Amondawa language. "We're really not saying these are a 'people without time' or 'outside time'," said Chris Sinha, a professor of psychology of language at the University of Portsmouth. "Amondawa people, like any other people, can talk about events and sequences of events," he told BBC News.