Time is a Beatle

July 7, 2011

Today is ex-Beatle Ringo Starr’s birthday — he’s 71.

The boy is suddenly a freakin’ old man.

Seems just like the day before yesterday when Ringo responded to the question, ‘Are you a Mod, or a Rocker?’ with the famous toss-off: “Um no,I’m a mocker.”

Does time move faster as you get older, as they say, where a three-month summer in 1964 appeared endless and stretched forever into the future, timeless?
Now at this particular point, 90 days is just a quick spit in time’s bucket, nothing at all.
And where the shit has 2011 gone?

(Illustration found here).

Time appears traveling like a bullet nowadays — the first six months of this year has literally whipped by, moving from second to minute to hour to day to week to month seemingly quicker than you could say, ‘sonofabitch where’s the time gone?
And, they say, activity makes time move faster and 2011 has had way-more than its share of exertion, from earthquakes, floods, a shitload of F5 tornadoes, and all kinds of war in all kinds of different places.
This year makes time a blur.
Increasing the tick-tick of the clock is a new report that time (or space in time) is not smooth and easy as it moves, or whatever it does, but instead is “grainy” at extremely small scales.
From New Science this morning comes the word that time is weird: Considering the extremely high quality of Integral’s data, this puts an important limit on the size of the grains of space-time. According to an ESA press release, it means they must be smaller than 10-48 metres, many orders of magnitude smaller than the Planck length of 10-35 metres, the universe’s smallest length scale.

A look at history’s look at how time moves in an “educated,” overall view seen by brainiacs, first in 1687 and Isaac Newton’s thoughts that the universe has one absolute clock and time and space are independant of the observer.
In 1905, Albert Einstein observed every observer has his or her own (accurate) clock and everyone’s “now” is different, though, of course, this being Einstein, acceleration affects time.
And then, in 2003, physicist Peter Lynds opens up a can of clock-watching worms with the postulation there is in reality no clock as “time” itself is an illusion, with no indivisible unit.
There is no “now,” only the sequence of events.

And the seemingly current time-in-a-bottle routine is that time is actually a delusion.
A look at this viewpoint can found in an interview with Lynds at Wired magazine.
A few snippets on the space-time continuum:

Newton described motion as a change in position over time.
(In the process of figuring that out, he invented calculus.)
That allowed for infinite series of infinitesimal steps, which polishes off Zeno.
But for his model to make sense, Newton needed what he described as “absolute, true and mathematical time, which of itself flows equably without relation to anything external.”
It’s a God clock, ticking out discrete instants, or, if you prefer, a universal CPU, doling out reality one cycle at a time, a series of static instants giving only the appearance of motion like the successive frames of a movie.
But Einstein didn’t buy it.
The heart of relativity is that everything depends on your point of view — if you’re traveling at close to the speed of light (a constant), then time moves differently for you than for your slowpoke friends back home.
Einstein died before he had worked out the implications of his own brilliant ideas.
Among the problems left unsolved: Time could go faster or slower (or even backward), but was it divisible? And were there irreducible “atoms” of time, quantum flecks now called chronons?
Enter Lynds.
In his theory, reality is merely sequences of events that happen relative to one another; time is an illusion.
There’s no chronon, no direction for time’s arrow to fly, no “imaginary time” flowing 90 degrees off the axis of normal time.
“I got to a point in my life where I was asking deeper and deeper questions,” Lynds says. “If you want to understand reality, you have to get into physics. And if you’re really interested in physics, you have to ask really big questions.”

A further realization: The human perception of time as a sequence of moments is just a neurological artifact, an outgrowth of the chunk-by-chunk way our brains perceive reality.
As the famous geneticist J. B. S. Haldane said: The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.

And where this guy right now?
Maybe he’d getting ready to blow out 71 candles on a birthday cake.

Time sits
Time stands
Time is time.
Time goes forward
Time goes backward
Time is time, it is time
— ‘Time is Time‘, Isaac Maliya (read the rest of the poem here).

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