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Time Explained


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TIME EXPLAINED

 

Time is very simple, once you get it. But “getting it” is very very difficult. That’s because your current of time is so deeply ingrained. You think of time as a length:

 

Q: How long will it take to get to London?

A: What do you mean long?

 

We form a mental map of the world using our senses and our brains. But the map is not the territory. We use time to think, but we’ve grown so accustomed to thinking the way we do, that we don't think about time any more. We don't see time for what it is.

 

But let’s start with something easier. Let’s start with colour. Follow the link below to conduct an experiment:

 

http://www.echalk.co.uk/amusements/OpticalIllusions/colourPerception/colourPerception.html

 

This demonstrates something important about colour perception. What you thought was yellow is in fact grey. It really is. It isn’t a trick. Tear a small hole in a piece of paper to make your own mask to remove context. Hold it up to one image after the other, and you realise that the effect is genuine. It comes as a shock, but genuine it is. Yellow is grey. What does this tell you? It tells you that colour is perception rather than reality. Imagine a super-evolved alien bat with a large number of ears, like a fly’s eye. This bat would “see” using sound, and if it was sufficiently advanced it would see in colour. This should be a reminder that in the subatomic world there is no such thing as colour. A photon has a wavelength, an electromagnetic oscillation, a motion.

 

Next let’s take a look at heat. Put your hand on the griddle and sizzle, you know heat is real. But we talk about heat exchangers and heat flow as if there’s some magical mysterious fluid in there. And yet we know there isn’t, because junior-level physics tells us that heat is atomic or molecular motion. It’s a “derived effect”, or a macro effect if you prefer. Sure, heat is a real thing. But you know it's motion.

 

Pressure is similar. You can’t measure the pressure of an atom, because pressure isn’t a fundamental property of the sub-atomic world. It’s another ”derived effect”, and the Kinetic Theory of Gases tells us it’s derived from motion.

 

How about Kinetic Energy? A cannonball in space travelling at 1000m/s has Kinetic Energy. Oh sorry. I made a mistake. It isn't the cannonball doing 1000m/s. It's me. So where's the kinetic energy now? Nowhere. Because it's just a mathematical expression of stopping distance. There isn't any. All there is is motion.

 

We’re all familiar with Sound. It’s like light because it’s waves, and like pressure because they’re pressure waves. And when you look beyond this at the molecules that make up the air around us, you see that sound is motion.

 

300px-Processing-of-sound.svg.png

 

Did you know that smell is really shape? Nevermind, because you should be getting the drift by now. We are accustomed to thinking about the world in terms of how we experience it, rather than the scientific, empirical, fundamental, underlying things that are there. And nowhere is this more so than with Time.

 

What is Time? Let’s start by looking up the definition of a second:

 

"Under the International System of Units, the second is currently defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K…”

 

OK, a second is nine billion periods of radiation, of light. Now, what’s a period? We mentioned light, so let’s have a look at frequency:

 

Frequency = 1 / T and

 

Frequency = v / λ

 

Flipping things around, I see that period T is wavelength λ divided by velocity v.

 

A wavelength is a distance, a thing like a metre:

 

“The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second...”

 

And a velocity is a distance divided by a time. So:

 

A period T is a distance divided by a distance divided by a time. That’s a another period, another time. OK, so that definition of time is circular. We can’t see the empirical fundamental definition. The axiom warning light is flashing, so let’s look at frequency again:

 

Frequency is the measurement of the number of times that a repeated event occurs per unit of time.

 

And the penny drops. We measured nine billion oscillation events and then we defined that as a second. We counted events. We counted motions.

 

That’s what time is. It’s counting. One two three four five… nine billion. Mark that down as a second. One two three four five… nine billion. Another second. And you don’t have to count the motion in an atomic clock. You could count the motion of beans in a a bucket. Ping, ping ping, chuck them in, regular as clockwork.

 

But now you should notice something: the only direction that is actually there, is the direction of the beans' motion. "More beans" is not a direction. There is no direction for the “Arrow of Beans” to point to. It’s just a mathematical notion, as imaginary as the direction you take when you count along the set of integers.

 

So why on earth do we say things like Clocks slow down as if a clock is something that moves like a car? It isn't travelling. There's no slow or fast or up or down to it. We say The day went quickly but it didn’t go anywhere, and it didn’t go quickly at any speed at all. It isn’t travelling and there is no direction. The only directions that are there are the directions of the internal cyclic motion. And they’re being counted, incremented, added up.

 

We count this regular motion to use as a ratio against some other motion, be it of light, atoms, buses, or brains. All of these things have motion. Some have more of it than others. And all those motions are real, with real directions in space. But the time direction isn't real. It's as imaginary as that direction you take when you count along that set of integers.

 

That's why the past is only in your head and your records. It's the places where things were. All those places are still here, now. It isn’t a place where you can go. The past is the sum of all nows, and now lasts for zero seconds because there is no time. Only motion. A second is nine billion motions of a caesium atom. Accelerate to half the speed of light and a second is still nine billion motions of a caesium atom. But there's only half the local motion there used to be, because the other half is already doing the motion through space. Look again at the definition of the second and the metre, and you will understand Special Relativity. Time didn’t begin fifteen billion years ago. Because it never started in the first place. It was motion that started in the first place. And it was fifteen billion light years a go-go.

 

Let’s go over it again. Motion is a change of place in space. We measure this by comparing it with some other motion, and use the term "time" in our measuring. It's a measure, so by definition it's a dimension in the proper sense. But that only makes it a parameter, not a spatial, linear dimension that we can move along. So why do we say how long when we're thinking about time? We imagine a length of time. We imagine that we travel along this imaginary length at a speed of one second per second. When you "get" time, you realise just how ridiculous this is. We don't travel anywhere. Our atoms and everything else are in motion, but there's no travelling through the measure of this motion. To travel backwards in time we'd need negative motion. Motion is motion whichever way it goes. You can’t have negative motion.

 

So What do we do with SpaceTime? Ah, Einstein. He knew all right. He found his Hole. Einstein’s Hole. Look it up. Talking of Einstein, let’s look at Simultaneity, and a little thought experiment called the “Cylinder and the Nail”.

 

The cylinder is the same length as the body of the nail. At the far end of the cylinder there's a sheet of paper stretched across it like a drumskin. If you were to slide the nail into the cylinder, the pointy end of the nail just touches the paper, but it doesn't penetrate because the head of the nail is too wide to fit into the cylinder.

 

You mount collision detector A on the head end of the cylinder, and collision detector B on the paper end of the cylinder. Now with a very special gun, you can fire the nail at the cylinder, or the cylinder at the nail, and monitor your collision detectors.

 

From the cylinder's perspective, the nail is a shortened spike. So the first detector to fire is A at the front end of the cylinder. The nail doesn't stop (in reality we're talking gamma-ray plasma jets here) so detector B at the paper end fires later.

 

From the nail's perspective, the cylinder is a flattened doughnut. The first detector to fire is B at the paper end. Detector A at the front end of the cylinder fires later.

 

From the cylinder's perspective A "happens before" B, whilst from the nail's perspective B "happens before" A. The time experience is therefore subjective to each object and its motion, and is not an objective experience independent of motion. Ergo our experience of time is a subjective experience that is the product of motion, and our treatment of time as a length and a travel direction is incorrect.

 

The correct concept of time has to defer to velocity. Velocity is not distance over time. Instead velocity determines your measure of time and space, because spacetime is fundamental, not space, and not time. Velocity is motion, more absolute than distance, more absolute than time. We measure the motion of the molecules of a gas using temperature. There is no time in temperature. And while we talk of a “high temperature”, we cannot travel a “height of temperature”, because there is no height. And we cannot travel a “length of time”, because there is no length. I’ll show you a picture:

 

Translational_motion.gif

 

What can you measure? OK you can measure height. And width. And if it wasn't just a picture you could also measure depth. That's three Dimensions, with a capital D because we can move in those dimensions. What else can I measure? What is the fourth dimension? Well, the picture comes from the Wikipedia Temperature page, so I can also measure the temperature. The motion. The velocity. It's a measure of change of place rather than a measure of place, and it has no absolute units, because you can only measure one change of place against another. It's a fourth dimension, but you can't move in this dimension so it's a dimension with a small d. And because there are no absolute units, the units are relative, which is what Special Relativity is trying to tell us.

 

And Special Relativity is also trying to tell us something about the speed of light. Speed is distance over time. But light experiences no time, so talking about speed doesn’t make sense. Light doesn’t travel at any speed. It is a constant, because it is constant. And that constant c has its own units of velocity that we should liken to temperature. Velocity should be defined by degrees, not by metres and seconds, because it defines metres and seconds. And because it defines metres and seconds it but a short step from there to telling the children that the speed of light is the speed of time.

 

Strange but true. Because when you get down to the subatomic nitty-gritty, there is no colour. There is no heat. There is no sound. There is no pressure. There is no time, not the way you think. Now try to imagine a particle, without a surface please. And you see why the quantum world, the real world of physics, is oh so very strange.

 

If you don't believe me, if you think I'm wrong, show me the maths. But make sure you kick t out of all of your equations. And note that there are physicists who think like me. Julian Barbour. Carlo Rovelli. And more. Ever heard of a book called A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein, by Palle Yourgrau?

 

"It is a widely known but insufficiently appreciated fact that Albert Einstein and Kurt Goedel were best friends for the last decade and a half of Einstein's life. They walked home together from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study every day; they shared ideas about physics, philosophy, politics, and the lost world of German-Austrian science in which they had grown up. What is not widely known is that in 1949 Goedel made a remarkable discovery: there exist possible worlds described by the theory of relativity in which time, as we ordinarily understand it, does not exist. He added a philosophical argument that demonstrates, by Goedel's lights, that as a consequence, time does not exist in our world either. If Goedel is right, Einstein has not just explained time; he has explained it away..."

 

Time Travel is bunk. Sleep tight.

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What is Time? Let’s start by looking up the definition of a second:

 

"Under the International System of Units, the second is currently defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K…”

 

OK, a second is nine billion periods of radiation, of light.

What if instead they used the word "Count" instead of period? This breaks down your entire argument that the current difinition of time is circular. Therefore you entire argument rests on an interperetation of the word "Period".

 

So you should look at what the ment by the word "period". From my understanding of how the use this to determine a second, your interperetiation of the word "period" is wrong. They ment it more like the word "Count" is used.

 

The reason is this:

By "period" they ment "wavelength", of light. So 9 billion wavelengths of light should be detected and that determines a second.

 

Sure the wavelength of light is measured in seconds, but if you detect the wavelengths comming in and count them, then you can determine what a second is.

 

You are getting confused by: 9 billion counts is 1 second -> 1 count is 1 wavelength of light -> Wavelength is dependant on time -> A second is a measure of time.

 

What is really occureing is that they are detecing the Peak -> Trough -> Peak of the light wave and then counting these. 9 billion counts are called 1 second. Thye cna then determine the wavelenght of that radiation and say that if 9 billion counts occure each second, then their wavelength must be the distance light travel in 1 second divided by 9 billion.

 

The time we call a second is arbitary, and orrigiannaly it was determined to be a fraction of the time it takes earth to rotate (actually its: 1/60th of 1/60th of 1/24th of the time it takes the earth to rotate once on its axis). But as this varies, and scientists need to be more accurate, they used this original time period of a second to determin how many counts of the radiation from the cesium atom constitutes a second.

 

Imagine a super-evolved alien bat with a large number of ears, like a fly’s eye. This bat would “see” using sound, and if it was sufficiently advanced it would see in colour. This should be a reminder that in the subatomic world there is no such thing as colour. A photon has a wavelength, an electromagnetic oscillation, a motion.

This is an incorrect annalogy. Colour is a property of the way we interperet electromagnetic radiation. Sound is not electromagnetic radiation, so no matter how advanced this Bat might be, it does not hear in colour. We could use "False Colour" to translate it from sound to visual infomation, but that does not mean that it is colour.

 

But now you should notice something: the only direction that is actually there, is the direction of the beans' motion. "More beans" is not a direction. There is no direction for the “Arrow of Beans” to point to. It’s just a mathematical notion, as imaginary as the direction you take when you count along the set of integers.

So if I count the number of centimetres in a metre, that means that a metre does not exist?

This is a false annalogy (a type of logical falacy).

 

Yes, the count of the events are a 0 dimentional number, but the events that you are counting are not 0 dimentional.

 

We say The day went quickly but it didn’t go anywhere, and it didn’t go quickly at any speed at all.

This is logical falacy. You are equating our perception of time to the scientific measurement of time, which you previously stated was wrong.

 

"We are accustomed to thinking about the world in terms of how we experience it, rather than the scientific, empirical, fundamental, underlying things that are there."

 

To me it seems that your argument centres around the fact that we use the convention of "distance" when talking about time. This is a consequence of our language, not the nature of time.

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Thanks for the response Edtharan. In reply:

 

IMHO using count instead of period strengthens the argument rather than breaks it. Counting 9 million peak/trough events passing us by is, like you said, a 0-dimensional count. If we forget the count and say a second is the duration it takes for light to pass us by 300,000 metres, it leaves us hanging when we also say a metres is how far light travels in 1/300,000th of a second. The "second" is a very slippery thing indeed. You just can't get hold of it. It isn't fundamental. Special relativity tells us it's variable subject to your motion. It's all rather like a video tape recorder making a record of a series of events. Only the recording is another series of events, and the only thing you can measure the tape against is some other series of events. Then whilst you can rewind the tape and review the history, you can't travel down the tape or visit the history recorded upon it.

 

Yes, colour is how we interpret electromagnetic radiation, but a photon has a wavelength, not a colour. All the colour you see is in effect a "false colour". There's no reason why some other wave phenomena couldn't be perceived as a colour. Did you try the link where two identical colours look totally different? You have to see it to believe it.

 

So if I count the number of centimetres in a metre, that means that a metre does not exist? I didn't say that. But when you count those wavelengths you're effectively counting the number of centimetres passing you, and calling it a second.

 

Yes, my argument does centre on the way we use the convention of "distance" when talking about time. It's the wrong convention, but we don't realise where it leads us. It takes us from a situation where events happen and are counted, to one where we imagine this count yields an extra dimension that we can physically visit. It makes us think we've got world lines, a block universe, time travel, paradoxes. Weird stuff.

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Counting 9 million peak/trough events passing us by is, like you said, a 0-dimensional count.

The whole procedure hangs off the assumption tha the events are regular. If you are counting a regular series of events, then you can use this to mark out an arbitary timer period and call it a Second.

 

A way you can check to see it is a regular series of events is to compare it to another series of events that is not closely related to the original series of events. And to do this over and over again (and also with as many different types of event series as well).

 

Instead of thinking of it as the wavelengths os light, think of it as the peaks and troughs of the light over a single day.

 

If you call one such peak -> trough -> peak a day, then you have determined a period of time.

 

We assume that a Day is a regular event and so we used it as a measure of time. Infact we counted the number of "Days" that it took for another regular event to occure, the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun (it is very close to 365.25 days). We call that period a year.

 

In the experiment with cesium atoms determineing the length of a second, we have an assumtion that the cesium atoms emitt a regular series of photons, and that the gap between them is also regular.

 

Now this assumtion is that they occure regularly in time. So this means that we can use them for a measure of time. If they are regular in time, then by counting the number of them we can add the regular periods together to determine a value for the amount of time that has occured.

 

We can check the regularity of them using quantum theory and also by checking it against other series of events (say the light/dark cycle of a day, the swing of a pendulum, etc).

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Edtharan: don't have a problem with the counting and measuring, but I think you're upholding your assumption of time using your assumption of time and nothing else. Look at arbitrary timer period and the assumption that they occur regularly in time. There's an axiom here that you haven't examined. What is this time that events occur in?

 

Imagine yourself as a metronome. Each tick is a thought in your head, a beat of your heart. If you're travelling with a forward motion of c you can't tick, because any transverse motion would cause c to be exceeded. If however your forward velocity is zero you can tick with a transverse motion of c. Your time experience is different, but it depends on how your motion is cut rather than on a real fundamental thing called time. That's what Goedel worked out.

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There's an axiom here that you haven't examined. What is this time that events occur in?

Can you come up with a way to measure distance without refering to distance?

 

That is what you are saying about time.

 

If we mark out an arbitary distance and call it M, then we can measure something by directly comparing it to M. If we find that we can put 10 of M in then we call it 10M. This is the same as time. We mark out an arbitary period os time (say the occilations of a cesium atom) and call it T. We then can use this to compare all other periods of time in relation to T.

 

To make a useful measure, we need to be able to have something to remains constant. It would be no use to us if the distance we call a metre depended on weather you were faceing North/South or East/West.

 

This is why we have to use something that is determined to be regular. Now as we can't be absloutely certain of this (even for the measure of a Metre) we have to keep making comparisons with unrelated phenomina.

 

One thing we do know that is regular is the Distance/Time of light. This is alwayse regular (well according to theory and experiemnt) So we tent to use light as a good measure of both time and distance (Sapce and Time). As Einstien showed, there is a very tight relationship between Space and Time when Light is concerned.

 

The experiemnt with the cesium atom is not determining time, it is measureing it. We know that the period (do to comparisons and theory) between the photons that are emmitted by the cesium atom in certain circumstances is regular. This means that we can use it as a measure of time.

 

So your confusion is about the fact that we use a period of time to measure periods of time. But what else can we use?

 

The atomic clock is not determining what time is, it is only measureing it. Just as a Metre ruler does not determine what space is, it just measures it.

 

This is your problem, you have started to think that the measuring device is the thing that determines what it is that it is measureing.

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Can you come up with a way to measure distance without refering to distance? That is what you are saying about time. If we mark out an arbitary distance and call it M, then we can measure something by directly comparing it to M. If we find that we can put 10 of M in then we call it 10M. This is the same as time... This is your problem, you have started to think that the measuring device is the thing that determines what it is that it is measureing.

But you could say that about anything Ed. You could pick any axiom you want and defend it by saying it is what you say it is.

 

There's a big difference between distance and time. I can hold up my hands a metre apart like I was telling you about a fish I caught. I can say this distance is a metre. Then I can take a step sideways and travel a metre. It's there, in the world, it's empirical, fundamental, we can see it, and we can move through it.

 

Whilst I can hold up my wrist theatrically looking at my watch and do nothing for a second, that doesn't show you a second. I'm doing nothing. I'm not showing you something. All that's happening is that you're counting the events in your atoms and photons and wristwatch until you declare that a second has elapsed. I can't take a step forward or backwards or sideways by a second. I could be standing there talking to you at what we both agree is right now, then jet off to Saturn and back at close to the speed of light. Then when I'm back we resume our conversation, and I'm still talking to you right now.

 

OK our wristwatches are out of synch by an hour or two. I travelled a very real two billion miles, that much we can both agree upon. But I didn't travel any time. Because time is just a subjective experience that depends on my motion.

 

Let me put it another way: I can examine the fundamental properties of some subatomic particle and determine its mass, spin, charge, wavelength, etc. I can measure its momentum. But I can't measure its time. Because time isn't fundamental.

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Let me put it another way: I can examine the fundamental properties of some subatomic particle and determine its mass, spin, charge, wavelength, etc. I can measure its momentum. But I can't measure its time. Because time isn't fundamental.

If you were in free fall could you measure height by simple moving up and down? No. We can not move freely in time like we can space, but that does not mean that it dosen't have dimenstion or is not fundamental.

 

Mass, spin, charge, etc are not dimensions, thay are not like distance at all. Distance is much more like Time than it is like Mass, Spin or Charge.

 

To measure distance you need a ruler (of some kind). This ruler is made up of periods of distance. A watch is like a ruler. It marks out periods of time.

 

A cesium atom in an atomic clock is just a very accurate watch. All it does is marks out periods of time.

 

Whilst I can hold up my wrist theatrically looking at my watch and do nothing for a second, that doesn't show you a second. I'm doing nothing. I'm not showing you something. All that's happening is that you're counting the events in your atoms and photons and wristwatch until you declare that a second has elapsed.

If a measure a distance with a ruler, then all I am doing is counting the atoms in the ruler to declare that a centimetre has been measured. I see no difference.

 

If you accelerte to near the speed of light, time appeas to slow down (get streched out) and distance (in the direction of motion) is contracted. Einstien showed, mathematically, that this is geometrically equivalent to rotating sapce and time so that time becomes space and space becomes time. If space and time were not fundimental or equivalent then this could not occure and relitivity would fail. Scince relitivity has not failed, then one can assume that Einstien was correct about this.

 

I can't take a step forward or backwards or sideways by a second.

We can not move freely in time, like if you are in free fall you can't move freely in height.

 

I could be standing there talking to you at what we both agree is right now, then jet off to Saturn and back at close to the speed of light. Then when I'm back we resume our conversation, and I'm still talking to you right now.

 

OK our wristwatches are out of synch by an hour or two. I travelled a very real two billion miles, that much we can both agree upon. But I didn't travel any time. Because time is just a subjective experience that depends on my motion.

Yes you did travel in time. by accelerating and traveling fast (near light speed) to saturn, then slowing down, turning around, accelerating back and finally slowing down again, you will have traveled forwards in time slightly. This is why our watches would be out of sync.

 

If all you did was slowly travel out to saturn and return, then our watches would not be out of sync. the same amount of time will have passed for both you and me, where as in the first one where you traveled near the speed of light, then you would have experienced less time than I have, thus you have traveled forwards in time. Even going slowly you will have traveled a small fraction of a second forwards in time, but this would be very hard to measure as it would be so small.

 

Small though it is, it can be measured. An atomic clock placed on a plane and flown around the world had a different time (count of the radiation emmitted by the cesium atoms) than one left at the starting location.

 

So if these readiation emmision events caused by the cesuim in the atomic clocks are regular, then the clock on the plane experienced less time than the one on the ground. Scince the clocks were identical, and the results do not rely on human perception (as we are just comparing the count of radiation events), thsi discrpeancy can not have been due to your proposition (of time being solely human perception) and it even disproves it.

 

There's a big difference between distance and time. I can hold up my hands a metre apart like I was telling you about a fish I caught. I can say this distance is a metre. Then I can take a step sideways and travel a metre. It's there, in the world, it's empirical, fundamental, we can see it, and we can move through it.

Are you saying that we do not move through tiem, that time does not occure? Yes the big difference between time and space is that we can more freely through space but not time. However, relitivty shows that time and space are closely related, so close in fact that you can rotate things so that time turns into space and space into time.

 

Gravity is also another method to cause space and time to rotate into one another. Again, this has been demonstrated using atomic clocks. An atomic clock at the top of a tower and the botom of a tower wer left for a period of time (I think it was a week). The counts were compared (like the ones with the plane flying around the world) and the one at the base of the tower had a lower count than the one at the top of the tower.

 

Now I mentioned above about how when in freefall you could not control your vertical position and how that was like time. Well gravity is realy the key here and it shows that by curving space into time and time into space can cause us to move. We are accelerated by gravity because it curve space into time and our motion through time becomes motion through space. That means we move towards the higher gravitational curve (towards the centre of gravity).

 

In a black hole, this is taken to extremes. At the event horison we can not aviod moving towards the centre, no matter what we attemopt to do. At this point space and time are rotated 90 degrees into one another. We would be able to move freely in time (to a point: if we tried to move back to before the black hole formed, then it would curve time and space back to their original orientations and we could then not move freely through time again), but we could not move freely through space in the direction of motion (but side to side would be ok).

 

So we would be in freefall in the balck hole and in that situation, space would be time and time would be space.

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http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=%22mass+dimension%22&btnG=Search&meta=

 

Even going slowly you will have travelled a small fraction of a second forwards in time, but this would be very hard to measure as it would be so small. Small though it is, it can be measured. An atomic clock placed on a plane and flown around the world had a different time than one left at the starting location.

 

Yep, and they're both here now.

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If anybody can point out any serious problem in the above, I'd be sincerely grateful to find out now before I spread it more widely.

Well, I don't think you explained time very good, in fact I only ended up confused about what you are trying to claim.

 

And if you are going to spread it out more widely I would consider that "confusion" a serious problem.

 

If I get confused then I don't get convinced, more likely I tend towards not beliving it.

 

Since you only have one replyer, (and he is trying to refute you), I would say a lot of people here (193 reads) have been so confused they have not even bothered to answer.

 

Maybe you should make a poll with the alternatives: "good explanation", "what explanation ?", "false explanation" and "mumbo jumbo" so you would at least get a wider measurement of opinions.

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OK our wristwatches are out of synch by an hour or two. I travelled a very real two billion miles, that much we can both agree upon. But I didn't travel any time. Because time is just a subjective experience that depends on my motion.

 

Relativity tells us that we won't agree that you travelled two billion miles. Length also depends on motion.

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Relativity tells us that we won't agree that you travelled two billion miles. Length also depends on motion.

 

Yep. But when we get back to the spaceport bar to compare notes, we look up through the glass roof at Saturn and we do agree that it is a billion miles away. And we agree that I did travel two billion miles. We also agree that our wristwatches show different elapsed times, and relativity is real. And we also agree that we're both here now.

 

It doesn't matter how fast or slow I travel to Saturn, or anywhere. It doesn't matter if I find some massive rotating cylinder. I can never escape now. I can never "travel in time". Time is a measure, a dimension in the generic sense, not a dimension you can travel through.

 

Spyman: if you can tell me where you started to get confused, I'd appreciate it. Why do I get the feeling you're going to say "on line one".

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Yep. But when we get back to the spaceport bar to compare notes, we look up through the glass roof at Saturn and we do agree that it is a billion miles away. And we agree that I did travel two billion miles. We also agree that our wristwatches show different elapsed times, and relativity is real. And we also agree that we're both here now.

 

It doesn't matter how fast or slow I travel to Saturn, or anywhere. It doesn't matter if I find some massive rotating cylinder. I can never escape now. I can never "travel in time". Time is a measure, a dimension in the generic sense, not a dimension you can travel through.

 

Spyman: if you can tell me where you started to get confused, I'd appreciate it. Why do I get the feeling you're going to say "on line one".

 

If you didn't understand relativity, you'd be confused about why it looks like 2 billion miles, when during the trip it was much shorter. If you did, you wouldn't be agreeing that you travelled that distance. (especially if your spacecraft's warranty ran out at 1.9 billion miles. You'd be arguing that the Illudium reactor should be serviced for free, since you only have 1.5 billion miles on the thing)

 

"Here" and "now" are ill-defined terms. I am always here, and it is always now. BFD. There is no scientific value to that statement. Those are single points. Measurements are the differences between two points.

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Yep. But when we get back to the spaceport bar to compare notes, we look up through the glass roof at Saturn and we do agree that it is a billion miles away. And we agree that I did travel two billion miles. We also agree that our wristwatches show different elapsed times, and relativity is real. And we also agree that we're both here now.

Unfortunately there have been experiments that contradict your thoughts here.

 

Take two identical atomic clocks. These two clocks will keep time with each other to a tiny fraction of a second. Put one in a fast plane and the other is to remain stationary at the air port. Fly the clock in the plane at top speed around the world.

 

When you get back the two clocks will show different times. If they keep perfectly synchronous time, how then can there be a difference between the times, unless one (the one on the plane) has travelled forwards through time?

 

It is not down to our perception of time as we have a device that measures time in a way that is not connected to our perceptions (ie they are counting the emissions of photons from a reliably regular source). That clock in the plane has really experienced a different rate of time than the clock left at the airport. It has travelled through time.

 

Now, the equations that explain what light is and how it behaves (and this theory matches with all experiments don so far) state that light must travel at the same speed for all observers, regardless of speed, or any other factor.

 

This means that the distance that I see light travel and that you see the same light bean travel in the same (local to the observer) time means that something must change to allow this. The only way this can occur is that distance is shortened for the observer that is travelling (in the direction of travel). So as you travel faster time gets stretched out and distance shrinks.

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You misunderstood something there Edtharan. I'm not disputing Special Relativity, or any of the experiments that have vindicated it. I know about the atomic clock experiments. My trip to Saturn was an illustration of the same. Let my clarify the point I'm trying to make using your post above:

 

When you get back the two clocks will show different times. If they keep perfectly synchronous time, how then can there be a difference between the times, unless one (the one on the plane) has travelled forwards through time?

 

Yes, the two clocks will show different times. But if one of them had travelled forwards through time, how come it's here now? Not the middle of next week? The answer is that it hasn't travelled forwards in time. The clock on the plane hasn't travelled anywhere in time, either forwards or backwards. It experienced less time, or "underwent less time" if you prefer, because it experienced more space.

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Yes, the two clocks will show different times. But if one of them had travelled forwards through time, how come it's here now? Not the middle of next week?

 

 

It's always now. That's why it's meaningless.

 

There will be a one-to-one mapping between any two timelines. You don't "skip over" time (or space).

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You misunderstood something there Edtharan. I'm not disputing Special Relativity, or any of the experiments that have vindicated it. I know about the atomic clock experiments. My trip to Saturn was an illustration of the same. Let my clarify the point I'm trying to make using your post above:

Actually you are misunderstanding what "Now" really means. Now is dependant on the observer. Now for you, is different from Now for me.

 

If I was standing on Alpha Centauri (well a space ship in orbit around it). My Now would reach you 4 years after I experienced it. There fore what is Now for you is Different from the Now for me. Such as it is with the high speed, return trip to Saturn. An absolute "Now" has nor real meaning in the context of Relativity (which is what really occurs in the universe).

 

To give another illustrations: Gravity also causes this time dilation. The closer you are to a gravitating object, the slower time runs. This means that your feet are travelling slower through time than is your head (but it is only a very small difference), but you aren't ripped apart, or the actions of your feet are not out of synchrony with your thoughts. This is because there is no universal "Now".

 

This time dilation due to the distance from a gravitating source has also been measured with atomic clocks, so is real. If there was a universal "Now", then you feet would be lagging behind your head and would therefore disappear from the "Now" that your head is experiencing. Which would, to most people, be rather uncomfortable.

 

You are getting confused between the every day experience that seems like there is a universal "now" and the reality that Relativity predicts (and has been measured) that the time dilation does really exist, and accelerating, or being close to a gravitating object does really slow down your movement through time.

 

Even to me it does not seem that it makes sense. but experiments do agree with the theory, and there is no reason that we, in our limited experience with things the way they are here on Earth (only moving at a fraction of the speed of light), that we should have evolved to be able to comprehend the way things are in relativistic situations.

 

It may seem wrong, but we have to rely on the reality check that is scientific experiment.

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Time is the result of energy acting on something to cause movement. Movement means that something is not where it was. Because something cannot be in two places at once,time is the price charged for energy causing something to change its place in space. The Universe is a seething cauldron of individual energy units called "AEons". AEons are constantly in motion at the speed of light. Everything is composed of various patterns of these energy units (Photons,Electrons,Protons,Neutrons, Nutrinos and even magnetism and all of the observed short lived psudo-particles. The Dynamic AEther of The Universe is a time generator because the fabric of The Universe and everything in it is constantly changeing its place in space.

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Actually you are misunderstanding what "Now" really means. Now is dependant on the observer. Now for you' date=' is different from Now for me...

 

This time dilation due to the distance from a gravitating source has also been measured with atomic clocks, so is real. If there was a universal "Now", then you feet would be lagging behind your head and would therefore disappear from the "Now" that your head is experiencing. Which would, to most people, be rather uncomfortable.

 

You are getting confused between the every day experience that seems like there is a universal "now" and the reality that Relativity predicts (and has been measured) that the time dilation does really exist, and accelerating, or being close to a gravitating object does really [b']slow down your movement through time[/b]...

 

I haven't misunderstood anything, I know about special relativity, and general relativity, and clock experiments. Please don't suggest that experiments prove me wrong. I'm not in the least confused. You are. Now is not dependent on the observer. You and I might be travelling at very different velocities. We might start off a great distance apart. We might also be undergoing different gravitational effects. Yes, our clocks will be marking time at two different rates. But when we collide, we collide NOW. That's the absolute now, the only now, and it has total significance. It means you can't move through time, as the essay explains.

 

I've just seen an adjacent thread about a Hollow Earth. And the aeons post above. Is that the kind of company I'm keeping? No wonder I'm talking to only young Ed, who has merely skimmed TIME EXPLAINED. And no wonder swansont can't be bothered to even do that. Jeez.

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I haven't misunderstood anything, I know about special relativity, and general relativity, and clock experiments. Please don't suggest that experiments prove me wrong. I'm not in the least confused. You are. Now is not dependent on the observer. You and I might be travelling at very different velocities. We might start off a great distance apart. We might also be undergoing different gravitational effects. Yes, our clocks will be marking time at two different rates. But when we collide, we collide NOW. That's the absolute now, the only now, and it has total significance. It means you can't move through time, as the essay explains.

 

I've just seen an adjacent thread about a Hollow Earth. And the aeons post above. Is that the kind of company I'm keeping? No wonder I'm talking to only young Ed, who has merely skimmed TIME EXPLAINED. And no wonder swansont can't be bothered to even do that. Jeez.

 

<sigh>

 

Yes, the company you're keeping; you may have noticed that this thread has been moved to speculations. mhardin104's grand total of two posts probably indicates he has even less familiarity with etiquette and protocol than you, so you might cut him a little slack with his less-than-apt plugging of his own pet speculation. People might be willing to discuss your conjecture, but not if you aren't willing to do so in a civil manner. Disagreeing with you should not be interpreted as inappropriate behavior: picking apart ideas is part of the scientific process. If you were expecting people to ooh and ah over how deep you are you probably came to the wrong place.

 

Your argument is mostly about semantics and metaphysics. Telling me to reread it isn't going to change that and make it science all of the sudden.

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Spyman: if you can tell me where you started to get confused, I'd appreciate it. Why do I get the feeling you're going to say "on line one".

I will interpret that as your feelings didn't appreciate my humble opinion of your "explanation".

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Swansont: it didn't get moved. This is where I put it. Check with Dave who I PMd. And note your first comment:

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/showthread.php?t=23279&page=2

 

Yes, it's wrong. No, I don't care to get bogged down (for the nth time) in a discussion of semantics. You say "show me the maths" but have shown precious little yourself.

 

Look to yourself when you say discuss your conjecture, civil manner, or scientific process. And please don't pretend you've actually read the essay. You skimmed it, saw there was no maths, and decided it was claptrap. If you had read it, if anybody had read it, we'd at least be talking about colour perception and the difference between experience and empirical reality. Read the twins paradox conversation I had with ParanoiA. I explained it, not you. I'm not some foolish crank who knows nothing. So stop treating me like one.

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Swansont: it didn't get moved. This is where I put it. Check with Dave who I PMd.

 

 

My mistake. Apologies.

 

 

 

I believe that was my third comment (second in response to you, at least on that page). You'll note that my initial responses here were actually relativity related.

 

 

Look to yourself when you say discuss your conjecture, civil manner, or scientific process. And please don't pretend you've actually read the essay. You skimmed it, saw there was no maths, and decided it was claptrap. If you had read it, if anybody had read it, we'd at least be talking about colour perception and the difference between experience and empirical reality. Read the twins paradox conversation I had with ParanoiA. I explained it, not you. I'm not some foolish crank who knows nothing. So stop treating me like one.

 

A. I never said it was claptrap. I have said it was semantics and metaphysics. From a scientific standpoint, it has little merit, IMO. And you asked me for my opinion. My comments appeared here only when there was a glimmer of actual physics being discussed, i.e. relativity. I also mentioned that "now" is ill-defined in a scientific context, and you have not seen fit to respond to that. You might also note that my exasperation was directed at another poster, who inappropriately used the opportunity to bring in another speculative viewpoint. I was trying to say "ignore him" in a little more subtle fashion.

 

B. Your admission that the discussion concerns perception and the "difference between experience and empirical reality" seems to indicate that you agree with my assessment about metaphysics.

 

C. Disagreeing with you and pointing out flaws in your argument is not inherently rude, nor is it a personal attack; it's expected in scientific discussions. Ignoring these comments, however, is considered uncivil. Protocol demands that you defend your position.

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Swansont:

 

By your first comment I meant your post #25 in response to my post #23 on the Relative Motion Question thread. You immediately dismissed the essay as semantics, lacking in mathematics. I can't use mathematics to disprove an axiom. Now you justify your position by talking about metaphysics of little merit. And in the same breath you rub salt into the wound by talking about "a glimmer of actual physics" and pointing out the flaws in my argument. You haven't pointed out any flaws, you've dismissed the entirety. That's not scientific discussion. If you want a scientific discussion sit down, read the essay properly, ask me for any clarification I can give, then challenge me on any particular point or deduction or conclusion. Quote a paragraph and say why its wrong. Tell me where the argument falls down. I don't think you'll able to. What I think you will find it a powerful reasoned argument.

 

I ignored your post #14 because I took it as an insult saying I don't understand relativity. There was another one at post #17 that I didn't reply to where you said now was meaningless, which I took to be more metaphysics dismissal. If you want a response to these or anything else I'll give it.

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