Nov 012011
 

Only by funding this Kickstarter project can you ever find out!

Well, that’s not entirely true. Actually, what designer Alex Griendling has done is line up the dates from time-travel events in fiction and chart them out on a 2012 calendar for you to buy. As he writes:

Did you know that while Marty was saving Doc Brown from Mad Dog Tannen in 1885, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were battling Leatherhead aboard a speeding train? Now you do.

He also claims that it will make your workspace “approximately 45% nerdier and 100% better-looking” but I strongly suspect it will be much more than a 45% boost.

Aug 022010
 

By way of explanation, a few points before the video:

1.  I recently watched all the Back to the Future movies.  They are not without their problems, but I love them.

2.  It’s not Friday and this video isn’t really a short film, but I’ve been terrible about posting anything this summer.  Thus, I’m going to call this video a “make-up” for the lack of short film Friday postings.  It’s that good.

3.  Why does everything seem like so much more work in the summer — even fun tasks like posting here on Absurd Intellectual?

I now present “Why ‘Back to the Future’ is Secretly Horrifying” by Cracked.com:

Jul 212010
 

One of the big arguments against time travel is the ease with which a paradox can arise.  The most commonly used example is the “grandfather paradox” where a time traveller goes back in time, kills his (or her) grandfather, negating their own existence which means the murder could not have happened.

Back to the Future-like slow fades out of existence notwithstanding, this particular paradox illustrates the complexities of time travel.  The post-selected model of time travel, however, forbids these paradoxes outright.

By going back and outlawing any events that would later prove paradoxical in the future, this theory gets rid of the uncomfortable idea that a time traveler could prevent his own existence. “In our version of time travel, paradoxical situations are censored,” Lloyd says.

Recently, scientists developed a series of experiments using photons to test this post-selected model.  Although there was no time traveling involved, the experimenters placed the photons into quantum situations similar to those that might be experienced in time travel.
As the photons got closer and closer to being in self-inconsistent, paradoxical situations, the experiment succeeded with less and less frequency, the team found, hinting that true time travel might work the same way.
What does this mean in regards to the grandfather paradox?  It means strange things would happen:
For instance, a bullet-maker would be inordinately more likely to produce a defective bullet if that very bullet was going to be used later to kill a time traveler’s grandfather, or the gun would misfire, or “some little quantum fluctuation has to whisk the bullet away at the last moment,” Lloyd says. In this version of time travel, the grandfather, he says, is “a tough guy to kill.”
To read the full Wired article, check it out here.
May 242010
 

The good folks at Information is Beautiful have a nice infographic on time travel in popular fiction. In it, they’ve plotted the back-and-forth time jumps of people like Marty McFly, the crew of the starship Enterprise, and Bill and Ted (on their excellent adventure).

Here’s a snippet:

See the whole timeline here. The infographic is included in their book. There’s a post about the infographic, too, which reveals that it took three designers 34 drafts to get it all right.

So that’s why I liked it even better when they did a subsequent post, looking back at the process of creating the infographic.

I love behind-the-scenes stuff like this — I love to have the curtain pulled back so I can see the process behind the creativity. There’s tons of creativity in there, but seeing how professionals zero in on the good ideas and weed out the bad is instructive.

As they point out, the hardest part is the “temporal bias” — that fictional time travel tends to either start or finish somewhere near the 20th century.