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About Time

  1. Feb 12, 2005 #1
    OnTime

    If we use the speed of light, c, as a basis unit of value one, then it immediately follows that at the speed of light one unit of length is equal to one unit of time. In order to make this idea local and thereby avoiding the question of universal curvature, we can make the definition that at c one Planck length is equal to one Planck time.

    Then at velocities less than c, the number of Planck lengths per Planck time is less than one. We might express velocites as percentages of c, as .9c or .75c and so on. The question then is, what is zero c? In order to preserve background independence, and in accordance with the idea that there is no preferred frame of reference, we then set zero c to be in the frame of reference of the observer. To keep things uncluttered, we may think of an observer in some flat region of space far from any fields of acceleration.

    Setting velocity, V=kc, where k is a value between zero and one, and considering k as L/T, where L is a number of Planck lengths and T is a number of Planck times, we can see that in the frame of the observer, that is in the rest frame, L/T=zero. Note that L and T are both counting numbers, that is, they are positive integers.

    There are two conditions under which a ratio such as k can approach zero. One is the condition in which L is very small and T is very large. The other is when L is zero and T is any number. Since we are using only the counting numbers, neither L nor T can be less than one, so the second condition is not considered.

    So we may say that the frame of the observer is that frame in which L is very small and T is very large, keeping in mind that L and T are positive integer numbers of base units. Under this condition, we will not be able to consider the state of motion of the entire universe, since in that case L, for the observer, would be large.

    Now it is common for all observers to experience a flow of time and a sense of volume in space. Even in the rest frame, where volume may be taken to be constant, there is a flow of time. We may imagine, then, that every volume in space experiences an increase in its sum of instants in time. This could be thought of as an increase in time density. In this sense, each volume in space contains an ever increasing amount of time.

    Holding the spatial volume as a constant, we then must imagine an infall of time into space. An object can be thought of as containing more time as time passes. Since this would have to be a change in time per time, we are talking about an acceleration. Also, there would have to be a flux of time across the surface of the object, and this flux would be directed inward.

    If there is a flux, then we may think of the flux being due to a difference in density of time across the surface. The density of time outside the surface must be greater than the density of time inside the surface, since the flux is directed inward.

    Now we may ask, what is it about an object that makes the time density within it less than the time density outside of it? We must keep in mind when asking this question that the observer is also an object. What is an object?

    In the most trivial sense, an object is that which can be observed. We may wish to limit our idea of objects to those objects which are irreducible, that is, to fundamental particles. Complex objects, like atoms, may then be built up of fundamental objects, and observers are built of atoms, and observers may imagine non-material objects, such as, for example, a category, perhaps the catagory of all atoms. While the atoms may be said to be the sum of their parts, the catagory, as an object, may be more or less than the sum of its parts. Catagories are not irreducible in this sense, so are not included directly in this discussion, although additional rules for catagories and other non-fundamental objects may be formulated elsewhere. For now, let us limit the discussion to physical objects, and further to fundamental objects.

    A fundamental object, then, at very least, occupies space and experiences an increase, an acceleration, in time. This acceleration can be thought of as a flux across the surface of the object, and the density of time in the object can be thought of as increasing.

    If the time density in the object is increasing, will it ever reach the density equivalent to the density outside the object, and so stop the flow of time across the surface of the object? Is this the condition of the object accelerated to c, in which the flow of time, relative to the observer, is said to cease?

    What is it about an object that causes the time density in the object to be less than the density outside the object? Two possibilities. The acceleration of time inside the object is for some reason less than the acceleration outside the object. Or, there is within an object some mechanism for reducing the density of time within the object. Objects are, fundamentally, time sinks.

    Why would the acceleration of time inside the object be less than the acceleration outside the object? Perhaps it is because the object is moving, as all objects must move, even though we have invoked the fiction that the object is in a rest frame. Then the movement of an object somehow reduces the accelleration of time in the object, that is, reduces the rate of time flux across the surface into the object. Then we might expect to be able to see a difference in time flow on different surfaces of an object moving on one direction. There would be a "front" side of an object as it moves through time and a "back" side. We should be able to notice a difference. But we do not notice any such difference in objects under motion. Perhaps we can discount the idea that motion causes the difference in acceleration of time.

    Then perhaps the other idea is the better one. There must be some mechanism within objects that reduces the density of time within the object. Objects are time sinks, and contain a drain out of which time escapes the object. Where does it go? Are some time units different from other time units, such that some of them go out the drain and others do not? Are new time units somehow different from old time units, so that the old time units dissappear or get used up somehow?

    Oh well. Something to think about while cleaning behind the grill.

    Thanks for being here. Comments welcome.

    nc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2005 #2

    marcus

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    that sure makes sense to me nightcleaner :smile:
    but metric-habitués have the deeply rooted notion that one second is 299792458 meters

    in the analogous way that you say a planck length and planck time are related

    in 1618, with the defenestration of Prague, Europe was plunged into 40 years of fratricidal war for less difference than this, so one never knows.


    I think to "defenestrate" someone is to push them out of the window. Do you happen to know if that is correct?
     
  4. Feb 12, 2005 #3
    Ouch!

    That sure makes sense to me, Marcus. I think your definition of defenestration is correct. I hope you are not thinking of pushing me out the window?

    I don't want to start any wars. Just trying to make sense of this rather imaginary universe we seem to inhabit. Did anyone really win anything in the 40 years war? Pity that we cannot ask them. Not that any opinion on the subject is necessarily the final one.

    Of course, the defenestration of Prague would not refer to pushing Prague out the window, but rather to pushing out all the windows of Prague. Buildings seperated from their windows look so pitiful and helpless. In that case, no one has to be pushed out the window in defenestration. It is the window itself that is defenestrated. I hope this is a minor and academic point. I would prefer explosive decompressions be limited to studies in condensed matter, not applied to cities or to their inhabitants.

    The weaponization question has been a problem for me in the past, but I came to the reluctant and disgusted conclusion that humans already have sufficeint weapons to destroy the planet. If I can add to our understanding of physics in some way, and someone uses my ideas for weapons, it will not add to our ability to destroy ourselves. On the other hand, I may hope, a better understanding of physics may give us more reason to live, and hence, not to destroy ourselves.

    I have asked, listened carefully, and searched for the counter argument, but have not found it. I am open to conversation on the topic. Is science inherently unethical? I have beloved friends who seem to think so. I prefer to think that understanding is inherently good, but I admit I may be mistaken. If that is the case, I hope someone with better wisdom will explain it to me before I reveal too much of what Nature keeps under her skirts.

    Thanks,

    nc
     
  5. Feb 22, 2005 #4
    The following is a quote from the fictional book Angels & Demons (Dan Brown) that may provide some substance as to your question of scientific ethics.

    Brown, Dan. Angels & Demons. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. 397-380.
    http://www.danbrown.com/novels/angels_demons/
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0671027360/104-3095737-8026311?v=glance
     
  6. Feb 22, 2005 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    Sempiternity, the reply to Dan Brown's passage is found in Richard Dawkin's Unweaving the Rainbow. Science has not subtracted wonder, it has added understanding. Understanding and wonder together are better than either by itself.

    And if we are alienated and suffer from anomie, is that the fault of science? I note that alienated as a word comes from the nineteenth century and anomie was coined by Durkheim in the early twentieth, before the rise of modern science. They were blamed on social developments, capitalism and the middle class, rather than on science which at that time was not at all paradoxical or mysterious, except to the deepest thinkers. Jacobi and Mach had problems with classical mechanics, the citizen in the street did not.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2005 #6
    Of course it could not be the fault of science if people feel alienated, for science gives humans understanding, like you said. However, science does not give a user's manual of how to use that supposed "enlightened" understanding of nature. Like any great power, science can be used for better or for worse. What matters is the morals and values the person using science has. (Science termmed here can be thought of similarly like the usage of logic, where psychologists, physicists, and other scientsts greatly help humanity and the world in general. Though, they also hold the power to cause harm with their talents and gifts. With morals, though, most people with such talents and profession usually work for the betterment of mankind.) Science should always be supplimented with conscience and morality, and vice versa.
     
  8. Feb 28, 2005 #7

    marcus

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    I looked up Defenestration of Prague
    http://members.aol.com/eurostamm/prague.html

    "...The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was touched off by an incident called "The Defenestration of Prague". The Bohemian nobility was in more or less open revolt against the Emperor, and, at a meeting of the Bohemian Estates at the Hrdcany Castle in Prague on 23 May 1618, the assembled Bohemian nobles took the two Imperial governors present at the meeting, namely Wilhelm Graf Slavata and Jaroslav Borzita Graf von Martinicz, and threw them out of a window of the castle and into a ditch.

    Neither man was seriously injured as a result of being defenestrated..."

    what seems to have mattered to the noblemen was that the two were agents of the Imperial HRE overlord---it was not a problem of theology but one of power-sharing

    but in the unfortunate sequel (the 30YW) what seems to have mattered to the people of central europe is that the two men thrown out the window were Roman Catholics and those who threw them were (at least imagined to be) Protestants.

    so it was Catholic vs. Protestant for the next 30 years.


    [edit, there was also a less well known Prague defenestration in 1419, carried out by Hussites. King Wenceslas died of apoplexy when he heard about it
    http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/defenestrate/meaning.html
    and that incident is known as "the first Defenestration of Prague"]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2005
  9. Feb 28, 2005 #8

    marcus

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    this is a very good short essay to which I subscribe

    I find reading and conversing about our fellowhumans' scientific investigations to be a great balm to the spirit and a healing and a cure for anomie and alienation.

    science and the love of family and friends cheers me up, and the beauty of nature, and choral singing with mixed voices.
    science, especially evolutionary biology and (nowadays partly quantized) cosmology, is a wellspring of the spirit
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2005
  10. Feb 28, 2005 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    Oh what a good post, Marcus! I subscribe to everything in it, althought I can only listen to music, not perform it. My thesis advisor (Ed Fadell, bless his heart) and my sister were both singers and I saw how much they drew from it. You are very lucky to have the talent and skill to do it.

    I would enlarge your characterization of fanaticism to embrace other forms of fanaticism - racial, political, philosophical - even musical and sporting!
     
  11. Feb 28, 2005 #10
    Thanks, Marcus and selfAdjoint, for these comments. Marcus is precise and accurate as always, as well as deeply informed. I am not embarrassed by my display of ignorance about defenestration, altho I probably should be. After all, it makes me a good sounding board for people with more talent and voluminous memory. I can't sing either, but how delightful to imagine Marcus in choir with mixed voices. Surely a counterpoint to this forum, wonderful as it is in its own right, where the voices are so often, as in my case, merely mixed up.

    nc
     
  12. Feb 28, 2005 #11

    marcus

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    too modest Richard, nothing "merely" about your voice in any category

    interesting analogy between amateur singing in mixed (mens/womens) chorsus with messageboard discussion. A good thing in either case is that there is room for many sorts (old young high low experienced novice)
    this is off topic, no need to expand on the idea

    oh, about "defenestration of prog" that is tong in cheek, you are not
    supposed to know about the Defenestrations (1419 and 1618)
    and nobody gets or loses points for knowing trivia. But I will say that
    in 1618 the moat was full of straw and garbage and it was soft and the two
    Imperial Magistrates or Envoys or whatever were (so I understand) not hurt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2005
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