Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chinese Time Travel

Honest to God, the Chinese government is banning television shows about time travel.

According to The Huffington Post and The New York Times translating a statement from Chinese, the Chinese government explains that characters traveling back in time "lack positive thoughts and meaning" and that a program's portrayal of time travel can "casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation." It's hard to believe this issue is even on China's Top 1,000 problems list.

I like theories and stories of time travel - from HG Wells The Time Machine, to the dozens of Star Trek episodes featuring rifts in the spacetime continuum, or runaway warp speed, the continuous loops of poker games and anomalous instances of the number three on Riker's shirt, and all their variations from Hollywood. All the Back to the Futures, all the Terminators, to Bruce Willis' 12 Monkeys, to Bill and Ted, to Connecticut Yankees, to Doctor Who, to Millenium (a favorite of mine), The Philadelphia Project, Slaughterhouse Five (another favorite of mine), all those Planets of the Apes, to Timecop, and Time Bandits, and the dozens of other B time travel movies - Idiocracy comes to mind. The Three Stooges traveled through time in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules. From the sublime to the ridiculous, time travel is a time honored genre.

And the science of time travel is interesting. The Twin Paradox says that one twin boards a space craft and heads out into the universe at speeds approaching the speed of light and the other twin remains on earth. In what is only a short time for the space traveler, the twin returns to earth and finds his/her twin to have aged many years while the traveler only hours. And this is backed by Einstein's E=mc2 theories of relativity and space time mathematics. When we look at a night sky, we see a time machine in that we are looking at many different pasts all at once. The light that reaches us as we look up is from thousands of different pasts which converge to our relative point in space time in a rural backyard in Iowa with my 10" reflector looking at distant galaxies and nebulas and even planets with my sweetheart. Light from Saturn takes 76 minutes, for example, to reach the earth. And that's traveling at 186,000 miles per second. Saturn's a long ways a way. And space itself may fold and buckle allowing travel to distant parts of the universe through spacetime worms tunneling through warped timespace.

So in China, some bureaucrat with way too much time on his hands (this has to be a guy), has decided that time travel on Chinese TV needs to be banned. We'll see how well that goes over. If this guy riles up Chinese Trekkies, watch out.

I like to tell my students in my classes that I can prove I can travel into the future. They are usually skeptical. I will then simply say, "Meet me here tomorrow." So there you go.

As China travels into the future, its petty bureaucrats are engaging in work which should be reserved for Jean Claude Van Damme or Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox.

You can't fight time. Time always wins. It's that "arc of history" thing. He may have bitten off more than he can Chu.


Post a Comment

<< Home