1203: "Time Machines"

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Wooloomooloo
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:45 am UTC

oliphaunt wrote:
speising wrote:
Klear wrote:
Wooloomooloo wrote:Yeah, I wondered myself why one would expect a time machine to have an Earth-based fixed spacial reference...


And can you tell me why it should have any other fixed reference frame? They're all equal as far as I know.


no, earth's is not inertial.


Nor is the sun's or the Milky Way's center's. It's hard to find a (practical) inertial reference frame, isn't it?

Yeah, well, I never said I found the proper one - it just seems oddly arbitrary and wrong for it to be exactly on a circular orbit around a yellow sun hurtling around in space, unless it's for some other time-travel-related reason intrinsically tied to the machine's location (say, like "time-conduits" are also bound by gravity and thus "stay in place on both ends" the same way everything else around us does all the time). I think at this point BHG would already be thinking about how one might "untie" one end of such a conduit only to watch time travelers jump to their deaths... :D

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Neil_Boekend
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:11 am UTC

Well, the frame/location problem is quite elegantly fixed by the "just move time backwards, no cheating" time machine (as in the comic, but without remembering). If everything just happens in reverse then everything is in the place and in the frame where it can and should be.

It does however have a quite large loop problem.
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Dave » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:28 am UTC

Shidoshi wrote:I don't know why so many people are having such a hard time understanding this one. It was pretty clear to me the first time I saw it :roll:


I personally don't see how people found it so clear! I mean, nothing in any of the panels says the machine is doing anything, other than making a noise. It just looks like a guy flicked a switch on, then off, then stared at his hands.

How do we know, for example, that time went backwards instead of forwards? How do we know time did anything? A clock or something happening in the background that we could associate with the reversal of time might have helped, but otherwise we just have to guess that time wound backwards and the switch was un-switched.

So yeah, maybe obvious if you happen to jump to those conclusions straight away, but I was as baffled as some of the other folks here.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Draconaes » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:27 pm UTC

I also found it pretty obvious after a few seconds of thought. I don't think I'm entitled to any smugness about this fact, though. Time isn't always intuitive. The main reason it is obvious (to me) that the machine reversed time until it was off again is that it makes the joke make sense. Any other interpretation doesn't really make sense as the joke. Also, there's the position of the character's hands on the switch in panel 3. One usually doesn't pull a switch like that downward with their hands underneath the switch.

I don't know why people are asking about the plug, though. The outlet just looks a bit more detailed in the last two panels. Unless I'm missing something?

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Klear
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Klear » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
oliphaunt wrote:
speising wrote:
Klear wrote:
Wooloomooloo wrote:Yeah, I wondered myself why one would expect a time machine to have an Earth-based fixed spacial reference...


And can you tell me why it should have any other fixed reference frame? They're all equal as far as I know.


no, earth's is not inertial.


Nor is the sun's or the Milky Way's center's. It's hard to find a (practical) inertial reference frame, isn't it?

Yeah, well, I never said I found the proper one - it just seems oddly arbitrary and wrong for it to be exactly on a circular orbit around a yellow sun hurtling around in space, unless it's for some other time-travel-related reason intrinsically tied to the machine's location (say, like "time-conduits" are also bound by gravity and thus "stay in place on both ends" the same way everything else around us does all the time). I think at this point BHG would already be thinking about how one might "untie" one end of such a conduit only to watch time travelers jump to their deaths... :D


I don't find the time machine remaining in the same inertial frame to be more arbitrary than any other option.

The way I understand theory of relativity, if you're moving at constant speed in a straight line but cannot look outside to see if you're moving (let's say you're in a train), then you cannot find out if you're moving or not (since there's basically no difference between the two) and you can't find out by any other means. I would expect that using a time-machine to travel to another time-point of this journey shouldn't reveal anything about the train's movement either.

Of course, most time machines are probably already breaking theory of relativity in quite atrocious ways by their very existence...

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby speising » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:18 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
Wooloomooloo wrote:
oliphaunt wrote:
speising wrote:
Klear wrote:
Wooloomooloo wrote:Yeah, I wondered myself why one would expect a time machine to have an Earth-based fixed spacial reference...


And can you tell me why it should have any other fixed reference frame? They're all equal as far as I know.


no, earth's is not inertial.


Nor is the sun's or the Milky Way's center's. It's hard to find a (practical) inertial reference frame, isn't it?

Yeah, well, I never said I found the proper one - it just seems oddly arbitrary and wrong for it to be exactly on a circular orbit around a yellow sun hurtling around in space, unless it's for some other time-travel-related reason intrinsically tied to the machine's location (say, like "time-conduits" are also bound by gravity and thus "stay in place on both ends" the same way everything else around us does all the time). I think at this point BHG would already be thinking about how one might "untie" one end of such a conduit only to watch time travelers jump to their deaths... :D


I don't find the time machine remaining in the same inertial frame to be more arbitrary than any other option.

The way I understand theory of relativity, if you're moving at constant speed in a straight line but cannot look outside to see if you're moving (let's say you're in a train), then you cannot find out if you're moving or not (since there's basically no difference between the two) and you can't find out by any other means. I would expect that using a time-machine to travel to another time-point of this journey shouldn't reveal anything about the train's movement either.

Of course, most time machines are probably already breaking theory of relativity in quite atrocious ways by their very existence...


that's the reason, special relativity requires an *inertial* reference frame. if your train rides in a tight loop, it's movement will be very apparent to you inside.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Zylon » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:05 pm UTC

Guys, obviously what this strip is depicting is someone sending someone else inside the machine backward in time to kill Hitler. Then he looks at his hands, thinking, "My god, what have I done?"

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby XTCamus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:59 pm UTC

It hit me after a few seconds of staring at the inversed eeeEEEE... EEEeee's that time had simply been reversed. (I can see how if you don't get it on your own, you are unlikely after the fact to consider it well done or funny.)

I also think it is cool that in the last frame the guy is trying to figure it out at the same time as the viewer, maybe thinking something like "Why did my hands just reverse that action on their own?" Like a few others, the idea of him trying to turn it on again and maybe being stuck in a loop occurred to me (and may have been intended), until the mouse-over reveals "T minus ten, eleven" suggesting that time is still progressing backward (whatever that means).

Clever, if you don't mind things left open-ended.

Edit: Alternate version of this could show the guy walking in first, and in the last frame he is walking out backward muttering, "What the hell!?" Can you imagine watching your whole life unfold, Being John Malkovich-style, in reverse? Nightmarish.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Fire Brns » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:08 pm UTC

Obviously the time reversed because he turned the machine on. What else would it do, not work?

Who ever wants to go to the future? If you want that then just freeze yourself until someone else builds a time machine if that's what you want to do.
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Zylon
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Zylon » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:27 pm UTC

XTCamus wrote:It hit me after a few seconds of staring at the inversed eeeEEEE... EEEeee's that time had simply been reversed.

When I turn on my blender it goes eeeeEEEEEE... and then when I turn it off it goes EEEEEeeeee...

So far, nobody has mistaken my blender for a time machine.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby moody7277 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:34 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:Well, the frame/location problem is quite elegantly fixed by the "just move time backwards, no cheating" time machine (as in the comic, but without remembering). If everything just happens in reverse then everything is in the place and in the frame where it can and should be.

It does however have a quite large loop problem.


Only within a distance of ~ctloop, which from an estimate of the flipping time is about the Earth-Moon system. Elsewhere, the universe doesn't see or care.
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XTCamus
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby XTCamus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:16 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:
XTCamus wrote:It hit me after a few seconds of staring at the inversed eeeEEEE... EEEeee's that time had simply been reversed.

When I turn on my blender it goes eeeeEEEEEE... and then when I turn it off it goes EEEEEeeeee...

So far, nobody has mistaken my blender for a time machine.

True. So the difference between these two situations might have something to do with context? And the big sign that said Time Machine? This combined with my initially puzzled reaction that led to a search for clues. YMMV.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby R2D221 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:06 pm UTC

Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

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XTCamus
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby XTCamus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:18 pm UTC

R2D221 wrote:Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

I inferred that he isn't stuck in a loop based on the inversion of the classic "countdown" that typically starts "T minus ten, nine, eight....", but here goes backwards "T minus ten, eleven...." implying the "launch" i.e. activation of the time machine is now getting further and further away.

Athang
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Athang » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:55 pm UTC

Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

And why didn't he think of having an "On" button and an "Off" button? It seems he would be that smart atleast seeing as he build the time machine in the first place.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Draconaes » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:14 pm UTC

Athang wrote:
Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

And why didn't he think of having an "On" button and an "Off" button? It seems he would be that smart atleast seeing as he build the time machine in the first place.


Wait, why would that make any difference?

Judah
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Judah » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:06 pm UTC


Athang
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby Athang » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:41 pm UTC

Draconaes wrote:
Athang wrote:
Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

And why didn't he think of having an "On" button and an "Off" button? It seems he would be that smart atleast seeing as he build the time machine in the first place.


Wait, why would that make any difference?

With 2 seperate buttons, he will press the "On" button again when he goes back past that point in time (refering to the fact that when he pulled the lever to "On", the repeat forced him to switch it back to "Off"). Although in retrospect, that wouldn't be much better, because even if the machine forced itself to remain within a small warped portion of spacetime to continue moving forward while everything else moved backwards (temporally), everything else would permanently move backwards, not to mention the fact that the machine would eventually be disassembled the same way it was assembled. However, the function of the "On" button wouldn't be reversed because the time machine must either form a distortion around itself to continue moving forwards or fall into a problematic situation where it is constantly reversing the flow of time (a lot like multiplying a number by -1 over and over again, an infinite number of times.) However, I myself am neither a physicist nor am I well versed in the many quandaries regarding time travel.

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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby orthogon » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:28 pm UTC

Athang wrote:
Draconaes wrote:
Athang wrote:
Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

And why didn't he think of having an "On" button and an "Off" button? It seems he would be that smart atleast seeing as he build the time machine in the first place.


Wait, why would that make any difference?

With 2 seperate buttons, he will press the "On" button again when he goes back past that point in time (refering to the fact that when he pulled the lever to "On", the repeat forced him to switch it back to "Off").
Spoiler:
Although in retrospect, that wouldn't be much better, because even if the machine forced itself to remain within a small warped portion of spacetime to continue moving forward while everything else moved backwards (temporally), everything else would permanently move backwards, not to mention the fact that the machine would eventually be disassembled the same way it was assembled. However, the function of the "On" button wouldn't be reversed because the time machine must either form a distortion around itself to continue moving forwards or fall into a problematic situation where it is constantly reversing the flow of time (a lot like multiplying a number by -1 over and over again, an infinite number of times.) However, I myself am neither a physicist nor am I well versed in the many quandaries regarding time travel.

Your original post made complete sense to me until draconaes made me question it. I think the point is that he didn't switch it off, he unswitched it on. The same would happen with your machine. Maybe.
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby addams » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:46 pm UTC

XTCamus wrote:
R2D221 wrote:Why isn't he caught in an infinite loop turning the machine on and off repeteadly?

I inferred that he isn't stuck in a loop based on the inversion of the classic "countdown" that typically starts "T minus ten, nine, eight....", but here goes backwards "T minus ten, eleven...." implying the "launch" i.e. activation of the time machine is now getting further and further away.

That seems to be one of The Problems with Time Machines.
Is it Working? How can you tell?
Is it pluged in?

Fuck. It's working; Backwards.
What to do? What to do?

T-minus ten
T-minus eleven
T-minus thirteen

It must be Hell inside his head, sometimes.
Remember the Guy that fell sideways?

The Guy with the Time Machine and The Guy that Fell Sideways came out of The Same Head.
Lucky You. They flew out of His head and into Yours.

I think it is Funny.
It is a common reoccuring theme for Humans.

How to move through Time? One of The Big Questions?
No. Something to think about when The Mundane is Too Damn Hard.

Maybe. Right?

Spoiler:
The Truth may be Stranger than Fiction.
Crossing membranes of Reality without a Machine.

Not everyone can nor wants to do it.
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I have seen it. People walk in. Something Strange happens In There.
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They never give The Place nor The Experence a second thought.

In Real Life a Set of People used an Unusual set of words.
"Carsamatic Super Fauna".

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It seems like the Logical next step.

They had hunted Charamatic Super Flora.
They had found Charasmatic Super Flora.

From Flora to Fauna. When?
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Re: 1203: "Time Machines"

Postby cmyk » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:50 am UTC

Kit. wrote:
Shidoshi wrote:I don't know why so many people are having such a hard time understanding this one. It was pretty clear to me the first time I saw it :roll:

Cool. So, tell us why the wall socket is dark in the last panel.


It's a short. Reversing time reverses the polarity... quick, reverse the polarity!
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