0716: "Time Machine"

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PACrivellaro
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0716: "Time Machine"

Postby PACrivellaro » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:11 am UTC

Image

Title Text: We never see any time travelers because they all discover it's a huge mistake. This is also why your friend at the lab suddenly looked about a year older recently.

http://xkcd.com/716/

Yesterday's C&H read today's XKCD before it was posted.... I smell time traveling.
Last edited by PACrivellaro on Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:15 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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The Scyphozoa
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby The Scyphozoa » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:13 am UTC

Needs commentary. So I think mine wins...
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zyxuvius
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby zyxuvius » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:13 am UTC

Maybe that's how Doc got his idea for the flux capacitor in Back to the Future I, I was always skeptical about his hitting-his-head-on-the-toilet-bowl story.

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Nintendon't
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Nintendon't » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Holy crap, pime taradox when C&H and xkcd are the same

zyxuvius
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby zyxuvius » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Maybe that's how Doc got his idea for the flux capacitor in Back to the Future I, I was always skeptical about his hitting-his-head-on-the-toilet-bowl story.

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The Scyphozoa
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby The Scyphozoa » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Well anyway, all I can say is... http://www.explosm.net/comics/1988/

That's TODAY'S Cyanide & Happiness.
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3rdtry wrote:If there ever is another World War, I hope they at least have the decency to call it "World War 2: Episode One"

doogly wrote:murder is a subset of being mean

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The Scyphozoa
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby The Scyphozoa » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:15 am UTC

zyxuvius wrote:Maybe that's how Doc got his idea for the flux capacitor in Back to the Future I, I was always skeptical about his hitting-his-head-on-the-toilet-bowl story.

Wait, this doesn't explain how you get the idea, just what happens when you do.
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3rdtry wrote:If there ever is another World War, I hope they at least have the decency to call it "World War 2: Episode One"

doogly wrote:murder is a subset of being mean

mmaluff
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby mmaluff » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:16 am UTC

You win. And I wonder if Randall and the guys from explosm have been talking lately...

Edit: Oh! And look who wrote that Cyanide and Happiness strip! Coincidence? I think not...

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby scottgoblue314 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:16 am UTC

Best part about this comic? I JUST finished watching Inglourious Basterds. The Bear Jew has a time machine!

If I had one, I'd try to find a way to keep my mom's dad from dying so young. Died when my mom was 10. Then I'd bounce around a bit to finally solve some of those "we'll never know" mysteries, invest a little bit, and then spend the rest of my leisure pretending to be Sam Beckett.

Anyway, let the inevitable bickering about the rules of time travel begin.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Nicole88 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:16 am UTC

Oh.
This makes me feel squicky. Do not want to be murdered by my future self!
I'm drunk on panda mystery.

Wayfarer247
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Wayfarer247 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:20 am UTC

I don't get it.

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PACrivellaro
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby PACrivellaro » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:23 am UTC

Wayfarer247 wrote:I don't get it.


The time-traveled version of Rob realized that the time machine was a bad idea, so went back in time to stop himself from ever inventing the time machine.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby phlip » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:25 am UTC

At least in Primer, they only drugged their past selves and hid them in the attic...

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:25 am UTC

But by interacting with past-Rob, future-Rob automatically causes the future he's from not to exist, and thus is a paradox. Unless future-Rob is visiting a different time-stream, instead of merely the past of his own time-stream. In which case, he would stay after past-Rob had his memory "wiped". So there should be two Robs in the last panel, unless future-Rob has murdered past-Rob and taken his place, and future-Rob would still remember how to time travel.

Of course, that's only after he makes sure to remember the winning numbers of every single state lottery. Then again, if you had the power of time travel, would money be of any value to you at all? Who needs money when you can simply head to the future (assuming we haven't killed ourselves off by then), grab some nano-tech, and create any item you wish?

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Munkel » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:31 am UTC

Time travel is so much easier if you assume that a new history overwrites the old one. It creates a lot of effect-without-cause situations, but it's at least internally consistent. The many worlds theory is also a decent one, but I think it overcomplicates matters.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby ARandomDude » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:36 am UTC

When I saw the first frame, I thought about this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NMo3pXwMO0#t=2m43s

And regarding time machines...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI8edDQoje8#t=0m15s

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby TomRobbins » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:41 am UTC

I was reading about time travel before I visited today's comic. GOOMHR.

Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novikov_se ... _principle .(This is actually what I was reading). It says you cannot kill your past self, I think.

And why would this happen once a month? Wouldn't future Rob who is now taking the place of Rob know not to create a time machine.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Steve the Pocket » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:58 am UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:Well anyway, all I can say is... http://www.explosm.net/comics/1988/

That's TODAY'S Cyanide & Happiness.

Randall: ROB GET OUT OF MY HEAD
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby solarion » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:58 am UTC

TomRobbins wrote:And why would this happen once a month? Wouldn't future Rob who is now taking the place of Rob know not to create a time machine.


It's not Rob the next time. It's some other hobbyist who thinks of a time machine.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Omegaton » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:01 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:
The Scyphozoa wrote:Well anyway, all I can say is... http://www.explosm.net/comics/1988/

That's TODAY'S Cyanide & Happiness.

Randall: ROB GET OUT OF MY HEAD

And as pointed out in the other thread, the character in today's comic is Rob too.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby xkcdfan » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:06 am UTC

Wow. This comic could have been so much better if Randall weren't so lazy.

Give future!Rob long hair and have the girl comment on it. Draw actual people so we can distinguish them by clothing. ANYTHING.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Covane » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:07 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But by interacting with past-Rob, future-Rob automatically causes the future he's from not to exist, and thus is a paradox. Unless future-Rob is visiting a different time-stream, instead of merely the past of his own time-stream. In which case, he would stay after past-Rob had his memory "wiped". So there should be two Robs in the last panel, unless future-Rob has murdered past-Rob and taken his place, and future-Rob would still remember how to time travel.

Of course, that's only after he makes sure to remember the winning numbers of every single state lottery. Then again, if you had the power of time travel, would money be of any value to you at all? Who needs money when you can simply head to the future (assuming we haven't killed ourselves off by then), grab some nano-tech, and create any item you wish?


I don't know that the interaction necessitates an altered future. For all we know present-Rob is actually an individual very much capable of handling the idea that future-Rob is his future self and doesn't find any reason to go do something totally inane because of it. He might be furtive at first followed by light speech and eventual questions of the events to come. Furthermore, that knowledge doesn't mean those events won't happen. If I asked what was going to happen in my future, I would make sure to also inquire into what exactly I was doing leading up to it.

I think Douglas Adams' has it nailed, though.

"One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can't cope with. There is no problem about changing the course of history - the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intension of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs. The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstration, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be."

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:10 am UTC

Well if someone has to kill me, I'd definitely prefer it to be another - and assumably wiser - me.
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby BlueNight » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:17 am UTC

Wow, very The Green Futures of Tycho, Randall.
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Cairns824 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:24 am UTC

Having watched basketball all day, I think this was inspired by the time travel commercial in which the guy goes back and stops himself from doing stupid stuff.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby MarkSmash » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:25 am UTC

I can think of a few movies/stories where people get murdered by their duplicates:

1. The island
2. The Prestige
3. Solaris

Though because we are dealing with time travel, it isn't a duplicate we're being killed by.

I think that this comic was a subplot of the Family Guy Movie: the Stewie Griffin Story, only that the 'past' self killed the 'future' self and therefore the timeline was not trammeled upon.

I'm not sure I could kill my past self this way. To consider it is kind of disturbing.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby whosdamike » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:35 am UTC

Weird, no one's mentioned "Primer" yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_%28film%29

I thought the comic was a reference to that film. If you haven't seen it yet, it's an absolute must for any geeky-minded overly logical types. If you've ever watched a time travel movie and thrown your hands up at the ludicrous leaps of non-logic, you should definitely check out "Primer."

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby PossibleSloth » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:40 am UTC


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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Josephine » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:46 am UTC

Add Irregular Webcomic to the list of the already-been-done.
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Isaac20 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:47 am UTC

My first true GOOMHR moment. For no particular reason I was thinking about time travel and all the fun paradoxes that go along with it earlier today.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby MarkSmash » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:55 am UTC

I suppose you couldn't go into the past immediately because then the particles that make up your body would be forced to be in two places at the same time. I'm not sure what would happen, but it would be bad, though I suppose theoretically possible:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_production

Advice to future (past?) time travelers: be sure to change your underwear before you jump.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Rioexxo » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:23 am UTC

Shouldn't that have been Batman beating you for 'doing science'?
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby DavidRoss » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:32 am UTC

MarkSmash wrote:Advice to future (past?) time travelers: be sure to change your underwear before you jump.


You assume that clean underwear at the beginning of the jump is clean underwear at the end of the jump.

I assume the multiple futures paradigm because it eliminates all possible paradoxes, even if it is boring. Any time travel to the past will split the future into a future where you travelled back and one where you didn't.

Now that we have that out the the way, let's get back to the underwear. Do you get to take the underwear with you? In The Time Traveller's Wife, he jumps and is clothes are left behind, so those in his present see a pile of clothes when he leaves and he is naked when he gets to his non-present and has to steal or borrow clothes.

That leads to the obvious question: Where is the boundary between what goes and what stays. Your clothes? Your dandruff? That sandwich in your stomach? The potato chip you just started chewing? The air you just inhaled but has not yet been absorbed into your body?

Clearly, there needs to be a shell around you to form a boundary. The Stargate has this problem as well. (Of course, it would have been quite a different movie if the air pressure was not equal on both sides of the stargate - if the pressure were higher on the other side, it would have been called "S_ _ _-Hole" - that's right, "Sand-Hole" because that is all the Army would have seen once it turned on.)

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby TheDarkNerd » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:42 am UTC

I do wonder why time travel always turns out to be such a bad idea. Is it because the technology they come up with doesn't allow you to go back? At least, not to the same timeline, since you put yourself where yourself already exists, which has been tampered with by you, so by the time you jump back, you're already there. Or I guess you could have jumped by then. Unless somehow jumping prevents- AUGH!

Still, unless mass is consumed by a time traveller jumping to a place, at the place where they jump to, wouldn't that Earth slowly be gaining in mass? Assume that the mass at the destination is simply displaced outwards, and lost from the original world, wouldn't the jumped-to world now have more mass? And the left-behind world can no longer be accessed by simply jumping forward, as the Now has already been changed. I wonder what they do with the body.

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby inanimate » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:04 am UTC

So many possabilities for a punchline when you are using time travel to go back and meet yourself. And the last panel is "Hey Rob whats up, Nothing"
What kind of dumbass is future-rob.
:shock:

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Luckycanucky19 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:17 am UTC

Doesn't he cancel this entire scenario out if he goes back and murders himself before he can invent the machine to go back and murder himself with?

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby Giant Speck » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:29 am UTC

I hate time travel. :|
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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby phlip » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:38 am UTC

whosdamike wrote:Weird, no one's mentioned "Primer" yet?

I did in that other discussion thread, which preceded this one by a second... but I guess this one's taking off instead...
phlip wrote:At least in Primer, they only drugged their past selves and hid them in the attic...


Luckycanucky19 wrote:Doesn't he cancel this entire scenario out if he goes back and murders himself before he can invent the machine to go back and murder himself with?

In Novikov-consistent models of time travel, yes. There are plenty of others.

Also: anyone who hasn't read By His Bootstraps and —All You Zombies— should do so.
Last edited by phlip on Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby TazTheTerrible » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:41 am UTC

Hey, I just had an idea for a time machine...

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Re: "Time Machine" Discussion

Postby mellows » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:43 am UTC

I was also expecting to come here to find a huge Primer discussion.

Anyways, I think it would be smarter to go back, wack your past self at the instant the brainwave came (if we're assuming it came by brainwave, as the comic suggests) and then jump back into the future. Then your past self will never invent it and your future self (depending on how you look at time travel) will stop existing. Problem solved, and you won't have the problem of premature ageing...


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