I am Younger because I am Faster!

Space the final frontier.  How many times have we heard this phrase while flipping through the channels on our TV, or watching a Star Trek episode?  Space really is a frontier all by itself, but what really make it interesting are the laws that put it together.  Laws we think we know, laws that we have no idea about, and maybe there are no laws at all.  The one thing that is quite interesting about space/universe is the one law we are so sure about that if it is broken all our other laws mean nothing.  Light, or rather nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  Albert Einstein theorized that it was impossible to travel faster than the speed of light.  Others have said that it would take all the energy in the known universe to travel faster than light, and being that we would never be able to harness all the energy in the universe, in turn would render FTL travel impossible.  I, myself, do not like limits, but if I have to follow one I guess I will follow this one for now.  What I really want to dive into is things that happen when we approach the speed of light.  How time and space actually warp, and how this would affect a society of people, like us.

The first interesting phenomenon that happens when we start traveling extremely fast is space starts to warp.  This would seem understandable to a normal person because it is something we can see in our everyday lives.  The faster we go the weirder things will start to look.  We cannot expect anything to look similar when we are going super fast.  Traveling at 70mph in a car looking at a point out a car window we can start to see some distortion effects.  Things do not look exactly the same as they do if we were standing still.  Another example would be watching light pass through water or thick glass.  Light actually slows down when it passes though different materials and we are able to see some distortion effects.  There are many different examples of light distorting in our everyday environment, but where it gets interesting is time.  When we travel faster and faster not only space gets distorted but time does as well.  Space-time as it is called.  Time warping is something that is difficult for people to get their head around.  This is because it causes some paradox shifts in our society if we really think about it.  Now what do I mean by time warping?  The simplest way to put it is that time is not constant, as so many of us believe.  Time actually does not progress at the same speed everywhere.  The closer we get to the speed of light the slower time progresses.  So if I was traveling close to the speed of light and someone else was standing still it would feel to me like 5 or 10 seconds have passed when actually 5 or 10 hours have passed.  Wow!

The actual reasons why this happens is not exactly known, it could be because of gravity, a force we still do not fully understand, is trying to balance the differential bubble that gets created when objects are not stationary or to simplify the reasoning, light is constant so everything else must fluctuate to function.  Not to focus on the reasoning why time is not constant, the fact that time is not constant is what is really mind boggling.  One example that I have seen of this actually taking place is with satellites orbiting earth.  Satellites orbit our planet at an extremely fast speed, still only a drop in the bucket to the speed of light.  Even though the speed is so much slower than light it is still much faster than our daily lives down on earth.  Each of these satellites have a clock on them and the clock runs ever so slightly slower than the clocks on earth.  So in this example, our GPS systems which calculate our positions by exact time measurements have to be tuned with their velocity in mind so that we can calculate what the actually time difference is here on earth.

So how does this affect us?  Well today it doesn’t because we all are on planet earth traveling roughly the same speeds in the same environment but what happens if we have the ability to travel the cosmos.  The ability to live on different planets, traveling at different speeds, things start to get interesting.  Does a people settled on one planet that is traveling 5 times faster than people settled on another age slower?  It would seem that this is the case.   Which planet would you rather live on?  It would seem that traveling close to the speed of light really shakes up the universal ideas that we as a people accept.  Time is constant, but is it?  To a human on planet earth time appears to be constant but appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving.

How traveling close to the speed of light will change our society cannot be predicted.  What we do know is that it will cause a paradigm shift in the way the human race understands time, and behaves because of it.  But remember, this will only happen if the theories of Albert Einstein are true.

modern day physics = this man


Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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Time you are an evil devil.  Aren’t you?  Why do we as a society put so much value on the definition of time?  Why is time almost always in the center of everything we do?  Truth be told time doesn’t really exist does it.  We measure time in hours, days, years, decades, but what does this all mean?

Time as we understand it is all focused on earth’s rotation around the sun, moon, and stars.  We base one of the most important things in our society on how long it takes a celestial body to rotate a star.  That seems kind of far fetched.  So what is the connection between time and the rotation of stars in the sky?  Well there isn’t one.  Actually, the “time” it takes for the earth to rotate around the sun is always changing.  So we are actually basing a way of life on something that never stays the same.

Time does exist though.  If it didn’t life wouldn’t exist.  Everything would be in a state of suspension.  Still, time as we think of it really does not exist.  For example I can walk to the end of the street in 10 minutes, those minutes are units of measurement based off of…what?  Are these units of measurement constant?  I hope you didn’t answer yes.  These minutes may be timed out to be the same, yes 60 seconds but in the long run they mean absolutely nothing.  They have no basis.  We made it up.  Minutes, seconds, hours change based on how we as a people need them to.  Leap year for example.  We just add days, or erase hours to match what a star is doing.  But that star is totally random.  Our unit of measure for one of the most important things in our entire society is actually totally random.  Wow.

So what I would like to say is what would happen if we took all this value away from time, because it is something that is always changing.  Wouldn’t this make our lives more meaningful.  The area of space which we take up from one point to another point is not always constant.  Lets not focus on it.  Death, aging, these things are actually a random part of our lives.  Parts that can actually be manipulated and changed.  Aging is not based on time.  It has nothing to do with time.  It is a natural thing that happens when cells do work.  If we are able to change the way our cells work, lets say, fix them so they do not break down while they do their work.  Then why would we measure age?

You see we are not infinite beings.  The reason focus is placed on time is the fact that we are all finite.  It is a philosophy that most of us live our lives by.  It is a way of life many of us our pushed into.  Think just for a minute what life would be like without the “TIME” thing hanging over your head.  The stress would just fade away.  It is a way of life that some people still follow today.  Not hunkered down by time.  A come and go lifestyle, definitely a different way to look at life.  The reason I bring this up is the fact that we are only on earth for a finite period.  Even though we always have this thrown in our face we still don’t live our lives to the fullest.  People who don’t obsess over this fact seem to live a more relaxed, fruitful life.  Interesting, maybe they know something we don’t.


Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 10:13 pm  Comments (2)  
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