Preposterous Universe

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

An apparent rupture in the spacetime continuum has been noted over at archy and Pandagon. In one of the questions asked to President Bush on his current "bus" tour, the interlocutor referred to an apparent acausal propagation of economic hardship:
In 1998, due to the impending recession, I started living the American nightmare.
John McKay at archy wonders whether there could be a quantum-mechanical explanation for how anyone could be suffering through the effects of a recession that wouldn't begin for another two years. But I think it is more likely that the explanation requires closed timelike curves. You see, in relativity it is impossible to move faster than the speed of light; physical particles are therefore confined to move along "timelike" trajectories that move inexorably forward in time. But in general relativity spacetime is curved; it is therefore conceivable that a timelike curve can loop back and intersect itself in the past, in a kind of time machine. Bush's questioner had obviously found such a closed timelike curve, lived through the horrors of the recent recession, gone backwards in time, and cowered in fear as he lived once more through 1998 with the ever-present knowledge that the economy would tumble just about the time Bush was elected. Of course, it is probably necessary to violate some of the laws of physics to actually create closed timelike curves in the real world; this is the content of Hawking's Chronology Protection Conjecture. But the administration has never let the laws of nature get in the way of their plans.

Or, I suppose, maybe the bus-tour audiences are not completely representative samples of the local population; one might even suspect that they are carefully selected to be sympathetic. But that would make me a wacky conspiracy theorist. Besides, there was one actual question, when Bush was asked about a cut in federal funding to local health services. His priceless response, as reported on NPR:
Well, that's what happens when you're trying to cut the deficit in half.
Such an answer cannot be explained simply by closed timelike curves; we need to invoke parallel universes.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

Preposterous Home
Atom Site Feed (xml)
RSS Feed
Technorati Profile
Bloglines Citations
Blogroll Me

About Last Night
Alas, a Blog
The American Sector
Asymmetrical Information
Big Brass Blog
Bitch, Ph.D.
Body and Soul
Brad DeLong
Chris C Mooney
Collision Detection
Creek Running North
Crescat Sententia
Crooked Timber
Daily Kos
Daniel Drezner
Deepen the Mystery
Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Dynamics of Cats
Electron Blue
Ezra Klein
The Fulcrum
Girls Are Pretty
Jacques Distler
James Wolcott
John and Belle
Julie Saltman
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Leiter Reports
The Loom
Matt McIrvin
Matthew Yglesias
Michael Bérubé
Michael Nielsen
Mixing Memory
Mr. Sun
Not Even Wrong
Obsidian Wings
Orange Quark
Paige's Page
Panda's Thumb
Playing School, Irreverently
Political Animal
The Poor Man
Quantum Diaries
Quark Soup
Real Climate
Roger Ailes
Rox Populi
Shakespeare's Sister
Simple Stories
Sisyphus Shrugged
Smijer & Buck
TPM Cafe
Uncertain Principles
Volokh Conspiracy

Powered by Blogger
Comments by Haloscan
RSS Feed by 2RSS.com

February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005