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.