Monday, 15 August 2016

Time And Motion

Poul Anderson's fiction involves:

space travel;
time travel;
inter-universal travel -

- so let's analyze "travel."

Matter is a form of energy and has four forms - solid, liquid, gas, plasma.
All energy exists in space but let's consider solids.
Solids are extended and impenetrable.
Space is the intervals and relationships between solids.
Empirically, space is three dimensional although we hypothesize extra dimensions for various theoretical purposes.
The position of a solid, or a "material object," is its spatial relationships to other such objects.
Motion is change of position.
Time is the relationship between positions changed from and positions changed to.
Therefore (I think), time is not merely a fourth spatial dimension although there are clear analogies between the three spatial dimensions and the single temporal dimension.
Four coordinates are necessary to define an event.
Thus, at any given time, a particular point in three dimensional space either is or is not occupied by a material object.
To move directly from point A to point B is successively to occupy every point on the shortest distance between A and B.
On the surface of a sphere, the shortest distance is a curve, not a straight line.
In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, a faster than light spaceship moving from A to B does not successively occupy every intervening point.
Instead, it makes many instantaneous quantum jumps between separated points and thus evades the light speed limit which applies only to objects that do traverse every intervening point.
If the ship were able to quantum jump directly from A to B, then we might call its mode of travel "teleportation."
In a comedy sf novel, Bob Shaw imagined a long, thin spaceship with a teleportation transmitter at the back and a teleportation receiver at the front.
The ship repeatedly teleports itself to itself, thus traversing interstellar space by curiously alternating between back to front and front to back positions.

This is taking longer than I expected. I will have to continue later.

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