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The Old Hack

Story Monday October 1, 2018

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1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

it's something to argue about discuss, but will it matter in the long run?

How long of a long run are we considering here?

It probably won't matter as the last proton decays in the heat death of the universe.

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1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:
3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

What would be the difference then? Remember that the instant you inhale in past, you are changing it. Actually, wait, you already changed it by reflecting photons the moment you appeared.

Well, I used the term "predestination paradox" but that wasn't really accurate; if you accept the idea that the timeline is unchanging there's nothing paradoxical about a causal loop. So there's nothing logically wrong with including them in a story (so long as the story/world doesn't also include instances of history being altered). I'm just tired of writers using them to show off how clever they are.

And if the timeline is unchanging, then breathing or reflecting light in the past isn't changing anything, as you were "always" a part of the past.

Oh, you mean THIS kind of "can't change past". But, isn't predestination paradox necessary in such case?

My problem with that is that I think it tend to makes unsatisfying stories. I mean, someone goes to the past, presumably because they have some reason for it ... and, due to this mechanism, they MUST fail. Sure, there are ways how to make it work - you can have multiple people with different motivation going to past, or you can have the hero find out that it was bad idea and it's better the way it was anyway  ... but that works for one-time story. I tend to see EGS as something where plot elements stays to be reused, but there is little motivation to try to travel into past multiple times if you already found it doesn't change anything on first run.

... wait. Remembered one type of story where it works. If the goal of characters is actually to recover something (possibly just information) which would be lost otherwise, then they can succeed and later realize that they didn't needed to be so careful in their attempts to not change the past :)

... which COULD work in EGS. Like, what if Pandora will forget something?

1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:
3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Based on the discussion here, yes it does matter.

Well, it's something to argue about discuss, but will it matter in the long run?

Compared to the galactic collision with Andromeda? Probably not. But I don't think only long run matter.

EDIT:

9 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:
1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

it's something to argue about discuss, but will it matter in the long run?

How long of a long run are we considering here?

It probably won't matter as the last proton decays in the heat death of the universe.

I see I failed to think in properly long terms :)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

Oh, you mean THIS kind of "can't change past". But, isn't predestination paradox necessary in such case?

My problem with that is that I think it tend to makes unsatisfying stories. I mean, someone goes to the past, presumably because they have some reason for it ... and, due to this mechanism, they MUST fail. Sure, there are ways how to make it work - you can have multiple people with different motivation going to past, or you can have the hero find out that it was bad idea and it's better the way it was anyway  ... but that works for one-time story. I tend to see EGS as something where plot elements stays to be reused, but there is little motivation to try to travel into past multiple times if you already found it doesn't change anything on first run.

... wait. Remembered one type of story where it works. If the goal of characters is actually to recover something (possibly just information) which would be lost otherwise, then they can succeed and later realize that they didn't needed to be so careful in their attempts to not change the past :)

... which COULD work in EGS. Like, what if Pandora will forget something?

As I said, it's not really a paradox if predestination is the natural state of the universe. That said, it's possible to have a story where someone goes back in time and both does not change history and also does not bring about events leading to their traveling through time.

And I don't know about it being "uninteresting", but "trying to change history only to find out it's impossible" certainly could get old pretty fast; you really can only get away with it once per world (which was one mistake of the Gargoyles writers, as they did it twice) and I suspect the only reason I'm not completely tired of that scenario is I haven't seen it very many times. But there's no reason a time travel story without history alteration has to follow that scenario; in fact if the time travelers understand the device or technique they're using to travel in time properly they would know better than to even try to change things, so that plot hinges on the characters being uninformed.

As for for why they might travel through time, in addition to your idea of recovering something from the past that would be lost, one could go to the future to learn about it or get artifacts from it then return to the present with them, and of course there's always temporal tourism. Also, one could visit people in the past or future, including friends and family (though one would need to take into account whether they know about time travel and how much time they have to spare to visit with someone from another time).

Furthermore, time travel could be used to produce similar results to faster-than-light communication, and in conjunction with effective suspended animation and/or time dilation, faster-than-light travel (of course the EGS world presumably has actual FTL, but I'm partially talking about hypothetical stories here).

1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

How long of a long run are we considering here?

It probably won't matter as the last proton decays in the heat death of the universe.

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

Compared to the galactic collision with Andromeda? Probably not. But I don't think only long run matter.

How about a few days EGS time, and/or the end of this story, whichever comes first?

I mean unless Diane would have gotten a detention or some other punishment for missing that class and the punishment would have been important to the story, whether or not she missed a class seems like an unimportant detail to me.

Edited by ChronosCat
more thoughts on time travel

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56 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:

And I don't know about it being "uninteresting", but "trying to change history only to find out it's impossible" certainly could get old pretty fast; you really can only get away with it once per world (which was one mistake of the Gargoyles writers, as they did it twice) and I suspect the only reason I'm not completely tired of that scenario is I haven't seen it very many times.

Yes, that was what I was talking about: it gets old really fast. Like, sometimes even before they finish their first travel.

57 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:

As for for why they might travel through time, in addition to your idea of recovering something from the past that would be lost, one could go to the future to learn about it or get artifacts from it then return to the present with them,

Right. Except if you try, you always did, which increases likehood they will be waiting for you. Or YOU will be waiting for you.

... this kind of story is really hard to think through. You have people who should know exactly what will happen and yet don't do anything to prevent that - because if they could, they would already do it. Meaning, either they have right motivation, or they don't know past can't change and are that clumsy, or they do know past can't change and are fatalists or something.

1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

and of course there's always temporal tourism.

Oh, right, temporal tourism. There was one hundred people watching this event and always will be. So, who would they be? The auction can start. Oh, look, we have first participant, the sympathetic gentleman from future who is just aiming at me with something looking like it wouldn't be invented for next thousand years.

1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

Also, one could visit people in the past or future, including friends and family (though one would need to take into account whether they know about time travel and how much time they have to spare to visit with someone from another time).

Visiting friends and family MIGHT work, yes. Except it raises the possibility of running into YOU or at least being told about it. Not counting cases like last goodbye to someone dying ... THAT is good idea, if you didn't managed to be there when it happened, you can always try to return later.

1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

Furthermore, time travel could be used to produce similar results to faster-than-light communication, and in conjunction with effective suspended animation and/or time dilation, faster-than-light travel (of course the EGS world presumably has actual FTL, but I'm partially talking about hypothetical stories here).

That actually work both ways. Faster than light travel IS technically travelling into past or at least very close to it - like, there must be some very clever rule preventing using of FTL to travel to past, which violates the principle of independence of physical laws (especially the constancy of the speed of light) from the choice of inertial system.

So ... there likely IS such rule in EGS. Or, Dan wasn't clever enough to create laws of universe without contradictions. Well, better authors failed at that ...

1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

I mean unless Diane would have gotten a detention or some other punishment for missing that class and the punishment would have been important to the story, whether or not she missed a class seems like an unimportant detail to me.

Technically, her missing class can appear ANY time later - just because she's not punished immediately doesn't mean noone noticed, they might be counting. Five stories from now, two months of EGS time, two years of real time: Diane: "Sorry, I can't go. I already missed one class two months ago, if I miss another I fail the school"

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13 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Oh, right, temporal tourism. There was one hundred people watching this event and always will be. So, who would they be? The auction can start. Oh, look, we have first participant, the sympathetic gentleman from future who is just aiming at me with something looking like it wouldn't be invented for next thousand years.

And then police armed with equally or more advanced weapons show up to arrest him, because they knew he was going to be there.

Frankly, a society that had publicly available time travel would by necessity be very different from ours. They would probably have to have a government that is coordinated across the centuries (or however long the society lasts); a tall order, but causality itself would keep things from falling apart completely. Most crimes would either be stopped the moment there was enough evidence a crime was being committed or would remain unsolved. And either a major effort would need to be put in place to prevent too much knowledge from flowing past-ward, or there would be very few surprises in life.

Getting back to tourism, it occurs to me that any temporal tourists that have visited recorded history as we know it appear to have been very good at passing as people from the era they were visiting. This really doesn't seem viable on a large scale; likely travel to periods between the start of recorded history and the revelation of the reality of time travel would have to be restricted to historians and others on official business.

On the other hand (keeping in mind this is in a scenario where there's no risk of changing the timeline), I don't see any problem with tourists visiting prehistory, particularly eras prior to the rise of humanity.

...Of course all of this is only tangentially related to EGS; if Dan did change his mind about time travel (or had never said it was impossible) it would likely be done by magic, and probably only a relatively small few over the course of history (past and future) would have access to the power. (Or at least, only a small number of individuals with time travel powers would ever be relevant to the story.)

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

Visiting friends and family MIGHT work, yes. Except it raises the possibility of running into YOU or at least being told about it.

And that's a problem?

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5 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

Well, I used the term "predestination paradox" but that wasn't really accurate; if you accept the idea that the timeline is unchanging there's nothing paradoxical about a causal loop. So there's nothing logically wrong with including them in a story (so long as the story/world doesn't also include instances of history being altered). I'm just tired of writers using them to show off how clever they are.

And if the timeline is unchanging, then breathing or reflecting light in the past isn't changing anything, as you were "always" a part of the past.

In other words, the "future" that you came from is the one that already stems from a past in which you had traveled back in time. You are not creating a "new" future--you are creating the very one that you came from.

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2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:
3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Oh, right, temporal tourism. There was one hundred people watching this event and always will be. So, who would they be? The auction can start. Oh, look, we have first participant, the sympathetic gentleman from future who is just aiming at me with something looking like it wouldn't be invented for next thousand years.

And then police armed with equally or more advanced weapons show up to arrest him, because they knew he was going to be there.

Why? They knew he didn't shot. (In fact, maybe it wasn't weapon in first place ...)

2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

Frankly, a society that had publicly available time travel would by necessity be very different from ours. They would probably have to have a government that is coordinated across the centuries (or however long the society lasts); a tall order, but causality itself would keep things from falling apart completely. Most crimes would either be stopped the moment there was enough evidence a crime was being committed or would remain unsolved. And either a major effort would need to be put in place to prevent too much knowledge from flowing past-ward, or there would be very few surprises in life.

There is only one form of government capable of this: dictatorship. Democracy is never so stable. On the other hand ... not even dictatorships are so stable, especially when faced with someone from future ... basically, that government would need either to be coordinated to end of time, or at least have agreement with the government which will came afterwards ... we can't even imagine that. Explains why the time travel is not public :)

Who will decide when the amount of evidence of crime is sufficient? Well ... noone actually. Police will only go to stop crime to places and times where they KNEW they were present ... well, ok, presumably the weird causality of unchangeable past requires some responsible person who will think "yes, we arrived at correct time", but somehow I think it would cause all sorts of problems.

There will always be someone who would say "let's add just this little bit of knowledge". Especially when crime is involved. So either someone would keep VERY strict control over the time travel ... maybe to the point of actively LYING about future ... or yes, there would be very few surprises.

Actually, I remember reading some story where everyone had option to send some limited amount of data to past self. So, they knew when the important stuff happens, like when they meet their future partner ... and they also knew they would always cooperate with government. Except you can guess what will happen if they rebel and wont cooperate with government ... right ; the government will send them false data claiming they didn't rebel.

2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

Getting back to tourism, it occurs to me that any temporal tourists that have visited recorded history as we know it appear to have been very good at passing as people from the era they were visiting. This really doesn't seem viable on a large scale; likely travel to periods between the start of recorded history and the revelation of the reality of time travel would have to be restricted to historians and others on official business.

On the other hand (keeping in mind this is in a scenario where there's no risk of changing the timeline), I don't see any problem with tourists visiting prehistory, particularly eras prior to the rise of humanity.

NO form of "tourism" is viable on large scale. Sure, there would be limited - VERY limited - amount of historians who prepare themselves very well for the era and will record everything very thoroughly ... but that's not what is normally called tourism.

2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:
3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Visiting friends and family MIGHT work, yes. Except it raises the possibility of running into YOU or at least being told about it.

And that's a problem?

... it would be awkward.

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5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Why? They knew he didn't shot. (In fact, maybe it wasn't weapon in first place ...)

I was under the impression that threatening people with a deadly weapon (or what they have every reason to believe is a deadly weapon) is a crime, even if you never actually hurt someone. It certainly would have to be in a society where the police could be relied upon to stop things before they went any further.

5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

There is only one form of government capable of this: dictatorship. Democracy is never so stable. On the other hand ... not even dictatorships are so stable, especially when faced with someone from future ... basically, that government would need either to be coordinated to end of time, or at least have agreement with the government which will came afterwards ... we can't even imagine that. Explains why the time travel is not public :)

Perhaps an authoritarian regime run by computers and/or people from so far in the future they aren't even homo sapiens? But whatever the type of government, if the alternative is anarchy so bad that causality couldn't be maintained, causality itself would help prop the government up.

5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Who will decide when the amount of evidence of crime is sufficient? Well ... noone actually. Police will only go to stop crime to places and times where they KNEW they were present ... well, ok, presumably the weird causality of unchangeable past requires some responsible person who will think "yes, we arrived at correct time", but somehow I think it would cause all sorts of problems.

Presumably the hyper-competent trans-temporal government would set up laws for what constitutes sufficient evidence that a crime "would have been" committed if the police didn't show up. Also, as mentioned above, they could wait to step in until a crime had been committed but before serious harm was done.

That said, after shutting down my computer for the night, it occurred to me that if there was a crime where all the details were known and in the records the police didn't show up to stop it, there'd be nothing the police could do about it. So whether a crime was allowed to be committed would be entirely at the "whims" of whatever phenomena/deity causes causal loops to form. In a world where causal loops only reinforce things people would have done without a causal loop, there really wouldn't be any less serious crime.

5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

NO form of "tourism" is viable on large scale. Sure, there would be limited - VERY limited - amount of historians who prepare themselves very well for the era and will record everything very thoroughly ... but that's not what is normally called tourism.

By "not viable on a large scale" I meant not viable on a scale large enough to make it worth the effort to pull it off. If that's something that wasn't suggested by my earlier mention of time tourism, that's because I hadn't thought of this issue yet.

...In case it wasn't obvious, I haven't thought about this scenario before, and am making it up as I go. (At least I haven't thought about a society with public time travel under these rules; in the stories I've applied the "no history alteration" rules to before there were always good reasons why the protagonists and antagonists were pretty much the only ones with access to time travel.)

 

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IMHO time travel probably must boil down to one of two things:

* predestination - everything, including what time travelers who aren't even born yet will do last week, is fixed, nobody has free will at all.

* many worlds - you don't change the past, you create (or perhaps merely travel down) a different branch in the probability tree of all things that could have happened.

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11 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Technically, her missing class can appear ANY time later - just because she's not punished immediately doesn't mean noone noticed, they might be counting. Five stories from now, two months of EGS time, two years of real time: Diane: "Sorry, I can't go. I already missed one class two months ago, if I miss another I fail the school"

I find it unlikely Diane is that delinquent (or are you suggesting the school has a "miss two classes and you're expelled" policy?), and at any rate it wouldn't matter that far in the future whether the reason she missed the class was because she was arguing with her inner child in this story or if it was for some other reason.

More importantly, while whether she missed a class might have been in question for us fans, it was never in question for Dan; even if he hadn't made the edit (or the tweets) he would have continued to write it as if she hadn't missed a class. Therefore, what I should have said is that it wouldn't have mattered in the long run (in this case however long it took us to stop discussing it) whether we knew that she hadn't missed a class.

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9 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

So whether a crime was allowed to be committed would be entirely at the "whims" of whatever phenomena/deity causes causal loops to form. In a world where causal loops only reinforce things people would have done without a causal loop, there really wouldn't be any less serious crime.

There is no deity or other intelligent entity required. Quantum physics already has mechanism capable of "stabilizing" the causal loops without external intelligence. Look at Fermat's princople: the path taken between two points by a ray of light is the path that can be traversed in the least time. On first look, it seems like it would require the ray to somehow look at possible paths and determine which is best, but that's obviously not happening. What is happening is that particle (e.g. a photon or an electron) propagates over all available, unobstructed paths and that the interference, or superposition, of its wavefunction over all those paths at the point of observation gives the probability of detecting the particle at this point.

The formation of causal loop would need to be similar: until the loop is closed, everything is in superposition of all possible actions. What actually happened can only be determined AFTER the loop is closed, and it's one of the sequences of actions which results in loop being closed (actions which do not form stable causality graph are impossible), chosen with the more likely sequences being more likely to happen. In some cases, the result will STILL contain some very lucky or unlucky events (that is, events with low probability to happen normally) - because without those events the loop wouldn't be stable.

7 hours ago, Don Edwards said:

IMHO time travel probably must boil down to one of two things:

* predestination - everything, including what time travelers who aren't even born yet will do last week, is fixed, nobody has free will at all.

* many worlds - you don't change the past, you create (or perhaps merely travel down) a different branch in the probability tree of all things that could have happened.

As I just described, you can have both free will and predestination. You did choose your own actions, others choose their own actions ... just, thanks to series of random events, it still resulted in stable time loop. Granted, if you are deliberately trying to change the past and are determined enough, this mechanism can result in you being killed by something which was dropped from aircraft and just by chance fell directly on your head. Or possibly something even LESS likely.

Now, obviously, WRITING story like this is HARD. As author, you don't have the ability to test superpositions. You need to write good enough to convince the reader that what happened was really one of the most likely sequences of events from the ones forming stable loop ...

7 hours ago, ChronosCat said:
19 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Technically, her missing class can appear ANY time later - just because she's not punished immediately doesn't mean noone noticed, they might be counting. Five stories from now, two months of EGS time, two years of real time: Diane: "Sorry, I can't go. I already missed one class two months ago, if I miss another I fail the school"

I find it unlikely Diane is that delinquent (or are you suggesting the school has a "miss two classes and you're expelled" policy?), and at any rate it wouldn't matter that far in the future whether the reason she missed the class was because she was arguing with her inner child in this story or if it was for some other reason.

Well ... I wouldn't be surprised if she had some problems previously. Being late to class might be problem by itself if it's happening often enough. But true, the one class missed due to arguing with her inner child is unlikely to cause THAT big difference.

8 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

More importantly, while whether she missed a class might have been in question for us fans, it was never in question for Dan; even if he hadn't made the edit (or the tweets) he would have continued to write it as if she hadn't missed a class. Therefore, what I should have said is that it wouldn't have mattered in the long run (in this case however long it took us to stop discussing it) whether we knew that she hadn't missed a class.

True.

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3 hours ago, hkmaly said:

There is no deity or other intelligent entity required. Quantum physics already has mechanism capable of "stabilizing" the causal loops without external intelligence. Look at Fermat's princople: the path taken between two points by a ray of light is the path that can be traversed in the least time. On first look, it seems like it would require the ray to somehow look at possible paths and determine which is best, but that's obviously not happening. What is happening is that particle (e.g. a photon or an electron) propagates over all available, unobstructed paths and that the interference, or superposition, of its wavefunction over all those paths at the point of observation gives the probability of detecting the particle at this point.

The formation of causal loop would need to be similar: until the loop is closed, everything is in superposition of all possible actions. What actually happened can only be determined AFTER the loop is closed, and it's one of the sequences of actions which results in loop being closed (actions which do not form stable causality graph are impossible), chosen with the more likely sequences being more likely to happen. In some cases, the result will STILL contain some very lucky or unlucky events (that is, events with low probability to happen normally) - because without those events the loop wouldn't be stable.

I wouldn't expect a deity or other intelligent entity to be involved if a causal loop was ever discovered in real life; however in fiction it wouldn't surprise me. (If nothing else, the author created the loop, so there's an intelligence involved in the meta-sense.)

The primary theoretical example of a causal loop I've seen outside fiction is a billiard ball sent through a time portal at itself, in which case out of all possible outcomes, one in which the past ball is sent through the portal shall occur, even if one where it would be knocked away from the portal would otherwise seem more likely. This sounds pretty similar to your explanation. From this scenario, it's easy enough to see that anyone traveling to the past who attempts to change history or otherwise interacts with events important to their past will merely reinforce the history that led them there.

What is a lot harder to understand is a scenario where the events leading to the time travel could not or would not have happened if it weren't for the results of the time travel. For instance, in one episode of Gargoyles a character is about to die when his future self shows up and saves his life (eventually leading to the character going back in time to complete the loop). Another example would be the plot of the first Terminator movie. Does your quantum-physics based explanation justify the existence of that sort of loop?

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2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

I wouldn't expect a deity or other intelligent entity to be involved if a causal loop was ever discovered in real life; however in fiction it wouldn't surprise me. (If nothing else, the author created the loop, so there's an intelligence involved in the meta-sense.)

While true, the term of author using his power to resolve situation in his writing is called "deus ex machina" and is generally considered bad writing. Author is SUPPOSED to make story hold even without himself.

2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

The primary theoretical example of a causal loop I've seen outside fiction is a billiard ball sent through a time portal at itself, in which case out of all possible outcomes, one in which the past ball is sent through the portal shall occur, even if one where it would be knocked away from the portal would otherwise seem more likely. This sounds pretty similar to your explanation.

Yes, such simplified case makes possible to show what can happen in clear way. I also saw it somewhere ... oh, right, it's on wikipedia explaining casual loop.

2 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

What is a lot harder to understand is a scenario where the events leading to the time travel could not or would not have happened if it weren't for the results of the time travel. For instance, in one episode of Gargoyles a character is about to die when his future self shows up and saves his life (eventually leading to the character going back in time to complete the loop). Another example would be the plot of the first Terminator movie. Does your quantum-physics based explanation justify the existence of that sort of loop?

You can model cases like this even with the billiard ball. Also remember that quantum physics is principally statistically based and when multiple outcomes are possible, which one happen is random, so it doesn't need to be ONLY possible scenario, just likely enough - and the fact that time travel happens isn't, by itself, something which would lower the likehood of scenario happening.

I believe it does justify existence of such loops, although it's harder to explain why exactly was everything in superposition in advance ... it's because existence of time travel itself makes the scenario when time travel WONT happen LESS stable than the scenario with stable time loop, because someone would try to interfere. In the Gargoyle case (note that I didn't saw that episode), someone ELSE would try to travel into past but failed to form a stable loop, while the character itself going into past does result in stable loop, so it can happen. In terminator case, later episodes (which allowed past to change, but anyway) established that sky.NET is something which can happen even without time travel ; presumably, it would then invent time travel and try to change the past, failing to form a stable loop. Similarly, the resistance would try to change the past. It is possible that the stable loop that happened, which DID bring sky.NET faster BUT also gave resistance their leader, is the most likely stable scenario from all which could happen - and it actually makes sense, because both sides trying to utilize time travel gained something. It's even possible that it solves the major problem with the movie, specifically the fact that it would be easier to send into past something which would wipe out whole city: it's possible it didn't happened BECAUSE it didn't resulted in stable time loop. (Although the explanation that authors didn't think it though is easier.)

... also, it's not MY quantum-physic based explanation. I would like to take credit but I suspect that I didn't formed it independently but only based on story which explained parts of Novikov self-consistency principle ... and, in fact, had I remembered how it's called, I might just refer to it instead of trying to explain it myself.

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58 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

 It's even possible that it solves the major problem with the movie, specifically the fact that it would be easier to send into past something which would wipe out whole city: it's possible it didn't happened BECAUSE it didn't resulted in stable time loop. (Although the explanation that authors didn't think it though is easier.)

That is a good point. Sky.net could have loaded its T-800 with a hundred kilograms of explosives and had it blow itself up as soon as it got near enough to ensure a kill, but instead decided to have it choose projectile weapons (it wanted a plasma rifle, but chose firearms when it realized that future weapons were unavailable). It was Kyle, not the T-800, who chose to employ explosive ordnance.

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On 10/4/2018 at 9:15 AM, ijuin said:
On 10/4/2018 at 8:10 AM, hkmaly said:

 It's even possible that it solves the major problem with the movie, specifically the fact that it would be easier to send into past something which would wipe out whole city: it's possible it didn't happened BECAUSE it didn't resulted in stable time loop. (Although the explanation that authors didn't think it though is easier.)

That is a good point. Sky.net could have loaded its T-800 with a hundred kilograms of explosives and had it blow itself up as soon as it got near enough to ensure a kill, but instead decided to have it choose projectile weapons (it wanted a plasma rifle, but chose firearms when it realized that future weapons were unavailable). It was Kyle, not the T-800, who chose to employ explosive ordnance.

Loaded? Kilograms?

In third movie, we learnt that T-800 are powered by something which explodes as fusion bomb ... oh, wait, that's T-850 and apparently it's not that big explosion ... the nuclear power cell seems more stable.

So, ok, loaded, but I would still opt for nuclear device. I mean, with future technology, it seems likely you can fit T-800 with something which destroys most of the city ... would reduce the need to get so near.

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All right. The W54 warhead without external casing masses 23 kilograms and is a cylinder 273 mm in diameter and 400 mm long, and a yield of 1.0 kilotons. This is the smallest fission warhead known to the public. Thirty years of development by Sky.net could probably reduce the bulk if not the mass (minimum critical Plutonium mass without massive neutron reflectors is about 4.5 kilograms--attempting to reduce this further requires that the neutron reflectors gain more mass than the core loses in mass). A T-800 chassis might be reconfigured to house one of these concealed within its torso with a minor loss of spinal flexibility--remember it must be carried internally to be sent back with the T-800.

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On 10/2/2018 at 4:18 AM, Tom Sewell said:

 

 

Anyone else read the actual book Jurassic Park, instead of just watch the movie?  The company that made the park raised money by showing off a little elephant the size of a cat.

Or, of course, there's the minmoths in Girl Genius.

If you prefer real life, there's the dwarf mammoth...

On 10/2/2018 at 7:02 PM, ChronosCat said:

Well, I used the term "predestination paradox" but that wasn't really accurate; if you accept the idea that the timeline is unchanging there's nothing paradoxical about a causal loop. So there's nothing logically wrong with including them in a story (so long as the story/world doesn't also include instances of history being altered). I'm just tired of writers using them to show off how clever they are.

I love it when a writer comes up with a clever variation on this sort of thing.  What I'm tired of is writers who think they're being clever, but are really just repeating the same old, tired cliches of SF.

On 10/2/2018 at 8:20 PM, hkmaly said:

My problem with that is that I think it tend to makes unsatisfying stories. I mean, someone goes to the past, presumably because they have some reason for it ... and, due to this mechanism, they MUST fail. Sure, there are ways how to make it work - you can have multiple people with different motivation going to past, or you can have the hero find out that it was bad idea and it's better the way it was anyway  ... but that works for one-time story. I tend to see EGS as something where plot elements stays to be reused, but there is little motivation to try to travel into past multiple times if you already found it doesn't change anything on first run.

Someone already brought up the original The Terminator as an example of this type of story being well-done.  River Song's timeline might be considered anothe good example -- at least, the consistency with the first episode we saw her (spoilers omitted because people might be watching the series on Prime or DVD), which was maintained during the rest of her appearances.

On 10/3/2018 at 0:23 AM, ijuin said:

In other words, the "future" that you came from is the one that already stems from a past in which you had traveled back in time. You are not creating a "new" future--you are creating the very one that you came from.

Exactly.  Some people insist on referring to some sort of "original timeline" which was then altered by the time traveller, but there never was an alternate timeline with a proper stable time loop

On 10/3/2018 at 9:51 AM, Don Edwards said:

IMHO time travel probably must boil down to one of two things:

* predestination - everything, including what time travelers who aren't even born yet will do last week, is fixed, nobody has free will at all.

* many worlds - you don't change the past, you create (or perhaps merely travel down) a different branch in the probability tree of all things that could have happened.

A stable time loop doesn't mean there's no free will.  Kyle Reece chose to make a one-way trip to rescue Sarah Connor.  Sarah chose to take his hand and come with him.  The Doctor chose to answer River's distress call, and River chose to carry out her actions at the end of that first encounter.  Their actions are no more predestined as far as their choices go than what you did last week was.  They have free will, the time loop just shows some of the effects of the choices made before their causes.  People still have to take the actions, to make the choices involved.

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I read a story once where a character was his own father and mother, and also recruited himself into some sort of time-travel-police force.

Talk about a stable time loop...

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15 hours ago, ijuin said:

All right. The W54 warhead without external casing masses 23 kilograms and is a cylinder 273 mm in diameter and 400 mm long, and a yield of 1.0 kilotons. This is the smallest fission warhead known to the public. Thirty years of development by Sky.net could probably reduce the bulk if not the mass (minimum critical Plutonium mass without massive neutron reflectors is about 4.5 kilograms--attempting to reduce this further requires that the neutron reflectors gain more mass than the core loses in mass). A T-800 chassis might be reconfigured to house one of these concealed within its torso with a minor loss of spinal flexibility--remember it must be carried internally to be sent back with the T-800.

Yup. You probably can't reduce the mass of Plutonium, but there are likely other isotopes, less safe to work with but more effective.

Also, it was specified that TDE requires bioelectric field to send something back in time. Leaving aside the issue of T-1000 and T-X, nowhere is specified it must be human. How much harder would be to send something like whale? I'm sure you can fit LOT of plutonium inside whale. It won't really be mobile after transport, but with enough yield, that might not be necessary.

3 hours ago, CritterKeeper said:

If you prefer real life

On this forum? Unlikely.

3 hours ago, CritterKeeper said:

I love it when a writer comes up with a clever variation on this sort of thing.  What I'm tired of is writers who think they're being clever, but are really just repeating the same old, tired cliches of SF.

Still better than when someone thinks he came with clever variation and in reality came with something which will completely broke it.

3 hours ago, CritterKeeper said:
On 10/3/2018 at 7:23 AM, ijuin said:

In other words, the "future" that you came from is the one that already stems from a past in which you had traveled back in time. You are not creating a "new" future--you are creating the very one that you came from.

Exactly.  Some people insist on referring to some sort of "original timeline" which was then altered by the time traveller, but there never was an alternate timeline with a proper stable time loop

Yes. Original timeline is only present in variant with multiple time dimensions.

1 hour ago, Don Edwards said:

I read a story once where a character was his own father and mother, and also recruited himself into some sort of time-travel-police force.

Talk about a stable time loop...

Who else should be recruiting yourself into time-travel-police force than you? He knows exactly what to say to make you take the job.

And regarding the ultimate incest ... well ... it IS a way how to ensure stability of loop on genetic level ...

However, I wouldn't like to be searching for therapist for that person. Philosophically speaking he has free will, but convincing him about it would be complicated ...

 

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7 hours ago, CritterKeeper said:

Anyone else read the actual book Jurassic Park, instead of just watch the movie?  The company that made the park raised money by showing off a little elephant the size of a cat.

Actually I did read Jurassic Park before the movie came out. In other words, a long time ago. I don't remember the little elephant. I do remember that the guy who had the park built and got dinosaurs brought back was killed by a flock of  Procompsognathus.

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14 minutes ago, Tom Sewell said:

All the great time travel stories are loops. Try Isaac Asimov's The Last Question, if you can find it. About 4,000 words.

There is nothing in that story proving it's true time loop. It may be just example of cyclic model of universe.On the other hand, it's true there is nothing there to disprove it either.

(In fact, one could assume that THIS universe is the one created by AC and that the history will be different here, because the question was already asked. Not that the difference of 105 years would be somehow important when THIS universe will be ending and it's AC will be creating another one.)

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5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Yup. You probably can't reduce the mass of Plutonium, but there are likely other isotopes, less safe to work with but more effective.

Also, it was specified that TDE requires bioelectric field to send something back in time. Leaving aside the issue of T-1000 and T-X, nowhere is specified it must be human. How much harder would be to send something like whale? I'm sure you can fit LOT of plutonium inside whale. It won't really be mobile after transport, but with enough yield, that might not be necessary.

 

The need for the T-800s/850 and T-X to arrive in a crouched position implies that, at least for the models of Time Displacement Device used by Sky.net, the target needs to fit within a spheroid volume of space somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 meters in diameter. It may be possible that Sky.net could create a TDD capable of sending a larger volume given sufficient time and resources, but this has not been seen in any of the five existing movies. But yes, it might be possible for a larger warhead to be wrapped in animal flesh (or a number of small living animals if the organic tissue has to be still-alive at the time of transport). I would suggest a W-80 warhead, which masses 130 kg, is 80 cm long and 30 cm in diameter, with a yield of 150 kilotons.

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14 hours ago, ijuin said:

The need for the T-800s/850 and T-X to arrive in a crouched position implies that, at least for the models of Time Displacement Device used by Sky.net, the target needs to fit within a spheroid volume of space somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 meters in diameter.

Alternatively it's question of, uh, balance? I mean, it is possible the closer the object is to sphere, the easier it is to send.

... ok, it's more likely it's volume. At minimum, it would require building bigger TDE.

14 hours ago, ijuin said:

But yes, it might be possible for a larger warhead to be wrapped in animal flesh (or a number of small living animals if the organic tissue has to be still-alive at the time of transport). I would suggest a W-80 warhead, which masses 130 kg, is 80 cm long and 30 cm in diameter, with a yield of 150 kilotons.

I'm pretty sure you can fit pretty big device inside living animal if you only need it to live for few minutes. It would be cruel but Sky.NET wouldn't have any problems with that.

However, reading wiki, apparently the TDE is quite unreliable, capable of missing both year and city in comics (it seemed quite reliable in movies). Maybe Sky.NET didn't wanted to risk that ...

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