Monday, September 19, 2016


According to Stephen Hawking, there are plausible explanations for no paradox in time travel:
“A possible way to reconcile time travel, with the fact that we don't seem to have had any visitors from the future, would be to say that it can occur only in the future. In this view, one would say space-time in our past was fixed, because we have observed it, and seen that it is not warped enough, to allow travel into the past.”
Carl Sagan made a similar argument during a NOVA interview in the 1990s: “Maybe backward time travel is possible, but only up to the moment that time travel is invented. We haven't invented it yet, so they can't come to us. They can come to as far back as whatever it would be, say A.D. 2300, but not further back in time.”

So, time travel may indeed be possible, but you can’t go back any further than the point at which the time machine was first invented in the space-time line.

This line of reasoning would mean that there would be little chance of a time traveling paradox - - - i.e. going back in time to kill Hitler before World War II. But it also stops future paradoxes since the time traveler would not not what the future holds when he arrives in the future so he cannot change it. But perhaps, his mere presence in the future would cause changes that could alter the future - - - but then, is his arrival already part of that future time line?

The Hawking-Sagan reasoning was not applied in LOST. The characters quickly time skipped to the past (1970s) and to the future-present. There was no logical or systemic way the island took only a few characters along for the time ride, while leaving others in different time periods in the same place. In LOST's time travel loops, it is more likely that there were not truly time-space jumps but hallucinations, simulations, vivid dreams or laboratory rat experiments to challenge and change the main characters behaviors.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


The Guardian (UK) reports that the old stories from ancient Egypt will get a modern translation.

Toby Wilkinson said he had decided to begin work on the anthology because there was a missing dimension in how ancient Egypt was viewed: “The life of the mind, as expressed in the written word.”

The written tradition lasted nearly 3,500 years and writing is found on almost every tomb and temple wall. Yet there had been a temptation to see it as “mere decoration”, he said, with museums often displaying papyri as artefacts rather than texts.

The public were missing out on a rich literary tradition, Wilkinson said. “What will surprise people are the insights behind the well-known facade of ancient Egypt, behind the image that everyone has of the pharaohs, Tutankhamun’s mask and the pyramids.”
Hieroglyphs were pictures but they conveyed concepts in as sophisticated a manner as Greek or Latin script, he said. Filled with metaphor and symbolism, they reveal life through the eyes of the ancient Egyptians. Tales of shipwreck and wonder, first-hand descriptions of battles and natural disasters, songs and satires make up the anthology, titled Writings from Ancient Egypt.

Penguin Classics, which is releasing the book on Wednesday, described it as a groundbreaking publication because “these writings have never before been published together in an accessible collection."

Wilkinson, a fellow of Clare College and author of other books on ancient Egypt, said some of the texts had not been translated for the best part of 100 years. “The English in which they are rendered – assuming they are in English – is very old-fashioned and impenetrable, and actually makes ancient Egypt seem an even more remote society,” he said.

There was a heavy ancient Egyptian theme in LOST. I spent many days trying to translate the set hieroglyphs to determine meaning of the show's plots and basic premise. I always thought there had to be a reason for such difficult detail of set design with the hieroglyphs to NOT mean something important in the show mythology.

The Book of the Dead was the text that stated the ancient belief system of what happened to a person when they died (their body and soul would separate and reunite after a journey through the underworld). But this new book will translate everyday life of the Egyptians: from stories, songs and writings of average farmers to give us a view of what this society was thinking and doing thousands of years ago. I suspect it will be a fascinating read.

Friday, September 2, 2016