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Physicist Claims Time Has a Geometry

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the high-time-to-check-it-out dept.


sciencenews writes to tell us that a physicist at Stanford has just recently published a peer review website for several physics lectures focusing on a single underlying idea that "time is not a single dimension of spacetime but rather a local geometric distinction in spacetime." The science is presented quite clearly and originally uses GPS systems as a point of focus. From the article: "Not too long ago, people thought the Earth was flat, which meant they thought that gravity pointed in the same direction everywhere. Today, we think of that as a silly idea, but at the same time, most people today (including most scientists) still think of spacetime as if it were a big box with 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension. So, like gravity for a flat Earth, the single time dimension for the 'big box universe' points in one direction, from the Big-Bang into the future. A lot of lip service is given to the idea of "curved spacetime", but the simplistic 3+1 'box' remains the dominant concept of what cosmic spacetime is like."

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More information on this theory (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643874)

Is available at the author's website, [] .

Re:More information on this theory (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644178)

Rainier Wolfcastle: Mein eyes, the goggles do nothing!

Perhaps this may finally vindicate.... (-1, Redundant)

xiphoris (839465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643878)

The TIME CUBE [] !!!

Sorry, I had to.

MaWd parent UNDER RATED UnDeR rATEd!! one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643885)

You know you want to se ea guy with +5, Redundant!

Yeah, mod this guy UNDERRATED. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643960)

The AC is right. I'd personally find it amusing to see a 5 Redundant.

Re:Perhaps this may finally vindicate....Time Cube (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643963)

It was that or GNAA!

"Sony justifies all human evil" (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643988)

More like the GAME CUBE [] !!!

Choice quote: "Sony justifies all human evil."

Re:Perhaps this may finally vindicate.... (0, Offtopic)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644031)

Holy fuck! My head asplode. That was seriously probably the worst website evar, not to mention the guy can't write a single full sentence. It's all run ons, and at least 1.00000000001 times as bad as the worst thing I've ever seen on slashdot. That guy used way too much LSD.

I have seen the light! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644055)

I was brought up in a conservative, FSM-fearing family. All my life I believed that the FSM was the one and only divine creator, and that only through His Word I could reach salvation (stripper factory and beer volcano)

Yet, today, as I read the teachings of Dr. Gene Ray for the first time, I finally saw the TRUTH. I have been lied to all my life but my anger only feeds my love for the Cube. We are all sinn^H^H^H^H stupid and only through the glorious Time Cube can we reach the ultimate, 4-corner, polar smartness.

Thank you /. for leading me to the path of enlightenment.

Re:Perhaps this may finally vindicate.... (4, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644109)

Ignorance of the Time Cube, Life Cube &
Ineffable Truth Cube, indicts you Stupid.
Ignoring Cubic Creation indicts you evil.
Singularity God impossible.

Bizarre syntax indicts you schizophrenic.

proof (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643879)

I always knew my high school geometry teacher came from another dimension.

time curves (2, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643881)

Would this allow for a Mobius [] ?

Re:time curves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643919)

10 Where time becomes a loop?
20 GOTO 10

This is "news" how? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643883)

The Time Cube Theory [] dates back to 1997. Give me a break!

Lorentz transform anyone? (4, Interesting)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643890)

I agree that there aren't a lot of people who intuitively reach to the Lorentz transform [] to explain the progression of time, but there are plenty of obvious reasons for that. Not sure it takes a Stanford physics prof. to make what is essentially a epistemological point though.

For kicks, check out one way to visualize the spacetime wheel. []

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643915)

Well, I don't think any serious GR-aware _physicist_ would think that in curved spacetime that time is somehow one global axis any more than left/right or up/down is - such coordinate systems are only locally valid, and physicists talk openly of your time axis being tilted more and more toward the singularity so that it lies in your inescapable future if you're unfortunate enough to enter a black hole. Maybe it does take a Stanford professor to make it clear outside physics circles, or something. It's either blitheringly obvious to you already, or you're generally ignorant of GR and it's just one more thing on a very long list of things you don't know about modern physics.

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (4, Interesting)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643927)

In the derivation of the Lorentz transformation (and consequently, in how most people envision 'spacetime'), we have one time 'direction', which is the same at all times, in all places - all that changes in a relativistic picture is the projection of the spacetime motion onto the time axis.

Conversely, what I think this professor is suggesting that it's not quite so simple as dealing with a single axis, but rather a collection of them, which would mean it's not possible to consider our motion through time with regard to one solitary axis, which would have an effect on many aspects of relativity (although not in the Lorentz derivation shown at the link in your post, I don't think, since in that case our spatial and time axis are simply defined as being the directions of relative motion anyhow, so there this point is moot).

Of course, I could be completely wrong, as it's nearly 2am, I haven't looked at his slides, and my report is turning my brain to mush. I'll have to have a look in the morning when it works again.

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (3, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644081)

Where you go wrong in your post is you miss the key point of relativity. It is true that the Lorentz transform tells you how to go from one time dimension to another. What is not true is your assertion that the initial time dimension is privileged in the transform. The transform is fully symmetric, and in math, that's not just the observation that the two directions merely "look" the same, it is the observation that they are so thoroughly the same that there is no way to tell them apart. (Symmetry arguments are very a powerful tool in the mathematician's toolkit, one of the fundamental ones.)

What this professor is claiming is quite frankly relativity 101. For instance, it is directly addressed in Section 1-1 of Reflections on Relativity [] ; right there in that last diagram is the idea of two distinct time axes with the only distinction between them being which one you happen to be the observer of. We're just barely out of the Preface, and in fact this book happens to develop the idea rather more slowly than some other references!

It takes a real genious to recognize that there is more than one time direction, and that it is "truly true" and not just mathematical sophistry or convenience. But the name of that genious is Albert Einstein, not Alex Mayer.

Sorry, NOT a professor (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644098)

Sorry, I did see this [] before posting, but re-reading the parent comment to my comment made it too easy to say "professor".

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643944)

Thanks for the last link.. for a moment I thought I was tripping out!

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (5, Funny)

bobhagopian (681765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643948)

Agreed. I wondered why a physics professor would take the time to make an obvious and meaningless point such as this (I'm not trying to be mean here, just honest). But a Google and Stanford directory search reveals that he is NOT A PROFESSOR (which he never claimed, Slashdotters just assumed). He is an "Affiliate", which probably means that he's an employee. In fact, it appears that he is a patent examiner [] from Oakland, CA.

I was pointing out his employement as a patent examiner as an explanation of why he might not know all that much about general relativity, but I just now realized how ironic [] that is.

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643966)

./ers assumed correctly, it would seem: ng.html []

He's not a Stanford professor, but he is working there at the moment, which is probably why he described himself as an "affiliate".

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643976)

Hmm. And now I notice that he's listed under visiting Scholars, not visiting professors. My mistake there, apologies. I wonder in what capacity he's actually there as.

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644146)

Googling around a bit, I found reference to an Alex Mayer that was a physics student involved in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program in 1999 at NC State, and another in 2001 recieving an undergraduate tutoring award.

This isn't neccesarily the same person, but it sure raises suspicions. Then, I decided to hit google scholar and search for physics articles dealing with gravity with mayer as an author. The only one I found that came close was AB Mayer, and the author of the linked article is AF Mayer.

No listed credentials on the page, no bio, no information about his education, and no publications in the field. Plus, evidence that he might have been an undergraduate as little as five years ago. Yeah, I'm having a bit of a tough time buying this one.

Re:Lorentz transform anyone? (1, Redundant)

Feezle (605987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644179)

I think this guy [] was a patent examiner too.

The Number of the Beast (2, Informative)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643891)

Robert Heinlein used this as the central idea of his book "Then Number of the Beast" in 1986 The Number of the Beats []

Beats per Beast (2, Funny)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643913)

So what is the optimal BPB for any given beast if the spacetime is curved? -- 666, of course!


Did you even read the book? (2, Informative)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644005)

Multidimensional representations of time do not get you to Oz. "Pantheistic solipsism" does, according to the book. The central idea of that book was that the world was all myth, and as such there's no reason you can't hop from myth to myth, as long as your particular myth was written by someone who will script you to do it. The parallel universes were only parallel in that they were all represented in works of fiction.


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644041)

that is not true

lipservice to spacetime? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643893)

I think this scientist doesn't quite know what is going on. The reason that spacetime is spelled together and not "space time" is preciselly because it is to be regarded as one entity : spacetime. Talking about time separately as being or not being curved is speculation, because there is no "time" separate from "space".

Re:lipservice to spacetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643993)

I'm downloading his 1MB PDF file just for the slashdot effect.

hmm... (5, Insightful)

bobhagopian (681765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643908)

Perhaps someone should tell him that general relativity has already been invented. Physicists know that time has geometry---it is, after all, a part of spacetime, which has geometry. With regard to his claim that GPS has unexplained anomalies, he may be right. However, GPS is based on the Schwarzschild metric, which assumes a non-spinning, point-like mass. The earth is neither of these. Accordingly, there will be small corrections due to the combined effect of earth's spin and its density profile. At present, we are unable to calculate those corrections (we've only solved some important special cases, because the math is so hard), but they almost certainly explain the GPS deviations.

Re:hmm... (2, Informative)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643946)

Physicists know that time has geometry---it is, after all, a part of spacetime, which has geometry

Wasn't this the point he was trying to make? People are very familair with the concept of multiple spatial axes which can lead to spatial geometry (and hence spacetime geometry) but that time is taken as a single, fixed axis, which he thinks isn't the case, which would lead to differences in how many aspects of relativity would have to be interpreted?

Once again, as I mentioned in a post I made above: It's late, and I haven't read his presentations, so I may have completely missed his point. If it is as mundane as you suggest, then this post can be ignored and written off as a sleepy error, and I apologise for the inconvenience.

Lets not forget ... (1)

willtsmith (466546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643956)

We shouldn't forget the effect that the sun and moon's gravitation may have on the orbit of satellites. VERY, VERY minor I agree. But perhaps enough to explain some anomolies.

Re:Lets not forget ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643975)

Yes, anomalies like your spelling.

Re:Lets not forget ... (1)

mfago (514801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644009)

The Sun and Moon have significant effects on satellite orbits and I would hope that GPS already accounts for these. I'd give exact numbers, but my copy of B.M.W. is elsewhere -- I recall that it is on the order of 10%.

I agree (1)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643986)

His tone is off. Don't gripe to us about how we're like flatearthers for using the current (empirically consistent) model. If you've got a better model show us your predictions and let us test it. Jeez, he sounds like an IDer. (ID=intelligent design)

Close (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644050)

Time is generally regarded as a "special case", in that it is not possible to move backwards in time, or rotate an object such that the time axis is pointing along a space axis and vice versa. Well, almost. I'll argue that it does actually allow the latter, just not in any trivial case.

Spacetime perceives time as a one dimensional vector that is orthogonal to all other vectors. Because relativistic equations for time, distance, mass, etc, use a sqare root function, you get imaginary distances and imaginary time when an object exceeds C. Usually, an imaginary quantity means that you're looking at the wrong axis.

(Trivial case in point: when solving a quadratic equation, if the parabola doesn't intersect the X axis, you will get a complex number. If you break that down into real and imaginary components, the imaginary components correspond to the displacement in the Y axis for that solution's real component value in the X axis.)

Ergo, if a tachyon exists, it would experience a spacial axis as "time" and the time axis as space, UNLESS "time" is not a single axis, in which case all bets are off.

In consequence of not having a telephone-number IQ, I can only speculate wildly, but I'm going to guess that the relativistic equations do indeed refer to some measure of bleeding between space and time and that no further dimensions are required - for GPS or for any other phenomena governed by relativity. (Superstrings being about the only exception I can think of.)

I personally think that part of the problem is that time IS regarded as "special", whereas perhaps it would be better if it were regarded as special "only as far as absolutely necessary". To the extent that specialness is an extra parameter, you want to eliminate all extra parameters as far as possible (and no further).

Re:Close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644071)

Antimatter is regular matter moving backwards in time. It sounds ridiculous, but it seems to be true. That's why positrons in Feynman diagrams are drawn like electrons pointing the wrong way along the time axis.

Re:Close (2, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644123)

The equations are symmetric, so you can treat antimatter travelling in one direction as being mathematically the same as normal matter travelling in the opposite direction. (In the case of radioactive decay, in order to preserve momentum, you have to have EITHER an antineutrino being emitted OR a neutrino of exactly the same spin being absorbed.)

This leads to the "obvious" conclusion that you should be able to significantly accelerate nuclear decay by emitting neutrinos of just the right spin. (Now all we have to do is figure out how to generate neutrinos!) It should also be possible to reduce (but not totally suppress radioactive decay) by shieling out all incoming neutrinos, as that would eliminate one possible decay path.

Re:Close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644194)

Parent is dreadfully confused. WTF? "Square root function" Probably thinking about SR, not GR.

Get a clue.

Re:hmm... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644152)

He's someone that even thinks that people actually thought Earth was flat, when a spheric Earth has been known for a *very* long time and has even had its size fairly well estimated by the ancient Greeks.

Maybe Cro-Magnon thought the Earth was flat, if he ever wondered about its shape, but that "not too long ago, people thought the Earth was flat" (straight from the article) myth should be left to rest once and for all.

Define what time is first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643917)

I perceive time as energy that changes form. Without this happening there is no time. Although observers will experience time different, the change is constant and proportional with each iteration.

It should be obvious to anyone who understands how an emulator works.


Safety Not Guaranteed (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643918)

Is this so called, "physicist" in this picture? []

Re:Safety Not Guaranteed (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644113)

Alright. I failed my obscure pop culture pop quiz.
Who are the characters in the exact middle and in the upper left corner?

Re:Safety Not Guaranteed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644170)

Top left is the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past and the middle is the time travelling mullet man!

Re:Safety Not Guaranteed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644174)

Yeah he's the "physicist" with the classy mullet in the middle.

1+1=2 solves problems, too... (3, Insightful)

iamelgringo000 (928665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643924)

The novel idea that there are an infinite number of time dimensions in the Universe revolutionizes gravitational theory and much of modern science with it. A number of outstanding scientific mysteries are definitively solved, including observations that lead to the concepts of 'dark energy' and 'dark matter'.

A number of outstanding scientific mysteries are also solved with my new unpublished theory that 1+1 = 2. Doesn't mean that the idea holds water, though.

I think that many problems in academia are because of "publish or perish" advancement. I think this is an example in point.

Re:1+1=2 solves problems, too... (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643947)

that would have made sense if you had said 1+1=5. as it is you are comparing it to something that works and is true but is simply unproven. should have gone with the flat earth theory old boy

Stepping sideways in time... (4, Interesting)

vistic (556838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643925)

If time has many dimensions then I wonder why we perceive it to go forward only (though at different relative rates depending on relative speed). The reason why we perceived gravity to point down only was just a matter of not being able to see the big picture, although I would have thought more people would have noticed the Earth is round sooner, the curve is clearly visible from most mountaintops. So what's the big picture we need to see in order to see more dimensions to time? How do we step back and notice the slight curve in the horizon?

It sure seems like time goes forward only, from my own day to day observations. My mind can't even comprehend what going another direction (except for "backwards") would even mean as a concept.

Cohesion of forces ... (2, Interesting)

willtsmith (466546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644033)

Unless you're editing a movie, it really doesn't make sense considering time as a an axis. It's almost as if time is a cohesion of forces expressed cumulatively across all forces in the universe. As objects move, the relative difference in forces expresses a change. That is time.

So perhaps time would be best understood not as a straight line, but as water sloshing around in a bathtub.

Another aspect of space-time may be a non-uniform fabric. We understand gravity as a curvature of space time. Perhaps there are multiple space times expressed via the three of the fundamental forces. Different fundamental particles are either affected or immune via these overlapping space-times. Particles affect one another via strong nuclear forces. These particles in turn affects the behavior of the whole as expressed across the three space times: gravity, electro-magnetism and weak nuclear.

Those were my thoughts. :shrug:

Re:Stepping sideways in time... (2, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644038)

It sure seems like time goes forward only, from my own day to day observations. My mind can't even comprehend what going another direction (except for "backwards") would even mean as a concept.

The "arrow" of time is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics: physical systems tend to go from ordered states to disordered ones. That's why, for example, you see the glass fall off the table and break, but you don't see the pieces jump from the floor back to the table and reassemble themselves. Most equations in physics work perfectly well with time going in either direction; thermodynamics is an exception.

I'm not sure I'm ready to swallow the idea of multidimensional time -- I'm still not even sure what one-dimensional time is for, although I think physicist John Wheeler said it well: "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once."

Re:Stepping sideways in time... (2, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644103)

I would have thought more people would have noticed the Earth is round sooner, the curve is clearly visible from most mountaintops

I've never understood this argument. I mean in the way past you would be familiar with hills, and familiar with mountains, familiar with valleys, and other such features. One would not be too familiar with globes, and any planets one is aware of appear to be flat discs in the sky. Wouldn't it be more logical to blame the curve on such things as hills or valleys, which are known things, then conclude a globe, which isn't well known?

Re:Stepping sideways in time... (3, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644142)

Having read enough of the article (more specifically, the large PDF file linked to at the bottom right), I can say that his idea is that locally, time points in a single direction, much as gravity does. But elsewhere, time points in a different direction.

I can't say whether I agree or disagree with him. I'd have to see his maths.

If I did, I'd have to conclude that I couldn't say whether I agreed or disagreed with him -- I'd have to understand his maths.

If I did that, I probably couldn't say whether I disagreed or agreed with him. I'd only be able to make strange aardvark-like noises.

However, as for my own current understanding of time, I'd have to say that time appears to be a log of the order of interactions, and secondary derivative interactions, and so on... thus making it locally constant, and globally pointless.

Eh? (1)

Sagara Sozou (726002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643930)

Uhm...aren't there eleven dimensions according to M-Theory?

Re:Eh? (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644003)

Depends. . . What time is it?


I think I just sprained my own brain with that (admittedly lousy) joke.

Re:Eh? (1)

kernel_dan (850552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644202)

Those are spatial dimensions.

As Ford Prefect said... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643935)

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."

so time is really not just monIE? (1)

already_gone (848753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643936)

but a series of segments of existence(s) that have been granted to us in order to take care of one another.

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Warning : possible silly science (3, Insightful)

Gromius (677157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643949)

Not meaning to troll or anything but this has quite a few of the silly science traits. Not saying its junk but a healthy skeptical approach is necessary here.

Basically if it was the genuine article, I would expect the website to list his position with Standford (he appears not be facutly) and his previous work. I didnt see that. The power point presentation has all the signs such as lots of pretty graphs and pictures which "prove" this (although admittedly this is better than most) and a lot of big words. What I would expect to see is a bit of hard maths and maybe one example, he's coming on far too eager. Also he focuses on what it fixes, what does it break? I want some predictions for experiments to measure. Its easy to explain one or two effects with a theory, the real test is what does it predict. I would also expect a link to a preprint explaining this and its abstract. I would go so far that any serious scientist would post a preprint on as the first step of going public.

I'm very doubious about any werid and wonderfull theory coming from somebody who is outside the world of science, as theres a lot of chafe out there. Just go the poster session of the APS annual meeting to see what I mean. Okay its helpfull to keep an open mind, Einstein came from the outside with his really werid seemly crackpot theories but that happens rarely.

Now just to point out I'm not saying its junk, I havnt read it yet, just saying it appears to raise of a few of the warning flags.

Re:Warning : possible silly science (0, Redundant)

drDugan (219551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644176)

I would have to agree. on slide 23, of one of the PDF, his title is "Einstein's Mistake"

Sorry, but the theories of Einstein have revolutionized human understaqnding and withstood ? 80 years or so of tests. Until Alex has his face on the cover of Time magazine AND gives the plenary session at the APS meeting -- he can let other people say he found "the" mistakes in Einstein's work.

too funny

Science vs. Engineering (4, Funny)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643958)

In my experience, scientists who work with such issues are quite clear on this point (and, so far as I can tell, have been for eighty some years).

But for other sorts of scientists (e.g. biologists), engineers, and the rest of us, who only need to calculate things to five or ten decimal places or so, assuming that the time points in the same direction throughout the area of interest (and generally that space is flat and such) is reasonable--so reasonable, in fact, that we'd be nuts not to work with that as an assumption.

If I'm tracking the migration of some sort of beetle or planning a system of trusses to support a load or deciding if I should walk or drive to the store for milk, I would have to be mad to start out treating spacetime as a fine-grained network of plank-scale events with information flow between them determining the local geometry of space time (and thus the direction of time). Likewise with the effects of nearby astronomical bodies--if they were big enough and close enough to seriously distort spacetime I'd have a lot bigger problems to worry about. On average, to the level I'd ever need to deal with in these sorts of cases, it is now and the future is coming up later and the past is what already happened.


In 2030 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14643995)

In 2030, when we're all agents of the Singularity, I'm sure we'll be constructing complete implementations of universes in our heads to envision/solve problems. Then you'll need to understand space(time)^D intuitively just to work the damn IDE.

Crap (0, Redundant)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643964)

Don't tell me the TimeCube guy is right after all?

Flat Earth (5, Insightful)

pinr (596626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643987)

"Not too long ago, people thought the Earth was flat" It's a common misconception and almost modern myth that people in the recent past believed the earth was flat. The truth is that it was generally accepted by most learned people that the earth was spherical from the 1st century onwards and many argued so much earlier. You can read more about this here: []

Re:Flat Earth (1)

GKThursday (952030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644080)

Thank you! I was skimming through to see if anyone had posted on this. Aristotle said the Earth was round, so that is what the Church taught. (Though he underestimated the size of the Earth, at least he knew its shape.) When will people give earlier eras the credit they deserve?

Re:Flat Earth (2, Interesting)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644149)

(Though he underestimated the size of the Earth, at least he knew its shape.)

Really? I don't remember his measurements in his writings, but two generations before him Thales had measured the diameter of the earth within a few percent of our modern measurements. In fact, when Columbus was convincing the Spanish to fund his voyage, he had to lie to convince them that the earth was smaller than it actually was.

I don't think any culture that had a concept of "gravity" (even though Aristotle thought it was an inherent downward tendency of heavy objects, rather than a mutual attraction) that didn't also understand that the earth is roughly spherical. Hell, if you have sailboats it's almost impossible not to notice it.

Re:Flat Earth (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644195)

Actually, it was Eratosthenes [] who first measured the Earth. Thales was the first philosopher.

Maybe time is Spherical (0)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643990)

That would explain a few things. Or even better yet, mobius strip-like. We're traveling on the surface, without anyway to go "out" and keep going in cycles. Without a way to mark our spot (putting something in a time period, waiting to come back to it), because nothing appears to be immune to the effects of time, we'd have a hard time proving it.

Think about it, much of what we use to explain time (planetary cycles) involves spheres or elliptical rotations/paths. Our planet comes back to the same "spot" (well relatively close anyhow) every year... why should time be any different?

Re:Maybe time is Spherical (1)

MutantHamster (816782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644016)

"Yes, that sequence of words you said makes perfect sense."

Re:Maybe time is Spherical (2, Funny)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644025)

When this story gets duped, I'll be looking for this exact same comment.

And my response to it.

Re:Maybe time is Spherical (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644093)

I knew that you knew that I knew that knew that I was going to post that again.

Re:Maybe time is Spherical (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644177)

Our planet comes back to the same "spot" (well relatively close anyhow) every year... why should time be any different?

Well, perhaps because our planet doesn't to that either. You seem to have forgotten that our star rotates around a galactic center and wobbles up and down on that path as well. Add to that our galaxy's movement and you miss the mark rather significantly.

Revolutionary stuff (3, Insightful)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14643997)

Reading his paper/presentation it seems like he is throwing out the theory of relativity, and most of modern astrophysics.

I am a bit skeptical towards those who make revolutionary claims like this and publish it to the general public instead of in scientific journals.


Re:Revolutionary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644023)

Could be a political move. If you want to get a theory accepted, perhaps it might be better to appeal to someone outside the world of science..?

Re:Revolutionary stuff (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644133)

It doesn't throw it out. I needs it. At the core of this idea is that red-shift that is part of relativity is not the result of every thing accelerating away from us, but the gradual shifts in relative time vectors across the universe. So things that appear to be very old because they are very red shifted and must be the furthest from us in 3-D space might not be that old but red-shifted because of phase / vector of time they exist in relative to our local time vector.

This is an augment to relativity, not a replacement.

That's all great for science, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644011)

It's 2006! Where's my flying car???

Is the theory valid?.. (2, Funny)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644013)

Only Time will tell...

teehee~ (sorry.)

damn it, no one ever thought the earth was flat! (4, Informative)

mickyflynn (842205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644014) [] -- This is one myth that really needs to die! Even more so than that Betsy Ross was involved with the American Flag.

direction(s) of time (5, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644018)

I admit I haven't read every word of his two massive sets of lecture slides. He seems to be trying to make the case that various anomalies in astronomical and geodetic data point to something wrong with general relativity. That would be cool, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and although we know that general relativity is not the correct theory of gravity at the Planck scale, there's every reason to believe that it's correct at the classical scale. If you want to read about tests of classical general relativity, check out the book Was Einstein Right? by Clifford Will. He discusses various alternatives to general relativity and how they've been tested.

There is definitely a good case to be made that the past-versus-future arrow of time is not fundamental. Basically our psychological sense that the past is different from the future comes from the direction of the thermodynamic arrow of time, but the second law of thermodynamics doesn't come from the basic laws of physics (which are essentially time-reversal symmetric) but from the boundary conditions of the universe: for some reason unknown to us, we had a low-entropy big bang. The meaning of "past" is really "that way to the big bang."

It's also probably true that in a complete theory of quantum gravity, the picture of three space dimensions plus one time dimension (3+1) would break down completely at small scales. The whole idea of distance and dimensionality is probably a large-scale approximation that loses its validity at small scales. There is a strong argument [] to be made that for fundamental reasons, spacetime must be discrete, not continuous, at the Planck scale. The only people seriously trying to construct discrete theories of quantum gravity right now seem to be the people doing loop quantum gravity (not string theory, which uses a flat 3+1 background of spacetime). For a good popular-level account of this kind of stuff, see Smolen's Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. In loop quantum gravity, they are able to construct an infinite set of possible universes (each one is a type of knot), but the problem is that none of them can be proved to resemble flat 3+1 spacetime, even asymptotically. In other words, there's no way you can even take this tangle of events and figure out whether it has anything like time and space that you can define on it. It's like being a flea living in a world that consists of threads woven together. On your scale, can't be sure whether it's a one-dimensional piece of yarn, a two-dimensional piece of fabric, or a three-dimensional wad of wool.

Actually... (2, Insightful)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644021)

...people never thought the world was flat. For millenia, we've noticed that you see the top of a ship in the horizon before the rest of it, which was attributed to the world's spherical shape. One of the great Greek mathematicians also accurately determined the circumference of the Earth within a couple of miles, if I recall.

Re:Actually... (2, Interesting)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644102)

...but it must have been difficult when one went on to extrapolate from that observation indicating curvature. The problem being, if you came to the conclusion that the earth was a sphere (or at least curved), then clearly people beyond the horizon would slid right off the earth, along with trees and hills, and even the ocean would drain away. Since you knew, even in ancient times, that doesn't happen, then clearly the earth wasn't curved. The curvature had to be just an illusion of some sort. (This is only my personal speculation of how one may have reasoned.)

Riemann already came up with this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644024)

The dumb shit has obviously never heard of Riemannian geometry [] or the fucking Riemann metric tensor []

There Is No Time Dimension (0)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644032)

Time is abstract. A temporal dimension makes motion impossible. Why? Because (surprise) nothing moves in time or spacetime as time is not a variable by definition. This is the reason that Sir Karl Popper called spacetime "Einstein's block universe in which nothing ever happens" (Conjectures and Refutations). See Nasty Little Truth About Spacetime [] for more info.

Re:There Is No Time Dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644107)

Great, let's confuse variables, ignore calculus, oversimplify things and forget that physical equations are a model for reality, not reality itself.

Re:There Is No Time Dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644116)

time ISN'T abstract, that's the whole idea. go back to school. if that's accurate, popper had about as much a grasp on the mechanics of relativity as you do. let's play the wake up game and realize philosophy is the art of clinging to common sense.

Re:There Is No Time Dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644184)

Wow. Just... wow.

That's the most inspired crackpottery I've had the pleasure to read yet this year.

A request, though: could you add a YHBT hint somewhere at the end, for the slow thinkers? Maybe a link to TIME CUBE... unless, maybe that'd be too obvious.

Anyway, keep up the good work; I particularly loved the way you subtly twist the idea of "time" to make it an unobservable, unmeasurable quality and then gently follow the reductio ad absurdum this leads to. The demand for leading physicists to "apologise" is the icing on the cake. Great stuff!

Big Bong Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644043)

How does this relate to the Big Bong theory again? Is it that I just have to have used one?

IIRC, if you have more than one dimension of time, everything goes to shit and we may as well just pack our bags, move back to the canopy, and fling sh*t at each other.

Publishing options? (1)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644061)

"Imagine that 'the arrow of time' in the Universe, like gravity on Earth, is pretty much the same everywhere, yet also different everywhere relative to everywhere else. That means that the 'arrow of time' points in different directions in spacetime depending on where you are, so time has a geometry just like space has a geometry. The novel idea that there are an infinite number of time dimensions in the Universe revolutionizes gravitational theory and much of modern science with it. A number of outstanding scientific mysteries are definitively solved, including observations that lead to the concepts of 'dark energy' and 'dark matter'."

Heady claims. Interesting that he's publishing this first in a book and a website, rather than in a peer-reviewed journal, unless I missed mention of a journal somewhere. Such brazen moves seem to bring more scorn than regard from fellow scientists, Stephen Wolfram being a prime example. Wonder Alexander Mayer will fare with his theory...

Clearly a scam to get Dept. of Homeland Security $ (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644078)

This is a well crafted scam to get Department of Homeland money. Just look at the data! Our GPS satellite network is suffering from a sawtooth anomaly! The only way to fix this and restore security to our country is to give this guy DoH grant money! :)

Wow, maybe the Unverse just changed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644083)

Some of the poo poo comments I read must echo what was said about Einstein a nearly a century ago, and about string theory a generation ago. (Though one has to wonder if M-theory works if the appearance of a single time dimension is a local phenomena. It might since the extra dimensions the math describes are less than nanoscopic and themselves a local phenomena.

Of course maybe this fits better. Maybe 3-D space is the only space that is universal or maybe like the m-theory tiny dimentions even 4-D space is twisted and warped.

That would make wormholes not these odd tubes between locations as we think of them, but just places were the warped and twisted dimensions of the Universe intersect each other.

Anyway... I looked at the main presentation and while I will never get the math, the model and how it applies to some known results makes sends. Fun Fun Fun... Did we really think Einstien would be the last to redefine the universe on this scale?

First! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644086)

Actually this is a guess... I'm calculating that this is 5 seconds after that "discovery of geometric space-time" article was posted back way in 2006.

The implications (1)

CaspianXI (935014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644130)

2-dimentional space implies that you can move forward, backward, left, and right. 3-dimentional space adds the motion of up and down.

According to this physicist, the "old" notion of is that with time, we can only move in one direction -- forward. Supposing that he's right, and we have 2 or 3 dimentions in time, we'd be able to move backward, up, down, left, and right in time -- people would be able to switch between several "tracks" in time.

This might work in theory, but I've never observed it.

Sure, we may be able to achieve a "time shift" someday, but that doesn't add a new dimention to time.

1.21 Gigawatts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14644190)

1.21 Gigawatts

heh, yeah (1)

FlippyTheSkillsaw (533983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644140)

Okay, why is this guy targetting the stupid masses if his theory is so conclusive? That link is like reading an ad for something that may or may not work. It danced around any factuality. Used some current terms like "dark matter" and pointed people to either being a)like those who didn't believe the Earth was round or b)part of the growing masses that believe the stuff that he didn't really explain. Something akin to a religion, really.

Let me try to sum it up:

The world doesn't work the way everybody thinks. People on a large scale can be wrong, you know? Now, are you one of the "right" people or the "wrong" people? The principles of the way the world does work haven't been included, but make your decision!

I'm convinced... (2, Funny)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644143)

Well I read the article and went through the power point presentation using Open Office :-)

I must admit, I'm convinced that time is different depending on where a person is. I know it for a fact 'cause where I'm sitting it took FOREVER to work through that presentation! Ugggghhhhh....

Most People? (1)

Beebos (564067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644153)

".but at the same time, most people today (including most scientists) still think of spacetime as if it were a big box with 3 space dimensions and 1 time dimension. ..."

That is, if by most people you mean .000001 percent of the population.

Flat time theory (0, Troll)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644188)

Time is flat. It's been a well established fact for thousands of years. It relates to timespace in that when you fall off the edge of the world you also fall out of time. Einstein was right in that if you could make the sun rotate in the opposite direction around the earth you'd go back in time. The updated text books including Intellegent Design will also include a passage on Flat Time Theory. With the support of the current administration the US should once again be world leaders in science and technology. Now if we can get some of those pesky laws of motion and energy conservation off the books we might get a working perpetual motion machine!

time is always the + 1? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14644199)

I'm not that great at math but my conception of time has always been that time is our movement through dimensions that we can't directly sense. Probably a naive concept but it always worked for me and probably not as silly as the idea of flat one directional time.
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