It’s About Time….

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At the outset let me apologize to AE (Albert Einstein) because am not at all happy about the way time or should I say space-time(aren’t they related?? Yeah!! Relativity!) has completely taken over our lives. Space-time, because we are always trying to reach from point A to point B in the least possible time. Be it the office, a rendezvous point to meet the client, trying to go up the corporate ladder, trying to better our social status, you name it. We are completely overwhelmed by the clock and the deadlines. We are now lifelong hostages of the digits or the pointed hands in the clock.

I can hardly think of any activity over the weekdays that is not governed by time. And by the way AE, why does time travel faster on weekends?? Just when it seems that the weekend has started, you have the specter of a dark and gloomy Monday hovering over you. To me, time is a monster that has gone berserk, devouring everyone and everything in this universe.However, the moot question remains, does time really exist? Time to apologize to AE again since am taking a shot at deciphering time(minus the space)with my peanut sized intellect.

It is the difference between now and then, before and after, here and there. In other words, any change results in time. It could be change in the state of the object, change in its position, change in its size, change in colour or even change in the sound or noise level. This is my theory but there are some interesting theories about time.

 

A Theory : Introduced by the Scottish idealist and philosopher John McTaggart in 1908. According to this theory, the events can be ordered as past, present and future. They call it a “tensed” theory. This is what we have readily accepted about time. But hold on, there is another theory…

B Theory : Again introduced by John McTaggart in 1908. This theory subscribes to a “tenseless” concept of time. It does away with the concept of flow of time. In other words, the past, present and the future all exist at the same time. Now this is very interesting. What this effectively means is at this moment, I exist in a specific time slice in the Einstein 1932spacetime fabric (Sorry AE for trampling again on your spacetime fabric!) and that each time slice is connected to the next one forming what I understand as my lifetime. It is like a film being played out but who or how is it decided if it is being played forward or backwards? Isn’t it all relative? I can already feel AE glaring at me.

Dr.Bradford Skow, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has proposed that space-time is like a “Block universe” where past, present and the future all exist together. He further elaborates that we are spread out in space-time in a “temporarily scattered” condition!!

If I were to take a look at my entire lifetime, I would need to transcend my existing reference time-frame and this is what I may see. My entire lifetime on something like a film strip.

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My Lifetime

images (4)Interestingly, in The Bhagwad Gita too there is a reference to the timelessness(Na Bhuto na Bhavishyati) of the spiritual soul. So if am that spiritual soul (no… don’t laugh), I was, I am and I will be or just, I continue to be..!!  See AE, it is even messing up the grammar.

Now if we go beyond the argument of the existence of time and observe its behavior, scientists have found that time behaves differently near the Earth and away from it. They have conducted experiments with two similar clocks, one placed near the ground and another placed few feet above the ground. The clock placed above ticked few billionth of a second faster than the one near the ground. As it turns out, time flows faster away from gravity.  This is also known as Time Dilation.

All objects in the universe warp space-time and thus affect gravity.

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Two dimensional space-time warp

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Three dimensional space-time warp

The heavier the object, greater is the warping of space-time. Hmm.. may be that is the reason why Elephants and Whales move slowly.

Time is also affected by motion. The faster you move, slower the time flow. They (scientists) actually sent an atomic clock on a plane around the world and when it came back, it was slower by about 230 nanoseconds. Now that’s not exactly a lot of time but if you do manage to travel somewhere near or equal to the speed of light and more importantly do manage to come back, you could possibly be enacting the scene in Interstellar where your daughter would be the age of your grandmother.

Another quirky quality of time: Different people perceive the same event occurring at different speeds. Enter AE again..!

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What??

He claimed that events that appear simultaneous to a moving person may not occur simultaneous to a person standing still. So we may have individuals living in their own timelines or time cocoons. Could be the reason why some people appear more aged compared to their actual age than others.

 

Time stops outside of a black hole. A black hole is a point in space-time which is incredibly dense due to insane force of gravity. The gravity is so strong that even light bends towards it or if the source of light is inside the black hole, it may never come out. main-qimg-c5fc977b65066309384fa3e1a84fa1aaMost interesting aspect of this “gravitational singularity” is that time stops. So if you were to observe Superman going into a black hole, first you would see him slowing down as he gets near the “event horizon” and as soon as he just crosses the event horizon, he would appear completely still! Forever! That’s because time stands still at the event horizon. However for Superman, time would pass in the exact normal way as it would on Krypton or on Earth.

It is pretty clear now that time is not such an innocent creature after all. Its behavior differs from place to place, person to person, speed to speed and last but not the least, it plays games with your brain. There are four very simple things you can do to escape its effects:

  1. Push it to the event horizon.
  2. Get out of your existing reference time frame.
  3. Travel at the speed of light.
  4. Settle inside a black hole.

It’s about time……

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Flight 19

The crew and plane of "Flight 19." (Credit: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Flight 19 crew

It was a clear day at the Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on December 5th, 1945. Five Grumman Avenger TBMs(Torpedo Bombers) were ready for take off on a training mission. These group of five planes were given the designation “Flight 19”. Flight 19 was eventually called the “Lost Patrol”. The Avengers first entered service in 1942 and saw action in the Battle of Midway. It was the heaviest single engine aircraft of WWII. It could carry a payload of 2000 lbs of bombing munitions with a range of 1000 miles. Flight 19 was led by Lieutenant Charles Taylor who had 2500 hours of flying experience. Taylor had 13 trainees with him on that training mission each with around 300 hours of flying experience.

Image result for Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station the origin of “Flight 19.”

Grumman Avenger TBMs

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Flight 19 mission path and the probable path it took

The mission plan was simple. Head out east into the sea up to Hens & Chicken Shoals to practice a bombing run. Then proceed further east on to the Bahamas and turn North and fly about 73 miles. After that turn back and head straight to the Naval Air Station in Florida. At 2:10 p.m. the flight took off on the designated flight path. The weather was cooperating well with the flight plans. At 3:30 pm, Taylor radioed the control tower saying that his compass was malfunctioning and reported seeing a chain of islands which he thought was Florida Keys. Florida keys are located down south from the Naval Air Station from where the Flight 19 took off. He believed that they had flown South due to the malfunctioning compass instead of east.

The control tower instructed him to fly north towards Miami only if he was sure he was over the Florida Keys. He complied and turned north. It was not clear as to what made Taylor think he was over the Keys. He had actually started off correctly towards the east but now he had turned north and headed out further into the sea. At 3:45 p.m. Taylor contacted the control tower again, this time sounding worried. He could not see any land mass and was confused about his bearing. At the same time, another transmission picked up a trainee pilot saying that if they headed west, they would reach home. But the flight commander apparently did not agree.

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Ft. Lauderdale Naval Station

Those were the days when GPS was not yet invented. The pilots then had the starting point, time, speed and the compass to calculate the location and navigate.There is another interesting piece of trivia here. Though Lieutenant Taylor was an experienced pilot, he had a history of getting lost. During the WWII he was lost thrice out of which twice he had to ditch the plane to be rescued. At about 4:45 pm, it was evident to the personnel at the Naval base that Flight 19 was lost and Taylor was instructed to hand over the command to one of the trainees but apparently he refused.

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Martin Mariner rescue seaplane

At 5:50 p.m. the communications center did manage to trace the Flight 19 on radar. Apparently, they were east of the Smyrna Beach, Florida. However, by now the radio communications had almost broken down and the weather too was getting heavy. The Avengers were now running low on fuel and if they did not locate land soon, they would have to ditch in sea. All contact was now lost with Flight 19 and the authorities at the Naval Station dispatched two Martin Mariner planes in search at 7:27 p.m. Search operations continued throughout the night and the next day but none of the Avengers could be located. To complete the double whammy, both the Martin Mariners too were lost and never found!

The next 5 days the Navy used more than 300 boats and aircraft to search for the missing Flight 19 aircraft and the rescue aircraft but failed to find any oil leaks, broken parts or any wreckage. In fact, to this day none of the Flight 19 Avengers or even the rescue planes could be found! A Navy board set up for investigation too could not arrive at any conclusion and attributed to loss to “causes or reasons unknown”. Incidentally, a major part of the Flight 19’s planned flight path falls within the Bermuda Triangle and in the absence of any plausible explanations, many theories about parallel dimensions, alien abductions and magnetic and gravity anomalies are being floated.

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Along with the disappearance of Flight 19 itself, there are other strange questions that remain unanswered. Witnesses claim that Lieutenant Taylor arrived several minutes late for the pre-exercise briefing and requested to be excused from leading the mission and trying to get out of that flight. Another unexplained  fact is why none of the members of Flight 19 made use of the rescue radio frequency or their planes’ ZBX receivers, which could have helped lead them toward Navy radio towers on land. The pilots were told to switch the devices on, but they either didn’t hear the message or didn’t acknowledge it. Whatever happened that evening has cemented the Bermuda Triangle’s reputation which continues to intrigue us even today.

Tunguska Event

tunguska2Morning time, 07:14 a.m., June 30th, 1908. Location, the stony Tunguska river in eastern Siberia, Russia. The morning calm is shattered by a monstrous explosion, the most powerful natural explosion ever recorded in history. It is said that the explosion was a 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The area is sparsely populated and hence human casualties were minimum, one local deer herder reportedly died. However, there was extensive damage to the flora and fauna. The explosion flattened an area of more that 2000 sq.km(770 sq miles). Hundreds of reindeer were reduced to charred carcasses.Some of the eyewitnesses reported seeing the entire sky engulfed in fire followed by deafening explosion and then noise like stones crashing or gunfire. The shock wave was registered by seismic stations across Eurasia measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. It also caused fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure that were detected in England. Here is an eyewitness account as recorded by Leonid Kulik’s expedition.

“At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara Trading Post [65 kilometres/40 miles south of the explosion], facing north. […] I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul’s Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest [as Semenov showed, about 50 degrees up—expedition note]. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn, a part of the iron lock snapped.”

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However, there was little immediate interest shown by the Russian Government which could be due to the political strife and the impending Russian revolution. It was only after about 20 years in 1927 that an expedition led by Leonid Kulik visited the spot to investigate. What he found was a large area of flattened trees about 50 km wide in a strange butterfly shape. He surmised that a meteor had exploded above the area but curiously there was no crater at ground zero. Later, to explain this he suggested that the ground was covered in swamps and was too soft to hold the debris. It could have been buried few meters deep. In 1938, he wrote in his conclusions that they would find the substances usually associated with such meteors at a depth of about 25 meters. Russian researchers later said that it could have been a comet. Comets are commonly made up of ice and dust and it could have evaporated while entering the earth’s atmosphere which made sense since no alien substances were found. But an exact convincing explanation still eluded the researchers.

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In the absence of a convincing proof, many interesting theories were put forth. One such theory was that the explosion was caused by matter and anti matter collision. If that happens, particles get destroyed resulting in release of extreme bursts of energy. Another one suggested crash of a huge alien spaceship! In 2008, an Italian team of scientists suggested that lake Cheko, 5 miles north-north-west of the explosion’s epicenter could be the impact crater. Curiously, this lake was not on the maps before the Tunguska event. Luca Gasperini of the University of Bologna, Italy believes that there is no other way to explain the origin of that lake. However, other scientists were quick to dismiss this idea pointing to the well grown and unaffected trees all around the lake. In the event of an impact, the vegetation around the lake would have been completely destroyed. Another interesting theory attributes the explosion to Nikola Tesla! And why not??!! Tesla is known to have done things that amaze us even today. As it turns out, Nikola Tesla was working on his most ambitious project yet, the Wardenclyffe tower. With this, he envisaged worldwide wireless communications, worldwide transmission of free electricity and a defensive directed energy weapon.

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However, funding for this project was stopped by J.P. Morgan who obviously did not want free energy to be distributed throughout the world. It is said that a disillusioned Tesla wanted to demonstrate the power of his directed energy weapon and aimed it at the at the North pole. But a calculation mistake resulted the weapon overshooting the North pole and ultimately Tunguska had the bear the brunt. In the absence of concrete proofs there are numerous theories floating around, some plausible, some bizarre. Since 1908, more than 1000 scholarly papers have been published on the event and the event still continues to be investigated. Whatever it was, the jury is still out as to what exactly happened that morning on 30th June 1908.