Tag: Timeline

Day 1000: How It Ends

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Inside this cubicle the air is thick as honey, with asphyxiating flecks of the mundane bracing against the irrefutable promise of a golden weekend. Outside these pin-cushion partitions – and indeed inside as well – every tiny molecule in the universe is saying its goodbyes to its neighbors and preparing to splash into the unknown permutations of a distant someday. My fingers hammer at these tiny plastic letters, fully ignorant of what’s to come.

Or are they? The hallowed fingers of esteemed science – no doubt similar in size and shape to my own, only tasked with a far more specific purpose – have combed back the hair of the observable now and picked at the scalp-nits of projection. The fields of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and a cabinet full of –ologies have given us a map of what’s to come. A timeline of time’s last hurrah.

And the best part? If any of these predictions are wrong, every record of them will likely be destroyed before anyone finds out. That’s my kind of science.

Genetics-1

Within 10,000 years, human genetic variation will no longer be regionalized. This won’t mean we’ll all look the same – the blonde gene will still speckle crowds and set up offensive jokes, but it will be distributed equally worldwide. This forecasted panmixia is far more optimistic than astrophysicist Brandon Carter’s Doomsday Argument, which places our present at roughly the halfway point of humankind’s civilized journey, and projects a 95% likelihood that we’ll be wholly extinct in 10,000 years.

If global warming hasn’t already soaked us into a Kevin Costner-esque hellscape by then, we may also be facing the melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which will raise the sea levels by 3 or 4 meters above wherever it will be once we lose the rest of the polar ice caps, which should happen long before then.

Long term forecast: buy a big-ass boat. Read more…

Day 674: How To Screw Yourself Over In One Simple Temporal Paradox

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So Marty McFly shows up back in 1985, the timeline restored and the set-up in place for a whacky epilogue. His parents are now confident and healthy, his brother has an office job and his sister no longer dresses in thrift-store rejects. But wait… why does his brother still live at home? Why does the family end up in the same banal future slum-house when clearly their very beings have been existing in an improved state for the past three decades? And why does it seem like George Mcfly was going grey when he still had the slick-black Brylcreem look in the original timeline?

Unfortunately, every time travel story seems to end up splatting paradox juice all over the walls upon closer analysis. And while generations of brilliant minds nevertheless attempt to rationalize the possibility of temporal jet-setting, we are still shoulders-deep in what-ifs. And despite our fantasies of returning to high school and telling our younger selves not to ask out that hell-wrought shrew that messed up the last part of our senior year, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Besides, there are more serious implications to consider. Time travel is not for the soft-hearted or for those prone to spiraling headaches when confronted with circular trains of thought that derail into themselves. Before you strap yourself into that DeLorean you’d best prepare yourself for the implications of the Grandfather Paradox.

PairODocks

Not to be confused with your grandfather’s pair o’ docks.

This conundrum of time travel is fairly simple to understand: if you were to travel back in time and murder your grandfather before he had children, what would happen? Simple – you would have never been born. But then you wouldn’t have travelled back and murdered him. Therefore you would have been born. And you would have travelled back to murder him. And so on, until your brain explodes. Read more…

Day 600: A Look At What’s To Come

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Whenever I reach a round number in this all-consuming project I like to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come, or how much volunteer charity work I might have done had I not been spending a couple hours every day writing bacon jokes and references to 1980’s-era sitcoms. But today, as the bejeweled crown of 600 rests its weighty crown-ass upon my trembling hairline, I want to look forward.

As always, my trusty companion – Wikipedia – is here to assist, with a handy timeline of near-future events. Not being a naturally meticulous planner, it’s good to know that someone is looking out for future-me. I’m going to plunk these dates into my iPhone calendar and, like everything that I enter into that app, never look at them again.

After all, I’ve got things to do. I’ve got a life to live. Or, because I’ve come this far and already accepted that I’ll have no time for a life until this project is over, I’ve got 400,000 more words to write.

Here’s what we have to look forward to:

IndependentScotland

–       2014 will be a busy year. The World Trade Center will be completed in New York, US and UK troops will wave goodbye to Afghanistan, and Scotland will hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. If it passes, it will come as a shock to millions of North Americans who already believed Scotland has been its own country for centuries. Read more…