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WOO IN REVIEW: Lost - 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie' (TIME TRAVEL CONTEST) PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

WOO IN REVIEW TIME TRAVEL CONTEST - Lost: 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie'
(ABC)

This review contains information on the plots of 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie'. If you have not yet seen these episodes and do not want spoilers, read no further. The episodes are also available online here. HOWEVER, for those who HAVE NOT SEEN THE SHOW: YOU CAN STILL ENTER THE CONTEST. Scroll to the very bottom of this article and read numbers two and three for information on how to enter with no Lost knowledge whatsoever.lostintro

Lost, if you haven't seen it, is pretty impossible to explain – especially now that we've entered season five, and the lives of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are so muddled with random eerie island crap that watching an episode in the middle is the equivalent of flipping open a Bible repeatedly, citing a single random word from each page, and then trying to moosh them together into a storyline that makes comprehensible sense.

Things happen so quickly during each episode that you may find yourself stranded on your own island of confusion. So, if you have never watched the show you may want to go ahead and rent the DVDs rather than tune in now. 

The series was created by J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are the main writers for the show. I assume the whole group dropped acid a few moments prior to the show's creation, because that's the only way I assume a person could fathom of genetically altered polar bears that hang out on a tropical island and a smoke monster that shows you your past, judges you, and then either kills you or apparently gives you superpowers – or, at the very least, an uncanny ability to tell when it's going to rain, and an irrepressible urge to hold your hands skyward when you're right.

The series began with one of the most expensive pilots ever created (it cost between ten and fourteen million dollars), an unbelievably dedicated cast, and crazy sentient-island antics. It hooked people the way that Dan Brown did with his novel The Da Vinci Code by giving a series of mysteries and cliffhangers that had the audience drooling for more. Lost was pretty much guaranteed a loyal fan base, and the members jealously guarded theories and spoilers in secret Lost Forums so hidden that you had to solve puzzles to even be granted access as a member.

The show also hosted forums that featured areas for each actor in the show, and, as a member, you could pose questions to the cast and they would actually answer online.

And during the downtime of the show, particularly during the summer, the Lost fun didn't stop. The Summer Lost Games were introduced to keep the attention of the fans. During reruns of the Lost episodes, if you kept an eye out, you would see a fake commercial for the Hanso Foundation which would give a URL or a phone number. Visiting the URL or dialing the number revealed a series of puzzles, sort of like Volvo: The Hunt

So, though you would think that a show so insistent that you start from the beginning of the series would never increase the number of fans, Lost managed it by granting exclusive access to the cast, creating secret groups of hardcore fans, and revealing its mysteries even when the show wasn't airing new episodes.

Lost fans, therefore, are kind of a rabid breed. 

The popularity of Lost took a dive, however, in season four – when the writer's strike kept fans waiting a bit too long for the next piece of the puzzle. The episodes of season four were not the best; and all seemed a little rushed to get the content of the season out in as few episodes as possible. Heroes also had this issue, proving, it seems, that it is more important to spew out a storyline so you can give up and move to the next season than actually retain the interest of the fans. 

In some kind of crazy ripple effect, the problems have carried over into season five of Lost, which premiered last night with two new episodes: 'Because You Left' and 'The Lie'. 

All I can say is... Lost has begun to buckle under the weight of its own ego.

I have applauded Lost in the past for educating its audience while keeping the show entertaining – something that Dan Brown and Heroes both failed to do. Nearly every episode of Lost has featured a moment where one of the main characters is holding a book, and the books chosen always have something to do with the plot of the episode – only you must read the selections to find out how. For instance, one episode contained a shot of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This was at a time when the Lost characters were often seeing things they believed could not be real, and their hallucinations were personal – there was no outside observer to tell them if, say, Hurley's imaginary friend was really imaginary. In order to figure out the association between The Turn of the Screw and the plot of Lost, you would have to go read it and discover that the governess who was seeing ghosts in the novella was the only one to witness anything strange. And if you searched deeper, you would find controversy between literary critics who tried to decide whether the ghosts were actually there or if the governess was insane.

The show also featured books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Lancelot, The Third Policeman, A Brief History of Time, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, and A Moveable Feast. A reading list constructed solely from books featured on Lost would leave you extremely educated in literature. 

And that's completely ignoring other educational elements as well – symbols on the island, like the bagua from the I Ching, the swan symbol from Desmond's hatch, and the number 108 had fans everywhere clamoring for reference books to discover that The Odyssey's Penelope had 108 suitors (and that the Lost character, Desmond, had a girlfriend named Penelope), or that the bagua has been called a symbol of the creation of the world, or that in Greek tradition the swan is the symbol of the muse.

Many of the Lost characters were named for philosophers, including Hume, Rousseau, and Locke

Some of the names were anagrams, like Ethan Rom. Some were literary references, like Charlotte Staples-Lewis (C.S. Lewis). Some were named for scientists, like Daniel Faraday. And suddenly, because of Desmond's hatch, much more of the world became aware what a Skinner Box was. lostfaraday

I remember particularly, when I was a member of the super secret Lost forum society, poring with maybe twenty other people over texts of Egyptian hieroglyphs, desperate to discover the meaning of the symbols shown on the countdown in Desmond's hatch. I remember excitedly posting that I had discovered parallels between Lost and The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne.

This chapter of Lost seems to have closed. In the first two episodes of season five, I didn't notice any deeper additions of this nature. Of course, I was having difficulty looking very hard because of the brain meltdown their understanding of time travel forced upon me.

And that is the true topic of this Woo in Review. 

Time travel has, for quite some time, been treated as a playground for writers where Logic has been selected for the role of kid-who-has-boogers-and-eats-dirt-that-no-one-wants-to-be-around. With a time travel deus ex machina, you can do anything, say anything, and make anything happen, Logic be damned. Or at least not invited to your surprise birthday party.

I am going to assume you have seen the first two episodes of season five of Lost, because there is no way to summarize them without summarizing the whole series further than I already have, and mention a few specific things about the magical time traveling island (or possibly magical time traveling persons on the island) that make it seem as though the writers have once again dipped into their acid stores and decided to pen their shooting script in crayon.

But first, let me go ahead and say...

Sawyer's quips are no longer funny. He has now become the kind of jerk that you'd stab with a fork if given the opportunity.

Hurley's child-like qualities are becoming the qualities of a mentally challenged child instead of a big-hearted clumsy man's.losthurley

Go ahead and cut off Juliet's hand. No one cares about her.

If anyone else says, “That will take too long to explain,” or “I'll give you the details later,” or simply does not respond to a question aimed directly at their person, the fans are likely to revolt and burn their Lost DVDs.

And if you paint John Locke as the Messiah, the series can only end one way – white robes and mass suicide.

ON TO THE CONTEST...

The central point of the first two episodes of season five of Lost is time travel. The version of time travel they have chosen to use frankly sucks. It makes zero logical sense, and that's why I'm inviting you to look at the following scenario and the choices the Lost scriptwriters have decided to make and write your own concept of time travel. See after the notes for more details on what your entry should include.

JREF staff will whittle the entries down to the three best, and they will be posted in Woo in Review. Commenters will then be invited to vote on their favorite, and the winner will receive a signed copy of Phil Plait's Death From the Skies

By the way, there are going to be quite a few follow-up Woo in Reviews in the near future. Experts with scientific backgrounds are going over the CSI responses, and it looks like we may even soon have an interview with an expert in criminal profiling to follow up the Criminal Profiling Contest. 

To submit your response to the contest, please post it in both the comments to this article and send the entry to alison@randi.org. 

I highly suggest watching the episodes before entering the contest, but I will try to include as much information as you will need to suit the scenarios given on the show. To watch the episodes, just visit the official Lost page. 

Here is the scenario, and the choices of the writers:

The people on the island from the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 as well as Juliet and the scientists from the search party sent by Charles Widmore have been caught in some sort of time jump cycle. They jump from present to past to future to whenever the island, or time, or God, or whatever feels like taking them.

For some reason, as soon as the time jumping occurred, the island disappeared (from the perspective of individuals not on it). 

The camp on the beach that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 created disappeared when they jumped to the past, presumably because it was created by the survivors, and, since there had not yet been a crash, the camp could not yet exist. The writers decided that a Zodiac boat some survivors were in could travel to the past, because the survivors were in it at the time. The Zodiac continues to jump times along with the survivors, even though no one is sitting in it any longer. 

Also, the clothes they were wearing traveled with them, despite the fact that all the survivors had gotten all their clothes from luggage on the crashed plane, which had not crashed yet. Presumably, this is because the individuals were wearing the clothes. However, even though the Zodiac time jumped because people were in it, the tents that people on the shore were in did not, and neither did blankets they were sitting on or tarps they were sitting under.

Locke investigated the crashed drug smuggling plane and was shot by Ethan Rom, who he met way back in season one. Locke, after being shot, was approached by Rom who looked at him closely. Locke told him his name. Then, just before being shot in the face by Rom, Locke time jumped again. We can assume that Locke disappeared directly in front of Rom's face, and yet when Rom and Locke first met in season one, Rom did not say “Hey, aren't you that guy I shot who disappeared right in front of my face?”

Locke then jumped to the future, where Richard, one of The Others, found him and treated his bullet wound. The bullet had not, by appearances, aged. Because he treated the wound and pulled the bullet out, we can assume that, had Locke traveled backward in time instead of forward, the bullet would not have ceased to exist even though the incident where it had been fired had not yet occurred.

Richard also gave Locke a compass that he said to present to him when they run into one another again. It is assumed that even if Locke jumped backward in time, he would still have the compass, despite the fact that the moment where he was given it had not yet occurred.lostben

Faraday said that it would be impossible for the time jumpers to change anything, even if they were bounced into the past, because from their perspective they know how things happened already and that cannot be changed. For instance, they cannot go back in time and kill someone they knew was still alive in the present, because they know that the person is still alive. Because of the butterfly effect, however, any move the time jumpers make should alter the course of the future. Faraday is either wrong, or there is no butterfly effect.

Faraday is, however, able to talk to Desmond and alter the course that way because Desmond already had time jumping powers and, it is assumed, lives somewhere outside of time. However, despite this conversation happening in the past, Desmond doesn't remember it until three years past the date he left the island. 

The Others, for some reason, do not time jump with the Losties even though they were all on the island at the time the 'event' occurred. 

You have three options in your entry. 

1. Rewrite the above plot points from the first two episodes of season five of Lost in a way that explains all the plot points logically. In other words, state how time travel on the Lost island must work given that these things happened.

2. If you believe that time travel is possible in reality, write a comment explaining how, why, under what circumstances, and what would be possible.

3. If you believe time travel is impossible in reality, write a comment explaining how and why it would be impossible. 

You will have four days to comment with your response (the contest closes 12:00am on 1/26), and remember to send a copy of the entry to alison@randi.org for consideration. Please note in your entry which of the three options you have chosen to take. The three top entries will be posted at 12:00pm 1/27, and voting will close at 12:00pm 1/28.

REMEMBER: The prize for this contest is a signed copy of Phil Plait's Death From the Skies, so let's see some awesome time travel scenarios!

Thanks everyone for participating, and I look forward to reading your thoughts. Not in the psychic way.

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Comments (60)Add Comment
Lost
written by Son of Rea, January 22, 2009
Dang. I sure am glad I never watched that show.

It seems 'Lost' not only pertains to the characters, but to the audience as well.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 22, 2009
Lost was pretty much guaranteed a loyal fan base, and the members jealously guarded theories and spoilers in secret Lost Forums so hidden that you had to solve puzzles to even be granted access as a member.

The show also hosted forums that featured areas for each actor in the show, and, as a member, you could pose questions to the cast and they would actually answer online.


did the cast members have to solve puzzles to gain access? smilies/wink.gif Oops, they are only actors, that would be silly.

I'm with Son of Rea, glad I never was interested in this.
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what's in a name?
written by MadScientist, January 22, 2009
Lost had lost me by the third show - it was too dull (despite some cute cast members).

I don't understand how you can say the show 'educates' when your example is really very obscure. The appearance of books like "The Turn of the Screw" can only be an 'in' joke which would only be appreciated by people who have read the book (and who remember enough detail from the story). How that constitutes an education is beyond me. I cannot imagine that any significant number of viewers would notice the book much less go to the library and read it.

As for the claim of cast members answering fans online - yeah, right. A scene from "Blues Brothers 2000" immediately pops into my mind: the Love Line. Anyone can be at that computer on the other end.
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written by Willy K, January 22, 2009
I'm still waiting for John Bly and Brisco County Jr. to show up with an Orb.
Big Smith is already there. smilies/wink.gif
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written by asmith, January 22, 2009
Rogue Medic,

The red text indicates where certain terms in the article are links to the pages that contain the information cited. The forums so secret they require puzzle answers to gain access are not the same forums where the actors answered questions. I've lost track of the number of sites created by Lost and their affiliates, but there are at least three official forums.

MadScientist,

Remember when I mentioned the rabid Lost fans...

There's actually a ton of them. Lost theories, and I mean extraordinarily researched theories that involved regular people from all over the world looking up things like the hieroglyphs and the materials used to construct airplanes because Lindelof and Cuse said in interviews that the solution to Lost would make sense.

Lindelof and Cuse also said in interviews that people who watched out for the books on the show and read the ones mentioned would gain the answers to some of the puzzles - so that when a man the Losties captured on the island claimed that he had crash-landed there in a hot air balloon and was named Henry Gale, the hardcore fans nodded and knew the man was lying. (Because that episode briefly showed a character reading the book 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'.)

In season two, when Lost popularity was at its height, there were Reading Groups containing members from all over the world who followed the books shown on Lost and discussed them online.

As for whether or not it was really the actors answering... The message I received online to a question I posed to William Mapother (the man who plays Ethan Rom) was very much, in tone, like the e-mail I received from him in response to the interview request for this article.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mapother had other obligations and had to decline the interview. I was hoping to get his opinions on the way literature was used on Lost, as he was an English major at The University of Notre Dame, and went on to teach English in Los Angeles afterward.

-- A
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written by Rogue Medic, January 22, 2009
asmith,

Thank you for the detailed response. I was just being silly.

William Mapother might be a very interesting interview. If you look at other things he has been in, he makes some of the "I just do independent movies" crowd look mainstream.
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written by jeff in chicago, January 22, 2009
I liked Lost a lot from the start. That was one of the best premiere episodes ever. (I mean the first season.) I intend to keep watching, but I am not the fan I used to be. Time travel is my least favorite literary device. I appreciate (a little) that they have indicated that people will not be able to change history, which is better than the trite alternative, but still, I just cannot get into it. I will let more enthusiastic fans to participate in your contest.
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written by nelson650, January 22, 2009
The people on this island will wake up to the sound of the skipper and Mary Ann calling them to breakfast. We will all discover that it is 1965 and scramble to patent the home computer, microwave ovens and cell phones. Time travel isnt all it's cracked up to be, we all remember the past fondly and dread the future, so crack open another beer and enjoy the ride!
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written by ticktock, January 22, 2009
First of all, this contest is unfair because Faraday, who presumably understands what is happening, says that even quantum physicists wouldn't understand (which allows the writers to get away with anything and makes it unexplainable by people of my intelligence). But, whatever, the contest sounds like fun. I'll give it a try...

I think the island was created in an interdimensional panspermic event - a monopole meteorite crashing into Earth from another cosmic brane. The collision created a magnetic interdimensional bubble around the "island" that warped space and time causing the islands unique qualities. Basically, the island exists in another plane of where and another plane of when.

After the collision of the interdimensional meteorite early in Earth's existence, our planet showed up as a pulsating time-space beacon that could be seen flickering on advanced detectors by intelligent beings on a planet light years away. They sent out a nanobot swarm in a probe as a recon and exploration drone; the swarm had multi-faceted abilities- such as forming into any tangible body, manipulating objects, communicating psychically, processing data at high speeds, making judgements, and the ability to learn and evolve.

The nanobot swarm found the source Earth's interdimensional glitch, the island, and worked to stabilize the rapidly spinning space time so that the aliens could eventually come to inhabit the planet. This was well before complex life inhabited Earth. Correcting the space time continuum problem on Earth allowed the microbes on Earth to evolve without interference and for life to flourish.

The island reset to it's original unstable space-time state when the wheel was turned by Ben, and that is why the island is skipping between dimensions, space, and time. The magnetic shield from the fail safe key (Desmond's hatch) keeps the problem contained in a magnetic bubble on the island and not spread to the rest of Earth as it was before the nanobot swarm arrived.

Just to be clear, the technology that stabilizes space time on Earth (the wagon wheel of power) and the magnetic bubble that keeps the island invisible (the "108" button/ fail safe key) were created by the nanobot swarm in my explanation.

Now onto the points I'm meant to address:

- So we know why they are jumping in time based on my prior imaginative explanation.

- By turning the fail safe key, the island's fluctuating magnetic bubble widened to it's maximum distance. When the wheel was turned, the island started glitching in space-time and the magnetic bubble shrunk... so that the island appeared to disappear. It's still there (inter-dimensionally speaking), but it's within the shrunken dome of the magnetic bubble that is stabilizing it in the other dimension.

- The boat travels with them because some of them are looking at it. One of the dimensions that is skipping is that in which thoughts exist and so the jump causes the thought to manifest. This also explains why blankets and stuff failed to travel... nobody was thinking about them.

-Ethan was treated with shock treatment (like Danielle's boyfriend) after telling Ben about meeting Locke.

-The bullet jumped time and space too. Just as Locke doesn't arrive in the future as a rotting corpse, the bullet would similarly not age as it skipped in time (similarly, it would not disappear as it traveled to the past).

-The compass jumped time and space too.

-You are misinterpreting Faraday. The time travelers are changing things as they skip around in time, but they aren't altering the course of established reality. The little butterfly effect changes that they make are the reality and always have been the reality. It's not that a magical force prevents you from interfering with altering the past, it's that reality is constant and unalterable due to the Skinner paradox.

-Desmond was in a deep state of sleep when he heard the knocking. While asleep, he put on his bio-hazard suit, grabbed his gun, and walked to the door. The shock of Faraday being at the door woke him up, but he was so disoriented that he soon forgot the occurrence as easily as one forgets a dream.

-I don't think we know what is happening with the others. This last problem seems based on a presumption.
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written by Caller X, January 22, 2009
I was pleased, in a schadenfreudlich kind of way to see that your reference for the statement "in Greek tradition the swan is the symbol of the muse" was a Druid website. Good pull. Splendid research. You could have done worse; you could have gotten it from that horrid little man Truman Capote, who only had eight "swans" and no doubt by now family and friends have intervened to let you know that there were nine Muses.

To recap what Others have reminded you of on more than one occasion: TV is fiction.

Time travel is made up and is whatever the writers want it to be. You're just padding your CV with this analysis. How about an article on how the Red and Kitty on That '70s Show never smelled the pot smoke from the basement?

MadScientist wrote:
The appearance of books like "The Turn of the Screw" can only be an 'in' joke which would only be appreciated by people who have read the book (and who remember enough detail from the story). How that constitutes an education is beyond me. I cannot imagine that any significant number of viewers would notice the book much less go to the library and read it.


Your inabilty to imagine does not constitute a limitation on anyone else. The Washington Post website, for instance, has a Lost Book Club where people do precisely that, read and discuss books referenced on the show.
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written by Steel Rat, January 23, 2009
Hey, it's just a show. Woo? It's fiction. Isn't all fiction woo in one way or another? I've watched it, and still am. But have never gone online to find out anything about it. I'm just along for the ride, let it go where it may.

Now "Medium" on the other hand...
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written by janis1207, January 23, 2009
I fail to see the point in this analysis.
Educating filmmakers? Unlikely. Educating JREF readers? Probably unnecessary.
Or am I missing something?
Can't see the point in watching every crap series as well.
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I couldn't decide - part 1
written by TobiasTheViking, January 23, 2009
For the contest i have opted to answer all three questions, though in reverse order.

I thought all three options were interesting, and interconnected, so i couldn't really decide between them, here they are.

3. Time travel is impossible.

The ramifications of time travel are so extreme that the world we live in today wouldn't make any sense what so ever.
Cause and effect wouldn't work, the entire concept of science, wouldn't work.

I assume everyone reading this knows of the grandfather paradox, but i am going to explain it anyway(though in a different way than you have heard before).

There is a hypothetical particle called a Tachyon. This particle(if it is exists) moves faster than light, and moves backwards in time. That means all interactions between tachyons happen in reverse.. something happens, and then, afterwards, the cause happens.

If we could build a tachyon generator, and receiver, we would be able to send messages back in time. We would be able to alter the past.

We could:

2. Take the list of winning lottery numbers, winners, and how much they won, for the next year, and our own bank statement.

Buy the same lottery numbers.

A year in we compare the result. How rich are the winners of the lottery, how much is our bank statement.. It is all wrong


1. Build the tachyon receiver and generator. Wait a year observing(but not playing) the lottery.

Send back all the winning lottery numbers, winners, how much they won. And our own bank statement.

Then we see what our bank statement says, and how rich the winners of the lottery are..


The first point might be a bit confusing. That is because the first point used information that didn't exist until the second point happened.

Or rather, because i used information without giving the context, i didn't divulge the context until later.

If time travel made sense, we would see that happen all the time. We would receive information that we can't possibly understand, because we don't have the context for it yet.

The traditional version of the grandfather paradox is this.

- You kill your grandfather.
- Two years later your grandfather and grandmother have a girl.
- 18 years later their little girl is all grown up, and finds a handsome young man.
- 9 months later they give birth to you.
- 20 years later you travel back in time to kill your grandfather.

I admit, that wasn't the traditional version either.

Normally you wouldn't start with "You kill your grandfather".

There are certain solutions to this, but none of them are satisfying.

Basically all he solutions are permutations of "No matter how hard you try to kill your grandfather/buy the lotter ticket, you will fail."

And that is a totally unfulfilling solution.

Time travel is impossible

NOTE: i am having trouble posting this, so trying to split it into three. Sorry
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I couldn't decide - part 2
written by TobiasTheViking, January 23, 2009

2. Time travel i possible

There are two types of time travel(if you want to call them that) that actually do work. One is the normal everyday time travel that occurs to everyone of us. Which basically is us moving forward 1s in time, for every second of time that passes.

That is a circular logic, but that is one of the consequences of time travel.

Another type of time travel(again, if you want to call it that), is moving through time at a decreased rate. That is, time passes slower for you, compared to people that aren't moving as fast as you. The faster you go, the slower time will pass for you.

This might be hard to comprehend to begin with. But there is an easy analogy to understand it.

Go back to grade school math, a totally normal coordinate system. Now imagine the X axis being time, and the Y axis being speed.

Now, you have a vector, which is your movement in spacetime. Lets define the vector as being 10inches long in our coordinate system(starting from 0,0).

If you have a velocity of 0, that would mean the vector goes from 0,0 to 0,10. As in, no movement in space, but moved 10seconds in time.

Increasing the speed, means increasing the end point of the vector to be higher on the y axis. The greater speed, the higher it goes on the y axis.

If you moved at the speed of light, you would have a vector going from 0,0 to 10,0. you would move in space, with the speed of light, and no time would pass for you. If you moved at half the speed of light, the vector would go from 0,0 to 5,5, and you would move in space, and in time, but time would pass slower for you.

The numbers aren't correct, in this example, if you are moving at half the speed of light, time doesn't tick at half the speed it does in our normal every day world. It is the concept that is important, not the specific numbers.

The consequence of this is that you would travel into the future. Because you are moving at speeds close to the speed of light, time is passing more slowly for you than for the rest of the universe. In essence, time travel.

But only into the future.. This does NOT cause causality problems, cause and effect still works, science still works.

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I couldn't decide - part 3
written by TobiasTheViking, January 23, 2009
1. A hypothesis for how time travel works in Lost.

I would not be surprised if Lost is going to invoke String Theory as their answer to their time travel problems. According to String Theory(which i would like to point out is not yet a theory, it hasn't been falsified yet.) spacetime can warp and stretch, and it can even tear.

It can't tear a lot, just a bit, and the strings repair the tears in spacetime.

The explanation for this is long and boring. And while they may choose to use String Theory as their explanation, they don't have too for the rest of my hypothesis to make sense.

I assume, from watching the first two episodes, that the island has become unstuck in time(because of a tear in spacetime). The island doesn't know where in time it belongs, and is jumping to and fro(either randomly, or more likely, whenever a paradox occurs. Like someone killing themselves, or meeting themselves).

The tear in spacetime has become too big for it to repair itself, and unless it can be repaired, the world is doomed.

The reason everyone must come back to the island is that the further they are from the island, the bigger the rip in spacetime is. Once everyone is back, spacetime can be repaired, and time will progress normally again.


The Dharma institute harnessed the energy on the island to create time travel. That energy may, or may not, be from a small tear in spacetime(which would not, afaik, work within any variation of any scientific theory to date, and with that i include stuff like String Theory).

The Hatch is a release valve, it counts down from 108, at which point the energy must be released, or else spacetime tears some more(resulting in the plane crashes).

When Linus turned the gear in the last season, he transported the island in time, but because not everyone connected to the island was on the island when it happend, the tear ripped open a lot more.

What they might say is that time is like a rubber string, things have a tendency to spring back to where they originally were, once the tear has been sealed, or at least diminished to the size it had before Linus turned the gear, the island, and everyone on it will be back on the normal track of time.

Now, all of this specific answer is pure science fiction, but it is what i assume they will try to do. I hope i am wrong though, it is always good to be surprised.

Sincerely
TobiasTheViking

Again, sorry for the split, but, I've been trying to post this as one post for almost an hour
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written by LuigiNovi, January 23, 2009
Alison Smith: Of course, I was having difficulty looking very hard because of the brain meltdown their understanding of time travel forced upon me.
Luigi Novi: Oh, bullshit.

Nothing is being "forced" upon you. Government funds are not being used to produce show. You're not being strapped down and made to watch it. You chose to.

Complaining about "woo" in a fictional TV show designed merely to entertain is stupid. What does the quality of Sawyer's quips or Hurley's characterization or whether Juliet has her hand chopped off (Yes, I do care) have to do with "woo"? The time travel doesn't make any logical sense? No shit. And the smoke monster that judges people does? The tropical polar bears do? Gimme a break. The fantastic nature of Lost is an inherent part of its narrative architecture. It does not portray itself, nor has it been perceived, as accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general the way the work of Dan Brown or Star Trek has. It's a fantasy, and has never presented itself otherwise.

Lighten up.

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written by Caller X, January 23, 2009
LuigiNovi wrote:

It does not portray itself, nor has it been perceived, as accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general the way the work of Dan Brown or Star Trek has. It's a fantasy, and has never presented itself otherwise.


You're muddying the waters of your argument by conflating how a work portrays itself and how it is perceived. Neither The DaVinci Code nor Star Trek portrays itself as "accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general". The DaVinci Code is an action novel drawing heavily on the ideas presented in a non-fiction book. Star Trek is science fiction with a lot of contemporary cultural references thrown in. Anyone who treats Dan Brown as some sort of intellectual boogeyman just makes themselves look silly.
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written by asmith, January 23, 2009
LuigiNovi,

Every time one of these Woo in Review articles is published, at least a handful of people chime in to remind me that the works being reviewed are fiction.

Every time, I make sure to remind them that the article series contains reviews of television shows, movies, books, stage shows, and products that have paranormal or critical thinking elements. And that, in most cases, these works will be fiction.

Of course time travel in a television show isn't going to be accurate as a reality. There is no time travel in reality, so how could it be? However, one can just as easily argue that if a work of fiction creates rules for itself, it should abide by those rules for the duration. For instance, if, in the movie The Sixth Sense, after Bruce Willis' character had been shot and died, if other characters who were not dead besides the boy the movie was about started walking up and talking to Bruce Willis' character, then at the end, after the reveal, everyone who viewed the movie would turn to each other and say "What the crap?". If Bruce Willis' character was supposed to be dead for the vast majority of the movie, then no other character should be able to speak to him unless the writer messed up somewhere.

I do love that we have a rabid Lost fan in the comments, though.

-- A
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written by asmith, January 23, 2009
Tim submitted the following via e-mail:

"According to some believers of the multi-universe theory, time travel to the past is possible, but one will not travel back to the same past."
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written by TobiasTheViking, January 23, 2009
I considered pointing that out in number 3(first post), but it is just another cop-out.

The idea is that if you travel back in time you travel to a universe that is almost, but not quite, the same you left.

Whenever something happens, the universe splits, and the opposite happens in a parallel universe(This is called the "Copenhagen interpretation"). Or rather, all other outcomes happen, in alternate universes.

So, whenever someone throw a dice, the universe splits into an undefinable amount of parallel universes(i say undefinable because it isn't, just the outcome of the dice that splits universes, it isn't just 5 parallel universes that are created. But for every angle the dice could possibly hit the table with, the universe would split. And even that is way to few)

So, the idea is that you could send someone back in time, to this almost(but not quite) the same universe, and change the future of said universe, and then hope someone would do the same in/for your universe.

While this might happen, and might be true within the standard model(which the current understanding of quantum physics is called), traveling back in time to an alternate past would create an infinite amount of universes. For every possible alternate past you would go to, you would go to it, in an alternate view, and in doing so, would spawn (number of existing parallel universes)*(number of destinations, which is the number of parallel universes*the different times you could/would arrive. You could arrive 2 years before the universe was created, and a parallel universe would have to be spawned for that possibility)


As i said, it is just cop-outs.

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Uh...
written by jpedigo, January 23, 2009
I'm going with option two: "If you believe that time travel is possible in reality, write a comment explaining how, why, under what circumstances, and what would be possible."

First let’s define how time works.
Einstein theorized that space and time are not two separate things, but one and the same. They are inexorably linked. Therefore, as objects in the universe move through space, so do they also move through time.

For example, our planet at the moment you're reading this occupies a different physical place in the universe than it did, say, any given moment last week. As passengers on Earth, we subjectively perceive this movement through physical space as movement through time. Described objectively however, we are actually moving through what I believe Einstein called spacetime. (Although, I'm not sure Einstein actually coined the phrase.)

Now, how, why and under what circumstances would time travel be possible?
The only circumstance in which travel through spacetime could be possible is the utilization of faster-than-light speed. Explaining how one could travel from Earth’s current location in spacetime to the location it was in last week is problematic to explain without considering a simpler example first: suppose you want to travel to a star that is four light years away from the earth. First, look at the star. You’re actually looking back in time – because (by definition of a light year) the light you see coming from the star left the star four years ago. Now, head toward that star faster than light. Hell, go fast enough to get to the star at the exact moment those particles of light began their journey to Earth. Did you make it? Great! You’re there just in time to wave goodbye to those light particles you were looking at – four years ago. You moved through space and time – spacetime!


What kind of time travel would be possible?
Only travel to the past would be possible. Because the universe is expanding, the future literally isn’t here yet. It’s being created as the universe expands. So I’m afraid you’re stuck on that star. No, you can’t race back faster than light – you’ll just keep going back in time. Sorry. Loser.

Keep in mind that all of this assumes a very elegant ability to travel faster than light. You’d have to be able to stop instantaneously as opposed to slowing to a stop, because the minute you dip below the speed of light, you start moving forward through time again. Navigation would be a big problem as well. In the example above, you could at least point yourself at a desired location in spacetime. But suppose you wanted to travel back to 1996 and tell yourself not to marry your fiancé (you know, because she’s just going to betray your wedding vows and leave you in ten years). You would have to find out where the earth was in the universe at that time (because remember, the universe is expanding) and how much faster than light you would have to travel to reach it at the right moment. Then of course you’re screwed when you get there, because you can’t go back to the future. You’d either have to kill yourself in the past and assume your identity as an older man or go to all sorts of trouble creating another one. Then again, once you got set up you could get rich betting on sports or buying stocks. Of course, there’s the problem of where the future went. Did it cease to exist? Essentially, the universe shrank when you came back in time. Did you cause that? Did you murder the future? You selfish bastard. That'll weigh on your conscience. Wait, no you’re right – it must still be there somewhere because if you came back in time, someone else certainly can.

But...will they come back from a future in which you exist or don’t exist? It would have to be the former, because you…no wait, you’re still…dammit! I lost it.

Screw it, I’m switching to option three: “If you believe time travel is impossible in reality, write a comment explaining how and why it would be impossible.”

Because if it were possible, someone from the future would be here. End of story.

As for LOST, my explanation is the show takes place in a fictional universe with fictionalized laws of physics that differ from those of reality.

Thanks for the fun exercise, Alison!
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Little James Randi
written by felixmab, January 23, 2009
http://forums.armageddononline...y.php?f=21 visit to see how we WON James Randi's FRAUDULENT MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE

Edited by Jeff Wagg: I'm leaving this here on purpose.
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written by deepforestgreen, January 24, 2009
Things happen so quickly during each episode that you may find yourself stranded on your own island of confusion.

If the writers of this site have that much trouble with LOST, how can I trust their ability to analyze the universe? LOST isn't that complicated and, while it isn't everyone's cup of tea, saying that you don't understand it doesn't accomplish the goals of skepticism. Anyone who ever followed Star Trek can handle LOST.
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written by tctheunbeliever, January 24, 2009
Forgive me if this has been covered, but to my understanding the Butterfly Effect is an illustration of a possibility, not a law. Most small changes such as the famous wing-flap would be filtered out. Of course some molecules would probably never be the same again, but a hurricane is not assured. It's just annoying to hear this cliche everywhere nowadays. (not to blame anyone here)

Oh yeah, and we won't all necessarily have 15 minutes of fame. Honest.
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Lost Time-Travel
written by Andrew McGrae, January 24, 2009
As far as I can tell, the system of time travel they are using is Larry Niven's "Law of Conservation of History", i.e. there is only one self-consistent timeline and anything you do in the past has already happened (see also the Novikov self-consistency principle, and You Already Changed The Past on TV Tropes). So when Faraday says that you can't change the past, he's not talking in the annoying soft sci-fi sense that you can't change anything important such as killing someone or doing something that would get in the history books, he literally means that you can't change the past. At All. If someone had been secretly watching the Hatch a few years back they would have seen the Losties appear and act out the "past" scene exactly as they would in this episode.

Now as Alison correctly points out, Ethan meeting Locke seems to contradict this as he should have knowledge that he apparently didn't have back then, but the fact that he was undercover when he first met Locke gave him ample reason not to say anything crazy. It's also possible that Ethan told Ben about this first meeting and that was why Locke ended up on the list of "good" people to be taken away (Ben seems to know much more about what's happening than most people).

As a side-note, Desmond's time-travel works in a different way from everyone else, as he doesn't physically move but rather appears inside his own body in the same place where he was standing at that time. My guess would be that he blacks out when first reaching periods that he will later travel back to (I hate time-travel grammar) and so when he met Faraday in season 4 he had no memory of his first meeting from this episode since that took place during one of his "jumps".

As for why some stuff travels through time but other stuff doesn't, this seems to be largely based on plot convenience but the basic rule appears to be that the time-travel affects humans and anything they are touching at the time (such as their clothes and the bullet). Things that they were touching when the island disappeared got super-charged for some reason and will continue to travel even if there is noone nearby. Yeah, it's a handwave, but I'll accept it if it means we don't have to see Locke naked.
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#3
written by Diverted Chrome, January 24, 2009
Conservation of Energy*. That law of physics ends time-travel ideas for me, but every other time-travel scenario runs into an unsolvable paradox, too. We have a large body of knowledge; large enough to know that every scenario eventually bumps into laws of physics. The only area (but still with an extreme unlikelihood) is to bend time for travel through space, but you can't go forward and backward through time in the same region of space, which this topic addresses.

*The Universe itself is energy. Matter=energy. You can't go back in time AND exist; where would that energy that makes up your molecules have come from? It can't just appear, it has to be created. Likewise, when you disappeared from the present, that energy had to be used; it can't just stop being (as viewed by people in the present).
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written by Caller X, January 24, 2009
Once again, I will reveal the secret of Lost's time travel: it works however the writers decide it works, which includes "in an undetermined manner".

written by Diverted Chrome, January 24, 2009

Conservation of Energy*. That law of physics ends time-travel ideas for me, but every other time-travel scenario runs into an unsolvable paradox, too. We have a large body of knowledge; large enough to know that every scenario eventually bumps into laws of physics. The only area (but still with an extreme unlikelihood) is to bend time for travel through space, but you can't go forward and backward through time in the same region of space, which this topic addresses.


Conservation of Energy applies to closed systems. As Martin Sheen said to the George Stephanopoulos character on The West Wing, "See the whole board." Since we're dealing with something made up, which could easily include unknown to us laws of physics, the paragraph quoted above is dismissed.

What do you mean by "bend time"? You're just making stuff up, exactly like the vastly superior writers of Lost. "Region of space"? Please to be defining "region of space".

"Unsolvable paradox". Paradoxes are not problems, therefore "unsolvable" is is inappropriate. At best some seeming paradoxes are resolvable.


*The Universe itself is energy. Matter=energy. You can't go back in time AND exist; where would that energy that makes up your molecules have come from? It can't just appear, it has to be created. Likewise, when you disappeared from the present, that energy had to be used; it can't just stop being (as viewed by people in the present).


"The Universe itself is energy." Really? Seen any good Druid websites lately? Again, everything in the second paragraph quoted above is dismissed, as the writers have not yet told us if we are dealing with a closed system.
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My opinion on lost and time travel
written by Strijdparel, January 25, 2009
Hello, nice artikle.

I must first say i still like lost. I did notice some inconsistensy's with time traveling (take the strange case of the probe traveling to the island 30 minets late and the dockter ariving almost a day before he was actually killed). I think in the serie they mean that the island it self is jumping in time and not the persons, so every thing they have on them and/or hold in there hands does not dissapear.

There is just one thing, i dont like that they involve so many time traveling tricks. You can break your head trying to figure it out and it would probebly still be wrong... Now it gets to whoosy for me. I will still follow it but i hope it will come to a good end...

I will enter the competition but i still hope i can do it in time because i red about it just now (and besides 4 days for sutch a project is a very short time!)
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written by KingMerv00, January 25, 2009
Naturally, Lost is fiction and doesn’t follow the REAL laws of physics so please don’t nitpick the science below. Here is my attempt to create internally consistent time travel rules:

1. Stable time loops only. Events in the past cannot be changed by time travelers. If a time traveler goes into the past and acts, it is simply something that has already happened. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmw...leTimeLoop)

2. To travel through time, matter must be near an active electromagnetic field . Human bodies have an electric magnetic field by virtue of their central nervous systems. Long term exposure to the island negates this effect. (The Others have been on the island for a long time so they are immune to the time skips.)

3. Human EM fields are just strong enough to carry matter equal to the human body and a little bit more. The "little bit more" includes the clothes on the body at the time.(Thank God. I don’t think I want to see EVERY survivor nude.)

4. Turning the capstan at the end of season 4 was the triggering event that caused the island and everything on it to move through time just once. It had the side effect of causing all non-immune EM fields to move randomly through time (ie the Losties).

5. Exposure to the button’s failsafe (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Fail-safe) allows someone to break the stable time loops mentioned in rule 1 above. This rule currently only applies to Desmond.

Now apply these rules to season 5:

The island’s disappearance - Assume the island free-floating. When it jumped through time, the earth rotated and made it appear to move to a different location. Look at the end of Episode 2 in Season 5, the mysterious old lady is using a Foucault’s Pendulum which is used to measure the rotation of the Earth. Perhaps she was using it to guess the island’s new location.

The Zodiac Boat - Inflatable raft motors can be battery powered. Perhaps the battery has a sufficient EM field to cause the boat to time skip with the Losties.

The camp - The tents, blankets, and tarps did not jump because the human EM fields were not of sufficient strength to cause that much matter to time skip.

Desmond’s memory - Skeptics know that human memory is far from perfect and our recollection of old memories changes a lot over time. Faraday’s message to Desmond must have been delivered years ago from Desmond’s POV and did not make sense to him at the time. This would make it tough for Desmond to remember it on command.

Ethan’s memory - The smugglers’ plane crashed long ago. Ethan simply did not remember Locke’s face or name. Even if he did, it doesn’t seem as though it would have affected Ethan’s actions in the early seasons of Lost.

The bullet and the compass - Both weighed little and were carried by Locke’s EM field when he time skipped. See rule 2.

Butterfly Effect - There is no butterfly effect because stable time loops do not allow for changes to the past. In other words, feel free to squish all the butterflies you like. They were already squished by you in the past.

The real puzzle - Hurley is seen in episode 2 of season 5 heating up a Hot Pocket but he fails to use the cooking sleeve as the directions on the box require. Are we really to believe that a 400lb man does not know how to heat up an instant meal?
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written by José, January 25, 2009
OK. Here's my re-write.

Scene 1: The Death of Jack - Jack dies in a horrible car accident. That might not seem like it applies, but it's my re-write, and I can't handle any more of his squinty whining. Am I the only one who hates him that much? I'm thinking of killing off Bernard too. He seems like a nice enough fellow, but I'm terrified that there might be another entire episode devoted to him. God, that was a boring episode.

Scene 2: Disappearing Island - The Island disappears, of course, because it has moved somewhere to the south Atlantic. This is important because no airplane full of drugs leaving form Nigeria would have any business flying over the Pacific, and could not then crash into the island.

Scene 3: Why was That Along for the Ride? - The Zodiac and peoples clothing traveling through time can be explained by the Second Law of Hollywood Thermodynamics: The conservation of things that might be important to the story or things might make the program inappropriate for children were they not to go along. This is also why when someone turns invisible, their clothing also disappears. Thank god they haven't worked invisibility into Lost... yet

Scene 4: Ethan Rom's Bad Memory – The clue to this can be found in Ethan's last name, which is of course just an acronym for “Read Only Memory”. This means that unless Ethan brings his flash drive along, which he did not on this occasion, he is unable to acquire new memories.

Scene 5: Locke's Bullet and Compass – see: Second Law of Hollywood Thermodynamics:.

Scene 6: Faraday's a Liar – Faraday made up that stuff about not being able to change things. He was just trying to get rid of everyone in preparation for scene 7. There is a funny exchange in this scene where Sawyer asks Faraday “Hey Pencil Head, how come you know so much about time travel.” Faraday replies with “I once owned a timeshare in Florida”. If you don't get that joke, that's about all it takes for someone to be an expert at something in Lost.

Scene 7: Faraday Tries to Score Some Pot - This scene opens with Faraday banging on the hatch.


Desmond : "Who is it?"

Faraday : "Its Faraday man! Will you open up, I want some stuff!"

Desmond : "Who?"

Faraday : "Faraday man, open up!"

Desmond : "Faraday?"

Faraday : "Yeah Faraday, come on man open up I think the “Others” saw me!"

Desmond : "Faraday's not here!"


I think it's pretty clear why Desmond had trouble remembering the encounter.

Scene 8: Why Don't the “Others” Jump - see: Second Law of Hollywood Thermodynamics:.

Scene 9: Tree Surprise! - Bernard jumps through time alone and finds himself high in a tree. Carved into the trunk of the tree are the words “Bernard is Jack's real father and Kate is half Polar Bear”. As he is reading this, Bernard turns invisible. The tree is then hit by a drug smuggling plane from Nigeria, killing Bernard instantly, but not before some new impossible to reconcile plot points have been created.

Scene 10: Bad Robot – This gripping scene begins and ends with a robot voice over saying "bad robot".
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written by Caller X, January 25, 2009
written by KingMerv00, January 25, 2009

4. Turning the capstan at the end of season 4 was the triggering event[...]


Where exactly did you see a capstan? I'm pretty sure one hasn't been shown in the show.
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written by Caller X, January 25, 2009
written by asmith, January 23, 2009

Of course time travel in a television show isn't going to be accurate as a reality. There is no time travel in reality, so how could it be? However, one can just as easily argue that if a work of fiction creates rules for itself, it should abide by those rules for the duration.


Hmm, must have missed the part where the Lost writers published the rules. Why don't you recap them for us, Lazybones? Oh, that's right, because you made it up.
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written by José, January 25, 2009
Where exactly did you see a capstan? I'm pretty sure one hasn't been shown in the show.

It was there. Benjamin Linus turned it.

Hmm, must have missed the part where the Lost writers published the rules. Why don't you recap them for us, Lazybones? Oh, that's right, because you made it up.

Of course they don't publish actual rules. They introduce them as part of the story. If at one part it's impossible change the past because that's what the story needs at that moment, there shouldn't be other parts of the story where people are changing the past (at least without explanation). I'm a fan of the show, but I'd like some internal consistency.
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written by Caller X, January 26, 2009
written by José, January 25, 2009


[The capstan] was there. Benjamin Linus turned it.

You do know what a capstan is, don't you? Benjamin turned a wheel with teeth, perhaps a gear, not a capstan.

"Hmm, must have missed the part where the Lost writers published the rules. Why don't you recap them for us, Lazybones? Oh, that's right, because you made it up."

Of course they don't publish actual rules. They introduce them as part of the story. If at one part it's impossible change the past because that's what the story needs at that moment, there shouldn't be other parts of the story where people are changing the past (at least without explanation). I'm a fan of the show, but I'd like some internal consistency. I'm sure the people on the island would like some internal consistency too, but the one of the points of the show is that no one knows the rules. Thanks for pointing out that they don't publish actual rules. That had escaped my notice. I will point out to you that they do NOT "introduce them as part of the story" in all cases.
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written by José, January 26, 2009
You do know what a capstan is, don't you? Benjamin turned a wheel with teeth, perhaps a gear, not a capstan.

Yes. I know what a capstan is, and I think you're wrong.

Thanks for pointing out that they don't publish actual rules. That had escaped my notice.

No problem. Based on your response to asmith, it seemed like you needed someone to state the obvious.

I will point out to you that they do NOT "introduce them as part of the story" in all cases.

In the case of time travel, which is what this post is taking to task, they did. So what's your beef?
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written by TobiasTheViking, January 26, 2009
Think he is wrong?

Ehm, Linus DID turn a capstan, or something similar. While it may not specifically be a capstan, the description is close enough...

In what way do you claim he is wrong
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written by KingMerv00, January 26, 2009
Are you guys seriously debating the nature of capstans? Jeez.
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written by José, January 26, 2009
@TobiasTheViking
Your reading it wrong. I'm saying Linus turned a capstan. Caller X is for some reason insisting that it wasn't a capstan, and snottily implying that I don't know what one is. I can't fathom why.
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written by Caller X, January 26, 2009
Pronunciation:
ˈkap-stən, -ˌstan
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, probably from Middle French cabestant
Date:
14th century

1 : a machine for moving or raising heavy weights that consists of a vertical drum which can be rotated and around which cable is turned 2 : a rotating shaft that drives tape at a constant speed in a recorder

Thanks for pointing out that they don't publish actual rules. That had escaped my notice.

No problem. Based on your response to asmith, it seemed like you needed someone to state the obvious. [Oh, SNAPP!!!!]

I will point out to you that they do NOT "introduce them as part of the story" in all cases.

In the case of time travel, which is what this post is taking to task, they did. So what's your beef?


Note the preemptive, some would say prescient use of the phrase "in all cases." That's called "covering your bases." When I itches, I scratches. When I gets bored, I reads matches. -- Morgan Freeman
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written by Caller X, January 26, 2009
written by José, January 26, 2009
@TobiasTheViking
Your reading it wrong. I'm saying Linus turned a capstan. Caller X is for some reason insisting that it wasn't a capstan, and snottily implying that I don't know what one is. I can't fathom why.


If by "snottily" you mean "correctly" and by "implying" you mean "saying", you are correct.
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written by José, January 26, 2009
@Caller X
Nice try. Even if we pretend that is the definitive definition for capstan, how does that disqualify that thing Benjamin Linus turned? And even if you were correct, a conclusion I think most people would disagree with, you'd still deserve the “snottily” for correcting someone the way you did.
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written by Caller X, January 26, 2009
written by José, January 26, 2009
@Caller X
Nice try. Even if we pretend that is the definitive definition for capstan


I get definitions from the dictionary. Where do you get them, and how do you do it while seated? I never even got to snotty. Now I'm just disdainful.
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written by José, January 26, 2009
@Caller X

Note the preemptive, some would say prescient use of the phrase "in all cases." That's called "covering your bases.

And nobody ever said they introduce the rules in all cases. So that's actually called a “straw man” fallacy.

I get definitions from the dictionary. Where do you get them, and how do you do it while seated?

I get them other dictionaries, encyclopedias, and what people generally call capstans.

I never even got to snotty.

Here's how this started, in case you forgot. You said:

Where exactly did you see a capstan? I'm pretty sure one hasn't been shown in the show.


I naively assumed you had just forgotten the scene with the capstan and said:

It was there. Benjamin Linus turned it.


But it turned out I had just walked into your devious trap, because you replied with:

You do know what a capstan is, don't you? Benjamin turned a wheel with teeth, perhaps a gear, not a capstan.


To me, that's snotty.
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written by KingMerv00, January 27, 2009
So yes, you guys ARE debating the nature of capstans. Meh.

Btw Tobias, I know you aren't disagreeing with me. I just never ever thought anyone would care enough to fight over this. Just ignore Caller X. He's being snotty.
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written by Caller X, January 27, 2009
Written by Jose:

(sorry I can't do the accent mark on this keyboard, my bad)
But it turned out I had just walked into your devious trap, because you replied with:

You do know what a capstan is, don't you? Benjamin turned a wheel with teeth, perhaps a gear, not a capstan.

To me, that's snotty.


"Devious trap"? Someone's full of themselves. What am I, a Bond villain?

If you want to feel people are being snotty to you at every opportunity, be my guest. Going through life like a hothouse flower is no way to live.

What you should do is go back and rewatch the show, find the part where they show a cable wrapping around a cylinder, and point it out to me. When that happens, I will admit that I was wrong, apologetically. Until then, you're in the disdain zone.
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written by Caller X, January 27, 2009
Written by Joe:

And nobody ever said they introduce the rules in all cases. So that's actually called a “straw man” fallacy.


Correct. No one did. I merely asserted that the writers did not introduce the rules in all cases. That's not a "straw man". Not even partial credit for this one.
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written by José, January 27, 2009
"Devious trap"? Someone's full of themselves. What am I, a Bond villain?

Yes you are full of yourself. I was poking fun at the fact that you made irrelevant points and then acted like you schooled me on how to debate.

What you should do is go back and rewatch the show, find the part where they show a cable wrapping around a cylinder, and point it out to me.

No need to. The definition you're referring to is for the most common kind of nautical capstan. But there are other kinds, and they can use gears.

That's not a "straw man". Not even partial credit for this one.

You argued a point I didn't make in order to make it look like you were right. That's the definition of a straw man.

Until then, you're in the disdain zone.

I'm crushed.
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written by José, January 27, 2009
So yes, you guys ARE debating the nature of capstans. Meh.

Yeah. I can't control myself. But don't worry, I think we're almost done with capstans... Now on to debating the definition of a straw man fallacy!


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written by TobiasTheViking, January 27, 2009
@José i was referring to him, not to you smilies/smiley.gif
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Reread the original topic
written by Diverted Chrome, January 27, 2009
@Caller X,
"Since we're dealing with something made up, which could easily include unknown to us laws of physics, the paragraph quoted above is
dismissed. "

Wrong. Go back and read the topic. The orignal topic request for #3 was: If you believe time travel is impossible in reality

"Conservation of Energy applies to closed systems."
The Universe is, to known physics, a closed system. We know of no area of universe to which the laws of physics do not apply.

"What do you mean by "bend time"?"
Some will argue that there is one area in physics that will allow for time travel. It has been described as bending time et al. Still, it doesn't account for the fact that energy simply cannot be made and unmade in/of itself.

"The Universe itself is energy. Really? Seen any good Druid websites lately? Again, everything in the second paragraph quoted above is dismissed, as the writers have not yet told us if we are dealing with a closed system."

Yes. Basic physics: E=MC2 shows that you can not appear in a new time because that energy needs matter to exist and vice versa. Again,#3 refers to reality, not the TV show.

" Please to be defining "region of space". "
Any one place. This is described as such in order to define time travel as being a jump forward/backward in time in the same place (for example, New York City); as opposed to the fact that traveling say, one light years distance is also to travel in time relative to those that stay behind.
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written by Caller X, January 27, 2009
Written by Jozzizay:

"Devious trap"? Someone's full of themselves. What am I, a Bond villain?

Yes you are full of yourself. I was poking fun at the fact that you made irrelevant points and then acted like you schooled me on how to debate.


Sometimes education just doesn't take. It's sad...

What you should do is go back and rewatch the show, find the part where they show a cable wrapping around a cylinder, and point it out to me.

No need to. The definition you're referring to is for the most common kind of nautical capstan. But there are other kinds, and they can use gears.


Actually, I was thinking about railway capstans. I don't know where you got that nautical stuff. You're all over the map with the wild assertions. Apparently my negative thoughts are interfering with your telepathic powers. Yes, capstans can use gears. I never said they couldn't. Are you perhaps making a straw man argument? But without rope, cable, or chain it's simply not a capstan.

Why don't you tell us about the other kinds? Because you can't?

That's not a "straw man". Not even partial credit for this one.

You argued a point I didn't make in order to make it look like you were right. That's the definition of a straw man.


I didn't attribute the point to you, even by implication, therefore it was NOT a straw man argument. I was simply being thorough and right.

Until then, you're in the disdain zone.

I'm crushed.


Yes, you are.
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written by Caller X, January 27, 2009
Diverted Chrome:

I would have expected someone with at least a high-school background in physics to address the closed-system vs. open system issue, but perhaps your silence on that is itself an answer. Sort of like Mark Twain's Dancing Bear.

Basic physics: E=MC2 shows that you can not appear in a new time because that energy needs matter to exist and vice versa.


E = mc^2 doesn't show anything of the sort. All it shows is E = mc^2. The rest is your make-up-ery.

Also, you probably meant to type "cannot" as "cannot" and "can not" mean two different things. No charge.

In response to "Please to be defining "region of space" you said:

Any one place. This is described as such in order to define time travel as being a jump forward/backward in time in the same place (for example, New York City); as opposed to the fact that traveling say, one light years distance is also to travel in time relative to those that stay behind.


So, you are saying "region of space" = "Any one place". Interesting. Not. You are aware, aren't you, that New York City is not in the same place it was an hour ago?

Some will argue that there is one area in physics that will allow for time travel. It has been described as bending time et al.


What is this gibberish, not to say fockery? You were asked: "What do you mean by 'bend time'?" I ask again, What do you mean by "bend time"?

Perhaps you mean this: www.reiki.org/reikinews/rn090799.html

Since you won't say what you mean by "bending time", we'll say that you mean that.

It's never too late to study high school physics, but I don't have time to teach it to you. My capstan student requires my full attention.
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written by José, January 27, 2009
@Caller X

Yes, capstans can use gears. I never said they couldn't. Are you perhaps making a straw man argument?

No. There are two reasons I pointed that out. The first is that you said in an earlier comment
Benjamin turned a wheel with teeth, perhaps a gear, not a capstan.

This made me think that maybe you thought that the fact that the machine had gears, meant it was not a capstan.

The second reason is that you challenged me to find the part where they show a cable wrapping around a cylinder, which shockingly led me to believe you think that we need to see a cable wrapping around the cylinder for it to be a capstan. Capstans can be linked to other apparatus through drive shafts and gears that are in turn attached to rope, cables, or chains.

I didn't attribute the point to you, even by implication, therefore it was NOT a straw man argument. I was simply being thorough and right.

You said in response to my comment
I will point out to you that they do NOT "introduce them as part of the story" in all cases.

I sincerely apologize for thinking you were attributing that idea to me.




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written by Caller X, January 28, 2009

What Louie Newtats wrote recently:
CallerX: Neither The DaVinci Code nor Star Trek portrays itself as "accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general".
Luigi Novi: Wrong on both counts. A disclaimer in the beginning of The Da Vinci Code asserts that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate, and implies as much regarding its descriptions of the Priory of Scion and Opus Dei. In fact, these are filled with inaccuracies. Dan Brown's other books have similar disclaimers about their content that are just as false. Star Trek is often said by its fans to be based on or consistent with real science. Yet much of its science content is just plain wrong, and this includes not only plot points necessary for the plot, but plot points that are not necessary for the plot.


So tell us what science in the DaVinci code is wrong, since you said "science". As for "reality in general" the DaVinci Code has a lot of stuff that's true, and it's a novel, so it's not surprising that there is stuff that's made up. I don't own the book, so I can't review what the "disclaimer" (wrong word, by the way) actually says, so for now I'll go with your portrayal of it, as undependable as it might be. Dan Brown doesn'
t assert that the events in the book are real or even similar to real events, so that takes care of "reality in general."

Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.

What he wrote before:

[Lost] does not portray itself, nor has it been perceived, as accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general the way the work of Dan Brown or Star Trek has.


There, you made an assertion about how people perceive Lost. You contradict yourself. Dismissed.
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written by LuigiNovi, January 31, 2009
Sorry about my malformed post above, I'm not sure how that happened. Here is how it should appear:

CallerX: So tell us what science in the DaVinci code is wrong, since you said "science".
Luigi Novi: No, I said "science or reality in general". What's interesting is that you yourself actually quoted that full phrase just above, and addressed the phrase “reality in general” in a subsequent quote-and-response exchange, as if to divorce the two halves of the phrase. Nice try. “Science and reality in general” was a general phrase, the first portion of which referred to Star Trek, and the second of which referred to Brown’s novels. Trying to chop it up and decide, arbitrarily, that each half pertained to what you say they do—rather than I what I intended them to—isn’t going to work.

CallerX: Dan Brown doesn't assert that the events in the book are real or even similar to real events, so that takes care of "reality in general."
Luigi Novi: And as soon as you can establish that “reality in general” means “the events in the book”, feel free to do so. Since it does not, and since I never said anything about the events in the book, the point is moot. I made it quite clear what was I referring to when I said “reality in general.” One more time: He asserts that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate, and implies as much regarding its descriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. Thus, he falsely portrays much of the book's contents to be authentic, when they are not. Hence, "reality in general". Whether the present-day events of the book are fictional is not in dispute, not something I asserted, and therefore, it does not mitigate the truth of my statement.

Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.
Luigi Novi: And your point is what? That people sometimes make spelling errors? How is this relevant to the discussion? If anything, failing to quote me properly, even after you've cut and pasted the full, contextual passage in your own post, where it pertains directly to the meaning of my prior statements, is far more relevant than a spelling error. Yet you seem to be place greater emphasis on the former rather than the latter, and simply to make a childish comment. This reflects far more on you than it does on me.

CallerX: There, you made an assertion about how people perceive Lost. You contradict yourself.
Luigi Novi: Sorry I misunderstood you. When you mentioned conflation how it portrays itself with how it was perceived, I thought by “perceived”, you were referring to how you perceive it. I completely forgot the early comment that I made, and neglected to look closely enough at your post to see that you were quoting my own statement. Thank you for the correction.

CallerX: Dismissed.
Luigi Novi: Um..............no. I made an error, and acknowledged it, while also pointing out that other aspects of my position are perfectly reasonable, and pointing out that you yourself made an error in how you quoted me, and in making a childish point about a misspelling. Thus, no one is "dismissed". Relax.
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written by Caller X, February 01, 2009
written by LuigiNovi, January 31, 2009
Sorry about my malformed post above, I'm not sure how that happened. Here is how it should appear:

CallerX: So tell us what science in the DaVinci code is wrong, since you said "science".
Luigi Novi: No, I said "science or reality in general". What's interesting is that you yourself actually quoted that full phrase just above, and addressed the phrase “reality in general” in a subsequent quote-and-response exchange, as if to divorce the two halves of the phrase. Nice try. “Science and reality in general” was a general phrase,


You didn't say "science AND" you said "science OR"... please choose one and stick to it.

the first portion of which referred to Star Trek, and the second of which referred to Brown’s novels.


What you wrote was:
accurate in its depiction of science or reality in general the way the work of Dan Brown or Star Trek


So which was first, and which was second? It seems like "science" lines up with "Dan Brown" and "reality in general" lines up with Star Trek, although to be fair you didn't say "respectively".

Trying to chop it up and decide, arbitrarily, that each half pertained to what you say they do—rather than I what I intended them to—isn’t going to work.

It's hard to know what you're saying when you can't remember what you wrote.

So the science in the DaVinci code is sound is what you're saying?

CallerX: Dan Brown doesn't assert that the events in the book are real or even similar to real events, so that takes care of "reality in general."
Luigi Novi: And as soon as you can establish that “reality in general” means “the events in the book”, feel free to do so. Since it does not, and since I never said anything about the events in the book, the point is moot. I made it quite clear what was I referring to when I said “reality in general.” One more time: He asserts that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate, and implies as much regarding its descriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. Thus, he falsely portrays much of the book's contents to be authentic, when they are not. Hence, "reality in general". Whether the present-day events of the book are fictional is not in dispute, not something I asserted, and therefore, it does not mitigate the truth of my statement.


"He asserts that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate, and implies as much regarding its descriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei."

"[D]escriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei" sounds like "reality in general to me. Your use of the weasel word "implies" is duly noted.

Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.
Luigi Novi: And your point is what? That people sometimes make spelling errors? How is this relevant to the discussion? If anything, failing to quote me properly, even after you've cut and pasted the full, contextual passage in your own post, where it pertains directly to the meaning of my prior statements, is far more relevant than a spelling error. Yet you seem to be place greater emphasis on the former rather than the latter, and simply to make a childish comment. This reflects far more on you than it does on me.


"[C]hildish comment" ah, the old argumentum ad hominem, one of the tools of the master rhetorician.

CallerX: There, you made an assertion about how people perceive Lost. You contradict yourself.
Luigi Novi: Sorry I misunderstood you. When you mentioned conflation how it portrays itself with how it was perceived, I thought by “perceived”, you were referring to how you perceive it. I completely forgot the early comment that I made, and neglected to look closely enough at your post to see that you were quoting my own statement. Thank you for the correction.

CallerX: Dismissed.
Luigi Novi: Um..............no. I made an error, and acknowledged it, while also pointing out that other aspects of my position are perfectly reasonable, and pointing out that you yourself made an error in how you quoted me, and in making a childish point about a misspelling. Thus, no one is "dismissed". Relax.


Don't you worry about me, I'm quite relaxed. I just had a zesty session with myself. You just keep acknowledging your errors and everything will work out fine.
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written by LuigiNovi, February 02, 2009
CallerX: You didn't say "science AND" you said "science OR"... please choose one and stick to it.
Luigi Novi: It doesn’t matter whether I said “and” or “or”. The meaning of the post is the same to any intellectually honest reader not obsessed with minutiae, and it stands unrefuted: Both of those works have either portrayed themselves, or been lauded by others, for somehow being authentic in a way that other works are not, whether it’s in science, or some other correlation to reality. The fact that I did not word the original statement to this effect in this exact way does not mean that any reasonable person could not understand it. But tell you what, you get the other visitors to this blog to chime in and tell me that they understood my post to mean what you say it does, and I’ll reconsider. Otherwise, stop splitting hairs.

CallerX: So which was first, and which was second? It seems like "science" lines up with "Dan Brown" and "reality in general" lines up with Star Trek, although to be fair you didn't say "respectively".
Luigi Novi: It doesn’t matter which was “first” or “second”, because the point did not require such an obsessive amount of precision that the two halves of the phrase needed to correlate or line up that perfectly in order for anyone with a modicum of reading comprehension or civility to understand it. The only one obsessing over splitting such hairs because he cannot refute my arguments on the basis of their actual substance is you. No one else would expect such a level of overthought to go into composing a post on a message board, and somehow I doubt that a casual perusal of posts by you over any substantial period of time would reveal that level of perfection.

Luigi Novi: Trying to chop it up and decide, arbitrarily, that each half pertained to what you say they do—rather than I what I intended them to—isn’t going to work.

CallerX: It's hard to know what you're saying when you can't remember what you wrote.

Luigi Novi: Whether I can remember what I wrote isn’t the issue. As I already pointed out, the problem here is that you seem to think that you can arbitrarily attribute meaning to others' words that they clearly do not intend, even when the intended meaning is clear. And that point remains: Deciding that “reality in general” means “events of the book”, instead of what I clearly explained it meant, is a false argument. If you can refute this, then do so.

Luigi Novi: He asserts that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate, and implies as much regarding its descriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei.

CallerX: "[D]escriptions of the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei" sounds like "reality in general to me. Your use of the weasel word "implies" is duly noted.

Luigi Novi: The material I described in the quote above is indeed what I meant by the phrase “reality in general”, which is why mentioned that material in my January 28 post, the first post in which I elaborated on that phrase. What’s your point?

Weasel word? There isn’t any. That word is present in my January 28 post, and its use is valid. The note in the beginning of the book indeed implies as that the story’s depiction of the Priory and Opus Dei is true-to-life, and even if that was not Brown’s intent, it is certainly reasonable, in my opinion, to argue that readers may come away with that impression, in part due to that note. Thus, there is no “weaseling”, except in your imagination.

CallerX: Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.
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written by LuigiNovi, February 02, 2009
CallerX: Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.

Luigi Novi: And your point is what? That people sometimes make spelling errors? How is this relevant to the discussion? If anything, failing to quote me properly, even after you've cut and pasted the full, contextual passage in your own post, where it pertains directly to the meaning of my prior statements, is far more relevant than a spelling error. Yet you seem to be place greater emphasis on the former rather than the latter, and simply to make a childish comment. This reflects far more on you than it does on me.

CallerX: "[C]hildish comment" ah, the old argumentum ad hominem, one of the tools of the master rhetorician.

Luigi Novi: Criticizing someone for making a childish comment is neither ad hominem nor rhetoric. It’s valid criticism for one’s behavior. Again, if you can refute this, then do so. We were discussing the points raised in Alison Smith’s piece, which I disagreed with, and the comments that I made in that regard that you apparently disagreed with. You then chose to make a the point that I made a simple typographical error by saying, “Plus, Dan Brown spells "Sion" correctly. You do not.” Do you deny that this was irrelevant to the substantive topic of our discussion? If so, then do so, and explain to me how. Do you deny that making this comment was childish, as all people make spelling errors from time to time, yourself included? Do you expect others to hold you to the same standards of discourse when you make such errors? If not, then stop pretending that for others to criticize you for your behavior constitutes some type of logical fallacy or personal attack, when the truth is that you were being called out for doing this yourself.

CallerX: Don't you worry about me, I'm quite relaxed. I just had a zesty session with myself. You just keep acknowledging your errors and everything will work out fine.
Luigi Novi: Apparently, I’m not the one for whom this is a problem.
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written by Caller X, February 07, 2009
The Guy from Mario Brothers wrote:
Luigi Novi: Criticizing someone for making a childish comment is neither ad hominem nor rhetoric.


You don't know what "rhetoric" means, do you?
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written by LuigiNovi, August 30, 2009
Thank you. I gave you ample opportunity to answer my question directly, and you chickened out of doing so because you know you can't, as you up prefer to focus on linguistic split hairs. Thanks for admitting that you can't refute my central point about your behavior. smilies/smiley.gif
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