Scientists Conduct First Successful Time Travel Experiment

Turns out it wasn’t 88mph after all. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has completed a successful experiment with quantum time travel.

Seth Lloyd and his collaborators “have identified a new approach to the problem that opens up the strange world of time travel to experiments,” according to a report in New Scientist magazine.

What is so tantalising about time travel is that there seems to be nothing to prevent it. As far as the laws of physics are concerned, time can run forwards or backwards. But time travel of the kind that Marty McFly gets up to in the movie Back to the Future is a different kettle of fish. It requires an object to go back in time while everything else keeps creeping forward. Still, there is no shortage of ideas about how this might happen.

Even more fascinating, the MiT team sent a photon back to “kill” itself.

The magazine says, ‘When this experiment is done, something interesting happens: every single time the time travel works, the gun fails to go off. And when time travel fails, the gun works. To put this in the language of the grandfather paradox, as long as there is some chance of your gun misfiring and the assassination failing, time travel may work. “You can point the gun but you can’t pull the trigger,” says Lloyd.’

London’s Secret Cemetery

In Southwark, not far from the resurrected Globe Theatre, the BFI and many of London’s arts establishments, lies Cross Bones cemetery. The graveyard is set aside for “outcasts” – prostitutes and paupers – and was in use for hundreds of years from Medieval times.

It was original the burial place for the Winchester Geese, the London prostitutes licenced by the Bishop of Winchester mentioned in The Sword of Albion.

Every Halloween, there’s a ceremony at Cross Bones to remember all outcasts, living and dead. You can find an account, photos, music and recordings here.

Structures On The Edge Of The Universe

“The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger—a multiverse—and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. “

Something on the edge of the universe pulling us inexorably toward it? Possible proof of the multiverse? And National Geographic wrap it up in a page…

Paris

Just back from a few days in Paris where I’ve been doing research for a new project, and I was struck by how much better the French capital is than our own stinky, slow-moving London. Not so much in the cutting-edge abstracts of ideas – the two cities are pretty equal on that front – but in the basic, bricks and mortar structures. Paris feels like a capital city, grand and weighty with a rich, powerful history. Looking up the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe from the Place de la Concorde, you get a sense of awe that London never really evokes. It’s there throughout the city. The French have held on to their history well, but wtihout letting it get in the way of modernity and innovation.

The Pompidou Centre is head and shoulders above Tate Modern in my view. The design of the building matches form with function so much better, and the exhibitions just seem so much better curated.

And then there’s the Louvre. London has nothing like this. A temple to art and history that is as big as a village. With that great glass pyramid surrounded by those grand, ancient buildings, this is the point that shows up where the French are best at moving forward while holding on to the power of the past. The Louvre itself is just breath-taking in design and function. The big downside, as I’m sure others have mentioned, is that it’s a victim of its own success. So many people swarm through the warren of rooms that it’s impossible to appreciate the art and artefacts. Hot, sweaty, constant, blinding camera flashes… Seeing the Mona Lisa is like standing just before the stage at a gig, swept back and forth by the crowd and fighting to get close enough to get a glimpse. Dan Brown Tom Hanks and Ron Howard got to film here at night, and were allowed to wander through the rooms at will while making The Da Vinci Code movie. I envy them.

But still…good food, good wine and an abundance of surliness – what more could you want when you’re travelling?