~Yoda Cat by Adam Baron http://www.facebook.com/#!/adam.baron
What your Desktop says about you would be a great title for a Cosmo article, right? But this isn’t Cosmo. This is just me, wasting time until the Amazing Race. There are lots of things I could/should be doing. Some of them are spelled out pretty clearly on my desktop sticky notes. But, instead, here I am, thinking about time travel again. And about how all my son seems to do is play what the old timers call “video games” and also, about two stories this week which seem to indicate that it is I, not my son, who has no idea how to waste time wisely.
STORY NUMBER 1: Last week some Italian scientists, apparently bored with trying to cure world hunger, cancer, the global economic collapse, opened their desktops and started firing neutrinos at one another through a mountain. Somewhere between torching each others eyebrows and triggering the security system they realized they had somehow, very possibly, invalidated Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Whoa.
In theory, invalidating Einstein’s Theory of Relativity would open the door to time travel, since that theory asserts that the speed of light is the speed limit in the universe, and to exceed the speed of light might allow effects to outstrip their causes, very simply, things might happen out of sequence---and what is that but time travel? My favorite quote from Science Friday this week was a caller who wanted to know--- if the scientists in Italy are correct, and the theory of relativity is no more, where are all the time travellers from the future? (Not in Peoria dear caller…)
Of course they could be zipping around among us like so many Arnold Strines (of The Fermata) , playing all manner of practical jokes on us, which is possibly how my keys ended up in the freezer. Very funny.
My pet theory is that time travel happens all the time and in fact, determines the unpredictability of life. For example, if you were a time traveller and you went back to a week ago to not eat the cupcake that resulted in that extra 2 + lbs today, not eating that cupcake, in theory, could start a butterfly-effect type cascade of events that would change the future you came from.
Although you might not end up on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, it could mean that your LBD would fit so well that you would decide you could, after all, make that cocktail party at your boss's house where you might meet the man or woman of your dreams.
So, in (my) theory, a time traveller would only be able to change the future once, since to do so would result in them never being able to return to where they started, and very possibly in their very extermination, if not from the world, possibly from the company payroll, depending on how strong the drinks were. You can never go home again McFly!
STORY NUMBER 2: Gamers cure Aids. This was a story about the University of Washington’s Scientists who apparently have not learned to play as productively as the aforementioned Italian scientists. They had been trying for a while to isolate the protein that causes AIDs in Rhesus monkeys. However,since the protein can fold itself into many shapes and is too small to see with a microscope they could not give the computer enough cues to isolate and zap that protein as opposed to all the other useful proteins which they most definitely should not be zapping.
Meanwhile, at the University’s Center for Game Science, (now there’s something you would be thrilled to see on your kid’s diploma after paying out 4 years @ $20,000 per annum), creative director Seth Cooper created a game called Foldit in which gamers compete against each other to see who can fold proteins most accurately. Somehow I do not see this game supplanting MW2 just yet. Also, I can’t even fold towels accurately and I’m not sure I can spell origami let alone comprehend that folding in any context could lead to curing Aids.
The gamers came up with an identifiable and useful fold in 10 days, using their creative intuition.
Which brings me back to what your desktop says about you. And unless it says you are well on your way to curing Aids or have created a time travel app, you should turn off the computer and go do something useful like pay bills or nag your kids. Because, you really have no idea how to waste time.