Monday, August 17, 2009

Time Travel Tidbits...

We've been talking a lot about time travel. So I thought you all everybody might enjoy these scientific and pop cultural tidbits I've stumbled across recently in my research.

Over on, there's a fascinating article by a physicist named Dave Goldberg articulating four "rules" for time travel in fiction. I agree with his general premise that, to be plausible, time travel stories should comport with the theoretical limits of physics. But some of his rules -- e.g., no parallel universes or alternate realities -- seem to go beyond that criterion. I'm actually e-mailing Dave, who's a friend of a friend, so maybe he can set me straight!

Speaking of the multiverse, I caught a bit of the time travel flick Deja Vu again the other night. The film itself is merely decent, but has a very clever premise involving three branching timelines, only two of which we actually witness. (If you've seen the film, check out the imdb faq for a nice explanation.) What really struck me was the familiar debate therein about whether it's possible to change the past. There's Denny, the voice of Whatever Happened, Happened:
Denny: Anything you're gonna do, you already did. Whether you send a note back, or don't send a note doesn't matter. You can't change the past, it's physically impossible.
And then there's Shanti, proponent of what I've been calling the Tangent Timeline possibility:
Shanti: That's not necessarily true. Branching Universe Theory holds you can do...
Denny: Ohhh... Branching... Universe... Theory... ohhh, no no no.
Shanti: Alright, I'll show you. The traditional view of time is linear, like a river, flowing from the past towards the future.
Doug Carlin: But you can change the course of a river, right?
Shanti: Exactly. Introduce a significant enough event at any point in this river and you create a new branch, still flowing toward the future, but along a different route. Changed.
Denny: Yeah, but that river is the Mississippi and we're lobbing what amounts to a pebble into it. That's a very few tiny ripples in a kind of big body of water, don't you think?
Shanti: Traditionalist.
Pryzwarra: Say we do create this new branch. What happens to the old one, to this one?
Denny: [referring to Shanti] ... Ask the radical!
Shanti: Well, it might continue parallel to the new branch. Most likely, it ceases to exist.
Notice how they use the same general analogy as Faraday of throwing stones into a river. Notice as well how they specifically cite the Mississippi to make their point. As I mentioned in the comments to WHH+CC=??, there's an interesting parallel between manipulation of the LOST timeline and human efforts to control the flow of the Mississippi using artificial levees. Nature keeps trying to "correct" our intervention by shifting the river to a different course.

Finally, on the subject of course correction, I stumbled across an interesting tidbit from the 2002 film adaptation of H.G. Wells's classic, the Time Machine. In the film, the protagonist is driven to invent a time machine by the murder of his fiancee during a mugging. Through time travel, he's able to prevent the fatal mugging, but his wife still dies in a carriage accident. The timeline, in other words, is mutable but self-healing. The parallel to Ms. Hawking's speech re course correction is striking:
MS. HAWKING: Because it wouldn't matter. Had I warned him about the scaffolding tomorrow he'd be hit by a taxi. If I warned him about the taxi, he'd fall in the shower and break his neck. The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die. That was his path just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.
Obviously, Deja Vu's analogy of throwing stones in a river is hardly a revolutionary metaphor for changing the future. And the Time Machine isn't the only time travel narrative to feature a self-correcting timeline -- I've also mentioned the example of Fritz Leiber's sci-fi classic, the Big Time. Still, the similarities are strong enough that I have to wonder if the parallels are really intentional references by the writers.


As I mentioned, I've been e-mailing Dave Goldberg, the author of the Slate piece, and I'm pleased to report he's replied! Here's the e-mail I sent Dave critiquing his piece:

I read your Slate piece with great interest but also some confusion. I agree with your general premise that, to be plausible, time travel stories should comport with the theoretical limits of physics. Still, I can't help thinking some of your rules go beyond that criterion. If you have some time, maybe you can set me straight?

Your first rule is no parallel universes. This is where I have the most questions, but before we get to the science, one minor pop cultural quibble. Is it really accurate to describe Back to the Future as illustrating the "many worlds" approach? I think of it as an example of the grandfather paradox because Marty nearly succeeds in erasing himself from the timeline. Seems to me that can only happen if there's one mutable timeline, rather than many running in parallel.

OK, onto the science. Your rationale is that that GR predicts only one universe. But is it really fair to limit plausibility to what GR says? My understanding is that many time travel solutions (e.g., Thorne's traversible wormholes) are semi-classical. They exploit the tension between GR and QM (e.g., by positing matter with negative energy density) which is why Thorne himself thinks a theory of quantum gravity will probably make wormhole travel impossible.

In fact, doesn't resolution of Polchinski's paradox require use of Feynman's "sum over histories" approach? I realize that's not synonymous with Everett's "many worlds" interpretation of QM. To this layperson's eye, however, they look pretty similar. (Or does "sum over histories" still imply only one universe because all others cancel themselves out?) Regardless, it seems kind of arbitrary to exclude a valid interpretation of QM like "many worlds" from time travel fiction.

I actually agree with your second rule, but have questions concerning three and four, where you talk about Novikov's self-consistency principle and free will. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't self-consistency merely a conjecture? As I understand it, Novikov showed there's always at least one self-consistent trajectory through spacetime, but simply assumes that nature will enforce it. Is there some further proof of the latter point?

Relatedly, you suggest that Polchinski's paradox shows we have no free will where changing the future is concerned. But I thought the billiard ball hypo was meant to bracket questions of free will, not resolve them. I'm comfortable philosophically with the compatibility of free will and determinism. But I'm skeptical of Novikov's analogy to the way physical forces constrain us. Isn't there a difference between an identifiable force like gravity and some mysterious "hand of God" that stops a time traveler from killing Hitler?

And here is Dave's thoughtful and illuminating reply:

1. BTTF. They are _very_ inconsistent about how they treat time travel in that franchise. The model Doc Brown makes clear in BTTF2 has timelines diverging from one another. He even draws a diagram on a chalkboard showing two timelines with a common origin. This is very consistent with the parallel worlds model. What's more if we ignore the (terrible) detail of Marty disappearing in BTTF1 (which can't be justified under any circumstances), it's also clear that they use a parallel universe model. If not for that, then who prevented Marty's parents from falling in love? It's a stretch, perhaps, but because it's the most famous of the genre, I had to do my best interpretation. Since I'm discounting the model, I figure some liberties could be taken with whether BTTF follows it exactly.

2. 1 Universe/Many in GR. I was contrasting what GR says to "parallel universes." Here we get into a bit of terminology, since you may have heard of something called the "multiverse" or somesuch which contains many "universes" (small u). In standard inflationary cosmology, the Universe (big U) can, indeed, split into many (perhaps infinitely many) bubble universes (small u). But these universes (small u) have nothing to do with Everett's many worlds. They may, in fact, have significantly different physical constants, matter concentrations, sizes, fates, etc. More importantly, we only refer to them as separate universes (small u), because there is no physical way to travel from one to the other. They are, however, separated from us in an entirely spacelike way (not, e.g., in separate "dimensions" or any such nonsense).

3. Polchinski/Sum over Histories. Sort of. Feynman's path integral approach, many worlds, the copenhagen interpretation. All of them predict the exact same thing. They're just different ways of writing down the integrals. Mathematically, they all come out the same. Most physicists prefer the Copenhagen interpretation, but I should point out that even advocates of the "many worlds interpretation" don't actually believe that we can visit those other worlds. In each case, all we're doing is figuring out a transition probability. What is the probability that the ball gets blocked? A: 0.

4. Self-consistency. Self-consistency is at the center of both GR and QM. Note that this isn't the same as causality. However, both theories are (at their heart) a set of differential equations which combine source terms (mass, pressure, electromagnetic fields) on one side, and a result (curvature of space-time, evolution of wavefunctions) on the other. It's a conjecture, but only in the sense that we conjecture that (within their appropriate regimes) QM & GR are correct. While it's true that we don't have a theory of quantum gravity, it would be hard to imagine that self-consistency wouldn't be enforced. Besides, my central tenet was to describe physics as we currently understand it. Saying, "perhaps a new theory will make this all wrong," is a bad approach.

5. Free Will/Determinism. True, it's a bracket. But a very important one. If you accept the single timeline model (which is justified by the rest of the discussion) then the determinism falls into place. What stops you from killing Hitler (I call Godwin's Law!)? It's more of a question of "what stopped you?" since it already happened. I don't think it likely that your gun just jams or you're unable to pull the trigger. More likely, you probably wouldn't end up with a gun pointed at Hitler in the first place. (Note: An analogy follows. Don't take it literally). I like to think of it like this. Suppose you were God, and you wrote a time travel narrative like this:

1935 - You invent time travel
1939 - Future you jumps out of the time machine and kills Hitler.
1939-1945 WWII
1945 - You get in your time machine with a machine gun.

Clearly, this timeline makes no sense (as WWII wouldn't have happened, and further, not knowing about how evil Hitler is negates your need to kill him), so it gets "revised." This is what I mean when I say it's an analogy. There's no meta-time, so the "revisions" are really just new attempts to make a self-consistent history.


1935 - You invent time travel.
1939 - Future you jumps out of the time machine but can't kill Hitler for some reason.
1939-1945 WWII
1945 - You get in your machine with a machine gun.

Better, but still flawed because of step 2. What stops you?


1935 - You invent time travel
1939 - Unbeknownst to (future) you, the exit ramp of your time machine gets locked in a room.
1939 - Future you jumps out of the time machine and are trapped in a room.
1939-1945 WWII
1945 - You get in your time machine with a machine gun.

We could go further, trying to make the history ever more plausible. Indeed, one way of thing about QM is that the most plausible scenario is the one most likely to have actually occurred.

You can read more of Dave Goldberg's thoughts on the physics of time travel and related subjects at the website for his forthcoming book A User's Guide to the Universe.


Greg Tramel said...

WHH+CC=DESTINY prevents paradoxes, Miles could have killed his younger self but that's not WHH

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'll check out the article, Big. I've caught bits & pieces of DEJA VU but I dunno, I thought the acting was a bit too much. I loved the trailers for the film, so maybe I was soured by my own expectations.

Greg Tramel said...

in the movie Primer they do kill their duplicates BUT more duplicates continue to multiply

Greg Tramel said...

a few things are a stretch in Deja Vu such as being able to see what your reading inside your house, IMHO they CAN see you reading a book in your backyard BUT i don't believe they can read the pages

but as always correct me if i'm wrong

Thunderstorm said...

I tried to watch Deja Vu on FX recently. I watched until the commercial break, changed channels and forgot to go back...yeah, that happens a lot. I guess you could say it didn't hook me in fast enough. ;)

Anyways, I love the idea of WHH. One self consistent set of events, but if we are talking about "course correction" at all, or the "ripple effect", doesn't that by it's very nature imply previous histories?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Greg and Thunderstorm. Yeah, stuff like what Greg said, more the acting in general. Yea, yea, its a movie, but the acting needs to carry over the situations like the pages of the book.

The ripple effect could very well be happening to us all the time, its a matter of how small the course correction is. It might be something as small as the Mississippi River changing course a day early, then a day late. Who would know?

I don't think every scenario is as drastic as Ms. Determinism Eloise says, and she might have been scaring Desmond away from free will. That is, I don't think every ripple universe involves the death or non-death of someone, however how inconsequential they might be.

In PK Dick's FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID, Jason Taverner (really a Johnny Carson-type), never realizes anything is amiss until he signs off his monologue with a fake tennis swing instead of the golf swing.

Greg Tramel said...

even though i don't want to take the tangent timelines (or parallel for that matter) with Lost i do think there is some science behind mutliverse theories so i'm very curious how Dave responds

Thunderstorm said...

If Bigmouth won't want to beat me over the head with a retractable Linus baton, I'd like to pose a general time travel question to you guys.

I've been considering the idea of a Time Loop, where things repeat themselves (iterations) and have mostly found the idea to be not of my liking (re: LOST), however, I was just having problem with the logistics (or physics).

For instance, to make it simple. How does a Groundhog's Day or to make it more 'sciency'...TNG's episode "Cause and Effect" work, with the physical bodies?

Could it only involve 'mental' looping? Because it seems to me, if you looped back to start the same day over (physically) how would you not just meet yourself?

Don't want to derail things, I just love talking about time travel.

Thunderstorm said...

Wayne, that idea of 'ripple effect' happening continuously, is that like retrocausality? Would you need a closed-timelike-curve for this to happen?

We had a conversation (BM was a part of it, I'm pretty sure) about this last season (hiatus) over at the number's forum ( com). I know some of those guys have migrated over here since the skeptics flooded that forum.

Greg Tramel said...

my opinion on Groundhog Day (never seen TNG)is Bill Murrey is always in his present (like Miles said about our Losties) even though he starts "over" each time he wakes up so he is not really going "back" in his past just reliving his present

but i think it diverges a bit compared to what Big would theorize

Greg Tramel said...

to explain how i differ when it comes to Lost

some would say there is a 1976 version of Sawyer on earth and at the same time a duplicate of Sawyer on island

BUT i say there is ONLY the island Sawyer (no earth duplicate) at the same time as island Sawyer 1976 since Sawyer is in his present

Greg Tramel said...

i guess i shouldn't have said B Murry is reliving his present because each present is new a new present

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Thunderstorm, I can't really fault LOST (yet) re: time loops, because as far as I am concerned, they've done nothing that makes me call b.s. yet. But I guess that is retrocausality I am describing. If anyone wants to talk time travel, my thoughts are that any changes in the "present" are happening on a continual basis. Big changes create the tangent universes that stay separate, the Nazis win WWII, I win an Edgar Award. Course correction could be happening all the time. Not familiar with TNG episode, though I might have seen it and am just too old to remember anything from fifteen years ago.

And I lean towards Greg's thinking in regards to GROUNDHOG'S DAY. Whereas the idea behind the film is Murray's character changing things over however many "days" it takes, its the one single day that loops over and over, likely at the moment the alarm goes off. I see your point, and I would enjoy being proven wrong, because the more I think on it, I likely am taking the events for granted. Would it have to be a mental thing? We do see the film subjectively, through Murray much more than anyone else.

Going back to the first comment, a closed timeline curve sure sounds like the weaving of tapestry, you think? I'm just more thinking on Eloise's admonition to Desmond being a bit extreme. Go back to Red Shoes, she claims he is predetermined to die, but why does she know it must happen the way she tells Desmond? Is she saying the picture on the box will change if she doesn't let him die as Desmond watches? Why, then, couldn't he live another ten years? That said, does she see a huge amount of boxes, because I can't imagine Red Shoes being the only person's lifeline she is aware of (I think she sees the immediate future, and knew ONLY of Red Shoes and the safe). I compare his death with those who were sucked out of Oceanic 815 before it even crashed, they were even more inconsequential than those who landed on the Island but did not survive the crash, if that makes sense. So, while I've often thought this about tangent universes (since reading PKD, Larry Niven, and others), Eloise's shrillness strengthens my belief in relation to the show.

Since I started typing this, three planes landed a minute later at Midway than they did when I stopped typing. Well, stopped typing THIS TIME. Or THIS TIME. Then there was the time I didn't proofread what I wrote.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Greg, but there are two Miles. The show set that up for anyone wanting to say "I deny! I deny!" re: the 77ers. And Sawyer tells Jack how he could have stopped Anthony Cooper from killing his parents. I don't think he would have been able to do that, even if he got back to the US and Juliet watched his back and all that. I'd say that killing Cooper would cause a tangent universe, but that still leaves two Sawyers in 1974 and the adult one needs to be the same age in 2004. So there has to be something towards free will vs. determinism, though I'd also say that Sawyer stayed with Juliet in 1974 because of what Locke said to him after they passed by the Hatch during the time flashes. Sawyer asks Locke why not go back and save himself the pain, Locke says it was the pain that made him what he was today. Which is free will.

Greg Tramel said...

yes, Miles COULD of attempted to kill his younger self as a young kid on island (or change his own diaper like Hurley said) but that is not WHH

we see it is possible to have a duplicate (albeit a different age) at the same frequency at the same time

for instance if Charlotte flashed to 1974 along with Miles, Sawyer, Juliet & Daniel she would have also been in the same frequency as her younger island self at the same time with her older island self

Greg Tramel said...

what i'm trying to say (or at least attempting to) is for my version of the Lostverse there is not a Miles off island self at the SAME TIME as the Miles island self + baby Miles island self

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Greg, you missed my point, I think. LOST seems to sets up a future event with an explanatory scene. One that comes to mind is the outrigger scene with the time jumps (which PROVES Faraday's earlier thinking was right) gives us payoff with Sawyer holding onto the rope in the well, by all intent, that rope should have been gone, considering it ended in the dirt. And that was a jarring scene.

My bringing up Miles was just that, foreshadowing another event, which was really the two Lockes in 2007, but can be posited towards anyone in 1977. I never mentioned Miles killing baby Miles, I mentioned Sawyer and his folks getting conned.

I get what you mean, but I don't quite understand how on-Island/off-Island figures into it all. Sawyer was a kid in Tennessee in 1977 and a 31 yr old on the Island in 1977 because WHH. Same with Juliet and the rest. A paradox, yes. I just think it's a time travel story we haven't read before.

Speaking of Sawyer's talk with Jack: do you think this is a foreshadow of S6 in some small way, i.e., free will to change their past. I'm wondering, because LOST does use the technique well, not much in the way of dialogue is placed there uselessly.

Also: CHARLOTTE. I think she was dead and MIB was copying her at the end. Hear me out. MIB would have her memories and would know about the chocolate, etc. But. MIB needed Locke to get to the wheel so casual Christian could start him on that journey off the Island so that he could then get back on the Island as a corpse. I've thought about the last episode with Charlotte more than once. It seemed just plain WRONG that she would suddenly remember Faraday as being the creepy guy from her childhood, seeing as how he pretty much looked and acted the same way once they left the freighter. Also, how the hell did Charlotte (of all people) know about the well? We never got an answer for that, or for her scream of "This place is death." I commented after that episode that perhaps Charlotte's dad was a construction worker at the Orchid and/or that one of her parents had screamed out that line about Death, but never really learned anything about her childhood at all. The thing that still is stuck in my mind, how (and WHY) would plain old four year old Charlotte Lewis know about the damn well?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

oh, and I do get what you mean towards trying to explain that only one Miles can exist as an adult, not taking that away from you. Just saying this is a unique take on time travel.

Capcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capcom said...

Re: the well-rope, my guess is in theory, that it probably went all the way down into the ground down the (previous) well length. Not important, but just sayin'. Such a fantastic scene and concept, I agree! TPTB must have done high-fives all around the
story writing table when they thought that one up!

I love that the idea of "do-overs" is being brought up again by TPTB after being put aside for a while with other topics in the show. Back when we first saw the Losties' crummy past lives in FBs we began talking about whether or not the Losties would do that if they could (via the redemption theme), and maybe in S6 we will be shown something about that. Except for the case of Dingbat I suppose, who according to the hiatus video just figured out a different place to try to kill her father in her second chance. :-B

Good points about Charlotte, Wayne. It is a big question how she new about (what one would assume to be) a secret access to the well. And by secret, I mean that only Chang's inner circle would probably know about it, not the general peeps in DI-ville, and surely not the wives and kids you'd think. I'm guessing though, that we'll never be told how she knew. I hope that I'm wrong.

Greg Tramel said...

oh, i see what you mean now Wayne

what i'm thinking is that off island Sawyer 1977 - 2004 already happened years before on island Sawyer 1977 so they are not happening at the same time

on island Sawyer 1977 and off island Saywer 1977 are not happening at the same time so i don't believe there are really any tangent universes in the Lostverse

Capcom said...

Dennis Miller is interviewing Michael Emerson on his show today he just announced.

Greg Tramel said...

FYI: since everything these days IMHO has a Lost connection The Universe starts tonight on the History Channel


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Capcom, I honestly do not think the DI knew about the well. I never did, because if I saw the wheel on one side, I'd scout around to find the other half, looking for caverns or recent rockslides. But then, they never had time, did they. The same day they found the wheel was the day of The Incident. But I didn't know that when we watched the first episode of S5. Anyhow. Mirror matter, duality, evil twins, all components of the show. The DI uncovered one side of the wheel in the Orchid, but the other side of the wheel was inside the well. The way I see it, the rope would have been gone when the well was filled if not for Sawyer holding it (and yes, Capcom, I'm sure it went all the way to the bottom). We saw the well while Tarawet was still standing, and I've said before how I've always thought one side of the temple, the well, the Orchid, and Tarawet are pretty much close to each other in a fairly straight line. Odds are, whatever caused the statue to fall caused the cave in to "halve" the wheel.

In those scenes of the van pulling up toward the Orchid during construction there seemed to be a huge amount of foliage, which likely covered the remnants of the well. Also, since we know Faraday had all those notes from Ann Arbor, and he (far as we know) never knew of the well, I'd speculate that the Hostiles might not even know of the well (that it pre-dates them), so that Jacob and MIB would be the only ones knowing of its existence.

That said, if the DI represents Jacob's "progress," his half of the wheel, if you will, is separate from MIB's, which is where we saw Locke.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Of course, all this talk is moot if we don't see get an MIB or Island episode. I forget who posted the spoiler here a few months back, but waiting until the final episode for certain resolutions is kinda lame.

Greg, I do think we are on the same page re: the multiple versions of people, i.e., it is the present for both iterations of Miles, Sawyer, et al. I'm just wording it wrong.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Another thought on the cave in that compartmentalized the wheel. Could it be that a large amount of the exotic matter, which Locke effectively cut off after turning the wheel (the last flash we saw was when he fell), was shunted along by the cave in so that its new "ending point" was the Hatch? Didn't someone (not here, it might have been repeated here) post that that last time flash caused the statue to topple, because Miles said it felt like an earthquake? That would be another loop event, Locke's turning the wheel after the cave in in effect causing the cave in to happen, which then moved the band of exotic energy between the Orchid and the Swan sites. Also, in my internal mapping, the Orchid is closer to the Swan than, say, the Flame or even the Staff. Very close to the sonic fence, which we've really only seen from one angle. It doesn't mean the fence is exactly circular.

Thunderstorm said...

I don't think Charlotte was the only one speaking during her 'death fit'.

I'll be watching 'The Universe' tonight but also, another heads-up, there is a great episode of Nova tonight on PBS about Fractals and dimensions, I've seen it before but it's really well done.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I threw that in about Charlotte because I had meant to for awhile. I can't find my PBS station on the main cable tv, and last week when I tuned in to NOVA, it was some guy on piano for an hour. I double-checked on the time zone factor, too. Tonight I plan to go to the NOVA website well ahead of time to see where it airs in Chicago now.

Greg Tramel said...

yesterday when i was searching for scientific evidence for a multiverse i came across this short video which discusses things we've talked about here

From Universe to Multiverse

Greg Tramel said...

i realize i'm grasping for straws trying to come up with a time travel model without any paradoxes (all types) and without any multiverse/parallel/tangential universes

maybe it's impossible and just wishful thinking on my part that Lost uses a time travel model that we have never seen before

rethinking about Donnie Darko, i'm wondering if it really is a tangential time travel model since he actually sends the whole universe backwards in time along the same timeline

so there wasn't a tangential branch wherein he or she dies but rather everybody went back in time along the same space/timeline

with the wrinkle of their physical body remembering the 1st time around but without any real mental memory

Greg Tramel said...

i suppose Primer may be a time travel model without multiple tangets/universes and without paradoxes

of course they had to work really hard to prevent any chances of paradoxes and ensure WHH+CC kept it paradox free

neoloki said...

I have numerous problems with the Dave Goldberg article. He seems to be putting physical limitations on a concept that hasn't been physically defined. For one we still have a huge contradiction between Einstiens theory of general relativity and it's use of gravity as a guiding force in space-time and quantum mechanics discovery that EM is actually a much stronger force in the interactions of particles. So to structure limitations on time travel using general relativity seems basically flawed. Physicists love to overlook these very basic discrepancies between how things work on a Macro level where gravity is the defining force and how things work on a micro level where EM is the guiding force.

I like the idea in quantum mechanics that tries to explain gravities weakness on a quantum level by using gravity as the force that connects our (theoretically) multi-universe and/or the other 7 dimensions that are mathematically accounted for in string theory.

Anyway, I am sure he could easily beat me down in a conversation about such things as my knowledge is superficial, but it always rubs me the wrong way when scientists try to put strict rules on something they know very little about.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Agreed, Neoloki. An interesting article, but again, you can't justify limitations on the unknown.

I mentioned it briefly, without real explanation, that there's always the chance that LOST will describe a unique take on time travel, as Donnie Darko did. I do enjoy me some Star Trek, but their tt stories were too rigid. I'm holding out for one single Ann Arbor episode, mixed in with Island adventure.

I agree with the fact that there will be questions left unanswered and we will be discussing them after the show has ended, but I do want for certain to know if Ajira did flash back to 2007 and what is up with the Lamp Post. (Actually, Eloise might be as good a story-teller as anyone in Ann Arbor). How often does the Island move of its own accord? Seeing as how we can talk of such matters on blogs such as this one, there's no real need for the producers to go crazy wild with explanations. I'll bet fifteen minutes of one episode would clarify a lot.

Thunderstorm said...

With regard to Goldberg's article, I generally disagree with #2.

"2) You can't visit any time before your time machine was built."

I don't know why physics requires that this be the case. Seems to me if you invent a 'currently known physics-violation machine' that you could very well violate the current conventional physics that tells you that you can't travel to the past before a time machine is invented.

We know so little (to echo Neoloki a bit) about quantum mechanics, I feel like some hard science folk are as dogmatic as Jerry Falwell at times.

Anyways, LOST could solve it's one glaring paradox easily. They could just originate that compass between 1954 and 2007. That's all that would need to happen.

The supposed rat paradox has been explained...all Daniel needed to do was teach Eloise the maze while Desmond was catatonic. Gregg Nations confirmed this as the solution (coincidentally, I believe to a question that Bigmouth posted on The Fuselage).

The only real TT paradox is the compass and according to Damon, is entirely intentional.

NOTE: this means past time travel paradoxes. Not logical paradoxes, which are inherent in past time travel (Locke is on the Island before he is born).

f/k/a NetProphet said...

To follow up on Thunderstorm's last post:

Items such as the compass that would appear to have a loop like existence with no apparent creation or destruction (closed world timelines) are commonly referred to as "jinn" objects. Oddly enough, many serious theorists have no qualms about permitting the existence of such objects - most notably Igor Novikov (the Novikov self-consistency principle proposes that contradictory causal loops cannot form, but that consistent ones can.) BTW - I'm guessing Wayne Allen would be comfortsable calling the compass a bootstrap paradox.

In any event, sorry to always get so straight forward "science like" in here. Just want to say that despite my facsination with retrocausality and the transactional interpretation of time, my belief in how TPTB are really employing time travel comes from that old EW article from a few years ago. They were pretty candid about how they were pro spacetime bending but still paradox averse. I have come to believe this as meaning that self consistent paradoxes (the "jinn" of teh compass) are really o.k. in their view, whereas contradictory paradoxes (the grandfather killing business) are verboten. This all fits in with a self consistent history model, or, in other words, WHH. :)

Beyond this, TPTB also outright mock the use of alternate timelines by Heroes in the same article, leading me to believe such an "escape valve" is off the table for Lost as well. If TPTB think having an alternate, future version of Hiro come back in time to help prevent an apocalypse is a cheap way out, I don't see why allowing Jack to prevent a plane crash by going back in time and setting off a bomb is any different.

Anonymous said...

@thunderstorm - I think the #2 rule of that article is lifted from stephen hawking (or another author that wrote about building a time machine). If I remember correctly, the reason hawking said that was because that form of time travel is done by using two wormholes to travel back and forth between two times. Sortof like the wardrobes in the narnia books. The "exit" wormhole would be created when the time machine was invented, and the entrance wormhole would be created at any point past that time. So you could only go back in time to the instant that first wormhole was created.

Also, I was under the impression that because locke wasn't really locke, he was the man in black, that the whole compass paradox was thrown out the window. The paradox occured, we originally thought, because it was a closed loop with locke giving himself the compass. That isn't the case anymore. Is that right?

Capcom said...

Don't worry about getting too "science-y" here NetProphet, we're eating this stuff for breakfast, for this hiatus! :-D Never have I learned so much from a bunch of people that I've never even seen before, than what I have learned and engaged in with you great folks here! Good point about Heroes too, NP.

Thunderstorm, another idea behind the notion that you can't travel back before a time machine was made, stands on the presumption that you are traveling in the machine, and if the receptacle didn't exist before you made it, you can't use it. But I can think of plenty of theories to get around that like you say. And, if you could manage to transport yourself alone back in time, like an ST transporter, you would not be inside a receptacle or apparatus. But I suppose then, how you would get back without any equipment would be an issue. Maybe we should ask John Titor how he does it, heheh.

Good point about the compass Tommy! Hmm.

Capcom said...

BTW, in case it hasn't been mentioned yet here (can't remember), here is the forum for the so-called online Time Travel Institute: link

I haven't seen any Lost TT talk there, but general theories abound.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Re: the compass, it's true that MIB could have had that thing since the BR days. Whether it was Nestor Carbonell's matter-of-fact acting or the way the scene was first shown, it really seemed as if it was his own compass. Hadn't thought about it coming from MIB, and it WAS an integral part of getting Richard to believe Locke in 1954. If Richard was on the BR, which I'm still not sure of, he'd recognize the compass which is why he seemed to shrug off Locke walking up out of nowhere and giving it to him.

NetProphet, I did change my mind a bit on the compass as a bootstrap paradox once we saw other loops with a possible start and end point, e.g., Juliet causing the pregnancy problem she came to the Island to fix.

I don't know that comparing Jack to anyone on HEROES equates well, because HEROES just dive-bombed, in my opinion. I enjoyed the truncated S2 even when others here (and else) were putting it down, and by the start of S3, I realized I could no longer watch the show.

Jack and the other 77ers were integral to the free will aspect of the show and how his role and Locke's were reversed over five seasons. The other difference with HEROES is that we saw several weeks of interaction, instead of the last minute save the world crap on the other show, repeated again and again. Jack isn't trying to save the world, he's trying to fix his own future. I can see the argument, but LOST has been telling us all along about things happening for a reason, coincidence and fate, and my favorite line about how "we make our own fate."

What neoloki and then thunderstorm and NP said, yes, the main problem with most articles bemoaning time travel neglect the fact that no one knows anything until that first person travels in time. Man on the moon. Television. Interstates. Cars. All not quantum physics, but still the same level of thinking, in a certain way.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Capcom, that's right about the assumption that someone is piloting the machine. Someone might refresh my memory on a story from the 60s, I cannot even think of the author, about how some scientists send back two balls that are cameras and bounce against each other in mid-air then keep going into later eras as they bounce closer to each other, eventually arriving in the present moments after the experiment started. A room of scientists have gathered, not knowing the first bounce killed a butterfly which would have been another animal's snack, a few other small events occur, and at the end of the story, the scientist's all find the experiment a success, even though they are all purple blobs with misshapen vertebrae. I read it as a kid, might've been Robert Silverberg. But there's your observation, why need a person in a time bubble, why not send a camera?

neoloki said...

the finale of season 1 of heroes did it in for me. After it was just absurd. Also it is a very two dimensional show.

I am rewatching Lost from the beginning for the umpteenth time. Great noticing little things. When Sawyer walks into the hatch to get his bandage changed in The Hunting Party he says this place still gives me the creeps. Which is a great line considering the end of the Incident.

Seeing One of Them and the introduction of Henry Gale never gets old. I still think Live Together Die Alone is one of the best if not the best finale. I wish we would get more info on Kelvin, brother Justin, doubt it will happen though.

I have a hard time with the idea that John Locke is dead and gone going into season 6. I wonder if the exploration of a multi-verse will allow them to introduce Locke back into the fray. He is such an important character to the soul of Lost and it's discussion of faith. To abandon him at this crisis point seems to be an overly heavy handed solution.

The compass came across as a theoretical toy for the fans. Maybe they will use it as a metaphor for a larger theme during season 6. Maybe I am missing something. Happens often.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey again, everyone. I think I got that phrase wrong, was it 'make your own luck' or 'make your own fate'? Anyhow.

@neoloki, the issue with the compass set us up for the remainder of S5, the idea of what was a paradox and what could be explained with some logic. I mainly watched S2 of HEROES because it was on at a time when I ate dinner, and likely the fact that it was more like a half-season, any longer would have done it in. H. is a perfect example of a comic that has rotating writers every 6 months or so. Only the writers on H. have, for the most part, been there all along. All the sadder for what seemed a promising show. I enjoyed INVASION when it was on, the premise and all, but it felt too slow-moving. Aside from part of S2, LOST has pretty much been on all cylinders, pretty much with Michael Emerson and then Elizabeth Mitchell joining the cast.

Last summer I rewatched the entire run and found scenes that still have me second guessing. Until we saw Rose & Bernard with Vincent, I thought he was MIB (from that mobisode, plus his forays into the jungle). Still can't believe a dog can survive the crash, though Jacob could have touched him. Can MIB animate a dead being to suit his purposes? (Obviously, with Christian, but I mean with a touch like Jacob used after Locke's fall.)

Since you are rewatching S1, do you think Locke was again dead on the beach? Seemed to me we saw Christian get Vincent (the "you know what to do" speech) to run out of the jungle past Jack. One theory I had was that MIB was inside Locke in S1 as he watched Walt, gained his trust by making the dog whistle, teaching him backgammon.

Greg Tramel said...

i agree we don't know for sure when john Locke ends and MiB begins but my hunch is not until after 316

i even had a crazy notion of Locke being MiB when Ben strangled him

but i don't think we can prove any of them yet, i think for sure the actor will be in Season 6 but i have no idea as to who/what

Greg Tramel said...

guess i'm missing any paradox issues with the compass, it makes sense to me

this is the same compass Richard tests kid Locke with, right?

what i'm stumped on is after 316 when BEn, Flocke and Sun are on the 2007 island AT THE SAME TIME as LaFluer & Co. are on the 1977 island

but i suppose it hinges on how we define AT THE SAME TIME

Greg Tramel said...

No paradox for time travellers

neoloki said...

Yeah, I also missed the paradox with the compass. Seems pretty clean to me.

john locke did not become MIB until the crash of 316 on Alcatraz. I think this is pretty clearly stated on the show. So any action taken by Locke no matter who he was motivated by, and I believe MIB has been a motivating force during john's Island time, was john's alone.

After this we can simply guess who was where and what with MIB, Smokey
and Jacob. In the mobisode described my guess is that MIB and Smokey have always been separate entities but are working under similar interests; so Christian would be MIB and Vincent would be Smokey.

With john in season 1 and his other worldly intuition, I still believe john was in a kind of subliminal communication with the Island and it's conflicting forces. Thus we see his emotional conflict, but in the end he is who he was.

and greg what do YOU mean by "at the same time."

I try to read Lost as simply as possible as far as the narrative goes because the show creators do not want to confuse the common denominator if it's possible. There is, however, a lot of playing going on under the surface, obviously, I just don't think it's the best idea to confuse the two when laying Lost out on a plot line. I mean this is ABC.

neoloki said...

I am watching "?" right now and I have to say one of the most confusing scenes in Lost is when Malkin's daughter finds Mr. Echo in the Sidney airport and tells him Yemi "appeared" to her when she was "between places."
Now who the hell is Yemi here? Jacob needing Echo on the Island? Or MIB using Echo as a motivating force in Johns life to force a crisis which puts john on the path to 316?

Greg Tramel said...

not sure how to define at the same time but an example may be

316 landed at the same time Des was in the hospital even though it was 2008 for Des and 2007 for 316ers

Juliet (1977) was banging jughead on the rock at the same time Jacob (2007)said they're coming

so there's the rub, guess i need to redefine my notion of at the same time

Greg Tramel said...

neoloki, i would say yemi was yemi just like charlie was charlie when he visited hurley in santa rosa

i mean opposed to either one of them being MiB (and/or Smokey for that matter)

Greg Tramel said...

BTW, 1 important thing (at least for me)that TPTB said at ComicCon in which they gave a definitive NO to was the question if Jacob had taken any other form

neoloki said...

I forget right now but did we ever get a month for when in 1977 they flashed too. 316 left in January of 08. The flash to 07 could have been a month and was the result of the Island's event horizon and not an actual "flash", so to speak.

As far as yemi goes yeah it is probably nothing more. Could their be a difference though in appearances psychically vs physically.

Greg Tramel said...

i agree that it seems most likely it was Dec 2007 when 316 landed

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@neoloki and Greg, Sawyer tells Jack its June of 77 before he talks about how he could have stopped his parents from dying. I agree that it is mid-Nov to Dec 07 to complete the off-Island Locke/dead Locke/MIB Locke loophole. I wish there was a way the average person would know from watching the show that they went back in time. Its just a detail that sticks with me, all we saw was daylight instead of night.

Glad you got up to ?, neoloki. My bet is that MIB is like Jacob and maybe we will get a kinda sorta MIB/Smokey episode. Re: that wonderful Sydney airport of ghosts, you'll enjoy the dream Locke has in the sweat lodge, with Boone as his guide. And if MIB and Smokey are different entities, then I do agree that Smokey inhabits people or animals w/o needing them dead. Locke really does look creepy during those Walt scenes. Could Smokey have been the one that made the dead birds fly into the window in Room 23 and that's why Bea told Michael that Walt was whatever-she-said and it was ok to get him off the Island. Walt was a threat to MIB in some way. I just don't see how so much of this can be tied up in one little knot.

And, yes, I agree that the Island's magic were responsible for John's actions in S1. About a year back I mentioned I have cerebral palsy, its taken me twenty minutes to type this far. If I saw my mess of a body change on the Island, that would certainly eff up my objectivity.But: I think it was MIB, not the Island, causing John to falter before Boone died, and it was MIB making Locke punch the crap out of Charlie for trying to baptize Aaron. More like MIB is some drug thing in Locke's brain, an on/off switch for his leg and his rationality.

One last thing before I quit yammering, yep, it was the compass in "Cabin Fever," so that's been around awhile. If MIB/Locke gave it to Richard in 2004, I'm sure it was from the Black Rock. Again, the thought of "who" gave it to Richard passed over my head because of Nestor Carbonnel's acting in the first scene. As NetProphet mentioned, I intitally would have made that an ontological paradox, but if the compass was from the BR, it explains why Richard just took it in 1954 without questioning WHY Locke was giving him a compass. It had to be a familiar item to him.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I mentioned the Sydney ghosts then forgot about Yemi. If MIB does what Jacob does, I think with J. its touching, with MIB its playing ghost. There were many more people than the O6 who needed to be on Flight 815. Everyone was a chess piece, making Locke and the O6 move their positions until each (Boone, Eko) were knocked off the board.

f/k/a NetProphet said...

Greg Tramel & neoloki:

Saw you guys both question the use of the term paradox relative to the compass. This is because usual time travel parlance, necessarily dealing with situations beyond our ordinary experience, has come to use the word in several different ways to try and define these conundrums.

Most commonly, and as I think you're using the term, paradox is used to describe something that is absolutely contradictory to itself. The classic example is the grandfather paradox, which creates a pure contradiction in reality - how can someone exist if their own parent was never born?

Notably, however, in terms of time travel the same word has also been used to describe things that would only appear contradictory if time travel weren't involved. Think of Eloise Hawking questioning why her handwriting was in Faraday's journal even though she had not done so as of 1977. Being privy to time travel, we know how this happened, but to her it is also a type of paradox, an apparent impossibility.

Even more problematic are what are sometimes called ontological (or bootstrap) paradoxes such as the compass. Locke receives it from Richard in 2007 shortly before going back to 1954 where he in turn hands it "back" to Richard. Presumably, Richard holds onto it 50+ years until in 2007 the Fake Locke tells him to give it "back" to the real, wounded Locke who will shortly be on his way to 1954 to hand it "back" over to Richard. A loop of existence for that compass that has no discernable beginning or end (assuming Richard didn't lie about faithfully holding onto it all those years or somehow accidentally mix it up with some other compass over time). A classic "jinn" object.

While a phenomenon beyond our normal understanding, such jinn objects do not present contradictions to themselves. Accordingly, they fit nicely within the self consistent history scheme of WHH. As I noted before, Novikov's self-consistency principle embraces such occurences. He wrote at length about the topic in a 1992 article entitled "The Jinn of the time machine: nontrivial self-consistent solutions." It is also interesting to note that he believes such objects with what he calls "closed world-lines", are possible if they can, by interacting with external objects, gain energy to regenerate their internal structure. We have some unique energy sources on the Island, and it is easily imaginable that such regenerative energy could have been imbued by the time flash the compass was subjected to.

One last note: what about jinn ideas? As seen in in Star Trek : The Voyage Home, during the trip back to 1986 Scotty reveals the formula for transparent aluminum to a manufacturer in trade for necessary materials. While he writes this formula down, it is really just an idea that traveled back in his head over the centuries. When questioned by Captain Kirk about altering history, Scotty counters that he may have just acted consistently with the known history of how invisible aluminum was invented all along. If Scotty is right and the information he leaves in 1986 comes full circle as he learns it for the first time at Starfleet Academy, we again have an unanswerable "chicken or the egg" scenario. Is this any less problematic than the compass?

Bigmouth said...

Great comments, you all everybody! I'm sorry I haven't had time to do them justice. Just a couple of quick things.

First, I mentioned that I've been e-mailing Dave Goldberg, authors of the piece re time travel. I'm happpy to report he's replied, so I've updated the original post with my e-mail and his response.

Second, stay tuned for a whackadoo speculation next week that will blow the doors off Jacob's Cabin.

neoloki said...


Thank you for the explanation. Written very clearly.

Wayne, I always loved that scene in Further Instructions. We get a lot of information about what is happening under the surface with the characters. Also, Locke and Charlie's mute game is priceless. "Devolve into a monkey" makes me laugh every time. I saw Altered States at a very young age and it was like taking a blow upside the head.

Ok, Jacob hasn't taken any other physical form if we are to trust Damon, but does this include psychic appearances? If Jacob has only ever been Jacob the possibility that MIB has been dictating the actions of on Island events is fairly extensive in it's range and it makes me think Jacob had to be playing a part somewhere. We shall see. Could be all he needed to do was touch a few.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@NetProphet, in the novelization of ST: THE VOYAGE HOME, it is indeed stated that that fellow did come up with the formula for transparent aluminum. Novelizations tend to add more detail to pad out the book, but any author who writes said book must clear any added lines with the people involved with the film (or TV series, as is the case with Buffy). No real point here, just that Scotty's logic did seem to be correct, since the producers (or Roddenberry) ok'd it.

I suppose the reason I go back to the compass is because it was the first real paradox, once we saw 1954 Richard not reach into his pocket and say "Oh, there's that darn compass I lost." Also, the idea of the compass figures into everything from the bearings needed to get off the Island to Eko's Jesus stick. I had never heard of jinn objects before, and use the word paradox in the sense that every other (possible) closed loop involves the object starting somewhere, e.g., Faraday's notebook. And if it comes to pass, the reason why pregnant woman die and Juliet is brought to the Island. To have her be the one causing the white out creates a different type of loop, so I think the writers are giving us as many different interpretations as they can. In regards to the compass, its more "chicken or the egg" and I've always known that as a paradox. Time to read up on jinns, I think.

The reply from Goldberg and Big's initial letter were informative, but I still see part of the argument we've been hashing over here. First, though, BTTF. The 2nd film is the parallel, the 1st is not; I think Goldberg is thinking of all three films as one. Also, sure the disappearing photograph is crazy, but then again, it is a FILM. From the 1980s, no less. A small point, but I think it needs to be made. LOST would have not been able to be made in the 1980s without people switching channels by S5. What was there in the 80s, QUANTUM LEAP?

But the other thing Goldberg goes back to is the idea that that his time machine HAD to be in 1935, because you can't go back in time to before the existence of the machine. Maybe the logic is there, but if I had to go with that (and granted I write fiction), well, who is to say that there is a time machine in the year 1500 and the guy (or gal) died and its still there? Can we then travel anywhere between 1500 and 2009 simply on the basis of some as-yet undescribed theory?

I don't think it's a cheat to say "we just don't know yet" because when Voyager passed Saturn 2 in the 70s, most of the scientists gathered were willing to accept that much of the published work about system were no longer valid.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@neoloki, who posted as I was typing, we we could add ALTERED STATES to the 1980s mix, though a film like that was very much the exception to the rule. To me.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

And, yes, the producers have addressed certain things without offering another explanation. To add to your psychic touches, what if they were more like the dream memory Faraday gave Desmond?

In FI, Locke sees Desmond on the escalator with three stewardesses and Boone says, "Forget about him, he's only in this for himself." Which has me wondering about his role in S6 .

Greg Tramel said...

guess i missed something or it is or my head because i can't quite catch on how Dave is negating the science of the multiverse model

Greg Tramel said...

Imagining the Tenth Dimension

Greg Tramel said...


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Greg, with all respect to those who know much more about quantum physics than I, its somewhat narrow-minded to discount anything because there is no physical evidence to go by as of yet. In a way, its like the argument that God doesn't want stem cell research, and I say, well, who is NOT To say that God WANTS us to do EXACTLY that? Don't know if putting it like that makes sense, buts its the same kind of thinking, I hope.

lostmio said...

re Novikov self-consistency:
I've always thought it was the writers' reason for having the faked Oceanic 815 crash.

There's imo a relevant discussion on Wikipedia, under the section titled:
Potential implications for Paradoxes.
It uses the Titanic disaster as an example how a time-traveler can go back and rescue people, then replace them with realistic corpses to avoid 'changing' the past. WHH, only what happened was that the people had always been rescued and always replaced with corpses.

So what I've long believed is that 815 always landed on the island and always will. But someone planted the fake 815 crash and corpses to 'preserve' the past that says 815 never landed at LAX.
For the longest, I couldn't come up with a reason for all this, but then S5 gave us folks trying to tamper with the past, which is eerily like the example of the time-traveler going back and rescuing people.

I don't know how to put all the pieces together but my gut says that the fake 815 crash and bodies are there to prevent a paradox.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@lostmio, this would mean Widmore is in on this more than we are led to believe, if your reasoning is correct. So far, we've seen Widmore as a selfish person, with Eloise being the fix the universe type. Re: the faked crash, I see no reason why Widmore needed to have more than a few corpses in that plane. So to place that huge number of corpses in the wreckage reminds me of Eloise telling everyone to recreate the Ajira flight as closely as possible.

I suppose there any any number of examples such as the Titanic instance, one famous example is someone killing Hitler as a baby, then the parents adopt another kid and name him Adolf, as well, and you can see where this ends.

Speaking of creepy airplane corpses, has anyone ever seen MILLENNIUM? Kris Kristofferson was the main star, it involved people from the future taking people who would have died in plane crashes and transporting them to the future to repopulate the earth. That in itself is a WHH event.

lostmio said...

Wayne, that's a nice tie-in re Ms. H's statement. It could indeed have been a subtle clue about the the dummy 815 crash. The dummy for sure would have to have the same number of bodies as were on the original, in order to preserve WHH, ie that 815 and all passengers landed in the drink instead of landing at LAX.

Widmore was first clued into time travel ca 1954, so could have planted the wreckage with paradox-avoidance in mind.
Seems unlikely he'd be that savvy about Novikov, though.
That leaves two imo equally plausible scenarios:

Widmore was being advised by someone who WAS that knowledgeable. about GR, quantam, Novikov et al.


Widmore planted the wreckage for the reason given: to divert attention away from the island's location at that time. Coincidentally and unknowingly he set up the paradox avoidance principle. I like this from a "writers' room" standpoint because it satisfies both the casual viewers (who are happy with the non-science explanation) and we geeks who worry about the pseudo-sci.

My point is the fake is the smoking gun that says 815 never did and never will land at LAX.

I missed Millennium somehow. Is it worth a watch or did you pretty much cover it?

Capcom said...

Heheh, right Wayne, "absense of evidence does not mean evidence of absense," and all that. :o)

What you said about Hitler reminds me of that movie "Boys From Brazil". {{Shudder}}

I came *thisclose* to buying "Millenium" yesterday at the used book store, but chose "Gothic" instead. Very bad choice. :-p

I really like your ideas about 815 and swapping with corpses, Lostmio, it makes a lot of sense with what we have seen.

I've also had another thought about the "can't travel back before your time machine is invented" thread, and I was thinking about Dr. Who. What if a time machine is more like a car, or spaceship? Thus far we don't know that time travel isn't only like traveling to a different physical or spacial dimension. We can travel in respect to the three dimensions, and if time is the fourth dimension (Minkowski?) it's just another travel direction, in theory of course. I think that might be a tesseract thing as well, but I'm probably wrong.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@lostmio, its an interesting film, but its more the idea that carries it., i.e., anyone who doesn't like sci-fi won't be watching it. I didn't cover it all (or give *too much* away), and the situation with the airplane crashes comes up almost immediately, so the film will draw you in that way. I saw a chunk of it on cable the weekend of my sister's wedding and for years never knew what the hell I had seen, I was out of town, watching hotel cable, forgot about the film until after the weekend, etc. So it was cool that when I did see the beginning, I made the connection because they jump into the main story so fast. So, yeah, rent it.

@Capcom, then of course there was the, um, book that BOYS FROM BRAZIL was based on. (Maybe its the writers who are to blame for creating Hollywood?) But, just kidding, BFB was a good film, the book gives that much more build-up, though. It seemed like all that was on the shelves in the 70s were Forsyth, Levin, and Robert Ludlum. That was my "fun" college reading, during class it was Vonnegut and Ambrose Bierce (THE OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE was in the Hatch).

True that Widmore knows a bit about time travel going back to 1954, and he might have seen Faraday's notebook in 1977, but to recreate the crash in the Sunda Trench in such a manner, I think Eloise would have to be the one helping him. Maybe this is how/why they eventually broke up, and stayed apart off-Island. She wanted to save the world and he wanted to profit from the Island.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

lostmio, I keep forgetting your main point, that fake 815 was the clue set down last year that S6 will involve 815 never having the chance to land at LAX or LA X. Great observation. There really are so many moments in LOST that can be looked back as being either subtle or a hammer to the head, yet we missed out that first time around.

Capcom said...

Actually, I think that I may have read that book Wayne! :-D

But very long ago, so can't remember.

Thunderstorm said...


RE: your statement about Goldberg's rule #2, if a TT invented a time machine in 1500, and died and it's still laying there unused, does that mean that we could theoretically travel back there?

This is exactly what I was trying to convey earlier. If I invent a TT machine at midnight, I can't use it until when? 12:05? Or I can use it earlier, I will just travel back as long as it took me to fire up the machine and use it?

Yes, the physical logic makes sense (as described nicely by a few posters) and I take no issue with that. I felt like a dunce for questioning it in the first place, even Bigmouth took no issue with Goldberg!!! Haha.

I'm just saying, (generally) it seems to me if you are able to invent a second time travel machine that would need to hook up to another time travel machine (if this is the logic--rotating wormholes, I get it) then you wouldn't be able to use the first machine until you made the second one.

And if that's the case, then the first machine isn't a time travel machine at all. It's more like a radio with no radio transmitting tower (signal).

So if the 'law' dictates that I need both, then the first machine could theoretically lay dormant.

And it's not a machine at all, more like just 'spacetime'...then spacetime exists perpetually, does it not?

:prepares to be embarrassed by massive holes in logic:

I understand this example could be flimsy, but I am only trying to justify my 'first skepticism' ;)

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@thunderstorm, I just like playing devil's advocate to keep a conversation going. Physical laws have always been rewritten and/or tweaked, and I'm assuming that if the law of time travel (whether it be the 4th or the 8th Dimension or even Dimension Zero) can't be set in stone right now, its too much of an assumption.

I like the comparison to a radio receiver, and this likely makes more sense, to have a homing beacon in the past. There's likely a science-fiction writer who came up with this idea in 1950 and none of us know about it, that it was in a smallish mag and the guy never became famous. It sure seems that a lot of work from the 50s reflect certain aspects of the 00s.

Anyhow, working on you receiver, let's say someone had to go back, to activate the transmitter (say getting a computer to do it is out of the question). OK, the person lands in, say, 1800. We can now travel at least back in time to 1800. But would the argument turn to the person who activated the transmitter being discounted because of interaction with his past ancestry? Or if there was some small circuitry to that receiver or computer to set up the beacon, doesn't that raise the risks of someone finding technology in 1800 (hence sending a person)? Would it be more conceivable to keep going backwards in, hell, 30 DAY intervals, putting down receiver after transmitter after receiver, in the same laboratory room, or even recycling them? That's why I think that no one should say something isn't possible. Since I do not have any logic to my statement, for lack of examples, so should it be the other way around.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

And yes, I get the fact about the time machine as a physical object, should have said that, and the radio receiver would STILL be, however small, a physical object, but there must eventually be a way around it.

And re: your building the time machine at midnight, without even being able to call it that yet (!), I can bet that the first example of a working time machine, with two machines a month apart, would be similar to the first Transatlantic phone call. Though I might be oversimplifying it.

Capcom said...

Remember, we've actually been exposed to two types of time travel possibilities in the Lost story (only two, if not counting the mental travel like Desmond's), which would be:

1) A manmade time travel apparatus -- such as what the DI planned to experiment with as soon as they built the equipment onto, or in tandem with, the island's energy source. This could also include whatever it is that the FDW was attached to, built by the ancients.

2) A natural timepsace movement phenomenon -- caused by the island's strong physical energy properties, that could act on it's own to propel physical objects to and fro in time. Possibly as the island moves around time and space itself, causing a sort of "collateral damage" in throwing whatever or whomever is near it into a time skip, via a slingshot affect.

So we don't need to hang all of our theories on the physcial "time vehicle" possiblities. We also have a natural Casimir/wormhole/energy-flux issue presented to us in the story as well.


Thunderstorm said...

Right Capcom, that's precisely what I was trying to articulate when I said we aren't talking about "time machines" at all, we're just talking about spacetime...and in the LOST case, quite possibly a naturally occurring method to augment it.

So while the logic of "you can't go back further than the first invention of TT" makes great sense, if we have the method 'built-in' to the Universe, then that logic probably isn't correct.

That is to say, the ability to TT to the past is (would be) inherent to the Universe, IF it's 'legal' to do it at all. That is, if physics would allow it, why wouldn't it always allow it, if the method is borne out of something natural?

The other end of the telephone (to use Wayne's example) is already there waiting to be used...

Eh, I dunno.
Isn't this stuff fun to talk about?
I love it.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I guess I should have stayed on-topic re: LOST better, because what Capcom mentioned goes with my thoughts on TT in general. The Island has its pocket of exotic energy. Something that may or may not exist in our real universe and we just don't know about it yet.

Thunderstorm, adding what CC said about Desmond's mental time travel, along with the various iterations of closed and open loops, LOST has given us quite a list of time travel examples, and the Island existing inside or outside of spacetime (it is its own machine, or spacetime as a concept replaces the machine) is another example.

I went off on a tangent re: people who argue that something is impossible in an age where changes are made every few days, it seems. And personally, in real life not LOST-life, I'd like to be around when that person on the other end of the telephone picks up...

Capcom said...

Roger that Thunderstorm. :-)

Wayne, what you said reminds me of how Gore says that "the science is settled", concerning a certain current theory. ::ahem:: When ever in the history of humankind's search for scientific explanation, has the science been settled for good on a subject?! Even on aspects that we are sure of for the most part, we are always learning another and yet another more intricate truth about that physical application or condition, especially if quantifying it demands a reasonable time span of research data. OK, you can say that we definitely know how to start a fire and don't need to know much more about that, but maybe some day we'll learn how to create fire merely by shouting "expecto flagrate!" or something to that effect, heheh.

Bigmouth said...

Just to clarify, Dave's second rule should probably be restated as "no time traveling to before the time machine was TURNED ON." It reflects General Relativity, which puts limits on the ways one can warp spacetime. Tommy offers an example of those limits in the case of a wormhole. Simple logic suggests the same rule should apply to mental time travel as well. After all, you presumably can't time travel mentally back past the point of your conception...

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

So then. If the Island is the time machine fueled by the exotic energy, is it being driven by Jacob or MIB? The argument has been here on the blog that the Island is sentient, but all of the time flashes seemed to benefit MIB in the end, and every time flash sent Sawyer, et al,to important moments (incidents) in the Island's past (still missing the outcome of the outrigger chase, I'm betting it was 1977 Sawyer shooting at flashforward 2007 Sawyer, i.e., after the whiteout Sawyer shooting at S5 Sawyer).

So. If the Island is being piloted (or whatever one wants to call it), is there going to be certain incidents that get replayed in S6? Forget the crash/non-crash of Flight 815 for now. Will we see Locke choosing to keep Boone out of the cockpit of the drug plane? Maggie Grace is signed on, right? Can't imagine Shannon playing any role (sadly, I guess) than being there for Boone, that she might actually keep him from going out with Locke, and if Boone doesn't miss catching the flashlight Locke throws, they don't hear it clang off the Hatch window. Is that why the Island "isn't through" with Desmond, that no one on 815 discovers the Hatch in the first place and his thought time travel comes into play?

If we saw important scenes from the past in S5, will we see important decision-making scenes from S1 in S6?

Back when Ben and Locke were in the cabin, Ben sd he can hear Jacob. Well, if Locke hears "Help me" then what if it was MIB "talking" and not Jacob. Perhaps the reason the time flashes created the loophole for MIB was because Jacob wasn't locked up in the cabin, but that it was the start of the IDEA of the loophole, i.e., Locke needed to know that Jacob was real because everything between Ben and Locke, and Richard and the Others, goes back to that one scene.

When we get to see the "completed phone call" of the outrigger shoot-out, I'm speculating that when S6 starts, those from 1977 will be on Hydra in 2007, because that is where Ajira is. Cesar will still be alive, Jack will remember him from the check-in counter, he will say Ben shot him and he and Locke cut out, and Jack and Sawyer will be shooting at Juliet and Sawyer, and vice versa (plus the others in each boat). If this happens, I'll bet someone has binoculars and sees the timeflashing Locke in outrigger #1, thus making it the wildest case of mistaken identity there could be. Cesar wasn't there as a throwaway character. He was with Jack at the airport, he was with Ben and Locke on the beach, there's the connection between the two islands... OH! HEY! Actually, the whiteout could place them on Hydra EXACTLY at the moment Ben shoots Cesar. They see it, so Cesar really doesn't need to survive the gunshot blast. Sorry, Cesar.

Cesar was a piece on the chessboard, as so many others were. So the game isn't over yet.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Big, would that still hold "true" that if, say, Desmond was born in, say, 1970 but one day time-traveled to 1954, would the mental time travel be in effect, with maybe a little burp or speed bump on the day of his birth (or conception)? Just tossing out stuff, nothing related to the show.

Capcom, what reference in re: to Gore? Never truly followed him but for the global warming issue. I was painting with a big canvas re: the disbelievers. Doesn't just include theorists and scientists, its pretty much everybody who can't see outside the box we live in in 2009. I think that is a core issue between MIB and Jacob, as Jacob sees the end result as progress, whereas MIB sees the bickering and fighting but doesn't want change, that he is against progress. Playing up on Omega Point, does that make MIB the bad guy for wanting to hasten it or the good/bad guy saying that it is "progress" e.g., the DI, that will hasten the extinction of mankind?

Anyone with me on my idea that the 77ers flash to Hydra in time to see Ben shoot Cesar point blank? He spoke with Jack, no one else, while at Ajira check in. If anything, talking with a member of the O6 keeps him from being dismissed in S6.

Thunderstorm said...

I think the best ideas I've heard for Season Six are

1- If there is something resembling a reset (:cringes:) then it would be a tangential universe.

On topic, wouldn't 'It's a Wonderful Life' be a sort of tangential universe (without any of the scienct science stuff)? Basic plot device, that is. A "what if"?

What about this as a tangential universe? (attempting html link)
Mirror, Mirror

the idea I like a lot is:

Jack/Kate/Hurley/Jin etc. wake up in just before or around the crash of 815 and we see certain scenes from the first 4 seasons intercut with new footage for a consistent history. Thus, allowing Charlie. Shannon and her glorious "lightsticks" , Eko etc. to return.

Thunderstorm said...

That should say "sciency science"...I love that phrase.

What is the general feeling with regard to 'tangential events' being rendered sort of 'useless' in a tangential timeline/universe, once things are corrected to the 'real' one?

Wouldn't there need to be (for a writer worth their salt) a large stake in the narrative, to make it worthwhile for the audience to invest in? Or is a few episode (ultimately, probably disposable) arc worthwhile in your mind?

For instance, I used the example 'It's a Wonderful Life'...yes, this is a possible future, it didn't really happen.

Wouldn't we want and thus the writers need, a 'possible future' that actually happened?

I guess if it were just a few episodes, it could be cool. I trust these guys to do it up right. I love time travel and past time travel but I was skeptical they would handle it correctly. Instead (if WHH) I think they handled it beautifully.

Sell me more on this tangent universe, you guys.


Doing various searches, I've run across the film Run, Lola, Run several times which appears to be nicely regarded and is sort of a recursive narrative liek Groundhog's Day (Loop?)...anyhow, has anyone seen it that would recommend it?

lostmio said...

Thunderstorm, Run Lola Run was a great flick.

I can't say it relates to Lost.It's been more than a decade since I saw it, and mostly I remember the great and intense acting and the wonderful cinematography. The alternate perspectives and scenarios presented worked, they just meshed. By no stretch would I call it a sci-fi, alternate universe, or alternate timeline movie. It was more psychological.

I'd say watch it for its own sake, if you like foreign films, and not for any light that it might shed on Lost.

lostmio said...

Forgot to say that Run Lola Run is an intense thriller that would have succeeded even without the alternate perspective/timeline stuff.

It's not even remotely like Groundhog Day, which was a romantic comedy. I loved them both but they're entirely different genres. Groundhog Day would not have worked without the time loop factor.

Capcom said...

I'm going to go back to get Millenium this week, I'll let you all know about that one too. I saw it when it first aired, and it seemed very interesting to me then, but as we all know, in looking back on old SF movies sometimes the memory is better than the actual thing, jaded as we are with flashy SF movies nowadays.

Wayne, Gore declared a couple months ago that any and all analytical discussion on Global Warming was off the table as, "the science is settled" on the matter.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

RUN, LOLA, RUN was never a tangent universe for me, it was as lostmio describes, and there's a quick cartoon scene at the very beginning that adds to the effect of the viewer's perception. A great film to watch, it plays on IFC every few months.

Thunderstorm, the only real tangent universe on television I can (sadly) use an as example was on DALLAS, when they got Patrick Duffy back and they explained away his death and an entire season as a dream had by the character played by Victoria Principal.

HEROES is the current show with the tangent universes that are handled in the most stupid way. There is no real explanation to the viewers, which I think is an insult and a complete cheat.

I don't want a tangent universe in S6, I'd rather they play it with the touching aspect in "The Incident", where we might see six different tangents, yet see coincidental interactions like the flashbacks in S1. This may be hinted at by the different videos from the San Diego con, there are three possible tangent universes there, 815 landing with Hurley still feeling cursed, Hurley happy, Kate killing a different person. Jack kills Sarah on the operating table, Sawyer never becomes a con man, meets Juliet, and they have babies. Sun? You got me. Her story has been all over the place.

Maybe they'll try the thing with Desmond, and have everyone present during the whiteout experience a different past or present (77 or 04 or 07). My opinion, a tangent universe needs resolution. Again, HEROES is just an insult, at least to me. Forget the acting, etc., they have characters simply written out of the show because the character is now abandoned in a future they abruptly cut from the storyline. No resolution, several times over.

If they go this route, I hope it doesn't take 6 episodes, or if it is a thought-thing, Jack et al will weave in and out of 2007, instead of the S1 flashbacks we get the symmetry of S6 might have been flashbacks. Maybe Desmond is their Constant or maybe the 06 as a whole are their own Constants.

Greg Tramel said...

i think a major conflict is over the use of the 2 types of time travel

naturally (The Hostiles, Jacob) vs technological (DI, Ben)

don't forget that the DI (or at least maybe Radzinsky and maybe Bakunin and Chang and ?) did actually create a time machine pod in the Orchid which i suspect worked in tandem with the FDW

Greg Tramel said...

FYI: in the Orchid orientation film the time travel pod was called The Vault.

from Lostpedia

"This is the vault, constructed adjacent to a pocket of what we believe to be negatively charged exotic matter....In our first demonstration, we will attempt to shift the test subject 100 milliseconds ahead in four-dimensional space..."

Capcom said...

Very interesting quote Greg. It leaves open the possibility that TPTB will create their own kind of time traversing "theory" for their story via the hardwiring of the natural phenomenon -- something that I've been wondering if they'd do for a while.

Greg Tramel said...

yeah, i think the Lost time travel model is a whole different ballgame since we've seen them travel back to 1954 isalndtime but they would have been born after 1954 earthtime not to mention the travel back in time when Taweret still stood (1800s?)

the FDW was there the whole time so i guess they didn't go back before the FDW was constructed

Thunderstorm said...

RE: Run, Lola, Run

I was actually searching for stories with recursive narratives, not necessarily about time travel. I had just seen it pop up a few times in those various things I was reading and it seemed to be regarded pretty well. I had no idea if it were a Loopy situation or not. Wikipedia tends to spoil entire stories/films in their summary pages, so I treaded lightly.

Actually, I've been searching for 'tangent universes' as well. It's hard to find a great example other than Darko, although Wayne cites 'Dallas'...I am old enough to remember the reference distinctly, although I never watched it. It was hard to miss that whole Who Shot JR? business, if you were remotely attached to pop culture at the time (I was very young but aware of it)

Wayne, I'm with you on the 'Heroes' thing...which (thankfully) gives me pause that Lindelof and crew would even get in the vicinity of such farce. No disrespect to fans who are still on board with that show (or even Stargate, which according to the tropes pages I've been reading, does some very similar things) Unresolved and illogical stories.

I'm just wondering...with 18 hours left to 'use' and X number (a HIGH number) of mysteries hanging in the you sacrifice resolutions of some 'lesser' mysteries just to tell a cool 'mindscrew' story at the beginning of the season?

I could see that happening. I just want it to be (not only resolved but) meaningful to the 100 episodes that preceded it.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, Greg. Add to your thought that part of the wheel was at the bottom of Jacob's well with the other half visible beneath the Orchid (on the sonar).

I've never quite gotten that time frame of 100 milliseconds not just for the time frame but the way the 4th dimension is referenced, almost as if it takes a certain vibratory jump to send something through time. The time thing, though. I've thought that maybe the milliseconds was exaggerated so that any ulterior plans, say, with the rabbits, could be exploited. I mean, I can't even guess that 100 milliseconds could be calculated properly, consciousness-wise.

As Capcom said, and I think more than a few of us believe, S6 will give us a believable take on physics, possibly through the combination of Jacob and Jughead. The exotic energy added to the atomic power might provide a third type of energy as yet unseen.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Forgot to mention, if they go with multiple tangents in S6. Sawyer kills the wrong guy in S1, the con video puts that in Kate's court now, or at least, the speculation on if it will come to be. Any other thoughts on which characters (the O6) could have their roles switched in S6 for those might have been moments?

Greg Tramel said...

Thunderstorm, I think the movie The Nines is a much better example of tangent universes(i don't really think Donnie Darko is a tangent universe model but i think It's a Wonderful Life is good example)

The Nines

Bigmouth said...

Capcom is correct -- none of the physics talk necessarily describes time travel on LOST. Sorry to be so brief -- I'm working on something you all everybody will hopefully enjoy.

Capcom said...

Diito for me as well, on Heroes. I watch it, but only because it's hilarious and comic-booky. I like some of the characters, like Hiro, and (mostly) enjoy what he goes through. But as for the story, I do not have a clue as to what is supposed to be going on at this point, I'm totally lost.

Greg Tramel said...

Whatever Happened Course Corrects

Greg Tramel said...

sound familiar?

"Black Swan: A ballerina competes against a rival dancer who may or may not be another version of herself."

Black Swan

lostmio said...

Bigmouth, bring it on, can't wait!

Greg, nice catch on the vault thing, I had forgotten that entirely.

If we had more than 18 hours left, I could see a storyline where the 77's really push Chang on the time-machine (ie use the vault to harness and direct the island's natural properties) to fast forward them to 2008-2009, or maybe even to 2004, who knows
Seems like that would take a hunk of storytelling to do right, though. So probably not.

Greg Tramel said...

my 1st thought was that the Vault was a rogue project but the more i thought about it i think it was DI sanctioned and i suppose DI brought everybody back after the incident (or maybe i should say sometime after 1977 islandtime after the very end of season 5)

Greg Tramel said...

lostmio very interesting idea about them maybe using the vault

if they make the pitstop in 2004 (as Big speculated) maybe they will use it to get to 2007

neoloki said...

Maybe you guys have already talked about this and I am pretty sure it has been discussed elsewhere and without being to redundant, what are the chances we have already been watching an ALT. What if everything we have seen since Ajira 316 crash landed on Alcatraz island during the end of 2007 is already an ALT and this specifically could be the loop-hole MIB created. So, a Tangent time line is created from Jughead to sync up with the ALT of 2007. So, once we see the flashes on Ajira and the plane goes through the event window that Eloise talks about at The Lamppost, we hear the numbers being broadcast, MIB's loophole is created and the Hurley and Kate videos at Comic-Con are now the past for this time line. With this in mind, The Incident becomes, not the Jughead explosion, but the death of Jacob which is THE EVENT that merges the two tangential time lines back into one true time line thus giving us the real Locke back and preserving the last 5 seasons of Lost.
The problem I can't quite wrap my mind around is Sun, Frank and Ben remembering the crash of flight 815. I think that pretty much does this theory in but I thought I would throw it out there anyway.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hi, all. Greg, there were a few women at the Barracks after the Purge, they are near the volleyball net. More men than women, by far, and no little kids.

lostmio's idea of Ajira shunting into an alternate 2007 coud explain Greg's thoughts on two Suns, two Franks, etc.

Big, Capcom is right that physics and time travel are two different things, but I think everyone is in tt/tangent universe mode over here. I still hold that there are two distinct forms of tt, the one proposed by the DI and the one that is seen in the wheel. The fact that the well was so close to where the Orchid is now, I think, is a tell on how much magic and science blend together (or TRY to) on the Island. I'm using the word magic loosely, more as an opposite to the word science.

All of the DI leftovers are boxes in name, the Vault, the Hatch, Ben's "imagine a box." The well is a circle. Just sayin, its like the DI were trying to place restraints on themselves, with Jacob or the Island simply content to run in cycles.

Another thing I hope we get an answer for is why the Tempest needed to be built. Toxic gas seems extreme, though it adds to Jacob's "progress." Only in this case, its as if the DI killed themselves by giving the Hostiles the means.

I honestly don't know what to expect any more than when I started thinking on this back in May.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

oops. neoloki, not lostmio. my thinking is off, i have a corgi running in circlwes around me as i type.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

oh, and neoloki, that is interesting re: the EVENT. I think we are all assuming the scene in 1977 was The Incident as seen, or alluded to, on the Blast Door Map. But there's no reason to NOT believe that that episode was refering to not one, but two, incidents, with the viewers choosing which was the singular incident.

lostmio said...

neoloki, post-Ajira Sun found Charlie's ring in the cradle. The condition of the camp in general looked like it had been unused a few years.

Wouldn't that indicate the Ajira survivors are in the same timeline and universe as the 815 survivors were when Charlie dropped the ring in the cradle?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@lostmio, we've also seen the Ajira water bottle in one of the outriggers during the time flashes. So, while I might5 first add to neoloki's theory by saying that Ajira 316 went into an alternate reality where Oceanic 815 STILL CRASHED, or at least some scenario occurred that included a (presumed) baby in a crib that looked like the crib Locke made and someone who left a ring that had the initials DS on the front, well, the fact that the time flashes included an Ajira crash makes the whole thing too complicated. My thought, I mean.

I still buy into the symmetry aspect, and wonder if S6 will work backwards from the opening of the Hatch to the crash of 815. I say this for the people who might believe the teaser of that eye opening reflects Jack's in the pilot. Working a repeat of S1 (or some form of it) would be an intriguing way to have dead characters show up, i.e., Artz before Shannon before Boone. Idle thoughts.

Capcom said...

You're #108, Wayne.:o)

Actually Thunderstorm and I were talking about the two types of physical time travel proposed in the show to keep in mind, i.e., the time machine based, and the natural phenomenon based. As in the Vault vs the Casimir energy vortex; so that we wouldn't have to only think in terms of the TT vehicle alone in theory. Either way there could still be tangients, etc., whichever way TPTB choose to go. My vote for now is a combo of the two since they hardwired the FDW's energy. The FDW itself seems to be a primitve physical harnessing of the energy too.

Corgies??? :-D

Wayne said, "'s as if the DI killed themselves by giving the Hostiles the means..." haha, that's a great thought I like it! I'm sure that's happened before in the history of war on earth, too. Back when the Tempest was introduced, and we learned about Goodwin's chemical burn, there was talk that the station might have been used in part to harness some volcanic gasses or geothermal energy, etc. I too would like to know what that station was all about. I wonder if it will end up to be, whatever TPTB spent the most money on, we will get the most answers for in the end? Going by that, they sure spent some bucks setting up that nice Tempest station, inside and out. Hope springs eternal, until 2010 at least.


Capcom said...

P.S. I would also like to know if the Tempest was used for creating an "electronic fog" around the island, as per one pilot's supposed actual experience near the Bermuda Triangle. I've wondered about an EF ever since Naomi's comments about the storm, and then since the Tempest was revealed.

neoloki said...

Yeah, like I said I don't think it works but I have this nagging feeling I am missing something that could simplify this whole mess. I really like the idea that Ajira crashed into a Tangent universe, so to speak. It seems so like Damon/Carlton to put something under our noses and then create a debate about whether it exists or not. maybe someone can point me in the direction of the two Sun and Franks idea. I have a giant headache so I will look later.

Capcom said...

Hope you feel better soon Neoloki!

I can't remember what Greg said about that (instant replay please?), but I have been wondering all along about the fact that it is implied that two Suns and Franks (as well as one dead and one alive Locke I suppose) exist in 2007 since the Ajira flight back to the 2007 beach -- i.e. one Sun on the island in 2007 and one Sun back in The World in 2007 being a new mom. I doubt that TPTB will say anything about this at all, we are probably just supposed to let that stew in our heads while thinking about everything else. It may not be any more significant than the two Miles on the island though.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

The combination of DI tech and Island "tech" is what I'm referring to in that the layer of rock is separating the two sides of the wheel. When it gets right down to the scene with the well, its not there when the DI build the Orchid. So we, the viewers, were shown that scene so we could see the original way the Island "tech" was accessed. How Charlotte was a conduit for the well's location is a question that we'll be left to answer through speculation.

Capcom, that is likely what happened with the Black Rockers, they fought each other, but there must have been some type of progress made. Earlier I wanted to add that about the Tempest, that the progress Jacob is looking for involves the advancement of technology, and this could explain the multiple cultures and their ruins. Build a temple, then a statue, then sail the seas. Then fly a plane. It would be curious if the Tempest's gases, mixed with the exotic energy, created not a Bermuda Triangle fog but the storm clouds that Frank, Desmond and Sayid flew into. Ditto on Naomi.

The exterior of the Tempest was already there, Capcom, some type of facility that is now closed. But, yea, the interior set was something wild. And we still don't know the location. If the Barracks was high noon and the Orchid 10:00, I'm guessing the Tempest was at 2:00 or even 1:00.

Back to the fighting part, likely the first fighting AGAINST ANOTHER FACTION occurred in 1954, and that could have been the start of the word Hostiles instead of Others. If the Army radioed back to base about hostile fire (or flame arrows), that word could have stuck through the DI age because we saw the Army photo in the Lamp Post. In the episode that is Richard-centric we are promised, one scene could be young Ben telling him of the Tempest, another setting the time and date.

Neoloki, when Greg first mentioned that 316 was shunted back a month or so, he was bringing up the fact that there were two Suns, etc., just a month apart. There are two Jacks, Sawyers, etsc. in 1977 and 2008 (well, Sawyer as far as we know will be in 2008 da da DUM). And we saw the two Miles. But it is intriguing to think of two of the same person (Frank, Sun, Ben, Ilana, Bram) being separated in time and space by only 30-40 days.
And, as Capcom said, the only answer might be what we all talk about once the show has ended. The idea being, I believe, that if everyone leaves the Island in Dec 07 and are shunted back to Jan 08, there will be one Jack etc and two Suns etc. Am I saying that right? Everyone in 1977 is part of a loop but the Ajira group is more of a box that may or may not include a tangent/alternate/parallel reality.

Capcom said...

TGIW Sickies!

If you haven't seen it yet, you all simply MUST check out the new Lost poster for sale, it's by a guy who does 50s/60s style artwork with contemporary movie and book titles as the subjects. I may just have to buy this one. link It looks a lot like the original Vertigo poster.

Greg Tramel said...

yeah, the Locke poster is pretty cool, actually i liked the Hurley one as well but my daughter's in college so i'm too broke to buy anything (BTW, we moved her into her dorm over the weekend, her room number is 2012, LMAO)

wonder what city they will do the next event/print promotion

if it's ever in Houston i'm there

Wayne, i'm including the FDW in the technology travel time column since i think Jacob and Richard and maybe some of the Hostiles/Others can time/space travel without turning the wheel

Capcom said...

2012, how neat!

I put the FDW in the tech category as well, even though primitive, it seems to be the way that the ancients physically tapped into the energy with their limited knowledge.

I bought the new poster, I'm a sucker for retro art. I didn't think I'd get one, and was relieved when I didn't like the style of the first one, and was hoping that the rest wouldn't appeal to me either. Dang. I sure hope that I don't like the Desmond one, if they do a poster with him.


Greg Tramel said...

i told my daughter they need to put Mayan calendar on their door

as far as the multiples, i was trying to come up with a theory wherein there WASN'T a copy of Sun & Frank on earth at the same time as they were on island 2007 after 316 but i think i struck out

Greg Tramel said...

i think the Hostiles are initiates in the Jacob cult to learn how to time travel naturally (not via the FDW and/or the Vault)and become ascended masters

neoloki said...

what would make you think that greg. seems they were fairly surprised by Lockes time traveling. I was always curious why Alpert of all people found Lockes time travel difficult to swallow.

Great poster!

Greg Tramel said...

if there are tangent universe(s) who's to say which are the tangent and which are the "real"

even though i've TRIED (without much success) to resist the tangent time travel model for Lost, i think of them all as being tangent universes

Greg Tramel said...

that's why i call them just initiates and probably have been working on it for decades and are surprised when Locke comes along and does it without the decades of study

i don't think they know about the FDW for the most part but i could very well be wrong

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, gang. That is a great Locke poster, indeed. I put quotation marks around the word for the reasons Greg and Capcom mention, it is technology, just not the DI's. So Island "tech" means whatever the heck makes things happen. Is it exotic energy, mirror matter, magic, Jacob, aliens...?

I've always thought of the Others (as they are now) as a variant of the DI. However the newest of the group are recruited (I can't imagine it being through Mittelos), I can easily see the Others as a type of cult, with people choosing to come to the Island where they can get away from the real world. The original DI was a little like this, and the Others after the Purge were doing things like running ads in magazines so Kelvin Inman might reply. If that really is Radzinsky's blood stain on the ceiling in the Swan, I would think that one of the Others killed R. once they had a few more recruits. Ben said the Others didn't know about the Swan, but I think they didn't know about WHY the Swan was there, or what needed to be done, maybe something as simple as the number sequence. Once Inman was recruited, I'm sure someone came in and killed R., who was likely the last of the DI (after Ben).

I'm just saying that the Others of the 90s seem different than the Others of 2007, and part of this is those that still wear modern clothing, like the woman who told Richard that Locke was back. I don't know that it is strictly generations of Others, I do think there are those willing to come to the Island on their own. Maybe they are promised a certain type of enlightenment.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I meant to add, like Greg says, initiates of some sort. Maybe a variation on the Mittelos summer camp of the 70s.

Capcom said...

How about Richard doing some OBEs (Out of Body Experiences), heheh.


Greg Tramel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Tramel said...

maybe it is OBE in combo with remote viewing

Greg Tramel said...

sorry needed to revise a bit

since i guess i'm throwing in the towel trying to come up with a paradox free single universe time travel model i think there is no way around duplicates as long as 815 crashes

1977-2008 without 815 crash (only 1977-2008 earth Jack)

1977-2008 with 815 & 316 crash (1977-2004 earth Jack & 2004 island,2004-2008 earth,1977 island Jack)

Greg Tramel said...

there is NO indication (that i can think of at least right now, LOL) wherein a tangetn timeline exists with 815 crashing but 316 doesn't crash or visa versa

but because of the Oceanic commercial there is an indication there is a tangent timeline wherein 815 doesn't crash

that's why so far i'm just seeing 2 tangent timelines

neoloki said...

I missed something what's the other tangent?

This is what I am working with now.

My time line is:

Time line A.... The first 5 seasons of Lost and the true time line.

Time line B... expands out of the Jugnead explosion creating a Tangent universe that threatens the existence of Time Line A. In Time Line B we have the Comic-con videos and things as they pretty much were except for small details in the characters lives. They are the same people with the same faults, but flight 815 never crashed.

Time Line B is eventually destroyed depositing the 77ers into Time Line A around the time of Jacobs death or maybe even directly back onto Ajira 316.

I have been thinking maybe Jacob will be able to use this Tangent universe to change certain things. To counter MIB's loop-hole and bring Locke back into the game because he is important to the Island. Going back to Widmores comment during the Jeremy Bentham episode that Locke has to be on the Island for the war to be won. Most die hard WHH people have always thought Desmond would be the exception to the rule, but maybe it is Jacob and he will use Time Line B to change the future.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Greg, each Comic-Con video has put us towards a certain way of thinking. And, because I know quite a few people just assume its about Oceanic 815 crashing or not crashing, they put that commercial up. I'd think the real story is in the two others. One shows Hurley changing his fate even after using the numbers (if you count his fate as equaling bad luck or cursed), and Kate cannot change the outcome of being a fugitive. Even if she did decide not to kill Wayne, she did end up killing someone, doesn't matter if it was for a noble reason or not. (I would think a Sawyer video would have (somehow) shown him in Oz for some other reason than killing the guy he believed to be Duckett.) Sawyer and Hurley have changed, Kate has remained a selfish little snot for as long as we've known her.

So, I think 815 still crashes, and I think it will still crash on 09/22/04. But you brought up the big conundrum long ago re: Ajira. Unless all the survivors from both planes simply stay on the Island at series end, wouldn't there still be Sun, Frank, and a bunch of others from the 316 still bouncing around the LA area? What does happen then? Does Sun still get on 316 to go back to JiYeon and Frank is the pilot and Bram and Ilana or on board, etc). They crash or not, if they crash then there are TWO Ajira planes. Of course, since one used the only runway, the second would crash. No more duplicates, I guess.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

And I'm just saying that there MIGHT be tangent universes involved, but that a tangent universe where 815 never crashes is a dodge. I always like when Greg (and others) refer to Earth instead of off-Island, as if the Island is its own entity or dimension. I agree, myself, in the sense that, if at the end of the show we see the Island as a living thing, I would not call that as complete BS.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Thunderstorm, interesting on the loophole-countering. One idea I had that I was bouncing around with Bigmouth is that (most of) the flashbacks in S1-S5 were the tangent universe, since the incident happens in 1977. The only real flashback we saw (I think) prior to 77 would be Sawyer's parents' fate in 1976.

Also, the flashbacks would not have changed drastically at all. But if it comes down to the 77ers choosing the right path in S6, anything in S1-S5 could be what would have happened if they chose NOT to do Jacob's will.

It was just a way to get a to-and-fro going, but it was a way to make me see things in s6 be different in an unexpected way. This was before the Comic-Con videos, by the way. No real back up to my theory, simply an idea tossed into the hat of possibilities.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

By the way, I play a lot with my own story titles having particular meaning. As such, I've really been looking at the LOST titles, "The Long Con, "The Greater Good."

So when I got to thinking about "What Happened Happened" I naturally thought Whatever Happened Didn't Happen (in regards to S1-S5).

Greg Tramel said...

neoloki what i'm questioning is why is time line A the true time line therefore i think both time line A and time line B are tangent universes of each other

neoloki said...

I know we have seen Widmore being a general prick in the past, but I am liking the idea more and more that he is one of the "better" guys and he has been looking out for Locke;s best interest. It makes sense now that we know so much more about Ben.

Also, like I have mentioned before, can't shake the feeling Locke has to be involved with whatever end game the Island presents to it's inhabitants. Thus, Jacob relying on Jack "just a little push" to explode Jughead and create the Tangent time line he needs to counter MIB and set up a situation that puts him at an advantage as we roll into the finale.

We still don't know what his favor of Iliana is and I doubt it was just going to the Island.

Two tanget time lines. Would there be a base time line or real one. Or will it be created by merging the two. Greene (Brian?) describes multiple universes as sheets on a cloths line waving in the wind, so to speak, and the big bang is when they touch; creating another universe.

Capcom said...

Neoloki, I've been thinking about Widmore also as less bad than we were made to believe. He may have also had the job of keeping Des and Pen apart (as Eloise had to keep Dan from getting involved with a girl), and of destroying their relationship via insulting Des in his office, intercepting their love notes, etc. Obviously, we know that Des would not have been on the island if he didn't join the race to get his honor back after all those bad things happened to him.

One thing that I wish we could find out, but doubt we will, is what the heck Des did to get thrown into the brig when he was in the army. Or did we get that and I missed it?

Greg Tramel said...

Wayne, i get your drift BUT i don't think we can view the Oceanic commercial simply as a ruse since somewhere/sometime there is an Oceanic Airlines with zero crashes in 30 years (or something like that, i don't remember exactly what was said)

Greg Tramel said...

neoloki, it may be just a matter of semantics but the model in my head does not have a base timeline or real timeline so maybe in that sense i suppose i'm not seeing a monotheistic God in the Lost universe if that is who would determine the real timeline

the tangents do intersect such as Jack getting on 815 happened only once in my model but then the tangent timelines split

i just watched the Caprica pilot the other day, it us fairly good even if you didn't care much for Battlestar Galactica, 1 setup is the culture at large worships Gods and a rogue organization worships 1 God

Caprica (TV series)

neoloki said...

greg, yeah I watched Caprika recently too and was fairly impressed. BSG was alright. Enjoyed it more at the beginning than the end.

Understood. Two tangent or universes that intersect. I also doubt the existence of one God in my universe. ha.

I don't see any evidence to believe any of the comic-con videos were a ruse, but there is much evidence to believe they are not.

Greg Tramel said...

i never was able to really get into BSG like everybody else did, i prefer Caprica's syfy approach/style

now of course there could be a parallel universe wherein Jack doesn't even get on 815 BUT by reading between the lines of Dave answers it may impossible to travel between parellel universes so therefore it negates parallel universes from actually existing in conjunction with another parellel universe in a sense

i'm thinking the ability to travel between universes increases the probability of them existing but the math stuff is usually over my head

with tangent universes i think it is possible (IMHO) to travel between them

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

If anyone comes back to this before the jump to the new post, EVERY Comic-Con video has been a ruse in some way. After last year, more than with the Orchid video, it should be pretty apparent that only about 30% of the video contents are true. I'm only discounting the first because, c'mon, everyone everywhere is thinking that the tangent universe is 815 not crashing. That's the easiest video to make people talk on it and let the meaning of the other two slip by.

Once we saw this whole Faraday/Chang video, I knew we'd never get an honest Easter egg from the producers, other than the mobisodes. Sorry, people.

neoloki said...

The comic-con videos have always been a thematic discussion and not a specific scene in Lost. The producers have said as much. It wasn't a matter of Faraday making a video to send to the future. It was a hint that season 5 was going to be about time travel.

In this sense the comic-con videos were far from a ruse. Definitely not an intentional fake out by TPTB.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

neoloki, guess I'm not clear here. Yes, each of the videos have pointed us in a specific direction. I'm saying of all the videos, the Oceanic video is least likely to play into it. That's my real point, that the other two videos are about individuals, which is what S6 will be about. I will give you that 815 not crashing could represent Jack's free will in 1977.

Ruse might've been the wrong word, though I'm using it the way I think works. Ruse as a dodge as a sleight of hand.