Archive for the ‘universe’ Category

Ever wondered what it might be like to get your hands on a time machine and travel back to some distant past – or maybe even some distant future come to that?  Ever since I became an H.G.Wells fan at the age of 13 I’ve pondered on this – usually while soaking in a too hot bath that makes my face go all red, with bubbles up to my nose, some nibblies, candles and a cold drink plus a stack of mags weighted down by the loofah [when I take a bath – I take a bath!].  What exactly *is* a loofah by the way?  It appears to be some desiccated form of sea-life – maybe a sponge – or an inside out sea-urchin?  And who ever thought of taking a sea-sponge – or perish the thought – a sea-urchin – in the bath with them?  “Oi – Socrates. Try using this dead sea-sponge on yer back and this spiny sea urchin on yer nether bits.”  It gives whole new meaning to the term ‘ex-foliation’ doesn’t it?  Which reminds me of course of the story of how Archimedes was taking a bath when he put his hand down in the water to look for the soap and discovered his principles.  Drum roll please.


Anyway – time machines.  I envision an enormous shiny brass thingy with two leather seats and a gear stick – something like a Model T – and bellows [don’t ask me why – maybe to somehow aid in propulsion?].  There would obviously be some sort of dial where you entered the date plus a cup-holder for your designer waters.  Can’t time travel without hydration I shouldn’t think.  Consistent with the Model T analogy I imagine you would put the gear lever into ‘first’ to go forward in time and ‘reverse’ to go back don’t you think?  First stop the Middle Ages.  I wonder what knights in shining armor were *really* like – or even the serfs and vassals come to that.  Wasn’t it George Bernard Shaw who said that life in the middle-ages was violent, brutal and short – or something like that?  What with the Black Death, fleas, lice, rats, poor dental care, blood-letting, leaches, press gangs and a life expectancy of zippo it must have been pretty grim actually.  I wonder what your olde worlde average peasant did for a laugh then.  Got drunk probably – I would, I don’t know about you.  Of course the upper crust, mounted on huge chargers something like cart-horses on steroids, specialized in running each other through with long poles in the lists or else bashing each others brains out with heavy spiked balls for a laugh when they got bored.  It strikes me that it must have been bloody hot running about in the sun in all that heavy armor; no deodorant in sight and a bath once a year whether you needed one or not.  Phew.  The Middle-ages must have had a certain distinctive aroma too I think you could say. 


Many years ago I read a Ray Bradbury story about a travel agency that specialized in sending its clients back in time to hunt Dinosaurs – I don’t remember what it was called but the premise was that as long as you stayed on a specially constructed walkway you could pop off dinos with your modified elephant gun with impunity; especially because the ones you shot were doomed to extinction anyway.  It would be rather like popping off White Siberian Tigers because there aren’t too many of them left anyway so who cares.  The only slight wrinkle in all this was that you had to stay on the path at all costs and had to avoid killing anything else.  Otherwise you would instantly disturb the time-space continuum [shades of Star-Trek] and hence alter the outcome of all future events.  So I suppose this means that me and my time machine couldn’t land anywhere for fear of squishing an ant or a dung-beetle vital in the scheme of things. And that means of course a trip back to the drawing board to devise some sort of ‘hovering’ capability.  However, what if my bellows sucked in some unsuspecting anti-diluvium flying thingamabobber?  Would the entire outcome of all eternity change?  Well there couldn’t be an outcome to all eternity could there because that would imply an end to eternity which is an oxymoron rather like someone going off to visit infinity and coming back – but I digress.  Would changes in natural selection and modifications in the gene pool result in my becoming 8 feet tall with several more arms?  That would actually be pretty handy – especially when struggling with small children or the groceries – and definitely if you wanted to be a basketball player.  But I think for now I might have to take another long bath and mull this over.  And I had better be careful not to squish any ants along the way.


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