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Traveling Through Space and Time

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  • Traveling Through Space and Time

    THE FABRIC of the COSMOS, Brian Greene, 2004
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Chapter 15 - Teleporters and Time Machines
    Traveling Through Space and Time
    Perhaps I just lacked imagination back in the 1960s, but what really struck me as unbelievable was the computer on board the Enterprise. My grade-school sensibilities granted poetic license to warp drive and to a universe populated by aliens fluent in English. But a machine that could — on demand — immediately display a picture of any historical figure who ever lived, give technical specifications for any piece of equipment ever built, or provide access to any book ever written? That strained my ability to suspend disbelief. In the late 1960s, this preteen was certain that there'd never be a way to gather, store, and give ready access to such a wealth of information. And yet, less than half a century later, I can sit here in my kitchen with laptop, wireless Internet connection, and voice recognition software and play Kirk, thumbing through a vast storehouse of knowledge — from the pivotal to the puerile — without lifting a finger. True, the speed and efficiency of computers depicted in the twenty-third-century world of Star Trek is still enviable, but it's easy to envisage that when that era arrives, our technology will have exceeded the imagined expectations.

    This example is but one of many that have made a cliché of science fiction's ability to presage the future. But what of the most tantalizing of all plot devices — the one in which someone enters a chamber, flips a switch, and is transported to a faraway place or a different time? Is it possible we will one day break free from the meager spatial expanse and ternporal epoch to which we have been so far confined and explore the farthest reaches of space and time? Or will this distinction between science fiction and reality remain forever sharply drawn? Having already been exposed to my childhood failure to anticipate the information revolution, you might question my ability to divine future technological breakthroughs. So, rather than speculating on the likelihood of what may be, in this chapter I'll describe how far we've actually gone, in both theory and practice, toward realizing teleporters and time machines, and what it would take to go further and attain control over space and time.
    Last edited by Reviewer; 10-09-2012, 08:55 AM.