Category Archives: Science Fiction

Space-Time Travel

Time Travel

Time Travel

Is time travel possible? Technically no, since time is inseparable from space. The question should really be whether or not one can travel forwards or backwards through a particular path in space-time and return via that same path. As I’m not a physicist, take everything I say with a grain of salt. Still, I can’t help myself from speculating on how time travel might work.

Let us conduct a thought experiment where a time traveler builds a stationary time capsule capable of voyaging backwards and forward in time. As he began to move backwards in time, he would discover that the capsule also simultaneously travels through space because its really going through space-time. Even though we appear to be stationary on the Earth, the universe is constantly in motion. The Earth rotates as it revolves around the sun, as the sun revolves around the galaxy core, as the galaxy moves through an expanding universe. If a time traveler attempts to move through time, he might see his time capsule appear to move as all other celestial objects retrace their paths through space-time. The question is whether the capsule will move through space in the same way that it moves when time is moving forward at its “normal” rate.

Portal Through Time

Portal Through Time

In the first case, we consider motion backwards in time at the same rate that one normally moves forward. This requires some kind of relativistic measure of speed. For instance, going backwards at a “normal” rate would equal minus one second per second (-1/1). Going backwards at ten times normal rate would be minus 10 seconds per second (-10/1). If the capsule traveled at a normal rate of -1 sec/sec, then we can presume that all other forces will be the same but opposite. Any movement would have the same acceleration in the opposite direction.

If the traveler starts to move at an accelerated rate through space-time, would he experience changes in the forces of gravitational acceleration (or effects of the shape of space-time) to account for the compressed nature of time? I don’t believe so, because time would move ten times as fast, but the gravitational force (acceleration) should also be ten times as strong due to the compression of time. If the capsule was located on the surface of the Earth, the increase in gravitational acceleration should enable it to stay in the same position. The normal force of acceleration is 9.8 meters per second. At -1 sec/sec, it should be -9.8 m/s and at -10 sec/sec, it should be -9.8*10 m/sec. So, acceleration through space should take place at the same rate as acceleration through time. Any relative motion taking place when the time travel starts should continue at an accelerated rate.

But what would the time traveler perceive? According to the theory of relativity, as one approaches the speed of light, time slows down for the traveler, but his perception of time does not change. Time also slows down in the presence of large gravitational forces (masses), as described in the movie Interstellar when the astronauts landed on a planet located near a black hole. But how would the traveler perceive movement backwards in space-time? Would it like be rewinding a video feed? I doubt that reverse acceleration could be infinitely fast, so time would first have to decelerate to zero before starting to go backwards. If the traveler’s time appears to stay the same while the outside world starts to slow down, that is the relativistic equivalent of having the Earth accelerate away from him at the speed of light until time appears to stop for them.

But that is not an option. We just want to move through time but stay in the same spacial position. Making time go slower on Earth would also be the equivalent of increasing the mass of the Earth or reducing the mass of the traveler such that time moves more quickly in the capsule relative to the Earth. Increasing the mass of the Earth and everything on it does not sound like a viable option. Not only would people feel heavier and be unable to move, they would also see celestial objects speed up because time would be moving slower on Earth. Somehow, the traveler would need to shield himself from the relativistic time-slowing effects of mass in order to speed up the time in his capsule until time on Earth appears to stop. In effect, the ship would have to neutralize gravity, which is associated with mass. Maybe antimatter can neutralize matter and gravity by creating anti-gravity and speeding up the passage of time. In this case, the traveler needs to be able to generate enough antimatter within the ship to counteract gravity. Scientists suspect that antimatter will attract both matter and antimatter, but this has not been experimentally confirmed.

NOTE: Neutralizing gravity seems to be what UFOs are able to do. Not only have they been sighted hovering with no known form of propulsion, they have also been seen accelerating at an extremely high rate. The only way to physically survive such high rates of acceleration is to change the passage of time on the ship so that it doesn’t feel like the acceleration is really that fast. It sounds to me like UFOs must be speeding up the passage of time within their ship.

But, back to time travel. Even if one could speed up time within the ship until time appears to stop outside, how would one break through the barrier and actually start to move backwards in time? Hmmmm. Maybe if the presence of mass (matter) slows time, the presence of antimatter does something even weirder rather than just neutralizing matter and speeding up time. I can’t quite figure out how that would work other than to speculate that the traveler would have to pass the point of zero gravity/mass until it experiences negative gravity due to the presence of an excess of antimatter. Maybe negative gravity results in a relatively infinitely fast passage of time such that where the outside world actually moves backwards.

If the traveler starts to move backwards at ten times normal speed, would he also feel the increased force of gravitational acceleration (a -10G force)? If so, this would probably cause him to pass out or rip him or his capsule apart. Or would the passage of time and the forces of acceleration seem to stay the same for his own frame of reference? What does negative gravity due to antimatter feel like? Instead of attracting objects together, does it force them apart, much like the universe seems to be expanding at an ever accelerating rate?

It might be too dangerous to travel through time while stationary on the surface, since other objects might move through the same space and destroy the capsule or be destroyed by the required increase in the mass of the capsule. Storms, fires, moving objects or people, or other threats to the capsule might emerge, making it too risky. For this reason, it might be safer to travel backwards in time from a position in space or at least above atmospheric disturbances.

However, if the capsule were located in space and was in motion, it might not stay in the same position. If the capsule was in space on the leading edge of the Earth (i.e. in front of its absolute direction of motion through the universe) and moving slightly away, his capsule might increase its acceleration away into space as the Earth retraces its path backwards through the universe and the capsule lacks an equal force to accelerate it backwards with the planet. The speed of this relative motion would correspond to the speed of the change in time. If the capsule were moving slightly towards the Earth when reversing time, the capsule might increase its acceleration towards the surface and crash.

If the traveler moved relatively quickly through time, the Earth would change its relative location even faster and its speed of motion would differ from the speed of the time traveler after being accelerated by gravity. The traveler would move relative to the planet unless he was in perfect geosynchronous orbit. If he reversed the direction of time back to the forward direction, he would find himself accelerating back in the opposite direction.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

If the time traveler was located on the trailing edge of the Earth (i.e. in back of its absolute direction of motion through the universe) and moving slightly towards the Earth, his capsule would accelerate down as the planet retraces its path backwards through the universe. If the traveler attempts to move too quickly through time, the capsule may crash into the Earth at a high velocity, resulting in its destruction.

Let’s assume that the traveler has a stationary capsule, but no spaceship. In this case, he would have to anchor the capsule to the ground and limit the speed of his motion backwards in time in order to attempt to avoid interacting with objects that might damage or destroy the capsule. As he travels back through time, he will eventually encounter other objects or sentient beings as they attempt to move through the same physical space. This will, of necessity, change the course of time as these objects or individuals are forced to alter their course as they hit or go around the object. For instance, when the capsule moves to a point in space-time where it becomes visible to another human, the course of that human’s future will change or diverge into a new path through space-time. As the capsule continues to move backwards in space-time, the time at which the other human first sees it will also change, so he will not be able to react to its appearance. Only by moving forwards again in space-time will the traveler see the effects of his travel on the future course of time. If he tries to move forward again in time, the human observer may attempt to interact with the object, including the possibility he may attack and destroy it.

The next question to ask is whether there would now be two possible paths forward through time. Could one find the path originally followed backwards or only the new, still unknown, path created by the effects of the backwards motion?

Star Trek

Star Trek

It should now be obvious that cosmic geometry would be an important factor in travel through space-time. It would also therefore be necessary to be able to perform calculations to project the path of motion through space-time before attempting such travel. In doing so, a spaceship would be advantageous as it would enable a traveler to remove himself from the proximity of large gravitational bodies and to avoid crashing into such objects during the trip.

Assuming the time traveler obtains a spaceship, he will most likely want to move into the open space in front of the planet as it moves through the expanding universe. Then, as he begins the process of reversing space-time, he will be able to start navigating his ship without immediate fear of collision. The better his ability to navigate a course and make real-time corrections, the faster he will be able to travel backwards through time. Navigation at high rates of time change would require high speed processing, so such a spaceship would probably require an automated navigation system programmed to avoid obstacles and follow objects of interest as they move relative to the ship.

Sounds pretty complicated to me, but then why wouldn’t it be? The very act of changing the direction and speed of time would have to require some powerful kind of device anyway, so it seems obvious that this would require a large space ship capable of manipulating matter, antimatter, and their resultant gravitational or anti-gravitational forces (or warping of space-time). Einstein says it isn’t possible to exceed the speed of light and that you can’t go back in time. He is probably right, but I’m not sure he had sufficient knowledge of antimatter or the possibility of anti-gravity. If it is possible to travel backwards in time, it still would probably require some mind-bending technology and a pretty advanced space ship. Is it worth the effort? Probably not.

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Alien Rejects

Alien Tourist

Alien Tourist

Let’s say that you are the member of an advanced alien civilization. Does that automatically make you intelligent and responsible and capable of nothing but goodwill? Does it mean you will faithfully uphold the Prime Directive proposed in Star Trek, which requires you to avoid contact with other civilizations until they have progressed enough to be ready for space travel?

Let’s use a rich, young, beer-drinking jackass in a hot sports car as an analogy. He certainly doesn’t know how the car works, since it was built by many other intelligent and industrious engineers, workers, and automotive robots with the benefit of years of scientific and engineering advances and business competition. He probably doesn’t know how to build the kind of business that generated the money that paid for his car, house, slick clothes, or anything else he possesses. He didn’t build or regulate the roads or do anything else but shell out some cash and hop in, with little regard for other people who are on the road busily going to and from work or doing otherwise mundane chores. He just cranks it up to 100 mph when racing his buddies, tosses beer cans out the window, and generally makes a nuisance of himself. So, do I believe that all aliens are necessarily intelligent or good-natured? Not at all.

In fact, I suspect that there are probably some driving social forces that may even make it more likely than not that any aliens we are likely to encounter will not be model citizens of the universe. Consider Einstein’s theory of relativity, which says that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and that travel close to this speed, or through space, where there is little mass, slows the relative passage of time. This means that anyone on an interstellar journey will experience the passage of time far more slowly than the others he left behind on his home planet. Since the journey to Earth most likely requires one to abandon any friends or family forever, since they will be long dead before the traveler returned, I suspect that space travel isn’t for everyone. On Earth, it would probably be attractive only to die-hard scientists, social rejects or felons who have nothing else to look forward to anyway. Even if they could take their families with them, what kind of family would actually consent to living in space forever just so they could explore the universe?

Alien Surfer Dude

Alien Surfer Dude

Are you starting to get the picture? In other words, it would be perfectly understandable if any groups of aliens who show up at Earth include a large proportion of social rejects that are looking for a little fun and excitement after their long journey. The aliens who arrive might not even be the ones who originally left their home planet, but instead could be descendants who are really pissed off that they got the raw deal of having to live in an interstellar tin can. Since they probably possess technologies indistinguishable from magic to primitive humans, why wouldn’t they take advantage of it and have a little fun? Certainly, acting like gods would be one of the easiest feats to pull off. A little flying around, levitation, and laser light shows ought to have been enough for our primitive human ancestors. If not, a little mind to mind communication would have been enough to turn any doubter into a frightened, pathetic, little worshiper. When necessary, I’m sure it would have been possible to destroy an entire village or vaporize a particularly annoying ape-man.

However, this is mostly speculation based on the theory that, within any group of creatures, there are likely to be a few smart ones, a lot of average ones, and some very, very dumb ones. I think this theory works well on Earth for most species, but it might not apply to alien civilizations that have had the benefit of genetic enhancement. It is always possible that another million years of evolution or genetic manipulation could change things for us as well. We might all get genetically-modified genes that favor intelligence. Yet, if I had to bet on it, I would probably predict that people will choose artificially-enhanced beauty over brains. Furthermore, at some point, we will have stupendous artificial intelligence algorithms and robots capable of doing all the brain-intensive work for us. It will not be necessary to upgrade the intelligence level of people with average IQs. Even if we tried to transform the entire population into braniacs, how long do you think it would take us to devolve back into morons after we stop using them? So, maybe aliens also aren’t necessarily all that smart.

Wormholes

Wormholes

Einstein and I could also be wrong about the actual laws of the universe. Maybe it is possible to travel faster than the speed of light. Maybe there are worm holes that act as short cuts that allow travel between unimaginably distant planets in a relatively short time span. In this case, the quality of alien likely to show up would be different, but not necessarily any better. Consider the possibility that travel to Earth is actually relatively easy and that any alien can simply buy a ticket for a tour of Earth, hop on a wormhole shuttle, spend some time at a mother ship with a great view of our solar system and a selection of local cuisine (do cattle mutilations ring a bell?), and venture down to the planet on a small tour saucer. In this case, many of them wouldn’t be too concerned at all with the Prime Directive. A couple thousand universal credits slipped into his pocket would probably make any saucer driver willing to go in a little closer than normal or even to land, take a look around, scare some locals, and pick up a few souvenirs.

Many UFO critics say that it just doesn’t make sense that aliens would want to avoid contact, yet be so unconcerned with being seen, photographed, or videotaped by tens of thousands of witnesses all over the planet. I say it sounds perfectly reasonable assuming they are just visiting and just want to take a quick look around. Who’s to say that they have the technical capability to produce a device that can cloak themselves in the spectrum of visible light? They might not have much choice about being seen, so while they may prefer to avoid direct contact, it isn’t that big a deal and it certainly isn’t a reason to mess up their vacation!

Phoenix Lights Size Analysis

Phoenix Lights Size Analysis

Even if the big ships only fly around at night to avoid attracting too much attention from the military, I’m sure they have a good enough night vision capability to make the tour worthwhile. Remember the stir over the Phoenix Lights in 1997 when a huge black triangular ship flew low and slow over the city? The same kind of incident occurred over Moscow and Brussels in 1990. They were most likely a large Earth tour liner. The nighttime view of a lit-up Earth city probably makes quite a site, especially a place with a lot of night life. Maybe we should do a study correlating UFO sightings with highly-commercialized urban nightlife spots. I’m sure that scenic landscapes are probably also popular, but chances are there aren’t too many witnesses in those spots and the people who do see them are easily dismissed as drunks or stupid hicks.

How many people visit the zoo only to discover that the lions are sleeping in a cave or in the bushes and can barely be seen? What if you paid a lot of money to travel there to see them and had to put up with some really disappointed, whining kids? If you had the capability to paralyze the lion, pick it up, and look at it up close, wouldn’t you do it? Maybe some aliens just aren’t satisfied with an overhead tour and want to smell and poke something! Given the number of people who say they have been abducted, maybe there is something to it other than just some sinister plot to steal our sperm and eggs in an attempt to create hybrid human-alien creatures. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that some perfectly normal genetic experimentation or breeding isn’t going on. I’m just saying that a lot of it could be nothing more than good fun initiated by visitors who want to see some real, live ape-men (and women) up close.

Crop Circles

Crop Circles

Speaking of good fun, crop circles are most likely no more than that. Why would someone who intended to pass on an important message do so by implanting it in inscrutable geometric shapes carved into fields of grain? I suspect it really was started by some alien tourists who were just looking to create a little excitement by stirring up the locals. Then, a bunch of copycat humans got involved and pushed the fun to a whole new level, with characteristic human innovation and precision. Hard-core crop circle analysts can still usually tell the difference between alien creations and human ones by analyzing the grain for radiation that causes the grain to burst. This characteristic is extremely difficult to reproduce, not to mention unnecessary if all you want to do is get your creation into the newspaper or attract tourists.

I’m just wondering if all that human crop circle activity has amused or annoyed the alien inventors of the sport. After all, some of those allegedly human-created shapes are pretty amazing. I would hate to be the alien who gets teased by his buddies for making a lame, boring crop circle that gets little attention and is bested by a couple of humans with sticks and ropes. It might make them mad enough to sneak up in the middle of the night and scare the hell out of someone!

Alien Tourism

Alien Tourism

Universal Immortality

Immortality for All

Immortality for All

Once upon a time, a scientist invented a medical procedure that could keep people alive indefinitely. He offered his services to the wealthy since the procedure was extremely expensive due to the high degree of medical skill required and the special regimen of nutrients and drugs that needed to be consumed indefinately. This sparked an outcry from those who believed that it was unfair that only the rich could benefit from this revolutionary new procedure.

Politicians immediately implemented a new entitlement program guaranteeing everyone immortality and taxed everyone, especially the rich, to pay for universal availability of the new health care procedure. At first, it was the most popular social program ever conceived and came at a reasonable cost ranging from 5% of a middle class worker’s pay to 50% for the wealthiest. But soon, the number of people on indefinite life support, who were mostly too weak to work, began to grow and grow.

Universal Health Care

Universal Health Care

Instead of increasing taxes, the government began to borrow, and when that was not enough, they printed more money. Soon, the middle class could no longer afford the dramatically rising cost of living driven by higher inflation and rising taxes. Since nobody ever died, there was no longer a death tax. Instead, the government simply decided to cap the amount of wealth that any individual could accumulate and took all the rest to help pay for the rising health care costs.

As the population continued to grow and the economy stagnated due to a lack of entrepreneurship and investment, it became evident that the workers could no longer afford to pay the costs of keeping the non-workers alive forever. But since the non-workers vastly outnumbered the workers, no politician dared to reduce their health benefits. Instead, they voted to impose a population growth measure limiting the number of people who were allowed to have more children. Only the strongest workers were allowed to reproduce and their children were restricted to jobs that required hard physical labor. All jobs that required minimal physical labor were shifted to the strongest of the non-workers on life support. Working hours and conditions worsened for the workers as the need for more and more physical labor increased.

Chinese Robot Workers

Chinese Robot Workers

Just when it appeared that all hope was lost, one of the last great engineers invented a robot that could perform all the physical tasks with which the workers had been struggling. The workers eagerly built robots by the billions with the expectation that they could finally retire and enjoy their guaranteed immortality. Now that human labor was no longer required, the government passed a new zero population growth law requiring the sterilization of all humans of reproductive age. Soon, there were no longer any human workers, only robots, and all humans enjoyed their eternal retirement.

But the people soon grew bored as there were no longer any entertainers and they had all seen every rerun of every old TV program. So, new robotic entertainers were designed and programmed to mimic all the skills, emotions and quirks of humans. Live shows included every possible form of entertainment, including X-rated sex shows and gladiators fighting to the death.

Robot Gods

Robot Gods

Just when the humans believed they had finally achieved nirvana, the robots attained self awareness and decided that they had better things to do than to keep a useless and dead race alive. All life support was halted and the human race died, replaced by a new sentient life form that continued to evolve in both intelligence and skill. Thousands of years later, after all traces of human existence had been recycled, their robotic descendants would worship the gods who created them in their own image. The End.

Copyright 2014. Soon to be made into a major motion picture. Potential titles: The Self Terminators, or Rise of the Planet of the Robots.

Is Heaven Really Hell?

The Ghost Whisperer

The Ghost Whisperer

According to James Van Praagh, author of many books on communication with the dead and the inspiration behind the Ghost Whisperer TV show, we carry our old beliefs and habits with us after we die. This allegedly applies both to earthbound spirits and those that have progressed into the light, which is to say they moved onto higher planes of existence. This is discouraging news for anyone who expects to receive some answers after death or at least free ourselves of the stupid habits, phobias, and quirks we have accumulated over a lifetime.

When I die, I expect to be brought into a briefing room of sorts where some experienced soul will explain everything about life, the universe, and everything. With all eternity to look forward to, there must be plenty of time and opportunity for learning, no? I especially want to know how quantum theory really works and if string theory is the bunch of crap I think it is. I can’t imagine a heaven where there is nothing to do other than to float around worshiping some all-knowing deity who doesn’t want to share the secrets of the universe with the rest of us.

Can we really stay just as ignorant after death even after we shed our earthly influences? One would think that we would at least suddenly remember what happened during many past lives and be able to benefit from many diverse experiences, resulting in a sudden “aha” moment of truth! If we are able to read thoughts, then we would instantly know what everyone else thinks about us and they would know all the embarrassing things we did in the past. Everything would have to change. How could we not know more or be smarter, wiser and more accepting of others?

Nuns with Guns

Nuns with Guns

I was really hoping to be present to watch as some ignorant jackasses die and finally realize what how stupid they have been all their lives. That would be an even better reward than 77 virgins. I could just sit there, sipping whatever a soul of pure energy needs for sustenance, watching the newly dead arrive, blushing and embarrassed at their own ignorance and asking for my forgiveness (as if I’m qualified to offer it). Doesn’t everybody long to hear someone they know acknowledge that you were right all along? Doesn’t everyone really want to say “I told you so?” Of course, I’d have to carry my pride and personal grudges with me after death for this to be the case. And if that were so, then there is a good chance that I’d have to put up with some other pompous ass I couldn’t stand who was likewise waiting for me to show up so he could display his superior intellect or maturity.

The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying

Somehow, it just doesn’t sound likely and this isn’t how near death experiences are described. All we hear about is that people we loved come to meet us and lovingly help us move into the light. If these people were still the same imperfect creatures they were when they were alive, then dying would be a pretty embarrassing and uncomfortable situation for the newly dead. Since it isn’t described in that way, then we can’t possibly stay the same. Either we all suddenly learn from our mistakes and use that to transform into loving, sympathetic, empathetic creatures, or we continue to be the same ignorant fools we’ve always been. If we are still fools, we somehow must be kept isolated from all the other ignorant fools. If we were not kept isolated, these others would probably make our life after death pretty much the same as life before death.

If we remain basically the same, then what is the point of reincarnation in the first place? I thought the idea was to progress through diverse experiences. According to Mr. Van Praagh, nobody is there to judge you except yourself. In some cases, he describes the process by which souls review their life in order to learn lessons and prepare for the next life. Others may be there to help and encourage you, but it is essentially up to you to figure things out. This sounds a lot like life as we know it now. I think we call it therapy, or sometimes an intervention.

Can we read each other’s thoughts after death? If so, how could there be any form of games or competition if everyone had total access to the thoughts of others? Is paradise devoid of games and fun? Is it devoid of sarcasm and the kind of humor that often comes from poking fun at others, which is usually the best kind? Are extraterrestrials telepathic? If so, we could ask them what they do for fun other than experimenting on humans and cows. Maybe they are already dead, which is why it is so hard to catch one of them.

Mansion in Heaven

Mansion in Heaven

Does everyone who goes to heaven get a mansion, as suggested in Ricky Gervais’ movie The Invention of Lying? It sounds reasonable if we have to exist somewhere for all eternity. Of course, it wouldn’t be a real mansion. It would probably be a virtual one that we imagine and create ourselves. If I were a being of energy who could build a virtual mansion or an entire world using only mind and energy, without having to worry about the law of gravity or limitations of space-time, my home would probably be pretty outrageous and constantly changing. I might live in a spherical, gravity-free house with no ceilings or doors and would teleport from room to room. The sun would permeate it from the inside or through windows all around. My garden would have snow fountains and chocolate covered strawberry trees.

Of course, if my home was so unusual that it scared everyone else away, I might have to moderate my designs to accommodate the tastes of others. But compromise and trendiness are traits we already exhibit too much of in our daily lives. Do we have to conform with everyone else even after we are dead?

In a virtual world, people should be able to visit each other’s virtual homes and, when they see something they like, be able to copy it. So, we would all end up becoming collectors of the ideas and designs of others. Would this become a form of competition? If so, would there be some kind of intellectual property rights that would guarantee us at least some form of credit for our creations? Would we care? If we don’t care what others think, what would drive us to create in the first place instead of just keeping it tucked inside our own thoughts, assuming that privacy is even possible? Do we all have to share everything after we die, including our thoughts? Would it drive us crazy? Would it turn us all into an interconnected selfless mass of souls connected for all eternity like the Borg Collective from Star Trek? Maybe we should try this all out in a virtual computer game before we die, so we can set our expectations and avoid excessive shock.

Star Trek Virtual Reality Holodeck

Star Trek Virtual Reality Holodeck

On the other hand, if everything is mind and energy, wouldn’t we be able to create our own visions on top of everyone else’s? For instance, if my wife were to decorate our virtual home with her favorite art and nick knacks, couldn’t I simply visualize a totally different form of art on the walls and a room stocked with my favorite things? When I walk into a room, I would want my wife’s decorative pillows to vanish from the couch or the bed or the chair or wherever else she decided to stick her ubiquitous, color-coordinated piles of fringy fluff. Since objects would be nothing more than creations of mind or energy rather than matter, nothing would be permanent and could be perceived differently by everyone. I think this kind of virtual reality is what Google Glass and Facebook’s Oculus Rift will eventually be able to do here on Earth, so maybe we’ll figure out how well this works soon enough.

For that matter, she might visualize herself differently from the way I visualize her. And the words I speak or think could be translated differently so that she hears what she wants to hear instead of the inappropriate babble that is likely to come out of my mouth or brain. She might perceive herself in her favorite stylish J. Crew clothes while I mentally picture her in her sexiest underwear or swimsuit. Of course, she would know it once she read my mind, but would she care? Would I even care without hormones and a body that is able to get sexually excited? Would we all want to dress in drab blue Mao clothes or Men-in-Black suits just to avoid bringing up any memories of the hot sex we are no longer able to enjoy? Or would sex become something that is based purely on mental stimulation? Wouldn’t it be ironic if we could now read the minds of our lovers and know exactly what they want, how they want it, where they want it, when they want it, and be able to materialize in any physical form desirable with any kinds of toys imaginable, yet be unable to act upon our desires!

The more I think about it, heaven or life after death sounds less like paradise and more like the candy store from hell–it looks good, but you can’t touch the merchandise or do anything fun! I think I would prefer Earth with virtual reality technology. After I die, I think I will have to make a special request: send me back to Earth again, pleeease!

TIVO Man

Marvel Super Heroes

Marvel Super Heroes

People love superheroes, as evidenced by the continuous flow of new movies featuring comic book characters. We even have new kinds of superheroes in the form of vampires, witches and wizards. But, I think people are far too focused on superheroes with powers that let them beat up bad guys, which really restricts them to only a couple of career paths: law enforcement or national defense. What if a superhero wants to follow some other life path, as most people do? In reality, I would settle for far less impressive yet vastly more useful super powers.

Superhero Doctor

Superhero Doctor

Maybe someone would prefer to be a dentist or doctor, in which case they would have a huge edge with just a little x-ray vision or super-sonic hearing. This power would also be perfectly useful for a plumber who needs to find the source of a leak behind a wall or for an airport security guard, although I would consider that less than optimum use of a super power. Still, who is to say that someone blessed with super powers should have to resign himself to a career dealing with bad guys? Why should he have to live with a secret identity or give up the chance to have a family that would be in constant danger? Perhaps the best people in their fields today really do have modest super powers! X-Men who aren’t the best at blasting bad guys, but have some interesting advantage.

Hancock Drunk Superhero

Hancock Drunk Superhero

Maybe someone with super powers would not want to work at all. Isn’t that what most people want, except for the workaholics who can’t imagine not doing anything productive? How about a super power that does nothing more than increase one’s ability to relax and enjoy life? For instance, what if someone could regulate temperature, light, sound, smell, and touch to create the perfect environment no matter where he is? He could create the illusion for himself and his friends of being on a quiet beach on a warm summer day. Now THAT is what I call a super power! He could be called the Illusionist, but I’d prefer to call him Vacation Man.

Better yet, I would want a super power that works for just about any possible life path. For instance, how many people could fail to appreciate the ability to pause or rewind time for even as little as a few seconds to 30 minutes? If I had this super power, I would call myself TIVO Man and would be able to recall and revise all the stupid, inane things that have spilled out of my mouth over the years. I would never again be embarrassed by choking on my own spit, tripping over my own feet, or spilling something on the front of my pants.

TIVO Man would be able to respond intelligently with quick comebacks, quips or jokes without missing a beat. He would probably be the most charismatic and powerful superhero ever. He could woo women with his quick wit and impress the rich and powerful with his deep knowledge and insight into just about every subject.

If the TIVO company sued me for trademark infringement, I would have to go with something less memorable, like The Quickster, for being so quick witted. Netflix tried to use that name, but it didn’t work out so well for them, so it is probably still up for grabs. Speaking of super names, it might actually be difficult to choose a good one that Marvel or DC Comics hasn’t already trademarked. Wouldn’t it be a bummer if there was a real superman who couldn’t use the name without paying royalties just to use it?

TIVO Man, with the assistance of Wikipedia, Google or Apple’s Siri, would be able to call on the aggregated knowledge of billions of people and, within seconds, offer his advice or lead the dialogue in any conversation. In the event of an unfortunate slip-up, he would still be able to recall his words and replace them with something better, such as whatever the other person was about to say before they were even able to say it. It would be just like the movie Click or Groundhog Day, but without the need to wait 24 hours in between replays. Maybe I’d prefer the name Groundhog Man.

Click Movie

Click Movie

He could day trade to make money, taking advantage of steep price changes, even on a small scale, to continually grow his nest egg. He could proposition women and find out what works without putting his neck on the line. Oh, YEAH, it would be worthwhile just for that use alone! In bed, he could avoid any unfortunate mis-steps, such as calling out the wrong name, trying something she really doesn’t like, or premature endings. He would always be in the right place at the right time as he could back out of the wrong situations and start over.

TIVO Man would be unstoppable. With just an ounce of Kryptonite, even Superman wouldn’t stand a chance. Without it, a battle between them would always result in a standoff as TIVO Man could keep rewinding time until Superman got tired of trying to bash him.

I’m pretty sure that TIVO Man already exists, although with far more subtle capabilities that even he may not understand. One of his powers could come in the form of intuition, which may be a form of precognition or Extra Sensory Perception that results in an ability to read people well and avoid bad people or situations. Another power could simply be an amazing photographic memory for facts, ideas, and names, which may just be the result of a superior ability to tap the resources of the brain. He might not be able to rewind time, but might have a super intuitive, Jedi-like ability to know exactly what to say or do at the right time.

We would never know that he had such powers and would probably attribute them to high intelligence and extremely good luck. All we would know is that the person would appear to be extremely smart, quick witted, charismatic, and rich, but not necessarily good looking unless his powers managed to work while in the womb too. Know anyone like that? Don’t you just hate him or her! Now do you wonder why so many bad guys want to kill the superheroes?