I am knackered. Didn’t sleep well last night and had to get up for a delivery so I might fall asleep before finishing this. It’s not likely to make much sense anyway, my mind is wandering like a wandering thing that’s completely forgotten where it intended to wander to. Tinfoil is optional but be warned, this is going to get strange.
And I’m even sober! I have plenty of whisky but if I drink more than a little bit I know I’m going to wake up slumped over this desk with Quasimodo Neck and a bad case of qwertyitis on my face. Also fifteen pages of random characters typed here that will take ages to get rid of. The worst example happened about 20 years ago when I was writing in Word and fell asleep on the spacebar…
First off – book update. Edits are almost complete for the submissions so far to the Christmas anthology (deadline is the 30th) and there are other books in process, plus the end of this month is author payments time. Not looking good, no bugger has any money for books at the moment, it’s all going on heating, food, petrol and inflation. I can sympathise, I just paid for a tank full of heating oil. Ouch! That wood burner is going to get a lot of use this winter.
Right. The wanderings were triggered by this –
Okay, Hz/second (not Htz) is a giveaway that we aren’t reading a science nerd here, since Hertz units already have the time function in them, but the idea is interesting nonetheless.
There have been many reports of creatures of vastly different species suddenly running in circles. The mechanism causing it? I have no idea. I also have no idea whether the theories expounded here and in other places are true or not. But it did get me thinking.
If time were to accelerate locally, so that Earth rotated in 16 hours rather than 24, would we notice?
The obvious answer is ‘Of course we would. We’d have eight hours less every day’. And yes, indeed we would. But would we know that?
See, if Earth sped up to a 16 hour rotation while Time remained unchanged, then we couldn’t help but notice. However, if the increased speed of Earth’s rotation was a consequence of an increase in the speed of Time, we wouldn’t. It would still affect us but we wouldn’t know why.
Now it gets freaky. Consider spacetime as a unit, rather than ‘space’ moving through ‘time’. That makes time a fourth dimension in our three dimensional reality. It does not manifest as a spatial dimension but it’s a dimension nonetheless (envisaging four spatial dimensions requires a lot more whisky than I’m willing to consume at the moment!).
So we can move at will within the three spatial dimensions but we can only move in one direction in the time dimension, and we have no choice but to move through the time dimension at the speed it travels. No, I’m not going to talk about time machines, it’s much weirder than that.
There was a rather neat theory that considered gravity as a function of time. If we consider time as a dimension within spacetime, then like the three spatial dimensions, it would be warped near large masses. So, when falling, you accelerate towards the ground not because of ‘gravity’, but because time is accelerated as it approaches the ground and if you don’t keep up, you’d vanish into the past. It does rather neatly explain the atomic clock experiments where the ones sent out into space appear to run slower than the ones on the ground. They are actually running at exactly the same rate within their own frames of reference but the frames of reference are different.
So if Time speeds up and the Earth rotated at 16 hours instead of 24, we won’t see it. Within our frame of reference (the surface of the Earth) everything speeds up together. The clocks we use to measure time, whether analogue or digital or even atomic, are speeded up by the same amount as the rotation of the planet. They still measure one rotation as 24 hours because they are affected by the same time speed as the planet. Except now, an observer outside Earth’s ‘gravity well’ sees the planet spinning faster.
Within our frame of reference, nothing has apparently changed. Except… maybe we feel we aren’t getting enough sleep. Our bodies want 8 hours and they think they’re getting 8 hours but really they’re getting less than 6. We have developed within a particular spacetime set of rules and the rules have changed, but we haven’t.
Oh sure, life would adapt, but if the speed of time changed rapidly we might not be able to adapt fast enough. Things would seem to be happening much faster than we’d like and we wouldn’t understand why. Within our frame of reference, nothing has changed, as far as we can tell. The 24 hour clock is still 24 hours, we won’t see clocks spinning faster, we’d just experience sleeping far longer than usual or feeing much more tired than usual from not sleeping enough.
Things you’d expect to last a month might only last three weeks. Things you’d expect to take three weeks to complete might take a month. Otherwise, you’d still see a 24 hour day because your clock is in your time frame and it’s measuring sunrise to sunrise as it always has. You do not see a difference in time. You just have a feeling there’s less of it.
Has it happened? Personally I don’t think so. I would have expected at least one of the robot population of Mars to have noticed if it had. But… they are tied to earth time…
These speculations are fun but they are no more than speulations Story ideas. Nothing for those who live in the real world to worry about.
Assuming, of course, that there is a real world and it’s not just vibrations…
Nikola Tesla would disagree 😉