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tv   Time Travel and The 37th Parallel  CSPAN  November 19, 2016 2:00pm-3:16pm EST

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>> good afternoon again. come on in, please have a seat. we are ready to begin. as you see, we have been on time all day long and i know that you appreciate that, thank you. welcome to this next session. i am mary lou harrison and it is truly a pleasure to have you here at miami book fair. we have many, many sponsors as you heard throughout the morning, but we want to really acknowledge them because without them this affair would not take place. many thanks to the foundation, to the bachelor foundation, the the grout foundation and all the other sponsors. i also want to recognize again and again and again the friends of miami book fair, thank you so
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much for being here and i hope you have taken advantage of all of the perks available to you and those who are not book fair members as yet i know you are considering becoming members so thank you very much. acknowledges miami-dade college, the convener of this outstanding book fair and many thanks to our students, faculty and staff are giving up their time to make sure this book fair is the caliber that it is today and has been for the past three decades so thank you to miami-dade college. [applause] >> let's get right on with the show. i would like to bring on mister eldridge birmingham for questions, he is the chief science officer, thank you.
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[applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. it is a great pleasure. i have lived in miami several years, this is my second presentation. the first was with richard dawkins and i'm equally fortunate to introduce james glieck who is one of the great science or historians of science ever. i thought what i would do was read a brief statement, some of you know corey, a writer of science fiction, a blogger, i thought what he had to say about james was incredibly insightful for those who have read some of james's work. i was also given strict instructions to keep my introduction to a minute and this will just about perfectly do it. james glieck is one of the great science writers of all time and that is in part because he is a science biographer.
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not a biographer of scientists, sciences, mathematicians, writers and thinkers, a biographer of the idea itself. >> it ricochets off disciplines, institutions and people, knocking them into new hire orbits and setting them on collision courses. i would like to present james glieck, winner of many awards, prizes, etc. he will give an absolutely wonderful lecture. >> thank you. >> thank you for coming. this did not come from me. i would be happy to have him go on and on. welcome, people of the future.
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time travel is our great modern myth. i am going to just start by reading a little bit on my end, going to talk a little bit about this and that and i hope some of you have questions. to start right at the beginning, a man stands at the end of a drafty cores or, a.k.a. the 19th century. in the flickering light, examines a machine made of nickel and ivory with brass rails and course rods, and ugly contraption, somehow out of focus. not easy for the poor reader to visualize despite the listing of parts and materials. our hero fiddles with some
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screws, adds a drop of oil and plants himself on it, he grasps a lever with both hands. he is going on a journey. by the way, so are we. when he throws that lever time breaks from its moorings. we are talking about hd wells and the time machine of course. the year is 1895, hg wells is a young man struggling to write his first book and this is how he sets the scene. i am going to continue reading a little bit. the turn of the 20th century looms, the calendar date, with apocalyptic residents. albert einstein was a boy at gymnasium in munich, not until 1908, the polish german
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mathematician announcing his radical idea, henceforth states by itself and time by itself are doomed to fade away into mere shadows and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality. hg wells was there first but wells was not trying to explain the universe which he was just trying to have a plausible sounding plot device for a piece of fantastic storytelling. nowadays, we voyage through time so easily and so well in our dreams, in our art, time travel feels like an ancient tradition rooted in bold mythologies, oldest gods and dragons but it isn't. though the ancients imagined
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immortality, rebirth and lands of the dead, time machines were beyond their can, time travel is a fantasy of the modern era. when wells in his lamp lit room imagined a time machine he also invented a new mode of thought. why not before, and why now? those are the questions my book starts with, basically because i found it, i personally was astonished and didn't believe time travel could be a new idea. it just seems so inevitable, haven't people always been fantasizing, nevermind the machine, couldn't i walk through the door and be 200 years in the
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future? they didn't do that age you can go through ancient legends and find precursors, people went to fortunetellers, wanted to find out about their own future but if you appeared in your time machine and asked a farmer of the 15th century, what do you think life will be like for your grandchildren, the farmer would say what do you mean? it would be the same because life is always the same. when you think about it even shakespeare who never did any kind of time travel, he had limitless imagination and magical islands and magical forests, but people stayed where they belonged in their time, and shakespeare scholars famously discover and acronyms in his work. he has clocks in ancient rome where they didn't have mechanical clocks striking the
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hour. that is because that is not just a mistake, nobody and shakespeare's time had the kind of complete sense that we have of a progression of technology. all of this was new. and hg well's time, with railroad steam across the landscape and the electric telegraph sending instant messages, he suddenly, and many others as the turn-of-the-century approach, was fascinated by the future. the time machine is a bicycle, by the way. i don't know if you could tell from that description. it was all he had. that he only personal transportation device available to him. wells himself was a big bicycle a fiction auto. i wonder how many of you have read the time machine and if you haven't read it you probably still have a picture in your head of what the time machine
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might have looked like. if i can get this to move forward i will show you one. does that look familiar? that is ridiculous. that is this red, plush sled with blinking lights, it is from the 1960 movie by george powell, the time machine. the time traveler in this movie come in the book the time traveler never has a name, just call the time traveler. in the movie they call him george, which is hg wells's middle name, here is george. i will get the hang of this. i have it upside down. there is george.
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rod taylor, you might have recognized him, here he is encountering a woman of the future his name is weena. they have a bit of dialogue that goes something like this. george says don't your people ever speak of the past? she says there is no past. do they wonder about the future? there is no future. then after he invented it time travel had to leave all. my book splits onto a bunch of different tracks, trying to tell a story, make a story sound fairly any or that is somewhat fragmented and one of the tracks is science because 10 years
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after wells there was einstein turning upside down everybody's ideas of what time is in science and einstein revealed to us what everybody in the room knows very well which is time is nicely treated as a fourth dimension and that was wells's gimmick too. the beginning of the time machine, the time traveler talking to his friends and explaining to them that everything they know about geometry is wrong and time is in fact a fourth dimension which was a new idea and wells was if not exactly inventing it, pulling it out of the air and then he forgot about it. it wasn't a serious thing for him but it was serious for einstein. in literature, i don't mean the literature of science fiction because it didn't exist yet but in real literature time also was
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turning upside down and great modernist authors, proust and joyce were all playing with time, they were aware of new ideas of time that were coming from science, they were telling stories in complicated new ways, proust's great work in search of lost time. it was about memory, it was about visiting the past mentally. he wrote the fact that we occupy an ever larger place in time is something that everybody feels, and expression of what the zeitgeist was at the time. people were in turmoil about time. psychologists are worrying about time, philosophers were trying to come to grips with einstein because he was uprooting their work. and using hg wells as an example for how they could track time
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and then there finally starts to be what we now know of as science fiction, which was a creation of pulp magazines, mostly in new york city, at the beginning, in the 1920s, some of these magazines were the business of a man whose name might be familiar to some of you of your science-fiction people, the annual science fiction award is called the hugo award, he is the man the hugo awards are named after and he invented the concept of science fiction and the word science-fiction. this is what he looked like. i should say this is how he presented himself. this is one of his wacky ideas.
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his wacky ideas took form in magazines like amazing stories and astounding stories and amazing wonder stories, the names kept changing because they kept going bankrupt and he would run from his creditors and he would pay what we call pulp science fiction writers tiny amounts of money to investigate stories and most of them were not time travel stories but he reproduced the entire hg wells time machine in a series of issues without paying hg wells or penny or asking for permission. what is fun about looking at these magazines and reading the stories that came out of them is watching the troops develop, watching the rules get written.
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most of the readers of these magazines were teenagers, wrote a letter to the editor and said i have an idea. what if somebody could go back in time and shoot his grandfather and then he would never be born so he never would have gone back in time to shoot his grandfather so we have a paradox which you know this day is called the grandfather paradox age why grandfather? that is why, because some teenager chose it. i would like to ask you, i will ask for a show of hands, the question is whether you would rather go to the future or the past, the rules are you get a ride on a time machine, one ride only, guaranteed safe return so
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how ma would prefer to go to the past? many to the future. that is interesting. for those -- a lot more wanted to go to the future, 3 to one, two to one, and it turns out just as many people want to go to the past, hg wells himself, you would think because he was a historian and has this machine at his disposal he would go back and visit shakespeare or queen elizabeth or somebody, but he never did. very soon people did start imagining going back to the future. one of the first with a children's book author, a friend of wells, a fellow socialist and
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she wrote some wonderful books in which her children, the heroes are a group of children and one of them is called the magic amulet and they go back and visit more or less fictional people in the past, the queen of egypt, they run into julius caesar and immediately invent another time travel paradox, they tried to talk julius caesar out of invading england and they think wait, maybe we shouldn't do that, maybe he needs to invade england for us to exist in the future. this immediately puts me in mind of woody allen's version of the same paradox in the movie midnight in paris, his hero has been transported back to the 1920s and meets the director and
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says i have a fantastic idea for a movie and tries to sell him on the plot of his own movie. here is joyce carol oates's answer to the question whether you want to go to the past or the future. this is on twitter naturally because she says time travel to the future is preferred to pass so you can't step on a butterfly, that is in quotes, or be tempted to murder hitler and fail ignominiously. we all know these tropes now, stepping on the butterfly is one of them, that is from a ray bradbury story. called the sound of thunder, not to give everything away somebody carelessly stepped on a
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butterfly and changes history and many people try to go back to the past and kill hitler, they start trying to kill hitler as early as 1941. they always fail because i you can't change history or if you do change history things don't. the problem of going back to the past, you can watch the science-fiction writers work these out logically. one of my favorite stories to this day, maybe because i am pretty sure i read it when i was a teenager is a story by robert heinlein called by his bootstraps. it is the first story to treat seriously the question of whether you meet your self. the story opens with a guy named bob. bob is also the name of the author. bob is sitting at a desk writing
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a thesis with a pretentious sounding name something to do with time, bind him over his shoulder, a whole opens in the air and demand steps out. the man there is a vague resemblance to bob but has a three day growth of beard and he says forget about that. it is not going to do you any good. conversation ensues and the phone rings. and another man says pay no attention to man number 2. whatever he tried to tell you to do don't do it and we the reader know that these people are all bob from different times interfering with each other and by the time the story is done there are five of them and it is complicated and heinlein is feeling on the one hand the story is a farce, the girlfriend
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is being two times, what a great word, never more appropriate, people are walking through the hole in the air at exactly the right moment or else catastrophe happens. this is the diagram heinlein wrote for himself to keep track of the narrative in this diagram popped into my head when i watched looper a couple years ago, the ryan johnson movie in which the hero named joe is a looper, a time traveler, and he is played in an older version by bruce willis and the young version by joseph gordon levitt and there is a scene where they meet for the first time. the older guy, bruce willis, knows the whole story, knows exactly what is going on, the younger guy is in a state of
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shock and disbelief and once a lot of explanations but old joe is in a hurry and says i don't want to talk about time travel because we will start talking about it. if -- is time travel possible then? if this is a room full of science-fiction writers and i ask that question i guarantee they would unanimously u no, time travel is not possible. isaac asimov was constantly disappointing his readers saying i can't prove it but don't hold your breath. hg wells himself also annoyed readers for 40 or 50 years to come by refusing to believe his own story. on the other hand if this was a room full of physicists a lot of you would raise your hands,
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physicists like the idea. they like their wormholes. they like their closed time like curves. stephen hawking likes to say black holes are time machines because they are -- their intense gravitation flows clocked in the vicinity. that is true, that is one of the things einstein said, if you travel near the speed of light, travel through an intense gravitational field time goes more slowly for you. there are lots of time travel stories the play with this conceit, there were twin brothers, one of them stays on earth and the other travels to the stars and when he gets back home he is able to marry his grandniece. time for the stars is the name of it in case you want to read
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that. hocking, one thing he knows you can't change the past, he tried to give a scientific explanation for that, there's a chronology protection agency which presents -- very science-fiction, right? and so makes the universe safe for historians and then hocking famously sent out his invitation to time travelers from the future. i am not sure if that is an actual invitation or an artist's reimagining of it. it is an invitation for a party to be held in the past and he said i sat there for a long time and no one came. that, according to hocking proves time travel doesn't exist
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because we are not being flooded by time travelers from the future. if you want to -- why do we need time travel in the end? because time is a battered, time is a killer, time buries us all, time is an insult, somebody says that in the new doctor strange movie. maybe time travel sets us free. whether it is literally possible or not, it is a way of escaping mortality. it is a way of liberating ourselves and our imaginations. it is a way of allowing us to explore regret, can we get a do over? it is a way of allowing us to anticipate and also to fear the future. whether it is literally possible or not, we are all in one way or
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another time lords now, we are all time travelers. i will read one more paragraph from the end and see if anybody has a question. we are sometimes told live in the now. people mean by that focus. immerse yourself in your sensory experience. bask in the oncoming sunshine. without the shadows of regret or expectation. but why should we toss away our hard won insight into time's possibility and paradoxes? we lose ourselves that way. virginia woolf wrote, what more terrifying revelation can there be that it is the present moment, that we survived the shock at all is only possible
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because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another. our entry into the past and the future, fitful and fleeting though it may be, makes us human. thank you. [applause] >> all right. apparently there is a microphone in the middle if anyone wants to grab it. >> would you comment on the first two science-fiction writers i came across when i was in high school in the late 1940s, one was mark twain in connecticut yankee in king arthur's court, and i read almost everything by jules vern but i don't recall anything about time travel.
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>> great question. taken in reverse order, jules vern, i read a lot of those books too, 20,000 leagues under the sea, he was, you could say, maybe the first science-fiction writer. these things are the kind of thing you argue about at the bar, you are right, he didn't do any time travel. he did imagine the future which is a different thing. he's a different person whose work was shamelessly ripped off by hugo in his magazines. he was another person who was what we would call a futurist. he was like hg wells, dreaming of wondrous things to come. mark twain, glad you mentioned a connecticut yankee in king arthur's court because that was a kind of time travel story and it was five years before the time machine and the connecticut yankee you may remember goes back to king arthur's court, the
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book opens, he is an engineer, yankee engineer named hank, he's a can-do guy interested in all the up-to-date technology just the way mark twain himself was, mark twain was the first writer to have a typewriter and was very excited about it, the first guy on the block to have a telephone. the mechanism of time travel in a connecticut yankee is a knock on the head and the yankee wakes up in a field and there is a town on the horizon and in front of him is a horse dressed up in some embroidered finery. on the horse is a man wearing some metal clothing and hank points to the town on the horizon and said orchard?
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the man says camelot. hilarity ensues. an argument i would make about that book is the subtext, the point of the book, the reason for it, quite comparable to hg wells's, a sudden understanding of the difference between technology now and technology in the past. hank goes back to the past and he is a wizard because he knows about matches and gunpowder and all kinds of stuff that makes him powerful and the real wizard, marilyn, turns out to be an imposter. there is a line. i will try to be less long-winded. >> i wanted to ask a question much like you asked of us. a situation you have one piece of paper, one envelope, last day
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on this earth and you write the most important idea you want to leave behind, was would that be? >> no pressure. [laughter] >> what popped into my head, this is's mind, i wish i could get away with it, richard feynman answered that question. he put the question this way. if you had one piece of paper and wanted to write down one idea that was the most important thing we discovered today the foundation of science, what would it be, and he said everything is made of atoms. i think that was the end of it. that is too boring for me? i don't know what my one sentence message to the future
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is. be long-winded. >> great talk which you had me thinking, hg wells was the first to time travel, your frame of the question, thinking would you like to go forward or back, how do you think of stories like rip van winkle? someone who is an anachronism, being pushed into a different time, that generates a lot of interest in the idea. >> when you push back against my claim that hg wells more or less invented time travel, that is a good place to start, rip van winkle, he preceded hg wells and his method of time travel is falling asleep. there are even more ancient engines, a japanese legend where a fisherman falls asleep for
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more years than rip van winkle and when they wake up everybody they know is gone. they are alone or alienated, not that the world has changed, it is a 1-way trip, there is no falling asleep or going back so it is a limited kind of time travel. another predecessor is charles dickens in a christmas carol, has a dream of the past, present and the future. people thinking about these things, the idea of willful time travel, volition, being able to step on a machine or we quickly dispense with the machine, have holes in the air or magic doors, doors are always possible, popular, the idea that we could
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be masters of time and make a choice to go to the past or the future, that is incredibly powerful and liberating. even if it is wrong. >>, >> it is physically moving through time. ..
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so i do think that one of the things that is keeping time travel life is new variations on the theme of what goes forward and back. it's not necessarily an
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embodied human. good afternoon. i would go to the future if i could grab the sports almanac. my question is when i originally read the time machine many years ago. they were talking about not moving through space but only in time. when he turns it forward he didn't leave his house and deteriorated around him and he was there and then the mountain came on top of that. and everything like that. but realistically in your opinion would not be the way it would happen. the earth is spinning its revolving around the sun. as everything is moving or can
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we strictly travel through time as we stay in the same space. >> i love that you said realistically. you're absolutely right. you've definitely found a flaw in the thinking. and you can imagine that you're not the first and in fact there is a fantastic article in the physical -- philosophical journey i'm 1920. and he makes exactly your point. the earth is moving in that wealth is completely forgotten about that. as they went on to get more specific -- sophisticated. it is on your shirt.
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we sent our machines moving through space and time. when you think about it there are other problems. someway in which wells got things right but they did speculate in the very first book about what happens if his machine appears as you say in the middle of the mountain. he speculates that there would be an explosion and sure enough that's what everybody thinks now. that becomes one of the rules of times travel. nobody asks where is the power coming from. for this machine. to get your car 3 miles yet lit up with fuel. if they tend to be energy free
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i think we can blame it on the lack of imagination as well. thank you very much i appreciate that. >> thank you for a wonderful talk. with the concept of multi- versus and it's not really time travel but sort of lateral travel where there are strings and people exist in the same timeframe but in multiple different universes. how do you feel about the science. before i answered the last part of your question let me say i absolutely agree with you and i decided partway through my book this is kind of a power grab i guess. i decided that that was kind of a time travel.
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it is another one of those ideas. in fiction and in science. they have the genre of alternative history in which you imagine what if roosevelt had been assassinated. and as a result of that the nazis in the japanese have won world war ii. that's the man in the high castle. unless cited fictional the plot against america which is one of my favorite books it's unfortunate that it seems to be coming true. i know some of you are thinking that. the idea of multiple universes even argue at least first
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appear in fiction. this happens to be the first story ever to be published in english and guess what literary journal published that. it lays out in beautiful prose the notion of multiple universes in the unit notion that has now entered into science in the form of the many world interpretation. essentially any quantum event is to be understood as a forking path. on the other universe the cat is alive. it solves the problem for not being able to decide whether it's dead or alive. it is both alive and dead at
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the same time. they don't like to do. in your question is how do i feel about the science but i am not a scientist. i don't find this type of science to be either persuasive or appealing because to me it seems so unfalsifiable. how are you ever can attest the idea of multiple universes. you will find plenty that well correct me. in cultures around the world. nobody ever want to go back in time to meet one of these.
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and never came up at with the idea of traveling through time. >> i don't think they were capable of imagining it as a possibility. you're right. you would want to meet your hero from past and so why not just write a story where that happens. but try to find one instead, they imagined people from the past. he and had a person from england encountering julius caesar he just wrote about julius caesar. >> that was their version of going to the past. the historical fiction is there. as the argument i'm making. we have expanded our imaginations using this
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ideas. and we have more brains when it comes to time than our ancestors did. and because of that it is difficult for us to imagine how limited their notions of time work. >> thank you. hello, thanks for an amazing talk first of all. i'm wondering if you have any of that in ways to learn about where the run to and what are they running from. i feel like that probably is a lot to say about the moments when they were written. i use that idea in the broadest sense. there are people that go back to the past time and again by
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jack finney. it's wonderful. and it goes back to a new yorker and he goes back to an older new york. and so you can tell from the emotion with which the book is written that the author have a love of the past. and you want to call that it a form of liberation i don't know. that's one thing. intimate time travel to the future where everything goes wrong. it doesn't feel like liberation at all. out of the frying pan and into the fire. think about one of the greatest time travel movies ever.
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it doesn't seem like he's been liberated and seems like he's a prisoner. he is reliving the same day over and over again. congratulate he is liberated. he does it discovers senses and comes to come to the realization that what he wants to do is live the state better and maybe if he gets it right which involves falling in love he could go back to life. there is his version of liberation. >> a great talk. if you were to do an intellectual history of a concept like this you have some people that believe that
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it was true. here it sounds like you're doing an intellectual history of an idea which nobody ever really believes is possible. what kind of heavy lifting do you think they are doing. that for sure. i like the question. is not true that nobody thought time travel was possible. i'm sure some of you can walk out and still say that. even if i personally am claiming that it isn't. it's a powerful idea to rate. i've never succeeded in ridding myself of this.
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it's my unbelief that i'm writing a book about something i don't believe in. they are perfectly happy. maybe that gets me off the hook a little bit. but the real point is we have ideas in our culture that are powerful and rich and shine a light even if they are fantastical in time travel is one of those ideas. i started out by saying it's a modern -- modern myth. and myths are powerful. >> one thing i found interesting in a movie like that. one of the things about time travel is you don't belong in the future.
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on everything you build your life around doesn't exist in the future and the loneliness on the thing that happens like that. i don't know if that makes any sense. the whole idea that you don't belong in these other times. i talked about this notion. the sense of different time overlapping. i think the feeling you're talking about is the feeling that we have. we have in a way that people's century ago didn't head. of course it's ours. it's all we know. we all have moments of thinking i don't belong in this time. so if in the time travel story
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that you write that is the way you feel. that's how we all feel. actually i'm in a wrap up and ask for a round of applause for our author. thank you so very much. thank you for coming. and as always if you would like to have your book autographed you may do so on this floor on the other side of the elevator. thank you.
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that was scientist james rick talking about his most recent book on time travel. a couple more hours left in our life coverage this afternoon. we have a couple of call in programs. the book you can get the full schedule there. join us here on our book tv set is author stephen johnson. what did you think about that. he's one of my favorite authors. it was the first popular science book that i read in my entire life that really started me thinking that i could potentially be a science writer because i not been
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interested in science at all. if he were still talking i would just say we should go and listen more to him. he will be able to listen to me now. your most recent book is called "wonderland". >> it's a history is a history of things that human beings have done for the fun of it for the delight in it. but the feeling of play or amusement and it came out of the book how we got to now. it is the history of things in the modern work that we take for granted. and try to tell that the house in the air history behind all of these things. that was a really great format to work in. i love that kind of historical work. there were a lot of interesting stories. and you could write that book a thousand times over.
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i wondered with this book if we could have an actual argument about history i theory of how it happens in society. the argument of wonderland is that history that we do for fun and delay ends up triggering much more serious and momentous changes in politics the things that start out as frivolous amusement. they chained and much more significant ways. what did the concept -- where did the concept of this come from. i've been researching it for 20 years. it opens up with a chapter out with the introduction of a shopping and fashion. i have heard when i was in grad school more than 20 years ago i have studied the 19th century metropolitan novel.
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there is an incredible story about the first department stores where they come to paris the spectacular shopping wonderland really this happens where all of these well-to-do women who don't need to do this for economic reasons whatsoever come into the store and start stealing. there is a wave of kleptomania among the women of paris and his new department stores. and we can figure it out. for some reason the store environment is causing them to steal and this provokes the huge moral panic and discussion about it. it becomes as a department store disease. eventually the whole theory developed after studying these. it appears that new configurations of modern life and new spaces and new
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commercial environments is actually messing with their brains. and in the beginning of a line of the brain that we have today. i had stories like that that i had been accumulating for the last 20 years. once i started to research i can kind of put it all together. you call this the endless quest for delight. if you think about what you learned when you are in school about the forces that drive history you would think there is the quest for power there is nationalism and the religious beliefs the survival and money those are the big forces that drive history. there is the other side of being human which is what we are amused by things. we like to play we like to have fun we like to be surprised if they get is a
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lovely side of our history and it turns out to be filled with all of these crazy stories that are fun to read. you know what kind of books he writes. the most recent just out is "wonderland". we are in a put up the phone numbers so you can call in and participate in the call in program today with stephen johnson. go ahead and dial in and we will get to your calls very quickly. he is a best-selling author. he referenced -- referenced his book how we got to now. everything bad is good for you as well. now in wonderland talk of to how the so-called endless quest for delight has changed or led to expiration in stock
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markets in computers and probability there is a crazier -- crazy figure. the mathematician and chronic gambler who have basically spent his whole life doing a day's games and gambling but was kind of a math genius on the side. he figured out a way to understand mathematically the likelihood of various games of champ outcomes. what is the likelihood that you're your can roll three sixes in the role. and no one had actually done the math on this. no one has quite figured out how to explain it.
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it was a cheat sheet for how to win at dice and also that theory then that refined and modified over the years and then became the basis of a whole host of things. but the other side of it was that the first modern insurance firm which was lloyd's of london took place in a coffeehouse. i've a whole other conversation about those. and it was originally coffeehouse. both day schemes and coffeehouses came together to form the modern insurance business.
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with the bars and coffeehouses in shopping malls. it is just filled with these things. most of which didn't exist. in one of the first spaces to do that was the bar in the tavern. it was a space that was at work. it wasn't just nature. it was a space where you can discover. it was designed for you to pass a few hours and have a good time. bars and taverns had played a really momentous role in the history of politics. you cannot tell the history of the american revolution.
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without taverns. it is the network. now it's possible that we would've had an american revolution. it would have whatever quite a different path. i different set of meeting places for it to happen. >> what we do with the information that you shared with us. how creative it seems to lead to more and more innovation. people just get into that it's fun and interesting. think about the conflict of
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education. if you watch kids playing games whether their video games or board games they concentrate the mind. i play these simulation games with my kids who play them when they were seven or eight and they will be building an entire geopolitical empire in different historical times. i'm not saying they're gifted. when they were seven they would never pay attention. makes you want to learn in spite of yourself. let's begin with rain and -- wayne in san diego.
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>> if he has a red translate inflation. as the irony of what the author insists it should be so take it away please. >> is an outstanding book. it was written right at the beginning of world war ii. you have this extraordinary thing writing this epic book about the history of play to the human species as the nazis are marching across europe. can a tragedy in the middle of a very powerful book.
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the only thing is approaches in the basic idea that they are center of the culture. they approach a little bit more abstract. how did this actually came to pass. they have the stories of people. let's hear from david and rochester. i'm from new york and i wonder if you know here in rochester we have the strong museum of play. it is a history of all of the play items throughout history all different kinds of things. and if book tv ever comes to hear.
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i need to make a pilgrimage there. where do they go in the way we think about history. do we think about them as just kind of something at the margin. the real history happens on the battlefield. where do we recognize that it's been for thousands of years. i think it is a ladder. everyone should go to rochester new york. it was at technological innovation. it was a conceptual innovation that then led to technological
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innovation because it was essential to that. the first essays written about it. and now those essays. we are anchored in this could you teach a computer to play chess. in a way he was a little bit too pessimistic about it. it's a great example of the power of play here. all along the gains have been the way in which they both measure and train these new machines. it started with checkers. there is no wait to get way to get the computer to play chess. look at watson.
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the supercomputer which is one of the most intelligent forms of artificial computation out there. and how do they change it. eventually when at jeopardy. we need to figure out a way to train this machine. the connection between gaining is a very rich one. now we were looking at iphones a little bit. do you use siri? 's to. >> i do just a little bit. someone should remake 2001 a space odyssey with siri there. and hopefully that is the truth. >> i found this on the web. how advanced is siri and she is kind of a play in the sense.
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about how much time with spent putting our eyes into things that aren't there. starting with perspective in painting. and going through the magic lantern --dash lantern shows. there's something about just as with an optical illusion you know that it's it to the image image-based still see the 3d scare and you can't tell it otherwise. that's just the way our brains are wired. once you get to more than 12 frames per second on a close-up of the human being talking with audio you just feel like you know that person. you feel like you've built in some kind of that.
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and what american experience. the similar emotional illusion where we have that. the assistance and actually know us a little bit. they change over time and so after you been with us for a year. people will develop very intense emotional connections. it may start there. it's a lot easier to do than facial expressions. we may have these very complicated in the next five years may be. relationships with completely artificial characters. hi kimberly. i was calling to see if
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perhaps his book touches at all on the philosophy of aesthetic realism and the work of eli siegel. just based on your description of your work which i look forward to reading they are more so focused with art rather than play. you seem to have some similar things going on. >> what is really interesting in the book of how i was can handle art there is a chapter on music and there is a chapter on allusions which gets into cinema and animation. but other than that i tried to steer away from art that was particularly presentational. the literary novel which i
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spent a lot of time reading it's a great passion of mine. and representational painting where you had work that is trying in a sense speak to our higher faculties in a way that's trying to attack big sweeping questions. because those didn't seem place full enough. i think we already accept the idea that serious art narrative fiction is an important part of our cultural history and it feel the need to make the case for that. since others had artie made it more eloquently than i could. i was try to make a case for the lower forms and i included music in there because there is this mystery about music which is as we have no idea what it's good for. if you think about how much you sick moves us and how much passion we feel and yet it seems to have no functional value at all. it's unclear why the wave forms floating in the air should produce these very
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strong feelings it was an opening and it allowed me to write about music in this book. i didn't cover aesthetic realism and things like that and this one in this one but maybe in another one. albert go ahead. >> are you with us albert. i think we lost albert let's move on in royal oak michigan. you are on with author steve johnson. go ahead. >> were good. please go ahead with your question or comment. my question is on technology i just want to know how can we make social media better for the next generation and just making it safer for children
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in kids especially nowadays. >> what would you like to see changed. >> i would like to see social media working faster for the youth and blocking out some of the negative ads and things looking up technology do you use. >> i use my ipad and my cell phone. it's a very important question. lesson wonderland binds mothers others you have a bunch of gatekeepers and
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editors and folks who are controlling the flow of information who are deciding what is true and what's not. we shifted it where everybody on the network is generating news and sharing ideas. deciding that this is relevant or not. there are some significant is some significant practicing and beginning to appear. and so i think because it's like facebook. it is the size of an entire medium now. it's almost as big as the web itself. it's a huge impact over what we read and consume.


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