Weekly Digest #57
Updated: Sep 19
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The Time Travel Debate: Real or Fiction?
By Mihir Rao
Time Travel is a concept that I’m sure everyone is all too familiar with. The idea of being able to go back to your past, or even take a sneak peek at what’s to come has fascinated everyone for millennia, and we’ve dreamed about being able to do it.. But what if that wasn’t fiction? What if Time Travel was really possible? Well before I get into that, let’s talk about what we perceive time travel to be in the media.
Believe it or not, Harry Potter has elements of time travel integrated in the story (Spoilers ahead). In the third book of Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione uses time-travel in a very unusual way: She uses time travel to attend more classes! Also, in the Harry Potter books, there are very strict rules of time travel, but the concept is mainly covered in the third book.
In the movie Back to the Future, the protagonist Marty McFly goes back in time, and has to make sure his parents get married, otherwise he will cease to exist. Surprisingly, this is strongly interlinked with the Grandfather Paradox (read on to find out what this is), which is one of the reasons that scientists think time travel is not possible, yet this paradox is the main plot device on which the entire story is centered upon!
It would be a crime to not include Doctor Who here, since the entire show is centered around an alien travelling in time and space, often taking someone along for the ride, and showing them the marvellous sights that the universe has to offer. Since Time Travel is the backbone of this show, Doctor Who has strict rules with Time Travel too, like not tampering with your past, not changing the outcome of a fixed event in time, etc.
Now that we’ve seen how Time Travel is perceived in the media, let me list a few pros and cons of Time Travel.
Pro: Time Travel is theoretically possible
Time is relative. What does this mean? Well, just like how when you’re in a moving car, the outside view from the inside of your car seems to be moving. Time follows a similar pattern. Imagine two identical twins, and one goes on a space-ship which orbits the earth at an extremely fast pace. When the first twin gets back from space, their aging would have slowed down, and they would be younger than their twin! This is also shown in Interstellar (More Spoilers), where the protagonist leaves Earth when his daughter is a child. When he returns not too long later, She is a full grown adult, and has a family of her own.
Con: The Grandfather Paradox
This paradox is a little bit confusing at first; Imagine you go back in time, and you cause your own grandfather to die. Since your grandfather is the reason one of your parents is alive, and your parents are the reason you are alive, if your grandfather dies before one of your parents is born, then you won’t be born. The tricky part comes now: If your grandfather was never born, you were never born, and thus you won’t be able to travel back in time, which is the cause of his death, so he lives. But if he lives, you will be born, which will again start the loop. Scientists believe that this in itself, is proof that time travel is impossible, but I’m not done yet.
Pro: Chronological Autocorrection
Chronological Autocorrection is the hypothesis that time has an immune system! I know it sounds crazy, but this could solve a lot of paradoxes. What this theory posits is time will correct any event to make sure there are no paradoxes created. For example, if you go back in time and change something, time will find a way to keep the current timeline unchanged. With this, paradoxes like the Grandfather Paradox might be solved!
Con: The Butterfly Effect
Imagine you go back in time, and you kill a butterfly. That butterfly was going to sit on a dog’s nose, and the dog was going to try and get it off, which in turn made a car stop right before it, which made the car behind it bump into the car in the front, which made both the drivers get out. Surprisingly, the drivers of those two cars are your parents, and the butterfly flying on the dog’s nose made them meet each other for the first time. If you killed the butterfly that made them meet, then they never met, and you were never born. These (very confusing) events cascaded, one leading to another, like dominoes. This is called the Butterfly Effect, and scientists believe this makes time travel extremely difficult, if not impossible.
As you can see, there are many points for the existence of time travel, but there are equally many against it. It all comes down to opinion, and belief. Time travel has its ups and downs, and the world would be a very different place with it. In good hands, we could prevent major disasters from happening, by warning our previous selves. However, in bad hands, time travel could have disastrous impacts on the world. So, for me, I’m extremely happy that we don’t have time travel right now, although travelling through history would be incredible. After all,
‘The two most powerful warriors are Patience and Time’ - Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
By: Agastya Rao
1. Scaling a mountain is not an easy task, and being the fastest to scale two mountains is even harder. Geeta Samota, a CISF Official became the fastest Indian to scale two peaks, which were Mount Elbrus which was in August, and Mount Kilimanjaro this September!
2. Two Indians have been shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize for 2024. The Prize was won by an Indian last year. A similar award started by chegg.org the Global Student Prize has also been made, where not 2 but 4 Indian students have been shortlisted! Hooray for all the nominees!
3. The Problem of plastic filling up our landfills has existed for a long time. A 17 year Old student at Mayo College Rajasthan has made his own startup which solves this problem. His startup recycles 10 Tonnes of Plastic everyday and converts it into… Textiles! His company recycles plastic into fabric. This innovative solution shall help us in the future.
4. One of the biggest companies in the world has announced a goal to net zero emissions by 2024. Procter and Gamble, which manufactures the detergent Tide and Bounty paper towels has to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and aims to go from its current usage of 97% renewable energy to 100% renewable energy. This shall hopefully encourage other companies to follow suit.
5. 2 Indians are finalists of the Earshot Prize by Prince William. The project selects people whose projects will have a positive impact on the world. One of them is a 14 year old schoolgirl from Tamil Nadu who made a solar powered ironing cart. The second project called Takachar is a low cost invention that will convert the residue of plants into products that can be sold. Both these projects fully deserve their nomination and deserve to win as well!
By: Abhimanyu Rao
BREAKING NEWS!! Penguins might be aliens!!! Yes, you heard me right. Penguin excreta has traces of Phosphine, a chemical that is found on the planet Venus! Because of this, scientists think that penguins might have originated on the “evening star”! Wow! If all aliens are so adorable, I want to meet all the aliens in the universe!
ISRO and the Indian Institute of Science have collaboratively developed self contained and modular microorganism cultivation devices for space!This device uses various methods to track bacterial growth and behaviour in space. Who knows, maybe someday this will be used for observing tardigrades in space!
Scientists have recently discovered the Titanokorys gainesi, which is one of our planet's largest ever predators, from no less than 500 million years ago! This creature, whose name means titanic helmet, had a head that accounted for around ⅔ of its body. And even though it was only around 50 cm in length, it was enormous compared to the others in its time period.
Two 5,500 year old polished stone spheres were found in Britain this week! How people from the Neolithic period managed to cut stones into spheres, and also polish them, we don’t know, but, we can speculate.(I say aliens!😂)
Brand new feature
1. Mae Jemison becomes the first African-American woman to go to space. She orbited the Earth in 1992 onboard the space shuttle Endeavour.
2. Agatha Christie was born!- The most famous and well known crime and mystery author’s Agatha Christie was born on 15th September 1890.
Entertainment quotient for the week:
Lost In Space
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