Today I took a morning cyber-science fiction journey in my mind after reading a Discover Magazine article titled, Will We Ever Travel Faster Than Light, a la Star Trek? For some reason I thought of the Steven Wright joke about headlights on a spaceship. This led to scientist Carl Sagan and comedian Steven Wright bellied up to a bar drinking beer and discussing time travel. Yes I know Sagan died in 1996, but we're talking time travel after all. I love the idea of these two, with their individual and distinct voices, in a buddy picture. Smart and Smarter? It is a few hours of my life that I will never get back... Or will I?
So please disengage your external inertial dampeners. Oh, and Maureen Dowd states that the following attributed quotes are mostly theirs, not hers.
SCENE: Wright and Sagan are gripping a beer while slouching on their bar stools. The ball game is on the TV set mounted next to the mirrored shelving of colorful bottles, while the bald barkeep is wiping down the countertop with a towel and listening to the drunks on the stools.
Carl Sagan: Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Steven Wright: If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?"
Carl Sagan: The most bizarre aspect of traveling near the speed of light is that time slows down.
Steven Wright: I didn't know it then, but looking back, in hindsight, I realize that when I was younger I could see into the future. Now I'm getting all my premonitions as flashbacks!
Carl Sagan: All clocks, mechanical and biological, tick more slowly near the speed of light. Point of fact, if one were to break the light speed barrier, they theoretically could travel backwards in time! I don't have to tell you about the dangers of the grandfather paradox!
Steven Wright: My grandfather gave me a watch. It doesn't have any hands or numbers. He says it's very accurate. I asked him what time it was. You can guess what he told me.
Carl Sagan: If we could travel at the speed of light, we would age more slowly than those we left behind.
Steven Wright: Four years ago... No, it was yesterday...
Carl Sagan: What do you make of Stephen Hawking's chronological protection conjecture, which holds that the laws of physics disallow time machines?
Steven Wright: Right now I'm having amnesia and deja-vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.
Carl Sagan: Finally! Here comes Al Einstein and Bill Nye, the Science Guy. What took you fellas so long?
Bill Nye TSG: Al just discovered that relativity theory space and time are the same thing because he keeps showing up three miles late for his meetings.
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