I guess we could just go back and ask Mr. Schroedinger

I have here a version of Schroedinger's box. I don't like killing cats, so I've stuck Hitler inside of it instead.

My box is configured so that sixty seconds after I start the experiment, there will be a 50% chance that Hitler will be dead and a 50% chance that he'll be alive. At that point, I'm going to open the box and broadcast the results to the world.




He's alive! OK, that concludes that experiment.

But wait!, I imagine you saying. I wanted Hitler dead! Don't we all, my friend. Don't we all. But if you assume a model of time travel wherein the past can be changed, how about you just go back in time and so you can observe the experiment again?

So let's hypothetically say that you go back about a minute and a half, to before I've started the experiment. You don't interfere with the process in any direct way: you just quietly wait until it's completed and listen to the results again.

Will the experiment still be random, with a 50% chance of life or death? Does your mere presence in the past have the ability to alter the result, producing a potentially different answer this time around, despite the fact that you're miles away from me (and Hitler)? Or will the results now be guaranteed to be the same as your first observation? Has the probability waveform effectively been pre-collapsed before the experiment has even begun, turning a random event into a completely deterministic one?

Bonus question: What if you're actually out in space, exactly two light minutes away? You won't hear the results of my experiment until two minutes after I complete it (since it takes that long for my broadcast to reach you), so when you hear the results, you'll have to go back in time three and a half minutes in order to ensure you arrive before I actually begin. But then, if the results could be different this time, would that imply that information of your arrival in the past had reached me in only thirty seconds, despite you being two light minutes away?

Temporal Law

If you kill somebody and go to jail for it for a while, and then -- via time travel -- you kill the younger version of them, should you be sent to jail again for it, or would that be double jeopardy?

And does it matter whether (in objective time) the second murder happened before or after the first?

Does it make a difference if you really just go back and set things up for the younger you to commit the second murder, so that you do it before you've ever killed the older version of the victim?

And does it change anything if that guy is Hitler?

A random metaphysical theory

So here's a theory about the nature of the universe and religion and stuff that has just randomly crossed my mind. I don't necessarily believe it's true, but I'm also not assuming it's false (since my beliefs on the creation of the universe are basically "God did it, somehow, but I'm not going to jump to any conclusions on how"). I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone else has already had this theory more famously, and if so, I'd be interested to hear who.

Theory: The physical universe is inherently deterministic. God created it by creating a singularity with very precise, exact, and carefully chosen parameters, and then just let it run on its own for billions of years, so that it could explode and develop time and space and light and stars and planets and rivers and elephants, in a completely deterministic way that was pre-programmed into the original parameters.

Spiritual entities (such as God and angels and human spirits) exist outside of the physical universe, but can affect the physical universe, and are themselves not deterministic. About three million years ago, God selected several of the bipedal mammals which he had designed the universe to eventually produce and bound them to spirits which he'd created. And at that point, humans were created, complete with free will and the ability to alter the course of the otherwise deterministic universe.

Any thoughts or opinions?


Solipsexuality: A sexual orientation wherein an individual is not attracted to other members of either gender. Rather, a solipsexual is attracted -- and only attracted -- to him or herself.

Conveniently, even closeted solipsexuals find very little difficulty in meeting and forming a deep, intimate relationship with an appropriate partner.

On Genius

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Edison

"[J]ust a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor." - Nikola Tesla

Laptop Alarm

This is another idea that I'm posting here so I can point out that I thought of it first if someone else thinks of it later.

It's a thin, relatively flat object with pressure and light sensors on it. When you bring your laptop to a public place (like a cafe or a restaurant) to take advantage of the free wifi, you place this underneath it. If anyone tries to pick up the laptop without properly disabling the device first (probably via a passcode), it emits a loud noise alerting everyone nearby that a laptop theft is in process. Thus, you can safely get up from your seat and go up to the counter or visit the restroom without worrying about someone swiping your laptop and sneaking off with it unnoticed.