Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
Monday, August 10th, 2015
dConstruct 2015 podcast: Ingrid Burrington
The dConstruct podcast episodes are coming thick and fast. Hot on the heels of the inaugural episode with Matt Novak and the sophomore episode with Josh Clark comes the third in the series: the one with Ingrid Burrington.
This was a fun meeting of minds. We geeked out about the physical infrastructure of the internet and time-travel narratives, from The Terminator to The Peripheral. During the episode, I sounded the spoiler warning in case you haven’t read that book, but we didn’t actually end up giving anything away.
I really enjoyed this chat with Ingrid. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it.
Oh, and now you can subscribe to the dConstruct 2015 podcast directly from iTunes.
And remember, as a podcast listener, you get 10% off the ticket price for dConstruct using the discount code “ansible.”
Friday, March 27th, 2015
100 words 005
I enjoy a good time travel yarn. Two of the most enjoyable temporal tales of recent years have been Rian Johnson’s film Looper and William Gibson’s book The Peripheral.
Mind you, the internal time travel rules of Looper are all over the place, whereas The Peripheral is wonderfully consistent.
Both share an interesting commonality in their settings. They are set in the future and …the future: two different time periods but neither of them are the present. Both works also share the premise that the more technologically advanced future would inevitably exploit the time period further down the light cone.
Primer, but Twitter.
Friday, January 18th, 2013
Lauren talks about The Shining Girls and the tools she uses to write with.
A well-written white paper on time travel. Alas, it relies a bit too much on semantic nitpickery to offer any real insight.
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
A question of time
Some of the guys at work occasionally provide answers to .net magazine’s “big question” feature. When they told me about the latest question that landed in their inboxes, I felt I just had to stick my oar in and provide my answer.
I’m publishing my response here, so that if they decide not to publish it in the magazine or on the website (or if they edit it down), I’ve got a public record of my stance on this very important topic.
The question is:
If you could send a message back to younger designer or developer self, what would it say? What professional advice would you give a younger you?
This is my answer:
Rather than send a message back to my younger self, I would destroy the message-sending technology immediately. The potential for universe-ending paradoxes is too great.
I know that it would be tempting to give some sort of knowledge of the future to my younger self, but it would be the equivalent of attempting to kill Hitler—that never ends well.
Any knowledge I supplied to my past self would cause my past self to behave differently, thereby either:
- destroying the timeline that my present self inhabits (assuming a branching many-worlds multiverse) or
- altering my present self, possibly to the extent that the message-sending technology never gets invented. Instant paradox.
But to answer your question, if I could send a message back to a younger designer or developer self, the professional advice I would give would be:
When, at some point in the future, you come across the technology capable of sending a message like this back to your past self, destroy it immediately!
But I know that you will not heed this advice. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this.
On the other hand, I have no memory of ever receiving this message, so perhaps you did the right thing after all.
Monday, September 6th, 2010
An oldie but goldie: time travel in the age of the internet.
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
How to ensure consistency in time travel narratives.
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
New from GMail: send email back in time. "Gmail utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality." In all seriousness though, remember when GMail launched on April 1st, 2004 and everyone that it was a joke?
Sunday, August 27th, 2006
Brian Suda has a theoretical solution to real-time interplanetary communication: "I get on my tachyon voip phone and make a call from mars to earth at 9:00am it takes 10 minutes to travel there, but the tachyons travel backwards (so i think) that would be