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The Grandfather Paradox and Time Travel

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Fiction or philosophy, time travel has always astonished many individual. The “Back to the Future (1985)” movie has become a classic over the years and still provokes our desire to be able to live the past or see the future. Though the work of fiction in itself doesn’t explain the physically possibility of time travel, it does stirs the curiosity of many. Looking at it from the watch glass of a physicists, it seems going into the future can be possible but travelling to the past does not seem to be decisively possible just yet.

In the following post, I will be only talking about travelling back in time for that is where the paradox occurs but you can read about future travel here.

The Grandfather paradox:

To being with, let us walk through an imaginary world. In this world, there is a man named Tom and he has a fully functional time machine. Tom had a grandfather who recently died due to natural causes. For some reason, he was always angry with his grandfather. Tom was so angry that his anger got him homicidal and Tom decides to travel back in time and kill his grandfather during his 20s. Tom starts up his time machine and goes back in time when his grandfather is still single. He points his gun at him and shoots him.

Now the problem arise that, if he killed his grandfather before he got married, and conceived his parent then he was never born and if he was never born how could he exist to go back in time to kill his grandfather? Such circumstance creates the paradox known as the The Grandfather paradox.

This problem of causality is fundamental in nature and will occur if and effect is allowed to precede its cause.

The solution:

Though it is disputable there can be a solution to the grandfather paradox. If the universe somehow cause Tom to miss the shot and not be able to kill his grandfather, his grandfather would not die and Tom will be born and he can go back and try again and miss again and the loop can continue.

Other can be Tom goes back in time, kill his grandfather but the timeline he killed his grandfather is different from the one he came back from. That would mean in an alternative worldline, he is not born but in his own worldline he exists and he didn’t kill his grandfather.

Just like that, we have also a third solution. In quantum mechanics there a phenomenon called quantum superposition. In this state an object can be in multiple different state at the same time. Leaving your common intuition behind, in this state the grandfather can be alive and dead at the same time in a superposition state. That means the grandfather didn’t die so the grandson is born and the grandson goes back in time and kills the grandfather so the grandson is not born now and thus the grandfather didn’t die. This loop is of two different retrocausal events are in superposition thus eliminating the paradox.

The Time Travel:

Now for the actual travel we would need a device that is capable of sending us back. From Einstein’s general relativity, after solving it to some exact solution, we get solutions like transversable wormhole, Gödel metric etc which follow Closed Timelike Curve. These are supposedly the regions of spacetime that will follow a fixed closed curve of spacetime and thus meeting the end and the beginning. If we are to trace its path then we can be able to reach back to a certain point of time. Though Novikov self-consistency principle seems to show that it will be consistent and no paradox will arise, Stephen Hawking has labeled the chronology protection conjecture that claims that such closed timelike curves won’t exist in nature in any macroscopic level.

Though some mathematics and theory don’t rule out the possibility of back time travel the essentials of a fully functional time travel is nowhere near possible to construct or discover. The possibility of antimatter being the particle travelling back in time is theorized by Wheeler–Feynman and is quite accepted. Thus most theories suggests that quantum particles or simply very very small particles that abide with the laws of quantum mechanics might be able to travel back in time without breaking the causality but for macroscale the chances seems to be pretty slim.

Conclusion:

Aristotle believed that water is homoiomerous and infinitely divisible: any bit of water could be subdivided, in principle, into smaller bits of water. Aristotle’s view contains no logical contradiction. It was certainly consistent with Aristotle’s conception of water that it be homoiomerous, so this was, for him, a conceptual possibility. But if chemistry is right, Aristotle was wrong both about what water is like and what is possible for it. It can’t be infinitely divided, even though no logical or conceptual analysis would reveal that.

Similarly the conceptual formulation of existence of a way for backward travel has been theorized but its practicality cannot be determined. And concept alone cannot rule out the possibility of time travel but in all senses it seems near impossible anytime soon or ever.

We are all just an arbitrary constant looking for a value that fits the equation of our life. Guess I will find one someday.

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Arts & Literature

Fractals: The beauty of order within the Chaos

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From the veins of a single leaf to a whole of a rainforest, at first glance everything that’s around seemed random and chaotic. When scientists and mathematicians looked at it no one was particularly intrigued by this unexplainable chaos. This led to everyone curling back to the world they created and could explain. Circles, lines, triangles etc were simple, easy and something that we could easily put into mathematical words as equations. Our artificial world was built around it. But as we went into explaining the true shapes of nature, most of it won’t fit into this simple geometry.

Then in 1980 a mathematician named Benoit Mandelbrot, then working in IBM discovered the Mandelbrot set. His equation looked something like this:

z->z ² + c

 

The equation took an initial number and gave an output and again used the output as initial number. The equation was iterated millions of times. The result was plotted and the figure above is what he got from the plot.

 

This psychedelic looking image when zoomed in on, repeats itself and never ends. The randomness of the simple equation when first plotted with few numbers, after thousands of iteration repeats itself and produces such complex pattern. He named it the “Fractals”, as the geometry was fractured but the shape had order and can be produced by simple equations. This opened up a whole new world of natural mathematics.

From graphically designing mountains, flowing lava in movies to studying the natural phenomenon like weather patterns, building compacted antennas; Fractals geometry had numerous implication. When we search around our real natural world, the pattern of delta formed by rivers, the branching of trees, the inside of our lungs, the beating of our heart and most of the nature is found to be following this fractal geometry.

After watching the world around us through the fractals, this chaotic and random nature has a much simpler order and beauty within the seeming chaos. Pleasing to eyes and satisfying to the soul these fractal patterns, irrespective of naturally occurring or computer generated resonates perfectly with every human to some degree. This leads some to believe that maybe even our mind itself is a fractal, as infinite as it is and well compacted with a skull.

Lichtenberg figure is fractal and closely resembles the thunder-lightning.

 

The shell shows a fractal pattern

 

Veins in leaves are fractals

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Health&Sports

They Need Us !!

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Before going for the Trek & Treat Campaign (Eye Health Screening Camp in remote areas of Nepal) I had some idea about what I would be seeing in those remote villages of Nepal. I was already aware of the fact that many remote places of Nepal are still deprived of basic health care services. I knew that the things we keep hearing on radio and televisions about people dying without getting a mere ORS solutions (Jeevan Jal) is still prevalent in many of such rural areas of Nepal. I also knew that there are many people whose blindness that can be prevented are still living their life in darkness. I always knew that there are people in those remote areas who does not have enough money to come to the city for their treatment. But is knowing things just enough?? Can we do something better than just knowing things? Hopefully we can !!

Let me tell you our journey of the first Trek & Treat Campaign. After 5 hours of hiking from RARA Lake we reached Khatyad, a remote village of Mugu District. The only means of transportation were the mules and there were no signs of proper health care centers around. We were trekking from RARA to Khaptad and Khatyad was on our way of the trekking route. We were prepared with our basic screening instruments and medicines to carry out our first screening camp at Khatyad and it was during our screening camp that I really felt upset about the health care system of our country about which I already knew before. We saw a 28 days old child who had injury in her left eye and needed immediate surgical intervention. Though the treatment of such cases are usually done at free of cost, the parents did not have enough money even to travel to the city. Sadly, the child passed away the next day without proper treatment facility in the village. Knowing things and seeing things were now completely two different things for me. After what I experienced being in that village for a couple of days made me realize that if I do not take things seriously now and work harder to solve this problem (at least the problem of eye health care service from my side) then I would be no different than other people who just know things but do nothing.

We now have dreamt of making Trek & Treat a nationwide health care campaign to reach those people who needs us. To make this happen we need help from everyone around us. Some of us here are Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Physiotherapists, Cardiologists, Writers, Photographers, Content Creators, Bloggers, Drivers, etc, etc. If we can all just spare about couple of days from our busy schedule and work together to help those in need then we can indeed make places like Khatyad a better place with better facilities.

Changes come from ourselves. Please be the change and lead others to make the change.

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Business

Nepal makes major jump in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Ranking 2020

The Doing Business project by World Bank provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. 

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Nepal jumped 16 points to the 94th position on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking for 2020, with DB score of 63.2.

In 2019, Nepal was positioned at 110th rank which was a slip from its 105th  position in 2018.

The Doing Business project by World Bank provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.  Doing Business captures several important dimensions of the regulatory environment as it applies to local firms. It provides quantitative indicators on regulation for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.  Doing Business also measures features of employing workers.



Ranking of doing business topics

Starting a business:

This topic measures the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement for a small- to medium-sized limited liability company to start up and formally operate in each economy’s largest business city.  Nepal ranked 135 among 190 economies in this topic.  

Dealing with Construction Permits

This topic tracks the procedures, time and cost to build a warehouse—including obtaining necessary the licenses and permits, submitting all required notifications, requesting and receiving all necessary inspections and obtaining utility connections. In addition, the Dealing with Construction Permits indicator measures the building quality control index, evaluating the quality of building regulations, the strength of quality control and safety mechanisms, liability and insurance regimes, and professional certification requirements.  Nepal ranked 107 among 190 economies in this topic.  

Getting electricity

The topic measures ease of getting electricity in Nepal by a business firm or warehouse if it has to apply for a new one.  Nepal ranked 135 among 190 economies in this topic.

Registering property

This topic examines the steps, time and cost involved in registering property, assuming a standardized case of an entrepreneur who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute. In addition, the topic also measures the quality of the land administration system in each economy.  Nepal ranked 97 in this topic out of 190 economies.

Getting credit

This topic explores two sets of issues—the strength of credit reporting systems and the effectiveness of collateral and bankruptcy laws in facilitating lending.  Nepal has made significant improvement in this front and thus is ranked at 37th position out of 190 economies.

Protecting minority investors

This topic measures the strength of minority shareholder protections against misuse of corporate assets by directors for their personal gain as well as shareholder rights, governance safeguards and corporate transparency requirements that reduce the risk of abuse.  Nepal ranked 79 among 190 economies in this topic.  

Paying taxes

This topic records the taxes and mandatory contributions that a medium-size company must pay or withhold in a given year, as well as the administrative burden of paying taxes and contributions and complying with post-filing procedures (VAT refund and tax audit).  Nepal is quite behind when it comes to ease of paying taxes ranking at 175th position out of 190 economies.

Trading across borders

The topic records the time and cost associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods. It also measures the time and cost (excluding tariffs) associated with three sets of procedures—documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport—within the overall process of exporting or importing a shipment of goods.  Nepal ranked 60 in this topic.

Enforcing contracts

The enforcing contracts indicator measures the time and cost for resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court, and the quality of judicial processes index, evaluating whether each economy has adopted a series of good practices that promote quality and efficiency in the court system.  Nepal ranked 151 out of 190 economies in this topic.

Resolving insolvency

It deals with the time, cost and outcome of insolvency proceedings involving domestic legal entities.  Nepal ranked 87.


Nepal’s Position in South Asia

Nepal ranks third in South Asia, India being first.

In overall, India jumped 14 places to rank 63.  It also secured its position in Top-10 Improvers.  China ranked 31

Also know this

Top 10 countries on Ease of Doing Business

  1.  New Zealand.
  2.  Singapore.
  3.  Hong Kong China
  4.  Denmark
  5.  Korea Republic
  6.  United States
  7.  Georgia
  8.  United Kingdom
  9.  Norway
  10.  Sweden

Worst 10 countries on Ease of Doing Business

  1.  Somalia
  2.  Eritrea
  3. Venezuela
  4. Yemen
  5. Libya
  6. South Sudan
  7. Central African Republic
  8. Congo
  9. Chad
  10. Timor-Leste

Lastly,

In 2014, Nepal ranked 94th position but then it went on slipping from the position to 110th, until this point where it has bounced back to 94th position.  However, Nepal could not make to Top-20 Improvers list, which is made based on reforms implemented in easing doing business, which should be of concern.

For complete report, click here

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