Friday, July 25, 2008

Spike Lee does theoretical physics?

Prof. Ronald L. Mallett is a physicist at the University of Connecticut. And one of his areas of study is time travel.

Which makes him the coolest black genius in America.

Spike Lee announced last month that he’ll co-write and direct a movie based on Mallett’s book “Time Traveler.”

Ronald Mallett was a recent guest on George Noory’s radio show, “Coast to Coast.” He talked about how Spike got interested in his story.

I’ve got a 7½-minute excerpt streaming on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.

34 comments:

cnulan said...

It's touching, and the sentiment is very easy to understand given brah man's relationship with his father, but the physics is decidedly wack...., sorry.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ So not only is the future fucked, we can't go back to the past either?

You bum me out, dude.

bklyn6 said...

I have Dr. Mallett's "Time Traveller" but I haven't read it yet.

Which makes him the coolest black genius in America.

Hey! Let's not forget the "Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive" Neil DeGrasse Tyson. *swoon* I really enjoyed his memoir.

btw, Spike's gonna be pretty busy. He's supposed to be filming Stew's "Passing Strange" for the big screen. The show is closing soon.

Michael Fisher said...

Actually Ronald Mallett's physics is pretty good and innovative. He's been around quite a while.

Undercover Black Man said...

Dang, Bklyn6... I’m stumbling over all kinds of black physicists lately. There’s also this cat.

As for Spike, he won’t be breaking a sweat with “Passing Strange.” He’s basically filming the stage performance. (Source)

bklyn6 said...

I’m stumbling over all kinds of black physicists lately. There’s also this cat.

Yes! As soon as I saw this post I thought about him, but I couldn't remember his name. (Dude's 'fro is scary.) I like this Gates quote: "Performance on the athletic field is easy to assess. A basketball goes in a hoop or it doesn't. In areas where performance is not based on the subjective interpretation of observers, African-Americans excel."

There's Arlie Petters too. These are the names that I'm aware of. I'm sure there are other black physicists who don't get the exposure that these men do. And I wouldn't know them if I didn't have the Science Channel or watch Nova.

Michael Fisher said...

Yeah Well, Mills, that kinda puts a dent in your "'black' people are less intelligent then other people theory", doesn't it?

Personally, I figured out mathematically how to go back in time using the Special Theory of Relativity when I was in 11th grade in High School.

All I had to do is plug imaginary numbers into the equation.

I thought I had invented something special. Turned out it was discovered already a few years earlier in 1966.

C'est la vie.

Undercover Black Man said...

Yeah Well, Mills, that kinda puts a dent in your "'black' people are less intelligent then other people theory", doesn't it?

Yeah, it did... but then you stepped right up to re-affirm it, Fish.

The possibility that there are differences in "intellegence" between human sub-groups DOES NOT MEAN that there are no black geniuses.

But it would explain why blacks don't constitute 13 percent of U.S. college-level physics faculty.

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"The possibility that there are differences in "intellegence" (sic) between human sub-groups DOES NOT MEAN that there are no black geniuses."

Oh really?

David, you are not thinking things through.

Your argument about "race" is based on genetic traits that make people look a certain, specific way. (Of course, you still have to explain what exactly that "look" is, but let's leave that aside for now)

In any case, I digress.

So you, David posit a particular "Look". Else you (David) would not be able to identify them as "black". Right?

Once you did that, you posit a correlation between this particular,specific "Look" ("black") and an "inferior Intelligence".

Now, since "Look" (L) is the only factor (independent value) which you are using to correlate with another factor "inferior Intelligence" (iI) (dependent value), then as soon as you posit that out of a series of 100 L there is no iI even once, and, indeed even "superior Intelligence" your whole reasoning falls apart.

Because if the "Look" doesn't yield the same result every time, then that says that "inferior Intelligence" must be due to another independent value or a combination of other values which you have not identified. However, you have ONLY identified "Look", and in fact, can not identify any other value because your concept of "race" is exclusively based on the sole factor "Look".

This is why even the presence of ONE "genius" among your "race" of (of a particular Look) decouples the dependent relationship between dependent value iI and independent value L.

And thus your thesis is kaputt.

Logic, David. Logic.

Try it sometimes.

How were you in math (especially statistics) at school?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I sucked at math.

I wish there had been some Asians around to tutor me.

Michael Fisher said...

I'll tell you why you sucked at math. It's the same reason everybody else sucks at math.

Language.

The language that mathematicians use these days (including the symbols) even on the Junior High school level is so arcane that people, especially kids, get intimidated.

Actually, math is the simplest, most straightforward thing in the world.

However, we are trained to fear math.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"So not only is the future fucked, we can't go back to the past either?"

Einstein's theories of spacetime do not forbid the time arrow moving from future to past.

So there's hope for you yet, Mills.

Now the stuff that I came up with in 11th grade suggested that if we travel back in time (by traveling faster than light), we end up in another past. So you might not want to go my route.

Michael Fisher said...

By the way. If actual time travel (either physically or by means of exchanging information) is possible, then everything that ever existed in the "past", definitely still exists and everything that will exist in the future likely already exists.

Ever thought of that?

In fact, I can write a dope script and/or story based on that concept.

Wanna do a writer's competition? ;)

Undercover Black Man said...

As I cogitate upon the metaphysics of time travel... and after listening to Dr. Mallett's conversation with George Noory... it seems to me that the purpose of building a time machine would NOT be to travel into the past... but to receive a traveler from the future.

As Mallett says, you can't travel back to a place where no time machine exists to put you there.

So imagine this: You design and build the time portal, and as soon as you flip the "on" switch, some jagoff from the 22nd Century pops out of it and says, "I always wanted to visit 2008."

Deeper still... you build the machine, turn it on, and a steady stream of "time tourists" start walking out. You built the motherfucker... but somebody in the future is making a fortune selling tickets to the past!

(You know you don't wanna fuck with me in a storytelling contest, Michael.)

cnulan said...

^ So not only is the future fucked, we can't go back to the past either?

Did I say that?

*mechanism* is just the wrong place to look for a properly functioning *organism*

cnulan said...

As far as the *mechanistic* aspect of this problem goes, Charles Bennett and the late Rolf Landauer at IBM have it right.

You should check them out for some nicely noodle baking keys to the enigmas of the world....,

Michael Fisher said...

"As Mallett says, you can't travel back to a place where no time machine exists to put you there."

Not with Mallett's time machine. (Besides, the vast energy required for Mallet's contraption makes it unlikely to ever work, he'd have to slow down light).

But what if you can have information "travel" faster than light? Happens in nature all the time, by the way.

bklyn6 said...

But what if you can have information "travel" faster than light? Happens in nature all the time, by the way.

Where in nature (aside from the Wendy Williams Show) does information travel faster than light? Microwave and radio signals can travel at the speed of light, but not faster. I don't think anything travels faster. I'm no physicist that's for sure, but I'm curious.

Michael Fisher said...

"Where in nature (aside from the Wendy Williams Show) does information travel faster than light?"

It's called quantum entanglement.

look it up.

Undercover Black Man said...

Check your tone, Michael. You're talking to my blog wife.

By the way, Fisher... you still want to do that writing competition? How about we each write a story about time travel?

Michael Fisher said...

"Deeper still... you build the machine, turn it on, and a steady stream of "time tourists" start walking out. You built the motherfucker... but somebody in the future is making a fortune selling tickets to the past!"

Boooooring.


How about this idea of mine:

What if the guy who pops out of the time machine isn't a guy, but a deadly indestructible robot sent into the past to kill a kid who becomes a resistance fighter against a deadly race of cybernetic beings who took over the planet?

Now THAT's got exciting possibilities!


I Win!!!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ With a story mind like that, you should be rich right now, Fish.

Michael Fisher said...

who, bklyn6 is you blog wife? What's a blog wife.

By the way, what tone? I was making a suggestion, no malice intended.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Sounded a little snarky and supercilious.

Michael Fisher said...

"How about we each write a story about time travel?"

Sure.

What are the parameters?

Like by when, how long, etc.

Michael Fisher said...

^ Sounded a little snarky and supercilious.

My apologies, then.

Undercover Black Man said...

How about by August 31? As long as it needs to be... but a "short story" in the classical sense.

Michael Fisher said...

ok. Let's get to it.

bklyn6 said...

Chivalry is the new black! btw, Blog Daddy, your virtual dinner is ready! :-)

How about we each write a story about time travel?

"Yase!" That would be better than a battle dance!

You know, thanks to this post I've decided to start reading Dr. Mallet's book. He was pretty traumatized by his father's death. After reading a comic version of "The Time Machine" he gets inspired to build one, but the thing doesn't work, of course. Keeping in mind that "[s]cientific people know very well that time is only a kind of space" Ronald realizes that he must pursue science if he wants to see his father again.

Maybe it sounds a little hokey, but you gotta love his ambition.

Des said...

What happened to my post about judging the SS contest?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Must've never got through, Des. I never saw it.

Des said...

Maybe something on my end UBM.

I am uniquely qualified to be one of the judges in this contest. References available to all at the following addie:

nelsonst1988 AT gmailDOTcom

Hank Nasty said...

There's an episode of NPR's "This American Life" that covers Mallett's inspiration for his work. It's definitely worth checking out.