The Future as an omnipotent being

I was reading some old scientific america jargen the other day when I stumbled on the oddest article.

It spoke of light and its speed. You see a scientist apperantly had a special chamber filled with some gas. This gas acted as a catalist to light. Easy enough to understand so far.

Here is the uncanny thing.

When the scientist hit a button, a light within the chamber would shine on a target. However the gas sped up the light so it reached the target before the scientist hit the button. :dubious:

Sounds odd, but I bet if you dug around on the net you could find the article and read it yourself. Unfourtionatly I no longer have the article.

Now for another uncanny thought…

The theroy of relitivity. Time is not consistant, but rather relitive to your speed.
If you go the speed of light in a space ship for one year, then 50 years will have past on earth (something along tose lines).
Apperantly if you go faster than the standard speed of light, you undergo a phenomina where you GO BACK in time.

So we know that with this catalist that light can go faster than what we thought it could. So with that in mind we can apply the theroy of relitivity that states that the light, going faster than the usual speed of light, will go back in time and shine on the target before the button was pressed.

Now obviously in order for the light to shine at all the button has to be pressed.
If the scientist is working in his lab and sees the light shine on the target, then he would HAVE TO press the button some time in the near future. There is no way he could see the light hit the target and not hit the button. If the scientist leaned over as if to press the button without the intention to hit the button, then the light would not shine.

It’s as if the future knows when he will shine the light…

So, the cat’s alive and dead, at the same time, right? This just hurts my head to much. I’m going back too non-quantum physics.

Please give us the exact issue and page of Scientific American where you read this.

I think this must have been in an issue published on April 1st.

Sounds like experimental error to me; for example the light signal, whether it gets there faster or not as a result of travelling through a different medium, is bound to travel faster than signals sent along copper wires - if we were foolish enough to rig up a device that measures the time delay between two inputs; one of them being a push-to-make switch(by which the light emitter is also activated) at one end of the apparatus and a light sensor at the other end, the light will beat the electrical signal, therefore from the POV of the measuring equipment, the light arrived before the button was pressed.

(I’m not suggesting that this is what happened, but “it goes so fast that it arrives before it departs” makes about as much sense as “it goes so slow that it travels backwards”)

This SA faq page says it was Sept. 2000, but the link to the article at doesn’t work. The link to the preprint physics abstracts does work.

Ah, the Scientific American Sept. 2000 issue is mostly online, I guess the article is “Unlimited Light”. Interestingly, the Sept. 2002 issue is all about time, too.