Tag Archives: machines

Three and a Half Variations on a Single Cork

cork_smt

He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his time machine. The cork flew through it to the previous month and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his universe machine. The cork flew through it to the previous universe and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his improbability machine. The cork flew through it to the previous probability and became a bistro and fell on him, and that was that. And in another time, in another universe, improbable as it was, he or someone just like him opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his eventuality machine, but this time the cork didn’t fly anywhere, and he sat quietly and drank, wondering why he was suddenly feeling disappointed.

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Teleporter

“While it is quite easy to teleport all the atoms of a person from point A to point B without passing any point in between,” he said, raising his wine glass, “it is also quite easy to understand that the person of point A is now dead, and that the person in point B is merely a copy.”

“True, true,” I said. He was very beautiful. I knew he was hoping to get me to invest in his research.

“However,” he said, “we found a loophole in teleportation mechanics. We’ve solved the problem.” He probably knew I was hoping to get him into bed.

“In fact it’s not teleportation at all, but rather place-switching. Put a person at point A and another one at point B and, using reality-frame manipulation, make them switch places.”

“So you can’t send anyone to a place no one has gone to before,” I said, knowing full well that my looks, despite being the result of a horrendous amount of money, can play only a limited part when the desires of such a scientist are concerned.

“Indeed. Still, it’s a very effective way to travel. For instance, I’ve just traveled two thousand miles in order to meet you.”

“Wasn’t difficult to find someone who’ll trade places with you?”

“Oh, no,” he said. “I just asked a favor from my husband.”

“Ah,” I said, and halted. I desperately wanted to know whether he was originally a man or a woman, but didn’t dare ask. I had to find something else to say. “So in fact you don’t even switch places, you just make people think they’ve switched places.”

He smiled. “That’s mere terminology.”

In the end he got what he hoped for. So did I. He never found out that I was actually remote controlled. That’s real teleportation for you.

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