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Phobos
2002-Jul-27, 01:29 AM
Has anyone wondered about the way Michael J Fox travels back in time?

Marty McFly's Delorean starts travelling back in time once it reaches 88 mph.

This means that when it is at say 90 mph it is already travelling backwards through time. Now lets look closer to the magic 88m ph - Where is the Delorian at 88.0001 mph ?

The logical answer is it is very close to the Delorian at 87.9999 mph (remember the faster Delorian is travelling backwards through time so will co-exist with the slower Delorean just like Marty co-exists with himself later in the film).

Following the logic as we get closer to 88 mph the physical distances between fast Delorean and slow Delorean get less.

So what happens when Marty first exceeds 88 mph ? - KABOOOOOOM

Marty and the Delorean will have atoms that are overlapping, a nuclear fusion reaction should take place and Marty would take out a significant proportion of the United States.

One possible workaround this is that he "instantly jumps" back in time when he reaches 88 mph. If this is true then no Kaboom, but unfortunatly no planet Earth (well it still exists, but it will no longer be where he is !)

As an example, imagine that I could jump back in time just 1 hour. If my location in space remained the same I would travel back in time allright, but I would either be several miles up in the sky, or below the surface of the planet. In Marty's case the more likely outcome would be many millions of miles from planet Earth - ie he will miss the ball.

Phobos

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Phobos on 2002-07-26 21:46 ]</font>

Silas
2002-Jul-27, 01:59 AM
Interesting questions!

What if Marty was travelling west to east? Would he gain the benefit of earth's rotational velocity? What if he was going west to east at midnight: does he gain the benefit of the earth's orbital velocity?

Fun movie, but ya gotta check your brain with your coat and brolly!

Silas

nebularain
2002-Jul-27, 02:16 AM
Yowsers, Phobos! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif
That's some pretty darn good thinkin' there.

And you're right, that would be a problem, wouldn't it? (On all aforementioned accounts.)

g99
2002-Jul-27, 03:46 AM
Also if he was towards the equator would he travel faster in time than if he traveled near the poles? Since basically the equator rotates faster than at the poles (that is why all of the NASA and eurpoean space agencies try to launch as close to the equator as possible.)
Plus the faster he gets does he go farther back in time? EX. it takes 88mph to go from 1985 to 1960 something. So to go to ancient times, does it take greater amounts of energy and speed, or does it take the same amount of energy and speed? Like if they wanted to go back to the triassic, would they have to get the energy output equal to the sun?

P.S. Stupid north american here, but what is a "brolly"?

David Hall
2002-Jul-27, 06:58 AM
The way I've always seen it, the 88mph is simply a critical point. below that, there's no action, but when you reach it, everything happens instantly. So at 79.99mph, Marty is in his own time travelling at good clip. And there is no 88.01mph, because the reaction has taken place before that and sent him instantly through time, where he starts to slow down again. The "distance" in time is immaterial, all the energy goes into reaching that critical point, breaking the barrier, so to speak. Once you breach it, you can go anywhere.

As to the Earth being there when you arrive, well there's a trickier question. I have considered it myself, and even considered writing a short story about it once. A kind of "oops, forgot to take that into consideration" story. And you don't even need to give it an hour, considering that we are moving at thousands of kilometers per second (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=1455&forum=2). Even a millisecond would be enough to throw us off the face of the Earth.

But then I thought about it some more. It all centers around relativity. The problem all centers around the idea that the jump is discontinuous, that the time traveller keeps his current velocity and vector when he jumps, and so the Earth moves out from under him, so to speak. But then, what is he maintaining that velocity relative to? Is it the cosmic background radiation? The local group? Does he break with everything when he jumps? I have a hard time picturing it, though that's probably just my poor grasp of physics. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

So I can see a couple of ways around it. In the first one, when the time traveller jumps, he keeps the velocity connection he has with the universe. He continues to "stay with the Earth" as he moves through time, even though that jump is instant. It's more like an instant fast forward than a discontinuous jump. Although I can see problems with this model too (What happens when an object moves through the space occupied by the moving time machine? Why doesn't the passenger age as well?, etc.).

Or perhaps, and more likely, the time machine itself is able to take the spatial considerations into account as well. You've created a machine that's able to move through time, surely it's powerful enough to compensate for the movements of the universe as well.

In short, it's only a movie. If time travel didn't work ouf in that universe, it would be a very short and uninteresting story (New title: Marty goes Boom!).

Now, let's not get started on the time-paradox question, ok?

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Hall on 2002-07-27 03:00 ]</font>

Phobos
2002-Jul-27, 08:51 AM
On 2002-07-26 23:46, g99 wrote:
P.S. Stupid north american here, but what is a "brolly"?


One of these ...

http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:1O97jag0xV0C:www.aston.ac.uk/alumni/images

The word is just a shortened version of unbrella - In the UK we use them a lot to protect us from the blazing sun (no rain over here) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif

Phobos

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jul-27, 12:11 PM
You've put your finger on it, Phobos, but you've got it backwards.

It is not the case that as he jumps in time at 88 mph he will cause a large explosion.

The mechanism is set up (and tested with smaller test masses) so that it is "synchronized" with the Earth's surface in spacetime. It could make the jump at any speed--but because of the very effects that you are worried about, it has to be going 88 mph or it will cause an explosion. Actually more of a "blast" in spacetime, but it could still be ugly.

Happened to me once. I experienced puberty for five minutes when I was 43. Whoa.

Phobos
2002-Jul-27, 03:13 PM
Happened to me once. I experienced puberty for five minutes when I was 43. Whoa.


wow - that means in just six years time I could be a grown up too !

Phobos

nebularain
2002-Jul-27, 09:37 PM
On 2002-07-27 04:51, Phobos wrote:
[quote]
The word is just a shortened version of unbrella - In the UK we use them a lot to protect us from the blazing sun (no rain over here) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif

And exactly which dimension do you come from? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Sarcastronaught
2002-Jul-28, 07:10 AM
The idea of the Earth moving away while you're time travelling is one that always let's otherwise thought-stimulating time-travel (*snort*) movies down. HOWEVER, if you COULD time-travel, then you could "jump" through time and measure the change in distance between things like the Earth, the Sun, the stars without having to worry about your own motion (because you cease to exist while time-travelling)! At last! An external frame of reference!
Wooo!

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jul-28, 03:59 PM
On 2002-07-28 03:10, Sarcastronaught wrote:
At last! An external frame of reference!
Wooo!


At least, for the time being.

mallen
2002-Jul-29, 02:43 AM
Okay... here's a good Back to the Future question:

When Doc Brown and Marty travel to the past and then back to the future, the changes they make affect the future they return to. So, in the first episode, his parents are "cool" when he returns.

In the second, however, when Biff steals the time machine to give the almanac to young Biff, he returns to the same future he left from! Shouldn't the future he returned to have been altered to account for young Biff having the almanac?

g99
2002-Jul-29, 03:31 AM
Maybe it is a different dimension, and he is not actually time traveling.

FP
2002-Jul-29, 03:34 AM
Funny thing, I saw BTTF 3 at the movies, and TNT/TBS shows BTTF 1 about once a week or so, but I have never seen BTTF 2 all the way through. I smell a conspiracy at work!:-)

David Hall
2002-Jul-29, 04:35 AM
On 2002-07-28 22:43, mallen wrote:

In the second, however, when Biff steals the time machine to give the almanac to young Biff, he returns to the same future he left from! Shouldn't the future he returned to have been altered to account for young Biff having the almanac?


I think there's a quick line in there somewhere that explains that he managed to get back "before" the time-altering events occurred, so he returned to his original time, or something like that. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jul-29, 10:02 AM
On 2002-07-28 22:43, mallen wrote:
In the second, however, when Biff steals the time machine to give the almanac to young Biff, he returns to the same future he left from! Shouldn't the future he returned to have been altered to account for young Biff having the almanac?


I'll have to watch the movie to know exactly what you mean here, but remember, temporal changes don't happen overnight! Witness the gradual fading of the photographs.

Sarcastronaught
2002-Jul-29, 10:16 AM
I suspect that B2TF is meant to be a jab in the ribs for all time travel theories, it's just so stooopid! (With the self-adjusting photos and so on...) Not even Steven "Deep Impact" Spielberg could take that sort of thing seriously.

I did something similar in cartoon form, last year:
http://www.geocities.com/toomuchsparetime_ak2/goodbye/timetrav.htm



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Sarcastronaught on 2002-07-29 06:16 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jul-29, 10:25 AM
On 2002-07-29 06:16, Sarcastronaught wrote:
I did something similar in cartoon form, last year:

Very nice. Thought provoking.

Especially the disclaimers at the end! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

informant
2002-Jul-29, 12:00 PM
mallen wrote:
In the second, however, when Biff steals the time machine to give the almanac to young Biff, he returns to the same future he left from! Shouldn't the future he returned to have been altered to account for young Biff having the almanac?

How do you know it was the same future?

Fox Cutter
2002-Jul-29, 06:40 PM
On 2002-07-29 08:00, informant wrote:

mallen wrote:
Shouldn't the future he returned to have been altered to account for young Biff having the almanac?

How do you know it was the same future?


You have a good point there. If you notice, in the movie, by the time Biff returns to the 'future', Doc, Marty and Jen are heading back to the car. Already being out of the house.

Who's to say that once Biff returned, it was the 'future' Marty's home still.

Or something like that. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Still, the first "Back to the Future" is one of the three really original time travel moves I've seen. The other's being "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Frequency"

--Fox Cutter
http://www.chaos-keep.com/

nebularain
2002-Jul-29, 06:52 PM
On 2002-07-29 06:02, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
I'll have to watch the movie to know exactly what you mean here, but remember, temporal changes don't happen overnight! Witness the gradual fading of the photographs.

I remember the scene - because I had been puzzled by the same question. Although Doc does explain that the time change hadn't caught up to them yet, it still seemed weird that Biff came back to "their" time as is. One would think he would have returned to a new time. But, if that happened, Doc and Marty wouldn't have gotten the time machine back so that they could go back in time. Of course, if Biff did come back to the alternate time, there would be no time machine (because the changes he made ensured Doc never got the chance to make it). So, that would have left an irreconcilable paradox. Then what would you do with the movie?

_________________
"All that is gold does not glitter / Not all those who wander are lost..."

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: nebularain on 2002-07-29 14:54 ]</font>

informant
2002-Jul-29, 08:50 PM
nebularian wrote:
Of course, if Biff did come back to the alternate time, there would be no time machine (because the changes he made ensured Doc never got the chance to make it). So, that would have left an irreconcilable paradox.

Good point there. I hadn't thought of that one.


Fox Cutter wrote:
Still, the first "Back to the Future" is one of the three really original time travel moves I've seen. The other's being "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Frequency"

The first Back to the Future film is not only a good time travel story; itís a good picture overall. I love the generation-gap humor thatís spread all over it. The sequels lost that satirical view a bit, in my opinion.

Chuck
2002-Jul-30, 03:54 AM
I loved it when Marty bought a Coke from a machine and couldn't figure out how to open it.

mallen
2002-Jul-30, 04:04 AM
On 2002-07-29 16:50, informant wrote:
[quote]nebularian wrote:
Of course, if Biff did come back to the alternate time, there would be no time machine (because the changes he made ensured Doc never got the chance to make it). So, that would have left an irreconcilable paradox.

I think the movie actually addresses these paradox questions. In BTTF2, after Marty and Doc wind up in the alternate 1985 (1985A), we find that (alternate) Doc has been committed. (Regular) Doc then explains that somewhere in the past, something has disturbed the timeline (the almanac) and they are in an alternate timeline (which Doc draws as a branch from the normal timeline). They then travel back in time to stop the event which restores the normal timeline.

Given the model of BTTF2, the paradox would be avoided because you can't affect your actual past. Rather, you only create additional alternate pasts.

But then again, the model in BTTF1 is different: Marty would not have disappeared unless he were altering his own past.

Hmmm... well... it was indeed a good movie even if it is a bit confusing.



Regarding the question I posed earlier:

When Old Biff returns to the future (2015?) in BTTF2, he seems to be having a heart attack. One of my friends offers that he might actually be "fading" out of existence. (Marty has similar symptoms in BTTF1 when his existence is threatened.)

Above, Grapes proposed that it might take some time for changes to propogate through the timeline. Perhaps Old Biff was fading away, and Marty and Doc made it out of the future before they faded as well.

Fox Cutter
2002-Jul-30, 04:59 PM
nebularian wrote:
Of course, if Biff did come back to the alternate time, there would be no time machine (because the changes he made ensured Doc never got the chance to make it). So, that would have left an irreconcilable paradox.

Well this is kind of explained in the BTTF2 as well. When they leave Jen and Ein in 1985-A (or Hell Valley, take your pick), Doc said that once they fixed the timeline, the present would reform around them.

Changes in time are not instant in the mythos. So when old Biff gets back, it's still the 'old' present, maybe. As none of the characters are in a position at that moment in time to tell otherwise.




Given the model of BTTF2, the paradox would be avoided because you can't affect your actual past. Rather, you only create additional alternate pasts.

But then again, the model in BTTF1 is different: Marty would not have disappeared unless he were altering his own past.


It does make more since if you assume that the 'other timeline' was more of an example to explain it to Marty (and there for us). All other evidence points to a single timeline.



Hmmm... well... it was indeed a good movie even if it is a bit confusing.


Very true, and I have far to many explanations for all of the confusing bits then is probably healthy.



When Old Biff returns to the future (2015?) in BTTF2, he seems to be having a heart attack. One of my friends offers that he might actually be "fading" out of existence. (Marty has similar symptoms in BTTF1 when his existence is threatened.)


Spot on with that. There's actually a cut sequence that shows him fading out. Hopefully it will be on the DVD this December.



Above, Grapes proposed that it might take some time for changes to propogate through the timeline. Perhaps Old Biff was fading away, and Marty and Doc made it out of the future before they faded as well.


This does seem be the best answer in the end.

--Fox Cutter
http://www.chaos-keep.com/

Russ
2002-Aug-02, 11:20 PM
There were a "few" other plot holes that I found to be poorly handled. Far tooooo many to mention here but for example:

1) In BTTF1 Marty comes back to the same house that he lived in when his parents were poor nerds. If his parents had become rich, successful, cool people, wouldn't they live in a better part of town?

2) Same scene. Even though the parents are now cool & successful, they still have only one car!?

3) Same scene. The now cool, successful older brother & sister still live at the parents house!?

4) Same scene. The parents & older siblings share one car while they buy Marty his very own cool 4X4 truck!?
5) Earlier same scene: Marty is stunned to see that the house is now well decorated, his parents, bro. & sis. are now cool & successful and dad has written a best seller book. How come the photographs get updated to reflect changing history but Marty's memory does not!? Should he not know about all of this when he wakes up? Except for the time spent with Doc Brown, theoretically he grew up in this "new" configuration.

All three movies are chock full of these disparities. You'd think Spielberg would have had the writers think this stuff through better.

(edited to correct format)
_________________
Lighten up! I'm here for the fun of it.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Russ on 2002-08-02 19:23 ]</font>

Donnie B.
2002-Aug-03, 12:04 AM
Well, nobody said it was all 100% perfect... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Of course, Marty's memory may have just not caught up with the timeline changes yet... like the fading photos. In the end, he may have forgotten the "old" past.

Hmmm... maybe I went back in time, changed history, got my life as it is now, and then forgot about it.

... Naaaaaah...

informant
2002-Aug-03, 01:20 PM
Russ wrote:
There were a "few" other plot holes that I found to be poorly handled. Far tooooo many to mention here but for example:

1) In BTTF1 Marty comes back to the same house that he lived in when his parents were poor nerds. If his parents had become rich, successful, cool people, wouldn't they live in a better part of town?

2) Same scene. Even though the parents are now cool & successful, they still have only one car!?

3) Same scene. The now cool, successful older brother & sister still live at the parents house!?

4) Same scene. The parents & older siblings share one car while they buy Marty his very own cool 4X4 truck!?

Personally, I like it better that way. More subtle.
And more appealing for the viewers also. If you wanted to improve some aspects of your past, would you rather change you life radically, or keep it close to the original?


Hmmm... maybe I went back in time, changed history, got my life as it is now, and then forgot about it.

Good God, I hope not! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Nenya
2002-Aug-05, 09:47 AM
I, too, have far too many explanations for some of the Back to the Future plot holes than is probably healthy. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Guess that just attests to the appeal of the movie or something. As regarding the issue of Marty's memories at the end of BTTF 1, it is the contention of some (notably the very excellent fan fiction writer at this (http://www.mj-holmes.com/FictionFrameFanfic.htm) website) that when one time travels in this fashion, one ends up with duplicate memories. E.g., Marty will remember growing up with cool parents, but underneath that or as well as that he will remember growing up with a nerdy dad and drunk mom. At the moment I forget which memory has the most impact on his life or is the most instinctive way he thinks of things. Of course this is non-canon, but it's the speculation of a person who's thought it through quite a lot.

As far as Marty living in the same house, his siblings still living at home, etc--hey, that's movies for ya! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Incredible coincidences happen all the time in films! These films especially--the theme of everything being the same or similar on the surface yet different when you see a few telling details is all through the story. Notice how everything centers around the clock in the courthouse square, or how "Lou's Cafe" from the 1950's is also the location of the Palace Saloon in 1885 and the 80's Cafe in 2015.

It's getting nuts, though, when I find myself discussing the finer points of BTTF on the BABB and SDMB all in the same week! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif I always thought this movie had a fairly small fandom....

informant
2002-Aug-08, 02:52 PM
LOL! Here are a few more...


Russ wrote:
1) In BTTF1 Marty comes back to the same house that he lived in when his parents were poor nerds. If his parents had become rich, successful, cool people, wouldn't they live in a better part of town?

Marty's parents weren't poor. They were middle class.
Becoming rich doesn't necessarily mean becoming a millionaire.
Also, when Marty gets back to 1985 his father has become a writer -- but I think he's just published his first novel. He couldn't have gotten rich from writing yet.


2) Same scene. Even though the parents are now cool & successful, they still have only one car!?

How do you know that they only have one car. There could be others that we didn't see.


3) Same scene. The now cool, successful older brother & sister still live at the parents house!?

They were still young. OK, Marty's brother probably would be living in a house of his own by then. Nonetheless, he clearly had a more successful career.

Russ
2002-Aug-09, 12:57 AM
On 2002-08-08 10:52, informant wrote:
LOL! Here are a few more...


Russ wrote:
1) In BTTF1 Marty comes back to the same house that he lived in when his parents were poor nerds. If his parents had become rich, successful, cool people, wouldn't they live in a better part of town?

Marty's parents weren't poor. They were middle class.
Becoming rich doesn't necessarily mean becoming a millionaire.
Also, when Marty gets back to 1985 his father has become a writer -- but I think he's just published his first novel. He couldn't have gotten rich from writing yet.

OK, I'll give you the first part. They aren't rich just yet, but they are clearly more well to do than at the beginning of the story.



2) Same scene. Even though the parents are now cool & successful, they still have only one car!?

How do you know that they only have one car. There could be others that we didn't see.

They talk about it. Marty mentions that Biff wrecked "the" car. Everybody rushes to the door to see if that's the case. You can hear in the jumble of worried conversation that they all refer to "the" car.



3) Same scene. The now cool, successful older brother & sister still live at the parents house!?

They were still young. OK, Marty's brother probably would be living in a house of his own by then. Nonetheless, he clearly had a more successful career.

My point exactly. He tells Marty that he "...always wears a suit to the office." This is said in a very condecending tone, like Marty is stupid for not remembering that fact, since they live in the same house. This gets back to car issue. By the time I wore a suit to the office, I had my own appartment & car why is it that big bro doesn't?

It's all nit picking in a fictional world. It just bugs me when I see the show. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif