Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 5 June 2019

A Thought on Time Travel

I’m not the biggest SF buff in the World, and I’m not a scientist, but, like many of you, I’ve always found time travel absolutely fascinating.

Writers have been speculating about time travel for a long time. Rip van Winkle was written in 1819, two centuries ago, and dozens, maybe hundreds of novels, short stories, movies and tv shows have been written since, all based around the idea of time travel.

Scientists have speculated on the subject, too. Einstein’s theory of special relativity is a good starting point for some.

We all travel through time and space, constantly. We can’t help it. Our time travel has a ratio of 1:1, though. We travel through a period of time during that period of time, and we all experience that duration in a similar way. An hour is always an hour, a day a day, and a year a year. You can set your clock by it. Time travel only occurs when we can travel a year, a decade, a century or a millennium in, say, an hour.

I suspect we will always speculate about time travel, but here’s the thing… If time travel were ever to be possible, we’d all know about it already.

Two people cannot keep a secret. You’ve all had conversations with people who’ve asked, “Can you keep a secret?” My answer is always, “Well, I can, but you clearly can’t.” I also always tell people who divulge their secrets to me that if that secret ever goes public, I wasn’t the one who told. You can bet that if they’ve told me, I’m not the only one.

I am a repository of secrets for any number of people that I will never tell. If I wanted to tell a secret, I’d tell my own secret.

Yes… I have secrets too.

I might just be the exception that proves the rule.
Capricorn One on IMDB

There are conspiracy theorists out there who claim that the moon landings were a hoax. (BTW, I bloody love Capricorn 1… See it if you haven’t already). Anyway, the moon landings as hoax… It’s a ridiculous idea. Nasa estimated that it took 400,000 engineers, techs and scientists to land a man on the moon. If two people can’t keep a secret, what are the chances that almost half a million could all keep their mouths shut? And if you think that only, say, a dozen people knew the whole truth about the moon landings, that’s still an impossible number of people to keep a secret.

If two people can’t keep a secret, it seems highly unlikely that any time traveller that interacted in the world during any day in history could have gone entirely unnoticed. What human time traveller could resists interacting in the World and the lives of those he/she/they met.

This would be front page news, and it would have been front page news during any time there were newspapers.

Time travel is never going to happen. If it were ever to happen, we’d already know that it had happened.

I know there are theories about parallel universes, time slips… all sorts of things, but I’m a pragmatist.

Time travel will continue to happen in stories of all kinds, and I will continue to enjoy them, but I will never believe that time travel will ever be a reality.

Two people cannot keep a secret.

The only exception to this, in my most prosaic, pragmatic of minds, is if time travel works in one direction, and that direction is onward.

Who knows?

Tuesday 4 June 2019

How many reasons do I need to be a feminist?

Feminist is a dirty word, all over the world, just as socialist is a dirty word in the USA. Both are used as insults. Men can be socialists, so, bigots save their nastiest taunts for women; if we are feminists, they demonise us by calling us feminazis. Shame on them.

I’m both a socialist and a feminist, and you cannot insult me by calling me either. “Feminazi”, I will not tolerate.

The patriarchy, including some women, say that men and women are different. Yes, they are, and that’s one reason why I’m a feminist.

Men and women’s bodies are different, which is why, historically, more women have died or been critically injured in car accidents than have men. Until 2014, there was no such thing as a female crash dummy, and it took ten years to get the funding to develop one. Men and women are different; the patriarchy claims it, but does not recognise or account for the differences, except to keep women in the space defined for them by men.

Some women claim that they are not feminists because men and women are different. But that’s precisely why I am a feminist.

Did you know that almost no female mice are used in medical testing labs? Drugs are tested on male mice. Some claim that we do not need feminism, that it is somehow unnatural because men and women are different. If men and women are different, shouldn’t we test medicines on female mice in equal measure with male mice?

It is because I am a feminist that I applaud the introduction of female crash test dummies, seventy years after the introduction of the first crash test dummies, and it is because I am a feminist that I believe female test animals should be used in labs in equal numbers as male test animals.

Men and women are different, and I celebrate those differences.

Read more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
As a feminist, I talk about equality with men. I know that I am not a man, and I do not want to be a man. I simply want to live in an equitable society where a person’s talents, capabilities, and character count for something. Men and women, all races and creeds, all sexualities and gender identities… All of us should have a voice and an equal chance to live well and fulfil our potential, whatever that may be.

The patriarchy claims that men and women are different; what they mean is that men are superior to women. If they believed that men and women were different, but equal, those differences would be recognised and celebrated within the establishment. Of course, they aren’t.

Feminism isn’t just for me, and it isn’t just for women. Feminism is about a better life for everybody.

Sometimes men forget that they all have mothers and grandmothers, and many have aunts, sisters, wives and daughters. If those men don’t want their female relatives to have an equal life experience with their own, that only suggests to me that they want women in their lives only in order to exert their patriarchal superiority. I don’t believe that’s what men want or need in their lives.

“A gender line… helps keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg