Thousand Words a Day for August 19, 2017

Yor Anchid thought for a moment, recalled the requirements of three dimensions and a single, backward-moving dimension of time, and raised a limb of his peculiar body, the one that had a human-shaped cross-section in 3+1B dimensions. “Not that one,” one of his future-selves called from a few days forward. “You want the one that works in forward time.”
“Oh, right,” Yor answered himself. He dropped that limb and raised another one, the 3+1F limb.
“Try to be a little more….” The voice of that paticular future-self faded with the odd echoing sound that indicated trnsference into nonexistence. That future-self would have been him in a few days of he had thrust the wrong limb into 3+1F space–since, as a result of the future-self’s advice, he didnt, the future-self wouldn’t generate. 
Some of the 3+1F creatures which were so amusing to watch had in their small explorations of timespace raised an objection to the possibility of benefiting from the advice of future-selves in this way. “It’s a paradox.” Yor has heard them say. He was reclining one day above a top-secret laboratory in something called ‘Nevada’ one day as a pair of 3+1Fs, dressed in identical clothing, discussed the issue. 
“Information flow backward in time violates causality and so won’t be tolerated by the universe,” one said to the other. “Imagine if someone from the future told you to do something and you took the advice. So now you do whatever it was that future person wants. Fine. But now there’s no reason for future-person to ask you to do it, so future-person doesn’t ask you. Failing to get such a request, you of course do not take the action and now future-person must ask you to do so. You see the problem? The asking destroys the reason for asking.”
It was amusing to hear them go back and forth this way. Yor had once heard one of them come close to the answer for this objection. The particular 3+1F being didn’t realize it, though. He was explaining the infinite series ‘1-1+1-1+1…’ and talking about the kinds of problems a series like this can cause by referring to something he called Thomson’s Lamp. “Imagine a lamp that can be either on or off,” he said. “The lamp is off. You start a timer. After 1 second goes by, you turn the lamp on. After half a second has gone by, you turn the lamp off. After a quarter of a second, you turn the lamp on again. After an eighth of a second, you turn the lamp off again. Continue that way, on and off and on and off. We know that you’ll be done in two seconds, because the series one plus one-half plus one-quarter plus one-eighth plus one-sixteenth and so on adds up to two. The question is, when you’re done, is the lamp on or off?”
Yor smiled to think of the naivete of both of the 3+1F beings, so sure and smug in their limited dimensionality and understanding. In this they weren’t much different than the 2+1F beings he found living on the surface of a neutron star, or the 3+2 beings living inside a large concavity on an asteroid orbiting a pair of black holes.  The holes were together just massive enough to create closed time like loops that the asteroid moves through–the creature there evolved the ability to control the flow of their local clock such that the 70-or-so seconds they spent moving forward in time took thirty times longer for them to experience than did the 70 seconds they spent moving backward. Thus, there was a net gain, and in this gain, the beings advanced themselves and their culture. Yor had sat on top of the black holes’ center of mass and watched them live their jerk-backward, creep-forward lives through the mass of their asteroid. Finally one of Yor’s future-selves had advised him to move along, and he did so.
Yor inspected the area around where the three-dimensional cross section of his 5D limb would appear, seeking to find some place where the sudden appearance of a middle-aged woman, one that would look a little  disheveled, wouldn’t raise an alarm. That had happened once–he had thrust his limb into a little trading district in an Italian village in 1538. There had been alarm, and then a ruckus, and then a local official had tried to arrest that part of his limb which existed there in the local 3D space. Yor froze the local time for a moment and fought the urge to pluck the pompous little constable out of his domain, flip him over, and thrust him back in to see how the others would react to the man suddenly being turned inside out, but in the end, he simply retracted his limb, turned time back on, and watched the little people scurry about, wondering how the stranger could have disappeared. 
After some reflection, Yor settled on a stall in an empty bathroom in a shopping mall in southwestern suburban Cleveland on March 16, 2004.  He floated as the terrain moved under him: Dallas, Texas; Cambridge, England: Hong Kong. The vast prarire between Chicago and Minneapolis floated by, then he was above Cleveland. He paged through the city, looking inside buildings and flipping the time forward and back to find a good when as well as a good where, and found a bathroom adjacent to a good court in a place called Cleveland Frontier Mall–‘Step into Summer Savings’ the marquee said above a listing of now-showing movies. Yor brushed through the top of the bathroom and gently inserted his limb into the space. 
Once it was in, it required no effort on Yor’s part for the limb–or rather its 3D cross section–to move around in 3D+1F. As he watched, his 3D+1F turned around in the closed stakk, taking in her surroundings, and then opened the stall door. Yor’s limb saw herself in the large mirror that lined the space above the sinks on the opposite wall and reached up to smooth her unruly hair.

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