An article in the current Discover magazine ponders invisibility. Sight is actually the perception of certain wavelengths of light, and by bending particular wavelengths around an object it can be rendered invisible. There’s nothing really new there, as anyone who’s heard of the Philadelphia Experiment knows. The next step of the quest, however, is to determine if, by sending parallel light rays at manipulated speeds, an event might be rendered invisible. Event in this sense of the word currently denotes an event on a cyclotronic scale, an incredibly miniscule and inconceivably brief occurrence. Since humans are endlessly inventive, the corollary is naturally what might transpire from there as larger events are targeted and rendered clandestine. Could an historic event be lived out in (or engineered into) complete obscurity? It sounds like science fiction, but these questions are being asked in the workaday world in which we live.
Messing with history is related to fooling about with time. Twice every year we attempt to manipulate the standard determined by our sun and human convention to set clocks forward or back to maximize daylight at certain hours. We are rendering times invisible. Every year when I groggily adjust to the new time scale, I grumble about how wasteful it really is. Being one of those people who wakes up before the alarm clock goes off (I had never even heard the alarm on my current clock), twice this week I have found myself startled awake by the foreign beeping next to my head. In disbelief I stare at the 4 a.m. displayed in placid blue digits floating in the dark. Well, changing three time zones the day before setting clocks ahead probably didn’t help, but I wonder why we don’t just leave time alone.
Waiting for the bus in the dark, a silent kind of joy begins to grow as daylight creeps into those murky morning hours. Then we fool about with time and plunge those on the verge of daylight back into the darkness. Just that one hour leaves a nation yawning uncontrollably for a couple of weeks until our bodies adjust to the new schedule. Why can’t we leave time alone? People are never satisfied with time as it is, but since we can’t seem to stop it, perhaps we can render select portions of it invisible. The potential for abuse seems awfully large to me. Let’s put it to a vote. If we are going to make one historical event disappear, I suggest we do it twice annually. And those events would be the insane toying with time by setting our clocks ahead and back. Excuse me, but I feel another yawn coming on.