What's your universe

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What's Your Universe?

By Jim Beckham | Published: June 9, 2012

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300 photographed by Hubble telescope. Photo by NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team

Cosmology is not cosmetology and quantum mechanics isn't a firm comprised of angels reporting to Saint Peter that keeps the Pearly Gates oiled so the blessed can rush in. It's the study of the interaction of energy and matter on a subatomic scale. Among the supernova physicists in this rarified firmament are Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku and Neil Turok.

They advance a parallel universe theory, that there are many universes all independent of the other. So, in our universe Barak Obama is President. In another he's the Tycoon of Teleprompting, teaming up with out of work solar engineers to develop a personal device that projects words as holograms. That's just for starters. Philosopher King wanabe Tom Friedman is writing unambiguous copy and Bill O'Reilly is on MSNBC with co-host Barney Frank.

The sponsor is Freddie Mac.

Time travel was made popular by H.G. Wells' novella "The Time Machine." The Time Traveler leaps ahead to the year 800,000 AD and finds a pacifistic, laid back, useless race, the Eloi battling the savage troglodyte Morlocks. It's a metaphor for Wells' socialism. The Eloi are the leisure classes and the Trogs the downtrodden. The Time Machine expresses a desire to leave the noisy industrial world to a spot of peace and quiet. Today, it's going from the Texas hard path, "drill baby drill," to soft path, Vermont where the two principal industries are Ben and Jerry's and Vermont Teddy Bears.

The big bugaboo in time travel is a "paradox." Events cannot be changed. So, in "Back to the Future," if Marty McFly hadn't gotten his future parents together he's obviously kaput. The parallel...