Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Escher Circuits and Perpetual Immotion

Followers of my blog will be aware of my discovery of circular wind patterns across Cambridge, that cyclists have suspected are always against them. For several years, I have taken advantage of this, and make my journeys out of phase with other cyclists
thus getting blown along in the right direction "for free".

Accidentally over the last couple of weeks I have discovered another phenomenon in Cambridge, which requires you to travel out of phase with the wind, but when there isn't any, and that is that there are certain routes which are down hill all the way there and back again. I refer to these routes as Escher Circuits after the great MC Escher's famous eternally descending waterfall (and the stairs in the library in the Name of the Rose of course, by the oft-copied inimitable Umberto Eco).

The existence of Escher Circuits has long been disputed since first suggested by the theoretical natural philosopher, H.King in his paper "Not enough string". The possible existence of Macro-circuits, measurable using crude mechanical devices was put forward in the seminal work by A. Hitchcock "Just enough Rope". But until now, these were mere hypotheses.

Of course, those of you who are students of natural philosophy will be aware that a naive analysis would dismiss such theories as contrary to the idea of conservation of energy, for surely, the cyclist pursing her cyclic route, would ever gain momentum.
However, my observations have shown that the real-world phenomenon is more subtle than the mind of man. While it is the case that the journey from A to B is downhill, as is the journey from B to A, nature, in her wisdom, has arranged the dimensions so that one arrives at A after a trip to B, at the same time that one started. Hence, time has flown backwards. And this is true no matter where you measure the progress of time - for any subset of the journey, for the return part, while you are on the 2D segment of the Escher circuit, time flows in the opposite direction, so you can take no advantage of the accumulated energy at all. A new branch of relativistic invariants must be supposed, not special, or general, but adversarial.

Thus Escher Circuits are rare, and exhibit adversarial relativistic time dilution.
Now, it is the case that one can make use of the properties, but only for a rather narrow application, and that is when one needs to use no energy to stand still in the face of a headwind. Of course, the hands of time and the wheels of the bike make the same amount of progress, which is to say, none at all. But you can get plenty of uninterrupted thinking done, which, after all, is the main reason we cycle everywhere in Cambridge anyhow, isn't it?