The Smoke Monster!

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 20, 2010 7:38 pm



The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, which began erupting on Wednesday, April 14, has been churning out volcanic ash that’s electrified with lightning. Credit: Olivier Vandeginste.


On LOST, Time Travel, and the Final Season

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | January 26, 2010 10:38 am

With one week until the premiere of the final season of LOST, let’s consider the possibilities for what might happen next…

At this point in the story, the island has stopped jumping through time, but some survivors stuck in the past have just detonated–or attempted to detonate–a conveniently placed nuclear bomb. If successful, they could change everything.

Their plan was first concocted by the island’s resident physicist, Daniel Faraday, who figured out that variables (i.e., time travelers) may be able to alter the future, but unfortunately, he was shot by his own mother–who was pregnant with him at the time. So the other survivors took up Faraday’s mission to change what’s to come, reasoning that if the island and its mysterious energy no longer existed, their plane would not have crashed, they would not meet each other, and the entire first five seasons would never take place!

Where are we now? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science
MORE ABOUT: LOST, time travel

Unraveling LOST

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | May 13, 2009 3:37 pm

Since tonight’s the much anticipated season finale, let’s return to LOST

We’ve already covered time, space, and discussed whether time travelers as ‘variables‘ are doomed to repeat the same mistakes along this incarnation of the journey.  If you’ve been following the show, it appears resident physicist Daniel Faraday was able to alter the future when he created a new memory for Desmond in the present.

Tonight’s episode finds the survivors in the past grappling with whether to jolt history off course far more dramatically…  Jack seems intent to set off the island’s H-bomb. If he succeeds, more survivors from the future will probably perish in the past. Hence will they cease to exist in the present?

Let’s delve into the implications…


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science

Time Travel on LOST

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | May 8, 2009 10:00 am

While I’m on the way to NYC to meet up with Chris as we get ready to kick off the NYAS Two Cultures conference, let’s turn the blog back to exploring LOST

Last time, we considered time travel, and whether the position of where you arrive through such travel might be predictable.  A series of thought-provoking responses ensued, covering everything from the notion of fixed points in space to matters of the competency of your pilot.

Now for round two…

Readers who’ve been following LOST know that if the island’s resident physicist, Daniel Faraday, was right, then variables (a.k.a., time travelers) can alter the future.  [Paging Marty McFly].  So let’s reexamine the possibility of the space-time continuum by imagining that you are that variable.  Say you’ve made the journey back in time, but yout memories and experiences from the 21st century suggest to you that you have already had this role in the past.  (Still following me on this?)

Hence, are you doomed to fail on a mission to change the ‘present‘ you left?  Or might free will* result in your making different choices this time–decisions that may yet result in new and alternative realities?


* Yes, many neuroscientists don’t believe in ‘free will’, but that’s another post entirely. For now, let’s stick with theoretical science fiction for fun…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science

Who's Watching LOST?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | February 23, 2009 11:26 am

In lieu of blasting the Washington Post again over their recent faux pas, I’m interested in finding out whether you’re as intrigued as I am lately over LOST

During my recovery, I’ve been catching up on past episodes and this season includes a lot of ‘science‘ in the script as the island jumps through time and space. And what is the DHARMA Initiative? Presently, we’ve got a physicist wandering through the jungle, years that span days, and the occasional troublesome nosebleed. All of which has inspired wide speculation about what’s really going on.


Regular Intersection readers know this blogger appreciates good scifi from Carl Sagan to Arthur C. Clarke and back again, so let’s discuss what Benjamin Linus, Charles Widmore, and the island itself are up to and see if we can put some of the pieces together here.

I’ll get us started: Say you’re moving through time. The earth is spinning, rotating, even wobbling. Would the position of where you arrive be predictable?

Folks, you have the floor, errr, thread…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science
MORE ABOUT: LOST, Space, time travel

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