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March 28, 2007


Today's Theme:
Lag Time

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Dave: All the time in the world

Folks talk about “faster than a speeding bullet.” Bullets do move pretty fast, and the lag time between the hammer hitting the back of the cartridge and the impact of the slug in a body three feet away is exceedingly small.

But it still exists. A blink of an eye – but not faster than, say, the reaction time of faeries. Or angels. Or a prepared warding. Or certain technologies not on the market in 1950, but still available to those who had enough money (or a soul) to spare.

In that interval, something can happen.

And, that afternoon, it did.

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David: Reflex

“It takes time for light to travel from the stoplight to my eyes,” the driver thought. “It takes another small but nonzero portion of time for the image to travel along my optic nerves into my brain. There is a slight delay as my occipital lobe processes that information, and another as the results are sent to the parts of my brain responsible for decision-making.”

“An interval passes while a signal travels from my motor cortex, down my spine, and into the muscles of my leg. The muscles do not contract instantly.”

“Therefore, I haven’t hit the brakes in time.”

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Michele: Near Miss

"WHERE IS MY HUSBAND?" the redhead screeched.
“Well, the ride had some lag time."
"1812 was supposed to meet 2007 at the end. But there was a lag. 2007 wasn't there."
"He signed a waiver."
She walked out.
Pat pulled a check from his pocket. Stared. $1,000,000.00. Who could blame him?
Somewhere in 2001, a man smiled as he passed by the redhead at the bar instead of hitting on her.

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Jeff R.: No Doubt Based on a Design by Rambaldi

"And here's our most important gadget."

"Looks like a cell phone."

"Ah, but it's so much more. This cell phone enables faster-than-light communication."


"So when an agent is in the field, say, in Ankara, when her cover has her in Chicago, and her friend in DC calls her, she isn't given away immediately by the lag time that a normal cell call would have while the signal travels around the world."

"Wouldn't it be easier to not let our agents take personal calls in the field?"

"You haven't met them. Trust me, changing the laws of physics was easier."

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Jim: Teaching Through Example

The professor’s pale eyes glared over the top of his wire-rimmed glasses while bushy, white eyebrows closed into a scowl. “You want me to explain cause and effect again?” he asked the girl incredulously.

“Okay. Billions of years ago, from a single point of existence, the entire Universe exploded into being, casting whole galaxies in all directions. This is the cause.

“Then there was some lag time.

“Ultimately, one effect of that mighty event is that I stand before a student whose primary focus is coloring her nails and have to wearily explain cause and effect over and over again.”

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