Second Klick box "could have killed millions"

This short piece was originally intended to shed some light on the precise events which followed Andreas Kosogorin's suicidal attack in this is not over and I am not dead. I never found a good place to put it in the story.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 June 2009, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK


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Second Klick box "could have killed millions"

The Klick device which was found in the possession of physicist Andreas Kosogorin this morning could have killed everybody in the city of New York, say scientists.

The box, which was found in a Starbucks coffee shop in Manhattan, is an empty platinum cube, just 2.1cm (0.8 inches) on a side, and now being held as evidence in a police investigation into the attempted attack.

Unlike Paul Klick's original device, Kosogorin's would have had devastating physical consequences, effectively destroying all of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as well as much of Jersey City on the far side of the Hudson River, the water contents of the river itself and all aircraft up to an altitude of 15,000 metres (49,000 feet) (see map).

Kosogorin was shot by a police officer who confronted him while he was activating the device. He was the only person affected by the activation, "disappearing like a flash" at that instant. No body has been recovered.

"Time machine"

A spokesman for the Ambient Layer Observatory at Medford, Oregon said that the cube created what scientists call a "semiclosed timelike loop". This form of time travel, first proposed in March 2007, allows anything to travel backwards in time, provided it travels back far enough that none of it survives to reach its "starting point".

A statement prepared by the observatory explains: "If you were to go back in time sixty years, you could find your grandfather and kill him before your father was born. That would cause a contradiction, which is called the grandfather paradox. However, this paradox only exists because you know that your grandfather was your grandfather. If you go back a hundred million years, you are in an era about which no concrete details are known, which we call a causal blind spot. There is nothing you can do to change history, because there is no concrete history to be 'changed'."

Like the Klick device, Kosogorin's device is now inert following its single activation, and it is believed that semiclosed timelike loops will remain impossible for the forseeable future.

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Discussion (11)

2010-01-28 21:34:39 by LabrynianRebel:

Just a suggestion, but this could be put in as a newspaper article someone is reading, and then the story switches to the fate of the policeman, whom I like to think had some kind of effect on the original intelligent species, but since the said species was destroyed it still fits the whole "if it has no effect on the future" idea.

2010-01-28 23:34:28 by Baughn:

This <em>has</em> to break some rule of logic somewhere.

2010-01-29 00:47:54 by Sgeo:

How is it that the scientists were able to determine what it did, if it's an empty cube?

2010-01-29 09:10:45 by qntm:

By looking at how the Script changed afterwards.

2010-01-29 20:08:26 by EJL:

So is the whole script-changing-every-now-and-then thing well-known enough to be reported in normal newspapers? Perhaps the people of Earth eventually get wind of the whole thing, and start regarding the whole universe as a fast-getting-old practical joke :-P

2010-01-29 20:29:20 by Fjord:

@EJL: The script-changing thing is quite public. It became so when, quite suddenly, matter replication was banned. Up until that point matter replication was a significant breakthrough in fabrication and certainly the next step in the industrialization of the world; but when it became a threat to the integrity of the prison, the Warden caused the tech to fail catastrophically (as in, explosion large enough to demolish a city) and then locked it out in the Eka script, making it completely unavailable to everyone. (See http://qntm.org/?parable)

2010-01-31 06:18:57 by Ratherdashing:

One problem I have with the theory presented here is that you do not need to know the future in order to change it. If you were to accidentally kill an ancestor I don't see what the difference is

2010-01-31 19:02:38 by qntm:

The point is that if you don't know what significance the random ancester has for the future, then you don't know how history originally played out - whether he died, or lived. Whatever move you make will be the right one.

2010-02-02 20:01:28 by Andrew:

I'd imagine that, since Kosgorin intended the box to take him all the way back to the Big Bang, Mr. Officer never really got a chance to meet anybody when he went back in time and promptly melted in the intense heat following the Bang.

2010-03-09 18:20:24 by Bauglir:

Wait, was Kosogorin the only one affected or the cop? I thought it was the former.

2011-06-13 19:03:23 by Nix:

The cubes are the wrong size. They should be 1.9cm across, as a nod to Dave Langford's 'Anomalous Physics' (seen in his short story _Connections_ and his novel _The Space Eater_), since AP functions almost identically to the Imprisoning God, with different limiting conditions. (Instead of revoking all physics which permits escape from this universe, it merely revokes physics which *contradicts*. Sometimes very large amounts of physics indeed.)