Think of all the things you wish you'd never seen happen.
Your auntie making that speech at Thanksgiving dinner about birds, bees, and Bieber. Your lover accusing you of infidelity with an alien. Every last minute of "From Justin to Kelly."
Well, now some very clever Cornell people want to offer you hope, mingled with fact.
Research published in Nature magazine, helpfully translated by the Associated Press, declares that these scientists successfully managed to time-cloak an event--so that, to naked and disbelieving eyes, it never happened.
They say they did it by interrupting the light flow in such a way that the light experiences a change of pace. The idea was to see whether they could change the pace of that light flow sufficiently for a security camera to have simply not registered that it had happened.
This trompe l'oeil meant that as one part of the light was sped up, another part was slowed down, thereby creating a little gap in experience.
"You kind of create a hole in time where an event takes place," Alexander Gaeta, director of Cornell's School of Applied and Engineering Physics told the AP. "You just don't know that anything ever happened."
You, like me, have surely had dates like that. Afterward, you discover something happened. During the two hours of the date, you simple had no idea.
Sadly, this particular experiment in time management only managed to mask the event for 40 trillionths of a second. Most of us have only had one or two dates that short.
However, the mere fact that the invisibility was achieved in the time dimension, rather than that of space, surely offers hope that, one day, we fragile humans will simply be able to avoid events that we cannot bear seeing.
That hope might take a while to fulfill, as Gaeta believes that a thousandth of a second might be the limit for his current time-cloaking machinery.
To make a full second disappear, he believes he would need a machine 18,600 miles long.
Over time, though, I am sure that scientists will find ways to create smaller machines and faster processes so that so many troubling events can never strike our eyes--and, more importantly, our psyches.
Just imagine if political debates never happened.