Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time Traveler in a Chaplin Movie?

Don't you love things that screw with your head? Especially when someone shows you something that clearly can not be. And here is a fine example. Film-maker George Clarke, in the short video here, presents us with several frames from Charlie Chaplin's The Circus. Clarke makes a very argument for what we see in these frames. Of course what he says we are seeing clearly can not exsist. Check it out. Just on the merits of "Now that is just plain weird" it is worth viewing. What do you think is going on?



Marc Colten said...

An interesting idea. But I have a couple of problems with it. If this is indeed a time traveler going back to 1928, then he/she would have to be from our future so:

1. Wouldn't someone from our future have something less conspicuous? Even today people walk around with hands free devices you can barely detect and they seem to be talking to themselves. It would also have to be more like a walkie talkie and not a cell phone which needs infrastructure.

2. If it is someone with a cell phone - who are they talking to? Doesn't disprove it but it makes you think.

3. If they are from the future, and they saw the camera as the guy suggests - wouldn't they do something to erase the footage or George Clarke's commentary on it. Or me for answering. I mean ... hey ... who are you guys and how did you get into my

Beam Me Up said...

EXACTLY! Here is another one to mull.. I thought you were going there when you say "who are they talking to?" You see, lets talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room. As fun as this is, there is a MAJOR problem and that is the fundamental way cell phones work. Without very sophisticated broad spectrum radios and equally powerful computer systems a cell phone can not operate. Without the infrastructure, a cellphone is little more than a high tech but surprisingly low power radio. So even if they HAD come from the future there is no way the phone could work. Many people still confuse a wireless phone with a cell phone. A person bringing back a wireless phone could have established some functionality, not so the cell.

Thanks for the great comment Marc


Anonymous said...

AHHHHHHH wouldn't that phone need a cell tower to transmit ?

Just saying? unless it was a satilite phone! OH wait, there would have to be UMMMM satilites ?

just a crazy person , but who knows. I don't

Beam Me Up said...

you are on the straight and narrow there. That was my basic idea was that without towers, cell phones are useless. Sat phones...hummm well if they were aliens and had something on the moon? Maybe a temp array in orbit?!

Revtim said...

Aren't there VASTLY more probable explanations than time travel, like she was holding her hat and talking to herself?

Even if you think it's unlikely that she was talking to herself, isn't time travel far, far more unlikely?

Beam Me Up said...

Exactly Revtim!
I was hoping someone would start with ok...what's more likely to have been hapening?! It was clearly breezy, and people walking around talking to themselves? Oh my yes! A group of people collected off the street to act as a background crowd would almost certainly consisted of a few oddballs. Yep, I think you hit it Tim.

Lynn said...

Could be the old girl was using a hearing aid-talking into the carbon mic to adjust the volume. remember it would be vacuum tube powered with very limited battery life and you would need to constantly adjust it (as the battery ran down) to keep it working right

dennis said...

Could this be a practical joke? Possibly someone from from the modern day lab sliced a segment in while turning the tape into a CD?

Mike said...

I think this could easily be just some crazy person holding the ear piece of an early telephone to their ear and talking. If you look closely, in one frame you can kind of see a "loop" sticking out from the back side of the hand. They could have the ear piece and the cut cord attached to it in their hand.

Beam Me Up said...

Well at least we can concur that she is holding something to her ear. A vacuum powered hearing aide is very inventive! Major points on your end. My first thought is that I ought to try and see if I could assemble something like this only to come to my senses and admit that the last time I had VT compatible components was in the seventies. But just for giggles lets think about it for a sec. Tube tech was fairly well understood in the 20s however portable tube equipment was still problematic. Transformer and capacitive components were still bulky affairs as were the battery array. A single stage push pull amp would have given adequate amplification for light hearing loss so 2 tubes biased for 50% duty cycle would cut the current some, but you are still going to need a hefty plate supply a grid bias supply and 6 to 12 volts for the "heaters". The contraption would have fit into a small piece of luggage say a suitcase but the weight would have been the biggest penalty, most likely weighing in at 25+ pounds. If she is holding anything then it's a carbon-disk element that could have worked as a simple speaker at the cost of fidelity. But overall the size and weight would explain the old girls thick ankles.

Thanks for the comment Lynn, that was fun.


Lynn said...

Beam me up-They typically use a type 99 or 864 "dry cell tube" in them-only required 1.1 volt "A" voltage and a lot of this styled radios used a "D" cell for the "A" supply. B+ would be 22 1/2 volt or a 45 volt one and they are small/flat and easy to hide. Also no transformers as the mic is in the tubes bias circuit (cathode). The speaker would be 1/2 of a headphone head set which would be around 2000 ohms-again no transformer. The mic was clipped to a front pocket or lapel with the speaker resting in the ear

Lynn said...

Mike-typical of this age was a French or Canadian phone speaker that was held in the hand. The hoop/loop was a brass loop that you are suppose slip on a finger (like a ring) to secure the speaker so it will not fall out.

Beam Me Up said...

Wow Lynn I bow to your superior memory. I had totally forgotten about the dry cell tube. To be honest though, I would have thought those were more common in the late 30s and early 40s. But I can remember in the seventies a classmate was building an alternative deflection module and using those tubes as we could find them. The transformer I was thinking of would have been an audio class isolation transformer inline with the plate voltage. That hand held output would need to be isolated not so much for the higher voltage but the fact that I don't see how the carbon element could pass the supply and still have any output. I don't think it would have worked at all if it were capacitive coupled - maybe - just don't feel right. As far as the circuit and tubes - I dont think we were too far apart. I always loved pushing the limits on the 6n6 class and I seem to remember you could run a fairly "low" plate voltage. hummmm

Beam Me Up said...

Lynn and another great piece of the puzzle and even greater contribution to the blog! I knew they had units that did double duty but never got that deep into just how they were used. Kudos. I like it. Thanks!