This week's New Scientist carries a fascinating article on the nature of time. Time, it seems, is not a requirement of a quantum-mechanical view of the universe. There doesn't need to be a 'flow of time' at all. This theory suggests that our perception of the passage of time derives not from an actual passage of time, but from the limitations of our senses.
In other words, Time doesn't flow in a linear progression. We see it that way because that's as much of it as we're capable of seeing. Time is not a line, it's more like a loose bundle of stuff. It can have knots in it, and bits can overlap.
What, you may wonder, are the practical applications of this? Well, for a start, since Time isn't the logical progression we think it is, it's no longer possible to be late for anything. Instead, we arrive at a different aspect of the stuff of time.
The theory does not, unfortunately, allow time travel. So scrap those Tardis plans, it's not happening. Not today anyway.
It can allow protrusions of images from past (and possibly future) events into other times. It might allow precognition, and it might allow us to 'see' random events from the past. There's no control we can currently apply to this, it depends on random chance - right bit of space, right bit of time sort of thing.
Unfortunately, even though this might allow precognition-type events, it does not allow for the construction of a controlled experiment to test those events since they happen at random. Unless someone experiences a precognitive event that tells them when another precognitive event is to occur, and to whom.
That's never happened as far as I know.
So it's an interesting theory to play with for now, and one that might be especially useful in the future.
Does anyone out there know when?