John Pazmino
 NYSkies Astronomy Inc
 2009 October 19 
    In the early 20th century there was a major expansion of the rapid 
transit grid in New York City. The last segments were those of the IND 
division, that operated by the City of New York itself. The other two 
divisions, the IRT and BMT, were operated by private companies running 
city-built facilities, plus some owned by themselfs. 
    The IND lines on Manhattan strived to remove the els from the 
north-south streets by replacing them with higher-capacity subways. 
The 6th Avenue el was replaced by the 6th Avenue subway. The 9th 
Avenue el was replaced by the 8th Avenue subway. The 6th and 8th Av 
lines were linked together on the west side of Manhattan, more or less 
duplicating the linkage between the two els. 
    The plans for the IND, devised in the 1920s, provided for the 
replacement of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue els with a single 2nd Avenue 
subway. These els were tied into a single unit on the east side of 
Manhattan and were only lightly connected to the other two on the west 
side. Likewise, the 2nd Avenue subway would be only weakly tied to the 
6th-8th Av lines of the IND. 
    The basic design was completed by the late 1920s but construction 
was deferred during the 1930s to finish the 6th and 8th Av subways. 
The Depression slowed or halted work so that these two lines weren't 
finished until 1940. 
    World War II intervened against turning to the 2nd Avenue subway, 
but work was scheduled to start in the late 1940s. Since then, the 2nd 
Avenue subway was deferred over and over again for various reasons, in 
spite of ardent desire to build it. 
    By the 1950s the 2nd Avenue line became critical because the els 
it was to replace were torn down. The east side of Manhattan and parts 
of the other boros attached to the els, were left with grossly 
deficient rapid transit service. 
    Yet thru the 1960s until the 2000s, the line was never put into 
vigorous construction with a completion within a credible timeframe. 
In addition, the plans were continually revised downward, weakening 
the capacity and capability to a thin two-track road with far-spaced 
stations and a reach only within Manhattan. In the current design, it 
is tied to the rest of the city network only thru the 63rd Street 
line. In this all-too-brief history, the 2nd Avenue line languished, 
even after a couple false starts, while other lines and stations were 
built else where in the City. 
Why the obstacle? 
    The simplistic reasons offered for the ongoing deferment of the 
2nd Avenue subway (SAS for short) are obstructions by lawsuits, 
redtape in permits and approvals, funding constraints, redesign for 
new standards of transit practice, and adding new features for 
firefighting and disaster response. 
    All of thee seem plausible and are in fact argued convincingly in 
their favor. However, similar factors impede other works, transit and 
not, yet they eventually are built or are formally cancelled. When 
built, they may end up heavily modified from their original proposals, 
but the facility meets the original purpose. 
    What happens with SAS is that a relief from a certain delay occurs 
and the City is ready to resume work, then some allnew impediment 
comes along to put a stop to the effort. Thus, after some 75 years, we 
still do not have a sensible new rapid transit line on the east side 
of Manhattan and none is in sight for at least ten more years. 
    On top of all this, the line to be built is only a short piece 
that reaches just to Yorkville and Carnegie Hill. The rest of the line 
to the Bronx in the north and to Brooklyn in the south, are in the far 
late half of the 21st century. 
New theory
    From a philosophical point of view, it seems as if there was some 
force upstairs that's preventing timely completion of SAS and perhaps 
allowing only a watered-down version to ever be built. That is, the 
eventuality of SAS is blocked by a backward influence from the future 
into the present. This influence seems to evade human efforts to get 
around it, altho probably no one consciously thinks of what he's up 
    I, in this month of October 2009, thru the scuttle-butt of 
NYSkies, read an intriguing, yet not all that crazy, theory that seems 
to afflict the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. This idea could 
be in force for SAS? 
    The Collider, LHC, is a $9 billion machine to propel protons 
against each other with energies up to 7 trillion electron-volts. The 
intent is to, among others, produce artificially a mysterious particle 
known only in maths formulae, the Higgs boson.
    The machine is bolshoi, having an underground racetrack 30 
kilometers around and as large as a train tunnel. It has several 
stations where the protons are injected by smaller atom-smashers and 
others where the protons are pulled out for colliding with each other. 
    It draws electric to satisfy fully 1/2 of all of Geneva's needs, 
which means it has to run only in summer when the town's own need is 
at the seasonal lowest. In winter, given Switzerland's weather regime, 
LHC is banked until the next spring. 
    But this project is dogged by one problem after an other in far 
greater proportion than other humongous projects. That makes it on the 
same platform as SAS in its experience. 
Future influence 
    The theory was put forth by Dr Holger Nielsen, Niels Bohr 
Institute, and Dr Masao Ninomiya, Kyoto University, in the mid 2000s. 
They issued several journal articles about it but I summarize them 
here descriptively. The maths require a graduate education in quantum 
physics to follow. 
    The effect of stifling LHC from completion or running at full 
scale is to delay the discovery of the Higgs boson. This is a 
hypothetical particle that gives mass to every thing in the universe. 
Without this particle there would be no mass and the universe as we 
know it could not exist or even be created. Hence, finding a real 
example of the Higgs boson, or making one artificially in LHC, would 
help study the very existence of our cosmos. 
    The properties of the Higgs boson, also called just Higgs like a 
person, are not well established. Physicists are still tinkering with 
the theory and the maths to uncover parameters that can assist in 
running LHC to go and make one. 
    One of the properties suggested by theory is that Higgs knows that 
it is under chase by some past events, running LHC, and then 
rearranges nature to prevent those events from going to completion. 
The LHC has fires, loss of power, weakened magnets, arrest of a spy 
within its crew, shortage of electric power, defective fabrication of 
parts, and so on. Each interruption lasts months and eats up money. 
    Nielsen and Ninomiya allude to the idea of future influence as a 
possible offshoot of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, where the 
direction of time flow, event following event, is back-tracked for a 
specific purpose, then allowed to procede normally. What's more, the 
reversal seems to affect events that otherwise would lead to the 
future activity by way of routine causality. Other events not related 
to the instant case continue without this manipulation from the 
Higgs and SAS
    How does this apply to SAS? The symptoms are certainly in place 
with uncanny correspondence with those of LHC. However, it is not at 
all obvious what is causing the effect against SAS. It sure looks 
like, in a manner parallel to LHC, that SAS will eventually operate 
under greatly reduced capability to somehow prevent the occurrence of 
some infathomable future event. This has to be an event that could be 
realized if the line were built and run to full strength: local and 
express tracks, closer stations, more links to the city network, 
extension to Bronx and Brooklyn. (It already will be tied to Queens.) 
    What is this future event? We can only imagine what the future is. 
Like the Higgs boson, its discovery can not be foretold. It may be 
decades before it comes out of hiding or is syntheticly created. For 
SAS there could well be some item of nature or city life coming in the 
next few decades that would take place with a full scale SAS but would 
be avoided or mitigated with the skinny line. 
    Is it the very Higgs itself? Not for sure, of course. On the other 
hand, Higgs is the root of all of creation, endowing matter with mass 
by which gravity exists. Gravity is the all-powerful force that drives 
the universe from the falling apple to the collapse of blackholes. 
Surely SAS is in there somewhere, no? 
    Can a subnuclear particle even KNOW about SAS and then decide that 
it's against its own interest to let it be completed in a timely 
manner and on the proper scale? Believe it or not, such particles seem 
to have intelligence of a sort beyond our ordinary human-based 
understanding. Electrons seem to align within an atom, any atom at all 
not just its home atom, with unerring precision. Then it seems to know 
just how to attach that atom to others to make molecules, each of 
precisely the proper portion of each atom. 
    The accuracy is altogether beyond humans to achieve soon, if ever. 
Yes, we can grow molecules, like for chemicals or medicines. All we're 
doing is letting the atomic particles do their own thing under more 
favorable conditions. We're not putting the particles together in our 
own arbitrary arrangement. 
Getting around Higgs
    We can't. It's like ants plotting to fool a human who molests 
them. They can talk among themselfs (ants DO talk together!) but they 
can not effectively influence what humans do. We are like ants before 
the Higgs boson. It will do its thing as it wants. All we can do is 
describe its behavior thru our theory but we can not tell Higgs to go 
and follow our theory. That's assuming we got the right theory after 
all. It is very imperfect now. 
    Can we fool Higgs (to give the future thingie in the SAS case a 
definite name) by tweaking SAS into the human-intended full system 
behind Higgs's back. We build the skinny version but it's really the 
full one in disguise? We issue a map that shows only two tracks and a 
couple stations but a rider finds he skipped several stops as an 
express on its own hidden track. 
    I doubt it. The import of the Nielsen-Ninomiya idea is that the 
future knows what can happen in the past by looking back in time and 
seeing how it plays out under various scenarios. It susses out all of 
the possibilities, like a super-duper chess player looking at myriads 
of possible moves on the board, and devises ways to block the 
inappropriate ones. 
    If we constructed express stations but called them locals anyway, 
Higgs could see that this will work toward achieving the no-no future 
action. It could slug the station so it can not field an express 
train. The trackway subsides, rails wander off gage, signals short out 
from water leak, drivers get dizzy from the tunnel lights, radio 
interference louses up train electronics. The quick remedy is to 
abandon express service and run all trains on the local track. Which 
was the permissible scheme ordained by Higgs in the first place. 
    From the above it seems there could be fighting odds that SAS is 
afflicted by the future workings of the cosmos that for its own 
discretion and prerogative doesn't want the line built and operated as 
a full service rapid transit system in New York. Why and how remain, 
perhaps for ever, unknown. We can not simply wait for the future 
because when it arrives, a new future takes over with its own set of 
needs against the past. 
    So it may be best to accept life as manipulated by Higgs, or what 
ever is lording over the 2nd Avenue subway, and keep the line out of 
its way.