(1) Sun Dec 21 2003 10:58 Still Coasting On My Trip To The Theater: Before ROTK I saw a preview for a time-travel movie, and I started thinking about the common time-travel trope that attempting to change the past will invariably make the present worse. Isn't this effectively the view that we inhabit the best of all possible worlds? And what does this say about our ability to make choices in the present? Why is it that the decision we make with no foreknowledge is always better than the alternatives? Answer: because we're trapped in a patronizing cultural artifact! This is probably the best nontrivial test I've thought of for being trapped in a cultural artifact.