LOST has lost many viewers because they find the series frustrating. It poses myriad questions, has a complex mythology, and lots of confusing flashbacks: All of this moves the plot at a glacial pace. That changed last night, with the third episode of the new season.
Finally, someone's made it off that darn island! And not just in a flash-forward, in real-time. But in typical LOST fashion, the latest plot twist raises as many questions as it answers. Why's Sayid gone all Jason Bourne as a spy for Ben? What's the meaning of Naomi's bracelet? Why does Ben have all those passports in his closet? Why does Charlotte look so much like Nicole Kidman in Dead Calm? Okay, just kidding on that last one, but seriously, about ten new plot lines will now have to be explored.
Thankfully, this latest episode also answered a key question: Yes, the island has irregularities in its space/time fabric. As Daniel Faraday (whose name refers to Michael Faraday, the English chemist and physicist) proved in his experiment, time on the island is about half an hour off from the rest of the world. This, in addition to the reference to Minkowski—George Minkowski on the boat, referring back to Hermann Minkowski the mathematician—the time gap could have something to do with the island's space and time measurements being relative to the position/velocity of the observer. Something physics-related is almost definitely key to the island's irregularities.
My pet theory is that the island is Atlantis or Lemuria (clue: ancient four-toed statue). It's hard to find because time passes differently there than it does in the rest of the world and it's governed by the Faraday effect, which says that an object between two magnetic fields will rotate light. The extent to which the light "bends" depends on what the object is made of. I'm guessing the island, which is known to have some very unique electromagnetic properties, is demonstrating the Faraday effect to the degree that it is almost impossible to see. As scientists have recently discovered, if you bend light far enough, you can make something invisible. We've already seen that the island's magnetic field screws up nearly all modern navigation devices so that even if you could see it, it'd be pretty damn hard to land on it, as the new "boaties" recently found out the hard way.
So the island is hard to find and hard to see. But was it always that way? I don't think so. I think a huge, magnetically-related event jump-started the Faraday effect, effectively making the island "disappear." This event also could have put the island into the strange space/time position it occupies now. I'm guessing this event was volcanic, as we know there's a volcano on the island and volcanic lava has very high magnetism when cooled.
Of course, this still doesn't explain the Smoke Monster, the Dharma Initiative, what Ben wants from the island, or who the last few Oceanic Six are, but that's a subject for another post.