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Searching the Internet For Evidence of Time Travelers 465

Posted by samzenpus
from the bill-and-ted-approved dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Here's an interesting paper by two physicists at Michigan Technological University who have come up with a practical methodology for finding time travelers through the internet. 'Time travel has captured the public imagination for much of the past century, but little has been done to actually search for time travelers. Here, three implementations of Internet searches for time travelers are described, all seeking a prescient mention of information not previously available. The first search covered prescient content placed on the Internet, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific terms in tweets on Twitter. The second search examined prescient inquiries submitted to a search engine, highlighted by a comprehensive search for specific search terms submitted to a popular astronomy web site. The third search involved a request for a direct Internet communication, either by email or tweet, pre-dating to the time of the inquiry. Given practical verifiability concerns, only time travelers from the future were investigated. No time travelers were discovered. Although these negative results do not disprove time travel, given the great reach of the Internet, this search is perhaps the most comprehensive to date.' Stephen Hawking's similar search (video) also provided negative results."
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Searching the Internet For Evidence of Time Travelers

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  • Not Ready to Quit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RNLockwood (224353) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:42AM (#45854327) Homepage

    I must admit to being time traveler. I started time traveling in 1939, inadvertently to be sure. I had no expectations that my travels would be as interesting as they have been nor as boring, from time to time, either. I've found it to be so addicting that I'm plan to keep on, and on for as long as I'm able.

  • by ColaMan (37550) on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:07AM (#45854623) Homepage Journal

    Depends on how your time machine works.
    If it's a 'jump' or sudden discontinuity between one time and another, you're in trouble.

    If it's a 'linear' style time machine (a-la H.G. Wells) and you're merely pulling the 'flow of time' lever from it's rest postion of "Forwards at 1x speed" to something like "Backwards at 200x speed"..... then you're much more likely to remain attached to whatever continent you happen to be in.

  • by jemmyw (624065) on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:11AM (#45854635)

    Even though I'm strongly inclined towards the scientific mindset, these kinds of incidents strongly suggest there's a lot more going on than we understand.

    It doesn't really. You're just looking at your one event in isolation. What about all the other times earthquake nut jobs have been mentioned and there subsequently hasn't been a minor earthquake.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:27AM (#45854689) Journal

    While your post has nothing to do with time travelers whatsoever, it's still interesting.

    I posted what I posted in this "time traveling" story because I suspect (I do not have any proof, only suspicions) that something did travel back in time (about 7 minutes) and I just so happened to "encounter" one of the "side effects" of that "travel".

    There was nothing shaking, absolutely nothing to trigger my "earth is shaking" premonition but still, that very first thought that came across my mind after I witnessed that "bend reality" phenomanon was "earthquake".

    That thought came so naturally that even now, as I type, I still have no explanation of why I thought what I thought at that juncture.

    My suspicion is that an earthquake had happened, and something in or near the locality somehow transmitted a "force"/ an "energy field", or whatever that I can't explain, outwards to warn its own kinds (maybe scattered around this planet, or beyond) of the danger.

    And to make that warning effective, the warning itself must reach its target (or targets) before the event (in my example, the big earthquake near Japan) happened.

    Or, in other words, the message must travel backward in time in order to be effective.

  • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:18AM (#45854843) Journal

    The problem with any sort of discussion like this is if indeed ESP exists, it exists so weakly that you have no way of knowing if your "coincidence" is really just the outcome of randomness or a true premonition.

  • by amaurea (2900163) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:44AM (#45854925) Homepage

    You're assuming absolute positions here. In general relativity, it is equally valid to consider the Earth to be at rest, with the rest of the universe moving and rotating in a complicated fashion. But I agree that it doesn't make sense to think of time-travel only in terms of time - it's space-time that matters.

    In special relativity, the only way to travel to the past that I'm aware of is through superluminal motion, but general relativity is more flexible, and allows time travel by distorting space-time in inventive ways. Perhaps the most commonly considered time travel thought experiment in GR is via wormhole. Any wormhole potentially allows time travel: even a purely spatial wormhole can be turned into a temporal wormhole by using time dialation (from acceleration or gravity) to make less time pass for one exit from the wormhole than another. So one could, for example, make time machine by making a local wormhole (this step is left as an exercise for the reader), taking one end on a spaceship and making it orbit close to a black hole for a few years, and then bringing it back. If, say, 10 years passed for one end and only 5 years for the other, then entering the "old" end would let you exit 5 years earlier. But interestingly, one could not use this time machine to travel earlier into the past than when the wormhole was first created.

    Another interesting way of distorting space that has been investigated is the warp drive, which continuously distorts space around an object. This can be used both for superluminal travel or time travel by changing the parameters. The problem, though, for all these "distort spacetime to travel to the past" approaches is that to get the correct shape for the distortion requires matter with exotic properties such as negative energy density, which has never been observed.

    In common for all these time travel mechanisms is that they aren't simply "POOF, and you're there", they all involve continuous trajectories in space-time, and so don't have the problem you mentioned.

  • by LordNacho (1909280) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:37AM (#45855089)

    A buddy of mine wrote an essay in his international relations class about how airplanes could be used to take down the towers, a couple of weeks before it happened.

    But obviously those kinds of thoughts would be going through the head of someone who was doing a module on terrorism at the time. Just like it was going through the heads of the guys who actually did it.

    Same thing with "precognition" of relatives dying. The thought crosses everyone's mind at some point. Now and again, it coincides with reality.

  • by ma++i+ude (580592) on Friday January 03, 2014 @09:58AM (#45855755) Homepage
    Tim Minchin put it best: to assume that a one-in-a-million thing is a miracle is to massively underestimate the total number of things there are.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann