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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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  • by mysidia (191772) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:17AM (#45854231)

    Posting such info could endanger the future, or risk causality paradox issues --- changing the future in such a way, that time travel is not discovered.

    Time travelers from the future are historians.... they may be tweeting, but they are tweeing about the past (our present), and possibly sending those tweets into the future.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:35AM (#45854289) Homepage Journal

    also having excellent spaceships. By excellent I mean able to accelerate to a significant percent of lightspeed.

    Say you wanna go back to 1920 and assassinate Hitler while he was a nobody and easy to get to. You build a time machine and POOF, you're in 1920. And you're also dead, since you're also in the vacuum of space... unless your time machine is also a spaceship. The earth is in a different position around the sun, and the sun has orbited to a different spot in the galaxy, and our galaxy has shifted position in the local group, and all this time the universe itself has expanded quite a bit.

    I have no idea how far from earth you would be if you time traveled from 2014 to 1920, but I'm guessing it would be measured in parsecs.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:43AM (#45854339) Journal

    ... I did experience some kind of "reality bending", about 9 minutes prior to the earthquake that triggered the tsunami in Japan.

    The date was April 11, 2011.

    It was 16.07 local (Singapore) time, as I was in Singapore for a business meeting.

    I was sitting in front of a computer display typing away, inside a hotel room. The desktop computer was provided by the host, and it was plugged into the net. The computer clock had just been synced with some online atomic time at noon time (some 4 hours ago).

    For some reason I felt something weird, nothing moving, but I felt that something is not right. I look out of the windows (it was a high-rise hotel, and my room was in the 23 or 24th floor) and I witnessed "reality bending".

    I can't really describe it, but what I saw was the window frame and the concrete pole "bend", not unlike what the "bending images" of some old vhs tapes where part of the scenes got scattered to one side.

    That weird sensation only lasted a few seconds and the first thought that came across my mind was that there was an earthquake.

    Since Singapore is located very near to earthquake zone, I expected that something gonna shake and was waiting to see if the shaking gonna be big and if that I have to evacuate from the hotel room.

    But nothing shook.

    So instinctively I look at the computer clock. It showed 16:07.

    I sat there for a minute or two, waiting for some "signs" of shaking or whatever. Nothing.

    Satisfied that nothing gonna happened I continued what I was doing.

    A few minutes afterward, news started to trickle in over the net - a big quake in Japan, and later, a devastating tsunami.

    Till now I still can't explain what exactly happened, and why my first thought after I experienced that "bend reality" was a "earthquake".

  • by little1973 (467075) on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:11AM (#45854461)

    because time is imaginary. It does not exist.

    Why physicists insist using Einstein's equations as a 'proof' of time travel is beyond me. It is the same as if one used Newton's equations for speeds faster than 0.6 c.

    In both cases the results are bogus as these equations were obviously not designed to handle these extreme cases.

    Do not forget that these equations try to describe reality and they do this with very great precision, but it does not mean reality itself 'runs' these equations.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <> on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:21AM (#45854499) Journal

    Time travel is such a plot destroyer, such a deus ex machina, it ought to be dropped from SF altogether, much the way psychic phenomena have. It is so overused and tame. The traveler goes back in time, and fixes the mistake without otherwise altering the future at all, then skips right back home to the future to find everything worked out exactly as desired. If they have a difficult time of it, they might have to make several trips back in time to fix the problems, but they of course succeed.

    Time travel is also, so far as we know, impossible. Star Trek can lean on the crutches of FTL and time travel, to speed the plots along, but it's not necessary. We can conceive of interstellar civilizations without such fantasy. It is quite possible to build a space ship that can carry us to a nearby star system over a period of thousands of years, and terraform a world for our use. We lack the technology to do it right now, but maybe, in a few more centuries, we can. Time travel does not look like it will ever be possible, and ought to be relegated to fantasy.

  • by jimshatt (1002452) on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:07AM (#45854621)
    While your post has nothing to do with time travelers whatsoever, it's still interesting. I saw a documentary recently called "Something Unknown is Doing We Don't Know What...", where they had random number generators around the world. Previous to important global events, they seem to be generating less random numbers, that is, less homogeneously distributed. My explanation is that it has something to do with some kind of local entropy, because there are less states where that event happens then there are where the event doesn't happen. But how that somehow influences the RNGs beats me. If it isn't complete bullocks to begin with.
    I liked the documentary, but it failed miserably in even trying to explain the psy events the 'scientists' were researching.
  • by JWSmythe (446288) <> on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:50AM (#45854765) Homepage Journal

    That's coincidence. People say all kinds of stuff all the time.

    If you're in Los Angeles, I'm sure you've looked at the USGS maps at least occasionally. If you have a week with no earthquakes, there's something wrong with the reporting. :)

    I stood on top of the WTC a few days before 9/11. I said to my friend "I wonder how they'll take these buildings down." It was a discussion on the deconstruction of it, since virtually every modern building has a finite lifespan, and will be replaced eventually. Explosive demolition was out, because it would cause too much damage to surrounding buildings, even under ideal circumstances.

    Now, did the fact that we were on top (observation deck, and roof) and said something like that show precognition? Not in any sort of way. People think and say all kinds of things all the time. Their memory also messes with them. We like to believe there is some sort of order to the chaos around us. In reality, we'll grasp at any two things and try to make a relationship between them.

    The reality to my pondering the WTC deconstruction was simply an interest in how things work. I like to look at something and try to understand how it works, how it was put together, and how it comes apart. I've learned an awful lot about a lot of things by just asking and researching them. So far, no others have suffered a dramatic demise.

  • They're only checking this reality? Not all the other ones as per the Many Worlds interpretation? OK, so if the many worlds interpretation is correct, and some one invents a time travel device in the future and travels back in time, then we will not find them here. You see, everything that can happen does -- Time travel into the past splits the time line as Good 'ol Doc Brown told you.

    Now, time travel to the future is more than possible, you're doing it right now, and in fact, GPS has to deal with future time drift: Satellites experience less gravity so their clocks run into the future faster than ours. Just get next to a large gravitational mass for a while, and if you can survive to make it back home, you'll be further into the future than us. To the observers you're just gone in the interim.

    However, time travel to the past would be more tricky. When you arrive at a past point in time the interactions you make cause the universe to split, as it does for every interaction. The time-line where the time machine will be created and you will travel back in time remains untouched, and a new series of events unfold. Unfortunately for Doc Brown's plot, you could easily prevent your mom and dad from dating and it wouldn't cause you to disappear -- Because they're dating elsewhere in another universe that you will be from in the future, thus eliminating any paradox.

    One could think of the paradox resolution through predestination as well. The probability of you traveling back in time to do the split was already encoded in the state of the universe that allows you to do so. When looking at the time-line hierarchy, as a whole there were events leading up to the discovery of time travel and those universes up to those points all had probability for your splitting of them by returning to them, so by the time you got in the time machine, you had already done the things in the past. From a single time tree moving forward, as time marched forward you would see time travelers appearing and branching off from the time-lines where time travel would become possible up to and beyond the invention of the time machine, this way your single destination still has its quantum probability distribution of when and where to arrive.

    So, if you are waiting for time travelers and they don't show up, it could be that they are all showing all around you in separate universes, and this is the universe from which the time machine will first be invented. In other words: You could send yourself yesterday's lottery ticket, but that ticket would exist in an alternate time and you'd remain just as poor as you are in this universe, in some other universe you may get all (or only most) of the lottery numbers correct (depending on if your interaction caused the numbers probabilities to change). If you could maintain stream of information to the past you could call yourself up, and have a conversation, and the current you wouldn't remember being called, and the past you may never get around their past self. This is no paradox in the Many Worlds interpretation.

    However, I'm not convinced that interpretation is correct. It hints at mock-free will through predestination of every possible outcome, but it would mean the infinite dissipation of energy for the encoding and processing of all outcomes would be strangely detached from reality. I think it far more feasible that things like quantum "teleportation" will work out to be far more mundane than they first appear -- Hint: the "tele" in "teleportation" has to do with transmitting information, and the teleport is not faster than light... Entropy would seem to suggest that travel to the past in a single time-line would take as much (and more) energy as all the events that led up to the present. However, I have a corner of the house that's always empty the event that I'm wrong since our dreams have often proven more powerful than reality.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)