Researchers from Michigan Technological University hunting for evidence of time travel within social networks have failed to find any.
Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson explain in their paper, titled “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travellers”, how they scoured Google, Bing, Google+, Facebook and Twitter for a series of carefully-chosen terms.
They looked for terms like “Pope Francis” being used before there was a Pope Francis. But sadly, they were unable to find any instances that seemed to be relevant.
The cynical, practical part of my mind is amazed that they wasted their time on such nonsense. The sci-fi enthusiast in me also thinks it’s silly for another reason: obviously, anybody who has conquered the fabric of space-time could easily go back in time and remove any internet references that would give them away.
Probably, in the future, there will be some time-travelers’ code that prevents them from doing such things. Perhaps there will even be time-travel moderators, who, like Wikipedia editors, venture back to remove all suspect references.
This is the issue with the concept of time-travel: it instantly introduces mind-bending paradoxes that the humans cannot comprehend. Try reading Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out Of Time, and count the plot holes. I’m not really sure if you can apply the normal scientific method to learning about time travel.
But don’t listen to cynical old me. We all know the U.S. Government, and particularly Donald Rumsfeld, has long been control of time travel technology.