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.
Somebody famous once asked “if time travel is possible, where are the time travelers?” Presumably they would disguise themselves to fit in, but you have to assume there would be lapses. Maybe the people we think are crazy are really time travelers. That might explain things. Or maybe the people who think they are time-travelers are crazy.
Thingy posted some musings of her own about Andrew Basiago’s story, and it set me thinking more about time travel. Personally, I’m quite confident that Basiago is either playing a hoax or else a bit touched in the head–I swear, “project Pegasus“. Really?– but I do wonder about it on a theoretical level.
The most plausible means of time travel was that I’ve read went something like this: if something could go into a black hole and not be destroyed, it could theoretically reappear at any point in the Universe and at any point in time. The problem is, nothing that we know of can survive going into a black hole. (Obviously, I’ve oversimplified a lot here, mostly because I don’t understand it too well myself. This might help.)
Then, of course, there are all the paradoxes that arise with time-travel. They make for good stories, but they also seem to suggest it’s impossible. Oh, well. It’s a question better minds than my own have had difficulty grappling with, I know that.