back to article Time travellers outsmart the NSA

If there are time travellers around, they're being careful not to leave their fingerprints on the Internet. That's the conclusion in a paper published at Arxiv, put together by Michigan Technical University physics professor Robert Nemiroff and PhD candidate Teresa Wilson. They searched the Internet for “prescient” signatures …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A must read to increase your knollij!

      Of course, this is just one instantiation of a general problem: that no one really has a clear idea of what it means to treat spacetime itself quantum-mechanically.

      Thst's the wrong type of question. You can't quantise 'space time' because it has no independent existence. It's not a backdrop upon which events occur, it's an emergent effect of the relationship between fundamental particles/fields.

      Paraphrasing The Man(tm) himself - space is what stops everything happening in the one place and time is what stops it all happening at once.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: A must read to increase your knollij!

        I think you need to point us to your paper on the arxiv!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A must read to increase your knollij!

          Heh .. I wish I was that smart.

      2. lorisarvendu

        Re: A must read to increase your knollij!

        "Paraphrasing The Man(tm) himself - space is what stops everything happening in the one place and time is what stops it all happening at once."

        Ah, so that's the answer to the two questions "What created the Big Bang?" and "What was before the Big Bang?"

        Since both Space and Time were created in the the Big Bang, that was the one time when everything did happen in the same place and at the same time at once. So Cause and Effect happened in the same instant (they had to, since there was no Time before the Cause and no Space for it to happen in) and the Big Bang created itself. Neat.

        I guess the only other moment when everything happens in the same place and the same time will be the Big Crunch, when Spacetime crushes itself out of existance.

        At least there is symmetry.

  1. Christian Berger

    Could we please just close them down?

    I mean this is embarrassing. They monitor the whole world. People die of their actions. They waste lots of money, cause damage in all sorts of ways, but don't actually contribute anything to society.

    Can't we just shut down the NSA and the rest of those secret services? Just think how much good we could do in the world with such amounts of money. We could give everyone a decent education and eradicate terrorism. Then later we can consider recreating the small bits of the those secret services we might still need.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

      Just think how much good we could do in the world with such amounts of money. We could give everyone a decent education and eradicate terrorism.

      This is exactly what they are doing.

      They are just failing hard on both points.

      You think you gonna do any better?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

        So you suggest that the wet dream of a conservative is "If I had more money ... I would eradicate goodness!"

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

          Oh here we go again.

          In truth, liberals and conservatives are the same control freaks.

          You may note that you have currently the most liberal multicolored hopistic poster child of the liberal wankshow and he is a serial catastrophe on everything from warmongering to mandatory healthcare fail while bailing out cronies left and right, printing money, keeping the gitmo open and shitting on the constitution.

          Yeah, it's all due to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Sure.

          1. Martin Budden Silver badge

            Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

            Wait, what? Obama is a liberal? Hahahahahaha! Good one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate baldness!"

        "Just think how much good we could do in the world with such amounts of money. We could give everyone a decent hairdo and eradicate slapheads"

      3. Vociferous

        Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

        Liberals have no problem with government agencies in general, even spying ones, provided they stay within the laws.

      4. Vic

        Re: The wet dream of the liberal: "If I had the money ... I would eradicate badness!"

        > You think you gonna do any better?

        It'd be hard to do any worse...

        Vic.

    2. Hans 1

      Re: Could we please just close them down?

      No, you live in Disneyland ...

      in one word:

      greed

    3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Could we please just close them down?

      ...Can't we just shut down the NSA and the rest of those secret services?...

      Yes, we could, quite easily. The work that they do could easily be done (and SHOULD be done) by the police.

      The key point about 'secret services' is that you have them in time of war, when you suspend the requirement for your actions to be legal. The key point about the police is that they police in society, and have to create cases and justify their actions in an open court. There is no reason why the police should not 'do intelligence' - indeed they regularly do so.

      What we do NOT need is an uncontrollable secretive organisation with an ethos of ignoring rules. These organisations were set up during war scares to address perceived national threats of overwhelming force which justified the suspension of the rule of law, and they should be closed down when we are not fighting for our lives

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could we please just close them down?

        Kodos: "They constructed a board with a nail in it, but they won't stop there. They'll construct bigger boards with bigger nails, and then they'll construct a board with a nail in it so large, it will destroy them all..."

  2. Richard Wharram

    No psychics either

    Unless they are keeping their real predictions off the interwebz cos of spooky reasons...

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: No psychics either

      Many years ago before even the days of Wildcat BBS, a local paper had picked up where a Psychic group in the South of England had cancelled a two/three months hence meeting because the weather would be too bad to travel. Would love to know if they had been right but never got off my backside to check at the time.

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: No psychics either

        Here's what psychics predicted for 2013:

        http://paranormal.about.com/od/prophetsandprophecies/tp/Psychic-Predictions-For-2013.htm

        1. ravenviz

          Re: No psychics either

          I could of* come up with that in 10 minutes.

          *[sic]

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No psychics either

          Um...that was last year.

          1. Richard Wharram

            Re: No psychics either

            That's kinda the point. You can see how well they did at predicting last year.

            (The answer is BADLY if you can't be arsed to look.)

  3. Scott Broukell
    Alien

    Old news in the next hour

    I have already seen what you are going to be doing here.

  4. dssf

    Progitution...

    The New NSA Funding Scheme... I presciently predict that someone will buy up or create the domain name in an anticipation of quantum slipstream, quantum decryption, and quantum time travel

    Pimping the fyooture before it is discovered...PrProgitution..

  5. Duke2010

    If I was a time traveler I would be going to times way before the internet. If I did pass through 2010 for a jolly then how would my future phone even work to allow me to tweet? My network contract wouldn't even exist yet!

    My twitter account wouldn't even exist (lets say I was travelling from 2100)

    And even if I did Tweet imagine how messed up it would be. My latest tweets would be showing as my oldest tweets. It would be all out of sync. No definitely wouldn't bother with any social media if I was surfing time and space. I would be too busy causing mayhem. Committing any and every crime then leaping into the next time zone!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Tweeting hashtags indeed...

      I'd be busy filing patents!

      1. Hans 1
        Pint

        Re: Tweeting hashtags indeed...

        By the time time travel works (I do not believe this shit - it makes little sense), all that will have no value anymore ...

        And as whom will you file the patent ?

        Nice try, though ....

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Tweeting hashtags indeed...

          Can we send ALL Twitter uses BACK in time to 5 mins before Pompeii blew it's top?

    2. Moeluk

      Oh boy....

    3. CRConrad
      Holmes

      Even your iPhone 92 from 2100...

      ...could presumably be backwards-compatible with the ancient WiFi standards of 2010, which most probably "will are going to were have been" (or however the frakk the grammar works) in use in Africa or some such place even when said iPhone 39 "was is going to will have been" built.

      So you just step into a Starbucks or McDonald's and log set up a new Twitter account. HTH!

  6. Tromos

    At the time of writing, no such posts have turned up

    OK, but what about last week?

  7. OzBob

    Originally hypothesised in the comic "2000AD"

    Time travel and alien races do exist, the only reason they haven't visited is that they don't really see the point (when was the last time you had tea and a conversation with a chimpanzee?)

    Free Stephen Wragg!

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Tom_

    If I worked at Twitter

    I'd be quite tempted to insert one or two of those messages into the historical database.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes

    My search for exploding invisible gianduja aardvarks on the Internet has been similarly fruitless to date. Obviously I need far more computing power...

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Yes

      Of course you won't find any exploding invisible gianduja aardvarks, they've learnt to hide in artichokes...

    2. KayKay
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Yes

      You certainly DO need more computing power. I had no trouble finding that.

      http://tinyurl.com/l5dejpj

  11. Fink-Nottle

    For reasons too complicated to explain here, the only true signature of time travel is the phenomenon of exploding artichokes.

  12. Trooper_ID

    Parallelism

    I did go back in time and changed something. I then found myself branched off into a new future in a parallel universe. The old universe continued unchanged and thus no evidence existed. In my new universe the evidence had always existed and could not be classified as prescient. So I went back and changed what I had changed but this just put me into a new parallel universe again, presumably because something else had changed from the original universe i left when I made my first change. I had a few beers and decided that this time travel malarkey was just not worth the hassle, I mean, just how many parallel universes can one man create, is there enough Dark Matter to go round?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Parallelism Generates Semantic Empathy and Quick Covert ProAction Response Time Play

      I feel your dilemma, Trooper_ID

    2. Pete 8

      Re: Parallelism

      Thus accessing and blending in the branes again in a useable form, is the skill to master?

      Coursing through the dark matter and back again, scalararities of each successive instance experienced instantly avail information via each petal of a flowered lens portal as reflections off the apparently shiny surfaces of most monitored matter.

      Seamlessly separating all those channels at once is by a special dedication achieved absent self-reference other than DNA harmonics, hence we tend to focus exclusively on the easy mainstream channel rather closely, ignoring the others as just an aberration.

      Due to the Quantum effect, such information 'knows' where it is going, in it's own darkened, alternatively dimensional journey.

      Can you see how Schroedinger's Cat's Fur showers the shagpile when the box gets opened by the perceiver remotely. Please don't pull your hair out?

      The remote drag on a particle from being mass-analysed actually drains it of energy, hence the tone of politics and leaDOHship.these daze.

      Delta those leveraged disabilities with a MMORPH-DNA-SKA?

      If Everyone agrees, of course?

  13. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Joke

    I'll bet...

    I'll bet that those Twitter addresses attract nothing but reasonable, well thought out, perfectly sane responses from genuine time travelers.

  14. heyrick Silver badge

    Jeez...

    All the way to page two and nobody has mentioned John Titor yet.

  15. phil dude

    feedback...

    Time travel must be impossible for *this* frame of reference, because even a single photo passing through a "time portal" would cause massive feedback and probably a boom...

    Think about it.

    But I did have good giggle at this , but not as nice as Steven Hawking’s "welcome time travellers" gag.....

    P.

  16. Derek Thomas

    Too soon

    It's impossible to travel back from a time that has yet to exist. Once the future has happened we will be inundated with time travelers. Just be patient.

  17. ContentsMayVary

    I expect the time travellers often leave incriminating evidence around. However, if they get caught they obviously just go back in time to erase the evidence before it gets spotted. Duh.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Don't be stupid

    If they found the evidence and published it the time travellers would just jump back and erase the evidence. You need to be much smarter than this to catch them.

  19. bigtimehustler

    What a load of rubbish, a lot of people have never talked about those things online, myself for one. So whats the likelihood that in 20 years time i am going to suddenly want to talk about it online exactly at the time when im back in time. What utter nonsense.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old news

    Didn't I already read this article next week?

  21. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Surely...

    If there are any time travellers out there, they would have known about this research before coming back to the past, what with it already having been published back in the future.

    They would therefore know exactly what to avoid posting on the internet, and if they made any slip-ups, they could check when they get back forward, then come back before they came originally and stop themselves from doing whatever they did that they were going to do before they went back forwards again.

    Perfectly clear...

  22. Javapapa

    Obligatory xkcd cartoon

    http://xkcd.com/1063/

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