back to article Dim Brits think TARDIS IS REAL

In the BBC series How TV Ruined Your Life, one-time games reviewer Charlie Brooker talks at length about the British public literally believing what is seen on their screens. This has now been confirmed with some investigative numberwang which shows that a large percentage of Brits are convinced fictional technology from …


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  1. firefly
    Paris Hilton

    I'm pretty sure..

    ..that people take the piss when it comes to dumb surveys like this. I know I would.

    Ask stupid questions, get stupid answers.

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      It's a title, alright?

      It's not just people taking the piss that are the issue. The significant questions are (a) how big was the sample of respondents and (b) how was the sample chosen?

      You can get all sorts of problems with a small sample. You just can't stop a hundred people in the street and then say they represent a population of tens of millions, it's an absolute nonsense. For example go to a shopping precinct at 10am on a wedndesday and stop 100 people. Amazingly enough you are going to get a much higher portion of unemployed or retired people than if you chose the same location at the same time on saturday. The bigger the sample and the more locations you choose (if you are stopping people in the street) the more representative you sample will be.

      Then there's the matter of how the respondents were chosen. If it's a truly random sample stopping people int he the street and asking if they'd be willing to answer a few questions then you'll get a very different sample of people than you would if you were to advertise for respondents on a particular website while telling people what the subject of the survey is before they agree take part.

      The best surveys are the ones that include questions on all sorts of subjects. If your questions are all along similar lines the respondents will tend to colour their answers. It doesn't matter if they are taking the piss or giving the answers they think you want it makes your survey worthless. If you ask loads and loads of different questions on different subjects then the respondent is more likely to answer honestly.

      In short: Most of these surveys are bunk. Let's play family fortunes.

    2. Code Monkey


      Maybe Reg could rewrite the headline: "Dim survey authors believe everything piss-taking Brits tell them"

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge

      What proportion think fictional surveys are real?

      This is an old, old, apocryphal piece that comes up time after time¹. I recall smirking at the idea decades ago when I read a "survey" that said people believed the stuff in Star Trek was real. It's good to see that not only are poeple still responding to the same silly claims, but that they also think that survey results are real, too.

      [1] and not because it's discovered the secret of traveling through time faster than we all do naturally.

    4. Captain Scarlet

      I would

      And I lightsabres are just a fluorescent tubes with a handle?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the words of Tony Blair...

    Education, education, education.

    No wonder shows like My Family and The Green Green Grass are so popular...

  3. Mark 78

    Time travel

    "A third believe time travel is possible. Now."

    By definition, if time travel was to be possible ever, it would be possible now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We're all Timesurfs

      Time travel is possible... you're doing it right now!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE:We're all Timesurfs

        I've come all the way from 1986 to agree with this!

    2. jm83

      not always

      There is an American physicist (Ronald Mallett) who has developed a machine that in theory could bring things here from the future. So time travel would be possible but you could only go back to when the machine was turned on. or something.

      Anyway, were travelling through time now at the rate of 60 mins per hour. (Slower when moving faster)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Anyway, were travelling through time now at the rate of 60 mins per hour. (Slower when moving faster)"

        No, you're always travelling through time at a rate of 60 mins pre hour, no matter how fast you go... only your time might be different relative to anothers'.


        1. jm83

          Re: Relative

          I was talking about earth time... If I happen to find a way to go quick enough to slow time, I wont be travelling in earth time anymore.

          Pint for you though sir.

      2. DZ-Jay

        Re: not always

        I saw that movie. By the way, are you British?


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        The problem with Ronald Mallett's time machine design...

        ... is that it can only work in a universe with a fairly specialised spacetime structure containing an infinite one-dimensional singularity, which our universe does not have.

        Also the energy requirements are prohibitive, and the diameter of the ring of circulating laser light needs to be bigger than the visible universe.

        But apart from that, it would probably work.

        Mallett has also made some utterly egregious schoolboy-howler-level mistakes in his plans and design, for instance confusing the slowing down of light travelling through a medium with an actual alteration of the universal constant c. That was a rank amateur error to make, and the rest of his analysis seems to be on equally shaky ground.

      4. Daniel B.

        Re: not always

        Oh, looks like physicists have read "Thrice upon a time" ...

    3. Mallorn

      Not necessarily...

      "By definition, if time travel was to be possible ever, it would be possible now."

      Not true. General relativistic time travel using a pair of connected worm holes would only allow time travel back to the point when the wormholes were created and not before. So it is at least conceivable that time travel might be possible in the future without us knowing about it today (although I doubt it!).

    4. jibberjabber

      Logical fallacies

      Assuming that time travel is impossible now, doesn't automatically necessitate that it won't be possible to travel backwards in time from some point in the far future to a point in nearer future. Or that we might be able to travel into the future only, at some speed faster than 60 seconds per minute.

  4. jm83


    They exist... they just don't work as intended.

  5. Peter Bond
    Thumb Up


    If proof were needed that we really are a nation of utter, utter imbeciles.

  6. Syren Baran

    Half of us are convinced memory-erasing technology is available

    But it is.

    Icon says it all.

    1. Elmer Phud


      It is usually only a temporary temporal adjustment.

      There is a payback which goes something like , "Oh, shit! I didn't, did I?"

      1. Liam Johnson

        I didn't, did I?"

        You just need to up the dosage. If that fails to work, then a series repeat applications will turn that into "Did I? Didn't I? Who cares".

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


          "Tell, me , who was this Korsakoff guy?"

    2. Stumpy


      And my memory will be well and truly erased tomorrow night...

      .... Not to mention the time travel from being in the middle of town at 3am one moment to eking up (hopefully) in bed with a raging headache at 10am the following day...

  7. CarlC
    Thumb Down

    Time travel is possible. Now.

    in fact we are all traveling from the past to the future via the present every moment of our lives. I think what isn't possible is more likely to be controlled time travel.

    As Firefly puts it, dumb surveys get dumb answers. I would certainly give stupid answers if asked these sort of stupid questions.

  8. Sarah Davis

    Worst Article EVER !!

    Caleb Cox must be the dumbest writer the Reg has ever had if he believes a word of this drivel. Yes there are dumb people out there (conservative voters, conservatives, tabloid readers, people who buy into celebrity-ism, etc), but your sources were clearly playing you, and you fell for it.

    How could a nation whose educational, political, and transport systems have continually declined be capable of actually inventing a real T.A.R.D.I.S. or hover board - no one is that stupid. And really, how can you erase non-existent money.

    Your article would have been better if you just said' Charlie Brooker is poignant and moderately humourous' to yourself in the mirror - please don't write any more 'articles'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "How could a nation whose educational, political, and transport systems have continually declined be capable of actually inventing a real T.A.R.D.I.S. or hover board - no one is that stupid."

      Who said thet anybody believed this tech was invented in the UK? Are you saying the nation has some sort of variant on the old NIH disorder in that we all believe that everything was invented here?

    2. Thomas 4

      The title is a fictional invention

      Oh do lighten up, please. It's friday o'clock, I have a really long clinic ahead of me and anything that is good for a brief smile or a laugh helps time travel more quickly.

      Now if I could just find a memory erasing device that can erase the last 2 minutes I've wasted reading and replying to your post, that'd be swell.

    3. xperroni
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Yes they can be that dumb (was: Worst Article EVER !!)

      Well, *does* feel it is necessary (on the "Marty’s Hoverboard" page) to stress their replicas don't hover. You think it overkill?

      Actually I stumbled upon that other website once, which also sold hoverboad replicas. I couldn't find it now, but I vividly remember how the seller went to great lengths stressing his wares couldn't actually fly; he even maintained a "Hall of Shame" for specialy gruesome complaints - some blokes would argue that at $ 100.00 odd the hoverboards were too expensive, even as they believed the thing would, well, hover (as if any machine capable of carrying a man would sell within the three-figure range).

      So no, I don't think this is too stupid for mankind.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    And some believe...

    in surveys purporting to be factual when the sponsers need some publicity (nothing like claiming people are thick to get everyone feeling smug about themselves. So much smarter that all those Sun, Grundian, Times, Economist reading thickies..).

    Ah well, wroks crap...think I'll pop back to last monday when I had a day off.

  10. Ol'Peculier

    Memory removal

    Friday nights?

  11. resudaed

    Had to double check it wasn't April 1st

    Is the article real?

  12. Alex 14

    1/3 wrong about time travel existing?

    More like 2/3 wrong about it not existing. That's a perfectly valid finding for a study done in Birmingham, where time goes forwards 20 years once you leave the city.

    Flame me, it's Friday!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been saying it for years

    and I've said it numerous times on El Reg. The British are THICK! DIM! Completely STUPID.

    You just have to read some of the comments made by El Reg 'readers' to see that.

    At least 50% can't even spell or read properly. We done British parents. (Applause)

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I've been saying it for years

      'At least 50% can't even spell or read properly'

      Including you, by the looks of it :o)

    2. Ian Stephenson

      We done?

      Hello kettle? youre black! - Pot

      1. The Beer Monster

        Here we go...

        I think you mean "Hello kettle? You're black!"

        1. Ian Stephenson

          Internet tradition requires...

          that any correction of spelling or grammar nazism requires it's own error.

          That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

          Internet tradition also requires badgers so


          1. Anonymous John

            Re Internet tradition requires...

            Muphrey's law.

          2. The Real Loki


            you mean "its" - not "it's"?

            "It's" is a contraction of two words: it is. "Its" is possessive

      2. King Jack

        Surely you mean..

        Hello kettle? You're black! - Pot.

        Note the apostrophe, capital Y and full stop.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      I think you meant "well done British parents. (Applause)"

    4. James Hughes 1

      We done British parents

      I rest my case.

    5. HP Cynic


      I bet right now you are looking for the edit button....

      Anyway I know plenty of stupid people but I've never met a single person who thinks a single one of the objects or concepts mentioned in this article are real.

      Either the respondents took the piss or the questions were phrased in such a way as to illicit certain responses which they willingly interpreted as "belief in the TARDIS lolol".

      I hope eventually to see the source information so I can make my own judgement :)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Only 50%....

      That's a bit optimistic, don't you think?

      1. Elmer Phud


        That's Mr50% to you -- any more and I'll give my mate Gadaffi a bell and he'll pop-off some British-made ordnance.

    7. Elmer Phud


      We are British and as such too THICK! DIM! and Completely STUPID to listen to you.

      Others are too busy telling us how shite we are to be able to hear us go STFU

    8. Tigra 07

      RE: Obviously

      Well Obviously, obviously you got confused:

      TARDIS - obviously a time travel machine, whereas:

      Obviously IS TARD.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I've been saying it for years

      The real percentage is easy to work out, simply take the percentage of repsondents who have taken your comment seriously.

      Or as a rough guide use the rule of thumbs currently 3 ups to 14 downs which gives 82% in favour of the dims.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dim Brits

      Was it Britain that suffered a national panic attack and mass panty-wetting during a broadcast of a radio adaptation of a science fiction yarn?


      Remind me which country it was please. Was it the same country that REQUIRES the manufacturers to put "not a flying toy" on tiny model aircraft?

      Glass houses!

  14. Simon Neill

    It does exist!

    well, someone keeps erasing my memories of friday nights. They also seem to take large ammounts of money out of my wallet too.

    The hoverboards kind of exist, just we call them maglev trains.

    1. Tigra 07

      RE: Simon

      Are they called pubs?

  15. Vic
    Thumb Up

    The language gets a little bigger...

    ... As "numberwang" heads for the mainstream :-)


    1. Ralph B


      > As "numberwang" heads for the mainstream

      Mitchell & Webb did it first.

  16. Tigra 07

    Ahhhh, ok!

    This explains why my grandad likes Doctor Who, he must think it's a documentary!

  17. Bill Fresher


    Time travel is possible and so is memory erasing.

    The reason we haven't ecountered time travellers: they erase our memories.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      pretty sure

      I experience both time travel and memory erasure, every time i go out and drink 15 pints.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The press (or press departments of labs) don't help.

    When they take some hugely elaborate experiment that can sometimes synch up the spin of a couple of electrons a few atoms apart and claim they've invented teleportation, even in supposedly scientific journals and magazines.

    Or find that a particularly focused laser can ping a few photons onto the back of an object they're shooting it past and get headlines saying they've invented the tractor beam.

    Although there are alot of fuckwits out there...

  19. Anonymous Coward


    You cannot be serious... are you really saying that the TARDIS isn't real... but I saw it on the telly !!!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No numbers, no methodology

    just a press release at the end of the link.

    How are we supposed to trust them if they don't trust us with the full info.

    (when I first typed the sentence it had the word scientist in it - but I removed it as unproven)

  21. Wheaty73


    erm, 7.

    1. Spartacus

      That's Numberwang!

      See title.

  22. James Hughes 1

    Yes, please tar an entire country with the same brush.

    My 5 years old knows light sabres are not real, although he does wish they were 9he has an 8 year old brother and 2 year old sister - not sure who he would take out first)

    There are a lot of dim people, just like there are lot of smart people, in all corners of the world. Is there an equivalent survey, for example, taken in America (I'm thinking somewhere in the deep south)

    1. Elmer Phud

      Ahem . . .

      'corners of the world'?

      1. Sil_W

        Corners of the World

        Yep. It's a very old, generally very well-known, figure of speech.

  23. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    It's true

    Idiots can travel in time using a device called the RETARDIS.

  24. mafoo

    The TARDIS is real!

    It's parked outside Earl's Court tube station. Go see for yourself :P

  25. Chris Harrison

    There are stupider things to believe in

    Considering how many people believe in an invisible beardy bloke who lives in the clouds and loves us, these seem quite reasonable things to believe in to me.

    1. CarlC

      Ah the Beardy Bloke

      And as the late George Carlin pointed out, the "Beardy Bloke" loves us so much that if we are bad he will send us to a pit of eternal fire. <sarcasm>Now that is love.</sarcasm>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah - stupid things!

        Some, like this 'survey' so kindly dredged up for our pleasure by Caleb Cox, are good for a laugh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A Zen-like paradox?

        What did Thomas Aquinas have to say on the matter?

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Clouds - no North Pole

      And we don't see him as he travels near light speed delivering all of the presents

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        If you're talking Santa Claus...

        ... remember that's a Yankee myth based on Saint Nick that unfortunately caught on worldwide... I believe it really caught on after those pre WWII coke adverts.

        Society and culture truly evolves.

        Nowadays, Christmas isn't about the big guy in the sky anymore but that fat arsehole and his reindeer. And decadence and consumerism.

        Makes you wonder what's truly important

        1. Apocalypse Later

          God and Santa are opposites

          If you have been good, it will make no difference if God exists. If you have been bad, it will make no difference if Santa exists.

    3. Sil_W

      By Reg comment standards...

      ...that was probably the slowest crowbarring-of-religion-into-unrelated-article's-comments I've seen yet.

      Well done on a palpable blow for reason.

  26. foolonthehill

    Bad source or bad article?

    The only thing worse than a poorly written research report, is an article accepting it without any evidence of critical thought! Having just read the original "news" release from Birmingham Science City (whatever that is), I'd like to see details of how they chose their 3000 participants: based on the ridiculous and vague questions they used, I think I can guess at the quality of their sampling!

    "Seven out of ten adults questioned thought it was impossible to move objects with their mind" - I think I'd probably agree. But apparently, that's wrong because technology exists that can "read analogue electrical brainwaves and turn them into digital signals". Huh?

    And I'd commend the 30% who agreed that "time travel is actually possible" due to their clearer understanding of relativity! We time travel forward in time without any difficulty, and furthermore, not at a fixed rate - the Discovery astronauts will have travelled forward very slightly in time from our reference frame. And so do you every time you get in a plane.

  27. Richard IV

    Fact hunt 2

    Time travel _is_ possible. Going backwards is a significant problem, however.

    So is memory erasure, at least in rats. There are reports out on the interwebs going back 5 years or so about a team at NYU who have done so.

    "Can stars sing?" - apparently the answer is yes because stars vibrate at characteristic frequencies related to their size and age. Sorry, but in my book singing are sounds of a musical nature that are produced by animals. Saying stars sing is akin to saying that rocks sing when they hit each other.

    If the other questions were as vague as the few up on their website it's of little wonder that so many answered "wrongly", even allowing for micturators.

    1. Sil_W


      I'm fairly sure there's no inherent need for a sound to have been produced by an animal for it to be described as singing. has quite a few definitions that wouldn't meet that criterion.

      But to be fair, that does make your point. Stars 'sing' in pretty much the same way that a river runs. It makes the question a bit meaningless.

  28. HFoster


    I just saw a tweet from Channel 4 News reporting that the state of Oregon had issued a warning to citizens regarding the possibility of a tsunami.

    They had to mention that Oregon was in the USA. I can't think of there being another Oregon (just checked Wikipedia, and while there are several Oregons, there is only one state named Oregon. All the other Oregons are towns in various other states).

    I need a drink.

    1. Apocalypse Later

      That's not dumb, this is dumb-

      In the TV coverage of the tsunami in Indonesia, a Coronation Street actress who was holidaying there told the interviewer that she had been OK because "fortunately our hotel was uphill from the beach". Ever since, I have been trying to book a stay at one of the other hotels, that are downhill from the beach. It seems to me something that one ought to experience.

  29. Mark .

    Science, or supernatural? And time travel *is* possible

    Time travel *is* possible - did it specifically ask about time travel into the past?

    It's unclear whether the questions were asking specifically what technological inventions people thought existed, or was more broader than that. I mean, you get people thinking that time travel, teleportation and levitation is possible, through supernatural means. Still rather depressing - but then, we get a large proportion of the population thinking we can have virgin births and ressurrection from the dead...

    And if we're going to mock, let's pick up the point that the link claims that stars can sing, based on that oscillations can be converted to noise. If you're going to allow that sloppy twisting of definitions, it doesn't seem unreasonable to claim I can see gravity, because I can see apples falling, or that alcohol counts as erasing memory.

    What's more shocking is how many journalists think that Britons think that the TARDIS is real - the survey doesn't claim that at all.

  30. Stefing

    Believe it or not!

    A lot of Brits believe that they have special magic invisible friend - one that lives in the sky forever and ever and he done made everything just by thinking about it! And if you say that he doesn't then he do make you go to a bad place under the ground where you will burn and burn and nasty men with horns will prod you with sticks FOREVER - it's true!

  31. Velv

    Time travel

    Isn't the biggest problem with the existance of time travel the fact that we can't actually define what time truely is?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      unlike Virgin Trains

      ..who can't define what 'travel' actually is.

  32. YumDogfood

    TARD-IS the room.

    Time for a cider my luvvers.

  33. Chris Harrison

    Marketing opportunity

    Any possiblity of the email addresses of those who took part?

    I'm sure I could sell at least one of them a porta-loo in which they could travel into the future.

    Albeit at a fairly slow rate.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hover board

    I'm pretty sure this is possible with our current level of technology, just not particularly cost effective.

    It's the same principle as mag-lev trains, a board shouldn't pose too much of a problem. The rollout of a superconducting infrastructure to support it might be a bit of an issue though.

  35. JaitcH

    Dim Brits think TARDIS IS REAL

    You're writing about iPhans, I presume.

  36. Dave 62

    I don't understand.

    What is this complete and utter wank?

    It's like I don't even know where to start with the flaws in this "story"

    "Almost a quarter of us believe teleportation can be done."


    I don't understand what is going on here. Is this a joke? Are you trolling? Are the apes running riot while the editor is out?

    Appropriate icon, if time travel isn't possible, how did the terminator get back to '84?

  37. thecresta

    And you know this because...?

    I'd like to see you prove those things don't exist.

    < [please note the icon].

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I googled hoverboard and the third result was this .....

      "The hoverboard uses high performance hovercraft technology to lift a 200+lb rider 1 inch above the ground. A 6 horsepower 4-stroke gasoline engine spins a multi bladed propeller to force air under the craft.

      A special flexible skirt (which acts like an air bag) is used to help trap air under the craft to increase efficiency. There is a slight gap between the flexible skirt and the surface while it's hovering. When hovering, the craft is virtually friction free and only requires a small thrust to move at high speeds. The craft hovers best over smooth flat surfaces.

      * Uses high performance hovercraft technology

      * Can lift a 200+lb rider 1 inch above the ground

      * Has been used over a variety of terrains

      * Handheld control allows for steering and speed

      * 5ft long by 2ft wide

      * Can move forward at high speeds

      Although we have been designing and building Hoverboards since 1997, we have finally decided to offer construction plans for anyone interested in building their own. This design was one of our most successful and easy to buils. The plans are easy to follow and a working Hoverboard can usually be built for under $500 including the engine.

      This design uses a single vertical shaft lawnmover engine. It can hover and can move forward and turn left and right. Handheld controls are used to steer and change engine speed. It can be built in approximately 24 to 36 hours depending on the builders skill"

      1. Andy Hall

        See the gadget show...

        The gadget show built a hoverboard that sounds rather similar - the evidence is here...

  38. Simon2
    Black Helicopters

    Hover boards

    I wish hover boards like in back to the future were real!

    How did they do that in the films anyway?

    1. TonyG

      and they did this by...

      Using Mallett's time machine to bring them Back from the Future.

  39. Mnot Paranoid
    Black Helicopters

    I want one of those

    cars that runs on water. They're definitely out there.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Stanley Steamer

      Is that what you mean?

    2. Stu_The_Jock

      Moving a vehicle with water ?

      Yes it's been done for a LONG TIME, first heat the water, often this was achieved by use of a coal fire. When the water reaches a suitable temperature it undergoes a change of state to become a gas, and can be used, under pressure, to drive pistons back and forward, or turn a turbine.

      Of course today the heat might come from a small nuclear reactor.

      There are also reports of a medical company having exxposed salt water to some radioactive source causing it to be combustable much as petrol (gasoline) is, althogh as yet they don't quite know why.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pretty sure I read a study where some boffins managed to "teleport" an atom by cloning its information into another atom and destroying both the original atom and the destination atom info, allowing it to have technically teleported across a distance - it wasn't teleport in the Star Trek sense, but it was teleporting.

  41. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    geography, too

    I remember some time ago a survey showed that about 1 brit out of 3 believed the Everest to be located in the UK.

    At the time some scholar attributed that to Mt Everest being a very "British" mountain, as far as climbing it goes, and also to the fact that the British education system is based more on the "building "of individuals than on the acquisition of knowledge (in the lower grades at least). Although, being of French descent myself, I won't just yet dismiss the possibility that English people are just dimwits, and dragged the rest of the UK down (as opposed to, say, the Scots, who are fine chaps and at least have the decency to lose rugby games).

  42. John Fielder


    If people did not believe in the impossible, we would not have the wheel, engines, electricity, flying, space travel, mobile phones (imagine that).

    Microchips need quantum physics to work, something Einstein thought was impossible at first.

    Great discoveries come from people who believe in the impossible. Though I must admit, most of them are wrong.

  43. Ammaross Danan


    "Almost a quarter of us believe teleportation can be achieved. Yes, disassembling our bodily parts to have them reconstructed in a new place, all without dying in the process. FACT."

    The trouble with people is they don't get their (non)facts straight. Star Trek: The Next Generation gives a nod to how their teleportation device works in the episode where Picard is taken over by an energy being. He is teleported out into a "cloud" as "energy only, no matter" and is put back in his body by having the teleporter rebuild the last outgoing transmission and merging his "energy" self (that was in the ships systems by this time) with it. The doctor explained his memory loss as "this Picard didn't exist through the last three hours," meaning the body (and consequently the memories) had been dematerialized at the time of teleportation. The new body had been reconstructed from that transmission as if it had just happened. So, when we invent this form of molecular deconstruction and reconstruction technique, we'll, by definition, be able to clone people/body parts/etc automatically as well. Need a new body part? We'll "teleport" you, but merge your new body part into you during the reconstruction. Is it possible? Could be. Anytime soon? Not likely. It's that pesky problem of reconstructing all the atoms just so on the "other side" without having fancy machinery encapsulating you.

    Which begs the question, if the teleporter in Star Trek can teleport from surface to teleporter, or from a point of the ship to somewhere else on the ship, why have a teleporter room? To serve as a "entry way" of sorts perhaps? Stargate had the proper idea with their "Asgard" teleporters, even if it was just as fanciful. :)

    1. Sil_W

      Transporter Rooms

      "if the teleporter in Star Trek can teleport from surface to teleporter, or from a point of the ship to somewhere else on the ship, why have a teleporter room?"

      I don't think it's ever really addressed. I suppose it's just to keep the ship organised. The transporter is quite a hefty piece of kit, as it has to include the buffer tanks, the Heisenberg Compensators, and so on (my gods, why do I know about this rubbish?) so it'd make sense to have a dedicated area to keep it all in. I suppose regulating transports by having them all start and end (assuming an away mission will be a guaranteed 'round trip' for anyone not in a red shirt) in a single location allows the transporter crew to keep tabs on what's going on.

      I remember being vaguely bothered by the question of whether Captain Kirk (or whoever) is technically killed when going through a transporter. If we send him through, and his body is completely destroyed, and just reassembled at the other end according to a data pattern, doesn't that mean we've actually killed him and merely replaced him with an exact duplicate? The 'new' Kirk might have all the 'old' Kirk's characteristics and memories and training and so on - but is it actually, truly him? And what does the subject of a transporter experience when they go through? If the copy takes place before the delete, as it were, how would we know that the departing 'real' person doesn't actually die (possibly in disruptor-esque agony) if the newly written person isn't instilled with those last, terminal memories? I can't see that there'd be any way *to* know.

      Yes, it's sub-academic geekorama nonsense *now*, but if such technology ever does drift into the realms of plausibility, I'd want to know someone had thought carefully about this.

      Right. Put the plastic pointy ears down and step away...

  44. Haku

    Of course time travel is real!

    Hasn't anyone else seen that factual BBC documentary called "Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel"?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I object!!

    I take offense at this prejudicial choice of language! They are NOT dim! They are luminance challenged! Now, off to the pub with you and don't come back until you learn some manners.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    I don't believe that Dr. Who is real....

    But I swear that a trash bin in London once threatened to "Ex-ter-min-ate! Ex-ter-min-ate!!" me!

  47. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Brought to you from another time

    Someone once commented:

    Most kids are pretty bright, while most adults are pretty stupid.

    What happens?

    1. Getter lvl70 Druid

      Pretty Deep Question

      Just to touch the surface of it, I would think it's because 'kids' have the ability to think anything is possible and most adults have had reality(1) beat into them until that ability is dulled into almost nonexistence.

      (1) The world is not fair and does not particularly care about you. Rent, mortgages, utilities, food, transportation, kids, etc are foremost in importance. For example, I have a software idea that could net me some cash and would be fun to develop, but instead of working on it today, I'm going to be spreading 11 yards worth of gravel in my driveway by hand (making some pathways too - it'll look nice lol). I'll probably be too tired after that to work on my idea - another day lost because Real Life sometimes gets in the way of creativity.

      Maybe a little simplistic, but I just don't have the time right now to expound on this subject - that 11 yard pile of gravel is waiting.

  48. Number6

    Of course it's real

    Or at least the technology is. Have you never cleared the mess from a teenager's bedroom and wondered how it all fit in there?

  49. Mike 16

    Memory Erasure

    Back in the 1980s, a colleague had a clipping in his office about a curious incident.

    A Freedom of Information request had turned up reports of the CIA studying memory-erasure. When a reporter tried to follow up the story, he was able to locate some of the participants, but

    "None could recall if the experiment was a success".

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Somebody needs to do some homework

    Time travel : Done. As pointed out by many, we are already travelling in time, going forwards.

    Teleportation : Done. Admittedly only with a single photon, but nevertheless a reality.

    Memory erasure : Done. Try drinking 20 pints of Stella Artois.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Somebody needs to do some homework

      Anybody who drinks even one pint of SA wouldn't have any memory worth erasing.

  51. Jacqui

    Canadian parliament is melting

    I just loved this one - a canucks spoof TV crew vistited US politicans asking then to video an appeal for againts global warming (and donations) because the canadian parliament (which they say is a giant igloo) is melting and the canadian need merkin help to stop it melting away.

    It was amazing just how many merkin poliiticans spouted this nonsense - even after many had consulted aides to "check the facts".

    I note they did not mention CSI style techniques - even our police and politicos think these are possible/easy/quick...

    Politicians are Muppets.(tm)

  52. John Savard

    Back to the Future

    I remember seeing, somewhere, a claim in all seriousness that the hoverboard shown in the early part of the movie "Back to the Future" was real. I knew that this was quite impossible, as there's no technology in existence which would pack the energy and thrust needed in such a small package, but someone, I can only presume a hoaxer, tried to convince people of this.

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