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

    Well I'm convinced.

    If I was a time traveler from the future, I certainly know that I would have no better things to do than tweet about the pope and comet ison.

    Also I can't help but notice that time travel, comet ISON, Pope Francis (and the Mayan calendar) are all ingredients in a particularly silly conspiracy theory.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      John Titor told me all about it in 2000!

      You may be confusing this with a novel by Dan Brown?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: John Titor told me all about it in 2000!

        And you seem to be confusing the things Dan Brown writes with novels.

    2. JohnG

      Re: Well I'm convinced.

      "Getting desperate, the researchers have also asked time travellers, if they exist, to post to the hashtag “#IcanChangeThePast2” or “#IcannotChangeThePast2”, on or before August 2013."

      If a time traveller posted “#IcannotChangeThePast2” at any point in their own past, then they would have changed their own past (by revealing the possibility of time travel in the future), thus contradicting their own post.

      1. admiraljkb
        Alien

        Re: Well I'm convinced.

        I think our Time Traveling friends instead went for #IhazCheezeburger instead to not totally give themselves away. Bow to our (time traveling) feline overlords!

        1. Annihilator Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Well I'm convinced.

          I suspect some went with #IwillhazCheezeburgeryesterdayz in error, thus revealing their time travelling ways. Fortunately, they then saw the register's report that time travellers *had* been found on the interwebs, and thus went back in time again to delete the tweet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well I'm convinced.

        Then there's the question of what would actually happen if they did tweet with the hashtag in question, and the Everett many worlds interpretation is the correct one. Would the researchers ever see the results of their request? Their timeline and the one in which the tweet was made might presumably be mutually exclusive.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Well I'm convinced.

          "...the Everett many worlds interpretation is the correct one..."

          You are making a distinction without a difference. The Everett many worlds interpretation is "the correct one", as it is entirely equivalent in all ways to the conventional collapsing wavefunction "correct" interpretation. Any competent Physicist could tell you that.

      3. CRConrad

        Not their own past.

        They're being asked to do it; i.e, they haven't, yet. Not in their own personal timeline, that is. If they do it(*) tomorrow, or next month or in twenty years, then that's still in the future to them. So they'll only be changing their own future, not their past, and that's allowed: We all do, all the time.

        (*): Where "do it" means "go back to whenever it was and post whatever it was on Twitter."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well I'm convinced.

      Look at lottery tickets instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well I'm convinced.

        AC: "Look at lottery tickets instead."

        Ah, a hit! Canadian lottery ticket retailers and their extended family members win Canadian lotteries at a rate that is startling. An obvious sign of Time Traveling.

        Or perhaps they cheat trusting old folks out of their winnings.

        It's either one or the other.

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Well I'm convinced.

      I know this just proves that social media has no future.

  2. Thorne

    Personally I'd of hoped

    That time travellers would have evolved beyond Twitter....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally I'd of hoped

      Time travel is interesting. For instance, it's a nice explanation for Fermi's paradox: the reason Earth is not knee-deep in invading aliens is because the Space-Time Service of the future Terran Empire is protecting the empire's origins.

      1. Keith 21

        Re: Personally I'd of hoped

        Oh come on, everyone knows the real reason that we are not knee-deep in invading aliens is due to this one man.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Personally I'd of hoped

          @Keith

          Or possibly they're just frightened that Capt Jack will try to shag them

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Personally I'd of hoped

            Why would anybody with that kind of capability do something as boring as visiting us? I know I would be gone in a heartbeat, never looking back.

        2. A Nother Handle

          Re: Personally I'd of hoped

          I'm disappointed that you linked to an alleged medical practitioner rather than Tomas de Torquemada, Emperor of Termight. Be pure! Be vigilant! Behave!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally I'd of hoped

      Personally, I'd _have_ hoped that time travellers would have evolved beyond Twitter-style grammar...

      1. frank ly

        Re: Personally I'd of hoped

        " ... I'd _have_ hoped ..."

        I want people to write: I'd've ... Is anybody with me on this?

        1. Steve Renouf

          Re: Personally I'd of hoped

          I'd've thought there's no reason not to - given that's how a lot of people say it!

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

            Re: Personally I'd of hoped

            Hmm.

            Given that language changes over time, I'd've thought that 'I'd've' might change to 'iduv' as a specific conditional perfect construction in the English language.

            So we could use a search for 'iduv' as another method of finding out if there are any persons from the future living amongst us, and who may not be completely fluent in 20th Century English.

            Unfortunately, IDUV appears to be a currently existing type of film. So bang goes that idea....

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Personally I'd of hoped

            Actually, being a land of culture and a people who love the classics, here in Oz it's pronounced 'Aida'

    3. thx1138v2

      Re: Personally I'd of hoped

      It would be really, really sad if they had not.

    4. thx1138v2

      Re: Personally I'd of hoped

      Every time I get to thinking that humanity has a chance of survival something comes along to make it once again dubious. This, however, whould be proof. The reason they won't be detected with the twitter methodology is that they would have probably only jumped about 3 seconds into the future with their device. I'm not sure tweeter twits have attention spans much longer than that.

  3. Eddy Ito

    Being from the future

    I would think that tweeting of time travel is tacky and I've got better things to do than indicate "prescient" things about the pope's religion and the preferred location for bears to defecate. #IdidHasCheezburger but found NSA taggants so gave it to a cat.

    1. dssf

      Re: Being from the future

      Don'tsss syouuu wantsss stoooo know whessssur sssthere isss a lissssar under thsssat srobe? Anna will award you withsss your own Blue Energgggy ssssphere.

  4. dssf

    Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

    Crewman Daniels

    The Starfleet Temporal Commision

    The Xindi

    Captain Janeway

    Crewman Braxton (if he ever gets out and re-promotes himself)

    And a slew of others, just from Trek alone, hahaha....

    Hahaha

    Besides, IF you can timetravel, you owe it to the continuity of time to not assist any frackkin humans of this strain with any quantum or time-related fact.

    Further besides, humans are not yet ready for even solar travel.

    And, if you help any alphabet soup agencies, you'll screw up the "Earth: Galactic Comedy Central Pitstop" status I "presciently" accorded to this planet weeks ago and intermittently.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

      How do we know he didn't invent transparent aluminum?

      1. dssf

        Re: Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

        We don't, but probably he did.

        Do you know who on Carbon Creek provided hyoomons with Velcro? Thank Gene Roddenberry for Trek, hehehe. Velcro is a great thing, but the progeny of it may be in dispute for centuries to come, or uncome...

        1. cyrus

          Re: Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

          I tried to "uncome", after getting a girl pregnant. Seems you need a bit more than some floss, a condom and a few scraps of tin foil in order to time travel.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

        3M did it years ago- have a quick Google for Alumina glass.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Do not assist, or you'll be pursued by:

      Not to mention the Hounds of Tindalos.

  5. dssf

    All your timelines

    Are blong to usssss

  6. jake Silver badge

    On wonders ...

    ... how much grant money Michigan Technical University physics professor Robert Nemiroff and PhD candidate Teresa Wilson pocked from this useless exercise ... and who was daft enough to bankroll it in the first place.

    Honestly, the mind boggles.

    1. arctic_haze

      Re: On wonders ...

      You must have your sense of humor switch stuck in the off position.

      But seriously the paper cost nothing. A few hours of fun discussion, Internet search and then writing it up. Even publishing on axiv if free. They also do not list any research projects in the acknowledgement section so they did not use the paper on their time sheets .

      No, they have not done this on your money. With the possible exception of the professor salary. You never did silly web searches while in work? So throw the first stone. But they at least did their time to produce something funny.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On wonders ...

      It actually reads like they were doing a small project on internet research nad this was just a whimsical way to make the point that Google's chronology won't work.

    3. RhetoricComment

      Re: On wonders ...

      Maybe the timetravellers funded the research as an ironic joke. As a side effect they also managed to send a message to their home time saying help we are stuck here without any scientists realising what was happening and therefore preserving the time line unless someone posts a message such as this.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    I have been time-traveling my entire life

    One moment at a time into the great unknown future. What a grand adventure it's been.

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Happy

      Re: I have been time-traveling my entire life

      And in the opposite direction...we see into the past by looking at the very stars themselves, their celestial light arriving long after many of them have died.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We are here you know. All of us from everywhen. Screw up badly enough to get a life sentence and they track you down and shunt you into this shitty timeline. The only one -yeah, I guess there had to be one - so far beyond the decimal point that neither space nor time travel exist here. Suicide rock they call it. No way off and no way out. Won't claim me though. Too old. I'll be gone by then. Feel a pang for the juvies tho'. Shit's gonna get real for them.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Remind me,

      Hawksbill Station (a.k.a The Anvil of Time) by Robert Silverburg, maybe?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remind me,

        I thought it was me but it's not impossible that I'm subconsciously regurgitating something I read, I like Silverberg's style so I'm going to dig that one up and check it out.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Remind me,

          Do. The premise is that a penal colony of political dissenters exists in the Precambrian era, since people can only be sent back in time. The narrator is an old hand who doesn't like much change.

  9. Chad H.

    But, um, there is proof of time travel

    http://h2g2.com/entry/A753806

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Meh

    So if no time traveler responds

    They will have their proof. Maybe they can get a law passed to ensure all time travelers register with immigration?

    1. dan1980

      Re: So if no time traveler responds

      They took our jerbs!!!

      http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/Goobacks

  11. LaeMing
    Unhappy

    He came, he saw, he left again.

    http://www.globalnerdy.com/2009/02/23/future-man-tried-to-warn-us/

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: He came, he saw, he left again.

      "He went back to our common future of FAIL, whence he came."

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    A must read to increase your knollij!

    PHYS771 Lecture 19: Time Travel

    Let's talk about the more interesting kind of time travel: the backwards kind. Can closed timelike curves (CTCs) exist in Nature? This question has a very long history of being studied by physicists on weekends. It was discovered early on, by Gödel and others, that classical general relativity admits CTC solutions. All of the known solutions, however, have some element that can be objected to as being "unphysical." For example, some solutions involve wormholes, but that requires "exotic matter" having negative mass to keep the wormhole open. They all, so far, involve either non-standard cosmologies or else types of matter or energy that have yet to be experimentally observed. But that's just classical general relativity. Once you put quantum mechanics in the picture, it becomes an even harder question. General relativity is not just a theory of some fields in spacetime, but of spacetime itself, and so once you quantize it, you'd expect there to be fluctuations in the causal structure of spacetime. The question is, why shouldn't that produce CTCs?

    Incidentally, there's an interesting metaquestion here: why have physicists found it so hard to create a quantum theory of gravity? The technical answer usually given is that, unlike (say) Maxwell's equations, general relativity is not renormalizable. But I think there's also a simpler answer, one that's much more understandable to a doofus layperson like me. The real heart of the matter is that general relativity is a theory of spacetime itself, and so a quantum theory of gravity is going to have to be talking about superpositions over spacetime and fluctuations of spacetime. One of the things you'd expect such a theory to answer is whether closed timelike curves can exist. So quantum gravity seems "CTC-hard", in the sense that it's at least as hard as determining if CTCs are possible! And even I can see that this can't possibly be a trivial question to settle. Even if CTCs are impossible, presumably they're not going to be proven impossible without some far-reaching new insight. 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.

    In the field I come from, it's never our place to ask if some physical object exists or not, it's to assume it exists and see what computations we can do with it. Thus, from now on, we'll assume CTCs exist. What would the consequences be for computational complexity? Perhaps surprisingly, I'll be able to give a clear and specific answer to that.

    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.

  13. 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..."

  14. 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.)

  15. Scott Broukell
    Alien

    Old news in the next hour

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

  16. 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..

  17. 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!

  18. Tromos

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

    OK, but what about last week?

  19. 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!

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Tom_

    If I worked at Twitter

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

  22. 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

  23. Fink-Nottle

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

  24. 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?

  25. Unicornpiss
    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.

  26. heyrick Silver badge

    Jeez...

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old news

    Didn't I already read this article next week?

  33. 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...

  34. Javapapa

    Obligatory xkcd cartoon

    http://xkcd.com/1063/

  35. Infernoz Bronze badge

    #stupid-researchers

    Any time traveller would not to leave any noticeable traces, because they either can't, or they don't want any other time travellers to easily find those traces e.g. some kind of opponent or Time Police.

    The best changes would be very subtle 'surgical' tweak, which would cause limited unexpected damage.

  36. Refugee from Windows
    Coat

    It could be simply

    That such as Twitter and Farcebook are but mere blips that vanish in the night like other sites we remember used to be popular and have gone into oblivion.

    Mine's the one with the long scarf and keys to the blue box.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to date a time-traveler...

    But that's all in the past now...

  38. Spicy McMarsbar

    "HASHTAGICANCHANGETHEPAST2"

    They tried but after screaming "HASHTAGICANCHANGETHEPAST2" into the mouse Scotty gave up.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually our future descendants will know how to travel back in time.

    The problem will be, that they won't find a way to alter their spacial-position at the same time. Therefore all their travel-back attempts will land them in the middle of the void of space, not where their start point used to be. Their planet, solar system and galactic arm hasn't yet reached the point at which they started their journey.

    There's loads of them floating around out there somewhere, deep frozen....

  40. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    We're here!

    Looking for a prescient post?

    Windows 9 is a bigger dog than Windows 8/8.1 was.

  41. Hi Wreck
    Alien

    Nonsense!

    Time travelers do indeed exist. Just look at the NANEX data just prior to any announcement by the Federal Reserve.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't work anyway.

    It will find lots of false negatives, such as people like me, who merely give the impression of being from the future, by the relatively simple action of predicting it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Will work everywhere and especially well in busying pleasure for treasure and drive

      Look out for those who are perfectly enough prepared for futures predicted but not too oft led with distinction to sustainable fruition and growth. Cities and Markets have a Novel and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Meme to Chill Out with there in Live Operational Virtual Enterprise Zones.

      That dictates that the likes of NYSE/FTSE/NASDAQ/ accept a catastrophic hit requiring Systems Rebuild, rather than suffer Degradation and Slow Ruination and Operations Malfunctions.

  43. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Not enough of them

    If these researchers were seriously wanting to think this through, what makes them think that the (probably) tiny number of time travellers would come to this period, be spending time using our primitve and slow internet to communicate or have anyone online to comminicate with.

    But I rather doubt that they were being serious - even with grant money to squander.

  44. harmjschoonhoven

    A timehonoured interpretation

    'They focussed on mentions of Comet ISON, and Pope Francis'

    There is no need for time travellers. Just interpret the prophecies of Michel Nostradamus (1503-1566) in the "correct" way.

  45. Faux Science Slayer

    Time travel is possible, visit the Cosmology tab at the Faux Science Slayer website for errors in the 'big bang' hypothesis and the reasons why the Rotating Universe Model has been suppressed for sixty years.

  46. Rambler

    they ARE here

    and I replied to the # tomorrow, it should be there yesterday :o)

    as for time travellers, you really need to go into historical incidents, and I nominate the man on the grassy knoll as time traveller #1

    or if it WAS the future, and you wanted to go back to a specific place, you would need to have a geographical location down tight, OR a major man made feature that has stood already for 000's of years

    so off to Egypt then

    who will fund me ;o)

  47. darrin

    I miss Jimmy Fallon.

    I miss Jimmy Fallon.

  48. Itchyballs

    Idiots

    Idiots.... In 1983 Fred Schneider asks "Where's your iPod?" At 28:12...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju15-NDuKsg

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