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When I Want Time Travel

There's a photo making the rounds again on Facebook of a protestor holding up a sign that reads, "What Do We Want? Time Travel! When Do We Want It? It's Irrelevant!" Invariably, people share it with me, and I do appreciate it a lot (even if one of the Facebook pages that it comes from has a name with an obscenity in it).

However, I feel obliged to point out that when we want time travel *is* relevant. One of the standard questions that gets asked about time travel is, "If time travel is possible, where are all the time travelers?" As it is, our current understanding of how real, physically allowable time travel might work prohibits traveling back in time beyond the point at which the time machine is first invented. So, for example, if I invent a time machine on January 1, 2014, at 12:00 midnight, people downstream from that point in time would be able to travel back to 1/1/2014, but no farther.

So while I wouldn't mind receiving visitors from the future on 1/1/2014, I kind of wish time travel had been invented already, so I could explore my own personal past from today. When we get time travel is most certainly relevant.

Comments

"...where are all the time travelers?..."

They all wind up on the Titanic and drown.
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December 2016

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