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Ineffective Time Travelling

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I often have fantasies. Some of them involve my travelling back into the past, using knowledge ahead of my time to benefit. Knowing to invest in Microsoft, or telling my previous self how to avoid mistakes, I do it without thinking sometimes and it’s embarrasing in its uselessness. Sometimes I think about chatting with pre-Newton scientists and advancing science by hundreds of years – becoming rich and powerful in the process. Recently, however, I’ve wondered just how well I’d be able to do such a thing. My knowledge of how the amazing technology we have today is, to be honest, rudimentry at best. I doubt I’d be able to tell Ye Olde humans how to generate electricity, let alone design microchips. What, exactly, would be gained from an average person travelling back in time to tell of the future?

My high school science education has given me a basic grounding in the general theories of how the universe works. Light waves, atoms, evolution, DNA: I grasp them. If I could find the right people (maybe Leonardo Da Vinci or Isaac Newton, depending on how far back I go), I could get those ideas fermenting in the minds of that time. I can’t see them reaping the benefits right away – the theories would need to trickle slowly from the fringe to the mainsteam to the applied.

So I imagine that I could move science forward hugely if I found the right scientists to talk to in the right time, but I wouldn’t be able to take over the world with robots or the Internet. A shame, really.


Written by atroche

April 23, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

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  1. Um, how did you get into my head and have my daydreams? That is freaky!


    April 28, 2008 at 10:50 pm

  2. The food of the past was not as tasty and healthy as the modern food.

    So you might want to consider to take some fruits and fresh liquids with you.

    Cute Donna

    April 29, 2008 at 8:02 am

  3. wow al, this blog is almost as gay as you are
    if thats even possible


    May 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm

  4. The quality of your posts are heading south. You need some devine inspiration.


    May 7, 2008 at 12:32 pm

  5. Personally I think it would be more fun to bring people from the past into the present and actually show them what happened to their ideas, e.g. show Shakespeare the movies based on his plays, or let Newton loose on books about General Relativity, etc. As far as your idea goes, try reading “Island in the Sea of Time” by S M Stirling if you haven’t already – a group of people and their island go back in time, have to learn how to survive and change history completely.


    June 8, 2008 at 3:39 am

  6. I have exactly the same notion on a regular basis, and occasionally I wake up in a gutter with an empty bottle of wikipedia wondering where I parked last Tuesday night, all from trying to brush up on fundamentals of applied engineering and wrapping my mind around how I’d adapt and demonstrate a concept at a more primitive time.

    Perhaps the most amazing thing you could do would be to go way back, say to the time of Socrates, and teach him English so he could translate your ideas to a few impressionable minds. Ancient Greece would be a great place to incubate some truly advanced ideas. But then they’d probably make him drink hemlock or something equally primitive.

    So maybe you’d have to get Ptolemy or Galileo to take up your theories. Being as the society of the time was centered around religion, they’d be able to disseminate the ideas quickly to the entire populace.

    Oh wait, it’s been done, and it didn’t go so well. Maybe someone from the future will have stolen our idea, and that’s how those guys ended up coming out on the short end of it.

    C’mon, that’s funny.

    You could debate all day the most pivotal development in history, arguing over fire, the wheel, or steel, but for my two cents, the most broadly cross-culturally applicable, technology independent development in the last millennium has been the assembly line in all its various forms.

    A motivated man could land in nearly any point in history where humans are roaming free, and set up an empire without regard to demand, technology, literacy, or engineering.

    Given enough manpower, you could build an ice castle in the Sahara.


    August 3, 2008 at 11:39 am

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