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If I had a time machine, I would first visit...

Displaying poll results.
The past, within 100 years
  3839 votes / 12%
The future, within 100 years
  5904 votes / 19%
The past, within 10,000 years
  2663 votes / 8%
The future, within 10,000 years
  4371 votes / 14%
Dinosaurs (distant past)
  960 votes / 3%
Galactic Empire (distant future)
  4452 votes / 15%
I'd let it sit in my garage and not use it
  1285 votes / 4%
I'd hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button
  6178 votes / 20%
29652 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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If I had a time machine, I would first visit...

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  • by tmosley (996283) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @09:34AM (#41498663)
    I wouldn't go into the past unless A, time is at least two dimensional (ie my arrival in the past splits off another time stream), and B. I could get back to my original time stream. Don't want no paradoxes that result in me slowly disappearing while playing a guitar at a high school dance.

    And really the first order of business is going to the distant future to steal acquire advanced technologies like FTL drives, immortality tech, loyal nanites, etc. After all that, then there is time for exploration. Of course, if my trips to the future are interfered with by my return to the less distant future or present, that result in the disappearance of all my cool stuff, then I would just have to learn how to make it all and rebuild it myself from present materials on my return, and afterwards, time travel would become a "look but don't touch" affair.
  • I'm brown... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eepok (545733) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @09:54AM (#41498755) Homepage

    I'm brown, so I'll be happy checking out the future. The Western world prior to the 1960s is interesting, but I don't think I'd fare as well as I wish.

  • by tmosley (996283) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#41499005)
    Careful, there are consequences to such actions. No Islam means no Crusades (probably), which means ancient Greek writings aren't brought back to Europe, which means no Renaissance, which means no age of Discovery, which means no Industrial Revolution, which means Europe might just be the Africa of the world.

    Further, without the history of warfare, the middle East might have been more easily conquered by the Mongols, which might have allowed them to push even further into Europe than they did. Also note that when the Khans sacked Bagdad, the Greek knowledge held there would have been lost forever.

    But hey, at least your made up enemy of the month wouldn't exist, and the non-existent US would be oppressing Zoroastrians in their continuous search for more oil and gold reserves to steal. Damn, evil Zoroastrians. If I had a time machine, I would go back to 2000BC and kill Zoroaster, effectively doing humanity a great service.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2012 @11:25AM (#41499313)

    I'd travel back in time to just before I was born and tell my parents to leave my penis intact, thank you very much.

  • Re:all gone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:55PM (#41500611) Journal

    My fear is that in 10,000 years from now we will be primptives, poor, and filthy. As oil goes away mankind will go back to using horses. With so many people on this planet I do not think we can sustain ourselves and we will have an Easter Islands style tragedy.

    Once the inhabitants used up all the wood they couldn't build boats to leave nor nets to fish. They resorted to cannabilism, disease, and mass starvation.

    We just keep buying trucks and SUVs like there is no tomorrow and use cargo ships that use 50 million cars worth of gas every year to save a dollar on manufactured products at Walmart. It is not sustainable and as third world countries start to upgrade to cars it will start to create havoc.

    Maybe I am wrong? But it does not look bright unless we invent warp drives NOW so we can start obtaining resources in other words to continue our life style. There is just waaaaay too many people out there consuming the whole planet!

  • by jonadab (583620) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @02:26PM (#41500853) Homepage Journal
    I'd probably use it for small, practical things.

    I could get off work on a Friday, go back in time two weeks plus four hours (to a time when my former self was at work), leave on vacation, and not have to be back for two weeks, *without* having to ask my boss for two weeks off work. If I wake up one morning and just don't _feel_ like going to work, I could go back in time six hours, take a four hour nap, read for an hour or two, and still get to work on time. I could get an answering machine, leave the ringer on the phone turned off all the time, then once a night check my messages, and if there was anything that required an urgent response, I could go back in time to thirty seconds after the message was left and respond -- people would think I was just screening my calls, and I wouldn't have to interrupt my day. I could do the same thing with email: go back in time to right after the message was sent and respond then, and people would think I was punctual. Stuff like that.

    Think of it as a technologically advanced form of personal time management.
  • Re:Past (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomhath (637240) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @02:57PM (#41501079)
    Be careful, by killing the religions we have you might provide an opportunity for something even worse. Read up on what Aztec priests did for a living (the Conquistadors couldn't count all the skulls, but estimated something over 100k lined the walls of the main temple).
  • by linebackn (131821) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:45PM (#41501767)

    Most of the posts so far assume a time machine would force you to interact with the past/future.

    If I had a time machine that would just let me spectate, I would love to examine details and reasons behind many historic events without altering anything and creating messy alternate time lines. Changing the present might ruin the entire reasons for examining a piece of history in the first place!

    Examining the future in such a way would be interesting too. But then it would only be one possible future as observing it might change it.

  • Re:Past (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afeeney (719690) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @05:04PM (#41501879)
    If your goal is preventing wholescale slaughter of humans and destruction of bodies of knowledge, Genghis Khan and the Mongols were responsible for more deaths directly ( 30-60 million [wikipedia.org]) than any other war except for WWII. Proportionately, no other regime has ever killed as much of the world population, at 7.5 percent to 15 percent. By comparison, the highest death rate for WWII is estimated at 3.1 percent. If you count Timur as one of the Mongols (some do, some don't), the figures go from 45 to 80 million killed. Using the broadest possible definition of Holocaust deaths, including the high estimates for Roma and all Soviet/Polish POWs, there were 17 million deaths.

    If you count the probable indirect death toll, one of the unintended consequences of the improved trade routes through Asia was the Black Death, which would make the Mongols the most destructive force ever in terms of human loss of life. Bugs coming out of obscure locations to kill millions due to improved travel capacity didn't begin with WWI, ebola, or SARS.

    Stopping Mao from the policies that led to the Great Chinese Famine of 1958-63 would have saved 15 to 43 million lives. These policies included such idiocies as killing all the sparrows and small birds that allegedly ate crop seeds, which of course left crops vulnerable to the much more destructive insects; collectivization of farms in ways that put the most loyal rather than the most competent farmers in charge; refusing to use farming methods that were too bourgeoisie, and so on.

  • Re:Blueshift (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hoboroadie (1726896) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @06:36PM (#41502423)

    That reminds me of a short story. Who can remember the one where the guy with the time machine was roasting folks with his flashlight?

  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:20AM (#41506595)

    "It would be far more useful to figure out the point where Islam went from progressivet o regressive and prevent that. But I expect taht that would be much more difficult to pinpoint and prevent."

    You don't have to go that far. The perceived regressiveness of Islam is a pretty recent phenomenon. Like most religions, there's always been conservative and progressive strains of Islam. I remember reading somewhere that it was actually the European powers that dominated North Africa and the Middle East before the World War 2 which encouraged conservative Islam because it was seen as less threatening than the more "progressive" Islam practiced in the Ottomon Empire. Or maybe it was a little later when conservative Islam was seen as the perfect counterweight to the secular but quasi-socialist ideologies of the leaders of the Arab nationalist movement, religious fundamentalism being seen as the lesser evil when compared to the ideological kin of Marxist socialism.

  • Re:Past (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @09:44PM (#41510157)
    Sadly, you might be better off killing Colombus somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. The native Americans had more advanced astronomy than Europe at the time. And from what I've read about, which is mainly conjecture at this point, the natives were more domesticated than we thought, with crops and cities, but the plague brought in by the first explorers killed off 90% of the natives, and 100% of the cities, and they turned nomadic and more tribal to survive. But to know for sure, you'd need a time machine or something.
  • Time dilation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:21AM (#41510757) Journal

    send a spaceship to the Andromeda galaxy and back... even at speeds of around 0.5c there'd still be enough relativity for the astronauts to age only about 70 years

    Time dilation factor is gamma where gamma=1/sqrt(1-(v/c)**2). At 0.5c this gives 1.15 so since Andromeda is 2.5 million light years away at 0.5c the Earth observer will say that it takes 5 million years (one way!) to get there and will expect the astronauts to have aged by only 4.33 million years...so just a little more than 70 years! If you want to travel so fast that only 70 years passes going to Andromeda an back then you need to be travelling at 0.9999999998c which is faster than a proton in the Large Hadron Collider and each proton in your body would have roughly 10 times the energy of an LHC proton. It will also require an energy roughly 70,000 times the mass-energy of the space craft to achieve i.e. if your space craft was 1 ton in mass you would need to convert 70,000 tons of mass into energy to give it enough kinetic energy.

    As for relativity there is a ton of evidence that it is correct: cosmic muons reach the Earth's surface without decaying, particle accelerators work (e.g. the LHC would need magnets ~7,000 times weaker were it not for relativity).

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

 



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