Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Two time-travel related stories have been making the rounds in the blogosphere this week. First, as Diana mentioned in a comment to a previous entry, Amal Dorai, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering is planning a Time Travel Convention for May 7 at 8 PM. Following the logic of the Cat and Girl comic, Dorai reasons that you would really only need one time-travel convention because time travelers could theoretically return to their home times and invite all of their friends, though Destination Day may give the MIT time-travel convention some competition (also check out the NPR interview with Dorai and his short bibliography on time travel).

Meanwhile, RedNova reports on a Black Box that has had some success in anticipating catastrophic events. According to scientists, including Princeton University emeritus researcher Dr. Roger Nelson, this black box anticipated the September 11 attacks by several hours and later repeated this uncanny sensitivity by anticipating the tsunami in December of last year. These researchers, who are part of the Global Consciousness Project, claim that the black box consistently experiences abnormal activity (I’m not going to try to re-explain the details) immediately before major global events. They theorize that if time flows backwards and forwards, “it might just be possible to foretell major world events. We would, in effect, be ‘remembering’ things that had taken place in our future.” The scientists clearly don’t anticipate that they’ll be able to produce a machine that can predict the future with any degree of certainty, though some hope that such a machine might allow people to tap into their psychic abilities.

Because I’m writing on time-travel film, I always find these stories fascinating even if I’m not sure (yet) how they’ll fit into the work that I’m doing (if they fit at all). I think that what I find so interesting about Durai’s Time-Travel Convention is his awareness that the Web may not exist in its current form in the distant future when time travel is invented (assuming that it ever is), hence his attempts to have the event mentioned in print media with notices in major newspapers and tucked into “obscure” books (does my dissertation count?).

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