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The Almighty Buck Technology Science

Far-Fetched Time Travel Concept Receives Private Funds 505

Posted by Zonk
from the if-you're-going-to-make-a-time-machine-do-it-with-some-style dept.
WED Fan writes "A University of Washington researcher who couldn't find funds the old fashioned way has raised funds from private parties to continue with his studies of 'time travel'. He is studying the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox. Basically, using spooky action, he wants to be able to use entangled pairs to send messages, not only through space, but also in time. 'As the evidence for this has accumulated, several fairly contorted and unsatisfying efforts have been aimed at solving the puzzle. Cramer has proposed an explanation that doesn't violate the speed of light but does kind of mess with the traditional concept of time.' Despite the implausibility of the science here laypeople have been inspired by the researcher's idea, enough to donate almost $35,000 to his project."
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Far-Fetched Time Travel Concept Receives Private Funds

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  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by uolamer (957159) * on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:00PM (#19478563)
    Can I get the investors info?

    I have a bridge that...
    In soviet Russia Time Travel You.
    Is this the Lt. Commander Data theory or the Spock theory of time travel?
    if you do manage to do this, send me a copy of all the sports results for the next 100 years and history of the stocks, etc.

    Seriously.. If this was possible, i can only start to imagine how the wrong people or even the right people could really mess up things with their first little test.
    • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Intron (870560) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:10PM (#19478763)
      If this worked then there would already be investors lined up who have sent messages to themselves from the future.
      • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Interesting)

        by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:33PM (#19479055) Journal
        it could be that you can't send messages back any earlier than the time the message was created, effectively only slowing time down so it take less time for the message to arrive. Less time could be no time at all so the message arrives when it's sent.

        This won't allow you to send messages 'back' in time though.
        • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CommunistHamster (949406) <communisthamster@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:47PM (#19479267)
          The trouble is that there is no such thing as universal simultaneity. What clock do we measure by when measuring "before the message was created"?
          • If this worked then there would already be investors lined up who have sent messages to themselves from the future.

            it could be that you can't send messages back any earlier than the time the message was created, effectively only slowing time down so it take less time for the message to arrive. Less time could be no time at all so the message arrives when it's sent.

            The trouble is that there is no such thing as universal simultaneity.

            Pffft...everyone knows that really intelligent people [youtube.com]have already figu

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by WED Fan (911325)

          it could be that you can't send messages back any earlier than the time the message was created, effectively only slowing time down so it take less time for the message to arrive. Less time could be no time at all so the message arrives when it's sent.

          So, how do you weed through the noise? How do you know what pair to listen to when you don't even know a message has been sent?

          Weaponize this sucker, grab an intangled pair in a critical system, like a reactor, twist the sucker until it does something bad. B

        • More to the point than trying to speculate about the physics of the system, you can't receive a message from the future unless you've built a receiver. So even if the system works, you've got to spend the cash upfront before you can find out.

          *Then* you can use it to violate causality and send yourself stock market and horse-racing results from the future....

      • by dfiguero (324827) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:37PM (#19479121)
        Note to self from the future: don't invest in this idea.
      • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:44PM (#19479203) Homepage Journal

        How do you know they didn't?

        Sure, it may seem like it's a foolish investment, but if it pays off... Oh, man... Invest a penny at the beginning at time, and before you know it, you'll be dining at Milliways.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HTH NE1 (675604)

          Invest a penny at the beginning at time, and before you know it, you'll be dining at Milliways.

          Better check that (1) your bank will continue to exist for the requisite period ("Do you take Visa?" "Visa hasn't existed for 500 years." "American Express?" "600 years." "Discover card?" "Sorry, we don't take Discover."), and (2) that they don't have restrictions that you (a) maintain a minimum balance or (b) maintain a minimum account activity where, if either is violated, they start taking away your money (and

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by beckerist (985855)
            Or...invest in a few gallons of oil, or a few big diamonds, or have your future self send you the names of all the famous artists of the time (and buy some of their stuff for CHEAP!)

            Money rarely (and certainly not predictably) INCREASES in value over time...inflation alone generally out paces all other economical factors. Your best bet is in the value of rare goods...
      • Two counterpoints (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BeanThere (28381) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:51PM (#19479337)
        (1) Perhaps there are, and these investors are them.
        (2) Not necessarily, if one needs to develop a special kind of "receiver" in order to receive the messages, then the first point in time at which such messages could be received would be when such receiver technology was invented (such point in time would be in the future still). If that point was in, say, 2015, then you could send messages from 2019 to 2015 but not from 2019 to 2007. You could *send* such messages, but nobody would have the technology to even realise that such messages were being sent. Like transmitting radio signals to cavemen.
        • Dear God! (Score:5, Funny)

          by FST777 (913657) <frans-jan@NOSpaM.van-steenbeek.net> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @01:40PM (#19480103) Homepage
          Imagine you make said receiver, the first one ever invented. It would immediately spit out all kinds of spam messages from all kinds of futures.

          Now THAT would be annoying! Imagine turning the thing on for the first time ever, and immediately receiving Zetabytes of "Frist psot!" messages.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Our understanding of time is a high abstraction. We represent it metaphorically as motion over distance because that is the only way we can make sense of it. There is no compelling reason to believe that this metaphor is very accurate, especially at the quantum level.

          Familiar concepts of movement over distance include the ability to move back to where you were, change something, and then move forward again. It is by analogy only that the ability to do this through time is even comprehensible. There is a
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dragonslicer (991472)

            Here is one: if I make a mistake, and send myself a message into the past saying "don't make this mistake," and hence I don't make the mistake, I have just destroyed my incentive to send the message. More fundamentally: the changing of an event that has already happened will result in further changes along the chain of cause-and-effect, thus changing the event which caused a previous event to change...and the whole universe falls into an infinitely recursive loop until it runs out of memory and crashes.

            Som

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Here is one: if I make a mistake, and send myself a message into the past saying "don't make this mistake," and hence I don't make the mistake, I have just destroyed my incentive to send the message.
            But what if you send the message anyway, remembering that it was the reason you avoided the mistake in the first^h^h^h^h^hsecond^h^h^h^h^hthird^h^h^h^h^hohda mnit place?
        • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @02:08PM (#19480459) Homepage
          Like transmitting radio signals to cavemen.

          Cue pissed off insulted caveman Geico commercial.

          -
        • by s4m7 (519684) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @02:41PM (#19480879) Homepage
          Dear Sir,
          I am writing to inform you that I have recieved a message from your future self. Included is the text from that message.

          Hello, me! I just wanted to let you know that I (you) got rich by investing in this man's method of time travelling messages! I (you) invested $2000 just one week after I (you) recieved this very message, and within six months I (you) was a millionare!
          signed, Me (You).

          Here's my address..
      • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @01:23PM (#19479847)
        According to a November 12, 2010 article in Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, this was exposed as an investment scam and the responsible parties have all been charged by the USDOJ Attorney General Sam Waterston.
    • >>if you do manage to do this, send me a copy of all the sports results for the next 100 years and history of the stocks, etc.

      It's been awhile since I have read anything about it so I might not be remembering it correctly, but I think there is an interpretation of the Many Worlds/Parallel Universe view of quantum mechanics that a new instance of reality would be created (a new universe) that would effectively provide a level of separation. The info recieved in the past might not be accurate for this n
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:00PM (#19478565) Homepage Journal
    Its not that far fetched.

    I invested some money in this guy next week and have been earning a decent return on my investment for the last 3 years.
    I did however feel a little shiver as I considered shorting his stock and for some damned reason pictures of my family have started to fade.
  • So? (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:00PM (#19478573) Homepage Journal

    he wants to be able to use entangled pairs to send messages, not only through space, but also in time.

    Big deal, Slashdot has been bringing us news from the past for years!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:01PM (#19478579)
    People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but, actually, from a non-linear viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:01PM (#19478585)
    Wooo it works!!!
    • by teslar (706653) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:42PM (#19479181)
      Timestamp from actual first post:

      Tuesday June 12, @06:00PM
      Your timestamp:

      Tuesday June 12, @06:01PM
      For all those who think about making fun of this gentleman for not actually having made first post, remember that the post has travelled for 25 years and has arrived within 1 minute of its designated arrival time. That's an error of approximately 7.6x10^(-8) times total time travelled... and that is better than what i can achieve at darts :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by teslar (706653)

        has travelled for 25 years
        Damn, I just realised it's not 97 anymore, goes to show the accuracy of my own time machine...make that 35 years and recalculate the error as required :) Will still be in the order of 10^(-8) though I expect
  • by DanQuixote (945427) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:01PM (#19478587)

    But I also admire folks who can inspire others toward some dream...

  • ROI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:01PM (#19478591) Homepage Journal
    If time travel can be produced, it's worth (asymptotically) nearly any amount of investmemnt to get it.
    • Re:ROI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timster (32400) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:27PM (#19479003)
      Nah, it's not worth anything. If time travel is ever developed, the universe enters an unstable state. Stability isn't returned until a scenario occurs where time travel is never discovered in the first place.

      This process takes no time (obviously), so any discovery of time travel is immediately undone. Actually, this happens all the, er, time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HTH NE1 (675604)
        Not necessarily. It could enter into a self-sustaining stable harmonic state where it is alternately discovered and not discovered, or create a pocket self-contained universe where dinosaurs and lizard-men live and time travel is regularly performed inside special pylons using grids of glowing colored rocks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by NaugaHunter (639364)
        Finally, an explanation of deja-vu that makes sense - the perception of parabolic ripples of collapsing flux capacitors killing their inventors before they are made! It naturally follows that as the ripples propogating through the ether cause my arms and legs to sleep when I'm awake, not to mention that every time I remember something different from my wife it's just the Uncertainty Principle asserting itself retroactively! Though it's suspicious that it's always in her favor...

        Who knew Chicago had it
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by squidfood (149212)
      If time travel can be produced, it's worth (asymptotically) nearly any amount of investmemnt to get it.

      It is extraordinarily sad to me that the "geeks" of this forum are considering this a financial investment rather than a scientific investment. I am a scientist, and I know that the logic of grants and funding agencies is a game that can be far removed from science, supportive of the status quo and the tenured. For $2-10K, if I had it lying around, I'd happily play "funding reviewer" in the hope of fun

    • Re:ROI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:37PM (#19479117) Journal
      Not to mention that there are plenty of people out there for which $35,000 is really a drop in the bucket. Giving that money to this guy is most likely money wasted, but if that money was most likely just going to sit in the bank with a few other tens of millions of dollars until you die, then you haven't really lost anything worth worrying about anyways.

      If you've got more money than you know what to do with, why not take a couple long-shot bets?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If time travel can be produced, it's worth (asymptotically) nearly any amount of investmemnt to get it.

      Unfortunately, no. There are already experiments that seem to show time travel, but the nature of the experiment is that it takes longer to get the results, than the time distance you can travel backwards. i.e. I can send a message back 10 microseconds, but I don't know about it until 20 microseconds. The information isn't available until after the experiement is finished, rendering it useless.

      The

      • Re:ROI (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @01:57PM (#19480329) Homepage
        This brings up an interesting concept. Say you invent a machine to send a message back in time 20 seconds.

        So in testing the machine, you receive the message, and then in 20 seconds send it. It works! Great, but...

        On the second test, you start to wonder, "What would happen if I was going to send the message, but then change my mind when I receive it?"

        So you receive the message, then decide not to send it. Interesting paradox, huh?

        Either that, or the machine will always predict with 100% accuracy whether or not you'll push the button to send the message. So if you intend to not push it once you get the message, you'll never get the message. So there will be no way to "trick" the message into coming in.

        It's a bizarre concept. Thinking about it brings up interesting thoughts like whether or not we really have free will. :)
  • Come on... (Score:4, Funny)

    by vurg (639307) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:02PM (#19478597)
    If I ever start thinking about building a time machine, I would make a promise to myself beforehand that my first plan of action is to send a message back in time to right now telling me that it works. I'm still waiting for that message.
    • Maybe you just need to look harder for the message. Go watch "The Number 23" and tell me if you haven't been trying to contact yourself from the future.
    • In one theoretical model of time travel, you can just go on waiting, because you haven't sent it yet so it won't have happened. If you actually get to that point in the future and actually get back here to pass yourself a note, then you'll suddenly "have gotten it" back now, and any resulting headaches, paradoxes, failed history reports, and dead grandfathers will be your own problem.
  • for chists sake (Score:5, Informative)

    by brunascle (994197) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:02PM (#19478619)
    how many times must it be explained, you cannot send information FTL using quantum entanglement. more specifically, you cannot send information using quantum entanglement. you can only use it together with a classical communication channel.

    you'd think these people wouldve already known that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tylersoze (789256)
      Uhh this isn't FTL, the information is sent through advanced waves at exactly the speed of light.
    • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @01:00PM (#19479475) Journal
      You're right... he should finish the machine, then go back and tell himself to never start it!
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:03PM (#19478621)
    I can send messages to the future but I am having sending messages back.

    #/bin/sh
     
    #send a message 5 minutes in the future
    sleep 300
    echo "Hello from the Past"
    But this doesn't seem to work yet

    #/bin/sh
    sleep -300
    echo "Hello from the Future"
  • Not news (Score:2, Troll)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646)
    The story is really just,

    "Another investor rooked into making a stupid investment through investment pitch X."

    Individuals invest in stupid things all the time. Like workers who just read Slashdot all day. ;-)
  • List of investors? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MECC (8478) * on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:07PM (#19478709)
    I wonder if there's a way to get the names of the people who gave him money, and their contact info.

  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:09PM (#19478735) Homepage Journal
    If he could send messages back in time, he could just send his impoverished past self some winning Lotto numbers, thereby funding the project far more than $35K.

    Of course, the past impoverished researcher would have to build a receiver first, requiring funds up front. Maybe that's what he's doing now. Keep an eye on how this guy's "luck" goes in the, um, future.

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:10PM (#19478749) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if investors' safety is guaranteed. [ytmnd.com]
  • Isn't the basic premise that if sending messages back to the past is possible, we'd have received some by now? Seems like that's the same type of premise w/SETI as well. If there was intelligent life somewhere in the galaxy, we'd have already picked up the messages, unless of course, we're already the most advanced life forms.
    • by jjh37997 (456473)
      The thing is, if the man is correct, his device will be able to send messages back through time. But it will only be able to send messages back as far as when the device was first created. As a result, the reason we've never received messages from the future is because he has not built his device yet. Think of it as a time radio or a time bridge.... messages from the future can't arrive until those of us in the "past" finish work on our end.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Maybe we haven't set up a proper receiver yet. Just as with SETI, you could detect our signals from the moon, or any other extraterrestrial location, but just because nobody is looking doesn't mean the messages aren't there. With SETI we're assuming that the signals are there, we just have to point our antennas at the right spot.
  • John Cramer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FredK (140786)
    I've wondered why so few seem to pay attention to his ideas. He has offered the only explanation for the weirdness of quantum mechanics that makes any sense to me. See http://laputan.blogspot.com/2003_09_21_laputan_arc hive.html [blogspot.com] for Carver Mead's take on it.
    Fred
  • Why don't they just get the money from under the book on the shelf where they're going to put it once they've made megabucks?

    Business plan:

    Profit!
    ???
    Invent time travel
  • Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Usquebaugh (230216) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:13PM (#19478803)
    I find the idea of public funded science research heart warming. No need for the government or the science establishment to get involved. If an individual wants to contribute good for him and the researcher.

    I care not if I think the researcher is not all there, it's not my money.

    For instance Robert Bussard is trying to raise funds to continue his fusion research. Now I don't think he spent money wisely in the past, I don't think he was too smart in his dealings with the DoD, I do not think he has solved all the problem. But I do think he is the closest to cheap fusion. Should I fund him?

    My only stipulation is that everything must be published, not only the research but also the money trail. I want to see where the dork spent $10k on software.
  • Remember, folks... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InfinityWpi (175421) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:16PM (#19478847)
    Not every crackpot is really a brilliant genius... but almost all brilliant geniuses were, at one point, considered to be crackpots.
  • I'm thinking the local pub will receive about $35,000 in funding over the next year or so...
  • The answer is 47 ..
  • His research actually works! And the prof for it is this first post which was posted yesterday BEFORE this article showed up on /.
  • This guy isn't crazy, the idea of using advanced waves goes all the way back to Feynman (see Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory which is what this is based upon). This merely another interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. All he's trying to do is see if we can experimentally verify it as producing different results than the "standard" interpretations. It's called science people, look into it. Sometimes crazy ideas turn out to be true, you don't know until, you know, you run experiments. As crazy ideas go, this o
  • the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge doesn't allow time travel. It allows you to travel to parallel universes but at the SAME time as it is in your universe.
  • We all are time travelers and that clock on the wall is the speedometer...

    Seriously though i doubt time travel is even possible, this guy is whacked...
  • It should arrive yesterday if this thing really works.
  • What you need to realize is that the underlying theory (entangled particles) permits the information to travel acress time, non the matter. In fact it permits the information a a particular particle "state" to trave trhough time. That's quite different from making phisical matter to decompose and appear in the future or in the past.
  • then this is a great idea. It is not like you will be able to create a wormhole or anything, but maybe you could theoretically use it to send morse code to the future or past.

  • by m1a1 (622864) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:51PM (#19479331)
    Most of the comments here make no sense.

    These people are not investors. They did not get "scammed". Those of us who read the article know that this scientist did not even approach them for cash. Rather, news of his plight got out and people wanted to donate. He is a respected particle physicist with a theory that is a little odd. He wants to perform a relatively cheap experiment which should show whether his theory has enough going for it to be worth further examination. If these experiments fail, oh well, back to the drawing board.

    This is the way science is SUPPOSED to work. There's nothing wrong with being skeptical, but acting like this guy is a scam artist is ridiculous. This guy runs a super collider, yet everyone here is so damn sure they understand quantum phenomenon better than he does.
  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:54PM (#19479389)

    I have yet to hear of any results, although I did have a strange experience the other day. I was about to try my first sip of Milo's Famous Sweet Tea when a 500 lb man appeared from thin air and knocked the glass from my hand before disappearing again.

  • Not a crackpot. (Score:4, Informative)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @12:54PM (#19479395) Homepage Journal
    This is based on the Transactional Interpretation [wikipedia.org] of Quantum Mechanics.

    It's based on hard science, and makes testable predictions. TFS grabbed the most sensational lines from TFA.

  • Time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @01:20PM (#19479789)
    Some people think time is just a human construct...a way in which we measure the difference in the state of matter. If you think of reality as a motion picture of individual frames, time doesn't really come into the picture. Time travel doesn't make sense in this case because you can't actually bring everything in your near reality back to the state it was in before, never mind everything in the world, universe, etc.

    I can take a paperweight on my desk and move it 6 inches to the left, and then back 6 inches to the right...I've essentially caused the rock to time travel, at least on an easily observable level, because it's in the same easily observable state it was in before. On a quantum level, no...because various things have changed in the rock (the little bit of airflow from movement along with my fingers grabbing it and dragging it on the desk likely scraped some matter off).

    Anyway, just another crackpot way of looking at things.
  • This won't work (Score:3, Informative)

    by kmac06 (608921) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:21AM (#19487753)
    Disclaimer: I am a physicist working in a quantum information group, and have taken a graduate level physics course on quantum information.

    This won't work. The article doesn't give details, but by googling the scientist, I found this proposal [washington.edu], and immediately recognized the flaw in the experiment. He's trying to use a quantum eraser (wiki [wikipedia.org] of quantum eraser, and link [sunysb.edu] to good article on them) to change the image of the downconverted photons on a camera, but that simply cannot be done. The image on a screen can be changed using a nonlocal eraser, but only when you look at conincidences of the two photons. This is a common proposal for FTL communication, I just can't believe no one ever told this guy why it wouldn't work.

    The quantum eraser (linked above) can be pretty tough to get your head around. It combines interference, entanglement, and nonlocality, all tough nonclassical phenomena. Feel free to ask if you read the article and don't understand something.

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