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A portal opens in your room allowing time travel- do you go in? And to when?


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One day a portal suddenly appears in your room and allows you instantaneous time travel to any year, BC or AD. You simply type in the year on the attached key pad, type in a location (by GPS coordinates), and then step through. However, here are the conditions:

 

1. You have no idea if the portal will open again on the other side. It may open, it may not- you could be stuck there for a matter of hours or the rest of your life and you have no way of knowing.

 

2. Future years are allowed but you have no way to know what those future years are like. It could be a nuclear wasteland or paradise, who knows.

 

3. Location must be on earth.

 

4. The portal will drop you in the closest safe point if your selected coordinates are not safe- i.e. you won't appear in a stream of lava or something. Also, no one notices you for the first few minutes you arrive. So don't worry about suddenly appearing in a crowd and everyone freaking out and you getting arrested, etc.

 

5. You go through naked but will appear on the other side dressed appropriately for the time period. Your clothing will be that of a completely average person of the time, of middle class (or whatever the equivalent is). There is nothing remarkable about how you appear, at least clothing wise. However, you cannot change your race or sex.

 

6. You have no knowledge of the customs, accents, mannerisms, language, etc., of the time period you go into, other than what you already know now. In other words, if you know Latin now, you'll know Latin when you go through, but if you don't know Latin now, you're not going to magically know Latin.

 

7. It is possible you create time travel paradoxes (e.g. meeting yourself etc.) but you are given no advance knowledge on how those paradoxes resolve themselves. In other words, you assume the risk for those and what happens if they occur.

 

8. You are magically given by the portal the equivalent of today's $10,000, adjusted for inflation/deflation, in whatever currency is used by the time period/location you go to. Other than that, you are not allowed to take any items with you (again, you go through naked).

 

The portal will only allow you time to select coordinates of your choosing. The portal will not allow you to do research to profit off of (i.e. look up stock prices from 6 months ago, sports records, etc), but you of course can use anything that you already know now. In other words, your current mental state will be unaltered when you go through.

 

With these conditions, do you go in? And if so to when? Where? And what do you do when you get there?

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Well you could definitely make real changes, though if you don't get to return, you may never be able to see the results of those changes. You could benefit easily as well. You have knowledge of what you have now and you get some money- a clever person could do very well with that I think. No meds.

 

That being said, I suspect no one would have the balls to go in the original scenario, so I'm offering a modification. Feel free to answer to either the original scenario or the modified one.

 

Modified scenario:

 

You can recall the portal upon your command and return to the exact time and place you left from, but upon these conditions:

a) You must survive at least one month in the time period you travel to before the portal can be recalled;

b) You again, assume the risks of any time travel paradoxes you create, even if unknowingly. Included in that are unforeseen ripple effects of your travel. You have no way of knowing what those may be.

c) You can't carry anything back with you and must go naked. This does not prohibit you from bringing back something unwillingly (say, e.g., disease).

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10 years ago would you have said the same thing?

I think so, yeah. I kinda really wanna live my life out, and I'm not really adventurous.

 

My ideal time travel scenario would be to go back and JUST observe, being completely incapable of interacting or ****ing shit up. But that doesn't make for a fun topic.

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Considering that people were still dying of asthma as recently as the 50s, I'm pretty limited as to where I could go-- basically anywhere in my own life time.

 

So my safe/boring/typical plan would be to go back to the late 80s or early 90s and invest that $10k of local money into stock options with a tech start up that I know will do well (like Apple for example) when they go public down the road. Return home, and cash in.

 

Again-- simple and typical and not imaginative.

 

Most any plan I can cook up is either to make money or bang some hot historical figure.

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Well you might do better than you think. You may not have meds, but you do have knowledge of modern hygiene and that certain things just don't work, like bloodletting. Simply knowing to bathe and wash your hands probably puts you in the top 10% of healthy people.

 

On top of that, you're probably vaccinated against a lot of the most common diseases anyway. If you go too far back, you could run into stuff like the bubonic plague, which is an obvious problem since you need antibiotics and they won't be around until the 20th century. But even then, it's not certain death. You could potentially survive the plague.

 

 

Your typical plan might be harder than you think. You'd have to choose a brokerage that's still in existence today. Also keep in mind you have no documentation with you, like ID cards, which could make things annoying.

 

You could go to Vegas and just bet on sports, but you'd run into the problem of what to do with all the money once you cashed out.

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1. Asthma has nothing to do with hygiene or germs unfortunately. I could go back to old west, inhale a field of pollen, have an allergy attack, then my lungs seize up and there's no meds to reverse it and I die.

 

2. Maybe instead of investing I could gather objects whose value increases, and hide/bury/store them somewhere safe, and go get them when I return to the present. For example, the 1936 Folmer Graflex camera flash I bought in 1994 for $5 is now worth between $600-1000 because it happens to the basis for the Skywalker lightsaber prop. A case load of those would turn a profit.

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Fair enough.

 

Off your second point; I'm not saying you couldn't invest, just that it would take some work. Of course, you have a month to kill in your new time, so you could probably figure something out. If you go within your lifetime, you could even use your current SSN for whatever requires it.

 

Cool idea on the valuable objects- that's a new one I hadn't heard before. And you could probably find a good way to store them too. I'm not sure what you need to get a safe deposit box, but you could just choose a bank you know that exists in the present, and in a month's time with $10k, that should be plenty to figure out how to get a state-issued ID and address somewhere (assuming you need them for anything). And again, if you go in your lifetime, you could use your existing SSN for stuff.

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Well, I'm black, so there's no way I'm traveling anytime before 1980 -- and honestly even that's pushing it. I might time travel to 2006 (I could still pass for 24) and try to convince my younger self to go someplace else so I could live our life better since I know what decisions will yield positive results. I would probably do so by using information about the future to make money in the past and also make/avoid making personal decisions which could improve my quality of life as of now. I would pay my duplicate handsomely to stay gone so we could both enjoy our respective lives.

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I dunno... I think any travel with meeting yourself is fraught with peril. How would your old self react to seeing your future self? Perhaps it causes him to go insane.

 

Second, that touches on an interesting time travel paradox. What happens when you return to the future? Do you suddenly recall new memories of the interim years based on the changes you made, or does your old self split off into a different parallel timeline and you never get to see the results?

 

Either way, sounds risky. I think I'd avoid myself at all costs if I went into the past.

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First, I don't really see why it would cause Axis2006 to go insane. Let's say I saw someone who looked EXACTLY like me but for a few differences. I wouldn't go insane. I would think, whoa, that guy looks just like me except a little different. Axis2006 would see Axis2016 and think...whoa that guy looks just like me except about with about 50 more lbs, a beard, and shorter hair. The real challenge would be AFTER he has accepted that I'm him from ten years in the future. I still doubt he would go insane though, because he will have had ample time to entertain the possibility of my claim being true while I demonstrated for him that it is true by showing him that I'm intimately aware of all the ****ed up or absurd thoughts he's had that he's never expressed to other people.

 

Second, I wouldn't go back to the future. Why would I do that? I would just live my life in a linear fashion as though starting from an earlier save point in the game. I see the results by living them and manipulating circumstances with foreknowledge of what is to come and what I know about life from having ten years of extra experience. My old self lives in the same timeline except he's ****ed off to Armenia or Argentina or someplace to live happily and get free money every month.

Third, I would bring Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, Junot Diaz's The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, and George Martin's A Dance with Dragons back with me. I would go to George RR Martin, give him his book, so he can begin work on the sixth and seventh book and in exchange I would convince him to set me up with his publisher so I can publish The Road, Oscar Wao, and RPO under my name and become literary royalty.

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Hmm.. well that brings up another interesting scenario. What if you chose not to go back to the future and you were able to keep your past self from going crazy upon seeing a future self?

 

And then further assume you could get the past self to work with you. You would then have two versions of the same person operating in the same timeline... there's a never-endling list of diabolical sh-t you could pull off with that.

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Time travel is fraught with complications. If you go too far back, you'd have trouble no matter who you are. The pre-20th century world did not have the standards of cleanliness and sanitation we do. Before the publication of Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle', the food was often crawling with bacteria, fecal matter, half rotten, ground up maggots and other things that people of that time could deal with, but our modern immune systems, a result of strict regulations on food safety, would not be able to handle. (Seriously. Read 'The Jungle'. it'll give you nightmares.)

 

And then there is the flip side. Every one of us is crawling in potentially harmful bacteria or viruses that modern medicine has rendered us immune to, but which people in previous eras had no defense against. We could wind up starting a plague merely by existing.

 

Thus, we'd be best aiming for sometime in the 20th century if we wanted to travel into the past, but even that would have complications. Would we be able to work and make any additional money without documentation of some kind?

 

As to the fear of paradoxes, well, I'm not so sure that's a problem. Granted, I'm not a physicist, but it seems likely, based upon the current understanding of quantum mechanics and the Many-Worlds Interpretation, that time travel into the past would not involved actual travel within your own timeline, but the creation of an alternate timeline branching off at your point of arrival. Thus, anything you did would consequently only affect the outcome of the NEW timeline, leaving the one you originated from untouched and unchanged. In other words, according to this interpretation, in 'The Terminator', had Skynet succeeded in killing Sarah Conner to avert the birth of John Conner and prevent the creation of the resistance, it would have merely created an alternate timeline where John Conner was never born. It's own timeline would remain in existence, unchanged, because the very fact that it sent a Terminator into the past in the first place meant that it's timeline could only exist because the past had never been altered in such a way.

 

Given all those facts, I'd have to give this issue some thought before I gave my answer.

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Interesting stuff, Obsidian.

 

For the purposes of this scenario, assume that the portal overrides the laws of physics only insofar as to anything that prevents the actual act of time travel. That's the fantasy element, any other laws of physics are all still valid. So paradoxes, creation of alternate timelines, etc., it's all possible if you choose to go in.

 

The question of documentation is a tricky one, which is what I was sorta getting at with Tank earlier. It's been so long since I applied to get an original state-issued ID, I can't even remember what documentation I needed at the time. If you go back in your own lifetime, you could probably obtain duplicate documents off your own identity. Otherwise, I'm thinking you'd probably have to rely on fraud to some degree. Identity theft, in other words. It would probably be easiest of a family member, since you may already know their SSN and life details and it may not be hard getting copies of their stuff, especially if you had money and a month to kill.

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On that note, if you went back far enough it wouldn't be a problem either. Before the early 20th century and the creation of the Social Security system and driver's licenses, people didn't really have identity cards or documentation of any kind. So you could pretty much just make up whatever name you wanted, your entire background too.

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I'd go back to 1900, probably to New England, and get ready to be involved in the scientific revolutions of quantum mechanics and relativity. I'd be able to demonstrate an aptitude for physics and mathematics easily enough, even without a recognized degree from an institution in that era. I can just claim I'm self-taught. The locals would accept that readily enough from a white male. Then I'd be able to settle in, do some modest research that would be ground-breaking back then, and be one of the few people who could understand and promote the new physics theories as they emerge. I wouldn't want to steal the spotlight from Einstein, but I might be willing to usurp some other lesser-known physicist, maybe Louis de Broglie and his work on the wave properties of matter. It's a significant enough breakthrough to be important in physics but not so important that it would impact pop culture depictions of physicists.

 

I'd be able to make a modest living, doing what I'm already doing (with blackboards instead of whiteboards) and maybe make some money on the side with consulting and investing.

 

So, where's the portal?

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