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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
  5906 votes / 19%
The past, within 10,000 years
  2664 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%
29655 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 Zumbs (1241138) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @10:09AM (#41498531) Homepage
    Whenever I visited, I would never, ever go back in time before my own birth. Once I start interacting with *anything* there is no knowing how it would affect the future. Who is to say that it wouldn't be another of my fathers sperm cells that impregnated my mother, or some other random occurrence caused different mutations or what not? I would no longer be me. My clear preference is to visit the future, though I am uncertain if I would be able to not sneak a look at my future history.
  • all gone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carnivore302 (708545) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @10:54AM (#41498753) Journal

    On one hand I'd like to go 10K years in the future, to marvel at the technology we have then. But I'm afraid what it will do with me psychologically if I discover there's nothing there any more...

  • FIRST trip? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritchie70 (860516) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @12:18PM (#41499257) Journal

    About six hours in the future to see if the damn thing works OK.

    Being "stranded" six hours in the future isn't that big of a tragedy. I'm still there to put my daughter to bed if I time it right.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:17PM (#41499717)

    Well, for starters you wouldn't be able to speak their language. In fact, they might have evolved to not even be your species any more. That's assuming humans are even still around. Maybe some other intelligent race beat us to FTL and wiped us out. In any case, you're most likely to end up in a lab or a zoo.

    The best you could hope for would be for there to be no dominant race at the time and place you show up, which would just be vaguely depressing rather than disastrous.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:39PM (#41499879)

    My answer, and probably everyone's, is "all of the above". Let me go hunt t-rex, stop by the future to see if they ever do figure out cold fusion, listen to some ancient Greek debates, maybe end the day with a live performance of one of Shakespeare's lost plays. Asking "when would you go if you had a time machine?" is like asking what countries I'd like to visit - all of them, ideally.

    So this question only makes sense with two additional qualifiers. First "when would you go FIRST if you had a time machine?" (my answer: Rome, circa 750 AUC). Second, "when would you go if you had a ONE-USE ONLY time machine?"

    That's where the title of this comment comes in. It stands to reason that if you have developed a one-use time machine, that eventually someone will develop a multiple-use time machine. So the first goal is to travel into the future to acquire one of those.

    The thing with time travel is that you can't go too far without tons of preparation. If you only speak English, you're useless more than 800 years ago or so, even in England, because Middle English looks nothing like Modern English. Same for any modern language, really. And it's foolish to think that the same does not apply in the other direction - 800 years from now, they won't be speaking any of today's languages (although you can likely find an expert who studied the language, much as you can still find people who can speak Latin, or Aramaic, or Babylonian, but that won't be of too much use for you).

    So your best bet for doing this is 400-600 years in the future. That's as much time as I would risk - too much more, I won't be able to do anything, too much less, they may not have developed the technology I'm after.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:51PM (#41501033)
    Stock market? Pffft, too slow. I'd go a few months into the future and check out the winning lottery numbers.
  • by Gte (66976) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @08:00PM (#41502573)

    Inputting a figure of 10,000 years into your time machine is pointless. You'd have to be *very* *very* accurate with your jump times to end up in exactly the same physical spot you were when you set off.
    In 10,000 years, not only will the orbit of the Earth have expanded out slightly around the sun, but the position of the sun relative to the gravitational centre of our galaxy will have changed also. Likewise, our galaxy will have moved out slightly from the centre of the big-bang too.

    Chances are with all these options you'll end up floating dead in space.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2012 @10:25PM (#41503299)

    Um, you can see these things today. They're just really difficult and expensive to reach without roads, etc.

    Oh... I see what you did there. You want the opportunity to see what you see now, but without all the junk which allowed you to imagine it as something else....

  • The RNA world (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:54AM (#41503913) Journal

    Dinosaurs? Pah! A mere 65 million years away - practically on our chronological doorstep. I'd send a (very very well sterilized) robot back to bring me samples from the RNA world. [] Then I'd try to find out what preceded the RNA world, jump forward a bit to try to find the origin of the eukaryotes [] and maybe then go for filling in the minor details, like observing the Cambrian explosion [].

    Brief explanations:
    The RNA world is a hypothesized (but very plausible) stage in evolution where RNA performs the functional roles currently filled by proteins and the genetic role currently filled by DNA.
    Eukaryotes are the complex cells with a nucleus, including all known multi-cellular life plus some single celled life (e.g. amoebae.)
    The Cambrian explosion was a period about 530 million years ago when multi-cellular life suddenly appeared in a great profusion of forms.

  • Re:Blueshift (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#41507093)

    Sounds very much like Arm by Larry Niven:

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:40PM (#41507177)

    Well there isn't a single point. However the decline of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) and the Europe Colorization of America period I would expect to be a good area.

    The Western Roman Empire Fell, Putting Europe in the Dark Ages while the Byzantine Empire flourished, Holding on and expanding their knowledge, and being a central trade route between the Far East and the West.

    Then The West started to get out of its slump and started to explore the Americas and find ways to the Far East without using the Middle East as middle men, their economy started to change and the power sources shifted to the east and west away from them. In essence in the terms of world affairs to be relativity minor players.

    People Don't Like change. However they got use to being the little guy. Than in the 20th century there was a huge demand for oil, which they have. Now we have a culture that got use to be the little guy now sitting on the pot of gold, However they need to play by the rules of the people in power, creates more changes in their culture, and pushes some people to go back to the old ways, because they are afraid to change.

    The United States can suffer the same fate too. I mean just when we get some normal recessions/depressions we fall back to the old ways, WWJD (What Would Jefferson/Jesus Do) Looking back with the old days were the US was underdeveloped and people lived in log cabins, and died of polio. However life was harder but simpler. We crossed the line, we cannot go back, if the US tries to go back we will end up being just as barbaric as our middle eastern folks.

    It isn't religion, or culture. It is the fact People are afraid to change.

  • Re:all gone (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @03:35PM (#41507817) Journal

    IN the US the Tea party and republicans will go up in arms and rebellion if you told them they can't buy their God given rights to their SUVs and start taxing to create such a system. I wish I were exgerating too but these extremes will vote out any incumbent as a radical socialists if he or she dares to raise taxes even .001%.

    Politically they will commit suicide rather than fix the problem while it is still addressable. Also the budget crises in Europe shows just how stupid voters are and will resist any change that threatens their interests.

    This is a huge socieconomic issue as we will end up just like the Easter Islands based on short term greed and a government who appeases those who want to take more.

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.


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