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Scientists comb social media to find time travelers, come up empty

A new study aimed at finding time travelers by way of examining social media posts has come up empty. The idea: if time travelers are living in our midst, they might betray their time-traveling by of social media by talking about events (the election of Pope Francis and Comet ISON were what the researchers were looking for) before they happen.

Unfortunately, searches for such posts came up empty.

The whole idea of time traveling by way of looking for social media posts came to astrophysics professor Robert Nemiroff dring a poker game with students, during which Nemifoff proposed an interesting idea: would time travelers, by slip of the electronic tongue, give away their presence by way of posts talking about events before they happened?.

Speaking on the stdy, Nemiroff said "in our limited search we turned up nothing . . . I didn't really think we would. But I'm still not aware of anyone undertaking a search like this."

Interestingly enough, the researchers did find one blog post that mentioned a "Pope Francis" before Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected to lead the Catholic Church, but they think the reference was accidental, rather than a message from a time-traveling visitor.

Nemiroff and his students even created their own special blog post in September 2013 that asked potential time travelers to email or tweet "#ICanChangeThePast2" or "#ICannotChangeThePast2" a month earlier, on or before August 2013. But, they again found no signs of time travel.

Additionally, Nemiroff called the experience “fun” and noted that it was all done on his and his students' free time, so no grant money was involved in the process.

Now, while the study may seem far-fetched, according to Einstein's laws, time travel, albeit into the future only, is possible. Unfortunately, if time travelers from the past were to jump ahead to our time, they still would have no more clue as to what was going to happen in the future than we would. As for time travel into the past (as would need to be the case when conducting this kind of study), that is fraught with all kinds off issues, most famously the Grandfather Paradox.

Still, considering that no tax dollars went into this, it can't hurt to look. After all, people in the future may have a profoundly different, more advanced knowledge of physics that would make time travel into the past no problem at all.

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