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Temporal Protection Zones

Safekeeping for time capsules from the future, er, past
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Posit: Travel backwards through time is possible.
Posit: Such travel will be available in the future.
Posit: Traveling back to your time of origin is not possible, other than through the normal time stream we all experience.

So, people can travel to the past for scientific (or other) reasons, but to what end? How does their knowledge benefit the future?

Time capsules, of course. But these can't be ordinary time capsules - you don't want some schmuck from the 1800's discovering you're an explorer/volunteer from 2525 sent back to the age of dinosaurs to perform DNA analysis on as many reptiles as possible. No, these have to be subtle, nonchalant, defensible and ignorable. Your missives to the future have to make the trip the slow way 'round and they have to do it on the sly.

Since it's reasonable to presume this information benefits us (or our descendants, anyway) it's also reasonable to accommodate the traffic. Ergo, what's needed are preserves, parks, Temporal Protection Zones if you will. Well known and published locations which are the historical equivalent of nuclear waste sites. Places where no one is allowed to tread unless they're a time traveler (or handler) with explicit instructions to do so.

This serves two purposes:
1) The TPZs are used and respected appropriately. People and information flow back and forth in a manner more or less consistent with the intent of the TPZs, or
2) The TPZs are not used, but serve as a distraction to keep people from finding actual areas serving the same function.

It's important to note TPZs need not be real estate in the typical sense and need not be significant in size.
One presumes data encoding and storage capabilities will continue to improve. Future storage devices are likely to be quite small and even something as small as a microdot could contain a wealth of information. An acre of land could contain millions of coordinated TPZs. An acre of seabed is just as useful.
Also, different venues are available depending on when the time traveler is operating. One notes the recent return of two of four stolen works of art "still under the display glass used by the private museum from which they were stolen". One also notes that a time traveler operating contemporarily might use either as a means to secret data to the future - the painting becomes a host for the time capsule. One notes the pyramids of Egypt are pretty old (and pretty well protected)...

Maybe the future needs our help, maybe it doesn't. Maybe, if you're smart enough to send someone back in time, you're smart enough to figure out how to get some benefit from it. Maybe I was sent back in time to post this idea and get the ball rolling...

{admins: I'm open to a category check. I'm defining "transportation" pretty loosely.}

phoenix, Feb 28 2008

Yes, I'd like to go back 1000 years, please. http://timetravelagency.com/
[Ling, Mar 01 2008]


       Wow. Nice pair a da' oxen there friend. Tie up those beasts of burden and mosey into the Muddy Black Hole saloon.
WcW, Feb 28 2008

       If time travel was possible, these zones would already exist, would they not?
DrCurry, Feb 28 2008

       OK, I've made a "Time Travel" category, but I'm not sure I like most of the ideas in it.   

       Writing under the premise that time travel is possible can be funny or make a good point about something other than physics. But I'm not getting the point of this piece - from an unlikely premise, it just seems to meander into an unlikely set of rules, without really committing to any of them. (-) Sorry!
jutta, Feb 28 2008

       Are the locations of these areas going to be designated as such in the public TPZ listings?
normzone, Feb 28 2008

       "If time travel was possible, these zones would already exist, would they not?"
One presumes they would be necessary in the future. This would require their being identified at that time. There's no reason not to begin making that future process easier by starting in the present. Someday, the future will be the present.

       [jutta]: Thanks? The idea is to set aside TPZs (you can define a TPZ however you like - think of them as time capsules you don't know the contents of) for the potential use of future time traveling entities. (The whole thing is firmly tongue-in-cheek. I don't expect anyone to humor the idea, but I appreciate your annotation and the new category.)   

       [normzone]: I think they can be. They either already exist or they don't. They'll either be compromised or they won't. We won't know the answer to either until we do.   

       Time travel will always be one of those things that *might* exist one day (until it does exist or people stop working on it), so why not lay some potential useful groundwork today?
phoenix, Feb 28 2008

       Imagine you had a small time machine in your spaceship (not moving in space) and, because you need another, you put your pocketwatch in it. You send the machine back in time five minutes. The machine appears in five-minutes-before land and you remove the watch from the machine you now have two watches in your hands, your intended goal. Now you do not need another watch= the watch removes its own point of origin, its raison d'etre so to speak. This is logically impossible and I feel is adequite proof that recursive time travel is impossible even in plural universes.
WcW, Feb 29 2008

       [WcW] your thinking to linear.
zeno, Feb 29 2008

       'Allo 'allo. Wot's all this then? Diagonally parked in a parallel universe are we now sir?   

       <writes ticket>
ConsulFlaminicus, Feb 29 2008

       I prefer to think of travelling backwards in time as just staying put, and everything else is going backwards. It's so much more relaxing.
Ling, Feb 29 2008

       This is what Stonehenge was supposed to be, until they stopped me mid-construction.   

       Bloody superstitious peasants.   

       //If time travel was possible//
gr. "were possible"...no wait, "will be was have been possible" errr...help!
coprocephalous, Feb 29 2008

       Would have been being? Will have been? Would be?   

       If time travel turns out to be impossible, it may be because we don't have the language for it.
phoenix, Feb 29 2008

       I thought this would be a helmet of some sort.
bungston, Feb 29 2008

       I doubt that the primary barrier to time travel is language. I suspect the problem lies in the mistaken belief that the past still exists. I think the fact that we feel traveling back in time is possible relates to the way in which we experience memories by essentially reliving them. This gives the impression that historical events still exist somewhere intangible. I imagine that less imaginative aliens might find this delusion quite humorous.
WcW, Feb 29 2008

       [ I thought this would be a helmet of some sort. bungston, Feb 29 2008 ]   

normzone, Feb 29 2008

       "If this were to become possible in the future then we would have discovered some evidence of these time capsues by now..."
Or you're giving your descendents too little credit. The very premise of the idea is that we could be surrounded by these items and not realize it.
phoenix, Feb 29 2008

       Look phoenix confront the paradox for a second. If I travel back in time thirty seconds and prevent myself from entering the time machine there are now two copies of me. Does this strike you as a reasonable proposition? It violates conservation of energy for one thing. No matter how much energy it took for me to take the trip I can go back and prevent me from taking the trip saving that energy and producing a spare me. Not possible.
WcW, Mar 01 2008

       WcW - there's no paradox. If you go back in time and prevent yourself entering the time machine, then basically things get embarrassing and you look foolish. But nature doesn't really worry that much about the energy conservation.   

       Energy conservation is more of a guideline than a rule.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2008

       Except now there are two of you. Now this doesn't seem odd until you realize that you could instantly produce an infinite number of copies of anything without ever even turning the machine on. As you reach to turn the machine on you enter the recursive loop and whatever you were going to send appears. That isn't quantum weirdness it's simply impossible. If you make the trip longer (to Egyptian Times!) the paradox just takes longer.
WcW, Mar 01 2008

       I didn't check the link carefully, but the name looks interesting.
Ling, Mar 01 2008

       "Does this strike you as a reasonable proposition?"
I don't know and I don't care. I'm not proposing time travel, I'm proposing something to facilitate it, possibly. Sort of like cavemen building roads on the premise someone will invent a car some day.
phoenix, Mar 01 2008

       //That isn't quantum weirdness it's simply impossible.// No. Quantum weirdness is soooo last paradigm. It's multiversal weirdness.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2008

       [UB], I think [phoenix] was slyly referencing a popular work by Douglas Adams.   

       “If you’ve done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliway’s—the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!”
RayfordSteele, Mar 01 2008

       This idea lies somewhere in the playfull/painfull spectrum.
WcW, Mar 01 2008

       //The very premise of the idea is that we could be surrounded by these items and not realize it.// So it is baked then, and possibly widely known to exist, at some time in the future.
4whom, Mar 01 2008

       //cavemen building roads on the premise someone will invent a car some day.\\   

       A classic halfbakery idea.
zeno, Mar 02 2008


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