After the Technotopian Decade, Comes A Visitor. A Time Traveler

This essay was written for an exhibition by Marion Garrido at Art Centre La Casa Encendida in Madrid designed around the online adventures of “John Titor” — an alleged time traveler who lit up the web and conspiracy radio at the start of the 2000s. Keep in mind that this was written for a Spanish audience and some of the things I say about U.S. culture may seem a little obvious.

R.U. Sirius

On November 2, 2000 an obscure group called Time Travel Institute received a note on their website from someone calling himself TimeTravel_0. The person claimed to be a US military time traveler from 2036. He discussed some of the details of the time machine that had brought him.

This “arrival” remained obscure until January 27, 2001 when this (virtual) person showed up on the bbs of the Art Bell Show under the name John Titor, writing, “Greetings. I am a time traveler from the year 2036.” Titor claimed that he had been sent back in time by the US government to 1975 to grab an ancient IBM 5100 so that a legacy UNIX problem that was causing future trouble could finally be debugged.


On his way back to 2036, Titor had stopped off in 2000/2001 to visit with family. The alleged time traveler proceeded to entertain, inform and enrage Art Bell show users with details about the future and the time machine, which he described as “a stationary mass, temporal displacement unit manufactured by General Electric… powered by two top-spin, dual-positive singularities that produce a(n) … off-set Tipler sinusoid.” Titor provided images and descriptive specifications of said time machine.

Additionally, Titor warned of a US civil war in 2004 and a nuclear war in 2015 – with Russia and the US on the same side. He told that he was living in a future that was a mishmash of post-apocalyptic poverty — with people in survivalist mode, growing their own foods and fending for their own survival as individuals and in small groups — and pockets of advanced technology; advanced enough, for example, to build the Tippler time machine.

Titor remained on the Art Bell BBS for about four months, answering any and all questions about his life and his machine. He did not come on like a man with an important message from a more enlightened or chastened future civilization. He was casual. Titor seemed like a regular fellow who was just passing through and felt like chatting.

To understand what was being enacted then, it’s necessary to understand the US had just passed through the 1990s — and it’s necessary to understand that decade through the prism of two occurrences — Art Bell’s popular Coast to Coast late night radio show, and American technoculture in that time. Read more “After the Technotopian Decade, Comes A Visitor. A Time Traveler”

Mad Scientists Wanted for Research on Irrational Mechanics

by Giulio Prisco

I am a mad scientist interested in future science and technology able to resurrect the dead from the past. I look for hints, clues and glimpses in today’s speculative, highly imaginative science. Do you want to join me?

The recently published book “Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment,” by Jonathan Jones, provides a short and readable first introduction to our ideas on technological resurrection. See my review on Mondo 2000. According to Jones, future engineers will be able to teleport our consciousness to the future with ultra-technology based on quantum effects, wormholes and whatnot.

Technological resurrection science is likely to involve next-next generation physics of huge energies, infinitesimal scales, space-time noodles and quantum ultra-weirdness, not to mention higher dimensions and parallel worlds. The same science will take us to the stars, perhaps faster than light (FTL), perhaps open the way to some sort of time travel, and perhaps permit understanding God(s). Or build God(s), or become God(s).

I call this research program “Irrational Mechanics” (see below).

Before becoming a mad scientist, I used to be a “real” scientist in academy and public research centers. I know the science establishment pretty well, certainly well enough to realize that what I’m saying is so heretical that no scientist can enter safely. There are a lot of scientists who entertain similar ideas, but even mentioning them is career suicide. Developing these ideas is for politically incorrect amateur citizen scientists like me, and perhaps you.

We can’t do real research because our skills are too limited or too rusty, and/or we have to do other things for a living. What we can do is research on others’ research. But that’s good enough, because the heavy lifting work is already done by top scientists, only they aren’t allowed to even mention some deep implication of their own work. Laying out the heretic implications is up to us. Of course, we must understand the science first.

For example, many enthusiasts believe that the spooky correlations between quantum-entangled particles could be used to send FTL instant messages, or signal backward in time. But unfortunately, according to our current understanding, entanglement is real but can’t be used to send FTL instant messages.

“mad scientist” Frank Tipler

Why? Because measuring the spin of one of a pair of entangled particles always gives a random result  —  even if the results of the two measurements are correlated — and any attempt to preset the spin of a particle would break the entanglement. A good analogy is two decks of “magic” cards that are always in the same order, but the magic only works if both decks are well shuffled first, and cheating breaks the magic. Read more “Mad Scientists Wanted for Research on Irrational Mechanics”