15 Essential Moments To (Re)Visit if You Had a Time Machine

Written by Akela Talamasca

Let’s say you get your hands on a brand new Time Machine. Whether it’s the old-school H.G. Wells chair model, or a tricked-out DeLorean, you’ve now got to decide what you’re going to do with your new toy. But before you run off and start messing up your life, sleeping with your grandmother, and investing in Google stock before the Internet was invented, we’ve got a few ideas for you. Here are 15 moments in time, both past and future, that you may want to just witness before you go and do what you’re inevitably going to do, and ruin everyone’s universe.

The Trinity Test (Past)

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If you want to see one of the most awe-inspiring events in human history, then you need to set your time machine for 5:29 AM, July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The Trinity test was the very first successful detonation of a nuclear bomb, with a blast the size of 20,000 tons of TNT. Make sure you pack some Ray-Bans, and apply plenty of sunscreen for this one.

The Roswell Crash (Past)

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Whether it was a UFO or a weather balloon, it’s time we found out just what went down around Roswell, New Mexico on the night of July 2nd, 1947. Just to be sure, camp out for a couple of days before hand, and try to find a spot somewhere on Foster Ranch, outside a little town called Corona, near Roswell. Remember your cameras and flashlights, and a first-aid kit may not be a terrible idea either.

Birth of the First True Artificial Intelligence (Future)

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In the movies the first A.I. always turns out to be a total asshole. It nearly always either tries to murder someone, or take over the world, or cause general mayhem while it plots to take over the world or murder someone. This is all Hollywood, so you’ll have to check out just how it pans out when the very first true artificial intelligence wakes up and says hello. Remember, there is still the chance that Hollywood was right all along, so take a really big electromagnet with you just in case.

The First Modern Olympic Games (Past)

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In 1896 Athens, Greece hosted the world’s first international Olympic Games. This was a huge event, with crazy steam-powered boats and new-fangled “locomotives” moving people around. It must have been a sight to see this collection of athletes from around the world all in one place, you know that had to be one hell of a party.

Signing of the Declaration of Independence (Past)

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Even non-Americans want to witness this event in human history. The sheer immense gravity of the situation makes it stand out amongst anything else that any other group of men ever did with pen and parchment.

Mankind Attains Faster Than Light Travel (Future)

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Let’s face it, ever since you were a kid and you saw Star Wars for the first time, you wanted to fly through space at light speed. You especially wanted to do it with Chewbacca at your side but we’re trying to be realistic here. Now if the whole “breaking the laws of physics” thing bothers you, well, you’re in a freaking time machine.

The Fall of Rome (Past)

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Granted, it may be a good idea to show up a few years early on this one so you can enjoy Rome while it’s not burning, but we’re going for the excitement here, right? You’ve got all the time in the world (literally) to hang out and live the good life with girls feeding you grapes while you bathe in wine; we want to see the barbarian hordes!

Battle of Thermopylae (Past)

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You should note before going to see this horrifyingly spectacular display of bad-assery that, historically speaking, it was nothing like the movie 300. In fact, it may have been slightly more awesome, even though King Leonidas may not have had such a massively out-of-place (but still cool) accent. Xerxes was probably taller and the elephants were probably twice as big.

First Contact With an Alien Species (Future)

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Yes, this could easily go badly for us humans, but it’s something you simply cannot miss. You have a time machine, and that means you have a duty to witness certain things that just too far beyond you for there to be any objection. Do humanity a favor though; if you’re going to watch this one happen, take a flame-thrower with you, and if things get out of hand, just ask yourself “what would Ripley do?”

Helen of Troy (Past)

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This is one of those things that simply demands explanation. Was she hot…and by that, I mean was she “sending a country to war hot”? Unfortunately, there is just unbiased record of what this woman looked like. For all intents and purposes, the guy who wrote that story could have had a thing for women like Renee Zellweger… So this is definitely should be on self-respecting male’s pretend, time machine to-do list. Bonus: you also get to see for yourself just how many heroes, gods, and demigods showed up for the fight. Take lots of film.

The Discovery of Beer (Past)

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Anthropologists suggest that without the advent of beer, man may never have banded together and settled down on farms like we did. That means we owe a great deal, pretty much everything, to beer. In honor of this, you should make it a point to go back and see the first pint, bow down to it, salute it, do what you will to it. And if you can, drink some of it. Beer is good, remember.

Mankind’s First Interstellar War (Future)

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Nobody wants a war, we all want peace, violence is horrible. That being said, since we can’t really deny the inevitability of mankind having a first interstellar war, we may as well own up to the fact that we all want to see how it starts. More than likely, it will just be man vs. man, with colonies in space fighting each other. That’s still loads of awesome, so make sure you stash your time machine some place safe and settle in for the show. And by safe, I mean one of the Dakotas (there’s nothing there, anyways).

Man’s Discovery of Fire (Past)

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This is arguably the single greatest turning point in the advancement of humanity. Before this point, we were apes. Afterwards, we were apes who could barbeque, things such as animals and other apes. Going back to this time would probably lead to some pretty crazy parties, and even though the language barrier may get in the way (unless you speak ‘grunt’), you’ll be the most handsome guy there. Steve Buscemi doppelgangers excluded.

The Comet that Killed the Dinosaurs (Past)

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Alright, now this one’s tricky. We’re talking about an explosive impact so ridiculously huge, that it killed nearly everything on Earth. You’re going to have to camp out a bit, and keep the binoculars handy to watch for the comet; when this goes down, you had better get some really good pictures, hopefully video, and then hop back in your time machine and out of there as quickly as possible. None of this adventuring means anything if you’re wiped out with the dinos.

Cubs Win the World Series (Future)

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We can at least be hopeful, can’t we?

Don’t Forget This

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This handy guide will keep you taken-care of in the unfortunate event that you get stranded in time, assuming it’s the past. If you get stranded in the future, then just make a fortune going on talk shows and starring in movies. Since you’ll be so out-dated, you can pull of vintage-chic pretty well, and if that fails there’s always politics.

109 thoughts on “15 Essential Moments To (Re)Visit if You Had a Time Machine

    1. Paul

      One option would be to just kill the little bastard (parents weren’t married and your asshole god committed adultery) then and there.

  1. Geoff W

    Speaking as a non-american, surely the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, was way more significant historically than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Most of the democratic worlds laws are derived from its principles.

  2. Robbie

    @ Optical01

    I’d love to go back to a week last Thursday, too! Remember? I did all the laundry and then we watched TV! We won’t see the likes of those days again.

  3. Kaninfisk

    Time travel does not break the laws of physics. Einstein’s theory of general relativity says that time is not an absolute, but rather it changes, depending on your location, speed and so on. Time travel to the past is tricky, but not impossible and time travel to the future is laughably easy, theoretically speaking. So no, we will never travel faster than light, but chances are, we will travel in time soon enough.

  4. Willard H.

    Wow, you missed some All-Time BIGGIES!! Akela Talamasca’s entry in Best Article Every Day disappoints: The OBVIOUS event anyone might want to see would be the Crucifixion of Jesus. Whether a person is Christian or atheist, or the believer in one of a dozen religions, this is The Big Event. The whole B.C. and A.D. Common Era calendar is built around whether this one life happened as written. Nah, in Stephen Baxter’s SF, that most popular of time travel destinations might be inaccessible, a traffic jam.

    The Comet that Killed the Dinosaurs? I’ve love to see it. But if you’ve been keeping up with the latest science news (May ’09), the impact theory is losing ground. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/05/04/princeton.geoscientist.offers.new.evidence.meteorite.did.not.wipe.out.dinosaurs Personally, I’d settle for any of the large impacting comets or asteroids.

    "Was Helen of Troy a beauty?" Who cares?! I’d rather check out the Trojan horse, or warriors Achilles, Hector, et al. I think ten times as many people would rather see if Cleopatra was as riveting a beauty as claimed.

    "The 1st Atomic Bomb Test?" OK, I’ll go along with that. A future "Cubs Win the World Series?" YAWN. "The Invention of Beer"? Probably took decades or longer. "Signing of the Declaration of Independence"? That likewise really took weeks or months. Two more yawns. "The Discovery of Fire?" YAWWNNNN. We saw that portrayed well enough in the movies.

    If I could see the real counterparts of movie events, I’d go for the sinking of the Titanic. The Alamo. Pearl Harbor. Finding out if Thera was the real "sinking of Atlantis." (Just think of all the earthquake and volcanic events Akela missed — Krakatoa, Pompeii, San Francisco 1907, New Madrid 1811-12, Mt. Mazama/Crater Lake….)

    And what’s with all the battles — the Fall of Rome, Thermopylae, the 1st Interstallar War, etc.? Nah. Now Saul vs. the Philistines, that might have been a sight, complete with a front row seat to the David and Goliath fight. Or how about Waterloo? English vs. Normans at the Battle of Hastings, 1066? Gettysburg? Hannibal in Italy? Valley Forge?

  5. Jerco

    DAC, are you forgetting thw whole “non-American” part? the signing of the Magna Carta had much more significance in world events than the Declaration of Independence. And if we could go back to the “birth of lord jesus” I would like to drop him on his head. and number 15 is as highly improbable as…. well as having a Time Machine. Sorry Cub fans, its never gonna happen.

  6. Thom

    Kaninfisk, time is relative to the speed you are going. RELATIVE to YOU, time will slow exponentially the faster you go, as will your mass. The point at which you would hit the speed of light, you would technically cease to exist (and also have an infinite mass, and hence tear a hole in the fabric of time and space – probably), and hence it is impossible.

    But time travel too is not possible to us, as 4th dimensional beings (governed by time, the 4th dimension) whereas 5th dimensional beings would be capable of travelling wherever they please within our perceived timeline. Teleportation, now that’s more probable…

    But it would be cool, ay?!

  7. Max

    First, Kaninfisk, you’re a moron, as Thom more eloquently pointed out. And xerxes was most definitely not taller than he was in 300. In fact, by all historical accounts he was of extremely small stature- undoubtedly an extreme napoleon complex.

  8. biotele

    If you go back in time and you have prior knowledge of that event, by mere observing that event you will collapse the wave function into parallel universe where that event didn’t happen.

    Think of it this way, let say you observe the position of a quantum particle at t0, then you go back in time and observe the position of the particle at t-1, since you know the positions of the particle at t-1 and t0, then you will know the momentum at t-1 (mass*distance/time ->m* (p0-p-1)/(t0-t1)) therefore you will violate the uncertainty principle.

    Simple!

    Who wants to go back in time anyway? I rather travel to the better parallel universes.

    http://www.biotele.com

  9. andrew

    what about the day chuck norris dies? i’m not sure i want to see what can take out chuck, but whatever takes him out, will have already taken every last one of us already.

  10. Jack

    Thom, stop trying to be an “inteligent” smart arse. The article has nothing to do with whether time travel is possible or not. It’s where you’d go if it were avaliable to you. I bet your the sort of person who walks into a room and straight away thinks they’re more inteligent than anyone else. Well that’s probably because all you can see is your large intestine because your head is stuck up your arse.
    Anyway, I think it’s a good idea for a site but don’t agree with all of them but nice one none the less! J

  11. Steve

    A far-past event worth seeing: The refilling of the Mediterranean. Cores from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea show that the Med once dried up. The passage now known as the Straits of Gibralter closed, and the flow from the rivers was much lower than the rate of evaporation, so the sea shrunk to a tiny fraction of its present size. Then something (probably one *hell* of an earthquake) reopened the Gate of Hercules and the Mediterranean filled up in a geological instant, probably less than 100 years. It would have made Victoria Falls look like a spilled beer.

    It would also be cool to prove or disprove the hypothesis that the great stones of the Giza pyramids were hauled into place one basketful at a time. It turns out that the biggest blocks are made of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of pebbles in a softer matrix. That occurs naturally, but in architecture it’s usually formed in place and called concrete.

    There are no mysteries associated with it, but I would love to visit the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 to spend a few days in Machinery Hall at the peak of pre-electric technology.

  12. TC

    Everybody take a second and ponder this……..Whatever can be thought or imagined is possible and can or already has happened somewhere in the vastness of the universe. We are just tiny spots on little specs on bigger specs and THAT doesn`t even begin to explain it…..the truth is no one really knows what the hell is going on and never will……….So everyone just keep guessing and try not to blow up the world because someone has a different opinion than you…………..but the comment about the lord Jesus and the “Indian” independence makes me laugh too……sorry………lol

  13. kyle

    Haha… if anything, I would want to go back in time to buy as much stock into Microsoft as possible ;) Maybe… just maybe, go to the future to see how my fiance will turn out looking in the future, haha… kidding! Or am I? :P

  14. Ed Magowan

    Steve, that was my first thought (refilling of the Med). Other items: frozen earth, eruptions of Mt. Taupo and/or Santorini, breakout of waters held back by the Laurentian ice sheet. The list above is somewhat lame, IMHO. Trinity might be interesting, the Bikini test that was very much larger than expected would have been (dare I say it) a blast.

  15. Adam McDaniel

    Yeah, even though it is hard to read TC has made a point.

    If you look at the higher dimensions you find that whatever can be imagined must happen.

    And as far as traveling faster than light… I think it would be possible. Not conventionally of course, but perhaps.

    If you find a way to create a black hole large enough for your ship to go through, find a way to direct what point in space time it connects to, and then find a way to not die while going through it you can traverse many many many thousands of miles in seconds. But that’s a lot of ifs and I doubt it will happen in our lifetime. Probably not even in our children and grandchildren’s lifetime.

  16. aftereffect

    I’d like to travel far enough forward in time – to just after that point when the entire universe will have begun sliding towards its inevitable death. Would I be able to return at all if time begins running in reverse? What past would I be returning to if all the laws of Classical Physics and theories of Quantum Physics were altered? Oops.

  17. Brandon

    Williard and everyone else who said it….Who cares about the crucifixion of jesus? Way better things to do with a time machine then to watch jesus get killed.

    And i’m with kyle on this one. Go back and buy stock in companies, bet on superbowls, world series, and long short horses.

  18. nemo

    i would witness:

    1. the creation of the universe
    2. the appearance of the first living organism
    3. the appearance of man.
    4. the extinction of mankind
    4. the disintegration of the universe

  19. Alex

    Neanderthal vs Human
    Pangea
    Rome
    Aztec Sacrifice
    End Of World War 2
    Feudal Japan
    Easter Island
    Tesla
    Another World
    The Original Tribe
    Alien Sex
    Woodstock
    Building The Pyramids
    Mind/Machine Interface
    Pirates!

  20. GuyWhoActuallyKnowsAThingOrTwo

    Look – The closest thing to traveling to the past would be to make yourself perfectly still. Of course that would result in you freezing in time, but hey.

    Something that’s extremely similar but at least less laughably impossible, is to make all the particles of all the universe backtrack, essentially making everything go back in time, except you.

    You cannot actually travel back in time because of the grandfather paradox. Actually, that paradox is much wider.
    If the simple act of traveling back in time would be enough to offset the probability that you would travel to exactly this time in the new future.
    And if you change even the location of one atom you will have irreversibly altered the face of the universe. Think of gravity – all the particles are connected, and you were developed under the influence of that particle, in a different location.

    Time travel. Pfft.
    Alternate Dimensions, is what you meant to say.
    That, maybe. But not time travel to the past.

  21. Anon

    In the extremely unlikely situation that we ever learn to travel back in time, we would find ourselves unable to change anything. Any changes we would make have already been made. For illustrations of this point, see 12 Monkeys (movie) and the Photon series (books).

    And yeah, the crucifixion of Christ should be on there. Don’t delude yourself into thinking it was fiction. All historical evidence indicates that it really did happen pretty much as the Bible describes it.

  22. Douglas

    What happens when you want to visit the invention of the time machine? Might you get stuck in a never ending cycle?

    (A) invents the time machine, only to suddenly have deja vu that he already invented this damn machine, but then events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, he suddenly has deja vu that he already invented the damn thing, but events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, he suddenly has deja vu that he already invented the damn thing, but events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, he suddenly has deja vu that he already invented the damn thing, but events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, he suddenly has deja vu that he already invented the damn thing, but events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, he suddenly has deja vu that he already invented the damn thing, but events play out and he gets back in the time machine. At which point, that would suck!!

  23. TC

    First of all….thank you Andrew……and sorry about the complexity of my comment…(meaning the way its written)….but that was my point…..the answers to all questions that have been asked by “us” are there …..somewhere in the fine print of the….well…..just somewhere…out there waiting to be discovered.

    Just think of all the things that humans “KNEW” 500 to 1500 years ago…….we “KNEW” the earth was the center of the universe…we “Knew” the earth was flat, and those are just a couple of things we have been wrong about. Just think of what we will be wrong about tomorrow…………..

  24. multyvers

    i belive time travel exsist for long time a go, jast u know nasa hav hiding the exsistens of ailin and ther tecnology.
    anty gravity + nano tec + teleportitions ( space jome) + time travel is the kind of tecnology aliln how has visited erth many time. but i dont think nasa has stol the time trave yet, remomber grand father of bush payd milions dollors in the hitler time to buy the tecnology thye fund it as ailin space ship. many expirimen from nikela tesla was verey useful to understand space jomp and anty gravity in that time. by now in secret labs the have invented amazing tecnology which ve can jast imagin, like( plasma gun, gamary gun, electromagnaticfild shuck gun and …..
    think we human are jast the 0 tyep sivilistation, wee are on the edg to jomp to type sivilistasjon1, and its very nice but it hapend verey slu bicus of war and power and secresy.

    sary my english is sucks but i tryed eny way:)

  25. Triple Digit IQ

    Fun article.

    But, do the people who write things like “you can’t go back in time – think about it!”, and “how about the crucifixion/birth/miracles of jesus” know just how stupid they really are? And how foolish they sound?

    How about Santa and the Easter Bunny?
    How about Joe Smith finding the encrypted golden tablets?
    How about Noah and his ark?

    Sadly, 80% of us are just this stupid. We are a failed species.

    Religious people depress me.

  26. Curious chap

    I love this comment by DAC

    “Geoff, you forget that the Magna Carta no longer has any importance in America.”

    DAC somewhat forgets that damn near all our (US) democratic principles are based on this older almost forgotten document.

  27. Mike

    Time Travel a.k.a. Faster Than Light Travel is possible per Einstein. Possible, but not advisable. You might get a speeding ticket….from Schrodinger’s Cat.

  28. Ben

    The crucifixion of Christ? Really?….I’d rather see the RESURRECTION!!…..that would be worth seeing…….and by the way doesn’t that technically make Jesus a zombie??

  29. Meredith

    Kaninfisk: Not to start a physics debate or anything, but how would you travel BACK in time? It’s a one-way street. Even if you could theoretically go faster than time, you wouldn’t go BACKWARDS. Time would just stand still. And I wouldn’t say time travel forward is “laughably” easy… There is a lot of space junk out there which would pose some problems…

  30. CPeterka

    OK, Ready for the ultimate?
    Find out how to build the LARGEST TIME MACHINE, and move everyone on the Current Earth [ so the knowledge comes with us ] and our machines, books, devices, generators, medicines, etc into the machine/system and pop back to about about a safe time after the big comet or whatever wiped out TREX and his buddies.

    Then we know we have at least that many years of safety till at least Now. And we’d know to avoid Krakatoa, Pompei, SFO at the right time.
    Cool, huh?

  31. CPeterka

    If we accept Einsteins equation
    The full equation is E = m * Delta * c^2.

    Delta = 1 / Sqrt(1 – v^2 / c^2)

    where m is the mass, c is the speed of light, and v is the velocity of the object.

    When v = 0, it is just E = m * c^2, which is called the rest mass energy because the object is at rest (v = 0).

    Then IF we can go 1.5 Times the speed of light, V Squared = 2.25 and the C’s cancel, so the bottom of the equation becomes

    SQRT ( -1.25 )

    does it signify time moving backwards ?

    Cute concept, what?

  32. Anon

    If you traveled through space and time with a time machine haven’t you already attained a speed faster than light speed? So, there would be no point to going to the time when that type of travel was attained because you’ve already lived through it.

  33. Ihateyou

    Zombie Jesus. that is Awesome……..oh and for all you actually debating the whole time travel theory, if you didn’t read the article as it is, which is meant for entertainment purposes that is CLEARLY signified by the POSTER FOR YOUR FUCKING TIME MACHINE to begin with, I don’t care how much you THINK you know about the subject, your a fucking idiot.
    Enjoy the entertaining posting on the internet and shut the fuck up, no one cares if you really can or even maybe one day can but it fun to think that you would. Did you never watch Mr Rogers as a child? USE YOUR EFFIN’ IMAGINATION FOR FUCK SAKE!!!…..That’s all I got to say about that…….

  34. Marty

    Man you guys are fucking nuts….

    good post. comments made me laugh..

    if I had the opportunity to travel through space and time,

    I would travel to the ends of the universe, just to find out why women are so fucking jealous that guys have boys nights, they know its coming & its happening but do they shut the fuck up, I think not!!

    but if its a chicks night out its “sorry have i been getting ready for 2 days? is my fake tan OK? not streaky? hows my ass? dose this dress look OK? holy shit im late! Oh didn’t i tell you its a girls night?”

    Also where’s all the fucking Zombies (travels to the time were umbrella creates the T-Virus).. I want to shot Burt Reynolds. :) & throw old Record LP’s and toasters at them, while smoking the biggest CONE joint you could roll..

  35. dan

    go back to where the first std’s were contracted and kill every one of them and stow them away so no one catches it. happy world :)

  36. Brittany

    Love ya, Marty. You made me laugh. Wouldn’t anyone want to travel back in time to visit yourself? You know the old saying, “if I knew then what I know now….” well, here would be your chance. With a shout out to Stephen King, if we went back in time, wouldn’t we be attacked by the Langoliers….just kidding, but I was thinking about that when I was reading all of the comments. One event that would put a time machine to good use is to go back when Hitler was alive and view the concentration camps and find out how many Jews were killed during his reign. That would put an end to the argument of whether it was fictional or not.

    For political use, could make a recording about what Nancy Pelosi knew before she knew it. She wouldn’t be able to come back and deny being told something when you caught her on tape being told. Could do this with other political figures too.

  37. Quilaen

    If we accept Einsteins equation
    The full equation is E = m * Delta * c^2.

    Delta = 1 / Sqrt(1 – v^2 / c^2)

    where m is the mass, c is the speed of light, and v is the velocity of the object.

    When v = 0, it is just E = m * c^2, which is called the rest mass energy because the object is at rest (v = 0).

    so, you wouldn’t just ignore this, surely it’d become E = m * 0 * c^2… which would be E = 0… as any number multiplied by 0 is 0. So… Your maths don’t seem to hold up.

  38. Willard H.

    Brandon posted on June 5th, 2009 at 01:47: “Williard (sp) and everyone else who said it….Who cares about the crucifixion of jesus? Way better things to do with a time machine then to watch jesus get killed.”

    Brandon, think a minute. Even if you’d sent a blank comment, it still would have appeared with a time stamp — marked with a date and time specified by Pope Gregory’s calendar.

    Try as you might, that One Life dictates how most of this world measures time. Until we begin to use “Star Date,” the best the anti-Jesus crowds can do is changing the B.C. (Before Christ) to B.C.E. (Before the Common Era). But that only emphasizes the link to Jesus!

    Brandon, I agree with you 90 percent about not wanting to see the Crucifixion. (But didn’t they say the same thing with Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” movie? Record crowds turned out to experience that!) Instead I agree with Ben, who said:

    “I’d rather see the RESURRECTION!!…..that would be worth seeing…….and by the way doesn’t that technically make Jesus a zombie??”

    Amen! Anyone can die. But millions of Christians, atheists and other religionists wonder, “DID Jesus rise again? How can I prove / disprove it?” Yep, Easter raises and answers more questions than Good Friday ever could.

    So, Ben, was Jesus a zombie? You’re only half right. Wikipedia explains, “A zombie is a mythical creature that appears in folklore and popular culture typically as a reanimated corpse or a mindless human being.”

    Search for “Zombies on the Web” by David Chalmers (consc.net/zombies.html). It opens, “Zombies are hypothetical creatures…. A zombie is physically identical to a normal human being, but completely lacks conscious experience. Zombies look and behave like the conscious beings that we know and love, but ‘all is dark inside.’ ”

    That would be almost identical to our comment writer Single Digit IQ, er, “Triple,” he claims. HA!! You remember that entry:

    “Fun article. But, do the people who write things like … ‘how about the crucifixion/birth/miracles of jesus’ know just how stupid they really are? And how foolish they sound? How about Santa and the Easter Bunny? How about Joe Smith finding the encrypted golden tablets? How about Noah and his ark? Sadly, 80% of us are just this stupid. We are a failed species. Religious people depress me.

    Sorry, Single Digit, but you’re the reason this species “failed.” We would at least use that time machine to investigate Joseph Smith or some unbelievable claim. You’re just satisfied to sit there feeling superior in your FAITH in your foolish beliefs. Stupid people amuse me. You have me rolling on the floor, laughing. “Do you really know how foolish YOU sound?” BWA-HA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  39. Jaguar

    I generally hate time travel stories. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers is one of my favorites because his character gets to experience some personal ‘if I could travel back in time’ moments. His fictional character goes back to Victorian England to watch his favorite poet compose his most famous poem. Part of the premise of this article is idle fantasy. How personal, cosmic vapid or violently you want to approach it says more about you than the person who posed the hypothetical question.
    The Quantum Leap TV series at least had a strong conceit because the main character wasn’t moving back in time physically but ‘mentally’. I think going back in time more than about two centuries means it would be almost impossible to communicate with anyone. The everyday language used by the puritans three centuries ago would be hard for an average modern ear to comprehend. Without annotations it is difficult to understand Shakespeare plays. Chaucer is more convoluted than Chuck Berry (in a century even American kids won’t understand half his great songs).
    I’d go back and watch me making love for the first time, or my daughters’ birth—hell it would be worth half of what I have in the bank to sit quietly in the back of a Laundromat thirty years ago and watch my young mother wash family clothes for an hour. She died a few years ago.

    I’d love to experience Woodstock but the way I look now they’d think I was a narc.

    The other things that have really changed our modern world are too indistinct and fuzzy to observe easily. Wright Bros. was filmed so you can see that, and it only lasted a few seconds. Young people think Michael Jackson’s ‘moonwalk’ was as significant as the Beatles or Elvis on Ed Sullivan. But the Beatles and Elvis are just cultural blips. They are important for our souls but not so important as assembly line automobiles or the cotton gin. No assembly line automobiles no smog and possibly global warming. No cotton gin–the number of slaves remains so small that slavery possibly keeps under the radar enough to continue into modern times in this country as it has presently in other parts of the world.

    We each experienced our own ‘big bangs’ at birth and the experience was such that none of us remember it. And in time we’ll each experience our own ‘gnab gib’.
    Jaguar

  40. Willard Harrison

    Jaguar, you are a poet. Do you have your own blog? I’d love to keep reading anyone who writes, in one posting, about idle fantasy, the Big Bang, Chuck Berry, their family, the fluidity of language, Woodstock, time travel, slavery and Chaucer.

  41. Lisa the traveller

    Most of us time-travelers have already seen all that stuff and the majority of it is boring, trust me.

    I just thought I should pop back to 2009 and tell you all that, as this blog eventually causes the…. oh I better not say.

    I hate to start a new paradox – makes my skin change color again and I just got used to tan.

    Lisa – Lost in time again.

  42. TC

    People worry and talk about things they can do nothing about…….If people concentrated on the things…….wait …..Im tired of reading a bunch of bullshit coming from the minds of assholes on their computers trying to sound smart…………So my advice to you all is ……get off your computer and go out side and soak in some sunshine and have a beer and smoke a joint cause thats what Im gonna do…………………later

  43. Uisgea

    I would explore all of the dimensions of the universe until I figured out why, if you give a woman some seashells, the immediately puts them on her toilet tank.

    Just sayin’.

  44. Hilbert

    What if einstein was aborted? we’d still have relativity, so no harm done there. The signing of the declaration of independence is way more significant because the USA was the first democratic republic born of revolt. And i would go back in time to choke mama cass and blame it on a ham sandwhich.

  45. Just Jon

    I like how @Willard H. decided to go on a religious rant and talk about the only thing he thinks he knows: religion. Another typical irritating Christian. Blech.

    But I do agree; let’s go back and see Joseph Smith, and figure out if (like South Park claims), it was the Mormons that were right all along.

  46. Pote

    Travelling at light speed (or faster) is possible…technically. To the point of getting to a place thats very far away in a short amount of time and with no mass-time issues it works.

    And I Quote

    _________________________________________________

    We all know the Enterprise travels at warp speed. Will it ever be possible to travel at “warp factor 4″?

    We physicists used to laugh at Star Trek’s warp factor. We don’t laugh anymore. About 10 years ago, a Mexican relativist named Miguel Alcubierre was watching Star Trek, and he came up with a new solution to Einstein’s [general relativity] equation. The loophole is negative matter — Einstein never considered it. And Alcubierre got a solution that looked very similar to warp drive. The key is, you don’t go to the stars, the stars come to you. Everybody assumes you have to go to the stars, which means you have to break the light barrier and violate the laws of physics. But you can compress the space like an accordion — compress the space between you and the stars. It’s like a wrinkle in space. There are some objections to this, of course. We don’t have negative matter, for instance. But in principle, if you have, let’s say, a meteorite made of negative matter, then it may be possible. Einstein never said that nothing can go faster than light. Empty space can contract or expand faster than the speed of light. That’s the Big Bang. It’s emptiness that expanded. It looks very similar to the rendition of warp drive in the movies — you would see distortion of star light, stars would come at you very fast, but inside you feel nothing.

    ___________________________________________________

    Source http://www.popsci.com/entertainment-amp-gaming/article/2009-05/warp-speed-possiblewe-ask-string-theorist?page=1

  47. Arc Orion

    Sorry, but the image for “Mankind Attains Faster Than Light Travel (Future)” is inaccurate. That image happens to be from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

  48. Jen

    ok…..seriously why is it so important to see which women were pretty or not? shouldn’t we focus on better things? i hate people that only care about that shit. why not see how the world got started instead.

  49. Weepleman

    If I was able to go back in time, the first thing I would do would be to arm the Aztec Indians with modern weapons just before Cortez and the Spanish showed up. Then I would just sit back and watch the havok unfold. It would be so awesome. Think about it. ‘Cortez walks up to the Aztec city and knocks on the door. He draws his sword to attack, and is totally torn to shreds by machine gun fire. Then RPGs take out the ships and carpet bombing wipes out the troops. Next the Aztecs launch a huge naval strike on Spain and destroy them with tanks and airplanes. It would be awesome, and oh, you can travel in time. All you need is a TARDIS.

  50. David

    Ah, Jer, Jer, Jer…were you trying to be sarcastic or ironic by taking a crack at someone’s spelling by calling it ‘inteligent’?

    I think I’d have corrected the word instead – but then again, in the context of this article, I’d have said nothing – I wouldn’t want other people thinking I was some jerk.

    BTW…The Declaration of Independence barely raises a ripple of interest in people outside the US.

    In fact, a lot of the items in the list fall into that category. But lists are fun so let’s keep them coming.

  51. Land

    time travel, is an interesting topic. my imagination takes me places like this all the time this is question i’ve been asking myself for quite awhile.

    does the nature of making a prediction, set in motion events that would push it into fruition?

  52. Charlie

    Sabiri wrote:
    “hey.you missed out the birth of lord jesus and the indian independence..”

    I’d be more interested in the conception of Jesus!

  53. Ramrod

    Although you have a time machiene and are able to travel through time you would not be able to travel through space. Which means if i started in NYC and traveled to 30ad to witness the whole christ debacle i would then have to hoof it all the way to the middle east with no planes or boats to get me there.

  54. Mike

    Even though some of these are lame, I’d still see them. Think about it… You have a TIME MACHINE. I think after witnessing all of your “main” desires, you’d have to move on to any (and every) historic event :) One main thing I’d look forward to seeing is me and my whole life.

  55. pcgic

    Conquer of Past Constantinopol new istanbul by ottomans from byzantines. It must be amazing to see ottoman move the ships on land to bypass the great chain which is between to shores of golden horn which deployed by byzantines.

    It sounds crayzier than LOTR but it is fact.

  56. john

    did some one ever think to change things people say it would be bad you could change thing make people not exist but they would have never been born to know so does it really matter and you would have changed an event of the past so it would have allready happened so know one would notice and personally i would go back and stop hitler just saying then go see babe ruth hit that legendary home run thats all ive got comment me

  57. Dan

    The signing of the declaration would have been a very anticlimactic moment see that only 2 people signed at first and the rest were added over a 2 year period. and humans can not and will not ever travel faster than the speed of light, it’s physically impossible, do you will be sadly disappointed and let down by those events. And i also have to say that you did miss some greater events. Bad list.

  58. Merlin

    The Pyramids, Egypt and Mexico and all the other places. The very first European to set foot on the American continents, and those that were first before them. Camelot. The Knights Templar, the night they found what ever it was under the Temple Mount. The list is too long of things I'd like to go back and see. Then there is the future, maybe skip ahead every 25 years for a few centuries, then by the century for a few millennium, just to make a list.

  59. Merlin

    The Pyramids, Egypt and Mexico and all the other places. The very first European to set foot on the American continents, and those that were first before them. Camelot. The Knights Templar, the night they found what ever it was under the Temple Mount. The list is too long of things I'd like to go back and see. Then there is the future, maybe skip ahead every 25 years for a few centuries, then by the century for a few millennium, just to make a list.

  60. micro sd card

    I'd add that you should visit all the ancient wonders and a game of Pyramid building and remove the discovery of fire and the extinction of the dinosaurs. donosaurs extinction is just silly, you are at higher risk of dying than to see something fresh, and the discovery of fire not give me an exact time and place and we are examining.

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