Obsessed and Scientific

2005 ,    »  -   52 Comments
Ratings: 4.58/10 from 12 users.

Obsessed and ScientificIs time travel possible? In this fascinating short documentary, director Jay Cheel explores the real-life theories behind the science of time travel and the strange subculture of enthusiasts who are obessed with it.

Meet Michio Kaku, world-renowned theoretical physicist and author of the book Hyperspace.

Meet Rob Niosi, a hobbyist building his own full-scale home replica of H.G. Wells' time machine.

Meet Larry Haber, the entertainment lawyer representing the family of John Titor, an alleged time traveller from the year 2036.

Do these people know something about the world that the rest of us don't? Obsessed and Scientific is a quirky look at the intersection of science-fact and science-fiction.

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52 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Andd

    3/10 - uninformative.

    oh, first.

  2. ProudinUS

    Alrighty then. I just watched it and didn't understand a dam bit of it. Eccept for some asian guy saying something about going back in time and marrying yourself or some s%$t like that!

  3. moldova

    oh, second

  4. Lars

    What did I just watch? I want to go back in time and watch something else.

  5. Waldo

    Pointless... No scientific info or discussion and entertainment value was very low. The only thing I know after, that I didn't know before, is that some guy called John titor posted some stuff online saying he was a time traveler.

  6. Jack

    I have lost all respect for Michio Kaku. I think he's gone Kookoo. Read "Real Time II" by D.H. Mellor, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, for a wonderful
    exposition on the subject of Time.

  7. V

    Jack... Micho explained himself like he always have. He's used that great-great-great-great X whatever grandchildren story in all his explanations about the possibility of timetravel. All he ever does is emphasize that the energetic proportions and rippling effects that could effect our space-time when using timetravel is too astronomical for our current understanding or any type of civilization lower than a type three on the Kardashev scale. Kaku explains that even the most currently powerful nuclear bomb does not yield enough energy to create a split or hole long enough even for an ant to travel through; our sun mathematically can't neither.

    The real far-fetched person on this doc was the man who boldly claims he would be able to contruct a time-traveling vehicle in his personal time approximation of 3 to 4 years. HIGHLY IMPOSSIBLE!!! Kaku, Einstein, Feynman, nor Tesla, and all great human minds could not achieve it even with their level of intelligence! That man's approach towards time-traveling dealt with absolutely no invovlement with physic theories, but a damn foam speedometer... someone's watched the Time Machine movie one too many times.

    As for John Titor... it's possible he or she or it may have been a real entity from the future or even from a similar-like dimension who had crossed travel to ours. 2039 is ridiculous. I think that was implied by Titor as a subliminal hint to give enthusiasts encouragement and others the aspiration to keep continuing the effort to discover the possiblity to timetravel only; that date could dispel something more or an event unbeknownst to us in our present time as well.

    Patience, practice, and preservation for the pursuit of understanding knowledge is what we must harden our body, mind, and conscious in order to progress forth.

  8. Poyan

    Sufjan Stevens On Music and Michio Kaku.. sounded like a solid duo.. this was ok, not informative its more of a dry humour sort of thing.

  9. Cool E Beans

    My father, who read tons and used none of it, told be about a 15th or 16th century priest who found a large man who was dying near his monestary. The man didn't speak the language and it wasn't long before he died but the priest wrote about the interesting body art the man had tatooed all over him. The descriptions of the art, as it was told to me, very nearly matched a sumo wrestler killed either in Hiroshima or Nagasaki at the end of world war II. If the priests writings exist and there is evidence of the sumo wrestler's matching description then enough energy may have been released by a nuke. It at least may be something to research.

  10. Dracu

    We've come a long way, were so open minded that so often a random crazy person is elevated to the rank of celebrity.

    I've seen my share of lunatics, but this type of "documentaries" enrages and sickens me and I have to give a big "F@#$ You" to the persons in the credits and who ever thinks this c@#$ was informative.

  11. Robot Guru

    Michio Kaku said it perfectly, we really aren't worth being visited from the future...there's nothing special about our civilization.

    We are a Type 0 civilization...we exhaust our energy from fossil fuels and destroy our planet.

    in Type I – this civilization harnesses the energy output of an entire planet.

    Type II – this civilization harnesses the energy output of a star, and generates about 10 billion times the energy output of a Type I civilization.

    Type III – this civilization harnesses the energy output of a galaxy, or about 10 billion time the energy output of a Type II civilization.

    ...according to the theorical physicist Michio Kaku's book

  12. Achems Razor

    Is time travel possible? You betch'a, all you need is a stainless steel "Delorean" and a flux capaciter!

  13. Arturo A

    Time does not exist. It is not possible to travel on something that is not.

  14. Achems Razor

    For one thing, since Einstein/GR and quantum physics say that time and space, (spacetime) is an illusion. What are we to do, make more illusion?

    Maybe, in the distant future, we may bend spacetime and make our own reality, as in many worlds theory, parallel universe theory, who knows?

  15. Atrophy

    I saw a doc once where they lab tested reaction times to specific stimuli and discovered the body and brain actually reacted in advance of the stimuli. I would side on the 'anticipating results' side of the fence over 'precognition'.
    Now, to say time travel isn't possible is uninformed, we do it all the time, we always travel into the future.
    We will be here 'in time' once, we cannot physically go back and experience the same point in time again.

    I liked the enthusiasts thoughts, by moving an object back and forth by one molecule distance it would be going at or near the speed of light and thus experiencing time dilation, essentially traveling into the future, provided the molecules don't explode apart due to the vibration.

  16. Jeigh


    I laughed so hard at your comment, I almost peed on my laptop! Thanks!

    @ Arnold Vinette

    Dude! Do you have any idea how long it took to scroll past you ridiculous comment? Get a website already and stop taking the comment board hostage.

    So... time travel. When my son was six years old, he came into the kitchen while I was making dinner. He said "Daddy, I've discovered a time machine!" I entertained him and replied "oh yeah... let's see it," He then sat on a stool and stated; "okay, I'm going to the future." He closed his eyes and began to shake himself, the stool, and the kitchen; while emitting a series of R2-D2 like, beeps and whistles until finally opening his eyes and declaring; "I'm here!"

    That's time travel for ya.

  17. Type III

    The give-away during the Entertainment lawyer's piece is the letter from his buddy in the (blank) project. It's so OBVIOUSLY an information piece. I mean, look at it! haha It's a perfect puzzle piece, fills in all the blanks like a stone in Giza. It's a great sci-fi representation, and since we are likely far closer to at least practicing this capability in actuality, there's no harm in pondering the "after"-effects of time travel. :D

  18. azilda

    @arnold Vinette...Arnold i get the impression that you really believe what you are claiming...i think you have been telling every single person that comes in contact with you about these "ideas"...and very few people if any are listening...here you were able to write this stuff and no one would interrupt...the problem is you are still getting the same response.
    Validate your thinking....prove it to your self first...check your premonitions with short terms stuff. And if you find that it turns out to be bologna...don't make every one around you eat it! On the other hand if it sticks....first prove your point with people around you. You may become so well known you won't have to hide here.

  19. Jeigh

    @Arnold Vingette,

    I am an open-minded person. When Azilda put up his/her post; I decided to give your comment another read. The reason I didn't get through it the first time, was because of the length of it, and also the stream of consciousness way it was all coming out. Again, as Asilda pointed out; it was if you had said it all a million times before.

    But then I got to your asteroid comment. I thought I should just give you some basic information on astrophysics that may ease your mind, and get you to re-evaluate your thesis.

    If the earth was to be hit by an asteroid of that magnitude; you would most likely learn about it and die from it, in almost the same instance. There have been two major impacts in Earths history. One in Iowa, long before much of anything was on the planet, and another at the north west tip of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. That one is believed to be what wiped out the dinosaurs and ushered in the age of man.

    Contrary to what you may think, there is no system of telescopes constantly scanning the heavens like in the film "Contact". There would be no warning of the impending doom. Those ideas are from Hollywood movies, where the plot is designed to be suspenseful and give birth to heroes, like Bruce Willis, so they can sell millions of tickets and make millions of dollars.

    Just do some simple research, and you will learn that your worries are unfounded. Or if your interested in premonitions, just watch last Fridays episode of the Colbert Report. He had a scientist specializing in the very field you are looking to create. They discovered that 47 percent of the time, when testing for ESP with regular folks that had no history of it; the people guessed wrong. Then 53 percent of the time, when they used pornographic images; people got it right! Hmmm...that is interesting. Nonetheless, it is a difference of only six percent. The people anticipated it, not predetermined it. There is a documentary on here that explains that almost everything we do, our body knows before our mind does. So, what does that mean?
    There is always an answer. Just do some research or educate yourself on the research that has already been done.

    The chances that a major asteroid is going to hit the earth in the next 200 billion years, before our sun explodes is very, very good. Does that make me a psychic. No. That makes me logical.
    It's all going to end next year anyway... if you listen to mis-informed nuts who get their information from Hollywood.

    It's going to be okay. There is nothing we could do about it anyway.

  20. Luni of planet Zfoonk

    This is a strawberry dressed up as a Ananas comosus. Thank You.

  21. Henry A.

    What we cannot comprehend now will one day become common knowlegde. Before you laugh, remember that today's mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

  22. Chris.S

    You've watched it, you can't un-watch it!

  23. d.e.goodman

    "Have another HIT, of sweet California sunshine" as in "SUNSHINE" ACID! aka ORANGE- SUNSHINE, purple double domes, white flats, etc, etc, etc. "White-Flats" was the BEST!

  24. d.e.goodman

    Just remember "arnold" (wasn't there a pig named Arnold?) they thought Einstein was "crazy" too. For someone who didn't like the "post," YOU sure had an awful LOT to say about it? But I have a feeling YOU have a lot to say about everything, you know nothing about?

  25. A.R.

    Obsessed but not very scientific

  26. revenge

    Watched the documentary, and went to the John Titor site. First I would like to take Michio Kaku out of the equation. He didn't say anything wacky, he just discussed hypothetical possibilities.

    The other people however, are completely bonkers. Lets talk about Titor. Obviously the person perpetrating this hoax has little scientific knowledge (right wing/ libertarian/ Christian nut stretching it). Lets ask this question, is our solar system in the same position it was in 5 minutes ago (by the way I'm an Aerospace Engineer)? Answer, no. Our planet moves, our solar system moves, and our galaxy moves. If you went back in time for even an hour, you better be in a space craft, or a space suit because you'll be in deep space. His little machine appears to have no propulsion system so he'd be sucking vacuum. That's right, you would need a Tardis which unfortunately only exists in BBC science fiction. Next on a political note, the Titor site reads like a combo of right wing and libertarian propaganda. Nice try with the alternate world line explanation. I'm not even going to touch the distilling radioactive water thing except to say that the writer knows nothing about how radiation works. Forget it, I'll go into it, just so nobody is dumb enough to try it. Yes you can get the radioactive dust out, problem is, the water itself will now be radioactive. When they decontaminate a person they actually take off a layer of skin. This only works depending on the time limit of exposure. Once underlying tissue is contaminated there is nothing that can be done. I knew a girl from a certain Russian city. Some of her friends got radiation sickness months after exposure, nothing could be done. If your going to post bull at least get the science right. The little details are what makes the story believable.

  27. Rickyfresh

    How exactly could you go back in time and mate with yourself, even if you had a sex change, you would not have the right organs to both produce sperm and carry a baby no matter which way you changed, totally stupid thing to say, especially from a guy so intelligent.

  28. Jack1952

    I have used the space/time argument in discussions about space travel. Most people look at me like I'm completely nuts. Relativity is a key consideration in time travel. It also suggests that it may be impossible. It makes great science fiction though.

  29. psychorealm11

    To anyone still reading. I would like to believe time travel is possible. I think going back to my birth would be my choice. Why you ask? I had a thought while reading arguments for pro and against possibility of ever being able to time travel. I think maybe our minds in general are not able to handle the knowledge that something like that is possible or that it is happening in front of our eyes. Think about the shock if would create in your mind knowing you could screw up your future or your families. It would be interesting to see if the mind could handle it. Anyways great site Vladko

  30. Robert Tanguay

    These guys have it all wrong. We are all little bits of data(trillions of atoms) plotted through time. If you know the behaviors of the data, you can move forward and back through time.

    Simplify: World of Warcraft

    So you would need to recreate a large enough "virtual world" to travel time. No one is going to read this most likely so I will refrain from further explanation.

  31. Fred Henri

    Ok there buddy! I think someone's played a little too much video games and needs to realize that WoW and real life have very little in common and that explaining time travel through a dumbed down MMO is pretty simple minded... Have fun reconnecting to reality!

    I understand the parallel you're making here but the fact you can't come up with something more relevant than World of Warcraft clearly demonstrates you need to take a walk outside and go discover the real world! It's fun, I promise!

  32. Gareth Hayes

    He said that only if we become a type 3 civilization will there even be a chance of time travel, if you bothered to check what a type 3 civilization is you would know that for a type 3 civilization something like changing gender and being able to reproduce would be about as difficult as changing a light bulb today. If you are so intelligent why didn't you think of that...?

  33. Patrick White

    I think that he is not drawing a parallel between time travel and world of warcraft, but is saying that time travel would be more possible in a virtual world that we are "imported" or "downloaded" into.

    On a separate note I think this documentary should have focused less on crazy people ('cause i've come away feeling as if i've learned pretty much nothing) and more on the theoretical side - a bit like the guy that calls himself steven hawking collegue (i foget what his name is)

    Overall a pretty poor documentary, even though the shooting and production was of good quality.

  34. Demeter's Daughter

    ~ Seems A Soundbyte Doesn't Belong Here. Am I Right or Way Off? ~
    Hey, folks?
    Only at minutes 3:51 of..part 2 (?)..but wherever Michio has just finished finding a way to cutely insert the adjective "illustrious" to describe himself into his monologue on time travel..but I noticed a few people are troubled or upset with his appearance here and/or comments in this section of the doc.
    I can't be sure I'm addressing the specific area in the doc where Michio Kaku is ticking certain post-ers off ..
    But something doesn't seem right here, and I'm not (yet?) making a wry comment about the doc.
    I'm positive that I originally saw this same "descendent knocking on your door" line of thought by Dr. Michio Kaku originally in another doc on this site, and not only that, but everything he said therein perfectly fit the topic at hand in the original doc whose name frustratingly evades me now, whereas when I heard this exact soundbite again (to my surprise!!) in _this_ doc, it felt like an odd, sloppy "copy and paste", used out of context.
    I can only hope someone else has watched the same playlists and can understand where my suspicions are coming from, as well as name that doc I'm referring to - about time and/or time travel as well (it was a much better-researched-and-peopled-doc too.)
    I'm positive I've seen that exactly soundbite and clip in said prior doc on this site, as TDF is the only site for me...*l* ;-) (it's true though, actually..it's my homepage and I'm spending all summer watching these things obsessively *l*

    Maybe someone else can name what that doc was - as I've glutted myself now on so many I've lost track...aghhhh!! ;-)
    But my point is simply that perhaps he is being (wrongfully?) shown in this doc, with his soundbite from the other one taken out of context and sloppily placed in to this doc (without permission maybe?) It just seemed his monologue's relevence here is disjointed and out-of-place seeming, compared with the other doc wherein I saw him expound with this same set of ideas completely or almost to the letter (it does look like a one-time-recorded-thing, verbatim, not a slightly - copied - for - another-doc monologue - it wouldn't make sense just to change one or two words..I hope this makes sense to someone here; something "just doesn't fit".
    Perhaps if someone can point out whether or not this doc I'm watching is the older of the two, that will tell me what I need to know?
    PS: Though I edit my posts carefully, I have a vision problem and so, please excuse any horrendous typos I miss! Eek. T.Y ;-)

  35. James Colwell

    This is a comment section not a blog douche bag..

  36. devlinwaugh

    Very fun enjoy the momment, physics is not the only fruit to eat on a lazy afternoon,dream a little and wish if it were true.Nice little doc no real math good story of humans lust for understanding and question what if :D..

  37. Christian Hartmeyer

    if time travel was invented in the future, why haven't they come back here and told us? ;)

  38. Samuel Morrissey

    Maybe it only goes forwards?

  39. pumbaas_liferaft

    Wonderful documentary, really enjoyable, I was thinking of the time travelling tourists and why they aren't here. I thought that maybe we aren't in an attractive time in history, maybe we're the time equivalent of a slum. Maybe they went back to the Neanderthals and fooled around with them, then I thought maybe they hunted them or even worse hunted them and took the bodies away. Or maybe they took them away from us. Trying to get my mind around how to start thinking of the physics of how it could happen is like trying to pick up greasy glass.

  40. dewflirt

    If I'd invented a time machine I'd only come back and tell me, imagine the kerfuffle if everybody had one ;)

  41. Samuel Morrissey

    Yeah I agree with Mr Hawking on that point. Thanks for the link! I only meant it as a little joke, in that all you have to do to travel forwards in time is wait. I would say past and future are identical in that they are human abstractions and nothing more. The eternal moment is all there actually is I think. The past that was the moment is set only in our present. were we to move our present backwards we would very likely not encounter the same past.

    A better joke is 'What do we want? TIME TRAVEL! When do we want it? THAT'S IRRELEVANT!'

    I have never really been interested in the idea apart from the great scope it gives science fiction stories and presentations of paradoxes. 12 Monkeys I particularly enjoyed, firstly for the limited control over the pendulum type back and forth in time - a reference to several much older science fiction stories, and secondly for the near complete lack of paradox. The only loop I can remember is the name itself (12 monkeys) appears to have caused itself, a bit like the technology from the destroyed Terminator (another old favorite though not for its rather poor presentation of time traveling and its consequences) being the basis of the skynet computer that eventually builds the Terminator... infinite loop paradox... who (or what!) invented the original terminator?

    I did have a little think about it this afternoon, though. I came to the conclusion that a regressive time machine would have to encompass the entire universe, excluding the traveler, as it is the universe that must have its time direction reversed (and then accelerated to the chosen destination) for backwards time travel. If the machine only acted upon the traveler, then the traveler would grow younger etc.. but outside the universe would have continued its forward path. Quite apart from the fact elaborated by Mr Hawking, that there is no reason to believe that were the time direction reversed, the universe would arrive at the destination moment in the same state it was in the past. Quantum probabilities practically demand that it may well be significantly different. Also, if I assume that this universe is the only one, what would everyone else feel about me using a machine to reverse time universally?

    My ultimate favorite story regarding time is J.G Ballard - 'The Crystal World' though nothing to do with time travel, he describes a universe in which time is slowly leaking out of. Well worth a read.

  42. oQ

    May be the fact that we are here is a proof that time travel was invented in the future.

  43. oQ

    You really think you could keep this hidden from your children and that man of yours? me think not!

  44. oQ

    May be it only comes backwards.

  45. oQ

    "The eternal moment is all there actually is I think."
    Why does that sound like a bible phrase to me?
    I doubt that's where it was picked from though.

    "a regressive time machine would have to encompass the entire universe, excluding the traveler, as it is the universe that must have its time direction reversed (and then accelerated to the chosen destination) for backwards time travel."
    If it was the product of a machine than the traveler could not be excluded as he would be the one in control of the machine.


  46. dewflirt

    Probably not, my kids are like the five-o. I could keep hopping back to the moment before they discover it and avert disaster though ;))

  47. oQ

    You're fooling yourself again there....all kids need is that split nanosecond of something to make it reality.
    You may be lucky if there are on their phone chatting, most kids lose the flow of reality completely then.

  48. Samuel Morrissey

    Hi oQ. :)

    I'm not sure why it sounds like a bible phrase to you, perhaps it might to me with the omission of 'I think' and the addition of 'I know, because god revealed it to me'

    If the time traveler is included in the effect of the machine, then his/her time direction would be reversed also, leading to real problems with distance of travel - only inside your lifetime, and only as far back as you still have the capacity to understand and control the machine. Also consider were the inventors time direction reversed, is it not a likely possibility that he/she would un-invent and dismantle the machine?

    My point was that the whole universe must be affected for the desired effect to take place, and that means everything and everyone in it, excluding the traveler who wishes to experience backwards time forwards if you will.


    I do think human language is vastly inefficient for discussing such topics... but very amusing none the less!

  49. dewflirt

    Oh god, this stupid time machine is turning out to be a pain in the backside and it's not even real. I'm going to ebay it :)

  50. yokosucks

    12 monkeys

  51. aida

    0.22/ part 2; is this guy f****** serious??? Is he seriously saying that if a female gets a sex operation she will be able to produce sperm and impregnate someone? let alone herself? And have little kids made entirely out of him her? And he is a "physicist" and calls himself steven hawkings "colleague" ? What a joke and waste of time

  52. bungabunga

    this site is brilliant, and there are actually intelligent people here having discussions and debates. top shelf! i learned from the well informed comments not to even bother watching this bung!

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