A brief history of time travel

Last week, I interviewed a bunch of high school seniors for a very prestigious scholarship. About 50% will get it, which includes about $250,000 worth of funding. The other 50% will have to content themselves with going to Harvard.1

My friend Topher also interviewed these kids. While my questions were all about the candidates’ stated interests, Topher was trying to get them out of their comfort zone. He asked them all a variation of the following question:

If you could take back any idea/person/technology and make it available at an earlier point in history, what idea/person/technology would it be?

Let me know your answers. I’ll tell you mine below the fold.

If I could take back any idea, I think it would be contraception. And I’d take it back as early as possible to ensure it isn’t lost to the ravages of time. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of VHEM.

If I could take back a person, I’d bring David Hume back to 380 BC, when Plato was getting older and Alexander the Great was still a ways away. I think some early skepticism would have really helped Western Europe avoid the Dark Ages.

If I could take back any technology, I’d take back Twitter to the Pleistocene. That would be awesome.

  1. … I hate it when people are more successful than me… []

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