Thursday, October 28, 2010

Charlie Chaplin's Time Traveller

A friend pointed me to an article on that discusses a YouTube video that has gone viral on the web. In the video, a guy named George Clark analyzes a Charlie Chaplin film scene where a person that appears to be a woman walks by while talking into something that Clark concludes must have been a cell phone. Since cell phones were non-existent in Chaplin's day, Clark concludes that the woman must be a time traveller.

Well, let's think about this for a minute. How would a time traveller be able to talk into a cell phone back in Charlie Chaplin's day? I may not understand time travel well enough--even though I have watched Napoleon Dynamite several times---but I don't think this woman could use her iPhone from 2050 when she was back in the 1920s. Are we asserting that her cell coverage also travelled forward in time? If not how did this phone work.

One possibility is that two people travelled back to 1920 with their cell phones. This sounds good if we think our cell phones just work between themselves like walkie-talkies. However, unless the technology changes dramatically between today and when time travel is perfected, these two time travellers would have needed to bring at least one cell tower, a satellite and the equipment to communicate to the satellite and a rocket to launch the satellite into space. They also would need computers and people to keep all that running.

Well, I'm wondering why this video is going viral on the web. Is it because people are that gullible and don't think enough about the implications that they think this guy might have discovered evidence of time travel? If so, there is little hope that the Ponzi schemers of the world will be out of business any time soon...In fact, as soon as a fraud perpetrator watches that video, he will probably set up a Ponzi scheme that guarantees 25% per month returns on a company that has discovered time travel!


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  2. Well, obviously this isn't time travel. Clearly, this woman is an alien communicating with the mothership. It's simple. Occam's razor.

  3. Heath: Why didn't I think of that?! Definitely more plausible than the cell phone/time travel theory...

  4. Actually, the simplest explanation is that we're all living in a Matrix and this is just a glitch in the program.