Our tech stinks: We're nowhere near being able to time travel, says famous physicist


Dr. Michio Kaku—yes, he has a MySpace—world-renowned physicist and, as Peter put it, a “smart mofo,” was on the Opie & Anthony Show yesterday (you can grab it off Audible.com here) discussing all sorts of things that made me feel like to total idiot. Whether or not there’s life on other planets (Kaku says yes. As to why we haven’t been visited by other life forms yet, he answered, Do you walk down a hill and talk to an ant hill? Earth isn’t all that interesting when you think about it on a cosmic scale), how real science fiction movies are, and time travel. That’s what concerns us here.

Asked how close, technologically, we are to time travel—it’s theoretically possible because time flows like a river or something—Kaku pretty much just laughed. Apparently we’re not even a Type I civilization; time travel requires at least a Type III civilization.

To further put into perspective of how far off the mark we are, says Wikipedia, which I trust inherently:

Using our nuclear explosion tests as a perspective, Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, produced an estimated 57 megaton yield; even a Type I civilization produces roughly 25 megatons of TNT equivalent a second. A Type II civilization produces 4×10^9 times more energy (4 billion hydrogen bombs per second), and a type III 10^11 times more yet.

So while we’re all having fun with our cute little toys—iPhone, WiMax, Wii Fit, etc.—we, as a technological society, have a long, long way to go before we start doing anything truly interesting.

Enjoy your meaningless day!

Oh, and Dr. Kaku has a book explaining all this in great detail. I’m definitely buying it tomorrow.