Time travel has always been a source of great fascination. Today’s needull is about a self-professed time traveller from 2036 – John Titor.
And then there was his reason for travelling. Titor claimed he had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer, which was needed to debug ageing machines still used in 2036. That in itself isn’t too wacky: in 2002, NASA had to buy outdated medical equipment on eBay just so it could scavenge their obsolete Intel 8086 chips for their booster testing machines, and even the Orion spacecraft, whose first manned flight is scheduled for the 2020s, uses computers from 2002.
But here’s the kicker. Titor claimed the 5100 was needed in the future due to a special feature which IBM did not publicly announce. Sure enough, Bob Dubke, an engineer who helped design it, confirmed that such a feature existed. The 5100 had the rare ability to emulate programs in older languages used by IBM mainframes, but the company was worried about how its competition might use it, and told nobody. So Titor was at least a very well-informed hoaxer – a computer scientist or enthusiast who used his knowledge well.