Not content with letting North Korea get all the “we're sooooo bad” headlines this week, fellow rogue nation Iran has let it be known one of its resident boffins has invented a time machine. And then deleted the story in state-run media that brought the world news of the gadget.
The “time machine” in question wasn't of the “transport me to May 11 so I can watch the FA Cup Final, remember the result, then return to present and place very large bet” variety.
Instead a boffin named Ali Razeghi said, according to myriad reports, that the machine could peer five or so years into the future and bring back news of events like whether you'll marry or or where wars will break out.
To say that details of just how the machine pulled off that trick were sketchy is an insult to sketch artists. Search engines also return almost no material on an Ali Razeghi from Iran, making him something of a Dr Who?
It's even harder to learn just how the machine worked, as Iran's state-run media service farsnews.com has removed the story announcing the amazing invention. All that's left is an insight into Iranian 404 etiquette.
But a little cache trickery, thanks to freezepages.com still yields a result, albeit in Persian. Once we ran that through Google Translate and Bing Translator, it became possible to glean the following information about the device:
- It's the size of a PC;
- It can look five to eight years into the future;
- Details such as “age of marriage, number of children, education, occupation, war, disease, and so on” will be predicted “with a 98% accuracy”;
- It can also predict exchange rate fluctuations.
Perhaps the most important feature of the device, the story said, is that Iran spent just $US400,000 or $500,000 on its creation. But the USA, the story says has spent 50 years trying to build just such a device and has spent about $10bn a year doing so.
At which point Reg readers will detect the unmistakable whiff of propaganda.
That smell may intensify for some readers if they consider this story from another Iranian news outlet, Entekhab.ir, that seems to be an interview with Ali Razeghi. That story, again run through far-from-perfect Persian-to-English translation engines, suggests divine inspiration for the invention.
News of the time machine comes just a few days after Iran accused Google Earth of being a spying tool, and pledging to set up its own Arabic, and far purer, edition. ®
Iranian scientist Ali Razeghi doesn't pop up in search engine results. But Ali Razeghi does, and his blog, titled "SQL Internals & MCM Training: SQL Server for mere mortals and you", looks like it may appeal to many Reg readers.