# Help me outwit Skald the Rhymer's foul death-time machine

In You can find out the exact date & time (but not place) of your death. Do you do it?, Skald the Rhymer proposes to build a fancy-pants machine that tells you your date and time of death. Problem is, I want to get my read-out, but not actually die at the appointed time.

My best idea is to take a plane that carefully times when it crosses the International Dateline, so I can can completely skip the specified time in question. The problem is that I fear some sort of Irony Clause so that either 1) the plane crashes before crossing International Date Line, and I lay mortally wounded until the time predicted by the infernal machine, or 2) the plane, just before touching down in Tokyo, is high-jacked, and taken back over the International Dateline, where I am taken out in the crossfire by security forces regaining control, even though I am hiding out in the cargo bay.

So I was wondering if anyone had a fool-proof plan.

Shoot yourself in the head the moment you get the results.

You know he’s going to release the bees or the flying monkeys or the nuclear whales on you for this, right?

Burn the result (it’s on paper, IIRC), and don’t get any kind of brain scan after that.

This way, no observable differences exist between any possible world-states and hence, there shouldn’t be any influence on the future but for your own actions. If possible, forget the result. Also, don’t tell anyone the result.

Of course, it’s impossible to prove that that will work.

The problem is that the results would specify that particular moment as the moment you die.

So then you’d say, “ah ha! Well then I just won’t shoot myself in the head as I had planned!”

And then a piano falls on you.

Well, how about exploiting gravitational time dilation? Don’t use the fancy-pants machine until you’re past the event horizon of a black hole. The machine may struggle with coming up with an answer because “when” is tough to pin down under those circumstances.

You’ll beat the machine and you can savor that feeling for the rest of your life.

If you’re past the event horizon of a black hole, “the rest of your life” is going to be pretty short.

That does bring up an important point though. If the machine prints out your date of death, I presume it would refer to that date in flat space, or at least the reference frame of Earth’s gravitational well. So if you’re on your way into a black hole, from the Earth’s frame of reference you’ll take literally forever to pass the event horizon, even if from your own frame of reference you’re obliterated at the center in a few seconds. In that case, what would that little slip of paper say?

The key here is figuring out how the machine works. I read the original OP (?) and it specifically states the machine does not kill you, so destroying the machine is out. Instead, it states that it uses some sort of time travel technology to get the information, as well as some other interesting properties that allow it to know when someone has read the results. Based on the description of the machine, I’m under the impression that we are living in multiple universe theory, and when the person goes into the machine, it picks the timeline that will happen based on the events of that time, assuming the person (or someone else, apparently) reads the results. If the results are not read, then a different timeline is picked (or maybe not).

Sorry, I’m kind of rambling trying to figure it out. There’s too much unknown, so you’d have to experiment before trying it out yourself. Does it work on animals? How about inanimate objects? You need to get as much information on that timeline as you can, and while only a date and time is very little to go on, at least it is something. Experimentation should reveal SOME play in the ‘rules’ that will allow you to get enough information about the timeline that you can change something after getting the results for yourself. I guess what I’m trying to say is using the technology that makes the machine work against it, but I can’t logic anything else about it. Oh well.

Well if his machine uses some sort of time travel technology, why can’t you? Go back into the past. You know you didn’t die in the past. That should be a safe place…for a while anyway.

Maybe you can even prevent the creation of the machine. Get Skald involved in a good poker game or take him to Mud Island or even Collierville. Anything to distract him. Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman and I will sneak in and…Where is this machine anyway?

isn’t this just the infallible god / fallible god debate in fancy dress?

If the machine is always right, then any attempt to kill yourself before the specified datetime would fail. I.e. if you attempt to shoot yourself in the head, the gun misfires, leaving you in a coma, from which you die at the specified datetime etc.

If the machine gets it wrong sometimes, then yes you should be able to either die earlier thyan your prediction, or out live it.

Reversing the order:

I’d still expect the original machine to be correct.

With the type of science fiction we seem to be dealing with, I’d expect that to result in something seriously bad happening to you, and you being in agony, trying and failing to get yourself back to the date you were supposed to die.

Same thing would happen if you use the time machine to skip the day in question, only worse, because there no builtin way to get you back to the proper time. And it would happen fairly early on, since, otherwise, it would become a tale about immortality, when it seems to be trying to be one about not being able to cheat fate.
ETA: But time travel does give you a good way to do something else: Go back in time and influence Skald to make the machine tell you where you’re going to die, but not when. Then, go back and visit a machine before the point where you first did, so that you’ve not already been in the machine. Then, because you’ve now invalidated the premise, maybe the information will be wrong.

Yeah, maybe not. I can see two flaws already, one logical, and one “irony clause”.

The Hamster King and LiveOnAPlane are standing by B]Skald The Rhymer’s** machine.

LiveOnAPlane reads the prediction of his death…

Goes “I’ll show him and his infernal device!” and whips out Baby, his .44 Magnum. Puts it to his head and fires, falling dead instantly.

The Hamster King goes to the machine and opens a secret door. He looks inside at the person sitting there with a pen and paper. He says,

“You know, Skald, maybe we’re taking this joke a little too far.”

Not necessarily. If the black hole is massive enough (we’re talking galaxy sized here) the the forces wouldn’t be strong enough to spaghettify you.

I just laughed so hard I snarfed my tempura battered zuchinni! Curse you LoaP!!!

Instead of killing yourself to ruin his prediction of your death, just kill everyone who gets a prediction, if it is NOT their time to die, or, you could save a person who is about to die if you are one of those goody two shoes types.

Murder Skald. I don’t think it will help, but you’ll feel a lot better.

I think you misspelled “incredibly brief from the POV of someone outside the hole, but infinitely long from your point of view, 'cept you won’t actually notice on account of being ripped apart on account of the gravitational forces being marginally stronger on one part of your body than the other, which is true on Earth but never matters but in a black hole results in being ripped apart atom by atom, and that’s if you’re lucky.”

There’s a fairly simple answer to this question, by the way, based upon what we know about Skald, who is referring to himself in the third person for the rest of this post because he is a jackass.

In the first place, we know that it’s unlikely that Skald himself invented the Thanatos Prognosticator, as he is terribly lazy. So lazy that, though there are countless instances on this message board he could use to prove that, he can’t be arsed to find them. Whence, then, came the Prognosticator?

To answer that we must remember that Skald is in possession of a Burroughs-Libby continua device, which he also did not invent. (Otherwise it’d be called a Rhymer-continua device.) As Skald is known to be, at best, mischievous, and at worst a megalomanical monster bent on global domination during his lifetime and the extinction of humanity immediately after his death, it is further obvious that he probably stole the reality-hopper. If Skald stole and repurposed said continua device (probably [del]wiping & reprogramming[/del] raping & murdering poor Gay Deceiver in the process, sick fuck that he is), then someone else can surely steal it from him and defeat his security protocols.

Why is that important? you ask. Well, I should think that’s obvious. The Prognosticator’s functions are clearly based on certain elements of quantum theory. Thus it only works in universes in which those aspects of quantum mechanics are valid. What must be done, then, is to relocate the person who wishes to invalidate the prediction to a universe in which those rules do not hold sway.

I know what you’re thinking. “But how do I find such a universe? There’s six to the sixth power to the sixth power universes accessible through poor, violated Gay’s corpse! It’ll take forever!”

But that is foolishness. We already know of a sheaf of such universes in which both Heisenberg and Schrodinger were clearly full of shit. Moreover, it’s a safe bet that Skald has those universes bookmarked in the continua devices trans-time reality system. After all, she lives there. Shedoes too. And him, if you’re into dudes.

Clearly, the answer is to steal Skald’s stolen continua device and pop over to one of the aforementioned universes. Just stay out of any holodecks.