An Iranian inventor recently claimed he created a "time machine," according to reports. But the Internet is skeptical, and with good reason.
The Telegraph caused a stir Wednesday with a story about a young Tehran-based scientist, Ali Razeghi, and an invention he calls "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine." Reportedly something of a mad scientist, Razeghi claimed the device, which "easily fits into the size of a personal computer case," can predict with 98-percent accuracy the future five to eight years of an individual's life.
The Telegraph cited an earlier story, in Farsi, by Iranian news agency Fars. However, The Washington Post reports that Fars quietly deleted the story, even as it began to go viral among Western media outlets. (Fars' link is now dead.) The Atlantic Wire points out that the story never even made it to the Science section on the site's English-language side.
A separate interview with Razeghi was published in Farsi by Iranian news site Entekhab. The story says Razeghi is a supervisor at Iran's Center for Strategic Inventions and Inventors and claims that his baffling invention won't be available for another few years, at least. "We're waiting for conditions to improve in Iran," Razeghi told the outlet, according to a translation by The Huffington Post.
Razeghi was coy during the interview, refusing to give out many details because he was worried his idea would be stolen and reproduced by China. He did say, however, that his device incorporates both hardware and software components, and that it cost roughly 500,000 Iranian tomans (about $400). When asked whether he was worried the machine might cause problems, he said he envisions it used selectively, to tell a couple the future sex of their child, for example.
Neither Iran nor Razeghi have publicly responded to the report.
Radio Free Europe writes that "most Iran watchers will be treating his announcement with a certain amount of skepticism," in light of a recent flap that involved a Photoshopped picture of Iran's Qaher-313 stealth fighter jet.
Scientists around the world have made previous claims (some dubious, some less so) about their own "time machine" inventions. In 2009, a man named Steve Gibbs, of Clearwater, Neb., said he had invented a "hyperdimensional resonator," which he claimed could be used for "out-of-body time travel," according to the Examiner.
More recently, in 2011, physicists from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., announced they had developed a "time cloak" that they say can hide events for trillionths of a second.