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TimePal is a new web-based service devised by PayPal, Inc. (currently a division of eBay Corporation) that allows internet users and e-commerce vendors to restore lost time to others via e-mail. While the system is currently far from perfect, interest in TimePal's proprietary chrono-restoration™ technology has piqued the interest of investors and executives throughout the IT sector.
edit How It Works
Unlike the usual conception of time travel as depicted in movies and science fiction novels, TimePal's chrono-restoration™ technology has no effect on the space-time continuum. Instead, it non-invasively restores the customer to a previous emotional, psychological, and mental state — in effect, a highly comprehensive form of induced amnesia. The more time that is placed in the customer's TimePal account, the further back the customer can be restored. Given a sufficient account balance, a customer could be restored to the state of a new-born infant, or even that of a tiny fetus. The technology is currently somewhat limited, in that it is incapable of returning the customer to a pre-zygotic stage of development, such as a sperm cell. But this is likely to be fixed in version 2.0, due to be released May 28, 2015.
For all practical purposes, however, the primary limitation of the technology is that there is currently no way to prevent the customer's memory from being affected. While this is a major selling point in some cases, TimePal scientists have, so far, completely failed in their effort to make memory elimination "optional" — leading to criticism from the medical community that the process is simply a "brain-wipe." Indeed, once mentally restored to a previous state, the customer has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of having experienced the event (typically a mistake of some kind) that caused him to use the time credited to his TimePal account. Depending on the amount of regression, one might also not recall having created the account, having owned the computer with which the account was created, having learned how to use a computer, having learned to read, or even having ever existed. Customers are therefore free to make the same mistakes again, and often do, despite warnings from the TimePal website to place detailed written reminders nearby warning against this.
edit Inherent Contradictions
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As might be expected, TimePal has become the center of considerable controversy due to the inherent nature of the service. In addition to accusations of "brain-wipery," TimePal's slogan ("restore lost time to anyone with an e-mail address!") has already been challenged as false advertising by consumer advocates, who insist that the restoration of lost time should entail actual time travel as opposed to a direct psycho-reactive alteration of the customer's brain. Most of these groups argue that a more accurate name would be "RegressPal," with a slogan such as "send mentational regression credits to anyone with an e-mail address." However, this suggestion has been roundly rejected by TimePal CEO Patrick Star as being "too hard to spell."
Moreover, the TimePal process has been called "worse than useless" by many psychologists, who point out the fact that only the individual who uses the service is affected by it. In cases of victimization, those who abused, maligned, or insulted the customer, or who simply wasted the customer's time, continue to harbor the same attitudes and resentments that existed prior to the application of the process — and are free to also continue their abusive and malicious behavior, only now without the customer having any understanding whatsoever as to why they are doing it. Meanwhile, friends, family, business associates, and others who may have tried to help during the customer's "time of trial" often feel cheated once they realize that their own time spent comforting the customer was wasted by the simple expedient of his having forgotten the entire incident, and in some cases, them as well. These individuals are then led to use TimePal themselves, in an attempt to restore the wasted time, causing additional confusion among interested parties while further enriching TimePal and its parent companies.
Nevertheless, the benefits of TimePal for individual customers are undeniable. For example, a writer might expend a small amount of TimePal credit to forget having written a particular sentence, allowing him or her to repeat that sentence almost immediately in the same piece without even knowing it.
edit Potential for Abuse
While the benefits of TimePal for individual customers are undeniable, allowing (for example) writers to forget having written a particular sentence and then repeat that sentence almost immediately in the same piece without even knowing it, other critics have suggested that the service could be easily misused, and possibly even employed as a weapon.
For example, a customer might expend a small amount of TimePal credit to forget having written a particular sentence, allowing him or her to repeat that sentence almost immediately in the same piece without even knowing it. This idea could be easily extended into various military and intelligence applications, assuming the "target" can be lured to an internet-capable computer long enough to absorb the TimePal process. Enemy personnel could then be made to completely forget passwords, operational orders, special training, or even their own identities, in addition to their having written a particular sentence, allowing him or her to repeat that sentence almost immediately in the same piece without even knowing it.
Rumors have also begun to circulate that western intelligence agencies are working on a means of "piggybacking" TimePal's technology onto CIA-operated internet pornography sites, or even embedding it within individual pornographic image files. Simply staring at one of these images for a sufficient period of time can cause the enemy to completely forget operational orders, special training, or even their own identities. Indeed, rumors have begun to circulate that western intelligence agencies are working on a means of "piggybacking" TimePal's technology onto CIA-operated internet pornography sites, or even embedding it within individual pornographic image files.
TimePal is not to be confused with "TimePAL," also known as "TimePALM," a software program from ufp software used for synchronizing Palm PDA clocks with PC clocks or with SNTP servers, as opposed to, for example, causing enemies to completely forget operational orders, special training, or even their own identities.