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(XKCD)   From subby's puny laser pointer to the most powerful laser in existence, XKCD aims for the moon in the latest What-if scenario   (what-if.xkcd.com) divider line 99
    More: Cool, lithium batteries, arcminutes, full moons, lasers, kilowatts, illumination, surfaces, square metres  
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10640 clicks; posted to Geek » on 26 Sep 2012 at 2:56 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-26 01:17:33 PM  
Thankfully there are only 13 of these. Interesting as hell.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-09-26 01:42:17 PM  
When I read the astro groups on usenet there was a post every month about the first observation of the new moon, which is very important to some religion. If we could shine enough light on the moon to make it appear early, we could mess with religious festivals.
 
2012-09-26 01:56:24 PM  
Bye-bye afternoon productivity!
 
2012-09-26 01:59:38 PM  
What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?

Short Answer: Nothing

Long Answer: Noooooooooooooothing, but worldwide chaos as everyone tried to find their way back home.

GooberMcFly: Bye-bye afternoon productivity!


Yep!
 
2012-09-26 02:33:43 PM  
i discovered the what-if series two days ago and my productivity has been shot to hell.
 
2012-09-26 02:52:38 PM  
Great, do you know how long it's going to take to read that? I should have checked here before lunch. :/
 
2012-09-26 03:00:31 PM  

ZAZ: When I read the astro groups on usenet there was a post every month about the first observation of the new moon, which is very important to some religion. If we could shine enough light on the moon to make it appear early, we could mess with religious festivals.


NEW MOONS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY
 
2012-09-26 03:05:11 PM  

Left unmentioned is the astronomical inflation in the laser-pointer industry, which will lead to the creation of a laser-pointer lobby, which will eventually dominate every major world government (and quite a few small ones).

FIGHT BIG LASER
 
2012-09-26 03:09:04 PM  
i613.photobucket.com

close door, turn off lights
 
2012-09-26 03:12:34 PM  

some_beer_drinker: [i613.photobucket.com image 407x307]

close door, turn off lights


Yeah, you win.
 
2012-09-26 03:12:52 PM  
And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!
 
2012-09-26 03:14:08 PM  
and December 28th, 2012, Adam Selene and the loonies launch their attack.
 
2012-09-26 03:16:44 PM  

buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!


If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.
 
2012-09-26 03:19:30 PM  

some_beer_drinker: [i613.photobucket.com image 407x307]

close door, turn off lights


Great. Now I discovered that's on Netflix streaming... now my evenings are totally shot for the next few days.
 
2012-09-26 03:21:33 PM  
Eventually it will either be slingshotted into the Sun, ejected toward the outer Solar System, or slammed into one of the planets-quite possibly ours. I think we can all agree that in this case, we'd deserve it.

I love these guys.
 
2012-09-26 03:23:39 PM  

buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!


The Earth moves in several ways:

~ It rotates on it's own axis. Each rotation takes one day. A spot on the equator moves at 1670 kilometers per hour (1037 miles per hour), and at the pole zero miles per hour.


i.e. time travel by one hour, end up 1037 miles west (and as a pile of pulp against a wall, unless you retain your initial velocity)... except that

~ The Earth revolves around the Sun once a year at an average speed of 29.78 kilometers per second.

So, in that hour, you're now also 107,208 km behind in the orbit. Uh, oh. But at least you aren't pulp. Even if you were on the leading edge, you're now almost 10 earth diameters behind.

~ The Sun moves in relation to our nearest stars. It is moving closer to some and farther from others and the rest of our solar system moves with it.

~ The Sun and our neighboring stars orbit the center of our galaxy at about 220 km/s (492,000 mph) and takes about 255 million years for one orbit.


You are, however also 792,000 km offset from the orbit, so good luck getting rescued.

~ Our galaxy is moving within our local galaxy cluster and taking our Sun with it. It is moving closer to some galaxies and farther from others.
Astronomers believe the Milky Way is moving at approximately 630 kilometers per second relative to the local co-moving frame of reference that moves with the Hubble flow.


Er, make that 2.2 million km offset...

~ Our galaxy cluster is moving farther away from other clusters as the universe continues to expand at about 74 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

... and everything is getting farther away.
 
2012-09-26 03:24:37 PM  

scottydoesntknow: If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.


So what you're saying is that the sun is stationary.
 
2012-09-26 03:25:54 PM  

scottydoesntknow: buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!

If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.


from the way I understand cosmology though everything is in motion and space itself is constantly changing, expanding and in some areas contacting and warping. As a result you have no objective position in the universe and your position is always relative to something. so isn't theearth as good a thing as anyto be relative to?
 
Bf+
2012-09-26 03:26:50 PM  
images.wikia.com
What if we tried more power? 
 
2012-09-26 03:27:07 PM  

Chagrin: scottydoesntknow: If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.

So what you're saying is that the sun is stationary.


Only referring to our solar system, not on a galactic wide scale.
 
2012-09-26 03:29:03 PM  

Theaetetus: ... and everything is getting farther away.


...and this is why I love Fark. Thank you!
 
2012-09-26 03:30:07 PM  
scottydoesntknow:
If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.

Stationary with respect to what? By itself, the word stationary doesn't mean anything. You need a reference point, since there is no such thing as absolute space.
 
2012-09-26 03:31:19 PM  
I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.
 
2012-09-26 03:38:35 PM  
i49.tinypic.com

I think this person was just trying to make a sale. Almost had me.
 
2012-09-26 03:40:01 PM  
FTA:At that point, the Moon will be visible to approximately five billion people

He forgot to include sharks. Sharks with frickin' laser beams.
 
2012-09-26 03:41:36 PM  
Scientific team

cdn.gottabemobile.com
 
2012-09-26 03:41:45 PM  

cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.


Or a viper sullian.
 
2012-09-26 03:44:19 PM  

cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.


Or he has, and his villainy just amounts to messing with your head.
 
2012-09-26 03:49:46 PM  
Time travel in a localized field grounded to instruments on earth. That would solve the relative position issue. And maybe mean you can only move forward.
 
2012-09-26 03:50:19 PM  

Theaetetus: buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!

The Earth moves in several ways:

~ It rotates on it's own axis. Each rotation takes one day. A spot on the equator moves at 1670 kilometers per hour (1037 miles per hour), and at the pole zero miles per hour.

i.e. time travel by one hour, end up 1037 miles west (and as a pile of pulp against a wall, unless you retain your initial velocity)... except that

~ The Earth revolves around the Sun once a year at an average speed of 29.78 kilometers per second.

So, in that hour, you're now also 107,208 km behind in the orbit. Uh, oh. But at least you aren't pulp. Even if you were on the leading edge, you're now almost 10 earth diameters behind.

~ The Sun moves in relation to our nearest stars. It is moving closer to some and farther from others and the rest of our solar system moves with it.

~ The Sun and our neighboring stars orbit the center of our galaxy at about 220 km/s (492,000 mph) and takes about 255 million years for one orbit.

You are, however also 792,000 km offset from the orbit, so good luck getting rescued.

~ Our galaxy is moving within our local galaxy cluster and taking our Sun with it. It is moving closer to some galaxies and farther from others.
Astronomers believe the Milky Way is moving at approximately 630 kilometers per second relative to the local co-moving frame of reference that moves with the Hubble flow.

Er, make that 2.2 million km offset...

~ Our galaxy cluster is moving farther away from other clusters as the universe continues to expand at ab ...


If this whole thing is true then the time traveling car would actually provide a true method of determining position in the universe, instead of everything being relative to something else.
 
2012-09-26 03:50:39 PM  

scottydoesntknow: buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!

If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.



Plus you would be 13 light seconds away from the solar system +/- the distance the Earth traveled, as it would depend on when you started your time jaunt.
The solar system moves around the galactic core at a speed of 250km/sec in six months that would be:
250x60x60x24x30x6 = 3,888,000,000km
1 light second = 299,792,458

Then there is also the 300km/sec speed of the milky way in the local group.
 
2012-09-26 03:51:06 PM  

cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.


images1.wikia.nocookie.net

I'm sure they're saving him a seat in the meantime.
 
2012-09-26 03:53:04 PM  

cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.


The idea of weaponizing rain is kinda cool though.
 
2012-09-26 03:53:18 PM  

MadUncleEoin: cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.

Or he has, and his villainy just amounts to messing with your head.


He may well be a super villain, but the fact is, most of the really good super villain schemes either boil down to simple extortion (give me X or I'll do Y) or ultimately self defeating schemes (where Y is something that will cause total extinction). So instead of actually going out and DOING such things, he just makes comics and blogs about such things to screw with our heads for his own amusement.

And all without wearing some stupid costume.
 
2012-09-26 03:56:57 PM  

buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!



I'd say it could work.  Since you'd need to be near the speed of light, chances are any time machine would be a space ship of some sort that would navigate out of the way of earth and any other stuff that could damage it.  Then, it would navigate back to earth and land safely.
 
2012-09-26 03:57:13 PM  

Deneb81: Time travel in a localized field grounded to instruments on earth. That would solve the relative position issue. And maybe mean you can only move forward.


Maybe that doesn't work, and maybe this is why we've never actually met time travelers from the future. Every time someone invents a working time machine and comes back to announce it, they end up hundreds of millions of miles away in space and die.
 
2012-09-26 04:00:37 PM  

akula: MadUncleEoin: cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.

Or he has, and his villainy just amounts to messing with your head.

He may well be a super villain, but the fact is, most of the really good super villain schemes either boil down to simple extortion (give me X or I'll do Y) or ultimately self defeating schemes (where Y is something that will cause total extinction). So instead of actually going out and DOING such things, he just makes comics and blogs about such things to screw with our heads for his own amusement.

And all without wearing some stupid costume.


You can't prove that.
 
2012-09-26 04:01:44 PM  
i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com
 
2012-09-26 04:07:31 PM  

scottydoesntknow: buntz: And someone explain to me the theory that you can't have a time machine for the simple fact that the Earth wouldn't be in the same place in the past or future.

So using the car-as-time-machine theory, since the car is static (more or less) the Earth is moving through space and if you go back 50 years, the Earth was at a different place in it's orbit.

But I don't know what I'm talking about so someone smart explain this to me? I mean, I get it. But I can't explain it properly. Thanks!

If you are stationary, but the earth isn't, you will be in the same place when you come out of time travel, and the earth will not. Time travel 6 months into the future, and the earth is on the other side of the sun while you're on the opposite side, with no oxygen or atmosphere.


That why it's called Time *and* Relative Dimension in Space.
 
2012-09-26 04:15:11 PM  
I think if I can figure out how to travel through time... doing the mat to arrive on the same spot in the rotation of the earth etc etc would be trivial.
 
2012-09-26 04:30:52 PM  
gund goat
so isn't theearth as good a thing as anyto be relative to?

Yes, though it depends on how the time machine works. If you remain in physical space (in the case of, say, being frozen in a lab) then you'll move right along with the earth and there is no problem. If you drop out of physical space (and thus have no mass, momentum, electromagnetic effects, and no gravitational effects) then you will be at the same absolute position as before. The latter interpretation is what is being suggested. However, dropping out of physical space is nonsensical (it would be similar to instantaneous spatial movement with no senders/receivers or travel medium/intermediate state.). This is why the idea of determining an absolute position sounds bogus (i.e. because it is). The cases where you don't interact with the earth but interact with the sun or still maintain some (but not all) physical properties are arbitrarily constructed.
 
2012-09-26 04:37:23 PM  

akula: MadUncleEoin: cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.

Or he has, and his villainy just amounts to messing with your head.

He may well be a super villain, but the fact is, most of the really good super villain schemes either boil down to simple extortion (give me X or I'll do Y) or ultimately self defeating schemes (where Y is something that will cause total extinction). So instead of actually going out and DOING such things, he just makes comics and blogs about such things to screw with our heads for his own amusement.

And all without wearing some stupid costume.


He already addressed that. Randall just isn't living up to his potential.
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2012-09-26 04:39:06 PM  

theresnothinglft: If this whole thing is true then the time traveling car would actually provide a true method of determining position in the universe, instead of everything being relative to something else.


Something something no preferred frame of something.
 
2012-09-26 04:42:13 PM  
Not sure where all the time travel stuff came in but that was a fun read.
Thanks FARK
 
2012-09-26 04:44:34 PM  
How does he make money? Or is his site just a hobby?
 
2012-09-26 04:50:05 PM  

scottydoesntknow: Long Answer: Noooooooooooooothing, but worldwide chaos as everyone tried to find their way back home.


Not worldwide, just in an area about the size of Rhode Island.
 
2012-09-26 04:52:45 PM  

aevert: scottydoesntknow: Long Answer: Noooooooooooooothing, but worldwide chaos as everyone tried to find their way back home.

Not worldwide, just in an area about the size of Rhode Island.


Yea but it assumes that the rest of the world would fall into disrepair and decay during the years of getting everyone who's still alive back home.
 
2012-09-26 05:00:26 PM  

JohnAnnArbor: How does he make money? Or is his site just a hobby?


My wife has bought me one reasonably-stiffly-priced XKCD t-shirt. I in return have bought her two. Multiply over a quarter-million readers and you could do worse.
 
2012-09-26 05:07:25 PM  

akula: MadUncleEoin: cgraves67: I'm now convinced that the XKCD guy is a super villian who just hasn't realized it yet.

Or he has, and his villainy just amounts to messing with your head.

He may well be a super villain, but the fact is, most of the really good super villain schemes either boil down to simple extortion (give me X or I'll do Y) or ultimately self defeating schemes (where Y is something that will cause total extinction). So instead of actually going out and DOING such things, he just makes comics and blogs about such things to screw with our heads for his own amusement.

And all without wearing some stupid costume.


He must have figured out the "Cut Luthor a check" scheme that would work much better.
 
2012-09-26 05:09:09 PM  
Here's my idea: fark with Muslims by shining the lasers on a single point on the Moon when it is in the crescent phase to reproduce the famous Crescent and star symbol. This symbol is much older than Islam, by the way, and was popular through the Middle East thousands of years ago. Perhaps it commemorates a really big impact or out-gassing at some time in astronomical slash astrological pre-history. Like the swastika, it used to mean one thing and now means something else. Nobody really knows what the first thing was. Then, again, a lot of people don't seem to be sure what the second thing is.

Phase two would be a carefully choreographed six point Star of David centred on the "star". For this plan to work, you'd have to use fewer lasers because nobody would be allowed to tell the Muslims before hand.

It beats writing CHA on the Moon at least. Have you got a better prank?
 
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