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(Slate)   The NASA engineer who's discovered how to build a warp drive would totally love to explain how it works, but he can't. Trust him, though, he totally knows how to build one   (slate.com) divider line 18
    More: Unlikely, Trust, NASA, warp speed  
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8530 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Aug 2013 at 8:41 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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2013-08-26 09:02:12 AM
2 votes:

vudukungfu: Looks more like a time travel device.


Any FTL device is also a time travel device, and vice versa.
2013-08-26 09:01:22 AM
2 votes:

RubberBabyBuggyBumpers: Nobody thought humans could fly in a heavier-than-air craft, either. The science of the day was very certain of this.


Not really. The very idea was absurd on its face- heavier-than-air-craft occur in nature. While none approach man-sized, it's very clear that it's little more than an engineering challenge. There was no physical limit that prevented heavier-than-air craft. It was a matter of understanding the principles of extant heavier-than-air craft (birds) and scaling them to human scales.

Nothing travels faster than light*. When we find an existing FTL particle, then we can start talking about scaling it up to human beings. As it stands now, there's no reason to even discuss FTL in a serious way. Further, since FTL also allows time travel, it raises the next question: why aren't we receiving signals from our future selves?

* Quantum entanglement arguably has an FTL component, but since we don't know of any mechanism for information exchange, I'd hesitate to say that anything actually goes faster than light. Since any communication over quantum effects still requires a causal, light-speed channel, you're still rate limited to the speed of light.
2013-08-26 08:56:56 AM
2 votes:

RubberBabyBuggyBumpers: Nobody thought humans could fly in a heavier-than-air craft, either. The science of the day was very certain of this.


True, but the people claiming to have invented a way to do it never said "Oh, sure, it totally works, but I can't reveal anything about it or prove it in any way."  The issue is not necessarily with his claim, it's his refusal to back it up that makes him a loon.  It's the same thing with any snake oil salesman who claims to have a perpetual motion engine that runs on magnets or a motor that runs on water.
2013-08-26 03:33:38 PM
1 votes:

Priapetic: He's only done this once before

/Must bring your own weapons, safety not guaranteed.


Hey, don't laugh, that guy made it!  Why he picked that time period to go back to, who knows.

i257.photobucket.com
2013-08-26 02:31:35 PM
1 votes:

t3knomanser: Kit Fister: : the lack of observability does not negate the existence

If something has no observable effects, for all practical purposes, it does not exist. Most of our theoretical constructs exist to  explain observed effects.

Observation: the particles in the standard model have mass.
Hypothesis: This mass is generated by the Higgs Field, and the field is mediated by a Boson.
Test: the LHC

That's science. Observe. Hypothesize. Test. Rinse. Repeat.

The number of things which  could be true is infinite. The number of things which are true is much more constrained.


Right, but again, that premise is necessarily limited by our ability to observe, whether directly or indirectly.  Human perception is necessarily limited, and our technology is based on our ability to develop new ways of enhancing our ability to observe. Therefore, again, it's foolish to use science as a hard stop on whether or not something is *possible* or not, only a soft stop based on probability and our ability to observe it.  The neat thing that I have found in reading a lot of science articles is that as my understanding grows, my perception of what I observe and therefore conceive of as possible changes. And likewise, as we grow more able to observe and study phenomena, we are better able to model and revise our understanding of what's happening.   I still wonder why atoms require 8 electrons in the outer valence and not 10 or 20 or 99 or sqrt of -1, and wonder why time dilates with speed rather than simply staying the same independent of frame of reference, and so on. But, I'm sure that as I get more sophisticated, I'll get a better understanding of it.
2013-08-26 01:33:34 PM
1 votes:
Quantum Apostrophe:

"I WAS PROMISED STUFF BY SCI-FI AND IT'S LIKE TOTALLY GONNA HAPPEN BECAUSE WHEEEEEE! AND COMPUTERS GOT BETTER!!!!!"

"I AM AFRAID TO DIE BUT SOMEONE TOLD ME I WON'T HAVE TO BECASE WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO STOP THE NATURAL AGING PROCESS BECAUSE ATOMS AND STUFF!  YAY!!!"
2013-08-26 01:22:00 PM
1 votes:

Kit Fister: : the lack of observability does not negate the existence


If something has no observable effects, for all practical purposes, it does not exist. Most of our theoretical constructs exist to  explain observed effects.

Observation: the particles in the standard model have mass.
Hypothesis: This mass is generated by the Higgs Field, and the field is mediated by a Boson.
Test: the LHC

That's science. Observe. Hypothesize. Test. Rinse. Repeat.

The number of things which  could be true is infinite. The number of things which are true is much more constrained.
2013-08-26 10:25:39 AM
1 votes:
He's only done this once before

/Must bring your own weapons, safety not guaranteed.
2013-08-26 10:03:07 AM
1 votes:

t3knomanser: Further, since FTL also allows time travel, it raises the next question: why aren't we receiving signals from our future selves?


Been a while since my last physics class, however, I seem to recall that we *know* time travel going forward is possible depending on your reference frame - that is to say that if you departed earth and went for a ride at some significant fraction of c and subsequently returned that more time will have elapsed on earth than for you therefore allowing you to effectively travel forward in time in the reference frame of earth.

For example, if you were to travel for one year at 2/3 c, 1 1/3 year would have passed on earth (meaning you "traveled" forward 4 months). If you travel at 4/5 c, 1 2/3 year will have passed on earth. Traveling at 0.9 c, 2.3 years will have passed on earth. At 0.99 c it would be 7 years.

How to travel at such fractions of c, however, is left as an exercise for the reader.
2013-08-26 09:48:52 AM
1 votes:

Any Pie Left: I'm not half as interested in the warp drive as I am in the Quantum Thruster, also being developed by the NASA advanced propulsion group, and much farther along. They're going to have hardware to test on the space station in a year or so, using the q-thruster as an RCS station-keeping thruster that has no fuel component, no mass to throw out; just electrical power.  If it proves out, versions where multiple Q-thrusters are stacked to accelerate probes and manned craft to the edges of the solar system will open up the frontier for space colinization.  The fact it's name is similar to our favorite Amish fixie cyclist is just a delicious bonus.


Those are even more complete bullshiat than the warp drive, because there's no negative-mass excuse for them to point to and say "If only we had that stuff, it would work!"  The claims of using the quantum vacuum state as reaction mass are utterly absurd to anybody who knows what "vacuum state" means1, and just like the warp drive, they rest entirely on unpublished work.  If he were ever to publish a valid explanation of how that Q-thruster is supposed to work, he'd have a Nobel coming at him so fast he'd better be wearing goalie pads, because it would mean invalidating the entire Standard Model.  Don't hold your breath.

1If it's still the vacuum state, it doesn't carry momentum, and if it's modified such that it can carry momentum, it's not the vacuum state anymore and contains real particles.  Creating those particles costs energy, and the minimum energetic price for an impulse p is still E=pc, no better than using a flashlight as a thruster.
2013-08-26 09:25:25 AM
1 votes:

durbnpoisn: Yet, the standard Big Bang theory postulates that when the bang occured, the inverse itself went from a particle sized point to something BILLIONS of miles across, in only a few 1000's of a second.


This is called "inflation". Essentially, space simply got bigger. The distance between points increased even while nothing was actually moving. Yes, it's weird. Space doesn't have to obey any sorts of speed limits, so space itself can expand and even move at speeds faster than light itself. An interesting side effect of this happens in a region near a black hole called the "ergosphere". If a black hole is spinning rapidly, its gravity is so strong that it can literally start spacetime spinning around it. That spacetime can spin faster than the speed of light. This means that an object in the ergosphere cannot ever stand still relative to an object outside of the ergosphere, because it would have to go faster than the speed of light to do so.
2013-08-26 09:20:41 AM
1 votes:

durbnpoisn: t3knomanser: RubberBabyBuggyBumpers: Nobody thought humans could fly in a heavier-than-air craft, either. The science of the day was very certain of this.

Not really. The very idea was absurd on its face- heavier-than-air-craft occur in nature. While none approach man-sized, it's very clear that it's little more than an engineering challenge. There was no physical limit that prevented heavier-than-air craft. It was a matter of understanding the principles of extant heavier-than-air craft (birds) and scaling them to human scales.

Nothing travels faster than light*. When we find an existing FTL particle, then we can start talking about scaling it up to human beings. As it stands now, there's no reason to even discuss FTL in a serious way. Further, since FTL also allows time travel, it raises the next question: why aren't we receiving signals from our future selves?

* Quantum entanglement arguably has an FTL component, but since we don't know of any mechanism for information exchange, I'd hesitate to say that anything actually goes faster than light. Since any communication over quantum effects still requires a causal, light-speed channel, you're still rate limited to the speed of light.

I'm going to sound really silly asking this...  But since you mentioned the whole speed of light thing, I think this is a good time.

Every has always said that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  Yet, the standard Big Bang theory postulates that when the bang occured, the inverse itself went from a particle sized point to something BILLIONS of miles across, in only a few 1000's of a second.
That seems to be a rather large distance to cover at the plodding speed of light.
Is this presumable because the laws of physics as we understand them now, simply didn't exist yet as the universe was initially exapanding?


Nothing was traveling through space faster than light, space was expanding faster than light.
2013-08-26 09:14:52 AM
1 votes:

t3knomanser: RubberBabyBuggyBumpers: Nobody thought humans could fly in a heavier-than-air craft, either. The science of the day was very certain of this.

Not really. The very idea was absurd on its face- heavier-than-air-craft occur in nature. While none approach man-sized, it's very clear that it's little more than an engineering challenge. There was no physical limit that prevented heavier-than-air craft. It was a matter of understanding the principles of extant heavier-than-air craft (birds) and scaling them to human scales.

Nothing travels faster than light*. When we find an existing FTL particle, then we can start talking about scaling it up to human beings. As it stands now, there's no reason to even discuss FTL in a serious way. Further, since FTL also allows time travel, it raises the next question: why aren't we receiving signals from our future selves?

* Quantum entanglement arguably has an FTL component, but since we don't know of any mechanism for information exchange, I'd hesitate to say that anything actually goes faster than light. Since any communication over quantum effects still requires a causal, light-speed channel, you're still rate limited to the speed of light.


I'm going to sound really silly asking this...  But since you mentioned the whole speed of light thing, I think this is a good time.

Every has always said that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  Yet, the standard Big Bang theory postulates that when the bang occured, the inverse itself went from a particle sized point to something BILLIONS of miles across, in only a few 1000's of a second.
That seems to be a rather large distance to cover at the plodding speed of light.
Is this presumable because the laws of physics as we understand them now, simply didn't exist yet as the universe was initially exapanding?
2013-08-26 09:07:19 AM
1 votes:

minoridiot: I bet if you hit a rock at that speed you'll need to replace the whole windshield.


Well that's what you get for using a windshield when you should have had a rockshield.
rpm
2013-08-26 08:58:04 AM
1 votes:

durbnpoisn: Presumably, the only thing missing is dilithium crystals.  Well, that and an ample supply of antimatter.

//dtrtfa


I remember one potential warp drive that was missing one thing: -1 g of matter for the drive. If you could get that, it would work.
2013-08-26 08:56:47 AM
1 votes:
Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor; not an astrophysicist!
2013-08-26 08:55:32 AM
1 votes:
I work at NASA so I'm really getting a kick out of your replies......

i.imgur.com
2013-08-26 08:53:31 AM
1 votes:
Nobody thought humans could fly in a heavier-than-air craft, either. The science of the day was very certain of this.
 
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