Warp Speed
October 22, 2010 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Data, take us out of orbit, warp factor one...engage.
posted by analogtom (59 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reminds me of the book The Physics of Star Trek.
posted by wierdo at 1:29 PM on October 22, 2010


Galaxy Quest: The Documentary
posted by localroger at 1:31 PM on October 22, 2010


....you are a big meanie.
posted by The Whelk at 1:32 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The objections at the end of the article are pretty serious and may prove insurmountable.
If you prefer to feel like "Wow! It's finally the future!" just stop reading about halfway through.
posted by closetphilosopher at 1:33 PM on October 22, 2010


I don't get it, did this guy also write the Wikipedia article with the same words?
posted by jessamyn at 1:34 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


ARG or crazy person? This is pushing me pretty hard towards ARG. Nobody actually makes websites like that, right?
posted by Nomiconic at 1:35 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got one of these on my 2000 Neon. Problem is I have to stop to get an oil change every .000001 of a second.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:37 PM on October 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


Superseded by a little known paper, though I can't seem to lay my hands on a copy at the moment. Z. Cochrane, et al or something along those lines.
posted by jquinby at 1:39 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is Awesome!

I have no idea what it means!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Gravitational fields are going to be the way warp speed is realized. These theories dealing with space as if it were a contiguous thing are bound for the trashbin.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2010


It lets you travel in time.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Significant problems with the metric of this form stem from the fact that all known warp drive spacetimes violate various energy conditions.

This says it all. Let it go, people.
posted by grubi at 1:44 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Significant problems with the metric of this form stem from the fact that all known warp drive spacetimes violate various energy conditions.

Pfft! Like that's going to stop our frenetic hand-waving!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


ARG or crazy person? This is pushing me pretty hard towards ARG. Nobody actually makes websites like that, right?

Crazy like a fox! They have a store.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:49 PM on October 22, 2010


Michio Kaku thinks it might work and bigs it up a lot, though he doesn't always mention Alcubierre. TBH I suspect Michio Kaku is full of it.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with Nomiconic -- well-funded ARG. That is an elaborate group of web sites.
posted by The Bellman at 1:50 PM on October 22, 2010


Is this viral advertising for a Star Trek prequel or something?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:50 PM on October 22, 2010


In which connection, Nomiconic, what do you make of this?
posted by The Bellman at 1:53 PM on October 22, 2010


schemes such as the one proposed by Alcubierre are not feasible because the matter to be placed on the road beforehand has to be placed at superluminal speed. Thus...an Alcubierre Drive is required in order to build an Alcubierre Drive

The chicken and egg discussion haunts us even at FTL.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2010


I'm leaning towards ARG as well, because something like an Anderson Institute dedicated to time travel is just too fucking awesome to actually exist on this planet. It's like the Banzai Institute came to life.

Also, it's an indicator of exactly how much of a big fat nerd I am that jessamyn's link for the Alcubierre drive is already in my browsing history. Multiple times. I had the same idea at some point when I was a kid, wondering if you could harness a gravitational singularity as a propulsion scheme.

Oh, and a warning! If you open the Anderson Multinational in a few dozen tabs timed about a second apart, the music sets up a standing resonant wave which will open a trance portal.

Which would be fine, really... if it wasn't for the blacklights, day-glo headcrabs, glow sticks and Tiesto soundtrack that comes pouring out. I never thought I'd say this but I don't know how many more times I can curb stomp Tiesto's dimensional doppelganger. If you'd asked me yesterday I would have eagerly replied "Forever!" but now my feet (and eyes) just hurt.
posted by loquacious at 1:58 PM on October 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the other problem with this, as pointed out by Kaku, is that we don't know how to collapse the bubble without a hugemongous explosion. Like, solar system damaging big.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2010



I'm with Nomiconic -- well-funded ARG. That is an elaborate group of web sites.


A well-funded ARG probably wouldn't have downloaded their template from WarezTeam.ws - or at the very least would have removed the bit of the source which mentions that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Alright, y'all. If you think it's an ARG, it's been prepping for a while.

About the Anderson Institute mentions that Dr. Anderson is the president and CEO of the World Genesis Foundation. Another large, not-inexpensive site that appears legit[ish]. And there is some hot news from 2009 about Dr. Anderson having a hit video on Youtube, which has nearly 8 million views, most within the first few months after it was posted in 2008. (Note that it only has about 70 favorites and ratings; it is incredibly boring; and it has lifted content from a widely copied presentation and music from one of those copies.) You can watch Dr. Anderson himself [being boring]!

So what does it all mean?

Oh, I don't really know.
posted by whatnotever at 2:03 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Check out the Anderson Multinational's Investment tab-- there's some lorem ipsum in the upper left under "Private Sector."
posted by The White Hat at 2:08 PM on October 22, 2010


Krasnikov proposed that, if tachyonic matter could not be found or used, then a solution might be to arrange for masses along the path of the vessel to be set in motion in such a way that the required field was produced. But in this case the Alcubierre Drive vessel is not able to go dashing around the galaxy at will. It is only able to travel routes which, like a railroad, have first been equipped with the necessary infrastructure.

You guys have it all wrong. It's not Star Trek, it's StarGate!
posted by scalefree at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm here to burst the warp bubble.

This all depends on a negative energy density to work. Not cheaty Casimir stuff, either. And not antimatter; it still has a positive energy density. They call it "exotic" matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

Here's a little thought experiment about what would happen if you did have matter with this peculiar property, and let's call it negamatter for the time being: it would accelerate in the opposite direction of a force. If F = ma, a negative m gives you a negative a. It's all very Morrissey, the more you push it away, the closer it gets.

Gravitation would work about the same way: the sign on the force would be flipped, but so is the sign on the resultant acceleration, so negamatter would still fall down on Earth.

The EM force, though ... we don't really notice the EM force on the large scale because it cancels out so nicely. If you have a proton wandering around it tends to grab the nearest electron and, from a distance, it all looks vaguely electrically neutron. Even though EM is so incredibly strong compared to the gravitational force, we just don't see this on a galactic scale. Gravity, always attractive, wins, even though, if I somehow managed to keep a few Coulombs of electrons in one small spot, the EM force would render you into plasma, all because of this cancellation of positive by mixing with negative.

Here, though, two negamatter protons would attract. The force between them is repulsive, but divide by m to get a and they come together, right now, very hard. Perverse protons. Only now you have an itty glob of two negamatter protons and any nearby negamatter protons immediately join up, with the kind of immense force that only EM can provide.

Negamatter is self-sorting, into something like the EM equivalent of black holes (only about 10^40 times more powerful) or into weird runaway matter/negamatter pairs.

Naturally, you'd have negamatter electrons, too, self-segregating, also. One big wad of negamatter electrons, one big wad of negamatter protons. They are attracted to one another, via EM, but that means that they just get further apart.

All of the negamatter in a galaxy goes shooting out in two diametrically opposed high-speed vortexes of EM destruction. Shortly, all we could do is detect a very even, faint electromagnetic field along the axis of the two.

So even if you had exotic matter, you wouldn't have it for long.

Once you posit one impossible thing, many other impossible things follow.
posted by adipocere at 2:13 PM on October 22, 2010 [25 favorites]


I remember discussing this with my daughter 2 years ago or so. The math is pretty easy to grasp, even for a teenager. All you need, in her words, is "magic pixie dust". *Almost* had her fooled that I had a jar of it, but now it was mostly empty with dusting her as a baby, and just a tiny bit left.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 2:19 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Crackpot theory or no, this is not some new ARG as people are positing. I definitely read about Alcubierre and his theory several years ago. It's a real dude and a real scientific theory. Whether or not the science is more than hand-waving is outside my purview.
posted by 256 at 2:29 PM on October 22, 2010


GOOGLE ZEFREM COCHRANE
posted by jquinby at 2:36 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thus, according to Coule, an Alcubierre Drive is required in order to build an Alcubierre Drive.

Where's L. Ron Hubbard's recursive perpetual motion machine when you need it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2010


Maybe aliens will leave one lying around or something.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 22, 2010


I don't get it, did this guy also write the Wikipedia article with the same words?

Looking at the history of that Wikipedia article, it looks pretty organic, as one would expect a legitimate article to look—many authors who have contributed over 8+ years. If there was any copying, it was the other way around unless time travel was involved.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:41 PM on October 22, 2010


It's all very Morrissey, the more you push it away, the closer it gets.

Physics needs more Morrissey.
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sure this is all very interesting but all I hear is mass pooping on my dreams.
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thus, according to Coule, an Alcubierre Drive is required in order to build an Alcubierre Drive.

But you CAN build an Infinite Improbability Drive with a Finite Probability Drive. And a cup of hot tea.
posted by GuyZero at 2:58 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And not antimatter; it still has a positive energy density. They call it 'exotic' matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

Wikipedia totally says you're wrong:
In 1995 CERN announced that it had successfully brought into existence nine antihydrogen atoms by implementing the SLAC/Fermilab concept during the PS210 experiment.
posted by XMLicious at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2010


Lieutenant, how long will it take to get the Alcubierre drive back online?
posted by fuq at 3:04 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


25 years ago
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Antihydrogen is antimatter.

Antimatter does not have negative energy density.

Antimatter is not exotic matter. Antimatter does not have negative mass.

Wikipedia totally says I'm right.
posted by adipocere at 3:06 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


[adipocere] And not antimatter; it still has a positive energy density. They call it 'exotic' matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

[XMLicious] Wikipedia totally says you're wrong:

I believe adipocere meant the "it" in the second quoted sentence to refer to matter with negative energy density, not antimatter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:06 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure this is all very interesting but all I hear is mass pooping on my dreams.

Metafilter is working on a Snark-Antisnark Drive that will at least power the server room.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 PM on October 22, 2010


25 years ago

We don't have that kind of time Lieutenant. You have three hours.

[adjusts shirt]
posted by fuq at 3:08 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the gist is, if the bubble could be formed and stablized, it would still have to transport my fat ass.

now this is a simplistic fact, my wing chun instructor explains quantum mechanics in between kicking my ass.

"since the contraction and expansion actually refers to the relative motion of nearby members of the family of ADM observers."

In general relativity, one often first specifies a plausible distribution of matter and energy


-from the wiki link jessamyn linked.
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on October 22, 2010


I'm here to burst the warp bubble.

This all depends on a negative energy density to work.
Yeah. In fact, as I understand it, it can be shown that all GR-based FTL travel schemes, including wormholes and the like, require a negative energy density somewhere. Which is a bummer since there's no evidence that exotic matter exists or would persist if created. IANAPhysicist, though; I don't know if something like the Casimir effect can get you a useful negative energy density— in that case the interesting region has no matter in it (it has even less than a vacuum).

I also vaguely remember that Alcubierre is a bit tired of the fame his paper has.
posted by hattifattener at 3:31 PM on October 22, 2010



Once you posit one impossible thing, many other impossible things follow.


cf. politics, 20th century, american, post-reagan.

negainelligence?
posted by lalochezia at 3:39 PM on October 22, 2010


Marriage is between one proton and one electron!

Same baryon and same lepton marriage is destroying American families!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2010


@adipocere: They call it "exotic" matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

Yeah, why don't you tell that to Warren Ellis!
posted by isnotchicago at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2010


Is that a clip of BT I hear?
posted by hellphish at 4:49 PM on October 22, 2010


Metafilter: Wikipedia totally says I'm right.

(Thanks, adipocere - I've always wanted to do one of those...)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:37 PM on October 22, 2010


This is the best Tiësto thread ever.

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posted by The World Famous at 5:49 PM on October 22, 2010


And not antimatter; it still has a positive energy density. They call it 'exotic' matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

People have not only measured Anti-matter, they produce it on a regular basis at particle accelerators, where it's used in various experiments.
cientists claim antimatter is the costliest material to make.[18] In 2006, Gerald Smith estimated $250 million could produce 10 milligrams of positrons[19] (equivalent to $25 billion per gram); and in 1999 NASA gave a figure of $62.5 trillion per gram of antihydrogen.[18] This is because production is difficult (only a few antiprotons are produced in reactions in particle accelerators), and because there is higher demand for the other uses of particle accelerators. According to CERN, it has cost a few hundred million Swiss Francs to produce about 1 billionth of a gram (the amount used so far for particle/antiparticle collisions)
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on October 22, 2010


[adipocere] And not antimatter; it still has a positive energy density. They call it 'exotic' matter for a reason; nobody has ever seen any.

[delmoi] People have not only measured Anti-matter[sic], they produce it on a regular basis at particle accelerators, where it's used in various experiments.

I believe adipocere meant the "it" in the second quoted sentence to refer to matter with negative energy density, not antimatter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:01 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


now we know why Spice was expensive
posted by clavdivs at 6:03 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Speaking of ways, pet -- by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.
posted by kalimac at 6:42 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This says it all. Let it go, people.

Make it so.
posted by ovvl at 9:22 PM on October 22, 2010


Well guess what? I'M TIME TRAVELING TO THE FUTURE RIGHT NOW!!!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:26 PM on October 22, 2010


meh i've been, not what it used to be.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm writing this message from 2010.

Guys. Turns out the future is pretty lame.
posted by delmoi at 1:26 AM on October 23, 2010


My brain never has been able to wrap itself around the idea of stretching or contracting space and thus moving. I guess I'm just too rooted in the physical earth to absorb the notion that place X is 500,000,000 miles away and we can get there some other way than "driving" along space, and without actually pulling place X closer to us.. I know it's all relative, but it gives me a headache.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:29 AM on October 24, 2010


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