Nate, I need a word.

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Jan Lundquist
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Nate, I need a word.

Post by Jan Lundquist »

Seriously. I have lost a word.

As a kid, I used to wonder why trains weren't powered by suspending a giant magnet in front of them.

Yesterday, in a spate of youtubing, I heard someone use an word to describe a theory of space propulsion in which a ? plasma bubble? gravity bubble? whatever this word means, is created in front of a ship and used to pull it forward? Do you happen to know the word for this theoretical thing? I wanted to read more about it today and all I can recall is that it started with A.

Jan
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David Osielski
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by David Osielski »

Oh..oh can I play, Jan?
51QtZl2SCmL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg
It's like 7am "down under" anyway. Nate's prob still ZZZZ. But I'll play nice in the sandbox since I'm the new kid on the block...

But did it look something like this???
1688014274203.jpeg
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Jan Lundquist
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by Jan Lundquist »

David, I was listening and doing other things, so missed the visual representation. But If you know my A word, please play!
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David Osielski
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by David Osielski »

Well, if my theory of mind is properly tuned...and I think I know what you're thinking

https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx13liEgdaaS ... rddjmte2wd
1 h9vGn4BQdI6EAB9aaX-3vw.png

Is this your "A" word :shock:
https://www.google.com/search?q=alcubierre+drive

Or even more specifically from the "Before Times"
https://www.google.com/search?q=alcubie ... tbrown.com
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Paul Schatzkin
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by Paul Schatzkin »

I believe we have a winner:
David Osielski wrote: Tue Jan 23, 2024 6:05 pm Is this your "A" word :shock:
https://www.google.com/search?q=alcubierre+drive
More precisely:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, author of 'The Man Who Mastered Gravity' https://amz.run/6afz
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It's "a multigenerational project." What's your hurry?
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Jan Lundquist
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Re: Thank you, guys! It's a real live warp drive! Maybe.

Post by Jan Lundquist »

That's the word. i did not realize that an Alcubierre Drive and warp drive are one and the same and is either just around the corner:

Researchers claim warp drive may soon become reality
https://www.thebrighterside.news/post/r ... me-reality

or is still far out of reach

6 Reasons Why the Alcubierre Drive or Warp Drive is Not Possible in 2023
https://theaeroblog.com/6-reasons-why-t ... e-in-2023/

Jan
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by natecull »

Whoops sorry I was late reading all my notifications! Yes Alcubierre Drive is the word you're looking for. Or perhaps I think "Alcubierre Metric" probably the better term because it's still just General Relativity.

Ever since GR came out (ie since Townsend Brown was 10) I think it was understood that it meant that you could technically exceed the speed of light by somehow "stretching" space. Basically: Special Relativity in 1905 imposed the speed of light barrier, General Relativity in 1915 didn't exactly remove that barrier, but it hinted that possibly maybe perhaps, if we knew how, we could "warp space" instead to move faster than light. That's what little I understand: that the GR equations do not impose a limit on how fast spacetime can move relative to itself (if "move" is even the right concept) but only on how fast light or matter can move through spacetime. That's quite a big loophole, at least in theory.

Science fiction writers were very quick to seize on this possibility - because interstellar travel without going faster than light is really, really boring, you can only do so many "500 year generation ship collapses into primitive/medieval culture" stories - which is why we got so many variations on "stardrive" or "hyperspace" or "warp" or "wormholes". They all pretty much come down to slightly different twists on the general "vibe" of 1915 GR, though not its numbers.

Generally, sci-fi writers don't have actual mathematical knowledge of GR and want to fudge things to make exciting stories, and the GR people in physics (although it seems like they were invited into the subject by Townsend Brown's friends, eg the Gravity Research Foundation), really aren't interested in trying to build warp drives. The story we've always heard since the 1970s is that "it's theoretically possible to warp spacetime with a machine, but practically impossible, you'd need something the size of a star". Which is why the science interest focused on black holes and not much else.

But Carl Sagan started to cross that boundary with his fictional novel Contact (1985) - he got Kip Thorne, a GR physicist, to construct a somewhat plausible looking "traversable wormhole" solution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_(novel)

The Alcubierre metric in GR dates to 1994 according to Wikipedia and I think its main contribution is in reducing the amount of mass/energy required to do the warping. There's still the big problem of needing "exotic matter" or "negative energy" that we don't know how to make and have never observed to exist. With the possible exception of "dark matter", which again we haven't actually seen.

Harold G "Sonny" White is one of the few researchers who seems to be actually poking at Alcubierre Drive type concepts in the lab as opposed to just in mathematical theory. Whether he will actually achieve anything is yet unknown. Most physicists disbelieve that he's onto anything (because the usual numbers given by GR analyses for EM/gravity interaction are just ridiculously tiny). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_G._White and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_ ... Laboratory

It would be very cool if someone did figure out a way of explaining the Biefeld-Brown effect with General Relativity (or even giving us a reliable and undeniable Biefeld-Brown replication rig first, since Lifters didn't seem to be that). I'm still hoping that maybe one of the various "propellantless EM thruster" concepts that are still active at the moment might turn out to give positive results. One such attempt (which seems to be based on a capacitor, but I don't know if it's B-B geometry) called the "IVO Quantum Drive" has been launched into space on a microsatellite in November 2023, but has not yet begun testing. https://www.reddit.com/r/IsaacArthur/co ... _that_was/

As expected, most science forum posters are extremely skeptical that any of the "EM drives" will ever work, because textbook physics tells us that they can't work. If Townsend Brown was correct that a) a force, motion or masslike effect can be generated electrically and reliably replicated, and b) that it can be distinguished from ordinary electromagnetic effects, and c) that it can be scaled up beyond every replication we know of to date, then textbook physics will need some tweaks.

Oh yeah, there's a strange Korean guy Eue Jin Jeong ( http://dipoleantigravity.blogspot.com/ ) who believes that unmodified General Relativity predicts a "dipole" (ie a linear force/acceleration, a permanent and observer-independent shift in the center of mass) and not just "quadrupole" (sideways wobbling around a center of mass) from a spinning half-sphere. He thinks that this force would naturally produce the jets coming from black holes, and the rings of Saturn, and that this force (the most obvious and the strongest non-Newtonian one to derive from GR) was overlooked somehow by GR mathematicians since Einstein. Well, not overlooked: it's explicitly noticed and deleted because it is believed to be "nonphysical", while everyone focused on the far weaker quadropole effect (eg the waves LIGO believe they have observed, which are so fantastically tiny in theory that they are believed to only possibly be generated by massive objects like black holes colliding).

I don't know if Jeong is at all correct (the entire GR physics establishment rejects him), since I can't "do" GR enough to have any intuition about it. But... I feel like something like "there's a field effect that creates rings around spinning planets" seems possibly sensible. This might simplify a whole bunch of observations, and would probably do a fair number on Dark Matter because "why do galaxies hold together" is the big problem that causes Dark Matter to be invented. However, it would also imply that asymmetric rotating objects (eg half-spheres) would experience an anomalous acceleration along the axis of rotation, increasing with the mass and the speed of rotation, and while there have always been fringe whispers about effects like this, it seems like it ought to be fairly easy to observe and I'm not sure that we do.

IF, and that word is doing a lot of heavy lifting, IF Jeong is correct, then this would be an absolutely massive (pun intended) thing that went wrong right in the foundations of the post-Einstein interpretation of General Relativity and would probably imply that all of cosmology and perhaps the Alcubierre Drive would need to be rethought from scratch. There would maybe also be more powerful interaction effects between electromagnetic and massive objects than current GR theory predicts. And that would be very cool. But again: only if.

Nate
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We'll find the time to show you, wonders never cease
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by David Osielski »

natecull wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2024 9:36 am But Carl Sagan started to cross that boundary with his fictional novel Contact (1985) - he got Kip Thorne, a GR physicist, to construct a somewhat plausible looking "traversable wormhole" solution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_(novel)
Nate, had you read my other post yet...???
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Re: Nate, I need a word.

Post by natecull »

Nate, had you read my other post yet...???
Sorry David, yes, it wasn't cosmic synchronicity in this case. I did indeed see your quote from Contact first so that's why he was in my head. But I thought it was notable that Sagan was enough of a perfectionist that he got an actual no-kidding GR specialist to crunch the numbers and custom-build him a science-fictional mcguffin for his book.

Collaboration between physicists and creatives has become a bit more popular since then. Christopher Nolan did something similar for "Interstellar", he got some academic GR people to do a simulation of what a black hole would actually look like, given current theory, so he could get that unique tilted ring effect which became the movie's icon. It's just a pity that the entire rest of that movie was (in my opinion) fingernails-on-blackboard-scraping bad in its science. Interstellar is a movie about faith and hope and love rather than science, and that's fine but it didn't have to be so wrong when it did invoke science. The whole "welp we have to secretly put NASA in a cave and plot how to move to a new planet but never tell anyone, because there is a corn fungus, also society has collapsed but we all have brand new N95 dust masks" thing was..... no, that's not, that's not how space works, that's not how ecology works, that's not how science and technology and society works, nothing works like that. But Nolan had a story he wanted to tell so he picked the science advice that he wanted to hear for that story, and ignored all the rest.

Ok that was a tangent from Sagan. But the "secret NASA in a cave with gravity control" idea is very much the "breakaway civilization" idea which has haunted the Townsend Brown story since the 1970s, and I assume that's where Nolan got the idea from. Nolan's a nerdy boy like me and presumably he read the same sort of books that I did growing up; same as Elon Musk. Our GenX generation all grew up with "NASA's gonna colonise Mars and you'll be there for it" at the front of our minds and "Close Encounters / Roswell / The Philadelphia Experiment" at the back of it. A shadow government with secret hidden technology was shockingly new in the 1980s but is our pop-cultural bread and butter today. That very reason is kind of why I tend to resist the idea when Morgan tells it: is this idea organic, or was it deliberately seeded? Is Morgan one of the people who seeded it back when William Moore was first promoting it? If he is, does that make the idea more or less likely to be true?

And yes I can absolutely believe, as Paul does, that "Doc Emmet Brown" in Back to the Future is very much Townsend Brown as 1970s New Age mythological figure, run through the Hollywood morphing machine. We can get there via a very short number of steps. Remember, The Philadelphia Experiment book was 1979 and was pretty popular as a paperback. It named Townsend Brown as a mysterious scientist who might just be the key to magical space/time technology and while it wasn't the first, it would have been the biggest semi-mainstream publication putting Townsend's name out there in public since the "Rockets and Missiles" articles in the 1950s. Not only that, it was made into a movie - about time travel! and a fish-out-of-water culture shock between 1940s and 1980s! and a romance! - released in 1984. Back To The Future released in 1985. Scripts bounce all around Hollywood taking years to develop and people look at them and copy ideas. It is very, very common to see two or three movies released close together that copied core ideas out of the same script or treatment or even just initial concept, but then went off in different directions during development.

So: Step one, a bestselling grungy "unsolved mysteries" paperback introducing a cool new idea: WW2-era supertech and gravity/time manipulation. Step Two: the book is optioned in Hollywood. Step Three: the book is turned into a time travel fish out of water romantic comedy. Step Four: We get at least three variant versions of this story: 1984 - The Philadelphia Experiment. 1985 - Back To The Future. 1986 - Biggles: The Untold Story. (If you have ever seen that one, I am very sorry. It is a terrible movie.)

Nate
Going on a journey, somewhere far out east
We'll find the time to show you, wonders never cease
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