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Are We Alone?

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Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


0 posted 02-24-2000 12:32 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

In the very early 1900's, Albert Einstein published his famous E=MC2 formula, a very small part of his Special Theory of Relativity. That formula was just one of many, all derived from the same fairly simple mathematical expression, each indicating a fundamental and previously unguessed Truth about our Universe. For example, his equations predicted that energy was subject to gravity just as we knew mass was (since energy and mass are interchangeable, that now makes perfect sense - but a hundred years ago it was tantamount to heresy). Within a year of publication, a total solar eclipse set the stage for a simple experiment and the light of distant stars was seen to be marginally warped by the gravity of our sun. Einstein was vindicated.

Indeed, over the past hundred years, every single one of Einstein's predictions have successfully met test after test. His "theory" has largely been accepted as fact.

But as every logician knows, it's easy to prove a positive assertion is true or false. It's almost impossible, however, to prove a negative assertion. I'm speaking, of course, of Einstein's assertion/prediction that nothing with mass would ever be seen traveling faster than the speed of light. There is virtually no empirical way to prove Einstein is right. And the only way to prove him wrong is to bear witness to something that does travel faster than light. Brad has recently made a comment indicating he is aware such an incident. I, for one, would love to hear more about it!

But Brad doesn't make comments lightly, so let's assume for a moment Einstein has at long last been proven wrong (and it'll be the first such time). We've all read SF novels that not only include FTL (faster than light) travel, but make it a common thing. How would that impact our lives? What changes to our philosophies would arise from Universal Humanity, as opposed to merely Global?

And if we discover, as seems inevitable with FTL travel, we are not alone in this Universe, how will that alter our perceptions of ourselves?
Trevor
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since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


1 posted 02-24-2000 02:26 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hey Ron,

I think this was included in you're original post along with something about a unifying equation/theory. One equation to explain everything within existence...or something along those lines.


"I'm speaking, of course, of Einstein's assertion/prediction that nothing with mass would ever be seen traveling faster than the speed of light."

Light is not a constant anymore, science has found a way to slow it down to a crawl 38 miles/hr. Here's a website detailing more of
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/02.18/light.html

Now I've driven faster than 38 miles/hr. So my car has moved faster than the speed of light   Now if you're talking about Einstiens 186 000 miles/sec type of light.... the only mass I could speculate on that may move faster is perhaps the universe as a whole, perhaps when it expands, but I can't fathom a way to measure such a thing.

I'll try an address the rest of this topic a bit later, I have to go to work now. Interesting subject Ron thanks for posting it. Take care,
Trevor
Ron
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since 05-19-99
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2 posted 02-24-2000 02:55 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

  
quote:
Now if you're talking about Einstiens 186 000 miles/sec type of light...


Exactly. Einstein did specify "the speed of light in a vacuum." The incidental speed of speed has never been a constant, but your link is certainly the slowest I've heard it going.    

Interestingly, the actual math works regardless of the medium through which light travels - as long as you and everything observable are in the same identical medium. So no fish will ever swim faster than its speed of light!

Oh, and we can measure the expansion of the Universe, by the red shift of light. It's no where near the speed of light...
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


3 posted 02-25-2000 02:12 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hey Ron,

Now to say that the stars shift because of the universe expanding would mean that whatever the boundaries of our universe is made up of has a dragging trait to it when in fact that probably is untrue if the "Big Bang" theory is correct. ie, The parameter of an explosion at any given point does not pull the energy but rather is the result of being pushed. Now with that being said I guess the universe might only be able to move as fast as the energy which pushes it. Perhaps the stars and planets shift as new gravitational pulls are introduced by the thousands in the form of new planets and stars? I don't know how much weight this would hold in the scientific community but this is what I've been thinking of since reading your response....grade ten science never talked of this stuff....but hey if you want a good debate on worm or frog anotomy I can go dust off my old school books  

If the big bang theory is correct than one can assume that there is some sort of boundary to our universe, perhaps a shell of energy that doesn't allow matter or certain forms/frequencies of energy to escape. I say we can assume this because some sort of boundary had to cause the intitial cosmic particle swirls that created stars and planets otherwise the energy of creation would have kept travelling without reflecting or shifting direction.

Now what does all this have to do with the speed of light....absolutely nothing I think   But it does address the measurement of expansion using light and perhaps that it is not the expansion of the universe causing stars to shift but rather the energy behind the shifting and the creation of new stars that causes the universe to expand. It would be the energy derived from ground zero that is still dissapating(sp?) that causes the universe to expand and may be in fact be the actual boundary of the universe and the creation of new cosmic bodies that causes a shift in other cosmic bodies as they teeter into balance. The universe is the aftermath of an explosion like pebbles and boulders scattered in a field after a 1000 lb. bomb has been dropped. Also there would probably have to be a slightly weaker force/s than our universe (Perhaps the edge of another universe) that surrounds us preventing the boundary of the universe from being pushed at the same rate of the trapped energy,  otherwise the particles and energy would never have been slowed by the boundary of the universe and there would be no cosmic swirls to speak of. Now I don't have any books or references to use with this so I apoligize, but it kinda makes sense from a logical standpoint....doesn't it?   Anyways that's why I don't think light from shifting stars makes an accurate tape measure for the expansion of the universe....because I think that the edge of the universe is being pushed rather than it pulling. Anyways, I'm pretty tuckered out, thanks for the thoughts Ron and I look forward to your next response, take care,
Trevor

[This message has been edited by Trevor (edited 02-25-2000).]
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 02-27-2000 10:11 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ah, geez, guys how much stuff are going to talk about in one thread.  I've only got time for a couple of things but here it goes.

The measurement of a wave/particle thingey going faster than the speed of light was based on a quantum effect. When it popped back into out perceivable space/time continuum, it had actually travelled just slight above the speed of a light in the vacuum.  Did it then travel backward in time? In theory, it should have but I'll have to try and find that article and give you guys the link. I'm guessing right now but I think it was based on something from John Cramer (he rights some good stuff).

Still, there has always been a problem with the light speed limit. Non-locality or what Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance' was actually proved in the 1960's. It is now known that quantum effects extend to particles over large distances instantaneously (It's a statistical argument; I have a solid, easy analogy somewhere around my office that I'll with those of who who can't follow that actual math involved -- which includes myself).

What about the speed of gravity? I haven't looked into this idea but I think we intuitively see gravity as a sort of instantaneous curvature of the space-time continuum which would mean that it's faster than the speed of light. Right?

Actually, I read (it was in a political magazine so I don't know how trustworthy it actually is -- but then how trustworthy are science magazines) that one could look at gravity as the 'ether' of the old school of the wave in a vacuum problem.  That just might be your dragging trait, Trevor, if I understand what you mean.

I shall return,
Brad
moebius
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since 02-16-2000
Posts 12


5 posted 02-28-2000 09:50 AM       View Profile for moebius   Email moebius   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit moebius's Home Page   View IP for moebius



"Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart.



Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. "





I'm not even going to try and explain what this article is about but it is very interesting and can be found at http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html



Also, I have just discovered that a search for "holographic universe" on infoseek will yield many more interesting articles of a similar nature, which will keep me amused for the rest of the day anyway.


jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


6 posted 02-28-2000 10:26 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Hey everyone:

I'm afraid I can be little more than a spectator through most of this thread but I must say that I am finding the discussion fascinating.  While this seems to be a discussion of science fact, it has the feel of a Star Trek episode.  That is not a slam, btw.  I would be very interested in some good reading references from you guys.  I've read (and am currently re-reading) Hawking's "Brief History of Time" and am starting to get hungry for more.  Thanks.

Jim

P.S.  If you think about it, the direction of this discussion seems to be going in the direction of a theology thread. "Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light."  Fascinating stuff.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 03-04-2000 11:47 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This may be a bit off the subject but the issue was brought up in 'Contact'. The Earth, on certain wavelengths, has become a small star in the least seventy-five years or so.   One wonders if they will find us.

I think most people explicity except the idea of life on other planets.  However, given the nature of the universe as we currently perceive it, my guess is it is far rarer than 'Star Trek' imagines. On the other hand, has anybody read the 'Starchild' trilogy by Fred Pohl and Jack Williamson -- there, life, outside of the fierce radiation of the sun, is absolutely abundant. It is our specific type of life that is rare.

Still, are there people here who intuitively do not accept the idea of live on another world?  Of course, it's all speculation but I wonder how people feel about this?

Brad
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


8 posted 03-05-2000 02:35 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Here's a link to John Cramer's homepage for anyone who is interested. He has a lot of interesting essays (published mostly in Analog as part of the Alternate view segment).
http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/

Brad

PS I thought I'd add this anecdote. I think many of us already know that Einstein had some real problems with quantum mechanics but we don't often here the retort from Bohr:
(from David Lindley's "Where Does the Weirdness Go? p. 226)

"Einstein, seeking higher authority for his objections to quantum mechanics, was always saying that 'God does not play dice'[with the universe] and that 'the Good Lord is subtle, but He is not malicious.' And finally an exasperated Bohr admonished Einstein, 'Stop telling God what to do!'

I always thought this was hilarious.  

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 03-05-2000).]
 
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