July 14, 2011
In a previous post I stated Faster Than Light (FTL) Drives are impossible considering the energy that it would take to warp space. I now have second thoughts If a time machine can be constructed. Professor Ronald Mallett in 1999 showed that using Einstein’s general Theory of Relativity it’s possible by creating closed timelike curves. Stephen Hawking. however, proved this impossible without exotic matter with negative energy. Olum and Everett argued that with current laser technology the laser ring would be the size of the known Universe. Even with these detractors I’m not ruling this out in the far future.
Now, given a time machine, how do you achieve FTL? My first approximation is to have a time machine at the destination and the passengers go into stasis for the journey and upon arrival go into the time machine and come out when they left. Due to stasis and time dilation (traveling close to the speed of light) they have aged very little. They have already beat the clock but now comes the tricky part.
They decide on a return trip to Earth so they get into the time machine again and go back in time to when the machine was still on Earth. They pop out and are back on Earth way before they left. Very weird, but the time machine has become an FTL drive on the way back without going anywhere. Note that it is also a teleportation machine. The odd part of this is it has to work if time machines are to work at all since the reference frame of the time machine shouldn’t make any difference. If it did, the Earth rotation and its orbiting the Sun would cause the time machine to malfunction. There is no such thing as an absolute coordinate in space. I guess I will have to allow FTL drives and teleportation if I allow time machines in distant future fiction.
I’m using this in Volume III of the Tillian 5 Series. It needs FTL.
May 20, 2011
As an Intel stockholder I’m angered by “pundits” that continuously slam Intel in spite of their stellar performance. The latest is a Goldman Sachs announcement that one should place a ‘put spread’ on Intel over the next year. Of course Goldman Sachs doesn’t reveal what their interest is. Where is the SEC when you need it?
Intel is firing on all cylinders with 22 nanometer 3D transistors, rollout of Sandy bridge then Ivy bridge, the Atom processor Cedar bridge, and is making aggressive moves into cell phones and tablet market. They also pay a very nice dividend of over 3% which is very unusual for a Silicon Valley company. They have at least a one year lead in process technology which is like having a 20 year lead if you are making tractors.
Then why is Intel selling at such a low P/E ratio of 10.9 (at todays price $23.24)? It should have a P/E above 20. However it is a favorite punching bag for TV talking heads and players that are trying to manipulate the stock for their own gain. The SEC seems to be conspicuously absent when it comes to TV and Cable talking heads and their guests, chartists intent on making their predictions come true, investment banks that are heavily leveraged in the market and want to make more money than God, twitter marketeers, email spammers and a variety of other new-media types.
Hey! The fundamentals will win out in the end but these rascals can certainly make the stock volatile in the meantime. Like good analysts say, buy on the dips. For more on stock dos and don’ts see The Five Syndromes
January 13, 2011
The second volume of the Tillian 5 Series is now available is a variety of e-book formats. Tillian 5 -Return to Earth is volume II. Maggie and Skip (Malcolm) have returned to Earth as quantum coupled android clones of the originals still on Tillian 5. They have brought powerful tools of the Keepers to terraform the Earth to what it once was before the gamma ray burst from star WR104 destroyed the ozone layer and most plant and animal life on the planet. They are faced with an armed Christian and Muslim militaries that believe they have been chosen by God to rule the Earth. They are armed with nuclear weapons that they use without mercy and believe Maggie is the Antichrist. Maggie perseveres with love, intelligence and sex wondering if the next challenge will be her last.
December 5, 2010
I have written on this subject on my website but perhaps it is time for an update. The idea of taking a human brain, preparing it properly and slicing it into thin slices that can be scanned into a computer system is not new. There have been several people who have discussed the idea, the most notable being inventor/scientist Ray Kurtzweil. The problems can be categorized into five groups: storage, computational power, tissue preservation and preparation, parallel scanning techniques, and basic neurophysiology. I will treat the easiest first.
Storage: It has been estimated that the human brain connectivity would take 15 petabytes. To be safe we would likely need 200 petabytes of storage to hold intermediate results in the process of analyzing the connectivity in the layers of samples to recreate the neural network. Today you can get two terabyte drives. An eight foot rack can easily provide 200 terabytes so a good size room could easily give us the 15 petabytes (75 racks). From this, it is easily seen that we are only a couple of generations away from the storage capacity needed. For a truly redundant and reliable system perhaps we are three generations away; certainly within the next 10 years.
The computational capability has been estimated to be 120 petaflops/second. The Tianhe-1A computer in Tianjin, China has a speed of 2.5 petaflops/second and a disk storage system of 2 petabytes. Again humanity appear to be less than 10 years away from realizing the computational capability necessary for reaching our goal.
Tissue preservation is going much slower since it is not getting the same kind of R/D attention that computer technology is getting. Recent innovations in block face scanning electron microscopes (Denk and Horstmann) with built-in microtomes provided sample thicknesses down to 50 nm with layer alignment errors of less than 10 nm. This is satisfactory for human brain tissue but the block face is only about 10 um by 10 um. This would have to be scaled up by a factor of 10,000 in both the X and Y dimensions of the block and use multiple electron beams for speed. The samples were prepared with epoxy using rather high curing temperatures (60-70 C). I would think a gel near freezing would be better at preserving bulk brain tissue and be easier on the microtome. They were having trouble with debris on the surface. My guess is that we are at least 20 years away from having the bulk tissue preservation techniques and the SEM equipment needed for the brain downloading task. Perhaps more, if money doesn’t flow in this direction.
Now we come to the neurophysiology issues. This one is very difficult to predict at this time since we don’t know what we don’t know. We have recently discovered dozens of neurotransmitters including, of all things, carbon monoxide. Some neurotransmitters work at the synaptic junction (glutamate, aspartate and glycine) where they are emitted by vesicles where others diffuse into the surrounding tissue and have a more global effects (nitric oxide and carbon monoxide). When all of the neurotransmitters and receptors have been characterized and all the neural types are thoroughly understood in the brain then, the whole brain can be emulated without understanding the functions of the networks themselves. It’s like running the same computer program on a different computer, the neural networks being the program and instead of compiling into neurons it is compiling into emulated neurons which provide the same functionality. I think an upper limit of 30 years is conservative since worldwide interest in this area seems to be awakening. Also better tools are now available including supercomputers to emulate bits and pieces of various brain subsystems.
Don’t volunteer to be first! I suspect there will be many attempts before anyone is successfully resurrected.
I’ve written several stories and a play related to brain uploading. The links follow:
Flight of the Soul – A Play this one is free and
Transcendental Epoch – 2 short stories featuring brain uploading
November 23, 2010
Star Trek style teleportation
It’s called a lot of things besides teleportation: matter transmission, matter transporter, teleportion, beam up, beam down (Star Trek), body debit (Hitchhiker’s Guide) but they all amount to the same thing. An object disappears from one location and shows up at another. The most obvious problem with the Star Trek version there is no matter receiver. The object is assembled in thin air out of thin air. There is no conceivable way this can be accomplished outside of ESP.
IN 2003 the Air Force concluded a study done by Eric W Davis examining the theoretical possibility of teleportation. In particular, generating a flat faced wormhole (Stargate) using one of four schemes for generating the required negative energy. As in the FTL Drive case we are likely talking about needing energies of galactic proportions.
The usual Star Trek version would require 10**31 bytes of information to encode all the information for the reconstruction of one person. That would be ten trillion terabytes. Certainly shortcuts and various compression schemes will cut this down by an order of magnitude or more. It’s still enough 1″ thick terabyte disk drives to circle the Earth side-by-side 1000 times. And decomposing a human into a matter stream and sending them near the speed of light to a receiver? Forget about it! The real problem with this approach is the Heisenberg quantum uncertainty principle which shows that you can’t measure a number of complementary quantum properties simultaneously. The measuring device will substantially interfere with the measurements themselves.
Oddly, Eric does consider the possibility of an ESP matter transporter thinking that the documented experiments in this area in China and Russia might be valid. I have my doubts. Scientists are the easiest people in the world to fool and since money is usually involved many are inclined to fool themselves. Consider, that scientists generally deal with data from nature. Nature isn’t trying to fool anyone, having no intelligence she lays her data out there for all to see. People, however, have motives and those with motives to fool others are often successful. I’m not saying ESP events don’t exist but rather extraordinary precautions must be taken when testing for them. In particular, I believe any study of people who apparently show telekinetic abilities should have an accomplished magician on their staff. Uri Geller was unable to perform in the presence of Johnny Carson (an accomplished magician himself). Watch this video
. Sorry Eric, I think you are wasting your time trying to stretch QM to cover ESP. At least, not until we really see some controlled, repeatable experiments that are foolproof. As a result, I ignore this kind of teleportation in my stories.
There is another form of teleportation of ‘humans’ that I believe will be in every day use 100 years from now. Within the lifetime of some humans living now we will be able to capture the entire neural network of a human and emulate it in hardware. In other words humans who choose to will at first become virtual people then when android bodies are good enough they will be android people. Their entire mental being can then be transmitted to another location, even using todays technology, and be loaded into another android body and you are there. A complete mental state will likely take 15 petabytes but if that person is a frequent visitor to that location perhaps only an update will need to be sent. This will happen sooner than most people think and it will be, as Ray Kurtzweil put it, a singularity in intelligence and human evolution.
November 21, 2010
A wormhole bypass
Are FTL (Faster Than Light) Drives possible? The short answer is yes but the long answer follows:
The amount of energy required is super-galactic in scale. It would take more energy that the entire energy output of a large galaxy to power such a contrivance which really makes FTL impractical. Another important detail is the craft itself cannot create its own space distortion like most Sci Fi depictions show. For this reason I don’t use FTL drives in my Sci Fi stories.
There was a Sci Fi author, I don’t remember his name, that stated a true Sci Fi story should never use more than one improbable device per story. A simple counter example is Star Trek which uses at least two in every episode; FTL drive and matter transporters. I’m not saying that matter transporters cannot exist but certainly not in the way used in Star Trek. I will discuss matter transporters (teleportation) in my next blog.
An important thing to keep in mind is FTL is possible for those on board the craft due to time dilation. If they are accelerating at a continuous one G they will reach the speed of light in one year according to their own on board clock. In two years, if they continue to accelerate at one G, they will reach two times the speed of light in two years and so on. This process must also be reversed on the latter half of the journey by merely flipping the ship and continuing to accelerate. An advantage is you would have artificial gravity but you would probably be in stasis anyway so it wouldn’t really matter. The ship would be controlled by an intelligent computer.
This is the method I chose for Tillian 5 – A New Beginning since the trip was going to take 65 Earth years to complete but only 5 years according to the onboard clock. I used a higher acceleration since the passengers, in stasis, could handle the higher acceleration. The intelligent computer system, Maggie, handled all the systems and emergency situations (except one).
If they would find Tillian 5 uninhabitable they would have to turn around and return to Earth. Considering that this journey would take another 65 years it would be 130 years since they left the planet and they would be a faint memory and perhaps only a legend. Even small children they knew would be long gone. This becomes important background for casting the mindset of those making the journey in this story and it plays and even more important role in Tillian 5 – Return to Earth the follow on volume, which is now available as well.
Now let’s suppose there is a super-galactic civilization out there somewhere that is perhaps a billion years ahead of us technologically with FTL drives. Do you think they would share that technology with us? Would we share our technology with sewer rats giving them jumper jets and cannons they can operate? I guess I have to take that one back since we did successfully train alley cats to use machine guns during WWII. Thankfully, the military officer in charge of this operation (a cat lover), when he found out, quickly killed the plan.
November 14, 2010
My first full length SciFi novel is now on Smashwords.com “Tillian5 – A New Beginning.” I has it all: awe, love, sex, drama, a little violence and some interesting technology.
and check it out. You can read the first 20% of it free.
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November 24, 2009
Vist my website: KaliferDeil.com.
I write about science and especially enjoy writing science fiction. I don’t restrict my writing to these subjects and have poetry, and other short stories in various categories.
Most of my works are available on www.smashwords.com