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09 January 2006 @ 06:08 pm
Ahead, Mr. Rumsfeld. Warp Factor 4  
While Donald Rumsfeld crewing a ship that would possibly be in charge of a first contact situation is, in my opinion, pretty much asking for the beginning of a genocidal war, there's a reason I chose to include it as the title of my post. After a theoretical physics paper presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics annual conference won first place, the U.S. government has expressed interest at using the theories presented within to develop an honest-to-gods warp drive. Even the way it works is fantastic--generating a huge magnetic field to provide thrust, or, at high enough power levels, drop the spaceship into another dimension where the speed of light is faster. A literal hyperspace.

Of course, I'm leery about it actually working, and more worried about how much of an effect that strong of a magnetic field would have on the crew, not to mention shipboard equipment, but still. My government believes in this enough to fund research into hyperdrive. How awesome is that?

I've been reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead recently. I've always hated Ayn Rand's philosopher (as a sort of disclaimer), and this book hasn't changed my opinion. I think the main character is supposed to be likeable, since he's a shining paragon of self-sufficiency, but really, he's just a self-absorbed asshole. I put the book down after the rape scene where the woman, after Roark (the main character) leaves, goes to the bathroom to wash herself, but stops because that means she would remove his scent from her skin and she's obsessed with him...not cool.

softlykarou came to visit this weekend, and most of what we did...was play WoW. Well, okay. We did a bunch of other stuff (like watch Cowboy Bebop), but I got her hooked on WoW as well. According to kraada, I am now the moral equivalent of a crack dealer. Really, I'm not sure that's so wrong :-p
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: Halo - Main Theme
Joshdesh on January 10th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
I always thought the "chunky salsa" problem was harder to solve than the warp problem, anyway. The calculations I remember from Modern Physics in college indicated that you'd have to spend roughly a year accelerating to reach a speed near the speed of light (I think we did .99c) without the acceleration tearing you to bits in the process.

Of course, that means you can get anywhere in the galaxy in 2 years. A year to speed up, instantaneous travel, and a year to slow down...
dorchadas: Angstdorchadas on January 10th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
There's (theoretically) a way to get around that, though it involves an entirely different approach. Unlike actual particles, the fabric of space can travel faster than the speed of light, so if some way can be found to move a bubble of space around the ship, then FTL travel can be achieved without inertia (since the ship would be stationary from its own frame of reference).

Of course, that assumes that tearing bits of the fabric of space up and moving them around doesn't cause any problems.
Ianmodius13 on January 10th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
Our mission is to boldly go where no man has gone before, make contact with possible alien races, steal their natural resources, and convert them to Christianity, or obliterate them utterly as the heretic scum they are.
dorchadas: Terminatordorchadas on January 10th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic.

Fear denies faith.

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.

The Emperor protects.
Ianmodius13 on January 10th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
"You acuse me of being a madman. What right do you have to judge what is sane and what is not? I have fought the shadows on the edge of your vision. I have seen the faces that laugh at you in your nightmares. I have smelt the fetid breath that issues from the mouth of hell itself. I have heard the silent voices that make your spine tingle with dread. I have entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or place. I have clashed with creatures the sight of which would sear your soul to the core. I have bested horrors that chill with a gaze and tempt unreasoning terror. I have faced death eye to eye and blade to blade. I have stared into the eyes of insanity and their all-consuming stare. I have done all this for your protection and the guarantee of a future for Mankind. And yet you acuse me of being a madman, you who have never had your sanity tested so sorely. What right have you to call me heretic and blasphemer, who have not heard the whisper of dark gods in your ear? You are weak. Vulnerable. Human in your frailty. I am strong, and yet you still judge me. And yet you still judge me for my sins, you who art most sinful to the heart? Only the insane have strength enough to prosper; only those who prosper can truly judge what is sane."
Jaideraijaiderai on January 10th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
Well, the government also kicks around that giant orbital laser defense system every now and again, so, I don't know if their stamp of approval necessarily means so much. :P

Upon reading the article, one the thing kept jumping into my head: Cthulhutech. If you're dropping a spaceship into a dimension where even the fundamentals of physics are different (which is pretty scary on its own: how might the human body hold up in a place like that? If the speed of light is increased, what else might be changed?), every sci-fi aliens flick ever made becomes possible, as well as Lovecraftian Horrors from Beyond the Void.

Also, how perfect is it that the only thing capable of powering such a spacecraft right now is called the Z machine? If that's not a prop from a bad movie, I don't know what is.
sephimbsephimb on January 10th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
I have two friends from College working at Sadia National Labs! WTFBBQ!
softlykaoru: Miriasoftlykarou on January 10th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
Aaron made a comment to me when I told him I played WoW "If I'm going to pay for something that's that addicting, I'll do a drug."

WoW- My antidrug!
Lisat3chnomag3 on January 10th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC)
If WoW is an antidrug, then so is crack.