Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Faster than Light Speed Travel?

Okay. Really?
"It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!"
(Never mind that parsecs are units of distance and not time - oh well, George still made a great movie.)

I know we all want it to be possible. The 'real' theory (not talking Star Trek/Wars here!) is based on an idea by Michael Alcubierre. The propulsion system doesn't really propel the space ship; it would expand space behind the ship and shrink space in front of the ship. The ship would then 'surf' the bubble as it zips through space. It was coined as the "Alcubierre drive."

This idea has been reworked a little (add a sprinkling of dark energy to control the manipulation of spacetime) by Baylor University physicists Gerald Cleaver and graduate student Richard Obousy.

It's an interesting thought experiment. It does seem to escape the problem of Einstein's theory of relativity. The ship is not actually 'moving through space,' but riding the bubble of stationary space. So then no infinite speed requiring an infinite amount of fuel mass.

I'm curious about time. Assuming that this will come to pass as real technology at some point. How will a bubble of space affect the passage of time in and around it?

The idea that space can move faster than light comes from data generated by the WMAP that space expanded faster than the speed of light for a short time after the Big Bang.

Sadly, we won't be able to enjoy the fruits of this theory, unless someone cracks the problem of the human life span. That's a story for another day.

Whole story at
Warp Drive Engine Would Travel Faster Than Light
by Eric Bland

Story with more detail about how dark energy fits into the picture at
Spaceship Could Fly Faster Than Light
by Jeremy Hsu

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How to Use the Three Seashells

Let me preface this by saying I like a lot of movies that others seem to consider bad. Particularly I like Sci Fi, and I like dystopias. I sometimes try to justify my opinion, this time I won't.
I like Demolition Man. I don't like most of Stallone's or Snipes' movies, but this one gets me. I like the dystopia future of San Angles, and the writing is good and humorous.

One of the dialogue jokes in the movie is the mysterious replacement of toilet paper in the bathroom by the use of 3 seashells. The answer is never revealed in the movie. seems to have found the missing instruction poster.
How to use the Three Seashells!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Poetry Contests - in general

I'm still getting comments to a post about a suspicious poetry contest I saw in our local paper. Read all posts on this topic.
This is what I replied to the latest:
"In my experience, the only legitimate contests you'll find are through journals and publications that focus on writing. The contests that are putting together 'The World's Best Poetry Book' are scams wanting you to basically pay for publication.
That is different than a readers fee. Ones that employ a readers fee are looking for compensation for their time, money to pool together for the prize, and perhaps a little extra to pay employees at the press. That's not to say that some of those aren't scams either.
I recommend that you always investigate the publication before submitting, just so you know you are getting back thoughtful comments and criticisms. Case in point, go read some of the poems online at; most are awful, but no one told the authors that because they are spending money on the hack books cranked out."

If you do submit to these suspicious contests, please leave me some comments or email me and let me know how it resolved. I'm very interested!