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Which woo would change the world the most if it were true?
Posted: 14 October 2010 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Since some folks are SF and/or fantasy fiction fans (and certainly including those who are not) what “wonder”* of either of those genres do you think would “change the world” the most,

1a - for the better

1b - for the worse

and why?

* like FTL ships, sentient robots, magic (or any sub-category), etc.

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 14 October 2010 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Free Energy/Perpetual Motion - For the Better (For obvious reasons)

ESP - For the Worse (Can you imagine if people really could read minds or see the future?  The end of privacy.  Chaos would result!)  big surprise

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Interesting question.

Point to point beaming would change the world a huge amount: no privacy, no security. Star Trek never took it seriously, IMO.

(Not clear if its drawbacks would outweigh its benefits, but it would completely change society).

FTL ships would be a very good thing, I don’t see the drawbacks unless of course the technology brought along baggage of some kind (pollution, etc.).

ESP: (common SF trope though I’m inclined to consider it more fantasy than SF, unless technology is involved in bringing it about) depends on how it works. I would say that extrapolating from present technologies, we will have brain scanning machines in the future.

Perpetual motion: would involve such a wholesale change in the laws of physics as we know them that it’s difficult to know what to say about that. Would make power so cheap that individuals could do a huge amount of mischief with it.

I haven’t answered your question, because I’m not sure how to quite figure out the good and bad, much less best and worst.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I think of how many times our ‘best’ has come back to haunt us as the worst, something we didn’t ever factor into the equation. confused

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Posted: 15 October 2010 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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dougsmith - 15 October 2010 04:09 AM

FTL ships would be a very good thing, I don’t see the drawbacks unless of course the technology brought along baggage of some kind (pollution, etc.)

Assuming time travel would be an inherent “side effect” of FTL, then I think there could be some very good and very bad things.  The oft-mentioned paradoxes would be one bad thing. 

And the desire to go back in time and stop bad things would always cause unintended consequences: Go back, kill Hitler.  But then he becomes a martyr to his fellow Nazis.  Resentment grows underneath the surface.  Germany doesn’t lose as many scientists via emigration as they did when Hitler was alive.  Enough time passes that by the time whoever takes Hitler’s place finally rallies Germany’s resentment into war, Germany has enough time, money and brainpower to make A-Bombs.  With their V-2 rockets and their Messerschmitt Me 264 Amerika Bomber, these A-bombs would wipe out cities in England and the United States, and anstatt, diesen Pfosten auf englisch zu lesen sein, alle würden wir Messwert es auf Deutsch. Gerade scherzend! Die Grundregeln von CFI würden nicht erlaubt, also würden keine von diesem hier sein.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Right, if time travel to the past were an inherent side effect of FTL, then all bets would be off. Time travel into the past is very weird. There are logical problems with changing the past; if the past happened, then it happened. The past can’t both be where the Nazis lost and where the Nazis didn’t lose, since that’s a contradiction.

So the past we’ve been through has either to include all the time travel that happened into it, or ‘time travel into the past’ has to mean time travel into different similar parallel universe pasts.

But I’m not sure how much time travel into the past would be made possible by FTL. I’ve heard people talk about it, but never enough to clarify the matter for me. If you have links to good info, I’d be interested to look.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think the the Zombie Apocalypse would be a big change…for the better! grin

zombie-apocalypse.jpg

zombie_apocalypse_demotivator.jpg

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Posted: 15 October 2010 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 15 October 2010 07:40 AM

But I’m not sure how much time travel into the past would be made possible by FTL. I’ve heard people talk about it, but never enough to clarify the matter for me. If you have links to good info, I’d be interested to look.

No, no links.  I have just read the speculation before that FTL might also mean time travel.  I doubt it will ever be confirmed one way or another. 

Regarding the paradox of time travel I’ve heard one hypothesis that suggests when a time traveler goes back in time, the action of doing so instantly branches off into another dimensional universe so that in the universe the time traveler left, Hitler still lives.  But in the new universe that was inherently caused to exist at the moment of time travel, he is able to kill Hitler in that universe.  So these two separate universes continue on in their own path with different versions of history regarding Hitler.  That would be one possible solution to the paradox.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Rocinante - 15 October 2010 07:54 AM

Regarding the paradox of time travel I’ve heard one hypothesis that suggests when a time traveler goes back in time, the action of doing so instantly branches off into another dimensional universe so that in the universe the time traveler left, Hitler still lives.  But in the new universe that was inherently caused to exist at the moment of time travel, he is able to kill Hitler in that universe.  So these two separate universes continue on in their own path with different versions of history regarding Hitler.  That would be one possible solution to the paradox.

Right, that’s what I was suggesting, above. Since there’s already one interpretation of QM on the books that involves multiple universes, perhaps that would just be part of the whole package. But now we’re really into speculation, and the fact that we don’t see any time travelers around makes the thing a little questionable ... (I mean, if time travel into other universes is possible, then time travel into ours is, as well).

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 15 October 2010 07:59 AM

and the fact that we don’t see any time travelers around makes the thing a little questionable ... (I mean, if time travel into other universes is possible, then time travel into ours is, as well).

Unless we in our time just happen to be at some type of “Vanguard of Time” to where time travel is only possible until someone from our time goes back.  And only until our “Vanguard” reaches a certain point in the future.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The one problem I have with going back in time is that I can’t imagine how this could be done. It is easier to see how when we move faster time slows down, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it would mean to move slower (?) than being motionless.

I know time stops at the speed of light, but does anyone know what would happen to time if one traveled faster than the speed of light?

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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There once was a lady named Bright
Who could travel faster than the speed of light
She left one day
In a relative way
And returned the previous night.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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If it’s silly to speculate what would happen when traveling at or above the speed of light (surely impossible), than I see no point wondering about traveling back in time. Any mention, then, of traveling back in time should not be considered SF, but fantasy.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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George - 15 October 2010 09:00 AM

If it’s silly to speculate what would happen when traveling at or above the speed of light (surely impossible), than I see no point wondering about traveling back in time. Any mention, then, of traveling back in time should not be considered SF, but fantasy.

Just what one would expect a primitive 21st Century person to say!  Uh oh!  I’ve blown my cover and violated the Gödel Directive!  Surely the Council will fine me many credits for this transgression!  grin

Even if FTL travel is not possible, there may be other ways to travel back in time.  Special Relativity may not help, but apparently General Relativity does not rule it out. 

Michio Kaku gives 6 different possible methods:

1.  Traveling around a spinning universe

2.  Traveling around a spinning cylinder which is infinitely long

3.  Traveling around two colliding cosmic strings

4.  Traveling through a spinning black hole

5.  Stretching or compressing space via negative matter

6.  Traveling through a wormhole.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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George - 15 October 2010 09:00 AM

If it’s silly to speculate what would happen when traveling at or above the speed of light (surely impossible), than I see no point wondering about traveling back in time. Any mention, then, of traveling back in time should not be considered SF, but fantasy.

This is too quick. There are several plausible physical interpretations of FTL travel, for example the Alcubierre drive, originating with physicist Miguel Alcubierre, or travel through wormholes. In neither of these interpretations does the ship itself end up traveling FTL through normal space, instead the ship either warps space around itself, or pierces through space.

But both of these theoretical technologies would allow FTL travel.

(The article on wormholes above does mention the problems with time travel. I don’t entirely understand it, but I think that it would only allow travel into the time after the wormhole were created).

Here’s NASA’s take on these technologies, as well as some others: Ideas Based On What We’d Like To Achieve

Actual physics papers on this stuff:
HERE on the Alcubierre drive
HERE
HERE
A list of papers HERE
Visualizations HERE

So while it is definitely very speculative, it’s also part of a present day physical hypothetical.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Okay, I’ll go through the links. Thanks.

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