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Dean View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sci Fi TV science or fiction?
    Posted: July 23 2013 at 12:45
Originally posted by timothy leary

Jules Verne, Mysterious Island, underwater cell phones, predates Dick Tracy by several decades.
Again, not cellular but point-to-point, and I beleive it was telegraph not telephone, and that technology was preexisting before Verne wrote it. But in principle I agree - it predates Kirk and Tracy.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2013 at 12:48
I think he was the first to suggest using a projectile to travel to the moon. Eitherway, Verne rocked.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2013 at 12:50
Absolutely. Approve


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Post Options Post Options   Quote VOTOMS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2013 at 12:51
Anyone into The Legend of The Galactic Heroes? From everything that I watched and read, LoGH is the best and most complex.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2013 at 20:40
Of course the technology in most SF is doable, or at least feasible, and that which isn't has still to be believable to stand any chance of being acceptable within the limits of the story. Mining colonies on Mars are something that can be achieved given enough time and resources, as are the orbitals (huge artificial ring-worlds in space) of Iain M Banks 'Culture' series of novels, they are simply a matter of engineering, just as a telephone or a computer is just engineering. Wells and Verne (and Roddenberry's scriptwriters), did not "invent" the technology in their stories as much as they extrapolated (projected) the technology of the day into the future. And sometimes we can be guilty of applying Nostradamus-like interpretations to some of those extrapolations to make them fit the reality that followed, for example Verne's submarine was electrically powered and the source of that electricity was a chemical reaction, he did not "predict" nuclear powered subs.
 
Part of the enjoyment of SF novels for me is how the author can introduce something that is impossible or implausible, (such as superluminal speeds, teleporation and time travel), and then explain it in such a way to make the reader suspend just enough belief (in the physical world) to accept the premise. This does not occur so much film or TV where reasonable explanations are seldom given, or they are too vague to be convincing, so we just accept them at face value with none of the scientific/technical window dressing - a replicator can make Tea, Earl Grey, Hot - we don't need to know how, on screen it just works like a voice activated vending machine, and we generally don't need to know how a vending machine works, nor do we have to suspend belief to accept that one could exist. ("Home-baked idea? Nasa mulls 3D printers for food replication"). Similarly in film or tv a space ship can jump to warp with no explanation, we just accept that it can, but in the written text some conciliatory explanation is required. In the Dune novels of Frank Herbert - faster than light space travel was made possible due to folded space, which is a result of the Holzman effect (Herbert's general purpose get-out-of-jail free card - like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver or Star Trek's tachyon field) - plotting a path through folded space, as Pat said for FTL travel, would require an impossible amount of computation, so Herbert uses prescience to predict a route, and since that is also impossible, he enhances the abilities of the Guild Navigators with Spice (the value of which is the central theme of the books).


Edited by Dean - July 23 2013 at 20:43


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 06:20
I'm not much into sci-fi, I was a bit as a kid but didn't follow it up much. Not sure about the precise type of warp drive meant in Star Treck, but when a sci-fi space ship travels at superluminal speed it is often supposed to be doing it via wormholes (which we may call hyperspace). A path through hyperspace does not cross regular space so it would not encounter any objects across. There are theoretical ways which supposedly might create a wormhole although the practical obstacles are beyond our current imagination.

The most scientifically 'realistic' kind of superluminal travel seems to be the Alcubierre drive, which compresses the space(time) in front and expands the space(time) behind


travelling with this technology your ship would in principle hit any crossing objects. However the density of matter in space is so extremely low that I doubt that this would be really a significant problem. Consider that in most cases, if two galaxies 'collide', they actually pass through each other with the chance of any actual head to head collisions between their stars being really really small. What does happen is that their gravitational interaction will disrupt their structure and some stars may 'switch' galaxy, or if the 'collision' speed is low the two may merge into a new single galaxy, but actual collisions between bodies are highly unlikely (some body may fall into gravitational attraction to other bigger one and start a spinning orbit which eventually after long time may cause it to fall completely towards the attractor bigger body, but this will be a very slow process. Actual collisions are highly unlikely). And this is through galaxies. The intergalactic space is really so empty that the chances of hitting anything bigger than an hydrogen or helium atom are insignificant.


Edited by Gerinski - July 24 2013 at 06:30
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 06:22
In the words of Arthur C. Clarke, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 06:44
Originally posted by Dean

Of course the technology in most SF is doable, or at least feasible, and that which isn't has still to be believable to stand any chance of being acceptable within the limits of the story. Mining colonies on Mars are something that can be achieved given enough time and resources, as are the orbitals (huge artificial ring-worlds in space) of Iain M Banks 'Culture' series of novels, they are simply a matter of engineering, just as a telephone or a computer is just engineering. Wells and Verne (and Roddenberry's scriptwriters), did not "invent" the technology in their stories as much as they extrapolated (projected) the technology of the day into the future. And sometimes we can be guilty of applying Nostradamus-like interpretations to some of those extrapolations to make them fit the reality that followed, for example Verne's submarine was electrically powered and the source of that electricity was a chemical reaction, he did not "predict" nuclear powered subs.
 
Part of the enjoyment of SF novels for me is how the author can introduce something that is impossible or implausible, (such as superluminal speeds, teleporation and time travel), and then explain it in such a way to make the reader suspend just enough belief (in the physical world) to accept the premise. This does not occur so much film or TV where reasonable explanations are seldom given, or they are too vague to be convincing, so we just accept them at face value with none of the scientific/technical window dressing - a replicator can make Tea, Earl Grey, Hot - we don't need to know how, on screen it just works like a voice activated vending machine, and we generally don't need to know how a vending machine works, nor do we have to suspend belief to accept that one could exist. ("Home-baked idea? Nasa mulls 3D printers for food replication"). Similarly in film or tv a space ship can jump to warp with no explanation, we just accept that it can, but in the written text some conciliatory explanation is required. In the Dune novels of Frank Herbert - faster than light space travel was made possible due to folded space, which is a result of the Holzman effect (Herbert's general purpose get-out-of-jail free card - like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver or Star Trek's tachyon field) - plotting a path through folded space, as Pat said for FTL travel, would require an impossible amount of computation, so Herbert uses prescience to predict a route, and since that is also impossible, he enhances the abilities of the Guild Navigators with Spice (the value of which is the central theme of the books).


Ditto
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 06:54
btw if you are interested in the subject, physicist Michio Kaku (who you may have seen in several popular science documentaries) has a quite amusing book about this sort of stuff (popular level, very easy reading even if you don't know science)


in it he talks about many of the technologies frequently used in fiction and classifies them in 3 categories:

Class I 'impossibilities': technologies which are impossible today but do not violate any known laws of physics so there's no fundamental reason why they can't eventually become reality. These include (quantum-based) teleportation, antimatter engines, (certain forms of) telepathy, invisibility...

Class II 'impossibilities': technologies that lie at the very edge of our current understanding of the universe, they might be feasible but surely not within a few centuries, perhaps millenia, such as time machines or hyperspace travel.

Class III impossibilities: technologies that violate currently 'known' laws of physics. Only a radical shift in our understanding of the universe could ever make them possible. Perhaps surprisingly, he can only think of 2: perpetual motion machines and precognition.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 07:00
He can probably think of more than two, but I would say that 90% of all hack physics is just a Perpetual Motion Machine in disguise.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 07:22
^ true, and I would imagine (ie too busy to check) that many of the things in his Class I & II definitions are also variations on Perpetual Motion (anything that violates the 1st and/or 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), so would actually be Class III "impossibles"


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 08:14
Originally posted by Dean

^ true, and I would imagine (ie too busy to check) that many of the things in his Class I & II definitions are also variations on Perpetual Motion (anything that violates the 1st and/or 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), so would actually be Class III "impossibles"
No, I said that his Class I and II hypothetical technologies are those which do not violate any known laws pf physics.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 08:16
Originally posted by Gerinski

Originally posted by Dean

^ true, and I would imagine (ie too busy to check) that many of the things in his Class I & II definitions are also variations on Perpetual Motion (anything that violates the 1st and/or 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), so would actually be Class III "impossibles"
No, I said that his Class I and II hypothetical technologies are those which do not violate any known laws pf physics.
and then you listed teleportation, antimatter engines, (certain forms of) telepathy, invisibility... time travel, ftl travel...
 
Tongue


Edited by Dean - July 24 2013 at 08:17


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 08:32
Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by Gerinski

Originally posted by Dean

^ true, and I would imagine (ie too busy to check) that many of the things in his Class I & II definitions are also variations on Perpetual Motion (anything that violates the 1st and/or 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), so would actually be Class III "impossibles"
No, I said that his Class I and II hypothetical technologies are those which do not violate any known laws pf physics.
and then you listed teleportation, antimatter engines, (certain forms of) telepathy, invisibility... time travel, ftl travel...
 
Tongue
Read the book and you will understand in which sense none of these violate any known laws of physics (some may have a 'catch', such as what is meant by 'teleportation' in the quantum sense). I'm afraid that replicating the whole book here would take a bit too long, but I assure you that he has his point in all of these (he may be a popularizing scientist but he is not a crackpot, he is a respected physicist, a bit like what Brian Greene is regarding String Theory) .
It's quite some time ago that I read it but I still have it, if you want to get deeper into any of these let me know, I can re-read the relevant chapter (if I don't remember enough of it) and make a summary of his points.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 08:53
I know who Michio Kaku is and am aware he is not a crackpot, but (without reading it) I suspect that each of them has a 'catch' or is a fanciful extrapolation of current knowledge...Gerridae (pond-skaters) do not violate the laws of physics when they are held afloat by the surface tension of water, but that does not mean we can extrapolate that to enable a man to walk on water - at some point the physics of buoyancy is more applicable than the physics of water tension. (sorry, can't be more succinct than that at the moment - maybe later when I'm at home). 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 09:07
As you surely know there are solutions to the General Relativity equations that warp spacetime enough so as to permit time travel and closed time loop worldlines. This does not in any way mean that anything like this will eventually be ever possible in practice, but it is legitimate to say that the fact that such solutions exist mathematically means that they do not violate the theory as it is currently understood. This is the sense of his Class II stuff.

Class I is still certainly speculative, but more clearly allowed by the current laws of physics in theory (again not meaning they may ever be achieved in practice).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 09:53
Just as an appetizer, the fundamental principles of 'quantum teleportation' have been experimentally confirmed up to a distance of 143 Km with photons and 21 meters for single atom states. Again, at the moment this has little if nothing to do with teleporting macroscopic objects as in Star Trek, but it just shows that the theoretical principles for some sort of teleportation are scientifically sound.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 10:07
Originally posted by Gerinski

As you surely know there are solutions to the General Relativity equations that warp spacetime enough so as to permit time travel and closed time loop worldlines. This does not in any way mean that anything like this will eventually be ever possible in practice, but it is legitimate to say that the fact that such solutions exist mathematically means that they do not violate the theory as it is currently understood. This is the sense of his Class II stuff.

Class I is still certainly speculative, but more clearly allowed by the current laws of physics in theory (again not meaning they may ever be achieved in practice).
Except that it does not permit "travel" as we know and accept it (i.e. the transference of matter from one place to another unaltered and unaffected) - we can make a camel pass through the eye of a needle if we so desire, all it takes is a huge liquidiser and a hypodermic syringe, reconstituting the camel on the other side is a tad more complicated - and that is the essential problem with any travel that warps space or time ... what arrives the other end would bear little semblence to what departed from the jump-point... this we can predict, for example in crossing the event horizon of a black hole where matter (and thus distance) is compressed but time is stretched.


Edited by Dean - July 24 2013 at 10:07


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 10:13
Originally posted by Gerinski

Just as an appetizer, the fundamental principles of 'quantum teleportation' have been experimentally confirmed up to a distance of 143 Km with photons and 21 meters for single atom states. Again, at the moment this has little if nothing to do with teleporting macroscopic objects as in Star Trek, but it just shows that the theoretical principles for some sort of teleportation are scientifically sound.


Gah, this one's been done to death on this forum. It's not teleportation. There is no " at the moment " ... it will never develop into matter teleportation (or even simple information teleportation) because it's simply not applicable (this is like extrapolating the physics of the pond-skater to predict a hydrofoil Unhappy)


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2013 at 10:16
Originally posted by Gerinski

Just as an appetizer, the fundamental principles of 'quantum teleportation' have been experimentally confirmed up to a distance of 143 Km with photons and 21 meters for single atom states. Again, at the moment this has little if nothing to do with teleporting macroscopic objects as in Star Trek, but it just shows that the theoretical principles for some sort of teleportation are scientifically sound.




Well the problem here isn't even macro vs micro. It's a fundamentally different thing. Nothing physical (erm material maybe a better word) is being transported.
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