Atom Wave: March 2009

Atom Wave

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Well, it’s over. The Galactica has been destroyed. Starbuck has walked off in to the sunset. Lee Adama (Apollo) is probably setting back with a good beer right now. Still, now that it’s over I’m disappointed. Sure, Battlestar Galactica was a great series, with drama and plot elements that you don’t often see on television. Despite all that, I think that they blew their last episode.
Now, if you have already seen it, than stay. If not, well I won’t give away any major spoilers.
It was my opinion that the finale "Daybreak” was a failure. It didn’t in any way live up to the Miniseries or the first season. By now, you probably know that they embarked on a suicide mission to rescue Hera from the Cylon colony orbiting the black hole. Despite the fact that the Galactica was already being held together by duct tape, they still survived a royal ass beating from the colonies defenses, a collision, and somehow one final jump with the Galactica not flying apart. It was a very brute force fight, very Hollywood without their usual innovative strategies. I truly expected that the Galactica should have died at the colony, and most likely it would have. I also felt that they also should have had much more political backlash, I mean with the admiral and certainly the XO literally being in bed with the Cylons. They only nuked the Twelve Colonies four years ago, so I find it hard to believe that the survivors would not have been more than happy to shove a knife in their backs when they boarded Galactica. Where were the followers of Gaeta? After all, you kill a patriot and you make him a martyr. Finally, I felt that when they colonized Earth it was just too easy. Why did they have no problems establishing agriculture and cities, which takes time and effort? By all rights they would probably fight over their remaining food stocks until they had a steady harvest. With the Galactica now obsolete, some may have given the admiral the finger and formed splinter groups.
Anyway, it was a happy ending. Very unbelievable, and even more absurd if you consider what a fragmented colony remained of the survivors.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Relativity Entangled

Again, once more I step into the fray. You must by now be somewhat familiar with Special Relativity, as it is the discovery of a most famous man; Albert Einstein. For a number of years, some in the scientific community have been of the opinion that Einstein blew it by not embracing Quantum Mechanics in its early years, he did!
It turns out that Quantum Mechanics works very within modern physics theory, and this is including something that Einstein didn’t consider. One of the oddball properties of Quantum Physics is that you can entangle particles. With Entanglement, you can remotely transit the properties of one particle; say spin to another particle some distance away. This can be a real problem for Relativity given that experiments conducted by Alain Aspect and others in the 1980’s and onward to today have proven that Relativity can be violated with its no object can travel superluminal clause.
It’s not like this event was completely unexpected. Back in 1964 John Bell showed theoretically that in experiments involving particle spins measured across nonparallel axes, no local theory could manufacture the results. Now locality is a part of Relativity, all observers (clocks) must be independent of each other. There can be no privileged observers, and no absolute space. Since 1981, experiments run by Alain Aspect and others using entangled light have demonstrated superluminal locality violations.
Now don’t kid yourself, I still have reservations about these results. Special Relativity is a very well established science in nearly every other respect. Then there are the limitations inherent with Quantum Entanglement that brings into question the meaningfulness of the results. One is that you can’t transmit superluminal information between two particle systems by measuring the state of one of them. It is also that Quantum systems forbid the copying of information; Entanglement is a statistical process, just as with the rest of Quantum Mechanics.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Montauk's Demon

This is a story about some really fucked up events. If you think about it, it all makes sense in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of way. Consider for a moment that our government knows how to manipulate time and send soldiers backward and forward in time in some sort of device reminiscent of Total Recall. It allegedly occurred back in the early 1980’s. You see, so the story goes the Philadelphia Experiment was a relative success, and it shot a warship and crew forward in time to 1983 in hyperspace. Following those events, our government with the aid of aliens built a literal time machine that incorporated a person with psychic powers to physically manufacture some sort of wormhole to shot people backwards and forwards through time. They even used the wormholes to explore Mars. This allegedly all occurred in Long Island, New York in what now lives in legend as the Montauk Project.
But this story isn’t about the Montauk Project. It might be about time travel? Is this a story about time travel? Will you answer yes?
What if we could run some experiment to test if the Montauk Project really did screw with time? What if anything could you learn from the experiment? You see, that is the real question. David Wolpert of the NASA Ames Research Center wondered that too. You see, anytime you run an experiment you inevitably have to mess with a physical system. Your test device and by extension you, affect the system. By the Quantum many-universes theory of Everett, multiple quantites exist for multiple universes beyond which the test device can measure. This goes back to Laplace’s demon in Thermodynamics, but it is more general. The demon must predict an answer for a future of many possibilities. Will the universe be one where the answer to the question is yes? The cache is that he and you are a part of the universe, so that in a sense you can never really know.