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#1
Hello, please help me.

So I've been reading a book on quantum physics - In Search of Schroedinger's Cat by John Gribbin - and I've been thinking a lot about the speed of light and how one might exploit quantum entanglement of particles to create faster-than-light communication. Gribbin seems pretty adamant that it's impossible, and I don't know nearly enough about it to argue that point.

However, maybe I'm overthinking it. Let's say you were on the moon, and you had a very very long pole. You could use the pole to poke Morse code (or whatever) at the Earth and communicate your messages, and people on Earth could poke back. No individual particles or waves or whatever are moving faster than light, so shouldn't it work in theory? Have I missed something? Should we be investing heavily in very-very-long-pole technology? Am I just high or something?

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

pic related, it is a very long pole
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#2
The moon's orbit of the Earth varies wildly though so at some points the pole would be too close and at others it'd be too far away
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#5
If you've ever read the Enders Game series they have a pretty interesting idea in there about faster than light communication in the later books. They use this device called an Ansible I dont remember exactly how it works cuz it was kinda complicated but maybe someone else who's read the books here can explain it so it makes sense.
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#6
Quote by Dirge Humani
A sufficiently long poking stick would compress itself at the speed of sound in that material, which would slow any poking to below relativistic speed.


this

you are not the first person to have this idea. this is the standard answer.
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#7
Nope, you already said it in your post, the pole is not moving X distance, however small, faster than light takes to travel that same distance. therefore that poking action of movement is not transmitting data faster than light.

Furthermore, your pole could not poke faster than light even in a theoretical situation where you had a literal pole from the moon to earth because it has mass.
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#8
Quote by Dirge Humani
A sufficiently long poking stick would compress itself at the speed of sound in that material, which would slow any poking to below relativistic speed.

Just to add, at the atomic level things are held together through electromagnetic interactions between atoms or molecules. When you push an object, the whole object actually does not move at the same time, but rather it compresses at the point that you pushed it, which then sends a sound wave through the object until it gets to the other end of the material.

In an everyday scenario, objects are usually small enough, and sounds waves are fast enough that we don't notice it, so it seems like the whole object is moving at the same time.

It might be possible if you had a material that was infinitely rigid though, although that doesn't exist.
#9
Quote by zincabopataurio
Just to add, at the atomic level things are held together through electromagnetic interactions between atoms or molecules. When you push an object, the whole object actually does not move at the same time, but rather it compresses at the point that you pushed it, which then sends a sound wave through the object until it gets to the other end of the material.

In an everyday scenario, objects are usually small enough, and sounds waves are fast enough that we don't notice it, so it seems like the whole object is moving at the same time.

It might be possible if you had a material that was infinitely rigid though, although that doesn't exist.

are they really sound waves? or is it just "like" a sound wave?
#10
Quote by captaincrunk
are they really sound waves? or is it just "like" a sound wave?

They are just 'like' sound waves, in the sense that sound waves as we know it (when you hear a sound) are longitudinal pressure waves in a gas. For solids it's the same idea (although I'm pretty sure it could be both longitudinal and transverse waves).
#12
Quote by Jackintehbox
The speed of light is faster than the speed of tap.

Poke, not tap. I was quite clear about this.
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#14
The "speed of dark" is faster than the speed of light so you could utilize that as a means of communication.

I imagine if you did something similar to warp theory with EM waves, you could potentially create a means of communication faster than the speed of light. Fold the space in front of and behind the EM carrier wave in such a way that it causes the EM wave to be "pushed" forward faster that it normally would. I think it would be trickier though because waves don't have mass and gravity wouldn't exactly "push" it. Then there is gravitational lensing... that could interfere with it.

I dunno. I am just killing time on the clock till I can go home. I say we start with moving small objects near the speed of light before we consider communication faster then the speed of light.

Oh we could use quantum entanglement. That could work.
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#15
Quote by DamienEx1021
The "speed of dark" is faster than the speed of light so you could utilize that as a means of communication.

Not necessarily. Dark is just the absence of light, which means it'll still travel at the speed of light. Shadows can 'move' faster than the speed of light, but that's just us thinking that shadows are real objects.
#16
Quote by zincabopataurio
Not necessarily. Dark is just the absence of light, which means it'll still travel at the speed of light. Shadows can 'move' faster than the speed of light, but that's just us thinking that shadows are real objects.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTvcpdfGUtQ

Explains it so much better than I ever could.
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#18
Quote by zincabopataurio
They are just 'like' sound waves, in the sense that sound waves as we know it (when you hear a sound) are longitudinal pressure waves in a gas. For solids it's the same idea (although I'm pretty sure it could be both longitudinal and transverse waves).

ok i think i understand
#19
Im pretty sure that its impossible to go faster than the speed of light for 2 or 3 reasons. One of them being the space-time continuum thing. Space and time are like the X and Y axis of a graph, and you can move along both of them, but not on the axis. Whenever you move in space, you're also moving through time, and the faster you go (or the more you move on the "space" axis) the less you move through time. Which is why time dilation is a thing. This all happens because we, and all matter, has mass. Light is mad crazy because it doesn't have any mass (that we've recorded or calculated. Yet anyway), so it doesn't really fit into the space-time thing, and really messes it about. It travels nearly fully in only "space" (?) so time goes all weird. (I can't really remember off the top of my head because I'm really tired atm. But the jist is, is that light breaks a lot of rules that we know about the universe, and all because it doesn't have mass.... So TL;DR, we will never go faster than the speed of light until we find something else that doesn't have any mass)

oh also, just to clarify, "space" is actually your position in the universe, and "time" is your position in time. Time flows like a river, you can swim to the banks and slow down, but not stop. or swim with it and go faster. but you can't swim against the current
Last edited by Bladez22 at Aug 22, 2014,
#20
I would argue that light has no actual speed limit, but our ability to observe does. What I mean is that if you were an omnipotent, omniscient being, you would be seeing everything all the time, everywhere. We are limited to this universe due to the fact that we ARE this universe in essence. My belief is that "light" or photons, being perceived as a particle, and acting as wave... is due to the fact that it is not actually a part of this universe or reality. However just because it's not a part of reality doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Darkness however, is the absence of existence. Ya dig?
#21
Quote by Fryer Mike
I would argue that light has no actual speed limit, but our ability to observe does. What I mean is that if you were an omnipotent, omniscient being, you would be seeing everything all the time, everywhere. We are limited to this universe due to the fact that we ARE this universe in essence. My belief is that "light" or photons, being perceived as a particle, and acting as wave... is due to the fact that it is not actually a part of this universe or reality. However just because it's not a part of reality doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Darkness however, is the absence of existence. Ya dig?


Except that it is and we can track photons. Light is very much part of our reality and exists in it. It can be measured. And darkness is not the absence of existence, it is the absence of light. Black holes are dark, but they are there. If you are stuck in a cave underground and your light dies, you are surround by darkness with no light sources but everything there still exists.

I see what you are trying to say, and I feel like you made a good effort, but it is a flawed attempt
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#22
Quote by DamienEx1021
Except that it is and we can track photons. Light is very much part of our reality and exists in it. It can be measured. And darkness is not the absence of existence, it is the absence of light. Black holes are dark, but they are there. If you are stuck in a cave underground and your light dies, you are surround by darkness with no light sources but everything there still exists.

I see what you are trying to say, and I feel like you made a good effort, but it is a flawed attempt

Just because something is dark, does not mean that it is darkness. The way I'm imagining it is that light is like energy paint. When something is dark, it's not being painted with energy and therefore its "paint" is non-existent, or dark. Its physical being still exists, though.

This argument is flawed in and of itself due to the fact that the term "existence" is debatable. Does something exist until we discover, imagine, or measure it? Can you prove otherwise?

Black holes in my opinion are "this universe" becoming "another universe". Yes they exist in terms of 'we can see nothingness or non-existence' from our universe, but I believe what we are actually witnessing when looking at a black hole is matter and energy collapsing into a separate "realm" or "bubble" or "universe".
#23
Yeah... consider doing less acid or smoking less pot or whatever gets you like this...
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#24
Quote by Fryer Mike
Just because something is dark, does not mean that it is darkness. The way I'm imagining it is that light is like energy paint. When something is dark, it's not being painted with energy and therefore its "paint" is non-existent, or dark. Its physical being still exists, though.


interesting analogy. sticking with it, i think you'll find that everything, even a "perfect vacuum", is an artist.
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#25
Quote by Eastwinn
interesting analogy. sticking with it, i think you'll find that everything, even a "perfect vacuum", is an artist.


Exactly. Just cause it isn't putting out visible light, doesn't mean you don't have a shit ton other forms of EM radiation spewing out of it.
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#26
Quote by DamienEx1021
Yeah... consider doing less acid or smoking less pot or whatever gets you like this...

What a bullshit response.

I'm serious. When energy condenses into matter, and matter condenses into an object with mass, and that object with mass gets to a certain value, it collapses because just like the apparent "speed-limit" we observe light to have, this universe has a density-mass ratio limit. When that limit is exceeded, it collapses into an imploding hypo-bubble of new spacial dimension. It's pretty straight forward and easy to imagine especially if you've ever seen a 3D graphical representation of gravitational fields.
#27
Yeah that limit compresses protons and electrons together to form neutrons. If it goes much further than that we don't know what happens because it collapses into a black hole. Black holes aren't even infinite. They eventually spew out all the matter and energy they take in as radiation emissions and dissipate over time.

And if anything happens in a black hole involving dimensions, it collapses from a 3rd dimension to a 2nd dimension. Don't ask me for many more details than that. It was in a paper I recently read and honestly, it made since I just couldn't tell you half of what was in it.
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#28
I don't know how you can be sure that black holes dissipate over time. We've only known they exist for a short period of time.
#29
Quote by Fryer Mike
I don't know how you can be sure that black holes dissipate over time. We've only known they exist for a short period of time.


Because there are astrophysicists and people who study quantum mechanics on levels higher than anything I could even try to explain here who have shown time and time again that they are right (adjusting a few details here and there) and that these things do happen. Just because you don't witness an event doesn't mean there isn't a way to show that it happened.

IE: The big bang. It happened. We know it happened. We have very accurate models of how it happened. Its by far more complicated than rocket science.

Oh an we have only known many things for a short amount of time but we have learned more in the past 100 years about the way the universe works then we did in all of human history up to that point.
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#30
Quote by Fryer Mike
I would argue that light has no actual speed limit, but our ability to observe does. What I mean is that if you were an omnipotent, omniscient being, you would be seeing everything all the time, everywhere. We are limited to this universe due to the fact that we ARE this universe in essence. My belief is that "light" or photons, being perceived as a particle, and acting as wave... is due to the fact that it is not actually a part of this universe or reality. However just because it's not a part of reality doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Darkness however, is the absence of existence. Ya dig?


The idea that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light wasn't actually an observation made through experimentation like you are suggesting, but a consequence of Einstein's postulates that he made for his special theory of relativity.

Experiments were done that showed that light photons traveled at the same speed no matter what reference frame you were in (look up the Michelson-Morley experiment). Notice how there is no mention of a speed limit, or what speed light travels at yet.

From that observation, Einstein proposed two postulates, the first being that the speed of light is the same every in every inertial reference frame (so far confirmed from experiments), and that the laws of physics are the same in all inertia reference frames (this is another observable thing).

From those two postulates alone, you can derive the Lorentz transformations, which allow you to go between reference frames while still respecting the fact that the speed of light is the same in all reference frames:



If you look at the gamma factor though, you'll notice that you have velocity divided by the speed of light. If you have anything that travels faster than the speed of light, you'll end up with a negative square rooted, which is physically impossible.

That is where the idea that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light came from, so if you want to prove that things can travel faster than the speed of light, you'll have to prove that the speed of light in a vacuum is not the same every where. Physicists didn't just one day say that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light just 'cuz, it was a logical consequence of observations made through experimentation.
#31
Quote by zincabopataurio
*math/physics/science stuff


I couldn't have said it better if I had cared to type it
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#32
True enough. Moving onto another topic... if an object with high mass (or any mass) can create a contraction of space-time, what do you think would be capable of crating a "buldge" or "expansion" of space-time?
#33
space-time is expanding without assistance
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#34
In the presence of nothing, space time expands. See edge of universe expanding faster than the speed of light.
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#35
There's no way for anything to travel faster than light, at least in this universe
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#36
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There's no way for anything to travel faster than light, at least in this universe


... that we know of. Don't be so quick to dismiss something simply because we haven't found a way of doing it yet. The whole "warp theory" and folding space time to allow us to move faster in space is not entirely crazy.
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#37
Yeah, what I should have said, is that nothing can travel faster than light that we know of. I actually have a lot of input on this subject but I'm too lazy and drunk to type it all out
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#38
Quote by DamienEx1021
... that we know of. Don't be so quick to dismiss something simply because we haven't found a way of doing it yet. The whole "warp theory" and folding space time to allow us to move faster in space is not entirely crazy.

But even in warp theory, you're not actually "moving" faster than light, right? You're just able to get over larger distances of space due to folding without actually breaking the speed limit.
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#39
Towards the end of the 19th century, physicists all thought that they had this physics stuff figured out, and it was just a matter of making more accurate measurements. Then they started making observations that couldn't be explained using the classical physics that was known at the time (look up the photoelectric effect, the orbit of Mercury, the Michelson-Morley experiment, for a few examples).

So who knows? Everything that is accepted now is accepted based on all of the experiments that have been done up until now that fit with the theories that have been developed, and all of these predictions (the existence of wormholes, all of these exotic particles) come as consequences of the theories that have so far been confirmed, which have a mathematical basis.

Some of the newer physics (a popular one is string theory) are based almost entirely on mathematics, and can't be verified through experiments anytime soon unfortunately.

You just have to be careful not to get too caught up in speculating about how the universe works without working it out quantitatively (with mathematics) and providing evidence for your theories.
#40
Quote by eGraham
But even in warp theory, you're not actually "moving" faster than light, right? You're just able to get over larger distances of space due to folding without actually breaking the speed limit.


Well that depends on which type of space folding is occuring. If you are folding space wormhole style, you are connecting two points by brining the distance between them closer together. If you are using 'Star Trek' warp drives, you are creating a warp bubble in space that causes the mass of the object to change (don't quote me on this) and allows you to move through space faster then light since you have modified the space around you to allow you to.

You also have the idea in 'Mass Effect' where you expand and contract space in front of your vessel and behind your vessel to create a high and low density pocket of space. The higher density space will push you forward into the lower density space and this will propel you at speeds that can exceed light speed because you are changing the fundamental nature of the space you are traveling in.

Many of the ideas are not totally obscure. Keyword is totally. The issues we currently have are scale and energy. We can make minor fluctuation on quantum levels but scaling that up to even atomic scale is daunting. The other issue is energy. Curently we are using Gigawatt lasers, particle accelerators, and other various devices to measure and preform these experiments. And we are only launching single particles around (electrons, protons, neutrons, etc).

So we have a long way to go before any of this becomes even remotely feasible. But considering how far we have come in the past 100 years, I don't doubt that in the next 100 our minds will be blown by something even more obscure with the rate technology progresses.

Or we will all be dead from nuclear war or a global disaster or some shit. I dunno.
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