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Showing posts from April, 2013

Troubles with Transporters

The “transporter” is a widely-known piece of Star Trek technology. For the uninitiated, essentially the device grabs hold of you (stepping on the transporter deck is optional but is somehow helpful, perhaps in reducing the amount of energy required) and converts you into a beam of energy. The beam of energy goes a certain distance (the distance is limited to tens of thousands of kilometers) and spontaneously reassembles the person that underwent the process into his or her original state. Maybe for another post I’ll talk about how teleportation could perhaps conceivably work…but for now, let’s just assume the system really does work as the shows and movies portray it working…I gotta say though that I would under no circumstances be comfortable with my body being converted into a beam of energy and being reassembled elsewhere…what about signal interference? I don’t know how the beam moves or what form of energy it consists of (Star Trek isn’t clear about that), but whatever it uses

The Kingdom of Dark Matter

The term "dark matter" refers to a number of hypothetical substances proposed to provide the mass that galaxies and galaxy clusters need to have to spin as rapidly as they spin and to stay in cluster formations with one another--mass which the observable parts of galaxies contain only a tiny fraction of and which by best calculations is too evenly distributed to be hidden in massive objects at given points like black holes. There currently exists no universally acceptable explanation of dark matter--in fact, some physicists claim instead the nature of gravity is something other than expected at large scales, Tensor-vector-scalar gravity and Modified Newtonian dynamics  being two such attempts to explain how observed evidence of galactic astronomy coincides with known laws of physics without evoking matter that has never been observed. In general, physicists have preferred imagining unobserved matter over changing already-known gravity to solve this problem, inventing &qu