IN YOUR FACE, Speed Of Light Nazis!

Ahem. Objects with mass (granted, a mere smattering of mass) have been clocked going faster than the speed of light by the best tiny object clockers on Earth. As I said in my OP, it will take much confirmation before we have to rewrite the rule books, but just now, at this historical moment, you can’t say absolutely that the speed of light can’t be exceeded. Because there is experimental evidence that it can. Sorry about that, and all.

Well, there was experimental evidence that cold fusion worked, too.

I’ll wait for independent verification.


While some kind of error in measurement seems to be the leading contender for explaining the results, there are some alternatives proposed in the other threads, including a new particle called the gremlion.

Is this the proof?

dx/dt > c

Speed Of Light Nazis Must Die!

How does FTL travel in itself suspend the laws of logic and basic common sense? Certainly, you could write a perfectly coherent, ordinary, logic-and-common sense respecting story about FTL travel in a non-relativistic, largely Newtonian world, where light, I dunno, permeates through a background luminiferous aether at a constant rate in each direction, but is observed to move at different speeds by observers moving relative to the aether. The only thing wrong with this is that it doesn’t match what we’ve learnt over the past centuries by careful experiment. But it’s certainly a way a world could logically be, no?

FTL travel + special relativity + light travels at c + “causality” cannot be reconciled. But FTL travel in itself isn’t so bad; it just means something goes off in the rest of it. Nothing wrong with, say, a world which doesn’t follow special relativity; it’s just a different sort of world (potentially one which is rather more in keeping with “common sense”, depending on what it’s like).

But I suppose FTL travel really means “faster than c travel, where c is the distinguished speed of relativity (regardless of whatever this has to do with light or any other such thing)”, such that it doesn’t really make sense to discuss it outside the context of relativity. In that sense, fine, I suppose the problems with circular causality are ones you may dismiss as contradictory to logic or common sense, though, again, I don’t think “common sense” ought be given much deference.

A question to resident physicists: the usual FTL travel method in sci-fi that supposedly does not break the laws of physics is a series of “jumps” that contract/expand space in the direction/counterdirection of travel. If such a thing is possible without breaking the current physics laws, the result is still de facto FTL travel - what does that do to causality?

This part isn’t really a problem. Accelerating at one gravity would get you up to .9c in just over two years. You’re right to question the power source that could accelerate that way, though.

So, what is it?

Well, the language most academics speak nowadays is English, and it looks like you’re already familiar with that language, so you can already go ahead and describe your idea. It sounds like you might be under the impression that jargon is intended as some sort of shibboleth, meant to distinguish “real academics” from lay folks, but really, it’s meant to make communication easier, not harder. If you can communicate your idea without needing jargon, that’s just fine.

Terr, any method of getting de facto FTL travel, whether it be warp bubbles or wormholes or “jumps” or whatever, if it follows the rules of special relativity, the same method can also be used to travel through time.

Meh. Scientists today aren’t what they used to be. In the past, they would inspire us by sayin how anything was possible; now, they only seem to be happy when telling people that something can’t be done. Albert Einstein wouldn’t have said that FTL is impossible, even though he proved it - all he would say is that he hadn’t figured out how to do it yet.

That’s because Einstein was a visionary. Modern physicists are bookkeepers. They’re midgets standing on the shoulders of giants.

But if there is a conceivable “de facto” FTL travel method that does not violate the laws of physics as they are currently understood, and it leads to time travel, wouldn’t that mean that time travel is possible under the current understanding of physics?

Um, no. FTL phenomena would have major implications for physics (like as said, time travel), but it isn’t “magic”. It’s just something that’s probably impossible according to our particular set of physics; that’s not the same thing as “magic”. If it turns out these neutrinos really are FTL, should the physicists generating them rename themselves sorcerers and go buy some wizard hats?

Duran Duran - [del]Rio[/del] Faster Than Light

I suppose hypothesizing laws of physics is an unduly restrictive, unimaginative endeavor, not worthy of true science?

It’s always possible that we’re wrong about what the laws of physics are. New experiments might show we had generalized incorrectly from past ones. But “anything is possible” is the opposite of gaining knowledge about how the world works… It’s the same as saying “I have no ability to rule out anything. The world might behave totally randomly, for all I know.”

I disagree, vehemently. “Anything is possible” is the very cornerstone of science. We may not know how it’s possible, but it always is.

The very cornerstone of science is that there are no nontrivial laws of physics which hold universally? It’s not possible for anyone to correctly hypothesize something like, say, “Momentum is always conserved” or “Two massive bodies always exert upon each other an attractive force proportional to their inverse squared distance” or such things? (Don’t bother telling me the particular examples I’ve chosen aren’t correct. The issue is whether even the very proposal of any physical law is an anti-scientific, automatically incorrect position).

Hypothesize, and then keep your eyes open for the possibility you were wrong. That’s the cornerstone of science. Seek new knowledge and seek to purge errors from old understanding. Both are important. But that doesn’t mean “Never even tentatively suppose something is impossible”. Knowledge that the world works is a certain way is knowledge that the world doesn’t work any other way; knowledge that certain things happen is knowledge that other things don’t happen. To suppose certain laws hold is to suppose that other things are impossible.

Typo corrected in bold

Well, if time travel is possible, then FTL is trivial. Just travel to Tau Ceti at slower than light speed for 50 years, then travel back in time 50 years, and now you’ve arrived at Tau Ceti instantly. But why not arrive at Tau Ceti before you left? Then you can save yourself the trip.