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Re: starship-design: Re: Aliens

kyle writes:
 > Steve VanDevender wrote:
 > > kyle writes:
 > >  > Just a note:
 > >  > ZPE generators are in the expirimental stage, and are showing sucess. As
 > >  > far as the mention in earlier discussions of ZPE generators depleteing
 > >  > the STC, I think it falls "back-in-its-slot" after use, with no
 > >  > degradation/or quick regeneration.
 > > 
 > > If people are admitting this in public, then please provide references.
 > > 
 > > If you are usefully extracting energy from the vacuum, then it can't
 > > just fall "back in its slot" after use; the energy has to permanently go
 > > somewhere else for it to be useful.  If the zero-point energy really
 > > gets completely replenished, then you aren't getting useful energy out
 > > of the vacuum.
 > Think of it as a quantum version of the water cycle.
 > 1: energy extracted
 > 2: energy used
 > 3: energy useless, dissipates as waste
 > 4: energy recondenses into vacuum
 > 5: energy replenished
 > 6: energy extracted...
 > Since ZPE has been performed at the same frequency, power, place, etc.
 > over and over, apparently the energy is never depleted. This is simply
 > something we have yet to comprehend. Unlike FTL, this has been done.
 > (over, and over...)
 > Remember the law of conservation of energy!

Yes, but it argues against you, not for you.

The problem for your argument is that the water cycle depends on an
external energy source, the Sun, to work.  When a hydroelectric
generator extracts energy from a river, it's extracting energy that was
put there by the Sun evaporating water, which dispersed into the
atmosphere, precipitated on land, and settled back toward the ocean.
The hydroelectric generator just slows down the settling slightly and
gets a fraction of the energy put in by the Sun as a result.

Conservation of energy implies that if energy is removed from the
vacuum, it is _removed_.  If you put it all back then there's nothing
left over for you to work with.  If you extract energy and turn it into
motion or photons or mass, then you can't have put it all back.  ZPE, in
a very real sense, gets something from nothing.  Matter and energy don't
react to produce vacuum -- the reactions always produce photons or
particles -- so the energy extracted, if it is in any useful form, can
never be put back.