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Re: starship-design: FTL idea - Steve

jimaclem@juno.com wrote:
>On Tue, 26 Aug 1997 09:24:40 -0500 (CDT) kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu (Isaac Kuo)

>>Don't even talk about FTL frames of reference.  Some of you may have
>>played around with space-time graphs and Lorentz transformations in
>>the 2D case (1 dimension of space, 1 dimension of time), and gotten
>>the impression that FTL frames of reference are pretty normal, even
>>though they're "flipped" a bit.  This is utterly wrong!  FTL frames
>>of reference in any higher dimension (we live in the 4D case) are
>>exceedingly bizarre.  Unless your familiar with the mathematics of
>>topology, I'm afraid you probably can't comprehend how bizarre they
>>are.  Suffice it to say that there's no way to construct an atom,
>>any sort of orbit, any sort of camera, or any sort of person in such
>>a frame of reference.  The topology is such that particles and light
>>travel infinitely fast in some directions, at finite speeds in others,
>>and _can't_ travel in other directions.  If you _could_ exist in such
>>a frame of reference, and were sitting in a room, you'd find that
>>you could see some of the walls, but not others.  If you got up and
>>walked around your chair, you'd be able to see it from some angles,
>>but not from others.  An ftl frame of reference would be like this
>>from the microscopic level to the global level.

>Does this mean that we can't navigate in FTL space, or at least not

It means that we can't _exist_ in an FTL frame of reference, or at
least not easily.  The very topology of space in an FTL frame
of reference is entirely unlike the topology in normal frames of
reference.  Mathematically, the topology of a normal frame of
reference's space is homomorphic to that of a metric space (just
take the metric to be how long it takes light to travel from one
point to another).  The topology of space in an FTL frame of
reference is not (the relation, how long it takes light to travel
from one point to another, is not a metric).

The upshot of which is that notions of near and far aren't valid,
so little things like atoms can't exist, and big things made out
of atoms can't exist.
    _____     Isaac Kuo kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu http://www.csc.lsu.edu/~kuo
/___________\ "Mari-san...  Yokatta...
\=\)-----(/=/  ...Yokatta go-buji de..." - Karigari Hiroshi