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starship-design: stuff

Hi, my name is Mike Cross and I am new to this list.  It looks neato.

I read an article in the paper today, and it made me a little sad, actually.
It said that scientists are almost 95% sure that the universe will not have
enough gravity to overcome its outward motion.  I was sitting in my little
high school american experience class today, when I read it, and after that
the girl who sits in back of me asked me why I was making a peculiar face.  I
told her that we didnt have enough mass for the universe to suck itself back
in, that it would continue expanding forever.  She thought that was great.
"Well, then, life will continue on forever then, right?"  I told her that I
didnt think so.  OK, from here on, I'm not sure of anything that I say, but I
assume this stuff to be true.  Please correct me when I say something wrong.
Anyways, I told her that everything would pretty much decompose into particles
after enough time had passed, and that would kinda be it.  If the universe
were standing still, not expanding or contrating, and you had an electron on
both ends of it, and nothing else, the gravity between these two electrons
would draw them together, right?  Well, I told her that we pretty much wouldnt
slow down enough to ever stop.  She thought I was full of it.  

Then our conversation went off on a different tangent.  We started talking
about other cosmic things.  After a short argument on like, the human soul and
stuff like that, we got into time travel.. I really eat this stuff up, and I
just love it when people talk about it.  I dont understand any of the
concepts, really, but I like to think that I get the conceptual idea..

I have this friend who is an engineeing major at the university, a freshman.
We're both kinda arrogant but we admit we're wrong.  Not about the social
life, but we do when it comes to star stuff.  A recent conversation involved
time travel, like today.  He told me that you could actually go back in time?
Is this true?  His story went something like this: "Well, if you had a huge
cylinder, of almost infinite length, and really, really dense, and spinning,
really, really fast, then somehow going near it will shoot you back in time."
I know that you're thinking, "Wow, what a bunch of stupid kids."  And, well..
we are.  That's why I'm kinda thinking that this list will be pretty cool when
one of these 'swells' of heavy mailing happens.

Another concept was that "if you can get above c, then you can go any speed
above it.  But you have just as hard a time stopping as you did getting
there."  Which would kinda make the warp drive star trek stuff kinda weirded
out and inaccurate, huh.  Does any of that make sense?  

So this list is devoted to starship design.  That's just so cool, you know.
Are there any standing goals or anything that the list is shooting for?
Nearest star by 2000 and something?  Cool.  Well, thanks for letting a newbie
having the post of today...

 webmassa@phatboys.com * Mike Cross *  Minister of Propaganda
 "If you can't convince them, confuse them." -Harry S Truman
  Mundus vult decipi, ergo decepiatur. Frontis nulla fides.