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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old October 14 2009, 04:48 PM   #16
SilentP
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
SilentP, it souldn't be necessary to see the alien species' planet in order to confirm the the aliens' existence.
Listening for their EM communications should be more than enough. We listened since the 1960s - and so far, nothing. The stars are strangely quiet.
Here's your first problem, we've only been listening since the 1960s. That means we've only listened up to 40~50 lightyears away from ourselves. It also assumes that even if something has been transmitted in our direction in the correct timeframe that the signal even has the correct strength to even register on any particular sensor we care to use.

To be fair - most EM signals we have so far emitted should be incomprehensible to any alien astronomer (due to interference from the sun). But the carrier wave could be identified as being artificial. And, of course, we should be listening to EM signals from civilizations much more advanced than our own - the assumtion being that a more efficient/undetectable for us means for transmitting information (faster than light, that is) does not exist (according to relativity, such a thing can't exist).
See above point about signal degradation and dissappearing.

Also, here lies the assumption that the species in question doesn't have some form of communication that isn't FTL. I'd throw out the example of the theoratical method using a 'split' particle and changing the spin on one halfs, which the other half responds to by spinning the other way. Anyone know what it is I'm thinking of?

Also, it may be possible that a form of FTL travel exists, but no capability for signals to do the same with pure EM signals, hence some kind of messenger craft being used instead.

Admittedly the previous two points are purely hypothetical, but then again, we can't assume that aliens haven't found ways around hurdles that we struggle with.

Another way to confirm the existance of alien spacefaring species is to detect one of their vessels/probes - at present, this is possible only if said probe is near/in our solar system. If these aliens use Von Neumann probes to explore the galaxy, the probability of a Von Neumann probe reaching our solar system is significant - a Von Neumann probe is a robot that multiplies itself when it reaches a solar system/a place with prime materials, energy; the newly constructed probes are sent to other systems where they will multiply etc; in other words, their numbers increase exponentially.
This cannot be argued, though as you admit, this is incredibly difficult to detect. As we've seen with even detecting planetoids in our own system, it's very difficult to keep a track of all the objects within our solar system. However, emissions from a vessel within our space would dramatically increase the chances of such detection.

About Purple Buddha's analogy - imagine there are millions of cats in the forest (as my expansion of the analogy indicates should be).
What is the chance of one stumbling onto another - blind or not? In my opinion, there is a really good chance of such a thing happening frequently.
Problem here being we don't know, since we've never tried to pull off any experiment close to this, though one could try and have a computer model try to emulate the possibilities. However, since any chaotic system is quite dependent upon initial variables (of which in this case, we have little knowledge), the whole thing can be thrown into unexpected avenues of results.
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Old October 14 2009, 07:23 PM   #17
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

The probability of earth like conditions is extremely low. We are the 88th billionth try.
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Old October 14 2009, 07:42 PM   #18
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

So terrorists are going to get hundreds of billions of dollars of funding from the wealthiest nations on Earth to build a doomsday lair which will break down after only one week? Quick everyone, to the underground shelters!
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Old October 15 2009, 04:24 AM   #19
PurpleBuddha
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
PurpleBuddha wrote: View Post
I like to think of it like finding a dozen cats in a forest as large as the surface area of the earth. Scatter those cats in there randomly and then take a few steps into the forest. Will you be shocked if you don't find them after a few steps in? Take five or six more? No cats? Hmmmm...must be a paradox. We know they are in there, so why aren't we finding them? Scale this up by a magnitude of a few billion.
PurpleBuddha, you forgot to give these cats an evolutionary advantage that ensures their survival and prosperity (equivalent of intelligence/technology) and to wait a few thousand years. Fulfill those two requirements and, when you walk into the forest, you'll find the cats everywhere.
For a more detailed explanation, read my previous post from this thread.
Actually there is a flaw in my analogy. We do have an idea of how big space is, but we have no idea how widespread alien life is should that life exist. Further, even if a small percent of life has spread out from their home planet to other places, we do not know how prolific they are. Do they really spread quickly from galaxy to galaxy, or just populate a very small number (say a few thousand) planets in the scheme of things. How many of these civilizations may populate even a handful of planets, much less a thousand. How many go on to populate multiple galaxies?

Even if life is fairly widespread, given the largeness of the universe, I do not think comparing 12 cats living on a land mass the size of the earth is any kind of obvious understatement to the population density of the universe. It seems more likely that it is an overstatement.
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Old October 15 2009, 04:29 AM   #20
PurpleBuddha
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

john titor wrote: View Post
The probability of earth like conditions is extremely low. We are the 88th billionth try.
How many total tries have there been?

And do you have any stock tips for us?
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Old October 15 2009, 06:51 AM   #21
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

TheGhoulBen wrote: View Post
So terrorists are going to get hundreds of billions of dollars of funding from the wealthiest nations on Earth to build a doomsday lair which will break down after only one week? Quick everyone, to the underground shelters!
Maybe we can sucker them into blowing on all of their money making a "Strangelet Suicide Vest" and by the time they realize they have failed they will be too poor to buy C-4....
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Old October 15 2009, 06:44 PM   #22
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

PurpleBuddha wrote: View Post

And do you have any stock tips for us?
Invest in the company that makes email.
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Old October 16 2009, 10:17 AM   #23
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

SilentP wrote: View Post
Here's your first problem, we've only been listening since the 1960s. That means we've only listened up to 40~50 lightyears away from ourselves.
I'm not sure I follow this part, wouldn't how far out we can detect signals be dependent on the "strength" of the source and how "faint" signals are that we can detect? Not for how long we have been looking for them.


KK
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Old October 16 2009, 01:09 PM   #24
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

kNkg wrote: View Post
SilentP wrote: View Post
Here's your first problem, we've only been listening since the 1960s. That means we've only listened up to 40~50 lightyears away from ourselves.
I'm not sure I follow this part, wouldn't how far out we can detect signals be dependent on the "strength" of the source and how "faint" signals are that we can detect? Not for how long we have been looking for them.


KK
Well basically, if we've been listening for 50 years (to set a number here), it means that any EM signals (which move at the speed of light) that we detect at best could have been 50 light years away after having scanned for 50 years.

Say for example, a signal was sent here from 60 light years away from Earth at the time we first started scanning the skies. This would mean that said signal has still 10 years to get to us.

On the flipside, say signal had been sent here from only 10 light years away, but sent 100 years ago. It means that we missed said signal 40 years ago.

It's a question of timing.

Also, when you think about it, if 50 light years is as far as we know, we've only listened to a very small distance away from us, since the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across and 1000 thick, according to Wiki. That's tiny. And that's assuming that we've been watching the entire sky over us, which we haven't. There's a lot of holes in our tiny net.
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Old October 16 2009, 01:26 PM   #25
iguana_tonante
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

Christopher wrote: View Post
How the heck could LHC technology pose a terrorist threat? [...]

The headline for this thread is needlessly sensationalistic. It says right there in a quote in the first post that there's nothing at CERN that has military applications. So it's pretty hypocritical to title the thread with a fearmongering question like that when you know full well that the answer is "No."
Of course it's obtuse fear mongering: it's journalism! I think it's in the very definition of the job. The only serious threat is a terrorism blowing up the CERN. A bunch of people die, lots of money is lost. Like any other terrorist act.

strongmind wrote: View Post
I am very worried terrorists could infiltrate the LHC and destroy the planet with its mega gun particle beam which could cause a fusion reaction in solid rock turning the planet into fireball.

How can we stop this?
Build a starship from the sinked Japanese warship Yamato and sent it to Iscandar to retrieve the Cosmo DNA. It's the only way.
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Old October 16 2009, 02:57 PM   #26
Lindley
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

SilentP wrote: View Post
kNkg wrote: View Post
SilentP wrote: View Post
Here's your first problem, we've only been listening since the 1960s. That means we've only listened up to 40~50 lightyears away from ourselves.
I'm not sure I follow this part, wouldn't how far out we can detect signals be dependent on the "strength" of the source and how "faint" signals are that we can detect? Not for how long we have been looking for them.


KK
Well basically, if we've been listening for 50 years (to set a number here), it means that any EM signals (which move at the speed of light) that we detect at best could have been 50 light years away after having scanned for 50 years.

Say for example, a signal was sent here from 60 light years away from Earth at the time we first started scanning the skies. This would mean that said signal has still 10 years to get to us.

On the flipside, say signal had been sent here from only 10 light years away, but sent 100 years ago. It means that we missed said signal 40 years ago.

It's a question of timing.

Also, when you think about it, if 50 light years is as far as we know, we've only listened to a very small distance away from us, since the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across and 1000 thick, according to Wiki. That's tiny. And that's assuming that we've been watching the entire sky over us, which we haven't. There's a lot of holes in our tiny net.
You're right, but you're also assuming signals transmitted in isolation. The working assumption is that any technologically advanced society would be putting out fair amounts of radio constantly, the same way we are. This may not be the case, of course; they could have found a different technology, or simply used a different part of the EM band for communication.

But if they are putting out radio constantly, then we should be detecting them even outside a 50LY radius unless they just reached the radio age recently. The maximum distance would then be a combined function of distance, transmission power, and how long ago their radio age began.
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Old October 16 2009, 03:23 PM   #27
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

Lindley wrote: View Post
You're right, but you're also assuming signals transmitted in isolation. The working assumption is that any technologically advanced society would be putting out fair amounts of radio constantly, the same way we are. This may not be the case, of course; they could have found a different technology, or simply used a different part of the EM band for communication.

But if they are putting out radio constantly, then we should be detecting them even outside a 50LY radius unless they just reached the radio age recently. The maximum distance would then be a combined function of distance, transmission power, and how long ago their radio age began.
True, my argument was just a simplificaiton of why the amount of time we have been listening would affect our chances of us having detected any signals, especially when combined with the fact that we don't continuously scan the same area again and again, which is why we might not end up catching one of the regular broadcasts.

The one thing that I've wondered about detecting alien signals is whether or not we'd actually be able to tell if it was alien or not. I know that scientists listen on a specific frequency that's related to the vibrational harmonic frequency of hydrogen (or something that sounds somewhat technobabble-ish) that is assumed to be what other aliens would choose, since it's easier to tell if it's artificial or not.

Assuming that aliens follow that logic, hopefully it won't be a problem to notice it. My problem with detecting radio signals is if we accidentally catch a signal that's not intended for us. How would we know if the signals that we pick are some kind of stellar phenomena or the alien equivalent of digital TV? BTW, that is a serious question, not a rhetorical one, since I'm under the impression that when the first pulsar was detected, it was confused for something artificial, due to it's regular signal.
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Old October 16 2009, 03:37 PM   #28
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

SilentP wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
SilentP, it souldn't be necessary to see the alien species' planet in order to confirm the the aliens' existence.
Listening for their EM communications should be more than enough. We listened since the 1960s - and so far, nothing. The stars are strangely quiet.
Here's your first problem, we've only been listening since the 1960s. That means we've only listened up to 40~50 lightyears away from ourselves. It also assumes that even if something has been transmitted in our direction in the correct timeframe that the signal even has the correct strength to even register on any particular sensor we care to use.
Not quite, SilentP.
We had powerful enough transmitters for ~60 years and that means that the radio transmissions we sent are at the most ~60 light years away from Earth.
We could "hear" transmissions coming from civilizations thousands (or more) light years distant. That only means that these civilizations sent these EM signals a few thousand years ago and we're receiving them now.

To be fair - most EM signals we have so far emitted should be incomprehensible to any alien astronomer (due to interference from the sun). But the carrier wave could be identified as being artificial. And, of course, we should be listening to EM signals from civilizations much more advanced than our own - the assumtion being that a more efficient/undetectable for us means for transmitting information (faster than light, that is) does not exist (according to relativity, such a thing can't exist).
See above point about signal degradation and dissappearing.

Also, here lies the assumption that the species in question doesn't have some form of communication that isn't FTL. I'd throw out the example of the theoratical method using a 'split' particle and changing the spin on one halfs, which the other half responds to by spinning the other way. Anyone know what it is I'm thinking of?

Also, it may be possible that a form of FTL travel exists, but no capability for signals to do the same with pure EM signals, hence some kind of messenger craft being used instead.

Admittedly the previous two points are purely hypothetical, but then again, we can't assume that aliens haven't found ways around hurdles that we struggle with.
As I said, we should be listening for transmissions coming from civilizations more advanced than us - most of their transmissions will be powerfull enough to be coherent when they reach us, and, equally important, such civilizations should transmit EM signals continuously (more or less) - and I'm not talking just about transmissions sent specifically to some hypothetical alien species, but about transmissions that have other purposes, too.


About transmitting information/travelling with FTL speeds:

According to special relativity, NOTHING can travel faster than light (not matter, not even information) - this is because, according to the theory, one cannot determine a preferred frame of reference (and with FTL, one could do just that).

About the "split particle":

You're talking about quantum entanglement. About this phenomenon was said that, "philosophically, it breaks special relativity, but practically, it does not".

You see, if you have two entangled particles and you measure one, the result you get obeys only probability - for example, you have 50% for the particle having spin up and 50% for the particle having spin down.
In this moment, the other entangled particle (which you did not measure) will "choose" to have a spin identical to the one of the measured particle - even if this not measured particle is at the other end of the universe! So, philosophically, entanglement breaks SR.
But you see, practically, you can't transmit any useful information this way. Why? Because you can't choose what spin the particle you measure will "choose" to have - this is a LAW of quantum mechanics. Only gibberish can be transmitted, you have no control over the transmitted information.

FTL or no FTL?:

If, in the future, a FTL form of transmitting information/matter is found, special relativity will be proven to be largely incorrect (so far, special relativity was experimentally verified again and again - it's one of the "safest" theories we have).

Of course, a FTL anything will enormously increase the probability that space-faring aliens are everywhere in the galaxy - a space-faring species can explore/colonize the entire galaxy in a few thousand years (and it had millions of years at its disposal)!
In this case - why are they not here?

Last edited by ProtoAvatar; October 16 2009 at 04:58 PM.
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Old October 16 2009, 03:48 PM   #29
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

PurpleBuddha wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
PurpleBuddha wrote: View Post
I like to think of it like finding a dozen cats in a forest as large as the surface area of the earth. Scatter those cats in there randomly and then take a few steps into the forest. Will you be shocked if you don't find them after a few steps in? Take five or six more? No cats? Hmmmm...must be a paradox. We know they are in there, so why aren't we finding them? Scale this up by a magnitude of a few billion.
PurpleBuddha, you forgot to give these cats an evolutionary advantage that ensures their survival and prosperity (equivalent of intelligence/technology) and to wait a few thousand years. Fulfill those two requirements and, when you walk into the forest, you'll find the cats everywhere.
For a more detailed explanation, read my previous post from this thread.
Actually there is a flaw in my analogy. We do have an idea of how big space is, but we have no idea how widespread alien life is should that life exist. Further, even if a small percent of life has spread out from their home planet to other places, we do not know how prolific they are. Do they really spread quickly from galaxy to galaxy, or just populate a very small number (say a few thousand) planets in the scheme of things. How many of these civilizations may populate even a handful of planets, much less a thousand. How many go on to populate multiple galaxies?

Even if life is fairly widespread, given the largeness of the universe, I do not think comparing 12 cats living on a land mass the size of the earth is any kind of obvious understatement to the population density of the universe. It seems more likely that it is an overstatement.
PurpleBuddha, if a space-faring alien species colonized planets from solar systems other than their own, it won't stop at 10, 100 or 1000. The many different civilizations this species fathered won't have a program saying - we colonized 1234 planets, we stop here. As time passes, the colonization will continue.

I treated in a previous post of mine from this thread this exact problem:


Last edited by ProtoAvatar; October 16 2009 at 04:48 PM.
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Old October 16 2009, 03:50 PM   #30
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Re: Was the LHC Science being given to Dangerous Terrorists?

On the issue of the scientist with terrorist connections:

The goal may not have been to extract information to use as a WMD. More likely in my mind, he may have been there to see if he could destroy CERN with carefully placed explosives (or paper clips). Destroying CERN would be quite the coupe. 10 years ago terrorists changed the existing hijacking paradygm to catastrophic effect.

On the issue of where the aliens are:

Upthread someone gave a timeline of a colinized planet sending out another colony ship in 500 years. This is unrealistic.

First, a colony ship must be huge and self-sufficient. We're not talking a small apollo type ship to make a dash, we're talking a Rama type ship. One ship would be a tremendous drain on a world economy.

So a civilization makes a colony ship and off they go to the nearest life supporting planet. Bear in mind their colony ship is self-supporting, so they are in no rush. When they get "there", they spend a few years studying the planet before they commit. When they commit, they would have no need to send out another colony ship until they've maxed out the use of the new planet, which, based on the only example we have would take not 500 years, but more like 5,000 - 10,000 years. Since they've learned how to build self-sustaining colony ships, they've also learned how to live in a self-sustaining manner, so it may take much longer to "use up" a planet. Also, these colony ships have no need to travel anywhere near the speed of light, they can meander along at any speed they choose.

Space flight is dangerous, and compared to the forces of the universe, any space colony ship would be fragile. While the colony ship is traveling to a new localle, they are at risk, one oops and they're done. Also, once they commit to colonizing a planet, they again have all their eggs in one fragile basket.

What do they do when they encounter another space faring intellegence? War is a definate possibility, and that takes a lot of resources, and at interstellar distances could take extremely long. Even without war, peace and integration take a long time. Or they may just decide not to deal with that group and just expand in a different direction.

Deciding to colonize another planet is expensive and arduous and would only be undertaken as a last resort. Colonizing for it's own sake doesn't help the original world, in fact the original world losing major resources, forever.

We also assume that other space faring species would naturally want to go forth and colonize. They may simply not have the urge. Also, look around... we're using up our resources and still have no real space faring ability. It may be that by time we realize to survive we must send out a colony ship, we may still not have the ability, or may have used up the resources to the extent that it's not possible to both build a colony ship and support current society. This situation may end up being a truism of a planets lifecycle.

There is also a lot of intellegence that may never have the biological tools to become space faring. Look at dolphins, they may have or may get intellegence equal to ours, but no biological tools to do anything but think great thoughts and have great discussions while swimming around their vast oceons on their little blue planet.

But, because the aliens aren't here, I think we can conclude a few things: 1) FTL travel is not possible; 2) Time Travel is not possible; 3) Space is big and dangerous.
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