Monday, January 27, 2020

Relativistic Illumination Fronts

Any hardcore sloggers out there want to go on a rabbit-hole dive? I was graced by a reply from an eminent astronomer when I inquired about a very fringey (yet scientifically legit) interest of his. He offered a link (to an old lecture of his that's difficult but graspable without math). And the link, which is GREAT, leads to more links (including a preceding lecture that's simpler and that he considers a prerequisite).

The topic is a very Slog-ish conjecture: If you swing a laser pointer around fast enough, the light moves faster than light (there's no mass, so it's cosmically okay). And since it's light, information can be transmitted (and transmitting information faster than light is something we thought couldn't be done, and opens up huge huge huge possibilities, [joke] even beyond much better cell service[/joke]. Not the standard blink-the-flashlight sort of information, which requires fixing on your target (which means it'd happen, duh, at the speed of light). But the shadows and anomalies arising from the faster-than-light registration of the swinging laser pointer from, like, the surface of the moon are trippy as all get-out to consider even if you don't sit through the video lecture linked above.

You just know what I'm thinking, don't you? Per my series on the Visualization Fallacy (which bailed out of the eponymous fallacy early in the very first installment, as I began eagerly pursuing a dangling thread leading to a new view of cosmology), there are framing issues here. Cosmology is going to get super-into reframing (aka Subjectivity). Quantum mechanics was just the first small nudge in that direction.

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