Thursday, July 19, 2012

We Found the Wake

We never got a truly clear glimpse of the thing. I mean, we never did get more than 100 pixels.

It's waaay out there man. Like 9 billion light years, back in some hot, blue-white galaxy, but it's out there. Or more precisely, it WAS out there 9 bil's ago.

We can't tell if it's still here.

What we can tell it that it is huge, nearly the size of earth's moon. It is yellow and red with a grey line along the middle of its elongated main section. It changes shape slightly, appearing to be able to bend.

It may emit light, or that may be the way in which it takes its colors, we are not certain because we have not captured a picture of it in space or on a non-starlit (sunlit) side of a planet on which it is located.

We assume it is a single entity, because we do not see two of this object at any one time.

But we can see its fast. Too fast.

If we calculate the time it took between these events when the object disappears then reappears on another planet, then we see that it must have gone faster than light.

Here the conversation gets very deep.

I and my collegue ignore the conversation. We aren't hypothesizing about these obeservations any longer. We think we have discovered the wake which the object leaves in space between planet-hopping, and now we are about to test our theory.

3 comments:

:| said...

As you may have surmised, I am an observational physicist. You could call me an experimental astrophysicist.

My collegue is an astrobiophysicist.

My name is Bob. Her name is Allison.

Allison is convinced the object is a huge living thing. A relativistic-order physical living creature.

She has almost persuaded me that it could be something roughly comparable to some hybrid of a whale and a sun. Almost.

Now, however, with our observations, that question was not pertinent. What was important now was emulating the observations of the object's wake in our quantum sim, and then taking those results, be they good, into a real world experiment.

We began entering the program for the simulation.

b love said...

"If we've seen one of these... creatures, isn't it likely that there would be two? And if there's two then there are ten, and if ten a thousand, and then even billions?

And why not? Why wouldn't life conquer space? And once in space, through trial and error it would surely stumble onto those quantum principles of hyper-transport that would be essential for obtaining resources.

And here we are studying the mere side effects, the reverberations of that incredible process. Like two aliens standing near a lake, seeking out the principles of the gasoline motor by watching the rhythmic pattern of waves on the shore."

"Bob?"

"Yes, Allison?"

"Less philosophizing, more programming."

"Oh, right. Sorry."

Ben said...

As I positioned the atomic information object widgets within the sim domain and slid each of the individual values to match the newest, most precise, universal constant values available, I found my mind thinking of this old 2D data stream of the great historical physicist Richard Feynman.

He spoke of a pretty girl and a swimming pool. He spoke of being able to tell the position and direction of everyone in the pool merely from the waves. He lived in the time of the gasoline motor, so it occurred to me that this was the image in my mind which conjured up my speculations.

Allison, despite her profound insights and imagination, is not one for speculations or fugitive analogizing. that attitude seems not such a drawback for her. Still, I wonder if she has deep chasms of hypotheses from which emerge her amazing discoveries.

Maybe, though, it's just because she is such a task-master!

Almost as though reading my mind, Allison's chair turned softly to face me, "Bob. I didn't mean to break your reasoning or cut you off. You know these sims are expensive and we have limited university time. It's an old story. But, what I want you to know is that I invited you to this project and team because of your ability to ....tangentialize.

I know that the maxima of my own way of thinking has gained me much. Yet, a fool I would be to think my local is the global maxima. You are a wanderer, Bob."

"Oh, thanks Allison, I guess."

"No, Bob. you are a wonderer. You found this creature...or thing or whatever it is, Bob. You.

It doesn't hurt that you are the system's finest quantum programmer either."

And with what I could swear was an actual smile, Allison's chair returned to it's former position, and I returned to arranging the system for the test.

I made a final scope adjustment, the same exact one I had gotten wrong which almost cost me my undergraduateship 10 years ago. The same one I always save for last programming interaction with quantum simulators.

I made the interaction with a flair, and in those last brief seconds, it was almost as if I was typing.

A strange sensation, to be sure. As though I was my grandfather with an old Apples Macintosh 2D computer.

Maybe Feyman's vaccum diagrams and time-uncertainty were infecting my thought-space again.

Now it was my turn to actually smile.

"Allison?"

The chair turned again.

"Bob."

"It's ready now. I have configured the sim and I think this config is going to have error rates low enough for publication. But before you run it and get all absorbed for several days, I wanted to ask you a speculative question."

"OK. that's not my usual style, I'm uncomfortable with speculation. But Bob, for you sure."

"Cool! So do you think the future has a real effect on the past?"

It was unusual for Allison to hesitate. She appeared frozen. Then she answered.

"No."

It was silent, but not awkward.

"Ok, then. So Allison, it is your prerogative to initiate the sim. Please, by all means."

"Bob, you are an unusual and a magnificent person." She smiled again. "Good luck."

"Good luck to you too, Allison."

I staved-off the urge to ask Allison about 'luck' and simply folded my arms and watched Allison absorb herself into the sim.