Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Night Physics

It's Friday Night! Time to get your techno on!

Ok, note to self: Get better intro.

Let's move on; Tongiht we'll be discussing that staple of sci-fi and comics....


Generally speaking, there are two types of telportation used in comics. We'll take a look at both of them, and what the technical problems are with them.

1) Matter Transportation - this is the method best known for its use in Star Trek. The basic concept is that you break down something on the sub-atomic level, store that information, and recreate it somewhere else by transmitting the energy you've converted the body into.

OK, now, here are the problems with it;

-On the basic conceptual level, this is murder. Imagine a photocopier that after making a copy of a document, shreds the original. Now pretend that instead of documents, we are talking about human beings. That's what the transporter does. It breaks down the original, and then creates a copy somewhere else based on the information it took while putting you through the atomic meatgrinder. Sounds fun, no?

-The Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle: Short version; you can never be 100% certain of the position of a sub-atomic particle at an exact point of time by observation. So, yeah, you can't actually do an exact re-creation of someone because you can't actually get the exact data.

-Data problems: Ok, remember what I just said about all the particles you are storing as information? That's a lot of information. We are talking enough for a stack of PC hard drives from earth to the moon.

-Energy problems: Because the transporter converts matter to energy, we have to use e=mc^2 to determine how much energy is in a human body. Oh, and it turns out? The human body has the equivalent energy to a megaton nuclear bomb. So, not exactly the amount of energy you just want to push around willy-nilly, is it?

-Signal problems: Oh, and you have to transmit that data and energy as a signal through whatever medium (Space, air, etc.) that exists between the two points. And you better sure that channel is clear of any other signals, so as not to disrupt or scramble your signal, otherwise it will corrupt the data, and whatever is recreated could be very messy if say, the data for how to reconstruct the heart or skin is lost.

So, who here suddenly feels sympathy for Dr. McCoy for hating the damn transporter? That's what I thought.

2) The Wormhole: This is the "Door" technology that the Authority uses, as well as Kirby's New Gods. The concept is that you create a bridge in space (either by folding it up somehow or by detouring through some form of "subspace" such as the Bleed) to get from one point to another.

Overall, this technology overcomes most of the problems of the matter transporter, except for one: POWER. The only known (or even theorized) object that can bend space to the degree we are discussing here is a black hole. Not something you can really toy around with. Bending space is even more massive in terms of magnitude than the mass transporter. and you better know exactly where you are throwing that energy around, because if you don't, well, bad things will happen.

So, there you have it. Teleportation: Don't try it at home.

No comments: