Friday, March 2, 2012

Not Faster Than Light...Yet

The discovery that subatomic particles may have gone faster than light likely raised the hopes of the less skeptical in the science fiction and futurist communities.

Personally, I was sure...as were the experimenters...that this would turn out to be flawed. They only published in the hope somebody else would find the mistake. And indeed, a mistake was found - an instrument was connected wrong.

Once more, the light speed limit remains intact...here's the question, though. Why? Why is the universe put together that way.

My father, often a wise man, calls the distances between the stars 'God's Quarantine'. He believes that God put the stars far enough apart that only a wise and mature species would have any hope of crossing the gap, in the hope that by the time any species worked out how to do so they would have more sense than to attack their neighbors.

Whether or not you believe in God, isolation of solar systems is certainly a practical effect of the great distances and the apparent barrier. Personally, I think it is a barrier and cannot be broken. However, it might be circumvented by means such as cutting across the curvature of space, altering local space-time around your vessel, etc. Maybe.

Here is the thing, though. Relativity tells us information cannot go faster than light. Why? What, in truth, enforces that? Short of once more invoking God...or the concept of the universe itself as the speed police...I've never been able to work that out.

Ah, relativity. It only makes sense to genius physicists...leaving the rest of us struggling with the implications.