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back to article US gov boffins achieve speeds FASTER THAN LIGHT

Scientists working in a US government laboratory say they have managed to transmit a signal from point to point faster than the speed of light in a vacuum - in a development apparently violating the laws of physics. According to a statement issued by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): According to …

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Science Fiction

And this is why Hollywood and TV Sci-Fi is filled with meaningless technobabble. Because if real cutting edge science were used, people would just go "yeah, four-wave superluminal travel, right".

In short, reality is cooler than fiction!

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Paris Hilton

Re: Science Fiction

THIS ARTICLE IS SO BASIC AND ELEMENTARY ILL BET EVEN THE IGNORANT BRITISH KNEW THAT INFORMATION TRAVELED FASTER THAN LIGHT

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Alien

Re: Science Fiction

I prefer Bifrost.... or Rainbow Bridge....

-> obviously a Thor/Asgard fan

:)

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Re: Science Fiction

I thought that was an einstein-rosen bridge?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Science Fiction

@Big Dumb Guy 555 LOL!

DOWNVOTERS: WHOOSH!

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Trollface

Re: Science Fiction

Nice bit of trollery there ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Do you

Believe in Santa?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science Fiction

ignorant huh?....oh the irony...

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@Big Dumb Guy

It would appear that grammar is not your friend. I can forgive this as you are somewhat at a disadvantage, not being from the home of Shakespeare or Dickens.

On the other hand, it would appear that the Caps Lock key is your friend. Might I suggest either a new keyboard, or perhaps some education on it's use?

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Headmaster

Re: @Big Dumb Guy

Those pesky apostrophes...

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Anonymous Coward

@GitMeMyShootinIrons

Those pesky apostrophes 2...

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Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons

Those pesky apostrophes 2...

Back in my day we had a thing called "alt.possessive.its.has.no.apostrophe". Kind of hard to forget when there's an entire newsfroup dedicated to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do you Believe in Santa?

Can you prove he doesn't exist, rather than just being on holiday?

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Re: Science Fiction

"I thought that was an einstein-rosen bridge?"

Eureka, I think he's got it!

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Coat

Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons

But if he turns off the capslock, he loses the shiny, shiny light on the keyboard that fascinates him!

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Trollface

Re: Science Fiction

No, I'm pretty sure you take the rainbow-bridge to candy-mountain Charlie.

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Re: Science Fiction

Shun the non-believer, shun, shuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

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Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons

In my defence, I was going to write something like "It's got an off position", but I thought it sounded a little blunt.

However, I stand corrected and will stand in the corner in shame.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Big Dumb Guy

HE OBVIOUSLY CAN'T FIND THE UPPER-CASE APOSTROPHE!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science Fiction. Big Dumb Fun for Some

Seems like this Guy's keyboard has been on the fritz since he (she) returned to the fray April this year after a ten month hiatus. An extra long stay in troll-camp praps?

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FAIL

Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons

"newsfroup"

LOL

can we just give up on the pedantry now?!

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Linux

Re: Science Fiction

Atrocious grammar, a fondness for capital letters, and sweeping statements so ironic in it's creation. This leads me to believe you're American.

I think you'll find that we British are patronising, rather than ignorant.

We have a fondness for penguins too.

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Meh

Re: Science Fiction

"sweeping statements so ironic... This leads me to believe you're American."

So ironic indeed.

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FAIL

Re: Science Fiction

C'mon BDG. You're losing it. A genuine 'Merkin fuckwitt would have written "FASTER THEN LIGHT"

Must try HARDER!

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Re: Science Fiction

> Nice bit of trollery there ;)

Not so much trolling as B1FFing,[1] I'd say; you'd have to be pretty ignorant of 'net culture[2] to mistake that for a troll, much less a serious comment. (I have to wonder how many of the currently 33 downvoters fall into one of those two categories.)

Of course traditionally B1FF-text includes digit-substitutions (though those now are primarily identified with 133t-speak), long sigs, etc. But its primary characteristics are an obviously stupid comment (as opposed to true trolling, which should realistic enough to fool a number of victims), and block capitals. Also, B1FF is traditionally produced with a filter, and BDG's probably just using Caps Lock; but that's an implementation detail.

But yes, nicely done.

[1] http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/B/B1FF.html

[2] I.e., a noob, to a first approximation.

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Re: Science Fiction

I feel for you, BDG - trying to preserve the culture in the face of ignorance and dogmatism. (I refer to the Reg readership, of course.)

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Boffin

This is not science

It's Science!

And thus, I approve.

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Headmaster

Please correct me...

... or the article if I am not mistaken. But AFAIK no information was sent. It's not a "travelling faster than the speed of light" trick, it's just a trick.

For example, get person A to hold up a card saying "What would you like to drink" at time =0.

While at about 1 ly away, get someone to hold up a card saying "I'll have a pint please" at time =0+10 seconds.

This looks like you have sent a message faster than light, but really, you set it up ahead of time (you would need about a years setup time if travelling at the speed of light). No information was sent. :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Please correct me...

I think the idea is the individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them where each particle responds to the one behind like a Mexican wave.

I don't understand why you need qubits, you can just smash the laser when the Vogons show up and the wave will go back to flat line. You have successfully sent a time value for when an event has happened?

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Anonymous Coward

>"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

Indeed. Nothing here is actually moving faster than light, apart from "the place where the currently most-energetic photon is". That's not a thing, it's an abstract concept.

There's a similar thought experiment where you have two long perfectly rigid poles, each a light-year in length, side-by-side. You start by tilting one slightly relative to the other, so that instead of being parallel, they are touching at one end like so: |\ and about ten centimeters apart at the other end. Then you move the tilted pole ten centimeters sideways, so that it passes right over the other one and ends up on the other side of it: \| and now they're touching at the opposite end to where they were initially in contact. You've only moved the whole rod ten centimeters, so you can do that quickly (thought experiment and idealised perfectly rigid rods, remember), but the point of contact between the two rods has travelled an entire light year in those few seconds.

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Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

Sure, but who has a stiff rod that long?

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Meh

Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

Yes, a moving shear point can appear to defy physics. In fact this is what I first thought the article was about at first scan; some variation on using the shear point trick. But seems not.

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Boffin

Soooo

All I need are two infinitely rigid rods and I can tap out Morse at superluminal speeds thus depriving intergalactic BT of excessive connection fees.

Oh two infinitely rigid rods and someone to speak to, who knows Morse.

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Facepalm

Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

Hmm. That's actually the whole point of the speed-of-light-is-a-maximum thing and the reason why it's such a fundamental concept in our understanding of physics today. It governs even the rigidity of your rods. It's WHY you can't have infinitely rigid rods. The point of contact will not move that fast because you can't have rods that stiff because the speed of light is a maximum.

Actually, I believe the relevant limit you want to consider when it comes to rods and communicating information along them is not the speed of light, but the speed of sound in that material. Which will be rather significantly slower.

The experiment described in the article is a bit different. Frames of reference anyone?

Funny how in our thought experiments we so quickly latch on to the possibilities of the infinite/eternal and yet so often we refuse to acknowledge any such influence in our worldviews ...

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FAIL

Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

And how much thought went into this thought experiment?

Obviously you aren't going to get rigid poles a light year long in practise but less obviously you aren't going to get them in theory either because of the very law it is trying to disprove. It takes takes time for the molecules adjacent to one to end to move when the end moves & so on all down the pole. I suspect given the stiffest pole possible (now that should get spam filtered) it would take about a year for the far end to catch up (if it were a light year away). See my comments on moving lights.

Given " two long perfectly rigid poles" information can travel faster than the speed of light - given a moped that does 5x10^8m/s pizza can travel faster than the speed of light.

Where's the icon for "I believe your premise is false" or indeed "Garbage In, Garbage Out".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

"Sure, but who has a stiff rod that long?"

There's an after-market seat for BMW motorcycles that can help with that:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/01/bmw_lawsuit/

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Re: >"individual particles are still moving at the same speed but there is a ripple through them"

Actually a 1 light year rod would buckle under its own gravitational load.

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Re: Soooo

Infinitly rigid rods are forbidden by relativity. The wave of that displacement can only travel at less than the speed of light

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Publicity seeking scientists spin their result for the press

Actually, there's no need for infinitely rigid rods. You can demonstrate this "science" with two fingers. Raise one to a certain height and raise the other to a slightly lower height. Now quickly raise the second one to be higher than the first.

Did you see what happened? The finger height maximum moved instantaneously from one place to another.

OK, you can quibble about exactly how fast it moved, but separate the fingers by a few light years and there's no doubt it'd be a lot faster than light speed.

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Re: Werner McGoole

That's it! I really need to learn some sort of mathematical example for that description. It's hard to describe it on a page, really need a diagram or video.

... or some fingers!

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Anonymous Coward

Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

"if real cutting edge science were used, people would just go "yeah, four-wave superluminal travel, right"."

Well at first glance, as a retired physicist, my first thoughts on reading this article (and being unable to read the original) were "why is this different than the well known difference between phase velocity and group velocity", which was cutting edge science back in the 1870s for acoustics (Rayleigh), and in the 1980s and later for electromagnetic stuff (look up superluminal wave propagation).

If anyone can shed any light...

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Thumb Up

Re: Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

It does say "Apparently so much was already old hat,..." so this paper is just describing a better way of doing it.

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Alien

Re: Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

I guess it's the "achieve" part that's new, vis-à-vis just theorizing about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

I read it as a phase versus group velocity as well and in fact superluminal signals which do not carry information are boringly mundane. The spot from a rotating light beam against a target a very long way away can achieve any velocity. I do not understand the bit about Qbits so I may be very wrong...

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Re: Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

No it's been 'achieved' about every 10years since the invention of the laser.

The last lot was a nutty German prof who played a Mozart CD over the link.

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WTF?

Re: Science fiction? Or reapplication of old news?

"spot from a rotating light beam against a target a very long way away can achieve any velocity"

Nothing in the "spot" has moved, photon A arrived at point a (1 light year away), rotate the source 180 and photon B arrives at point b (2 light years away from a) only 1 one year+tiny bit later but nothing moved from a to b. No particle no data so no velocity - what is this "signal"?

"signals which do not carry information" AFAIK: signal=information

so signal - information > c

=> nothing > c

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Windows

well...

TechnicalBen, my take on it is that you have a pre-agreed way to read the numbers off of the light beam at both ends, and you just take advantage of the phase shift of the light beam itself and modulate accordingly to get your information there 'a tiny tiny tiny bit faster than light'.

nothing is physically travelling faster than light, just the numbers just ride the phase peaks like a surfer on a wave. like a stopped clock surfs a 12hour time wave to be right twice a day. provided you know when to read the cycle, you'll get the information you need. so each end has to know how to read and transmit the information accordingly.

meh, whatevs. probly wrong init. safe.

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Can I be the first to say

Bollocks

-or-

Bullshit

for our transatlantic cousins

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if, at any point

Someone thought "Yikes, CERN will get all the funding this year due to their publicity over faster than light particles, lets do similar and theorise something that industry will want so pump money into us"

new financial year and all that

"you canna change the laws of physics" Montgomery Scott, chief engineer USS Enterprise

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Re: I wonder if, at any point

You might not be able to change the laws of physics, but you might be wrong about what those "laws" actually are ... pal.

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