1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Diadem » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:30 am UTC

There is a very important result in physics called "Noether's Theorem". Simply put, it states that every symmetry in the laws of nature give rise to a conserved quantity, and vice versa. Noether's theorem is a very fundamental result, and as the name implies it's not an observed relation, but a mathematically derived and proven result.

Conservation of energy for example follows from the fact that the laws of physics are constant in time. They do not change from day to day. Likewise conservation of momentum comes from the fact that the laws of physics are constant in space.

So saying "Ah well perhaps this device violates conservation of momentum" means rather a lot more than most people think it means. It doesn't just mean that we have to revise our understanding of some of the laws of physics. It means, literally, that the laws of physics are not the same for you and me. It's questionable whether you can even meaningfully do physics if this is true. It's a very big deal.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:19 am UTC

Diadem wrote:There is a very important result in physics called "Noether's Theorem". Simply put, it states that every symmetry in the laws of nature give rise to a conserved quantity, and vice versa. Noether's theorem is a very fundamental result, and as the name implies it's not an observed relation, but a mathematically derived and proven result.

There were already like three posts discussing exactly that.

So saying "Ah well perhaps this device violates conservation of momentum" means rather a lot more than most people think it means. It doesn't just mean that we have to revise our understanding of some of the laws of physics. It means, literally, that the laws of physics are not the same for you and me. It's questionable whether you can even meaningfully do physics if this is true. It's a very big deal.

Momentum is not conserved in General Relativity.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Diadem » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:30 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Diadem wrote:There is a very important result in physics called "Noether's Theorem". Simply put, it states that every symmetry in the laws of nature give rise to a conserved quantity, and vice versa. Noether's theorem is a very fundamental result, and as the name implies it's not an observed relation, but a mathematically derived and proven result.

There were already like three posts discussing exactly that.

There was one, but Gmalivuk, where he mentions the consequences (violation of conservation of momentum => laws of physics not invariant in space) but not the theorem itself. Never hurts to add some extra explanation. I don't understand your hostility.

Eebster the Great wrote:
So saying "Ah well perhaps this device violates conservation of momentum" means rather a lot more than most people think it means. It doesn't just mean that we have to revise our understanding of some of the laws of physics. It means, literally, that the laws of physics are not the same for you and me. It's questionable whether you can even meaningfully do physics if this is true. It's a very big deal.

Momentum is not conserved in General Relativity.

Well, sorta. I actually considered making some remarks about GR in my previous post, but it wasn't really relevant to the point I was making.

What happens in GR is that space and time are no longer separate concepts. You can't separately look at them, you have to look at them together. The same is true for energy and momentum, which becomes the stress-energy tensor. So instead of separate conservation laws for energy and momentum, originating from separate symmetries in time and space, we only have one unified conservation law for stress-energy, coming from symmetry in spacetime. Violating this is still a very big deal.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby mcdigman » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:16 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Diadem wrote:There is a very important result in physics called "Noether's Theorem". Simply put, it states that every symmetry in the laws of nature give rise to a conserved quantity, and vice versa. Noether's theorem is a very fundamental result, and as the name implies it's not an observed relation, but a mathematically derived and proven result.

There were already like three posts discussing exactly that.

There was one, but Gmalivuk, where he mentions the consequences (violation of conservation of momentum => laws of physics not invariant in space) but not the theorem itself. Never hurts to add some extra explanation. I don't understand your hostility.

Eebster the Great wrote:
So saying "Ah well perhaps this device violates conservation of momentum" means rather a lot more than most people think it means. It doesn't just mean that we have to revise our understanding of some of the laws of physics. It means, literally, that the laws of physics are not the same for you and me. It's questionable whether you can even meaningfully do physics if this is true. It's a very big deal.

Momentum is not conserved in General Relativity.

Well, sorta. I actually considered making some remarks about GR in my previous post, but it wasn't really relevant to the point I was making.

What happens in GR is that space and time are no longer separate concepts. You can't separately look at them, you have to look at them together. The same is true for energy and momentum, which becomes the stress-energy tensor. So instead of separate conservation laws for energy and momentum, originating from separate symmetries in time and space, we only have one unified conservation law for stress-energy, coming from symmetry in spacetime. Violating this is still a very big deal.


Again, sort of. What you're saying, that conservation of the stress-energy tensor is global, is true for special relativity. In GR, it is more complicated - conservation laws always apply locally, but don't necessarily work the same way globally. It doesn't require that the laws of physics are different for different observers, momentum is just not uniquely defined globally.

That said, I think its unlikely that this thruster design is doing anything complicated like that, or if it is, this experiment has far too many complicating variables to have shown it conclusively. I read the full paper, and it is definitely rushed - as other people have said, only some of the experiments were conducted in vacuum because for some of the tests they were using electrolytic capacitors that were not vacuum safe, and because it took several days to get the chamber to full vacuum. The paper also does contain what appear to be cameraphone pictures of oscilloscope screens, which I admit to having used in undergraduate lab reports I only had a few days to write, but would not consider using in a published paper. They have unitless electric field diagrams. From their pictures, their apparatus is only a few centimeters from the walls of the test chamber, certainly less than the RF wavelengths they were using, and although their sample size is too small for statistical significance, turning the device around appears to have altered the thrust observed, and the null rf test which did not produce thrust is much further from the walls of the chamber, suggesting to me the hypothesis that the thruster is just pushing off the metal wall of the vacuum chamber.

I could go on, but the point is that I do not trust the results of this study, even though it would be cool if it worked.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:57 pm UTC

I don't think it's the stress-energy tensor but the stress-energy-momentum pseudotensor which is conserved.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby The Devils Engineer » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:39 pm UTC

Hi All,
I just wished to point out that Wired dot co dot uk provided a nice summary of the Nasa Paper test results. I'm still in my XKCD "purgatory" period (yay!, second post), so I can't post a link.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:31 pm UTC

Here's the link to that almost hilariously credulous Wired article.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma is spam in SPAAAAACE

Postby pitareio » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:19 pm UTC

airdrik wrote:
richP wrote:What's the over/under for the number of posts before the tinfoil hat crowd shows up discussing infinite sources of energy that *they* are hiding from us?

Like the infinite reserve of methane created by geologic processes?
Well at least this theory has the potential to work outside of the earth's atmosphere+magnetosphere.


From what I gathered, the hydrocarbons lakes on Titan and the abiogenic generation of hydrocarbons at Lost City are facts. I'm just not quite sure what the Illuminati have to do with it and how you can conclude this means we have an infinite reserve - but maybe we can go pump the hydracarbons on Titan with the EmDrive!

gmalivuk wrote:Here's the link to that almost hilariously credulous Wired article.


Could you explain in which ways this is credulous? (Not that I doubt it is - Wired did buy the story of Rossi's "cold fusion" device)

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma is spam in SPAAAAACE

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:06 pm UTC

pitareio wrote:
airdrik wrote:
richP wrote:What's the over/under for the number of posts before the tinfoil hat crowd shows up discussing infinite sources of energy that *they* are hiding from us?

Like the infinite reserve of methane created by geologic processes?
Well at least this theory has the potential to work outside of the earth's atmosphere+magnetosphere.


From what I gathered, the hydrocarbons lakes on Titan and the abiogenic generation of hydrocarbons at Lost City are facts. I'm just not quite sure what the Illuminati have to do with it and how you can conclude this means we have an infinite reserve - but maybe we can go pump the hydracarbons on Titan with the EmDrive!

There is a claim floating around that all (or at least most) gas and oil are not biogenic, and therefore not fossil fuels. The further claim is sometimes made that this means we will never run out of oil because it is produced by geologic processes much faster than scientists claim it is produced biotically, or because there are enormous reserves created during Earth's formation.

It's basically pseudoscience, but I'm not sure if it is actually linked to the NWO conspiracy theory in any particular way, or that anybody here claimed that it was.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma is spam in SPAAAAACE

Postby pitareio » Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:08 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
pitareio wrote:
airdrik wrote:
richP wrote:What's the over/under for the number of posts before the tinfoil hat crowd shows up discussing infinite sources of energy that *they* are hiding from us?

Like the infinite reserve of methane created by geologic processes?
Well at least this theory has the potential to work outside of the earth's atmosphere+magnetosphere.


From what I gathered, the hydrocarbons lakes on Titan and the abiogenic generation of hydrocarbons at Lost City are facts. I'm just not quite sure what the Illuminati have to do with it and how you can conclude this means we have an infinite reserve - but maybe we can go pump the hydracarbons on Titan with the EmDrive!

There is a claim floating around that all (or at least most) gas and oil are not biogenic, and therefore not fossil fuels. The further claim is sometimes made that this means we will never run out of oil because it is produced by geologic processes much faster than scientists claim it is produced biotically, or because there are enormous reserves created during Earth's formation.

It's basically pseudoscience, but I'm not sure if it is actually linked to the NWO conspiracy theory in any particular way, or that anybody here claimed that it was.


Not here, but the people on cuttingedge.org (the first quoted link) seem to think so.

I had never heard of these claims, I think we miss out on a lot of the fun of conspiracy theories in Europe.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:11 pm UTC

Well the original so-called "conspiracy theory" is American, but I think they have them everywhere.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby justvisiting » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:21 am UTC

inio wrote:From the full report (which I acquired from 4chan of all places. Sorry, thread has expired.):

During test run data takes at vacuum, the turbo pumps continue to run to maintain the hard vacuum environment. The high-frequency vibrations from the turbo pump have no noticeable effect on the testing seismic environment.


So no issue there.


Not so fast. From the conclusion of the same report:
Vacuum compatible RF amplifiers with power ranges of up to 125 watts will allow testing at vacuum conditions which was not possible using our current RF amplifiers due to the presence of electrolytic capacitors.


It seems that they did not test in vacuum because it was not possible to do so with their current amplifiers.


Overall my takeaway from the report is that either whoever was doing it was crazy rushed, or was an undergrad intern.


That is to be expected from the Eagleworks labs. You can look at some of their previous experiments/reports and you will find that they are always of the same quality. As far as I know, even most other groups at NASA don't take them seriously.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Horselover Frost » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:53 pm UTC

Has NASA or the Chinese group that tested it checked to make sure it's not actually some kind of ion drive? People have reinvented that a few times by accident and assumed it's antigravity/reactionless thrust.

I mean, it seems an obvious thing they'd check, but none of the articles say for sure.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:53 pm UTC

This thread being resurrected in the light of comic 1412 has got me singing "quantum vacuum virtual plasma" to the tune of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". Not only is that annoying in its own right, but " virtual" isn't even a proper trochee.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Eternal Density » Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:21 am UTC

orthogon wrote:This thread being resurrected in the light of comic 1412 has got me singing "quantum vacuum virtual plasma" to the tune of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". Not only is that annoying in its own right, but " virtual" isn't even a proper trochee.
The same thing happened to me!
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon May 04, 2015 3:30 pm UTC

So apparently this has been tested in a vacuum now. I'm significantly less very skeptical.

Someone has developed a computer model that postdicts every result to date, but I suspect that model is a little just-so.

Assuming this continues to hold up, I'm very interested in what measurements of counter-action show up; if I understand he proposed mechanism correctly, there should be a something heading backward. Some kind of non-coherent excitation of the Dirac sea.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 04, 2015 9:29 pm UTC

I'm now extremely skeptical, whereas I was previously completely nonbelieving.
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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 04, 2015 11:39 pm UTC

If it works, it will be seriously cool, but, barring breakthroughs in medical science, won't have significant direct consequences during my lifetime.

What may have an effect on my life are the spinoffs and the indirect consequences of having a weird effect confirmed to actually happen - which both confirms the theory that predicts/explains it, and hints strongly at which particular flavour of the theory is most plausible.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue May 05, 2015 12:52 am UTC

The idea that you can push off the vacuum still doesn't seem plausible to me, but these results are very curious.

rmsgrey wrote:If it works, it will be seriously cool, but, barring breakthroughs in medical science, won't have significant direct consequences during my lifetime.

If the drive works, it could give solar-powered satellites and the ISS infinite orbital lifetimes.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Dmytry » Tue May 05, 2015 1:56 am UTC

The EM waves are pushing against vacuum. Okay, but that doesn't actually answer the question: What is pushing on the cavity? EM waves would have to be pushing on it. Meaning that the standing wave pattern would have to differ from that calculated by Maxwell's equations by an amount necessary to push on the cavity with this force.

Electromagnetic waves carry the force of 3.3 microNewtons per kilowatt, so the deviation from the Maxwell's equations is going to pretty damn big, double digit percent. Now, the thing is, if you theorize up that sort of stuff in 1900 you're going to contradict a handful of experiments, but in 2015 you're going to be contradicting a cellphone tower or even a microwave oven, not to mention many scientific experiments that are very precise and/or use ridiculously strong fields.

The thing is, the problem with devices that violate known laws of physics is not so much that they violate some abstract "laws of physics". A mental image of some dogma springs to mind when you say it violates conservation of momentum. There's rule lawyering too - how it pushes against vacuum or what ever.

The problem is that they don't even remotely look like they follow the laws of physics we know. While a zillion other devices in widespread practical use DO look like they follow the laws of physics we know, down to quite high precision too, and wouldn't even work if there was some large unknown interactions between photons and quantum vacuum.

edit: the recent hype is based on these two graphs in the vacuum.

The dips labelled 29.1 uN are calibration pulses. The first calibration pulse shows how the experimental apparatus responds to a force applied to it for a time and then turned off. The drift laden hump is how it responds to the test article. Apparently it takes quite a long time for the quantum vacuum to stop being pushed, when there's no air around to cool down everything that they're heated with the microwaves and stray electrical currents.

This is like putting a test weight on an ordinary digital scale, taking it off, putting a can of coffee on the scale, putting it in the microwave oven, turning the microwave oven on for 30 seconds, and then observing that the scale got completely screwed up and is giving bogus readings for minutes afterwards. Then you report this as an antigravity finding and get funding to research it more accurately. Because the readings on the scale had decreased when the microwave oven was turned on, and you don't know the exact mechanism. You know that water boiling off in the cup wouldn't be enough to explain your results, though.

Talking to people on an internet forum about how you think it is antigravity, even though the scale got fucked up, and getting some serious news hype going on about it afterwards is definitely in the grey zone as far as research ethics goes. (That's what the recent round of hype came from - there's a forum of amateur space enthusiasts, confusingly named "nasaspaceflight.com", one of the eagleworks experimenters gone there with "I'm not saying this is a star drive, but this is a star drive" sort of thing, and it got blown out of all proportion).

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby ucim » Tue May 05, 2015 3:41 am UTC

I looked at that nasa site (which isn't a NASA site, it's a dotcom with "nasa" in the name to give it an air of legitimacy. Little technical information was given about the actual experiment performed (I could not describe it to a teenager), and most of the article was of the form "if this works, {awesome stuff}".

Let's see this thing change the orbit of a spacecraft in a measurable way. On their dime. Then I'll get interested.

As to how a reaction-mass-less drive might work, what if quantum magic caused particle-antiparticle pairs to be created behind the spacecraft, and those particles were "pushed against" (without annihilating the spacecraft!)? If that worked, it would be something like an ion thruster where you wouldn't have to carry your own fuel, apparently freeing you from the rocket equation. However, you'd need, "somehow", to have or find enough energy to create this mass on the fly, and the densest form of energy is (ta da!) matter. Enter the perpetual motion salesmen. Alternatively "nothing" could, through quantum magic, create energy and negative energy out of nothing. I'm not sure what the properties of negative energy would be, but I suspect it would either be magically awesome or simply cancel out all the benefit.

Nah. When they build a thruster that can push a satellite around, I'll listen.

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby Dmytry » Tue May 05, 2015 1:37 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I looked at that nasa site (which isn't a NASA site, it's a dotcom with "nasa" in the name to give it an air of legitimacy. Little technical information was given about the actual experiment performed (I could not describe it to a teenager), and most of the article was of the form "if this works, {awesome stuff}".

With outright lies thrown in, for example:
After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China – at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions – the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry.

This same Rodal persona who wrote that freely admits on that forum that the results are inconsistent even when the drive is turned around 180 degrees at NASA, the vacuum results are not consistent with air results (not even the thrust profile after turn off), etc. There isn't even any metric yet (thrust per watt, pressure per volt per meter squared, anything) to consistently replicate. edit: Chinese results altogether point in the opposite direction.

Basically they're click-baiting. Then on the thread they complain it been overhyped by the media. The only thing media did wrong was taking this article at a face value, rather than as a clickbait for a commercial forum which got paid accounts, and which leeches off NASA's good name.

"Despite considerable effort within the NASASpaceflight.com forum to dismiss the reported thrust as an artifact, the EM Drive results have yet to be falsified." . Peer review by a space enthusiast forum. That's rich. There was a grand total of two results "in the vacuum", one with the test article turned 180 degrees, and the force is massively different. Now what do we call a disagreement between the theory (device turned around 180 degrees should produce same thrust) and the experiment (it doesn't) ? In science, we call it falsification. (My preferred phrase for "in the vacuum" when it comes to variations on the lifter theme is "subject to even more corona discharge").

By the way ever wondered how such devices (dating back decades) never result in any practical devices? The guy testing EmDrive now, he tested another such contraption back in 2004 and 2006, and he never got a null result with the other one either.

This is a perfect example of the distinction between pathological science and real science. After obtaining thrust, true scientist tries to isolate it. Put everything in an air-tight box, for example, see if there's still thrust. Reduce the effect to elementary level - a piece of metal is being pushed by microwaves with a wrong amount of force, somewhere in this apparatus - study that small interaction in isolation, to determine exactly the laws of physics governing it.

Pathological scientist doesn't do any of that. He's boosting the power levels and adding plastic into the cavity, to try to get much more thrust. It is just not good enough to measure what he measured before, with some actual accuracy this time. His results are all over the place, his microwave amplifier fails due to corona discharge, his antenna melted. He needs more and more money to continue testing. He needs more power to melt and vaporize more things, and he adds more things to melt and vaporize (even though he isn't studying melting or vaporization).

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Re: 1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

Postby drachefly » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:40 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:
drachefly wrote:But to push off the Dirac Sea, you need to make the ones you're pushing off of not be virtual anymore. If you're pushing off of nothing, you're violating QM so hard that tweaks aren't going to do it - you need to just go make a new theory.
That's how Coulomb's law works if you want to keep locality: one charge pulls/pushes off a virtual particle, which travels and then pulls/pushes off the other charge; measuring it as a photon makes it not virtual.


Then you're not pushing off of the Dirac Sea - you're pushing off whatever the other end of that virtual particle was attached to.

(edit: oops, massive necro. But I don't see a rule against it, so... sorry anyway?)


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