Mach Effect progress

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

Entropy, expansion and the heat death of the universe...

The outline of the approach popular since the late 1990s has seemed to me to be the following: the universe starts out as a concentrated point of very dense, hot matter in an explosion. As it expands, matter burns down to less energy-intensive states. This process then continues throughout history, until two things happen: (1) all the work that can be extracted from basic particles is extracted [this even includes black holes; though a great deal of matter is re-concentrated into singularities, over very long time scales the singularities evaporate]; (2) matter becomes so spread out that it essentially winds down to being little more than a vacuum. Remaining concentrations of matter, such as different galaxies, end up speeding away from each other faster than the speed of light, becoming isolated. These isolated parts eventually burn themselves out.

A quick look at the current version of the Wikipedia article, though, shows no consensus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

So, increasing speed of expansion seems to be synergistic with (though not necessarily directly linked to) entropy. However, whether this means that increasing the speed of expansion in a given instance (ie. turning your M-E drive on for a few minutes and then turning it back off) can be treated as increasing or decreasing entropy is a bit unclear.

Let's look at the Woodward M-E drive. If it transfers momentum to distant mass in the universe, something has to happen to that mass. It either has to accelerate or decelerate - those are the two options consistent with what we know of inertia. Decelerating something with mass also requires doing work. So, either way you could complain that the drive is unphysical.

What usually happens when a rocket uses propellant to either accelerate or decelerate? It accelerates the propellant and throws it overboard in order to get pushed the opposite way. So, it would make sense that the M-E drive accelerates far-off distant mass.

The only awkward point is the GoatGuy argument - that if you run a M-E drive long enough, it could go over-unity. In some of the threads on NextBigFuture and earlier in the thread here I think some people have demonstrated that, using the mathematical constructs, you can also make more efficient conventional rockets appear to go over-unity before they run out of fuel. So, it may be a question of doing the math wrong. However, in one discussion with GoatGuy on NBF (which frustratingly I can't find right now), even Paul March seemed to be uncertain whether under some circumstances a M-E device could essentially be used as a "heat pump" which would draw energy by pushing on far-off matter. IF it could, then you would end up in a situation where distant matter is accelerated AND the spacecraft accelerates, all for "free."

But, if the spacecraft uses energy generated from fuel stored on-board (fissile fuel rods, boron for a Polywell reactor, whatever), and this energy is then converted to increased momentum for (1) the spacecraft and (2) the reaction mass (far-off distant matter/rest of the universe), then there should be no problem. The acceleration of galaxies away from one another is indifferent to (and perhaps synergistic with) entropy. You've converted matter into energy somewhere (the ship's reactor) in order to use that energy to impart momentum to the objects under question (the ship and the galaxies).

The Wikipedia article quotes one source as saying, essentially, that "the entropy of a general gravitational field is still not known" and that "gravitational entropy is difficult to quantify." As you accelerate the bulk of the mass of the universe outward, you appear to effectively weaken the gravitational attraction of objects to one another. The gravity well of each object is gradually moved away from the gravity well of every other object, until the curvature of space-time created by each gravity well no longer overlaps the others. You reach the point where the expansionary force - whatever it is - is stronger than gravity. Our universe appears to have passed that point. Perhaps having objects closer together translates to a more gravitationally "organized" universe. Therefore, acceleration might translate to an increase in entropy for the gravitational field of the universe. So, perhaps the "heat pump" mode could work too.

I expect that I'll be able to clear up these problems in my mind better when a copy of Woodward's book finally arrives.

As for some of the other concepts... arrow of time is also extensively debated. Some theorists treat time as an additional "dimension" while others view it essentially as an illusion. Increase in entropy is normally associated with the "forwards" direction of the arrow of time.

In light of such disagreement, when M-E theory proposes that inertia is the result of gravitational effects reflected back from distant matter in "the future," we can at best say that we're talking about a non-local effect. Quantum entanglement also operates non-locally. Nonlocality isn't a show-stopper in my mind - it's just something quite puzzling. OK, so entanglement is a quantum effect and M-E would be macro - but there might be some sort of over-arching principle we don't yet understand governing both. Devising new theories and experimenting to see if they are valid or not might eventually solve it...

[Edited post to say "Increase in entropy" is normally associated with the "forwards" direction of the arrow of time, since I have been scolded before by people for using the word "entropy" on its own to describe increase in disorder, or decrease the amount of usable work left in matter, or decrease in the temperature of the universe.]
Last edited by CaptainBeowulf on Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

Also, I didn't notice if anyone had posted this in the last few days of squabbling: NBF appears to have an early review of Woodward's book.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/01/review ... aking.html

Appears that John Cramer wrote the foreword, and his comments include:
"Many of the theoretical physicists who work with general relativity have fundamental objections to the very idea of wormholes and warp drives, which they consider to be unphysical. Some of them have decided that one should erect a "picket fence" around those solutions of Einstein's equations that are considered to be physically reasonable and to place exotica such as stable traversable wormholes, faster-than-light warp drives and time machines in the forbidden area outside the fence, excluded because it is presumed that nature does not allow such disreputable objects to exist. They are, in effect, attempting to discover new laws of physics that would place restrictions on GR solutions."

Looser quotes that cover the picket fence theories -

"Their first attempt at building the fence was called the Weak Energy Condition (WEC)... Average Weak Energy Condition (AWEC)...

The WEC, AWEC, and the other similar energy rules are "made up" laws of nature and are not derivable from general relativity. They appear to be obeyed for observations of all known forms of matter and energy that do not fall within the domain of quantum mechanics. However, even for simple situations involving quantum phenomena (examples : the Casimir effect, squeezed vacuum, and the Hawking evaporation of black holes), the WEC and AWEC are both violated.

"...more recently quantum inequalities...quantum field theory cannot be trusted for some applications...missed fundamental calculation by 50 orders of magnitude"
Interesting comments on Cramer's part. I think NBF (not Cramer this time) also sums up the transition of Woodward's M-E to a "warp" or "wormhole" dynamic well:
For the stargate/wormhole aspect, this is the second term in a key formula which is always negative. He shows how the areas of inertia and mass and the exact nature of the electron are weakspots in current physics and the best work in this area is the work of Einstein and Mach.

His solution depends on understanding the nature of electrons in terms of a semi-classical extension of the exact, general relativistic electron model of Arnowitt, Deser, and Misner (ADM), and Mach's Principle.

The negative bare mass ADM model of the electron can be modified to accommodate quantized spin.

Given some modest amount of everyday type matter, say a few hundred or thousand kilograms, all we have to do is enclose the matter within another presumably thin shell of matter wherein we can change its mass from positive to negative. It would have to become sufficiently negative to null the positive mass of the initial mass of the shell and the matter it encloses. But if we could do that, we would screen the gravitational influence of the matter in the rest of the universe on the matter within the thin shell.

Find a way to screen our electron from the gravitational potential due to the rest of the universe, the denominator would become of order unity and the exotic bare mass of the electron – 21 orders of magnitude larger than its normal mass and negative – would be exposed. Do this to a modest amount of normal stuff and you would have your Jupiter mass of exotic matter to make a traversable stargate – if the negative bare mass ADM model of elementary particles is a plausible representation of reality.
Those are the juiciest parts of the review. There is also a good discussion underway already, with 41 comments. I suggest a thorough read.

kcdodd
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Post by kcdodd »

GIThruster wrote:
kcdodd wrote:. . .all the physics I know works the same if you look at it "forward", or "backward".
You can't uncook an egg. I suggest reading Eddington.
Everything that goes on in the process of cooking an egg can, in principle, be undone. But every quantity in the egg, and everything that interacted with the egg, that is an odd order in time must be reversed in sign.

Entropy, and statistics for that matter, is about ignorance. Entropy describes how many different states a system *could* be in, given temperature etc macroscopic, ie averaged, quantities. If you have a complete description of the state of the system, then there is only one possible state it *could* be in, and any statistical treatment makes no sense, and entropy is ill-defined. Or rather, there is a 100% probability the system is in a particular state, zero otherwise, which means entropy of the system is zero.
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

kcdodd wrote:
MSimon wrote:
GIThruster wrote: I don't know what you mean by that and if it's on topic I'm interested to hear what you think, but I do agree with the notion that conservation and thermodynamic issues need to be fully accounted for by M-E theory in order for us to consider M-E theory tenable.
The arrow of time has no meaning at the quantum level.

And yes. For ME to "work" the energy must come from somewhere. Does that "coming from somewhere" increase or decrease the order elsewhere? i.e. is it thermodynamic or quantum?
Well, I'm not sure the arrow of time really has a meaning in any fundamental theory, because all the physics I know works the same if you look at it "forward", or "backward". As far as I understand, entropy and the arrow of time are the result of an incomplete description of a system.
The arrow of time has meaning in thermodynamics.
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kcdodd
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Post by kcdodd »

thermodynamics is not a fundamental theory. It is distributions and statistics.
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

kcdodd wrote:thermodynamics is not a fundamental theory. It is distributions and statistics.
Uh. Quantum mechanics is a statistical theory. It is non deterministic due to what some people believe are hidden states that can't become unhidden in the universe as we know it. So far.
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kcdodd
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Post by kcdodd »

Measurements are statistical, and coincidently also irreversible. Quantum mechanics itself, the equations governing the evolution of the state, is both deterministic and time reversible since they're second order in time. There is no theory to predict a measurment from a state, or wave function collapse, so we can only make a statistical connection. Interpret that as you will.
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GIThruster
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Post by GIThruster »

kcdodd wrote:thermodynamics is not a fundamental theory. It is distributions and statistics.
I'm still unsure of what you're saying. The point behind the egg illustration is that it is an irreversible colloid. It cannot in principle be undone. This aside, the Arrow of Time concept goes significantly beyond thermodynamics. Eddington's original thesis regarded cosmology. It is linked to the thermodynamic arrow as the universe is headed toward heat death. In both instances though, the larger concept is entropy, and the fact that without imposed order, systems tend toward what Eddington called "random" and we now call increasing entropy. This isn't merely a statistical analysis, but a fundamental observation that without specific influence, things go from order to disorder, from arranged to unarranged, from information laden to information empty, etc.

Hume applied this later to another venue: that of cause and effect. The "arrow" points from cause to effect in almost all instances we observe. We observe very few "retrocausal" effects that precede their cause and we remark about them as they are such astonishing exceptions. Again, this is a fundamental sort of observation about how life, the universe and everything works. I can't see how it could appear poorly defined or "merely statistical". I think you must be saying something I'm not getting.
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Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

GIThruster wrote: We observe very few "retrocausal" effects that precede their cause and we remark about them as they are such astonishing exceptions.
Example of when we have observed such a thing? I have never heard of a retrocausal effect being observed.

GIThruster
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Post by GIThruster »

IIRC, John Cramer has done some experiments on retrocausality in relation to his transactional interpretation of QM and these are in accord with Jim's use of Wheeler-Feynman Absorber theory. Too, there are lots of examples of information retrocausality, especially with regard to living (read "conscious") systems. You can search "retrocausal", "advanced waves" etc. and get lots of hits, then narrow your focus for any given time you have to spend on those that come from QM and those that come from living systems.

Personally, I'm more impressed with the QM theoretical issues than the reports of retrocausal events related to consciousness. I think those studying things like precognition have often shown they don't account well enough for placebo effect in their experiments. OTOH, I have seen data that defies conventional explanation from both camps, QM and consciousness investigations.
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mvanwink5
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Post by mvanwink5 »

Philosophically, entropy always increasing does not make sense. For it to make sense there must be a beginning to existence, which is nonsense. Therefore there must be a mechanism for entropy to be reversed or reset.

On the other hand, it can be a useful tool for where we are, at this moment, etc.

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Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

GIThruster wrote:IIRC, John Cramer has done some experiments on retrocausality in relation to his transactional interpretation of QM and these are in accord with Jim's use of Wheeler-Feynman Absorber theory.
To the best of my knowledge no results of his experiments at the UoW have been published yet, or have they?
GIThruster wrote: Too, there are lots of examples of information retrocausality, especially with regard to living (read "conscious") systems. You can search "retrocausal", "advanced waves" etc. and get lots of hits, then narrow your focus for any given time you have to spend on those that come from QM and those that come from living systems.

If you are thinking about "precognition", then I have to put that into the cathegory of supernatural flim flam. No precognition has ever been observed under repeatable scientific observing conditions. If you can do that, then you should sign up for the million dollar challenge by the James Randi foundation.

GIThruster
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Post by GIThruster »

Answering your question would take many pages and not be on topic. I will just say that:

a) I'm not sure about Cramer's experiment but Wheeler's experiment demonstrates something very close:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... 16-04.html

as do experiments with entanglement. For interpretations of entanglement observations that illuminate retrocausality, look up those terms and the writings of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_Co ... Beauregard

Here's another example: http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/04/ ... eforehand/

and

b) it may seem handy to rely upon a general statement as regards precognition and Randi, but there are all sorts of interesting exceptions once you begin to look at details. You need to note that Randi requires repeatability on command, a criteria useful for much of science but not always necessary to it, and there are instances where we understand we need to limit such a criterion. I like Randi's challenge, but it is not always honest to assume it treats with the issues he claims it does. There are assuredly instances all through life that we accept as real even though they are intermittent and uncontrolled. Many scientists didn't believe in the reports of ball lightning until the breakers aboard nuclear subs began generating them. That doesn't mean the previous reports were wrong. They were not.

I would note to you that there are a plethora of attempts to draw these two kinds of data into a single explanation. It's usually the para-scientists pretending the scientists are supporting their findings. However, there are noteworthy exceptions. I don't agree with Jack Sarfatti's notions of non-locality and I think he is often guilty of a lot of word-salad gibberish, but he is certainly an authentic physicist and his attempts to join these two areas shouldn't be overlooked:

http://journalofcosmology.com/SarfattiConsciousness.pdf
Last edited by GIThruster on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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GIThruster
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Post by GIThruster »

CaptainBeowulf wrote:The only awkward point is the GoatGuy argument - that if you run a M-E drive long enough, it could go over-unity. In some of the threads on NextBigFuture and earlier in the thread here I think some people have demonstrated that, using the mathematical constructs, you can also make more efficient conventional rockets appear to go over-unity before they run out of fuel. So, it may be a question of doing the math wrong.
It is a case of doing the math wrong. If you imagine a rocket thruster on a rotating swing arm, such as in the Roton design; and feed it fuel through the arm, doing the math the way GoatGuy and Andrew Palfreyman recommend generates the same absurd result. Obviously it is method that is at fault. Jim has already explained several times now, as has been reported here; that the correct way to do the calculation involves math I can't do, but that Jim explains as something regarding "summing the instantaneous frames of reference". That method does not generate the absurd conclusion GoatGuy is complaining about.

And just noting again, these kinds of objections never come from physicists who can do the math. They only come from engineers who can't do the math properly.

All that aside, there likely is an exception so we shouldn't paint with a broad brush. Any thruster making use of negative mass and its negative inertial contribution probably would go seemingly "overunity" even doing the math properly. Negative mass self-accelerates. It obeys conservation because the mass and thus its inertia are negative, but neglecting this to do the calculation would likely come up with what appears another conservation issue. I think though, Wheeler and Forward did these calculations properly decades ago. One would need to hunt to find them and be able to understand them which I do not. And that is the core of the trouble--there are lots of people in the peanut gallery who want to complain about conservation, none of which can actually do the relevant math. I can't take them too seriously. Were such an objection to come from a physicist handling the proper tools, that I would take seriously. Hasn't happened yet, but there's no telling what the responses will be to Jim's book over the coming months.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

It is a case of doing the math wrong. If you imagine a rocket thruster on a rotating swing arm, such as in the Roton design; and feed it fuel through the arm, doing the math the way GoatGuy and Andrew Palfreyman recommend generates the same absurd result. Obviously it is method that is at fault. Jim has already explained several times now, as has been reported here; that the correct way to do the calculation involves math I can't do, but that Jim explains as something regarding "summing the instantaneous frames of reference". That method does not generate the absurd conclusion GoatGuy is complaining about.
It's math that I can't do with certainty either, however, I think that we can think about it conceptually in a clear manner. This gets into a difficult semantic argument.

The idea of feeding a rocket thruster "fuel" can still raise an objection: you are supplying power to the thruster from an external source, so it never really goes over-unity, while the M-E thruster is getting over-unity by operating without an external "fuel" source. This objection arises because people usually think of chemical rockets when they think of rockets. In the case of a chemical rocket like a hydrolox rocket, the "fuel" is both the power source AND the propellant. The real comparison we want to make is to something like a Hall thruster or a NERVA rocket, where the power source simply accelerates the propellant to produce thrust.

In this case, attaching the rocket to a rotating swing arm and feeding it propellant from an external source is an effective analogy. The rocket will keep going into an apparent over-unity state until its on-board power source runs out. Either the battery is drained or the reactor runs out of fissile fuel. At that point, the rocket will stop producing thrust no matter how much propellant you keep feeding it, and the flywheel will spin down.

Similarly, the M-E thruster will keep accelerating until its on-board power source runs out of energy - battery drained, fuel rods consumed, or boron for fusion all used up. It has an "external" source of "propellant" - the distant mass of the universe that it is pushing against. Once again, when the M-E thruster has no more power, it doesn't matter that there's all the reaction mass of the rest of the universe out there - the M-E thruster can no longer push on it.

So, the more "conventional" operating mode of the M-E thruster lines up OK with an electrically or nuclear powered drive in this thought experiment. I'm sure GoatGuy and others would claim that the M-E thruster could get to over-unity before this happens and then generate enough electrical power to keep pushing against the distant matter - but in this case, since no other physicists raise this objection, I'm going to go with the doing the math wrong argument. I'll revise my opinion on this if a credible physicist disproves the doing the math wrong argument to the satisfaction of a peer review group.
All that aside, there likely is an exception so we shouldn't paint with a broad brush. Any thruster making use of negative mass and its negative inertial contribution probably would go seemingly "overunity" even doing the math properly. Negative mass self-accelerates. It obeys conservation because the mass and thus its inertia are negative, but neglecting this to do the calculation would likely come up with what appears another conservation issue. I think though, Wheeler and Forward did these calculations properly decades ago.
This is one of the reasons why, as I posted a couple of pages back, I consider the warp/wormhole mode to be really a separate and follow-on project to the sub-light M-E drive. It relies on a number of additional interpretations or extensions of ideas in physics falling out a certain way. The conventional mode of M-E operation needs to be proven first - through more advanced lab work, then a self-contained device, and then a microsatellite spaceflight demonstration.

If it's proven, developing M-E based craft which will open the solar system to development can be turned over to engineers. At that point the basic research labwork should switch over to studying whether negative mass can be unmasked and the Wheeler/Forward calculations are right.

Still, the thermodynamic implications for the universe as a macroscopic system if negative mass can be relatively easily unmasked and caused to self-accelerate are unclear to me. It's a very large thought experiment which is difficult to get a handle on. It may be something which the universe doesn't allow, but on the other hand, it's likely that there's a great deal we don't understand about how the universe works yet. If this mode of M-E does work it will have very interesting implications which will force us to do a lot more thinking just to understand how reality really works.

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