Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Starship Engineering

     As a practical matter, the spacetime "bubble" used for faster-than-light travel has seventeen dimensions, one less than the eighteen of normal space. When you ask an FTL navigator why this is, he or she will usually reply, "So the seams line up when you fold it." As near as I can tell, they're serious.


fillyjonk said...

I should steal that explanation to explain "why are the degrees of freedom for most stats test n-1"?

I've never been able to give an explanation the students seemed to think was reasonable. (Even when I'm giving the correct one)

Ken said...

Seventeen/eighteen? A lot to keep track of.

I remember back in the day (the day being the very early 1980s) when at least some of us thought James P. Hogan was hard science fiction (still have fond memories of the "Giants" cycle and some of his others). Hogan's work posited six dimensions as being the most parsimonious that could account for all the phenomena we could observe at the time. Right around the same time I remember reading (in OMNI and places like that) about the contemporary state of string theory, which talked about ten dimensions.

But my memory might be playing me false, and I am just a guy who wasn't mature enough to hack Chem.E back in the day, so pay no more attention than you think circumstances warrant.

Chuck Pergiel said...

That's pure gold.

rickn8or said...

Anybody that's attempted to fold a fitted sheet knows this.