I would draw a similar graph for FTL and knowledge of physics

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via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Sometimes, learning science means discovering the constraints reality puts on us, and that part isn’t always fun.

8 thoughts on “I would draw a similar graph for FTL and knowledge of physics

  1. Definitely the case with FTL and physics in general, as you pointed out. We have a really solid idea of how most “mundane” physics work – it’s just the extreme high-energy/mass/distance stuff that isn’t completely nailed down yet. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for nigh-magical “low energy tricks” from future physics, unless getting a quantum theory of gravitation somehow unlocks gravity manipulation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. I think “magical” is the key word. We keep hoping that we’ll discover something that leads to a magical energy source, or a magical away around the energy requirements of things relativistic starships, wormholes, or Alcubierre drives. Maybe we will. But the space for that to happen seems to be steadily shrinking.

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  2. True, but engineers demonstrate that human creativity can outsmart a lot of constraints that scientists throw at them. Perhaps not FTL though.
    The flipside is that if science doesn’t forbid something, it can probably be done.


    1. My favorite yardstick is, does it happen somewhere in nature? Long before men flew, lots of things in nature flew, so finding a way for us to fly was an engineering problem. Before we broke the sound barrier, lots of things in nature moved faster than sound, most notably meteors, so again, an engineering problem.

      I’m comfortable that we’ll solve the fusion problem, or find a way to create synthetic life as real as evolved life, or even find a way to replicate the human mind. We might even eventually find a way to create our own stars, or even black holes, and find interesting ways to use them.

      But I’d feel a lot more comfortable about our ability to get around the light barrier if we observed anything in nature, anything at all, already doing it.

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