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Space Science

FTL Currents May Power Pulsar Beams 236

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-the-law dept.
thomst passes along news out of the recent AAAS meeting of a new explanation for pulsar beams that involves faster-than-light currents. Here are Los Alamos's press release and three related papers on the arXiv. "The new model explains the beam emissions from pulsars as products of superluminal currents within the spinning neutron stars' atmospheres. According to the authors' model, the current generated is, itself, faster than light, although the particles that compose it never individually exceed the universal speed limit, thereby preventing Einsteinian post-mortem rotation. The new model is a general explanation of the phenomenon of pulsar beam emissions that explains emissions at all observed frequencies (and different pulsars emit everything from radio waves to x-rays), which no previous model has done."
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FTL Currents May Power Pulsar Beams

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:04PM (#30823704)

    Can we replicate this and add information to the current to transport information faster than the speed of light? (The real problem.)

    no

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:07PM (#30823748)

    A disco ball. Shine a light on a disco ball, and project those cool reflections onto a surface more than a few light-seconds away. You'll see that the spots move much faster than light.

    Still no FTL movement or information transfer. Still no violation of GR or causality. Just another nice, attention-grabbing headline.

  • Here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tylersoze (789256) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:21PM (#30823934)

    Ah yes it's time again to break out the old phase vs group velocity explanation again. There are plenty of things that can go "fast than light", but repeat after me, you cannot transmit *information* faster than light. There are many concepts in our current understanding of physics that you just take to be inviolate like conservation of energy, momentum, speed of light. That's not to say we those concepts might eventually be superseded but as a general rule of them any theory that doesn't follow them is probably pseudoscience and wrong. Physics develops from what proceeded it, from Newton to Einstein to Quantum Mechanics to String Theory, and those conservation laws always held. Perhaps reformulated in a different manner to stand for different things but they still held. You don't need to know the details of how a proposed "perpetual motion machine" may work to know that if the crackpot building it says that it violates the law of conservation of energy then it doesn't work.

  • by Gravitron 5000 (1621683) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:24PM (#30823962)
    Do you have any idea how hard it is to modulate a pulsar?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:33PM (#30824094)

    The laser has energy density. Take the machine gun example, again. If a machine gun is spun fast enough, there might only be two bullet holes, the left-most and the right-most. The same with the laser. If you want to see a spot that has continuous brightness reflected back, you will have to sweep it very slowly. This is physical phenomena. There is no magic laser that reflects back the same intensity no matter how fast it gets swept across a surface.

    I think there really does have to be a remarkable situation to even having the appearance of FTL.

  • by tekproxy2 (1386447) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @05:04PM (#30824466)
    It's comments like this that keep me reading /.
  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @05:17PM (#30824622) Journal
    Quantum entanglement is like a coin. Once you know one side is Heads, the other side is "instantaneously" Tails.
  • Re:FTL information (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:18PM (#30825480) Homepage

    Now make an analogy using a cow, 5 bags of salt, and the Pacific Ocean. :)

    A cow, 5 bags of salt, and the Pacific Ocean are in a car doing donuts...

  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:23PM (#30825544) Homepage
    Maybe in *your* country...
  • by Krahar (1655029) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:52PM (#30825940)
    It's a nice analogy, but people reading this should not that it is not accurate. The coin is not in a superposition of heads and tails before you flip it, which is why coins don't allow quantum computation. If you ever hear anything, like this, about quantum phenomena that doesn't blow your mind, it's inaccurate or you didn't understand it.
  • by waives (1257650) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @12:16AM (#30828288)
    Theories which postulate 'hidden variables' have been ruled out by Bell's Inequality, which has been experimentally verified with a number of model quantum systems.

    These experiments have shown that it is impossible to construct a theory of hidden variables that will correctly explain all the possible measurements which can be performed on the entangled pair.

    Fundamentally, this is what differentiates quantum entanglement from classical correlation, and is the core of quantum information theory and quantum computing.

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