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Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 10:37:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: RE: (urth) FTL Travel

--- James Wynn  wrote:
> Jerry Friedman bristles at this bowdlerization of the theory of
> Relativity:
> I wouldn't call it simple mathematics.
> Crush responds to Jerry Friedman:
> Neither would I, as my response to Hartshorn was intended to convey. But
> the
> general concept of why a *possible* implication of FTL travel is that
> one
> would move into his own past is one of the most straightforward concepts
> in
> this realm. I believe Don's question was whether or not all this had the
> scientific pedigree of dililthium crystals. I don't think my answer was
> misleading given the context.

I think it was.  I had the impression that people who didn't know
physics were gathering that FTL means time going backwards, either
visiting your past or "watching the movie in reverse".  There's no
reason to expect that, though I guess if FTL turns out to be possible,
that could be what happens.

(Also, the "simple mathematics", taking the Lorentz factor literally
with a speed greater than c, gives you imaginary time--with a square
root of -1--not negative time.  Whatever either of those would mean.)

> You have heroically attempted to clarify Hartshorn's beautiful
> explanation,
> but I've got a dollar that says that a majority of the readers of this
> list -- still - have no more than the vaguest understanding of what you
> are
> describing or its implications (unless a majority of the people on this
> have
> a B.A. in Physics).

I'm not taking your bet.

As you seem to know, explaining the part about sending a message to
your past takes only high-school level algebra (square roots), but
this isn't the place.  I was just trying to keep people from getting
false impressions.  I don't think I did that very clearly.

> Remember Kypris explaining possession to Silk?

And I'm not even pretty.

Jerry Friedman

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