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Communicating @ 420LY

  1. Jul 1, 2005 #1
    Forget Einstein. Let's pretend...

    Which of these two options do you feel is the better?:

    1.) We find a new way to compress huge amounts of information into a standard radio wave (Information Density), and we send it to the reciever which lies 420 light years away. A lot of information sent, but still a 420 year long one-way trip.

    2.) We find a way to send Morse Code nearly instantaneous to any location in the galaxy (Information Express), and we send code to the reciever which lies 420 light years away. Very small amounts of information (40WPM maximum), but is recieved at great distances instantly.

    Please respond with either #1 or #2 with a little explanation of your choice. I'd prefer not to have arguments on FTL, or any part of relativity, just pick one of the options above. Danke.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2005 #2


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    Let's try to find some kind of math that makes these possibilities viable first.
  4. Jul 1, 2005 #3
    You didn't pick a number...
  5. Jul 1, 2005 #4


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    Doesnt seem to need math, 420 light years is waaaaaaaaaay too long for any piece of information to be sent in my books :D
  6. Jul 1, 2005 #5


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    I implied i would choose the instantaneous morse code seeing as how waiting for 420 years for information is just too long for it to be useful.
  7. Jul 1, 2005 #6
    #2 No doubt about it really. Broadband communication is useful for entertainment, but you can easily carry all the entertainment you need around with you. Important communications generally only require a few bits of information.
  8. Jul 1, 2005 #7


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    As Chronos said, neither option is physically possible, so why bother discussing them? This isn't sciencefictionforums.com, is it?

    - Warren
  9. Jul 1, 2005 #8


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    Definitely #2; Morse is essentially binary code, so there's no restriction to what can be transmitted, including video (although it would probably take a year to send 'Gone With the Wind'). Instantaneous transfer of any data is better than being dead before it gets there. Additionally, the human capacity for data compression would enter into it. For instance, the binary could represent Pitman shorthand symbols instead of the standard alphabet, and the same compression technique that Stuffit or Stacker uses could be integrated so that a 2-bit sequence could be used to represent a string of half a dozen shorthand symbols.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2005
  10. Jul 1, 2005 #9


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    I am not sure what the point would be. As to what Warren and Chronos alluded, it would be better to spend time on what is physically feasible/viable.

    There is no known receiver at 420 LY, and it would take an additional 420 LY to return. In 840 years, someone would be interested?

    Then there is the issue of the power to carry a signal so far and have a response (if desired) undisturbed.

    The issue for Project Prometheus and JIMO is the power required for bandwidth and data transmission rate - and that is just in our solar system from Jupiter.
  11. Jul 1, 2005 #10


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    I would also suggest a different option - modulated lasers (or possibly x-rays) through a very small wormhole pair. This is on the grounds of compatibility with science, not dramatic purposes. As others have written, you can write whatever you need to for dramatic purpose in a fictional story, you don't need to and probably shouldn't ask about the science if you just want to make stuff up that fits the storyline, though.

    Wormholes may be physically possible, do generally what you want (it'll probably be a high-bandwidth non-portable link that's very expensive in story terms),, and have some conjectured mechanisms for preventing time information paradoxes (the chronology protection conjectures).

    You have the option of using wormholes only for commuications, and not general travel, by stating that ones large enough to travel through physically are not possible (or perhaps just not practical) with exsting story-line technology.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2005
  12. Jul 1, 2005 #11
    Both are good as long as there is no math involved in them.

  13. Jul 1, 2005 #12
    LOL! I'm actually suprised that anyone would even figure this out - yes I'm wanting to write a SF book to see if I can get it published (I hate working). Nothing is on paper; I'm wanting to get some ideas on different views first, see who would be interested in what... :D

    Damn pervect, you're good! :biggrin:
  14. Jul 8, 2005 #13
    is the second option a possibility? It isnt possible in my world but then again im no-where near up to date on the peculiarities of quantum etc.
    and of course the second option would be the option of choice because morse code is a form of binary and with binary you would be able to transfer information just as fast as the radiowave (morse code is only slow with a human operating it ...)
  15. Jul 8, 2005 #14
    1)Has to end up at a location familiar with Marconi decoders?

    1)Has to end up at a location that has had Mr Morse in their distant past History?
  16. Jul 8, 2005 #15
    Neither one nor two,
    even for fiction purposes both are generally accepted as not believable, where you need readers to suspend their disbelief to accept the story line. I agree that even though wormholes are just as impossible as “instantaneous” communications at 45 WPM, since even some Physicists are willing to speculate on them being real, wormholes might be your best choice.
    However, to get a fiction story line that works I’d disagree on “communications” only worm holes. It would require someone at 420 LY (I assume 420 is significant to your story for some reason) away to have the same skills and know to expect, receive, and return the communications. SO, maybe allowing very small inert (non-living inorganic) items to go through, using them to establish “CONTACT” and provide the means for establishing return communications somehow could work. Just try not to duplicate too much of Carl’s book and movie.

    As to:
    What makes you think writing a book is not going to be tons of work? Or is that why “Nothing is on paper” yet? To get started you don’t need more ideas, you need to write about 1500 words a day without editing. I find just writing is hard enough, finding a good story for readable fiction (regardless of the sci-fi tech stuff) is something I don’t think I could tackle. If you can find that in just 10% of what you write (actually write) you might have something. So to offer a small bit of encouragement (in a reverse psych kind of way) Quite Now, Give UP, You’ll Never Make IT!
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