Workshop Episode 10 (Guest Host: Bryan Lincoln)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 10, with Bryan Lincoln and Tracy Bodine With Bryan Lincoln as Guest Host, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put his diverse skill set to use and workshop a good sci-fi story. Enter Tracy Bodine, offering up a truly epic space opera for discussion around the Roundtable.  We had a great time (and you will, too) exploring some of the possibilities of his tale that includes aliens, time-travel, bio-augmentation, galactic intrigue and the multiverse. So sit back, fire up your Quantum Spectrometer, and enjoy! (when you’re done, check out Bryan’s Showcase Episode!)


PROMO: “Haywire” by Justin Macumber (check it out on Amazon)

Workshop Episode 10 (Guest Host: Bryan Lincoln)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Check out this episode on iTunes

On Bryan’s Plate:

  •  Currently producing a full-cast production of “Harlan’s Wake” by John Meirau
  • Casting and preparing for production of his own book “Malcontent” (we’ll keep you posted)

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Comments (6)

Note to self: stay away from physics in all future projects. Ouch, my brain hurts!

There have been some further offline discussions with Tracy (with potentially more on the short term horizon). My plan, with the authors permission, is to share some of the details here for all to see. Stay tuned!

I was going to suggest that the amnesiac had sent himself back from the far future universe on the other side of that black hole wormhole, but the idea of the A.I. implanting the seeds of itself on Mars is awesome.

ya, I think that Idea is great as well!

Here is the initial couple mails between Tracy and myself. He just sent me a long list of other ideas for comment, so I will be posting more, hopefully this weekend. For now, a little bit on black holes.

Tracy said:

This is the link to paper I referenced when coming up with the prison universe beyond a black hole’s event horizon Idea. It relates to the comment Bryan made in his 20 minutes with segment about technical papers.
Is there life inside black holes?

Bryan said:
Woah, is that first link a real publication? I don’t see a journal
anywhere, but it has a few really odd assumptions in it. The use of
terms like ‘planets’ and ‘civilizations’ in a cosmology article is
odd, for example. I would expect discussion of matter in a more
fundamental and defined way. It could be some crazy Russian mixing his
sci fi idea with some Black Hole math (which I did not check for
validity). In any case, the beauty of Black Holes is that we won’t be
having a real look into one anytime soon so you won’t have to worry
about a fun idea like a hidden prison universe being proved

Of course, there’s the holographic principle to consider. “The
informational content of all the objects which have fallen into the
hole can be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event
horizon.” Susskind, L., “The Black Hole War – My Battle with Stephen
Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics”, Little, Brown
and Company (2008)

Tracy said:

About the holographic principle issue you brought up.  Does that require the mass to stay inside the the black hole?  what happens if matter or energy inside the black hole is lost to another universe.  Does the holograph act sort of like a bookmark or placeholder? Meaning even thought the information it represents is no longer available, it doesn’t change the information content of the original universe despite the black hole loosing mass.

As a side note, that’s how this unique system is discovered because this is the only black hole in the known universe loosing measurable amounts of mass.

Bryan said:

A Black Hole occurs when gravity is so high that not even light can
escape. This makes it’s interior unobservable, and we only have math
available to try to describe what goes on inside. The big debate
between Hawking and Susskind (which Susskind won) was about the
requirement in physics that information be conserved. The holographic
principle conserves information (all information pertaining to the
inside is there on the observable event horizon and thus has not been
destroyed), preventing a bad mathematical contradiction. Anything
entering a Black hole is likely obliterated, broken down into
fundamental parts in the crazy high gravity, but the weirdness comes
from relativity….if you went into a black hole you would be observed
to be torn apart from those viewing from outside, but you very well
might find no change from your own viewpoint (though this is obviously
untested). That could be a cruel kind of permanent prison. To the rest
of the universe you are destroyed, but from your own perspective you
are alive in a place you can never return from.

Here’s a couple videos describing things a bit:

The idea of a black hole leading to another universe (from the
perspective of the person going through it) seems to be plausible. To
the perspective of the universe left behind, the person is dead,
smeared across a 2 dimensional event horizon.

Hope that helps spawn some ideas!

Ok, this’ll be long, but hopefully some people will enjoy this kind of brainstorm. I’m sure Tracy would love other peoples’ feedback as well.
Hi Tracy,
I’ll reply to each section as I go through.
On Wed, May 9, 2012 at 11:28 PM, Tracy Bodine wrote:
….here are some of the other ideas I plan to use in the story.
Vesper Drive
The Vesper drive is a multi part drive system that uses quantum membrane manipulation and quantum foam energy injection to achieve a solid state drive system that does not require conventional fuel or reaction mass to propel a ship. The drives housing is made up of a very large spherical cavity in the middle of the ship which is often large enough to require the super structure of the ship be built around it. During operation, a quantum string is inflated inside the housing into a ‘brane and tuned so that only negative mater virtual particles can spontaneously arise within the drive. Energy is then injected into the region of space-time in the drive housing and negative matter virtual particles arise from the quantum foam and congregate in the center of the drive as the anti-gravitons push against the normal mater of the the housing. Further membrane manipulation can cause these anti-gravitons to be focused on specific areas of the drive housing, pushing it away from the negative mater and providing the impetus for the ships movement. Reversing the energy injection causes the virtual particles to be reabsorbed into the quantum foam and system is set to begin another cycle. This process is repeated billions of times per second.
The Vesper drive also uses a larger membrane as a drive field. A drive field is a region of space-time that is attached to our universe and obeys most of the normal laws of physics except allows for FTL travel. The field starts out as a normal boson particle that is expanded into a membrane. The membrane is tuned in such a way that it decouples the ship and its occupants from the Higgs field. This lack of interaction avoids the friction we experience as mass. The field and all of the matter within are mass-less with respect to the universe, so the ship can be accelerated to the speed of light with no infinite increase in mass and no time dilation. In fact, any energy transfer at all to the drive field will either instantly accelerate the ship to light speed or decelerate it to zero. The downside of this method of travel is that although space is mostly empty it is not a complete void. A ship would constantly run into stray atoms, solar winds and energy emissions such as light, radio wave, x-rays, gamma rays, etc. Every one of these collisions would alter the ships course. So a ship needs a drive that is capable of acting on the ship billions of times per second to keep it on course.
For FTL flight, a second drive field needs to be established once the ship is at light speed and tuned to become a Tachyon field. The tachyon field contains within it both the ship and the original drive field and is capable of accelerating beyond the speed of light. After the tachyon field is established the ships c-multiple speed is regulated by the amount of energy the ship is capable of drawing off from the tachyon field. The greater the tachyon field’s energy density the slower it goes.
Bryan says:
This sounds like a fun merger of science ideas that I think most people would buy into without any major complaints. The only thing that really stood out to me was the idea of “a particle expanded into a membrane”. A particle is a fundamental unit, and a membrane would have to be made up of an array of objects.
Alcubierre Drive
The second FTL Drive System is the Alcubierre Drive. This was the first FTL Drive system to be mathematically expressed by mankind. The Alcubierre Drive requires massive amounts of both positive and negative energy. By using energy densities equivalent to the mass of a gas giant planet the Alcubierre drive is able to warp space-time. By contracting the space in front and expanding the space behind, the ship is able to traverse interstellar or intergalactic distances in a fraction of a second. The Alcubierre drive provides massive benefits in terms of moving men and material, but only allows safe travel along predefined routes, which are monitored and updated in real time along their entire length. Unlike the VESPER Drive System the Alcubierre Drive does not use a Drive Field and relies only on the ships navigational deflector shield to protect the craft from collisions. Anything larger than gas, dust or micro meteors would pose a catastrophic danger to the ship.
Bryan says: This is a fun one, too. My immediate question is: If this thing bends space itself, what does it do to a nearby person? How are they protected?
Wormhole Drive
The Wormhole Drive is the third of the three FTL drive systems. The drive is able to open a wormhole large enough for a ship to pass safely through and theoretically the drive can provide near instantaneous travel across our universe. This is accomplished by entangling the wormhole being created with a second wormhole at a known location.
Bryan says: If you aren’t folding space, then all a wormhole can do is connect two distant points that are nearby in an extra dimension. It’s like drawing two points on a piece of paper and folding the paper so the two points touch. The worm hole allows passage through the 3rd dimension to get from one point to the other and it would seem the ship passed from one end of a flat piece of paper to the other. If you create a wormhole you do not fold the page to bring the points together. All you do is look in the extra dimension to see if there is a ‘distant’ point ‘nearby’. So you would need to map known connections and generate the wormhole in the correct place, not magically make a wormhole that takes you to another wormhole somewhere else.
Rift Reactor
A rift reactor is an energy generator. It uses a special type of wormhole, called a rift, to create a bridge between our universe and another. The power generation comes from the stream of highly energized particles that flow from other universes, specifically targeted for high energy concentrations, into ours. For example, in an alternate universe, particles may have an average energy density that significantly exceeds the energy output of a mater/antimatter annihilation of particles from our universe. When these particles move across the rift and enter our universe, they shed excess energy in the forms of heat, light, momentum, various types of radiation and exotic particles. The Rift reactor is designed to capture as much of this energy as possible and convert it into a usable form. Varying the the diameter of the wormhole’s throat throttles the energy output from a trickle to a torrent.
Bryan says: Sure. Stick with calling them Rifts (maybe call them ‘like wormholes’ instead of a subcategory of wormhole).
Ultra Heavy Artificial Nucleosynthesis
Ultra Heavy Artificial Nucleosynthesis is a process by which elements are synthesized in a controlled, low energy manufacturing process. The process involves establishing a n-field or null-mater field inside a UHAN generator which is in zero-g, injecting the appropriate number of protons and neutrons for the desired elements, allow time for the atomic particles to nucleate, remove the n-field and inject free electrons into the generators chamber to balance the new atoms electric charge.
The UHANS process allows manufacturers to create needed elements for manufacturing and industrial applications. New elements can be tailored to a specific application or process.
Scarcity of rare earth elements is no longer an issue and elements with atomic numbers greater than those which are naturally occurring on Earth can be synthesized. Indeed, the UHANS process can create atoms with atomic numbers that require more energy than what is available in a super nova to synthesize.
The n-field was the first quantum ‘brane manipulation application developed from the study of dark matter. By inflating a quantum string and manipulating is properties, manufactures are able to establish a region of space-time inside the UHAN generator where normal matter does not vibrate in the 4th dimension.
This lack of vibration causes the atomic particles to loose all properties related to the electromagnetic force. Because these particles no longer have a charge they are able to condense down to a density where all of the protons and neutrons that were injected are physically touching. This is the equivalent density of neutronium. However, because electrons are not present the protons regain their positive charge after the n-field is removed. Adding a burst of electrons equalizes the newly tailored atomic nucleus’ charge and a new synthetic elemental atom is created. (note for further research: Is there a limit to the atomic weight of an atom created in this process? Is an atom with an atomic weight of one million too heavy and collapse into neutronium or further?)
Bryan says: This is the second time you’ve used the phrase “inflating a quantum string”. Strings are 1-D objects (instead of 0-D points). I’m not sure what you mean by ‘inflate’. Maybe just call it “string manipulation”? As for the atomic weight limit, yes there is one. At a certain size the atoms’ cumulative repulsive electromagnetic force (each is weak but works over a long range) overcomes the local attractive strong force (each is strong but only over a short distance)
Anti-Nanite Bacteria
The Green Squeegee for the Grey Goo. These synthetic bacteria are designed to have a great number of motile cilia that branch out into very fine structures that are capable of adhering to nanites. The nanites are then drawn into a vacuole where acids are secreted to destroy the nanites.
Bryan says: This is exotic but plausible. I’m more worried about the nanites themselves. Nanites are common in scifi (I immediately think of Stargate when I hear the term) but often are described in a way that clearly does not take scaling correctly into account.
Stellar Forming
The process by which the build up of nuclear byproducts in the stars core are broken down into hydrogen atoms again and additional hydrogen fuel added, if needed, to maintain a star’s fuel supply indefinitely. Stellar Forming uses spaced based facilities to establish millions of paired wormhole’s that move stellar core material from the star, to the processing facility and back to the star. This process can extend the life of a main sequence star, indefinitely, making it effectively immortal as long as the process is maintained. Stellar forming can even rejuvenate older stars and transform them from the red giant stage back into main sequence stars if given enough time and processing capacity.
Bryan says: Oh, that is fun. I don’t know enough about stars to theorize the immortality bit, but hey, why not!
Orbital Debris Intercept Vehicle
An ODIV is an automated satellite that is specifically designed to intercept and absorb small to medium sized chucks of space junk. It is a large Block of Aerogel (may need a different material) which absorbs the impacts from small to medium sized space debris. The debris penetrates the ODIV’s outer shell and is slowed to a stop within the capture material. Multiple ODIV’s can work in unison to protect other space vehicles or installations, creating a multi-layered defense. Because of their low mass, astronauts may be able to connect a number of ODIV’s together to create an even larger Multi-ODIV which would be capable of absorbing, blocking or deflecting even large peices of space debris. After an ODIV has reached its design life it will deorbit and burn up over the ocean. ODIV’s allow for rapid and economical clearing of space junk reducing costly collisions and making space safer.
Bryan says: I’m ok with this, but something that can detect, seek, and gather would do a lot better than waiting for the debris to come to it. You may just be cluttering with large blocks that are effectively just more debris floating around.
Near Space Launch System
This is the main launch platform for ODIV deployments. The platform is a lightweight scaffolding which is lifted to NEO by large helium lifting balloons. Once at maximum altitude, the payload is released and its main lift rocket lifts it the remaining distance to orbit. The advantages of the near space launch system are legion. Lower mission costs, lower orbital insertion costs per ton of payload, payloads that are too bulky or irregularly shaped to fit into a conventional rocket can be launched, payloads with lower G-force tolerances can be launched (the much smaller lift rockets need less acceleration to enter orbit which equals less G’s experienced by payloads), less fuel expended to get the payload to orbit, less environmental impact.
Bryan says: I like the idea. I think there will be a drive for lowest weight possible (Not just the scaffolding, but the thing to be launched too), I’m not sure how much helium would be needed to get how much weight up there, but a camera+ balloon method has given us some really cool movies of late. Maybe different pieces go up and are assembled in space?
Bryan says: Hope that helps Remember that scifi doesn’t have to be proven to work. It just needs to sound believable and give you the tools you need to tell a good story.

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