Just stuff.


1. The NSA leaker can go fuck himself.

2. RIP James Gandolfini, when you get to the gate St.Peter’s gonna get whacked!

3. If Jesus was a landlord, he’d be that guy who doesn’t fix shit!

4. Egypt can kiss my ass as long as they rape and persecute women.

5. That asshole who runs the Creation Museum is a huge deluded fucktool! 

6. If George Zimmerman beats his murder rap are they gonna hire him back at The Men’s Warehouse?

7. Congrats LGBT community on marriage equality, now you can be as miserable as straight people!

8. Impeach Obama, his head is shaped like a light bulb!

The thinking Atheist website.


Bible Contradictions

This page addresses issues, contradictions and false logic with three of the most popular bible stories (Creation, Noah’s Ark and the Nativity Story), followed by a list of other scriptural accounts that conflict with each other. Browse the points below and ask yourself if the bible is truly a perfect, accurate, divinely-inspired document for living.




06:20 PM ET

This Oklahoma atheist isn’t thanking the Lord

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) – Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who – after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son’s lives – had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, smiling and looking down.

“Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” he continued.

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media – one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

Vitsmun, who chronicled her decision to flee her house with her son on CNN iReport, is one of 13 million atheists or agnostics in America, according to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

See Rebecca Vitsmun discuss her decision with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

While only 2.4% of Americans are atheists, they fit into a broader category that is on the rise in the United States.

Nearly 20% of adults – and a third of those under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated, the Pew report found.

This group, which has grown by roughly 5% in five years, is often referred to as the “nones.” It is a term that extends beyond atheists, who believe there is no God, and agnostics, who believe it’s impossible to prove or disprove God’s existence. It includes a greater proportion of people who see themselves as nothing in particular, which means they might be secular, spiritual or believers – but simply don’t identify with an organized religion, said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center

“When we ask people questions about their religious identity, when we ask them about their religious beliefs, there are relatively few who are atheists. But I’m speaking in percentage terms,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of them around. And they’re certainly all over.”

Oklahoma included.

In fact, when the Pew Research Center last drilled down to uncover the religious landscape of affiliations on a state level five years ago, 12% of Oklahomans were religiously unaffiliated. And just as the numbers ticked up nationally since then, it stands to reason that they did the same in Oklahoma.

We tried to reach Vitsmun by phone Wednesday but were unable to connect.

Her friend Waylon Flinn, however, shed some light on who she is. She and her husband, who Flinn said is also an atheist, aren’t the sorts who advertise their beliefs or throw them in people’s faces. When she agreed to go on camera, it wasn’t for that platform; she didn’t even see the Lord question coming.

But that she responded to Blitzer the way she did is no surprise to Flinn, who opened his home in nearby Norman to Vitsmun’s family after theirs was destroyed.

“She handled it in her style, which is very honest and true to herself,” he said.

   – CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • Faith Now • iReport • News media

GMO info from Green America website


I will refer to GMO foods in other posts as GMC, Genetically Modified Crap because that is what it really is and while conservatives and liberals argue over mundane shit, they really should be asking the REAL questions and worrying about REAL issues! I would start at ‘What the Hell is on my plate and why isn’t labeling GMC a requirement?! 

9 GMO Ingredients to Avoid



Because of the prevalence of soy and corn in processed foods, about 30,000 genetically modified food products sit on US grocery store shelves.

Here are the top 9 GM ingredients to watch for: 


1. SOY
GM since: 1996
How widespread: 94 percent of the US soybean crop was genetically modified in 2011, according to the USDA.
What to watch for: Soybeans show up in many traditional (i.e. not organic) soy products, such as tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, miso, and tempeh, as well as any product containing the emulsifier lecithin (often derived from soybean oil), such as ice cream and candy.


GM since: 1996
How widespread: 90 percent of the US cotton crop was genetically modified in 2011, according to the USDA.
What to watch for: The cotton plant, genetically modified to be pest-resistant, produces not only fibers for fabric, but also cottonseed oil, available on US shelves as a standalone product, and also commonly used as an ingredient in margarine, in salad dressings, and as a frying oil for potato chips and other snacks.


GM since: 1996
How widespread: 88 percent of the US corn crop was genetically modified in 2011, according to the USDA.
What to watch for: GM corn can make its way into hundreds of products: breakfast cereals, corn-flour products (tortillas, chips, etc.), corn oil products (mayonnaise, shortening, etc.), and literally anything sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which covers sweetened fruit drinks, processed cookies and other snacks, yogurts, soups, condiments, and many other products.


GM since: 1996
How widespread: 90 percent of the US canola crop was genetically modified in 2010, according to the New York Times
What to watch for: Any canola oil made in the USA. This popular cooking oil, originally derived from rapeseed oil by breeders in Canada (the name is a contraction for “Canadian oil, low acid”) comes from a genetically modified plant that is no longer simply cultivated, but grows wild across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Canada.


GM since: 1998
How widespread: 80 percent of the US papaya crop was genetically modified in 2010, according to the New York Times.
What to watch for: All papaya grown in the US. Hawaiian papaya was genetically engineered to withstand the ringspot virus in the late 1990s, with the GM version rapidly taking over the industry. In 2009, the USDA rescinded regulations prohibiting GM papaya on the US mainland; they have since been introduced to Florida plantations.


GM since: In 2005, the USDA deregulated GM alfalfa, though cultivation was later halted in 2007, following lawsuits from the Center for Food Safety and others who demanded a full evaluation of the threats to conventional alfalfa plants, and the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds. Following a new environmental impact study, the USDA in 2011 again deregulated GM alfalfa, which is grown primarily as feed for dairy and sometimes beef cattle.
How widespread: Data on the re-introduction of GM alfalfa in 2011 will be available from the USDA in July. At present, GM alfalfa is used primarily as hay for cattle. The Monsanto Technology Use Agreement for “Roundup Ready” GM alfalfa forbids its use for sprouts.
What to watch for: It’s difficult to tell from a meat or dairy product whether it is from cows fed GM alfalfa. Look for organic dairy products and organic or 100 percent grassfed meat. An even better option is to go vegetarian or vegan.


GM since: 2005
How widespread: 95 percent of the US sugar-beet crop was genetically modified in 2009, according to the USDA. Around half of the sugar produced in the US comes from sugar beets.
What to watch for: If a non-organic bag of sugar or a product containing conventional sugar as an ingredient does not specify “pure cane sugar,” the sugar is likely a combination of cane sugar and GM sugar beets.


GM since: 1994
How widespread: Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a GM synthetic hormone injected into dairy cows to boost milk production. 17 percent of US cows were injected with rBGH in 2007 (most recent figure). Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains elevated levels of Insulin Growth Factor-1, a hormone linked to increased risks for certain cancers.
What to watch for: No label is required for milk from rBGH-treated cows, though many brands of non-treated milk label their containers as such.


Genetically modified since: 1965
How widespread: Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, is derived from GM microorganisms. It is found in over 6,000 products, including diet sodas.
What to watch for: Avoid anything labeled as containing Nutrasweet, Equal, or aspartame.

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Before your time


I believe that anyone that considers themselves intellectual has heard the truly ignorant statement, ‘Oh, I think that was before my time.’ come from the mouth of a teen or twenty-something in regards to the mention of an event, movie or piece of literature that requires thought. These are the same people that will tell you that they believe in a 2000 year old book and deity but they know nothing of Shakespeare! Star Trek and Easy Rider were before my time but I believe that the bible is true! I haven’t READ the bible, but I believe that it’s true! Blah, blah, blah!

What is motivating these people to claim ignorance of anything that is not popular or from their generation? Do they think that it makes them look other than completely uncultured? I was listening to classical and jazz music by the time I was 20 and reading the classics throughout my teens. I was and am proud that I am well read and have worldly experience. I would have NEVER said that something that required intellectual investment was ‘before my time.’

The current lot seems to be following some kind of hipster script of lemming-like idiocy, but even hipsters pride themselves on knowing about obscure old movies and literature! The main streamers, the pop-icon followers are the problem I think. They don’t seem to want to be bothered with anything but what the latest mind-numbingly boring pop and young adult pulp bullshit publications such as the Twilight series and Taylor Swift’s latest uninspired piece of puling shit! Yes I sound like a self-important ass sometimes, but I respect knowledge born of music, theater and literature. I enjoy the classical, the hard rock, the grunge, and I appreciate the new as well. I just don’t discriminate against the things of a different era, I embrace them as a welcome addition to my repertoire.

A friend of mine recently divorced and in his middle thirties made the mistake of dating a girl, and I mean GIRL, in her mid-twenties. This person is a professional two years out of college to his 10 to 15. She is intelligent but I always got the feeling that the true core of this person was only skin deep. She seemed distracted all the time as so many young people appear, with her head in the clouds and her considerably beautiful swimmers body in the present, blindly checking for new text messages and studying her Facebook page for hours. She is very aware of the fact that she is beautiful and pours the narcissism out in generous portions seemingly oblivious to the eyes that watch. She believes that the attention is warranted and is completely expecting of it like the models that prance the runway.

My friend asked this girl to dinner a few times and to a movie or two, always paying of course. The airhead sat thru dinner and the movies bored out of her mind because they were eclectic pictures and required thought and contemplation. She also texted quite frequently throughout dinner giving the appearance that she was completely self absorbed and inconsiderate. The conversation seemed to always gravitate to her and the things that she liked and she frequently stated that certain things that he mentioned were ‘before my time.’ This, of course, has little to do with atheism but illustrates the simplicity of the beings that can claim to believe in something supernatural but can’t comprehend Nietzsche! So to those who are so obtuse and limited that they cannot comprehend anything that doesn’t happen in text or reality T.V, we don’t care about your limited sophomoric opinions and your pretentious superficial ramblings, when you get well read and take your heads out of your collective asses then we might actually give a rolling fuck about what you have to say. Until then, keep your goddamned Kardashian nonsense to yourself and text until your heart is empty and content! If you wake up…..Call me!

Pat Robertson….


I think that we all can agree that Pat Robertson and all of the idiot Sky Fairy believers are a bunch of out-of-touch assholes who give the most bullshit irrelevant advice based on their Book of Lies. From now on, if you see Sky Fairy and Book of Lies I am referring to god and the kabible! I am taking the liberty to photoshop a huge ebony penis and a gay pride T-shirt on to a photo of Pat Robertson! Since he talks about gays all the time I assume that he is a frustrated closeted homosexual and in need of my help. I am also submitting his name to Rentboy.com in the hopes that he will meet a man that can truly satisfy him! Pat’s misunderstood and needs our love and cast-off sex toys! Please take time to let him realize his true sexuality and let him live his inner freak! I will excuse myself now to put on the punk rock music, put on my makeup and dance with my dick tucked between my legs! It puts the lotion in the fucking basket!

Bible Quiz from the great FFRF!

Home > Freethought Quizzes > FFRF Bible Quiz

What Do You Really Know
About The Bible?

The bible is the “best seller” that is rarely read. How much do you actually know about the so-called “Good Book”?

Answer all 50 questions, then hit “Submit” for your score and full biblical documentation of all the answers.

1. What is the last of the Ten Commandments?

  1. Don’t steal.
  2. Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife and property.
  3. Don’t boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.
  4. Love your neighbor as yourself.

2. What is the penalty for working on the Sabbath?

  1. You will be stoned to death.
  2. Neither you nor your offspring to the 5th generation can enter the tabernacle.
  3. You should sacrifice two unblemished she goats.
  4. You will be disinherited from the kingdom.

3. What is God’s name?

  1. Jealous.
  2. Righteous.
  3. Holy.
  4. Jehovah.

4. How should parents treat a stubborn and rebellious son?

  1. He should be beaten seven times with a whip made of horsehair.
  2. He should be stripped and humiliated at the gate of the city.
  3. He should be expelled from the family.
  4. He should be stoned to death.

5. What happens if you are not a virgin on your wedding night?

  1. Your father must pay 100 shekels of silver to your husband.
  2. You can never approach the altar.
  3. You must dress in black and leave your husband for one year.
  4. You will be stoned to death.

6. What does the bible say about witches?

  1. Witches should be killed.
  2. Witches are people possessed by demons and they are forever damned.
  3. Witches can be saved if they are exorcised.
  4. Witches are part of the mythology of idolatrous tribes.

7. Which of these foods does the bible expressly permit you to eat? (The others are “abominations.”)

  1. Pork.
  2. Shellfish.
  3. Locust.
  4. Rabbit.

8. When the Israelites conquered the Midianites, what part of the spoils of war was given to the priest as “the Lord’s tribute”?

  1. 500 sheep.
  2. 30,000 asses.
  3. 32,000 cows.
  4. 32 virgins.

9. What is the origin of the “mighty men” giants known as nephilim?

  1. They were the offspring of God’s angels and young women.
  2. They were the result of an earlier, botched creation.
  3. They were monsters from the evil nation of Nephi.
  4. They were part of the “blessing of Abraham” that ensured military victory to God’s chosen people.

10. What happened to Korah and his family, Israelites who thought they could deal directly with God without a human intermediary?

  1. They became priests.
  2. They were expelled from the nation of Israel.
  3. The earth opened and swallowed them up.
  4. They were stripped of all their belongings, houses, and livestock.

11. According to the bible, who created evil?

  1. Adam.
  2. Eve.
  3. God.
  4. Satan.

12. According to the bible, what is God not able to do?

  1. Save the very worst sinners from hell.
  2. Make a rock so huge he can’t lift it.
  3. Repel chariots of iron.
  4. Make people tell lies.

13. According to the bible, where does God live?

  1. On a throne in the seventh heaven.
  2. In darkness.
  3. Above the clouds.
  4. On a planet between the sun and the stars.

14. According to biblical biology, what is a bat?

  1. A bird.
  2. A mammal.
  3. An insect.
  4. A mythical creature.

15. According to biblical anatomy, where does thinking happen?

  1. In the heart.
  2. In the brain.
  3. In the kidneys.
  4. In the lungs.

16. How did Gideon demonstrate his family values?

  1. He lived with a young boy named Jether.
  2. He and his wife Ophrah had three sons who became spiritual leaders.
  3. He fathered 71 sons through his “many wives” and a mistress in Shechem.
  4. He remained single, becoming the inspiration for St. Paul.

17. After Jephthah was victorious in battle, what sacrifice did he burn on the altar, as he had vowed to the Lord?

  1. Himself.
  2. His livestock.
  3. Two unspotted lambs.
  4. His virgin daughter.

18. What price did David pay King Saul for his first wife?

  1. 500 cattle.
  2. The heads of 100 Philistines.
  3. The foreskins of 200 Philistines.
  4. The swords, shields and horses of 300 Philistines.

19. How many sexual partners did King Solomon have?

  1. One wife and 300 concubines.
  2. One wife. (The concubines were servants.)
  3. 300 wives.
  4. One thousand sexual partners.

20. What happened to 42 little children who teased God’s prophet Elisha for being bald and he cursed them in the name of the Lord?

  1. They were whipped by their parents.
  2. They and their descendants to five generations were forbidden to enter the tabernacle.
  3. Two bears came out of the forest and killed them all.
  4. They were forced to work seven years for the Levites as child slaves.

21. What reason did God give for tormenting Job?

  1. “Job was a sinner. He deserved it.”
  2. “I didn’t torment Job. Satan did it.”
  3. “Satan dared me, so I destroyed Job for no reason at all.”
  4. “I wanted to see how far a man would bend before breaking.”

22. According to the bible, what does Satan look like?

  1. A skinny red man with horns and a pointed tail.
  2. A red dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns.
  3. A garden snake.
  4. An angel in a black robe.

23. How does the biblical god treat haughty women?

  1. He makes them barren.
  2. He puts scabs on their heads and uncovers their private parts.
  3. He takes away their gold and expensive clothing.
  4. The Holy Spirit causes them to feel shame for their arrogance.

24. In dollars (shekels), how much is a woman worth?

  1. Half a male.
  2. The same as a male.
  3. Twice as much as a male.
  4. Irrelevant. The bible does not put a financial value on human life.

25. What happens if a man rapes an engaged virgin in the city, and no one hears anything?

  1. The man should pay her father 100 shekels of silver.
  2. The man is stoned to death.
  3. The woman is stoned to death.
  4. They are both stoned to death.

26. What is the Mosaic Law punishment for being handicapped?

  1. You will be stoned to death.
  2. You must sacrifice two additional doves on the altar.
  3. You are not allowed in church.
  4. You must bathe for two months before entering the tabernacle.

27. According to the bible, when may a husband have sex with his wife?

  1. As often as he likes. She is his property.
  2. Not during her menstrual period.
  3. As often as he likes until the first son is born, then by mutual agreement.
  4. As often as the wife allows it.

28. How should you feel when you dash babies against the rocks?

  1. Happy.
  2. Ashamed.
  3. It depends if the babies were guilty or innocent.
  4. Nothing. It is all in God’s hands.

29. How many human generations were there before Jesus?

  1. “More numerous than the stars.”
  2. 144,000.
  3. 412.
  4. 62.

30. What Christmas tradition is expressly forbidden in the bible?

  1. Singing carols house-to-house.
  2. Exchanging gifts.
  3. Christmas trees.
  4. Kissing under the mistletoe.

31. According to Jesus, what must you do to have eternal life?

  1. Obey the law and keep all the sacraments.
  2. Sell everything you have and give all the money to the poor.
  3. Attend church regularly and tithe ten percent of your income to God.
  4. Confess your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart.

32. According to Jesus, how should Christian disciples treat their parents?

  1. Parents should be loved, honored and cared for.
  2. Parents should be taken care of by the church community.
  3. Parents should be hated.
  4. Parents should be ignored–“Let the dead bury the dead”–because when you are born again, God becomes your true parent.

33. According to Jesus, how should slaves be treated?

  1. They should be beaten daily to keep them in line.
  2. They should be beaten for disobedience, but not more severely than they deserve.
  3. They should be treated humanely, as members of the family.
  4. They should be set free because slavery is wrong.

34. What did Jesus say about peace?

  1. “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”
  2. “Don’t think that I came for peace on earth. I came to start wars.”
  3. “Each person makes their own peace, according to their faith and how they treat others.”
  4. “There is no peace apart from God.”

35. Which one of these phrases did Jesus not say about witnessing?

  1. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
  2. “God is my witness.”
  3. “If I bear witness of myself, it is true.”
  4. “If I bear witness of myself, it is not true.”

36. What personal sacrifice for “the kingdom of heaven” was Jesus talking about when he told his disciples, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it”?

  1. Leave your family.
  2. Pluck out your eyes.
  3. Become poor.
  4. Castrate yourself.

37. According to New Testament medical advice, what should you do if you are sick?

  1. Seek medical help from doctors ordained by God.
  2. Ask the church elders to apply oil to your skin and pray for you.
  3. Ask Jesus or the elders to exorcise the evil spirits from your body.
  4. Kneel down before a brass serpent wrapped around a pole.

38. What does Paul prohibit a woman from wearing in church?

  1. A hat, or any head covering.
  2. Gold.
  3. Necklaces, bracelets or anklets.
  4. Men’s clothing.

39. According to Paul, what is the role of women in the church?

  1. Women are equal to men in all respects.
  2. Women do the praying, singing and testifying, while men handle the preaching and finances.
  3. Women must keep silent. They should learn from their husbands at home.
  4. Women are not allowed in church except on high holidays.

40. What does Paul say about marriage?

  1. “I wish everyone were single like me.”
  2. “Celibacy is a pagan practice.”
  3. “Elders and deacons may have more than one wife.”
  4. “If your feelings are only sexual, then don’t get married.”

41. Paul forbids divorce, but Jesus allows it under one circumstance. What is that circumstance?

  1. If the husband has sex outside of marriage.
  2. If the wife has sex outside of marriage.
  3. If either has sex outside of marriage.
  4. If the wife fails to produce a son.

42. What group of people will make it into the heavenly choir?

  1. Those who are “poor in spirit.”
  2. Those who confess their sins and accept Jesus as their savior.
  3. God’s chosen people, the Jews.
  4. 144,000 male virgins who have not been defiled with women.

43. Which one of these words is in the bible?

  1. Trinity.
  2. Liberal.
  3. Christmas.
  4. Rapture.

44. Where does the bible say that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights?

  1. The laws of Moses.
  2. Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
  3. The Book of Revelation.
  4. Nowhere.

45. Should Christians allow nonbelievers into their homes?

Yes. No.

46. Should Christian men kiss each other?

Yes. No.

47. Should Christians always give what they have to anyone who asks for it?

Yes. No.

48. Do the Ten Commandments prohibit incest or rape?

Yes. No.

49. If you lose a lawsuit, should you pay exactly what the court decides?

Yes. No.

50. Can Christians ask their boss for a raise?

Yes. No.

(Unanswered questions will be counted wrong.)

NOTE If the “Submit” button doesn’t work, see Bible Quiz Answers (minus your score).

Warp speed NOW!

Instead of using rockets or thrusters, a craft equipped with warp drive would move by distorting space.
By Konstantin KakaesPosted 04.01.2013 at 12:08 pm27 Comments

The Warp Drive

The Warp Drive Kris Holland, based on Enterprise Design by Matt Jeffries

The warp drive proposed by Miguel Alcubierre would achieve faster-than-light speeds by distorting space-time. The device would generate a field of negative energy that would squeeze or stretch space-time, creating a bubble. The bubble would ride the distortions like a surfer on a wave. As evidenced in the big bang, space-time can expand so quickly that objects move faster than the speed of light.

1) The vertical dimension represents how much a given volume of space-time expands or contracts in Alcubierre’s model. Positive values [red] imply an expansion. When space-time expands behind a craft, it propels the ship forward.

2) Inside the warp bubble, neutral space-time would leave the ship undisturbed. Passengers would experience a gravitationally calm zero-G environment.

3) Negative values [blue] imply a contraction in space-time. The contraction balances the expansion of space-time as the bubble moves forward.


Negative Energy: Creating a warp drive requires negative energy—a mysterious form of matter that repels rather than attracts. While predicted to exist, it has never been measured in a laboratory, and known methods for creating it are extremely limited; they would generate so much positive (normal) energy that any negative energy effects would likely be drowned out.

Faster-Than-Light Limitation: If scientists could generate a powerful field of negative energy, they would need to position some of it in front of the craft. “The problem,” says Alcubierre, “is that you wouldn’t be able to make this field reach the region you need.” In other words, to get the energy in front of the craft, it would need to move at faster-than-light speeds, which is impossible.

Destabilization: Even if scientists could generate and position a field of negative energy, there is little reason to think the integrity of the field would hold. A group of Spanish and Italian researchers wrote a paper in 2010 arguing that quantum mechanical radiation, analogous to the Hawking radiation that appears at the event horizon of black holes, would show up and “inevitably lead to [the warp bubble’s] destabilization whenever superluminal speeds are attained.”


Watching Warp

Watching Warp: If a ship with warp drive zipped past a stationary observer, according to a simulation by German researchers, he or she would see the drive’s effect on space, pinching as it approached [top], transitioning as it passed [middle], and dilating as the ship moved away [bottom].  Courtesy Thomas Müller and Daniel Weiskopf, based on Milky Way Panorama by ESO/S Brunier


Read the Popular Science profile of NASA engineer Harold “Sonny” White and his research into warp drives here, from the April 2013 issue of the magazine.

Space..The final frontier!


Warp Speed, Scotty? Star Trek’s FTL Drive May Actually Work

SPACE.comBy by Jillian Scharr | SPACE.com – 14 hrs ago


  • IMAX Poster for Star Trek Into DarknessView Photo

    IMAX Poster for Star Trek Into …

  • 'Star Trek's' warp drive isn't physically possible - or is it?View Photo

    ‘Star Trek’s’ warp drive isn’t …

In the “Star Trek” TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise’s warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, “highly illogical.”

However, there’s a loophole in Einstein’s general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It’s not the starship that’s moving — it’s the space around it.

In fact, scientists at NASA are right now working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives andfaster-than-light travel. Maybe the warp drive in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the franchise’s latest film opening this week, is possible after all. [Warp Drive: Can It Be Done? (Video)]

According to Einstein’s theory, an object with mass cannot go as fast or faster than the speed of light. The original “Star Trek” series ignored this “universal speed limit” in favor of a ship that could zip around the galaxy in a matter of days instead of decades. They tried to explain the ship’s faster-than-light capabilities by powering the warp engine with a “matter-antimatter” engine. Antimatter was a popular field of study in the 1960s, when creator Gene Roddenberry was first writing the series. When matter and antimatter collide, their mass is converted to kinetic energy in keeping with Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2.

In other words, matter-antimatter collision is a potentially powerful source of energy and fuel, but even that wouldn’t be enough to propel a starship to faster-than-light speeds.

Nevertheless, it’s thanks to “Star Trek” that the word “warp” is now practically synonymous with faster-than-light travel.


Is warp drive possible?

Decades after the original “Star Trek” show had gone off the air, pioneering physicist and avowed Trek fan Miguel Alcubierre argued that maybe a warp drive is possible after all. It just wouldn’t work quite the way “Star Trek” thought it did.

Things with mass can’t move faster than the speed of light. But what if, instead of the ship moving through space, the space was moving around the ship?

Space doesn’t have mass. And we know that it’s flexible: space has been expanding at a measurable rate ever since the Big Bang. We know this from observing the light of distant stars — over time, the wavelength of the stars’ light as it reaches Earth is lengthened in a process called “redshifting.” According to the Doppler effect, this means that the source of the wavelength is moving further away from the observer — i.e. Earth.

So we know from observing redshifted light that the fabric of space is movable. [What to Wear on a 100-Year Starship Voyage]


Alcubierre used this knowledge to exploit a loophole in the “universal speed limit.” In his theory, the ship never goes faster than the speed of light — instead, space in front of the ship is contracted while space behind it is expanded, allowing the ship to travel distances in less time than light would take. The ship itself remains in what Alcubierre termed a “warp bubble” and, within that bubble, never goes faster than the speed of light.

Since Alcubierre published his paper “The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity” in 1994, many physicists and science fiction writers have played with his theory —including “Star Trek” itself.

Alcubierre’s warp drive theory was retroactively incorporated into the “Star Trek” mythos by the 1990s TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

In a way, then, “Star Trek” created its own little grandfather paradox: Though ultimately its theory of faster-than-light travel was heavily flawed, the series established a vocabulary of light-speed travel that Alcubierre eventually formalized in his own warp drive theories.

The Alcubierre warp drive is still theoretical for now. “The truth is that the best ideas sound crazy at first. And then there comes a time when we can’t imagine a world without them.” That’s a statement from the 100 Year Starship organization, a think tank devoted to making Earth what “Star Trek” would call a “warp-capable civilization” within a century.

The first step toward a functional warp drive is to prove that a “warp bubble” is even possible, and that it can be artificially created.

That’s exactly what physicist Harold “Sonny” White and a team of researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas are doing right now.

NASA’s warp drive project

According to Alcubierre’s theory, one could create a warp bubble by applying negative energy, or energy created in a vacuum. This process relies on the Casimir effect, which states that a vacuum is not actually a void; instead, a vacuum is actually full of fluctuating electromagnetic waves. Distorting these waves creates negative energy, which possibly distorts space-time, creating a warp bubble.

To see if space-time distortion has occurred in a lab experiment, the researchers shine two highly targeted lasers: one through the site of the vacuum and one through regular space. The researchers will then compare the two beams, and if the wavelength of the one going through the vacuum is lengthened, i.e. redshifted, in any way, they’ll know that it passed through a warp bubble. [See also: How Video Games Help Fuel Space Exploration]

White and his team have been at work for a few months now, but they have yet to get a satisfactory reading. The problem is that the field of negative energy is so small, the laser so precise, that even the smallest seismic motion of the earth can throw off the results.

When we talked to White, he was in the process of moving the test equipment to a building on the Johnson Space Center campus that was originally built for the Apollo space program. “The lab is seismically isolated, so the whole floor can be floated,” White told TechNewsDaily. “But the system hadn’t been [activated] for a while so part of the process was, we had the system inspected and tested.”

White is now working on recalibrating the laser for the new location. He wouldn’t speculate on when his team could expect conclusive data, nor how long until fully actuated warp travel might be possible, but he remains convinced that it’s only a matter of time.

“The bottom line is, nature can do it,” said White. “So the salient question is, ‘can we?'”

This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, a sister site to SPACE.com. Original article onTechNewsDaily.

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