Is warping Time and Space possible?

By Jesus Diaz
Sep 17, 2012 1:00 PM
“Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility.” These are the words of Dr. Harold “Sonny” White, the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate. Dr. White and his colleagues don’t just believe a real life warp drive is theoretically possible; they’ve already started the work to create one.
Yes. A real warp drive, Scotty.
When it comes to space exploration, we are still cavemen. We got to the Moon and sent some badass robot to Mars. We also have those automatic doors that swoosh wide open when you get near them, but that’s about it. It’s cool, but we are far from being the space civilization we’ll need to become to survive for millennia.
With our current propulsion technologies, interstellar flight is impossible. Even with experimental technology, like ion thrusters or a spaceship’s aft pooping freaking nuclear explosions, it would require staggering amounts of fuel and mass to get to any nearby star. And worse: it will require decades—centuries, even—to get there. The trip will be meaningless for those left behind. Only the ones going forward in search for a new star system would enjoy the result of the colossal effort. It’s just not practical.
So we need an alternative. One that would allow us to travel extremely fast without breaking the laws of physics. Or as Dr. White puts it: “we want to go, really fast, while observing the 11th commandment: Thou shall not exceed the speed of light.
Searching for warp bubbles
The answer lies precisely in those laws of physics. Dr. White and other physicists have found loopholes in some mathematical equations—loopholes that indicate that warping the space-time fabric is indeed possible.
Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA’s Johnson Space Center—Dr. White’s team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have “initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble” using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.
It may sound like a small thing now, but the implications of the research huge. In his own words:

Although this is just a tiny instance of the phenomena, it will be existence proof for the idea of perturbing space time-a “Chicago pile” moment, as it were. Recall that December of 1942 saw the first demonstration of a controlled nuclear reaction that generated a whopping half watt. This existence proof was followed by the activation of a ~ four megawatt reactor in November of 1943. Existence proof for the practical application of a scientific idea can be a tipping point for technology development.

By creating one of these warp bubbles, the spaceship’s engine will compress the space ahead and expand the space behind, moving it to another place without actually moving, and carrying none of the adverse effects of other travel methods. According to Dr. White, “by harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects.”
He says that, if everything is confirmed in these practical experiments, we would be able to create an engine that will get us to Alpha Centauri “in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth.” The time will be the same in the spaceship and on Earth, he claims, and there will not be “tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip.”
The energy problem, solved
There was only one problem with all this: where does the energy come from? While we knew that warp drives were theoretically possible, physicists have always argued that they would require a ball of exotic matter the size of Jupiter to power it. Clearly, that was not practical. But thankfully, Dr. White has found a solution that changes the game completely.
The Eagleworks team has discovered that the energy requirements are much lower than previously thought. If they optimize the warp bubble thickness and “oscillate its intensity to reduce the stiffness of space time,” they would be able to reduce the amount of fuel to manageable amount: instead of a Jupiter-sized ball of exotic matter, you will only need 500 kilograms to “send a 10-meter bubble (32.8 feet) at an effective velocity of 10c.”
Ten c! That’s ten times the speed of light, people (remember, the ship itself would not go faster than the speed of light. But effectively it will seem like it does).
That means that we would be able to visit Gliese 581g—a planet similar to Earth 20 light years away from our planet—in two years. Two years is nothing. It took Magellan three years to circumnavigate around our home planet—from August 1519 to September 1522. A four year roundtrip to see a planet like Earth is completely doable. And there are even closer destinations where we can send robots or astronauts.
The important thing is that there is now a door open to a different kind of exploration. That, like Dr. White says, “perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility.” We may be witnessing the very beginning of a new age of space exploration, one that would finally take us from our pale blue dot back to where we belong.
I don’t know about you, but I’m more excited than when Captain Kirk got his first unobtonanium underpants.

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In future, Crime does not pay because you can be identified by your DNA

Updated 01:58 PM Sep 14, 2012
LONDON – Police could one day build mugshots using DNA from crime scenes, experts have claimed after identifying five genes that govern facial features such as nose shape.
A new study has identified how five different sections of the genetic code help guide the development of different facial characteristics in each individual.
Researchers from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Australia used MRI scans and portrait photographs to map out different facial features common among people of European ancestry.
They then analysed the genes of 10,000 people across the five countries to look for common genetic variants which were linked to different facial traits.
Five particular genes were identified for their involvement in certain features.
Three of those had previously been linked to the risk of facial defects, including two involved in cleft lip and palate, and one related to a minor disfigurement where the top of the nose and distance between the eyes is unusually broad.
Two genes never before linked to facial development were also highlighted, including one now thought to play a role in shaping the midface and another involved in the patterning of facial tissue.
Further research into the genes that determine how we look could help police produce “mugshots” based on DNA samples collected at crime scenes, the researchers suggested.
DNA traits have already enabled scientists to accurately predict traits like people’s hair and eye colour, they wrote in the Public Library of Science Genetics journal.
Prof Manfred Keyser from the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland, who led the study, said: “These are exciting first results that mark the beginning of the genetic understanding of human facial morphology.
“Perhaps sometime it will be possible to draw a phantom portrait of a person solely from his or her DNA left behind, which provides interesting applications such as in forensics. We already can predict from DNA certain eye and hair colours with quite high accuracies,” he said. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

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Your DNA genes will determine your features and different characteristics, which can be matched with a face recognition software for positive identification, forensics have taken it to the next higher level where “Crime does not pay”.
– Contributed by Oogle.

The systematic Local PMET Job Displacement by FTs if not rectified(100% u-turn not whitewashing) will cause PAP downfall

Published by The Online Citizen on September 17, 2012
On 25 June 2012, Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong posted a message on his Facebook.

This message suggested a panel of economists be set up to look into the issue of whether inflow of skilled immigrants led to job creation or job displacements.
This generated considerable interest based on replies. One reply described how the inflow of foreigners into local Professionals, Managerial, Executive & Technical (PMET) positions had led to the banking sector hiring people of all nationalities & origins except for homegrown Singapore citizens.
Another reply was itself a question. It asked the ESM whether the issue of local PMET displacement had been considered before PMET immigration was expanded.
During the 14 years from 1997 to 2011, the ESM, as Prime Minister & Senior Minister actively encouraged foreigners to take up PMET positions at all functions, levels & sectors. He described them as foreign talents (FTs).
Throughout this period, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) government rejected any attempts to slow down the inflow of immigrant PMETs. It also rejected requests for greater clarification of the FT policy.
The ESM declared Singapore had a shortage of talent & expected existing citizens to accept his words without further question. However the continuous immigration flow meant this issue could not be ignored.
To understand the ESM silence, I believed this was due to the diverse nature of FT immigration critics. They could be divided into inner & outer categories. The inner critics consisted of those who were linked to the PAP government. The outer critics were ordinary citizens.
While immigration PMETs increased significantly, the PAP government also permitted more general foreign workers (FWs). The government plan was that once the immigration PMETs had created more economic value, there would less demand for FWs & they would return home.
Unfortunately, the FW influx caused the economy to become addicted to cheap labour. Both categories of critics agreed on the reliance on FWs implied the FT policy was not achieving its economic value added objectives.  
After the 1991 General Election(GE), the ESM thought younger voters were interested in a 2-party political system & ending PAP dominance. Therefore he hoped PMET immigration would create a global hub which would bring in not just economic value but also enhance PAP prestige. This would in turn decrease support for a 2 party political system.
When both categories of critics were unhappy with immigration, the PAP government avoided FT policy discussion. The ESM feared any highlighting of policy drawbacks would adversely affect the PAP’s political prestige.
The difference between the inner & outer critics was on the question of local PMET displacement. While the outer critics argued this was increasingly common, the inner critics in good positions generally did not see it as a problem.
The inner critics were able to get the PAP government to listen to them more often than their outer counterparts. As a result when the ESM responded to immigration queries, he kept talking about FWs.
Since the inner critics were mainly concerned with the FW influx, therefore, the ESM replies was actually a response mainly to the inner critics. The outer critics were seen by the PAP Government as irrelevant.
The ESM Facebook posting probably suggested that PAP government did not think PMET displacement was an issue until after the 2011 GE. One reason was the lack of definite & irrefutable evidence. The relevant information used by the outer critics included:
A1) Anecdotal examples such as more former local senior PMETs driving taxis, indicating underemployment due to age discrimination.
A2) Birth decreases occurring simultaneously with PMET immigration increase. Since the proportion of PMETs among younger generation of biological producing age was higher than the older generation, this suggested younger local PMETs were facing displacement & continuously postponing childbirth.
A3)Young local PMETs becoming entrepreneurs when their relatively well-paid job positions were being taken up by immigrants. These local young people were probably forced to set up their own business due to employer & government preference for foreigners.
A4)Increase in emigrating citizens. The outer critics argued the FT influx forced homegrown citizens to become FTs elsewhere.
Unfortunately, as the PAP Government was already strongly biased in favour of massive PMET immigration, it interpreted the facts & figures in a different manner. The pro-PAP mainstream media tried to explain the situation as:
B1)Senior local PMETs-turned-taxi drivers were already reaching the retirement age. Therefore, employing organizations could not be expected to hire such persons.
B2)Decrease in births was due to the changing lifestyle choices of younger PMET women. They voluntarily postponed having children earlier due to other interests.
B3)The younger generation found normal PMET jobs boring. Entrepreneurship was more exciting & satisfying
B4)More homegrown citizens emigrated because they desired to have foreign experiences.
While these explanations had some basis, they contained glaring faults.
C1)Many of the senior local PMETs-turned taxi drivers were under 55 years old & not yet reached the  statutory retirement age of 62 years old.
C2)Lifestyle explanations were based on inaccurate assumptions that young women earned very good incomes  & males were not important in planned parenthood.
C3)Entrepreneurship in Singapore without an influential sponsor could mean near-certain bankruptcy. Massive immigration meant little hope for a failed entrepreneur to regain suitable employment. Therefore the excitement provided little real satisfaction.  
C4)Working overseas meant having to overcome many significant socio-economic & government obstacles elsewhere. No other nation or region had an ESM-style ultra-liberal & ultra-promotional immigration policy    
The best way to explain the perception gap between the PAP Government & the outer critics was that displacement was a gradual process. It took 14 years for displaced local PMETs to reach a critical mass.  
In July 2012, the Government National Population & Talent Division (NPTD) released a population issues paper & welcomed suggestions.
The FT policy outer critics generally proposed the following:
  • Significant reduction in the granting of new PMET P, Q & S work passes.
  • A more detailed clarification on the type of foreign PMETs needed in Singapore.
  • Quotas & levies to be imposed on the hiring of middle & higher P & Q Pass Employment Pass holders. 
  • Further increases in salary classifications for PQS holders. This would reduce the probability of foreign PMETs working as a higher form of cheap labour.
Some critics were skeptical of government consultation, pointing out that previous sessions over the years had little effect on policy-making.
After the 2011GE, the PAP government acknowledged immigration was a source of unhappiness but refused to significantly change the FT policy.
As for the ESM who spent 14 years on attracting what he termed as skilled immigrants, explaining the displacement effect to him might be meaningless.
PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives & Technicians) job displacement has no specific statistics as it does not exist in the world of the ruling PAP (People’s Action Party) Government. However, it is felt significantly.

This policy was to bring in foreigners with some relevant background to take up PMET positions at all functions, levels & sectors. He described these foreign PMETs as foreign talents (FTs).
At a Parliamentary Query on 19 Feb 1998, PAP Member for Nee Soon Central Mr Ong Ah Heng asked if foreign talents were hired simply because they were cheaper. (Parliamentary Debates Official Report Call Number RSING 328.5957 SIN Volume 68, 14 Jan 1998 to 12 March 1998, Columns 185). In later years, PAP critics who were unaware of this query would agree with Mr Ong. 
In Sep 1998, the current foreign PMET workpass system was implemented. Below were the minimum monthly salary categories.  
Type
1998
2001
2004
2011
2012
P1
$7000
$7000
$7000
$8000
$8000
P2
$3500
$3500
$3500
$4000
$4500
Q
$2000
$2500
$2500
$2800
$3000
S (2004 onwards)
(None)
(None)
$1800
$2000
$2000
The focus was on hiring young foreigners in the same age range & starting pay as local fresh graduates. Critics argued this led to local PMET wage depression. Local PMETs also had indirect cost disadvantages such as National Service reservist training & maternity leave.
Local PMETs were also rejected when they were deemed overqualified. PMET employment became a foreigner-1st situation.
After the mass foreign PMET influx started, some older PMETs lamented the loss of an earlier cordial working environment. This influx created a negative workplace atmosphere.
Hiring immigrant cheaper PMETs was easier to understand. However, since immigrant PMETs might not be cheaper & there was no consensus that they were better, why were large numbers of immigrants hired for middle & high-paying conventional PMET positions?
The only plausible reason was that PAP government’s earlier track record meant senior local PMETs trusted the PAP. They hired foreigners for PMET positions because they were encouraged to do so by the ESM.  
Their good career advancements meant that while they might be aware of workplace tensions, they believed the economy was generating good jobs for everyone.
The mainstream media tried to persuade existing locals to accept the newer immigrants by featuring some success stories. However, these features showed the circular reasoning behind the ESM FT policy. A reason for immigrant PMET success was that employing organizations gave them advancement & development opportunities. 
Local displaced PMETs could improve themselves but they would be fighting a losing battle as they were in no position to go against the PAP Government.
From 1997 to 2011, the PAP Government rejected any reduction in new PQS holders. The mainstream media portrayed the critics as isolationist xenophobes.
Singapore was not alone in bringing in immigrant PMETs. However, no country or region in history had
  • brought in such a huge number of potential long-term residents from diverse origins in such a short time &
  • expected full-scale social, economic & political integration into the mainstream within an even shorter time.
Integration of individual voluntary immigrants into their settled areas was always a long & gradual process.    
The ESM foreigner 1st policy also influenced the immigrant PMET mindset. Increased immigrant numbers led to more communal congregation & less localized integration. Hiring & promoting according to cultural background in the workplace became more common. From around 2002 onwards, a superior mindset towards locals started to develop.
Therefore what happened to the ESM claim that immigrant PMETs were supposed to enhance careers of existing locals?  
Many immigrant PMETs brought in by the ESM Foreign Talent policy openly admitted they were only here to earn money for a time period. They cared little about the social situation until the 2011 General Election period.  
14 years of marginalization & frustrations led to radicalized critics demanding a reversal of the ESM ultra-liberal & ultra-promotional FT policy. 
Some immigrant PMETs responded by becoming more vocal in defending their positions. The superior mindset towards locals came out in the open when some of these PMETs claimed that the immigration PMET influx occurred because home-grown citizens lacked talent.
Promoting Singapore as a global hub by the ESM caused some immigrant PMETs to argue home-grown citizens had no job placement priority. These immigrants had forgotten that Singapore was officially a citizen-based sovereign nation.
Since the ESM FT policy needed local cooperation in order to function, the only viable explanation was that between 1997 & 2011, home-grown citizens & equivalents (earlier naturalized citizens) were very happy to promote the ESM FT policy in their workplaces until they themselves were adversely affected.
When previously immigrant- friendly senior local PMETs were themselves marginalized, they tried to highlight their problems but generally avoided mentioning personal involvement in the foreigner-1st policy.
Former senior local PMETs pointing out FT policy weaknesses after they had become taxi drivers was good for spreading awareness but had little practical value as their successors were still busy bringing in more immigrants for local PMET positions.
Rectifying the ESM FT policy defects depended on decision makers recognizing problems when they were still in charge & not after they had stepped down.

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By Chua Suntong
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What is the use of the National Conversation when feedback is not utilised to solve problems? Do you see our Local PMETs graduates becomes taxi drivers? Maybe we should import FTs also by inviting US President Obama to run our country as he is “cheaper, better and faster” in solving problems rather than sweeping everything under the carpet by “whitewashing”.
– Contributed by Oogle.