1. >Well of course you'd agree, this is the kid who got stoned one day and thought to himself "There is no spoon"<

Hehe, hey you were at that party too?!

>*throws hands in the air*<

*smirks*

I have to hand it to you, though, Clyde. You never defy to persist to try to prove your point. That deserves admiration no matter whether you are right or wrong.

2. >In your imagination there is no problem with going faster than light. In reality, its a big no-no.<

Okay, I've always wondered why light is the universal speed limit. I won't dare try to disprove this because I don't know jack **** on this stuff, but could someone please explain to a layman like myself why this is so?

That and the fact that he somehow manages to work out an intelligent response and post it after reading about 'telescopic time travel', 'encompassing water radiation sheilds', and 'Nothing is impossible' while I'm still sitting here trying to control my hysterical laughter.

4. "I've always wondered why light is the universal speed limit"

Hmm... why... I don't know if why is necessarily the right question.

I can tell you the "how" (simplified), if you like, as you get closer to the speed of light your mass increases, which means you have to push harder to go faster, which causes the mass to increase, which means you have push harder, rinse and repeat.

You have to push harder and harder to get closer to c (the speed of light), to actually reach it you would have to push infinitely hard.

Now thats not really "why", i suppose in a sense "why" would be due to the properties of space, maximum velocity being one of them, in much the same way that there are other constants (like the permitivity of free space) which are also properties of space.

The way i think of it (and this is not really what happens, but its an easy way of looking at it) is that when objects move through space there "push" against it, faster you go the more distorted space gets, causing both time dilation and increased mass.

5. "Most people don't realize that two large pieces of coral, painted brown and attached to his skull with common wood screws can make a small child look like a deer."
-Kurt Cobain

"Most people don't realize that two large pieces of coral, painted brown and attached to his skull with common wood screws can make a small child look like a deer."
-Kurt Cobain

7. Clyde:

So basically the speed of light is the universal speed limit just like 2+ 2 = 4. It's one of those laws. You could explain how 2 + 2 equal 4 just like you explained how it's impossible to travel faster than the speed of light. I see. Thanks.

So it might be possible to _reach_ the speed of light (if it's possible to push infinitely hard), but there's no way in hell we can push more than infinitely hard therefore there's no way of _exceeding_ the speed of light.

8. At the speed of light your mass would become infinite though...

9. "At the speed of light your mass would become infinite though..."

Yea, but if you could apply an infinite force, you could still accelerate.

"So it might be possible to _reach_ the speed of light (if it's possible to push infinitely hard), "

Ah but it's not possible to push infinitely hard, to reach the speed of light, you would need to do an infinite amount of work, which would require an infinite amount of energy, and since the amount of energy in the universe is finite, it's impossible (assuming here that the object you are trying to accelerate has rest-mass).

10. Okay, then how does light do it? (Push infinitely hard that is.)

11. >and since the amount of energy in the universe is finite<

Can you explain this also. I thought the size of the universe is infinite (and therefore the amount of energy in the universe is infinite), or at least it would seem that way...

12. light doesn't really have mass i don't think

13. >light doesn't really have mass i don't think<

So the universal speed limit only applies to things with mass? That can't be right. And even so, how come light doesn't travel faster than it does currently? If it's pushing infinitely hard (or maybe it's not and that's where I'm confused) then it should travel infinitely fast, right?

*waits for Clyde to reply* Hurry man, I'm dying to know!

14. "Okay, then how does light do it? (Push infinitely hard that is.)"

Well i was refering to taking an object (with rest-mass) from rest and accelerating it up to lightspeed. Light is somewhat different, photons did not start of stationary and then build up to light speed, they start off at light speed.

The reason why light does not have an infinite mass, is because it has 0 rest mass, what that means is that if light were not moving it would have no mass, the mass it has is the mass associated with it's energy (E=MC^2).

"Can you explain this also. I thought the size of the universe is infinite "

Nope, the universe definitely has a finite size, and a finite amount of energy in it. The universe started off with the big bang and within seconds went from below the size of a proton to billions of miles in diameter, it continues to expand as we speak.

15. >>ygfperson: observation can be objective. an observation is subjective when it is interpreted and changed based on previous knowledge. what if you're reading a digital scale? you know the approximate mass of the object in question, through observation of the scale, without interpreting and changing that observation based on previous knowledge.<<

and

>>lightatdawn: Uhm, gee. Do we have anything else to go on? The observation that two identical actions yield two identical results is not really all that much fluff.<<

I never said it did. The point i'm trying to make is all about certainty and veracity: we have no absolute guarantee that any observation we make is correct, assuming that there is a 'correct' in the first place. Therefore we make core assumptions regarding the nature of those observations and, specifically, regarding the a priori nature of maths. This does not make them in actuality absolute truths it's just an arbitrary starting point upon which to construct a meaningful model of 'reality'.

>>Clyde: Correct but you have totally mis-read it. The anthroipic principle does NOT say the laws EXIST because of us<<

Nor did I. I used the word 'suggest'. And it is a valid interpretation of the principle but, and let me be explicitly clear on this, not one that I share, nor one I originated. So please, desist from using the words 'correct' or 'wrong'; your over-vaunted opinion of the extent of your own knowledge does not qualify you to make such judgements - 'I agree' or 'I disagree' would be perfectly adequate and considerably less invidious.

>>Clyde: As i said before physicists...<<

That's a 'no' then on the provision of an experiment to prove your assertion.

>>Clyde: There is one assumption made on the "validity of observation", further more we KNOW that assumption is valid because if it wasn't science wouldn't work.<<

I have never said science doesn't work. I have simply stated that assumptions are made about the veracity and certainty of observations. And that these observations are subjective. As to the assumptions being valid otherwise science wouldn't work, you must know that this statement is false logic? It is equivalent to something like, "we pour the blood of the sacrificial victim onto the earth so the rains come. The rains come so pouring the blood must work."

>>Clyde: Imagination == recreating sense input in your head IE. picturing stuff, hearing sounds etc., maths == maths. They are completely different.<<

Maths is a tool, a construct of human thought. When I think 'E=mc^2' it's me that thinks it, visualises it, imagines it, realises it. I do not observe maths as existing as a thing unto itself. In any event, as I have previously described, both processes occur in the same chunk of meat between your ears: your brain; any attempt at definitive segregation is entirely and unarguably subjective.

>>Clyde: You can't, the fact that you don't understand why amazes me. Can blind people imagine red? Can deaf people imagine G sharp?<<

You have no idea what I can or cannot imagine, you only imagine that you do. Yes, blind people can imagine red and deaf people can imagine g sharp. Although these things can be imagined they may not correlate exactly with the property described, regardless of the current capability of the observer's senses.

>>Clyde: It is fundamentally impossible to imagine 4 or more dimensional space because you exist in 3 diemensional space and you have no experience of a 4th dimension object, in exactly the same way that a blind person has no experience of colour.<<

Seems like using "picturing stuff" would work just fine, with the usual qualifiers, of course. And anyway, "four-dimensional space-time continuum" was the elegant descriptor provided for us by Einstein; although the total number of dimensions can be considerably higher in some manifestations of string theory. Where do you get this living in 3d space guff?

>>Clyde: I know i can see it coming, your going to say something foolish like<<

Please desist from attempting to anticipate my thoughts, knowledge and words; your success rate is nil.

>>Clyde: Physics is not solved by imagining how stuff is...<<

Thought experiments.

>>Clyde: ..., its solved by maths, because imagination has limits and maths does not.<<

Assertion without proof or qualification. Again. However, in this case I find myself in partial agreement: your imagination does indeed seem quite limited. As for 'maths has no limits' - maths is axiomatic; it is taken as a priori simply from the very human need to have a viable starting point for modelling reality.

>>Clyde: Polymers are not refered to as simple molecules<<

I disagree. PTFE, PVC or any polymer built up of the same monomer can be described as simple molecules.

>>Clyde: the scale is NOT arbitrary<<

What is a 'metre'?

>>Clyde: You really think "I think therefore I am" is a circular argument? You think that the only thing we can EVER be 100% sure of is a circular argument? Excellent.<<

Yep. Your success rate at attempting to anticipate my thoughts etc remains flat at zero. Count the 'I's in Descartes statement and see the circle for yourself. As for "You think that the only thing we can EVER be 100% sure of is a circular argument?" please stop trying to put words into my mouth - I have not even implied this and it is anile for you to suggest otherwise.

>>Clyde: I can't possibly teach you quantum mechanics<<

I agree, you can't. In any event, for me, undergraduate level qt would be a backward step.

>>Clyde: No i'm not describing the properties, i'm describing the observations, you go to your wavelength machine and you measure the wavelength, you get an answer, doesn't matter who makes that measurement they will get the same answer, hence objective. I measure voltage with a voltmetre, doesn't matter who makes the measurement they will get the same answer hence objective, etc. etc. on the other hand if two people compared how cold they think it is and they might very well get different answers because that is subjective. See the difference?<<

This is what you originally said:"Wrong, wavelength is not subjective, velocity is not subjective, mass is not subjective, energy is not subjective, voltage is not subjective, power is not subjective, etc. etc. Percieved colour on the hand, how loud a sound sounds, how cold it feels, etc. they are subjective, see the difference?"

To which my original reply most certainly remains valid. A certain amount of clarification may, on occassion, be necessary but saying one thing and then later claiming you meant something entirely different is very poor.

In any event, this is classic empiricism and an assumptive error most people make: there is no difference in the subjectivity of the observations you have described. It doesn't matter if you use bare senses or instrumentation (that were ultimately conceived by those same bare senses) to make the observation. Any observation, with or without instrumentation, is described according to some arbitrary scale; there is only a notional difference between the arbitrary precision of scales. Furthermore, the observed and the observer interact, so the thing that is under observation is altered from it's pristine state by the act of observation.

As for "doesn't matter who makes the measurement they will get the same answer" - that's a major advancement i'm unaware of. I guess i'll just have to forget all about statistical analysis, concepts such as error, precision and accuracy or repeatability and reproducibility. Where can I get such a marvellous instrument? Several would be required because I know my colleagues would all be very interested in such a device.

>>Clyde: You are correct in saying that nothing is absolutely proveable<<

Thankyou. My apologies for not noticing and therefore ending this some time ago.

BTW, the "breakdown with macroscopic object" may be regarded as a combination of probabilities issue. For a single atom, eg Hydrogen (1s1) with a single electron in a spherical orbital (a region of ~90% probability of finding an electron ie there is a 10% probability that the electron is 'anywhere'. Once you start to add other atoms and combine these probabilities the 1 in 10 chance rapidly diminishes BUT NEVER REACHES zero. This means that although it is extremely unlikely to observe such phenomena as quantum interference with something as large as, say, Schrodinger's hypothetical and much maligned cat, it still remains a finite possibility.

Finally, in summary:

1. I assert that all things are possible. This assertion is currently not provable nor disapprovable.

2. All observation is subjective for the reasons that I have discussed; for further reading go search on the 'Philosophy of Science' and 'empiricism' or even 'deducto-hypothetico technique'. A review of skepticism wouldn't hurt either.

3. Science, in my considered opinion, is the 'best of the rest'. It has the same flaws that all other philosophical doctrines possess in that it makes core assumptions about the nature of reality and our interaction with it within that framework. I recognise and acknowledge these assumptions; it does not mean that I rebuke, scorn or otherwise disagree with science, its functionality or application. But science is, by its own admission, theoretical.

Anyway that's me, i'm done.