Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Closed

Are we using Alien Technology?

Last response: in CPUs
Share
August 23, 2001 2:00:31 AM

Are we using alien technology? Is it just me or is technology moving too quickly? Are we really that intelligent? The people in this forum suggest otherwise. j/k :smile: Seriously,when was the supposed Roswell alien ship incident again? 1947? Well, look at the world before and after that period. The transistor, rocket technology, even the upcoming solar sails. Hmmm, I wonder. Why is technology moving so quickly the past 50 years as compared to human technology in the previous centuries? What do you guys think?

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor

More about : alien technology

August 23, 2001 2:20:54 AM

How many Universities were there in the 1500s? What percentage of people finished high school in 1850? The reason why we're progressing much faster is because the overall standard of living is going up, more people have better access to higher education. We have more people thinking and researching these things.

Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
August 23, 2001 7:55:06 AM

frist off there was only school for the rich or kings in the 1500s. Most of the time it was the hillbillys in the 1850s. LOL The rest ture
Related resources
August 23, 2001 3:12:54 PM

Quote:
even the upcoming solar sails.


What? This was proposed in the 60s (I think), and has never gotten off the ground since. What evidence do you have that they're "upcoming"?


Anyhow, there are lots of different theories. One is based on the Mayan calendar, and states that in 2012 (can't remember the exact date), mankind is supposed to reach an infinite speed of technological advancement.

That's BS of course, but it's kind of an interesting theory. I posted a link to someone explaining it more fully a while back. You can search for it if you want.



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 3:58:10 PM

They are actually launching a test solar sail powered probe next year believe it or not.

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
~Tbird1.3@1.55~
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 23, 2001 4:14:06 PM

Don't forget that computers themselves play a big part in research and design and even their own development now, so as computers get more powerful they can be used to research and create stuff thats even more powerful and so on and so on.

For example the guy designing stuff on the P4 had it easier then the guy who only had a 286 to design stuff on. Therefore as the computers improve so can the stuff they can be used to design and also this can be done more quickly which also helps. Technological development will probably be on an exponential curve...

The scary part of this though is that eventually computers will become powerful enough to design their own sucessor without any human input...


Of course though none of this would have happened if those bloody americans hadn't nicked my space ship leaving me stranded on this stupid lump of rock with you inferior carbon based life forms...

Your nice new PC might be faster then my 286, but my 286 makes a better door stop :smile:
August 23, 2001 4:54:01 PM

Dont' forget about Ion Drive. (there is such a thing)

--
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of my life. Give me my sweater back or I'll play the guitar.
August 23, 2001 5:01:45 PM

Actually, I never could fully understand the theory behind solar sails. How can such miniscule photonic force push a ship to 50% of the speed of light?

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
August 23, 2001 5:02:23 PM

Yeah, but it's the Twin Ion Engines that are the coolest :) 



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 5:29:23 PM

Well of course it's alien technology driving it all.
Have we all forgotten that famous pic in the Star
of then pres. Bush Sr. shaking hands with an actuall
alien on the white house lawn??? That had to be real.

Oh and let us not forget about the Jerry Srpinger show,
ya know...the time he had actuall Venutions on his program.
(Those are people from Venus, not Venice.) Hehehe



"Get the facts first. You can distort them later." - Mark Twain
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by bud on 08/23/01 11:32 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
August 23, 2001 5:30:42 PM

Large surface area and zero resistance.
August 23, 2001 5:44:06 PM

I thought the ion drive was just science fiction then I saw a Discovery Channel program about the Deep Space 1 probe, with ion propulsion.

The probe completed its primary mission, an asteroid fly-by. Unfortunately the asteroid's surface was darker than expected, no pictures were taken.

The probe has been re-tasked to intercept a Comet, this year I think.
August 23, 2001 6:03:11 PM

Yep, I've known about that for awhile. But I watched the show last night (they aired it last night). Although I didn't know Ion Drive was around since the 1950's..........

--
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of my life. Give me my sweater back or I'll play the guitar.
August 23, 2001 6:10:09 PM

...and patience. Thier acceleration is awful.

To <b>HELL</b> with your damned cookie.... :mad:  ptooo!! :mad: 
Change the signature of the week
August 23, 2001 6:32:37 PM

actually, having studied this very question myself I can probably pose a different hypothesis as to why technology is moving ever quicker.....


the simple answer is that technology advances are predetermined by a cultures social, political, and religious background....
what that means is that if I were to be living in the dark ages and I was a monk that had just invented a way of smelting iron into steel, then there would be no use for this discovery....
big deal....
but if we waited a couple of hundred years later until after the renasance then the very same invention would set off the industrial revolution.
This actually happened.

this sort of thing happens all of the time.
the egyptians had hand made gliders that were the size of small birds that they could throw (much like paper airplanes) but they lacked the other knowledge needed to take that one step further and develop a theory of aerodynamics.

when galileo (spelling?) said that the sun was the center of the universe the church spurned him, and his theories weren't put into good astronomical use until at least a hundred years later.

today in our society, we have a polotical/economic environment that creates incentives for avancing technology.

that's why....

we are making discoveries by standing on the backs of other scientists who have made discoveries, and so on, and so forth.....

another example of this is the solar sail idea that was posted earlier......
this isn't a new idea, folks. hell, I remember in the early eighties hearing about it, but science fiction has written about it even before that! however now we have the composite materiels necessary to make the sail feasable (spelling?).

so, no, we aren't using alien technology.....
our culture just loves to discover things.

the paper that I wrote was 20 pages long so excuse me if I miss some things in this post! :) 
August 23, 2001 6:33:16 PM

...and solar sails are only good going outbound. You can't tack with a solar sail.
August 23, 2001 6:35:26 PM

Galileo
Feasible

And good point, phsstpok.



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 6:37:23 PM

we can't tack using a solar sail, no, but all we would need to do is retro fire to slow us down, and let the suns gravity do the rest, so.... bingo.... we got a round trip ticket, with a minimal use of fuel.

actually I doubt that the speeds attained from the sail are great enough to achieve solar escape velocity (without a planetary fling, of course) so, we wouldn't even eed to retro fire, just fall back in (we'dd have to be patient of course :)  )
August 23, 2001 6:42:06 PM

You don't think 50% of the speed of light (or more, according to some) is enough to escape the sun's gravity? You could be right, but I'm not so sure.



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 6:50:10 PM

I don't know about obtaining escape velocity but I want to point out that although simliar to light sails, solar sails also use the solar wind, ions and also sub-atomic particles being spewed outward from the sun. Only upcoming experimentation will determine how much thrust is provided by the solar wind

The problem with using gravity to return is you still need some way to decelerate from solar orbital velocity. Otherwise, you won't fall toward the sun you will simply orbit around it.
August 23, 2001 6:59:52 PM

50% of the speed of light!?!?!?!?!??!!
I don't doubt that you've heard that, but
whoever told you that was not very realistic.
that may be the top speed of the ship, but we would never use it that way.....
because if someone went on that trip they'd never get back, and never get to their destination.

the distances involved are way to great (even at 50% light speed) to talk about visiting there.
we wouldn't be going that fast for any intrasolar travel.

if we wanted to go to jupiter then we wouldn't have time to accelerate to that speed anyway.

so for anything in this solar system we could just work it out so we fell back in, or carried some fuel for when we needed it to slow us down.
August 23, 2001 7:02:35 PM

Of course, I know these things. I'm from one of the core worlds of the galaxy.

D*mn, the Bussard Ramjet Club doesn't service this area. I'm stuck here!
August 23, 2001 7:44:38 PM

I'm not flamming you,

but I dissagree on two points:
> point out that although simliar to light sails, solar
> sails also use the solar wind, ions and also sub-atomic
> particles being spewed outward from the sun. Only
> upcoming experimentation will determine how much thrust
> is provided by the solar wind

actually, we can measure that right from earth....
we know how much radiation is coming from the sun (many satelites study that very thing) and therefore we can calulate the force it would exert on this sail of known dimensions.

> The problem with using gravity to return is you still
> need some way to decelerate from solar orbital velocity.

gravity will decelerate us from our velocity as long as we don't reach solar escape velocity (I don't know what this is, but it's the same principle as launching things into orbit.... if you don't go fast enough you'll come right back down). the son's gravity reaches out much furthur than pluto (note: comets exist out past pluto but aren't going fast enough to break solar escape velocity so they keep coming back). so it would still be able to slow us down.

> Otherwise, you won't fall toward the sun you will simply > orbit around it.

not really likely, more likely we would fall back INTO the sun....
:) 

last note:
the fastest man made object happens to be a PIONEER satelite which was launched in the 70's.
it achived solar escape velocity by executing a lunar fling on one of jupiter's moons then a planetary fling from jupiter, and finaly another fling using saturn this time.
it's going out there into the cold, never to return..... in the 90's it sent back (it's last transmission) a picture of the entire solar system back to earth....

go here for more information:
<A HREF="http://spaceprojects.arc.nasa.gov/Space_Projects/pionee..." target="_new">http://spaceprojects.arc.nasa.gov/Space_Projects/pionee...;/A>
August 23, 2001 8:18:59 PM

Actually we can <b>estimate</b> the force of the solar wind, and perhaps astronauts have already measured it. However, we are talking about a solar sail of yet unknown design. Ideally it would be huge and have almost zero mass. It is not known how much of the energy it will actually capture and how much will simply pass right through it. (It's really hard to capture sub-atomic particles traveling nearly the speed of light).

As for escape velocity, remember we are talking about continuous thrust, albeit small, with a solar sail. With a rocket escape velocity is only an issue if you cannot continue providing thrust. A rocket has limited fuel. At some point thrust stops. This is not the case with a solar sail. If at some distance from the sun, any distance, that you have enough thrust to begin to accelerate away from the sun then you can continue to do so. The solar wind's thrust decreases with the square of the distance from the sun but so does the gravitational force. The key is, would the solar thrust be greater than gravitaional force? Besides, if you give the craft initial acceleration via a rocket or any form of propulsion it be that much easier.

Any craft that starts from an earth orbit is already in solar orbit, as well, because the earth is. The craft is not just going to fall to the sun. You can't just fall out of a solar orbit. It takes deceleration, in which case you will fall into a more and more radically elliptical orbit or parabolic (like a comet) but you don't fall straight toward the sun.
August 23, 2001 8:24:00 PM

Quote:
lunar fling on one of jupiter's moons


Hmm... Isn't Luna the name of our moon?

<font color=red><i>Tomorrow I will live, the fool does say
today itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday
August 23, 2001 8:28:12 PM

Solar sails are ok for travelling to the outer planets of the solar system but they are impractical for interstellar travel. Correct me if I'm wrong but the farther you are from the sun the less efficient they become and eventually you'll slow down. Even assuming you can maintain .5 light speed it would take a decade to reach the nearest star system (Alpha Centauri which is 4.3 light years away).

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
August 23, 2001 8:29:15 PM

Luna is the Latin word meaning moon. I don't think that's actually the name of it (in the sense that Sol is the name for our sun), but I could be wrong.



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 8:58:13 PM

No you can't tack, but you can go out, then while you're going to your destination, you can collect energy with solar panels and use Ion Drive to come back in.

--
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of my life. Give me my sweater back or I'll play the guitar.
August 23, 2001 9:01:40 PM

yeah right, you know how long it would take to come from, say, jupiter all the way back to earth using the sun's gravity? just think about the comets that come around ever 100 years.

--
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of my life. Give me my sweater back or I'll play the guitar.
August 23, 2001 9:03:34 PM

Actually luna is the name of our moon......

--
It's Princess Leia, the yodel of my life. Give me my sweater back or I'll play the guitar.
August 23, 2001 9:21:18 PM

Is it? I remember reading that our moon had no name, but I guess that was bad info. Never mind then.

Yeup, looked it up and you're right.



<font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
August 23, 2001 9:33:42 PM

Normaly we call that golden age.
August 23, 2001 9:36:41 PM

Sorry the moon's name is ??? Luna ??? i dont know isnt it just called moon.

Nice Intel and AMD users get a Cookie.... :smile: Yummy :smile:
August 23, 2001 9:42:58 PM

Works for me.
August 23, 2001 11:45:50 PM

Don't get me wrong, I love progress, but doesn't it seem suspicious that devices are infinitely more advanced today than they were 100 years ago? I mean even the car is very simple compared to a computer. Any intelligent kid can design a simple moving object for a science fair because the car has physically large parts, which are widely available. My question is what tools do scientists use to make microscopic transistors or manipulate genetic material?

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
a b à CPUs
August 24, 2001 2:48:13 AM

OK, do you understand how a vacuum tube works? It's a fairly simple concept. Once that was developed technology started up the ramp. The transistor was next, and was still a relatively simple invention based on the diode. And the Diod was a simple discovery that certain materials flow electricity in one direction very easily. Put two together and you have a transistor-no more need for tubes. Cut the transistor out of a wafer and you can make it smaller. Put a group of them on a wafer and you have an integrated circuite.

Computers work by a group of automated electrical switches, but instead of using mechanical swithces they use these transistors. Yes or no is the same as on and off. So if you put enough transistors on an intergrated circuite and provide a proper pathway, you have a processor. Does 2+0=4? No. Does 2+1=4? No. Does 2+2=4? Yes. This is the process by which all computers work.
Now microscopes have been around a very long time. So it only makes sense that if you understand how a vacuum tube works, electron microscopes use a similar concept. And a microprocesor detects the flow of electrons, or rather the blockage of flow. It gets complicated with electron microscopes because they are a convergence of technologies. But each of these technologies is easily understood, it's when you group them that it becomes complicated. So it makes sense that with billions of people in the world, there will be millions of scientist, each refining their own technology. And then there will be lots of people that understand a little of each technology, but not all of any of them. And they put the technologies together.
Look at it from a mechanical perspective. I know how a carburator works. I know how a piston pump works. I know how a cam works. Etc. So even though I would not be good at designing carburators, I could build an engine out of the parts available, if only I knew how to hold them together. And being trained as a machinist, I do.
The same goes for any technology. I can build a computer out of parts, but I can't build the parts. The person who designs a hard drive knows how to assemble the parts to make it reliable, but doesn't know how to design a PCB underneath. The person who designs the PCB doesn't know how to make a hard drive reliable, but knows where the data has to go and what parts it takes to get it there. The person who designs the cache knows very little about hard drives but specializes in integrated circuites. Low and behold the world gets a hard drive, and you blame the aliens.
Or the world gets an electron microscope
Or the world gets a DNA sequencer.

I'm so tired of cookies I'd settle for spam!
August 24, 2001 2:57:27 AM

You make it sound so simple but it's not. Imagine how hard it is to turn a few switches (transistors) into a working technology (3DNow! for example). It's just mind baffling. Not the technology itself, but the quick advancements of technology.

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
a b à CPUs
August 24, 2001 4:28:34 AM

It's MODULAR technology. Nobody develops a CPU, they simply develope a MODULE that's added to a CPU.
Have you ever seen a huge jigsaw puzzle assembled? When you understand how a circuite works, you can design one to one simple task. Hundreds of other people are doing the same with different task. Then all the modules get put together. Simplifying the task of putting them together, a computer program can rearrange the module to simplify the routing of circuites. So someone simply designs the module, someone else tells the computer which input attaches to what output, and the computer routs them. Without the computer's aid you could still do it, it would just take more time. Your not seeing the forrest for the trees!

I'm so tired of cookies I'd settle for spam!
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 24, 2001 4:29:17 AM

technology spurs on technology, but you will have to admit Bell labs came out with technology that seemed to take a huge leap, NMOS PMOS NPN BJT ect... hmmm makes me wonder, but I also really like the X-Files, so maybe I'm biased.

I might be ignorant, but I'm not stupid.
August 24, 2001 5:18:20 AM

Sorry for the late reply. I must have forgot to click the email reply option.

I don't know but you're probably right. Interstellar dust and stray molecules would begin to impede progress at some point. Not to mention that the amount of particles and energy emitted from the star of origin must approach nil pretty quickly.

OK, solar sails outside a solar system are impractical.
August 24, 2001 5:27:34 AM

I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but theres a little thing that i think everyone forgot to mention. At those great speeds that a solar sail can bring a vessel thats good, but even the smallest particle of dust or some kind of space debri, if that gets in the way, or if you hit it, its almost liek hitting a brick wall at 100Mph in a car, so really, whats going to protect it ? How are we going to be able to maneuver out of the way to avoid these things ?

Just a thought....actually more than a thought, its a known fact.....what does anyone else have to think about this ?

-MeTaL RoCkEr
My <font color=red> Z28 </font color=red> can take your <font color=blue> P4 </font color=blue> off the line!
August 24, 2001 6:34:53 AM

Crashman already gave a pretty good explaination but I'll give you my explaination from a programmer's background.

Whenever I want to make a program, I have quite a few options. I can get at the lowest level possible and tell the cpu each and every stupid instruction i want it to do or I can group those instructions to create another set of more complex instructions which do more per an instruction, but cuts down the number of instructions i have to issue by quite a bit.

This is how technology works, it lives on what was done previously to do more. So the actual result isn't instantly complex, it was fairly complex before, and was given a little bit of additional functionality to improve it.

The simplest way to explain why it 'expands' so fast is to take a look at how the computer stores data.

It has already been explained that data for a computer is stored as 1's and 0's, on and off, hot and cold, yes and no, true and false... any two values. So if that one 'switch' as we'll call it can store two values, then by having just one switch, we have a total of two values (stupid, but had to be said). So let's say someone else came along and gave us another switch, so we have 2 switches storing two values per a switch. Now we can store a total of 4 values by combining the two switches. There wasn't any additional 'big' advancement, i mean, we just added another switch and our number of possible values doubled! As it turns out, each additional switch doubles the previous amount...so the mathematical way of determining the amount of possible values is 2^n where n is the number of switches.

What does this have to do with technology? Well, by taking a look at the example above, we didn't reinvent the new combination of switches, we just tacked on a new idea to an existing idea (we had a switch, then we thought about the possibilities of combining switches). This is exactly what we do with technology, someone doesn't re-invent everything about a cell phone over again, they take what was already invented and add a new factor to the bunch to make the number of possibilities expand.

Now you're probably thinking, it still doesn't make sense, someone comes up with one simple thing and it makes our technology double--shouldn't the new idea expand technology in a linear sort of manner? The answer is no: let's take a look at our switches again. Say we had 8 switches, that 256 possible values. Someone comes along, adds another switch, now we have 512...and another 1024...2048, 4096... etc. The end result is that the graph is NOT linear, it is exponential, a curve.

This means that while someone does add in a new simple idea to the bunch, the simple idea will probably be applied to many different areas of the number of existing ideas. So say we as a total had 10 total ideas (club, pole, whatever). Then someone comes along and finds out about the usefulness of sharp objects. Well, if applied 'sharpness' to our club, that makes it something like a sword and if applied to our pole, makes it something like an axe or spear. So you see, the same idea though simple was re-applied to the pool of ideas to make it seem like it did a lot, but it really didn't.



<b>Does it work?</b>
Yes!
<b>Ok, How <i>well</i> does it work?</b>
Uhh...
August 24, 2001 6:54:15 AM

I doubt anything even remotely approaching .5 light is possible with a simple solar sail. Besides we will have problems long before we worry about near light speed collisions. Solar flares give off tremendous amounts of harmful radiation. We are protected under the earth's atmosphere but long term survival in open space will be a big problem.
August 24, 2001 7:20:26 AM

talking about exponential curves...
here are two nasty ones from real life.

1. atmospheric pollution (co2) since the start of the industrial revolution

2. world population



I'll respect your comments & opinions, even if i disagree with them, Provided you dispay maturity.
August 24, 2001 7:31:35 AM

Amen to that.

All the wassailing in the poad will not maketh the cracken bend any fustier. Think about it.
August 24, 2001 9:38:14 AM

ION drives are real too. Solar sails, ion driver, and matter/anti matter engines, all real feasable methods of transport.

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
~Tbird1.3@1.55~
August 24, 2001 9:44:24 AM

Once you gain the momentum, you dont lose it(albeit you lose some to the suns gravity) but the pressure from light from the sun outpowers its gravity, and since they both diminish at the same rate, you will constantly accelerate.

~Matisaro~
"Friends don't let friends buy Pentiums"
~Tbird1.3@1.55~
August 24, 2001 12:16:14 PM

But why hasn't technological development slowed down yet? Technology has reached a point where no one person can invent something. You need a whole team of thinkers. I mean there must come a point where humans don't know what to do anymore with the resources they have on earth. Am I making any sense?

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
August 24, 2001 1:52:59 PM

there's a great book that poses that same hypothesis....

it's called
"The End of Science : Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age (Helix Books)"

the author's name is: John Horgan.

he came and talked to my computer theory class about how he thinks that physics and chemistry are nearing their limit....
how discoveries are becoming more specialized and most of the the really big question have already been answered.

it's a good book, but we had other speakers as well, about that very same subject and there are still major discoveries that need to happen....
like a unified field theory (what is matter and how does it relate to energy?)
a better model of the atom (face it people, we may THINK we know what's going on, but our model isn't perfect, because we still cant reconsile the macro and the micro worlds.....
we need a way to fit quantum mechanics into the bigger picture.).

these fundamental questions still haven't been answered yet.

he also said that we would be nearing the physicall limit of what computers can do by 2011.... but that's ignorant, because we will just figure out new ways of doing things....

like the vacume tube... we were enaring the physical limit of what we could do with that then we found the transistor and we pushed the limit back.... that's going to happen.
we aren't at the end of science, we are merely at that wall where a new discovery will change the world.

like newton and the apple.
or einstien and relativity.
it's still possible for normal people to make important discoveries.

we all need a clean renewable energy that will fit into our economic situation.
discover that, and you've got it made for life.
!