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22 June 2013 @ 02:40 am
No one will read this.
There's been a lot of news lately about measurements from CERN that apparently show neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This would seemingly overturn decades of experimental verification of the theory of relativity, which predicts that nothing can possibly go faster. It might be going faster than the speed of light, but if faster than light particles are real, then they would seem to lead to a time travel paradox. Here's why I think that:

Einstein's Though Experiment:

In 1887 it was discovered that the speed of light is constant for all points of view in the universe, regardless of how fast an observer is moving while doing the measurement. Albert Einstein came up with several thought experiments to try to imagine what reality must be like under these circumstances. Here's one of them that describes what happens:

A person standing in a train station sees a train moving at high speed. At the moment the train passes the center of the station, they see two lightning flashes at exactly the same time, equally far away from the center on opposite sides.

From the stationary person's perspective, if the lightning flashed simultaneously when the train was passing in the center, then the train would move forward slightly in the time it took the light to get to it. The light in front would have a shorter distance to travel and the light from behind would have to travel farther, so they see the light reaching the front of the person in the train before it hits them from behind.

To the person on the train, the perspective would be slightly different. Instead of seeing both bolts of lightning at the same time, they actually would see the one coming from the front first. They would appear to be happening at different times. (On the other hand, if the person on the train saw both lightning bolts at once, then the person on the ground would have to see them flashing at different times in order for the light to hit the train at the same time.)

The speed of light is constant for each observer, but the distance and time of the lightning flashes would not agree. Another person in a different train moving in the opposite direction would see it with the order reversed.

The shape of space and time is altered for each observer in a symmetrical way: The person in the station sees the train shortened from front to back with time moving slower, and the person on the train sees the world outside the train foreshortened and with slower time.

Here is an animation from Wikipedia that visualizes this:

It is a timeline where time is vertical and space is horizontal, with the future on the top. You can see exactly how the space-time perspective "shifts" as the velocity changes.

Each person sees a different view of events, but they are both equally valid vantage points of the universe, viewed from a different perspective. The order of events at each specific location remains the same. This has all been measured experimentally, and it is how space and time actually work.

Moving faster than the speed of light:

One of the consequences of the theory of relativity is that it is impossible to travel faster than light (the math predicts it would take infinite energy.) But what would happen if you actually could send a signal faster than light?

Let's go back to the thought experiment. Suppose you are the "stationary" observer and you see two things happening at the same time on opposite sides. Now suppose you had something that could travel faster than light. Imagine it's REALLY fast, so if you send a signal exactly as the lightning flashes you will see it reach the other location immediately after the flash.

Now all of the same space and time transformation is still in effect, but it has an extra effect on the faster-than-light object: To someone moving in one direction, the object appears to be moving slower (but still faster than light.) To someone moving in the opposite direction, the object appears to be moving BACKWARDS IN TIME. It starts off at the destination and then moves backwards faster than light until it reaches the source. According to relativity, moving faster than light is literally equivalent to time travel.

And that's where the paradox comes in:

Suppose you alter the faster-than-light neutrino somehow to represent information. You can measure a bit of information (0 or 1) by the particle's orientation, position, number of particles, etc.

Now change the experiment so the faster-than-light object actually is sending a signal. It will either send a "red" neutrino or a "blue" neutrino (terms I made up) depending on how it is programmed. The device can be programmed to fire either red or blue by sending it a signal before it fires.

One of the moving observers sees the signal going backwards in time. If they can measure the state of the particle, then they know whether it's red or blue before it appears to have been sent. It would still be impossible to notify the sender moving slower than light, but we've already established that it's possible to go faster. So this observer can now send a faster-than-light neutrino to program the sender before the information is sent.

Now all you have to do to create a world-ending paradox is send the opposite signal of whatever you receive. If you see a blue neutrino, send a signal back to make it turn red, and vice versa. Now each situation causes the opposite one to happen and propagate backwards in time somehow, over and over again until you destroy the universe or something.

This is why I have no trouble believing that it's impossible to go faster than light. It's doesn't just require infinite energy, it actually violates the order of cause and effect.

So, it's possible that we just discovered neutrinos moving faster than light and we need to overturn all we know about physics, but I'm putting my money on the "faster than light" measurement being caused by something completely different.
07 February 2010 @ 05:32 pm
So if I'm watching a blu-ray movie on my TV and I pause it to look at something on my computer, it automatically resets the blu-ray player to the system menu ("Disconnecting AnyNet device") the moment I switch the TV input source. If I want to get back where I was I have to navigate to the chapter select menu. But, I can circumvent it by unplugging the HDMI input, because somehow it's sending a signal back to the blu-ray player probably as some shitty anti-copying measure. It takes less time to get up and unplug the cable when switching sources than it does to go through the menu.

What the fuck, Blu-Ray player...
02 February 2010 @ 07:33 pm
I've totally been getting into these music mashups on YouTube lately. I feel like posting a list of links just for the sake of sharing it, since other people might find it interesting. Depending on your musical tastes, these are either really awesome or totally ruining songs you like (Michael Jackson vs. Eminem? I like it, but I could see it being someone's worst musical nightmare.)

YouTube Mashups:
arranged roughly from worst to best...
31 December 2009 @ 03:22 am
It's 3 AM and I just got rid of the sysguard virus on my computer, by hand. I got it from a random Google search result in Firefox.

If you get a virus that pops up a window that looks like this:

Antivirus System PRO

You have the sysguard virus.
Here is how to beat it:

This will show you how to get your computer back so you can run files and have access to your computer; it's likely that the computer will still be infected, but you can at least get some antivirus software.

The main thing that makes this virus hard to deal with is that it tries to close almost any exe file you run with a message saying it's infected and you need to upgrade your antivirus. This makes it a pain in the ass to do anything, because the moment you try to run or edit anything it closes. No command line, no Task Manager, no Registry Editor, no Notepad, nothing. This is the part that almost got me stuck, but I finally figured out a way around it.

Here's what you do!

There are a few programs that are exempt from sysguard's auto-kill for whatever reason. Firefox and Internet Explorer still run, presumably because they want to use it to direct you to their websites, going to "Run" from the Start Menu works (but none of the programs you can run from it.) and Windows Explorer works, at least on Windows Vista. People using XP might be screwed.

To get around this I decided to try and generate a batch file that could run commands as though I were running from the command console. The problem is, with only Firefox working there's no obvious way to save a text file. I still don't know of any way to directly do it.

The key is to go into Windows Explorer and navigate to a folder that contains a .txt file, or create a new blank one. You might need to change the folder attributes to not be read-only.

Trying to edit the txt file in Notepad seems to be a fruitless effort, because the moment you open the program the virus closes it. However...the virus is actually running on a timer that updates several times a second and kills other processes. If you've got fast reflexes, it's actually possible to open Notepad, paste text into the file (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+V) and then save the file (Ctrl+S) before it closes.

So, I came up with my ingenious plan: Create a text file, paste batch commands into it, then save it before it closes. Since Firefox works, I can use any text box as an edit box (I used GMail) and then save it using this method.

To get rid of sysguard, you must do this twice with different commands.

First, paste the following text into a .txt file before Notepad closes:

tasklist > tasks.txt

It's tricky to do it fast enough, you may not get it on the first try. Remember, Ctrl+A, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+S.

If you get it to work, rename the file from .txt to .bat. Double-click the batch file.

If it worked correctly, tasklist.exe will export a list of currently running processes to whatever text file you specify. You can't keep the file open in Notepad, but Firefox or Internet Explorer should be able to open it. It should look something like this:

Image Name                     PID Session Name        Session#    Mem Usage
========================= ======== ================ =========== ============
System Idle Process              0 Services                   0         28 K
System                           4 Services                   0      7,724 K
smss.exe                       476 Services                   0        192 K
csrss.exe                      544 Services                   0      2,076 K
wininit.exe                    592 Services                   0        152 K
csrss.exe                      604 Console                    1      9,604 K
services.exe                   712 Services                   0      3,376 K
lsass.exe                      724 Services                   0      3,080 K
lsm.exe                        928 Services                   0      1,312 K
winlogon.exe                   968 Console                    1      2,056 K

Somewhere in this file will be the .exe file for sysguard. This is what is running in the background popping up windows and closing all the other programs.

The .exe file will have random letters at the beginning. Mine was called rqftsysguard.exe.

Now, paste the following batch code into a txt file before Notepad closes:

taskkill /F /IM ____sysguard.exe

Where "____sysguard.exe" is whatever your exe's name is.

Rename it to .bat and run it. This will kill the virus program! It will no longer try to stop other programs that are running, so you can safely run (or in my case, buy) anti-virus software which will allow you to proceed further.

It's probably a good idea to delete the file from your hard drive. I found a website saying it should be in C:\WINDOWS\sysguard, but I didn't find it there. On my computer, it was in C:\Documents and Settings\Dustin\AppData\Local\suavdm and C:\Users\Dustin\Appdata\Local\suavdm. This is apparently a random name. Also run msconfig (or edit the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run) and remove this file from your startup options!

If you want to pre-emptively block the IP this virus came from, it was san1.ehmalstalling.com (, which showed up in my Firefox history as sdgytsgspnf.com. I still don't know how to find out what the referring page was for that link.

This got rid of the sysguard virus, but I still have other problems (the "max++" virus? and my Start Menu folder is corrupt) so just for good measure I'm going to reformat my computer after doing a virus scan and backup. This won't entirely fix everything, but hopefully this can be of aid to someone who finds it on a web search.

I had another virus a few months ago (I swear I don't visit suspicious websites) that required an equally elaborate way of getting past the virus' attempts to lock me out. I think I'll make another post later showing how I got past that one.

(EDIT: New updates. My start menu went back to normal after restarting, and AVG's rootkit scan got rid of the max++ virus. Everything seems to be back to normal.)
05 September 2009 @ 11:49 pm
I feel like making a list of products that have awkward words in them.

I was at the grocery store the other day and I saw this by the checkout stand:

Yeah, it's Veggie Tales. Before you ask why I'm posting an image of Veggie Tales, all I want to focus on is the main character's name: Minnesota Cuke. Yeah, I get what they're going for...it's Indiana Jones but with a cucumber. But, really, "Cuke?" That's what you're going to name your main character? Could you imagine watching something with a name that awkward, let alone being one of the animators working on it? I'd start to question where I went wrong in life. (Then again, if you're working on Veggie Tales, you have no soul to begin with.)

I love how hilariously ugly the female character is, too. Surely that character will become iconic, like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny.

Anyway, it got me thinking, besides "cuke," what other products have I seen that just have awkward words in them? I know I've seen movie titles with awkward words or phrases in the title, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Here's one I can think of: Star Wars Bombad Racing.

What the hell is a bombad? I still don't know. In the words of Brak, "I don't wanna play bombad racing, I mean what the heck is that?" For that matter, "Revenge of the Sith" is probably confusing to anyone who only watched the original Star Wars trilogy, since they don't use the word "sith" even once.

But I think the worst offender has to go to the ATLAS experiment in the Large Hadron Collider.

You can't tell from this diagram, but that thing is huge.

Don't get me wrong, the experiment itself is an amazing feat of engineering, and to me it's incredibly inspirational to think about what these experiments mean.

But then I saw what ATLAS stands for: A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS. Did you get that? Do you see why that acronym is the worst acronym I've ever seen? It's wrong on so many levels.
First of all, don't use "A" as a word in an acronym, that's retarded.
"Toroidal" is also an awkward word to use, but it does describe the experiment.
"LHC" is an abbreviation used within the acronym, so really it's "A Toroidal Large Hadron Collider ApparatuS" or ATLHCAS.
And "ApparatuS?" You're using the END of the word as a letter in the acronym? God that's dumb.
The name ATLAS breaks every rule of making a good acronym. These people are supposed to be discovering the secrets of the universe, but if this is the best they can come up with I'm starting to wonder if they've got what it takes. I have to believe they chose a purposefully bad name just to be funny.
21 June 2009 @ 12:58 am
Hello Youtubes
29 May 2009 @ 08:37 pm
The game I've been working on has been announced. Drawn to Life 2: The Next Chapter for Nintendo DS. I posted this on Facebook the other day so everybody who's reading this has probably already seen it, but here is an interview with some screenshots and a teaser video!



So let me talk about relativity for a second, because relativity is a fucked up subject to think about.

I wouldn't call myself an expert in the idea of relativity other than a few basic equations and concepts, but I love thought experiments and this is one of the craziest things in the universe once you start to understand it.

Here's the central idea: The speed of light is the same everywhere. If light is coming to the solar system from a distant star, it doesn't matter how fast that star is moving toward us or away from us, the speed of light that you measure will be exactly the same. You would expect that incoming stars would emit faster light and that stars moving away would see the light slightly slower, but this was proven not to be the case by experiment. Relative velocity doesn't affect how fast light moves, it is measured the same from anywhere in the universe. This discovery leads to the conclusion that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

First off: Time dilation and length contraction. If you see somebody moving relative to where you are at close to the speed of light, they will appear to be physically compressed in their direction of motion. Time will also appear to be moving slower for them. Also, events that appear to be happening simultaneously to you will appear to happen at slightly different times relative to the other person, and vice versa.

Why does a constant speed of light lead to time dilation? This is the way it was explained to me, and it makes some sense. Imagine you have a beam of light reflecting between two mirrors. From a stationary point of view, the light takes a certain amount of time to get from one side to the other.

Now suppose this mirror is in motion. The light would appear to move back & forth and bounce between the mirrors, but now it also has sideways motion. The total path is now longer. If it were something moving at normal everyday speeds, the horizontal motion would add to the overall speed and it would appear to take the same amount of time but travel faster than the stationary light. But because the light must travel further while moving at the same speed, it takes longer to traverse the path, and therefore the passage of time in the other frame of reference is actually slower.

Length contraction is a different subject, but I think I found a way to explain why it would have to happen.

Astronaut B is floating in space. He looks to both sides and can see Astronaut A and Astronaut C on opposite sides, speeding toward him at close to the speed of light. They are going to zoom past him without hitting and continue moving at full speed. At the exact moment that they pass him, he takes a flash photo of their journey.

The light from the flash is emitted as a sphere. Astronaut B looks out after he takes the picture and "sees" (or would somehow measure) the light emitted as an expanding sphere. Astronauts A and C are speeding away from him at almost the speed of light, appearing to almost reach the edge of that sphere.

But then look at it from astronaut A's point of view. He sees B speeding away at almost the speed of light, and C moving ahead further than that. Without relativity, you'd conclude that astronaut C is moving twice the speed of light, but remember the flash of light, because that's the critical thing: Because the light is always moving at the same speed, it's the same shape for everybody, so everyone sees it as a sphere with all the astronauts inside of it. The astronaut at the far edge of the sphere still fits inside, and A sees B moving almost the speed of light with C moving slightly faster. C sees the same situation, but in reverse.

This image goes a little bit of the way to explaining why it takes more and more energy to go close to the speed of light. Adding more energy makes it go closer and closer to the speed of light, but there will always be more space between the object and that event horizon in which light is still propagating and space is expanding in the same pattern. We could continue this example with more astronauts going past at even greater speeds, and if you added more and more objects in a row they would appear closer and closer to the edge of the sphere from your perspective, but there would still be more space where you could add another one.

There are some weird things that happen in relativistic conditions. Simultaneity gets messed up. Suppose you have the same situation as the first example with light reflecting off a mirror, only make it perpendicular, so the mirrors are moving in the direction in which they are separated. Imagine you have a flashing thing in the middle, and suppose the mirrors are stationary from the point of view of the center. You emit light from the center, then you "see" the light hit the mirror on both sides at the same time and then reflect back to hit the center point at the same time.

Now imagine you're looking at this from somewhere that is moving sideways relative to the mirrors. One beam will appear to go backwards and immediately run into the mirror behind it. The other beam will move forwards, but because the mirror is receding faster and the light still appears to move at the same local speed, it takes longer to reach the other mirror. Eventually it hits the mirror and is quickly reflected back, just in time to meet up with the other photon which has been traveling forward most of the time.

This is bizarre and counterintuitive, because from one person's vantage point, the order of events completely changes; the light bouncing off the sides of the mirror is no longer simultaneous, but one happens before the other.

It is possible to trace out the path of these particles by visualizing the time as a space axis (i.e. each horizontal row represents a moment in time) in which case the situation looks like this:

Notice how these two transformations show the exact same event, just from two different points of view. There is no absolute time to which all observers in the universe can be synchronized, but whatever vantage point you are looking from there is still one single universe that is consistent with itself. If two particles collide, then they will always collide in that same position in timespace, even if it get projected in different ways depending on relative velocity. It just might not look the same from all angles.

What confuses most people about this is that it's symmetrical. You'd think, if I see time slowed down from their perspective they must be seeing your time sped up with you stretched out. But that's wrong. There is no state of absolute rest, and no vantage point is more valid than any other. So if you see an object coming at you at a certain speed, there's no difference in saying you're standing still and the other person is moving, or you are moving and the other person is standing still. If you're moving close to the speed of light relative to someone else, you see what the other person also sees. So from the vantage point of the other person traveling close to the speed of light, your length is also contracted and your time is also slowed down.

This leads to an apparent paradox, which Wikipedia calls the ladder paradox.

Imagine you have a ladder moving at almost the speed of light. (It could be any object, but somehow people decided it was going to be called the ladder paradox.) You also have a garage with two doors on opposite sides. The ladder is normally too big to fit in the garage, but because it is moving so fast and is length contracted it is small enough. The doors stay open until the ladder is inside, at which point they shut instantly for a brief moment while it fits inside and then open again. (Or I guess another way to look at it would be if it started with only the left door open, then the left door closed and then the right one opened.)

From the ladder's perspective, the garage is now much shorter for it to fit inside. How can both of these situations be consistent?

It works, because the ladder sees a completely different order of events. From the ladder's point of view, it flies in, the door in front closes, then it passes through the garage, and then the door behind it closes. If the doors were to actually touch the ladder it would feel the collisions at different times.

This situation can be diagrammed with a timeline the same way we did the particles bouncing off the mirrors. If you look at the way it's stretched out you see it's stretched diagonally in the same way.

Other crazy shit about relativity: The speed of light is the arbiter of causality. For any two events that appear to happen close enough that you could reach one from the other going less than the speed of light, there is some frame of reference in which both of those events happened in the same place at different points in time. For any two events that happen far enough away that you couldn't possibly reach them going the speed of light, there is some frame of reference in which they happen at the same time in different locations. These are mutually exclusive: No matter where you are, non-correlatable events will be non-correlatable and vice versa.

^--- I took this image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorentz_transformation. It was one of the featured Wikipedia images. I made rest of these animations myself.

Thinking about this you start to realize just why traveling faster than light is impossible, and why if you did it would be equivalent to time travel.

Here's an interesting thought experiment that I haven't specifically seen anywhere else (possibly because it's not entirely correct.) Try to imagine the situation of the reflecting mirrors, but combine the two situations together and see what it looks like from all angles.

Imagine you have a really tiny object that emits light inside of a circle made of reflective material. From the perspective of the center, the circle on the outside is not moving. The light flashes for an instant, and a sphere of light is emitted in all directions. A moment later, it reflects off the edge, and imagine that it's a perfectly smooth mirror so the light all reflects off in exactly the opposite direction.

First thing to realize: Since the speed of light is the same in all reference frames, this sphere will look like a sphere no matter who is observing it. If you're moving relative to the original flash, the location of the object in the middle won't match up with the center of the sphere, but it will still remain the same sphere growing at the speed of light, even in a different frame.

Second thing to realize: Since the reflective sphere is now a moving length-contracted object, the light will not reflect off of all of it at the same time. If you're moving close to the speed of light and looking at it, you'd see the flash go off, and then immediately you'd see the flash hit the wall behind it, since not only is the light moving backwards but the sphere is moving forwards to catch it.

From there the light hitting the edge would spread out to the sides, then reach the other side. Everything would reflect back, and it would meet back up with the original center point.

Now remember, the light is always coming off as a sphere. So when it gets to the halfway point, all the light coming from the light source would still be in a spherical shape from this perspective, centered around where the light flash originally appeared. Since this light reflection is a totally symmetrical event, this means that the light reflecting back is also a perfect circle, and when it reflects back it will all reach the center point at the same time.

You can think of the situation relative to the center point as a way of measuring a simultaneous moment. Everything reflects off the sphere at the exact same time, so you can define that as a single instant where everything happens at once. But because you see the light reflecting at different times from other perspectives, it means the instant of time itself is "moving" from one side to the other from some vantage point. Each plane of existence then represents a slightly different moment, with the past in one direction and the future in another direction. This is what resolves the ladder paradox. The "planes of simultaneity" defining the moment where the light reflects off will always move faster than the speed of light.

Here's something else that trips me out about relativity: Try to imagine what the world would look like from the point of view of a single photon traveling at the speed of light. I don't think that's actually scientifically meaningful, but if you were to put yourself in that vantage point you would see that it doesn't experience any passage of time. This has something to do with the fact that it is massless. From our point of view, a beam of light that travels to Earth from the Andromeda galaxy travels 4 million light years and doesn't seem to experience time passing. From the photon's point of view, it would start and finish its journey in the same moment, and the two galaxies would be length contracted until everything was on the same plane, perpendicular to how the photon was moving. It took no time at all because it was traveling a distance of 0.

When I was kid I heard that nothing could go faster than the speed of light, and I came up with an interesting thought experiment that would seem to contradict that. What if you built a track that went along the entire equator of the earth, and then connected wires along evenly spaced intervals that ran from the track to one of the poles? At the pole, you send out electrical signals that spin around at a rate faster than 8 times per second, and then once they reach the track it activates something like a lightbulb or an electrical motor. At the equator, the wave of incoming signals would appear to be moving faster than the speed of light.

I guess in retrospect it wouldn't need to be this big, but I came up with the idea for a sci-fi story or something.

Anyway, this almost works except for a few things:

1) If you tried to move an object using this method (say, by squeezing it or activating a magnet when the signal reached the track) it would require too much energy to actually move it to the speed of light

2) While you could get two things to activate at different times so that it looked like something was going faster than light, in reality you'd never be able to actually send information from one point to another that fast. If you were witnessing this scene from a fast-moving reference frame, the order of activation would get out of whack, so that parts of the wave on the track would appear to be moving backwards, due to the difference in the amount of time it takes for the signal to get from the pole to the equator. In this situation it's obvious that you can't send any information that fast, because one receiver would get the response before the other sent it.

The philosophical aspects of relativity become mind-boggling after you dwell on them enough. It's heavily connected with the big bang and the origin of the universe (an expanding or contracting universe is actually one of the conclusions of relativity.) The sphere of light that is emitted in a light flash is the thing I can't get my mind off of. It amazes me that everyone sees it as the same spherical shape. If you look into the sky with a powerful enough telescope, you can see objects as they were in the past, because the light takes so long to reach you. The further you look, the further back in the past you see. Eventually you get to a point where you're seeing the first light emitted in the universe, a few hundred thousand years after the big bang. The light from this flash started off with very high energy, and it has been slowly losing energy and increasing in wavelength over time, from gamma rays through all the different colors of visible light to microwaves. This is a red-shifting effect caused by the expansion of space.

If length contraction and time dilation applies to everything, that would seem to mean that at the "edge of the universe," all of the matter that is moving away from you would get more and more compressed the closer you got to light speed, and time would move more and more slowly.

So what's at the edge of the sphere? Could you ever actually reach that event horizon? In real life you can't, but imagine if there were something there, or imagine what happens as you approach that limit. Time moves more and more slowly the faster you go, so the light-sphere of the big bang itself would have to be experiencing no time passage whatsoever. So it's the same now as it was at the moment the univese started.

If it's in the same state now as it was when the universe started, then what determines its scale? The further you look outward, the more matter you can see, so it has to be "big" enough to encompass all that matter. So when the universe is 100 times older than it is now, the outer edge of this event horizon will be 100 times bigger and there will be more space in between, so it exists on that scale, and yet it also exists at the microscopic scale that it was at the beginning of time.

So...if it's in the same state now as it was when it was microscopic, then that state will be just as valid when it is 1000 times bigger and physics would seem to operate on a different scale. I guess everything would be expanded and there would be more space between the galaxies in future scales, but their trajectories would still be consistent with what happens at lower scales when the physical constants of the universe had different effects. I imagine it as an infinite fractal shape with no smallest unit of measurement.

This is the part that seems to take on religious significance, because it would mean that the moment of creation of the universe is frozen in time, the same now as it will be in a trillion years, and yet within the finite space you have an infinite universe with an eternal history playing out.

The "recombination" event, the earliest light we can see in the universe, happened about 300,000 years after the big bang. That would've essentially happened in the same moment everywhere, but just like the light reflecting off the sphere in my thought experiment, that moment is constantly moving away from us. So the further into the future you go, the bigger the sphere would be that determines a specific moment in the universe's history, and the more young galaxies you would be able to see. The older the universe gets, the more information you have about what the beginning was like for a bigger area, and yet reaching back to the very beginning would still be impossible. It may be fundamentally unknowable.

But does this event horizon I'm imagining actually exist? Without being an expert in the math, it seems possible that there could be an infinite amount of matter within a finite shell, as long as it got more and more contracted as you got closer to light speed at the right rate. Light speed would be the limit of the function, and you could get closer & closer but not actually get there.

On the other hand, from what I understand space itself can expand so that two points are moving away from each other faster than light, but the objects within that space still can't travel any faster. In this case, it would be possible for there to be some parts of the universe moving away so fast that there is no way for it to have any effect on us. If this is the case, then there is only a finite amount of matter than can interact with any given point in spacetime, even if "the whole universe" is infinite.

Whooooah, did I just blow your mind?

I could go on, but I'm starting to ramble more and more about stuff that I clearly don't know much about. Stop me before I start sounding like the TimeCube guy. It's fun to think about though.
31 March 2009 @ 12:09 pm
So, after watching a bunch of PC demos online (I'm addicted to this site now), I've decided I want to actually try to make a demo myself. I'm going for a 64k demo, so everything needs to be compressed and procedurally generated, which is a lot harder, but more impressive if you understand the limitations.

For those of you unaware, the idea of demos is to show off programming/art skills, and in Europe they have big LAN parties where they project demos onto a big screen and compete against each other for the best demos. One of these days when I can afford to take a vacation I really want to go to a demoparty, but only if I have an actual demo to release at the party. The main thing that was preventing me from making a real demo is that I don't have much musical talent and making a sound synthesizer is totally beyond my abilities...or at least it was.

A few weeks ago I decided to see if I could get something simple up & running that might fit into a 64k demo, and here are the results.

First, here's what my theoretical competition would be. These are all 64 kilobyte demos. My synthesizer isn't even in the same ballpark:


Now here are my crappy synth songs:

Dope by Complex
Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R__IrgCireM#t=4m20s
Crappy synth version:

This is the first song I made, it sounds pretty incomplete at the moment. But it demonstrates the different types of instruments I can make.

Second Reality by Purple Motion
Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G_aUxbbqWU#t=4m58s
Crappy synth version:

The Product by kb/Farbrausch (this one's arguably the best one):
Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkEsP9H2HGM#t=5m00s
Crappy synth version:

The main thing that's horrible is that when new notes are played the old note just cuts off awkwardly, and I have no control over the note length yet. But it's a start!