Nor that they will turn out to be the same. To be perfectly frank we had better cover our bases. People are going to make millions of small decisions around the world, and a few big ones, that are going to result in the shape of tomorrow's power grid. The people implementing that grid are going to basically have a choice of making it work as people are using it, not as they dream it should be. Making it as 'smart' as possible seems like win/win kind of situation. Whether that will end up with a no-storage all-renewable grid or not is hard to say. Probably not, but it might be a lot closer than one imagines. It might turn out to be something else entirely too!
I think the problem is nobody can really say exactly what the energy situation in 2055 is going to be. We have some idea, but there will be substantial differences. I'm not ignorant of the physics or the technology, etc. Its just that different economics will be at play then as opposed to now. Building efficiency for instance is rising rapidly, which has a big impact on the timing and nature of peak demand. Its quite likely people will use energy quite a bit more efficiently and how about they're more concerned about reliable supply and thus at-the-source generation and storage? Imagine my computing needs of 2040. What I can do with a couple watt-hours is going to be monstrous, but I want to never be in the dark, so I want local storage, and then why not have local distributed generation as well? I'm not saying how it WILL play out, but you have to watch basing your projections on assumptions that themselves will be the first victims of change.
No, you're wrong, it will be a once in some significant number of years event, no more common than major power outages are now. This would be true if the entire East Coast was powered virtually entirely by wind. You need to do some actual reading of plans and studies on the subject and look at what is happening in other areas. Note too that what I'm mentioning is ONLY OFFSHORE WIND, nothing else (with about 10% capacity gas backup, no more than is already provided for what you call 'baseload'). Surely this is not the ACTUAL configuration which would exist. There will be for a long time now other forms of power generation, and things like hydro (very good at storage and quick dispatch, and can run at 100% capacity when required for a time). The REAL GRID of the mid-21st Century is very different from the grid of the mid-20th Century upon which you build your prognostications.
Hey, you can have 3 different natural disasters and a transmission line failure too. There's only a finite reliability to the whole grid. Nothing has to be 100%. You need to cover the "once every 20 years there's a modest shortfall and we can predict it 2-3 days out" which we are at now.
Look at the studies, its just not true. You won't have hurricane force winds both off the coast of MASS and SC at the same time, ever.
Its not that we WANT TO or SHOULD create this sort of energy distribution system, but just that we COULD in theory do so. It seems to me that such a system would be very much always on the hairy edge of crashing just by its very nature, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility in the future at some point, and it might make economic sense too, who knows? I really doubt we'll ever even approach this in any of our lifetimes though.
That may be true of the UK, but it is most certainly NOT true of North America. Even just the East Coast, with reasonably affordable interconnects, would have 24/7/365 offshore wind if we built in the right places. Most indications are that it would be pretty economical in the longrun. Many other areas of world are perhaps not quite so well-endowed with reliable winds, but areas that span more than say 1500km along a north-south coastline generally COULD be self-sufficient.
when you are dealing with 'odds' on the order of 10^100th power against something there's no real point in calling it odds anymore. Nothing is 'certain' if you can't call that sort of thing certain. I'm simply trying to demonstrate that yes indeed I can argue the argument from your perspective as well. It really doesn't matter. I can say "we know for certain that Conservation of Momentum is never violated, period" or I can say "the vast number of observations which ONLY fit a mathematical model that included inviolable Conservation of Momentum makes the probability of its violation too low to worry about", its the same thing when the odds are as remote as I've already stated. So I don't find there to be any contradictions in my position, but I probably didn't make that clear.
Is there really scientific value in finding the flaw in the experiment? Lots of people have already suggested very mundane ways the experiment appears ON THE FACE OF IT to be flawed. Ways that would involve nothing new at all, just garden variety scientific crappy experiment design coupled with a fondness for ridiculous projects just because they offer some tantalizing revolution. Its POSSIBLE when observing anything to stumble upon some sort of useful knowledge. This is however just as likely if you were say working on Solar Sails, which are a technology that needs a LOT of basic work still but which we know operate according to established principles. I don't see anything to indicate to me that SS experiments wouldn't be a better use of NASA's limited funds. The WORST CASE is they add to our ability to build a solar sail, best case they might lead to some sort of interesting new science.
Again, I appreciate the scientific endeavor and the value of turning over many different stones, but its best to turn over stones in the most fertile areas. Since we can't do every possible experiment we can think of we should do GOOD experiments, not bad ones.
Like I said, exceedingly unlikely, very very exceedingly unlikely. Spend the money on better bets.
The Casimir Effect doesn't conflict with any of existing physics. Its a consequence of renormalization, a process that was developed in the 1960's by Feynman et al. Its quite interesting that the 'book keeping' has a real physical effect. It tells us that the theory really is not just an arbitrary description, but that there's some deeper correspondence between theory and reality. The point is The Casimir Effect doesn't 'point to something new', it is just telling us that yes indeed the vacuum exists. That in no way implies that it can be used to subvert basic laws of physics. Casimir doesn't imply anything about momentum at all.
There's nothing 'improbable to ridiculous' about dark energy and dark matter. They are perfectly reasonable and don't actually change our overall view of the basic story of the Universe at all. They don't undermine the big bang, they explain some observations about what happens later and some of the characteristics of the CMB, that's all. Now, there's clearly going to be new/extended theories required to explain dark matter. Dark Energy, it looks like its just a 'cosmological constant', which begs some questions about what exactly is the cosmos and how does it exist, but its not clear that we need to explain the value of this number to understand the physics of THIS universe. Nor is there any implication that this means there's some physics that would allow an ordinary asymmetrical oscillator to generate reactionless thrust. I don't believe that DM/DE mean there are 'gaping holes', just that there is physics that we haven't codified yet and it will be compatible with the existing physics just like GR is compatible with classical mechanics. Anything that was impossible in CM is also impossible in GR.
I'm sure there ARE unexpected phenomena, but they won't cause massive flaming violations of basic conservation laws with trivial ease. If they DO allow for such violations they will be at event horizons or the beginning of time, etc. They won't be significant effects that show up in a simple tuned driver that doesn't happen to be symmetrical. I just don't find that to be plausible at all. Unexpected phenomena and new theories WILL LEAVE CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM INTACT. I'm sure of that to a very high degree of certainty. Just like an 18th Century cartographer was sure there was no land bridge from Africa to South America even those his map of the interior of Africa was a big blank with a few hazy rumors drawn on it. Its just that kind of a thing.
Okay, two things:
One: I would be *very* surprised if this thruster truly violated conservation of momentum, as you say that's a fairly foundational thing. I would be much less surprised however if it only *appeared* to violate conservation of momentum by pushing against quantum vacuum, dark matter, the fabric of space-time, or something else entirely whose nature and interaction with "normal" matter is poorly understood or completely unexpected. And I would fully expect such a (working) device to be derided by the establishment as impossible until it was thoroughly proven to actually generate anomalous thrust, at which point many, many smart people would start trying to figure out WTF was really going on.
Yeah, I'm exceedingly dubious. If any of these kinds of mechanisms was so easily accessed then its very VERY unlikely we haven't seen it before. Not only that but this sort of interaction would almost surely be only one of a CLASS of interactions of various sorts. Also I don't think you can cheat by pushing against 'vacuum energy' (who's existence and nature are highly dubious) or other non-material things. I'm not really facile enough with GR, and I'm not sure ANYONE is to be frank, to say exactly what might or might not be allowed absolutely in theory, but it seems like a cheat to me, and nature isn't very fond of cheats. I think momentum will be conserved in its classical sense and I don't think any other sort of conservation suffices.
Two: I think you're not giving enough credit to past researchers. Until somebody noticed the anomalous exposure of some film that had been left in the same drawer as a mineral sample, nobody had any reason to expect the existence of radioactive decay - it was in fact impossible according to the then-current theories. That discovery shattered atomic theory (atom literally means indivisible) and opened whole new fields of science. Imagine the derision they would have faced if instead of only requiring some film and a mineral sample, duplicating the key phenomena required tens of thousands of dollars of equipment and testing apparatus. Nobody would have wasted their resources trying to duplicate such an obviously impossible phenomena, and nuclear physics might never have been born.
But you have to understand how far less developed high energy physics was at that time. VERY many experiments had never been done, so entire fields of possible phenomena were unknown. They couldn't 'balance the books' in even the simplest way, so they really didn't understand what they were looking at. Today we DO balance the books. We can analyze atomic and subatomic interactions and tell exactly what energy is going in and out, and in what forms. Its not an analogous situation.
>Its not circular reasoning to expect some phenomena to not exist.
Certainly not. It is however circular reasoning to extend that reasoning to conclude that NO unknown phenomena exist. And unknown phenomena will, by definition, appear to break the well-understood laws of physics, at least until the principles behind them are understood. And that does occasionally involve completely uprooting the existing laws, such as relativity did to Newtonian mechanics, which are now only kept around as an approximation that is accurate enough for most purposes - incidentally also a great example of simple, elegant physics being replaced by something far more complex and counter-intuitive. The universe is after all under absolutely no obligation to make sense to us, making sense of things is what *we* strive to do, the universe only offers an occasional hint of untapped mysteries if we poke it just right.
Well, when I claim that no unknown phenomena exist, then your argument is relevant, but since I haven't its really not...
I disagree that unknown phenomena will appear to break anything. Does the Higg's appear to break anything? No, it doesn't. Neither does Dark Matter, etc etc etc. They aren't entirely understood, but they don't break existing physics.
You're wrong about GR 'uprooting' Newtonian Mechanics. It did no such thing. It simply added a more refined theory. Not one single observation ever made under Newtonian Mechanics was invalidated under GR, though some new ones were able to be explained.
I don't really disagree with you. I think QM isn't PARTICULARLY fraught with constants which it doesn't explain though. Classical Newtonian mechanics has plenty of them as well. There are constants galore in classical electrodynamics, etc. I share everyone's belief that there are some sort of 'more fundamental' physics which 'clean up' these things, but we cannot be sure. No absolute rule says that there are no arbitrary constants, and if we reduce the number to only 1 then in effect we still haven't explained ANYTHING because our theory will base EVERYTHING else on that one. So you have to ask what really is the value of a theory? Its only use is practical, as a predictor of things. In that sense what we have is quite good, though not perfect. The diameters of protons are still being argued about, as are a number of other fairly basic things. Our value for G is still not as good as we'd like, etc.
The thing about all these 'theories of everything' is they EXTEND what we already know. None of them proposes things like violations of Conservation of Momentum. If they do allow for us to observe that happening then they've also got some other way to extend these conservation laws that we should be able to test. Honestly, while I can't possibly know the potential ramifications of all the various permutations of TOEs that are out there, I don't believe any of the ones that are considered likely or 'on the right path' would allow for the type of violation that a reactionless drive would require. In any case I'd just want to see a much more convincing mathematical basis that touched on how one of these theories would allow for reactionless thrust before I thought it was at all worth looking into.
Its not circular reasoning to expect some phenomena to not exist. MANY, in fact the vast majority, of possible phenomena do not exist. The ones that DO exist have UNIVERSALLY proven to exhibit certain characteristics. Universally, that's IN ALL CASES. Its not 'circular reasoning' to say that because some hypothesized phenomenon doesn't exhibit those characteristics it doesn't exist. That's just using your plain old common sense and basic deductive reasoning. Science has to operate on a basis of deduction and inference because otherwise you can't tell what to believe or not believe and you would literally have to go around testing every ridiculous idea. What if I send NASA a paper that shows how pink unicorns can carry your spaceship to Atlantis without using any power at all? Do they have to build a unicorn harness to decide this is ridiculous? Of course not. This is in the same category, its ridiculous and there's no reason to expect it would work thus no reason to test it. Its really that simple. You can wave your hands all you want about TOEs and maybe we don't know everything but we don't have to know everything to use fekking common sense.
Well, I have nothing to say about it if you want to do some research its your money, do what you want. Its a free country. For myself I'd vote not to have NASA funds spent on such things when there are good solid scientifically defensible lines of research just begging to have some funds all over the place. Plasma sailing, solar sails, better ion drives, magnetohydrodynamic (VASIMIR, etc) drivers, and 100 other things. Heck, work on a warp drive if you must do something pie-in-the-sky, at least its not outright impossible on the face of it. There's just a lot of stuff to work on and little money, so I don't want to spend PUBLIC money on ridiculously unlikely things.
Yes, but I think a lot of you fail to comprehend the degree of that 'more likely'. Its something like 10^100th power to one odds against all of physics being wrong. I don't have to check that out, I can dismiss it. Reality agrees with me, not with the reactionless thruster people. They need to go back to school and learn to use Maxwell's equations right.
Yeah, I know, I get your drift. We just have to agree to disagree. I think if you got a bit more into the guts of both classical and modern physics you'd start to agree with me. QM for instance is NOT a 'monstrosity', its a beautifully elegant mathematical construct. And it fits TOO WELL, nothing is going to displace it. What we need is research on how to sort through the various proposals to extend QM and GR, not ignorant snipe hunts for non-existent phenomena. Learn some of the math, learn more about how these theories work, you'll come to understand how powerful and generalized they really are, and how simple they are in essence.