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# FTL Communications Experiment

First build some really long wave guides...
 (+3, -8) [vote for, against]

The basic Idea is that electromagnetic induction, used for wireless power transmission, can have an odd side-effect, FTL data transmission. I've spelled it out in detail at the "Google Knol" site. See link.

Briefly, start by building a wave guide stretching from Point A to Point B. The wave guide has to be big enough to carry the sort of power waves associated with wireless power transmission. It might need to be miles in diameter!

At one end of the wave guide we need a power line, very much like those cross-country high-voltage transmission lines. At the other end of the wave guide we put an "induction circuit", the thing that would wirelessly get power from the power line.

When we turn on the induction circuit, the power company will know that power is being transmitted to it. But will we INSTANTLY have power when we turn it on? According to my understanding of Quantum Mechanics (and especially "quantum entanglement"), the answer is "yes"; we won't have to wait for some sort of power-request signal to travel from the induction circuit to the power line. The POTENTIAL for power to be present at the device is already there because "potential power waves" have already traversed the distance from the power line to the induction circuit.

So, when we flip a switch and turn on the induction circuit, not only will we immediately have power there, but there will also immediately be noticeable, to the power company, that power is being drawn. That's the FTL signal I'm talking about. If we flip the induction circuit switch ON and OFF in Morse Code patterns, we can transmit data across the distance of the wave guide.

The HalfBaked part is, if we want to send a signal across an interstellar distance, then we need a waveguide that is astronomically lengthy. And if we want to send FTL signals both ways, then we need two of them!

 — Vernon, Sep 02 2009

Proposed FTL Signalling Experiment http://knol.google....ent/131braj0vi27a/4
As mentioned in the main text; it contains a lot of links, so I don't need to copy those links here. [Vernon, Sep 02 2009]

The Mathematical Theory of Communication http://www.amazon.c...d=1251964982&sr=8-1
Shannon's seminal paper on information theory, providing a bound for the amount of information one can send down a channel.
[Jinbish, Sep 03 2009]

Wireless Power Transmission http://web.mit.edu/.../wireless-0607.html
An existing experiment that might be adapted for this one. [Vernon, Sep 03 2009]

Wireless Power Theft http://message.snop...owthread.php?t=9291
Look, Ma --no primary transformer windings! [Vernon, Sep 06 2009]

Hold on a moment - induction is transmitted using electromagnetic fields, changes to which can only propagate according to the c limit - and then, electricity (or at least, the wavefront of the electricity) in the wires moves at a slower rate again - where's the FTL?
 — zen_tom, Sep 02 2009

The FTL is supposed to be in the lack of delay between flipping the switch and having power at the induction circuit. That is, if power is instantly available, then when was the "draw" done? It would violate Causality for it to have been done in the past, when the power wave we are absorbing now got transmitted from the power line (before the circuit was switched on), and that means the power draw has to be NOW, the moment the circuit is switched on, regardless of the distance between the circuit and the power line.
 — Vernon, Sep 02 2009

I don't get this. By exactly the same argument, tuning in to a radio station (which is basically the same thing, but involving picowatts of radio power) would constitute FTL communication between the receiver and the station.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2009

 [MaxwellBuchanan], the difference is that the radio set is designed to pick up real photons that have real energy transmitted from the radio station. That's why the radio station continuously transmits at a rate of many kilowatts of power; the power of the signal it transmits does not go up and down based on the number of listeners tuned in. (And it is the Inverse Square Law that causes only picowatts of those kilowatts to arrive at your location.)

Meanwhile, inductive coupling only works when the receiving circuit is a complete circuit; if it's switch is OFF, then the "transmit" side of the coupling isn't transmitting anything; it is not sending out significant power anywhere (a trickle of radio-wave power, sure). When they talk about high-efficiency wireless power transmission, PART of it is about efficiently coupling the receiver to the transmitter, but they are also saying that when you don't want the power at your end, the transmitter is not wasting power --very much like the way the load attached to the output side of a transformer controls the amount of power that actually flows through the transformer; there is inductive coupling inside the transformer. In this experiment, we are merely putting an unusually large distance between the inductively coupled ends.
 — Vernon, Sep 02 2009

 Vern - OK, point taken (sorta; I don't guarantee I understand all the details). But that then leaves you with the question of whether the receiver end of *your* circuit gains power instantaneously - ie //will we INSTANTLY have power when we turn it on?//

 My guess would be no. Presumably, switching on the receiving circuit collapses a magnetic field generated by the transmitter. That collapse in the magnetic field (I presume) then reduces the impedance to current in the transmitter, causing more current to flow (ie, the response which you described).

 So, does the collapse of the magnetic field happen instantaneously? That is the fulcrum on which your argument is based, no?

 I would argue that no, it does not. If I do something to a magnetic field (like collapsing it), then that effect propagates in exactly the same way as any other electromagnetic phenomenon - at the speed of light.

 You might equally (I think) drop the whole inductive aspect and just have a lightbulb and a switch, fed by a very long cable from a power source, and an ammeter at the power source. If I switch the light off, the ammeter at the far end of the cable will register the drop in current. Will it register that drop faster than the speed of light? No, it won't. If my cable is one light-year long and I switch the light off, the ammeter won't show a drop in current flow for a year.

I think your fulcrum is flawed.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2009

Also, as far as I can work out, what you've described is just an oscillator whose period will be determined the distance (hence time delay) between the two coils.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2009

 [lurch], yes, I'm talking about spooky action at a distance. However, the "action" that I think you are describing isn't the action I was talking about. In a transformer there certainly is a delay as magnetic flux from the primary coil reaches the secondary coil. The experiment here is talking about an on/off switch associated with an equivalent of the secondary coil. Power to the primary coil is not interrupted. That means the magnetc flux has already reached the secondary coil and is "always" present there, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. So why should there a delay for power to be available on the secondary circuit when the switch is turned on?

 [MaxwellBuchanan], I'm not sure what you mean by "collapsing a magnetic field generated by the transmitter". In this case the transmitter is a high-voltage power line. It carries alternating current and is surrounded by a magnetic field that already goes through a whole range of intensties, related to the AC flowing in the power line. We want to "capture" that and channel it down the wave guide (to beat the Inverse Square Law). At the far end of the wave guide the inactive circuit is bathed in the channelled and changing electromagetic field, because we've never turned off the power line. When the induction circuit is turned on, it simply starts absorbing power from that field. In theory, of course.

I'm not so sure about the long-wire version, unless maybe it employed Alternating Current. The changing voltage is present at the ends of both wires, where the switch is located, READY to cause current to alternate back-and-forth in the wire. So when the switch is closed, why wouldn't current immediately start moving back-and-forth, all down the length of the wire? Inertia? Okay --but there is no inertia in the wireless version, that I know of!
 — Vernon, Sep 02 2009

 [Vern] Lurch put it better than I could.

 The current drawn by a transformer's secondary modifies (effectively collapses) the field generated by the primary; this in turn allows more current to flow in the primary: that's how the primary "responds" to the secondary. But the collapse of the magnetic field (the response of the primary to the secondary) propagates at C.

Like I said, what you've designed is an oscillator with a period determined by the propagation of an electromagnetic wave at the speed of light.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2009

Ok, besides all the poor physics, your idea rests on a waveguide that could be anywhere from miles to light years long. In the real world there is no infinitely conductive material which would be needed to perfectly contain the wave. As the wave propagates it reflects off the waveguide. Each time the wave is reflected off the waveguide it is attenuated. Unless you can find an infinitely conductive material this idea wont work.
 — joneseatworld, Sep 02 2009

Yes, but this is a thought experiment - you're allowed to ignore friction and stuff in a thought experiment. The problem is that the thought experiment itself is flawed.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2009

I'm going to start posting thought experiments. The math is easier.
 — joneseatworld, Sep 02 2009

vernon frequently posts his ideas here when they are too clearly bunk for the free energy and faster than light crowd. THIS IS NOT A SITE FOR CONSPIRACY SCIENCE. Lavoisier and Newton, Watts and Feynman, none would have presented an idea without study, without theoretic examination. INDUCTION TAKES TIME. V(0t) is zero. So the induction coil would have no current potential until the voltage in the wire was established. Since there is no quantum principal involved, and certainly no inherent entanglement between a "waveguide" and an "induction circuit" i consider this one of your weaker attempts. Get an education man.
 — WcW, Sep 03 2009

We haven't even started on the actual messages ([UB]s anno excepted).
 — Jinbish, Sep 03 2009

 //none would have presented an idea without study//

Yes but, to be fair to Vern, this is the HB and halfbaked ideas are allowed. As a speculation it's fine - it's just that the premis is wrong. No harm in posting a wrong idea, though.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 03 2009

I thought the wave-guide thing depended upon wave-fronts that can *only* go FTL, but can't carry information?
Or have I yet again misunderstood one of [Vernon]'s postings?

<scuttles off to develop FTL comms system based on quantum entanglement and (un-)-dead cats in boxes - Schroedinger's Zombie Cats>
 — coprocephalous, Sep 03 2009

 [lurch], I don't mind being wrong if I learn something, but so far I'm not fully understanding what you wrote. I don't know about auto ignition circuits, so your hint was wasted.

Meanwhile, since transformers are typically compact, I'm wondering HOW it is "known" that the availability of power on the secondary requires a lightspeed-based delay. The distance is too short for the rate of propagation to have been measured, right?
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

Wrong.
 — Jinbish, Sep 03 2009

 [Vernon] Modern electronics can measure lightspeed signal propagation quite readily - light only travels about a foot (~0.3 meters) in a nanosecond (10^-9 sec), and femtosecond light pulses (10^-15 sec) are fairly standard in a well-equipped lab these days.

Even thought-experiment transformers have delay, unless one stipulates otherwise. (-)
 — csea, Sep 03 2009

 //Because of the lower number of turns in the secondary coil,//

 Hmm, this is backwards. In a "step-up" or ignition coil, the primary is a few hundred turns of larger-diameter wire, and the secondary is a large number of turns of smaller-diameter wire.

 But you're right, that it is the collapse of the magnetic field created by the opening of the primary circuit that induces the high voltage in the secondary, and this takes a significant amount of time (milliseconds!)

Minimizing inductance and capacitance in the waveguide can increase the propagation speed, but it will always be finite, and slower than (c).
 — csea, Sep 03 2009

 [lurch], your explanation of the spark-coil "system" is a bit "off". Sure, the air gap in the spark plug TECHNICALLY can be called evidence the circuit is open, but ACTUALLY it means the circuit is closed with a big resistor in it (the resistance of the air gap). The high voltage, of course, is there to ensure current gets through that resistance.

 Also, regarding the collapse of the primary coil field, that is a thing disregarding what I previously wrote about an alternating primary field already being present at the site of the induction circuit. The time delay from the primary to the secondary does not count, in this experiment, because that time delay is DEFINED to have passed, BEFORE the switch on the secondary is closed.

 Now, if the closing of the switch on the secondary circuit somehow has an additional effect upon the primary field, that is the thing that [Maxwell Buchanan] has described, about which I'm not so sure (not so informed about).

[csea], ok, then the experiment need not be quite so difficult to perform as I thought. That's a plus, even if the outcome goes against my thinking, here. So far, though, I don't see that the experiment has actually been done, to measure how fast power is available in a secondary/induction circuit, when the primary circuit has been active for a long time.
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

 [lurch], an open circuit is obviously one through which significant current CANNOT flow, at a specified voltage.

 (I suspect the Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Mechanics might ensure "insignificant" currents can almost always flow, especially, of course, where you least expect or desire them. But we need not be quite that precise in our conversations about the ordinary world.)

 The spark coil system is DESIGNED to generate such voltage that current WILL flow across a small air gap; therefore the circuit that includes such a gap cannot be called "open".

Meanwhile, inside a typical household light switch that opens a 120V circuit, the size of the gap it creates in the circuit is only a bit larger than a typical spark plug gap. It suffices, for that voltage.
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

Do words somehow have more meaning when they are all capitalized, [Vernon]? Or are we to interpret that you are shouting those ones?
 — tatterdemalion, Sep 03 2009

[tatterdemalion], we can't do bolding and underlines and italics here, so what else is left, if we want to add stress to a word?
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

 [Vern] as has been pointed out, it is very very easy to measure intervals of nanoseconds these days. And nothing in your idea sounds like it would be very difficult to build.

 Also, anyone who could demonstrate FTL signalling would very quickly become rich and famous and would take a chair next to Newton and Einstein.

 If I had real confidence in an idea of mine of equivalent potential importance, and if I could demonstrate it for a few hundred quid, I would be keeping quiet and actually doing it.

Therefore, I conclude that even you don't believe this will work.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 03 2009

 [lurch], as you say, the secondary spark coil is energized as the magnetic field of the primary changes. We COULD say that a tiny current is flowing even before the spark jumps the gap (equivalent to current that charges up a capacitor, except here the "plates" are the wire endpoints at the gap) --because obviously electrons have to accumulate at one spot for the voltage to rise at that spot, and they have to move somewhere in order to accumulate there, and "moving electrons" is the definition of "electric current".

 By analogy, then, if we have a secondary/induction circuit at some distance from the primary, BUT the changing fields of the primary are able to reach there (and are actually reaching there), it should logically follow that even when the secondary on/off switch is "off", small currents are moving. Turning it "on" doesn't change THAT, although of course now it is possible for more electrons to move than before. So why should they wait? The primary's changing field is present and changing....

 [MaxwellBuchanan], I sort-of stumbled into this Idea, as a logical consequence of something I casually posted at another site. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to write that "Knol", and then I posted the main text description here. The more I think about it, the more I don't know why it wouldn't work.

Even if it did work, I'm still pretty sure there isn't going to be a practical way of applying it for a possibly considerable time. See those annos above about the inefficiencies of wave guides? HalfBaked, indeed!
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

 Vernon, practical schmactical. As far as I know, Einstein didn't come up with a practical application. You're telling me that you seriously believe you've discovered a way to send data ftl, using a technology that can be built and tested for a few hundred quid, and you're not actively building a device?

I don't think it'll work, but I think you don't think it'll work either.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 03 2009

 [MaxwellBuchanan], I have been thinking that testing the Idea isn't as cheap as you think, since I've been talking about large power lines, and thus the power company would need to be involved in the experiment, and what of delays along those cross-country transmission lines? How accurately could the added load REALLY be timed?

On the other hand, a DIY inductor coil could simplify that side of things a great deal. Hmmmm.... Cheapest of all would be to email someone who already has the equipment. See link.
 — Vernon, Sep 03 2009

 [Vernon], I'm sure the MIT crowd would be first to assure you that despite any modifications you might envision, the power transferral described in the link wouldn't take place at speeds even close to (c).

Good grief!
 — csea, Sep 04 2009

It's a kinda complicated and labor intensive way to be a goon.
 — WcW, Sep 04 2009

When I read the idea I picture an inclined plane with an almost infinite amount of ballbearings aligned in a track up it, and a dam at the bottom. If you release the dam at the bottom, do you notice the uppermost bearing move at the same time as the lowest, or would it take time for the top ball to know the bottom wasn't there anymore?
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 04 2009

 That's a reasonable analogy. It would indeed take time for the topmost ball bearing to notice. The information would propagate at the speed of sound in steel.

If my understanding is correct, the ballbearings correspond to virtual photons. In this case the information would propagate at the speed of light.
 — spidermother, Sep 04 2009

[2fries], gravity acts upon all the balls simultaneously. If friction among themselves doesn't keep them from rolling, then all of them will roll together down the plane when the dam is removed, equivalent to them all falling together if the inclined plane underneath them was removed.
 — Vernon, Sep 04 2009

 I think we should throw this one out to the folks at some Science magazine to ponder. How I understand the question is whether or not the 'off' signal from the secondary instantly propogates to the power source. The easy answer is that it can't, because the c-moving waves present in the short delay between when the power is shut off and the reaction at the secondary business end are still reacting.

 I applaud the thought experiment though and like reading them. Lab experiments with more complex setups to do simpler things are done all the time. Bun from me.

Forget the Morse. Use an analog or stepped level signal and 'dial down' the power in however many increments are practical and you can increase signal throughput.
 — RayfordSteele, Sep 04 2009

 //gravity acts upon all the balls simultaneously. If friction among themselves doesn't keep them from rolling, then all of them will roll together down the plane when the dam is removed,//

 No, no, nopitty no. This is such an elementary mistake that I now have even less faith in the original idea itself.

 As was pointed out in a previous anno, the disturbance will propagate at the speed of sound in steel.

 You are acting under a popular misconception in saying all the balls will move at the same time. If this were true, then a simple tower of balls would, itself, be an ftl communications device.

 Likewise, if this were true, then a simple stick would also be an ftl device: push one end of it, and the end a metre away would move at the same instant, with no delay. You can rest assured that a stick is not an ftl device.

This does not happen. It is not how the universe works AT ALL. I can understand confusion and room for discussion in an inductively coupled system, but the pile-of-ballbearings error is so elementary that I just give up. For goodness' sake.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 04 2009

 We all know (yes, even vern) that FTL is impossible without the sort of space-time warping that will require the mass of a small galaxy (or the book containing the equations that describe it). It's good to think through these things once in a while though to figure them out. Stops the noggin rusting.

 [-]

Sorry [vern], your bun won't propogate that fast.
 — wagster, Sep 04 2009

Well I thought it was a decent question, and one I didn't know the answer to.
On a purely intuitive level it seems reasonable that with zero friction the balls would all move simultaneously.
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 04 2009

 There's a couple of good taglines here.

 (marked-for-tagline)

 "at the speed of sound in steel"

"a stick is not an FTL device"
 — normzone, Sep 04 2009

The speed of sound in steel is a very valid concept. In steel the speed of sound is ~ 4500 m/s. If you tap the end of a common (excluding some high tensile alloys) rod of steel that tap will take some time to reach the other end of the rod, tap the rod faster or harder and the rod will distort to accommodate the energy, the wave form itself cannot be made to exceed this velocity.
 — WcW, Sep 04 2009

And there's another one, by my lights..."I'd suggest returning to your home cosmos".
 — normzone, Sep 04 2009

 Folks, I'm not going to give up that easily. Not to mention all of you are at least partly wrong about the balls, because the balls are not a single solid object. Gravity WILL act on all of them simultaneously: it is not a force acting first upon the balls closest to the bottom of the ramp, and then upon the balls just behind those first balls, and so on (the way an ordinary impact-type of force would act). That is, gravity acts upon each WHOLE ball at once, the ball need not wait for any causing-it-to-move force to propagate through it. Every atom in the ball is being pulled TOGETHER toward the Earth. And so also is every atom in all the other balls being pulled together toward the Earth.

 Do remember that Galileo used an inclined plane to measure the rate of the Earth's gravitational acceleration; the ramp DILUTED the rate at which things fall, making the task easier in an era without accurate clocks. Rest assured, two balls on the ramp will roll down it together, no matter what their relative locations are, when they are released together, just like they will directly fall together when released together. And so will two thousand balls.

 Now, if the balls are NOT released simultaneously, I will certainly accept that some balls will begin their fall before others. It is possible that removing a dam counts as a NON-simultaneous release of the balls. The way it would count starts by viewing the dam as providing a force against the first few balls; the RELIEVING of that force (by removing the dam) could be what you are talking about, the thing that propagates through the rest of the balls, and causes a delay before they begin to fall. Fine. Just don't call removing the dam a simultaneous release, then!

Back to the FTL experiment. I could be wrong about it, but so far all I see lined up against it is a bunch of say-so, not facts. For example, if one applies the dam analogy to the induction circuit, it being turned on as equivalent to removing the dam, then there could be a delay INSIDE THAT UNIT as electrons become sequentially freed to move more than before. But this has NOTHING to do with the distance between the induction circuit and the power-supply inductor! Meanwhile, the "spooky action at a distance" of Quantum Mechanics is KNOWN to be able to exceed lightspeed. The only question here is whether or not it is actually a critical part of the events that I described in the experiment. To be determined....
 — Vernon, Sep 05 2009

 Quantum entanglement has not been shown to be usable to transfer information at faster than light speed. There is a correlation between the observable states of the entangled particles, which is not limited by the speed of light, but no f.t.l. propogation of cause or information. Another example where correlation does not imply causation.

No-one said the ballbearings in the analogy were te be released simultaneously.
 — spidermother, Sep 05 2009

 For a more precise, and therefore baroque, analogy, picture a long narrow trough of water. At one end is a wave generator. When it is turned on, it uses energy to produce a series of waves that propagate towards the far end of the trough. The frequency of the generator is set at a harmonic of the period of the waves (the inverse of the time they take to traverse the trough). Once the waves have reached the far end and returned, ignoring friction, the energy required to maintain a resonant standing wave suddenly becomes arbitrarily small.

 Now we activate a wave powered device at the far end of the trough. Wave energy is instantly available to it. In harvesting energy, it reduces the amplitude of the waves, but this effect is propagated at the speed of waves (roughly walking pace), so it will be some seconds before the generator notices the change and needs more power to maintain the waves' amplitude.

 There is no paradox. The energy that is instantly available _was_ transmitted in the past, but has been stored in the standing waves (in water here, in space-time distortion there).

The only objection could be that I am not describing a quantum device, but that makes no difference, as per my previous annotation, and also because you are also not describing a quantum device - they are called wave guides, not frikking quantum tubes, for a reason.
 — spidermother, Sep 05 2009

do they really wait that long? this is something parents should be explaining the first time a child puts a ball in their wagon and pulls it around.
 — WcW, Sep 05 2009

 Vernon, regarding the balls, even I know this much. Each ball is kept from moving by the ball in front of it, and it will not move until the ball in front moves out of the way. That motion propagates from the dam upward. It does not happen instantaneously, not with ball bearings on an inclined plane, any more than it does with electrons in a wire.

Regarding your EMPHASIS, I suggest to you that language is sufficient. I find it distracting that it seems you yell out words periodically, and I think that's likely not what you're trying to accomplish.
 — tatterdemalion, Sep 05 2009

 Vernon: Do you believe electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light? It appears you are wondering how it seems that the secondary induction circuit can get power instantly? Do you understand that magnetic fields store energy?

When the secondary circuit is closed, the changing magnetic field (ac field, right?) causes current to flow in the wires. This current causes an opposing magnetic field which partially cancels the original. Energy is also transformed. The primary winding is then affected by the reduced magnetic field, which reduces its inductance and increases current. The primary winding only gets reduced inductance when the opposing magnetic field from the secondary reaches it. Think of it as two magnetic fields, one strong one and one weak one in opposite directions. Each one travels at a sensible and legal speed.
 — Ling, Sep 05 2009

 //all of you are at least partly wrong about the balls, because the balls are not a single solid object.//

 OK, let's do another simple thought experiment.

 First, let's imagine that the balls *are* a single solid object - we have a continuous rod of steel, lying on a ramp (and pointing down the incline), and we'll assume no friction anywhere.

 Now we remove the obstacle which was holding back the bottom of the rod. The top of the rod starts to move downwards, sliding down the ramp. Does the top of the rod start to move at exactly the same instant?

 NO it doesn't. Why not? Because, in its resting state, the rod is a compressed spring: gravity is trying to push it down the slope, but the stopper is holding back the bottom end of the rod. Hence, the rod is compressed along its length.

 When we remove the bottom stopper, the compressive force on the bottom of the rod is removed. However, the compressive force acting on the bit of the rod a little *above* the bottom is still there, and stays there until the bottom bit of rod has dropped down a fraction. Then the compressive force is relieved on the next bit, and so on. The top bit of the rod can only start to move once the relaxation has travelled up to the top of the rod, which happens at the speed of sound.

 Vern, it may help you if you imagine the rod to be a long spring (which it is, on an atomic scale). When you allow the bottom of the spring to start moving downward, the top of the spring won't start to move until the relaxation wave has passed along the spring.

 So, I hope now you're convinced that *if it were a solid rod*, the top end won't start to move until after a significant delay, once the bottom end is released.

 NOW, as you pointed out, the column of ballbearings is not a solid rod.

 So, now we take our solid rod and we slice it into segments, leaving it otherwise unaltered.

 You are saying, then, that the slicing (the arbitrarily small gaps separating one ball from the next) will allow the motion to propagate *faster* than in the solid rod?

Now you see the problem?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 05 2009

Sometimes I feel like Vernon is setting us up to shoot fish in a barrel and I always feel like I should check to make sure that he hasn't taken my wallet while I was blasting away. Even more frightening is a quick perusal of his other ideas, text book examples of fishing for angry responses from various groups with easily recognized bait. What does he get out of this? What do we get out of this?
 — WcW, Sep 06 2009

As a bystander, ducking the wild shrapnel, I gleam a bit. Hopefully what I absorb is on the side where the facts are.
 — wjt, Sep 06 2009

 [spidermother], I was aware of that traditional view regarding quantum entanglement and information transfer, and it looked to me like I had found an exception, and I've never heard about any version of this experiment having been done before.

 Regarding the water-wave analogy, there seems to me to be a difference between the real water in the trough , with real energy in its waves, and the virtual photons making up an electromagnetic field, which are not normally associated with real energy.

 To [UnaBubba] and others, regarding the ball bearings, as I previously indicated (analogously), any delay in their ability to move is totally unrelated to the vertical distance between the Earth and the inclined plane holding the balls. 'Nuff said about it, therefore.

 [Ling], your reply is excellent. Thank you. The only objection I can raise relates to the "Wireless Power Theft" link I added. Power companies obviously don't like losses in their power lines. So if A.C. lines are radiating real energy away, by creating surrounding and changing magnetic fields that propagate away at lightspeed, such as could be inductively tapped, how does any energy manage to reach the far end of a power line, a thousand kilometers from the generating station? That is, this analogizes every few hundred meters of a power line to a radio-station antenna, which routinely and constantly emits thousands of watts of power, in the form of real-energy photons, not virtual photons. It is possible to absorb enough of that radiated power to run a radio --but if a lot of people did that, there would not be any consequent increase of the output energy of the radio-station antenna. The absorbing radios can at most absorb only the fixed energy emission.

 Meanwhile, if the electromagnetic fields surrounding the power lines are NOT losing energy like that, EXCEPT if they are inductively tapped, then that explains power efficiently reaching the far end of the line. Only now the process of how the tap works needs to be explained, without violating Energy Conservation.

 Your explanation regarding stored electromagnetic energy seems more closely related to the radio-station description, even though I know the intent was to describe things that happen inside an ordinary transformer. Then there is the factor that the "power wave" at some distance from a power line is a full-fledged oscillating wave-form; if its leading edge is sort-of "consumed" by being absorbed by the induction circuit, the next oscillation right behind it is also full-fledged, and unaffected by the "back" wave you described leaving the induction circuit and heading for the power-supply inductor. (Otherwise the power at the induction circuit would drop, ending the back wave --except then the NEXT arriving power-wave oscillation would NOT be partly canceled, allowing the induction circuit to have full power again, and so on.)

 When the back wave reaches the power line, this is the point where we have "used up" the stored electromagnetic field energy that had existed in-between the power line and the induction circuit. Now the power line must start carrying more power or the induction circuit will see a lessening of the power reaching it. This can be kind of complicated if we are tapping the middle of a thousand-kilometer line; the extra-load signal needs to travel all the way back to the power plant. Hmmmmm.....

[WcW], it never hurts to get practice thinking.
 — Vernon, Sep 06 2009

 Vernon, the power line isn't a good inductor. In the absence of any secondary inductor that transforms energy, it would seem at first glance that no energy would be lost by the primary at all, but I suppose that since the magnetic field is radiating at light speed, there can be no return. However, fortunately the inductance is low in power lines, and the collapse of the magnetic field (since it circles the wire) is mostly re-captured. Any energy lost to a secondary conductor is from the primary. No escape from that.

Finally, magnetic fields are extremely strange: if you visit an appropriate forum (Engtips, I think) and open up discussions, you may find that, although we can model it extremely accurately, it causes plenty of confusion and argument. I give you an example:
A conducting wire in a magnetic field produces force. Some (most) have sat in a physics class and seen the theory.
Then we see the same wire in a soft iron core (in a motor) and are told that all the magnetic field goes through the soft iron core. So now, hardly any magnetic field is found in the wire but the total assembly behaves as if it really were.
 — Ling, Sep 06 2009

Thank you [Ling]. Like I said before, I don't mind being wrong if I learn something. (OK, ok, I'm human; I do mind SOME. But the education is still worthwhile.)
 — Vernon, Sep 07 2009

Vernon, thanks. I take that as a real compliment. Now where was I with my gyroscopic propulsion system?
 — Ling, Sep 07 2009

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