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How To Communicate Faster-Than-Light 265

higuita writes "With faster technologies showing up everyday, people need to prepare in advance the problems of faster-than-light communication. The main problem is that packages will arrive to the destination before they are sent, forcing a huge redesign of most protocols. Read here the first draft RFC. Any network expert is free to help fine tune this draft."
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How To Communicate Faster-Than-Light

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  • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @10:06PM (#43334497)
    Is there some tradition in some parts of the world to make an ass of oneself on the second of April too?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's still 1/4 in the states.

    • No, but it is tradition that some doofus will point out that their particular location has moved on and it's an outrage to still see April fools content.

      Unfortunately for you, this site doesn't operate on your time.

    • by gagol ( 583737 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:50PM (#43334765)
      Note to the editors. The fun in april fool is to make ONE silly joke and try to pass it as genuine. Becoming the onion all day is not. Also, nice try with the ROT13 stuff, did not work very well.
    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:55PM (#43334777)

      Quite frankly I'm surprised Slashdot is able to get April Fools articles out at all.

      I come here every year expecting to hear about {insert Google joke of the year} on April 3rd after every other news outlet had published it, and then again a dupe on April 5th.

      • by bidule ( 173941 )

        Quite frankly I'm surprised Slashdot is able to get April Fools articles out at all.

        They're a year late. Easier than you'd think.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      Is there some part of the world so stupid they don't realize that it'll still be April 1st in American Samoa for another 5.5 hours (At time of posting)?

      Just roll with it.

    • In some parts of the world it's tradition to make an ass of oneself all year round
    • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @02:46AM (#43335269)

      This is *Not* an April fools!!... Slashdot is reporting on an RFC, published in draft status. No Joke. Like other RFC's published on April 1st, It probably wont have any real world usage (unless we actually find a way of sending things faster than light, at which point the universe collapses into a paradoxial soup), and is there mostly for its comedic value. BUT, that is not the point, the point is this is an attempt at working out how to send things over a FTL medium, and documenting them in an RFC.

      IP Over Avian carriers (rfc1149), another April 1st RFC, was implemented a few years later. It worked.

      • I can't believe anyone would bother posting an RFC on FTL communications. Seriously, when this comes to occur .. why doesn't the future simply publish the RFC?! At least they'll be able to narrate the proper standards to ensure a seamless transition.
        • .. why doesn't the future simply publish the RFC?!

          Maybe they did. Maybe tehy did.

          This could be it. Prove it wrong.

        • by dwye ( 1127395 )

          why doesn't the future simply publish the RFC?!

          You are assuming that they didn't.

    • Damn!!

      And I thought it was about time somebody actually started looking at this shit when some **** makes it into an April Fools joke :(

      BTW Faster than light communications are already here or haven't you been paying attention to the whole Quantum Computer malarchy

      • BTW Faster than light communications are already here

        No, they aren't. I would suggest that you haven't been paying as close attention to the quantum computer "malarchy" as you think....
        • OK the Quantum Computers bit was a little red herring however cohesion in quantum entanglement is already at the level where faster than light comms are possible.
          • Again, no it isn't, if by "comms" you mean any type of useful information transfer. You appear to have severely misunderstood the principles involved.

            Functionally, quantum entanglement is the equivalent of placing single red and blue balls in separate boxes without looking at them, sending one box to China, and then opening your box. If it's the red ball, you now know the one in China is blue, and vice-versa, despite the great distance between them.

            Now mechanically, the quantum equivalent is conside
    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      The RFC was written for and published on April Fool's Day. A number of semi-joking RFCs have been published on April 1st including the famous one for IP Transmission via Avian Carriers (i.e., carrier pigeons) and, several years later, a followup that reported the results from its actual implementation and testing (hint: NOT to be used for vi or emacs :-).

      While the Avian Carriers RFC can be a model for lossy channels with long latency periods, I cannot guess what use super-luminal communications protocols w

  • That's pretty cool. Of course, I knew about this post yesterday, before you'd even thought about writing it up on Slashdot. I'm not exactly how that worked, but thinking too hard on it makes my head hurt. I think I'll go lie down for a while and hope the future catches up with the past or something weird like that.

  • But I read this article first on Slashdot today and I thought that this might actually be somewhat based on real theory, until I read the article.

    Maybe I'm too much into Star Trek, but I have to think there's a way to cheat(or at least bend) the speed-of-light limitations. I was interested in how they would deal with potential clock issues.. but bah.. April 1 got me. :(

    • Unless the last 200 years of science were all some incredible mistake, we will never find a way to violate the speed of light.

      • by Genda ( 560240 )

        In a word... Tachyons! We will learn to communicate through tachyons and will know about the end of the world just in time to kiss our collective asses goodbye! And a tip of the hat to you Dr. Manhattan!

        • In a word... Tachyons!

          You mean those hypothetical particles that modern physics generally does not support as actually existing?

          Charliemopps was talking science. If you're going to go science fiction, might as well invoke something like Andromeda's Slipstream.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Unless the last 200 years of science were all some incredible mistake, we will never find a way to prove the Earth is round." ~15th Century AD
        "Unless the last 200 years of science were all some incredible mistake, we will never find a way to prove that the Earth orbits the Sun." ~16th Century AD

        Science is always evolving and incorporating discoveries. When we start ignoring things science has not already proven, we have already failed.

        • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )

          "Unless the last 200 years of science were all some incredible mistake, we will never find a way to prove the Earth is round." ~15th Century AD

          Contrary to popular belief, 15th Century humans did know that the Earth is round. They even had a pretty good estimate for its circumference. Which was the reason that Columbus had such a hard time raising funds to go to India: The sailing distance was simply too far. And had the Americas not been in the way, this voyage would either have returned empty handed or maybe not at all.

        • by dwye ( 1127395 )

          Umm, Aristotle was publishing proofs that the world was round back several hundred years BC, and they look like they might well have been known hundreds of years earlier. Proving that the Earth orbited the Sun required better optics than they had in the 16th Century, maybe -- Tycho Brache did pretty well with no lenses but his own eyes and an obsessive attention to accurate measurements over many years.

          And finally, Special Relativity is less than 120 years old. Even the Michaelson-Morley experiments are m

        • Well those aren't really great examples. People have known that the earth was round for thousands of years. There have been people who have suspected and suggested that the earth may be spinning and moving around the sun for almost as long. Ptolemy even talks about the idea, concluding that we may be moving and it would help make sense of certain things, but he's just not convinced.

    • by swalve ( 1980968 )
      I feel stupid too. Faster than light is still measurable time. If lightning and thunder don't violate causality, neither does the concept of faster than light communication.
  • by tokencode ( 1952944 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @10:29PM (#43334567)
    I think we should just use FTL to request the RFC in its future state.
    • IMO FTL is NIH, so the RFC is a POS and we should MOO FTW!! LOL.

  • by ignavus ( 213578 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:18PM (#43334669)

    (looks at calendar) It's halfway through 2 April here.

    We're WAY over the April Fool's thing.

    In fact you will need to get your packets arriving before they are sent if you want April Fool's jokes to arrive here on time.

    • 12 minutes left to April 2nd here, and that's only on the east coast.
    • In fact you will need to get your packets arriving before they are sent if you want April Fool's jokes to arrive here on time.

      Doesn't this apply to all of Slashdot's 4 day old "news"?

      Never mind the fact that this will be duped again next week just incase you missed it the first time.

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      It was almost a joy missing out most of the internet yesterday. A couple of news sites, a favourite forum filled with mature readers and posters, the weather forecast and a tower defense game I'd wanted to finish for some time.

      That was it. I've been burned over the past ten years or so. There was no way I'd put up with it this year. I found better things to do.

      Slashdot. Why? Why? Why? Why become big childish pricks for a day? The pink pony shite you forced on us a few years back was the straw that broke the
  • by milkmage ( 795746 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:26PM (#43334689)

    we all know you arrive in the states before you leave Japan... and we've had subspace communication since the 60's (I saw it on TV). don't skip drones pretty much make this moot anyway?

    what's the problem?

  • Please explain ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by frootcakeuk ( 638517 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:27PM (#43334693)
    ... how this is still an april fool's joke without having to click thru the poxy ROT-whatever 'encryption'
  • If we at least consider that current theories do have the speed of light in vacuum as a limit it is still possible to exceed the speed of light in other materials like glass and water.

    But even if you exceed the speed of light it doesn't mean that the event is observed before it happens. It just means that you get notified about the event faster than expected.

    There are also some phenomena that are a bit on the border of being tricky to explain given the theories of today, but they are usually on a small scal

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @01:10AM (#43335011) Journal
    When we have FTL communication in which packets arrive before they are sent, I will have written the needed protocols in 2010. I'll start them in 2016, complete them in 2010, and finish compatibilty testing in 2009. That'll let Microsoft implement them in 2057.
  • ... the result still looks like gibberish.

    What gives?

  • I think we should parse what we mean by FTL communication carefully there are some possibilities that don't require changes to TCP detailed in RFC 6921.

    First we have schemes like EVE online fluid routers which hack entanglement to communicate instantaneously between routers. There is no backwards time travel here.

    Second we have wormholes or warp capable ships loaded with tape drives. There is also no backwards time travel here as you are taking shortcuts thru stretched space rather than locally exceeding

  • by little1973 ( 467075 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @02:38AM (#43335247)

    I don't get it. Why do physicists use GR for FTL? That does not make sense. It is the same as using Newtonian physic for relativistic speeds. GR was not designed for FTL, obviously.

    All of the examples of violating causality is based on defining "now" in two different frame of reference. However, this "now" is established using GR while the "signal" (or bullet or whatever) uses FTL. That does not make sense.

    If you have FTL you use FTL for everything including determining "now". Of course, you need new physic to do that. However, disproving FTL with GR is pointless using these examples.

    Instead, why not use the curvature of space for disproving FTL?
    Every particle travels through space, even the photon. According to GR space itself also changes with the speed of light. This means space itself cannot react fast enough for an FTL particle. It would be similar as if a ship did not disturb the water as it passes. And that is impossible.

  • A digital fountain emits a stream of packets, consisting of a packet number, which selects a pseudo-random set of pieces of a file to be sent all XORED together. If you collect enough packets, no matter what order, you can derive the whole file (using Gaussian elimination to un-XOR it). Put everything you want to send to the past into a huge ZIP file, then use a digital fountain to send it, and it get there eventually, no matter what the time shift involved.

  • ack




  • A packet can't arrive before it's sent, If it could then in theory it would be possible to have communication without a source.
  • I can send one bit of communication faster than light. All I need is really long stick. *poke* *poke*

    • haha, but you realize what makes one end of a stick move when the other end is pushed? those forces propagate at much less than light speed, a stick initially compresses when one end is pushed, and the compressed wave propagates.

  • Uhhh, April first was YESTERDAY.

    Oh, wait! I see what you mean! This post went back in time and really appeared yesterday!

    Good show.


"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell