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United States The Almighty Buck Science

USAF Studies Teleportation 678

Posted by michael
from the deficits-don't-matter dept.
ArchAngel21x writes "Star Trek fans may be happy to hear that the Air Force has paid to study psychic teleportation. But scientists aren't so thrilled. The Air Force Research Lab's August 'Teleportation Physics Report', posted earlier this week on the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Web site, struck a raw nerve with physicists and critics of wasteful military spending."
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USAF Studies Teleportation

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:31PM (#10738430) Homepage Journal
    Initially I thought this may have some relevance to encryption as there is a phenomenon of quantum teleportation that appears to have some scientific validity and would have significance in military and strategic planning and communication. However, when I actually started reading the article, at first I could not stop laughing until I reached this part:

    From the linked .pdf :An experimental program similar in fashion to the Remote Viewing program should be funded at $900,000 - 1,000,000 per year in parallel with a theoretical program funded at $500,000 per year for an initial five-year duration.

    What!!!!!???? I am thunderstruck that this recommendation could be made. 1.5 Million dollars for essentially a program that the CIA back in the 1970's decided was full of crap and decided to abandon. By the way, the CIA's program was ill conceived and full of it back then too amounting to a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Other conclusions in the document are: "We will need a physics theory of consciousness and psychotronics, along with more experimental data, in order to test the hypothesis in Section 5.1.1 and discover the physical mechanisms that lay behind the psychotronic manipulation of matter." What can I say? The status of basic science education among those who make funding decisions within certain areas of government are pitiful.

    Even worse is this statement: "This phenomenon could generate a dramatic revolution in technology, which would result from a dramatic paradigm shift in science. Anomalies are the key to all paradigm shifts! " which has got to be the work of someone with a marketing background and absolutely no self respect in the scientific community. A document like this would be laughed out of the NIH or any other respectable scientific funding agency, but the scary thing is funding like this has always been able to go forward under the guise of military funding in crisis situations where fear abounds. Combine that with no understanding of science and this is what you get. If any of my students came up with something like this, I think I would cry.

    Hey, if the Air Force wants out of the box thinkers, I can come up with all sorts of biomemetic and bioencryption stuff for 1.5 Million that would be based in scientific fact with reliable peer review science behind it.

    • Maj. Ed Dames' astral body may come kick you in the nuts.
    • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:43PM (#10738555) Homepage Journal
      I agree with you that it's a terrible, terrible waste of money and Bad Science.

      However, the statement you lambasted,

      "This phenomenon could generate a dramatic revolution in technology, which would result from a dramatic paradigm shift in science. Anomalies are the key to all paradigm shifts"

      is quite true, if a bit sensationalistic. I'm not certain, as you said, it shows "no understanding of science". It's a reasonable paraphrase of some of the assertions in Thomas Kuhn's 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" which is the backbone (along with Popper's ideas and some french folks' theories) of modern conceptions of science and how science changes.

      Sometime somewhere someone really made a big mistake, and thus this research program was born. However crap it may be, though, it does show awareness of modern approaches to scientific change.

      RD
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:47PM (#10738595) Homepage Journal
        My criticism has more to do with the style of writing which borrows commonly used "catch words" that seem to be popular with marketing folks these days. Specifically I was referring to his use of "paradigm shifts" twice within two serial sentences. I am surprised we did not see the invocation of "world class" among other gems of marketspeak which I am loathe to include in this post.

        • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:53PM (#10738669) Homepage Journal
          Understood and agreed. I've found that bringing discussion of "paradigm shifts" into research is usually just used as a distraction to shift attention away from bad research.

          RD
          • by pipingguy (566974) on Friday November 05, 2004 @10:14PM (#10739877) Homepage

            Krusty: So he's proactive, huh?

            Lady: Oh, God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

            Writer: Excuse me, but 'proactive' and 'paradigm'? Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that. .....[pause]..... I'm fired, aren't I?

            Myers: Oh, yes! - The rest of you writers start thinking up a name for this funky dog; I dunno, something along the line of say... Poochie, only more proactive.
        • Do you think they'll use Tiger Teams to coordinate synergies into digital convergence devices in order to create Best-of-Breed teleporters?
          (I have got to stop taliing to marketers. It's not healthy).
        • by julesh (229690)
          Admittedly, in the unlikely event that they are right (yeah, right!), what would result would qualify, IMO, as a paradigm shift... it would mean that almost all of our physical theories about the way the universe works were fundamentally _wrong_. We'd have to abandon relativity and quantum theory as they would, for the first time since their development, be unable to explain observable and repeatable phenomena. This, I think qualifies as a "paradigm shift", just as the introduction of these two theories w
    • "This phenomenon could generate a dramatic revolution in technology, which would result from a dramatic paradigm shift in science. Anomalies are the key to all paradigm shifts! "
      Hey buddy, can you paradigm?

      Now why is the USA going down the road to Lysenkoism? This was sort of crackpot science run under Stalin. There's an article on this shift in the USA at http://www.cosmos-club.org/journals/1995/seitz.htm l

      • by Rei (128717) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:06PM (#10738763) Homepage
        Nonono. We need to keep giving the military more money. They always put it to good uses. They'd never, say, misplace 1 trillion dollars [sfgate.com]. More money for the military is the solution to everything.

        Even sarcasm. :)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:09PM (#10738786)
        American lysenkoism, such as it is, is the result of giving money to the people who promise the most. It's a collective problem, without any one identifiable person driving the drivel.

        I saw this in the telecom industry. Our company had a mania for the "make or buy" decision. That meant, in practice, that the money went to the group that made the biggest promises. Consequently, everyone promised more than they could actually accomplish. Managers knew that, of course, but they went along because they were subject to the same pressures. You could see, year after year, more hyperbole and overstatement creeping into goal statements, mission statements, and everything. It becomes an erosion of honesty, and (like in lysenkoism), one can imagine drifting off into a fantasy world.

        In industry, of course, the free market will eventually stop such corporate fantasies. If only because people stop buying the resulting products and the company flounders.

        Another example of such over-promising is the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology. Mind you, the ISN is a bunch of competent people doing real research, and I expect them to do great things. Still, they cannot resist making wild promises on their web site, http://web.mit.edu/isn/aboutisn/index.html [mit.edu].

        "Imagine a bullet-proof jumpsuit, no thicker than ordinary spandex, that monitors health, eases injuries, communicates automatically, and maybe even lends superhuman abilities."

        Uh huh. Lemme see. How much force needs to be applied to stop a bullet in the thickness of spandex? Quite a bit. If you do a minor calculation, you'll find it's completely ridiculous, yet these guys with physics Ph.D.s tolerate this kind of crap as advertisement.

        They tolerate it because if they don't, someone else will say it, and that someone will get the money. The Army guys play along. That way, they can presumably point out to congressmen the wonderful things they will get from their research money.

        Personally, I think that the root of the problem is that no one is really paid to evaluate these research proposals. It's expected to be done in one's spare time.

      • by mi (197448)
        Now why is the USA going down the road to Lysenkoism?

        The really bad part about Lysenkoism was the guy's ability to send representatives of competing scientific ideas to GULAG -- through the universal accusations of treason.

        As long as that ability is nowhere to be seen around here (and it is not), bringing up the scumbag's name is no better than mentioning Nazis :-)

        • by dbIII (701233)
          through the universal accusations of treason.
          Treason is OK in this neck of the woods - they even gave Ollie North another decent job - but being "Unamerican" is a different story, as McCarthy showed.

          There is also more to Lysenkoism than sending people you don't like away - and it is better that we don't go down to path to the nations science being controlled by crackpots.

    • Missile Defense (Score:3, Informative)

      Hey, compared to the billions (with a B) spent on missile defense (which has almost no chance of working) this is a drop in the bucket.

      Given the choice, 8 million that MIGHT have a radical payoff is a bargain. Billions spent on a specific application of physics is pointless. Even if the system works, the only application for a missile defense system is knocking out high-speed projectiles.

      It won't help with knocking out asteroids (too much kinetic energy involved) nor will it help defend against more mon

    • You shouldn't take a report like this as evidence that the Air Force believes in psychic phenomena. They dole out quite a bit of money for various studies, and the people getting the money and doing the studies sometimes aren't the right people. The company I used to work for did a lot of papers for the Air Force and other agencies, and often I got the impression that it was material we had very little background in.

      It really came down to the company being a lot better at selling itself to these agencies
    • by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:08PM (#10738779)
      Just to be clear - they funded a study into the general areas and applications of teleportation by a private individual/small company. Some of the conclusions seem a bit wacky, however, there is no evidence in this documentation that the recommendations are accepted or that this guy's conclusions are accepted.

      I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with paying somebody to do some background research on potentially "out there" research areas, and figure out what application they might have to the military. However, with rather complicated topics like this, they should be hiring people with appropriate qualifications, and relying on a review of the research by qualified scientists before they do anything else with it. I assume they would do that before pouring millions a year into some of this stuff.

      The point where I start becoming wary is the point where he starts saying things like this:

      The debate among scientists and scientific philosophers is highly charged at times, and becomes acrimonious to the point where reputable skeptical scientists cease being impartial by refusing to examine the experimental data or theories, and they prefer to bypass rational discourse by engaging in ad hominem attacks and irrational "armchair" arguments.

      I don't know the specifics of the Chinese studies he mentions, but I know that most of the psychokinetic stuff from the 70s has been thoroughly discredited when repeated under controlled conditions. If you can only bend a spoon with your mind when its your spoon and your on national TV, then I don't think you're really bending the spoon with your mind. Incredible claims require incredibly strong evidence to back them up. If this guy can repeat any of the results that the Chinese studies he mentions were able to produce (he says they were repeatable, but fail to say by whom - if they just said they were repeatable, that fails to rule out the most likely explanation of simple scientific fraud), then by all means, fund away.

      It is a bit disturbing is that this same fellow is making recommendations on military funding of mainstream scientific propositions, like quantum cryptography and computation, entanglement research, and thereotical string theory stuff. And he thinks they should wait-and-see while D-Brane theory matures, but run full steam ahead with psychokinetic research.

      He also seems to recommend that some of the most outrageous and least likely to pay off topics should be pursued the most vigorously, like "biological quantum teleportation", based on a single, unpublished paper in the arxiv.org online repository (i.e. a non-peer reviewed scientific publication with no credibility to speak of). Additionally, he recommends funding FTL communication based on entanglement, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the concept of group vs. phase velocity. Without at least an inkling of which direction to go, funding a million bucks a year of FTL communications research based on the irrelevant mechanism behind entanglement is useless.

      So yes, this guy is a quack, but it looks like nobody is taking the recommendations seriously. Was the study a waste of $25,000 (what the Yahoo News article says the company was paid for this work)? Perhaps, but lots of small research projects happen and end up going nowhere, and like they say, it's sometimes worth pursuing a bit of cursory research in even unlikely areas to see if anything interesting gets turned up. In this case, it didn't pay off (and I doubt this guy will be doing any more studies for the Air Force).
      • by BWJones (18351) *
        Some of the conclusions seem a bit wacky, however, there is no evidence in this documentation that the recommendations are accepted or that this guy's conclusions are accepted.

        But this is an advocation for 8 Million dollars of taxpayer funded money. A lot of good science can be done with 8 Million dollars.

        don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with paying somebody to do some background research on potentially "out there" research areas, and figure out what application they might have to the
      • by killjoe (766577)
        I just want to pick a nit with you. You said.

        ' Incredible claims require incredibly strong evidence to back them up.'

        This is a ridiculus statement to make. All claims should be judged by the same criterea. Just because you think the claim is ridiculus you should not be able to raise the bar for proof beyond any other claim. Science is science, proof is proof. You don't get to say "this proof is not sufficient because your claim is incredible".
        • by winwar (114053)
          Well, because we are nitpicking...

          When exactly does science "prove" something?

          How does science or the scientific method "prove" something?

          It doesn't.

          It gathers evidence to support hypotheses, which then may become theories, laws and paradigms. But it hasn't "proven" anything. It provides the most likely explanation, at best.

          And I think it is reasonable to expect that incredible claims have incredibly strong evidence to back them up. Otherwise, they are unlikely to be accepted. If you claim teleportatio
      • For the record, this is far from the first study of its type performed for the American military. There's a long history of this kind thing, especially through the seventies.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:12PM (#10738811)
      back during the Cold War, there were a lot of Soviet programs in this sort of thing, and other pseudo-science fields.

      you can find a lot by yahoo searching for Scalar Weapons which is a system suposedly developed in the 60s and 50s which the USSR can use to control the weather, and used to shoot down the Challenger space shuttle.

      remote viewing in the CIA is something that's on the Discovery channel on cable all the time -- also shows about crop circles, UFOS, and "psychic profilers" solving murder mysteries

      similar quackery was investigated by the Nazi scientists who were deeply into the occult and other "black arts" including the flat earth society and the hollow earthers (how do you reconcile those two groups? flat and hollow??)

      In fact, a squad of Nazi troops took a super large cannon/gun out to an island in the middle of the ocean and tried shooting STRAIGHT UP trying to shoot across the "hollow earth" center to rain shells down on London. It didn't work.

    • by Zondar (32904)
      It is only when you expand your beliefs of what is "possible" beyond the limits of your 'basic science education' that real discoveries are possible. Lots of people in history have been laughed out of town that turned out to make significant scientific discoveries.

      I mean, *everone* knows the Earth is the center of the universe... /rolleyes (That darned Copernicus)

      And as for those "invisible streams of particles" - *I* don't see any particles, and I don't feel them either! Everyone knows you're making it u
      • Whether it's real or not, I'm not sure anyone really knows or can prove one way or another yet. However, there have always been theories on a 'collective unconscious' or something similar - something like a giant radio channel on which the thoughts and actions of everyone everywhere is available.

        A teenage friend of my daughter told me the other day about his desire to get free energy out of magnets. His theory was that since they're constantly pushing against each other, you can use that push to power a
    • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:48PM (#10739131)
      Folks. this is how it works: It is 90 days till the end of the budget cycle. You have $2-3 million left over, If you do NOT have a documented use for that money come Appropriation Day then your budget will be docked by this amount. Budget and the size of your department are all that matter in government land. It matters not one jot what this is spent on, it MUST be spent and it must be spent in a document able way. If the idea is hair brained, stupid, and a waste it may or may not be dredged out of the cesspool of bureaucracy and scrutinized on Slash dot or other forums (like the Congress), but in most cases it just makes another month's pay for a Beltway Bandit "Think Tank" or "Institute". Face it folks: Taxes are never levied for the benefit of those taxed, and the money gained is never spent in a worthwhile way.
  • Carte blanche? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by October_30th (531777)
    Air Force has paid to study

    Heh. I guess that's like during the good old Cold War. If you just got some sort of an idea of how to beat the enemy, you've got a blank check.

    • If you just got some sort of an idea of how to beat the enemy, you've got a blank check.

      apparently without putting any thought into the implications of the technology being developed! imagine for a moment that teleportation is actually developed. if this technology falls into the "wrong hands" (ie anyone who doesn't subscribe to u.s. hegemony) the result is a total and complete disaster.

      with true, receiverless teleportation, no geographic area is safe. period. governments and financial/industrial insti

  • by gkuz (706134) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:34PM (#10738465)
    In a country in which a substantially larger portion of the population believes in the Virgin Birth than in evolution through natural selection, and which has just this week demonstrated that majority, why should anyone be surprised?
    • Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cnelzie (451984) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:41PM (#10738535) Homepage
      ...of course it probably hasn't entered into anyone's mind here that the whole thing is a 'hoax' project designed to cover up whatever actual project they might be wanting to or actually are currently working on.

      No, I am not suggesting some kind of bizarre conspiracy, just some 'front project' to cover up something that may involve new laser assault/defense systems, sonic weaponry, or new methods of fighter control mechanisms or something that might be really cool, really plausible or equally 'cool' yet disturbingly vile that they would rather not explain to the American public or Congress.

      So, seeing that most of the nation, albiet only by a small fraction in the larger scheme of things, would fall for such crap, they decided to trot out that story. One, to be able to push it past such science-blind people as the majority of this nation and secondly to thumb their noses at the rest of us that would know and understand such a thing is bollox, yet are unfortunately unable to do anything significant about it...
      • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

        by cmdr_beeftaco (562067) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:02PM (#10738740)
        Or it could be they want us to think it is a hoax project because they are tantalizingly close to actually teleportation. It has been my experience that they only use these double-double-cover-ups when the project has some serious voodoo. But then again I could be wrong.
      • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Funny)

        by KarmaMB84 (743001)
        This doesn't fool me, I know they just ripped the telepads out of one of them UFOs and are now intending to teleport into hell to bring back specimens.
  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:35PM (#10738468)
    While highly implausible, the whole idea of science is to discover things that one wouldn't expect. If soundly gathered evidence suggests psychic powers or teleportation is real, then we should investigate it. If the facts fit, then no matter how much someone might not desire to accept an explanation (whether it be for or against any phenomena), it is most likely the truth.
    • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:42PM (#10738548) Homepage
      If soundly gathered evidence suggests psychic powers or teleportation is real, then we should investigate it.

      The thing is... it doesn't.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Funny)

      by BFaucet (635036) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:44PM (#10738574) Homepage
      Phychic powers have been studied for centuries. No one has made any convincing argument or presented any substantial evidence in this area.

      I have also called Cleo and she said she sees the project failing.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

      by dlakelan (43245) <dlakelan@nOsPAM.street-artists.org> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:44PM (#10738575) Homepage
      There is good science to suggest that the conservation of energy is real. This has been tested repeatedly.

      There is also good science to suggest that the theory of relativity is real, every day in particle accelerators across the world it's used to make predictions that turn out.

      The combination of conservation of energy, and relativity suggests that on any largish scale, there can be no teleportation. Of course these things break down when quantum theory is important, but quantum theory seems to be unlikely to be important for the teleportation of large scale objects over large distances.

      the way this goes is that conservation of energy (and mass, which is energy in relativity) must be a local phenomena, because if it is non-local, then two different observers will see things differently, one sees that mass a disappears and mass b appears simultaneously at a different spot, another observer moving in a different relative frame will NOT see these as simultaneous, thereby violating conservation of energy since mass b will appear first, then mass a disappear.

      when you bring in quantum theory, there is uncertainty involved, and relativity hasn't exactly been melded properly with quantum, so things get a little more muddy, but we're talking about very SMALL effects on the order of 10^-34 joule seconds (hbar).

      IN other words, there is already a huge set of scientific evidence against the idea that this is possible.
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khayman80 (824400) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:18PM (#10738869) Homepage Journal
        I agree that this is a serious waste of taxpayer money- this kind of pseudo-scientific bullshit has no place in any government organization.

        However, most scientists that discuss teleportation don't talk about simultaneous teleportation. That *would* definitely be impossible due to relativity, like you mentioned.

        In reality, quantum teleportation is a legitimate scientific topic (that's what I study, as a matter of fact). It's possible because the teleportation isn't instantaneous- it happens at a speed less than or equal to the speed of light. The reason it is called teleportation is that quantum effects are used to make a particle disappear from point A and reappear at point B (a suitable time later) without crossing the intervening space. Cool, huh?

        This effect has already been demonstrated for photons, and limited effects have been demonstrated for single atoms. Whether or not it will ever be possible on a larger scale is a matter of debate... but it isn't a debate about relativity.

        • Totally wrong (Score:3, Informative)

          by tehanu (682528)
          That's totally wrong. For quantum teleportation to work you STILL need to be able to pass information from A to B say via a wire or other classical information route. What teleportation does that say a fax does not is it is supposed to make a *perfect* (well theoretically anyway) copy of the information. What is teleported is NOT the photon or the atom but information on the quantum state of the atom or photon which is reproduced in an atom or photon at the other end. I've heard quantum teleportation de
      • Re:Well (Score:3, Informative)

        by Carnildo (712617)
        There is good science to suggest that the conservation of energy is real. This has been tested repeatedly.

        There is also good science to suggest that the theory of relativity is real, every day in particle accelerators across the world it's used to make predictions that turn out.

        The combination of conservation of energy, and relativity suggests that on any largish scale, there can be no teleportation. Of course these things break down when quantum theory is important, but quantum theory seems to be unlike
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by halfelven (207781) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:31PM (#10738997)
        There is good science to suggest that the conservation of energy is real. This has been tested repeatedly.
        There is also good science to suggest that the theory of relativity is real, every day in particle accelerators across the world it's used to make predictions that turn out.
        The combination of conservation of energy, and relativity suggests that on any largish scale, there can be no teleportation.


        In the 19th century, there was "good science to suggest" that, given a strong enough rocket engine, objects can be accelerated to speeds bigger than 300000km/s. There was also "good science" that suggested that the space is flat and euclidian.

        What i'm saying is, your argument boils down to "our present knowledge is perfect, thereby anything contradicting it cannot exist."

        I am not saying that said teleportation project is sound and sane. I am saying that one should look at whatever paradigm he/she adheres to with caution.
        Too often i see people otherwise rational that seem to imply that psychic phenomena are made impossible by the simple fact that a million newagers believe in them ("if a pothead believes in X, then X does not exist"). A million newagers may have an irrational belief, yet that does not make certain things impossible.

        Again, i am not implying anything, i just don't like it when people take a transitory scientific paradigm as dogma.
      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:40PM (#10739065) Homepage
        Some would say that there really is not such thing is chaos in the universe. But rather, the notion of chaos is nothing more then order beyond comprehension. That said, maybe consciousness has some form of predictable order to it and thus we really don't have free will. If this is the case, the being psychic is nothing more then a higher level of thought for the sub-conscious process more of the chaos around us.

        Just a thought ;)
  • Bait and Switch? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hallowed (229057)
    I'd say this is a fast one they are trying to pull to funnel the money to some black project....hell it could just be for the AF general staff coffee and doughnut fund!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:35PM (#10738474)
    classically, the random slashdot quote at the bottom of this article was "You cannot achieve the impossible without attempting the absurd."

    Dan Tedrick
  • Classified (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmomo (256005) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:35PM (#10738480) Homepage
    It's probably money procured for something they don't want to tell us they are using it for.
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:36PM (#10738483)
    With the current, rather theocratic US administration, I'm surprised they don't try training field medics in faith healing...

  • zerg (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Omlette (124579) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:36PM (#10738485) Homepage
    If someone gave me money to study "psychic teleportation", I'd be like "Thank you, Allah!" and immediately begin researching liquor and hookers.

    "Guys, you're not gonna believe this! Last night, I as at this strip club, I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was face down in the gutter a few blocks away!"
  • by WilliamsDA (567274) <derkNO@SPAMderk.org> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:36PM (#10738486) Homepage
    Stephen King wrote a nice short story about teleportation called The Jaunt. I'm not much of a King fan, but the story is very good. In The Jaunt people can teleport between different locations, but they have to be put to sleep first, otherwise something very bad happens. Most of the story is from the perspective of a father telling his family, all of whom are about to go "Jaunting", about the history of how it was invented and its side effects. Very interesting read.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:37PM (#10738496) Homepage Journal
    I'd be more than happy to conduct research into anti-gravity, photon torpedos, inertia damping systems, faster-than-light warp drives....


    Just pay me a few million, and I'll do whatever research into fantasy physics that they want. I'll even throw in a few Powerpoint presentations for good measure.


    If the choice is between spending billions on reserching quackery in the military, or spending the same money on bringing US education up to decent levels, I think the education would be money better spent. We might even end up with politicians who know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland.


    But if they're determined to throw money away on absurdity, then the least they can do is throw some of it in my direction. I think I could find better uses for it than anyone the USAF could hire from the Psychic Hotline.

  • Insulting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bloggins02 (468782) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:38PM (#10738503)
    Star Trek fans may be happy to hear that the Air Force has paid to study psychic teleportation [...]

    Please, this is an insult to Star Trek fans everywhere. The Star Trek vision, if anything, was about using science and technology to enhance people's lives. It was and is in no way about this pseudo-scientific nonsense. (BTW, "pseudo" in this context means "false, but masquerading as", NOT, "kinda" or "quasi".)

    If anything, Star Trek fans would (and should) be appalled by this.


    End of rant.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:49PM (#10738630)
      Please, this is an insult to Star Trek fans everywhere. The Star Trek vision, if anything, was about using science and technology to enhance people's lives. It was and is in no way about this pseudo-scientific nonsense.

      Which is why about half the aliens they encounter are telepathic, psychic, equipped with ESP, able to transition into pure energy, or have telekinetic powers. And that was before the bloody Pah-wraiths which turned the end of Deep Space Nine into something resembling Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

    • Re:Insulting... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anagama (611277)

      • If anything, Star Trek fans would (and should) be appalled by this.

      My sentiments exactly. I'm a bit taken aback by the negative comments you got on this. I think Trek fans are probably bothered when ST deviates from a hard sci-fi stance. But, I think even when ST deviates into new-agey garbage, there is still a basis to say it isn't magic, just a technology humans don't yet understand. For example - worm hole aliens = Bajor's gods. I placate myself with Clark's "any sufficiently advanced technolog

  • Coverup (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kyn (539206) <{kyn} {at} {yourmom.com}> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:38PM (#10738507) Homepage Journal
    This is just the cover story. The money is really being funneled into the Stargate program.
  • My 2 cents... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:38PM (#10738508) Journal
    Who knows what government already knows that the public, and even scientists in universities, do not know. For all we know, there was a UFO that crashed and the government has discovered alien technologies. There seems to have been an exponential growth in technology. Where did it all come from?

    What proof do I have? Just look at Sam Cassel.

  • And we're in a deficit? Go figure...
  • RTFA!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:40PM (#10738527)
    The Air Force did NOT pay to study this. They commissioned a study and one of the recommendations was this, and they have already stated it will not be funded. Hurray for illiteracy!
  • It's a joke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:41PM (#10738531) Homepage Journal
    Has to be a joke. Read the PDF. The name of the sub-contractor is "Warp Drive" and the end of the document contains discussions of "negative energy" and all kinds of totally bogus junk that looks like it was culled from a Star Trek script.

    Seriously, this is some fan-boy trying to rile up the millitary conspiracy theorists (and apparently doing quite well).

    Until the DoD comes out and says, "yes, this is ours and we published it in all seriousness," please stop believing everything you read on the Internet.
    • Re:It's a joke (Score:4, Interesting)

      by supabeast! (84658) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:55PM (#10738681)
      You've obviously never worked for the US Government as a contractor or employee. The government loves to request huge piles of documentation about all sorts of crazy things from contractors, who regularly just copy & paste from old documents, swap some names around, and replace the logos on the first page with logos of the relevant contractors and agencies. The thing is, much of this paperwork is huge, and these agencies have piles of the stuff printed and bound, on CD, on DVD, and on various government intranets -- so much of it that, in fact, nobody ever looks over it. So when silly nerds working on documentation get bored, they tend to stick some really stupid stuff in there, knowing damned well that nobody notices. It's just like the silly names that go into network protocols and such. Bored geeks looking for cheap thrills try to see what they can get away with.

      On a related note, I was once working on a very serious project where I named all of the client systems after food - chicken, pizza, and taco, and named the server Megadoomer after an Invader Zim episode. I just about died trying not to fall over laughing when my coworkers would turn red with embarassment when discussing the network during meetings because they thought the names were terribly silly. But it was government work, so nobody cared enough to make me change anything.
  • ... because the more money the US military wastes on this kind of mumbo-jumbo, the safer the rest of the world will be. I'd far rather they have remote viewing specialists, psychic teleporters and experts in yogic flying than even more guns and bombs.
  • This research could cost a lot less if they just did some searches on dudes in comas after car wrecks who wake up and save nurses' children from burning houses, only to learn their ex married someone else and feigned the bastard child off as the new guy's:

    http://www.usanetwork.com/series/thedeadzone/ [usanetwork.com]

    Johnny Smith could really help save some money here.

    IronChefMorimoto
  • by jmulvey (233344) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:45PM (#10738579)
    I think some of the justification behind this research may be based on the fact that some researchers are starting to believe the brain is a quantum device. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind [wikipedia.org]

    Quantum theory (at least mathematically) does allow for teleportation, and so capabilities such as "remote viewing" and so forth *might* be there. But who knows.
    • Penrose and his wacky quantum ideas are way outside of mainstream thinking on the brain.

      his logic seems to be:
      -consciousness is mysterious
      -quantum physics is mysterious
      -therefore consciousness involves quantum physics

      about as sensible as collecting underpants
  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday November 05, 2004 @06:58PM (#10738707)
    Any scientist worth anything would at least look for some evidence for or against rather than dismissing out of hand like the lot of you.

    I'm quite frankly tired of the hypocrisy I see on ./. On the one hand you accuse the christian right of being bigoted or closed minded while in the same breath demonstrate how close minded and bigoted you are.

    Want to see who you are complaining about? Look in the mirror.

    Science is supposed to be a tool for discovery, not a religion like some of you make it out to be.

    Is aids research a waste of money because no cure has been found yet? Are all studies that reach a dead end a waste of money or do they provide us with valuable insight?

    • I don't see this as hypocrisy - I see it as holding studies of psychic phenomena to the same standards as other scientific studies, i.e., well-documented methods, peer-reviewed results, and demonstrated repeatablility.

      The additional skepticism most people apply to claims of telekenesis probably comes from the fact that is an overwhelming number of counter-examples in everyday experience. Can you move objects with your mind? I can't. Therefore I am not very likely to readily believe that anyone can. This is
      • Ah... moderate or post, moderate or post... let's post:

        Can you move objects with your mind? I can't. Therefore I am not very likely to readily believe that anyone can. This is different than saying, for example, "I can't play piano, therefore I doubt anyone can," because playing the piano is an ability which is a matter of degrees.

        This is logically unsound. This assumes that TK is something that doesn't need training (or perhaps innate ability). This implies that it exists in a particular manner,

    • Any scientist worth anything would at least look for some evidence for or against rather than dismissing out of hand like the lot of you.

      Exactly. We're being critical of the report because it recommends that the U.S. military spend millions on research on dubious ideas, with no evidence that the ideas have any merit.

      I'm quite frankly tired of the hypocrisy I see on ./. On the one hand you accuse the christian right of being bigoted or closed minded while in the same breath demonstrate how close minded
    • Any scientist worth anything would at least look for some evidence for or against rather than dismissing out of hand like the lot of you.

      Actually, that is not how science works. If scientists accepted and looked for evidence for or against every hypothesis, we would never make any progress. You have to have some way of filtering the small number of ideas that are likely to be fruitful from the much larger pool of ideas that aren't going to get you anywhere. The way we do this is through a paradigm--an ove

  • by beeplet (735701) <beeplet@gmail.com> on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:08PM (#10738776) Journal
    I can't believe that a serious report would put psychic teleportation on the same scientific grounds as quantum entanglement... Quantum physics has produced plenty of weird and wonderful phenomena, but not all strange experimental results are equally credible (or incredible). The author seems to have no sense of scientific skepticism. These two quotes jumped out at me:


    "A comprehensive literature search for vm-Teleportation within the genre of spacetime metric engineering yielded no results. No one in the general relativity community has thought to apply the Einstein field equation whether there are solutions compatible with the concept of teleportation."


    (Or maybe the idea simply hasn't gotten by peer-reviewed publications?)


    "The conditions for fraud and sleight of hand [in the psychic teleportation experiments] were totally eliminated, and multiple independent outside witnesses (technical and military-intelligence experts) were present at all times to ensure total fidelity of the experiments."


    (Sure... Isn't that what they all say?)

    I guess it might be worthwhile in a very preliminary report to give all of the options equal consideration, but to suggest that they all deserve funding for further research makes the study kind of pointless. I wonder if they people who commissioned this report can actually take it seriously?
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:17PM (#10738852)
    If telekinesis, ESP, etc. were biologically possible, it would have been evolved by some creatures already. Imagine the incredible advantage a predator would have if it could read the mind of the prey and know that the prey was hiding behind a tree or that the prey was about to jog to the right or left. Or what if a predator (or prey) could telekinetically cause a stick to trip its opponent. Yet, no animal (or plant) seems to have such powers.

    It is unlikely that humanity is unique in have some never-before evolved power. The more scientists study animals, the more they find that humans are not qualitatively different from other creatures, only quantitatively different. Other creatures can count, create tools, have emotions, participate in social structures, practice deception, be aware of what others might think or do, etc. We exhibit these properties to a greater degree than do animals, but we are not unique. (In fact if humans did have psychic power, they would have little need for social systems, tools, etc. because psychic power would let them snare prey/beings with lesser powers.)

    Finally, we find no "physical" basis for psychic power. The four forces of gravity, eletromagnetism, the weak force, and the strong force do not provide a basis for psychic power. It is unlikely that some magic biologically created material could manifest and manipulate some unknown fifth force without either biologists, chemists, or physicists becoming aware of it..
  • by CyanDisaster (530718) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:21PM (#10738885)
    In the report, author Eric Davis says psychic teleportation, moving yourself from location to location through mind powers, is "quite real and can be controlled."

    Yeah. It's called 'walking.' Or am I looking at it totally wrong?

    Hope be with ye,
    Cyan
  • by h4x0r-3l337 (219532) on Friday November 05, 2004 @07:59PM (#10739205)
    The date on this report says august 2004, but on page 31 it says "The largest commercially available computers can store 40 gigabytes on a single hard drive."
  • by zunger (17731) on Friday November 05, 2004 @08:01PM (#10739226)
    Well, the section on wormholes is 90% kosher. He even goes so far as to calculate the amount of exotic matter needed to create such a wormhole, and seems to have read most of Visser's (excellent) book on the physics of them.

    It might have helped had the authors of this report read the rest of Visser, however. Such as the calculations showing that exotic matter is intrinsically quantum-mechanically unstable, to the extent that such a wormhole will collapse within a time strictly less than the time it takes for a light signal to get through said wormhole.

    Which is good, because teleportation by wormhole lets information travel faster than light and is therefore equivalent to building a time machine.

    I really hope that we don't have our government funding research into time machines. Because then this is going to start sounding like a very bad movie plot.
  • by nizo (81281) on Friday November 05, 2004 @08:26PM (#10739367) Homepage Journal
    It looks like Warp Drive Metrics has succeeded in teleporting $25,000 into their bank account from the taxpayers wallets; we shall see if future expirements are as successful.
  • What for? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Pentrite (825902) on Friday November 05, 2004 @08:42PM (#10739446)
    I don't get it, if they manage to discover how teleportation works, they will lose their jobs, as G. W. B. wont need airplanes anymore to bomb whoever he wants...
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday November 05, 2004 @09:14PM (#10739612)
    (And I say this as an Electrical Engineer). Established, respected experts in a field are among the most reluctant to consider radically new ideas. Major shifts in science have occurred when some young oddball found a new way to look at an old problem, or an outsider to the field found a new link that was never considered before. Consider the significant (albeit slow) revolution in medicine that is increasingly acknowledging the mind/body connection. Placebo treatments that actually have physiological healing effects; patients that exert conscious control over the failing processes in their bodies.

    Now I'm not saying that necessarily this teleportation stuff has any merit. I just want to point out that if you're quick to say "what crap" then you might have fallen into the trap that leads minds to stagnate; that is, to believe that existing human knowledge is complete.

    If there's one thing we can bet on, it's that human knowledge is far from complete and we are far from understanding the true nature of things. We are naive creatures with limited understandings of things. Perhaps the military is more willing to gamble funding in new directions, because unlike academics their main goal isn't to protect their researching asses for the rest of their lives. Their goal is to develop new tools that the enemy doesn't have.
    • I am an EE as well, and I don't consider any falsifiable hypothesis "quackery", just very improbable until tested by an experiment. I find it very amusing that more scientists have a very closed mind .. isn't the whole idea to question everything?

      Anyway, the above book covers a lot of studies headed up real scientists, and there is a lot of interesting data out there; the effects they find are not huge, but they are statistically signifigant and worthy of investigation.

      If someone has an odd idea, fine -
  • by miguel (7116) on Friday November 05, 2004 @11:03PM (#10740066) Homepage
    With a country that is going back to the middle
    ages, this seems only like the tip of the
    iceberg.

    With Bush in office, I expect the next couple of
    years to be packed with amusement from your witch
    hunts to your basic alchemy courses taught in
    schools and maybe some sacrifices made to the
    gods if the stock market goes up.

    miguel.

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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