Sunday, 31 January 2016

Wormhole Dynamics: Wormholes as Standing waves

Now for the development of wormholes as standing waves, giving us startling explanations and implications for wormholes in New Eden.

Recall my post on standing waves? The ones that look like this:
This shows how two waves can come together to form what appears to be a static oscillation in a medium. My example before was a rope, but now we're going to apply this idea to a rubber sheet analogy of space time.
For a start, space-time is 4-dimensional. It's not nearly so easy to imagine a wave in this environment, without lying a little to ourselves, and pretending the universe is one big sheet of rubber. I'm also assuming here the maths works out. I'm still at the beginner stages of tensor calculus, and so can't prove it yet.
The idea is this:
  • Gravitational waves are generated at two sources at a distance from each other.
  • As they move towards each other, they form a standing wave in between them.
  • The peaks in the waves add to each other to cause the necessary contortion of space-time.
  • Elsewhere in the universe, a similar event happens.
  • These two peaks join each other, as discussed in the previous post.
This is possibly how wormholes in New Eden are formed. From this model, we can now see why wormhole space is sometimes dominated by large mass objects, such as black holes and pulsars. These large objects are causing the necessary gravitational waves to produce natural wormholes. They are also "lowering" the surrounding space-time to make such peak to peak connections easier.
This also explains why wormholes have seemingly random destinations, whilst statics are known to remain in place.
Statics are locations in space where gravitational waves are somewhat constant. There is an ebb and flow of amplitudes, the energy of the waves, but these places are where standing waves can easily form. Essentially, it is a place where a number of gravitational waves comes together to form the peak needed to bend space-time into the wormhole bridge.
However, the exit location is not always the same. This is because, unlike the two black holes joining model, the other locations wave peak is not always fixed. What the static wormhole will do is fix itself to the "closest" possible wave peak. I say "closest", because at this point distance becomes a very tricky concept.
Imagine this: Rather than New Eden's space time being a fairly even and calm pond, like a smooth rubber sheet, it is more like a rolling ocean, with waves and tsunamis crashing around all the time.
See the area in between the two spheres?

A standing wave can readily form there, treating those two circles as fixed points. Now it's unlikely for a spherical object to produce a gravitational wave, so those two spheres really just represent wave generators.

The idea of random wormholes forming due to massive objects bending space-time doesn't work. For New Eden's wormholes to vanish and appear, we would need masses appearing and disappearing, seemingly at random.

But if these waves are so prolific in the cluster, shouldn't we feel the effects? Wouldn't time and space be warping all the time, making space travel, and just general communication a nightmare?
The reason we don't see the effects of gravitational waves, beyond wormholes, is that the gravitational waves are pathetically low energy. The only time they are strong enough to cause an effect on mass is when we have these standing waves, resonating and adding to each other to increase the amplitude of the wave.
 Now we can say why the Drifter wormholes and Sansha wormholes are constructed the way they are.

The structures are placed there to create an artificial gravitational standing wave, which can then link up to whatever location they desire.

We can also extrapolate from here, by saying that some ships may be able to carry gravitational wave generators to produce short term standing waves. These will not be as stable as the gated ones, meaning that only some locations are favourable.

If this is the case, we can now explain why the Seyllin Incident caused the appearance of random wormholes, and perhaps present a new perspective of the function of the EVE Gate itself.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wormhole Dynamics: Gravitational waves and Wormholes

So now we're going to bring this all together, which should present us with a good model for understanding wormholes in EVE, and from which we can extrapolate to both the mechanics of the Seyllin Incident, the mechanism of the Jove Dyson cloud network, and even the function of the EVE gate.

See, I told you it was a happy thought.

The idea behind wormholes, as predicted by relativity, is that 4-d space-time is manipulated in such a way as to create a bridge from one location in space time to the next.

I covered this already. The issues arise with that negative energy in the throat of the wormhole. Remember that the acceleration due to gravity is so strong there that not even light can escape, meaning that travel across it is fairly impossible. There must be some mechanism or some exotic matter to make that jump possible.

At least if you were a particle.

Waves, on the other hand, are all about the transfer of energy rather than the movement of particles. Indeed in a wave, although there's definitely something moving, particles do not, in fact change their location in the direction of movement. They oscillate up and down, but they don't go forward and back.

More on that in a second.

The wormholes are generally thought to be made by large masses causing contortions in space-time. Fairly simple to understand in terms of the rubber sheet model. You get two masses pushing down at the same time, and they may connect.

But that's not the only way to get a rubber sheet to move. And caveat  now, this is where the Science becomes mostly fiction. I'm not good enough to put the numbers to this hypothesis yet.

We can also get our sheet to move by applying a wave. In the case of space-time, a gravitational wave.

If we get the peak and trough of two gravitational waves to link up, then we can also create the bridge between two locations in space. Which is super exciting!

Placeholder for better image

The large mass model is static. Once the bridge is made, it's there until the energy is all lost from radiation of exotic particles. The formation of them also needs an awful lot of matter to cause the contusion of space-time. Not something a ship can reliably carry around with it.

The waves don't need as much mass, just an oscillation of local-space time. Ok, we need moving masses for this to happen, but the key point here is that the mass does not need to be IN the wormhole.

This goes a long way to describing how our ships can seemingly shift between locations in space at low energy. At the centre of the wormhole as we see it, our ships actually catch the anti-node of the wave as it becomes flattened into 'normal' space-time.

As the wave then oscillates back to it's peak, our ships are carried with it, and cross over to the other wave peak as it comes in. When the second wave flattens out again to 'normal' our ships are deposited back into a new location, and our autopilot moves us away from the peak area where this exchange happens.

This is why all ships have the same entry distance to wormholes, and larger ships with more mass appear further away. More massive ships must move further away so as not to be caught in the wormhole oscillation again. Less massive ships are less affected by the contortion of space time.

This now explains why wormholes in New Eden have a lifetime based on the mass of objects passing through. Massive objects around the wormhole act as dampening. The more massive objects that pass through, the greater the dampening effect. The energy of the wave is absorbed in moving the ships from one location to the other. Once enough energy is absorbed, the amplitude of the wave falls so that it no longer causes these bridges in space time.

It also explains why light from the other side of the wormholes is able to pass through without colour changes due to gravitational red shift. It is quite literally being carried from one section of space on the gravitational wave, rather than having to pass into and out of a very high gravitational field.
It's also consistent with the ripple effect we see being emitted from wormholes. They move, rather than being static.

There is so much more to talk about, but I'll expose this to public opinion first. But if this is correct, or at least good enough for EVE, then we can now explain random wormhole appearances, ship board wormhole generators, the exact reason for the Seyllin Incident, and what the EVE Gate actually is.

Additional: If anyone can help me make a nicer image for this waves touching idea, please get in contact... I lack the graphical skills.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Wormhole Dynamics: Standing Waves

This is a bit of relatively simple Physics that you've most likely seen before, and has a lot of application in The Real World outside of the lab.

Warning: This may not look like much when it comes to EVE, but it is vital to understand this model of wormholes. Bear with me... it will all make sense soon.

You'll mostly be familiar with a travelling wave, like the gravitational ones we saw last time. These waves appear to move in a certain direction. The peak of the wave looks like it's moving forward.

Standing waves are exactly what they say they are... waves that appear to not propagate forward. The peaks still move up and down, but they're not going anywhere.

This is an example of one. See how it goes up and down but doesn't appear to travel?

Well this is actually what happens when a waves reflection is added to itself.

Imagine that thick black line is a rope, and you're at one end of it. Your flick the rope up and down, creating a little pulse down the rope. If it's not attached to anything, well, that pulse will just kind of disappear when it gets to the end.

However, if you then fix that end to a wall, the pulse will be reflected back at you.

If you keep moving the rope up and down, oscillating it, you will produce a travelling wave down the rope. Nothing you've never done before. Now imagine that the wave you send down the rope is the faint blue line in the image above.

Of course, the wave you send is going to be reflected back, just like the pulse earlier. That wave must travel down the rope just like the one you send. This is shown by the faint red line in the above image.

It turns out that waves that pass through each other just add themselves. So when the peak of the reflected wave meets the peak of the incoming wave, they add to produce a very big peak. If a trough adds to a peak, we end up with nothing happening.

In a standing wave, the peaks are always in the same place, and there are certain areas on the rope where nothing is happening. The stationary points are nodes, and the peak parts are anti-nodes.
This concludes our Physics lesson for today, and in the next post we'll start bringing these ideas together to my happy thought.

If you'd like to see a standing wave, grab yourself a piece of string now, attach it to something and start wiggling it. You should get a standing wave. If you don't have string, the best way to see a standing wave is to go get up on your feet, and go to a mirror. When in front of the mirror, raise your right hand (or left depending on dominance). Then, gently oscillate your hand back on forth. You should see someone doing a standing wave.

... You'd be surprised how many people won't get that.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

BB 71 - Decision Fatigue

For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.
Too Many Ships Spoil the Sandpit?

We all like important internet spaceships right? The more spaceships the better right? Or are we getting too many to be easily to remember them all. A Mastodon on scan? That the hell is that and what does it do? Oh! Never mind!
Are we getting too many ships. Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are? Do FC's these days need an encyclopaedic knowledge of ship types unless they want their fleet to DIAF. With more and more ships being released each year will we ever reach "too many" or do you think there can never be too many important internet spaceship types?
Banter on!
I'll take a short break from Physics to talk about Psychology.

As a numbers and EFT Warrior nerd, I'm generally in favour of getting more ships in space. The mere mention of a new destroyer or frigate is enough to get me excited, and blasting out into space. More usually it's just going to give me more glorious hours with the spread sheets, trying to calculate the most efficient fit.
But, I do know it's not always the best thing for a player.
I'm sure someone else will get on to power creep and redundancy of role, and even market saturation. What I'd like to look at is the idea of decision fatigue.
Consider the dressing habits of two men, who we'll call Alan and Bob.
Alan wears suits to work, and has a home clothes and weekend rotation of 5 jeans and 5 t-shirts. He has 3 jumpers for when it's cold, and 1 coat for when it's freezing. He has 2 pairs of shoes, one smart, one comfortable.
Bob has suits, blazers and smart style jackets for work, with a variety of tie styles for work. He has a walk in wardrobe full of clothing for home, and has generally worn each garment 3 or 4 times. His winter clothing is carefully selected to coordinate with each other, and his shoe rack extends the length of his bed room.
If you see these two gentlemen together, you will have no doubt that Bob is better dressed. Alan is rather plain in comparison. But over time you will notice Alan coming in to work, on average, 10 minutes earlier than Bob. Not only that, but Alan's productivity is 10% better than Bob's, even though they will be putting in the same effort.
It comes down to this idea of decision fatigue. Bob, before he even leaves the house, must decide which set of clothing he will wear that day. Which tie goes with this shirt. Can I wear a jacket, or should I switch to a suit. Do these shoes coordinate with the suit I've put on. This coat works well with these shoes, but now I need to change my shirt.
Alan throws on whatever is in his rotation and is out the door, having made no decisions that day.
The exaggerated example there shows the results of decision fatigue. The more decisions you make will lead to an eventual deterioration of the quality of your decisions.
Decision fatigue can lead to a few problems.
  • Reduced ability to make trade offs: You tend to make poorer cost-benefit conclusions because you're tired of decision making.
  • Decision avoidance: It's exhausting already, so you simply don't make the decision.
  • Poor self-regulation: Your discipline is reduced, and you tend to take easier options.
  • More impulsive behaviour: You take your first conclusion, rather than think about a problem.
 Bringing this back to EVE, having a glut of ships and fitting options forces you to make a hundred decisions before even undocking. Before you've really started the game, you will already be making poorer decisions, and starting to feel the effect of fatigue.

I'm sure all of you will have noticed the above behaviour in your piloting at the end of a session.

Much worse, if it takes you too long to select and fit your ship, then you simply may not undock at all. You will have made yourself exhausted by the fitting window alone, and the thought of jumping around star systems for a fight is just... tiring.

The additional problem to this is timing; the more time you spend in the market browser picking the frigate you want to fly that day, the less you're spending in space.

And yes, this problem is doubled for FCs, who will not only need to consider individual ships, but also fleet composition, and role of each capsuleer.

It's a delicate balancing act. Good gameplay is all about making meaningful decisions. You feel good about choosing that rail gun over the blasters when you kite a Comet to death in your Atron. But you do need to make sure there's not too many decisions before an outcome is made.

My advice: Don't think too hard about it. Have a stack of a ship and fit you like, burn your way through it, then start again. Decision making is only fun when you find the result of it, be it good or bad.
 All right, back to Physics, and building my new model for New Eden wormholes.

Wormhole Dynamics: Gravitational Waves

The first step to understanding this model, is to remember one of the basic ideas behind relativity.

Space-time is almost like a blanket or rubber sheet, stretched across... um, we'll leave that analogy there. But imagine it as a stretched sheet. Put some massive objects on it, and it will distort the sheet, giving some nice gentle valleys and pits. Gravity is merely the acceleration experienced by an object as it falls into one of these pits.

This was Einstein's idea, and spawned a vast array of new and wonderful ideas and hypotheses, one of which was gravitational waves.

Put simply, the sheet can have waves moving across it, just like waves on the surface of the ocean. These fluctuations in space time are gravitational waves.

These ripples can be generated by two massive objects orbiting each other, as shown by this picture here of two neutron stars orbiting each other.

See how the distortion in space time propagates away from the stars?

These are phenomenally hard to detect, and there is a search right now to find them. The evidence we have for it now really just involves seeing a slow down in orbital speeds of two known neuron stars orbiting each. This lost energy must go somewhere, and it is believed it's carried off by this gravitational waves.

The reason they are so hard to detect is because gravity is actually a fairly weak force. It takes an awful lot of matter to make an appreciable gravitational field (which you know, since it's taking the whole mass of the Earth to keep you from flying into space...). The gravitational wave is obscured by all the other forces around us. Even my above example is in dispute.

However, in New Eden we already have fairly hard evidence for things which should only be hypothetical. Black Holes are merely mundane window dressing to wormhole corps shenanigans, and wormholes themselves are prolific to the point of common feature. What I am suggesting, and will be building from, is the idea that gravitational waves are not only present in New Eden, but actually strongly affecting the cluster.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Wormhole Dynamics: A happy thought...

Every so often, the hundreds of thoughts you have per day neatly line up into one coherent idea.

It happened to me a week ago, and I've been happily doing the crunching and analysing for the past few days.

The first thought that came in was when I was preparing a lesson on Standing waves for my students. They're not too tricky to wrap your head around, but the maths can look difficult if you're not used to describing with equations. Typically this is where we sort the experimental from the theoretical Physicists (the engineers having bee identified from the previous topic on microwaves, and measuring the speed of light using toast and a microwave oven).

I was just looking for some examples of standing waves that were different from the normal laser and musical instrument stuff, and came across a gravitational wave. Quite cool, but not really what I needed, so I moved on.

In the evening I happened to read up this post from Rhavas, talking about the latest chronicle, and the sweeping conclusions to months, and indeed years, of research and analysis. In it my own findings of a closed wormhole system were confirmed, along with my reasoning for it. He, and a number of commenters go on to predict doom, gloom, and the coming of a super-powerful race of technological wizards.

I read, and in typical capsuleer fashion, wondered just how such a new race would eventually be farmed for scrap and loot.

It did bring back to the fore of my mind, just how prolific wormholes in New Eden are, and sent me back to my project of understanding how wormholes worked in our cluster. The recent chronicle had confirmed that they were mostly artificial, a remnant left by accident or design from the Talocan.
After butting my head against the same brick wall for a few hours, trying to get everything to work, I gave up in frustration and turned on the TV.

As luck would have it, The Big Bang Theory was on, a re-run of an old episode. You, of course, are entitled to your own opinion, but as a Science teacher and eclectic nerd, the show resonates with me. And in this particular episode, Sheldon was equally frustrated with a problem he couldn't solve with his examinations of electrons moving through graphene, which was definitely something I could relate to. The punchline is him standing in the middle of a restaurant amongst shattered plates and exclaiming wildly, "It's a wave! A wave!"

And that's when I had my happy thought.

It IS a wave, isn't it...