Talk:1404: Quantum Vacuum Virtual Plasma

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This is another one of Randall's knocks on pseudoscience... I've seen things like this before, where the guy puts 1000's of volts between a piece of tinfoil and a wire and is amazed that the thing (weighing a few grams) flies around. I'd search for it for reference but it's late here and I'm tired 04:41, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Here is the article referenced: 05:24, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

20 kW is probably not from any reference, but just to summarize the history of claims in a vivid manner. The news surge was predicated about the prestige of the NASA organization attaching to any tiny lab under the aegis even though the paper was not in a peer-reviewed top journal but the very last presentation made at a multi-day conference. The NASA abstract differs wildly from the abstract of the same-date paper (or draft). \\ Other coverage from the skeptical side goes a bit into the history of similar microwaves-in-a-funny-shaped-can claims, where the reported thrust seems to diminish as the sensitivity of the measurement. And finally may I close with a reference to Tooth-Fairy-(pseudo)science. 05:41, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

What I'm missing is any reference to NASA being the third party to conduct this experiment and the third to witness these results. So while this looks an awful lot like Tooth-Fairy-science, it still raises the question of what the hell is going on there? Usually these pseudo-science experiments fail on reproduction or are only reproduced by non-scientists. - Nine 06:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

More than a decade ago a few weird Italian guys already demostrated more than a twitch. Italian Army officials ("Esercito") were not that impressed. Their bizarre website mostly dedicated to pseudo-religious stuff and fighting trolls, repeatedly states that technical details won't be shared until a patent is definitely granted. - 06:58, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Fancy way of building an (ordinary) photon drive

A bit of context:

The idea of using virtual particles/quantum foam as your reaction mass has been around for a while. This turns out to just be an overly-complicated way of building a photon drive. If you accelerate a charge (real or virtual), it'll spit out photons. If you interact with charged virtual particles in a way that results in real thrust (by accelerating them), the photons you get out are real photons, and you pay for them in the usual manner (they cost you energy).

If you're building a photon drive, a heating element and a mirror work just as well.

As for the anomalous thrust in the experiments, there are a huge number of ways that you can get that from an experiment that isn't set up sufficiently carefully. The fact that two different experiments got vastly different measurements is a very big hint that something was flawed with at least one of them (possibly both).

Among other things, generating intense microwaves involves large electric currents. If any part of your apparatus is made of metal (and lots of this was), ordinary EM forces produce quite a few contaminating effects that are a royal pain to account for, especially if you're trying to measure an effect much weaker than they are. -- 09:26, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't like how the sciencey posts use a lot of scientific terms without explaining them. I thought the purpose of this site was to make xkcd accessible for all people, science laymen included, but sometimes these explanations obfuscate more than they help. -- 10:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)