# Sending information at speeds faster than the speed of light?

I am not a physicist so please excuse my over simplifications of concepts that are undoubtedly very complex and nuanced.  However, I have always loved physics and delving into how the world works.  What spurs this post is that I’m reading a book by Brian Greene called The Fabric of the Cosmos, Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, and I’ve had some thoughts come to me around how information might be conveyed at greater than light speed. I’m only in Chapter 4, so perhaps my question will yet be addressed, but I wanted to get my ideas down while they are still fresh.

In his book, Brian Greene talks about the quantum physics concept of particle entanglement, where two particles appears to affect each other instantaneously, despite being at a substantial distance from each other.    He uses an analogy where Mulder and Scully are separated by some distance and each have a number of numbered alien cubes which are somehow connected.  Opening the door on any cube yields either red or blue inside.  So if Mulder opens cube 1 and receives a red result, when Scully opens the same numbered cube, she will receive the same result.  This is meant to mimic the particle entanglement to measuring a single attribute of two such entangled particles.

He extends the analogy to explain how a different experiment was done to disprove the EPR theory that every particle has certain attributes even thought they cannot be measured due to the uncertainty principle.  In this analogy, Mulder and Scully have cubes with 3 doors, each with red or blue inside.  This represent that we can measure a particle’s spin in, say, 3 dimensions (3 doors), as either clockwise (red) or counter-clockwise(blue).  If EPR was correct, randomly opening a door at each side would yield greater than 50% of the same result, (red or blue).  That is because each cube has a minimum or 2 of the same color, and perhaps all 3.  So the other cube is will match 2 out of 3 or better, over a large sample size.  In the experiment, this turned out not to be the case, thus showing EPR to be wrong on that account.

However, if I understand the “uncertainty principle” correctly, once Mulder opens one door and it shows red, if he opens the other doors, they should be blank or have no color since only one attribute can be observed.  In the case of spin, Brian explains that once you measure one dimension, say the front-to-back, all of the spin motion is conveyed onto that axis.  Does that mean that whatever spin is zero for the other dimensions?  That to me would be indicated by opening the second or third door on a cube and seeing nothing inside.

Now, given that, if I understand particle entanglement correctly, once one of the two particles has been measured along a specific axis, the other particle will also begin to only spin along that same axis.  That would explain why the random sampling of opening doors was less than 50%, since now 2 out of 3 of the checks on the second box would yield  neither red nor blue, but nothing (over large sample size).

That all makes sense to me so far.  But here is the question: Since this occurs regardless of how far apart particles are, why could this not be used to convey information at speeds greater than the speed of light?  In his book, Brian states that the test used to determine if something has traveled faster than the speed of light is whether information has been conveyed.  He says that in this case, no information has been conveyed since the results are simple random samplings on each end and are only statistically proving the point.  However, why do they have to be random?

To use the Mulder and Scully analogy,  suppose Mulder tells Scully to always check the front door on the cube, while he alternates between checking the font door and some other door such that checking the front door indicates he wishes to send a “1” while checking something else indicates he wants to send a “0”.  In that way, as Scully continuously checks the front door, she either gets an attribute reading (red or blue) which indicates a “1” or nothing which indicates a “0”.  That is, she would see “nothing” due to the uncertainty principle when Mulder opened one of the other doors on his cube thus forcing her cube to only have a red/blue attribute on the door Mulder checked, not the front door which is the one Scully checked. In this way, a message can be encoded by reading the binary values from sequentially ordered pairs of entangled particles.  And since it has been experimentally shown that these entanglements and corresponding state changes happen instantaneously, information would thus be traveling faster than the speed of light.

Obviously I’ve missed something that explains why this is not possible.  I will continue to read Brian’s books to see what I learn further on this topic.  But please chime in if you have the answer (and can explain it in terms I can follow!)

# Fun Group Games: The game should be easy for someone to join mid-game

I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my earlier post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.

The game should be easy for someone to join mid-game

Whenever you have a large group of people, chances are that not all of them join at once. If it’s not possible to join a game that has already started you leave several people bored, which is what you are trying to avoid while playing a group game. Even if they can join, but it takes forever to get started again, the game is less fun.

An example of a hard to join game would be Ninja, because once the game has started no one is allowed join until the end of the (often long) game. Two examples of easy to join games would be Tag, for hopefully obvious reasons, and Gaga Ball (or Biscuit Ball, as it is often called), because even though no one is allowed to join once the game has started, the games are usually so fast that you won’t be waiting long before you can get in.

~ Ruficalix

# Fun Group Games: The game should be easy to get started.

I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my last post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.

The game should be easy to get started.

As anyone knows who’s tried to get a bunch of people to try a new game, the longer it takes to get the game started the less likely you are to actually play it. Also, the longer it takes to get the game started the longer people are bored. Between the two, the games that work best are often rather easy to start compared to games which don’t.

An example of a hard to start game would be Signs, because it needs everyone to choose a sign and show it to everybody else (for those who haven’t played, this takes a very long time, especially with the large groups that the game is best played with). An example of an easy to start game would be Ninja, because all you need is for everyone to get in a circle, do a countdown, and start.

~ George

# The Top Ten Things to Consider for a Fun Group Game

There are many games, but some work better in group situations than others. By group situations I mean situations in which you have lots of kids (or teens, or adults…) and want them to all start playing a game, like at a birthday party. So, having played and directed a lot of group games, I thought I’d come up with ten things to look for in a good game for your group. To clarify, a good group game should keep as many people continuosly entertained as long as possible. This is what I was looking for when I put together this list:

• The game should be…
• Easy to get started
• Easy for someone to join
• Easy for someone to leave
• Fun even for those who aren’t very good at it
• Fun even for those who are very good at it
• The game should Not be…
• Too rough
• Easy to cheat in, or even easy to accuse people of cheating in
• Boring for those who are playing
• Boring for those who are temporarily not playing (tagged, substituted, etc.)
• Full of “losers” at the end, or at least those who lose shouldn’t feel like “losers”

Of course, a game can still be fun (and usually is still fun) without all of these factors, but I’ve found that the more of the 10 factors a game has the more likely a group I’m playing it with will want to play it again. More on that in a later post. There are probably other factors that would affect how fun a game is to play with groups, but as of now I can’t think of any others. There are so many things about this that I want to elaborate on, but for now I’m going to post this so that I can get this started.

~ George

~ George

# Pi Day, 3/14/15 at 9:26

This post will be posted automatically 3/14/15 at 9:26 EST 🙂

For those who don’t know the significance of that time and date, here are the first digits of pi:

3.1415926

Also, here’s something else:

I <3 π

That’s internet for “I heart pi”, but it’s actually also the equation 1 < 3×3.14…, which is a true statement. Hooray for double meanings! Hooray for math! Hooray for Pi!

# When is it okay to lie?

Note: sorta like To Be A Hero, this post is a bit of a brain dump. Usually I do a lot more to organize it, but in this case, because it’s sort of an argument with myself, I just want to give a bit of a glimpse of how my thought process on this went. Also, this post was written several weeks ago.

Recently in a book discussion (with the same group mentioned in To Be A Hero) we were discussing the book Number The Stars in which a family hides escaping Jews from Nazis. The question was brought up asking whether it was okay for the family to lie about hiding the Jews, and we ended up getting into a whole discussion on it. This is what I got out of it along with my follow-up of it. Just to be clear, just because I say something doesn’t mean it’s true.

So when is it okay to lie? In the case of the Nazis and the Jews, would it be better to lie or tell the truth? We probably would tell the truth, but why? After talking a while, I had the thought that maybe when considering the situation, you should see which is the greater sin: to murder someone (or let someone die) or lie? Obviously the latter. There, we have a solution.

However, someone brought up the excellent point that it wouldn’t actually be your fault. That is, even if you knew that the man standing in front of you would kill someone unless you lied, it still wouldn’t actually be you murdering someone if you tell the truth. It’s that man’s choice to kill, not yours. Even if it might feel like you were the murderer, the man didn’t have to kill that person. With that in mind, you can’t really compare two sins because it’s either you sin and lie or they sin and murder someone.

Maybe instead of comparing two sins you compare the two ends: someone dies or you sin. You compare the outcomes and choose the one that is more important to you. You could maintain your integrity and tell the truth or you can sin and save a life. Unfortunately, this has it’s faults as well. What would be better is asking what is more important to God, you obeying His commandments or the other person living.

What if you were told to deny your faith or someone would die? Denying your faith is a much greater sin than merely lying, at least in the opinion of most people I’ve talked about it with. We are told to never tell lies, but there are always possible exceptions like the situation in the last few paragraphs. We are also told to never deny our faith, but unlike merely lying we are often told that it is better to die than deny your faith. But what if it is someone else who will die? We can go back to the weighing priorities, which is worse, which would you rather, which would God rather, which is the right way to determine it, etc., but it doesn’t really help. It’s a conundrum.

Let’s come back to that later. Another topic that was brought up is was about less important, smaller lies. It was said that part of what you should consider is for what type of reasons you were lying, whether you were lying for selfish or unselfish reasons. When someone is lying for selfish reasons, it is usually a bad thing e.g. you don’t want to admit to breaking the vase or stealing the candy, you want to trick someone into doing something wrong, you want to get somewhere you shouldn’t be, etc. These are all associated with lying (sinning) to cover up other sins.

Meanwhile, unselfish lies are generally associated with better reasons, e.g. you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t want to spoil the surprise party, you want to keep an immoral thing from a child, etc. These are usually done with good intentions, even if it is done by sinning (lying).

Having heard this idea of “selfish reasons vs. unselfish reasons”, I decided to apply my “weighing the priorities” idea. I thought, “What is the greater sin? Lying or getting in trouble for something you did wrong?” This would be lying for selfish reasons, and clearly lying to get out of admitting your sins would be sin. On the other hand, what would be worse, lying or insulting a friend? In this case, because we are doing it for someone else, we usually think that lying would be the lesser of the two sins.

But didn’t we decide that weighing which was the greater or lesser sin wasn’t necessarily the best way? So, instead, let’s say which is more important to you, not lying or not insulting your friend? Again, we’d usually think that not being rude would be better than not lying. What about for a selfish reason? Which is more important to you, owning up to your guilt and being punished or simply lying and getting away with it? This is why earlier I said that “which is more important to you” isn’t a good way either.

Which is more important to God? Generally He wants you to learn from your mistakes and take appropriate action to fix them, which pretty much includes telling the truth. So, by this ruling we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. What about for unselfish reasons? Which would He rather, you obey His command to be kind or His command to be truthful? Those of us who face this problem generally try to find a sort of middle ground, trying to not actually tell a lie, but also trying to not insult your friend. It’s a narrow path we walk all the time, and it is well-worn by the footfalls of all the indecisive.

Here’s another thing I wanted to mention that ties to two different strings of thought together: what if you had to lie to save your own life? Lying to save someone else’s life is almost always more on the unselfish side, which we decided is more of a gray area, but what about lying to save yourself? Most people don’t live entirely for others, so pretty much no matter what you’d be lying for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, we just decided in the last paragraph that we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. So I guess you should tell the truth and die.

On the other hand, going back to the weighing of greater vs. lesser sins (I keep bringing it up because it offers an interesting view), wouldn’t telling the truth in that situation be the equivalent to killing yourself? We are commanded to not lie. We are also commanded to not commit suicide, and considering suicide rates versus lying rates as well as common sense, lying is pretty much universally considered the lesser sin. So does that mean that we should lie to not commit suicide?

But then there was that point brought up a while ago: it’s not you who is killing someone. It’s the fault of whoever is threatening you. You’re not committing suicide, you’re telling the truth and they’re committing murder! Meanwhile, if you lie, you’ve sinned (for a selfish reason nonetheless). So which is more important, to sin and live or tell the truth and die? Which is ultimately the right decision? I don’t know, maybe it’s better to live on and repent than die telling the truth, or maybe it’s better to die opposing sin.

What if you were told to deny your faith or die? Denying your faith is generally considered a greater sin than merely lying, so we have to take that into consideration. Then there is also the fact that God has promised blessings in heaven to those who die in His name, so there’s always that. Perhaps this means that in this situation you should never deny your faith so that when you go to heaven you will be rewarded where it matters more. Unfortunately, even then there’s still the argument that it might be better to live on and repent. Who would have thought this would be so hard?

To conclude, this is a very complicated topic that can be carried on and on. For those who have read this far, I do actually have a solution. Even if it seems like a cop-out answer, it is the truth, at least as far as I can tell as a mere mortal: Ultimately, we must listen to the Spirit. We must ask the Lord and obey His commands. We must live our lives according to His gospel and strive to seek for, listen to, and obey His commands and advice as they are given to us through the Holy Ghost. Only then we will be prepared to make the hard decisions. Only then will we be able to answer the question of when it is okay to lie and know that we got it right. I know this, and I hope that you will too if you don’t already. Thank you for reading.

~ George

# To Be A Hero

Note: Unlike most posts, this post is more of a brain dump, in which my thoughts are just swirling around in my head and I just need to write them down. Usually I do a lot more to organize it, but in this case, because I don’t really have a conclusion, I just want to give a bit of a glimpse of how I think/write. Note: this was written a few months ago.

What makes someone a hero, or something heroic? After a really good book discussion earlier tonight, I came up with Four key things to look at:

1. What was done
2. How it was done
3. Why it was done
4. The scenario (when, where, & who) that it was done in

Each of these can be used as a reason for something to be heroic or not heroic. For example if someone were to save a planet from destruction he would be called heroic. This would be an example of the What. However, someone who saved the planet but did it by completely annihilating another planet would have done something great (he saved the country), but the way he did it (the How) was awful. Does he still deserve to be called a hero? Also, if there was no other way to save his own planet without destroying the other planet (which may have been trying to destroy his planet), does the Scenario justify the How?

What if someone saves a planet (What) by doing (How) nothing but that which would be considered “good” by the average person. He would again be called a hero. But if the reason he did it was purely for self gain (Why), would he truly be a hero inside? Would the reason that he did good outweigh the good that he did, at least in an eternal perspective, or when looking for a role model? What if someone kills someone but did it to save his family? Would the Why outweigh the What? Many people seem to think along this line, but it can be harder to determine than it seems

For example, I once heard/read that no villain thinks himself the villain. While there are of course many exceptions, what if someone destroys an innocent planet (What) with no provocation (Scenario), but does so because he believes it is the best thing to do? What if Hitler thought that he was doing the world a favor (which, I hear, he may actually have thought)? The Why may be good intentions, but does it outweigh the What? I don’t know. I simply don’t know.

More about the other things. If you do something good (What), but in a terrible way (How), which is more important, the How or the What? Does the end justify the means? What if you do something awful, but the way that you do it is really good (for example, drive a government/nation into bankruptcy by giving food to the poor)? Do the means justify the end?

Another thing: At what point does the How become the What? After all, Every single “How”, if taken individually, becomes a “What”. If only the What counts, what if you don’t finish the What and are left halfway through the How? If the How is good but the end was bad, then now you managed to do a good thing without the bad results (gave food to the poor without driving the government/nation into bankruptcy). However, if the How is bad and the end was good, and you get stopped before it’s finished, then now you’re stuck with having done something bad without getting the good results you were looking for.

So is the What the end of the process, meanwhile the How anything before that? As hinted at before, how do you know when to stop the clock and check whether the result is good or bad? What if you accomplish a good What, but it’s only good for a short period which becomes the cause for something really bad to happen? Does the What suddenly become a How?

What’s the difference between the Why and the Scenario? Perhaps the Scenario is what is going on outside or you, meanwhile the Why is what is going on inside of you. In the case of saving your family by killing someone, the Scenario is that your family is under threat, meanwhile the Why is that you wanted to protect them.

Finally, what is good and what is bad? What What’s are bad things to do, what How’s are bad ways to do things, what Scenarios justify what actions, and what Why’s are good reasons to take those actions? I’m Christian, and I’m thankful that I can look to God, His scriptures, and His Prophets for what is ultimately right and what is wrong, so fortunately I don’t have to get into an unending post trying to describe good vs. bad. However, I will leave with this statement:

To be a Hero, Do the Right things, the Right way, in the Right situation, and for the Right reasons, reasons which are based on the Right principles, which principles you can find as you look toward God for guidance.

~ George

# Change Log from November 18 to January 31

Special note for this change log: This change log is HUGE because it’s been so long since I’ve done one. I want to get back into it and maybe make it a weekly thing, but with school coming up I don’t know. The problem with change logs is that they take a lot of time to do, but hopefully that time is outweighed by the convenience of all the information it’d have. It’s a fine balance between spending my limited time on change logs and actual posts, but I’ll try to find it.

______________________________________________________________________

Every few days I make a post that highlights all the changes and/or posts that have been made since the last change log. This way I can update previous posts and actually have the changes be found, plus readers will be able to get easy access to all the new posts without scrolling down too much. Note: Since this post may be the last thing I post on a given day, it is less likely to be properly cleaned up, as I will be rather tired at that point

New Posts:

Major Changes:

Minor Changes:

• I’ve changed some stuff, but I can’t remember what it was. This is why I need to make the change log often!

Of Special Note:

• none

Certified Incredible:

• Wow…

~ George

# Completed Game Idea: Up-or-Down

After creating a very complicated (but very cool) game called Djinn Combat (which is still in development) I wanted to create a simpler game that shared a specific aspect with Djinn Combat that I really liked: that it could be played anywhere, at anytime, and with nothing but you and another player. So I created the game I call Up-or-Down.

The concept is simple enough to learn. The first player (P1) says a number 1-100, and the next player (P2) says a different number based on what the first person said. If the P1 said an Odd number, then P2 has to say an Odd number that is Above the number that P1 said or an Even number that is Below the number that P1 said. However, if P1 said an Even number, then P2 has to say an Even number that is Above the number that P1 said or an Odd number that is Below the number that P1 said. Three other restrictions are that the number can’t be less than 1 (it can be 1 though), it can’t be more than 100 (it can be 100 though), and it can’t be the number that was last said (after all, that isn’t above or below the number that was said).

For example, if P1 said 53 (an odd number), then P2 could say something like 67 (an odd number above 53) or something like 2 (an even number below 53). However, if P1 said 8 (an even number), P2 could say an even number that is above 8,  such as 100, or an odd number that is below 8, such as 7.

You can also have as many players as  you want, although there are two different ways to play. In each version you have an order, such as P1 then P2 then P3 then P4 then P1 again. If P1 said 5, P2 said 7, and P3 said 8, P3 would have lost, but P4 would continue the chain with P3’s last response, meaning that he could answer 10, or 80, or 1, etc. Note: even if the person who went out said a really wrong number, like 1 million, the next player still has to say a number that is valid (between 1 and 100 and the correct even/odd-ness)

The different versions of multiplayer involve what happens after someone goes out. Version #1 is a tournament version, in which if someone says the wrong number they lose and have to stop playing until the end of that game. Whoever the last one still in wins, and he/she gets to choose the first number for the next game.

Version #2 is a training mode, in which no one goes out. If someone says the wrong number, then he/she gets to change his/her number to one that fits. This way people can more easily learn the game without having to wait until the next game every time they go out. However, you can still have a winner by keeping track of whoever the last person to make a mistake is.

Feel free to add any rules that you’d like, it’s pretty adaptable. Hopefully I’ll soon have a post on alternate ways to play to make it harder or different once you have it down. Either way, enjoy!

~ George