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70 comments

Frist (2)

defnoz (1128875) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370046)

There's something strangely attractive about this idea...

Re:Frist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370078)

This article sucked me right in.

Re:Frist (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370936)

Is this like drafting in stock car racing?

Re:Frist (1)

proudhawk (124895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35376206)

*GROAN*GROAN* that was a baaaaaaad joke man!

Secrist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370062)

Its all Greek to me.

obligatory ryan seacrest! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370098)

I'm a closet linux coder/cock sucker

Greek (0)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370114)

Its all Greek to me.

Re:Greek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370190)

It is also Greek to Greeks, but that doesn't stop them.

Re:Greek (0)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371616)

Is Greek still called Greek in Greece, or do they just called it language?

Re:Greek (1)

Plombo (1914028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371822)

Is Greek still called Greek in Greece, or do they just called it language?

Is English still called English in [insert English-speaking country], or do they just call it language?

"Greek" in Greek is "". (Note: the preview of this post does not show any of the Greek characters in the quotes, so if you don't see them either, it is just another case of Slashdot 3.0's extreme bugginess.)

Re:Greek (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35374364)

I believe the Greek word for Greek is hellenica or something close to that.

What's next? (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370174)

We have (quantum) teleporters and (quantum) tractor beams now? What's next, (quantum) warp drives?

Re:What's next? (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370290)

Well, we already have Quantum drives [kollewin.com] , how hard can it be to warp them?

Re:What's next? (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370358)

You have to ask Seagate.

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35371454)

Installing OS/2 Warp on them... ?

Re:What's next? (2)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371632)

Toss them into the microwave, they warp just fine.

Re:What's next? (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370604)

I am fairly sure it is quantum torpedos [memory-alpha.org]

Re:What's next? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35376572)

We have quantum leaps too. (please don't mark me troll for being racist)

Bessel Kernel Support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370200)

Will support for this be embedded in the next Linux Kernel release?

Strobing beam? (1)

munozdj (1787326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370264)

If I read the (surprisingly good) google translation correctly, the traction results from a photon emmision into the opposite direction of the beam. If the beam is continously applied, wouldn't the beam itself propel the particles more than it 'pulls' them? would this be solved by a stroboscopic laser?

It's theoretically possible this'll never happen (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370268)

There should be some formula. For every 1,000,000 articles produced about something that's theoretically possible, 1 results in an actual practical application.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370386)

True. But it makes for good stories to fill-up Asimov's Science-based fiction. "Well it's theoretically possible to build a tractor beam" - random author

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370438)

Science fiction technologies can be divided into two classes. Those which are merely incredibly difficult, and those to which the laws of physics have raised a comic middle finger to our dreams.

The former include interstellar travel, nano-assemblers, immortality and brain uploading. The latter perpetual motion, time travel, antigravity and anything faster than light. Anything in the first category you can hope will, one day, be achiveable... even though it may take centuries of advancement.

I'm not sure where tractor beams fall.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370750)

I would say faster than light travel straddles the categories. Time travel may as well. Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku has written about possibilities for both. While I'm not holding out hope to ever see either of these, if we could somehow figure out how to create wormholes, for example, (which I would put in the 'incredibly difficult' category until it's proven otherwise) those could potentially be used for both (though I'll admit, I'm rather skeptical of the claims that they could be used for time travel.)

Of course, it's also debatable if wormholes (if they even exist) could actually be considered faster than light travel, which is another reason why I would say it straddles the two categories. Strictly speaking I suppose you aren't violating that law, you're just finding a way around it.

And yes, I realize that creating a wormhole would involving bending space itself...which is no small feat. But it also seems like it may be no more difficult than something like moving planets around - which is certainly not impossible. Just insane. But that's what people would have said about geo-engineering not too long ago...

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375598)

Strictly speaking I suppose you aren't violating that law, you're just finding a way around it.

Interesting -- I was just reading that other article about the patent trolls getting sued by the Google and Microsoft team, and this sentence seemed to fit both articles. :)

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370786)

Faster than light and time travel are both admitted as possibilities by the laws of physics as we know them. Depending on what you mean by antigravity, it probably is too.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371512)

Hey! SuciRaven said it couldn't be done and he's posting. On. The Internets!

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370820)

I think it may be possible for information to travel faster than light. Remember that during the inflationary period following the big bang, the universe expanded at a rate several magnitudes greater than the speed of light. No, I don't think it is possible for people to travel faster than light and still maintain their structural integrity. And I agree, anything that violates the law of causality bothers the heck out of me.

Tractor beams... well, until we fully understand how gravity fits into unified field theory, we can still hold out hope that they may be possible. And if you can do attraction, it stands to reason you should also be able to do repulsion... woo-hoo, antigravity!

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370834)

Anything that won't happen in my lifetime is pointless. Though I'd like to thank those that came before me who didn't think that way. ;^)

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370912)

Perpetual motion is guaranteed by Newton's Laws. Time travel is logically impossible, since time is a force, not a dimension. Antigravity is possible, there are several theoretical descriptions of how to do so.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370944)

What descriptions would those be? And only true antigravity counts - spinning something or accelerating will be considered cheating.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

hovelander (250785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35385126)

If Time is a force does that mean that I can count on Bullshit being a dimension?

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371496)

Ah, well, now that that's settled, we can get back to deciding who's hotter; Princess Leia or Queen Natalie Portman.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

human-cyborg (450395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371654)

The former include interstellar travel, nano-assemblers, immortality and brain uploading. The latter perpetual motion, time travel, antigravity and anything faster than light. Anything in the first category you can hope will, one day, be achiveable... even though it may take centuries of advancement.

Let's hope either immortality or at least brain uploading is one of the first ones then.

Re:It's theoretically possible this'll never happe (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35377834)

I think it's incredibly optimistic to think that true physical immortality will ever be possible (copying your conscious thoughts onto the internet doesn't count, IMHO).

babys; we don't need any fauxking billionerrors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370288)

where do they get this stuff? cannot even spell yet, & they're doing highbrow math better than we've ever been able to. could be dna/consciousness evolution? see you at the scheduled (world wide) million baby play-dates?

Wait, now I'm confused (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370412)

I thought items get closer to them. Or is this a relativity thing?

Re:Wait, now I'm confused (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#35372226)

I saw the tractor beam getting closer. Then it hit me.

Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (4, Interesting)

dfetter (2035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370468)

Actually, this could be pretty significant if it takes some clever machine rather than a host of gigantic centrifuges to do the job.

Re:Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35370880)

The wavelengths at which different isotopes absorb light are slightly different (Hyperfine structure [wikipedia.org] ), so if you tune the wavelength of your laser just right, you can use radiation pressure [wikipedia.org] rather than the (typically weaker) optical gradient force [wikipedia.org] to at least identify different isotopes. (I work in cold atom physics and was just doing this in the lab with Rubidium 85 and 87).

However, the radiation pressure on an atom is limited by the atom, whereas the optical gradient force is limited by the power of your laser. At room temperature, you can't use radiation pressure to separate Rb 85 and 87. There is considerably more freedom to engineer the forces experienced by the particle if you use the optical gradient forces and tricks, like Bessel beams, or more generally SLMs [wikipedia.org] , which are essentially computer-programmable holograms. See, for example, the excellent experimental work of the Dholakia [st-andrews.ac.uk] and Padgett [gla.ac.uk] groups.

Re:Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35373204)

Mod parent up as informative please.

Re:Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375918)

Thank you very much for the background and links. I was wondering how this differed from the optical tweezers already in place in labs...

Re:Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35371710)

But without centrifuges what will the poor stuxnet worms do?

Wouldn't someone please think of the worms?

Re:Particle sorting...Isotopes, perhaps? (1)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | more than 3 years ago | (#35376820)

This would be the slowest method possible of sorting isotopes. Unless you really really want just a single atom of a particular isotope floating in free space without electrodes or magnets around, there are better methods. For bulk separation you can only really go the centrifuge or gaseous diffusion route. If you have enough power available there are electromagnetic methods. If you want very small samples of ions you can use penning traps, as are used in several labs around the world for super precise mass measurements. It would be easy to make one with enough resolution to separate out isotopes of an elemental sample, some labs can even separate out different excited states of a single isotope from each other, but only a few ions at a time. Still better than using this optical method.

Who wants a tractor beam? (2)

valinor89 (1564455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370504)

I want a repulsor beam. Fuck antigravity I only want to repel the ground.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (3, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370590)

I want a repulsor beam.

That would be a mirror. Don't look into it :-)

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370804)

I want a repulsor beam.

...you mean like a rocket? Or a bigass fan?

Or a regular laser. From TFA:

Until now, physicists knew that the laser can push small objects. But now, researchers in China have a new experimental device, whereby the laser borounna pull objects from afar.

(On a related note, where the hell did Google Translate pull 'borounna' from?)

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35370874)

Typically if Google Translate doesn't know how to translate a word, it will just pass the word through directly. My guess is that 'borounna' is how you say 'Bessel' in Greek, but who knows.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35380998)

"boroun na ... " ( ... ) : (they) can / (they) are able to (...)

( Not sure how google translate could mess this up - there was probably a space missing in the original, merging the two words together)

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371094)

(transliterated because Slashdot apparently doesn't allow input in other languages) "boroun na" ==> "are able to"

It's a typo in the article; basically it's saying the laser can pull objects from far away.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371028)

In Star Trek, tractor beams had this functionality.

It kinda makes me wonder why they just never pushed the enemy Klingon ship into a decaying orbit or something rather than waste all those torpedoes...

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35371096)

Not as dramatic as "fire the torpedoes!!!!!!"

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35371106)

In Star Trek, tractor beams had this functionality.

It kinda makes me wonder why they just never pushed the enemy Klingon ship into a decaying orbit or something rather than waste all those torpedoes...

Probably because the target has engines.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35371296)

You expend all that time and energy to push the opposition into a decaying orbit (which, due to simple Newtonian physics, also costs you momentum in the opposing direction and requires that you make adjustments yourself). Meanwhile, the enemy have engines and can easily compensate for your push/pull, and take a few seconds out of their not-terribly-busy schedule compensating for your attempts to throw them off, and blow your ass out of the sky. With real weapons that actually do immediate damage.

This is kind of the same argument as "why shoot the gunfighter? Why not just walk up to him and push him to the ground?" Because, assuming you make it all the way to where he is and succeed in having him fall, he'll simply stand back up, dust himself off, give you a short nonplussed look, and increase your daily intake of lead by a few ounces of lethal speed-of-sound injection.

I did always wonder why "we're stranded!" stories never involved taking an object of significant mass nearby and using it as a target practice for a tractor or repulsor beam, though. Grab on to a moon, use it to push/pull yourself around until you can develop enough speed to establish a decent gravity slingshot, and off you go.

Guess it's not sexy enough in special effects.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371916)

It kinda makes me wonder why they just never pushed the enemy Klingon ship into a decaying orbit or something rather than waste all those torpedoes...

I don't think a tractor beam is much of an impediment when you've got insanely powerful engines. I'd imagine the whole thing would be akin to pushing a cat down the garbage disposal, using a plastic straw.

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371662)

I want a repulsor beam. Fuck antigravity I only want to repel the ground.

You just reverse the polarity!

Re:Who wants a tractor beam? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35377864)

I want a repulsor beam. Fuck antigravity I only want to repel the ground.

You just reverse the polarity!

Ye canna break the laws o' physics!

Star Trek in our time... (3, Funny)

turthalion (891782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371232)

All we need to do is add atomic power, and bingo, nuclear bessels!

Duh (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371302)

They always get closer until you turn them off.

Awright! New Particle Size Detectors here we come! (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371314)

Right now we primarily use stuff like centrifugal particle size detectors (Shimadzu for example) and the Elzone (Electrical Sensing Zone) type systems to do particle sizing for micron size diamond and other small particulates. If this process can be adapted, we have a much more precise way of setting up different sizes of particles distributions because we can pull the different size particles individually into different dispersions. The possibilities for customization of different types of particle distributions could be very, very useful in abrasives engineering!

Re:Awright! New Particle Size Detectors here we co (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375604)

Abrasive engineering: "Yeah well fuck you too, just hand me that spanner!"

Dupe (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35371534)

I'm pretty sure there was a story just like this less than a month ago.

Re:Dupe (1)

DoomHamster (1918204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35372738)

Well then, They are a whole MONTH closer now aren't they?

soo.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35372134)

somewhere in a lab someone moved a particle or two and TFS suggests we can move spaceships. I'm guessing this does not scale. If you get light powerful enough to move a ship, it would probably vaporize the ship or something.

Tactor beams (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 3 years ago | (#35372558)

How exciting for our farming industry. Just think of the benefits!

"towards the light source" (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375204)

So now we know how souls are pulled towards the light in near death experiences: Bessel beams.

Who said you never learn anything new on Slashdot?

Better headline (1)

staghorne (1876482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375664)

Tractor Beam Technology Pulling Closer

old tec (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35376642)

why no one has thought of combing this [scmec.us] with this [john-tom.com] to move particles over distance is beyond me.

This is like (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35376840)

This is like climbing a tree, and claiming you've made progress in getting to the moon.

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