thinking about how internet infrastructure is built largely on near-light-speed channels, and how in the event we make it to the stars lightspeed is going to be our biggest problem re communication


even if you go to mars, that's an average distance of 14 light-minutes. phone calls, vidchats, all kinds of synchronous communication all go out the window. you have to go back to asynchronous methods for interplanetary communication: emails, forums, comment sections. in a sense, going to space means going back to the 90s

... now that i'm thinking about it, does this mean that scuttlebutt is presently the only social media network fully equipped to handle interplanetary communication

it seems to be the only one that really has the assumption that you won't always be online built in


@HTHR I imagine that people will still use more modern-feeling stuff for people that are close. Like, intra-planetary video chat and shit. Or intra-ship. "When will we be close enough for a live call," is probably a thing people will say.

Which is very interesting because it'll be easier to be friends with other Martians than with Earthlings or whatever.

@benhamill yeah!! on each planet, basically everyone would be instantaneously reachable, but between planets the methods become much more arcane

@benhamill the communication barrier combined with the massively differing lifestyles means that a cultural barrier would probably arise quickly

@HTHR @benhamill Have you read Red Mars? It's a really good book that deals with all this stuff.

@HTHR @operand @benhamill Seconding this. The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) by Kin Stanley Robinson is some incredibly good hard SF. It delves deep into the politics of colonizing/terraforming Mars while Earth undergoes global-warming-induced crises.

@HTHR If we ever get even further apart than that, it'll be more about moving around raw data than sending discrete messages. You might be like, "Oh! We finally got the Oscar winners from Earth for 4 years ago."

@mattskala @benhamill @HTHR I used hides calls over 3G in 2003. Which is after 2001, I suppose, but ...

@HTHR not to mention the time that the sun is in the way, meaning no communication for as long as it takes the destination to move around to the other side

@LargeNovelty @HTHR for that, there is the deep space network. Satellites in solar orbit, fir relaying.

@HTHR HTHR it's time for you to write a hard sci-fi novel about galactic exploration

@witchfynder_finder honestly i'm just kinda musing about this idea while reading freefall

@witchfynder_finder hard scifi webcomic about a young majority-AI colony in a different solar system, written by a nuclear physicist who really fucking loves his job

@witchfynder_finder it's... mostly good!! there are parts that haven't aged well (it's a 21-year-old webcomic now that still updates 3 times a week, so that's bound to happen at parts) but on the whole it was hugely inspirational for me growing up

@modernmodron @witchfynder_finder it's the best way to read it!! so easy to just get lost in it and lose several hours reading a thousand pages though haha

@HTHR I was not expecting to see the FF Speedreader in my masto feed today, but I'm glad people are still enjoying it. 🙂

@tangent128 oh shit, that's your work? nice one!! i love the little "save spot" system -- it's a lifesaver for longer rereads :)

@HTHR @witchfynder_finder I stopped reading it about 15 years ago. Have they gotten to the fourth day of story yet?

@fluffy @witchfynder_finder @HTHR About 5 years ago, I think. 😀

It's a very good comic to forget about and then binge read to catch up. 😀

@fluffy @witchfynder_finder they finally reached chapter two a couple years ago!! combined with a timeskip (only one comic for each in-story day for a few weeks) florence has finally been planetside for about a month!!

this sounds like a joke but it isn't -- chapter two was LITERALLY eighteen years in the making

@HTHR yeah.

I'm working on some other offline first or offline tolerant social, but for now it's ssb.

@HTHR don’t forget NNTP/Usenet, and pre-SMTP email. Back before TCP/IP was the norm, most communications mechanisms were based on UUCP.

@fluffy @HTHR even smtp was meant to relay emails via your nearest hoo

@ubergeek @HTHR True! And it's frustrating how these days so many mail services forget about store-and-retry. (But store-and-forward has been basically deprecated because of spam.)

@fluffy @HTHR yeah. Sadly. But I am willing to store and forward emails via just need to hit me up on irc or here, and I can work to make it happen for your domain.

Can even do bridgehead if you need it :)

@HTHR hmmm, so someone developing the Le Guin ansible would be akin to the spread of broadband in the mid-00's?

@HTHR this could probably be emulated by modifying a mastodon server to have a 14 minute delay in federation. Any internal tooting would be instantaneous, but incoming or outgoing toots would be delayed by 14 minutes, meaning you wouldn't see any replies for boosts or favs from outside before 28 minutes had passed.

(Next level is making the delay vary based on the distance between Mars and Earth - with a galaxy brain level of making it fail whenever the sun would be blocking radio)

@HTHR Now I'm thinking about how the 15 minute delayed video call could actually happen. It's not impossible, in terms of the limit of attention, it would just have to be more like two people sharing a room and studying or whatever, and only occasionally saying something. Maybe have a 15-minute-old replay of your end so you re-perceive each of your comments right before its response. A strange and awkward setup, but I could believe in people doing it, especially if they missed the other person.

@HTHR oh no my 20s :-D :-D Late-Xers and Xenials will be relevant!

(... just gotta live that long ;-)

@HTHR We already have transmitted a quantum signal over a macro distance. Quantum is essential for space travel since it's instantaneous regardless of distance. The biggest issue right now is volatility, since you don't want your entangled particles degrading. If/when we resolve that, you could have a dongle connected to your router on Earth and travel to the furthest stars while having the exact speed of your wired connection back home.

@amsomniac First off, yes you can, including with light itself. Using very fine-tuned fiber optics, the light is visible from the opposite end before it's visibly traveled that far when observed from the side. The speed of information is literally faster than the speed of light.

Second, quantum entanglement relies on particles being treated as the SAME particle. Split it down far enough and you stop having new objects. These are then affected in unison regardless of space.

@amsomniac In effect, quantum negates the need for worrying about speed at all. So long as you maintain entangled particles, you can affect one half and the other will see it as the same stimulus. This is true anywhere in the universe, or at least anywhere in the universe where the physics remain the same. Physics may not be constant, either, but it seems to be for any distance that matters for now.

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