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Technobabble dictionary

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Technobabble(a portmanteau of technologyand babble),also called technospeak,is a form of prose using jargon, buzzwords, esoteric language,specialized technical terms, or technical slang that isincomprehensible to the listener. Various fields of practice and industry have their own specialized vocabularies (jargon) that allowthose educated within that industry to concisely convey ideas that may be confusing, misleading, or nonsensical to an outside listener.(source wikipedia)



Inother words, technobabble are those words or phrases you hear in most science-fiction genres to describe something. For someone like me,who is not a scientist or considered “technologically challenged”,these words are very helpful when role playing someone is ascientist. So, I thought it would be a great idea if we made up ourown Technobabble dictionary.



Below is a number of technobabble words or phrases originally submittted by Bob Greenwade in the E-zine Haymaker issue 52. I cannot take any credit for the list below. I haven't had a chance to ask Bob ifcopying this list is OK, so I hope he doesn't get upset with me.





A number describing the members of a set that iseffectively infinite in scope.



: Another nickname for a Möbius door (qv), as a referenceto Lewis Carroll’s story Through the Looking Glass and What AliceFound There.



: The principle that anything that is not impossible will happen, somewhere, at some time. This is not quite the same asmodal realism or ultimate ensemble (qqv), though they are related.



:To a physicist, a violation in particle symmetry resulting fromquantum contributions to physical interactions, where suchcontributions do not happen in a classical, non-quantum theory ofphysics.



Similar to an Aleph number (qv), where the set is sequential in nature.



: A time-travel paradox in which a person goes into the future, sees what is to transpire in his (or her) own future, and then returns to deliberately do something else.



An object whose gravity is so great that its escapevelocity exceeds the speed of light. Though usually thought of asspherical, an extremely fast rotation can stretch its shape to a disk or torus.



: A state of matter, possible only with a few isotopes(such as lithium-7 or rubidium-85) under specific circumstances, inwhich the particles of each atom synchronize so that all can have and maintain the same quantum state.



Short for membrane. An expression of parallel universes which areindividual slices of a larger-dimensional space. They are most often illustrated as three-dimensional universes (in two-dimensional projections) lined up along a single extra spatial dimension, thoughmany other models are possible.



An expression of parallel multiverses separated by twoor more dimensions of space.



The space between two or more ‘branes. Our universe is thought, atleast under some ‘brane theories, to have a separation of about onemillimeter from its closest neighbors. “The Bulk” is also sometimes used to describe the larger-dimensional space of which ‘branes are a part.



An illustration of the principle of cascading causality,in which a butterfly flapping its wings in a certain way has aneffect on the weather thousands of miles away. In general, two divergent timelines would be nearly identical for some time afterdecoherence, but the butterfly effect causes the differences to grow exponentially



A complex, twisted loop in which the extra six dimensions of ten-dimensional string theory recurve on themselves ina space approximately the size of a Planck length (qv). Also calleda Calabi-Yau Shape or Calabi-Yau Space.



The creation of negative energy by placing two uncharged metal plates into parallel positions in close proximity to oneanother. A proven phenomenon, it can create backward time travel —though only through a portal large enough for a stream of atomic-size particles, and only as far back as the device’s creation.



The principle that the causes of events must always occur before their effects in the timeline. Most theories of time travel violate causality, though many theories of physics have demonstrated that the laws of causality are not necessarily inviolate.



See closed timeline curve.



A theory that states that the universe’s expansionis increasing at different rates in different areas, leading to thebudding of bubble universes



: A burst of light or other electro- magnetic radiation given off when electricity, or any other charged particle, travelsthrough a medium faster than the speed of light in that medium.



:The “handedness” of an object. To reverse something'’s chirality is to make it into a mirror image of its former self.



ClosedTimeline Curve (CTC):
A series of events, including at least one trip back in time, that serve to set themselves into motion. Sometimes also called a causality loop. Matter, energy, information,and nearly anything else may be carried in a CTC.



: A state of a universe where the overall density of matter is precisely balanced between eternal expansion (ending in a Big Freeze) and recollapse (ending in a Big Crunch).


:See quantum decoherence.



:An aspect of reality in which objects can be located and move, such as space or time. Physicists do not use this term to describe alternate planes of reality; that is a “parallel universe.”(However, the word is used in this article in the literary sense aswell as this one.)



: A wormhole connecting two black holes (or a black holeand a white hole) in two separate universes.



A rare type of matter that has negative mass, and is thus repelled by gravity. Also called negative matter (but is not the same as antimatter).



: A postulated kind of “special” dimension in stringtheory, similar to space and time but as different from them as they are from each other, which allows the non-gravitational forces (the weak, strong, and electromagnetic forces) to operate.



A classic time-travel paradox in which a traveler goes back in time, encounters his own grandfather before he’s met his grandmother, and kills him, thus preventing his own existence.



: The puzzle of why, if time travel is possible, wehaven’t yet encountered any travelers from the future.



HeisenbergUncertainty Principle
: A principle in physics that states that certain pairs of physical properties, usually position and velocity,cannot be simultaneously known with exact precision — increasing the precision of either measurement automatically decreases theprecision for the other.



A fourth (and/or further) dimension of physical space. In science fiction, this term is sometimes used to refer to a parallel universe used as a “short-cut” to effect faster-than-light travel;physicists do not use this term in that way, though lay people in a setting that uses this kind of short-cut could.



See supersphere.



:A second (or further) dimension of time.



A number that can be factored by i (that is, o-1).



: The principle that a set of things that is infinitein number doesn’t necessarily include all possibilities, andcertainly doesn’t include impossibilities.



A (currently hypothetical) particle that travels in more than three spatial dimensions, but leaves traces in ourthree-dimensional space. The graviton, a quantum particle ofgravity, may be a Kaluza-Klein mode. Sometimes also called a Kaluza-Klein particle, or KK particle for short.



An explanation for the behavior of light was wavesvibrating in a fourth spatial dimension (see Bulk). The first theoryin physics to be given credibility utilizing more than three spatial dimensions.



KerrBlack Hole
: An Einstein-Rosen bridge (qv) traversed by approaching a black hole from one of its poles, thus avoiding theinfinite gravity experienced by any other approach. The destination universe cannot be controlled, so the trip would by necessity beone-way. Law of Economy: See Occam’s razor.



An expanded version of string theory that, among other things,expands the number of dimensions in the cosmos from ten to eleven. It unifies the five known string theories, giving it the nickname superstring theory.



Many-WorldsInterpretation (MWI):
A model of the multiverse that suggests the probability of multiple timelines, where any quantum event or decision with multiple possible outcomes actually generates all of them, not just one. Also called the many-worlds theory,many-universes interpretation, relative state formulation, or theory of the universal wavefunction.



MathematicalUniverse Hypothesis:
See ultimate ensemble.



See '‘brane.



: A long, apparently straight corridor that, as a result of curvature in space, eventually returns to where it started, butwith the floor and ceiling reversed.



: A usually shorter path or doorway that reverses the chirality (qv) of anything that passes through it, right down to the subatomic level. Also called a reversed non-orientable wormhole or Alice handle.



: A Möbius door that operates on the assumption that matter with reversed chirality becomes antimatter. The energy generated by the meeting of matter and antimatter is used to keep theportal in place, creating an essentially self-sustaining power generator.



: A view that all universes that are physically possible actually exist. (Also see ultimate ensem- ble.)



: An easily traversable wormhole, held safely open —probably but not necessarily artificially — by a spherical shell of exotic matter (qv).



MultiplyConnected Space:
A space, such as a worm- hole, around which aloop cannot be closed to a point. The hole in a torus is a multiply connected space because a loop around it, kept on the torus, cannot be closed.



:A combination of all possible configurations of a given universe. All universes in a given multiverse have the same physical propertiesand scientific constants.



NovikovSelf-Consistency Principle:
A principle under which any event orseries of events that would give rise to a paradox, violation of causality, or any other change to the past has a zero probability of happening.



: A theory that allows for travel between universes and through time by orbiting a black hole, presumably at close distance and great speed. Named for the initials of its creators (Newman,Unti, and Tamburino) as well as many physicists’ opinion of the idea. However, the Tipler cylinder (qv) operates on the same principle.



A principle that, stated in its familiar modern form, “Of several acceptable explanations [for a phenomenon], the most accurateand well-ordered theory of explanation is preferable, provided thatit does not contradict the observed facts.” This is oftenshortened (though some- what incorrectly) to “the simplest solution is usually the correct one.” Also referred to as the law of economy, parsimony, or succinctness.



The totality of all that is, and all that could be, including all physical, mystical, divine, and imaginary worlds, realms, universes,and multiverses.



An alternate plane of reality; what modern-day lay people sometimes refer to as an “alternate dimension.” Even adivergent timeline is referred to as “parallel” though the two universes intersected at an earlier point in time (noting thatparallel lines can intersect and diverge in non-Euclidian geometry).



A five-dimensional construct made up of ten tesseracts (qv).



The amount of energy necessary to explore a unit of Planck length (qv). Estimated at 10 (10 28 Ploctillion) electronvolts. Abbreviated M .



: Thought to be the smallest possible unit of linearmeasurement, about 1.6 × 10 meter. Sometimes -35 also called Planckscale or Planck’s constant.



Thought to be the smallest possible unit of time, definedas the amount of time it takes for light to travel the Planck length:about 5.39 × 10 second. -44



The phenomenon by which two divergent time-lines become more and more different from each other with the passage oftime, as the secondary effects of the original difference accumulate. Usually called just decoherence.



A property whereby two moving subatomic particlesare bound to each other in such a way that what happens to oneinstantaneously has either an identical result, or precisely the opposite result. Particles lose this entanglement once such an event occurs.


Quantum Foam:
Tiny fluctuations in the space-time-continuum, about the size of the Planck length, consisting of black holes, bubble universes, and wormholes, all lasting about as long as Planck time (or not much longer).



QuantumTheory of Mind*:
The proposal that the brain, particularly the human brain, operates as a quantum computer, and thus may be able to interact with the universe in ways normally limited to quantum mechanics. This can include such feats as telekinesis, biokinesis,teleportation, telepathy, precognition, and so forth. (Most physicists today are skeptical of this theory, or at least of the assertion that the human brain can perform these feats.)



See tunneling.



ReversedNon-Orientable Wormhole
: A formal name for a Möbius door (qv).



A hypothetical line segment along which two universes of two dimensions intersect. A being in either universe can travel around the cut without experiencing any change, but traveling through the cut will carry the being to the other universe. The concept is anearly illustration of a wormhole between universes.



: A three-dimensional equivalent of a Riemann cut (qv). It occurs naturally, as opposed to a Kerr black hole (qv), which is artificial.



Another name for an Einstein- Rosen bridge.



A property of ‘branes that restricts certain particles and forces to their own boundaries.



A time-travel paradox in which a person becomes his (orher) own parent, or other ancestor.



A model of the three-dimensional universe that includes time as a literal fourth dimension.



The description of the forces and subatomic particles inphysics, limited to the three physical dimensions plus time.



StrongNuclear Force:
The force that keeps atomic nuclei from flying apart.



:A four-dimensional shape similar to a sphere, in the same way that a sphere is a three-dimensional shape similar to a circle. Also called a hypersphere.



See M-theory.



A hypothetical particle with imaginary mass (that is, mass whosefactor includes o-1) and thus can move only at speeds greater than that of light. Though used in science-fiction stories, mos tphysicists consider its existence to be disproven.



: A paradox (named for the original Arnold Schwarzeneggermovie) in which an attempt to change the past instead fulfills itthrough a closed timeline curve (qv).



A four-dimensional construct made up of eight cubes, in the same way that a cube is a three-dimensional construct made up of six squares.



Theory ofthe Universal Wavefunction:
See many- worlds interpretation.



: A wormhole between two sets of Casimir plates, one of which has been accelerated to near the speed of light (and presumably returned to the origin point, or at least to a more stable point inspace-time) so that anything entering the one that was moved willleave the other at an earlier time.



A huge cylinder (of a minimum size 100 kilometers longby 10 kilometers in diameter, and probably somewhat larger) made of an incredibly dense and strong material and set up to rotate at near-light speeds, theoretically used for travel backwards throughtime. Also called a Tipler time machine.



A three-dimensional shape that starts as a two- dimensional plane,rolled into a cylinder which is then turned around into a circle. A donut or a hula hoop are examples of the torus shape.


A wormhole big enough, stable enough, and low-energy enough for a person, vehicle, or other large object to pass through safely.



The instantaneous transfer of matter (or other particles) from one location to another. As a spontaneous event, this happens only with individual particles at the atomic level, as with atomic fusion,fission, and radioactive decay. Parallel tunneling of complex matter(such as a person) is mathematically possible, but its happening either spontaneously or when artificially induced is astronomically unlikely. Whether tunneling can be artificially induced in a controlled manner, allowing for teleportation of complex matter, is unknown. Sometimes called quantum tunneling or wave-mechanical tunneling, to distinguish it from other types (such as literally making a tunnel), or the tunnel effect.



Ultimate Ensemble
: A hypothesis, related to modal realism (qv), that “all structures that exist mathematically also exist physically.” Also called the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis.


Virtual Particle:
A particle that shares the same electrical charge (and most other properties) with a true physical particle, but has the wrong mass and/or energy and thus can only exist for an extremely brief time.



See Alcubierre drive.



A mathematical representation of something describing the likelihood of it having a particular state — location,position, trajectory, physical property, and so forth — at a particular time, based on the quantum state of the matter that makesit up. Anything from a subatomic particle to the entire universe can be thought of as having a wave function.



WaveFunction Collapse:
A phenomenon where upon observation,measurement, or any other interaction with a quantum event causes its multiple probabilities to “collapse” down to just one.


Wave-Mechanical Tunneling:
See tunneling.



WeakNuclear Force:
The force that causes nuclear decay, including the breakdown of radioactive materials such as uranium.



White Hole:
A hypothetical “time reversal” of a black hole,steadily repelling matter, light, and anything else in its vicinity. One proposal holds that a white hole in another universe is where the matter from a black hole goes.



A tunnel that serves as a shortcut between two points in space-time. According to all accepted models, most wormholes are microscopic in size, too small for matter or even light to pass through.





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I must admit' date=' I am surprised that no one has added any words to the dictionary. I was figuring at least android, robot, cybernetic, and cyborg would have been added. Right now it's looking more like a glossary. [/quote']


Probably because Technobabble tends to be unique to a particular SciFi universe's Technology. ie StarWars and Star Trek have a different technological base so they don't use the same terms. In Star Trek the Character Data is an Android and is only one of a handful of self aware robots, While in Star Trek we have an abundance of Droids all who seem to be self aware or nearly so, but no real 'Androids".


A song to illustrate Star Trek Technobabble.

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  • 7 years later...
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Transtempral: Something which exists in two different time periods at the same time. A phenomenon is only considered transtempral if it is a single phenomenon/object/person. 


Transpacal: Somthing witch occupies two different distant three dimensional spaces (height, length, and width) at the same time. Something which should be technically impossible unless time travel is involved. Or duplication. 


Bailfire Destruction: Something which is destroyed at a tempral level. At least this is a theory that something can be destroyed at a tempral level, as if something is destroyed at a tempral level, then it is not remember as it never existed at all in time. Named after Bailfire, which is a fictional attack which is said to do exactly that.


Richards Invention: An invention which logically should not work but does. Named after comic book scientist/superhero Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic. Also see Rubber Science. 


Rubber Science: A science theory which should not work, but does.



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FWIW, the formalism used by the gravitational wave observatory folks for analyzing the black hole merger events is the Kerr black hole; it seems to get the rotation right (and you can't leave rotation out when you're working with a system spiraling together).  The entry in the opening post mentions one of the bizarre consequences falling out of the theory, not the point of the theory itself.  (BTW, don't miss the rotation axis if you're gonna try it.  And also BTW, that axis will precess -- change its orientation -- if there's another gravity source anywhere nearby, especially while the merger is going on.)

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