Re: poly: speeding up a star's burn rate (was: frontier replicators et. al.)

From: Anders Sandberg <>
Date: Wed Dec 31 1997 - 17:36:37 PST

Tim May <> writes:

> A readable fictional treatment of this is in a recent Stephen Baxter novel,
> "Ring," apparently the final chapter in his future history series.

Yes, I mentioned it briefly in my post. I have a copy here, let's see
how his method worked... ah, here it is. If there exists weakly
interacting particles like photinos, they could aggregate in the
stellar core as an orbiting cloud. Since they do not care about the
density of the star, they will sweep through it, slowly carrying
energy away from the core into the radiative zone by absorbing and
releasing momentum. This will cool off the core, making it leave the
main sequence earlier. It is not clear to me why this happens, it
seems to involve upsetting the balance between gravity and radiation
pressure, but at one point it is suggested that the core has been
cooled so much it has gone out. This will make the star contract until
it gets much hotter, burning out faster. Hmm, apparently the core can
be cooled in this scenario until it becomes degenerate, surrounded by
a layer of hydrogen burning. Eventually there will be a helium flash,
and the star goes out.

Realistic? I don't know, it seems to require a lot of photinos, and I
don't know about the dynamics of the heat transfer process. It isn't
obvious handwaving, but neither does it strike me as a simple way of
doing it (and we don't know if supersymmetry holds). Ring is a quite
fun book anyway, with several interesting ideas (including an
organisation which looks suspiciously like an extrapolation of Extropy

> (Personally, I think more about what is happening now and will likely
> happen in the next few decades, so concerns about the Omega Point 10^10^642
> years from now is not my cup of tea.)

An useful sentiment. It is simpler to speculate about the remote
future, since it is constrained by the laws of physics, than deal with
the here-and-now which is just constrained by culture.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
Received on Thu Jan 1 01:27:07 1998

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