1. Folks at NASA have calculated that an Alcubierre warp drive may actually be feasible. They think they can run one with the energy contained within the mass of, say, one of the Voyager crafts rather than that of, oooh, Jupiter.
White and his colleagues have begun experimenting with a mini version of the warp drive in their laboratory.
They set up what they call the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer at the Johnson Space Center, essentially creating a laser interferometer that instigates micro versions of space-time warps.
(Alcubierre’s idea: move the space that contains the ship through the rest of the universe, instead of moving the ship – your basic inertialess drive straight out of Lensman.)
2. This passage from Doctorow and Stross’ “Rapture of the Nerds”.
“Yup,” Doc says. “God loves those who help themselves—that’s basic, isn’t it? A is A, right? Let’s get our axioms in order. God loves those who help themselves, and God wants us to prosper. As long as we’re living a godly life and doing God’s will, of course. So anyway, what is God’s will? Well, God’s got plans for us which include prospering and being good custodians of the world and, uh, well, we haven’t done so good at that. But God’s other plans include resurrecting the dead. And the elect living in paradise on Earth for a very long time, with all the formerly dead sinners as their personal servants. Death is obviously the enemy of humanity and God, so the Prophet says we’re first going to make ourselves immortal, then we’re going to resurrect everyone who has ever lived, and simulate every human who ever might have lived so that we can incarnate them too. And we’re to colonize space—”
When I came to this bit, I just had to stop for a few minutes, staring off into space, as my head unpacked this idea. I’ve seen the idea that we might be in a simulation of the past run by Incredibly Advanced Beings, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen what felt like a good reason to do this. And it’s kind of a horrifying one, given that the character speaking is from the bombed-out remnants of a North America left to the sort of people who the modern Republican party considers its “base”.