Showing posts with label cosmology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cosmology. Show all posts

Thursday, October 01, 2009

You've probably already seen it, but . . .

We warned: once you've heard it, you can't get it out of your head.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Baby universes, white holes and parallel worlds

Physicist Michio Kaku expounds on the prospect of parallel universes in this short, insightful discussion.

Could the UFO phenomenon represent visitors from parallel worlds? I find the notion at least as palatable as the more popular Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.

(Thanks to Reality Carnival.)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reality check

When the human species' unnerving arrogance gets you down, I've found you can do worse than consider the unthinkable enormity of the Cosmos. If nothing else, it will clear your head of celebrity gossip, healthcare reform and the ever-pressing Twitter/Facebook debate.

(Thanks to @KateSherrod.)

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Worlds without end

Dark flow: Proof of another universe?

"If this thing is confirmed and it is real, it will be incredibly important," says Aguirre, "on the same order of discovery as the realisation that those little smudges on the sky are other galaxies. The most important thing it would tell us is that the standard picture is broken in some way. And the most exciting thing it could tell us is that there are other universes."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cosmic holography

Whitley Strieber remarks on the implications of recent evidence suggesting our universe might be a giant hologram:

Hogan says that there "could still be a mundane source of the noise," and until all possible sources are ruled out, we cannot be certain that we are detecting the grains that make up a hologram that comprises reality.

However, if that's true, it might explain a lot to those of us who have found ourselves living at the indeterminate edge of experience. The reason is that the very graininess of reality may be drawn into consciousness in the form of perceptions that reflect reality in unique ways. And the issue of how individual 'grains' of the holographic universe may relate to the whole will need to be addressed by physics, and it is possible that the attempt to do so itself will affect our place in, and perception of, reality in ways that we can scarcely now imagine.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Martin Rees, author of the excellent "Our Cosmic Habitat," on the existential threats facing humanity in the next hundred years:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Physicist David Deutsch ("The Fabric of Reality") delivers a rousing -- and witty -- lecture on preserving the human legacy in a Cosmos that's at once mercilessly alien and deceptively cozy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did our cosmos exist before the big bang?

[Loop Quantum Cosmology] has been tantalising physicists since 2003 with the idea that our universe could conceivably have emerged from the collapse of a previous universe. Now the theory is poised to make predictions we can actually test. If they are verified, the big bang will give way to a big bounce and we will finally know the quantum structure of space-time. Instead of a universe that emerged from a point of infinite density, we will have one that recycles, possibly through an eternal series of expansions and contractions, with no beginning and no end.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

--J. B. S. Haldane

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Unknown "Structures" Tugging at Universe, Study Says

The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger -- a multiverse -- and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The make-your-own-universe kit

According to the theory, any kind of measurement causes the universe to split and this is the basis of Keats' new device. His universe creator uses a piece of uranium-doped glass to create a steam of alpha particles, which are then detected using a thin sliver of scintillating crystal. Each detection causes the creation of a new universe.

Given the rate at which Uranium decays, Keats' claims this should allow users to create literally trillions of universes.

(Via BB.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Scientists explore what happened before the universe's theoretical beginning

Respected scientists have proposed a flock of theories to describe what might have happened before the birth of our familiar universe of space and time.

The concepts have fanciful names such as "the big bounce," "the multiverse," "the cyclic theory," "parallel worlds," even "soap bubbles." Some propose the existence of multiple universes. Others hold that there's one universe that recycles itself endlessly, rather as Buddhists believe. Judeo-Christian theologians may have difficulty accepting any of these notions.

Most of the hypotheses are variations on an older idea that the universe has no beginning and no end, contrary to the big-bang theory, which says that our universe originated at a specific point and will end sometime in the distant future.

Although divine creation makes an appearance, the Simulation Argument gets no mention at all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rudy Rucker muses on the existential implications of quantum mechanics:

My sense is that if time really branches, then you wholeheartedly go into each branch; you're conscious in each of them, and there's no single "lit-up by the searchlight of the mind" that zigzags up through the time-tree to limn the path that you "really" take. The whole tree is lit. You really and truly think you're in each branch that something like you is in.

Restating my logical feeling in terms of the more static Hilbert space view, I'm saying that a version of my mind should be psychologically present in each of the possible worlds that contains a copy of someone like me—and that there should not be any single narrative thread of bright points marking the privileged sequence of possible worlds which I "really and truly" inhabit.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Do subatomic particles have free will?

Human free will might seem like the squishiest of philosophical subjects, way beyond the realm of mathematical demonstration. But two highly regarded Princeton mathematicians, John Conway and Simon Kochen, claim to have proven that if humans have even the tiniest amount of free will, then atoms themselves must also behave unpredictably.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Kickin' it old-school in the LHC:

(Thanks: Communist Robot.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Huge Camera to Observe Dark Energy

Take a look at this thing and tell me it doesn't look like a flying saucer stashed in some secret government lab . . .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Galaxy map hints at fractal universe

Is the matter in the universe arranged in a fractal pattern? A new study of nearly a million galaxies suggests it is -- though there are no well-accepted theories to explain why that would be so.

I've always sensed that our universe is fundamentally fractal -- a notion that might ultimately lend itself to cosmological interpretation.

Could consciousness itself be, in some way, fractal? How might we go about testing such an idea?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Device mimics black hole event horizon

Black holes, the remains of collapsed stars, are the most extraordinary objects in the universe, where the pull of gravity is so intense that light is sucked in if it strays beyond a boundary called the event horizon.

Now it seems these horizons can be mimicked using a table-top device that harnesses lasers to create an artificial black hole, according to a study by Prof Ulf Leonhardt of the University of St Andrews that could help win a Nobel prize for the world's best known physicist, Prof Stephen Hawking.

(Via J. Orlin Grabbe.)

I don't want a simulation on my desktop. I want the real thing!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Linda Moulton Howe takes a break from digging up crashed UFOs to take on the Simulation Argument:

Could Our Universe Be A Virtual Reality Processed By Other Intelligence?

A professor in Auckland, New Zealand, published a paper in December that seriously raises the question: could we be in a virtual reality world and universe where the "computer" behind-the-scenes has a processing speed of 186,282.397 miles per second - the maximum speed of light?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this one before. (Peter Watts)

So yes, while the spontaneous reemergence of new universes is certainly called for in some cases, in far more cases you'd just be getting pieces showing up. Cats in Space. Fully-functional yet utterly disembodied brains, floating in the void. Very small rocks. And since such iterations are more likely -- and hence, more numerous -- then the likelihood is that I'm just a disembodied brain imagining a universe where none actually exists, and the rest of you are -- well, no. The rest of you aren't. Which makes me feel a bit better about not having got laid over the past few months, but a whole lot worse about pretty much everything else.