Showing posts with label physics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label physics. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That strange feeling is your head spinning.

Is The Large Hadron Collider Being Sabotaged from the Future?

The quest to observe the Higgs boson has certainly been plagued by its share of troubles, from the cancellation of the Superconducting Supercollider in 1993 to the Large Hadron Collider's streak of technical troubles. In fact, the projects have suffered such bad luck that Holger Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto wonder if it isn't bad luck at all, but future influences rippling back to sabotage them. In papers like "Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal" and "Search for Future Influence From LHC," they put forth the notion that observing the Higgs boson would be such an abhorrent event that the future is actually trying to prevent it from happening.

[Follow me on Twitter.]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I don't have an iPhone . . .

. . . but if I did, there's a fair chance I'd have this app.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wheels within wheels

See what a real-life warp-driven starship might look like

The physics behind the warpship is purely theoretical: "Dark energy" needs to be understood and harnessed, plus vast amounts of energy need to be generated, meaning the warpship is a technology that could only be conceived in the far future.

That said, Obousy's warpship design uses our current knowledge of spacetime and superstring theory to arrive at this futuristic concept.

Look familiar? I'm reminded of the hyperspace transport featured in "Contact" (shown below).

Meanwhile, scholar William Henry suggests that the hypothetical "warpship" bears a significant resemblance to the enigmatic "wheels" described by Ezekiel in the Bible.

[Follow me on Twitter.]

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Organic quantum computation

First Evidence of Entanglement in Photosynthesis

Physicists are fascinated with entanglement, the strange quantum phenomenon in which distinct objects share the same existence, regardless of the distance between them. But in their quest to study and exploit entanglement for information processing, physicists have found it fragile and easily destroyed. This fragility seems to severely limits how entanglement might ever be used.

But a new, more robust face of entanglement is beginning to emerge from other types of experiment. For example, physicists have recently found the signature of entanglement in the thermal states of bulk materials at low temperatures. This has huge implications for biological systems: if entanglement is more robust than we thought, what role might it play in living things?

Now we're beginning to find out. poses a fascinating question:

Does this support the Hameroff/Penrose idea of quantum computation in brain microtubules as a model of consciousness?

In short, do our brains utilize Einstein's "spooky action at a distance"? If so, what might this mean for contemporary definitions of consciousness?

Author/mathematician Rudy Rucker addresses some of the implications here.

[Follow me on Twitter.]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Oxygen from Christopher Hendryx on Vimeo.

(Found at Neural Dump.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Our last best hope?

NIF scientists set the controls for nuclear fusion

The goal is to find a way to achieve controlled, sustained nuclear fusion and energy gain in a lab. According to the director of the facility, Dr. Ed Moses, "When all NIF lasers are fired at full energy, they will deliver 1.8 megajoules of ultraviolet energy to the target." Lasting just a few nanoseconds, the system is capable of generation 500 trillion watts of power -- more than the peak electrical generating power of the entire United States. Significant results are expected sometime between 2010 and 2012.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And don't you forget it.

Quantum weirdness: What we call 'reality' is just a state of mind

What quantum mechanics tells us, I believe, is surprising to say the least. It tells us that the basic components of objects -- the particles, electrons, quarks etc. -- cannot be thought of as "self-existent". The reality that they, and hence all objects, are components of is merely "empirical reality".

This reality is something that, while not a purely mind-made construct as radical idealism would have it, can be but the picture our mind forces us to form of . . . Of what? The only answer I am able to provide is that underlying this empirical reality is a mysterious, non-conceptualisable "ultimate reality", not embedded in space and (presumably) not in time either.

(Via DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spooky action at a distance

Human eye could detect spooky action at a distance

It's almost a year since Nicolas Gisin and colleagues at the University of Geneva announced that they had calculated that a human eye ought to be able to detect entangled photons. "Entanglement in principle could be seen," they concluded.

That's extraordinary because it would mean that the humans involved in such an experiment would become entangled themselves, if only for an instant.

Scientists Model Words as Entangled Quantum States in our Minds

Research has shown that words are stored in our memories not as isolated entities but as part of a network of related words. This explains why seeing or hearing a word activates words related to it through prior experiences. In trying to understand these connections, scientists visualize a map of links among words called the mental lexicon that shows how words in a vocabulary are interconnected through other words.

However, it's not clear just how this word association network works. For instance, does word association spread like a wave through a fixed network, weakening with conceptual distance, as suggested by the "Spreading Activation" model? Or does a word activate every other associated word simultaneously, as suggested in a model called "Spooky Activation at a Distance"?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Scientists plan to ignite tiny man-made star

In the spring, a team will begin attempts to ignite a tiny man-made star inside a laboratory and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.

Its goal is to generate temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures billions of times higher than those found anywhere else on earth, from a speck of fuel little bigger than a pinhead. If successful, the experiment will mark the first step towards building a practical nuclear fusion power station and a source of almost limitless energy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Matter is actually just fluctuations in the quantum vacuum (Paul Raven)

Another classic case of the headline saying it all: physicists have confirmed that matter is no more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum. Everything is arguably illusory, including ourselves. All of a sudden I have a vision of Terence McKenna muttering Beatles lyrics to the hyperspace elves in between fits of gently manic laughter . . .

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.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm a Michio Kaku fan. Here's why.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Forget black holes, could the LHC trigger a "Bose supernova"?

Nobody is exactly sure how these explosions proceed which is a tad worrying for the following reason: some clever clogs has pointed out that superfluid helium is a BEC and that the LHC is swimming in 700,000 litres of the stuff. Not only that but the entire thing is bathed in some of the most powerful magnetic fields on the planet.

So is the LHC a timebomb waiting to go off? Not according to Malcolm Fairbairn and Bob McElrath at CERN who have filled the back of a few envelopes in calculating that we’re still safe. To be doubly sure, they also checked that no other superfluid helium facilities have mysteriously blown themselves to kingdom come.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Bayes, Moravec and the LHC: Quantum Suicide, Subjective Probability and Conspiracies

The recent transformer trouble at the LHC has got many commenters to remember the somewhat playful scenario in Hans Moravec's Mind Children (1988): a new accelerator is about to be tested when it suffers a fault (a capacitor blows, say). After fixing it, another fault (a power outage) stops the testing. Then a third fault, completely independent of the others. Every time it is about to turn on something happens that prevents it from being used. Eventually some scientists realize that sufficiently high energy collisions would produce a vacuum collapse, destroying the universe. Hence the only observable outcome of the experiment occurs when the accelerator fails, all other branches in the many-worlds universe are now empty.

(Via Sentient Developments.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fascinating images of the Large Hadron Collider . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scientists beaming after test of big atom smasher

The beams will gradually be filled with more protons and fired at near the speed of light in opposite directions around the tunnel, making 11,000 circuits a second. They will travel down the middle of two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder than outer space. At four points in the tunnel, the scientist will use giant magnets to cross the beams and cause protons to collide. The collider's two largest detectors -- essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons -- are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

It is likely to be several weeks before the first significant collisions.

Several weeks for LHC physicists to perfect their plans to annihilate the planet!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Will the world end on Wednesday?

If you think it's unlikely that we will all be sucked into a giant black hole that will swallow the world, as German chemistry professor Otto Rössler of the University of Tübingen posits, and so carry on with your life as normal, only to find out that it's true, you'll be a bit miffed, won't you?

On the other hand, perhaps an insatiable artificial black hole is the only thing capable of averting a McCain presidency.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Scientists get death threats over Large Hadron Collider

The head of public relations, James Gillies, says he gets tearful phone calls, pleading for the £4.5 billion machine to stop.

"They phone me and say: "I am seriously worried. Please tell me that my children are safe," said Gillies.

Emails also arrive every day that beg for reassurance that the world will not end, he explained.

Others are more aggressive. "There are a number who say: "You are evil and dangerous and you are going to destroy the world."

(Via Futurismic.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Robert Anton Wilson explains quantum physics . . .

(Thanks, Elan!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boltzmann Brain Paradox

A Boltzmann brain is a hypothesized self-aware entity which arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of chaos. The idea is named for physicist Ludwig Boltzmann (1844 - 1906), who had advanced an idea that the known universe arose as a random fluctuation, similar to process through which Boltzmann brains might arise.

The concept arises from the need to explain why we observe such a large degree of organization in the universe. The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy in the universe will always increase. We may think of the most likely state of the universe as one of high entropy, closer to uniform and without order. So why is the observed entropy so low?

I guess I'm just a sucker for theories involving random quantum fluctuations and disembodied brains.