Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The world is weirder than you ever thought

by Migeru Mon May 29th, 2006 at 04:11:21 AM EST

Sometimes it's good to write about boring stuff rather than about interesting stuff, that is, to write about what you know rather than about what you wish you knew. And what to you seems trite will likely seem tremendous to others, which is generally a good thing. By writing about what seems tremendous to you, you might end up seeming trite to others, which is bad. Tremendous or trite, we do it all in pursuit of the elusive snark.

So, encouraged by Melanchton and ThatBritGuy at the recent Paris meetup, I have decided to write a little diary on the weirdness of quantum mechanics, explaining what I meant the other day when I dropped the following anvil on Sven's head:

Sven: Quantum mechanix is simply the passing on of packets of energy from one atom to the nest at certain frequencies. What's so difficult about that?
Migeru: What's difficult about Quantum Mechanics is that it is contextual, non-counterfactual and nonlocal.
Sven: Tsiisus, I need a cup of tea and will try to decide if I am here or not.
Follow me below the fold: I promise you no math.


Einstein disavows his brainchild

In addition to revolutionizing mechanics and cosmology with the theory of relativity, Einstein was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. When in 1905 he elucidated the photoelectric effect he did so by lending more reality to Planck's quanta than Planck himself had, and inventing the photon. When in 1921 Einstein was awarded the Nobel prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, quanta had already produced other theoretical breakthroughs such as Bohr's model of the atom, and the stage clearly was set for the development of a consistent quantum theory. This would come before the end of the decade with the work of De Broglie, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Born and Dirac.

However, as DoDo pointed out in that recent thread, Einstein was to a large extent motivated by philosophy, and this led him to wish he had never had anything to do with the development of quantum theory. The theory of relativity is at the end of the day the exploration of the physical consequences of a few simple philosophical ideas: Galileo's relativity of motion [absolute motion is an empirically meaningless concept] and Einstein's locality [no information can propagate faster than the speed of light].

Einstein's first philosophical gripe with quantum mechanics was that it seems inherently probabilistic, and so non-deterministic [determinism is not to be confused with predictability: chaos is essentially the existence and ubiquity of deterministic but unpredictable systems]. He put this in writing in a letter to Max Born shortly after the latter had attached to Schrödinger's equation a probabilistic interpretation:

Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
A letter to Max Born (12 December 1926); quoted in Einstein: The Life and Times ISBN 0-380-44123-3. This quote is commonly paraphrased as' "God does not play dice with the universe." ], and other slight variants. (wiki).
Einstein was not alone in this. Schrödinger himself was so disgusted by Born's (successful) probabilistic interpretation of his theory that he ultimately quit physics.

Einstein's second philosophical gripe with QM was motivated by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which implies that there are quantities of physical interest which cannot be known simultaneously with arbitrary precision. It is a common joke among physics students that this explains why Heisenberg died a virgin. One version of the joke would be that when he had the time he didn't have the energy, and when he had the energy he didn't have the time. Einstein could not accept this [uncertainty, not Heisenberg's virginity], presumably because God is not only opposed to gambling, but is also omniscient. This is when I start thinking that Einstein's obsession with philosophy was beginning to be as much a weakness as it had been a strength before, but I digress. The fact of the matter is that Einstein embarked in a duel of wits with Niels Bohr over the internal consistency of quantum mechanics, using thought experiments as weapons. Ultimate victory fell to Bohr, who in a show of jujitsu masterfully used general relativity itself to deliver an unstoppable riposte to Einstein's best attack. Einstein was forced to concede that quantum mechanics was, indeed, internally consistent, but insisted that something about it was deeply unsatisfactory even if he could not quite put his finger on it.

Spooky incompleteness: hidden variables are born

You have probably guessed that Einstein, being Einstein, ended up not just putting his finger in the ultimate reason for his distaste for quantum mechanics, but driving his whole arm right through it. In a famous paper now known as EPR after Einstein and his coauthors Podolski and Rosen, Einstein used another clever thought experiment to argue that quantum mechanics exhibited spooky action-at-a-distance, in contradiction with the locality principle underlying relativity, and that it followed that Quantum mechanics must be incomplete in the following sense: the information that is "apparently" transmitted faster than light in the EPR experiment is "actually" the result of unobservable characteristics of the system which are completely local and also not within the scope of quantum theory. This means that quantum mechanics cannot describe the complete state of any physical system. Being thus incomplete, it cannot be the ultimate truth, and that is all that Einstein needs to know.

In this way, so-called "hidden variable theories" were born. Einstein died in 1955 and didn't get to see how hidden variable theories and quantum optics experiments would eventually uncover weirdness that might have made even Einstein give up physics for despair.

"Hidden variables" refers to a collection of alternative formulations of quantum mechanics well-loved by crackpots and pursued by a handful of respectable physicists. Not everyone who works on hidden variables believes in them (unlike the crackpot fans who don't work on them but do believe), but they are useful theoretical exercises (with experimental counterparts!) which do a lot to illuminate what it is that makes quantum mechanics weird. Essentially, the empirical soundness of quantum mechanics is not under dispute. What people can't get their head around, nor agree to, is its meaning. Hidden-variable theories try to replicate the experimental predictions of quantum mechanics while using a conceptual model which is deterministic, not probabilistic, and closer to our intuition of the way the world works. People have been able to discover brilliantly simple, empirically testable, ways in which naive hidden variable theories deviate from quantum mechanics, and last time I checked [I have to admit I am about 6 years out of date on this] the constraints on a viable hidden variable theory are such that all hope that hidden variables will be more intuitive than quantum mechanics is all but lost.

Just how weird is weird?

In essence, and this is what my snappy interjection to Sven was about, it has been empirically tested (though not to the satisfaction of everyone) that the world is empirically compatible with standard quantum mechanics, but incompatible with any deterministic hidden-variable theory which has any of the following three characteristics: 1) Einsteinian locality; 2) counterfactual definiteness; 3) non-contextuality. The relevant theoretical results are "Bell's inequalities" (for local hidden variables), "Hardy's thought experiment" (for counterfactual definiteness) and the "Kochen-Specker theorem" (for non-contextuality). All three have been tested experimentally using quantum optics.

In other words: it is an experimentally verifiable fact that, if God doesn't play dice, 1) the world out there has spooky action at a distance; 2) you are not allowed to ask about the values of quantities you don't measure; 3) if you considered "what if" you had actually measured an additional quantity, the values of the ones you did measure would change.

To put it yet another way... If you think the world is made of things which have properties independent of whether you look at them or not, that the fact of looking at one thing does not affect others, or that these effects are limited in how far and how fast they can reach, well, you're experimentally provably wrong.

What is then nothing short of amazing is that the macroscopic world around us has exactly the intuitive properties I have said quantum mechanics violates.

Poll
Is Sven there or not?
. Wud? 0%
. I don't know, I need some of Helen's cheese. 34%
. Both there and not there 21%
. Only there locally 17%
. So "what if" Sven were there? 13%
. It depends on the context 0%
. O my lordi! 13%

Votes: 23
Results | Other Polls
Display:
It is really a lot easier if you do the math.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 26th, 2006 at 06:58:14 PM EST
I consider my provocative stratagem to have been a complete success since it elicited this brilliant diary.

Sven works in mysterious ways...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 12:26:16 AM EST
Gosh Migeru, I sure hope you write more about 'boring' stuff. I love it!!!!!!!!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 01:02:37 AM EST
Weird, yes, and David Deutsch suggests that it's much bigger than it looks.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 02:34:20 AM EST
Being the one of the chosenones who knows about the hidden mathematics you were dealing with (..and only a part of them...) I must say that the diary is brilliant!!!!!

If only people would know about weird and weridness and quantum mechanics, it would be lovely to have more "rational" debates about reality....and applied epistemology :)

By the way... lovely end-twist about the need of a future complexity theory....or sort of.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:47:34 AM EST
deeper, migeru, deeper!

you are whetting our appetites for more of your engaging explanations of the inexplicable.

closer to the Old One....closer

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 07:37:23 AM EST
 Is it only my impression, or does the following

 


 "Sometimes it's good to write about boring stuff rather than about interesting stuff, that is, to write about what you know rather than about what you wish you knew. And what to you seems trite will likely seem tremendous to others, which is generally a good thing. By writing about what seems tremendous to you, you might end up seeming trite to others, which is bad. Tremendous or trite, we do it all in pursuit of the elusive snark."

 imply not only that

"boring stuff" is approximately equal to "what you know rather than ...what you wish you knew"

 but also that

 "boring stuff" approx'ly = "what you know" approx'ly = "what...end[s] up seeming trite to others"  ?

 If so, there may be some assumptions contained there which amount to what I suspect ThatBritGuy might describe as "category errors"--if he were asked ;^).

  Here's my shot at revising your introductory paragraph in a more (ahem) "gender neutral" manner:

 


Sometimes it's good to write matters on which our knowledge is fairly well-founded rather than speculating about other matters which we consider very interesting stuff  That is, better to risk others' finding what you know rather than about what you like to speculate about to be rather, well, boring. Matters on which you're well-informed may seem trite to you; and yet, what seems trite to you may seem tremendously interesting to others, which is generally a good thing.

By writing largely about what seems tremendously interesting to you, and about which you're not very well-informed, you might end up seeming trite to others.  Dare you risk that?  Tremendous or trite, we do it all in pursuit of the elusive snark.

 Please don't ask me what "the elusive snark" means.

  ;^)

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 11:41:04 AM EST
No, what ends up being trite to others is what it's interesting to you. People find interesting that which they find challenging. If you write about what you know most you're unlikely to seem trite to others. But if you get all excited about some nwe insight into something you're not an expert in to begin with, your "insight" risks seeming boring...

Somewhat related is Rothbard's law:

Rothbard suggested that an otherwise talented individual would specialize and focus in an area at which they were weaker--or simply flat out wrong. Or as he often put it: "everyone specializes in what he is worst at."
This is because people specialize in what they find interesting, that is, challenging, instead of what they are best at because they find the latter boring.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 "No, what ends up being trite to others is what it's interesting to you."

 Eh?

 Why, "No,..."

  That re-statement is, after all, what I wrote--or certainly meant to write that I'd understood you to have argued.

By the way, I think Rothbard himself necessarily disconfirms Rothbard's law --whether or not one agrees with him!

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:40:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought I was responding to
"boring stuff" approx'ly = "what you know" approx'ly = "what...end[s] up seeming trite to others"  ?

By the way, do you have anything against Lewis Carroll?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 Nope. Should I?  Why do you ask?

  He (Carroll--that was a pseudonym, wasn't it? ) was a mathematician?  And he "specialized" in writing the "Alice" fables?

   Charles Lutwidge Dodgson >  was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer.

 which of these did he do badly, or boringly?

  Proximity1 1

  Rothbard   0

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I ask because you rewrote my introduction which was based on a famous line from Fit the Fourth of Carroll's Hunting of the Snark.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." -- Theodore Geisel

  now, Good Night !

  ;^)

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:27:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
"You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!

But beware of the Baker's fate

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

And one shouldn't forget about the dangers posed by the Jubjub bird and the frumious Bandersnatch

by MarekNYC on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 For crying out loud, I don't know!  Who's on first!!!

;^)

 Folks, goodnight.  Prox has been at the keyboard/terminal too long already today.

 PS: Barbara is right, Migu.  You spend too much time here, too.  ;^)

  Signing off for the day/night, quantum moment, etc.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:20:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, some say I'm the living embodiment of the Rothbard wastage.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here I thought you were going to tar and feather me for mentioning him...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm in an indeterminate kind of mood tonight.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:28:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My god.  And here I thought it was just that I was stubborn or doomed or had just really very awful taste in things to "specialize" in (Russia, ack!, will never know what I'm talking about!)...  Turns out there is a completely logical explanation after all.  

Just made my day!!

Super diary, btw.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 05:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See, this is why I never went into the hard sciences as my primary field of study.  Aside from the name, Einstein, it was all Greek to me, though, as always, very well written.  And now Migeru has made me curious to understand this, and I'm going to have to satisfy myself by spending a while looking up information.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 12:03:19 PM EST
Can't you ask a question?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems a good spot to, quickly, say this ...

The Heisenberg Indeterminency Principle (HIP) - usually mis-named the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - is normatively communicated as Migeru does, above:

there are quantities of physical interest which cannot be known simultaneously with arbitrary precision.

With the emphasis being on what can never be known.  But let's delve into this for a second.  And look at the actual equation of the HIP which is:

Δp  • Δqh-bar

And we need to unpack this.

p and q need to be canonical conjugates.  Which are things that go together ... because they go together.  :-)  Things such as: mass AND acceleration; momentum AND position; space AND time.  Other things such as "The orbit of Venus" AND "The digestive process of a flea" are not canonical and therefore outside the HIP.  (They are also outside 'having a grip' but that is neither here nor there.)  Δ means "a change in."  The bullet is either multiplication (if we're talking arithmetic) or a Logical AND.  h-bar is Planck's Constant, 6.626 x 10 ^ -27 divided by 2Π.  So we're talking about measurable change in something at a really, really, teeny-tiny level.

(Note: discussion of "arbitrary measuration" is consciously eliminated.)

Only when p and q are canonical conjugates, a change in {whatever p refers to} times/AND {whatever q refers to) can be determined iff the product is greater or equal to h-bar.  This sets the lower boundary below which we cannot know AND sets the lower boundary at and above which we can know.  The HIP could have been named, with equal justification, the Heisenberg Determinency Principle.  

This is what I meant the other day when I commented the HIP establishes a firm foundation for Human Knowledge.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 12:15:37 PM EST
So, if I'm grasping this correctly, ?fish * ?chips ? I am as thick as a planck. Good, I knew my current desire for a visit to the Flying Fish Bar (located incidentally on Boundary Rd) doesn't matter a toss, even though I am determined to go there.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:32:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn these ASCII codes...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Δp  * Δq ≥ h-bar [where] p and q need to be canonical conjugates.
Sorry, but no cigar. This
Δ means "a change in."
is also not right.

What is today known as the Heisenberg principle is a theorem which I now proceed to state in its full glory.

Suppose that you have a quantum system and you are interested in two observable [and numerical] properties of it, A and B. Form the mathematical description of A, B and the state (ψ) of the system quantum mechanics give you a probability distribution of possible observed values of A, and of possible observed values of B. These probability distribution is assumed to have certain mean values, and standard deviations ΔA and ΔB. Quantum mechanics also says that
ΔA^2 ΔB^2 ≥ |E([A,B])|^2/4
where [A,B] is a certain other quantum mechanical observable (called "commutator of A and B), and E(x) is the mean value of x (in the state ψ).

If A and B are quantum counterparts of classical variables which are "canonically conjugate" (as in your examples) then [A,B] is (up to a sign) the imaginary unit times h=bar. But there are many observables with nonzero commutator with no classical analogue, such as photon polarizations, or directions of electron spin.

As to what this had to do with what you can know or not know at the same time, well... Barbara demands use of the computer so it'll have to sait for a future comment.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:48:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Save Our Souls!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM wrote down the first equation.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:06:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and you just knew that someone would open the math door - all you had to do was bide your time... ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I told Melanchton and ThatBritGuy that QM couldn't be explained without math, and they didn't believe me.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I was uncertain whether I believed you or not. ;)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:11:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what do you say after this diary?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would it be wrong to say that you need the maths to know how to use QM, but that no one actually knows what the maths means - in the sense of fully understanding the implications of the kind of universe that QM seems to be describing?

For example - this idea of measurement is very bothersome. The implication seems to be that something is only measured when it's perceived subjectively.

If I were doing QM for a living, that would give me a lot of sleepless nights. It begs the question - what has the universe been doing all this time without humans to perrceive it?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry Brit... but there is no universe out there..universe exists because we measure it...:)

so the answer to  "what has the universe been doing all this time without humans to perrceive it?" is an easy one: He is being busy non-existing.

reality is the interaction, the measure,.... Kant Reloaded.

And when a movie with Keanu (whatanass in spanish) R. as KanT with weird green numbers all around?

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 07:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
very close to the Edge. Advisable not to look over it if you suffer from vertigo. You can hold on to that big sign that says 'Epistomology' if you feel dizzy.

But it's fun to stand on the Edge and throw words at the epistomological bees as they hover in death-defying grace above the chasm of mortality. None of these thrown words have ever been known to have hit a bee-ing, or indeed to have made contact with anything at all as they plummeted out of site.

Some people claim to have heard melifluous laughter coming from over the Edge. But I think it's probably just some Bhuddist who tripped and managed to grab a causal shrub on his way.


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 08:41:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...are better at convincing that the buddhists.... try them for going over the edge :)

They really are much more nicer...and sound.. much more in the whole.... truthiness...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 12:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 SO, suppose we stop "measuring"?--which could very easily happen again.  What then?

  Since we exist in the universe rather than it in us, I think that a) the universe cannot be dependent on us or on our "measuring" it and, even more likely, perhaps, b) Surely you are joking, Mr Curie!

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 10:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
b) I am joking and not....maybe I agree with this point of view.. maybe not.. or maybe I am still not sure....

a) but I am indeed sure about this point. the universe depends heavily on how me measure. Measuring changes the world.. this is one of the key of the present consensus in physics. It is dependent on our measuring in its external properties....regarding if there are laws who are independent of us...well I doubt physics can be understood in those terms.. more something like, we measure, we change it and we can extract some informacion about regularities....

The question at the end of the day is.. you believe that science describes reality and then inmediately accepts that reality is mathematics or you just consider that the universe is our metaphor and narrative without us being able to know (or if it even exists) a universe idnependent of us.

QM tells you that there is no middle ground... take one or the other....a ctually before starting QM I had another 2 or 3 possibilites opened in the mind.. one was certainly similar to yours...but experiments did not fit in...so I had to discard them...and my teachers make it sure I discarded them.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 12:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]


 "but I am indeed sure about this point. the universe depends heavily on how me measure. Measuring changes the world.. this is one of the key of the present consensus in physics."

  It seems to me that, if your argument means anything in logic, it means that there can be, so far, with present knowledge of physics, no clear and complete certainty about the universe's actual existence and, furthermore, its precise characteristics.

  Now, whether or not I believe that is true, it seems to me that if you believe it is true, then you cannot claim that "Measuring changes the world.. this is one of the key of the present consensus in physics."

  You can claim only that "Measuring changes our perceptions of the nature of the world.. this is one of the key of the present consensus in physics."

 and that is, necessarily, not the same as saying that "Measuring changes the world.. "

Am I mistaken in that?


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 12:22:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Got me.

Perception of the world, always talking about the perceived universe...but again.. the universe I am interested is in the one I perceived.. one which is farther away which is isolated and which I can  not reach, well it could  be interesting... I am not saying it does not exist.. actually I have no idea...
but the universe I care is the one I perceived...and either this universe is pure mathematics with an existence we are all embedded in or is just a set  of narrative and symbolics we generate to make sense creating it as we speak.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Max Tegmark [an otherwise serious artrophysics] has a tongue-in-cheek "theory of everything" in which he explores the consequences of taking it seriously that the universe is nothing but mathematics.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 04:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am a Kantian, but I am told that Kant is superseded... Maybe he isn't...

Kant's point is that the world out there [noumenon] probably exists but since the only thing that can be known about it is our perception of it [augmented by technology — let's leave this can of worms unopened for now] little can be said about the world itself.

Kant called the world as perceived phenomenon, and thus there is an interesting parallel between Kantian thought and the philosophical musings of Niels Bohr, namely

"No Phenomenon is a Phenomenon unless it is an observed phenomenon" — Niels Bohr

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 04:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I'm a bit of a Kant myself ;.)


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 08:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kant is king...Kant is the embrio of the present description-theory...actually, it has not changed very much..  present theories just explain in more detail how we develop explanations/construct what "we see"...

So, the link is not a far away link... it is basically one of the present positions on epistemology

Kant was that good...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 08:58:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A problem - this contradicts the Principle of Mediocrity which suggests there's nothing special about the human point of view.

We don't live at the centre of the solar system, or of the galaxy, or the universe. So it seems unlikely that the universe only exists because we perceive it. (Of course it only exists for us because we perceive it. But that's not quite the same thing.)

I might be convinced by the idea that our own unique perception exists because of us. The universe is out there as a extended haze of possibles, and our unique probability mix is personal.

But then the question becomes - how sentient do you have to become before this process starts happening for you?

So I'm not sure that's any more convincing as a point of view.

Penrose has suggested there's some kind of feedback loop between QM and gravity/local geometry, so effectively there's a trade off between mass and uncertainty. Small light things have a much wider range of uncertainty than big heavy ones - partly because it's impossible to maintain the ambiguity of pristine probabilistic virginity in a complex system, and partly because he likes the idea that geometry underlies everything and so it ought to be in the equations somewhere.

(I'm paraphrasing a little there, but I think that's more or less what he was trying to say. :) )

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 10:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an endless circular argument. But assuming that your ONLY contact (which you have come to understand as real) is via your sense interface - with all its attendant distortions (though you don't know that ;-)) - then there can be no direct experience of the Universe and thus no way of knowing that it exists.

Sense data is organized into a map - it is not the territory itself.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 12:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lovely!!!

But it does not contradict the principle of Mediocitry.. our universe does not have to be unique..and the fact that it is personal doe snot make it special... actually I can not know anything about a universe beyond the one a I perceive.. so this is the one we ca deal with...

SO either you think it has some existence independent of us and maths exists (our description exists independently...and we will eventually get to discover the maths that really describe the stuff out there... description and reality are the same...and both maths).. or we just describe what we see...wnever knowing really waht is going on....being among the many possible unvierses...our universe.. our description... our myths...existence is myths...our narrative of the world and ourselves exists...because they are narratives.. not because they are maths...

So time is a math variable or a myth....lately I ahve been thinking...and I can not join them in a single entity...time is out there or time is in the interface...a reality or a description...

a quark.. a real quantum field....or narrative that behaves as a quantum field.... the never ending question.....

reality is out there or at the interface...I do not see any other option....which one? I do not take bets.

A pleasure

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 12:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol, you sound like you eat the wrong mushrooms!

seriously, i think your post was lovely...it left everything in a deliciously aesthetic soft focus....myth and/or math, observer and/event....

peering over the edge of consensus reality has this enchanting effect on people sometimes, powerfully endearing...

like we're realising we may never know the answers to the so-called ultimate questions, that it's profoundly ok not to know everything, and may possibly be a blessing sometimes...

the best plots develop slowly

the mind tickles for knowledge like lungs breathe for air, and just like in permaculture, the most interesting and productive zones are at the edges.

great reply from sven below, as well.

well done migeru, for creating such a great tit of a thread.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 these are not logically mutually exclusive:


 "SO either

 you think it has some existence independent of us and maths exists (our description exists independently...and we will eventually get to discover the maths that really describe the stuff out there... description and reality are the same...and both maths)..

or

we just describe what we see...never knowing really what is going on....

 We can at the same time hold that

existence is independent of "us"

and also

that "we just describe what we see...never knowing really what is going on...."

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PRoximity.. love it.

I exactly thought this way for a long time...

but when I finished physics I realized that there was a strong connection... we change whatever we perceive as we measure. The universe .. the way we describe takes a loop form ..we can not explain what we see without making reference to someone measuring and something measured...physics links extremelly one with the other...universe can not be independent form us..so only the two options remained.

I came to the conclusion that if our present narrative of the world indeed is right and it has no self-contradictions.. then it is purely a narrative or is purely the reality...

So I convinced myself that independence+description  was not possible...may be I am wrong...I could certainly be wrong..Actually, new discoveries could change the narrative indeed.. and we could come back to have an independent universe and a narrative about it...As you may know some people are trying hard.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  "...So I convinced myself ..."

  Precisely.

  I remain to be convinced, however.

  By the way, your restatment of my views and your rebuttals offered show me that despite your claim:

  "I exactly thought this way for a long time..."

  you haven't in fact understood my point.

   To understand just how and why you've missed my point, I can only refer you to either ThatBritGuy or Migeru, who shall be better able to explain it than I.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 10:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're going to have to explain it to me first, before I can relay it to kcurie. We need another ET meetup pronto! [Sorry, really can't make it to Toulouse]

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 04:51:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 03:53:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Waiting is.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The more I think about this, the more I think I need a diary on the philosophical interpretations of probability theory.

This is because Heisenberg's principle involves a combination of two conceptual difficulties: the probability of a single event, and the fact that "noncommuting" quantum observables cannot simultaneously have precise values.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:40:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is that time was invented to stop everything happening simultaneously...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't get me started on "the problem if time in quantum gravity", which is basically that quantum mechanics seems to indicate that time does not exist.

Then again, the relevant calculations are not on a firm footing, so it is taken as an indication that we just don't grok things as well as we should.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly things get tricky when you throw one of Kcuries cosmic particle balls at a discrete bee and it goes right through.

I think I'll sleep in a cloud chamber tonight...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:49:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hur-rumph

This is where you need to don a black turtleneck sweater, find a coffeehouse, and discuss Nietzsche.  :-)

If {Whatever} is not measureable using a certain intellectual tool that does not mean the {Whatever} doesn't exist.  It means the {Whatever} is not measureable using that intellectual tool and you need to get yourself another tool.  

Or expand the analysis by plugging in additional procedures.  

Anyone insisting on staying within mathematics, I submit, should contemplate positive Lyapunov Exponents as they pertain to information processing.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give the keyboard back to Barbara ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:50:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have two computers ;-P

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or was that just a ploy to give you more response time <sn*rk>

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we were just back from spending the day moving stuff to our new dwelling, she needed the desktop to do some work and the laptop was not online.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you are now comfortably esconced.

BTW where the gnomes when you need them? - your wonderful diary should have caused shouts of 'Stop the presses! Reset the front page'

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The diary is enjoying a comfortable stint at the top of the recommendation list. If it ain't invisible, don't front-page it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:11:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...declares hereby that the theorem here described is completed correct...actually the HS "simple" principle or imprinciple is related with the simple properties of the gaussian function that we all know from school.

In any case... I think that the beatiful metaphor or tale that explains this wonderful principle is the one of the bee and the baseball balls.

The reason why you can not know a lot of things is because you just can not measure...(and maybe the measure is the existence... do you recall me mumbling about that the only thing that exists is the interaction....??? think it again...or look it up in a book)...in any case... you need measure...

And how are you going to measure the movement of a bee if the only thing you have to measure is a baseball bat and some balls?

As you may well know there is no problem in measuring the positon and speed of the JFK aircarrier by throwing baseball balls...you just throw  them knowing the speed ,let them rebound...repeat it at different position and time and you can perfectly triangulate position and also get the velocity with the time dealys from the rebounds..

Unfortunetaly if you throw a basebal ball to a bee.... well besides probably killing the bee (not necesarilly) you just afect his trajectory so much...that actually you can not know the position and the velocity he/she had before..

When you are dealing with very small things..well you have to throw things- uber small things...the more precission you want.. the smaller the ball you must throw at them ...but gee...you can not get smaller and smaller ad infinitum because you have a minimum package (in Sven phrase of the hour)

So..if QM is only knowing about knowing that things go in packages.... you have certainly to know all THE THINGS IT IMPLIES.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 04:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem we cannot get our heads around is non-discreteness. We are born with 100 billion mostly unconnected neurons. The only contact we have with the world outside ourselves is via the sense interface. At birth, all input is noise. There is no signal. There are no senses, since they are all a single noise too.

But, little by little, by a combination of repetition (gateway neuron firing patterns) and hormonal, semi-hormonal and neurotransmitter production (or so called meta-programming which hardwires active connections) and cellular specialization caused by the RNA protein factories, the brain starts to self-organize.

Patterns of input are reinforced by negative and positive feedback. Neural networks emerge in sets and subsets, and subsets of subsets and eventually become 'mind objects' ie discrete. Discrete mind objects are a benefit and a curse. Mind objects often replace actual patterned sensory input - such that, if we walk through a forest, what we experience is largely forestness, not the actual forest. We sense what we have learned to sense.

Stimulii produce largely predictable response = learned behaviour. If the stimulii are 'expected' then the mind object tends to replace the actual incoming data. Except when novelty intrudes. Novelty (ahaa!) activates chemical metaprograms which in turn tweak the mind object. And of course the kernel chemical gradient metaprograms in the lizard brain that regulate sleep, hunger, threat, sex etc intrude also.

So mind objects are constantly 'improving', but at the same time deepening behavioural response and reducing the incidence of novelty.

Wonderful to be a child when everything is novel. Harder to be an adult full of Learned Behaviour Disorders and tired old mind objects.

I come here for the novelty ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 05:44:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a theory (nothing scientific) that time (as we experience it, which may be the only way it exists) is a function of this process of brain development, of the hard-wiring of "mind objects".

Not only because of the way the brain organizes time-perception (a baby has little sense of time, a small child learns morning-afternoon-evening-night and to organize memories of "this morning" or "last night", and so on as we grow), but because we live and experience more and more by means of learned behaviours until, as you say, we walk through a forest experiencing our foresty mind object, or we don't see an apple but we experience "I am looking at an apple". And this is what I think explains the speeding-up of "time" during human life, the oft-described way the vast deserts of time we seemed to have as children become the fast-disappearing days, months, years we perceive as ageing adults.

This may simply be a function of the proportion of adult experience that is lived by means of learned behaviours (seen as running over and over the same sub-routines), or an effect of the physical process of development, the neurotransmitters, the hard-wiring of synapses. As this work is accomplished (childhood and adolescence) "time" moves slowly, though it accelerates; once it is mostly done, the rate of acceleration increases.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a brain researcher colleague says 'Life is Learned Behaviour Disorder'!

You are absolutely right. Time is yet another sense/signal that we pick out of all the noise, and our perception of time is learned (read 'imposed'). The artificial logistic rhythms of daily life are out of synch with our physiological circadian rhythms, and all the other artificial divisions of time (the working day, meal times, monthly salary etc etc) are in conflict with biological rhythms such as the internal biochemical gradients which influence what might be crudely called moods.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:31:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You are absolutely right."

Isn't he only relatively right?

 Warning: trained physicists and other experts in Quantum mechanics are likely to find the following "trite"--not to mention erroneous.  Proceed with caution!

 Correct me if I'm wrong, won't you?

 Though I agree that "time" as we experience it and use it in language, is a human-construct, it is, nonetheless a construct which references reality.

  Perhaps that, for some, is all that needs to be said to make the point.  But, as I'm the way I am, I'll go on a bit with this.

  Motion and time have a relative quality,  as I vaguely understand it, but not one which excludes an absolute quality to time sequence.   There is, it seems to me, an indisputable absolute quality to the sequence of discrete events; for example: your parents' birth preceded your own; and in no other conceivable construct is something different possible since your existence presupposes that of your parents.

  I think that, unless everything we sense and experience is purely illusory, the figment of an imagination which subsumes all existence within it, then we have very strong grounds to believe that if anything is "objectively" "real", the universe beyond us, apart from us, is also no less real than are we.  Further, if all is illusory, what is it that is experiencing the illusion of reality?

  Thus, "time" is a construct which references a feature of reality--discrete sequential physical phenomena in motions which are relative only to various sets of points of view but not relative when observed from other sets of points of view.

  Or, time and motion can be observed to be seen in a manner that is relative to the observer's point of view.  But that does not mean, as I understand it, that all motion is then merely and only relative in nature and wholly lacking in any sense which can be called absolute.

  Isn't that correct?

  Oh, yes, by the way, I'm skeptical of the idea that for infants--whether pre-natal or post-partum-- "everything is noise", "no signal" at some initial point, unless that point is one which is prior to the development of what I can only describe crudely as a developing brain's "critical mass" of cells, at which point, I'd agree: there's no conscious being at that point in development.  But I suspect that as soon as there is a conscious being, there is something which is more than purely "noise" in sense data--one and probably more "signals", however slight and crude in "content".

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 11:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to blow your mind.

"Noise" comes in 4 designer colors: white, pink, brown, and black.  Depending on the context each of these can either increase, have no affect, or decrease information in a message.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 02:29:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in and of itself is also a message, otherwise it would not be possible to categorize them.

Synapses fire apparently randomly, where no upstream dendritic input appears. Maybe they are just test firing. Clearing their throats. One of the most powerful neural actions is the choir. In a choir, a singer slightly off key is not noticed if there are enough other singers.

The choir effect makes it possible, for instance, to throw a ball accurately where the time window for release is only several milliseconds.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 03:43:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My theory about time is (also non-scientific) that time is an aspect of consciousness. When we change consciousness time-perception changes. In meditation time perception changes, most of the time it tends to slow down like in childhood or even vanish all-together. It becomes a state of being, which I used to have as a child without having to meditate.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 11:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You reason along the same lines as Hawking, who has three "arrows of time":
  • one in quantum physics (which is somewhat reversible in the limit of the CPT symmetries, and so not entirely an "arrow" in the sense of time passing for humans, quantum physics only implies that the time dimension has no cycles, or other topological absurdities - it may still have ends),
  • one in entropy for large systems (which is the one lagerly irreversible on the timescale of "short lived" phenomena like human lifetime),
  • and one in the mind of man, which aligns in direction with the former because the mind is an "Entropy Pump", pumping entropy out of us, and information in, as long as we live.

This explanation is the one that has made the most sense to me.

Pierre
by Pierre on Mon May 29th, 2006 at 06:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to dis Hawking pactually, yes ;-P ], but a more definitive work on the arrow of time is Zeh's The Physical Basis of The Direction of Time.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 04:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Standard deviation is the computed measure of variation within a Set of data.  No variation - no "change" - measured, no standard deviation.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I've never noticed, but are you left handed ?


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:21:59 PM EST
No, why?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was at uni doing electronics, it was noticeable that left-handed people, and left handed men especially, had a much more instinctive grasp of quantum mechanics than the righties. There are genuine brain-physiological reasons for this.

It's a visualisation process, you can build the model in your head in multiple dimensions and appreciate the implications as a real thing, even if mathematically it can only be expressed abstractly.

So I've always taken a view that anybody who studies this beyond degree level is going to tend towards left-handedness.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a geometer at heart, as my next diary will prove.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 07:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ummm, shouldn't you be ferrying boxes of stuff around ? Barbara's gonna kill you if you keep posting whilst you're moving house.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 10:43:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and i'm a geomant...

in italy, a geometra is a land surveyor...and the noun is interestingly feminine...

can't wait for the diary...

geo- anything is cool these days, except geo-politics, i guess, and geo climate change, and geo starving...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But he is sinister... ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 27th, 2006 at 06:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imagine that Voodoo works.  Not just occasionally, but ALL THE TIME.  In the quantum world, it does.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 03:23:32 AM EST
aah, the estimable gaianne returns to bless us!

i missed you...though i enjoy your comments on booman.

glad to have you back, especially with such a cryptically, typically rich comment.

just found your fuller offering about bang vs. whimper on the recent comments page.

yeah, now that's a great post.

welcome back, you're a treat to read...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 05:29:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's one way to put it, but I hasten to point out that quantum mechanics doesn't mean that voodoo works.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 05:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not all voodoo, sure!

somethings you can eat don't nourish, some spells you create don't 'take'......

yet......

doesn't quantum mechanics kinda redefine the word 'work' in physics,
anyway?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed.  Quantum Mechanics does not "prove" voodoo.  It requires its own proof, on its own merits, and that is quite another subject.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just point that out because of crap like What the <beep> do we know, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, The Physics of Immortality, and stuff like that.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 30th, 2006 at 04:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ot, but i wonder why when i refresh the page sometimes the comments have shifted order...

things that make you go hmmm

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 05:42:03 AM EST
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 06:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's because of the comment ratings.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 07:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks...i knew everything has a logical, purely rational explanation!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If only life was so easy to adjust...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 08:44:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, it may be simple, but never easy...

mastery comes the hard way, and reveals itself by making it look easy.

do not adjust your consciousness...there is only a minor programming difficulty....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 01:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Far from playing dice with the universe, it seems to me that maybe God is very busy:  After all, he has to make  . . . billions and billions . . . (sorry about that) of decisions every second, and not only that, make them in such a way that the actuarial tables come out right, so that physicists can't catch him doing it.  

No detached clockmaker here!  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 07:07:20 PM EST
It's all very simple. Light is a wave, but only when it thinks you're not looking. If it does, then it's a particle. Simple, no?
by messy on Sun May 28th, 2006 at 08:32:10 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries

Impeachment gets real

by ARGeezer - Jan 17
11 comments

A Final Warning

by Oui - Jan 10
103 comments

Environment Anarchists

by Oui - Jan 13
4 comments

More Spanish repression

by IdiotSavant - Jan 6
8 comments