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(New Scientist)   String theory may limit threat from Boltzmann brains - conscious entities that randomly pop into existence in outer space   (newscientist.com) divider line 95
    More: Hero, string theory, Boltzmann, Boltzmann brain, speed limits, History of the Universe, modeling, mathematical analysis, entities  
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4353 clicks; posted to Geek » on 22 May 2013 at 4:44 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-22 03:40:53 PM
I wish they would randomly pop into the politics tab.
 
2013-05-22 03:43:51 PM
www.startrek.com

Amused and not a little bit concerned.
 
2013-05-22 03:44:32 PM
The big brain am winning! I am the greetest! Mwa-ha-ha-ha! I must now leave Earth for no raisin!
 
2013-05-22 03:51:33 PM
I guess that means no one has to do the nasty in the pasty.
 
2013-05-22 03:57:36 PM
24.media.tumblr.com

Relieved
 
2013-05-22 04:04:58 PM
They would all have to be outnumbered by the Boltzmann Penii.
 
2013-05-22 04:52:56 PM
I'm very relieved we're safe from that thing I've never heard of until just now.
 
2013-05-22 04:53:46 PM
Brain and brane what is brane?
 
2013-05-22 04:54:54 PM
i50.tinypic.com 

"What really killed the dinosaurs?"
"ME!"
 
2013-05-22 04:56:02 PM

phimuskapsi: [i50.tinypic.com image 500x375] 

"What really killed the dinosaurs?"
"ME!"


Damn you!

/shakes tiny fist
 
2013-05-22 04:59:17 PM

New Farkin User Name: phimuskapsi: [i50.tinypic.com image 500x375] 

"What really killed the dinosaurs?"
"ME!"

Damn you!

/shakes tiny fist


Wait, nevermind, you were beaten too. All glory to  I_Can't_Believe_it's_not_Boutros!
 
2013-05-22 05:00:37 PM

New Farkin User Name: phimuskapsi: [i50.tinypic.com image 500x375] 

"What really killed the dinosaurs?"
"ME!"

Damn you!

/shakes tiny fist


One of my favorite Futurama episodes ever.

"Remember that Scooty Puff Junior suuccccccccckkkkks"
"In 1000 years I'll get right on it"
 
2013-05-22 05:01:34 PM
Makes me wonder if the Futerama space brains were inspired by this, given the nerd level of their writing staff....
 
2013-05-22 05:01:55 PM
But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.
Also, I just don't understand how it breaks physics if our point of view isn't the dominant one for all eternity. That wasn't explained well
 
2013-05-22 05:09:35 PM
I MUST NOW LEAVE EARTH FOR NO RAISIN!
 
2013-05-22 05:10:17 PM

Felgraf: I MUST NOW LEAVE EARTH FOR NO RAISIN!


Augh damnit i missed that I'd been beaten to this.
 
2013-05-22 05:10:19 PM
It's the same logic that says a million monkeys working on a million typewriters will replicate the complete works of Shakespeare, if you leave them long enough.

So utterly wrong. Good, okay.
 
2013-05-22 05:13:01 PM
I can't believe nobody has referenced Futurama yet.
 
2013-05-22 05:23:02 PM
There's a lot of head scratchingly bizarre implications of quantum physics but that might just be the wackiest.
 
2013-05-22 05:27:42 PM
Ascher and time's arrow?

shot.
 
2013-05-22 05:29:10 PM
Mentor of Arisia would like a word with you, to discuss his Visualization of the Cosmic All.
 
2013-05-22 05:29:42 PM

NkThrasher: Makes me wonder if the Futerama space brains were inspired by this, given the nerd level of their writing staff....


Pretty sure they said on one of the commentaries that it was.
 
2013-05-22 05:33:07 PM
BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANES
 
2013-05-22 05:34:15 PM

Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.
Also, I just don't understand how it breaks physics if our point of view isn't the dominant one for all eternity. That wasn't explained well


Exactly what I came here to say (only better worded than I would have managed).  This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

Hell, if you get down to it, our point of view isn't even the dominant one on Earth, today.  That'd be insects or bacteria probably, depending on what you consider a "point of view."  That starts to get pretty subjective and murky in that we don't really have a good picture of what sentience is in the first place.

But anyway, I digress, none of this seems to have any importance to Physics.  It might be interesting in Philosophy I suppose, but only barely IMHO.
 
2013-05-22 05:39:57 PM

Abner Doon: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.
Also, I just don't understand how it breaks physics if our point of view isn't the dominant one for all eternity. That wasn't explained well

Exactly what I came here to say (only better worded than I would have managed).  This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

Hell, if you get down to it, our point of view isn't even the dominant one on Earth, today.  That'd be insects or bacteria probably, depending on what you consider a "point of view."  That starts to get pretty subjective and murky in that we don't really have a good picture of what sentience is in the first place.

But anyway, I digress, none of this seems to have any importance to Physics.  It might be interesting in Philosophy I suppose, but only barely IMHO.


It's enough to throw one into an existential crisis. Or at least start off a good old fashioned bender.
 
2013-05-22 05:44:40 PM
String Theory: The first religion spawned by science.
 
2013-05-22 05:47:14 PM

neongoats: Abner Doon: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.
Also, I just don't understand how it breaks physics if our point of view isn't the dominant one for all eternity. That wasn't explained well

Exactly what I came here to say (only better worded than I would have managed).  This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

Hell, if you get down to it, our point of view isn't even the dominant one on Earth, today.  That'd be insects or bacteria probably, depending on what you consider a "point of view."  That starts to get pretty subjective and murky in that we don't really have a good picture of what sentience is in the first place.

But anyway, I digress, none of this seems to have any importance to Physics.  It might be interesting in Philosophy I suppose, but only barely IMHO.

It's enough to throw one into an existential crisis. Or at least start off a good old fashioned bender.


One reason is as good as another.

Space brains, right before the endless void that everything will become.

Drinking time!
 
2013-05-22 05:47:57 PM

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Mentor of Arisia would like a word with you, to discuss his Visualization of the Cosmic All.


Now that is an old-school reference.  I applaud you.
 
2013-05-22 05:49:22 PM

child_god: neongoats: Abner Doon: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.
Also, I just don't understand how it breaks physics if our point of view isn't the dominant one for all eternity. That wasn't explained well

Exactly what I came here to say (only better worded than I would have managed).  This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

Hell, if you get down to it, our point of view isn't even the dominant one on Earth, today.  That'd be insects or bacteria probably, depending on what you consider a "point of view."  That starts to get pretty subjective and murky in that we don't really have a good picture of what sentience is in the first place.

But anyway, I digress, none of this seems to have any importance to Physics.  It might be interesting in Philosophy I suppose, but only barely IMHO.

It's enough to throw one into an existential crisis. Or at least start off a good old fashioned bender.

One reason is as good as another.

Space brains, right before the endless void that everything will become.

Drinking time!


Combine that with the bit released last year of the discovery of vast nebulae of alcohol and I think we can guess why they never made it...
 
2013-05-22 05:50:55 PM

nmemkha: String Theory: The first religion spawned by science.


Even though others have moved on to sexier Unifying Theories, I personally still cling desperately to Everett's MWI.

Only because it's my best hope that in one of the branches, somewhere, somehow, I'm *not* screwing everything up.

/also my cats mandate it
 
2013-05-22 05:55:39 PM
"This means that, over the entire history of the universe, it is the Boltzmann brains' experience of the universe and not ours that is typical. That's a problem, because the starting point for our understanding of the universe and its behaviour is that humans are typical observers. If we are not, our theories begin to look iffy. "

URH?

Okay, this pretty much proves that physicists really do need to get outside, more. IT DOES NOT MATTER if a different frame of reference for entirely different creatures might lead to different theories. ALL theories, if they are truly scientific, are merely provisional. ALL scientific theories are inherently "iffy".
 
2013-05-22 05:55:46 PM

phimuskapsi: New Farkin User Name: phimuskapsi: [i50.tinypic.com image 500x375] 

"What really killed the dinosaurs?"
"ME!"

Damn you!

/shakes tiny fist

One of my favorite Futurama episodes ever.

"Remember that Scooty Puff Junior suuccccccccckkkkks"
"In 1000 years I'll get right on it"


Scooty-Puff Jr. "Who's ready for safe fun?"

Scooty-Puff Sr. "The Doom Bringer"
 
2013-05-22 05:57:57 PM

nmemkha: String Theory: The first religion spawned by science.


Absolutely not true. Animism, magic, alchemy, and standard religion are all based at a fundamental level on attempts to explain repeated observations.
 
2013-05-22 06:31:59 PM

Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.


The lower the level of available energy, the slower the thinking process. Because absolute zero is never reached, the brains will simply think more and more slowly, until the twilight of the Universe is encompassed by a single thought never quite being finished.
 
2013-05-22 06:34:36 PM
i0.wp.com
 
2013-05-22 06:34:56 PM

Abner Doon: This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.


That's partly because the theory itself doesn't make any sense. It's based on a horrible misunderstanding of very basic probability theory. The most remarkable thing is how widespread the fallacy is among otherwise-intelligent people.

The argument goes like this:

1) There are two possibilities: the universe is real, as we observe it; or I am a Boltzmann brain, observing (i.e.dreaming) an imaginary universe.

2) If Boltzmann brains actually exist, they and their imaginary universes must eventually hugely outnumber real universes

3) Therefore, if someone observes a universe and if observers are distributed randomly across people and Boltzmann brains, it's overwhelmingly likely that any randomly selected observer is really a Boltzmann brain,

4) In general, I should prefer the explanation that does not require my observations to be special, therefore I am (probably) a Boltzmann brain, because most observers are.

Now, you may think that reasoning is so absurd that I just made it up/cribbed it from Douglas Adams to make the advocates of Boltzmann brains look silly. But I didn't. That really is the argument.

There are so many things wrong with this reasoning that it's hard to know where to start, but what it basically boils down to is this: It makes no sense to argue for probabilities when you have a sample size of one. The logic in step 4 -- sometimes called the Copernican principle -- works pretty well for astronomers a lot of the time; but not always. For example:

-- There are lots of solar systems, until proven otherwise we should assume ours is pretty typical (probably true, although binary systems with planets are looking to be more common than once thought)

-- There are lots of stars, we should assume ours is average (true, at least for the class of stars ours belongs to)

-- There are lots of galaxies, ours should be average in size, shape, and position relative to other galaxies (largely true)

BUT you can't reason like that about the whole universe, not even if you pretend that infinitely many other universes might possibly exist, because by definition you only get the one universe. And, like my son in kindergarten, "you get what you get and you don't get upset". Maybe the universe is "unlikely" in some abstract space of possible universes, but if so, that's just what it is.

If you spin a roulette wheel once and it comes up with zero, you don't conclude that the wheel is rigged; you conclude that it's impossible to draw conclusions from one spin of the wheel.
 
2013-05-22 06:36:42 PM
Most models of the future predict that the universe will expand exponentially forever. That will eventually spawn inconceivable numbers of Boltzmann brains, far outnumbering every human who has ever, or will ever, live.

Actually no, because if we accept the idea of an eternal, exponentially expanding universe, then eventually, somewhere, the exact right situation for creating humanity will be duplicated as well.
 
2013-05-22 06:37:08 PM

Silly_Sot: Okay, this pretty much proves that physicists really do need to get outside, more. IT DOES NOT MATTER if a different frame of reference for entirely different creatures might lead to different theories. ALL theories, if they are truly scientific, are merely provisional. ALL scientific theories are inherently "iffy".


Only because there are subjective. Everything is.

It is possible that we may be completely wrong about everything. We do not possess the ability to jump outside our skulls - outside human perception, reasoning, and comprehension of the natural world and its faculties - and truly observe the Universe on a completely impartial level. Everything we know comes to us through biased human filters. Even things we think are universal absolutes, like logic, math and physics - they're all human constructs: Human tools created by humans and used by humans to understand human perceptions of the Universe in human terms that humans can understand, for the benefit of humanity. We may be way off with all of this and never know it. The true answers may never be knowable, but that's okay because our current observations are the best guesses we got. Just because we can't count to infinity is no reason to stop counting.

Of course, this level of banal thinking leads to Solipsism and that's a dangerous caveat. Down a dark and lonely road it lies.
 
2013-05-22 06:49:26 PM
What if they already came about, and the Gods were them?
 
2013-05-22 07:03:57 PM

theorellior: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.

The lower the level of available energy, the slower the thinking process. Because absolute zero is never reached, the brains will simply think more and more slowly, until the twilight of the Universe is encompassed by a single thought never quite being finished.


"Now where did....I put.... my.....gla...ss...e........."
 
2013-05-22 07:04:19 PM

Ishkur:  Just because we can't count to infinity is no reason to stop counting.


That's what they all say.  But the truth is somewhere after the 2.3*10^108th prime number is the passcode that opens opens a non-euclidian geometric portal to Azathoth's alarm clock.
 
2013-05-22 07:06:40 PM
sounds like we need further work on brane scans.
 
2013-05-22 07:11:47 PM

Mad_Radhu: Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.


Probably. But some wouldn't die.
Gee, haven't you heard of evolution? Obviously it applies to brains that pop in from nowhere.
 
2013-05-22 07:28:47 PM
This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?
 
2013-05-22 07:29:15 PM
Oh right. Teleportation and traversing the universe in seconds is laughably improbable, but people take quantum string theory and Boltzmann brains seriously.
 
2013-05-22 07:31:26 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


It's all about quantum states. Your enchilada exists both in a burned and no burned state at any given time. Observation and microwave radiation collapse reality into the burned state just to piss you off.
 
2013-05-22 07:32:30 PM
I wonder if they could beg a few more questions, besides the ones about the nature of consciousness and the nature of the universe.
 
2013-05-22 07:32:50 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


you need to correct for the relativistic effects of the microwaves.  as the enchilada's speed approaches the speed of light, its mass increases, thus you need to heat longer, but at a slower speed, man

also, is it possible that Jesus could heat a burrito so hot, that even he himself could not eat it?
 
2013-05-22 07:34:06 PM

docmattic: theorellior: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.

The lower the level of available energy, the slower the thinking process. Because absolute zero is never reached, the brains will simply think more and more slowly, until the twilight of the Universe is encompassed by a single thought never quite being finished.

"Now where did....I put.... my.....gla...ss...e........."


The correct answer is "Oh no, . . . . not . . . . . ag . . . a . . . i"
 
2013-05-22 07:38:24 PM
a. My mind is totally blown.
b. Thanks for putting it all into perspective with trivial pop culture references.
 
2013-05-22 07:38:24 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


The physics approach: "To start with, let's assume your burrito is a sphere..."
 
2013-05-22 07:40:29 PM

czetie: Abner Doon: This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

That's partly because the theory itself doesn't make any sense. It's based on a horrible misunderstanding of very basic probability theory. The most remarkable thing is how widespread the fallacy is among otherwise-intelligent people.

The argument goes like this:

1) There are two possibilities: the universe is real, as we observe it; or I am a Boltzmann brain, observing (i.e.dreaming) an imaginary universe.

2) If Boltzmann brains actually exist, they and their imaginary universes must eventually hugely outnumber real universes

3) Therefore, if someone observes a universe and if observers are distributed randomly across people and Boltzmann brains, it's overwhelmingly likely that any randomly selected observer is really a Boltzmann brain,

4) In general, I should prefer the explanation that does not require my observations to be special, therefore I am (probably) a Boltzmann brain, because most observers are.

Now, you may think that reasoning is so absurd that I just made it up/cribbed it from Douglas Adams to make the advocates of Boltzmann brains look silly. But I didn't. That really is the argument.

There are so many things wrong with this reasoning that it's hard to know where to start, but what it basically boils down to is this: It makes no sense to argue for probabilities when you have a sample size of one. The logic in step 4 -- sometimes called the Copernican principle -- works pretty well for astronomers a lot of the time; but not always. For example:

-- There are lots of solar systems, until proven otherwise we should assume ours is pretty typical (probably true, although binary systems with planets are looking to be more common than once thought)

-- There are lots of stars, we should assume ours is average (true, at least for the class of stars ours belongs to)

-- There are lots of galaxies, ours should be average in size, shape, and position relative to other galaxies (largely tr ...


www.gwthomas.org

Dreaming you say?

\hotlinked and not mine
 
2013-05-22 07:41:10 PM

LrdPhoenix: docmattic: theorellior: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.

The lower the level of available energy, the slower the thinking process. Because absolute zero is never reached, the brains will simply think more and more slowly, until the twilight of the Universe is encompassed by a single thought never quite being finished.

"Now where did....I put.... my.....gla...ss...e........."

The correct answer is "Oh no, . . . . not . . . . . ag . . . a . . . i"


"What do you get.... when you multiply... six by....ni...n......."
 
2013-05-22 07:42:49 PM
Yes, but it's approaching the same likelihood of spacetime spontaneously coalescing into chesterfield sofas or a mountain of fried eggs.
 
2013-05-22 07:45:40 PM
This thread involves so much thinking, it makes me want to throw myself at the ground until I miss it.
 
2013-05-22 07:57:22 PM

czetie: Abner Doon: This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

That's partly because the theory itself doesn't make any sense. It's based on a horrible misunderstanding of very basic probability theory. The most remarkable thing is how widespread the fallacy is among otherwise-intelligent people.

The argument goes like this:

1) There are two possibilities: the universe is real, as we observe it; or I am a Boltzmann brain, observing (i.e.dreaming) an imaginary universe.

2) If Boltzmann brains actually exist, they and their imaginary universes must eventually hugely outnumber real universes

3) Therefore, if someone observes a universe and if observers are distributed randomly across people and Boltzmann brains, it's overwhelmingly likely that any randomly selected observer is really a Boltzmann brain,

4) In general, I should prefer the explanation that does not require my observations to be special, therefore I am (probably) a Boltzmann brain, because most observers are.

Now, you may think that reasoning is so absurd that I just made it up/cribbed it from Douglas Adams to make the advocates of Boltzmann brains look silly. But I didn't. That really is the argument.

There are so many things wrong with this reasoning that it's hard to know where to start, but what it basically boils down to is this: It makes no sense to argue for probabilities when you have a sample size of one. The logic in step 4 -- sometimes called the Copernican principle -- works pretty well for astronomers a lot of the time; but not always. For example:

-- There are lots of solar systems, until proven otherwise we should assume ours is pretty typical (probably true, although binary systems with planets are looking to be more common than once thought)

-- There are lots of stars, we should assume ours is average (true, at least for the class of stars ours belongs to)

-- There are lots of galaxies, ours should be average in size, shape, and position relative to other galaxies (largely true)

BUT you can't reason like that about the whole universe, not even if you pretend that infinitely many other universes might possibly exist, because by definition you only get the one universe. And, like my son in kindergarten, "you get what you get and you don't get upset". Maybe the universe is "unlikely" in some abstract space of possible universes, but if so, that's just what it is.

If you spin a roulette wheel once and it comes up with zero, you don't conclude that the wheel is rigged; you conclude that it's impossible to draw conclusions from one spin of the wheel.


Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?
 
2013-05-22 08:07:17 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


Ask a lowly engineer. Scientists are concerned with more important matters, like space brains.
 
2013-05-22 08:11:09 PM
Really?  I'm the first?

slurmed.com
 
2013-05-22 08:20:16 PM

czetie: Abner Doon: This article doesn't appear to make any sense at all.

That's partly because the theory itself doesn't make any sense. It's based on a horrible misunderstanding of very basic probability theory. The most remarkable thing is how widespread the fallacy is among otherwise-intelligent people.

The argument goes like this:

1) There are two possibilities: the universe is real, as we observe it; or I am a Boltzmann brain, observing (i.e.dreaming) an imaginary universe.

2) If Boltzmann brains actually exist, they and their imaginary universes must eventually hugely outnumber real universes

3) Therefore, if someone observes a universe and if observers are distributed randomly across people and Boltzmann brains, it's overwhelmingly likely that any randomly selected observer is really a Boltzmann brain,

4) In general, I should prefer the explanation that does not require my observations to be special, therefore I am (probably) a Boltzmann brain, because most observers are.

Now, you may think that reasoning is so absurd that I just made it up/cribbed it from Douglas Adams to make the advocates of Boltzmann brains look silly. But I didn't. That really is the argument.

There are so many things wrong with this reasoning that it's hard to know where to start, but what it basically boils down to is this: It makes no sense to argue for probabilities when you have a sample size of one. The logic in step 4 -- sometimes called the Copernican principle -- works pretty well for astronomers a lot of the time; but not always. For example:

-- There are lots of solar systems, until proven otherwise we should assume ours is pretty typical (probably true, although binary systems with planets are looking to be more common than once thought)

-- There are lots of stars, we should assume ours is average (true, at least for the class of stars ours belongs to)

-- There are lots of galaxies, ours should be average in size, shape, and position relative to other galaxies (largely true)

BUT you can't reason like that about the whole universe, not even if you pretend that infinitely many other universes might possibly exist, because by definition you only get the one universe. And, like my son in kindergarten, "you get what you get and you don't get upset". Maybe the universe is "unlikely" in some abstract space of possible universes, but if so, that's just what it is.

If you spin a roulette wheel once and it comes up with zero, you don't conclude that the wheel is rigged; you conclude that it's impossible to draw conclusions from one spin of the wheel.


I'm that guy that pisses and moans about there only being one solar system and we're in it.
 
2013-05-22 08:20:52 PM

PonceAlyosha: nmemkha: String Theory: The first religion spawned by science.

Absolutely not true. Animism, magic, alchemy, and standard religion are all based at a fundamental level on attempts to explain repeated observations.


Maybe, but those were all created with ignorance of the Scientific Method.

ST was made "using" it.
 
2013-05-22 08:33:45 PM
Duh. Isn't that what the Zohar is for?
 
2013-05-22 09:01:55 PM

gnosis301: Duh. Isn't that what the Zohar is for?


Don't mess with the Zohar.
 
2013-05-22 09:10:41 PM
So is string theory back to not being bullshiat again?
 
2013-05-22 09:12:02 PM

AngryDragon: Really?  I'm the first?

[slurmed.com image 600x639]


No, you're not.

Does that answer your question?
 
2013-05-22 09:16:32 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


In order to microwave an enchilada, first you must create the universe.
 
2013-05-22 09:22:34 PM

NkThrasher: Makes me wonder if the Futerama space brains were inspired by this, given the nerd level of their writing staff....


It's not like they're scientists.  It's just a bunch of engineers.
 
2013-05-22 09:22:46 PM

Iluvbeer: This is the sh*t these otherwise incredibly smart people are spending their time on?  Space brains and infinity?  How about focus on this: My frozen enchiladas say to microwave them "8-9 minutes", but after I microwave them for five, the edges as burned.  What cooking time is correct?


Wait, now we are getting into the mathematics of wanton burrito meals...you don't want to get into that, it's too complex.
 
2013-05-22 09:47:40 PM

FuturePastNow: So is string theory back to not being bullshiat again?


No, it's still mostly bullshiat. But right now it's the most prolific theory out there and unfortunately, as much as I admire scientists, they have a serious problem with letting go once a theory they like gains traction.

Until it's actually conclusively disproven, a sadly large majority are gonna keep beating that dead horse. It's the whole "God exists because you can't prove he doesn't" argument.
 
2013-05-22 09:50:39 PM

OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?


No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.
 
2013-05-22 09:56:56 PM

Esroc: FuturePastNow: So is string theory back to not being bullshiat again?

No, it's still mostly bullshiat. But right now it's the most prolific theory out there and unfortunately, as much as I admire scientists, they have a serious problem with letting go once a theory they like gains traction.

Until it's actually conclusively disproven, a sadly large majority are gonna keep beating that dead horse. It's the whole "God exists because you can't prove he doesn't" argument.


The good news is that it's on the decline, if appointments in academia are any indication. A good (mostly lay-readable) source for keeping up on the topic is Peter Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong
 
2013-05-22 10:00:55 PM
Darn Daleks!
 
2013-05-22 10:20:06 PM

czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.


I'd chip in to that kick starter
 
2013-05-22 10:26:34 PM
Well, it would have to.  A theory that didn't account for the lack of spontaneously-generated space brains currently observed would not fit the known data set, i.e. it would be demonstrably incorrect from the start.

Any physical theory has to at least push the frequency down low enough that it's believable that the lack of observed phenomena falls reasonably within the error range of current observations.  This does not just apply to space brains, it applies to every known phenomenon... the initial failure of early quantum theory to account for Newtonian physics holding sway at the macro-scale was the major reason other scientists thought it was probably just silliness (it was widely accepted once this was corrected, thanks Heisenburg et al.).
 
2013-05-22 10:29:32 PM

czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.


To be fair, though, he is a pretty cool cat.
 
2013-05-22 10:30:42 PM

czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.


There are a couple of different series on youtube that are also attempting to do this, and in other fields as well.

/dftba
 
2013-05-22 10:50:39 PM
Has anyone referenced Futurama yet?

theinfosphere.org
 
2013-05-22 11:04:56 PM
bios.weddingbee.com
 
2013-05-22 11:05:50 PM
Infinity doesn't mean infinite possibilities.
There are infinite numbers between 1 and 2, but you will never find 3.
 
2013-05-23 12:06:40 AM
doofusgumby:
I'm that guy that pisses and moans about there only being one solar system and we're in it. i.imgur.com
But Haruhi knows there are other solar systems.
 
2013-05-23 12:52:36 AM
Good discussion on Boltmann brains among other things at:

preposterousuniverse.com
 
2013-05-23 01:11:22 AM

praxcelis: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Mentor of Arisia would like a word with you, to discuss his Visualization of the Cosmic All.

Now that is an old-school reference.  I applaud you.


I was going to make a reference to Olympus/Ilium, something involving Achilles and Shakespeare and robots since the whole brane/brain thing plays a major part in those stories, but I've been out-geeked by a mile.  Well done.
 
2013-05-23 01:41:16 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Good discussion on Boltmann brains among other things at:

[preposterousuniverse.com image 332x500]


Great book.
 
2013-05-23 01:50:06 AM
But maybe the Boltzmann brains can help us against the Inhibitors...
 
2013-05-23 02:14:46 AM
OK, so say that assuming string theory is correct the observable universe points to an absurd amount of Boltzmann brains compared to evolved ones.  Naturally, you'd have to assume that you are one of them statistically speaking.  But if this is so, and the universe you're observing is an illusion or false memory, then the observable universe isn't real and you really don't know what ratio of brains is actually out there.

Personally I think we're all a a high level sim.
 
2013-05-23 02:27:18 AM

czetie: No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.


Howard Bloom has you covered.
 
2013-05-23 02:53:50 AM
Can we have another thread for people who are unfamiliar with Futurama?
 
2013-05-23 03:30:46 AM

LDM90: Can we have another thread for people who are unfamiliar with Futurama?


i.qkme.me
 
2013-05-23 06:07:41 AM

KawaiiNot: Darn Daleks!


doctorher.com
 
2013-05-23 07:16:07 AM
Are these brains from Arous?

/Have they checked Mystery Mountain?
 
2013-05-23 09:39:50 AM

docmattic: theorellior: Mad_Radhu: But wouldn't the expansion of the universe and growing entropy eventually limit the formation of these entities and their lifespan? Yes, maybe quantum mechanics somehow makes it possible for a fully formed mind to pop out of the quantum foam, but one it appears it will probably "die" because of a lack of energy to process.

The lower the level of available energy, the slower the thinking process. Because absolute zero is never reached, the brains will simply think more and more slowly, until the twilight of the Universe is encompassed by a single thought never quite being finished.

"Now where did....I put.... my.....gla...ss...e........."


Hey, who turned out the lights?
 
2013-05-23 09:43:38 AM

FuturePastNow: So is string theory back to not being bullshiat again?


The deus ex machina of science.
 
2013-05-23 09:45:15 AM

OceanVortex: czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.

I'd chip in to that kick starter


It's already been done:
mattcbr.files.wordpress.com
api.ning.com
 
2013-05-23 10:45:15 AM

Running a-puck: czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.

There are a couple of different series on youtube that are also attempting to do this, and in other fields as well.


Yes there are, and some of them are very good indeed. I've played around with different media, e.g. animation or stop motion (Lego minifigures demonstrate how relativity works!), but I'm not going to attempt it unless I convince myself that I can really bring something new, e.g. how thermodynamics is like pointillism...
 
2013-05-23 10:47:35 AM

StrangeQ: OceanVortex: czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.

I'd chip in to that kick starter

It's already been done:
[mattcbr.files.wordpress.com image 377x500]
[api.ning.com image 381x500]


By a funny coincidence, I am often compared to Stephen Hawking. But not favorably.
 
2013-05-23 12:48:40 PM

czetie: OceanVortex: Once again, proving you are my favorite farker.

Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

No, but I am seriously thinking about writing a book called "Physics for Smarties". Aimed at people with an arts/humanities background and an interest in science, it will attempt to give an understanding of modern physics without math but also without descending into "isn't schrodinger's cat AWESOME?!?" silliness.


I will admit I *have* found schrodinger's cat useful for explaining how/why quantum entanglement DOESN'T allow for FTL communication. (Two 'entangled cats: If I open my box and find my cat alive, it means the other MUST be dead. But if I *kill* my cat, it doesn't cause the other one to spontaneously return to life. We just now have two dead cats). But yeah, otherwise schroedinger's cat, I think, often just confuses people. Which, admittedly, was sort of the point, since I believe it's original creation was schroedinger attempting to explain why the probablistic version of quantum mechanics (and the necessary super-position state) HAD to be absurd and wrong. (WHOOPS, IT'S NOT)

But yeah, I too dream of being the next Bill Nye or some such. Good luck!


.

Begoggle: Infinity doesn't mean infinite possibilities.
There are infinite numbers between 1 and 2, but you will never find 3.

Ah damnit I was going to post that-I like using that exact same phrasing to explain how there can be different subsets of infinity.
 
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