If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Nautil.us)   Every coin flip is a Schrodinger's cat...which probably means the cat lands peanut butter side down   (nautil.us) divider line 40
    More: Misc, Schrodinger, cats, billiard balls, geiger counters, pollen, quantum, Brownian motion  
•       •       •

1696 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Jun 2013 at 11:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



40 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread
 
2013-06-21 11:31:16 AM
 
2013-06-21 11:45:41 AM
That's why Determinism and those who cling fearfully to it are so silly.
 
2013-06-21 11:46:37 AM

Gosling: No, actually. It isn't.

Call whatever side starts out facing up.


My god, a 51/49 split instead of 50/50.

Meanwhile, I didn't tell you beforehand if I'd open palm, or transfer onto the back of my other hand (reversing the result), so your smug superiority over a 2% lead isn't gonna make fark all of a difference in practical terms.
 
2013-06-21 11:49:47 AM
www.twinfinite.net
 
2013-06-21 11:53:32 AM
Technically, there's always an infinitesimally small chance the coin will land on its edge. That's when the quantum cat isn't alive or dead, but just stepped out back for a smoke or to do some asshole cat thing.
 
2013-06-21 12:01:42 PM
"all classical probabilities emerge from quantum probabilities."

duh?  Wasn't it already assumed that all the quantum outcomes make up our reality?  I mean sure, there's a tiny chance that flipping a coil will turn into dog before it lands, but the chance is so small you'd need trillions upon trillions of tosses for trillions upon trillions of years to observe such an effect for all the probabilities to strike upon something other than heads or tails.
 
2013-06-21 12:04:14 PM
Wow, I didn't realize someone can kill kittens that quickly.
 
2013-06-21 12:23:18 PM

DarnoKonrad: "all classical probabilities emerge from quantum probabilities."

duh?  Wasn't it already assumed that all the quantum outcomes make up our reality?  I mean sure, there's a tiny chance that flipping a coil will turn into dog before it lands, but the chance is so small you'd need trillions upon trillions of tosses for trillions upon trillions of years to observe such an effect for all the probabilities to strike upon something other than heads or tails.


>> wasn't it already assumed that.....

Not at first, no. For a long time many scientists weren't sure if quantum weirdness disappeared over the average of trillions of quantum behaviours that make up a macro-scale object. For example, recent demonstrations of entagled large molecules (as opposed to individual particles) are an interesting result that wasn't nessesarily expected nor a sure thing.


>> you'd need trillions upon trillions of tosses...


Perhaps you only need one coin flip, since all possible outcomes overlap. It is simply our linearly bounded perception that keeps us from seeing all the outcomes.
 
2013-06-21 12:27:15 PM
Then doesn't this kick strict determinism in the nuts?
 
2013-06-21 12:35:38 PM

Mad_Radhu: [www.twinfinite.net image 570x320]


I see my work here is done.
 
2013-06-21 12:55:23 PM
I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse. So they next time you get angry at someone and wish they were dead just remember kiddos that somewhere in the multiverse, you killed them.

/I keep trying to escape to that part of the multiverse where I won the billion dollar lottery but it just aint working.
 
2013-06-21 01:01:14 PM

Gosling: No, actually. It isn't.

Call whatever side starts out facing up.


Yeah, and some people who are practiced and careful can (with the catching the coin method) control the outcome reliably. The quantum effects here are negligible.
 
2013-06-21 01:33:42 PM
blog.gilly.ws
 
2013-06-21 01:37:59 PM

worlddan: I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse. So they next time you get angry at someone and wish they were dead just remember kiddos that somewhere in the multiverse, you killed them.

/I keep trying to escape to that part of the multiverse where I won the billion dollar lottery but it just aint working.


Too bad time isn't infinite.  Heat death of the universe would also end time.
 
2013-06-21 01:46:38 PM

Dorf11: some asshole cat thing.


redundancy detected
 
2013-06-21 01:51:54 PM

worlddan: I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse. So they next time you get angry at someone and wish they were dead just remember kiddos that somewhere in the multiverse, you killed them.

/I keep trying to escape to that part of the multiverse where I won the billion dollar lottery but it just aint working.


hmmmm.
If you imagined it, that reality must exist.
Since it exists, you are there (it can't be anybody else).
Congratulations?
 
2013-06-21 02:52:15 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: That's why Determinism and those who cling fearfully to it are so silly.


The Dilemma of Determinism makes most of us Compatibilists.
 
2013-06-21 03:14:52 PM
Buttered Bread has a 50/50 chance, but meat always lands face down.
 
2013-06-21 03:20:05 PM
tchrmurphy.files.wordpress.com
Guildenstern:
Consider: One, probability is a factor which operates *within* natural forces. Two, probability is *not* operating as a factor. Three, we are now held within un-, sub- or super-natural forces. Discuss.
Rosencrantz: What?
 
2013-06-21 03:28:05 PM
It really depends on the flipping technique, which controls the height of the coin and the rate of spin, and the catching technique. The coin's not going to quantum flip-flop against its rate of rotation or anything.
 
2013-06-21 04:13:36 PM

worlddan: I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse. So they next time you get angry at someone and wish they were dead just remember kiddos that somewhere in the multiverse, you killed them.

/I keep trying to escape to that part of the multiverse where I won the billion dollar lottery but it just aint working.


No. Just because something is infinite does not mean all possibilities happen eventually. Even if there are infinite other universes, this is not necessarily so.

Let me put it this way:

There are an infinite amount of numbers between 1 and 2, but none of those numbers are 3.
 
2013-06-21 04:14:32 PM
studs up:

If you imagined it, that reality must exist.
Since it exists, you are there (it can't be anybody else).
Congratulations?


See, that's the story of my lives. I keep telling myself "congratulations" and then look around wondering where all the money is at. What I think is happening is somewhere out there in the multiverse there is a me who is a billionaire lottery winner and I hate all the responsibility that the money brings and so I dream of a life where I am still living in my momma's basement at age 40 without a care in the world.

What drives me nuts is that I can't figure out which of these mes is the bigger dumbass. The lottery winner who is dreaming of the freedom of poverty or the poverty-stricken one who dreams of the freedom of money.
 
2013-06-21 04:18:24 PM

worlddan: I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse.


(1) True, (2) Open question, (3) False.

First of all, just because you can imagine something doesn't mean it's possible, even with some extraordinarily small probability. There *are* rules, you know.

Second, even restricting ourselves to the possible rather than the imaginable: there's no good reason to presume that the universe (or any subsystem of it) will explore every possible state. It could just as easily explore only a finite set of states, cycling between them. Or it might explore an infinite subset of all possible  states. For example, imagine that the rules of physics require charge to be conserved. In that case, the universe will always have the same amount of charge it has now, although there are infinitely many ways to distribute that charge, including annihilation or creation of particle pairs (which leave the net charge unchanged). None of the physically possible states that have a different net charge will ever occur, with any probability at all, regardless of how long you wait, because you can't get there from here.

To really grok this, just spend some time playing the Game of Life, where you'll discover that some "universes" decay into a stable state; some cycle through a finite set; and some march off into the infinite void, leaving behind states that will never be explored. The universe is essentially like a very elaborate Game of Life.

By the way, just to really freak you out: there is a tiny but finite probability that absolutely nothing will ever happen again, starting... right... NOW.

/Let's not talk about the "multiverse". It is a silly word.
 
2013-06-21 04:19:24 PM
Felgraf:

There are an infinite amount of numbers between 1 and 2, but none of those numbers are 3.

You are confusing a universe of infinite numbers with infinite number of universes.
 
2013-06-21 04:29:52 PM

czetie: worlddan: I often think the real lesson of quantum mechanics gets overlooked. If (1) the universe is probabilistic and (2) time is infinite then (3) anything that one can imagine must sooner or later happen somewhere in the mutliverse.

(1) True, (2) Open question, (3) False.

First of all, just because you can imagine something doesn't mean it's possible, even with some extraordinarily small probability. There *are* rules, you know.


Yes and no. Every rule that we currently have once existed in imagination and there is no good reason to believe that what we perceive as the rules today will not seem as antiquated as sailing ships tomorrow. In short, rules change in time. So if time is infinite there are an infinite number of possible rule sets.


Second, even restricting ourselves to the possible rather than the imaginable: there's no good reason to presume that the universe (or any subsystem of it) will explore every possible state.

This is scientific nonsense. And I mean to underline those words. The universe is not alive so it cannot "explore". There is no will, no decision-making force. The only thing a probabilistic universe can to is run through every possible permutation. It must or there is a God. Take your choice.
 
2013-06-21 04:39:29 PM
This is why I use an actual cat instead of coins.
 
2013-06-21 05:09:26 PM

Dorf11: Technically, there's always an infinitesimally small chance the coin will land on its edge. That's when the quantum cat isn't alive or dead, but just stepped out back for a smoke or to do some asshole cat thing.


I always wondered what the actual chances of that happening were, since not only would it have to land on it's edge (which happens rather often) but it would have to survive the subsequent bounces and not fall over. I guess you'd also have to take into account the surface it strikes.
 
2013-06-21 05:14:34 PM

worlddan: Yes and no. Every rule that we currently have once existed in imagination and there is no good reason to believe that what we perceive as the rules today will not seem as antiquated as sailing ships tomorrow. In short, rules change in time. So if time is infinite there are an infinite number of possible rule sets.


No, there aren't. There is no reason to suspect that the rules change in time, even if the real rules are not the approximations we have today.

Furthermore, even if the rules can change, the same argument applies recursively: there is no good reason to presume that the universe will explore all imaginable or even all possible rules. There may be metarules that determine how the rules change (and, yes, turtles all the way down).

Second, even restricting ourselves to the possible rather than the imaginable: there's no good reason to presume that the universe (or any subsystem of it) will explore every possible state.

This is scientific nonsense. And I mean to underline those words. The universe is not alive so it cannot "explore". There is no will, no decision-making force. The only thing a probabilistic universe can to is run through every possible permutation. It must or there is a God. Take your choice.


I'm sorry that you're unfamiliar with this extraordinarily common usage of the term "explore" in science, nor this extremely popular way of describing how a dynamic system can range over a set of states without in any way implying "will" or "intent", although does imply a presumption of intelligence on the part of the reader (or at least a willingness to engage with the actual substance of the argument, rather than trying to strawman it with cheap word games.)

But that aside, there is still no rule that says that a probabilistic universe must run through ever possible permutation, however unlikely. A probabilistic universe "must" do nothing of the kind, even given infinite time. I understand why this is hard to grok, you're by no means alone in struggling with the counter-intuitive things that can happen when you mix infinite trials with probability, but it's true. As a poster above put it, there are infinite number of possible numbers between 1 and 2, but none of them is 3. More subtly, there is an infinite number of rationals between 2 and 3, but none of them is e.

And even that aside, it still requires that time be infinite, which -- as I said before -- is very much an open question.
 
2013-06-21 05:26:01 PM
@The only thing a probabalistic universe can do is run through all possible permutations. It must or there is a God.

Lolwut?
 
2013-06-21 06:06:10 PM

NannerPuss: [tchrmurphy.files.wordpress.com image 480x357]
Guildenstern: Consider: One, probability is a factor which operates *within* natural forces. Two, probability is *not* operating as a factor. Three, we are now held within un-, sub- or super-natural forces. Discuss.
Rosencrantz: What?


do you want to play a game of questions?
 
2013-06-21 06:30:14 PM
i.qkme.me
 
2013-06-21 06:49:30 PM
I'm not sure I agree with "if time is infinite" then all combinations are possible.  I can conceive of a universe where the structure becomes less and less interesting as it expands, where life isn't even possible at some finite point in the future due to heat death, and therefore we don't get all of the interesting possibilities suggested.  As for "anything I can conceive of" - I've got quite an imagination and I think I can easily conceive of things that aren't possible even given every possible configuration of matter and energy.

Even simpler:  Toroidal stars might be a possible configuration but might also never exist even in an infinite universe.

Also, I studied non-linear dynamics at the graduate level, and one of the very first things we learn is that the assumption made in statistical dynamics that things are ergodic is often incorrect.  It's a simplifying assumption that works for most applications, but not every energy state is achieved in most systems.
 
2013-06-21 07:16:25 PM
"often incorrect" was a poor choice
a better statement is that we can't assume ergodicity, even with a large number of particles, unless we have a high enough energy (but even then, the ergodic hypothesis is a simplifying one and not fundamentally "true" - it just allows us to do calculations that turn out to be correct on the whole system)
 
2013-06-21 07:32:09 PM

PirateKing: Then doesn't this kick strict determinism in the nuts?


Strict determinism died in the 1830s.  It's corpse is still kicking everyone who hasn't tried to solve the Navier-Stokes equations for turbulent flows.

/The rest of us are just kicked by turbulence
 
2013-06-21 09:30:59 PM
Experiment or science didn't happen.
 
2013-06-21 10:38:16 PM

kahnzo: I'm not sure I agree with "if time is infinite" then all combinations are possible.


Indeed.
I get so sick of hearing that (and similar claims).
There are infinite numbers between 1 and 2, but you will never find 3.
Some things just aren't possible.
 
2013-06-21 11:27:29 PM

thrasherrr: PirateKing: Then doesn't this kick strict determinism in the nuts?

Strict determinism died in the 1830s.  It's corpse is still kicking everyone who hasn't tried to solve the Navier-Stokes equations for turbulent flows.

/The rest of us are just kicked by turbulence


Not to mention the uncertainty principle
 
2013-06-21 11:32:03 PM
He knows. . .

www.consolegames.ro
 
2013-06-22 12:51:22 AM

Gosling: No, actually. It isn't.

Call whatever side starts out facing up.


you can actually manipulate it so it comes up a whole lot more than 51 percent.  or a whole lot less.  coin flipping can be a skill based activity.  be careful who you flip with.
 
2013-06-22 05:40:46 AM
shiatty article is shiatty.
 
Displayed 40 of 40 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report