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(Forbes)   No matter how unlikely the Universe seems, "improbable" doesn't mean impossible   (forbes.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Dark matter, Universe, Big Bang, Galaxy, Coin flipping, Cosmic microwave background radiation, Redshift, different flips  
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942 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 20 Aug 2020 at 8:54 AM (22 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



35 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-08-20 3:29:13 AM  
Sure, physicists can talk about the probabilities of the universe forming in a way that matches what we see now. That's easy.

But has anyone tackled the calculations of the probability that 2020 would suck this much? MUCH harder!
 
2020-08-20 5:51:02 AM  
Critics of modern cosmology often point to these examples as proof that we've gotten something fundamentally wrong, but that's generally a bad scientific practice

Love it when writers drop this sort of thing in without even a footnote.

I mean, if we're talking scientific practice.... drop some notation
 
2020-08-20 5:54:36 AM  
Edit, because apparently even if you pay Fark lots of dollars, you can't edit:

I was wrong.  Notations were there.
 
2020-08-20 7:19:55 AM  
"No matter how unlikely the Universe seems, "improbable" doesn't mean impossible."

Obviously.

The clearest illustration of this truism is our very existence. It is highly improbable that any given star system will develop a planet which will eventually develop technological life. The chance of that happening can probably be called infinitesimal.

Yet here we are.

We may be a one in a billion shot, or some such miniscule (indeterminate) chance, but even that level of extreme improbability is overwhelmed mathematically by the presence of some sextillion or septillion stars.
 
2020-08-20 8:11:41 AM  
i.ytimg.comView Full Size
 
2020-08-20 8:28:24 AM  
Physics has a way of turning "highly improbable" into "big bada boom".
 
2020-08-20 8:29:51 AM  

NotCodger: But has anyone tackled the calculations of the probability that 2020 would suck this much? MUCH harder!


When a clown is given vital machinery to run, their early errors often take time to compound.

At this rate, we'll all be on fire some time in 2022.
 
2020-08-20 8:58:15 AM  
It's physics - impossible doesn't mean impossible either.  More like "unlikely other than in very rare cases involving specific local conditions, known or otherwise."

/it's why physics can continue to advance as a model
//something impossible happening?  Well obviously some shiat's different
///let's figure out WTF it is
 
2020-08-20 9:12:05 AM  

NotCodger: Sure, physicists can talk about the probabilities of the universe forming in a way that matches what we see now. That's easy.

But has anyone tackled the calculations of the probability that 2020 would suck this much? MUCH harder!


Here, read this:

Significance Junkies by Carl Sagan.
https://publicism.info/science/demon/​2​3.html

Good and bad things come in "streaks".  You've got to accept that once in a while, and recognize that you will remember the bad stuff more than you will the good stuff.
 
2020-08-20 9:27:20 AM  
Just like particles can spontaneously form and disappear by chance...

Before the big bang time was infinite/zero/didn't exist, so you can "roll the dice" an infinite number of times for a singularity to spontaneously form and create the big bang. It seems like it was only possible outcome. Why a possibility space exists in the first place makes by brain hurt.

i.gifer.comView Full Size
 
2020-08-20 9:28:55 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-20 9:31:12 AM  
I'm just popping in to say physicist Brian Greene annoys the hell out of me, and I dont know why. He seems snobbish but not charming like NDT. And no where near as cool as Kip Thorne.

Anyway Hail Sagan.
 
2020-08-20 9:37:56 AM  
This article is a very long-winded way of stating the obvious: we only have an N of 1 with to observe to test our estimates of events that shaped our universe.

Earth may be the only planet on which intelligent life evolved. We have no way of knowing, because it is a very rare event and we can't run accurate simulations to compute statistics.
 
2020-08-20 9:40:40 AM  

Marcos P: I'm just popping in to say physicist Brian Greene annoys the hell out of me, and I dont know why. He seems snobbish but not charming like NDT.


I've met his kids.  They don't want to be scientists.

/You are a fluke of the universe.
//You have no right to be here.
///And whether you can hear it or not
/\/The universe is laughing behind your back.
 
2020-08-20 9:45:19 AM  
Anyway...

SURPRISE!

You exist!

/Bet you didn't see that coming.
 
2020-08-20 9:53:36 AM  
In an improbable universe, the only certainty is that someone will drop in to complain about Ethan's Forbes articles.

/ prove me right, Fark!
 
2020-08-20 10:53:49 AM  

tomasso: "No matter how unlikely the Universe seems, "improbable" doesn't mean impossible."

Obviously.


And if it were impossible, we wouldn't be here discussing it on Fark now would we.
 
2020-08-20 10:54:16 AM  
You are a fluke of the universe
Deteriorata
Youtube Ey6ugTmCYMk
 
2020-08-20 11:04:12 AM  
So all we have to do is calculate exactly HOW improbable, and then give the machine a very strong cup of very hot tea, and we'll create the Heart of Gold out of thin air, right?

/I'll settle for making people's undergarments leap one foot to the left on command.
 
2020-08-20 11:05:05 AM  
Animatronik:

Earth may be the only planet on which intelligent life evolved. We have no way of knowing, because it is a very rare event and we can't run accurate simulations to compute statistics.

There was a time when people thought Earth was the center of the universe.  Once that was proven false, it was the Sun that was thought to be the center of the universe.  Once that was proven false, it was thought the Milky Way was the center of the universe.  Then we learned galaxies are outside the Milky Way.

My point is, every time we thought our place in the universe was unique and special, we learn that we're not all that special.  I would not be surprised if 500 years from now, when we're able to get a probe to another planet, that life is found there.  I would not be surprised to learn, given the proper conditions, life is inevitable.
 
2020-08-20 11:23:51 AM  

Muta: I would not be surprised if 500 years from now, when we're able to get a probe to another planet, that life is found there.  I would not be surprised to learn, given the proper conditions, life is inevitable.


I won't be surprised if we find life elsewhere in our own solar system.  Not intelligent life, but some kind of microbe on one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, living in the water under the ice crust.
 
2020-08-20 11:26:33 AM  

Wave Of Anal Fury: Muta: I would not be surprised if 500 years from now, when we're able to get a probe to another planet, that life is found there.  I would not be surprised to learn, given the proper conditions, life is inevitable.

I won't be surprised if we find life elsewhere in our own solar system.  Not intelligent life, but some kind of microbe on one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, living in the water under the ice crust.


Attempt no landings there.
 
2020-08-20 12:19:33 PM  

Bondith: Wave Of Anal Fury: Muta: I would not be surprised if 500 years from now, when we're able to get a probe to another planet, that life is found there.  I would not be surprised to learn, given the proper conditions, life is inevitable.

I won't be surprised if we find life elsewhere in our own solar system.  Not intelligent life, but some kind of microbe on one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, living in the water under the ice crust.

Attempt no landings there.


encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

ALL THESE CARS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA....
 
2020-08-20 12:22:42 PM  
"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for."

― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
 
2020-08-20 12:24:35 PM  

Muta: I would not be surprised if 500 years from now, when we're able to get a probe to another planet, that life is found there.


I've got some news for you.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of​_​landings_on_extraterrestrial_bodies#Pl​anets

Perhaps you meant exoplanet.

BTW, we could get probes to the closest exoplanets in significantly less time.  Approximately 90 years or so for the closest.

/Nuclear pulse propulsion.
 
2020-08-20 1:19:26 PM  
"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing."

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
 
2020-08-20 1:19:52 PM  
"The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks. How often have you been presented with an apparently rational explanation of something that works in all respects other than one, which is just that it is hopelessly improbable? Your instinct is to say, 'Yes, but he or she simply wouldn't do that."

― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
 
2020-08-20 1:20:59 PM  
"Sherlock Holmes observed that once you have eliminated the impossible then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible."
― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
 
2020-08-20 1:22:36 PM  
Sorry, whenever I hear the words impossible and improbable together Douglas Adams quotes are the first thing to come to mind...
 
2020-08-20 1:22:45 PM  
"When we look at the Universe, we are deliberately examining it for any deviations from our expectations."

This is like in Jurassic Park, the book.  The computers were tracking each dinosaur's whereabouts, but only the finite number it expected to find.   Since they weren't expected to be procreating, the data turned out to be flawed.
 
2020-08-20 2:12:35 PM  
If we look at the Universe and test it for anomalies in a million different ways, we'd expect to find 45,500 of them at 2-σ significance, 2700 at 3-σ significance, 63 at 4-σ significance, and even 1 at 5-σ significance, which is normally considered the "gold standard" for a discovery in physics.

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2020-08-20 3:04:52 PM  
I am always infuriated by people who confuse consequence with goal.  We are a consequence of the structure and physical laws of the universe.  In no way are we a goal of that universe.
 
2020-08-20 3:07:01 PM  

T.rex: "When we look at the Universe, we are deliberately examining it for any deviations from our expectations."

This is like in Jurassic Park, the book.  The computers were tracking each dinosaur's whereabouts, but only the finite number it expected to find.   Since they weren't expected to be procreating, the data turned out to be flawed.


That was piss-poor programming.  But that pissed me off less than this:

We see that velociraptors have a a two-toed footprint, which is correct:

Fark user imageView Full Size


That's Muldoon in the first film tracking the adult raptors.

Dr. Grant comes upon the hatched eggs, and itty-bitty two-toed footprints.

Fark user imageView Full Size


He should be shiatting bricks.  But he's not:

3.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size


He's entranced by the idea.  That's a look of wonder, not a look of "Holy *FARKING* crap, baby raptors means there are adult raptors loose in the park!"
 
2020-08-20 3:24:26 PM  

dittybopper: He's entranced by the idea. That's a look of wonder, not a look of "Holy *FARKING* crap, baby raptors means there are adult raptors loose in the park!"


He was overjoyed that Nature found a way? Or maybe just happy they haven't been eaten yet.
 
2020-08-21 5:54:33 PM  
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