## Sunday, November 21, 2010

### Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 53 to 73

Poll 53
Poll 53 - One squared (1^2) equals one. One to the power of three (1^3) equals one. What does one to the power of infinity equal? Poll ended November 29 2009. By far the most popular answer was "One", with 75.3%. "Infinity" was next, with 10.1%, "None of the Above" with 9.3%, and finally "Zero" with 5.3%.

Interesting! Let's look at the most popular answer first. The logic of this seems pretty simple, doesn't it? One multiplied by itself equals one. No matter how many times you multiply it by itself, the answer is one. Right? Right.

But here's the tricky part. Infinity is not a number. So multiplying one by itself an infinite number of times is different from one multiplied by itself a specific number of times. Does that mean the second-most popular answer is correct? Is the answer infinity?

Here's a link that reveals what mathematicians say about this thorny question. The correct answer, it turns out, is that one to the power of infinity is like dividing zero by zero: in both cases, the answer is "indeterminate".

It's worth noting here, though, that dividing zero by zero is not the same as dividing any other number by zero: the first is "indeterminate", the second is "undefined". What's the difference?

Indeterminate means all answers are possible. Here's a link to another mathforum.org discussion about this idea. It explains that the answer to one to the power of infinity could be one, could be infinity, could be undefined... it's indeterminate. One over zero, on the other hand is undefined only.

What's this all got to do with Imagining the Tenth Dimension? Because the zero we start from and the tenth dimension we end up with are indeterminate. Likewise, "before" and "after" the life of our universe is the same underlying state of indeterminacy.

Indeterminate is not the same as undefined, and that's an important distinction. As we've said recently in entries like You Are the Point, What's Around the Corner, and even last time in Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light, the underlying structures of our reality naturally balance everything out, to a place where all the simultaneous possibilities of that indeterminacy add up together into a big beautiful zero of perfect symmetry, where all answers are possible.

I like to call this underlying state the Omniverse. My followup book to Imagining the Tenth Dimension, O is for Omniverse, plays with these ideas in an unusual way, combining easily digestible poems with some stunning visuals created by Marilyn E. Robertson.

Poll 54
Poll 54 - "Speaking purely subjectively, does it feel to you like time is moving faster from day to day now than it did when you were a child?" Poll ended December 15 2009. 82.6% said "Yes", 10.7% said "About the same", and 6.7% said "Slower".

First of all, I'm surprised that almost 7% of respondents said time is moving slower for them now than it did when they were a child. Most of us, as this poll shows, remember what it was like to be 8 years old, starting a school year in the fall, and feeling like next year's summer holidays were far, far away. I'm convinced that this is not just an "I hate school" thing because personally, I loved grade three, Miss Cranch was one of my all-time favorite teachers, I had good friends and learned a lot (hey, that was also the year I first read A Wrinkle in Time!). But oh my, I certainly do remember how thinking a decade, or even a year, into the future seemed like an impossible time-span that would take just short of forever to occur.

As some of you already know from my facebook page, my eldest son Todd and his wife Audra just had a baby girl, so now I'm a grandpa! Where did that time go? Again, looking back from this vantage point it seems like an astonishingly short time ago that Todd was eight years old himself.

Is time moving faster? I created this poll question around the same time that I published what has turned out to be my most-viewed blog entry of all time, Jumping Jesus. That blog talks about the accelerating information stream we all have to deal with as it doubles over shorter and shorter time spans. In the following couple of months, I published entries like Life is But a Dream, Time is in the Mind and Consciousness in Frames per Second which also explored this intimate relationship between our role as observers and our experience of time.

For me, this becomes a relativistic question. If space is accelerating its expansion, and our experience of time is accelerating, and our incoming information flow is accelerating, then wherever you are within that curve becomes your personal experience, what you become acclimatized to. By the time Todd was 8, time was already moving faster for me, as I was then in my 35th year. But Todd's own experience back then was no doubt the same as mine had been, with the months crawling by much more slowly for him. Even though we were both part of the same consensus reality each of us were experiencing it differently.

So, if each of us are experiencing the same (or a similar) reality differently, are there any ways for us to look "outside the system" to say whether things are really changing or if this perceived acceleration is just some strange side effect of the aging process? There's another poll we'll be discussing in a couple of weeks that explores this idea further - it's called "Placebos and our Interface with Reality".

Poll 55
Poll 55 - " 'Lying to Children' is a phrase used to describe the way we sometimes tell overly simplified versions of the truth to children because they're not ready to deal with such complexity. Is Imagining the Tenth Dimension like that?" Poll ended December 31 2009. 55.5% said "Yes", 36.5% said "No, because it's the truth", and 8.0% said "No, because it's wrong".

I had not heard of the phrase "lying to children" before until the original Imagining the Tenth Dimension animation was posted to Boing Boing last August. A commenter named Takuan said "I must accept this charming lie-to-children graciously since I likely won't have the time or opportunity to be taught better".

Here's a link to a blog entry from a few months back written by Bruce Conrad which came up when I googled the phrase "Lying to Children". Bruce describes a high school class who were asked what the sun is made of:

...One classmate raised his hand and proudly proclaimed, "The sun is a big ball of burning gases." He looked around, and we all nodded our sage heads in confirmation.

The teacher went on to explain to us that the sun was not burning gases, but rather a thermonuclear reaction. Fusion to be exact, and as Einstein's famous equation helps us understand, a little bit of gas goes a long way in creating the energy that we receive here on the Earth as heat and light.

That was very interesting, from a scientific point of view. Something even more interesting happened during that class, from a social point of view. Many students were upset that this hadn't been explained to us much earlier. Upset that we had been told the burning gases theory. As one student put it, "They lied to us!" And, we were upset that we had believed it so easily.

But was it a lie? Or was it just a simplification?

Bruce does a good job of explaining the "lying to children" concept: sometimes it's more productive to give students a simplified version of the truth, and as their understanding of the world increases, give them a more accurate version later on.

So is Imagining the Tenth Dimension like that? Looking at the poll results, I'm flattered that over 36% said "No, because it's the truth", because that's what I personally believe as well. I'm also pleased to see over 55% saying "Yes", since I've encouraged people to approach these ideas that way: this is a way to open the door, to awaken people's curiosity, but there's years of hard lifting (intellectually speaking) if you want to really became a physicist, or a string theorist. As I'm always careful to point out, I'm not a physicist, I'm a composer, and therefore the only claim I can legitimately make is that I've come up with a useful visualization tool, one which a lot of other people have found to have interesting connections to their own ways of understanding reality.

In Holograms and Quanta, I remarked that around 2,000,000 page results come up if you type the name of my book in quotes into google. When I made that remark the number was usually just under two million... but coincidentally, I typed that phrase in right now and here's what I just saw:
Two million results! Wow. Are some of those results people who are agreeing with the 8% noted above, saying that my approach to visualizing is just plain wrong? No question. But the large majority, I'm sure you'll find, are people telling each other about how much they liked my original animation, or recommending my project to each other. A few days ago a Youtube user wrote to me to say that my way of visualizing the dimensions is absolutely wrong, and asking why I want to spread such lies. Here's how I replied :
My video shows a way of visualizing spatial dimensions. Some physicists prefer to call the extra dimensions "space-like" but we are still talking about dimensions that are each at a new "right angle" to the one before. I am using a version of the point-line-plane postulate, an accepted way of defining any number of spatial dimensions for the reasoning in my video. Which part do you disagree with? The contention from Kaluza, endorsed by Einstein, that our 4D spacetime is defined at the fifth dimension? The idea that the fifth dimension appears from our perspective to be "curled up at the planck length" but that is because of the granular nature of 4D spacetime? The string theory idea that our universe is constrained by a seven-dimensional brane? The idea that there is an underlying state of indeterminacy from which our universe or any other springs? Please be more specific in your objection.

Every day I hear from students thanking me for making them interested in learning more about physics and cosmology, and that is the intent of the original video: to get people thinking.
This is my 394th published entry into this blog. How do I keep coming up with subjects? Because I keep seeing new connections between other schools of thought and my approach to visualizing the dimensions. Let's go back to Bruce Conrad, who goes on to explain how fables and fairy tales might also be thought of as useful "lies to children". He then ties that into Popperian Cosmology, another term I'd never run across before.

Just last week, in Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light, I returned to the conclusion I reach in my book: there are three systems interacting to create our reality. The first two are just "there" once you move out beyond the entropy-driven limits of our arrow of time:
1. the physical system.
2. the system of ideas and patterns, the meme-system.
3. is consciousness, which interacts through constructive interference to select which parts of the other two systems any of us are witness to at any particular "now"
Popper's 3 worlds
Twentieth century philosopher Karl Popper, it appears, had a similar insight. His system of cosmology proposes that there are 3 worlds interacting:
World 1: the world of physical objects and events, including biological entities
World 2: the world of mental objects and events
World 3: the world of the products of the human mind
For me, this appears to be another great example of the synchronicities of ideas that are just floating out there in the ether, as a great many people seem to be reaching similar conclusions about the underlying processes and structures of our reality. With two million references to my project out there on the internet, I'm excited and grateful to be a part of this new groundswell of understanding.

Poll 56
Poll 56: "With which statement do you more agree? 1. Augmented Reality is a passing fad that will be out of fashion by 2011. Or 2. Augmented Reality is going to become an increasingly important part of our interactions with technology in the years to come."
Poll ended January 15 2010. 20.4% picked "passing fad" while 79.6% chose "increasingly important".

For the last year, my team at Talking Dog Studios have been developing our expertise in Augmented Reality. Over that year, we've been excited to see this field moving from being virtually unknown to becoming increasingly part of the mainstream. But where is it going from here? According to this study published by the University of Singapore, Augmented Reality is going to be a \$14 billion industry worldwide in 2011. Another study also published by the University of Singapore predicts that by 2012, Augmented Reality will be an integral part of gaming, which will cause AR to balloon to a \$68 billion dollar business worldwide!

It's great to see that almost 80% of the people visiting this blog agree that AR is going to be a standard part of people's interactions with their entertainment and their data. In many ways, this connects to an experience people with an iPhone or iPod Touch are going through right now - once you've gotten used to the dual touch interface, being able to zoom in on items and slide them around simply by pinching and sliding your fingers on the screen is infectious. Once people have gotten used to it, we find ourselves wishing that our laptops and even our TVs would let us do the same thing. The film Minority Report showed us a version of what's coming, as we saw Tom Cruise's character being able to interact with his computer interface in ways that are very much part of the Augmented Reality experience that is now becoming a reality.

While Talking Dog is currently working on various retail applications for AR, we are also continuing to put up free sites to let people have fun and show them some of the possibilities. AR is so engaging because it lets you become part of the experience in new and interesting ways. For instance, here's a movie I showed you a couple of weeks ago demonstrating our new site called expandAR which gives people a visual toy blending facial tracking and augmented reality. There are over 300 different ways of messing with people's faces that the website randomly cycles through, and as it does so the site shows you the two-character combination representing the current option being shown. As soon as you want to you can start entering your own combinations, which then lets you stay as long as you want on any particular setting. Try it, it's fun! If you've got a webcam just go to www.expandar.com.

Can you imagine watching a program or a commercial where you see yourself inserted into the action using the approach we're showing here, with your face changing as different things happen to you? So can we!

As a simple proof-of-concept experiment we've just posted a revised version of expandAR: this time, instead of seeing the software messing with their own face, the user sees themselves transformed into four of the characters from Disney's new hit film, Alice in Wonderland. The images used to create this demo are, of course, © 2010 by Walt Disney Pictures.

As you've probably guessed, the pictures here are of me trying out expandar.com/w. If you've got a webcam, head on over there and try it out for yourself!

We've also posted a new blog entry over at the Talking Dog AR blog that goes into more detail about what we see as the possibilities for how film, television, and commercial producers could use this approach to create interesting and entertaining ways to engage their audience.

I hope you enjoy expanding your reality into new and exciting possibilities.

Poll 57
Poll 57: "With which prediction do you more agree? 1. 10/10/10 (October 10th 2010) is going to be a very significant date for our planet. or 2. 10/10/10 will be an unremarkable day."
Poll ended January 30th 2010. 26% said that date will be significant, and 74% said it will be unremarkable.

:-) I just noticed that this poll ended on the 30th day of 2010, a nice little countdown, purely unintentional. But that's what our brains are designed to do, isn't it - look for the patterns within the noise, find the concealed meanings, see which is the approaching predator and which is just the waving grass.

Some people have remarked that 101010 in binary equals 42, a number familiar to Douglas Adams fans as "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything". The idea that October 10, 2010 - 10/10/10 - could be significant, a day when we all find some answers, is an entertaining one to consider. After all these years of talking to people about the tenth dimension, having some sort of climactic event like this occur on that date would certainly be amazing, wouldn't it?

Let's ignore for a minute that 10/10/10 as a date is quite arbitrary - there are any number of counting systems and calendar systems that would assign a completely different set of numbers to that particular rotation of the earth that we're thinking of as October 10, 2010. A quick search on the net showed a few dire predictions, and a few optimistic ones. I like the approach of this hubpages.com web page by paradigmsearch: it leaves things fairly open-ended, and provides some interesting information. It also gets more specific with its poll-question than I did, asking us to predict whether 10/10/10 will be good, bad, or an unremarkable "nothing". As I'm writing this their poll has "good" slightly ahead of "nothing", with a comparatively small number of votes for "bad". Paradigmsearch also provides us with these interesting takes on the 10/10/10 number set:

101010 (base two (binary)) equals 42 (base ten). Oddly enough, this is evenly divisible by the number of days in a week (7 (lucky)); and equally oddly, is also evenly divisible by the number 6 (which is generally designated as being unlucky). Both a Ying and Yang situation seem to be incorporated into this date.

10 (base ten) = 1010 (base two)

(base ten): 10 x 10 = 100

(base two): 10 x 10 = 100

The binary attributes of 101010 lends itself to use by the sciences of fractals (recursive geometric shapes) and chaos theory (the butterfly effect).

In Imagining the Tenth Dimension, we've talked a lot about predictions. One of the very first poll questions I ran at this blog, Poll 4, asked about predictions of the end of the world and how that fits in with Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation. Does the fact that a prediction has not come true before prove that it's not going to happen this time? In my discussion of that poll question, I quoted from chapter 6 of my book:
...But eventually the deadline for all good predictions of the end has to arrive, and like the celebrated Y2K scenario, its promoters are then left looking a little foolish. In the anthropic viewpoint, we can imagine how those people also exist on different timelines where their predictions did come true. The reason we’re here on our current timeline to question what went wrong with their predictions is because on the timeline where they were right, we would no longer be here. Perhaps there were also people in Atlantis, or Mu/Lemuria, or in the ancient sunken ruins off of Cuba or south of Okinawa, who issued dire warnings of impending disaster, and who got to say one last “I told you so” before the end of their civilizations really did come to pass?
Which returns us to one of the more popular songs from the 26-song collection attached to this project. This is a song about how all predictions may come to pass in some part of the multiverse, or in some sliver of the multiple parallel universe landscape predicted by Everett's Many Worlds interpretation: "The End of the World".

So what's my prediction for 10/10/10? I predict that a large number of people are going to wake up on that day with a feeling of well-being and heightened awareness. And if you wake up that day feeling tired and grumpy does that disprove my prediction? Not at all. It will just show that you are observing your own version of the universe, one that is different from all the people who woke up that day feeling better. So if you're not enjoying the journey, ask yourself: why not?

Poll 58
Poll 58 - "Although our universe may effectively appear to be infinite, it is in reality 'finite but unbounded'." Poll ended February 14th 2010.
83.1% agreed, while 16.9% disagreed.

This connects back to Poll 47, which asked "Are We a 3D Sphere on a 4D Hypersphere?". In that entry I said this:
Extra-dimensional spheres are important to all this because they show how our universe could effectively be infinite, but in reality be finite but unbounded. In other words, with each of the dimensions we've been talking about, there are always certain restrictions to that dimension, and you need to move up to the next dimension to move beyond those restrictions.
I returned to this idea in Life is But a Dream, where I said this:
...our Cosmological Horizon is like we're on a boat in the middle of the ocean, except that this boat is not on a 3D sphere like planet earth, it's a finite but unbounded 4D hypersphere - and that's the beginning of a way to imagine how all these hidden connections can start to make sense.
In our four-dimensional universe, it appears that space-time is essentially flat. If it were truly flat, then parallel lines would never meet and our universe would have no boundaries in any direction. NASA's WMAP project has returned results showing that the universe is flat within a 2% margin of error. What does this mean? It means that for most intents and purposes our universe is truly flat. But in the largest picture of all, I believe that the above two ideas are going to be shown to be equivalent - our universe is very close to flat, but there is still a very slight curvature, and the 13.7 billion year "boundary" that cosmology shows us as being our line of time back to the big bang will still show that we are only witnessing a tiny region of a much larger whole, an idea that is central to this project
In An Expanding 4D Sphere, I quoted from the wikipedia article on The Cosmological Horizon, which supports these ideas:
...it has been said that the observable universe is many orders of magnitude smaller than the greater universe that lies beyond the limits of our perception.

Imagine that the entire cosmological horizon is modeled by a sphere that is the diameter of a quarter (24.26 mm in diameter). If Alan Guth's inflationary model of early era cosmology is correct, the universe that lies beyond this “quarter-sized” horizon would conservatively be a sphere as large as the Earth globe itself.
There is still some controversy within the scientific community as to whether or not our universe is absolutely flat, and whether it's truly infinite. It's important to note that for many applications absolute flatness and truly infinite work as approximations, because the curvature we're talking about is so slight compared to the size of our observed universe. Still, I'm very pleased that 83% of the visitors to this blog were willing to accept the proposal that it's actually finite but unbounded, which implies a slight curvature which is creating the 4D hypersphere of our amazing spacetime universe.

Poll 59
Poll 59 -"Pharma companies are wrestling with the fact that placebos have grown twice as effective in drug trials over the last few decades. This is evidence that something is changing about our interface with reality." Poll ended March 2 2010. 61.5% agreed, while 38.5% did not.

This poll began not long after an entry called "Placebos Becoming More Effective?"was published here. If you would like to know more about the evidence surrounding this poll question, please go back and read that entry, I'm not going to repeat myself here because I want to talk about some other interesting connections to this idea.

In Poll 54 - Is Time Moving Faster? we returned to a question that relates to Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems: how can we know everything about the system we're within, when we can't get outside the system to "see it from the outside", so to speak?

This was one of the central ideas within Song 11 of 26 - The Anthropic Viewpoint, which has this verse:
If there’s other worlds then we’ve just missed ‘em
No way to know what’s outside our system
We’re like goldfish livin in a bowl
What’s beyond it we can never know
All we can do is theorize
Cause we can never… get outside, outside
Here's a video for that song, which has proved to be one of my more popular music videos on my youtube channel:

Would the evidence that placebos are becoming noticeably more effective qualify as evidence that we are collectively shifting our reality in some subtle way? That's the crazy idea that I'm proposing here. But since 61% of the visitors to this blog were willing to go along with this as a possibility, maybe it's not all that crazy after all.

Here's some of the other entries where we've talked about Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem over the past few years:
The Anthropic Viewpoint
Everything
Just Ten Things
The Universe as a Song
What's Around the Corner

Poll 60
Poll 60: "The so-called 'dividing line' between the quantum and the macro realms is completely artificial, it is really all part of the same continuum." Poll ended March 17 2010. 93 % agreed, while the remaining 7 % disagreed.

This, of course, is one of the big ones. We keep reading mainstream science articles which suggest that the quantum world is completely separate from the physical world we see around us, but we also keep reading about scientists who have demonstrated quantum entanglement with larger and larger molecules. Where is the dividing line really, and why does it seem to keep moving more and more into our macro world? One of the commonly used arguments is that quantum effects have nothing to do with our "warm and wet" reality: but in entries like Creativity and the Quantum Universe and Holograms and Quanta, I've talked about (and provided links to) new observations and theories which suggest the natural world is using quantum effects for photosynthesis, migratory navigation, and perhaps even consciousness.

In addition, it does seem that this acceptance of a direct connection from the quantum to the macro world is being advanced more and more in leading theories of cosmology. As someone who has been beating that drum with this project for almost four years now, it's great to see the gradual shift in thinking that is happening.

The other part of this idea that I've been proposing, though, still remains to be embraced by the mainstream - in my book and in entries like The Fifth Dimension is Spooky, I've been insisting that the "strangeness" of quantum effects like entanglement and tunneling makes much more sense when we realize that our "now" is in the fifth dimension rather than the fourth. That additional degree of freedom that the fifth dimension provides, with it being at "right angles" to our spacetime, gives us a way to visualize how the spooky action at a distance that Einstein was so uncomfortable with only seems that way when we believe that our reality is confined to the limits of 4D spacetime.

I've talked before about how Einstein eventually embraced the theory proposed to him in 1919 by Kaluza, which says that the field equations for gravity and light are resolved at the fifth dimension for our 4D spacetime. Fully incorporating the implications of that statement into a reality where we realize that our 4D "now" is being observed one planck frame at a time from the wave function of possible paths which the fifth dimension provides gives, in my opinion, an intuitive way to understand the continuum between the the quantum and macro worlds which this poll question was examining.

And as I've been fond of pointing out, this also gives us a way to understand not just Everett's Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, but also why the fifth dimension from our perspective appears to be "curled up at the planck length": it's because of the tiny planck-length frames of the fifth dimension that we are moving within as we observe our 4D spacetime reality.

Poll 61

Poll 61: "Gravitons will never be observed because they don't exist." Poll ended April 2 2010. This one was a dead heat, split perfectly between agreeing and disagreeing. This question relates back to Our Universe within the Omniverse, Holograms and Quanta, and More Slices of Reality; three of the blog entries where we looked at a new theory by Dr. Erik Verlinde of the University of Amsterdam which suggests that just as there are no "liquidons" imparting the quality of liquidity to water, gravity is something that arises naturally from our position within the information that becomes reality: there are no gravitons, according to Dr. Verlinde, and that idea appeals to me as well.

Poll 62
Poll 62 - "Within the multiverse landscape, it will eventually be proved that there are only two basic organizing patterns which need to be locked in to create a universe such as ours: the strength of gravity, and the speed of light." Poll ended April 17th 2010. 38.2% agreed, while the remaining 61.8% disagreed.

This idea of mine, which we looked at in more detail in Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light, is not something you will currently be taught in a university physics class so it's not surprising to see more people disagreeing than agreeing. In light of Dr. Verlinde's theory, though, I am drawn more and more to this being the simple underlying truth: if gravity is defined not by particles but by our position within the multiverse landscape, and is the naturally arising quality which says how much things are drawn together, then the speed of light is what keeps them from collapsing back into the symmetry that exists "before" and "after" our universe. Hence, our next poll question:

Poll 63
Poll 63 - "The speed of light is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once." Poll ended May 3 2010. 63.6% agreed, and 36.4% disagreed.

What do you think, should I be selling t-shirts with this as my new quotable quote? This was a phrase I came up with in Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light. It's fascinating to see how many people accepted this intuitive leap while the corresponding "gravitons don't exist" idea didn't fare so well in these polls. The idea that our reality is not continuous, but instead is divided into planck-length-sized "frames" is central not just to this project but to Holographic Universe theories we've looked at before: our spacetime universe is created by constructive interference at the fifth dimension, and the planck length's intimate connection to the speed of light is part of what makes one universe within the multiverse unique from another. Tying this back to the previous poll, then, gravity is what draws things together, while the speed of light is what keeps these frames pushed apart for the duration of our universe.

Poll 64
Poll 64 - "If you don't believe there's such a thing as free will, then there's no need for you to believe in extra dimensions beyond spacetime". Poll ended May 18 2010. 43.5% said "I agree", 19.1% said "I disagree", and the remaining 37.4% said "the two concepts are unrelated".

As we discussed in recent entries like The 5th-Dimensional Camera Project, Entangled Neurons, and Changing Reality, my concept of our spacetime reality coming from a fifth-dimensional probability space was recently presented to scientists at Oxford by Jon Ardern and Anab Jain. Wonderful news! The acceptance for this project keeps moving forward, and I'm grateful to people like Jon and Anab who are helping to make that happen.

But we're still mid-journey at this point, as this poll question shows. 37% of the visitors to this forum were not willing to accept the premise that the dimensions beyond our 4D spacetime are where we can much more easily make sense of quantum superposition, Everett's Many Worlds, and the spacetime tree of possible outcomes each of us are choosing from moment to moment with our free will. As I've said before, if you believe in the hard determinist viewpoint that everything is an inevitable set of outcomes that were set in motion like a giant clockwork mechanism at the big bang, and that any individual feelings of "choice" are an illusion as inevitable chemical reactions take place in our brains, then I can understand why you believe that the four dimensions of spacetime are all that there is.

Which takes us to the picture which started this blog entry. Are you and I robots, computers running a program that makes us think we have free will but that free will is an illusion? Or are we more like androids, processing the incoming data, formulating responses, consciously and actively engaged in the spacetime tree of our reality at the fifth dimension and beyond? I know what my answer to that question is, for sure.

But if gravity is a force that exists across all dimensions, how does that affect the choices we make and the outcomes we observe? We continue this discussion with an entry called Gravity and Entrainment.

Poll 65
Poll 65: "Is there only one possible ending for our universe? 1. Yes, that's why everything is inevitable and free will is an illusion. 2. Yes, but randomness and free will provide many paths to get to that single ending. 3. No, there are many possible endings." (Poll ended June 2 2010) Only 12% said "Free will is an illusion, while a fairly even split chose the other two responses: 41.5% said "Randomness and free will provide many paths, and 46.5% said "No, there are many possible endings".

My pick from these choices would have been number two, which lost out to number three by a fairly narrow margin. I wonder how many people would have selected number two if blogger's poll function had allowed me to be as wordy as this?
2. There is only one possible final state which lies beyond the "ending" for our universe, and it's the same as just before the "beginning" of our universe: enfolded symmetry. But because there are many possible paths (or "world lines") that we can travel to get to that final state, it may appear from within our spacetime continuum that there is more than one possible "ending", even though that's ultimately not the case.
I would say the original version of answer number two sums this same idea up with less words, but since I myself have used the phrase "one of the many possible endings for our universe" in my original tenth dimension animation, I would be the first to admit that I haven't always made my position as clear as I could have on this topic. Related concepts were explored most recently in my new video for "Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light", which we discussed further in an entry from a few weeks ago called "Cymatics, Gravity and Light".

Poll 66
Poll 66: "The dodecahedron is a fundamental underlying shape to our reality." Poll ended June 18 2010. 61.9% agreed while 38.1% disagreed.

We're going to discuss this idea again next week in an entry called "Extra Dimensional Geometry", as we look at the just published video for a blog entry called "Our Universe as a Dodecahedron".

This question relates to a postulate put forth by Henri Poincaré in 1900 which became a famously difficult problem to solve, with a number of proofs being offered and then rejected throughout the twentieth century. The Poincaré Conjecture should now be more correctly referred to as the Poincaré Theorem since it was officially accepted in 2006 that Grigori Perelman had successfully solved the problem. This was a very big deal in the world of mathematics, although Grigori has refused to accept any of the accolades offered to him for his proof: as the most recent example on July 1st 2010, he turned down the million dollars that had been awarded to him by the Clay Mathematics Institute's Millennium Prize Project for his solution.

For more background about the above poll question, check out this link to an article on the Poincaré Dodecahedral Space.

Poll 67
Poll 67: "All memories are formed during fifth-dimensional branching in our spacetime tree." 73.6% agreed, while 26.4% did not. (Poll ended July 5 2010)

This poll question relates to a blog entry called Entangled Neurons, in which we looked at a new scientific study indicating that quantum entanglement is intrinsic to the process of memory creation. Regular readers of this blog will know that my project tries to get people to accept that quantum effects, often portrayed as being unimaginably strange, make more sense when we accept that they come from the additional degree of freedom offered by the fifth spatial dimension. Please go back and read Entangled Neurons, I don't have anything to add here other than I'm pleased to see that almost three quarters of the visitors to my blog were willing to accept my proposal here.

Poll 68

Poll 68: "Now that some Oxford University scientists have shown support for Rob's concept of our reality coming from a 5th-dimensional probability space, we can see that this idea will one day be embraced by mainstream science." 85.1% agreed, 14.9% disagreed. (Poll ended July 22 2010)

Do the branching world-lines and parallel universes of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation occur within the fifth dimension? That's the big idea my project has proposed. In the video for my blog entry The 5th-Dimensional Camera Project, we see Oxford's Dr. Simon Benjamin showing graphics very similar to the ones from my project: he talks about how our currently observed reality is derived from a branching tree-like structure in the fifth dimension, and those branches are the potential result of a combination of chance and choice. I'm grateful to Jon Ardern and Anab Jain, who showed Dr. Benjamin my original tenth dimension animation.

Is this the thin edge of the wedge? Will more mainstream scientists be starting to embrace my approach to visualizing the extra dimensions, because of the intuitive leaps it allows between previously compartmentalized realms of physics, cosmology and quantum mechanics? Only time will tell. But hey, if time really is an illusion then the world where this has happened already exists within my fifth-dimensional probability space, and all I have to do is find a way to get there!

The next five poll questions were grouped under the topic of "Tangential Thinking".

Poll 69

Poll 69: "Are bees more sixth-dimensional"? Poll ended August 9 2010. 40.5% said yes, while 59.5% said no.

For somebody reading this poll by itself, I realize this must have seemed like a very strange question indeed! My blog entry "Are Bees More Sixth Dimensional" should make the reason for this question more clear. In that entry, we looked at an article about a fascinating theory proposed by Barbara Shipman, a mathematician at the University of Rochester. Dr. Shipman analyzed the complex dance patterns bees use to indicate the position of new sources of food to each other. She discovered that the geometric patterns the bees use in the dance made sense if they were analyzed using a "sixth dimensional flag manifold", an analysis method also useful in solving some of the mathematical problems that arise in dealing with quarks. Please read the entire article, it presents some amazing insights.

In Psychedelics and Spacetime, we looked at Terence McKenna's passionate proposals that primitive creatures were by nature more aware of the extra patterns that are "outside" of our spacetime, and that as organisms like us evolved to become more complex, there was an evolutionary advantage afforded by narrowing our focus down to just the "here" and "now" of our current position within spacetime. Being connected to the cosmic "all" could well be a distraction when what you really need to do right now is focus on the hungry predator hiding just beyond those bushes!

If bees really are using sixth-dimensional geometry to communicate with each other, could this be an example of a creature who found a way to utilize a part of this extra-dimensional awareness that McKenna suggests was actually the more natural mode of existence for living creatures? Could the numerous scientific studies coming out recently indicating that the cells within our bodies seem to be having "conversations" with each other be examples of how the simpler components of a living creature are still more plugged into these extra-dimensional patterns? And might the nearly instantaneous neuronal patterns related to the formation of memory which we looked at in Entangled Neurons also be an indication that we still use extra-dimensional patterns within our brains even if we're not conscious of those actions?

We've talked before about Stephen Hawking's famous quote:
I still believe the universe has a beginning in real time at the big bang. But there's another kind of time, "imaginary time", at right angles to real time, in which the universe has no beginning or end.
What is Hawking's "imaginary time"? I would say that if it's at right angles to our 4D spacetime, then it must be the fifth dimension. While I understand his use of "time" and "imaginary time" to convey these fourth- and fifth-dimensional ideas to the public, they do create some confusion. Calling the fourth dimension "duration" rather than time, and the fifth dimension our "probability space" has been my suggestion for making these concepts more clear, something that we explored in more detail in "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?".

So perhaps Stephen Hawking is more fifth dimensional, but bees do him one better by being more sixth dimensional? An interesting thought!

Poll 70
Poll 70: "New research suggests that the Internet is rewiring our brains to make us jump from topic to topic, not learning deeply about any one idea. Does reading a book allow you to commit concepts to long-term memory more easily than web pages full of hyperlinks?" Poll ended August 22 2010. 61.8% agreed, while 38.2% did not.

Back in early 2008 I published a blog entry called Visualizations, which discussed various approaches to picturing underlying patterns. At that time I had just come across an interesting site called Webpages as Graphs that lets you see how a certain website is connected: just enter any URL and watch what happens. Click on this link if you'd like to see a real-time animation demonstrating how this Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog is currently linked... it's fun to watch the program evolve the image as it searches out all the internal hyperlinks, and to compare the patterns of connectedness from one website to another. For the Tenth Dimension Blog you'll eventually end up with a picture that looks somewhat like this:

Coming across the study this poll is referring to, then, did rock my world a little bit. I have spent the four years since this project launched building an online web of connected links that allow people to wander from one idea to another, and see how ideas that many have thought to be completely unrelated could have deeper connections. The same is true with my YouTube channel - with about 350 videos posted now, a great many of them include on-screen buttons linking to other videos, which some people find very useful, and a few people say they find to be distracting.

Similar studies have shown that people trying to work with noise around them are less likely to be productive, and that includes people who listen to music while they work. A great many people swear that listening to music helps them focus, but these studies appear to contradict that notion.

Is the internet causing us to be more superficial? With facebook groups and twitter feeds, people see an interesting headline and forward the link on to their friends and associates. How many people actually read the story, and how many just glean what the story is probably about from the headline and quickly move on to the next headline, the next tweet, the next posting to their wall?

This is a tricky one. More connectedness, to my way of thinking, has to be a good thing, an important part of our mutual growth as a species. But clearly there are opposing patterns here of which we also need to be aware.

Poll 71
Poll 71: "In the June issue of Scientific American, it said this: 'A function of space plays the role of time. So even though the system as a whole is timeless, the individual pieces are not'. Do you agree with this statement?" Poll ended Sept 14 2010 73.3% were in agreement, while the remaining 26.7% were not.

It's interesting to me that this phrase was accepted by such a large percentage of visitors to this blog, while similar or related proposals in past poll questions have appeared to be more contentious. This dichotomy between thinking of time as a direction, a way of describing change from state, within a larger realm of timelessness is at the center of my approach to visualizing the dimensions. Last week, in Bees and Tangential Thinking, we talked about Stephen Hawking's proposal that there is another kind of time that is at "right angles" to our spacetime. I agree with that idea but again and again I'm confronted with people who are confused about time, spacetime, and how that relates to the fourth spatial dimension. The word "time" has many interpretations! This Scientific American quote that we looked at in this poll question is one way to ease people into the idea that time is a direction, not a dimension, and that time's opposite direction, anti-time, is just as valid within the underlying fabric of reality.

As I like to say, thinking of time without anti-time is like thinking of up without down or forward without backward: you need to consider the two opposing directions to be thinking about a spatial dimension, and thinking about what's beyond the fourth spatial dimension requires tangential thinking.

Poll 72
Poll 72: "Simulism: would you live your life any differently if you knew the reality you're seeing around is really just a gigantic virtual simulation?" Poll ended October 3 2010. 59.4% said yes, and 40.6% said no.

Another completely different example of tangential thinking. People love to play with these "nested Russian dolls" concepts: what if my reality is a dream of some other reality? What if our universe comes from a black hole in another universe, which comes from another black hole, and so on?

In my blog entry on Nassim Haramein, we looked at similar recursive ideas. As part of one of his presentations, Nassim shows clips from a couple of movies: the opening sequence of "Contact", and the ending of "Men in Black", both of which give us graphic ways of visualizing a universe that is embedded in other universes. I've remarked in my book and my blog that the "universe embedded in a rose in an abandoned parking lot" idea from Stephen King's Dark Tower series is another interesting fictional portrayal of this recursive/fractal idea.

But with Simulism, we're generally talking about something that is a more deliberate construct, as opposed to something that just "happened" as a result of the naturally occurring fabric of reality. In chapter four of my book I said this:
From the binary viewpoint, the tenth dimension becomes like the hugest computer memory in the world, containing every possible “0” and “1” that could be combined together to describe every possible universe. The “holodeck” of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame started out as a “simple” virtual reality simulator, but as the writers developed the series, its power appeared to grow to the point where entire universes could be created within its walls. How would a person’s life inside such a world be different from a life in the real world? The somewhat confusing Matrix Trilogy started out with the same clear and profound concept–our experience inside a system capable of simulating every aspect of reality would, to our senses, be indistinguishable from the experience of actual reality.
Which leads us back to the poll question: if you were shown incontrovertible proof today that you are living in a simulation, a virtual world, would you change the way you behaved? 59% said they would change. Fascinating! I want to know more, so a new poll question is running here now to ask people how they would change.

Poll 73
Poll 73: "It turns out that in a certain way the 'Geocentric Model' really was correct - in a very real sense, each of us is an observer at the exact center of our very own version of the space-time universe." Poll ended October 24, 2010. 85.3% agreed, and only 14.6% disagreed.

Think about this question in terms of the previous poll question. If you are an observer, piloting your focused consciousness attached to this collection of atoms and molecules that you call your body as you ride the entropy-driven arrow of time, how much control do you have?

The answer, I hope you'll agree, is more than most of us have been trained to believe. In Changing Reality, we looked at some of the new scientific evidence to support this idea. Here's the video for that entry: