Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Polls Archive 59 - Placebos and our Interface with Reality

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:

A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du86lNCvOdA

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
Just Ten Things
The Universe as a Song
What's Around the Corner

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: We'll look at one more poll question: Polls Archive 60 - Quantum and Macro a Continuum?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Top Ten Tenth Dimension Blogs - March Report

Previous lists:
. April 08 . May 08 . June 08 . July 08 . August 08
. September 08 . October 08 . November 08 . December 08 .
. Top 100 Blog Entries of 2008 . May 09 . June 09 . July 09
. August 09 . September 09 . October 09 . November 09 .
. December 09 . Top 100 Blog Entries of 2009 .
. January 10 . February 10 .

Based upon number of views, here are the top blogs for the last thirty days. As always, the number in brackets is the entry's position in the previous month's report.
1. Holograms and Quanta (new)
2. expandAR - Augmented Reality (new)
3. More Slices of Reality (new)
4. Gimme the News (new)
5. Poll 54 - Is Time Moving Faster? (new)
6. 3 Books That Could Change Your Life (new)
7. My Computer is My Friend (new)
8. Forty Below (new)
9. Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light (new)
10. Poll 53 - One to the Power of Infinity (new)

And as of March 26th, 2010, here are the twenty-six Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog entries that have attracted the most visits of all time. Items marked in bold are new or have risen since last month.

1. Jumping Jesus (1)
2. Creativity and the Quantum Universe (2)
3. What's Around the Corner? (3)
4. An Expanding 4D Sphere (5)
5. Just Six Things: The I Ching (6)
6. Augmented Reality (4)
7. Mandelbulbs (10)
8. Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation (9)
9. The Holographic Universe (7)
10. Slices of Reality (8)
11. Poll 44 - The Biocentric Universe Theory (11)
12. Poll 43 - Is the Multiverse Real? (12)
13. Alien Mathematics (13)
14. Seeing Time, Feeling Colors, Tasting Light (15)
15. When's a Knot Not a Knot? (16)
16. The Quantum Solution to Time's Arrow (17)
17. Urban Garden Magazine (14)
18. Beer and Miracles (20)
19. The Big Bang is an Illusion (19)
20. Poll 46 - Big Bang an Illusion? (21)
21. Modern Shamans (18)
22. Norway's Reverse Deja Vu (25)
23. The Comedian (22)
24. Scott McCloud and the Brothers Winn (23)
25. The Shaman (24)
26. Polls Archive 45 - Conscious Computers? (new)

Which means that this worthy submission is leaving our top 26 of all time list this month:

Our Non-Local Universe (26)

By the way, if you're new to this project, you might want to check out the Tenth Dimension FAQ, as it provides a road map to a lot of the discussions and different materials that have been created for this project. If you are interested in the 26 songs attached to this project, this blog shows a video for each of the songs and provides more links with lyrics and discussion. The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video provides another cornucopia of discussion topics to be connected to over at YouTube. And as always, here's a reminder that the Tenth Dimension Forum is a good place to converse with other people about these ideas.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 59 - Placebo
s and Our Interface with Reality

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Polls Archive 58 - Finite But Unbounded?

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 The Holographic Universe, I talked about this in more detail:
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.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 59 - Placebos and Our Interface with Reality

Monday, March 22, 2010

Polls Archive 57 - Will 10-10-10 be significant?

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".

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2Y9m34iJVY

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?

Rob Bryanton

Next: Polls Archive 58 - Finite But Unbounded?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Polls Archive 56 -What's Augmented Reality's Future?

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.

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FToeYWCAoYk

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.

Rob Bryanton

Next: Polls Archive 57 - Will 10-10-10 be significant?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Polls Archive 55 - Lying to Children

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.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Polls Archive 56 - What's Augmented Reality's Future?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Polls Archive 54 - Is Time Moving Faster?

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".

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 55 - Lying to Children

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Polls Archive 53 - One to the Power of Infinity

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.

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjR69ddBK78

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 54 - Is Time Moving Faster?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC0XUTsKQwU

I've talked many times about Gevin Giorbran, who asked me to take over the promotion of his masterful book Everything Forever: Learning to See Timelessness after his death. In a blog entry about time-reversal symmetry called Scrambled Eggs, I showed this graphic from Gevin's book:
This is the beautiful yet simple idea which Gevin proposed - that ultimately the reality we see around us is the result of two kinds of order pushing against one another. From within our entropy-driven arrow of time, we perceive the greatest grouping order to be the highly ordered "big bang" (or whatever phrase you prefer to use to describe the beginning of our universe), and we perceive our universe to be moving away from that beginning towards a highest possible entropy "ending" for our universe. What Gevin made clear is that this "ending" is really just another kind of natural balance, the greatest possible symmetry order state for our universe.

Understanding reality from the perspective of timelessness ties so beautifully into the digital physics "information equals reality" concept I keep returning to. It requires us to jump outside our limited "arrow of time" viewpoint and recognize that those two kinds or order, and all of the states that transition from the one kind of order to another, exist simultaneously.

Like water naturally finding its level, these two kinds of order are a part of nature. Like a scale with one 10 kilogram weight on one side and ten 1 kilogram weights on the other, these two kinds of order are really just two ways of describing the same thing, which is why "before" and "after" the existence of our universe is also really identical when you view this all from the perspective of timelessness.

Dynamic Tension
One thing pushes against another thing, and from that a third thing arises. This is also another way of thinking about constructive interference patterns and the holographic nature of our universe. Such ideas appeal because they speak to the scientific need to find nature's structures and show how the incredible complexity of our observed universe arises from relatively simple underlying structures and patterns. This also speaks to quantum mechanics - the idea that in the underlying quantum structures of reality, there can be one state, an opposite state, and a third in which both states exist simultaneously. Like yin and yang pushing against each other to create a holistic "one", this approach to understanding reality is as ancient as it is leading edge.

Where Does Gravity Come From?
Last time, in Holograms and Quanta, we looked at a new cosmology framework recently proposed by Dr. Erik Verlinde of the University of Amsterdam, which suggests that gravity is a property that naturally arises from our reality, rather than being a force which is transmitted. He likens gravity to the liquidity of water: there is no "liquidon" particle that transmits this quality of liquidity from one water molecule to another. In the same way, this would mean there is no "graviton" particle transmitting gravity throughout our universe - this theoretical particle would never be observed because it doesn't exist (we're running a poll question about that idea here at this blog right now, what do you think?).

In the New Scientist article about Dr. Verlinde's approach, it states that gravity arises from entropy, which might give the impression then that since the highest level of entropy is at the "ending" of our universe, gravity must come from the future! I would say that such a conclusion ignores the underlying timelessness that is the truer picture of our reality. I would like to propose an approach that relates to both Gevin's ideas and Dr. Verlinde's.

Gravity is the natural organizing principle where things tend to be grouped together. Dr. Verlinde's approach says that in a probabilistic universe, there is a higher likelihood of two large objects like a planet and its sun to be attracted to each other rather than repulsed.

What is Time?
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once." This well-known phrase, attributed variously to Einstein, John Wheeler, and Woody Allen, makes us wonder a similar thing about space here - if gravity is a natural outcome of the probabilistic nature of our universe, then why isn't the most likely outcome that everything is gradually collapsing to a single point? There must be some other organizing pattern that is keeping everything apart. While dark energy is often used to explain what is causing the accelerated expansion of our universe, I'm sticking to my supposition that eventually both dark matter and dark energy will be shown to be caused by the extra-dimensional effects of gravity, coming from the other universes and the other organizing structures that are "outside" of our spacetime.

So what's the force that pushes against gravity? If gravity is drawing things together, what is pushing things apart, keeping them from collapsing into a single point? With this project, I'm proposing that it's the speed of light. In entries like How to Make a Universe and What's Around the Corner?, we've talked about how, in the multiverse landscape of all possible universes, we could move from one position to another and be moving through different values for these two constants. Selecting a different strength of gravity and a different speed of light would result in some other universe completely different from our own. Many of those would be unstable or short-lived or completely static, but in some the dynamic tension between those two forces would be balanced in a way to allow interesting patterns to emerge in the same way that our universe has.

In entries like You Are the Point and More Slices of Reality I've suggested the frame rate defined by the planck length for our universe could be thought of as being akin to a strobe light - when a strobe flashes at certain rates, it reveals interesting patterns in other repeating structures. Since the speed of light defines the size of the quanta --the granularity-- of our 4D spacetime, that would mean the planck length would be shorter if we were in a universe with a slower speed of light, and so on. Perhaps, then, it would be more accurate to say that "the speed of light is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once"? That's what I'm suggesting.

And, just as Dr. Verlinde suggests that gravity arises naturally, I am suggesting the same thing for the speed of light. Moving through the multiverse landscape would be moving through different values for these two fundamental organizing patterns, and everything else about our universe or any other, would arise from that selected position. How "sticky" and how "granular" are the resulting patterns going to be across all the dimensions as defined by a particular position within the multiverse landscape? Will they be balanced in a way that allows interesting things like a universe to emerge?

The Dynamics of Creation
So. One thing pushes against another thing, and out pops a third thing. When that third thing is consciousness, an observer such as you or I, we are back to the conclusion I reached in my book: that ultimately there are three organizing patterns interacting with each other, two of which are just "there" within timelessness, and a third which is actively engaged, through constructive interference, in the process of ongoing creation. This places each and every one of us within our own version of a cosmic dance that creates the beautiful universe that we are each observing right this very instant.

And if you're not enjoying the journey... why not?


Next: Poll 53 - One to the Power of Infinity

PS - These "three patterns interacting" we're talking about here tie in an interesting way to Karl Popper's Three Worlds. We're going to talk about Popperian Cosmology in a poll question we're looking at in about ten days about whether Imagining the Tenth Dimension can be compared to "lying to children".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holograms and Quanta

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nhcUQ27X1E

Here we are on the way to the fourth anniversary of the July 2006 launch of this project, currently there've been about five and a half million unique visitors to my website. The original animation, posted at revver.com, is now at almost 1.4 million views and has climbed to within thirty of being that site's most-watched video of all time. That same animation at youtube is also well on its way to a million views, and googling the title of my book in quotes, "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" reveals around 2 million separate references to my project on the net. Wow!

So, with all the chatter that's been out there, we have some naysayers who have proclaimed my project to be a scam, to be completely wrong, even to be dangerous! Some of these attacks have been downright vicious. What prompts such outrage? Part of it is a knee-jerk reaction: "this is not what I learned so it must be wrong". I guess the phrase "a new way of thinking about time and space" doesn't mean anything to those people. Meanwhile, more and more people keep seeing ways that this approach to visualizing the dimensions can be aligned with their own understanding of reality, and that's why the audience for this project continues to grow.

This time around, let's talk about the "person observing the waveform" as seen in the above graphic from my animation, and look at some of the new theories and new discoveries that are gradually moving the mainstream towards my "new way of thinking"

Two important ideas are represented in the above graphic.

1. The idea that the quantum and the macro worlds are in some way completely separate, and that there is a dividing line where we are either in one realm or the other, is starting to fall by the wayside. Demonstrations of quantum entanglement and superposition with increasingly large molecules move us towards understanding that this is a continuum, and research indicating that algal photosynthesis and even migratory birds' navigational abilities are using quantum effects argue against the old idea that our "warm and wet" macro world is completely separate from the quantum one. Advances are also continuing in quantum computing - did you hear that Google is now demonstrating a quantum computing system that can recognize and sort individual images by their content? More and more, visualizing the underlying wave structure of our reality is essential to our understanding of what we are observing.

2. The idea that there is something holographic about our reality, with the fifth dimension holding the many different possible states for our universe, and interference patterns causing one version or another to be observed at any particular instant is also going through a resurgence. In the 1970s, both Stephen Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein explored holographic approaches to cosmology. Michael Talbot's popular 1991 book The Holographic Universe created much excitement about the work of physicists David Bohm and Karl Pribram, both of whom had also independently come up with holographic models, but that excitement seemed to be overshadowed as string theory and then M Theory became the dominant research models over the following years. Still, the idea didn't go away, with notable physicists like Juan Maldecena, Leonard Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft suggesting important holographic concepts during the 90s. In this blog we've talked about a number of holographic universe theories that have been advanced in the last few years, and some of these models do incorporate quantum mechanics and string theory. Last week, in More Slices of Reality, we mentioned an exciting new approach from string theorist Erik Verlinde of the University of Amsterdam which explains gravity using a blend of string theory, quantum mechanics, holograms, and the key idea that when you look at the underlying structures of our universe, information equals reality.

In the New Scientist article on Dr. Verlinde's new approach, they sum it up like this:

"Like the fluidity of water, gravity is not ingrained in matter itself. It is an extra physical effect."
To which I would add, if there are parts of the multiverse where gravity is stronger, than we could liken that part of the multiverse landscape to syrup rather than water, and perhaps we could liken low gravity regions to water vapor.

One of the side effects of Dr. Verlinde's approach would be to disprove the need for the theoretical graviton particle. I am currently running a poll question here about that idea: will the graviton ever be observed?

If you read the above article, you will see the suggestion that with this new approach gravity and thermodynamic entropy are related. Since there is more entropy in the future than the past, would that mean that gravity comes from the future? Again and again, I return to Einstein's proposal that the distinction between past, present, and future is ultimately meaningless. I think this article on Dr. Verlinde's approach could have used a good dose of that timelesness in its analysis: eventually, I believe, it will be shown that gravity comes from both the past and the future simultaneously. That will prove to be related to the fifth dimensional probability space that we are navigating within, where the past is as fluid as the future, but some events are more likely than others to occur or to have occurred. Understanding that information equals reality requires us to think about the space where everything that can occur does occur, simultaneously, outside the constraints of our 4D spacetime. This also requires us to understand that any events that are currently impossible for our own version of our universe must reside outside of our fifth dimensional probability space.

Dr. Verlinde's approach has attracted at a lot of initial attention, although he cautions people to understand that this is not a fully developed theory yet, but is offered as a framework that should now be explored. This is something I've always said about my approach to visualizing the dimensions as well: I have offered it to the world as a framework for discussion, and a great many other people around the world have enjoyed playing with these ideas.

Next: more about the underlying ideas to my approach: Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

PS - You should follow me on twitter here.

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist