Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Evidence for Seeing the Future?

A direct link to the above video is at

A direct link to the above video is at

The above video accompanies a text blog published in June, called "Gravity and Entrainment". If gravity is the only force that exerts itself across the extra dimensions, and my supposition that quantum effects will eventually be proved to be more easily understood because these "spooky" actions are occurring as a result of patterns of connectedness across the extra dimensions, then what are the implications?

Here are two recent science news stories that may relate to this. The first is an article published in November in New Scientist, written by Peter Aldhous, and titled "Is This Evidence that We Can See the Future?". Here's a few paragraphs about a new research paper:

The paper, due to appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology before the end of the year, is the culmination of eight years' work by Daryl Bem of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. "I purposely waited until I thought there was a critical mass that wasn't a statistical fluke," he says.

It describes a series of experiments involving more than 1000 student volunteers. In most of the tests, Bem took well-studied psychological phenomena and simply reversed the sequence, so that the event generally interpreted as the cause happened after the tested behaviour rather than before it.

In one experiment, students were shown a list of words and then asked to recall words from it, after which they were told to type words that were randomly selected from the same list. Spookily, the students were better at recalling words that they would later type.

In another study, Bem adapted research on "priming" – the effect of a subliminally presented word on a person's response to an image. For instance, if someone is momentarily flashed the word "ugly", it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if "beautiful" had been flashed. Running the experiment back-to-front, Bem found that the priming effect seemed to work backwards in time as well as forwards.

I invite you to read the whole article. This study is not without its detractors, but Dr. Bem insists that proper scientific protocols were followed, and the fact that the paper has been accepted for publication indicates that at least some other experts agree.

Now, here's another New Scientist article that was published five days later, written by Justin Mullins, and titled "Quantum Time Travel: Black Hole Not Required". It discusses new papers published by quantum computing expert Seth Lloyd, who we've talked about a number of times in this blog.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory, there is no objective reality until a measurement is made. But we are beginning to learn that even that reality may be a moveable feast: the past state of a quantum particle has no more reality than its future state. Which is why post-selection has an effect. In other words, everything is up for grabs. In theory, the post-selection process could even change the entire history of the universe.

Lloyd and Aephraim Steinberg, of the University of Toronto, Canada, say this peculiar property of the quantum world might be the key to a working time machine. Our daily experiences tell us that the conditions given at the beginning of an experiment will determine its outcome. But if quantum particles can't discriminate between things that affect them forward and backward in time, that means specifying a final condition can determine what happens before it. "Mathematically, there's no reason why final conditions can't be 'givens' as well and everything has to follow logically from them," Steinberg says.

It is exactly this sort of thinking that led physicists Charles Bennett at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, New York, and Ben Schumacher at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, to suggest that quantum mechanics could be used to build a time machine by making use of quantum teleportation, a phenomenon that has been demonstrated experimentally countless times. The process exploits a curious quantum property called entanglement, by which two particles, such as photons, become so closely linked that they share the same existence. Entangled particles are special because a measurement on one immediately influences the other, no matter how far away it is.

Now imagine that you want to teleport a third space-travelling particle from A to B. The trick is to make a pair of entangled particles and place one of them at A and one at B, then carry out a set of measurements at both locations. If you do this just right, you can use this "spooky action at distance", as Einstein called it, to ensure that the second particle ends up in a state that is exactly the same as the "space traveller".

In fairness, the traveller hasn't physically moved, but the quantum information that completely describes the traveller has made the trip instead and this allows the second particle at B to take on the traveller's identity.

I'm hoping that the possible connections I'm seeing between the above two articles are clear. We've talked about the past being just as open-ended as the future many times before in my book and in this blog, here are a few other entries on that topic:

Local Realism Bites the Dust
The Past is an Illusion
The Biocentric Universe
The Biocentric Universe Part 2
The Long Undulating Snake
The Flexi-Laws of Physics

Next time, we'll continue this discussion as we look at the fascinating theory that bees appear to be able to perceive the sixth dimension, and the predictions that the LHC may finally confirm the existence of extra dimensions in 2011.

My prediction is that my next entry will be called Bees and the LHC. :)

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

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