Thursday, January 29, 2015

Playing with Moire Patterns

One of the recurring ideas from this project is how important constructive interference can be in helping to understand how something as complex as a universe could be derived from extra-dimensional patterns of information. How does a hologram work its magic? Through constructive interference. In entries like The Holographic Universe we've looked at the theory that our observed reality is derived from a holographic projection - an interference pattern projected from the fifth dimension.

One of the commonly known versions of this constructive interference effect is known as "Moiré" patterns: one pattern interacts with another, and a third pattern springs forth. So here's an interesting development - my company, Talking Dog Studios, has just released a new app for iOS devices that allows you to play with constructive interference in creative ways. It's called Moire.

A direct link to the above video is at

Moire (pronounced "more-ay") is a visual toy that allows users to interact with this mesmerizing visual effect. The app lets users explore a variety of moiré patterns, with fascinating shapes they can zoom in and out or rotate using their fingers, or modify by tilting their device and seeing these patterns displayed in 3D space. In some cases the app also responds to sound, adding subtle pulsing to parts of the visuals when music is played. Plus, each time you double tap on the screen you are taken to a new combination of patterns.

Here's a link to the app store if you'd like to check it out:

And here's a page on the Talking Dog Studios website about our new app: Moire.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Monday, January 19, 2015

Interstellar - What's Beyond the Fifth Dimension?

Near the beginning of his new book The Science of Interstellar, well-known physicist Kip Thorne defines these terms for us:
Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne seems likely...that our universe is a membrane (physicists call it a "brane") residing in a higher-dimensional "hyperspace" to which physicists give the name "bulk"...
Later on, in Chapter 22, he speculates on what it would be like to be an awareness residing within this "bulk":
If there are bulk beings, what are they made of? Certainly not atom-based matter like us. Atoms have three space dimensions. They can only exist in three space dimensions, not four. And this is true of sub-atomic particles as well. And it is true also of electric fields and magnetic fields... and the forces that hold atomic nuclei together.
Some of the world's most brilliant physicists have struggled to understand how matter and fields and forces behave if our universe really is a brane in a higher-dimensional bulk. Those struggles have pointed rather firmly to the conclusion that all the particles and the forces and all the fields known to humans are confined to our brane, with one exception: gravity, and the warping of spacetime associated with gravity.

So. The world we see around is confined to a 3D brane, but we need the fourth dimension to change from state to state, and Thorne embraces the idea that there is at least one more dimension, a fifth dimension, with which we could be interacting. Beyond that he acknowledges that this extra-dimensional "bulk" probably exists, but as we quoted him to say last entry, "for practical purposes, the number of extra dimensions is really only one".

Confusing? Here's a few key points to keep in mind. If we're talking about our observed reality being derived from ten dimensions, then it's impossible to consider any one of those dimensions without also acknowledging that they are connected to each other, and that each dimension has to be considered a subset of the additional ones if we're going to be consistent in our logic. So the 3D membrane of our universe resides within 4D space-time, which resides within the fifth dimension, and so on. Each additional dimension adds another degree of freedom, a way to get to states not previously accessible, until we get to the place where the potential for every possible configuration exists simultaneously. Reducing the number of dimensions being considered, then, has to represent a paring away, a reduction in possibilities that occurs incrementally as each dimension is removed, and would be a way to see how some other universe with different physical laws could exist within its own unique version of the third dimension: just as real as, but completely inaccessible from, our own version of the third dimension.

This is what's so powerful about the point-line-plane postulate: it gives us a way to start from our universe of three space dimensions, a universe already absolutely mind-boggling in its size and complexity, and visualize how that is only a tiny slice of the possibilities being added with each additional dimension.

Who's There to Greet Me When I Die?
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self is one of my earlier blog entries, from back in July 2007. Here's how I concluded that one:
What does timelessness mean for me? Because time is an illusion, it means that once any of us breaks out of our physical reality, there we will find all the other branches of our sixth dimensional selves, waiting to greet us and compare notes on the journey, and see how everything fits together.
Do you see how this relates to some of Interstellar's more "out there" implications we explored a few weeks ago in Interstellar and Pendulum Clocks? Each of us, when we stop to think about it, must have near misses that could have turned out much worse, minor accidents that could have been major. Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics proposes that all the other versions of the universe where the other different probabilistic outcomes occurred actually do exist, they're just not part of the current version of the universe we're observing. So each of us already have died in some of those previous near misses we can look back upon from today.

If there are ways that awareness can continue on after death, then it stands to reason that the versions of me that were not so fortunate in those past events might still be interested in following along to see "what happens next". So here's an interesting thought: we hear from psychics and near-death researchers all the time about the loved ones that will be there to meet us when we die. But wouldn't it be likely that one group waiting to meet with us, and compare notes on how lucky we were to have lasted as long as we did, be the other versions of ourselves that had already died? What a reunion that would be!

To conclude, here's a video from early 2009 in which we look at some other ideas related to imagining ourselves as viewed from the extra dimensions beyond space-time: "You Have a Shape and a Trajectory".

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Monday, January 12, 2015

Interstellar and Ignoring Dimensions

The Fifth Dimension
Although superstring theory says the bulk has six more dimensions than our universe, there is reason to suspect that, for practical purposes, the number of extra dimensions is really only one.
 - Kip Thorne, from his new book The Science of Interstellar

Why does Kip Thorne - one of the world's most respected physicists - tell us that it's fair game to refer to the fifth dimension as somehow including all of the other dimensions? Can we really ignore the rest, and say that beyond our 4D space-time there is really only one more dimension that matters?

I think this agrees very nicely with my contention that our observed space-time reality is actually being derived from the fifth dimension.

Patterns of Information
Ultimately we're just talking about extra-dimensional patterns of information, and how their configuration has created a unique universe such as ours. As creatures made of atoms and molecules that are confined to a 3D brane using the fourth dimension to change from state to state, most of the interesting stuff for us really is just at the fifth dimension: the dimension which Einstein accepted is where the field equations for gravity and light are resolved, the dimension I insist Everett must have been pointing to when he said his probabilistic "Many Worlds" occur within a sub-space which is orthogonal to space-time.

So what's beyond the fifth spatial dimension?

The point-line-plane postulate tells us that each time we want to get to an additional dimension, we have to imagine a point not found in the current system, the current "dimension" (no matter what you're defining that word to mean). So to get to the sixth dimension as a mental construct, we have to think about the things that would be impossible to observe from the fifth dimensional point that represents our observed reality right here and right now. And as I've said before, if you're thinking about an underlying extra-dimensional form which includes all possible universes, all possible patterns of information, then for us everything up to our version of the fifth dimension includes the patterns that align to create our unique universe, the one we are currently observing, and everything beyond this fifth dimension is a way of thinking about the other patterns that could have aligned to create some other universe different from our own.

Information Equals Reality
Quantum physicists like Seth Lloyd and Anton Zeilenger use this phrase to talk about their work: "information equals reality". Are you and I and the world we see around us really just patterns of information? If that's the case, then I'm proposing that each awareness within this observed reality is just a pattern recognizing itself. And when we back our theoretical viewpoint out to the biggest picture of all, we are seeing an underlying sea of potential information, some of which creates patterns that are static and unchanging, some of which are like you and I: moving patterns that grow and change. All of those potential patterns considered together cancel each other out to become a perfect and naturally balanced symmetry state, and a universe such as ours results from a breaking of that symmetry. Gevin Giorbran described this idea so eloquently in his fascinating masterwork, Everything Forever: Learning to See Timelessness.

Incidentally: in the years since Gevin's untimely death, there has been evidence that this "supersymmetry" notion, at least as physicists have described it up to now, doesn't jive with the underlying structures of our reality being revealed by the LHC. Does that matter? That depends on whether you're willing to look at randomness and chaos as being another way of describing the same "everything" from which our universe or any other is derived. Because whether we came from nothing or whether we came from everything may simply be different ways of describing this underlying information that becomes our reality.

When the Pattern Recognizes Itself
Haven't we all been fascinated to look in the eyes of another living being and glimpse that spark of awareness, perhaps alien to our own but still hauntingly familiar? And isn't the mounting interest in Artificial Intelligence part of this discussion?

In The Imitation Game, we see an amazing performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, no doubt one of the finest actors of his generation. That film, like Her, encourages us to consider the possibility that a machine, a dance of electrons within a collection of circuits, could develop this same kind of awareness: perhaps alien to our own but still hauntingly familiar. The alarm being raised lately by luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk* about the coming dangers of AI may have to be accepted as yet another stage in the evolution of life on this planet.

Life Recognizes Life
The beginning of life in the primordial ooze, I've proposed, can be thought of as an extra-dimensional pattern which recognizes that if it chooses "this path rather than that one" from its fifth dimensional probability space, it will be more likely to continue. Could a "desire for continuance", then, become a handy delineator for saying which things are alive and which are not? If we were able to observe our reality from "outside" the fifth dimension, I believe that these patterns that represent life, awareness, and even those "spooky" connection patterns like the ones we looked at last entry, would be immediately apparent.

Enjoy the journey!


* Edit: just a couple of days after this entry was posted a much larger group of scientists, Hawking and Musk included, published an open letter about the promise and the dangers of AI:

Next Entry - "What's Beyond the Fifth Dimension?"

Monday, January 5, 2015

Interstellar and Pendulum Clocks

Last entry we looked at the book by respected physicist Kip Thorne, explaining the scientific interpretation of the movie Interstellar.  One of the ideas Professor Thorne puts forth is that an entity "outside" of our observed 4D space-time could use gravity to cause seemingly unexplainable actions - like a book mysteriously falling from its shelf - to occur, since gravity is the only force which exerts itself across the extra dimensions. With that in mind, let me tell you a story.
This Christmas our family had an unusual set of occurrences that started the night of December 20th, 2014. On top of the stereo stand in our living room we have an old mantle clock which once belonged to my wife's grandparents. This clock worked faithfully for us for many years, but then at least ten years ago it stopped. Still, we've left it where it was because we like the look of it.

That night we were having a big family supper in the living room when out of nowhere the clock started chiming the hour! We went over to look and sure enough it had started ticking. It went for almost an hour, then stopped.

As a bit of background, we've lived in this house for thirty years. The previous owners converted the double garage to become the living room we were in. Because this room used to be the garage, its floor sits on a concrete pad and is very solid feeling - there is no visible springiness or give to this floor. If there were to be vibrations somehow transmitted to this broken clock that were strong enough to push the pendulum back and forth, one would think that all of the action movies we've watched through a sound system which includes a hefty subwoofer only a few feet away from the clock would have had ample opportunity to activate it, but that has never happened, and there was no activity in the room that night that was any different from many many previous family get-togethers in that same space.

The following night a group of us were just sitting in the room having a chat when the clock started up again, bonged nine times on the hour and again on the half, then stopped once again. But that night my wife had trouble sleeping, was up and down through the night and heard the clock bonging the hours a number of times through the night. When she told me this the next morning I went and looked, and the clock had once again stopped.

The night of the 22nd I decided I'd tell this story to my friends on Facebook, so I went and stood in front of the clock to take the picture you're seeing here. As soon as I took it the clock once again started ticking. As I walked out of the room to tell my wife the clock bonged once, and once again it continued to run for a few hours that evening.

The night of the 23rd, we were again chatting in the room when the clock started up for what proved to be its final performance. On Christmas Eve we had another big family supper and gift opening with our grand-daughters in that room, and this time there was not a peep from the clock, nor has there been any further mysterious activity from it since. It looks like our spooky clock story has come to its conclusion!

Thinking about Professor Thorne's idea of pushing on the "world tube" of a space-time object from the fifth dimension, doesn't a clock's pendulum sound like it would be substantially easier than a book to influence with gravitational force from an extra dimension? I can imagine pendulum clocks all over the world starting and stopping at unexplained times, using this particular effect.

There's so many different kinds of spin we can put on this story. Is there a non-spiritual explanation? No doubt one can be surmised. For me, I'm no expert on pendulum clocks, but my experience with them is they don't start by themselves: you have to give the pendulum a push to get it going. So I have to ask: were we visited by some long-lost family member, happy to see the whole family together? My wife's cousin, a good friend of hers since they were children, spent the Christmas holidays with us for the first time ever. Our sons, their wives, and our granddaughters were all here in town for the big suppers on the 20th and again on the 24th. Who might have been responsible? Perhaps I'll learn the answer when I die. One friend even suggested I should be extra careful in 2015, because perhaps it was my future self come back to warn me about the possibility of an upcoming fatal accident? Wouldn't that make an interesting movie!

The idea that gravity is the only force that exerts itself across the extra dimensions is an important idea I first explored in my book, and again in dozens of videos and blog entries published since. Here's a few:
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self
Living in the Fifth Dimension
Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark Information
Strength of Gravity, Speed of Light
Love and Gravity

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Update: Readers of my facebook feed will know that the clock did start up for a few hours the following year, on Dec 22nd 2015, and once again it was my wife's cousin staying with us.  The following year he did not stay with us, and for Christmas 2016 there was not a peep from a clock. But on December 24th, 2017, it once again started up by itself while my son Mark and his wife Lana were staying with us: this year it ran for about a half hour, chimed once, and went silent once again. Mysterious!

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist