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Edge essays by Steinhardt and others

  1. Jan 5, 2005 #1


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    There was a great one by D. Williamson near the bottom of this page

    And another great one by J. McWhorter, the third from the top of this page

    And somwhere I remember some thoughtful remarks by Paul Steinhardt who is veteran of string and brane research, knows whereof he speaks.
    Yeah, here is Paul Steinhardt. his essay is near the bottom of page 1

    Anybody have other favorites? Please give the page number to make it easy to find.

    Oh yes there is Philip Anderson of course
    Peter Woit commented on him here
    the NY Times picked his essay up, and I made a separate thread
    which now has some related links contributed by another poster
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2005
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  3. Jan 5, 2005 #2


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    Interesting to see Smolin come out as a relationalist. And one who expects physics to be fundamentally non-local.
  4. Jan 5, 2005 #3
    I looked at Smolin's predictions first. I would be interested in whogot looked at first. Marcus seems to have voted for Steinhardt.

    Smolin said something very interesting which I had not known:

    "Hbar, the fundamental constant of the universe that measures the quantum uncertainty, is related to N, the number of degrees of freedom in the universe. A reasonable conjecture is that Hbar is proportional to the inverse square root of N."

    Can someone tell me why it is not the cube root of N?
  5. Jan 5, 2005 #4


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    holographery? (that is a kind of reflexive unthinking will guess response, Y, i dont have any reason to back it up)

    ((a black hole deg. of frdm ,some think, live on a surface surrounding it))

    I imagine you thought the same but asked "can someone tell me why" because you wanted someone else to voice the speculation

    You were curious about who got read first
    I looked at the majority and read quite a few before I got around to Carlo and Lee.
    I think that LQG that they have so parented is making much progress and is an exciting field (it is a practical size---some 100 papers a year) and growing-----so call me a Loop fan. But I was not breathless to read Carlo and Lee Edge.org essays.

    I was far more eager to read the essays of people whose thinking I was entirely unfamiliar with and who might surprise me.

    I was bowled over by Steinhardt because he has done string/brane work and he was clearsighted and didnt mince words. I felt he was staring hard. reality in the face and being highly articulate.

    I was also really excited by Donald Williamson idea of how the Cambrian explosion came about 500 or 600 million years ago. It has puzzled people for years and DW has what looks like such an imaginative idea, a daring idea, of what was going on. And it doesnt invoke some Darwin Ex Machina stage device like Snowball Earth. And I was intrigued by McWhorter's picture of ancient Indonesians having Hobbits for house-servants, and that influencing the development of the Keo language on Flores island---so bizarrre. I was reading thos things before I even realized there were essays by Loop-folk Smolin and Rovelli.

    Some people I would have expected to be interesting were not, like Freeman Dyson, at least to me. I liked John McCarthy BTW, cant say why tho. As yet my reaction to Edge essays quite chaotic and nearly random, hope this answers your question, apologies if doesnt.
  6. Jan 5, 2005 #5
    Mandelbrot- and of course Ray Kurzweil

    It's good to read Alexander Vilenkin's post about the infinity of the universe:

    "...we have an infinite number of regions like ours and only a finite number of histories that can play out in them. It follows that every possible history will occur in an infinite number of regions. In particular, there should be an infinite number of regions with histories identical to ours. So, if you are not satisfied with the result of the presidential elections, don't despair: you candidate has won on an infinite number of earths. "

    this is some self-evident stuff that people are starting to realize now- it's just mind-numbing stuff that makes you realize how weird existence is
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2005
  7. Jan 5, 2005 #6


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    there was somebody in there who reminded me of you setai
    a music and AI person
    dont remember his name or what he said
    I thought for a moment maybe he was you
  8. Jan 9, 2005 #7
    "What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?"

    My answer...

    Our brain projects the minds eye onto a 4d spacetime fabric that is only a small part of the multi dimensional reality. Due to strategic dependence on initial conditions at our conception we subjectively interpret different aspects of the same mind and project that independently and that this one mind exists in a compactified dimension of string theory.
  9. Jan 10, 2005 #8


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    RingoKid, as mathematicians sometimes tell, "we live in momentum space, we see configuration space".
  10. Jan 10, 2005 #9
    if only time stood still...eh ???
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