Discussion Board

Topic: Some musings

From: Jeff
Location: MI, US
Date: 10/29/2008

Hello Greg!

I've enjoyed your work over the years, and am somewhat awestruck that you are so accessible on this forum... but I'll try to get over that!

I recall that you had worked on an advisory council for space policy. I'm not sure what your contributions were, but I'm sure they were positive, so thanks for your efforts there!

In "Footfall"(Niven, Pournelle), there is an advisory council composed of some sci-fi authors; do you think you were written in as a character there?

One of the themes that struck me most(and for others as well I'm sure) from reading "Moving Mars", was the idea of information being at the base of universal functioning. For me this has helped place my mind in the universe; perhaps allaying some existential angst. It may be, that at the limits of our ability to understand, what we can describe about all in the universe, at it's most basic level, is that all is information. What has gone before, and all that is yet to come, is information. Ahh, just trying to fend off solipsism...

I kind of wonder if in "Cyber Way"(Foster), they were accessing the Bell Continuum as well...

Along a different line, perhaps, I think of the Riverworld(Farmer) series. "To your scattered bodies go" was the very first sci-fi novel I had read, while in high school. I don't recall there being a theory about how their minds were reproduced, they just were, through some elaborate machinery.

Some time ago, I had read about some conjecture regarding the patterns of our minds somehow being linked to another universe/space/time, etc.. The mechanism was proposed to occur at the quantum level; perhaps wormholes that may exist in the quantum foam.

I sadly don't recall who had propsed this; I may have read it in a forum somewhere. Do you know who may have proposed this specifically?

I know that "Timeline"(Crichton) used quantum foam to somehow access different, well, timelines, but I don't know if the mind-pattern thing came directly from there. Forgive me, I'm too lazy to go back and research this more.

So anyways, perhaps this method may have been used in the "Riverworld" series...

I'm not sure if I've neatly tied anything together here, but sometimes I imagine myself as James Burke, making "Connections"...

Be Well

Jeff


Re: Some musings

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/07/2008

The ideas certainly link up! But I don't know specifically who might have originated this version of the Copenhagen interpretation, which it resembles. Thanks for your kind words, Jeff.

Re: Some musings

From: Jeff
Location: MI, US
Date: 11/14/2008

Hi Greg!

What strikes me about the Copenhagen interpretation was from an article I read in "Science News" many years ago. The proposition was that seemingly disparate observations are always needed in order to describe a given phenomenon. The simple example they gave was of the old glass half full, half empty. How can it be one, if it is the other? It is both. I don't have a scientific background, so I can't really follow any of the reasoning about wave-particle duality, and so on, but I think that was one of the things they may have been getting at. The phrase I really remember was "No paradox, no progress".

For me, I toy with the idea of using this principle when trying to figure out what is opinion, and what is fact. By one definition, opinion is when something can be proven to be false. I kind of think also that opinion is when something has a conjugate, or something like that.

Take Care

Jeff

Re: Some musings

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/14/2008

Now that brings up the question whether opinion alone can flip a quantum state! If it's strongly held, of course. Apparently may not have worked for Republicans recently.

Re: Some musings

From: Jeff
Location: MI, US
Date: 11/15/2008

Hello Greg!

However the quantum (S)tate has been resolved lately, I just feel like a dead cat...

Regards

Jeff

Re: Some musings

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/15/2008

Until a scientist sees you, you're still alive--right? So party on. (And mice don't count... literally.)

Re: Some musings

From: Howard E. Miller
Location: Augusta GA
Date: 11/17/2008

What are the chances? Flip a coin so it lands on a table. There's almost a 50% chance it will land heads or tails. There's also a tiny chance it will land on edge. I'm 60 years old and it's happened to me once in my lifetime. To be honest, I don't spend a lot of time flipping coins, so there are probably people who have more experience with that.

So the time it takes for a flipped coin to land on edge varies, but flip one enough, and it will.

In Earth's history, something really bad has happened every 60 to 100 million years. So we can expect something really bad to happen some time in the next 95 million years or so.

So, a bad time for Earth is pretty rare, but give it time, and it will happen. Having a coin land on edge doesn't take nearly as long, but it still takes time.

My point here is that anything that CAN happen, WILL happen, if there is sufficient time.

Some cosmologies have the the universe going on for an infinite time, bumping into another universe every trillion years of so and starting a new cycle.

The question is, if there is an infinite amount of time, will there come a time that someone exists who remembers me, my lifetime, and remembers me writing this?

If there is an infinite amount of time, it will happen. Eventually. Maybe not this go round or next, or the one after that, but with an infinite amount of time anything that can happen, will happen. Over and over.

How often it happens, depends on whether there is any information generated by my existence as I travel through the universe, and whether this information persists from one Bang to the next. If there IS this information persisting throughout time, then chances are better that another me will come into being. Another me, another you, another Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.

Re: Some musings

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/18/2008

That's what is so interesting about the universal library--it tells ALL stories, for all universes. An awful lot of bad writing is inevitable!

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