Tag: Science

Not a Singularity but an Event Horizon
I was never a fan of the term “Singularity” for the AI thing. When mathematical singularities pop up in physics, it’s usually a sign the physics is missing something. Instead, I like to think of the AI “event horizon”, the point in the future — always ahead, yet getting ever closer — beyond which you…

No, a black hole can’t be used as a rocket
With a headline like that, I need to introduce some concepts. First, a black hole: if you have enough stuff in a small enough volume, the outside is causally disconnected from the inside. This is normally phrased as “nothing, not even light, can escape”, but that’s a little misleading because… Second: Black holes emit Hawking…

How big might real wormholes be?
AFAICT, there is no actual evidence for real wormholes existing, they are merely interesting ideas not obviously forbidden by known physics. That said, they are fun to think about. Quoth Wikipedia: “The quantum foam hypothesis is sometimes used to suggest that tiny wormholes might appear and disappear spontaneously at the Planck scale and stable versions…

SciFi: The unexpected problems with gravity
Artificial gravity in science fiction falls into three categories: Applied Phlebotinum works via madeup technobabble. Examples include the gravity plating in Star Trek. Spin gravity is where inertia wants you to keep going in a straight line, but centripetal force from your outer hull keeps pulling (or pushing) you towards your axis of rotation, creating…

Baryon asymmetry
One day, I might learn enough physics that my questions don’t sound like nonsense to physics graduates. Today is not that day — my working assumption is I sound like a freshman at best, and a homeopath at worst, and will remain so until I put numerical simulations of standard results in general relativity, quantum…

Sufficient technology
Let’s hypothesise sufficient brain scans. As far as I know, we don’t have better than either very low resolution fullbrain imaging (millions of synapses per voxel), or very limited high resolution imaging (thousands of synapses total), at least not for living brains. Let’s just pretend for the sake of argument that we have synapseresolution fullbrain…

Homeopathic solutions to the Fermi paradox
Homeopathy: for those who have never learned the details, claims that the potency of a treatment can be increased by repeatedly diluting it. There are many scales — the Cscale is “how many times has this been diluted by a factor of 100”, the Xscale “…by a factor of 10”. I’d say “clearly nonsense”, but…

Mathematical Universe v. Boltzmann Brains
I’m a fan of the Mathematical Universe idea. Or rather, I was. I think I came up with the idea independently of (and before) Max Tegmark, based on one of my old LiveJournal blogpost dated “20070112” (from context, I think that’s YYYYMMDD, not YYYYDDMM). Here’s what I wrote then, including typos and poor rhetorical choices:…

Dynamic range of Bayesian thought
We naturally use something close to Bayesian logic when we learn and intuit. Bayesian logic doesn’t update when the prior is 0 or 1. Some people can’t shift their opinions, no matter what evidence they have. This is compatible with them having priors of 0 or 1. It would be implausible for humans to store…