Thoughts about Physics and the nature of everything

April 13, 2014

I’ve read 2 books recently on the topic of life the universe and everything.  One is called Biocentrism by Robert Lanza and the other is called Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark.  Both are flawed but both made me think more deeply about the problem and while I can’t offer any new physics I have made some observations.

The Collapse of the Classical View

In the early 20th century the fundamental change that essentially de-virginized us (excuse the analogy but it is actually appropriate) occurred with the unbelievable result from the double slit experiment.  This fundamental inexplicable result which has baffled scientists to this day holds the complete collapse of the classical deterministic view of the world.   I’m not the only one.   Several physicists have called this experiment the fundamental experiment that exposes the quantum wierdness that essentially turned physics from a scholarly straightforward pursuit of linear reasoning to a mind bending that has resulted in ever more and more bizarre experiments and results that produce ever more bizarre and unbelievable theories.

Please note.  I am not criticizing physicists here for doing all this.  I have no better explanation than they do for what we are seeing but the fact is that experiment revealed that nature was far more complex and baffling than we ever imagined and we have had to construct ever more bizarre theories to explain what we see as we do experiment after experiment.

Scientists with a straight face will try to tell you the world consists of the following facts:

1) 94 % of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy which we don’t actually have any understanding of.   We don’t know what these things are, have never seen them and yet they are pervasive everywhere and are filling space all around us.   Yet we don’t see them, have no idea what they are.   We need dark matter fundamentally because calculation after calculation has shown that galaxies would fly apart without the addition of 5 times as much matter as all the visible matter.   Somehow invisible and around us giving this necessary boost to keep galaxies from exploding is “invisible” matter that is 5 times more than what we see.   Okay, so there are ghosts flying around us all the time but don’t worry, since it doesn’t interact with us it is there, trust us.

2) However, dark matter is still a minority of the energy in the universe.  According to our new understanding we need dark energy because simultaneously with the huge amount of attractive dark matter that keeps our galaxies together there is a repulsive energy that is pushing the galaxies and everything in the universe apart.   If we do not accept dark matter and dark energy we have no other theory or even conceptual theory plausible that could account for the observations of galaxies behavior and the undeniable fact the universe is to our surprise and mystification actually flying apart.

The data behind these observations is essentially indisputable.  It has been observed in countless experiments now that the universe is expanding faster and faster and observations of galaxies clearly shows the existence of matter we cannot account for that somehow appears to be hidden from us.  Other theories have so far not been able to work that have tried to explain these phenomenon any other way.

3) That in the first 10^-30th second of the universes existence a force called inflation caused an expansion of the universe by a factor in excesss of 10^100 times in size in less than 10^-6 seconds.   After this unbelievable sudden explosion of the universe into existence the expansion stopped.   Various theories purport to explain this inflation but the fact inflation occurred is bizarre.   It seems so contrived and convenient that this explosion happened to enable our universe.

4) That this inflation is so big that large parts of our universe today is there and we can never see it.   The universe is so large now that we assume from calculations that identical copies of the earth must exist with human beings on it like you and me every 10^…. so many light years in all directions and therefore there are virtually an infinite number of copies of you and me living lives.  This is called the level 1 multi-verse.

5) Quantum mechanics tells us that the most likely explanation for the bizarre results observed is that the world lives in what is called superposition with other worlds, a real virtual infinite number of parallel worlds in which all possible outcomes of all possible quantum states exists.   This is the level2 multi-verse in which there are an infinite number of copies of you and me living all possible combinations of lives.

6) There are 32 constants that physicists have found that cannot be tied to any other quantity by necessity.  Things such as the ratio of the mass of the electron to the proton, the speed of light, the ratio of dark matter to regular matter, the plank constant, the strength of the strong force constant and so on.  These constants appear to be randomly selected.  In fact one book says a statistical analysis has been made and they are to within a significant degree perfectly random it appears.  However, they are not random.  These constants turn out to be incredibly brittle constants.  The slightest change in any one of them would make life as we know it in our universe impossible.  Maybe life is possible with the constants slightly modified or even largely modified but we know that with only a change of less than 1 in a million in the strong force constant we would not have solar systems like we see today composed of carbon and heavy atoms.  Stars would fail to produce these materials on their explosions.   If the ratio of dark matter to regular matter were changed by even the smallest amount the entire universe would have imploded or exploded outward in such a way that no solar systems could have formed or the universe would have lasted no time at all practically.   We have 3 dimensions of physical space and one dimension of time.  We’ve known for centuries that you cannot form stable orbits in anything other than 3 dimensions.  All other dimensionality would result in no planets, no orbits, no stars.   Each of these constants appears to have been tuned to produce the universe we are in and yet we have no explanation for why these constants are what they are.   The chances these constants would arise at random to be what they are is < 1 in 10^500 according to one book.   So, the fact that these constants are selected the way they are points to an almost irrefutable result.   Either there is an explanation for why these constants are as they are because they do in fact have some law that forces them to be what they are or there must be at least 10^500 universes with all these possibilities existing in them and we are simply luckily in the one that humans can live and think.

7) We are to believe that quantum strangeness is so bizarre that it appears that doing things in the future has the effect of making things you do now different.  While this is confusing, the result is still one of these bizarre beyond bizarre ideas.  Since entangled particles have to obey certain properties depending on what we know about their behavior we can only live in universes where these things work out so that what we do in the past corresponds to what we do in the future and this entanglement forces us to be unable to do some things or see some things that we should be able to do but we cannot do them because of things we do or don’t do in the future.   This is confusing but it doesn’t violate causality.  It is simply that some possible sequences of actions that we thing should be doable aren’t.  Universes exist in which we do only a select combination of actions but not all actions are possible independently.

8) Because we have no good reason to believe that the laws of physics are unique we probably have to accept the notion of a 4rth level of multiverse in which all possible consistent laws of physics are possible.  This is of course the biggest multiverse of all.

Let me recount the truly staggering state of current results from experiments we have found:

1) Galaxies should be flying apart, so we need something called dark matter which we haven’t seen

2) The universe is expanding very fast and the only explanation we have is something called dark energy which itself is more than 10 times the energy of all matter in the universe and also hasn’t been seen.

3) We discovered a massive inflation occurred in the early universe where bizarrely the universe expanded by more than 10^100 in < 10^-10 seconds and then stopped.

4) The universe is so large now that it is virtually infinite in size not limited to the 10^13 billion light years across we thought just a few years ago.  This gives us level 1 multiverses.

5) The bizarreness of quantum physics forces us to a worldview that says that multiple infinite universes exist in superposition at any time with all possible quantum states elaborated resulting from all possible previous quantum states and ad infinitum.

6) That 32 constants have been precisely picked that result in the universe being the way it is and that these constants are all extremely brittle and our universe would collapse or be inhospitable to life as we know it with any of them changed by even a very very small amount.  The probability that these constants would result at random appears to be 1 in 10^500 which means essentially there must be a god or there are infinite universes that have other inhospitable constant values in them.

7) That time causality is more complicated than it would appear and things we think should be doable aren’t that take place at different times and places.

8) that there are probably an infinite number of universes with different physical laws possible

I will conclude this blog here and continue with where I;ve gone with some of these things and other strangenesses and bizarre things we are to believe.

Bigdata and Privacy

March 28, 2014

I believe we need to have new laws to deal with the accuracy of information being held about people and the duration that data can be held.   For instance, no company should need information about you for more than 3 years duration without your explicit permission, not permission in a 20 page “legal disclosure” but explicitly that you are okay with someone keeping data longer than that in a separate acknowledgement.  If you are under 21 it should be 1 year limit by law.   Any data kept after 3 years (1 year if under 21) must be kept in such a way that you can dispute it and find out who has such data by consulting a central registry.  Disputes of the data should be resolved to the benefit of the consumer unless the holder of such data wants to fight and prove the legitimacy of such data.   

Every company I talk to is accumulating vast information about you and I. While I am a big fan and excited about using bigdata to provide better service, higher intelligence smarter services I am worried also that it is an invasion of privacy or even that improper or inaccurate data will cause people problems.  My company WSO2 is trying to build secure solutions and bigdata solutions to enable companies to be intelligent.  It is an awesome responsibility to have personal information about people.   It’s not just a legal responsibility but a personal responsibility societal responsibility to make sure that everyone is treated fairly by the systems we build.

As an Open Source company WSO2 has an obligation to promote transparency and responsible use of data.   We provide our source code to everything we do.  There are no “enterprise licenses.”  I believe our advocacy of open source is a statement also about transparency.   Please let me know if you think my personal ideas about privacy above are reasonable and sound.   I feel very passionate that while a new cyber world is being built that world shouldn’t be something we fear or are hurt by.   The goal of all this new technology is to make life better.  We must find a way to build this new world so that we and our children want to live in that world and that this new world is compassionate and fair.

Job for recent graduate – any interest

June 13, 2013

WSO2 is looking for an Account Manager in the US working in Palo Alto, Ca.  This is an entry level position ideal for a recent graduate with an interest in business and sales.   Anybody know of someone?

The ideal candidate should have:

Graduate with an IT background OR 2+ years of experience selling products/services 
Comfortable interfacing daily with Fortune 500 clients located globally
A moderate knowledge and understanding of service oriented architecture, middleware market and open source software
Sales Professionals with sound knowledge of IT
A positive can-do attitude and a desire to succeed in a fast-paced environment
Requirements:
Able to travel internationally
Highly computer literate and comfortable using Web 2.0 tools such as LinkedIn and Facebook
Exceptional English verbal and written communication skills required.  Proficiency in a foreign language a plus
 

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January 30, 2010

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