Tag Archives | Physics

Weird Science

Jack Sarfatti (CC)

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on January 28, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

Author’s note: This interview was originally published in 21.C magazine (4/1996, The Unafesto): 54-59. It was my entre to a covert and mysterious world.

Dr. Jack Sarfatti is one of the leaders of the New Physics movement. However, his research into E.S.P., time, future causality and his VALIS-type experience has provoked dissent in the mainstream physics community.

The Bohemian physicist . . . contributes a balanced scientific non-establishment for this expanding society. I don’t mean to disparage the work, either . . . Originality has always required a fertile expanse of fumble and mistake . . . Your wastrel life might turn out to be just what’s required to save the planet.
~ ~Herbert Gold, Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love and Strong Coffee Meet

Black holes, Alcubierre warp drives, traversable worm holes, and the quest for the Holy Grail of dark matter are outpacing the wildest SF fantasies in the public’s imagination.… Read the rest

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The Quantum Theory Of Smell

Do quantum vibrations determine how things smell? Are our noses detecting the secrets of the universe without our knowing? Via the BBC, the realm of the senses grows stranger:

A controversial theory that the way we smell involves a quantum physics effect has received a boost, following experiments with human subjects. It challenges the notion that our sense of smell depends only on the shapes of molecules we sniff in the air. Instead, it suggests that the molecules’ vibrations are responsible.

Molecules can be viewed as a collection of atoms on springs, so the atoms can move relative to one another. Energy of just the right frequency – a quantum – can cause the “springs” to vibrate, and in a 1996 paper [the theory's creator] Dr. Lucia Turin said it was these vibrations that explained smell.

A way to test it is with two molecules of the same shape, but with different vibrations.

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Is Bigfoot in the Process of Becoming Real?

Picture: Patterson-Gimlin photo (C)

Bigfoot research reminds me of string theory. Like string theory, Bigfoot research is all based on inferences drawn from a pretty small data set, and as we observe these inferences, the creature seems to takes on a life of its own.

In many ways, string theory resembles a very esoteric form of philosophy rather than objective empirical science, but it may help make sense of the world. There is an aspect of it that is very creative. In a particular line of thinking, studying string theory is like creating reality. According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, without a mind to observe it, “reality” remains in the realm of possibility as quantum superposition, collapsing into the real by the act of measuring.

Like the wise sage Mitch Hedberg once said “I think Bigfoot is blurry. That’s the problem“, but Bigfoot seems to become more real all the time as our minds have a chance to get our heads around him.… Read the rest

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Possible Evidence That Our Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Are the various physical limits of our universe (e.g. the cutoff in the amount of energy a cosmic ray can have) evidence that our universe is the creation of technology with limited capabilities? Huffington Post explains:

A long-proposed thought experiment points out that any civilisation of sufficient intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. Since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is more likely than not that our world is artificial.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany say they have evidence this may be true. They point out that simulations of the universe naturally put limits on physical laws. By just being a simulation, [a] computer would put limits on, for instance, the energy that particles can have within the program. These limits would be experienced by those living within the sim – and as it turns out, something which looks just like these limits do in fact exist.

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Is There Room For God After Higgs Boson?

Victoria Gill reports on a meeting of theologians and scientists to discuss a time before the Big Bang, for BBC News:

Now that the Higgs has finally been spotted – a scientific discovery that takes us closer than ever to the first moments after the Big Bang – Cern has opened its doors to scholars that take a very different approach to the question of how the Universe came to exist.

On 15 October, a group of theologians, philosophers and physicists came together for two days in Geneva to talk about the Big Bang.

So what happened when people of such different – very different – views of the Universe came together to discuss how it all began?

“I realised there was a need to discuss this,” says Rolf Heuer, Cern’s director general.

“There’s a need for us, as naive scientists, to discuss with philosophers and theologians the time before or around the Big Bang.”

Cern’s co-organiser of this unusual meeting of minds was Wilton Park – a global forum set up by Winston Churchill.

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Court Rejects Woman’s Lawsuit Claiming Hadron Collider Could End The World

Doomsayers, including a few physicists, worry that experiments at CERN could unravel the fabric of our existence. But a German court says no, reports Phys.org:

A German woman who feared the Earth would be sucked into oblivion in a black hole failed Tuesday in her court bid to stop the work of the world’s most powerful atom smasher.

The higher administrative court in Muenster, Germany, rejected her claims, ruling there was no evidence the work of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) posed a danger to public safety. The court noted that the CERN’s own safety reports ruled out any danger to life. “Objectively, there is no evidence to doubt the correctness of these safety reports nor was any conclusive evidence presented,” it ruled.

The woman had failed in a previous attempt to stop the work of CERN in Switzerland at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. Other opponents have also sought to stop the experiments, fearing either a black hole whose super gravity would swallow the Earth or a theoretical particle called a strangelet that would in turn liquidise the planet.

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Is It Blasphemous to Describe Science as “Magic”?

The Higgs boson announcement last week has reignited an age-old debate about science and the supernatural. Andrew Aghapour reports at Religion Dispatches:

In a thought-provoking post on RD just before the weekend, Yoni Pasternak highlighted some of the enchanted language that has been associated with CERN’s announcement of a Higgs boson-like particle discovery. The Higgs boson has been labeled the “God Particle,” and numerous scientists and journalists have described the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as a “magical” device. If news about the Higgs boson has struck you as esoteric and confusing you are not alone, but the video embedded in Pasternak’s post offers a nice primer.

As Pasternak points out, even this explanatory video is full of magician’s hats and pink elephants. The fact that scientists themselves are using this vocabulary, he argues, “is a sign of the utility that these supernatural concepts still maintain” for describing our universe.

The use of supernatural concepts to describe the Higgs boson has been hotly debated ever since CERN’s announcement.

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Higgs Boson ‘God’ Particle Discovered – And Explained

CERN has indicated that after many false starts, it has finally found proof of the elusive "God Particle," a/k/a the Higgs boson. It's widely being hailed as the most significant scientific discovery of our generation, etc. But what exactly is it? We thought this video about CERN's operation of the Large Hadron Collider might be especially useful:

The Higgs Boson Explained from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

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Eventually, Time Itself Will Come To A Halt

 Wondering about the end of everything? At some point, the world may freeze into a single giant photograph-like state, for eternity. Via Unexplained Mysteries:

In a startling new theory, scientists have predicted that the passage of time will stop altogether.

The theory is based on research conducted at two Spanish Universities aimed at explaining why the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating, a conundrum that has puzzled scientists for years. What they came up with was the notion that the expansion of the universe isn’t accelerating at all; instead time itself is slowing down at an imperceptible rate and that eventually it will stop entirely, resulting in a perpetual static snapshot for the rest of eternity.

“We believe that time emerged during the Big Bang and if time can emerge, may disappear as well as the opposite effect,” said cosmologist Gary Gibbons.

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A Skeptical Physicist Argues With An Economist

glowingballVia Do The Math, physicist Tom Murphy shares his dinner conversation (with a pro-growth economist) in which he finds that the laws of mainstream economics do not jibe with his understanding of the laws of reality:

Some while back, I found myself sitting next to an accomplished economics professor. After pleasantries, I said to him, “economic growth cannot continue indefinitely,” just to see where things would go. It was a lively and informative conversation. I was somewhat alarmed by the disconnect between economic theory and physical constraints—not for the first time, but here it was up-close and personal.

We do not share the view of many of our economics colleagues that growth will solve the economic problem, that narrow self-interest is the only dependable human motive, that technology will always find a substitute for any depleted resource, that the market can efficiently allocate all types of goods, that free markets always lead to an equilibrium balancing supply and demand, or that the laws of thermodynamics are irrelevant to economics.

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