Friday, December 08, 2006


The paper from which the fragment below comes is far beyond my ken. The whole paper by Max Tegmark appears in Science and Ultimate Reality: from quantum to Cosmos, honoring John Wheeler’s 90th birthday and published by Cambridge University Press (2003). The ultimate argument of Tegmark’s long paper is that, indeed, there are an infinity of realities and many universes out there. His concept is beyond my imagination to imagine with enough force to excite me. All I can do is regurgitate it like a school boy reciting his multiplication tables:

“The second common complaint about multiverses is that they are weird. This objection is aesthetic rather than scientific and, as mentioned above, really only makes sense in the Aristotelian world view. In the Platonic paradigm, one might expect observers to complain that the correct TOE [theory of everything] was weird if the bird perspective was sufficiently different from the frog perspective, and there is every indication that this is the case for us. The perceived weirdness is hardly surprising, since evolution provided us with intuition only for the everyday physics that had survival value for our distant ancestors. Thanks to clever inventions, we have glimpsed slightly more than the frog perspective of our normal inside view, and sure enough, we have encountered bizarre phenomena whenever departing from human scales in any way: at high speeds (time slows down), on small scales (quantum particles can be at several places at once), on large scales (black holes), at low temperatures (liquid Helium can flow upward), at high temperatures (colliding particles can change identity), etc. As a result, physicists have by and large already accepted that the frog and bird per¬spectives are very different. A prevalent modern view of quantum field theory is that the standard model is merely an effective theory, a low-energy limit of a yet to be discovered theory that is even more removed from our cozy classical concepts (involving strings in 10 dimensions, say). Many experimentalists are becoming blasé about producing so many ‘weird’ (but perfectly repeatable) experimental results, and simply accept that the world is a weirder place than we thought it was and get on with their calculations.”


Speaking of other things beyond my ken, how about this person being the President of the United States? Compare him to Tegmark and you can see why men like Bush have so much fearful contempt for people who can think.


Not too long ago, I was happy to see a little store in my local mall going out of business. The store had been dedicated solely to the work of Thomas Kinkade, the so-called “painter of light”, who developed a simple gimmick for using bright colors in his paintings of windows and sunsets so that those easily fooled by gimcrackery could be schmaltzed from their money. His gimmick, of course, was heightened by dark showrooms with carefully placed lighting to enhance his mundane painterly effects.

Now, I see in mags dedicated to simple housewifery (like Ladies Home Journal), Thomas Kinkade has developed another piece of artifice that will certainly tug at the purse strings, er, heartstrings (that is, limbic system strings) of the gullible and easily manipulated Xtian housewife. Look left and behold Kinkade’s penny-pinching Thomfoolery.

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