Great news: You’re paying for a 1 year experiment to find out if the universe is a hologram

posted at 10:01 am on August 28, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Professor Moriarty tried to escape from the holodeck? Well, the folks at Fermilab probably saw it, since they are currently launching a one year series of tests to find out if our entire universe is a hologram.

Do we live in a 2D hologram? There’s no short answer, but physicists believe it may be possible. The holographic principle — a property of particle physics’ string theory — proposes that information about a region of space can be ascertained by the information on the surface that surrounds it — much like you can determine, say, currents in water by the eddies on the surface.

But does this actually mean that our universe is an optical illusion created by light diffraction? Fermilab has just switched on a machine that may help a team of researchers figure it out: the Holometer, the most sensitive instrument ever built to measure the quantum jitter of space.

Generally I’m a supporter of pure research, even in cases where there may not be an immediate, industrial benefit from the results. You never know what you might learn. And even leaving aside for a moment the impression that this sounds like an idea that was cooked up while smoking pot with that professor from Animal House, Fermilab does a lot of cool sounding research. But a year’s worth of high energy inteferometer experiments to see if we’re all a digital illusion? Let’s recall for a moment who is footing the bill for all of this.

According to their own economic impact studies, when it comes to their cash flow, [t]he overwhelming majority of these funds (94%) were from the federal government, with the lion’s share coming from the Department of Energy. Their total annual budget is nearly half a billion dollars, and they’ve had the leash tightened on them in the past. This includes a cut under President Obama (!) in 2012 which eliminated a proposal to shoot high-intensity neutrons underground from Illinois to a gold mine in South Dakota, carrying a “multibillion-dollar price tag” over a period of years.

But on the plus side, however much this is costing you – there is no breakdown of the price offered – just think of the possibilities.If these guys can prove that the entire universe is essentially a two dimensional illusion, then the federal government in Washington doesn’t really exist either. See? I bet you feel better already.


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These guys know The Matrix was just a movie, right?

CurtZHP on August 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

According to their own economic impact studies, when it comes to their cash flow, [t]he overwhelming majority of these funds (94%) were from the federal government, with the lion’s share coming from the Department of Energy.

Ahh, the people who invested our hard-earned money in such wonderful companies like Solyndra. I can see this not ending particularly well.

Bitter Clinger on August 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM

If the universe if not a figment of my imagination, then it is some junior high kid’s science project.

Tinker on August 28, 2014 at 10:08 AM

These guys know The Matrix was just a movie, right?

CurtZHP on August 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

I hope you realize your belief The Matrix was just a movie is in your mind.

LashRambo on August 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM

What a waste of money. All they had to do was swallow the red pill.

SoulGlo on August 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM

This is essentially an experiment that would either confirm or deny creationism.

Because if the universe is a hologram, then that means there is a hologram projector somewhere, that someone had to program.

Who would be that someone?

Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Actually this has immense metaphysical implications and can establish or smash current physics barriers.

Though I am highly skeptical they will definitively prove anything.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

This is essentially an experiment that would either confirm or deny creationism.

Because if the universe is a hologram, then that means there is a hologram projector somewhere, that someone had to program.

Who would be that someone?

Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I am not convinced it can confirm or deny such but it can go a long way in furthering the argument.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

It’s just one of many marbles, as explained at the end of Men in Black.

changer1701 on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

/sigh. Scientists don’t actually believe the Universe is a “hologram,” Jazz. They often employ simplified and analogical language, in order to not confuse the heck out of non-physicists.

In regards to this — the math is there to suggest that we may be seen as two-dimensional information structure “painted” on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies

The scientists believe that this might imply quantum fluctuations in spatial positions that would create a detectable background noise.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

You’re paying for a 1 year experiment to find out if the universe is a hologram

If it is a hologram I get first dibs on Seven Of Nine.

whatcat on August 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

quantum jitter of space

I’ve got to find a way to work that phrase in a sentence.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM

I am not convinced it can confirm or deny such but it can go a long way in furthering the argument.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

I wish I could edit my posts.

I misspoke. On further reflection I don’t think it’s possible to deny it, since that would amount to proving a negative.

I do think however, that it may be possible to confirm it.

Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM

The hindu gita has already covered this crap.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Unbelievable.

This is why the entire public sector needs to be broomed and restarted with new faces, pissing away money like this is criminal.

A hologram….you idiots. Everyone even remotely involved in this “experiment” should be dropped off via helicopter in ISIS territory with “I Hate Allah!” tattooed on their foreheads, the parting words from the aircrew being “Don’t worry, the guys who are going to hack off your head are probably just holograms. Try to turn them off or something. Good luck!”

Bishop on August 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

The scientists believe that this might imply quantum fluctuations in spatial positions that would create a detectable background noise.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

MMMMMmmmmm….theoretical quantum physics – is there anything it can’t do?

whatcat on August 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

In regards to this — the math is there to suggest that we may be seen as two-dimensional information structure “painted” on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies

So who’s the painter?

Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Not neutrons, neutrinos.

And if you don’t think neutrino research is a GREAT idea, understand this — any nuclear carrier or sub could be tracked easily from anywhere on the planet if we could detect neutrinos without extreme effort.

This is a good grant for a good apparatus. When you’re playing with the kind of stuff we in the high-energy physics community deal with routinely, it sounds a lot less weird. The world is a far stranger place than you have any way to guess.

Guys, we’re just scratching the surface. We can’t account for 96% of the verifiable matter in the cosmos — simply don’t even know where to start. Might that be something useful to nail down? Billions of neutrinos stream through your body every second… and you might actually interact with two in your lifetime. Worth a look? I’d think so.

In the last week, we got word that the solar neutrino model is nailed down better. Good result. Knowing how stars work is nice… because the cores of dying stars is where all of the atomic nuclei of which you are of made originated. Can we play some of the same games here on Earth? It would be kind of cool to know!

My point is: don’t assume you know enough to judge these things on their merit. It’s not climate science, guys — this stuff has to have 5-sigma verification.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Scientists at the Fermi lab have concluded a three year, multi billion dollar experiment to determine how many PHDs can dance on the head of a taxpayer.
the number?
It was; in the words of Al(PAY ME MY MONEY)Gore; “AWESOME”

thelastminstrel on August 28, 2014 at 10:25 AM

/sigh. Scientists don’t actually believe the Universe is a “hologram,” Jazz. They often employ simplified and analogical language, in order to not confuse the heck out of non-physicists.

In regards to this — the math is there to suggest that we may be seen as two-dimensional information structure “painted” on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies

The scientists believe that this might imply quantum fluctuations in spatial positions that would create a detectable background noise.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Nice pull from wiki there. Yes this is a more precise technical description but the principle does go further. There is indeed an element that challenges where the information comes from and implies we are more a shadow dimensionally speaking. This in turn begs the question, what exists in the other dimension/ dimensions that is more than a shadow?

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:25 AM

This involves string theory, so it’s a waste of money before they even proposed the experiment.

NotCoach on August 28, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Science has become a racket.

crankyoldlady on August 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Maybe there really is a Stairway to Heaven. Can we fund that project too?

NOMOBO on August 28, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Pure scientific research, what economists consider a “public good”, is one of the few places we should be spending public tax dollars.

The implications of this search for extra-dimensional research is profound and, IMHO, worth every $.

Discretionary spending like this is a drop in the bucket. “It’s the entitlements, stupid.”

aquaviva on August 28, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Even more to the point about government abuse of the fisc is the DOJ’s politicizing its attacks on big banks to fund even more income redistribution in the name of “social justice.”
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/386539/holders-bank-america-heist-funds-lefts-community-organizer-shock-troops-andrew-c

onlineanalyst on August 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

So who’s the painter?

Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM

It’s the analogy that was used.

It’s like how cosmic inflation is often portrayed as a expanding loaf of raisin bread. That’s because the expansion of the universe is not in size, like you’d think of a traditional explosion, but an intrinsic expansion whereby the actual metric scale of space is growing.

Asking who the baker is misses the point of the illustration.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

And no, the hologram question has nothing to do with Creationism or anything like it. Holograms are not a technology, any more than lasers. They can be applied technologically, but at their most basic level are special cases of general theories that have interesting properties.

If the universe is a “hologram”, it means that more information is encoded in spacetime than we had expected. That would be cool, might give is more levers to fiddle with in manipulating the world, and has no theological implications whatsoever.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Not neutrons, neutrinos.

And if you don’t think neutrino research is a GREAT idea, understand this — any nuclear carrier or sub could be tracked easily from anywhere on the planet if we could detect neutrinos without extreme effort.

This is a good grant for a good apparatus. When you’re playing with the kind of stuff we in the high-energy physics community deal with routinely, it sounds a lot less weird. The world is a far stranger place than you have any way to guess.

Guys, we’re just scratching the surface. We can’t account for 96% of the verifiable matter in the cosmos — simply don’t even know where to start. Might that be something useful to nail down? Billions of neutrinos stream through your body every second… and you might actually interact with two in your lifetime. Worth a look? I’d think so.

In the last week, we got word that the solar neutrino model is nailed down better. Good result. Knowing how stars work is nice… because the cores of dying stars is where all of the atomic nuclei of which you are of made originated. Can we play some of the same games here on Earth? It would be kind of cool to know!

My point is: don’t assume you know enough to judge these things on their merit. It’s not climate science, guys — this stuff has to have 5-sigma verification.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Sorry but being a deep nerd myself I have to correct. It should be approximated as 27% ish dark matter and 68% ish dark energy, dark energy is likely not matter. The 96% does capture the essence of your argument though :)

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Their total annual budget is nearly half a billion dollars,

A drop in the bucket compared to the many billions of taxpayer dollars that Obama has wasted funding his cronies’ phony “green” energy scams, or the billions more he has pissed away on phony “reparations” scams like Pigford.

At least this research has the potential to advance our knowledge of how the universe works, so it likely won’t be a total waste of money, which is more than anybody can say about most of Obama’s spending.

AZCoyote on August 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM

If it will make cough syrup taste better, I’m all for it.

Pigbirdsnake on August 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM

so we’re judging the experiment based on the buzz words a journalist used to make it click bait. An argument on whether or not this type of research will see meaningful returns is one thing, but the snide dismissal of the research because of journalistic sensationalism is rather ironic.

thei3ug on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Great stuff, Zach. I’ve spent (too many) hours reading and watching Brian Greene, Leonard Susskind, Max Tegmark, Alan Guth, Feinman, etc… you tube lectures, books, websites, etc. All just as a layman amateur.

Fascinating stuff.

aquaviva on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Science has become a racket.

crankyoldlady on August 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Some science has. Humans are involved, after all.

The harder, more reality-based sciences are more resistant to empire-building and waste. When your result really has to be verified to the 99.9999% (5σ) to not be thrown out, it’s harder to skate along.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

thei3ug on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Worse — it’s clickbait written about clickbait.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Paging Bishop Berkeley… The universe owes its existence to the fact that it is being continually perceived by the mind of God, the final arbiter of reality.

So there.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

It’s the analogy that was used.

It’s like how cosmic inflation is often portrayed as a expanding loaf of raisin bread. That’s because the expansion of the universe is not in size, like you’d think of a traditional explosion, but an intrinsic expansion whereby the actual metric scale of space is growing.

Asking who the baker is misses the point of the illustration.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

LOL again weak, yes asking who the baker is for the expansion is pointless but asking who put the yeast in the loaf is not. Ergo what started the expansion? That is a question worth asking and answering.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

That moon base and space bar aren’t sounding so crazy, after all.

Christien on August 28, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Great stuff, Zach. I’ve spent (too many) hours reading and watching Brian Greene, Leonard Susskind, Max Tegmark, Alan Guth, Feinman, etc… you tube lectures, books, websites, etc. All just as a layman amateur.

Fascinating stuff.

aquaviva on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Just go to wiki the posts appear to be direct copies of the information there LOL.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:38 AM

While the wisdom of public funding for this is questionable, let’s get some concepts straight.

However it’s defined, or whatever created it, this reality, and this universe, is the only one we have. We can’t step outside it.

So calling it a “hologram” (BTW a vast oversimplification of what they’re studying) makes no practical difference whatsoever.

Bat Chain Puller on August 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM

why don’t they do some useful research like determining exactly how many alpha particles it takes, from a range of say 300 meters, to kill a muslim fanatic who is in the act of beheading a christian….

clandestine on August 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Paging Bishop Berkeley… The universe owes its existence to the fact that it is being continually perceived by the mind of God, the final arbiter of reality.

So there.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

And then you have to ask who’s perceiving God to keep that whole thing going, and then it’s tortoises all the way down.

Don’t hang your hat on the Born interpretation — it’s as useful as any other for making the equations work, but it’s farcical when you start trying to decide what constitutes an “observer”. Hint — it’s not a consciousness.

I’m digging through papers right now that discuss interactions between “spectator” partons in proton-proton collisions. That doesn’t confer personhood upon them. :)

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

While the wisdom of public funding for this is questionable, let’s get some concepts straight.

However it’s defined, or whatever created it, this reality, and this universe, is the only one we have. We can’t step outside it.

So calling it a “hologram” (BTW a vast oversimplification of what they’re studying) makes no practical difference whatsoever.

Bat Chain Puller on August 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Yes but “proving it,” of which I am doubtful, would do a lot for science’s understanding on our physical limts. This in turn helps determine effective fields of study and research.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Come on, Jazz, Ed, AllahP: The Obysmal/Holder DOJ is shaking down big banks to fund Leftist causes.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/08/holder-cuts-left-in-on-17-billion-bank-of-america-settlement.php

onlineanalyst on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

While undoubtedly super cool research and potentially valuable and totally cheap in comparison to entitlements in the federal budget…

the average American knows instinctively that saving money for a college education is not necessarily the best use of your money when you’re living under a bridge and eating in a soup kitchen.

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

World on a Wire.

Btw, they’re testing if we’re holograms, right? Do they need another years of experiments to see if we’re figments of say… a turtles’ dream?

Ukiah on August 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I’m not opposed to this, as so much of the quantum and string theory dialog in science is unprovable mathematics, that any time an important idea can be tested in this realm, it should be accomplished, within reason.

Nethicus on August 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Fermilab is quite a bastion for wasting enjoying our tax dollars.

Fallon on August 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Check out the folk and barn dancing.

Fallon on August 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Yes but “proving it,” of which I am doubtful, would do a lot for science’s understanding on our physical limts. This in turn helps determine effective fields of study and research.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Most research involves dry holes and negative results. You cover all the ground that needs to be covered. Tony Stark is pretend.

Skwor is right. If this particular effort pans out, there could be phenomenal, cosmic results. It could lead down the path that allows us direct manipulation of quantum numbers and blah blah blah.

Odds are, it won’t. We try it anyway, document the results, and let someone else take another crack at it later if they have a new approach.

Every once in a while, someone cobbles some facts together and gets a glimmer that something important might be possible. That’s what happened in nuclear fission as weapons and energy — it wasn’t just some egghead in a lab that had an accident. The facts were enough to get people from all over the world thinking in the same direction.

Those with the resources to build an entire industry (fissionable materials refinement) from scratch in a couple of years and solve the immense practical and theoretical showstoppers got real bang for their buck. Yes, pun intended.

Do you want to have missed the next one?

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Far better to fund this than fund Solyndra. Seriously. Infinitely better than politically motivated climate change ‘research’ funding, too.

That’s where we need the debate going. Why are real scientists tolerating the misallocation of our nation’s resources into things like Solyndras and phony climate change ‘science’ demagoguery when it could be going to real science?

Don’t they realize crony capitalism and government demagoguery infecting science research is the worst possible thing for all kinds of real science research funding?

Just look at the skepticism on this thread, and that skepticism is expanding into the population in general. Rightly so. Soon there’ll be no more funding for anyone, however merited the research might be.

fadetogray on August 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

And then you have to ask who’s perceiving God to keep that whole thing going, and then it’s tortoises all the way down.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Asking whose perceiving God is the same as asking the question of God’s existence in the first place, since according to the original argument God perceives Himself by definition. So then we could just “fall back on” the standard repertoire of cosmological, teleological and ontological arguments for the existence of God that have been rehashed through the centuries.

Berkeley’s intent, I believe, was to construct an ontological and epistemological framework for our perception of reality; the question of God’s existence seems more tangential.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Fermilab is quite a bastion for wasting enjoying our tax dollars.

Fallon on August 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

To the contrary.

You go to a college campus and look at the gourmet food and climbing walls and spiffy new buildings and parking structures. Those billions of dollars on frippery? We call that waste.

When physicists (not administrators) build stuff, if goes like this:

The apparatus is built as well as we can in the budget.

The computing is the best iron we can get for the budget, and we run it on linux (cheap/free) and write the core software from scratch.

The offices and buildings look like the boxes the accelerator came in. Spartan, functional, ugly. Often a battered couch in the office… because all-nighters are a bear.

Pay scale? Not luxurious. We send a lot of people to Wall Street to do the freaky quant stuff, because we use the same types of tools and math. You’re in physics because it’s more interesting than money.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Everybody knows that the universe is the 3-D shell of a 4-D black hole. The science is settled.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Just look at the skepticism on this thread, and that skepticism is expanding into the population in general. Rightly so. Soon there’ll be no more funding for anyone, however merited the research might be.

fadetogray on August 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I watch this happen with every budget.

Every year (under Obama) we take a 6-10% haircut, and try to soldier on. There are a lot of people looking for an exit before the other shoe drops.

I live close to Waxahatchie, TX — the old Superconducting Supercollider. Its cancellation gutted American physics. We know it can happen.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Unbelievable.

This is why the entire public sector needs to be broomed and restarted with new faces, pissing away money like this is criminal.

A hologram….you idiots. Everyone even remotely involved in this “experiment” should be dropped off via helicopter in ISIS territory with “I Hate Allah!” tattooed on their foreheads, the parting words from the aircrew being “Don’t worry, the guys who are going to hack off your head are probably just holograms. Try to turn them off or something. Good luck!”

Bishop on August 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Hey, I’m with ya on the “unbelievable” thing re: hologram. But remember, there are a plethora of planets, stars, hydrogen clouds, etc. out there that shouldn’t exist…but there they are. Their existence flies in the face of the laws of physics and basic mathematics. But yet, there they are.

Nothing can really be discounted. The Creator of it all isn’t bound by any laws. And things considered “impossible” just a few years ago are today common knowledge.

Just sayin’.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

So, suppose we are just a hologram. Just accept the premise for a sec.

How could 1 year be enough time to uncover a hoax that elaborate?

Certainly, if all we know is an illusion… the sophistication of it would be beyond a single year’s study.

But hey go for it.

It’s not like there are any real problems to overcome.

petunia on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

So who’s the painter? Star Bird on August 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Time plus chance plus energy. Lots of time, like, so much that anything could happen, and prolly did.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I may be completely off here, but didn’t the discovery of the Higg’s boson disprove this stuff?

Mahna Mahna on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Thank you. Well said. While I am fascinated by this kind of stuff right now we are broke. Get the economy right then do this. The Universe is not going away.

CW20 on August 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I feel much better about it all now.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Nothing can really be discounted. The Creator of it all isn’t bound by any laws. And things considered “impossible” just a few years ago are today common knowledge.

Just sayin’.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I disagree. All the universe is bound by rules. We don’t understand them maybe, but we don’t use all the brain power we will use someday.

God knows all the rules. He made them.

petunia on August 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Asking whose perceiving God is the same as asking the question of God’s existence in the first place, since according to the original argument God perceives Himself by definition.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Tautology. :) That’s the very definition of a circular argument.

What I’m trying to tell you is that you’re hanging a whole argument on a shaky foundation — the Born interpretation of QM. Don’t.

I’m very much a theist. These arguments are shoddy, though. If you are trying to reconcile Abraham, Aristotle and QFT at the same time, you are going to have to let one drop. Aristotle is a better candidate than any of the others, because he’s not a primary source in Christianity (contra Aquinas), and he has to stand aside when data are present that contradict him.

So remove God as the Prime Mover, and you’re a lot less constrained in your arguments. Makes life easier. There’s no longer any social stigma in not swallowing Hellenic philosophy whole, as there was in the days of the church fathers.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM

I may be completely off here, but didn’t the discovery of the Higg’s boson disprove this stuff?

Mahna Mahna on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

My professional opinion, having worked on Higgs?

No. Totally tangential.

And just to repeat — Higgs has NOTHING to do with God. Auuuugh!

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Maybe there really is a Stairway to Heaven. NOMOBO on August 28, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Your answer.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:04 AM

LOL

Midas on August 28, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Time plus chance plus energy. Lots of time, like, so much that anything could happen, and prolly did.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Nice try but unless you subscribe to a “multi-verse” there isn’t enough time to have made this all work randomly, in fact it would mathmatically be statiscally absurb (>10 to the 50). Now should you subscribe to a multi-verse you are pretty much in the physics equivalnet of religion in my opinion and therefor no different from any other such concept, so I guess we are back to turtles O.o.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

so we’re judging the experiment based on the buzz words a journalist used to make it click bait. An argument on whether or not this type of research will see meaningful returns is one thing, but the snide dismissal of the research because of journalistic sensationalism is rather ironic.

thei3ug on August 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

True. It is actually a fascinating experiment. Not “holodeck” nonsense at all, but he’s on a roll (cue animal house speech) and needs to be snarky.

Irritable Pundit on August 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Thank you. Well said. While I am fascinated by this kind of stuff right now we are broke. Get the economy right then do this. The Universe is not going away.

CW20 on August 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

And the guys who depend on this as a revenue stream? We can go do something else… but good luck getting anyone back in.

The trillions of dollars in handmade equipment and irreplaceable experience? Yeah, that’ll be gone in a matter of 2-3 years.

It’s like sacrificing a limb. If you really want to cut off your arm to get out from under the boulder, you’d better be sure it’s the only way — because it’s a real sacrifice, and is not just going to grow back.

More to the point — there’s no point in cutting out your eye when your arm is trapped. Hard science is not the money hole, folks. It’s just the least politically-connected federal expenditure.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

God knows all the rules. He made them.

petunia on August 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM

And He can break them, as He is not bound by them.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Paging Bishop Berkeley… The universe owes its existence to the fact that it is being continually perceived by the mind of God, the final arbiter of reality. So there. Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

But cogito ergo sum, so…

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Sorry but being a deep nerd myself I have to correct. It should be approximated as 27% ish dark matter and 68% ish dark energy, dark energy is likely not matter. The 96% does capture the essence of your argument though :)

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Yeah… matter, energy. The best term is binding energy, but that tends to go over people’s heads. :) It’s hard to understand that most of your mass comes from protons/neutrons being tightly bound non-perturbative QCD quark states.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:11 AM

But cogito ergo sum, so…

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Also a fallacy. I hate Descartes sometimes.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM

What I was trying to say is that my interpretation of Berkeley is that God’s existence was a presupposition of his theory of reality, a separate question—as much as any question in philosophy is really separate from any other, which is debatable. In other words, he assumed God’s existence in making his argument, so that question’s truth value doesn’t have any bearing on Berkeley’s argument’s validity.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Have any of them tried yelling “holodeck, end program”?
Or are they afraid of what might happen?

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

And He can break them, as He is not bound by them.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

You’re just saying there are a superset of rules, which are also rules. This whole “outside nature”/”God has no rules” argument is definitional bullcrap. It’s semantic fixation substituting for real examination.

I mean that in the nicest possible way, btw. :)

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

so that question’s truth value doesn’t have any bearing on Berkeley’s argument’s validity.

Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Yeah. But it’s a dead end, so don’t ever use it to make a serious argument outside of discussing Berkeley. :)

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

OK, off to teach class. You kids have fun and try not to burn the place down.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I wish Obama’s presidency was just a holodeck program gone horribly wrong.

End Program!
End Program!
End Program!

NoFanofLibs on August 28, 2014 at 11:16 AM

This includes a cut under President Obama (!) in 2012 which eliminated a proposal to shoot high-intensity neutrons underground from Illinois to a gold mine in South Dakota, carrying a “multibillion-dollar price tag” over a period of years.

CLARIFICATION:

That “gold mine” is actually the former Homestake Gold Mine, now an underground neutrino research lab administered by the National Science Foundation. I thought this salient point would be worth bringing up.

gryphon202 on August 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Also a fallacy. I hate Descartes sometimes.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

So Descartes walks into a bar and the barternder asks him “want a drink?” Descartes says “I think not” and disappears.

Ba-dum-Boom

:)

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

And the guys who depend on this as a revenue stream? We can go do something else… but good luck getting anyone back in.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Not to get all pedestrian and practical and stuff, but unless you “guys who depend on this as a revenue stream” are going to somehow generate the tens of trillions of dollars in debt service it will require to keep this country and its economy staggering forward in the decades ahead, this all looks moot.

If you refuse to believe that there is looming fiscal tsunami, then your scientific objectivity seems in question to this observer.

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

So Descartes walks into a bar and the barternder asks him “want a drink?” Descartes says “I think not” and disappears.
Ba-dum-Boom
:)

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Grooooooannnnn – end program, end program….

;)

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM

If you refuse to believe that there is looming fiscal tsunami, then your scientific objectivity seems in question to this observer.

Dolce Far Niente on August 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Uncertainty is itself a scientific concept. While we can not know what will happen or when it will happen with absolute scientific certainty, is it really reasonable to believe that we can continue on like this indefinitely?

gryphon202 on August 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Asking whose perceiving God is the same as asking the question of God’s existence in the first place, since according to the original argument God perceives Himself by definition.
Spannerhead on August 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Tautology. :) That’s the very definition of a circular argument.
Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM

No. He’s suggesting similarity, is wrong, then goes off topic.

Is God perceivable, and, Does God exist, are different questions. I don’t know what he means by “the original argument.” Perhaps he will clarify.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

“Freeze program and exit”

BobMbx on August 28, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Oh, my!

What if they find out that the Universe IS a Hologram.

i bet that al-Obama would take that as his cue to quit all the pretense and just declare hisself RULER OF ALL THAT ARE!

dockywocky on August 28, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM

I was being funny. Or trying to.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Just look at the skepticism on this thread, and that skepticism is expanding into the population in general. Rightly so. Soon there’ll be no more funding for anyone, however merited the research might be.

fadetogray on August 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I watch this happen with every budget.

Every year (under Obama) we take a 6-10% haircut, and try to soldier on. There are a lot of people looking for an exit before the other shoe drops.

I live close to Waxahatchie, TX — the old Superconducting Supercollider. Its cancellation gutted American physics. We know it can happen.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Once you accept Islam, all of that will mean nothing.

BobMbx on August 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM

See? I bet you feel better already.

I feel right as rain! ;-)

capricorn on August 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Once you accept Islam, all of that will mean nothing.

BobMbx on August 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Can I get one of those red pills before they strap on the suicide vest?

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 11:40 AM

I feel right as rain! ;-)

capricorn on August 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Sorry about the vase…..

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 11:44 AM

I was being funny. Or trying to.

Akzed on August 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Oh, sorry my mistake.

Skwor on August 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Also a fallacy. I hate Descartes sometimes.

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

You’re just putting Descartes before De Horse. o_O

You’re just saying there are a superset of rules, which are also rules. This whole “outside nature”/”God has no rules” argument is definitional bullcrap. It’s semantic fixation substituting for real examination.

I mean that in the nicest possible way, btw. :)

Prufrock on August 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

No worries, this stuff has been discussed, debated, and argued for millennia…and probably will be for many more to come.

You said: “This whole “outside nature”/”God has no rules” argument is definitional bullcrap. It’s semantic fixation substituting for real examination.”

Quite the contrary…for all our “real examination” of ourselves, life on Earth, and studies of our universe, we still find anomalies all the time that break the rules we believe we had nailed down. To quote an old phrase, there are always exceptions to every rule. Even in physics.

If you believe in Intelligent Design to it all, as I do, we simply unravel the many mysteries of God’s handiwork every time we find something new. If you don’t believe in ID, then so many more seemingly impossible questions arise…like “If it’s all here for no reason, then why does it exist at all?” At that point, rules and laws of the universe become nothing more than a mathematical equation.

We are bound by what we know, what we understand the universe to be, and how we try to boil it all down to a nice set of equations. We are here, existing in time and space created by God…who existed outside of this realm. We cannot even begin to fathom what that place would be like…perhaps similar to our own universe, perhaps something very different.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Here’s another line of research: are there really the expected number of people who need public restrooms using them? Are there really enough places for bears to hibernate? Can there really be enough fans of some of these music acts to attend the concerts? And Islam? ISIS? Adult Liberals? Give me a break! This just can’t be happening!

PatientObserver on August 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM

This isn’t a problem with research, it’s about a stupid reporter not understanding the physics that was explained to him, mischaracterizing the experiment, and then using dumbed down language when writing about it. Once that gets to the reader, the experiment sounds like idiocy. What it really is, is a demonstration about the idiocy of the reporter.

This story is 95% about the reporter’s stupidity, and 5% about the actual validity of the experiment.

HakerA on August 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

The Universe is not going away…any time soon.

CW20 on August 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Appended.

freedomfirst on August 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Perhaps we will find that this reality is but a simulation run in someone’s computer… right now we have to get to planck scale events to figure this out, but if there is decent evidence that this reality is holographic and demonstrates large-scale interference patterns, then we might have an answer to the question of living in a simulation. Once we know that then the entire thing shuts down and is restarted to be even more inexplicable than before, because you can’t let the rubes figure this out.

The awfulness of the universe may not be due so much as to a deity but to the equivalent of a bored teenager doing something else while reality is running. Being part of someone’s grand physics program is one thing… being caught in the large scale of The Sims is quite another. I’ll take the random set of events causing a universe that has no intention or meaning to it if the alternative is to be in some megascale version of The Sims, tyvm.

ajacksonian on August 28, 2014 at 12:21 PM

It’s the analogy that was used.

ZachV on August 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Weren’t you the one that attacked Jazz for using the term hologram as if it caused him to miss the point? The term “paint” is even worse.

It’s the analogy that was used.

Asking who the baker is misses the point of the illustration.

Criticizing the term hologram misses the point of the post.

corkie on August 28, 2014 at 12:25 PM

And if you don’t think neutrino research is a GREAT idea, understand this — any nuclear carrier or sub could be tracked easily from anywhere on the planet if we could detect neutrinos without extreme effort.

Yeah. And if we had it, d’ohbama would sell it to the Chinese.

In the interest of “world peace”, of course…and campaign profits.

Solaratov on August 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I have a feeling the actual physics question being asked is technical to the point of this being a disingenuous summary of what is being studied. I am not defending the study as I don’t know much about it, nor am I saying the government should be funding it instead of some private research. But I’m close enough to this kind of work that I know how difficult it is to break it down to a generally accessible level.

MC88 on August 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

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