Sunday, 26 March 2017

Born to do Math 19 – “Welcome to the Universe”

In-Sight Publishing
Born to do Math - "Welcome to the Universe"
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
March 26, 2017

[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We were talking for like 20 minutes on our irregularly regular Skype calls. So you wanted to talk about math, physics, and IC. I said, “Okay.” We went from there. All sorts of interesting topic arose from it.

Rick Rosner: I am reading Welcome to the Universe, which is Neil Tysons’s, and to other guys’, book. It is a bunch of easy physics for the lay person. It is a nice way to trigger thoughts about physics. It also bums me out because it presents Big Bang physics as this perfectly established and proven bulwark against any other possible interpretation of the universe. And there was a tweet string from scientist Katie Mack.

She talked about the misery of—she’s a working scientist. Every known physicist has lunatics trying to submit their alternate theories of the universe to them. She talked about the misery of that for her, having to tell people to fuck off. For people themselves who labor in delusion for decades, that whole thing is depressing because what we’re trying to produce and present is an alternate view of the universe as an information processor with characteristics that - some of which – are inconsistent with orthodox Big Bang theory.

SDJ: It is not willy-nilly. It is based on or building on previous work don for decades in digital physics, which many mainstream have already done.

RR: Yea, but I mean, it is still enough of an alternative thing. The Welcome to the Universe book shows the theoretically predictive curve of the isotropism of the Cosmic Microwave Background – how clumpy it is. How clumpy it would be considered to be with Big bang theory, then they showed the experimental results and the degree to which the experimental results and predictive curve match is just crazily huge, and super precise.

It might be the most precisely matched curve between theoretical and experimental predictions and results in all of physics. I’ve never seen the curve before, which just speaks to my ignorance. The curve is so wiggly and kind of arbitrary looking. Yet it is a theoretical curve, and they plot the experimental points, and they match dead-on to 1 part in 10^8th or some crap. The idea that you’ve got a theory that somehow says, “Well, that’s not exactly what’s going on,” with that sort of evidence is a little demoralizing.

It makes one think, or it makes me think, that I’m one of those crazy guys with a bullshit theory. On the other hand, I don’t think all of our thinking over the past – I don’t know – is worthless. But you do have to address certain things. In about 1974, physicist John Wheel talked about “It from Bit” in his huge book Gravitation. It from Bit is the idea that the universe is an information processor and it is working through some code the way computers work through code.

When you think about how much code goes into computation, especially when he was writing in 1974, a modern video game’s computation has millions, if not tens of millions, of lines of code that mediate between players, actions, and visual experience, and circuits being flipped, microcircuits being flipped from 0 to 1, in a computer. You’ve got the tens of millions of lines of code. The people who have written the game.

Then you’ve got compiler code that writes that into a more ground-level code to talk to the individual flappable bits of a computer, and who knows how many other layers of code that have to be passed through between the players thumb on the controller, through the computer, to the TV, and back into the player’s eyes. It is so much code. If you’ve got It from Bit going on in the universe, in a digital universe and its code.

Where is it? Where is it hidden? Where is all of the code? 

[End of recorded material]

Rick Rosner
American Television Writer
Rick Rosner
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
In-Sight Publishing
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