Category Archives: popsci

3rd black hole merger, gravitational waves, etc

❗ 💡 ⭐ hi all, the 3rd black hole merger capture by LIGO was announced within the last week. a huge deal![f] have been tracking this area. its a “ringing/ rippling” excitement in physics and cosmology, its like christmas and even conservative scientists are talking in profound terms. a new detector is going online soon in europe (named Virgo in Pisa, Italy)[f11] and there are predictions that up to about 1 event per day may be observable after all the machines are finetuned!

☯️ this all coincides with a lot of theoretical commotion at the same time. ofc as long observed here, experiment and theory are like yang+yin, each energeizes and contains elements of the other, so to speak. its well/ widely acknowledged that GR+QM unification is a/ the big/ key open question of physics and there are a lot of new ideas circulating, and anything to do with gravity is nearly by defn highly coupled with GR.[b] this also ties in with new theories about big bang/ expansion.[e] theres some big contention going on.

am esp interested in Verlindes ideas about gravity as an “emergent phenomenon” that possibly is a solution to the “dark matter” problem.[c] have been promoting this rough conceptual idea myself for many years and feel it ties in naturally with pilot wave hydrodynamics and soliton dynamics (latest big writeup on that only ~½ yr ago). in short, an image to ponder: a wave-particle seems to continuously emanate waves out to infinity. what effect do those have collectively? is there some emergent property there?

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Google Deepmind strikes again: AlphaGo 3-0 over worlds best player Ke Jie

hi all Google Deepmind has pulled another rabbit out of the hat and won 3-0 against the worlds reigning Go champion Ke Jie who coincidentally is also Chinese, only about 1yr since last historic match.[a] the 19year old was reportedly literally in tears.[a17] quite a different reaction than kasparov ~2 decades ago! looks like emotions really run the gamut eh? last years match with Lee Sedol had him apologizing for/ to humanity at the end! reminds me of the so-called “5 stages of grief” concept from psychology… where the “loss” is one of mankinds most priceless/ treasured possessions, its uniqueness wrt intelligence/ mind! o_O

theres a brand new AlphaGo movie/ documentary on the prior history, cant wait to see it, has anyone else?[a8] what do you think? how does google/ deepmind top this? apparently they cant and actually theyve announced theyve decided to avoid any further human media/ spectacle matches! or is that just my interpretation? Hassibis is quoted as saying AlphaGo will stop/ retire, but not sure exactly what he means by that, its a big question mark, and the funky/ choppy chinese translation certainly isnt helping any.[a17] doesnt it make some sense to continue to refine it some, or release parts or all of it, do some maintenance, etc? it seems even after it beats the top human there is some small )( suspense left. (have always thought it a bit of a historical loss verging on tragedy that IBM Deep Blue chess hardware/ code was “decommissioned” and maybe never archived or released to the public.)

various alignments and massive themes going on here. the Chinese have funneled billions of dollars into AI research and yet this match was not really publicized much or celebrated within china, in stark contrast to last years international Korean media extravaganza, verging on near-media-circus! the state censorship system apparently decided to cut off the live feed of the match ~30m into it after uncertain/ unknown reasons, and/ or it became clear that maybe their human player would not dominate. and then theres the trickiness of Google having withdrawn from china in the prior few years due to their hacking, and wanting back into the gargantuan market. but oops! chinas semi-state-sponsored companies compete directly with google services. as the teenagers say, AWKWARD! 😳

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tribute to Science 2017, shifting, shearing, maybe a crossroads

hi all. science is in the news. it looks like the US public has realized fairly quickly that this is nearly an anti-science admin through the administrations rhetoric and many early anti-science decisions.[a] the public “protests/ marches” for science are unprecedented (triggering this post/ “outburst”).[b] but one might argue they are not entirely protests but in fact an advocacy. there is strong overlap with climate concern.[i]

my favorite area/ subspeciality is Computer Science a very neat blend of STEM.[d] years (decades!) ago an interviewer asked me “whats the difference between science and technology”? that was before the STEM term was invented. found it difficult to answer the question.[j] but my focus is not so narrow and recognize that CS is part of Science and there are all kinds of ripples/ shifts/ waves going on in the latter. and ofc have a lot of physics ideas/ engagement/ writing on this blog.

science & technology are fusing in our lives like never before. the boundaries blur and some new capabilities may seem nearly god-like compared to the prior human condition. but there is also always the icarus aspect of flying close to the sun with waxed feathers. or pandoras box. the greeks seemed to dream uncannily far into the future in their legends/ mythology.

science is an ideology, but one that is threatened in various ways. its like those big ideas like Democracy that require active engagement by the public and is no longer something to be assumed or taken for granted.

science has given us miraculous stuff in the US and the US has been a world leader, but it seems some of that edge is eroding. its not something that comes automatically, it requires something like a vibrant/ thriving infrastructure, even ecosystem, and that cultural/ intellectual ecosystem is threatened quite analogous to the earths. academia is a big part of it, facing some difficulties.[f]

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universe as a simulation hypothesis, holographic principle, recent developments/ notes/ minisurvey

hi all. have blogged before here (admittedly, enthusiastically, even ebulliently) on the “digital physics” concept, an enamoring idea (for some!). recently within last few weeks and last year there seems to be substantial new interest and developments even in “semimainstream” physics, and now even the mainstream media is in a semi-lather over close topics. (skeptics will ofc argue the word “semimainstream” sounds something like “semipregnant”!) its hard to keep up! there are many different angles of povs, events, personalities, etc… this post attempts to collect and summarize some of this and bang it all into a semicoherent story (as much as such a thing is possible). some old but evocative buzz/ magic words thrown around about internet expansion into multiple industries come to mind: consolodation/ convergence…

to start, these ideas are now going under the headline of the “holographic universe/ principle”[a2] or “simulated universe/ hypothesis”[a1] concepts. they are interconnected in major and/ or subtle ways.

mentioned Aaronsons recent blog[i3] on subj citing Hossenfelder [i1][i2] in a recent near-throwaway comment in the SE physics chat room “hbar”[a5] to a new accomplished user BenNiehoff (phd KU Leuven working on string theory with 9 papers on arxiv!). hes met a lot of famous physicists at conferences personally eg Susskind, Zee, Green, Schwarz, and Witten and other famous theorists. am trying to recruit him for a guest session in our elite and popular series, but thats another story!

laid out some of the basic concepts/ “pros” of the simulation hypothesis ideas incl/ eg longtime endorsement/ driven pursuit by nobel prize alumnus ‘t Hooft, which thought were not generally very controversial, but the room denizens/ regulars reacted quite adversely-bordering-on-negatively, with some really stinging retorts! guess those big fat shiny nobel prizes and the proverbial “trip to stockholm” just aint what they used to be! Ben expressed his disinclination and looks like they all smelled blood in the water & went in for the kill! 😮 o_O 😦

Ah, as usual you have no actual argument to make, I should’ve known. —ACuriousMind [a6]

vzn; do you have any mainstream views? —John Rennie [a7]

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visa ban connections/ impact with science/ tech/ research/ edu

hi all, ideally technology advances might exist in some kind of vacuum that is unimpacted by politics. technology does have a huge resilience these days to shifting political winds du jour but alas, it can be highly impacted by political currents/ decisions. after a major regime/ administration change, these heretofore “hidden” dependencies can come into more stark focus, as is the case lately.

am trying to come up with a personal strategy/ pov/ philosophy toward the Age of Trump, still under development/ construction. have been through major election disappointments before. was mostly apolitical before Bush and then became much more political after bush, just trying to understand the world we live in and the direction it was going. bush 2004 election was a big disappointment to me. it seemed like a victory for warmongering. its strange how delayed the publics reaction to Iraq invasion was. it seems it took over a decade for the public to sour on it. but its heartening to some )( degree that those types of shifts can eventually happen and affect mainstream politics.

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