Life, the universe, and everything

Discussion in 'Archive' started by maca2kx, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. maca2kx

    maca2kx Rookie

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    Ok, this is the derailment from this topic. I've split the posts and included the starting quote so discussion can continue here.

    Actually the universe is speeding up if you mean expansion-wise. Entropy is meant to be increasing though and when entropy means there are no viable reactions left human existence ceases to exist, not have reason, since human existence is reliant on chemical reactions anyway. Additionally the sun will probably become a red giant given its size but I'm sure that was only a typo, been watching Red Dwarf? If so good taste. If humanity still exists in about five billion years I'd hope we're advanced enough to scoot on out of the solar system too, or maybe we would have blasted ourselves back into the stone age a few hundred thousand times by that point.

    Sam
     
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  2. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    I just pilfered that first part from Bill Bailey's "Part Troll," but yes, I did mean red giant, and thanks for the compliment. Red Dwarf is classic.

    And may the Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid entropy decrease. The way my physics teacher tried to explain it, and I'll admit he was a crazy mo-fo (even if he did do research for NASA, and turned down a job offer from them), was that the Universe's volume is expanding too quickly for it's constant mass to sustain. The way I interpreted that was analogous to partially inflating a balloon, and then continuing to stretch the rubber of the balloon, and it quickly becomes unstable.

    The thought that the Universe was in fact collapsing, possibly into a singularity, which would then cause a build of pressure, re-enacting the Big Bang, and recreating the Universe freaked me out.

    The possibility that this is not the first Universe, but is in fact the millionth, or billionth, or of even indeterminable number (considering time can only be measured from the reference point created by man) led me to an existential crisis. Am I the first Blair Munro, and each Universe is different to the last, or are they identical, and if so, have I posted this here before, in another Universe, or is each action taken by each Blair different?

    As a result, I turned to Chemistry, and shunned Physics.
     
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  3. maca2kx

    maca2kx Rookie

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    Chemistry? Gah, hated my A levels chemistry except for my subdued teacher who was awesome. As for a repeating universe, that's one of the theories but there are three main ones. First that the universe is expanding too quickly for its mass to slow the expansion sufficiently to cause it to reverse, second that the universe is expanding but will eventually reach a steady state where there is neither expansion nor constriction and third that the universe will eventually collapse in on itself after expansion has been slowed and then begins to reverse. I'm not sure which is the prevalent theory at the moment.

    Sam
     
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  4. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    The whole repeating Universe thing kind of sprang from a collapsing Universe, which I think the third theory you described. The other theory I've heard is that the Universe should be expanding much faster than it is, implying that there is a force outside the known Universe restricting its expansion. That leads to another question: what is the Universe expanding into, if anything?

    I don't know about you, Sam, but everytime I consider the Universe expanding, I see it as an inflating balloon, gradually growing to fill the volume of a room. The question is, is there a room to the Universe's balloon, what else is in the room, and there's probably a house attached, and a planet for is to sit on, and a planet to hold it, and so on, which puts things into perspective a bit.

    What do you reckon?

    PS. And as for Chemistry, I chose it because you can't blow anything up with Management.
     
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  5. maca2kx

    maca2kx Rookie

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    The issue of what's 'outside' the universe is a massive one that will probably never be answered. The balloon analogy sort of works except it's more the balloon's surface which is relevant. If you draw a few dots on an deflated balloon and then start inflating it you'll see the dots begin to separate, they're not moving as such but the distance between them is increasing. This represents the universe, just one dimension lower since the universe is three dimensional (without getting into anything more complicated that makes my brain leak) and the surface of the balloon is only two dimensional. Anyway, there's a lot of the universe which is still dark to us so for all we know there could be millions of black holes at the centre of the universe, perhaps even something we haven't discovered or theorised yet, maybe there isn't a 'centre' of the universe and instead it acts as a higher dimensional version of the surface of the Earth. What I mean by that is, perhaps just as the Earth is finite in size but we can never get to the end (because it's overall spherical) so is the universe except it's a four dimensional sphere.

    As for what the universe is expanding into, well that would involve understanding what the absence of time and space would mean and that's something I personally can't do, if it is possible then it would be with advanced maths and that's something I've never been any good at.

    Sam
     
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  6. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    Yeah, I've always been more of a theorist, and thinker when it comes to that sort of thing. There is the possibility that the dark matter which constitutes the unknown Universe is not defined by thermodynamic laws, and is capable of propagating more matter, which would theoretically be sufficient to sustain the Universe's volume.

    And the dots thing kind of works, except if you consider writing on a deflated balloon, it stretches, as opposed to just becoming further apart. So going from that, the further from the "center" of the Universe you are, the more your finite shape is distorted as it expands, assuming the Universe and its matter are arranged like Dalton's atom, and everything is fixed in place reletive to the "center."

    And as for time and space, I try to disregard their importance. Time is simply an abstract concept used by sentient organic beings to measure, and ultimately derive meaning from their own decay. There is no past, there is no future, there is only now. Learn from your mistakes, and make them, because in the grand scheme of the Universe, consequences are insignificant.

    Space, on the other hand, I consider all things to be connected somehow. We are all the same thing, shaped into different forms, forced to exist finitely, defined into a volume, instead of flowing freely as some form of ether, free of all physical conformations.

    You haven't been reading Flatland have you?
     
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  7. maca2kx

    maca2kx Rookie

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    I haven't been reading Flatland, don't know what it is to be honest.

    As for time being an arbitrary classification, far from it. Yes, seconds, minutes, hours and so on are all human constructs but the thing behind them is very real and very universal. The passage of time allows us to move, allows atoms to vibrate (in fact atomic clocks measure a second by monitoring how long it takes a caesium-133 atom to make 9,192,631,770 radiation cycles) and so on. The units of time are about as arbitrary as the units of distance but that doesn't mean distance doesn't exist without human imposed measurements.

    Sam
     
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  8. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    And Sam, I know that (well not precisely how many radiation cycles an atomic clock measures), but all that information would be useless to humans without some reference point, that we impose on things. How old are you? In years, minutes or seconds, or even by determining how many times your somatic cells have undergone fission, it doesn't matter.

    Time is one of the seven basic physical measurements, sure, but all of the natural aspects of time you identified are simply derivations from energy. Time doesn't allow atoms to vibrate, energy does. I consider energy important, but time?

    This had honestly been one of the most interesting discussions I've had in an age. By the way, Flatland is a book which, among other things like politics and sociological conventions, talks about perception, and the incapacity of something to understand something of greater existence. Wikipedia has a good plot summary, if you want to know more about it, but things like a two-dimensional existence would support beings capable of moving only in cardinal directions, but we, as three-dimensional beings, and the ability to move in all directions, would have unlimited power in such an existence. To move items from a safe, we could simply move them out of their current plane. A four-dimensional being would have similar powers in our world, through the fourth dimension which they have free access to. The reason I bring it up is because you were describing the Universe's expansion, it being a four-dimensional sphere.
     
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  9. maca2kx

    maca2kx Rookie

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    Hmm, you mean something like this? I'm interested in that sort of stuff, if only to try to understand the higher dimensions. I really wish I had a copy of A Brief History of Time next to me but I left both of them at home... yeah, I bought a second copy when I thought I lost my first, I found the first copy about two days later.

    I know that time doesn't cause atom vibrations but without time there would be no movement since time is simply the continuance of one thing to the next. Energy would be a whole other discussion which I am willing to get into but not right now since I'm bloody starving and then I'm going to sleep.

    Sam
     
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  10. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    Alright, so the continuance of one thing to the next is simply the transfer of energy from one form to another, but time is a method by which we observe such changes, and can therefore construct a chronology of energy transfer, and make future predictions?

    Get some food and sleep dude.

    And yes, that is the kind of thing I meant. But what if you go smaller, down to one dimension? There could only be one being, a single point, and it's understanding would be so small, as it is the only thing in it's own Universe, the only thing it knows to exist.

    There we go, Solipsism is an advanced form of one-dimensionalism.
     
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  11. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    I believe I read somewhere that the sun will swell up to the point where it engulfs mars prior to its destruction.
     
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  12. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    I heard Mercury, but we'll survive that part.
     
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  13. madster111

    madster111 Rookie

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  14. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    I was glad he decided to use a Douglas Adams reference.
     
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  15. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    I hear the Hitchhiker's references a lot being in engineering. It seems people find ways to throw it out there.
     
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  16. Hoomfie

    Hoomfie Rookie

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    I'm curious as to how multiple beings in a two-dimensional universe would be aware of each other. Just as a single point in a one-dimensional universe is only aware that it is the only thing in existance, how does a two-dimensional plane know other beings exist?

    Thinking from a human perspective -- we have sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste (not so much the last one) which enable our awareness of others. In a two dimensional universe, where do ones "eyes" go? They have no depth, so how do they "see" anything, but up?

    Is it possible that our knowledge of dimensions goes down as well? What I mean by that is: If we cannot possibly comprehend what a 4th dimension is, because we are trapped in 3 dimensions -- is it possible that we cannot comprehend what living in a 2-dimensional universe would be like because we are 3-dimensional beings? Also, where do the dimensions stop? Is there a 21 dimensional being out there pondering what the 22nd dimension is like? Kinda makes you feel insignificant.

    About the time thing - both of you make valid points, but I lean towards thetank's argument more. We draw our notion of time from observable events - but not necessarily the transfer of energy (before we knew of the existance of atoms, we got our sense of time from the periods of day and night and the position of the sun and the moon in the sky).
     
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  17. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    Hoomfie, the way I think about seeing in a 2-dimensional world would be to see a single line, and imagine points on that line. You could identify a point on that line, but nothing beyond that point on that particular part of the line. Like we can't see through a wall, a similar barrier in a two-dimensional form would have the same effect, though appearing as a line to us.

    And in the same way as we are able to see all sides of a 2D object simultaneously, a 4D being would be able to see all sides of us, as well as inside us and through us simultaneously. That's the only means I am able to perceive a 4D existence, by imagining our power in a 2D world scaled to have power in our world.

    And you can just call me Tank.
     
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  18. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    I try not to imagine any dimensions higher than our own because my speculation and perception is most definitely ill-informed.
     
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  19. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    NesMan, that's half the fun! Swapping opinions, and using the Internet for something other than porn.
     
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  20. madster111

    madster111 Rookie

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    WTF, theres ANOTHER use for the internet?!?!?! :shock: :shock: :shock:

    anyway, there are too many long posts in this topic, so i will wait until someone summerises it up.
     
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