Tag Archives: Albert Einstein

Was This Man A Time Traveler?

Proposed Time Machine Could Also Clone Objects

vortex 911

Access to the past would open all sorts of new possibilities of more than travel.

By Charles Q. Choi, ISNS Contributor via Inside Science

time_250px(ISNS) — Time travel is often a way to change history in science fiction such as “Back to the Future” and “Looper.” Now researchers suggest a certain kind of time machine could also possess another powerful capability — cloning perfect copies of anything.

However, scientists noted the way these findings violate what is currently known about quantum physics might instead mean such time machines are not possible.

We are all time travelers in that we all move forward in time. However, scientists have suggested it might be possible to move back in time by manipulating the fabric of space and time in our cosmos. All mass distorts space-time, causing the experience of gravity, a bit like how a ball sitting on a rubber sheet would make nearby balls on the sheet roll toward it. Physicists have proposed time machines that could bend the fabric of space and time so much that timelines actually turn back on themselves,  forming loops technically known as “closed timelike curves.”

These space-time warps can develop because of wormholes — tunnels that can in theory allow travel anywhere in space and time, or even into another universe. Wormholes are allowed by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, although whether they are practically possible is another matter.

A key limitation of this kind of time machine would be that any traveler using it cannot go back to a time before the device was built. It only permits travel from the future back to any point in time after the machine was constructed.

Scientists have for decades explored what closed timelike curves are capable of if they are possible.

One complication they would encounter is the no-cloning theorem in quantum physics, which basically forbids the creation of identical copies of any particle one does not know everything about to begin with.

wormhole_by_stefitms_250pxIn classical physics, one can generate a perfect copy of anything by finding out every detail about it and arranging the same components in the same order. However, in the bizarre world of quantum physics — the best description so far of how reality behaves on its most fundamental levels — one cannot perfectly measure every detail of an object at once. This is related to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which notes that one can perfectly measure either the position or the momentum of a particle, but not both with unlimited accuracy.

Nearly 25 years ago, theoretical physicist David Deutsch at the University of Oxford in England suggested closed timelike curves might actually violate the no-cloning theorem, allowing perfect copies to be constructed of anything. Now scientists reveal this might be true in findings detailed in the Nov. 8 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

To understand this research, imagine one builds a time machine in the year 2000. One could place a letter into the device in the year 3000 and pick it up within this box in 2000 or any year between then and 3000. From the perspective of the letter, it goes inside this time machine into one mouth of a wormhole in the future and comes out the other mouth of the wormhole in the past.

However, theoretical physicist Mark Wilde at Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, and his colleagues found this scenario may be more complex than previously thought. Instead of the time machine containing just one wormhole, it could possess many wormholes, each at some point in time between the future and the moment of its creation. A letter entering the box in 3000 might exit from a wormhole in 2999, instantaneously go back into that wormhole and emerge in 2998, and so on.

“It’s like there are 1,000 different particles emerging from all the wormholes, but in fact they’re all the same particle you sent in the beginning,” Wilde said. “You just have all these temporary copies emerging from and going back into these wormholes.”

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What’s Wrong with The Secret

The Secret teaches that victims are always to blame, and that anyone can have anything simply by wishing.

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via Skeptoid: Critical Analysis Podcast (2008). Read podcast transcript below or listen here.

Prepare to have everything you’ve ever wanted, simply by thinking happy thoughts about it; and be careful of negative scary thoughts which might cause those things to happen to you to too. Little did you know that, just like in the original Star Trek episode Shore Leave, whatever you think of — either good or bad — will actually happen! This is the premise of Rhonda Byrne‘s 2006 book and movie, both titled The Secret.

cccRhonda Byrne is an Australian television producer and author. Her book and movie propose that many of the most successful people throughout history have known a “secret” — a secret closely guarded in the marketing materials for the book and movie. The “secret” turns out to be nothing more than the old motivational speaker’s standby, that positive thinking leads to positive results. But she took the idea a step further. The Secret claims that you can actually cause events to happen by wishing for them hard enough, literally like winning the lottery or recovering from terminal illness. Similarly, a focus on fears or negative ideas will cause those things to appear or happen as well. The Secret calls this the “Law of Attraction”. The Secret further makes the completely unfounded claim that many great people knew and relied upon this wisdom, and taught it to others as “secret teachers”. “Secret teachers” included Buddha, Aristotle, Plato, Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King Jr., Carl Jung, Henry Ford, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Campbell, Alexander Graham Bell, and even Beethoven. This claim is just a made-up lie: Most of these people lived before the “Law of Attraction” was invented, and there’s no evidence that any of them ever heard of it.

As of today (2008), a year and a half after its release, The Secret remains #26 of Amazon’s list of best selling books, better than any Harry Potter book. It has over 2,000 customer reviews. Half of them are 5 star, and a quarter of them are 1 star. This is the sign of a polarizing book. Most people either love it or find it to be utter nonsense. In the case of The Secret, most people love it. Thanks in large part to promotion by Oprah Winfrey, The Secret sold 2 million DVD’s in its first year and 4 million books in its first six months.

“Wealth is a mindset. Money is literally attracted to you or repelled from you. It’s all about how you think.”The Secret

Many of the people appearing in the movie version of The Secret are motivational speakers who spout the same old “If you can dream it, you can do it” nonsense that Amway salesmen have been chanting for decades. In essence, part of what Rhonda Byrne has done has been to simply repackage Motivational Speaking 101 inside the wrapper of a century-old philosophical construct, which we’ll look at in closer detail in a moment.

As you’ve probably heard, The Secret has been roundly criticized from all quarters. The most common criticism is of The Secret’s assertion that victims are always to blame for whatever happens to them. Whether it’s a rape victim, a tsunami victim, or a heart attack victim, The Secret teaches that they brought it upon themselves with their own negative thoughts. This idea is, of course, profoundly offensive in many ways. Doctors attack The Secret for teaching that positive thinking is an adequate substitute for medical care in cases of serious illness: Wish for it hard enough, and your cancer tumors will melt away. Religious leaders criticize The Secret for its ethical claims that victims are always to blame, and for promoting the attitude that anyone can be just like a god by wishing hard enough. Many financial critics and advisors have pointed out the dangers of yet another baseless get-rich-quick scheme. The list of critics of The Secret goes on and on, as tends to happen to any mega-successful franchise.

So the question people ask me is “What do I think of The Secret?”

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Iran’s New Fake Invention: Time Machine

via Wired.com

Iran’s time machine isn’t Doc Emmett Brown’s DeLorean. It allegedly fits in a computer case, for convenience.

Iran’s technological prowess has reached an all-time high. It claims to have solved the metaphysical conundrums associated with time travel.

Ali Razeghi has not created a flux capacitor, and probably doesn’t own a DeLorean. But the managing director at the delightfully-named Centre for Strategic Inventions claims to have put together a device that fits into a “personal computer case” whose algorithms can discern key details about the next five to eight years of a user’s life based merely on a fingertip impression.

“It will not take you into the future,” Razeghi told the state-run Fars news agency, according to the Daily Telegraph, “it will bring the future to you.” With that, Razeghi becomes the most significant scientist since Albert Einstein.

Taking Razeghi at his word, today marks the day that Iran becomes a global economic and military superpower. It no longer matters how many aircraft carriers or afloat staging bases packed with laser cannons the U.S. idles near Iranian shores. The commandos who operate in secret across the Persian/Arabian Gulf are now irrelevant. Iranian air defenses will now know precisely where and when Israeli jets seeking to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities will enter their airspace.

Iran’s woes at constructing an intercontinental ballistic missile now appear trivial. Nothing matters more than accurate, predictive intelligence for discerning an adversary’s move before he makes it. An Iranian chrononautical effort gives the Islamic Republic a near omniscience: the ability to access, process and utilize data before it even enters existence. It is entirely possible that the implications of Iranian trans-chronal access are already rippling backward in time across the multiverse, transforming reality in ways that are difficult to comprehend.

There are limited countermeasures Iranian adversaries can design or field. One option would be to design son-of-Stuxnet malware to attack the device itself. But there is great likelihood Razeghi’s machine will have already warned the Iranian security apparatus of a forthcoming cyberattack. A more fruitful option might be to out-invent Iran, and create a better forecasting device than the Iranians possess. Such a move carries heavy implications for the fabric of reality, but Razeghi has already crossed a Rubicon, and U.S. policymakers must now ask themselves how long they are prepared to tolerate an Iranian monopoly on time travel.

via Wired.com.

Do Scientists Fear the Paranormal?

paranormal-alien-630x433_05by Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

The question has been asked for decades: why haven’t psychic powers been proven yet? Psychics have been studied for decades, both in and out of the laboratory, yet the scientific community (and the public at large) remains unconvinced.

In a recent book, “Science & Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics,” author Chris Carter insists that the reason that psychic powers have not been proven is because scientists are unaware of the research or refuse to take it seriously because “Clearly many scientists find the claims of parapsychology disturbing.”

Curiosity Spots Mystery Mars 'Flower'

Curiosity Spots Mystery Mars ‘Flower’
(Click image for analysis)

This is a common charge leveled against skeptics and scientists: that they refuse to acknowledge the existence of paranormal phenomenon (psychic abilities, ghosts, etc.) because it would somehow challenge or “disturb” their worldview.

Skeptics and scientists, they say, are deeply personally and professional invested in defending the scientific status quo and cannot psychologically tolerate the idea that they could be wrong. This results in a closed-minded refusal to accept, or even seriously examine, the evidence.

But is this really true? Do scientists ignore and dismiss claims and evidence that challenge dominant scientific ideas? Let’s examine some recent examples.

Psychic Powers

A study published in 2011 in a scientific journal claimed to have found strong evidence for the existence of psychic powers such as ESP. The paper, written by Cornell professor Daryl J. Bem, was published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and quickly made headlines around the world for its implication: that psychic powers had been scientifically proven.

Bem’s claim of evidence for ESP wasn’t ridiculed or ignored; instead it was taken seriously and tested by scientific researchers.

Indonesian Crop Circle Prompts Rumors of Aliens

Indonesian Crop Circle Prompts
Rumors of Aliens
(Click image for analysis)

Replication is of course the hallmark of valid scientific research — if the findings are true and accurate, they should be able to be replicated by others. Otherwise the results may simply be due to normal and expected statistical variations and errors. If other experimenters cannot get the same result using the same techniques, it’s usually a sign that the original study was flawed in one or more ways.

A team of researchers collaborated to accurately replicate Bem’s final experiment, and found no evidence for any psychic powers. Their results were published in the journal PLoS ONE. Bem — explicitly contradicting Carter’s suggestion that skeptics set out to discredit his work or refused to look at it — acknowledged that the findings did not support his claims and wrote that the researchers had “made a competent, good-faith effort to replicate the results of one of my experiments on precognition.”

The following year a second group of scientists also tried to replicate Bem’s ESP experiments, and once again found no evidence for psychic power. The article, “Correcting the Past: Failures to Replicate Psi,” was published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and is available on the web page of the Social Science Research Network.

Einstein’s Mistake?

In September 2011, news shot around the world that Italian physicists had measured particles traveling faster than light. The neutrino in the experiment only exceeded the speed of light by a little tiny bit — 60 nanoseconds — but if validated would violate the fundamental laws of physics.

Questions swirled: Would the findings hold up under repeated experiments? Could this team have proven Einstein wrong about the speed of light?

Real-life 'Paranormal Activity': Are Ghosts Real? (Credit: Paramount Picutures)

Real-life ‘Paranormal Activity’:
Are Ghosts Real?
Photo Credit: Paramount Picutures
(Click image for analysis)

What was the reaction from the scientific community to the news of this fundamentals-of-physics-challenging finding? They didn’t ignore the results, hoping the inconvenient truth would go away; they didn’t brand the scientists liars or hoaxers; they didn’t shout, “Burn the witch, this is heresy and cannot be true!”

Instead, they did what all scientists do when confronted with such anomalous evidence: they took a closer look at the experiment to make sure the results were valid, and tried to replicate the research. It later turned out that the anomaly was caused by at least two measurement errors, possibly including a loose cable: the experiment was flawed.

The scientists were not skeptical because accepting that Einstein was wrong about something would lead to a nervous breakdown, or that their whole worldview would crumble beneath them, or that they would have to accept that science doesn’t know everything.

The reason scientists were skeptical is because the new study contradicted all previous experiments. That’s what good science does: When you do a study or experiment — especially one whose results conflict with earlier conclusions, you study it closely and question it before accepting the results.

In science, those who disprove dominant theories are rewarded, not punished. Disproving one of Einstein’s best-known predictions (or proving the existence of psychic powers) would earn the dissenting scientists a place in the history books, if not a Nobel Prize.

The same pattern exists in other areas of the unexplained. For example . . . (READ MORE) . . .

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