Category Archives: Good Stuff

The Nature of Our Reality

I know next to nothing about quantum physics. But for years I have often wondered what is the nature of our reality? Are we like goldfish in a bowl who may see blurry and undefined things outside but find comfort in their own world? Is Man so arrogant as to know that he is rapidly learning all there is to know about his world? I suppose that Man has always had a strain of arrogance about his world.

Well, some.

A few years ago, while going through the Wayback Machine , I came across an intriguing post by Lex on the subject.

The universe, many physicists agree, is “fine tuned” * for life. If any one of a number of different of fundamental, physical constants  * were altered only just a little, life – at least as we know it – would not be possible.

One of these fundamental constants is the so-called “fine structure”  * constant, so named because by multiplying a number of other fundamental constants together a pure, unitless number is attained. The fine structure constant, known to physicists as α is elegantly dimensionless, and utterly mysterious, as quantum mechanic Richard Feynman  * wrote:

Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to pi or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms? Nobody knows. It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the “hand of God” wrote that number, and “we don’t know how He pushed his pencil.” 

…Or put another way, and in another context,  * “What we’re suggesting is that something that can’t interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed.”

Today, I came across a recent article in the Scientific American giving the odds of our being in a simulation at 50-50.

Ever since the philosopher Nick Bostrom proposed in the Philosophical Quarterly that the universe and everything in it might be a simulation, there has been intense public speculation and debate about the nature of reality. Such public intellectuals as Tesla leader and prolific Twitter gadfly Elon Musk have opined about the statistical inevitability of our world being little more than cascading green code. Recent papers have built on the original hypothesis to further refine the statistical bounds of the hypothesis, arguing that the chance that we live in a simulation may be 50–50.

…This helps us arrive at an interesting observation about the nature of space in our universe. If we are in a simulation, as it appears, then space is an abstract property written in code. It is not real. It is analogous to the numbers seven million and one in our example, just different abstract representations on the same size memory block. Up, down, forward, backward, 10 miles, a million miles, these are just symbols. 

What is height? distance? If this is all a simulation, then what is the function of our consciousness?

Quite frankly, I have to reread this article a few times to get a full understanding. But to be absolutely certain that all we know in our environment here on earth is all there is to know…is either arrogance or ignorance. But that of course, is just my belief.

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An Amazing Small Shop

Shelby-American, 1042 Princeton Dr, Venice, California

Between 1962 at their founding and 1965 there couldn’t have been more than a few dozen employees, including the bookkeeper and publicist. And yet, in 1965 they won the World Manufacturer’s Championship for Sports Cars, beating the likes of Ferrari and Jaguar.

The key was the people. From the mechanics, to the fabricators, to the world-class drivers.

And the circumstances.

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You only think your job is a pain in the a**

Posted by lex, on February 13, 2008

Pull this out when you think you’re having a bad day at work. It’s a letter from a deep sea diver to his sister that apparently got airplay on the radio in Louisiana:

“Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you’ve been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it’s not so bad after all.

Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It’s a wet suit.

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The value of a man

Posted by lex, on September 18, 2006

Can often be inferred from a relatively simple measurement: The number and quality of those that love  him. An even simpler measure may be taken from an opposing variable: The unnumerated quality of those that hate him.

The same, I think, may be said of countries:

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Women – with blasters

Posted by lex, on September 5, 2006

This just gets me on so many different levels.

And no, I’m not proud of it. But there it is.

(H/T to the Prof)

Back To The Index 

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Friday Musings  02/28/05

Posted by lex, on Fri – February 18, 2005 at 06:13 PM

 

Bottled water, just now. It’s still early, and anyway I had a beer (Guinness, if you must know – for strength  * !) with lunch today.

How and why that came to be will be yours to discover once you have clicked “read more” below.

There is a long and circular tale about Monday that I want to share, only I am not quite sure just how to tell it. Hmm.

(Caution: If you can’t abide stories about men lashing the turf in search of little white balls to scrape around [golf, in other words], skip ahead a few lines, brother.)

Well anyway, the surface forces were having their annual golf classic at the air station where I work. Being the team player that I am, and believing it’s all for the best to share of oneself, I signed up a team from our organization. We were a pretty diverse bunch, if you can call four white naval officers between the age of 36 and 50 (I was not the oldest!) diverse. Which I know wouldn’t pass muster at the kinds of places where ethnicity is parsed with purséd lips and diversity is carefully sifted, weighed and assessed, but as I was saying, and to get back on the tale itself, we were diverse, for us: One aviator, one surface warfare officer (for form’s sake, and anyway he’s the best golfer on the staff), one submariner and an admin guy.

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Catching Up

Posted by lex, on November 22, 2004 at 8:45 PM

 

Well, it has been a little while, hasn’t it? And a lot of sea miles in the wake in the meantime.

Let’s catch up:

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It’s Sorta Funny

If you compile a list of modern-day computer pioneers, Dennis Ritchie would be on any short list. About the time I was at school, fascinated in the early hours (midnight to 4AM) of playing 3 dimensional tic-tac-toe with my printer (no terminals or screens!) on a now ancient HP3000, Ritchie was working at Bell Labs devising a language – called “C”, that he would with 1-2 others use to devise a portable operating system called Unix.

Which, with its  derivative Linux – today powers virtually every server on the Internet. And “C” is in many of the applications you use that access the Internet. From the driver that talks to your disk drive or SSD to the apps.

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A Good Interview About the A-6 Intruder

One of our own, Comjam, talks about flying and fighting in the Intruder.

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A Carroll “Lex” LeFon Primer

testLex

Who was Carroll LeFon?

The best description of Lex that I’ve heard is “Imagine Hemingway flew fighters…and liked people.

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