Archive for astronomy/cosmology

The Split-brain Universe

An extended Nowa Fantaskyka remix. The year is 1982. I read Isaac Asimov’s newly-published Foundation’s Edge with a sinking heart. Here is the one of Hard-SF’s Holy Trinity writing— with a straight face, as far as I can tell— about the “consciousness” of rocks and trees and doors, for Chrissakes. Isaac, what happened? I wonder. […]

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Virtual Appearances, Virtual Realities

Couple of PSAs to start out with: I’m going to be participating in tomorrow’s Future of Mind Symposium, put on by the Center for Transformative Media down in NYC. (I will, no big surprise, be participating via video-link to reduce the chances of getting killed and/or arrested en route.) The event is free, but you […]

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The Physics of Hope.

Okay, one more before I pack.  Since it came out in NF a long time ago: I never liked physics much. I’m not just talking about the math. I don’t like what modern physics tells us: that time is an illusion, for one thing. That we live in a reality where everything that ever was, […]

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Sunless, Squidless.

So apparently I’m attending The Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema this weekend. I’m there right now, in fact. I am surprised to learn this, since I haven’t left Toronto today. I haven’t even left the Magic Bungalow. In fact I haven’t even got out of bed, except to feed the fur and the fins, and […]

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The Coming of the Lord.

There are a couple of different ways we could be living inside a computer. The Matrix model looms largest on the pop-culture landscape for obvious reasons, notwithstanding that the Matrix movies presented at best a half-assed iteration of the concept: that live human brains were being fed a digital simulation of reality while being hosed […]

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A Breath of (Extrasolar) Air

Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be face-down in work.  And I am, I am.  But this is just too cool to let pass without pointing it out:  a team out of Santa Cruz and Carnegie have tagged a potentially habitable planet around Gliese 581. And they did it with a good  old-fashioned ground-based telescope. […]

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A physicist walks into a bar and says “Hey, I got this particle-wave duality thing all figured out”. And his buddies look over the numbers, and sure enough, they parse. “But it’s still bullshit,” one of them says. “It has to be.” And the others all nod in agreement. “But the numbers,” the physicist says. […]

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Euthenising the Universe

This quirky and disturbing preprint (by a couple of astrophysicists with impeccable credentials) has been doing the rounds over the past week or so, and if I’m reading the commentaries right it’s taking the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics to its logical conclusion — specifically, that whole Schrodinger’s Cat thing that says nothing actually exists […]

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"It’s 20 light years away. We can go there."

Now that’s the kind of attitude I like to see coming from a legitimate authority– to wit, Dimitar Sasselov of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, quoted in today’s NY Times. He was talking about Gliese 581c, a potentially earth-type planet orbiting a dim red dwarf in the constellation of Libra. 1.5 time Earth’s radius; 5 […]

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