David Chalmers in his new book: : Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, takes the philosophical stance of virtual realism. As I understand it, virtual realism is the thesis that virtual reality is genuine reality, with emphasis especially on the view that virtual objects are real and not an illusion. In general, “realism” is … Continue reading Criteria for being real
I'm currently making my way through David Chalmers' new book: Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy. Chalmers explores the simulation hypothesis, using it as a portal into a wide ranging selection of philosophical issues, including discussions on God, information theory, structuralism, and a lot of other topics I haven't gotten to yet. His … Continue reading Can we know if we’re in a simulation?
Quanta has a pretty interesting article up today: A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life. Our understanding of the physics of the sun indicate that it should have been only 70% as bright as it is today. But if so, early Earth should have been a snowball not really capable … Continue reading Complex life may be more rare in the universe than we thought
I recently had a conversation with someone, spurred by the last post, that led to yet another description of the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which I think is worth putting in a post. It approaches the interpretation from a different angle than I've used before. As mentioned last time, the central mystery of … Continue reading The entanglements and many worlds of Schrödinger’s cat
The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that quantum particles move like waves but hit and leave effects like localized particles. This is true of elementary particles, atoms, molecules, and increasingly larger objects, possibly macroscopic ones. It's even true of collections of entangled particles, no matter how separated the particles may have become. People have … Continue reading The benefits of wave function realism?
Yesterday The Eternals became available on Disney+. Given the reviews and discussion from its theatrical release, I didn't have particularly high expectations. I figured it would just be the typical Marvel thrill ride. And mostly it was that, but it also had a few zingers that made it interesting. I don't remember much from the … Continue reading The Eternals
The season finale for The Wheel of Time was last week. As I've mentioned before, I read two or three of the early books decades ago, but remember very little: Rand, Moraine, portals to alternate realms, and a few other things. So the show mostly feels like fresh material. In the early episodes, it was … Continue reading The Silent Sea, Boba Fett, and other TV notes
Last week, Sabine Hossenfelder did a video and post which was interesting (if a bit of a rant at times at strawmen) in which she argued for a little considered possibility in quantum mechanics: superdeterminism. In 1935, Einstein and collaborators published the famous EPR paradox paper, in which they pointed out that particles that were … Continue reading Superdeterminism and the quandaries of quantum mechanics
2021 was not the dumpster fire of 2020, but it was a year with its own challenges. The pandemic continued in its second year, but at least many of us were vaccinated, so the ability to move around again in public was a nice change. But it also led to my employer bringing people back … Continue reading Merry Christmas
The Matrix has always been a fun franchise, albeit one whose premise doesn't stand up to too much scrutiny. It explores the possibility that we are living in a simulation. Although the scenario presented has always been a bit conservative, in that the human characters still have human bodies, rather than being simulations. (Another movie … Continue reading The Matrix Resurrections