Friday, 30 January 2009

Multiverse, insert $2 for continued play

Have you heard of the "many worlds" theory?  In the broadest sense, it means that at every instant, the universe duplicates itself but with minor differences in each copy.  So in some copies an atom is *here* in it's probability cloud, and in some, it's *there.*  And so forth.  As good as any other theory, I guess.

And someone said to me once that olives disprove the MWT - their reasoning is as follows:  A person in one reality eats an olive, and in another, she does not.  There should then be, according to my friend, a world where she eats all of an olive bar one molecule, another where she eats all of an olive bar two molecules, all the way to eating just one molecule of an olive.  Since we NEVER hear of anyone eating just one molecule of olive, the theory goes, that must mean that MWT is not a valid model of the Universe(s).

I actually think that kind of proves it.  We've pretty much established that our Universe is a quantum one - that is, it's not a grey goo but discrete lumps which are only ever divisible into other discrete lumps.  There's no Universe where a person eats a string of a quark of a particle of an atom of a molecule of an olive, either.  And no Universe where she eats an olive tree, either.  Quantum mechanics therefore will pretty much limit what alternatives branch off at any point.

Also - we - that's you and I - are in a particular branch of the MWT Universes where perhaps olive quantum division isn't the norm.  So it stands to reason that we will see very few cases of anyone eating her olives one subatomic particle at a time in this branch.

One more thing I always consider when making sweeping statements like "Many Worlds Theory is a crock" and that is that as far as we can establish, the Universe is infinite, and so is Time.  By definition, that means that everything that we can imagine must exist *somewhere* in this infinity of possibilities.  Not just once, but an infinite number of times over.

And that means that there has been, or will be, or is, somewhere in the Universe, a place where MWT holds true.  And once it's true in that spot, it will be true all through the Universe.  It's freaky to imagine that this has already happened at least once, when at some point in the Universe, a Universe decided to exist...  Our question shouldn't be "what branch of the multiverse" but "why this one?"



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10 comments:

professoryackle said...

What if you get one olive molecule and dilute it x100 then shake violently, then do the same again an infinite number of times? Is it possible to cure the universe of olives?

I heard there is another universe somewhere which is exactly the same as this one, except every single person walks around with a duck on his/her head. That's a duck each, obviously - one duck between everyone would just be silly. Although now I think about it, maybe there's another planet where everyone has to share the same duck?

professoryackle said...

After posting the above comment, I only just read now that your motorhome is called Duckzilla.

Sometimes the veil between the worlds is very thin...

teddlesruss dat who! said...

... cues Twilight Zone music...

I actually hope there is no Universe cured of olives, because I'm sure all of me are partial to olives and cheese with a glass of light red. And before you start on curing the Multiverse of light reds, - no, unthinkable. There can be no Universe without a drop of good wine.

And the duck isn't allowed to have any, either...

professoryackle said...

Aww, spoilsport. He'll cry.

I love olives too, but since homeopathy is fiction - in this world anyway - I think we're safe enough.

teddlesruss dat who! said...

Sipping my wine to a great quacking and wailing, nodding my heads with the duck on, and pondering a homeopathic olive. Tastes just like water, mmmm! But not just any water - this water has been *activated* and has olive-molecule-shaped holes in it! I take a slice of homeocheddar (essence of sharp variety) and suddenly the world is a lovely, bright, ands slightly diluted place. I've solved the glass half full / glass half empty riddle. Some bastard has watered down my wine!

professoryackle said...

Was it you who told me originally about the Homeopathic Sydney Harbour Bridge?

In other news, I like the way your mind works. We should meet up on Planet Sock sometime. You know about Planet Sock, right?

teddlesruss dat who! said...

Never heard of the 100C SHB, but I reckon they can easily get rid of the waste they produced by building another 100,000 bridges and selling them to aliens/government/CIA/MI7.2 (so secret even the Brits haven't heard of them yet) and then they can give away the 250kg of homeobridge for free...

And have never heard of Planet Sock either - so many new things I'm being indoctrinated into... As long as it has olives and wine I'm sooo there. In one Universe or other.

professoryackle said...

Not that you're fixated on wine or anything.

Planet Sock is one of the planets in the faraway Galaxy of Lost Things. The others include Planet Biro, Planet Lighter, Planet One (you know, when you're doing sums and you forget to carry it), and Planet Zero (which has never been viewed through a telescope, but its presence can be extrapolated from the effect it has on other things), Planet Pussycat, etc. If you've ever been to Turkiye you'll already have some idea of what Planet Pussycat is like, but more so.

There is an occasional wormhole to Planet Sock inside my head, and another in my LJ. I go there when I'm feeling surreal or bonkers. The Sockians make a very good red which resembles a decent Rioja, but I have no idea how they manage this, since grapes do not grow well on Sockian soil.

teddlesruss dat who! said...

How odd, the first comment I've had to that effect.... %)

And strangely enough, I don't actually drink a lot. A glass of red with dinner a couple of times a week, maybe an icy cold beer on a hot summer day...

Also -*blush*- I actually do put ice in my wine in the summer, or dilute it with soda water or lemonade. Yes, even a 2000 cab merlot becomes about a 2C 2000 cab merlo .

I think Planet Sock must be closely linked to the Coathanger Nebula because I notice for every sock that goes to The Great PS In The Sky, I find another wire coathanger. I have a whole collection of swizzle sticks shaped like coathangers. Or maybe just coathangers.

And you say Planet Sock (http://tinyurl.com/d837s9) produces a nice vanilla-charactered wine when the only thing they can grow is faint outlines of olives? I wonder if a touch of botrytis fungus is responsible for the good vintages?

Eww, homeopathic fungii!

professoryackle said...

No - I think it's down to the curious nature of the custard particles emanating from nearby Planet Zero. And I wouldn't mention the word "fungus" in the same paragraph as the word "sock" if I were you, not if you want to actually drink the wine.

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