Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Disneyverse

Last weekend, I was really fed up with snow and literally jumped on the next plane to somewhere. Somewhere turned out to be LA, and if I had looked at a calendar in advance, I probably wouldn't have chosen the week between President's day and the Oscars.


Anyway, my hotel reservations were messed up in every place that I had booked (even though I had already payed for), and after some random walk I ended up staying in a really weird place at the Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach. The whole room was painted in dark blue, furniture all in chrome, and all from IKEA (with the tags still on). Even the bedsheets were IKEA (I have the same). There was no toilet paper, but a huge flat-screen on the wall. There was no heating, but a fridge large enough to store a whole cow. There was no hair dryer, but a high speed WLAN. There was no key, but a touch pad. I never saw anybody who worked at that place. I just called a number and the guy said: go to room 17, code is 1717 (I was very tempted to try next door with 1818).

I didn't do so very much that week, except maybe reading papers on the beach instead of my office, and scribbling on Starbucks napkins among palm tress instead of scribbling among toque-wearing maple-syrup addicts. Oh, yes, and I went to Disneyland. Here are some photos from an almost causally disconnected part of the multiverse




Disney's World never worked for me. It's too illogical, there are too many open ends that don't meet (and Donald's eternal struggles are too frustrating). But it's just amazing how much attention they have payed to the smallest details. For some hours, it's a very nice fantasy world. But it's a bubble. And when you ask what keeps this world together, you'll notice the laws of this universe don't allow it to exist for very long. Maybe a Harry Potter World would work better. I'm not a large Potter fan, but one has to give it to Rowling that she's payed a lot of attention to keeping her imaginative world consistent. At least to some degree.





Regarding virtual realities and parallel worlds you might also like to read Terence Tao's post about Quantum Mechanics and TombRaider. Regarding leaving towns and bubbling landscapes, see also John Baez' review of Lee Smolin's book.

I had been hoping when I come back all the snow would have been gone, but unfortunately Toronto is still covered with white stuff. It's gotten considerably warmer though, the temperature rose to a stunning -2 C, and I feel almost like spring time.


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23 comments:

Andrew Thomas said...

Thanks for the link to Terence Tao's blog on computer-simulated worlds. It didn't ring true to me, though. I thought he was trying to shoe-horn a Many Worlds interpretation into a video game analogy and it really didn't work.

For people interested in this kind of thing, you might enjoy my own site: The Big Brother Universe which considers spacetime and quantum mechanics in a computer-simulated universe, and also the Simulism Wiki which considers all aspects of this subject in detail.

Bee said...

Hi Andrew,

that's interesting, thanks for the link. I don't believe in the Matrix argument - that for a good reason, but it would take me too long to explain here, maybe another post.

A question for you: why should I care whether we live in a simulation if the simulation is what we currently call reality? Does that help with anything? Also, I'd like to mention that even our computers obey the same laws of nature as 'our reality'. Thus, don't they get inherited by the simulation, at least on an underlying level? Or, to ask the most obvious question (coming back to the consistency of virtual bubbles) is it possible at all to cook up a consistent universe that does *not* have the same laws of nature as ours has (this is essentially the landscape problem).

Best,

B.

PS: You sure the guy's name is David Deutsche and not David Deutsch?

Andrew Thomas said...

"A question for you: why should I care whether we live in a simulation if the simulation is what we currently call reality? Does that help with anything?"

No, it doesn't help with anything. In fact, it leaves us with a rather discouraging mess. I think Paul Davies made that point: "Science is then reduced to a charade"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1047755,00.html

But just because something is rather distasteful doesn't mean we can disregard it. But, yes, I agree with you: what's the point of finding-out we're in a simulation, because if we were then bascally everything is fake and unreliable.

"I'd like to mention that even our computers obey the same laws of nature as 'our reality'. Thus, don't they get inherited by the simulation"

Yes, they do. I actually
joined in a rather bizarre discussion that this might explain quantum mechanics - we're really discovering the behaviour of the underlying computers: http://www.simulism.org/Talk:Quantum_Theory (though I suspect that's all a bit silly).

"is it possible at all to cook up a consistent universe that does *not* have the same laws of nature as ours has."

Well, yes. I think the key thing here is that it has to be consistent, where "consistency" basically equals "bug free". So many ways to introduce bugs!

"David Deutsche and not David Deutsch?"

Oops, thank you. I'll fix that.

Andrew Thomas said...

Very sorry, that Paul Davies link I posted was cut-off: Reality in the Melting Pot

Lumo said...

It's beautiful! Although someone calls it a kitch. ;-)

Uncle Al said...

Your top picture, "It's a Small World," literally drove its laborers mad. That horrible treacly song! They now work split shifts.

The park is rich with the unadvertised (websites about forbidden Disney): Club 33 secret lift by Pirates of the Caribbean exit. Going in there will get you frog-marched from the park. There is a secret door in the Trophy Room of Club 33. A Club 33 waitress has the emblem at the bottom of her French Maid skirt. Walt was ever the mid-Westerner - simple sins.

Ya gotta do Peer Pan and ride the carousel nearby.

amaragraps said...

I agree, the It's a Small World music is an earworm, even for visitors! I spent my teen years and early 20s in Southern California, therefore, as a southern California teenager, we did 'the Disneyland thing', about once a year for some reason. My high school Prom night was at 'Disneyverse' too (can you imagine?).

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Bee,
in simple words, how many dimensions does a piece of string have.

And in a simple 3-dimensional world
how many 'sides' does a point in space have, if the point is a perfect sphere, or even like a mirror sphere reflecting disco lights.

Does Disney World exist?
in cosmological Time is it as ephemeral as an evaporating micro-state bh.

Bee said...

Hi Quasar,

a point has no dimension by definition, a string has one dimension.

Hi Uncle,

I can't recall the song, seems it didn't impress me much. But I liked Pirates of the Caribbean. Esp. the projection on the water dust, very nice :-)

Hi Lubos,

I had a teacher who tortured us a whole year with the topic 'what is kitsch?' The impression I got (and thats for sure not what he tried to teach us) is that the intellectual tries to downgrade everything the average person likes by calling it average or kitsch. Fortunately, the 'average person' doesn't care. That's why people like Disneyworld, have mediocre paintings of sunsets on their walls, and buy stuff that's on the bestseller list. Maybe this is the reason why many critics become so cynical. They live in this awful surrounding of average persons...

Best,

B.

QUASAR9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
QUASAR9 said...

oops try again
Bee - a string with only one dimension? even when made of a thousand threads twisted together?

If a point has no dimension, how can one ever make a point.
Can a point with no dimension exist?
Does a point with no dimension not become a vanishing point or evaporating micro-sate bh

Bee said...

Hi Quasar,

If a point has no dimension, how can one ever make a point.


A point is a location in a coordinate system. It has no width, no height, no thickness. It has no radius. Strictly speaking, you can not draw a point, because if you did, you wouldn't see it. Everything you can draw with a pen has an extension, and therefore is not a point in the mathematical meaning.

Can a point with no dimension exist?

I don't know what you mean with 'exist'.

Does a point with no dimension not become a vanishing point or evaporating micro-sate bh

A point by itself doesn't 'become' anything. For something to become you need a prescription how it behaves. Thus, to answer a question like the above, you'd need a theory of 'points' or maybe even of a continuum of 'points'. Though some people would probably argue that it's rather a discretum than a continuum.

a string with only one dimension? even when made of a thousand threads twisted together?

Yes. A thousand times zero is still zero. (If they are all aligned that is).

Hope that helps,

B.

Plato said...

I am certainly struggling here.

Namagiri, the consort of the lion god Narasimha. Ramanujan believed that he existed to serve as Namagiri´s champion - Hindu Goddess of creativity. In real life Ramanujan told people that Namagiri visited him in his dreams and wrote equations on his tongue.

What was "chaotic in context of the unconscious" had enormous uncertainty? Has something to be said for itself, when equations can be "spouted as if from a pure source?"

The result is that the pinball follows a random path, deflecting off one pin in each of the four rows of pins, and ending up in one of the cups at the bottom. The various possible paths are shown by the gray lines and one particular path is shown by the red line. We will describe this path using the notation "LRLL" meaning "deflection to the left around the first pin, then deflection right around the pin in the second row, then deflection left around the third and fourth pins".

So people can dress up "pathways and deflections" to be avenues within the game? It's a creative thing to hide the underlying geometries, just as it was for Ramanujan to recognize "them" within the dream?

Plato said...

The surface of a marble table is spread out in front of me. I can get from any one point on this table to any other point by passing continuously from one point to a "neighboring" one, and repeating this process a (large) number of times, or, in other words, by going from point to point without executing "jumps." I am sure the reader will appreciate with sufficient clearness what I mean here by "neighbouring" and by "jumps" (if he is not too pedantic). We express this property of the surface by describing the latter as a continuum.Albert Einstein p. 83 of his Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

This reminded me of "Einstein's Bovine Dream?"

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Bee, Thanks!
A point is a location in a coordinate system. It has no width, no height, no thickness. It has no radius. Strictly speaking, you can not draw a point, because if you did, you wouldn't see it. Everything you can draw with a pen has an extension, and therefore is not a point in the mathematical meaning.

Mathematics the human language understood only by 'humans' and more understood by some humans.

And there was me thinking in terms of wave particle duality. - lol!

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Plato, Thanks!

The surface of a marble table is spread out in front of me. I can get from any one point on this table to any other point by passing continuously from one point to a "neighboring" one, and repeating this process a (large) number of times, or, in other words, by going from point to point without executing "jumps." I am sure the reader will appreciate with sufficient clearness what I mean here by "neighbouring" and by "jumps" (if he is not too pedantic).

We express this property of the surface by describing the latter as a continuum.Albert Einstein p. 83 of his Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

This reminded me of "Einstein's Bovine Dream?"


Bovine or ovine?
Maybe I should go back to counting sheep jumping over a fence, and try and get some sleep in the continuum (the spacetime continuum)

Arun said...

I have strong political objections to Disney. E.g., they were one of the parties behind the extending of copyrights, which, IMO is completely wrong. And that is a minor nit I have to pick with them.

Plato said...

Q9,

Definitely Bovine and it's "cow relation." João Magueijo senses the uniqueness by challenging the constants. Shares the perception of a dream Einstein had.

Spooky, is not so spooky anymore.

Following Anton Zeilinger's experimental successes help to change the way we now look at entanglement.

Synopses & Reviews

Review:
"The speed of light is generally taken as the one absolute of physics. So messing around with it is, roughly speaking, the physicist's equivalent of the Pope saying that Christ wasn't the Son of God as such, more a close personal friend; or the Chief Rabbi deciding that the world made a lot more sense if you assumed there were at least four or five different gods, rather than just one." Independent


I am certainly not one capable to challenge the constants, yet thinking in this way one has to wonder about the "uncertainty at all levels."

Introduction of "tachyon condensation" and the "graviton in the bulk?"

What strange "medium" is this?

Plato said...

I link these comments not to support any flowery ideas, but help show the "historical perspective that can be developed."

Nevertheless, he stood by it. In the first third of the book, he explains the basics of physics, using Einstein's bovine dreams as his foundation. Trying to determine whether cows jumped "all at the same time" when coming in contact with an electrical fence, or "one after the other," Einstein discovered that while light travels fast, it does not travel at infinite speed. Maybe, he thought, time is relative. "What happens at the same time for one person may well happen as a sequence of events for someone else." See here

What fantastical "Alice in Wonderland tales" of the early universe and "travel" in that early universe.

Dark matter, as "some medium" to contend with? It's as if the story compels one to see differently, all the while we know the physics involved.

Travels within the Gluonic world?

Glast participation in calorimetric design.

amaragraps said...

Arun: I understand. Here's another example: If a consultant performs a work for Disney (with the standard consultant contract), they are not allowed to later write on their resume that they performed a work for Disney. Why? Because that would be an infringement on their trademark ("Disney").

Bee said...

Hi Quasar,

Mathematics the human language understood only by 'humans' and more understood by some humans.

Most mathematicians, and also I, would strongly object on mathematics being a human language. It's far more than that. For whatever reasons, it seems to be the language nature speaks. And contrary to common believe, it's not difficult to learn it. I'm serious, it is a different question whether you learn to read and understand the 'language' or whether you want to use it on your own to explain something. It's a different matter to read a book than to write one.

And there was me thinking in terms of wave particle duality. - lol!

Ah, now I see where you were coming from. Of course, what I have mentioned above about the point having no extension is exactly the reason for the trouble with 'point' particles, and the motivation to go to extended objects (like strings).

Best,

B.

Rae Ann said...

I'm so jealous! ;-) Here I've been daydreaming about beaches and stuff and you're living out my daydreams! Well, I'm very happy that you took this trip on the spur of the moment. People should do that more often if they can get away with it. I wish I could do that.

I've never been to Disneyland and only to Disney World (in Florida) when I was a kid. It has grown and changed so much since then that I might as well say I've never been. Kids love it though, and mine will get to go someday I hope.

Your funky hotel sounds interesting. As long as a place is clean I can deal with weirdness.

Bee said...

Hi Rae Ann,

please don't be jealous. I know it sounds like fun, but it's been my first 'vacation' since 199? - and it hasn't been much of one. I'd happily give up the option to jump on a plane tomorrow if I feel like in exchange for a place I can call home. Besides this, I don't even like LA. On my list with the most ugly cities on earth, it ranks pretty high.

Yes, the hotel has been clean. Indeed, its been the cleanest place I've ever been at. The whole bathroom was completely new, so was the furniture, the walls were newly painted etc. It was almost sterile I'd say. The only thing that really sucked was that they had no heating.

I too was at Disneyland in Florida when I was a kid. It wasn't so much different actually. Okay, one notices that the technical equipment has been gotten much better. But I guess I have changed much more than that. I'm one of these awful persons who just like to watch others. It's nice, seeing the family birthday parties. There also were lots of older couples giggling wildly. And, what surprised me a bit, there were quite a lot people like me, on their own, looking for - I don't know - distraction? An escape?

Best,

B.