Seth Lloyd, a quantum-mechanical engineer at MIT, estimated the number of “computer operations” our universe has performed since the Big Bang — basically, every event that has ever happened. To repeat them, and generate a perfect facsimile of reality down to the last atom, would take more energy than the universe has.
“The computer would have to be bigger than the universe, and time would tick more slowly in the program than in reality,” says Lloyd. “So why even bother building it?”
But others soon realized that making an imperfect copy of the universe that’s just good enough to fool its inhabitants would take far less computational power. In such a makeshift cosmos, the fine details of the microscopic world and the farthest stars might only be filled in by the programmers on the rare occasions that people study them with scientific equipment. As soon as no one was looking, they’d simply vanish.
In theory, we’d never detect these disappearing features, however, because each time the simulators noticed we were observing them again, they’d sketch them back in.
That realization makes creating virtual universes eerily possible, even for us. Today’s supercomputers already crudely model the early universe, simulating how infant galaxies grew and changed. Given the rapid technological advances we’ve witnessed over past decades — your cell phone has more processing power than NASA’s computers had during the moon landings — it’s not a huge leap to imagine that such simulations will eventually encompass intelligent life.
Alea iacta est.
Approaching death Shisui students asked him to write a death poem. Shisui “grasped his brush, painted a circle, cast the brush aside and died”. (Hoffmann, 295)
This symbol is known as the enso which is prominent in Zen Buddhism and indicates the emptiness of all things. (text: japanesereligion.blogspot - image: maitrisheart.blogspot)
Artemis: Enso symbolizes enlightenment, the universe and the void.
Tom and I are pretty pumped to announce our new Kickstarter project today for the Neat Ice Kit. What is the Neat Ice Kit, you ask? Well, it’s a set of tools for creating beautifully clear ice for a variety of cocktails, right at home. The included tools allow you to create three distinct…
There’s a limit, however, to heat’s ability to boost our mood: when temperatures reach the kind of summer highs that mark heat waves all over the world, the effect rapidly deteriorates. In a 2013 study of perceived well-being, the economist Marie Connolly found that on days when the temperature rose above ninety degrees, the negative impact on happiness levels was greater than the consequences of being widowed or divorced.
We hate being really cold. But we really hate being really hot.