Thursday, May 25, 2006
Two physicists have devised a test for the type II Randall-Sundrum braneworld gravity model, which competes with Einsteinian Relativity. This is important because it devises a test that makes the model falsifiable. That is, you can perform the test and say "No, I guess it doesn't work that way". That is what science is, and that's what I love about it. (See Carl Sagan quote, over in the margin somewhere)
This particular model is cool because, amongst other things, it predicts that there are thousands of tiny black holes floating around in our solar system. I bet you always thought you were far away from a black hole. Maybe you're not.
Oh yeah, confirmation of this test will also increase the number of physical dimensions from three to four. I gotta say that that's pretty cool, too, because that means that there are other "realities" like the three dimensional one we perceive...and they're literally right beside us!
I wait for the results of the research the way a child waits with curious angst before Christmas, when presents for them are in plain sight under a tree. "Look Hans, Father Christmas has brought us black holes and another physical dimension! Wheee!"
Burton MacKenZie www.burtonmackenzie.com
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I was walking outside in the stormy weather. The wind was cold and pushed against me; I balanced against it and my walking speed. I was thinking of what a neighbor recently told me - that friction is mathematically represented as a force. I either totally forgot that or never learned it in the first place. I suspect too many beer bashes in my frivilious youth knocked out the knowledge, but I digress.
The wind is a force of friction acting upon you; it expends mechanical work on you, either adding or removing velocity from you via momentum transfer. However, because it is a force, we can also directly think of it as an acceleration. Walking against the wind is opposing an environmental factor that is trying to decelerate you.
To change your Einsteinian Reference Frame (ERF), you accelerate away from it. If, when you stop accelerating, your velocity relative to stuff you accelerated away from is constant, you are back in the same ERF (i.e. time runs at the same rate as before). However, if something is moving towards or away from you at faster than a constant rate, that is an indication that it occupies a different ERF from your own. Time runs at different rates for both.
Every time you start or stop walking, running, cycling, driving, etc you are accelerating or deccelerating. This acceleration moves you into a different Einsteinian Reference Frame! Sure, it's pretty damn small difference, but it's non-zero. This can literally be described as "a mobile person has the ability to walk across (a limited range of) Einsteinian Reference Frames".
We can directly feel accelerations acting upon us. This is what has canonically called the g force (for the constant g, Earth's gravitational acceleration at sea level, ~9.81m/s). You can use a helium balloon in a reasonably air sealed car as an accelerometer, or a cork suspended (up) by a thread attached to a lid of a CheezWhiz jar upside down and filled with water. Our ability to sense acceleration as well as these simple measuring devices can again literally be described us directly sensing our movement among Einsteinian Reference Frames.
Being able to sense activity in a medium is paramount for a closed loop control system (e.g. hand-eye coordination) for goal-based acting (e.g. pick up drink) in that medium. We have both the ability to sense movement in Einsteinian Reference Frames AND we have the ability to move between them. Both are available to our conscious mind (i.e. I consciously perceive acceleration and can make a conscious choice to move). This leads to the conclusion that humans have a natural ability to consciously act in  and traverse Einsteinian Reference Frames. In a sense, as we start to move toward and away to each other, we are stepping closer or away to other people in ERFs.
...and it still gets better! As I said above, the change in ERP is pretty damn small given our typical range speeds relative to light (v/c). All this means is that we can sense really small changes in our Einsteinian Reference Frame. We can "walk" across Einsteinian Reference Erames just as we can walk across Eisteinian space. Woooooot!
We can even define units for the measure of moving through reference frames. Given that a is a variable typically used to represent acceleration we can similarly represent the variable for the measure of distance from other people's Einsteinian Reference Frames (sentient to sentient), A(ss), with pure units of metres per second per second (or Erfs as more representative). Thus, you can measure the size of your Ass (relative to others) in Erfs.
Burton MacKenZie www.burtonmackenzie.com
 Not necessarily due to free will, of course. :-)