[ExI] End of time?

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Sep 29 19:11:48 UTC 2010


> ...On Behalf Of scerir
> Subject: Re: [ExI] End of time?
> I've got the impression that it is sometimes dangerous to 
> think in terms of 'time' (or space-time). As Spike suggested, 
> the question comes down to whether the 'vacuum state' - and 
> not time itself - is stable... scerir

Hi scerir, you are too kind, but this too goes well outside my know-cone.
Do let me explain why I have the attitude.

Several years ago, my wife and I were invited to help judge a sixth grade
science fair.  There were about 100 entries.  When I first saw them, I was
astonished at how good they looked.  Nice, neat, colorful, interesting, and
these were just sixth graders!  The singularity is near!

But I was soon dismayed, then appalled, as I found that most of the projects
were fake.  I don't mean fake in the sense of how fake science fair projects
were made in my own misspent youth.  In those bad old days you faked
sci-fair projects by having your parents do them for you.  Often kids had to
do extra chores for a week or more in exchange for that project.  If one's
parents would not play that game, we had to look up our topic in the
encyclopedia, copy the article there.  By hand!  With a pen!  Such
deprivation and hardship we suffered and bravely endured.  

But it quickly became painfully obvious that most of these kids bought a
commercial trifold foamboard display from Office Depot, googled on their
topic, printed out the first four to eight articles that came up, sprayed
fixitive on the backs of the printouts and stuck them on the board, there,
finished.  No logical flow, no cohesion, no point, nothing, not even always
all on the same topic.  Beautiful fake projects were they, not science fair,
not even art, just a perfectly meaningless crafts exercise.

I talked to several of the kids, found out most of them knew not one thing
about their topic, not the first damn thing.  In many, perhaps most cases, I
saw no evidence they had even read the paragraphs they printed and stuck
neatly to their display boards.  I ended up recommending for a prize the kid
who actually knew something about his project, which wasn't science, not
even really technology: his project was about bridge building.  It was a
history project: he talked about technology that is already over a century
old.  But he actually knew something about his project!

The other sixth graders (and perhaps many of their teachers) would not
recognize a phony project.  It was not obvious from 10 meters that most of
these were put together in about 20 minutes the night before.  The pages
were on straight, without wrinkles.  They looked great.  

We were rewarding fraud.

I vaguely suspect the inflation paper is a kind of a grown up version of the
phony science fair projects.  I suspect more strongly that *all* of the
arrogant mathematicians on that Columbia site are analogous to fellow sixth
graders, who recognized a fake paper because they have written papers like
that too.  

I know that I can't tell a real inflation model paper from a fake one.  So I
am one of the sixth graders as well, just a more humble one.    

Perhaps the singularity is not so near.


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