[ExI] Everett worlds

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun Aug 16 19:29:35 UTC 2020

On Sun, Aug 16, 2020 at 11:49 AM spike jones via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

* >Consider a particle anti-particle pair which somehow borrows energy for
> a Planck, goes a very short distance apart, comes back together,
> annihilate, hand back the energy it borrowed, does it all in a short enough
> time and small enough space to not hurt Dr. Heisenberg's feelings.  Wacky
> scenario, ja?  But current theory tells us this happens skerjillions of
> times per picosecond in every cubic nothing of space, constantly, and no
> one is the wiser, because once those particles live and die, we have no way
> to know they were ever there.  They were born, lived and died, left no
> will. Theuniverse was in exactly the same condition before and after. *

You can't detect virtual pride articles directly but the world would be a
very different place if they didn't exist. For example Richard Feynman told
us how to calculate the magnetic moment of an electron by adding up
contributions made by the virtual particles and the results agree with
experimental results better than one part in 10^12. Or consider the Casimir
Effect. Quantum Mechanics says that in empty space particles such as
photons of light can pop into existence from nothing, but only for a very
short time; in accordance with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle the
more energetic the new virtual photon is the shorter the time it is allowed
to exist. If you place two flat uncharged mirrors close together then there
can NOT be virtual photons of every wavelength in the vacuum between the
mirrors as there are outside, only a wavelength equal to the distance
between mirrors are allowed, or half that wavelength, or a third or a
fourth etc (it's the same reason a organ pipe will not make any sound but
only sounds that resonate inside the pipe). But outside of the mirrors
there is no such restriction and the virtual photons can be of any
wavelength. Thus there are more virtual particles in the vacuum outside the
mirrors pushing them together than there are between the mirrors pushing
them apart. So the mirrors will attract each other.

This attractive force was predicted to exist in 1948 but it wasn't until
1997 that it was confirmed in the lab to actually exist with just the strength
Casimir said it would have.  If the Vacuum outside the mirror has zero
energy then the space between the mirrors must contain negative energy

> *Here's where I am going with all this: what if... the number of Everett
> universes is not really infinite, but rather is unimaginably large and
> finite?*

That could very well be true. Maybe the number of things that are
physically possible is astronomically huge raised to an astronomically huge
power but is not infinite; it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that
space or time or both are not infinitely divisible, but right now nobody
really knows.

> * > In 2011, Saul Perlmutter was given a Nobel in physics for convincing
> us about the accelerating expansion of the universe, an open configuration,
> which results eventually in the terrifying Big Rip scenario, equally sad
> with the Big Crunch scenario,*

Maybe not all that terrifying. Remember Frank Tipler? He argued that if
we're heading for a Big Crunch infinite physical life is still possible
because in such a universe an infinite number of calculations could be
performed, in fact he said the Big Crunch would be necessary to achieve
eternal subjective life. It sure doesn't look like we're heading for a Big
Crunch but perhaps a similar sort of argument could be made for a Big Rip.

For years physicists debated if gravitational waves were real, some said
they contained no energy and so were just a mathematical artifact of no
physical significance. But then in 1957 Richard Feynman came up with a
thought experiment that showed gravitational waves must contain energy and
thus must have real physical effects, the sticky bead argument. I could be
wrong but it sure seems to me it could also show that work can be extracted
from the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Feynman said place two beads on a sticky rigid rod, the beads can slide
freely but there is a small amount of friction between the beads and the
rod. If the rod is placed transversely to the direction of propagation of
the gravitational wave then atomic forces will hold the length of the rod
fixed, or almost fixed, but the proper distance between the two beads would
be free to oscillate. So the beads would have to rub against the rod, and
the friction from that would produce heat, and with heat you could run a
steam engine and get work out of it.
Why couldn’t the same argument also be used to show you could get work out
of the expansion of the universe? We already know that if local forces are
strong enough they can overcome the general expansion and acceleration of
the universe, that’s why the Andromeda galaxy is approaching the Milky Way,
the 2 galaxies are so close that the gravitational attraction is stronger
than the repulsion caused by the expansion of the universe. The atomic
forces within the rod should keep its length the same or almost the same
just as it did for gravitational waves, but the distance between the beads
should increase due to the expansion of the universe and if there is
friction I don’t see how heat could be avoided even if you wanted to.

I think it would work theoretically, it would be ridiculously impractical
to do now but perhaps not in the very distant future if the acceleration of
the universe is itself accelerating and we’re heading for the Big Rip. Far
from being a cause for gloom it could be that any hope for an immortal
life requires
a Big Rip
By "immortality" I mean the ability to have an infinite number of new
thoughts and never having a last thought, but that would require an
infinite number of calculations, and that would require an infinite amount
of work, and it might be possible to get the universe to do that much work
before the Big Rip. Your computer would continually get smaller as it was
getting pulled apart but the energy available to run what was still intact
would keep getting larger because the heat from friction would keep getting
hotter and the cold sink of the external universe would keep getting colder
increasing the efficiency of the heat engine. If the increase in speed of
the remaining computer compensated for the decrease in the number of
processors then physical law may allow for an infinite (and not just
astronomical) number of calculations to be made between now and The Big Rip.

John K Clark
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