[Paleopsych] big bagels and black holes

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Fri Jan 21 21:58:19 UTC 2005

More  on black holes.  There are a number  of theories in the world of 
theoretical physics (not just the world of Buddhism)  in which the universe is 
cyclical—it dies and from its cinder is born  again.  One of those is my Big Bagel  
Theory.  Others include Max  Tegmark’s toroidal theory, a theory in which the 
cosmos is also curved like a  doughnut, and a theory in which “branes”—
skin-like surfaces on which universes  spread—periodically meet.  In most  of these 
theories the universe ends in a big crunch that’s the mirror opposite  of the 
big bang, then a new universe pops out of the singularity of that  crunch.   
A  question I’ve been pondering, and occasionally muttering about on 
paleopsych  over the last year or so, goes something like this.  Can we or whatever 
beasts are burped out  after us by the creative cosmos manage to sum up what we’
ve learned and pass it  through the eye of the needle, through the singularity 
of the big crunch, and on  to whatever cosmos comes after us?  In other 
words, can universes learn from their parents? 
The  answer would have been “no” a year or two ago.  Information, said the 
party line, can’t  pass through a singlurity—it can’t stream through the 
infinitessimal squinch in  time and space that makes for big bangs, big crunches, 
and black holes.  Well, now the view of just how much a  singularity turns all 
information into non-information seems to be  changing.  First Stephen Hawking 
 changed his mind in the summer of 2004 and decided that information can, 
indeed,  sift into—and, more important, out of—the singularity of a black  hole. 
Now  a bunch of other theoretical physicists are discovering ways their 
theoretical  structures also make the sluicing of data through the eye of the 
needle, through  a singularity, possible. 
Which brings us back to the question—can one cosmos pass  its wisdom on to 
the cosmos that comes after it?  Can universes learn, then pass their  knowledge 
on from one generation to the next and through the next to universes  ten 
generations down the line?  Can  information scrunchers like us humans possibly 
become part of this process?  Can we—or can our great, greate, great,  
grandchildren a million generations down the line—find ways to compress  knowledge so 
it passes through the big crunch on to the next big  bang? 
The  answer has shifted from what it was two years ago.  Then it was an 
unequivocal “no”.   Now it’s just conceivably  “yes”.  Howard 
Ps.  For those who don’t know the Bloom Big Bagel Theory, conceived in 1959, 
then  supported in surprising ways when we discovered in 1998 that the 
universe is  accelarating in its expansion, I’ll toss in an old summary below.  And 
below that is an article summing up  the new views on information’s passage 
through and/or out of black holes and, by  implication, other singularities. 
The  Big Bagel Theory.  We can do this  the easy way, or we can do it the 
hard way.  The easy way is Rob Kritkausky’s  animation of the theory, which isn’
t quite complete but gets a heck of a lot  across in a very small amount of 
time.  The animation is at _http://www.bigbangtango.org/website/BigBagel.htm_ 
The  hard way is by using words.  Here  come the words: 
The  Bloom Big Bagel theory of the cosmos says that at the infinitessimally 
small  point of the beginning of the Big Bang, two cosmoses whomped out, each 
into its  own curved plane of space.  One is the cosmos in which we live.  The  
other is the cosmos of anti-matter.  Do we need a silly, comic-book level  
theory of this sort?  We sure as heck do.  When I went through several  hundred 
astrophysics papers trying to find the dates of nucleogenesis of the  various 
complex atoms--the atoms beyond hydrogen, helium, and lithium--I  couldn't 
find the information.  Why?  Because there is a subject in  astrophysics called 
nucleocosmochronology.  You'd think that chronologists  of the birth of nucleii 
would try to figure out the date of the first iron atom,  the first, oxygen 
atom, the first potassium atom, and so on.  But,  no.  There's something else 
on nucleocosmochronologist's minds.  It's  a simple question.  Why is there so 
much ordinary matter in this universe  and so little anti-matter?  Theory says 
that the amount of ordinary matter  and anti-matter should be the same.  So 
where did all the anti-matter  go?  The Bloom Big Bagel Theory of the Cosmos is 
toroidal.  In topology, that means it’s  doughnut-like.  Big Bagel Theory  
says to idiots like me, "Hey, nut case, the missing anti-matter went into a  
negative universe, a universe in which time runs in reverse, a universe in which  
its obstreperous backwardness actually fits."  Meanwhile, astrophysicists are 
now  asking why the universe's elements--novas, stars, and galaxies--accel
erate away  from each other once they pass a certain point.  They've tried a 
bunch of  names to account for whatever the cause might be--negative gravity,  
quintessence, the cosmological constant, and, this year's favorite, dark  energy. 
 But Big Bagel theory says that a curved space represents a curve  in 
gravity.  Gravity tells space how to bend.  Reach the highpoint of  the bagel and you 
begin to slide down a gravity curve.  You begin to  accelerate.  You do it 
for two reasons simultaneously  (two reasons  that are simultaneous and seem 
each others opposites may be instances of Niels  Bohr's complimentarity).  Once 
you get over the hump, gravity turns  negative--it pushes you away from a 
common gravitational center instead of  toward that center.  And once you get over 
the hump, you're being pulled by  the gravity of the anti-universe.  When the 
two universes meet at the outer  limits of the Big Bagel they annihilate to a 
pinprick of energy and are back  where they started, in the center, 
big-banging and big-bageling again.  The idea of an anti-universe gains a  peculiar kind 
of support--and a new kind of reality--from the concept that i=the  square 
root of minus one.  There is no square root of minus one, so why  does it show 
up in calculations that actually predict things we can  measure?  Because the 
square root of minus one doesnt' exist HERE.  It  exists THERE...in the 
anti-universe on the underside of the bagel.  Those  two universes were once one.  
They will be one again someday...when they  meet on the bagel's outer limit, its 
periphery.  So it makes sense that the  math of this cosmos--our cosmos--has 
to use the math of the negative cosmos,  too.  The matter universe and the 
anti-matter universe are twins and will  continue to be connected--even if only 
distantly--so long as they both  exist.   
Now  for the articles on the ways in which information could slip through a  
Retrieved January 20, 2005, from the World Wide Web  
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18524836.500  Free E-Zines  Subscribe to Magazine  
Customer Service 21 January 2005  Black holes, but not as we know them 22  January 
2005  From New Scientist  Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.  JR 
Minkel  JR Minkel is a writer in New York  City  More Stories Explore:  
fundamentals  Explore: space  Enlarge  image Black hole revolution  Enlarge  image 
Black holesTHEY are the most fearsome objects in the universe. They  swallow and 
destroy everything that crosses their path. Everyone knows that  falling into 
a black hole spells doom. Or does it? In the past few years, cracks  have 
started to appear in the conventional picture. Researchers on the quest for  a 
more complete understanding of our universe are finding that black holes are  not 
so black, and perhaps not holes either. Furious debates are raging over what  
black holes contain and even whether they deserve the name.  The term "black 
hole" was coined in the  1960s by physicist John Wheeler to describe what 
happens when matter is piled  into an infinitely dense point in space-time. When a 
star runs out of nuclear  fuel, for example, the waste that remains collapses 
in on itself, fast and hard.  The gravitational attraction of this matter can 
overwhelm its natural tendency  to repel itself. If the star is big enough, 
the result will be a singularity.  Around the singularity lies an event 
horizon, a point of no return. Light cannot  escape once it passes beyond this 
boundary, and the eventual fate of everything  within it is to be crushed into the 
singularity.  But this picture always contained the  seeds of its own 
destruction. In 1975 Stephen Hawking at the University of  Cambridge calculated that 
black holes would slowly but inexorably evaporate.  According to the laws of 
quantum mechanics, pairs of "virtual" particles and  antiparticles continually 
bubble up in empty space. Hawking showed that the  gravitational energy of the 
black hole could be lent to virtual particles near  the event horizon. These 
could then become real, and escape, carrying away  positive energy in the form 
of "Hawking radiation". Over time, the black hole  will bleed away into outer 
space.  This led to a problem dubbed the information paradox. While relativity  
seems to suggest that information about matter falling into a black hole 
would  be lost, quantum mechanics seemed to be suggesting it would eventually  
escape. Hawking claimed the random nature of Hawking radiation meant that  while 
energy could escape, information could not. But last summer, he changed  his 
mind (New Scientist, 17 July 2004, p 11). His reversal was just one part  of a 
larger movement to rethink the rules that govern black holes.  Much of the 
impetus for this rethink  comes from string theory, our best attempt to unify 
general relativity and  quantum mechanics. Now 20 years old, string theory posits 
that space-time,  and everything in it, is composed of vibrating strings so 
small we will be lucky  ever to get evidence of their existence. Its big appeal 
is the promise that it  could unite general relativity and quantum mechanics, 
because one type of string  carries the force of gravity, while the vibration 
of the strings is random, as  predicted by quantum mechanics.  String theory 
was first applied to black holes in the mid-1990s.  Andrew Strominger and 
Cumrun Vafa of Harvard University began to work on the  information paradox by 
imagining what the inside of a black hole might be like.  The researchers found 
that string theory would allow them to build highly dense  little structures 
from strings and other objects in string theory, some of which  had more than 
three dimensions. These structures worked just like black holes:  their 
gravitational pull prevents light escaping from them.  “The number of ways strings can 
be  arranged in black holes is amazingly large”Strominger and Vafa counted 
how  many ways the strings in these black holes could be arranged, and found 
this was  amazingly large.  The calculation  was heralded as a huge validation 
for string theory. In the 1970s, Hawking and  Jacob Bekenstein, then at 
Princeton University, had calculated the entropy of a  black hole using quantum 
mechanics. The entropy of an object is roughly a  measure of the amount of 
information it can contain. In particular, it measures  the number of different ways 
the parts making up an object can be arranged. It  just so happened that the 
number of ways that Strominger and Vafa calculated  that strings could be 
arranged in a black hole exactly matched the entropy  calculated by Hawking and 
Bekenstein.  Fuzzballs But this did not tell physicists how those strings were  
arranged. Over the past year, Samir Mathur of Ohio State University and his  
colleagues have begun to look at what string configurations there could be  in 
black holes. They found that the strings would always connect together to  form a 
large, very floppy string, which would be much larger than a point-size  
singularity.  Mathur's group  calculated the total physical sizes of several 
stringy black holes, which they  prefer to call "fuzzballs" or "stringy stars". To 
his surprise, they found they  were the same size as the event horizon is in 
traditional theory. "It is  changing our picture of the black hole interior," 
says Mathur. "It would  really mean the picture of the round hole with a black 
dot in the centre is  wrong."  Mathur's fuzzball does away  with the idea of 
the event horizon as a sharp boundary. In the traditional  view, the event 
horizon is a well-defined limit. Objects passing particular  points in space at 
particular moments in time are guaranteed to end up being  pulverised at the 
black hole singularity. In the fuzzball picture, the event  horizon is a frothing 
mass of strings, not a sharp boundary.  The fuzzball picture also challenges 
the  idea that a black hole destroys information. In Mathur's description, 
there is  no singularity. The mass of strings reaches all the way to the fuzzy 
event  horizon. This means information can be stored in  the strings and 
imprinted on outgoing Hawking radiation.  So what happens to the information that  
falls into a black hole? Imagine pouring cream into black coffee. Drop  the 
coffee and cream into the old-style black hole and they will go to the  
singularity and be lost. You will never see the results of the mixture. But drop  your 
coffee and cream onto a Mathur fuzzball and information about the  cream-coffee 
mixture will be encoded into string vibrations. Hawking radiation  that comes 
out can carry detailed information about what happened to each  particle of 
cream and every particle of coffee. "There's no information  problem. It's like 
any other ball of cotton," says Mathur. This picture is very  preliminary, 
cautions Vafa. Mathur has not yet calculated exactly how his model  applies to 
large black holes or understood how a black hole evolves over  time.  Gary 
Horowitz of the  University of California, Santa Barbara, and Juan Maldacena of 
the Institute for  Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, also recently 
proposed that information  can get out of a black hole. But unlike Mathur, they 
believe that black holes do  contain a singularity at their heart. They suggested 
that information might  escape by means of quantum teleportation. This allows 
the state of one  particle to be instantly teleported to another. So Horowitz 
and Maldacena  suggested that information could pass from matter hitting the 
singularity to  outgoing Hawking radiation.  “The  most information any black 
hole would possibly retain is just half a bit -  everything else will 
eventually escape”But to make their calculation work, they  had to assume that 
infalling matter and outgoing radiation would not collide  with each other. If they 
did, this could disrupt the teleportation process.  Quantum information 
theorists Daniel Gottesman of the Perimeter Institute for  Theoretical Physics in 
Waterloo, Canada, and John Preskill of the California  Institute of Technology in 
Pasadena say such disruption could occur very  easily.  That seems to raise a  
problem for Horowitz and Maldacena. But last summer, Seth Lloyd of the  
Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked out that all such disruptions would  
actually cancel each other out. Then Lloyd calculated that the most information 
 a black hole would possibly retain permanently was just half a bit - 
everything  else will eventually escape. This applies to all black holes, whether 
they are  supermassive ones at the heart of a galaxy (see "Giants of the 
universe") or  mini black holes created in a particle accelerator (see "Baby black  
holes").  But Gottesman and Preskill  have a second criticism that might be more 
fatal to the teleportation picture.  They showed that the effect could allow 
faster-than-light communication, which  is taboo in relativity. The 
teleportation calculation relies on the  assumption that every piece of matter inside a 
black hole has the same quantum  state. Although quantum mechanics allows one 
particle to have an  instantaneous effect on the quantum state of another, 
this cannot be used to  communicate. For example, if one person, Alice, measures 
the quantum state of a  particle that is linked with a particle held by her 
friend, Bob, the effect of  this measurement will be instantaneously 
communicated to Bob's, but there is no  way to use this to communicate faster than light, 
because Alice needs to tell  Bob what kind of measurement process she carried 
out on her particle, before he  can decode the meaning of the change he sees. 
That information has to travel  to Bob in the normal way.  Black  hole 
communication However, if Alice throws her particle into a black hole,  the 
researchers found the measurement will be immediately constrained to the  quantum 
state of the black hole. This would have an effect on Bob's particle  that he 
could determine without needing the extra information from Alice.  Gottesman 
concludes that the teleportation idea cannot work very well.  Indeed, he wonders if 
 the framing of the information paradox is wrong in a way that is not yet  
understood. "My own guess is somehow we're asking a stupid question," he  says.  
The scenario also  bothers quantum-gravity theorist Ted Jacobson of the 
University of Maryland, who  still believes that the information that falls into 
black holes is lost forever  to those outside the black hole. He finds the 
teleportation picture particularly  unconvincing. "I put it in the category of 
desperate attempts to make  information come out," he says. And even the 
researchers themselves aren't sure  they are right. "We suggested one possibility," 
says Horowitz, but he admits it  doesn't have a good basis in string theory yet. 
"So I can't say we are confident  this is the right picture."  Jacobson argues 
that the connection between the outside and inside of a  black hole is so 
complicated in string theory that no one can be sure they have  ruled out the 
possibility of information leaking out of our space-time. People  may be simply 
assuming the conclusion that they want for their own reasons. "I  see no 
problem with letting the darn stuff fall down the drain. Why are people  so afraid 
of the singularity?"  The  problem, says Vafa, is that the concept of 
information could be very subtle in  string theory, and not yet well-defined. 
"Information loss is a critical  question, but our understanding of black holes is too 
primitive."  So whether information can escape from  black holes or is 
destroyed remains a topic of intense debate. But there might  turn out to be a third 
option. One competing theory to string theory is  called loop quantum gravity, 
pioneered by, among others, Lee Smolin of the  Perimeter Institute in 
Waterloo, Canada. It proposes that space-time  is constructed of loops even smaller 
than strings. Joining loops together  creates a mesh of nodes and branches 
called a spin network. The  advantage of this model is that space-time itself can 
be  built out of these networks instead of having to be assumed, as it is in  
string theory.  Abhay Ashtekar  of Pennsylvania State University in Pittsburgh 
and Martin Bojowald of the Max  Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in 
Golm, Germany, have studied a  model of a black hole created using spin 
networks. They found the equations that  describe space-time continue to apply in 
an orderly way even at the singularity  itself. This is very different to the 
conventional picture, in which the  equations of physics break down when 
space-time collapses. It means that information that  reaches the singularity could 
survive there, encoded in the spin  networks. As far as Ashtekar and Bojowald 
can tell, the  information trapped in a black hole will be unable to escape 
via Hawking  radiation. Wait long enough, however, and it will survive, 
eventually rejoining  the rest of the universe when the black hole evaporates.  So 
whatever the theory that eventually  supersedes relativity, it seems a good 
possibility that black holes may be just  a little less dramatic than we thought. 
After all, who's afraid of a big ball of  string?  From issue 2483 of New  
Scientist magazine, 22 January 2005, page 28 Giants of the universe While debate  
rages over what black holes really are, the astronomical evidence that every  
galaxy is built around a supermassive black hole is stronger than ever.  
Observations made with the Hubble Space  Telescope have found that every galaxy has 
a mass at its core millions of times  as massive as our sun. The bigger this 
mass, the larger the size of the  "galactic bulge" - the number of stars 
clustered around the galactic  centre.  The speed with which stars  orbit the 
centre of a galaxy reveals the mass of the object they are  orbiting, and very 
careful measurements can reveal its size too. For a  handful of galaxies, 
including the Milky Way, the central mass is known to be  crammed into a space just a 
few times as wide as the distance between the Earth  and the sun, indicating 
that what lies within is so dense, it must be a black  hole.  Some young 
galaxies emit  copious amounts of high-energy radio and X-ray radiation. Lines in 
X-ray spectra  taken from these objects are shifted as if the rays had struggled 
to escape from  the strong gravitational field of a supermassive black hole.  
The closest object to the centre of our  galaxy is a bright, compact source 
of radiation known as Sagittarius A*. X-ray  flares coming from it, and picked 
up by the Chandra X-ray telescope, are thought  to be the dying gasps of 
matter falling into a supermassive black hole.  Baby black holes You don't have to 
go to  space to find a black hole: mini versions could be created to order, 
right here  on Earth. That's what some physicists claim will be possible using 
the world's  most powerful particle accelerator, due to turn on in 2007.  
Currently under construction at the  CERN laboratory in Geneva, the Large Hadron 
Collider will smash protons  together with a collision energy of 14,000 billion 
electronvolts. This might  just be enough to create several black holes every 
second, provided some  strange ideas about unknown physics turn out to be 
right. Each mini wonder would  weigh no more than a few micrograms and be smaller 
than a speck of dust.  A black hole is thought to form when the  core of a 
massive star collapses under its own weight and is crushed to a point.  Vast 
amounts of matter weighing more than a few suns are needed to produce  gravity 
strong enough for this to happen.  Yet the special theory of relativity gives a 
clue to making black holes  in the laboratory. Einstein used the theory to show 
that energy is equivalent  to matter. So black holes should also pop into 
existence when vast amounts of  energy are concentrated into a point, and that's 
exactly what happens when  particles smash together at extreme energies.  But 
there's a snag. According to our  existing knowledge of particles and the 
forces that operate between them, the  minimum energy needed to make a black hole 
this way is 10 million billion times  more than LHC can produce. And the 
chances of ever building a particle  accelerator that can reach such energies are 
virtually nil.  In the past few years though, the  prospects for making black 
holes in the lab have improved. This is down  to a theory that says  gravity is 
actually much stronger than we think. Huge masses are needed for the  force 
of gravity to become important in everyday life, and this feebleness  puzzles 
physicists. Some suggest that it can be explained if space has extra,  
invisible dimensions that only gravity can reach. The  gravitational force leaks away 
into them, while our universe and the  particles spewing out of accelerators 
are trapped in three dimensions, rather  like specks of dust on the surface of 
a soap bubble.  If the idea is right, gravity could  be much stronger when it 
applies over distances so small that there is no chance  of leakage into other 
dimensions. Pack enough energy into a 10-20-metre  space and it could be 
enough to create a black hole.  These mini curiosities will evaporate  within 
10-26 seconds, losing most of their mass by radiating energy, as  predicted by 
Stephen Hawking. A group led by Roberto Emparan at the University  of the Basque 
Country in Bilbao, Spain, calculated that most of this Hawking  radiation 
should appear as particles that can be spotted by detectors. If  Emparan is right, 
the LHC could provide the first evidence for Hawking radiation  from a black 
hole.  A computer  simulation devised by Bryan Webber at the University of 
Cambridge and others  creates mini black holes from LHC-style collisions. The 
simulation shows that  the structures should decay into a large number of 
high-energy particles, which  would be sprayed all over the detector. If the theory 
is right, researchers  expect to see many more of these striking events than 
they might otherwise. By  measuring the energy and momentum of the particles 
radiated, they hope to  measure the mass of the mini marvels.  Valerie Jamieson  
New  Scientist magazine © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.  Home 
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Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A  Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution  of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate  Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate  Institute
Founder:  International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution  Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango  Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the  Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, 
Academy of Political  Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human  Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; 
executive editor -- New  Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology  Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer  Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see  www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of  Mass Mind from the Big 
Bang to the 21st Century, see  www.howardbloom.net

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