left biblioblography: LOCAL YOKELS AND BUTTERFLY WINGS

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

LOCAL YOKELS AND BUTTERFLY WINGS

Some years ago, I rented a film called Suspect Zero. Very interesting flick. Ben Kingsley starred as a former FBI agent who would track down serial killers, and kill them. How did he find them? Remote viewing. It was tres intriguing. Definitely worth a watch.

On the DVD’s special features, there were a couple of featurettes. One was about a Taoist priest who gave instructions on how to activate the ‘Third Eye’. The other was a brief intro on the concept of nonlocality.

Here is the brief explanation:”A physical theory is said to exhibit nonlocality if, in that theory, it is not possible to treat widely separated systems as independent. The term is most often reserved, however, for interaction supposed to occur outside the backward light cone, i.e. superluminal influences.”

To understand this a little better, there is also the concept of locality:

“In physics, the principle of locality is that distant objects cannot have direct influence on one another: an object is influenced directly only by its immediate surroundings. This was stated as follows by Albert Einstein in his article "Quantum Mechanics and Reality" ("Quanten-Mechanik und Wirklichkeit", Dialectica 2:320-324, 1948):

Principle of locality
The following idea characterises the relative independence of objects far apart in space (A and B): external influence on A has no direct influence on B; this is known as the Principle of Local Action, which is used consistently only in field theory. If this axiom were to be completely abolished, the idea of the existence of quasienclosed systems, and thereby the postulation of laws, which can be checked empirically in the accepted sense, would become impossible.

Local realism is the combination of the principle of locality with the "realistic" assumption that all objects must objectively have their properties already before these properties are observed. Einstein liked to say that the Moon is "out there" even when no one is observing it.”

Thus far, nonlocality is beating out locality, as per Bell’s theorem:


Bell test experiments to date overwhelmingly show that the inequalities of Bell's theorem are violated. This provides empirical evidence against local realism and demonstrates that some of the "spooky action at a distance" suggested by the famous Einstein Podolsky Rosen (EPR) thought experiment do in fact occur. They are also taken as positive evidence in favor of QM. The principle of special relativity is saved by the no-communication theorem, which proves that the observers cannot use the inequality violations to communicate information to each other faster than the speed of light.”

Have I lost anyone yet? The short version is…drum roll, please…everything’s interconnected on a quantum level.

I find this so weirdly interesting. The featurette previously mentioned put it thusly (all paraphrased, so feel free to step in and correct, please).

In the 20’s, Schrödinger (yes, the same cat who did the cat in a box experiment) came up with the concept of non-locality. Split a subatomic particle in two, and no matter how much distance between them, one will always be spinning in one direction; the other will always be spinning in the opposite direction. One spins upwards, the other downwards.

Einstein hated this theory. So he set out to disprove it. What happened? He validated it. (Take that, you crazy creationists! Oh, wait, different topic, sorry).

The best example I can muster for my readers without a scientific bent (don’t feel bad, I struggle with this stuff too), is the butterfly effect or better known as chaos theory

“The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.”

That’s the best example I can cobble up to illustrate the concept better.

Personally, I find the theorums fascinating, even mind-boggling. That the world as we know it is one vast, interconnected jigsaw puzzle, but that the pieces are ever in flux, there is no stasis, all is moving, all is in a constant state of infinite change.

Yes, there’s one infinite I recognize. Energy. It has no face, no name, no staff to smite with, just a vast ocean of waveforms, cresting, tidal, an interlocking matrix that defies the mind to imagine, the eye to see.

It’s the only appeal to wonder I need.

Till the next post, then.

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11 comments:

Mesoforte said...

In the 20’s, Schrödinger (yes, the same cat who did the cat in a box experiment) came up with the concept of non-locality. Split a subatomic particle in two, and no matter how much distance between them, one will always be spinning in one direction; the other will always be spinning in the opposite direction. One spins upwards, the other downwards.


Sounds like when they tied two atoms together when they were across the room from each other. Quantum Physics, you gotta love it.

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
Quantum Physics, you gotta love it.
Love it? Yeah. Understand it? Minimally. I kinda go cross-eyed past Planck's constant (all those equations - ain't got a clue how to read 'em).

mxracer652 said...

Luckily for us macro objects, the sheer number of particles & the law of statistics keeps us from magically appearing on the dark side of the moon. Mind you, the possibility is there though.

If you really want to fuck your mind, google "double slit experiment". A light beams shined at two parallel slits produces an interference pattern on a background screen (alternating light & dark spots). This is what happens with waves. Yet, if you slow the photon emission from the light source to a single photon at a time, and record the hits over a period, it produces the same interference pattern. The single photon takes an infinite number of paths from the source to the background, and none of them at the same time.

But if you rig the experiment to figure out which path the photon took, your act of observation causes the photon to "decide" which path to take, and the interference pattern is lost. The simple act of observation causes the photon to appear in a definite position.

Here's an interactive link- http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/schroedinger/two-slit2.html

RA-An excellent read on QM is Brian Greene's "The Fabric of the Cosmos".

Krystalline Apostate said...

mxracer:
If you really want to fuck your mind
No thanks, gave up drugs LONG ago. ;)
But if you rig the experiment to figure out which path the photon took, your act of observation causes the photon to "decide" which path to take, and the interference pattern is lost. The simple act of observation causes the photon to appear in a definite position.
I thought the double slit experiment was the proof of the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle, wasn't it?
Or is that the observer effect?
I learned about that in 'The Hollow Man' by Dan Simmons, BTW.

karen said...

What's that going over my head?
A butterfly?
No! A butterfly effect!

I think my mercury fillings are making me stupid these days...

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
I think my mercury fillings are making me stupid these days...
I very much doubt anything could.
You're a bright ray o' light, love.

mxracer652 said...

KA,
The uncertainty principle is that you cannot measure two related quantities with 100% certainty. For instance, position and velocity, the more accurately you measure one, the more you mess up the other.

Double slit proved QM, showing particles don't exist until something observes them, which led Einstein to make his "the moon is there no matter if no one is looking at it" statement.

Krystalline Apostate said...

mxracer:
Double slit proved QM, showing particles don't exist until something observes them, which led Einstein to make his "the moon is there no matter if no one is looking at it" statement.
How...existential.

karen said...

SO....if a tree falls in the woods, but no one hears it...the moonis still there?

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
I actually think it goes like this:
"If a tree falls in the woods, & there isn't a TV camera crew to film it, it didn't really fall." ;)

Collin said...

Physicists have shown that classical local causality is wrong. They don't know what to replace it with. In science, it is okay not to know.

They have not demonstrated "interconnectedness", whatever that's supposed to mean. They have falsified a simple model of reality and are still searching for something to replace it with.

Have you ever heard of Karl Popper?