Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Before The Fall

While researching Cowboy Angels, I spent a lot of time figuring out what Manhattan might have looked like before it was settled by any humans. Eric Sanderson's project came a little too late, and would have saved me a lot of trouble...

(Thanks to Jack Womack for the link.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rorschach Moon

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heads or Tails

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of Hugh Everett’s ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics, which attempted to apply quantum mechanical equations to both the subatomic world and the macroscopic world we ordinarily inhabit. It’s long been accepted that subatomic particles like electrons or photons exist as both wave and particle until collapsed when an observer makes a measurement; Everett’s proposal that hawks, handsaws, and human beings also exist in a multitude of simultaneous states - parallel worlds - has been much more contentious. But now, at a meeting at Oxford University, reported in the latest issue of New Scientist (you need to be a subscriber to read the full report, but Peter Byrne has blogged the meeting for Scientific American), David Deutsch and his colleagues claim that ‘key equations of quantum mechanics arise from the mathematics of parallel worlds’. Or to put it another way, if they’re right - and it’s an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence - every time we make a decision, the universe really does split into two parallel branches. Coin-tossing may never be the same again.
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