Wednesday, April 27, 2011

H Bar Over Two

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle
The IMF announced that China will have the world's largest economy by the year 2016. The American economic hegemony will have lasted a mere (counting from Brenton Woods) 72 years. Whether the prediction holds true or not really doesn't matter. Nothing lasts.

Some would say this should really put things in perspective for American politicians. While Congress engages in short-sighted squabbling over which shall party shall be in power, the rest of the world has decided that the answer is inevitably "Neither. You both suck."

And just as well, as it puts statements by such reptilian creatures as Mitch McConnell, who's one stated and dearest wish is to see Barack Obama "to be a one-term president" in the proper light. Such a lofty, far-sighted, world-shaking vision! The old fuck really knows how to shake the pillars of Heaven. No wonder so many people have prophesied the decline of the American empire, given the fact that it's only apparent goal is the same as that of the lowly bacterium - a narcissistic and self-absorbed desire for things to continue just as they are. Given a possible cultural trend in America towards narcissism, is it any wonder that libertarians are ascendant? And that, quite possibly, the American behemoth is already in decease, and libertarians merely the inevitable outbreak of anaerobic microbes - happily ready to feast on its soon-to-be bloated corpse?

Ah, but that's actually not my worry at the moment. Times like these do make me look at things witha long term perspective, and my current worry is... are we just a simulation?

No really, are we all just a computer program running on some vast supercomputer at the end of time? How could we tell?

I may have an answer to this.

Computer programs that model things will typically try and save on processor space and time. Cutting corners usually involves not quite simulating everything so exactly. Better to be digital than analog. Better to pixelate than process a continuity/ And funnily enough, according to quantum mechanics, the universe is digital. Everything is broken up into discrete little bits: space, time, energy, you name it.

That's what Plank's constant is all about. It's the number of the bottom. You can look at things down to a level of smallness, and then you hit a wall. That's it. No smaller. Little pieces of time, or space, or area,  distance, or volume smaller than the metric  multiplied by Plank's constant simply do not exist. That is the smallest level of pixelation.

And Plank's constant is designated as h. Little h. And little h is a really tiny number, specifically 6.6262 x 10-27 erg seconds. That's the decimal number .00000000000000000000000000066262.

And hbar over 2, like show in the figure above, is just h divided by 2 time pi, and is usually treated as a standard deviation.

So, if it turns out that equations such as the uncertainty principle listed above behave themselves, and a universe in turn behaves similarly with a value for h much, much larger than a value of 6.6262 x 10-27 erg seconds, then we can all breathe a little easier about not living in a simulation. Quite simply because your average dumbass programmer (and your average programmer is, sorry to say, a dumbass) running a standard Monte Carlo simulation will use the largest smallest number he can to run the simulation.

...unless the Great Designer accounts for this, and programs the simulation for larger values of h accordingly...

No comments:

Post a Comment