edward long

Association of Old Crows

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What's up with the latest new cosmogony theory. . . The Big Chill?

Physicists down under have abandoned the HMS Big Bang and signed on the Big Chill. Just as I was beginning to grasp the basics of the BB, the science world adds a new menu item which turns everything upside down. What are we science groupies to do?

Closing Statement from edward long

Eight intrepid souls joined me in a 53-post total. Here is a synopsis of their expressed thoughts:
1- What we believe has been challenged!
2- It's the same thing as the Big Bang, kind of part of it, probably the beginning part.
3- It's an effect, not a cause.
4- Having no theories is better than having more than one.
5- We need a genius to come along and explain it all.
6- One theory will replace the other.
7- The press distorts science. They don't always stress the tentative nature of discoveries and theories. They should control themselves better. Scientists are exasperated by media methods.
8- Science always deals in uncertainty.
9- This is just one more possible truth.
10- Revisit "Snowball Earth"?
11- Huge amounts of tax sollars will go into it. Better into studying this than into war and religious propaganda.
12- Unfamiliuar terms popping-up: Spatial Dimensions; Temporal Dimensions; Graphity.
13- Several technical observations.
14- Higgs Boson has mass!?
These honest and valuable observations convince me there is no room in the scientific method for kneejerk reactions like revising the Standard Model to replace the Big Bang with the Big Chill. So much for instant gratification. Time will tell. I am going to watch for signs of fitting the data to the model, or sweeping things under the rug. Science ain't sacred!

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    Aug 23 2012: Here's what I've gathered so far. Hopefully a professional will get on here and REALLY explain this. Please look up what I'm saying here for yourself. I'm only stating what I have interpreted the Big Chill to be, as well as I can comprehend it....right now. Maybe later, I'll add more.

    In condensed matter (liquids and solids,) a string-net is an "extended object" whose behavior has been proposed as a physical mechanism for topological (intrinsic) order. A topological order is how we categorize quantum matter at zero-temperature. Since we can't actually observe the quantum matter, we have to rely on the "entanglements" or "effects" of the interactions between particles of quantum matter, which appear to us as ice fractures, which travel (in all directions) through 3 dimensions of space and one dimension of time.

    We can see that in a Quantum Graphity chart, using points of reference throughout spacetime. These points are linked together with "connections" that can either be on or off. If they are on, the graph becomes random like a liquid state and when off, the graph becomes more predictable like slowly solidifying liquid to ice over time. Because we can't see these things with our eyes, we have to draw it out on a chart to get an idea of what this stuff looks like until it's recorded later with better technology that's designed to find these things...just like CERN was built to detect bosons.
    I believe this new "theory" is meant to replace the idea of waves and particles that most of us learned about a decade ago.

    I hope someone will help us all understand this better.
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      Aug 23 2012: To indicate my level of understanding I thought "graphity" was a terrible attempt at spelling the word "gravity." Anyway, thanks for the information Ms. Small. I, too hope some brainiac comes on TED to assuage our fears by distinguishing this new theory from magic. I have the feeling they are going to tell me that if I draw a circle around one of these Cosmic Strings it will have a C/D less than Pi.
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        Aug 23 2012: Here's another way to picture it:

        If you have an understanding of the lattice model in physics, you'll get a better idea of what I'm saying. I'll try to explain this the way I think it's intended to be and you can look it up with the "link" below whenever you feel compelled to. In short, viewing the properties of an atom or molecule can now be pictured on a level that resembles a pixel with each layer representing a charted/graphed series of points in spacetime, where particles of quantum matter within the atoms become active. Each "layer" resembles a lattice when graphed out. Viewing the information this way could allow technology to interact with the outside world by analyzing the information in that way; almost digitalizing the world and allowing us to analyze quantum behaviors on a different level.
        Using the lattice/graphing method, some have concluded the rate of deceleration the universe is experiencing looks more and more like fractured ice the further we get from the Big Bang.
        The universe was caused by the bang and all matter on a quantum level reflected the properties of highly heated alloys, and everything else that would be affected by high heat and show the properties of liquid motion. As the universe expands beyond the "Hot zone," things start to cool and the undetermined matter begins to take form. This is like the liquid-to-solid version of the waves-become-particles theory.

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        Aug 23 2012: If this model (which I haven't looked up) is for real and you want a quick check on it, I know just the person to ask (part of the US CERN team). But please assure me first this is a real theory being put forward.
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          Aug 23 2012: According to FOX News: "In the new study, lead author James Quach and colleagues at the University of Melbourne in Australia say the hypothesis can be tested by looking for defects that would have formed in the structure of space-time. . ."
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        Aug 23 2012: Edward, you know that theoretical particle physicists and their empirical counterparts are working to try to figure out which theories are consistent with the data at hand. There is not a consistent view, because the data at hand, if I understand this correctly, are so far consistent with multiple theories, and data that would fully distinguish them are not currently at hand.

        As the Large Hadron Collider moves to higher speeds, physicists are hopeful of greater clarity.

        I can see the theory is considered viable by the fact that the paper is appearing in what is probably the leading journal in that field. That doesn't mean it's right, just like we don't know String Theory is right or the Theory of Branes, but they are all still candidate explanations.
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          Aug 23 2012: You know Fritzie, the issue here for sciolists like me is that we are not conversant in esoteric science talk. We read, we think, we converse. That's how we learn. What is happening here is a potential epistemological catastrophe! I get the feeling we are manipulated by the science writers and spin doctors into accepting things that "ain't so." There is probably some intrigue ($$$) here involving grants and voter support. Science should stress the tentative, yet-to-be-proven nature of information they trickle-down to us. We don't demand pristine clarity, but we do demand honesty and candor. Is it hazy in here, or is it just me? Thanks Fritzie!
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        Aug 23 2012: I am also not a scientist. But I know scientists themselves are frequently exasperated at how the information they provide is spun by reporters to make good stories. I doubt there is any intrigue, though, in this. Reputation is a huge big deal among professionals at this level, and an article that makes it into Physical Review would have been reviewed by theoretical physicists who are not going to want to be on the record (and ridiculed) for passing forward bogus articles.
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          Aug 23 2012: Fritzie,
          I don't mean to imply fraud or deliberate deception on the part of the science community. I agree they have worked too hard to get where they are to jeopardize it all on some boondoggle. I think somewhere near the top of the pecking order there is a modus operandi which downplays the tentative aspect of theories so that common folk come to embrace theories as fact. That is my gripe. --Edward
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    Aug 28 2012: This is why so few people understand what I'm talking about in other conversations. I think it says a lot about those who claim to be "science-minded." There are only 52 statements from 9 members here (with a day left) on a really important question that challenges what we accept as fact. On the other hand, there are almost 300 responses on a different "debate" (as of now) based solely on OPINIONS about Science and religion. People have one major question about what existence is. The fact is that the answer will be found on a quantum scale-not some "apparent" macro-scale like the sun or the big bang. What made us is too tiny to see. There is a hierarchical structure to everything that came into existence. The more we learn about the fundamental materials that create matter and life, the closer we get to answering our greatest and most debated questions.
    Thanks, Edward Long, for bringing this to my attention. At the time the Higgs was discovered, I was visiting my father (about 1,000 miles from home) for the first time in 16 years. By the time I returned, I'd actually forgotten about it (a lot going on in my life.) When Mr. Long posed this question, I was reminded of the new discovery I'd forgotten to study. Once I started digging around, I realized that it's possible that some of my extreme beliefs (reflected in other conversations) might not be as extreme as they seem on the surface. The possible futures I suggested may not be as far as I thought.....maybe closer, now, than I ever imagined.
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      Aug 28 2012: The question seems to be more about Epistemology than Cosmogony. Commoners like me stand outside the halls of Science waiting to hear what the latest possible explanation of the purpose of Life is. I wonder if I'm hanging around the right halls? I like what Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky said, QUOTE:
      "I am not worried if scientists go and explain everything. This is for a very simple reason: an impala sprinting across the Savannah can be reduced to biomechanics, and Bach can be reduced to counterpoint, yet that does not decrease one iota our ability to shiver as we experience impalas leaping or Bach thundering. We can only gain and grow with each discovery that there is structure underlying the most accessible levels of things that fill us with awe.
      But there is an even stronger reason why I am not afraid that scientists will inadvertently go and explain everything — it will never happen. While in certain realms, it may prove to be the case that science can explain anything, it will never explain everything. As should be obvious after all these pages, as part of the scientific process, for every question answered, a dozen newer ones are generated. And they are usually far more puzzling, more challenging than than the prior problems. This was stated wonderfully in a quote by a geneticist named Haldane* earlier in the century: ‘Life is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.’ We will never have our flames extinguished by knowledge. The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it."
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    Aug 23 2012: The big chill is basically the result of hundreds of billions of years of the expansion of the universe. Eventually, we won't even be able to see the stars anymore. At that point, the universe will be so cold that it will be the end of all life in the universe. Eventually, the remaining stars will either burn up, turn into neutron stars or turn into black holes. That, my friend, is the end of the universe.
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      Aug 23 2012: The theories can coexist like the opening and closing chapters of a book?
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    Aug 23 2012: the problem with cosmology is the same as with quantum theory. we do have theory, but we have more than one. it is almost as bad as having none. if data supports many theories, we need more data. alas, these two areas are most resistant to data acquirement.
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      Aug 23 2012: It's a different way of seeing the same thing, I think, like a new perspective or even a method that could be adapted to translate the physical world to the digital world. Michael Shermer touched on something interesting in his "lecture" on Strange Beliefs. He noted that as the telescope evolved, so did the way that we saw planets like Saturn. At first, we had such a grainy picture of it that it looked like a large sphere with two smaller ones on both sides. As the telescope improved, we recorded the progression of how, as it became clearer, we could see that it's actually one sphere with a belt of rings.
      The lattice model, when applied to quantum physics is quite interesting, since it still produces the same answers/results as the previous methods we've used to prove the existence of particles and waves. This may just be a clearer way to see what can only be observed when in particle, (or ice) form. This could lead to the creation of "blueprint" information that can be understood by a a machine with the nano-based technology to use existing elements to build or replicate items on a QUANTUM LEVEL (I've been aware of the 3-D printers for quite some time, but I've been anticipating the Molecular Assembler for much longer.)
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        Aug 23 2012: it is "easy" to formulate a math model for a set of observations. of course it still takes a genius, but that's the point. all we need is a genius to find some pattern in the data, and come up with something like the string theory.

        what we need is something like einstein did with the theory of relativity. basically he took two concepts: one, the light travels with lightspeed regardless of the observer, and two, gravity and acceleration is the same thing. out of these simple concepts, a theory was born that had outrageous forecasts which were later all proven true.

        alas, no quantum theories up to date has that feature. nor they allowed us to do anything new really.
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      Aug 23 2012: Josh Billings said: QUOTE- "It is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so."
      If these two theories are mutually exclusive then one of them ain't so!
      It is easy to forget that much of Cosmogony (and Quantum Physics) is theory only, not confirmed truth.
      Maybe the resistance to data acquirement is a reminder to proceed carefully. Thanks Krisztian!
  • Aug 23 2012: Perhaps I misread the article but I don't see where the Big Bang Theory was abandoned.

    It sounds like some physicists came up with a hypothesis challenging the current understanding of how the Big Bang started. They are now testing it by looking for evidence that is predicted by their model.

    This is an example of how the scientific method is supposed to work.
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      Aug 23 2012: I think that what you said is slightly backwards, in that it doesn't challenge the beginning as much as the end result....the greater question (as I believe.) As I understand it, they agree with the super-heated explosion, but are showing a representation of that on a quantum level which resembles super-heated liquids that eventually cool down as they grow further away from the source of the heat. This is simply a theory which needs to be tested. The results, according to Lattice models, indicate that this is a feasible possibility and that new technology must be created in order to test this new theory. What can I say? It makes sense to me and I think there are likely many great minds out there, considering all of the possibilities this theory leads to.
      • Aug 24 2012: Thanks for setting me on the right path. Even after reading the article twice I apparently still missed the core this new idea.

        Scientific inquiry driving new technology? That's unheard of!

        On a side note, this reminds me of a story I once heard about a man named Higgs who waited years for the technology to advance so that he could look for his theoretical particle.
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          Aug 24 2012: It actually helps to know something about the mechanics of the collider, hadrons and especially the mass-giving Higgs bosons that could prove to be the "glue" that keeps hadrons together via gravitational field from the added mass. I tried to give an example to another member of how I understand this process. Here is what I told him. Maybe this makes sense to you since you mentioned Higgs.

          I have been aware of 3-D printing for a few years, now and think it would be wise to invest in those businesses at this time-whenever they go public. If you're interested in the replicator idea, check this out:
          It's still a theory, of course, but I believe that with the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, we could possibly crack the puzzle of how to assemble atoms into a molecule without it losing form from lack of attraction to one another. The Higgs boson gives it's mass to hadrons, which acts as a gravitational field. This field could be what attracts hadrons to one another to form atoms. When all of the components have come together to create an atom, the atom now possesses the combined field strength of it's components. This gives the atom enough attractive force to start attracting other mass-compatible atoms to form molecules. By measuring this interaction with the Large Hadron Collider, it appears as though the hadrons are pretty much "flying" by, pulling mass from Higgs bosons (and possibly other properties from hypothesized bosons and elementary particles) and attracting one another, becoming atoms. The atoms "clump" together, forming molecules, and so-on, as though something is "speeding into existence."
      • Aug 24 2012: It always amazing me when something like the 3-D printer makes the leap from the science fiction of my childhood and becomes science reality.

        A molecular assembler would be pretty cool. Maybe it would give us something to do with all the trash in our landfills (similar to how a time-traveling Delorean could be powered using a banana peel and soda can).
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          Aug 24 2012: Mr. Fusion! That was the name of Doc's invention to create fuel from (I believe disassembling the matter.) I think maybe it was hypothetically fueled by the the energy or radiation created as a result of fusion.
      • Aug 25 2012: That was it! It's nice to know that our ability to name our inventions didn't exceed the expectations of people from 1985. Mr. Coffee makes coffee. Mr. Clean cleans. I'd be surprised if Mr. Fusion didn't involve fusion!
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      Aug 23 2012: Perhaps talk of abandonment is premature. But, there is a dark cloud on the horizon for one of these theories.
      • Aug 24 2012: I agree, one of these models will fall by the wayside. But whether it's the current theory or this new hypothesis we will end up with whichever model better predicts how the universe actually works.

        I don't see how a better understanding of our surroundings can be looked at as a bad thing.
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          Aug 24 2012: Improved understanding of truth cannot be a bad thing. None the less, accepting that what you thought was true is actually false is not easy. Science, like journalism, ought to be very careful about what it represents as truth. We non-scientists tend to trust science and believe what we are told. But that can change.
      • Aug 24 2012: I am too am one of these non-scientists and it looks like we are in violent agreement when it comes to the resposibilities scientists and journalists have toward us common folk.
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          Aug 24 2012: Hmmmm, interesting phrase, "violent agreement". It sounds like an oxymoron.
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        Aug 24 2012: Anything that comes from science as a Conclusion has to be construed as the most defensible finding to date rather than a truth for the ages.

        An exception is a theory put forward as hypothesis rather than as a conclusion.

        This is a strength of science rather than a weakness. It's something like how we can trust people more who are open to a change of view and are comfortable with sometimes having been wrong.

        For science as a discipline and for open-minded people, the thrill comes from new learning, increasing understanding, and the prospect of further learning rather than from having been right.
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          Aug 24 2012: Your defense of science is formidable Fritzie, but you are preaching to the choir. I support the scientific method 100%, it is one of man's greatest achievements to date! My bitch is the way the mutable quality, the tenativeness, of theory and hypothesis is played down, ignored even. The result is non-scientists being lulled into conflating fact and theory. Science writers often say "is" when they should say "may be".
        • Aug 25 2012: Wouldn't it be great if we had a terminology for something that is more than the possibility "may be" but less certain than the proven "is". It is poor journalism to prefix every claim with "the most accurate understanding to date is..."

          Perhaps there should just be a disclaimer at the end of any scientific article. But I think it might be easier to educate the masses to understand that scientific claims are based on the current facts and may be expanded should future evidence comes to light.
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        Aug 24 2012: I absolutely understand and agree with you, Edward.

        My younger daughter is a particle physicist on ATLAS, one of the two big experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. While this does not provide me with any information not available to the public, I have seen/heard grouching first-hand about how what the scientists report often differs substantially from what the general public hears/understands through the way the results are reported in the media for popular consumption.
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          Aug 24 2012: I think that's likely why all the headlines seem to indicate that this theory is attempting to replace the BBT completely- from beginning to end. That assertion gets more attention than indicating that it's just a different way to perceive the mechanics of the quantum universe. People would scratch their heads and say, "what? I think I'll just let the scientists battle it out and 'go with the flow' until they've got an answer that seems to make sense to me."
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          Aug 25 2012: You are correct Evan, scientific explanations tend to be very SUPPLE (Dr. Philip Skell's chosen word). When an explanation is so supple it allows for any eventuality it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery. If the Big Bang and the Big Chill are deemed complementary theories then I think things are a tad too supple. Also, if journalists misstate science's intended message then science should set the record straight rather than allowing the misconception to continue.
      • Aug 25 2012: Sorry for the deleted/relocated comment, it is sometimes a challenge placing comments where they belong.

        Anyway, supple is not a word I would use to describe scientific theories. At the very least a hypothesis is required to explain the existing facts. In this case the Big Bang and (I assume) the Big Chill both explain the data we have. The red shift of galaxies and background radiation are facts that the Big Bang accounts for and so must the Big Chill. These are observations that must be explained in any serious discussion of the universe's origin. That seems like a solid base to me.

        If the Big Bang and the Big Chill are complementary, there have been some horrible misrepresentations by the media about what the Big Chill claims. The physicists are looking for the 'cracks' which are a key difference between the Big Chill model and the Big Bang model. This difference alone makes the two models non-complementary.

        As for dealing with the media, shouldn't each publication be responsible for its own material? The most respectable publications are respectable exactly because they strive to provide accurate information and set the record straight when needed. It's not the scientists who make sure the information is accurate but the journalists. If the subject of misconceptions was responsible for corrections the President would spend more time setting Weekly World News straight then he does in politics.
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          Aug 25 2012: I only mentioned ethics in journalism because it plays a role in the public's conflation of scientific fact and theory. You're right that self-control is the key to a respectable publication (if there are any). Do you think FOX News is behaving badly by publishing this story? If not the question must be askled are those who are aware of it but not broadcasting it behaving badly? For now it's FOX and PHYSICAL REVIEW D for information. I have no constructive response regarding misinformation in Politics. Thanks!
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    Aug 23 2012: Hi Edward.,
    At first I thought this was some version of the 'Snowball Earth" theory, but alas, nothing so simple.
    I've been told I don't understand evolution; I've been told I don't understand the Big Bang; I freely admit I don't have a clue what this is, but I fear it will attract billions in grants that would be better spent elsewhere. So is this as well as, or instead of, the Big Bang ?
    I too await the movie with bated breath.

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      Aug 23 2012: My understanding is that the Big Chill sets the Big Bang on its ear. The Standard Model will need a major makeover to accommodate this new theory. I am not even going to ask about the Snowball Earth theory.
    • Aug 25 2012: Have you ever looked at governments budgets and compared the amount going into the military and the amount going into science? Have you ever calculated how much is spent, via tax reliefs, on religious institutions that do nothing but propaganda? (I know that not all of them do propaganda.) Do that and then come again with that crap about "wasted money on science."
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    Aug 22 2012: Ed, I just read articles on Spatial Demensions, temporal demensions, quantum graphity, and other things that I had to write down to even spell them and have little or no idea of what I read. The Big Bang was much easier.

    As far as what this science groupie will do .... first I think I'll take a nap. Then I will look on the web to see if there is a movie or a comic book I can obtain to begin at step one to understand the "BIG CHILL".

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      Aug 22 2012: Standing by, Robert. When you awaken please advise regarding comic book.--Edward
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      Aug 23 2012: It's such a new idea that there is VERY LITTLE information available at all. I looked on YouTube and couldn't find anything. I looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what it says:
      "The Big Chill (music festival)
      The Big Chill (film)
      The Big Chill soundtrack
      The Big Chill at the Big House, a U.S. college ice hockey game played in December 2010 that had the largest attendance in the sport's history"
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        Aug 23 2012: Your right. I had to look in a couple of places but finally found it. I typed in Big Chill Theory for what I got. Good luck it is deep.

        Isn't it amazing that the reply was music, sports, films, etc ... and science was left out. That is indicative of what the users see as important or of interest. What a shame. I mentioned in another post that we all (throught the media) know the celebs doing porn and very few know the nobel prize winner.

        Good luck on your search.

        All the best. Bob.
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        Aug 23 2012: You know water circles the drain in the opposite direction down under. Maybe scientific thought is reversed also?
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          Aug 23 2012: That's a funny joke; at least I'll assume you're joking. I tried explaining to my mother that I came to the conclusions about the theory by researching the definitions of words involved in the explanation (like the article you referenced.) I had to piece a set of definitions together to understand yet another definition that plays just one part of the theory. And, "yes, I did experience some throbbing "pain" in my head while trying to comprehend one definition and applying it to another new word I just learned and then picturing the mechanics of it in my mind so that the idea makes sense to me." I was completely unaware of this theory until you brought it to light here. I looked it up when I woke this morning. Since I've recently been interested in CERN's discovery of the Higgs Boson, I was able to apply a few concepts I learned from that to the mechanics of quantum matter and the methods by which they're forced to prove the theory thus far.
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        Aug 23 2012: Our friends down under are apparently quite busy pushing the envelope. First the Big Chill, now they have "proven" that the structure of the Universe is NOT fractal!
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          Aug 23 2012: I was actually wondering if this was some sort of April Fools for the Science community while typing up my last response. I began to think this could be a test on comprehension or a well-orchestrated prank. I was seeing how the information could be used to explain the universe in a digital or technological fashion, but I was wondering if the same information was too "fuzzy" to apply to the physical world the way the human brain perceives it. In addition, it seems all of this was provided by FOX and therefore, I'm not going to press this any further until I hear from different, well-trusted sources. Regardless, it got my brain going a mile a minute.
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        Aug 23 2012: Apparently not an August Fools joke, the research by Quach and his team is detailed in this month's edition of the journal Physical Review D. By the way Ms. Small, FOX News is conservative, not capricious.
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          Aug 25 2012: Thanks, Edward. I actually read this yesterday. I think it's one of those examples of how the media misinterpreted the discoveries. Those "cracks" can't be seen with the naked eye. It's the lattice model that, AFTER the initial BANG, showed us liquid properties and as the universe cools, these lattices stop "waving" and "freeze" into a crystal-like position similar to ice. The lattice model shows that there are points in space and time where we can see the "empty" space between these "structures" where they're not touching due to a bend in space time, which makes it look like a fracture. This evidence is showing up in graphs and requires that a machine be built specifically to test the lattice model in its application to the quantum world. So far, they are not disproving what we already know, so much as giving us a different way to look at everything by means of graphing events in space time to create "pixels" of information that can then be interpreted by technology; converting these "pixels" into binary.