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Is The Fabric of Space-Time Woven With Noise?

timothy posted more than 14 years ago | from the thinking-about-this-may-liquify-your-brain dept.

Science 171

Grubert writes: "Some Australian mathematicians have found a way to explain many deep problems in fundamental physics using mathematical models based on noise. (This statement is slightly inaccurate; read the New Scientist article."

Given the justified head-scratching that accompanies any investigation into the origin, age, weight and dimensionality of the universe, and considering that this theory bears on each of these, it's exciting stuff. Could this be the beginning of a breakthrough in our understanding of /everything/?

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Re:1st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233077)


Slashdotted Already!? (1)

Yardley (135408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233078)


Server Unavailable

Sorry, but New Scientist Online is temporarily unavailable due to technical problems.

Please try again later.

Thank you,

The New Scientist Web team

Looks like we've been had...

Isn't space-time better explained through knot equations?

Re:1st (0)

troller (157135) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233079)

Dang it, I missed. Oh, well. Try, try again

Wow! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233080)

Wow, a pre-emptive slashdot effect! The site was down before people even checked slashdot ;)

- Rei

Re:Slashdotted Already!? (2)

Haven (34895) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233081)

Whats funny is, that they can't give me what is probably 40kB of text, but they can send a completely useless image to my browser. Hm...

Re:Slashdotted Already!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233082)

new scientist is such a rag. it's dumbed down to barely readable levels.

If so, then there's one obvious conclusion. (2)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233083)

(The article is unavailable, so I make this comment in blissful ignorance.)

If there is noise in the fabric of space-time, then surely it is carried by a set of as yet undiscovered particles.

And the bast names for them are

hotgritson, et cetera.

Re:scientists.... (0)

MattXVI (82494) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233084)

And FUCK YOU TOO Mr. Moderator Pansy Faggot!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh....... (1)

uninerd (79304) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233085)

Yes, it feels good to be vindicated after all these years.

-A drummer

Re:1st (0)

troller2 (158705) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233086)

Ha ha, you fscking suck.

Ok, mirrors out there (0)

pngwen (72492) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233087)

Can't quite get to this site, anyone know this work or a mirror or something to get to it? I really really want to read this!

Re:Slashdotted Already!? (1)

Periwinkle (23090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233088)

Their main web site appears to be up, at least the
sattic pages. Any link that seems to point to
something dynamic is down.

I eat dog. Free DVDs [] . Horray!

Moderate This Up !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233089)

this man is brilliant.

Re:shutup you (1)

troller2 (158705) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233090)







Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (3)

Duxup (72775) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233091)

I've always been a bit suspicious of some theories in physics (granted due to the /. effect I haven't been able to evaluate this one as of yet) that seem to patch holes in other theories. So many new theories now seem to be created to fit together questions about other theories I sometimes wonder if such fields aren't in danger of falling into themselves and just becoming a collaborative attempt to fulfill certain beliefs. I remember studying previous beliefs in history about physics or any science for that matter, and I always wonder if our current theories won't be pointed out as just as lame as past ones are now. Granted I'm far from a physicist and this is just my humble opinion.

Hell Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233092)

Subject says it all.

Re:Of COURSE it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233093)

where the hell did the 'hot grits down pants' troll originate anyway

New Scientist is a joke (4)

Binx Bolling (60970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233094)

The whole rag is filled with pseudo-science news. I was interviewed by one of their reporters. They take ordinary science, jazz it up into something star-trekky and unrecognizable, munge their quotes, sensationalize out the wazoo, etc. Maybe in a former life it was a respectable British journal. These days it has sunk as low as the rest of British journalism.

Are not there better things to do??? (0)

trollking (153214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233095)

I say, my dear ladies and gentlemen, that there are better things that scientists could spend their time on. We could be looking for ways to save the Earth and make the world a better place. Instead we are searching for aliens and far off asteroids. Does this make any sense???? The survival of our species does not depend on noise from outer space!!

wait a minute, I'm not for the survival of our species. you may continue being useless.

Thank You,
Troll King

Re:New Scientist is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233096)

ha! beat you to the 'new scientist is a rag' comment look up thats not to say it isnt a rag though it is

Re:If so, then there's one obvious conclusion. (1)

Yardley (135408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233097)

I think that this could be a reasonable description of, don't say it, not yet, no please, no, no, no, dark matter. Are we all okay still? Maybe God is a bunch of dark matter. I thought NUONs were the elementary particles...

Re:Of COURSE it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233098)

down your pants. thank you.

Eureka! (2)

milliyear (132102) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233099)

so THAT'S what those voices in my head are!!

Re:Of COURSE it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233100)

dammnit! i want to know!

Re:Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233101)

Your doubts may be something like those of creationists who have are ignorant of modern genetics, molecular biology, palaentology, developmental biology and evolutionary studies. Because of your own ignorance, perhaps you should skeptical about your skepticism.

Another Fun Cosmological Link for Fun (4)

MattW (97290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233102)

Chris Langan, the Long Island bar bouncer with an IQ of 190+, puts forth his "theory of everything" (or, in this case, a summary):

The CTMU []

His misuse of the term "Cantor's Set", among other things, is annoying, but it is still an ambitious attempt to explain the universe. Maybe this will tide the bored people over until New Scientist recovers from being slashdotted ;)

Re:Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233103)

The above is a long and fluffy comment made without reading the article (since the server is down).

Star trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233104)

This is so cool , I don't need to read the article I'm down to my video store for more star trek.

Re:Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (2)

FigWig (10981) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233105)

Well, I certainly hope that in the future our current theories are considered 'lame', otherwise physicists of the future will be out of a job.

Any scientific theory is just a model of reality. We continually refine these, but at any moment we try to use the most useful one, ie the one that explains the most and allows future theorizing. We accept that it isn't the truth, but you gotta work from something. Unfortunately science is sometimes held back by personal ambition/egoism, but I think these problems are inherent in any human endeavour. But when evidence is found to contradict these theories, the theories are eventually rethought.

One problem with some TOE (theories of everything) is that they have so many parameters that while certain ranges of those parameters are disproved, the theory as a whole may never be disproved.

The point is - the scientific method works, eventually.

Society to ban MattXVI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233106)

Free speech or not this guibo hasn't got one post that isn't "Flaimbait."

Re:Of COURSE it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233107)

You know, i absolutely love these posts.

Its the "thank you" at the end. It just totally cracks me up laughing every time.

keep up the good work ;)

* User just poured hot grits down his pants.

Is the universe a black hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233108)

Take the mass of the universe (very ~ 10e40 kg). Now, what is the Schwarthchild radius for a black hole of this mass? (!) Why it's damn close to the known visible size of the universe. Can anyone debunk this?

Shhhhh. (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233109)

Scientist 1: I think I can describe the fabric of space-time mathematically.

Scientist 2: Can you keep the noise down, I'm trying to study.

Scientist 1: That's just it, man. Noise.

Scientist 2: Be quiet, please.


Statistical Philosophy (4)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233110)

When Shannon extracted the unit of information from the laws of thermodynamics, he helped people understand that statistical laws are interwoven with the fundamentals of natural philosphy in a way that we sometimes find confusing. There is a good deal of "bit" in "it".

Now next stage has been reached where the core laws of quantum mechanics (the weird ones) have been shown to be theorems of a statistical theory that includes negative probabilities, rather than "laws of nature" per se, in the same way that Shannon's information theory is properly thought of as a domain of statistical philosophy rather than an a priori natural phenomenon. []

It is reasonable to suspect that many profound consequent discoveries, such as those reported in this article, are waiting to be unearthed as the depth of weird statistical philosophy sinks in.

quantum noise (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233111)

This theory reminds me of what John Archibald Wheeler came to call "quantum foam" (you do know your quantum mechanics - don't you?). The idea was that at extremely small distances (known as the Planck length), the concepts of space and time break down into a kind of soupy foam. The idea that a kind of chaotic froth or quantum noise is at the heart of physics has a long history.It would be interesting to read the article, but the stupid site is down. Personally I read SciAm, not New Scientist.

Hmmm... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233112)

Given that random noise is an inherent component in everything around us, am I really that surprised? There's no way to totally get rid of it, although there are many minimization techniques to design a system with minimum noise. Even an ordinary resistor has a calculable and definite amount of voltage noise related to its resistance and temperature, it doesn't have to be connected to anything.

I haven't read the thing yet, 'web server down'. Oops. Does anyone know what type of server this thing was on? Less than 30 posts are here on slashdot and the link's already slashdotted.

Re:Another Fun Cosmological Link for Fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233113)

That is pretty interesting. Too many assertions to be anything rigorous, but I like his idea of the process of self-inclusion (of the universe) giving rise to the existence of time.

Is the fabric of slashdot woven with trolls? (5)

Gutzalpus (121791) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233114)

A new study from this week's New Slashdot Science reveals that not only are trolls inescapable in /. message boards, but that they are actually woven into the "fabric" of slashdot itself, due to unpredictable interactions of certain aspects of the source code.

It is believed that this theory could answer many of the questions of current /. users. Such questions as:

1. Why are there so many useless, garbage posts?
2. Why do people persist in clogging the discussions with pure crap?

These questions become irrelevant and easily answered once it is realized that this sort of behavior is innate to slashdot and cannot be stopped. See [] for more information on this and other incredible scientific developments. Additionally please see Weekly World News [] for additional updates.

Admistration problems solved with random data (2)

doomy (7461) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233115)


I've got a basement network that overtime grew pretty large and completely blew up on admistration issues once the 386 beowulf cluster was put into place.

I have very little time to solve most of the problems on my 198.169.0.x network, thus I called into my employment a very special node on my server. Yes /dev/urandom is now my adminstrator, after a sucessful kernel patch and modifications to my distribtion so that root can only be /dev/urandom, I have found that server problems are now being resolved on it's own and that the uptime has remained a constantantly universally random number.

In time I would instruct my cluster to create a HOWTO on this procedure.

Re:New Scientist is a joke (1)

nyte_ (156934) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233116)

You are (a) wrong and (b) biased. (a) New Scientist calls itself a "pop science" magazine. It is not a scientific journal; it is a magazine which puts important scientific discoveries into lay-man's terms. You misrecognize this conversion from technical to lay-man's language as "jazz[ing] it up" and "sensationalize[ation]". (b) "As low as the rest of British journalism" ?! Perhaps you would like to give your definition of "British journalism" - I read both The Times (London) and The New York Times regularly, and without a doubt the former is the better written of the two.

Re:Wow! (2)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233117)

Maybe there's another /. in an alternate universe that actually posts stories in a timely fashion...

Infinte Improbabilty Drive (4)

doomy (7461) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233118)

From the HHGTTG,

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability
by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-
Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong
Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of
course well understood - and such generators were often used to
break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the
hostess's undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left,
in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren't going to stand
for this - partly because it was a debasement of science, but
mostly because they didn't get invited to those sort of parties.

Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they
encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate
the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship
across the mind-paralysing distances between the furthest stars,
and in the end they grumpily announced that such a machine was
virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab
after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning
this way:

If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual
impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability.
So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly
how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite
improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea
... and turn it on!

He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had
managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite
Improbability generator out of thin air.

It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the
Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched
by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally
realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a


Re:If so, then there's one obvious conclusion. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233119)

Couldn't be, because....

<Futurama>Dark matter is so dense that a single pound of it weighs 10,000 pounds...</Futurama>

Re:Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (1)

fabjep (154553) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233120)

There have definitely been alot of attempts to discover some understandable consitency across various sciences and among various branches of physics. (most notably unified field theory) However, I don't really think that science has turned itself into that much of a selfsupporting web. Rather, the universe displays impressive properties of consistency and thus the incestuous nature of science is a necessary and logical product of that consistency. If the properties of the universe are symetrically recursive and predictable, then why shouldn't science, the study of those properties, behave simmilarly?

Hitch Hiker's guide... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233121)

Know where can i get that ebook?

Hey funny post btw!

Re:Patching a leaky tire with too many holes (1)

Jovian (106485) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233122)

The thing is, the two theories (general relativity and quantum mechanics) are both observable, and we _have_ verified each of them to a really quite impressive degree of accuracy, the extent of which I totally forget. These are real things which, metaphorically, you can reach out and _touch_.

However, they also provide contradictory results. for instance, relativity is deterministic (1 set of conditions produces 1 outcome) whereas quantum mechanics only predicts the probablility of events.

This is why we have all of these new (and, sometimes, really darn cool) theories telling us that we're really made out of 31.5 dimensional knots in a sea of quantum noise floating in man's hat full of perfume alongside a single plum. :D

Perfection is a road (1)

pornking (121374) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233123)

The universe does in fact revolve around me, but in the interest of reducing the complexity of the math involved, It is reasonable to assume that the earth and planets revolve around the sun, and that the "solar system", (an imaginary but useful mathematical artifact which appears only when the above assumption is used to simplify the problem) exists in one of the arms of a spiral "galaxy".

The value of a theory lies in its ability to produce useful results. Ask an architect how often he uses a Lorentz transformation when calculating stress.

Off-Topic: Slashdot Celebrity Deathmatch #1 (4)

Green Monkey (152750) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233124)


Announcer: Good evening and welcome to another exciting round of Slashdot Celebrity Deathmatch. We've got quite an exciting matchup for you tonight. In the left corner is our plucky but not-quite-GPL challenger, the BSD daemon!

(The BSD daemon strikes a pose for the crowd. The crowd cheers.)

Announcer: And in the right corner we have the most electrifying name in open source entertainment... the one, the only, TUX THE PENGUIN!


Announcer: ...but what's this? It seems that Tux isn't even in the ring.

BSD Daemon: There's no one to fight here!

(The crowd gasps)

Announcer: This is highly peculiar. If Tux does not arrive within the next five minutes, he'll have to forfeit the match.

BSD Daemon: And then we'll pour hot grits down his pants!

(Tux finally enters the stadium, running. He's carrying a briefcase and a cell phone.)

Tux: Hi, I just got back from posing for my new Linux Business icon. Sorry I'm late.

BSD Daemon: Hey, what's with that? How come there's no BSD Business icon? LINUX BIAS!

Tux: BSD sucks!

BSD Daemon: No, Linux sucks!

Tux: I said it first! By the way, the color scheme on your Slashdot section is really ugly.

BSD Daemon: When we last met, you were the master and I was the apprentice. Now, the circle is complete. (his pitchfork lights up)

Tux: (strikes martial arts pose) There can be only one!

BSD Daemon: Ha! You don't have a chance against the power of my Naked And Petrified Ray!

Tux: (rolls eyes) I don't even wear clothes. I'm already naked. Tee hee.

BSD Daemon: No, you're wearing that tie.

Tux: (looks down at his tie) Oops, so I am. (He pulls the tie off) Let's get ready to rumble!

BSD Daemon: Can you smell what the daemon's cookin'?

Tux: Na na na na na na. (starts putting mousse on his hair)

BSD Daemon: What the hell are you doing?

(Tux pulls his hair feathers up to form spikes)

Tux: SUPAAAA HAAAADO! (He starts glowing and flies into the air)

Announcer: Wow, it's Super Saiyajin Tux!

Tux: I'll send you to /dev/null! Super Ultimate Reverse Neo Cross Dimension Magical Karma Blast!

(Tux starts charging up a huge karma energy beam)

Announcer: Uh-oh, this could be trouble for the daemon!

BSD Daemon: Take this! (He hurls a huge tarball at Tux and connects. The tar gets all over Tux's feathers, preventing Tux from flying.)

(Tux falls to the mat)

Announcer: Ouch! What a fall!

BSD Daemon: Code freeze! (BSD Daemon throws a ball of ice at Tux and freezes him in place)

Announcer: Oh! It looks like Tux has been frozen by the BSD daemon's Code Freeze spell!

BSD Daemon: I've got you now, penguin!

(Suddenly, the SuSE chameleon runs out of the crowd and jumps into the ring)

Announcer: Here comes the SuSE chameleon! Tag team!

BSD Daemon: Hey! That's cheating!

(The SuSE chameleon flicks his tongue out at the daemon's pitchfork, catches it, and pulls it out of the daemon's hands)

SuSE Chameleon: Gotcha!

BSD Daemon: Arrrgh! All, right, fine, I'll fight you without my pitchfork! All I need is my patented Drunken Daemon Kung Fu. I learned it from a NINJA! He ate pancakes, too.

Crowd: Gasp! He patented it!

(A horde of angry /. readers rushes into the ring and starts beating on the daemon.)

Announcer: What a surprise! An angry mob is attempting to tear the daemon from limb to limb! We certainly don't condone this kind of senseless violence, but I just can't stop thinking about what it will do for our ratings!

(While the BSD daemon is being attacked, the SuSE chameleon puts on the Mandrake magician hat and waves the wand)

Crowd: Plunk your magic twanger, SuSEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

SuSE Chameleon: Release code! (he bops Tux on the head with the wand)

(Tux comes out of stasis and starts charging up his karma blast again)

(Meanwhile, BSD is still being attacked by the /. readers)

BSD Daemon: Look! It's Jon Katz! (points randomlyinto the spectators)

Angry Mob: Let's lynch him! (they run out of the ring and go looking for Katz)

BSD Daemon: C'mon, I'll fight both of you at once.

Tux: Eat my tie! (he fires his wave of karma energy at BSD. BSD gets moderated down to the mat.)

Announcer: Wow! It looks like Tux moderated the daemon all the way down to -3! What a move!

Tux: Suck it down! (TM ION Storm [] )

Announcer: That's it for today, folks, but stay tuned next week for Mozilla vs. Mecha-Go!Zilla. Don't miss it!

Re:Admistration problems solved with random data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233125)

The virtually impossible question would be, would your network manage a DDoS attack with a highly random adminstrator? Gawd, you got moderated offtopic! Funny... maybe malda uses /dev/urandom to gererate moderation scores eh?

Its only noise until you understand it. (2)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233126)

I myself have decoded the message. Its an encrypted communication from the creator of this universe. It is encryptred using some kind of powerful subquantum interaction propagation as the cypher, wuite interesting, id detail it in the column but id run out of room.

But anyway, it says:
'The Answer is 42'.

So, looks like the guide was right after all.

Course, thats 42 different base harmonics for the superstrings composing our usinverse, but hey, 42 is 42.

As for other universes, or course they exists. Different harmonics and frequencies of the strings, which are really just the constraints on the formation of matter, lead to differnt types of large matter, like quarks and atoms and such.. most fo the harmonics lead to either gaseus type homogenous universes devoid of anything interesting, or tight big bang type singularities.. but on occasion, you will get some that SING.. just like our universe.. a perfect balance.. and capable of wild variety of endless porportions. Thus, the complexity nescessary for intelligence to form, and life to thrive is available in the substrate layer, with cprobability up to his work of organizing it all..

Anyway, thats for the curious.

At Least: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233127)

This is the most asthetically pleasing response to a /.ing that I have seen

However, instead of their logo they could have posted an NP statue or a hot Grit.

MORE_OT: I'm not from around the U.S.
What exactly is a Grit?

-1 offtopic -1 more_offtopic -1 NP_refference -1_grit_reference -2_howmanyeffs

Re:Hitch Hiker's guide... (1)

Krimsen (26685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233128)

Well I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but check this [] out.

srand(bigbang); universe = rand(); (1)

sketchy (86211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233129)

Just some random noise to think about until newscientist sets MaxClients > 0...if these questions/observations have obvious/accepted answers (or not), please reply (flame away):

  • Pseudorandom number sequences always have some period because the algorithms that generate them run on a finite amount of tape. If your computer has an infinite tape, it can generate pseudorandom sequeunces with no period. Quantum noise is perfectly random and so has no period. Could quantum noise be generated on a computer with infinite tape? Another way to put this: could a purely random sequence be computed given some seed? (i.e., impossible to predict--without knowing the seed)
  • If above question answered positively, what are the implications for quantum computers (such as the universe)? Would they be real Turing Machines, as opposed to the mediocre, wannabe, we-shall-always-remain-finite-state-machines that are currently most popular?

wow! pure quantum-mystical-pseudo-cosmo-cpu-babble! and i haven't even read penrose! (though permutation city was almost as hokey (still a cool book, though...))


The Mind of God? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233130)

I read the magazine article. The spooky thing about it's description of points with varying levels of interactive strengh, with connections to other points near and far, just sounds too much like a description of neural networks (real and artificial) to be a coincidence. So by my read, the universe they describe is an artifact of some external mind. The first scientific theory of God it seems.

Re:Its only noise until you understand it. (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233131)

P.S. As for the creator, he is a block of computational power which we cannot understand, that allows the various states of low level string interactions to be scaled to a mind bending level and the interactions as constraints within the hardware. Too bad its not aware that we exist.

Re:Ahhhhhhhhhhh....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233132)

To moderator: How can this be offtopic? It specifically talks about noise (i.e. the drummer).

Sysadmin Sadism (2)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233133)

I spent a good six hours (twelve total, but half of it was spent driving the full weight of my head into my keyboard) today trying to make C2Net's Stronghold and Allaire's JRun play nice together.

On the plus side, I am much more familiar with Apache now, even 1.3.x versions that mysteriously cost more money but don't have autoconf and won't do Dynamic Shared Objects right.

On the minus side, I was already screwed for time and this didn't help.

So, for the first time in my life, a grin came to my face as I saw a site thrashed by the Slashdot hordes: own.html


Yeah, that's about right...I felt pretty damn jrunned down earlier today...

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research

Re:The Mind of God? (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233134)

Cool! Lets give god some aCiD and see what happens!!!!

Only problem with your theory is that the physical laws are quite static, just chaotic.

Minds however, are like a cypher, forever permutating into new configurations.

So, it may be similiar in compleixty as the mind, but not composition.

Offtopic? (1)

Billings (87611) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233135)

Maybe they just didn't get the joke. :P

I thought it was pretty damned funny. :)

Re:Slashdotted Already!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233136)

lemme guess, they are running NT/IIS?

Re:srand(bigbang); universe = rand(); (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233137)

If your computer has an infinite tape, it can generate pseudorandom sequeunces with no period.

Nope, psuedo random numbers are based on linear congruential genereators, which will iterate through a given permutation, but will always have an end point, meaning they loop to the beggining of the permutation. Hance the seed function fo the rand() to modify the starting location in the sequence.

Quantum noise is perfectly random and so has no period.

We dont know that yet. If the period for quantum noise took 50 trillion years to iterate through at 10 trillion interations per second, then it would sure APPEAR random, but there is a difference.

Another way to put this: could a purely random sequence be computed given some seed?

Nope. Not if they are based on LCG's...

what are the implications for quantum computers

Massive search through a problem space in nanoseconds. This is real, but quite far from acutal implementation.

Suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233139)

/. should offer the option of reading comments BELOW a given threshold for the amusement of people like this. It might generate more hits and hence more ad revenue. Just possibly it might make some of them realize how lame they are and cause them to go back to the AOL chat places where they belong.

3 nrtshfdsngfhndbfv nbvrd h ngf bfvb ergbrbg (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233140)

No, this is not noise - this is explanation of the universe. Seriously though, if I had a dollar for each "grand theory of everything" recently proposed, I would buy myself some new ski set..

Re:scientists.... (1)

newt3k (128812) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233141)

You, sir do not belong listing on this respectable e-zine's messageboard. Moderators are there for a reason (YOU)!

Re:Society to ban MattXVI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233142)

Ha! If you look at his user page there is a message saying his account got hacked (sic). Looks like somebody forgot to log out on a public terminal. Now I know why I don't use an account.


Re:New Scientist is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233143)

Hey, just because British journalism has sunk low doesn't mean US journalism hasn't sunken lower.

("USA Today," anyone?)

Re:Are not there better things to do??? (1)

Kwirq (43822) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233144)

I know that I probably shouldn't reply to a posting by someone who calls himself 'trollking', but I've heard this sort of thing too many times in too many places -- "Why are scientists wasting their time on [given scientific issue] when the world would be so much better if they concentrated on [more immediately applicable scientific issues].

What has to be realized is that the scientists who are work on muons, leptons, HotGritsions, and the like are doing this because they weren't interested in working on [more immediately applicable scientific issues] and probably wouldn't be inclined to persue these issues even if the more theoretical science wasn't around to study.

Or is it to be suggested that scientists should be forced by the government to work on mandated projects?

Re:Is the fabric of slashdot woven with trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233145)

I could not agree more. This is indeed an area much in need of further research


Re:Is the universe a black hole? (1)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233146)

Hrmmm...sounds like an area of science about which very little is known. Kind of like quantum mechanics (although modern society has made advances in that area), but on the other extreme.

A grain of salt (3)

ruppel (82583) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233147)

Take the New Sciantist with a grain of salt. They are more of a popular than a science magazine and I usually read their stories only if there is really nothing else to do around work. The reason for my caevat is that about half a year ago they published a "revolutionary theory" that explains the universe as a quantized entity without the dimension of time, which pops up simply as a result of calculating most propable trajectories for particles. As a physics major, and to anyone who has taken at least one course of it at university level, it was, however, quite obvious that nothing else than an elaborate coordonate transformation was performed which effectively "hid" the time dimension. Not only was this article just one gigantic slight of hand but also the coordinate transformation itself was done badly with a huge amount of unneccessary variables. Beware of the New Scientist, go instead to and check out their feature articles on the possibility of a trip to mars (I wonder why this hasn't been on /.) with a price tag that B.G. could spit up anytime...

Re:srand(bigbang); universe = rand(); (1)

sketchy (86211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233148)

Nope. Not if they are based on LCG's...

Could the size of the permutation be increased every once in a while and still maintain the properties of LCGs? With an infinite tape, a counter could be incremented with each generated number. When a multiple of a certain number (the period of the current permutation?) is reached, a larger permutation is used.

And what about other generators? There's a funny one called Cliff Random Number Generator [] that produces random floats, taking logs of numbers. With an infinite tape, you could take out these log calculations to arbitrary precision (again, decided by a counter) to get a sequence that never repeats itself. If you want to make the sequence truly unpredicatable, you could also reverse the bit order before generating each number, so that least significant bits become most significant. I don't know the math behind sequences of chopped-logged-swapped numbers, but I don't see why in principle a non-periodic sequence that appears random could be generated.


404... (1)

pb (1020) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233149)

Summary: Studies have shown that the fabric of the web is made of random noise. Evidence for this is consistent with the S/N ratio proven greater than 90%.

Proof for entropy is given by the growth of noise and signal decay recently associated with online forums such as slashdot, and the disappearance of content, such as New Scientist articles.

Growth of noise as a number instead of a percentage or ratio is given by the number of Java, Flash, Image-intensive and framed sites now, which consume more bandwidth and consistently crash more web browsers every day.

Alternatives: use gopher and get news from USENET.

Disadvantages: You won't be K-K00L anymore.

Conclusion: You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game.
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [] .

Re:New Scientist is a joke (1)

Wire Head (131671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233150)

You'll have to forgive him. The only "British Journalism" he's ever seen has "Page 3 Girls"...


Re:If so, then there's one obvious conclusion. (1)

Hot Grits (149616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233151)

I have been discovered, and you can discover me too. Just pour some of ME down your pants!

Re:Shhhhh. (1)

Wire Head (131671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233152)

For 10 points: Name that tune!


Re:At Least: (0)

Hot Grits (149616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233153)

AlL i Kn0w AbOuT gRiTs 1s ThAt ThEy'Re HoT aNd LiKe To Be PoUrEd InTo PaNtS. tHaT's RiGhT. yOu MaY nOw PoUr MoRe HoT gRiTs In YoUr PaNtS.

Link to Sci-Fi ebooks! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233154)

Hey that's pretty cool and all but here is the real Book!! [] .

Re:srand(bigbang); universe = rand(); (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233155)

Well, i dont have my cryptography book with me, but basically, your LCG is limited by its eqation. After all, the eqations are just interative feedback types that will always repeat. Unfortunately there is no way to extend their operation.

What you may try, is a good cypher. An encryption algorithm is not truly a random sequence, but enough chained together and initialized with a large dataset (like a nice 50k file say) would yeild a very very very long string of random numbers. Not truly random, but without the key they would appear and act random for all intents and purposes. (the key to a good algorithm si the fact that you cant determine the key, or anything about the key based on the genereated cypher output).

So, that would be something to look into. Of course, this would take massssssive CPU power as well. Its a trade off.

I imgaine a few thousand blowfish cyphers at 448 bits in parrallel crunching on a dataset would yeild a stream of numbers long enough to fill a few terabytes.. perhapd a few orders of magnitude more.. who knows..

but it would eb huge.

Re:New Scientist is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233156)

The Sun etc.

Re:Statistical Philosophy (1)

gedanken (24390) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233157)

"There is a good deal of "bit" in "it"."

I am sorry but don't you mean, there is a lot of
"it" in "bit."

move along.

Re:404... (1)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233158)

Its a damn shame they dont have lynx on your side of the world.

LynX r0x0rZ! and it makes you k00l

Re:Statistical Philosophy (5)

fperez (99430) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233159)

As for the article linked to in "the core laws of quantum mechanics ...":

There's a slim chance of this not being a crackpot's work, but I seriously doubt it. Over the years I've seen a fair share of physics "outside geniuses" who've discovered something which radically transforms our world view and which every scientist before them had missed. Every single one of those has turned out to be a complete crackpot.

Before you turn on the flamethrowers: yes, I'm fully aware that Einstein was a patent office clerk and not a university physicist at the time, but if you read any of his 1905 papers they are solid science from the first word to the last. This is not!

A few tips:

- It's too long (86 pages) and wordy, full of adjectives. Typical of crackpots in love with their own work but with zero experience in actual scientific writing.

- These guys don't know how to use latex properly (everything is in text mode), which basically every working physicist uses to communicate.

- There's way too little math for something that "deep". And what little there is doesn't look promising. I didn't read the whole thing (barely skimmed it) but one "theorem" (Causal Trace Theo, p. 52) is a linear algebra triviality, while their use of "mixed states" is incorrect. In statistical quantum mechanics, a mixed state (more properly referred to as a mixed ensemble) is an ensemble of states which can *not* be expressed as a linear combination of states. This is fundamentally different from simply expressing any pure state as a linear combination of other states, which is nothing but a choice of basis (another linear algebra triviality). Mixed ensembles are precisely what makes statistical quantum physics different from "regular" quantum mechanics of simple systems, and is a topic not covered by most undergraduate quantum mech. books.

As I said earlier, there's a non-vanishing probability that these guys aren't crackpots. If you ask me, it's comparable to that of a cracked eggshell reassembling itself: non-zero in the purest statistical sense, zero for all practical purposes.

Re:scientists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233160)

...Another stout defender of free speech, as in Speech. Since when is slashdot respectable? Are you in a parallel universe?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233161)

Re:Wow! (Score:2)
by Kris_J ( on 12:29 AM March 2nd, 2000 EST
(User Info)
Maybe there's another /. in an alternate universe that actually posts
stories in a timely fashion...

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233162)

Maybe there's another /. in an alternate universe that actually posts stories in a timely fashion...

Re:Shhhhh. (1)

DoomHaven (70347) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233163)


And my guess is that's the Smurf's song, but I think I am wrong.

Re:Is the universe a black hole? (1)

Yardley (135408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233164)

Sure. The known visible size of the Universe is by necessity much less than the actual size of the Universe since we cannot yet see to the end of the Universe. Interesting idea that our Universe is just one giant black hole though. Would make more sense if it (our Universe) weren't expanding and the theoretical notion of black holes didn't contradict the physical reality of our Universe (ie, lots of space and not super-dense matter).

From: Geeko (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233165)

Dear fellow green creature,

In your post you refer to me as 'SuSE chameleon.' I must let you know that I have a name... Geeko!

Please use that when you refer to me in a future post.


Re:Link to Sci-Fi ebooks! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233166)

Thanks for the link..

Which books do you recommend?

Re:Is the universe a black hole? (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233167)

Interesting idea that our Universe is just one giant black hole though. Would make more sense if it (our Universe) weren't expanding and the theoretical notion of black holes didn't contradict the physical reality of our Universe (ie, lots of space and not super-dense matter).
How about that theory that black holes create new universes like bubles? The fact that the universe is expanding could just mean that more matter is being sucked in.......
I am not a scientist, I am just interested in this field, so everything I say could very well be complete nonsense.

Grtz, Jeroen

Noise, Time and Space (1)

Ventilator (35143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233168)

I always have the feeling, that when I visit a techno-party time really flies.

Re:1st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233169)

Hi troller2 don't mind "(score:0)" "score:0" is "score:)" they are very antz-like.

Re:Of COURSE it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233170)

Me too. :)

Re:Are not there better things to do??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233171)

You prolly would have put Albert Einstein working in a coal mine so he wouldn't have been studying nuclear physics (that are exactly in the same area as this thing is) and wouldn't have discovered the theories that led to the harnessing of nuclear energy. If you study some history of physics you will see that all these discoveries like this have lead to some very significant practical applications.

Re:The Mind of God? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233172)

I think someone already did give god some acid (if he in fact exists). That's the only explanation i can think of for why things are as wierd as they are.

I've never laughed so much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233173)

I think my lungs just turned inside out.

Re:Are not there better things to do??? (0)

trollking (153214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233174)

and what could be a more useful contribution to society than the Atomic Bomb.

Thank You,
Troll King

Re:Is the universe a black hole? (2)

tomservo3000 (120994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1233175)

Well, if you want to figure out the radius yourself, it's defined as R=2GM/c^2, where R is the Schwarzschild Radius, G is the Gravitational Constant, M is the mass, and c is the speed of light (in this case squared)

Also, isn't the visible size of the universe something like 10^26 km (do I have the right units?)?

Anyway, I doubt that our universe is a black hole, simply because, well, what at the center of a black hole? A singularity. And what happens to all objects that are inside of the black hole? They head straight for the singularity. An object would have to travel superluminous speeds to overcome this difficulty. It APPEARS that the universe is expanding, and that most of the galaxies are moving away from each other, and I doubt that they are traveling faster than light (or else we probably wouldn't be able to see them).

Re:srand(bigbang); universe = rand(); (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1233176)

Nice noise. I'll try to answer literally, then criticize your assumptions.

In principle the period of a pseudorandom sequence is limited by the storage space and time we're willing to devote to it. In practice we care more about the time. If you request an arbitrarily long period from the algorithm, I can (in principle) construct one if I can request as long a tape as I want... however, it may also take a while to do the operations. You are correct that I would need an infinite tape to make an aperiodic sequence. However, since I need an infinite tape, the processing of making the next number will eventually take a very long time.

Also notice that it is very hard in finite time to include irrationals in the sequence and still harder to generate transcendentals (I can only imagine doing it with streams) because you have to specify them in such an awkward way, and it gets worse with each iteration. If you have an infinite tape and infinite time, it is trivial (since an infinitely long decimal sequence specifies any real number), but the universe (and your computer) will only last a finite time.

But much more importantly, period is not the only, or even the best, estimate of "randomness" of a pseudorandom sequence. Period is very convenient, in that you can actually set good limits on it, and is very important to monte carlo type calculations for obvious reasons. If I have a bignum, I can trivially generate an aperiodic sequence and call it pseudorandom (eg. A(n+1) = A(n)+1). This obviously suffers from the problem that I can predict one number from the next... but so do all pseudorandom sequences!

There are a lot of ways to measure randomness other than period, but (un?)fortunately I don't know any of them. But note please that linear congruential and all other methods could easily suffer from similar, albeit less obvious, defects. So I see no reason to believe that even with infinite time a deterministic machine could generate an arbitrarily 'good' pseudorandom sequence. And of course it could never be truly random, by definition. I would argure that it could be not even be made "impossible to predict" without knowledge of the seed, because of cardinality problems. But my proof requires me to assume that all pseudorandom sequences correspond to a seed, which may be a bit much.

As for quantum computers: observing a quantum system with great precision can get you a correspondingly precise random number. You could think of this as adding an operation to your machine. But there is no need to invent a quantum computer to do this for you: it is already available with Johnson noise (thermodynamic) or shot noise (quantum mechanical). I believe that the Commodore 64 (the box that rocks) did this (thermodynamically). Of course, you can get the same effect with your serial port etc. nowadays. It takes a while to sample, so in practice people use this to reseed periodically.

"Carthago delenda est" --Cato the Proto-Troll

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