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The Universe As Hologram

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the surface-projection dept.

Science 532

Several readers sent in news of theoretical work bolstering the proposition that the universe may be a hologram. The story begins at the German experiment GEO600, a laser inteferometer looking for gravity waves. For years, researchers there have been locating and eliminating sources of interference and noise from the experiment (they have not yet seen a gravity wave). For months they have been puzzling over a source of noise they could not explain. Then Craig Hogan, a Fermilab physicist, approached them with a possible answer: that GEO600 may have stumbled upon a fundamental limit where space-time stops behaving like a smooth continuum and instead dissolves into "grains." The "holographic principle" suggests that the universe at small scales would be "blurry," its smallest features far larger than Planck scale, and possibly accessible to current technology such as the GEO600. The holographic principle, if borne out, could help distinguish among competing theories of quantum gravity, but "We think it's at least a year too early to get excited," the lead GEO600 scientist said.

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Alrighty then (4, Funny)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483789)

[pulls out 3-D glasses]

Re:Alrighty then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484019)

It's not actually blurry. Your 3d glasses are just dirty.

Don't panic (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484247)

I hear Nvidia is updating the universes GPU and soon we will get less grains. Mac Users will be able to switch between GPU, one with faster performance and shorter lifespan and one grainier but longer lasting.

it is interesting to note that the universe is mainly built out of second order laws. This means that in many cases there are a small number of poles or zeros that can control macroscopic behaviour and often analytic solutions exist. This would be how a desiginer would do it. given a choice one chooses a qaudradic over a 6th order polynomial since an anytic solution to the zeros exits.

Likewise when things in a game are not observed you don't keep maintaining them. You just recreate them when needed. That is you keep the wireframe but don't texturize it till it is on screen. This is analgous to the way in QM the details are not predictcable till you look, and when you do the details of other things not simultaneously observed can change at a distance.

simmilarly in optics resolution behaves the way it does in video games. pixelation means that the farther something is away the less resolved it appears. There is constant angular resoltuion not spatial.

Re:Don't panic (1, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484589)

Careful, you mention a designer, it's still not a given that there is one even if the universe is a computer.

Steve Jobs plans "most unique" death ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484053)

January 15, 2009

Steve Jobs plans "most unique" death ever

AIDS demise to have innovative interface

ANUS News

CUPERTINO, California (NNN) - Steve Jobs, the polymath CEO and star evangelist of Apple Computer, Inc., publically announced a medical leave of absence from the company, but in private promised "the best AIDS death ever" from the affliction no one will publically recognize he has.

As HIV-positive test results leaked onto the web from the last five years of Jobs' fight for health and secrecy, former lovers raced to the clinics on Segways looking for solace. Unflappable as always, Jobs vowed to make the best of the situation.

"There's AIDS deaths, and then there's AIDS deaths," Jobs said in his strident baritone with a slightly ironic lisp. "As with all Apple products, my demise from pneumonia brought on by full-blown AIDS will be poignant, witty, ironic, aesthetically pleasing and have an interface that breaks new ground for the industry."

Turning to a reporter he said, "That's off the record. Officially, my hormones are unbalanced because I did not care enough about Darfur." On the news of Jobs' leave, Apple stock plunged $7.38 as people feared the cool had left their Macs, but then rebounded by almost four points once rumors of HIV-death leaked.

"If Christ were to die today, he'd die of AIDS," said Jared Hvitles, who has owned four Macs, three iPods, an iPhone and a Steve Jobs Picking Up a Quarter blow-up doll. "He's going out like he's lived, as a Christ for the new millenium -- with a better interface."

About ANUS:

The American Nihilist Underground Society advocates nihilism, or a removal of interpretive layers from our perception of physical reality, as a means of transcending illusion. Nihilism denies value and purpose, which are byproducts of the human desire to judge reality and make a consensual "social reality" that by seizing on a single material factor misses the intelligible, or design-based, knowledge we need to adapt to reality. ANUS has been promoting nihilism since 1987.

http://www.anus.com/ [anus.com]

About Nihilism:

Nihilism is the belief that nothing we perceive has Absolute value; reality exists, but beyond its inherent meaning to us as the physical container of our existence, it has no significance outside of what we perceive. "The world is my representation," indeed. When we strip away all of the values projected onto physical reality and its outcomes, we are left only with personal ideal and natural ideal, and bringing the former into adaptation with the latter is the lifetime task to which nihilism is a gateway.

http://www.nihil.org/ [nihil.org]

Copyright © 1988-2009 mock Him productions [anus.com]

help me ob1 kenobi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26483799)

like this?

Does this mean ... (3, Funny)

wtansill (576643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483805)

That we're all living on a small anti-counterfeiting patch on God's MasterCard?

And so... (3, Funny)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484077)

The small anti-counterfeiting patch on my MasterCard could be...

One tiny little universe.

Re:Does this mean ... (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484475)

Anyone else feel guilt for tilting their cards back and forth in the light. I can barely grasp the universal consequences of my seemingly innocent action.

Plato (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483821)

Was in Plato who suggested that people were only seeing a shadow of reality and it was up to philosophers to see the reality and describe it to the masses? It has been years since I studied philosophy, but I seem to recall something like this. I also seem to recall one of his lesser-known disciples, Aristotle discounting this altogether and starting his own school of thought.

Amazing how things come full circle.

Re:Plato (2, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483961)

Please don't confuse philosophy and physics. They are two separate fields. The physics here is suggesting that the Universe might behave. Plato was commenting on the difference between human perception and reality.

Re:Plato (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484097)

Actually this isn't a bad tie in.
Plato wasn't discussing human perception as in each person's perception is different but that we only see a shadow of truth.

If we're living 'in a hologram' where we are unable to perceive an extra dimension that exists and affects us, then is it really that different from Plato's example?

Re:Plato (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484175)

The physics here is suggesting that the Universe might behave.

If it thinks 6 x 9 = 42, I'd say it's misbehaving.

Re:Plato (2, Insightful)

Erothyme (1454495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484211)

Separate fields? Physics is a subset of philosophy. If you can't tie them together, you've missed something.

Re:Plato (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484363)

Physics is a subset of philosophy.

No, it's really not.

If you can't tie them together, you've missed something.

What you're missing is the fundamental difference between philosophy and science (including physics.) Philosophy starts with axioms. Science starts with observations. From there on out, the logical reasoning processes of philosophers and scientists are very similar, but the fact that axioms are not subject to modification based on observation makes the results of the fields entirely different.

Re:Plato (5, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484471)

Axioms are necessary before observation can even be trusted. How do you know what your observing isn't all an illusion?

Re:Plato (4, Insightful)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484507)

Science starts with the proposition that the Universe is rational and can be observed in a rational and repeatable manner. Then the observations are worth making.

Re:Plato (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484419)

Mixing philosophy and physics is actually a good idea.
Philosophy is actually a good study for the mind, it actually helps you to see other options.
If you can Philosophically ask yourself what if everything I know is wrong, then how might the universe behave to match my perceptions, without following what I expect to be true.

Sometimes Science comes up with an answer that fits that available data, which is actually incorrect. Which is normally found by finding new data that the original answer doesn't work. However it is possible there are a lot of things we conceive truth where we haven't found data to disprove yet. If the scientist was a good study in philosophy he may be able to come up with alternate solutions to his idea, which may lead to testing for new data for proof.

Re:Plato (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484601)

Similar to Einstein's "thought experiments"?

Re:Plato (1, Troll)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483975)

That got hijacked by the neocons:

people were only seeing a shadow of reality and it was up to politicians to see the reality and describe it to the masses?

Re:Plato (1)

Entropy2016 (751922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483985)

Nothing has come full circle, as this idea hasn't been confirmed by rigorous experimentation.

Re:Plato (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484139)

Perfect.
Neither was Plato's.

Re:Plato (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484481)

True, however we do have some interesting pointers in that direction and it sounds like the necessary followups are already in the works. First by improving the current device and planning for a far more sensitive instrument designed specifically to test the holographic theory.

Re:Plato (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484113)

I'd be careful about how much stock you put in their philosophies vs. the way the universe actually works. Plato and Aristotle floated a lot of ideas. Being the first of their kind, they had a pretty open slate to work with. But let's not forget that Plato and Aristotle held the world back for thousands of years with some of their ideas. e.g. Mice spontaneously generated out of meat. All matter was composed of the elements of nature (earth, wind, fire, water) which were each composed of "platonic solids" (microscopic 3D shapes like cubes and tetrahedrons). The existence of the "aether", a material that bound all things together through open space.

Some of their ideas had merit and simply needed more investigation to prove or disprove. But some mistakes like abiogenesis should not have been accepted as fact for as long as they were. It's incredible to my mind (inconceivable! :-P) that for all the intelligence and know-how of the ancient world, no one worked out a simple experiment to prove or disprove spontaneous generation!

Re:Plato (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484277)

e.g. Mice spontaneously generated out of meat.

Not mice. Flies. Mice don't generally like meat all that much (thought they'll eat it in a pinch.). They are, however, insectivorous.

Re:Plato (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484341)

I don't think it's fair to say they held the world back. It's just that no one bothered coming up with better explanations than theirs for quite some time.

Kind of like how in 1,000 years people will look at the way we explain many things as quaint, antiquated and ignorant.

Re:Plato (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484429)

It's incredible to my mind (inconceivable! :-P) that for all the intelligence and know-how of the ancient world, no one worked out a simple experiment to prove or disprove spontaneous generation!

Why would they need to? There were "experiments" going on all the time in the ancient world, just as there are in refrigerators all over the planet today. A piece of food would get left somewhere, and when it was found again, it would be covered with mold, maggots and flies. It was obvious.

Re:Plato (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484521)

Being the first of their kind, they had a pretty open slate to work with.

They weren't the first of their kind as much as they were the first of their caste. They were privileged ruling class citizens that had enough social and political connections to get whatever they thought entered into the public record (i.e. published). No doubt there were other insightful farmers, slaves, women, etc that had the ability to explain much of the world with just as much skill but, because they could not publish their thoughts, history assumes they were simpletons or otherwise unremarkable.

Re:Plato (5, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484117)

> Amazing how things come full circle.

If by a 'full circle' you mean that you are able to identify one of the millions of ideas from the past that has, when interpreted in a certain way, certain superficial similarities with a theory in modern physics, then yes, amazing!

Re:Plato (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484273)

It's known as the Allegory of the Cave, it's a dialogue between Socrates (Plato's teacher) and Glaucon (Plato's brother). When I was still in university, there seemed to be some debate to how real Socrates the man was, but don't know if that's changed (University wasn't too long ago for me....5 years).

It is amazing how many Philosophers have touched on ideas the end up being partially true in the physical world, though that is more happenstance then brilliance on their part :)

Re:Plato (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484311)

Yes, it was Plato [wikipedia.org] . Or perhaps it's worth noting: Socrates (the character) posited that idea in a dialog (i.e. possibly fictional conversation) written by Plato.

The idea was not so much that philosophers were charged with seeing reality and describing it to the masses. Rather, it was a description of certain kinds of difficulty with knowledge. He's describing how it's difficult to know what reality is, and that for all the problems with failing to know "the truth" about a thing, there are other sorts of problems faced by those who know.

There is commonly a lesson drawn from it, that the world that we know may not be the world as it is, but I don't think he had anything so literal and scientific as this in mind. The fact that this may be discoverable, provable, and explainable makes me think that something like this should be disqualified as the sort of "truth" that Socrates is referring to. It's a little too mundane.

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26483829)

Well in that case...

"Counselor Troy, please remove your uniform..."

sounds like bullshit to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26483859)

The average Michael Crawford pushing a baby carriage full of empty cans, collander on his head to keep out the thought police, has better theories.

Let's see if it's true... (4, Funny)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483871)

"Computer, arch"

...

Nope, not a hologram.

Re:Let's see if it's true... (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484055)

"Computer, arch"

...

Nope, not a hologram.

Who said you had access rights?

"Computer, end simulation."

Always wanted to be a BOFH.

Re:Let's see if it's true... (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484173)

sudo end simulation gg

Obligatory Star Trek Reference. (2, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483881)

Commander Riker, this is Captain Picard. We seem to be trapped in a holodeck simulation of the Matrix, and Mr. LaForge has broken his leg because the safeties are off. Can you beam us out?

Re:Obligatory Star Trek Reference. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484101)

Of course they can't.
The only way to get out is to complete the program. As anything else the Holodeck will interfere with all and only technology used for getting them out. After the program completes everything starts working fine again, so no need to fix it.

Would it fit on a future datapad? (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483891)

If so I want my own personal universe.

Re:Would it fit on a future datapad? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484223)

I think that you may already have one.

So... (3, Funny)

sxltrex (198448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483893)

There is no spoon?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484167)

MAN, no wonder I'm always so hungry not long after eating soup. The damn stuff never left the bowl!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484195)

I drink soup straight from the bowl, you insensitive clod!

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

G0rAk (809217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484329)

If you were to look closely enough at it the spoon would begin to pixelate. It is not that there is no spoon so much as the substrate on which the spoon exists is finite.

Re:So... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484431)

Well it seems like the bigger point here is, "there is no 4th dimension." That makes me want to ask, "which dimension is the fake one?"

Re:So... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484497)

And the cake is a lie?

Dumb question, I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26483907)

But generally speaking, how confident are we (read: Science) that we are actually describing the way the universe truly works, i.e., that we are not simply playing tremendously sophisticated math games? I mean, with string theory, which as I understand it has yet to develop testable hypotheses, and increasingly esoteric findings and theories, I just wonder.... And yes, I know no one said the universe actually had to follow common sense but, again, I can't help but wonder.

Re:Dumb question, I know... (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483997)

You could try starting by reading the article, which is mostly about experimental verification of previously untested theories.

Re:Dumb question, I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484229)

What? What's that you say? Read the article?! Hmm, an interesting proposition, very interesting indeed.... I dare say, my dear boy, you may very well be on to something here...

Re:Dumb question, I know... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484163)

With any luck at all, when it is discovered exactly how the Universe truly works, it will be based on a patent applied for by the folks at Xerox PARC and now owned by IBM is being LGPL'd. Soon after, Hollywood will team up with big pharmaceutical companies to produce movie pills that change your reality hologram for a couple of hours for the nominal price of $50/pill. The porn industry will be the innovators once again, producing their own pills that are not restricted to the color white. The first to be released will be a little blue pill, followed by pills with combinations of colors in brown, pink, yellow, etc. Some pills will be very big oblong shapes as well.

The Wachowski brothers will insist they have patent rights, and begin selling blue pills to employers across the globe.

The resultant confusion will cause a work based clusterfuck that rivals even the most intolerable of all-hands meetings known to exist today.

A matrix of possible probabilities from the Heisenberg foundation will be required for you to determine why you are in court on charges of sexual assault on the HR girl, yet the judge is wearing a pink see-through bikini, and your attorney appears to be eating a bowl of ice cream with a bent spoon while ignoring the mayhem in the court room.

Re:Dumb question, I know... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484201)

They found empirical data that seems to match a theory that was proposed earlier (so it was not made up in response to the data). I think that puts it ahead of string theory. They're not certain that the noise may not have been caused by other influences that they just couldn't find so far but now that there's a sign that there might be evidence for the theory it's feasible to make more specific experiments to test the claims.

It seems the predicted effect of a holographic universe is that the quantization steps (previously considered to be the Planck length) would be much bigger, they're talking about 10^-16 meters as opposed to 10^-33 meters.

Re:Dumb question, I know... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484451)

But generally speaking, how confident are we (read: Science) that we are actually describing the way the universe truly works

In the worst case, you could argue the solipsist point of view, that we can't ever objectively prove that anything exists outside our own mind. So in a very meaningful sense, going beyond even that requires accepting certain basic physical (and philosophical) principles that you can never actually know for certain.

More practically, we can "see" to the level of individual atoms. Below that, very little behaves in a way that makes sense in our 3.5d Euclidean world-view. However, modern physics has built up a pair of useful, predictive models of the behavior of a whole zoo of smaller things (many of which we can't even really call "particles", in the sense of having some fixed material aspect to which we could relate as in some way like rocks or marbles or planets but smaller). Those models, however, only offer one possible interpretation of data far beyond our ability to personally experience and understand.

So in that regard, all of modern physics amounts to little more than a consistent set of equations that work well to describe how our world behaves at the smallest scales... And even then, you'll notice I said we have a pair of models, because we still have a rather drastic middle ground between the scale of atoms and the scale of electrons.

"theory of the week" (0, Redundant)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484557)

I'd say no confidence at all considering how often they change theories.

I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26483921)

welcome our new holographic overlords

Huh? (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483969)

He showed that the physics inside a hypothetical universe with five dimensions and shaped like a Pringle is the same as the physics taking place on the four-dimensional boundary.
[checks calendar] No, it's not April yet... that settles it then -- we must be living on a giant potato chip! Precisely the type of universe one would expect a Flying Spaghetti Monster to design!

Re:Huh? (1)

jae471 (1102461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484395)

Actually a saddle-shaped universe isn't that far out there.
Shape of the Universe [wikipedia.org]

Okay... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483971)

Translating dense physics-speak is not my forte, but as I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong -- here goes. Einstein said that gravity is a linear (not discrete) force. What that means is that while it might decrease over distance, the effect never truly becomes zero. I think these guys are saying that it does, in fact, become zero. That is, gravity, contrary to Einstein's relativity equations... is discrete, like a particle, and not all like a wave (that can continue forever). Is that about right?

Re:Okay... (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484203)

That sounds like a credible description of Quantum Gravity, or rather the big question of quantum gravity, namely, IS gravity a continuous force or is it quantized? Nobody knows if "gravitons" exist.

The issue in this article is that these discontinuous "blurry" fluctuations are much (much much much) larger than a planck length, and this agrees with the assumptions of the so-called holographic principle, and this experiment may not be picking up gravitons so much as it's detecting the blurryness you would expect from a 2-dimensional hologram projected into 3-space. Since the 2-dimensional "horizon" of the universe can only encode information on the scale of a planck length, thus the projection in 3-space within is going to have a much lower information density. I think. I'm not a physicist...

This is all, of course, impossible. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Okay... (1)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484387)

I've heard about these 2-d universes projected onto 3d space before (in some science fiction). Sounds curious.

Anyone know where I can get some non-physicist information on this?

Re:Okay... (4, Informative)

zmooc (33175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484373)

You might be right, but your explanation is not what I understood from the article (but translating dense physics-speak isn't my forte either;-)). What I understood from it is that they've still not been able to measure gravity waves, so we still don't know if gravity behaves like a particle or not. What they're saying, is that space and time might be grainy, and even more grainy than was previously thought and possibly even so grainy that it renders our current attempt of measuring gravity waves futile.

So it's not about gravity being discrete, it's about space and time being discrete, which shows up as a jitter-like noise in the gravity-wave measuring experiment.

Okay. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484479)

So, um, how does this translate into the universe being a hologram? Maybe it's just me, but it seems that just because the universe may be all discrete doesn't mean it's a hologram.

Re:Okay... (1)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484527)

The idea that everything in the universe is discrete goes back to Max Planck. It's nothing new. What the guys here are saying is that while the 'graininess' that Planck described is a true physical property of the world, the universe that we perceive (or measure with instruments) has much thicker grains than the Planck sizes.

In other words - there is a fine underlying inaccessible Planck reality that convolves into 'our' coarse reality available to our senses and instruments. You can call it a 'hologram' to make it more appealing to the masses - I wouldn't.

Re:Okay... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484567)

The jaw-dropping part was towards the end of the article:

"we would have directly observed the quantum of time," says Hogan. 'It's the smallest possible interval of time - the Planck length divided by the speed of light.'"

It's going to take me a few days to fully realize what that means, and I studied quantum physics.

Re:Okay... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484573)

Not quite. What they're saying is that space is quantized, which I think was pretty much an inevitable conclusion. Quantum Mechanics has always said that gravity is particle-based (gravitons).

The logic behind space - and therefore time - being quantized is not trivial and it goes well beyond my ability to describe physics, but a hopelessly trivialized attempt to explain follows. It boils down to the fact that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics prohibits any point in space/time from being in a zero state, which means all points have to be occupied by something. That something cannot have any arbitrary value, QM insists all values are quantized, they're discrete values. A particle on that scale exists simultaneously in every place the probability curve permits, which is why particles are waves and waves are particles. Thus, position is not independent of the particle, but a property contained by it, making it subject to the same rules as all other properties, which means it's quantized. Since there is no point in space/time in which there is not a particle, and since all particles have a quantized position, space/time must also be quantized, or you violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Anti-science (2, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26483999)

Does this sound to anyone a little like the argument for intelligent design? "We can't explain why animals are the way they are because an intelligent creator that we don't understand has made them this way," to me sounds a lot like "We've gotten to the highest possible resolution of the nanoscale universe, because it's a hologram and that's it's highest resolution. It's okay that we can't see what we want to see, because it's not actually there."

I'm not a physicist so I might be missing the real testable hypothesis here, and I don't think the thought should be suppressed just because it's not scientific, but I think it's important to keep in mind that we're departing the realm of science here and moving towards a cop-out.

Re:Anti-science (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484145)

Does this sound to anyone a little like the argument for intelligent design?

Not even remotely, but thanks for asking. That's right neighbourly of you.

Re:Anti-science (5, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484161)

You need to read up more on the ideas surrounding a holographic universe. There are plenty of things on that that actually suggest that model as a reason for many of the phenomenon we observe. It isn't anti-science at all. Science generally advances quite a bit when "well, we can't see what we wanted to...we must have been wrong...we should try something else".

"Elements" are called elements because EARLY chemistry believed that all things were made up of a combination of elements in nature (earth, fire, water, etc). Of course over the years this was refined, and then refined again, and then once again refined some more. Atomic theory has come a LONG way from the expectation that all things were made out of the "elements of nature" through these constant refinements and NOT finding what we expected to find.

Re:Anti-science (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484271)

How's this related to ID? Sure, it predicts that the noise on a gravity detector is not preventable but that's a bit different to proclaiming there's a creator whose nature is unknowable. Note that it does not claim that the things in the distance are not there, at least not any more than the things right here.

Re:Anti-science (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484381)

The difference is that the people that follow this thoery were able to make a prediction (years ago in fact) that has been confirmed with modern testing equipment. Specifically, they predicted that things would become discrete at dimmensions much larger than the Planck Length. If the prediction hadn't panned out, they would have either revised the thoery or abandoned it all together.

Science: Testable, Falsifiable, Adapts to changing evidence.
ID: ...ummmm... We don't know, therefore 'God Did It'

Re:Anti-science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484563)

Strangely, there is a bizarre Holographic-Universe theory by some crack-pot spiritualist. Someone gave me a book about it once, and it was plain nonsense.

Computer, end program. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484025)

Oh bloody hell...

Holograms! (2, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484037)

This just in, Red Dwarf's Rimmer and Voyager's doctor upset, complain of "hologram of a hologram" prejudice.

Flatland! (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484043)

This story reminds me of an amazing book written in the late 1800's, "Flatland", which applies today more than ever.

Re:Flatland! (1)

mjbkinx (800231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484209)

Yes, a very nice, short read that you can order for cheap. The author is A. Square.

Re:Flatland! (2, Interesting)

escay (923320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484437)

Indeed! while Flatland turns out to be more of a social commentary than a scientific one (as many good sci-fi books eventually mature into), the physical concept that Spaceland is merely a 3D projection of 2D information is very interesting.

This is not the first time noise in an experiment [wikipedia.org] led to a groundbreaking discovery (if this indeed turns out to be one). Kudos to the scientists - often times the compulsive search for signal obscures the importance of noise.

Re:Flatland! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484439)

And now: the amazing Karma-Whoring AC presents:

Edwin A. Abbot's _Flatland_ [librivox.org] in audiobook form, thanks to the nice volunteers at Librivox.org.

Re:Flatland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484477)

read on google

http://books.google.com/books?id=HKackp-vG-YC&printsec=frontcover&dq=flatland&ei=Is1wSY-UEYqUkQTmkN3JBg#PPP1,M1

So, the source (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484061)

Is New Scientist a quality publication or one prone to sensationalism? I don't know much about the science news scene in the USA.

Re:So, the source (1)

poity (465672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484531)

NS is still high quality. Their illustrations and covers have gotten snazzier with time, but the intelligent articles are still there (the guest writers and ethics/philosophy perspectives are especially enjoyable), unlike Popular Mechanics/Science which are basically booklets of ads.

NS a British mag, though.

Question is.. (1)

Daswolfen (1277224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484075)

Morpheus: I imagine that right now you're feeling a bit like Alice. Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Neo: You could say that.
Morpheus: I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he's expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: 'Cause I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind -- driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
(Neo nods his head.)
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when go to church or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. (long pause, sighs) Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.
(In his left hand, Morpheus shows a blue pill.)
Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (a red pill is shown in his other hand) You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. (Long pause; Neo begins to reach for the red pill) Remember -- all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.
(Neo takes the red pill and swallows it with a glass of water)

Do I take the red pill or blue?

Re:Question is.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484295)

Is there a nigger colored pill? The USA sure swallowed one!

They found the Matrix? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484087)

If the 3-dimensional universe is actually a 2-dimensional hologram, then maybe the whole thing is stored in RAM in some computer?

Re:They found the Matrix? (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484149)

I believe the 2D explanation was just an analogy and they are saying we live in a 5D world with a 4D exterior. FTA: "What's more, work by several string theorists, most notably Juan Maldacena at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has confirmed that the idea is on the right track. He showed that the physics inside a hypothetical universe with five dimensions and shaped like a Pringle is the same as the physics taking place on the four-dimensional boundary."

Re:They found the Matrix? (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484261)

Really we're just here to determine the question to the answer 42.

Re:They found the Matrix? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484409)

Sure, if you leave out the fact that the "Matrix theories" are unfalsifiable, and therefore baseless.

finite-resolution != hologram (0, Troll)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484093)

I'm puzzled as to how one gets from "the universe may have a finite resolution" to "omfg it's prolly a hologram!!!"

That's a big whiskey-tango-foxtrot, over.

Re:finite-resolution != hologram (1)

rirugrat (255768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484279)

will i am agrees!

Re:finite-resolution != hologram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484461)

What they are in fact proposing, is that the universe per se is actually a sphere surrounding us, very far in the distance. The things we see and interact with (and we ourselves) are projections into the 3D-space inside the sphere.

The reason they call it a hologram, is because hologram means "projection from 2D into a 3D image" - it need not be artificial.

The reason the volume would be blurry, is because the amount of information in the volume is the same as on the surface of the sphere. The surface is supposedly filled at Planck-density, necessitating a much lesser resolution in the volume, because the volume is of course bigger than the information-containing surface.

It's a little bit bizarre, I'll grant you that.

Re:finite-resolution != hologram (0, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484505)

I'm puzzled as to how one gets from "the universe may have a finite resolution" to "omfg it's prolly a hologram!!!"

That's a big whiskey-tango-foxtrot, over.

Shhhh! The science fanboys might hear you. There is a lot of questionable science going on these days and I'm not just talking about studies sponsored by the tobacco industry.

This, along with Dark Matter, Dark Energy and String theory are typical untestable theories which scientists lately have been using to fill in holes in their own understanding of the nature of the universe. Rather than going back to the drawing board when a model does not work, they use a cop out like this one to fill in the blanks.

Re:finite-resolution != hologram (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484565)

My understanding is that we all already knew the universe has a finite resolution-- The Planck length. What's been observed is that things don't just get smaller and smaller and smaller and BAM! they hit the limit. Instead, things get blurrier and blurrier and blurrier below a certain size-- starting at sizes much much bigger than a Planck length-- and that size corresponds well to what might have been predicted had the universe been structured like a hologram of a higher-dimensional construct being projected on a lower-dimensional one. And that that's one of several possible interpretations of the data that they're tracking down.

But I'm no physicist.

Ortz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484143)

Did the Ortz write that summary?

"Here is *bright* and *smooth*. Other place is **Frumple**."

OMG it finally makes sense now! (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484535)

You are definitely on to something:

That is *funny*. You think you *see* Orz but Orz are not *light reflections*. Maybe you think Orz are *many bubbles* too. It is such a joke. Orz are not *many bubbles* like *campers*. Orz are just Orz. I am Orz. I am one with many *fingers*. My *fingers* reach through into *heavy space* and you *see* *Orz bubbles*

In light of the article's suggestions, the Orz [greg.froh.ca] suddenly make a lot more sense. And I am going to reinstall that game and play it for the umpteenth time.

Just remember what happened to the Androsynth.

So... (4, Insightful)

chemindefer (707238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484169)

Ceci n'est pas une pipe?

Or maybe both... (1)

solder_fox (1453905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484299)

> "We think it's at least a year too early to get excited,"

This man has either wonderful or terrible parties.

"A Year Too Early?" (4, Funny)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484309)

Screw that! I'm getting drunk NOW!

Woohoo!

Perhaps the ancients had it right ... (3, Interesting)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484313)

The Universe as an illusion in Hindu philosophy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(illusion) [wikipedia.org] .

I, for one, welcome our new Matrix overlords, and will be on the holodeck if you need me.

This reminds me of a book... (1)

xt (225814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484325)

There is a book called The Holographic Universe [amazon.com] and it is quite well-written and interesting.

You can also read more here [crystalinks.com] and at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Modern physics is full of mind-blowing theories... Interesting times indeed!

getting grainier? (1)

jmp0xfce2 (1222776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484397)

IANAP but if I understand TFA correctly, then they propose that the possibly detected graininess of reality is the result of the ratio between the surface area of our lightcone (the boundary from beyond which light has not had time to reach us in the 13.7-billion-year lifespan of the universe) to it's volume. Does this mean that we are getting grainier over time, since the radius of our lightcone increases with lightspeed?

By Neruo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26484401)

Gravity is a force subject to the laws of the universe (as yet not understood by humans). Gravity has no mass, but works based on mass. Gravity can be zero, but only when all mass is zero, even on the atomic/subatomic level. This is called void and in void there is no gravity.

Bonuse Time!

I RTFA, and as I can tell, this really isn't anything new. The universe is no different here then it is 100000000000 light years from here in any of the 3D directions you take.

Funny... (0)

oskay (932940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26484489)

I've never seen the word "Pringle" (singular) used before. And yet, we all know exactly what it means. Speaking of which, I could really go for a Twik now.
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