Re: The pool we're trying to paddle in

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Apr 12 2001 - 09:33:22 MDT

> God was a hyper-intelligent geek kid in another universe that cooked up
> this mess on what in his society is rigtheous but not terribly
> impressive home computer-ware. Eventually it evolved into this here
> stuff. There certainly is a universe, as long as his machines stay up
> and/or he remembers to keep backups. :-)
> - samantha

Thanks for settling that for us, Samantha.

Here's yet another theory:

Our Universe exploded into action after being hit by another, say physicists
Exclusive from New Scientist magazine
It was mighty quiet in our Universe: devoid of all matter and energy. Then
another universe collided with it. Suddenly space became a searing soup of
particles and radiation, far hotter and denser than the centre of the Sun.
This, says a team of physicists, is how the big bang happened. The approach of
the parallel universe caused the expansion of space and the collision itself
produced all energy and matter. A comprehensive description of this new theory
has been submitted to the journal Physical Review D.
The model is a viable alternative to the theory of cosmic inflation, which was
cooked up to solve some of the problems of classical big bang theory.
According to inflation theory, the Universe underwent a brief period of
exponential expansion in the first split second of its existence. "Our new
model solves the same problems," says co-author Paul Steinhardt of Princeton
University, who was one of the founders of inflation some 20 years ago.

Brane storm
So how might this primordial collision have come about? According to the
theory, our three-dimensional Universe, known as a "3-brane" to cosmologists,
is just one of the two boundary surfaces of a thin four-dimensional "bulk
space", rather like one of the two surfaces of a CD.
But there was another universe, or bulk brane, inside the bulk space which
encroached on our boundary brane. When this "brane storm" led to a collision,
the energy released resulted in the big bang. The authors of the paper dub the
model the "ekpyrotic universe", related to the Greek idea of "cosmic fire".
Unlike inflation, the brane-storm model fits in neatly with the popular string
theory of particle physics. "That's one of the exciting things about it," says
Neil Turok of Cambridge University, another co-author.

Big bang II
"I'm delighted to see an alternative picture for the early Universe," says
cosmologist Jim Peebles, also of Princeton. "It has been frustrating to me not
to have any alternatives to inflation, which I feel has been accepted by many
cosmologists too easily."
As for the credibility of the new model, he says: "I haven't heard my string
theory colleagues complain. That's a positive sign."
But if there are other branes floating around in 4-D bulk space, might we be
in for another big bang? Turok says it can't be ruled out. Luckily, the fact
that Newton's gravitational constant doesn't appear to be changing implies
we're safe from a collision for many billions of years.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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