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FQXi BLOGS
February 22, 2018

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Essay Contest 2012: Questioning the Foundations [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on May. 24, 2012 @ 16:10 GMT
It is time once again for the FQXi Essay Contest! Past years, we have asked you to debate the nature of time, what is ultimately possible in physics, and whether reality is ultimately digital or analog. This year we want to know:

Which of our basic physical assumptions are wrong?

What assumptions are ripe for rethinking? Looking back over the history of physics we can identify a number of places where thinkers were "stuck" and had to let go of some cherished assumptions to make progress. Often this was forced by experiment, an internal inconsistency in accepted physics, or simply a particular philosophical intuition. What are the tacit or explicit assumptions we are making now that are ripe for re-thinking?

The contest is open for entries starting now, and until 11:59 PM Eastern Time, August 31, 2012. Winners will be announced by December 7, 2012. The contest structure will be similar to previous years. Please read the rules and regulations carefully if you plan to enter. As always, the contest is open to everyone, regardless of background.

As in previous contests, we will post all official entries in our forums, which will open after we have received our first ten or so entries. Please join us in the forums to read, discuss, and vote whether you enter or not. And please help us spread the word.

We want to thank our partners and sponsors for helping us bring this contest to you. Much thanks to the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. And to Submeta. Please take a moment to visit the sites of both these organizations, committed to advancing basic research in physics and other fields. And thanks to our media partner Scientific American. When you need a break from reading essays, you'll find plenty more there to absorb you.

Please tell your colleagues and your friends. Happy writing, and happy reading!

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on May. 24, 2012 @ 17:00 GMT
What a pleasant surprise! I really like this topic, and I hope that a lot of people will participate (I certainly will). I think that this question is especially well suited to ask in relation to our understanding of what quantum mechanics means.

Briefly, I believe quantum mechanics is basically correct (i.e. I do not believe in hidden variables etc.), however understanding it properly may require us to modify some fundamental assumptions that at first seem only remotely related to the theory proper. In particular, I believe that our current notion of 'existence' is too crude in a somewhat similar way in which our understanding of 'time' pre-relativity turned out to be too crude.

Incidentally, there is a going to be a conference in Växjö, Sweden called Quantum Theory:Reconsideration of foundations-6, which takes place June 11th to June 15th, which seems closely related to this essay topic. As I understand it, attempts to identify assumptions which could be questioned and fresh ideas that could help us better understand how to interpret the mathematical formalism.

I look forward to the entries by the participants. Thanks fqxi for putting up the new contest.

Armin

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 20:06 GMT
Hi Armin -- Our pleasure. We're looking forward to some good reading.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Aug. 11, 2012 @ 08:14 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

There's still a few weeks to go, but some fantastic essays have already been received. I think that FQXi's choice of topic was inspired. This is shaping up to be the best contest yet.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 24, 2012 @ 21:10 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster

Thanks for announcing the new topic. I too think it is a good topic, although I would not want the task of finding qualified judges who will be willing to go that far out on a limb. Good luck with that, and thanks again.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Alan Lowey replied on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 14:19 GMT
Yes, I agree. Thank you for the excellent topic choice of the latest competition Brendon. It's important enough to influence the evolution of human science into a new mega-era imo. I've just working on the title, which compliments my last essay entry:

"Newton's Isotropy Is Simplicity That Has Led To Modern Day Mass Misconceptions Of Reality"

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 20:09 GMT
No problem, it's our pleasure, here's to some good reads.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on May. 25, 2012 @ 07:36 GMT
Einstein's 1905 light postulate is certainly wrong but I am going to show that the second law of thermodynamics deserves no more credibility:

http://www.kostic.niu.edu/2ndLaw/2011SecondLaw-f
rontmatter.pdf

AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 1411, Second Law of Thermodynamics: Status and Challenges, San Diego, California, USA 14-15 June 2011: "No physical principle holds greater sway in the natural world than the second law of thermodynamics. It is widely regarded as the quintessential scientific truth, in large part because no exception to it has been recognized by the scientific community during its 150-year history. Over the last 20 years, however, this situation has changed. More than two dozen challenges to it have entered the mainstream scientific literature, the majority of which remain unresolved. (...) Competitions are most exciting when the stakes are high and the competitors evenly matched. After 150 years of preeminence, the second law finds itself in such a contest, where challenges have put its absolute status at risk. The outcome is uncertain, but for the first time it plays in an 'evenly split game.' That is, the second law is in a jeu parti: it is in jeopardy."

The problem may turn out to be sociological, not strictly scientific - our civilization may not be able to survive such a massive surgery, even though malignant tissues are removed.

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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Paul Reed replied on May. 25, 2012 @ 09:41 GMT
Pentcho

Since when has light (as in an effect in photons) 1) not started at the same speed in all circumstances, ie irrespective of the speed of that which the photons interracted with - because it is the result of the same atomic reaction, & 2) not continued to travel at that speed unless impinged upon in some way - just like anything else would?

That is all he said in 1905 (always same speed & continue at that speed in vaccuo), and it is, obviously, correct

Paul

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Pentcho Valev replied on May. 25, 2012 @ 14:03 GMT
Einstein said more in 1905:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/

"..
.light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is INDEPENDENT OF THE STATE OF MOTION OF THE EMITTING BODY."

This means that, if the emitting body starts moving towards the observer with speed v (c>>v), the frequency the observer measures shifts from f to f'=f(1+v/c) but the speed of light the observer measures does not shift at all: c'=c. This is wrong - the frequency does indeed shift from f to f'=f(1+v/c) but the speed of light also shifts: from c to c'=f'(lambda)=f'(c/f)=c+v.

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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Paul Reed replied on May. 26, 2012 @ 07:19 GMT
Pentcho

He did not say "more". What I said is all in the sentence you have quoted. In which, Einstein makes two simple, and correct, points about light: 1) the speed it travels at is independent of the 'emitting body' 2) that speed will remain constant unless impinged upon.

You then make an ontologically incorrect interpretation of this. Because the 'light' (as in a specific effectct in photons)is a physically existent phenomenon. Furthermore, at different points in time there are more such physically existent phenomenon. Each 'light' represents the 'thing' (emitting body) which at these different points in time is itself in different existent states (one form of change being spatial position, ie movement). All these are different physically existent phenomena. You conflate them.

To identify what actually happened you would have to establish the spatial position of the body wrt the observer at any given point in time, and that position as at the point in time when the observer received the specific 'light' created by an interaction with the body at the original point in time (ie to establish, whether during the travel of that 'light' from body to observer the relative spatial position of these two entities altered. You would also need to know the environmental conditions that prevailed for that 'light'(ie whether there was anything that impinged upon its original starting speed). The speed of the body is irrelevant, both at the time (because the original speed of the 'light' is determined by an atomic reaction not 'collision')and subsequently (because those are each different existent states of the 'body' and there will be different 'lights' created which represents those).

Light is just a physically existent phenomenon, it is not mysterious, or functions in accordance with different rules to everything else. It is created and travels, and during that travel it can be affected by environmental conditions. Calibrating its speed is effected the same way as for any other entity. It just so happens that we use 'light' to see reality.

Paul

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Steve Dufourny wrote on May. 25, 2012 @ 11:11 GMT
interesting.Let's go for the crazzyness....

We are going to see that Johan Noldus is in the extradimension of the witten axiomatization of the perimeter gruber institute, Joy and lisi have a string in their hands for the harmonization of the TH correlations of mathematical real algebras. After we shall see that Brendan and friends shall prove that the vanity is in 3D. Now we have Fred ,Richard and Mr Aguire who insist on a kind of marketization of the algebras in their pure dimensionality. After we shall have a conference in Holland, there a little of marijuana, and after hop a MIT Harvard synchronization for a good algorythmic serie. Eckard, Georgina and friends, them are in the circus, but are they real.

The essay of this year is about "how can be the future for a correct cake? "

:) but what a world.

viva el crazzyness, it is the begining of the wisdom after all, isn't it ? Do you know that Rousseau had said to Hugo that the world is very bizare due to an ocean of chaotical parameters. Herman Hesse, him is sad that Voltaire and micromegas are not with us. But if Kalil Gibran and Jung are rational, and if Ostrogradsky is in a stoke correlation, so the story is spherical , it is logic no?

Sphericaly yours of course in 3D !!! for our contemplations of course !Siddartha Gottam will agree ...isn't it ?

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Don Limuti wrote on May. 26, 2012 @ 03:10 GMT
Brendan this is the best topic yet!

There will be a lot of entries.

And a most lively debate.

Congratulations

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Steve Dufourny replied on May. 29, 2012 @ 15:36 GMT
Hi Don,

Wait ....I have a good topic, why the sphere is the perfect equilibrium of forces ?

of why the spheres are foundamentals ?

why the spherization Theory is the only universal solution ?

:)

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Don Limuti replied on May. 30, 2012 @ 05:39 GMT
Hi Steve,

I have noticed that you have been mixing it up with the other "sphere heads"...

I would have not expected less. Thanks for keeping this place lively.

I hope to have a block buster entry (I say that every contest) and I hope you will have

a super entry also. Perhaps something like:

There Is Something Profoundly Wrong with the Point--- it Should be a Sphere.

Good to hear from you,

Don L.

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Steve Dufourny replied on May. 30, 2012 @ 22:29 GMT
hi Don, interesting play. I am not parano , it is god who said me this simple evidence.

Thanks for" good to hear from you" it is nice.

The sphere indeed is better than the point, furthermore , here is the entanglement with its pure number with the central volume, you see the serie Don when the fractal is considered, the ultim fractal of course, of spheres from the main central sphere. So the point can have several volumes when we consider this entanglement, so that depends of the number, isn't it ? :)

How can we consider the points so ? it depends of many things, in all case the spheres have several volumes. so ......... these points are composed by spheres after all ! now if a limit like a wall is considered or this number, that becomes relevant considering the finite groups and the walls !

This entropy can be understood with a more important rationalism at my humble opinion. If we arrive to know this number of this entanglement, so we have the universal fractal and its spheres.With the central sphere like the biggest volume.Now we have a paradoxal conceptulization of the point spherificated if I can say.So , that implies that we have a central sphere more far of the perception of smallest spheres of this entanglement !!! It is very important for a correct understanding of this entraopy and its distribution.

The point does not exist, the sphere and the spheres , yes, the rotations show the road of the spherization.

You know Din, I know that my pc is checked, but you know my faith is so important that even very sad and tired by a difficult life, I will continue !

My parano and problem of health are important but my universal faith is enormous !The spherization is the message of the Universe, several religions name it, God, if you prefer Don, the sciences ar not a play you know but a pure sincere quest towards our truths and foundamentals , rational !

The sphere , Don , is an answer to many things and all rational generalists understand this evidence, this universal Sphere evolves and the quantum spheres build cosmological spheres in a pure 3D perception. This Universal sphere is so fascinating, you imagine the number of lifes and creations inside this universal sphere? It is fascinating and the word is weak. It exists so many planets with lifes , so many galaxies with lifes, even in our milky way, it exists so many lifes I am persuaded. You imagine inside this universal sphere with all the galaxies, it is incredible. And the quantum world is also fascinating. With velocities and volumes different of course but the system is universaly the same. That is why the universal sphere does not turn in my line of reasoning.

Don, not you, you are not in this team of frustrated I hope, I know that I am parano, but not you ? Why ? I ask me even if eckard or Georgina or the otehrs are real or not ?

But I take my meds :)

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on May. 26, 2012 @ 15:20 GMT
In the last century Warren McCulloch wrote:

''As I see what we need first and foremost is not correct theory,but some

theory to start from,whereby we may hope to ask a question so that we will

get an answer,if only to the effect that our notion was entirely

erroneous.Most of the time we never even get around to asking the question

in such a form that it can have an answer."



This statement is fully applicable to the topic of Essay Contest 2012.

I do not intend to participate in this competition,but would be read with great interest the essay "Gravity as a force of interaction is wrong assumption?"

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Pentcho Valev replied on May. 26, 2012 @ 15:52 GMT
Starting with a false theory is dangerous. If it introduces breathtaking miracles (length contraction, time dilation) it may become a religion and kill science in the end. Einstein realised this in 1954:

http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/pdf/files/975547d7-2d0
0-433a-b7e3-4a09145525ca.pdf

Albert Einstein (1954): "I consider it entirely possible that physics cannot be based upon the field concept, that is on continuous structures. Then nothing will remain of my whole castle in the air, including the theory of gravitation, but also nothing of the rest of contemporary physics."

Clues:

http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0101/0101109.pdf

"The two first articles (January and March) establish clearly a discontinuous structure of matter and light. The standard look of Einstein's SR is, on the contrary, essentially based on the continuous conception of the field."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/genius/

"And then, in June, Einstein completes special relativity, which adds a twist to the story: Einstein's March paper treated light as particles, but special relativity sees light as a continuous field of waves."

http://www.amazon.com/Relativity-Its-Roots-Banesh-Hoffmann/d
p/0486406768

Relativity and Its Roots, Banesh Hoffmann: "Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether."

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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T H Ray replied on May. 26, 2012 @ 16:44 GMT
"Starting with a false theory is dangerous. If it introduces breathtaking miracles (length contraction, time dilation) ..."

If you had actually studied relativity, Pentcho, you would know that these effects are measurements relative to the observer's state of motion, and not miracles. You consider them "miracles" because you do not understand the absence of a privileged frame of reference.

Tom

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Pentcho Valev replied on May. 26, 2012 @ 17:14 GMT
Yes length contraction and time dilation are "measurements relative to the observer's state of motion" predicted on the assumption that the speed of light is independent of the speed of the light source. But some implications could prove absurd, and then the assumption is false (provided all other assumptions are true). In my view, the implication that an arbitrarily long object can be trapped inside an arbitrarily short container is absurd:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/b
arn_pole.html

"These are the props. You own a barn, 40m long, with automatic doors at either end, that can be opened and closed simultaneously by a switch. You also have a pole, 80m long, which of course won't fit in the barn. (...) If it does not explode under the strain and it is sufficiently elastic it will come to rest and start to spring back to its natural shape but since it is too big for the barn the other end is now going to crash into the back door and the rod will be trapped IN A COMPRESSED STATE inside the barn."

http://www.quebecscience.qc.ca/Revolutions

Stéphane Durand: "Ainsi, une fusée de 100 m passant à toute vitesse dans un tunnel de 60 m pourrait être entièrement contenue dans ce tunnel pendant une fraction de seconde, durant laquelle il serait possible de fermer des portes aux deux bouts! La fusée est donc réellement plus courte. Pourtant, il n'y a PAS DE COMPRESSION matérielle ou physique de l'engin."

http://www.parabola.unsw.edu.au/vol35_no1/vol35_no1_2.pdf

"Suppose you want to fit a 20m pole into a 10m barn. (...) Hence in both frames of reference, the pole fits inside the barn (and will presumably shatter when the doors are closed)."

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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Fred Diether wrote on May. 26, 2012 @ 22:42 GMT
Wow! This essay contest topic is a perfect match for Dr. Christian's work "On the Origins of Quantum Correlations". So much so that I highly suspect that his work motivated this topic. For far too long now there has been an almost religious belief that Quantum Mechanics is complete. But Dr. Christian's work has shown us that quite possibly Einstein was right after all. Dr. Christian's work coupled with Hestenes' work on the "Zitterbewegung Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" gives a much better picture of Nature, IMHO.

Best,

Fred Diether

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Fred Diether replied on May. 27, 2012 @ 05:56 GMT
I suppose I should give some links to Dr. Christian's work. Perhaps it will inspire a good essay for the contest. Also a link for his new book.

I am wondering if I should do an essay on the combination of Dr. Christian's and Dr. Hestenes' work involving QM assumptions? Or should I do one on a wrong physics assumption that has been mainstream (but not thought about much) for over 100 years? No worries; it is not about relativity either.

Best,

Fred

PS. Another wow! The load time on this was quick. ;-)

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Joy Christian replied on May. 27, 2012 @ 06:17 GMT
Hi Fred,

Thanks for providing the links to my work.

I think you should go for the second option. Here is your perfect opportunity to tell us about your real passion. Questioning a 100 year old assumption is exactly what this competition is all about!

Best,

Joy

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Fred Diether replied on May. 27, 2012 @ 06:42 GMT
Hi Joy,

You're welcome and thanks. OK then I will do the 100 year old assumption. I can actually mix in a bit of Hestenes' work and maybe some of yours into it anyways.

Best,

Fred

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on May. 27, 2012 @ 04:28 GMT
Excellent non-topic! Under the skin (topical, you will get new ideas brewing in the underlying margin. The future is in asking and answering the questions of a child and in looking for his answers,not ours. Logical impossibilities are the certainties our truths are based on, as always. What are they...?

Marcel,

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 27, 2012 @ 06:08 GMT
Really this is a good topic to be discussed and need of the hour.

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 28, 2012 @ 15:08 GMT
If I have the description of an alternative cosmological model in a website and if I want to refer that in the body of the article I intent to submit for discussion, providing a hyperlink or website address in the article is permitted?.

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Anonymous replied on May. 28, 2012 @ 23:54 GMT
From my experience with a previous contest, valid hyperlinks are fine as references. Wikipedia links need to have to be followed by the current date (not in the link itself) since the entries are apt to change.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 20:42 GMT
Hi Jayakar -- thanks for your earlier comment about the contest. In response to your question, yes, you can [and should] include website addresses as references.

To do so, you must include proper information for any website, including wikipedia. Info includes website name and URL, and the date the website was last modified, or the date when you last visited the site to confirm the contents.

If available, you should also include any info about the author of the specific content you are referencing on the website.

Here's a link to examples from the Chicago Manual of Style, hosted by Purdue U: Web sources.

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph replied on Jun. 8, 2012 @ 17:18 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

Thank you for your guidance and I think this will help the article to emerge with more articulateness.

Wishing the contest be much productive

Jayakar

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Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on May. 28, 2012 @ 15:58 GMT
Wow, the discussions about the fundamental thoughts on science has begun already in this thread. The subject of the contest is as fundamental as FXQi itself. That is why we will always have different arguments for our "visions". It will be a pleasure to particpate , it is for sure that the threads on the essays will be of the same high standard as here, we will have to accept that the "laws" of 2012 will be the failures of 2112.

Wilhelmus

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 20:47 GMT
Thanks Wilhelmus, I look forward to some good discussions.

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 29, 2012 @ 03:37 GMT
Thanks for all replies. I have reviewed my previous article and perceived that I have already used hyperlink.

I regret for this trivial question I have submitted, that might have disturbed you. I wish many entries and let this contest be a lively one.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on May. 29, 2012 @ 21:14 GMT
Cristi & Tom,

I wrote at this post about degrees of freedom. This is a central aspect of physics, and indeed is at the core of the essay contest here. I think it is getting buried in the stack of over 60 hidden ones.

Cheers LC

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Fred Diether replied on May. 30, 2012 @ 04:39 GMT
Lawrence said, "I will say that JC's "sign change" which reduces nonlocal variables to local ones does the opposite. JC is tacitly increasing the number of degrees of freedom."

Perhaps Nature is more complicated than you think it is. Especially with respect to spacetime.

Fred

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Cristi replied on May. 30, 2012 @ 07:07 GMT
Lawrence,

"The general progress of physics has been about reducing the number of degrees of freedom."

Indeed, I very much like the vision you presented in your comment. Reducing the number of degrees of freedom can be viewed as a quantitative implementation of Occam's razor. Of course, like Occam's razor, one should view this as a general indication, and keep in mind that we should apply it with care, that there may be exceptions. For example, in gauge theory, fixing the gauge reduces the number of degrees of freedom. But I think it is preferable to consider the full degrees of freedom as the real structure, together with the symmetries, and to consider the various gauge choices as relative. To reflect this, I would formulate this principle to "reducing the number of independent degrees of freedom" (the key word here being "independent"), emphasizing in the same time the equally important but complementary role of symmetry.

There are several apparently independent indications that a reduction of the degrees of freedom, in the form of dimensional reduction of various types, has a healthy effect on the perturbative series in QFT and even in quantum gravity. Dimensional reduction corresponds, for example, to the vanishing of the Weyl tensor, hence of the gravitational degrees of freedom (including gravitons). This leads to the possibility that dimensional reduction makes quantum gravity perturbatively renormalizable. For some reason, the singularities, which are often presented as a bad thing, undergo dimensional reduction. So this "bad thing" about GR may be the cure for the other "bad thing", the apparent nonrenormalizability.

Cristi

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Paul Reed replied on May. 30, 2012 @ 07:43 GMT
Christi/Lawrence

As with every other attribute, the deemed ‘degrees of freedom’ must correspond with what occurs in reality, and not be a function of conceptualisation. For example: dimension. There is no corresponding physically existent phenomenon. What does exist is a definite number of possible directions that any given entity can move. That is, from any given spatial position, there are n possible adjacent spatial positions which can be subsequently occupied, at each point in time. Movement being change in spatial position. The concept of dimension is a simplification of this.

Paul

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Lwrence B. Crowell wrote on May. 30, 2012 @ 23:26 GMT
Cristi,

Of course the problem with dimensional reduction to 2 + 1 spacetime is there are no gravity waves. Gravity waves are helicity = 2 with two directions of polarization transverse to the longitudinal direction of motion. There is not enough space in two dimensions to put gravity waves or gravitons in. The good thing is there are no problems with renormalization because the whole...

view entire post


attachments: gauge_section.GIF, gluons__gravitons.doc

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Cristi Stoica replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 08:01 GMT
Lawrence,

I can't find my comment to which you answered here, it has been deleted with other comments, although there was nothing offensive in it. It was a long comment in which I invested time, but it was removed with the entire group which also contained my claim of priority on some ideas attributed to somebody else.

> "Of course the problem with dimensional reduction to 2 + 1...

view entire post


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Paul Reed replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 08:25 GMT
Agreed. I said something about degrees of freedom which has vanished, and I'm sure it was here

Paul

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 18:20 GMT
The reduction of dimension you write about would correspond to the same with event horizons. The holographic projected fields exist on a stretched horizon with one dimension reduced.

The whole of string theory is on the infinite momentum frame. This is from the invariant momentum interval in special relativity. We have

m^2 = E^2 – p^2

Assume the spatial momentum p =...

view entire post


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Cristi Stoica wrote on May. 31, 2012 @ 04:27 GMT
I repost this here, because it vanished.

Hi Wilhelmus,

I think you are right that if the observation causes the collapse, this seems to imply that it affects the past. The experiment can be arranged to make clear that this extends to much more than 200ms. I don't know if this has something to do with consciousness. On the one hand, I see it as a condition of global compatibility between our choice and the initial conditions, and this removes the necessity of wavefunction collapse. We can consider that the initial conditions are delayed until the moment of observation. Although unitary (hence deterministic) also leaves room for free will*.

Good luck with your essay,

Cristi

________________________________

* For those who see similarities with Scott Aaronson's ideas, which he called "loony" at a FQXi talk, mine preceded his with 3 years right here at the FQXi essay contest ...

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Cristi Stoica replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 06:20 GMT
And here is Scott's presentation.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 07:11 GMT
Either Q-computing works or there is some principled reason why it's not possible. In that I tend to agree with David Deutsch.

I also agree with the ass. prof. without tenure in that we don't know all inputs to all laws of nature.

Eckard

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Paul Reed replied on May. 31, 2012 @ 07:36 GMT
All

Observation only causes the cessation of a specific effect in photons (known as light), which in the context of the evolved process of sensory detection, is the physically existent phenomenon that is received by the observer. It results from interaction with an 'event'(existent state).

There is no physical connection between detection and the event. Apart from which, that event occurred before receipt of the light, anyway. So observation, or indeed any other form of sensing, can have no effect whatsoever on reality.

Paul

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jun. 1, 2012 @ 13:14 GMT
Perelman’s proof of the Poincare theorem on the equivalency between fundamental groups π^1(S^3) and topology of S^3 relies upon the Ricci flow of Hamilton

∂g_{ij}/∂t = 2R_{ij} + ∇N_j + ∇N_i

where the sphere is a case with nonzero Ricci tensor. With vacuum solutions we are interested in R_{ab} = 0. The Weyl curvature in four dimensions for a type D solution is eigenvalued by the Killing vectors K_a

C_{abcd}K^bK^d = λK_aK_c

A typical Killing vector is of the form K_t = sqrt{g_{tt}}∂/∂t which in the Schwarzschild case for r -- > 0 diverges. So the divergence of the Weyl curvature is directly dependent on the divergence of the Killing vector field. Then say for K_φ = ∂/∂φ

C_{tφtφ}K^φK^φ = λK_tK_t

The reduction of a dimension though means if the Weyl tensor vanishes, this is equivalent to g_{tt} -- > 0 for some cut off in the curvature where the vacuum solution fails at the singularity.

There is then something analogous to the Perelman “renormalization” of the Ricci flow. However, in this case the three dimensional manifold “flows” in an ADM type of relativity with a diverging Weyl curvature. Perelman’s proof is a technique for “rounding off” the cinching of a manifold region that is approaching a cusp. For the Weyl tensor case the region of integration does not include the singularity, but where that region is distorted into a filament along the longitudinal direction, or “spaghetti.”

Cheers LC

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Facebook replied on Jun. 1, 2012 @ 13:55 GMT
Cristi Stoica likes this.

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T H Ray replied on Jun. 1, 2012 @ 14:54 GMT
Well, if you like that, Cristi, you should like my intepretation of Christian's continuous measurement function nondegenerate near the singularity. (You, too, Lawrence.)

Tom

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Skype replied on Jun. 1, 2012 @ 15:15 GMT
Cristi Stoica has left the chat.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 19:46 GMT
It is regrettable that SToica has apparently dropped this discussion.

LC

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Cristi replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 05:17 GMT
Thank you Lawrence, I am continuing the discussion with you in private. Please feel free to post here any nice comments you make, because they are usually very interesting and there's no need to keep them only for ourselves.

I like our discussion, but in order to avoid getting it hijacked into something about Joy Christian's objections to Bell's theorem, I had to move it on private. I don't want to participate in debates about Joy Christian's objections to Bell's theorem. I accepted to discuss them only if the debate is arbitrated as I already stated. Until then, no matter how fascinating these debates are, I will have to pass. I hope I don't offend anybody with my non-cooperation.

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Fred Diether replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 05:55 GMT
No offence taken, Cristi, but if you come up with some new argument about Joy's model, we would be interested in seeing it here. You never did answer my question as to when you might have your PhD?

Fred

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Paul Reed replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 07:34 GMT
And, in the same way that there is a specific blog for that discussion, it should not be brought up in others. Otherwise, all blogs become overshadowed with the 'Joy debate'

Paul

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 21:14 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

I got the impression, the topic of the next contest was slightly modified by George Musser of Scientific American: "Modern Physics" instead of simply "Physics" and focus just on unification of two theories. This might be a valuable guidance to a most interesting aspect rather than a restriction. Correct?

Yours sincerely,

Eckard

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 21:00 GMT
Hi Eckard -- I assume you're referring to George Musser's post on the Sci.Am. webiste, here: Sci.Am.. You are correct. The official question is 'Physics', not 'Modern physics'. I assume that was just a typo on George's part. And I believe the focus on unifying theories was just for illustration.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 10:30 GMT
ahahah the unifying theories without s Brendan.....your strategy is not really good you know with your superimposings of false maths. But it is just a suggestion of course.

Don't be too much frsutrated and full of hate, it is not good for the spiritual universality ...

Steve

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Alan Lowey wrote on Jun. 4, 2012 @ 21:34 GMT
Thank you for the link Brendon, a very fascinating read of the previous FQXi essay contest legacy.

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Alan Lowey replied on Jun. 5, 2012 @ 08:56 GMT
Sorry, I should have been saying "Brendan" (with an A).

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 14:30 GMT
Yes, I'm glad to know we're building up a library.

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Ted Erikson wrote on Jun. 5, 2012 @ 20:18 GMT
I choose the problem of reviewing BASIC assumptions based on "thermodynamics of steady state" ideas of my 1959 research advisor, Dr. Ralph Tykodi* (now deceased) and personal experiences as a marathon swimmer.

In particular, the definition of energy as being associated with only that which we can easily measure and relate to, i.e. mechanical. Thermodynamics relates it to heat (based on temperature) and work (of many forms). Both of these relate to processes which involve chemistry (endo- and exo- thermic processes) and life (something that accomplishes something).

It will take some time and I may not succeed, but I presently see a way out of the macro (gravity) and micro (charge) complications of relativity (classical) and quantum (probability) that physics tries to define and measure.

In short, the the basic assumption of - what energy really is- needs updating

* His books may stimulate others along such lines, "Thermodynamics of the Steady State", Macmillan (1967) and "Thermodynamics of systems in non equilibrium states", Thinkers Press (2002)

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 22:24 GMT
Hi Ted,

I'll bite...what do you think, in concise terms, energy really "is"?

Armin

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James Putnam replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 22:42 GMT
Hi Armin,

Good luck in the essay contest. I expect that Ted would like to make his case unconcisely in his essay entry. If he answers you here, I will be interested in that answer.

You said: "...it possible measuring the speed of a particle or electromagnetic wave to be greater than the speed of light, and in this case time is speeding up"

I expect that you probably would prefer supporting this statement unconcisely in your essay. If not, I would be interested in your opinion about time. What is it that you expect to measure as speeding up? In other words, what are you measuring when you measure time as speeding up? I don't really ask you to answer these questions now. I expect to find the answers in your essay and its references.

I have decided that I probably will take the constancy of the speed of light on also. I would not do that concisely. The essay limitations are already severe. However, I think I will try it for the essay contest. I expect our presentations will be very different, but, both welcome.

I look forward to reading Ted's entry and your entry.

James

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Ted Erikson replied on Jun. 7, 2012 @ 16:11 GMT
Re: Armin and James

Briefly, more important than "what energy really is" is the problem of ALL of it's source(s) and a definition of it's need or use in what exists in the word around us. It does tend to take one into the realm of the metaphysical and the conflicts between two accepted approaches, science and religion.

Physics originated from this question and supplements the life sciences with fantastic physical insight, but isn't the reality of it being bypassed in our present day world endeavor(s)?

(A reasonable compromise based on fact, truth, and logic has been my wish for over 84 years)

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Azzam AlMosallami wrote on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 17:44 GMT
In 1993 in my second year of my BA in applied Science university in Amman-Jordan, I had a big question, it is how I can understand the special relativity theory according to the concepts, principles and laws of quantum. From that time till 1996 I found, the error was in the concepts and principles that Einstein adopted in the special relativity theory which were depending on the classical theory. One of these problems was the constancy of the speed of light, and then the reciprocity principle. And in order to unify between quantum and relativity in concepts, principles and laws, relativity theory must be modified according to the concepts, principles and laws of quantum. I completed this modification in 1996 and this was my graduation research. I remember when I discussed my research in a seminar, I told the presented students and doctors " according to my new relativity which is agreed to the concepts, principles and laws of quantum, it possible measuring the speed of a particle or electromagnetic wave to be greater than the speed of light, and in this case time is speeding up". At that time, my teachers have not believed me, and told me it is impossible to do that, and experimentally it is required hard working abilities to proof that.

Since the weakness of the abilities in the Arabian universities, my theory remained on hold in my university library. The experiments done by Gunter Nimtz in 2007-2008 regarded to quantum tunneling were good proof for what I proposed in my MSRT. Furthermore, the OPERA, Icarus, and SN1987a can be interpreted by my modified special relativity theory. Here I display the link of my modified special relativity, it is in http://vixra.org/pdf/1111.0001v1.pdf

The philosophical aspects of the theory existed in http://vixra.org/pdf/1206.0002v1.pdf Furthermore I could solve the Pioneer anomaly exactly according to modifying the relativity theory http://vixra.org/pdf/1109.0058v1.pdf Also quantum entanglement can be interpreted by my theory. Finally I hope to take my chance in FQXI.org to display my work to public after 18 years working. I'll not be angry if I'm wrong in my modified relativity, because I'll know the right. What I need now to be sure if I'm right or wrong. I hope to take my chance for discussion my MSRT.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 7, 2012 @ 14:49 GMT
Thanks for taking a chance on us, Azzam. I hope you will find some good conversations.

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Azzam AlMosallami replied on Jun. 8, 2012 @ 13:48 GMT
Dear Brenda Foster, Thank you very much for your community that gave me this chance. Also I thank Sophie Hebden, he is right when he began his article "Faster Than Light" that "Good science needs heretics—people who aren’t afraid of seemingly mad ideas that may end up leading us to new truths. Once in awhile, their crazy proposals make the transition from taboo to—if not quite the mainstream—the respectable fringes of physics, with a host of associated offshoots by independent researchers." I really appreciate this statement and I'm feeling by its meaning!

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 8, 2012 @ 19:57 GMT
Well Azzam, that is good to hear.

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Tommy Gilbertson wrote on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 22:05 GMT
I'm all in: and this time will continue to develop the Theory of Consciousness according to Young's Double-Slit Experiment, this time re-deriving C according to NOT X^2=X. Recall this is the equation that represents Boolean Logic: it's how we think and how we program computers to think. This will hint at the goal of incorporating the Measure problem into a Quantum Gravitational Theory. Then I shall use the footnote from that same essay to further develop the equation for Asimovs' 3 Laws of Robotics (which equations are posted in my previous Essay. Further developing this Theory of Consciousness, and solving some long-standing problems in Physical Theory currently unsolved. Will wrap it up with a lucid caution to cease and desist all particle-accellerator experiments immediately, and why. Last and least I shall address our Physical Assumptions currently, and which are paths to discovery in this new Science. And suggest experiments and data in current exps. that can prove the new Theory of Reality posed in the New Essay Entrant. Or I shall not even enter, because getting a job and an income-stream is more important. It's a digital-computer toss. p.S. The last essay has also resulted in a website that sells all auto parts anywhere 24/7 through our official partner Advance Auto Parts stores nationwide. At their 4000 locations, if you call First using thier exclusive toll-free number you will get 20% off your order. Really, it's in the intro. recording now! Good until 2014! Quantum Auto Parts

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Tommy Gilbertson replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 22:28 GMT
Oh, and just in case you are deleting the essays and threads from the last contest let me re-Publish that equation for consciousness here?

Before continuing, let us simplify things a bit by letting HS=C, where C is consciousness (whatever that means in an experimentally testable sense). So this equation then means: the human soul is consciousness. Well maybe or maybe not. We will save that Theory until experiment can decide the validity or no... Maybe the soul is much more than consciousness. But surely a part of the soul is consciousness? Even if not, for the sake of brevity, let us assume that all human souls have consciousness. Then

C=a(1-P)(1-D)(1-O)+b(1-P)D(1-O)+PDO {1}

and

0=P(1-D)(1-O) {2}

and

0=PD(1-O) {3}

Interpretations:

{1} consciousness is sometimes a wave that is not observed whether detected or not, and is always the result of an observation of a detection of a particle.

{2}and {3} If a particle is not observed, whether detected or not as a particle, it does not exist. It is a non-real, virtual, wave until it becomes actual.

Thanks, look forward to the Essay Entries!

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Azzam AlMosallami replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 23:07 GMT
Please can you read my theory about consciousness and Matter, the philosophical aspects of the modified Special relativity according to the concepts and principles of quantum theory

http://vixra.org/pdf/1206.0002v1.pdf

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Azzam AlMosallami replied on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 23:31 GMT
my previous paper is presented in the conference of TOWARD A SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS 2008, THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA.

http://banduraold.sbs.arizona.edu/login/consciousnes
s/pubreport.aspx?aid=2825

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Tommy Gilbertson wrote on Jun. 6, 2012 @ 22:51 GMT
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.



Let R=robot (that exists with the three laws governing it's actions)

I=injure

H=Human

J=Inaction

O=obey

C=Orders

F=First Law

S=Second Law

T=Third Law

P=protect

The three laws are True for our robot: F=S=T=1

Law 1: F=1=R(I-1)H+JHI

Law 2: S=1=ROCH+vC(1-F)

Law 3: T=1=RP+v([1-F]+[1-S])P

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Helmut Hansen wrote on Jun. 7, 2012 @ 05:16 GMT
I've already participated twice in the FQXi-Contest. It was always a great opportunity to present ideas that would otherwise be rejected. I am currently working on an essay which is closely related to the ongoing discussion. It concerns the speed of light.

We know that light itself has a dual nature, which we are usually calling the "wave-particle-duality". I am convinced that the speed of light is of dual nature as well! In other words: The speed of light is also a quantum mechanical property that is given twice.

Accordingly, it is geometrically codified in two different ways - as a circle (= wave) and as a square (= particle). Since both geometric matrices are closely entangled and parameterized in the same way, that is, c = 1, it is extremely difficult to recognize this dual nature of the speed of light.

Seduced by the principle of relativity, we ask only whether the parameter c = 1 is empirically realized in nature or not - without knowing that c = 1 has two faces and not only one as we still believe.

Since this parameter c = 1 has been confirmed again and again, we came erroneously to the conclusion that Einstein's special theory of relativity is a fundamentally correct theory about the universe, but in truth we have been deceived by nature, especially by its quantum mechanical core.

This is the story I want to tell in my essay.

But to be honest, it's more a vision than a theory

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 7, 2012 @ 14:44 GMT
Hi Helmut -- you've got plenty of time, so keep working at it.

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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Jun. 8, 2012 @ 02:29 GMT
When can we expect to start seeing essays that have been submitted and accepted?

Thanks for any info.

RLO

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 8, 2012 @ 20:00 GMT
Hi RLO -- Like we do every year, we're waiting to receive 10 or so entries before we post any online. It helps kick things off with a big start. We have received a few already, but I can't say how long till we have 10.

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Tony Willow wrote on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 05:47 GMT
An exciting topic - I enjoyed the previous contests!

I may contribute and essay but need clarification of what is permissible in endnotes. For instance in the essay the following is written:

From equation a=b+c we derive x=y (refer endnote).....

And in the endnote one shows the mundane steps how x=y is derived. These steps would include equations and explanation which really are not relevant to the essay, but assure the reader of the validity of the statement in the essay.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 17:53 GMT
Hi Tony -- what you describe is exactly what we had in mind with the endnotes -- a place for the author to give some technical details that aren't essential to [and are not officially part of] the essay.

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Tony replied on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 19:17 GMT
Hi Brendan Thanks for the clarification.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jun. 13, 2012 @ 21:47 GMT
Get ready! Friday! We release the first batch of entries!

As in past contests, we have been waiting for our first batch of 10 or so valid entries before we begin posting the entries. Well, that time has come this year faster than ever--less than 3 weeks, compared to 2 months in the past. In fact, we have a few more than 10 already, but we'll just sit tight till Friday.

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John Merryman replied on Jun. 14, 2012 @ 16:13 GMT
Brendan,

In the criteria it says essays should be new thinking on the author's part and not pet theories packaged with a few nods to the topic. I think a point I have been making here for years; That we treat time as a vector from past to future, because we experience it as a series of events, is mistaken and that it is the changing configuration of the extant, turning future into past, which goes to the core of the confusion permeating physics. So would this be an acceptable topic, even if I've already beaten it near to death?

While I may not have much to add to points I've already made, I do think it is something worth broader consideration.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 14, 2012 @ 20:41 GMT
Hi John -- First answer is, it's up to you as the writer to decide whether the material merits an essay or not. Now for the long answer, let me have a good cup of coffee===

I think you're hitting on two connected, but subtly different points--'originality' and 'topicality'.

On originality, I would say it is probably to be expected that an author would focus on a specific theme on which they have already spent some time thinking or writing. But, ideally, the author would honestly push themselves into new territory with the essay. In the past, we've seen winning essays that didn't put forth a whole new research result, but at least presented older results from some new perspective.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 14, 2012 @ 20:51 GMT
And on 'topicality'--well, we want people to honestly think about and try to answer the question, Which Assumptions...

That's where the line about pet theories comes in. In some sense, any new work in physics challenges old assumptions, but I would say that a good essay will not be about a particular theory--it will be about those assumptions challenged by the theory. It will explain and argue why those assumptions have to go. There are various 'preferred frame' theories out there, for instance [as I know well]--but a topical essay won't just present such a theory--it will argue why we need any such theory in the first place, why the assumption of no-preferred-frame is wrong.

In closing, though, these are just my thoughts, and as always, the winners are chosen by a combination of votes from lots of people who may feel differently from me. And you as an author may choose to disagree too.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 16:42 GMT
You may have assumed that it would take a while to get the contest rolling, but no, that is incorrect.

The first entries are now online! You can begin reading and discussing in the contest forums here.

By the time we had everything in place, we actually had 18 entries ready to go. As you will see on the main contest page, you can list the entries by author name, submission date, and public or community rating.

As with last year, the community rating [which determines the pool of finalists] will not be shown, to add increased anxiety.

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Tommy Gilbertson wrote on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 02:54 GMT
I'm a third of the way done, but it occurs to me: Brendan gave me no attaboy, but most everybody else got encouragement. Is it a subtle hint, or an unintentional overlook due to the format? Please help me, fqxi community, should I even complete the other 2/3's of this essay? How about some feedback, especially TED-community members? Also still looking for a good job. Willing to travel. Work my way up. I have writers block now, even though the rest of the essay is in my head complete. Maybe it should stay there lol?

Nested PHASERS Invented as Proof of the Holographic Principle (or Who Watches the Watcher)

Tommy Gilbertson

QuantumWidgets.com

Abstract: PHASERS (Probability Hamiltonian Amplification by the Stimulated emission of Radiation) are invented and briefly explained to propose an experiment whereby a unique reality among the multiversal copies of the experiment is chosen consciously by the experimenter, i.e. the outcome of a probability-distributed range of eigenvalues of an observation occurs more often than 75% of the time in a large number of identical experiments, where the Standard Model predicts a range of outcome probabilities instead. This process will be explained by proposing a new form of field of Consciousness (using previous work by the author) whereby the messenger particle is a quantum of ‘conscious’ thought. This theoretical prediction of the future experiment described will be used to show that some of our fundamental assumptions about physical reality are mistaken, and a way forward theoretically and experimentally is briefly described, proposed using existing newly invented technology from the TED community. Then the essay shall diverge sharply, and transmute into a plea to focus science solely on the problem and a proposal to help immediately stimulate the economies of the world. On which economies all of our theories, experiments, inventions, and freedom of thought therefrom, depend essentially.

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Georgina Parry replied on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 05:59 GMT
Hi Tommy,

please do finish writing it. I will read it if you do and it is accepted for the competition. As I enjoyed reading your last FQXi essay and other writing.

I am also drafting an essay. It is currently much too long, as I have a lot that I would like to say in it. I would like it to be easier to read, more enjoyable/interesting and more ground breaking than last year's. Its like packing suitcase. I know I can fit it all in if I try.

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Wilhelmus de Wilde replied on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 15:36 GMT
Very good Tommy, reads like an SF story, go on pls, this Sf is reality. Georgine cannot wait to read your entry. I am working too, consciousness will play an important part.

Wilhelmus

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TMG replied on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 21:41 GMT
Thanks for the encouragement Georgina & Wilhelmus. I'm looking forward to reading your essays too...

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James A Putnam wrote on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 22:23 GMT
FQXi.org,

Thank you for this new essay contest, and, for accepting and posting my entry.

James

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 20:56 GMT
Hi James -- Thanks for taking part.

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TKF wrote on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 04:00 GMT
This essay contest is a bit depressing. In the software development world, anyone, even a kid, is free to post a bug report--it's easy to do so, with no formality. If the bug is serious and is shown to be reproducible, other people will listen. The bug may then get fixed. In the physics world, "bugs" are hard to report (a sound argument is insufficient; a subjective level of "extraordinary evidence" is only part of the requirements) and any amateur physicist who posts one is automatically assumed to be a crackpot, such that there's no need to read the bug report. (I'm not talking about indisputable observations, like those through a telescope. Of course those can upend our knowledge. I'm talking about mistakes in our theoretical physics.)

I'd love to write an essay for this contest, if I thought it would be read. But I'm confident it wouldn't be. I don't mind writing something short like this though, in the event there is a truly curious & open mind out there. Google for Solutions to 5 Major Problems in Physics. One of our basic physical assumptions that is wrong is that general relativity is consistent with its equivalence principle postulate for every small freely falling frame that GR allows. The inconsistency is in plain sight, is provable by a short/unique sound argument, but it's subtle.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 09:26 GMT
Hi TKF,

Writing an essay myself, I will certainly read an comment on every honest and intelligent essay that tries to deal with suspected very basic questionable tenets in physics and mathematics. You just mentioned rather obvious inconsistencies. Nonetheless, I would like to strongly encourage you for taking part, at least in the discussion. What is your opinion concerning the essays by Roger Schlafly and by J. V. N. Smith?

Just an aside, Smith quoted a perhaps wrongly translated utterance by Einstein: "believing in physics" instead of "believing physicist".

Eckard

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TKF replied on Jun. 28, 2012 @ 23:28 GMT
Well, I didn't mention rather obvious inconsistencies. If they were obvious then general relativity would be recognized as invalid already.

The stats on my blog confirm the unlikelihood that an essay by me would be considered by the FQXi editors. Unfortunately the state of things today is this: while a teenager can be hailed for finding a subtle and serious problem in widely used software, only the annointed few are permitted to challenge widely accepted physics, regardless of proof. Everyone else is a crackpot by definition. To give the appearance of openness, however, anyone will be allowed to present proof, which is then ignored.

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Arjen Dijksman replied on Aug. 6, 2012 @ 16:21 GMT
Hi TKF,

Taking part in the discussion is a sufficient reason to post an essay. Your essay will be read by physicists, whether it runs for the prices or not. One of the goals of this contest is to "provide an arena for discussion and exchange of ideas regarding foundational questions". So please report your bugs. It will always feed discussion and inspire new thoughts.

Arjen

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James Putnam wrote on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 01:29 GMT
The professional entries that are so necessary and so appreciated are showing up. Thank you phd's. I look forward to learning from many such entries. Do not miss the opportunity out of disdain for mixing with amatuers. The judges are professionals. The community voting can be trying, but, it cannot freeze out the best essay's. The judges are professionals, and, they have choices they make also. Consider submitting an essay.

James

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Eric Reiter wrote on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 23:05 GMT
I find one note in your rules a bit confusing. I do have a "pet theory to trot out," and it does "reject assumptions" of established physics. That might seem to disqualify me, at least if I read the note in one particular way.



However, I have performed well-documented experiments supporting this “pet theory” – experiments that I plan to describe in detail. In other words, I do offer “new insights” about “tacit, unquestioned assumptions.” Therefore it seems to me that the note warning against “pet theories” does not disqualify me – at least, not out of hand.



Right?



I want to be clear about the rule in question, lest I spend my time and energy in vain.



I want to be clear about the rule in question, lest I spend my time and energy in vain.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 20:32 GMT
Hello Eric -- as a working rule, we don't look to disqualify an entry based on content. We want to leave it to readers and referees to decide how well the essay honestly addresses the topic. The Community has done an excellent job at this kind of filtering in the past.

So, one way to look at that note is as tested advice on how to write a successful essay. Every piece of good science challenges assumptions in some way. What though is more interesting to a reader? An essay mainly focused on the features of a "pet theory" -- Or an essay focused on why familiar assumptions cannot stand, which uses a pet theory as an illustration?

That subtle shift in emphasis has had a huge impact on the success of entries in the past.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 20:43 GMT
As an example, people should check out Jarmo Makela's first prize winner from last year.

The main content is essentially a summary of Jarmo's viewpoint on how quantum gravity should be constructed -- in some sense, a 'pet theory'. That technical content, though, is immersed in a larger, more general discussion of whether spacetime is discrete [the contest topic]. The specific theory almost seems to emerge as the "obvious" choice [to Newton, I guess], based on the bigger discussion. The essay is a lot of fun, but also persuasive and possibly even subversive.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 21:39 GMT
In his winning essay Jarmo Makela claims that the constancy of the speed of light with respect to all inertial observers can be deduced from Newton's first law of motion, which is obviously wrong. The referees did not see this?

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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Eric Reiter wrote on Jun. 28, 2012 @ 00:55 GMT
The character counter is not working for me anymore. It did in past. I choose my file, the name shows, I click count, it uploads, then the file name disappears and no count is given.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jun. 28, 2012 @ 13:41 GMT
I will ask our web guru. The counter works for me right now, so check things on your end. Try using a file that worked in the past.

In the meantime, Microsoft Word has a built-in character counter, in case you are using it to write the essay. You might also find a counter elsewhere online.

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Eric Reiter replied on Jun. 29, 2012 @ 01:39 GMT
I made it work by deleting a photo. Sorry.

Is there a pixel limit, like dots/inch for the graphics?

It is currently high on my pictures, 500/inch to make the bitmapped typeset look good. I will experiment more to find the best #, if required.

Thank you

ER

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 6, 2012 @ 15:46 GMT
We don't have any limits on image resolution, but keep in mind that people have to download your essay to read it. Smaller files will most likely be appreciated.

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John Merryman wrote on Jul. 4, 2012 @ 10:32 GMT
Brendan,

Would it be possible to add a preference for a judge to my contest submission?

If so, would Julian Barbour be available?

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 6, 2012 @ 15:51 GMT
Hi John -- I'll make a note of that info. But also just to clarify, the purpose of the reviewer info on the entry form is just to give us an idea of who you think qualified experts are for your essay. That information collected from all entrants helps give us a sense of the range of people we need to find for the panel. We may not actually contact any of the suggested reviewers -- or we might contact them. We also don't select specific people just to read specific essays--the review panel has to consider all the essays.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 6, 2012 @ 15:53 GMT
So anyway, the point is, we may or may not contact Julian Barbour for the panel, but it is useful to know that you would call him qualified to review your essay.

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Alan Lowey wrote on Jul. 4, 2012 @ 12:00 GMT
I've just realised that this competition isn't about winning a prize, it's about meeting people with the same science philosophy which will lead to the inevitable conclusion of a new theory in the making. You're a part of that group Brendan, so thank you again for achieving such a fantastic concept as FQXi.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 6, 2012 @ 15:57 GMT
Thanks Alan, I agree with your interpretation.

And really the work was done by everyone at FQXi and with the help of our partners listed above. And of course, by the people writing the essays. I'm not allowed to enter, but I understand it takes some guts to send something where it will be read over and scrutinized and discussed.

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Alan Lowey replied on Jul. 7, 2012 @ 11:50 GMT
Of course I should have thanked the whole FQXi team, sponsors and those who are taking part. It can be quite a emotional time when first trying to get some recognition of your achievements, yes. I like to think I'm used it now with my second contest entry completed and hours spent on on-line forums trying to jostle ideas until something new began to emerge. Time will tell. Dark matter still has to be explained by the mainstream science community. Prof Brian Cox was confident that in two years or so they'd know 'one way or the other' I think.

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TMG replied on Aug. 4, 2012 @ 07:25 GMT
Hi Alan:

I have come around to agree completely with your crazy butt! And as I leave this community for the last time, I must say I admire your courage. Your ideas are apparently superiour to mine, so I'm carrying the strident, crazy, fringe torch now too. Can I carry it now? You go Alan, don't let the 100% of people who disagree with you get you down. Like they have me. Good luck!

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Eric Reiter wrote on Jul. 15, 2012 @ 05:34 GMT
Please:

I am assuming the body of the essay does not include the abstract. If I include the abstract I exceed 25000 characters and 9 pages. So can I put the abstract under my essay title in the PDF?

I counted body + figure captions + title, with your counter and I am very close to 25000 characters. I remove my figures when using your counter, but my body (no abstract) with figures will be properly within 9 pages. The characters in the figures are not verbose (not abusive) but If I count those I go over the 25000.

Thank you.

ER

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 19, 2012 @ 16:23 GMT
Hello Eric --

There is some flexibility in the contest rules here. For instance -- Does the essay body include the essay's title, or the authors' names? Does a separate title page with just that info count towards the page limits? The rules are not completely clear, so we have developed a few guidelines. Please keep in mind that since these are guidelines, they may change, although we always intend to be fair to all entrants and to the spirit of the rules.

Well, in short, to answer your questions---We usually do not view the abstract as part of the main essay body, unless it appears to be other than a summary of the essay [i.e. if the author is sneaking in extra text]. We do usually insist that the entire essay file fit within 12 pages.

Let me just pose the question for consideration--why include the abstract in the file at all? We ask for an abstract for the webpage [and readers will see it there], but the essay itself should not be intended as a journal article. However, that is the author's choice.

For characters in figures---here, we have to consider entries on a case-by-case basis. Characters in captions definitely count. If the figure itself contains explanatory text, we may count it. Labels on graphs of data we may overlook. I recommend, however, that you consider all characters in the figures and adjust your essay length to include them.

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Eric Stanley Reiter replied on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 07:58 GMT
Please:

I tried uploading my essay and the form did not take it. The file is 10.3M bytes due to several photos. It was 10 pages. The character counter does not work with graphics either.

Please advise.

ER

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Jul. 23, 2012 @ 15:31 GMT
Hello Eric -- it looks like you may have figured this out, or else there was no problem the first time. Either way, we have the essay file from you.

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Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Aug. 9, 2012 @ 19:11 GMT
Brendan and FQXi.org, with all of my posts having direct, important, and fundamental relevancy to the contest and to physics in general, why are these numerous great [and clearly true/foundational] physical truths and facts ignored?

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Alan Lowey wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 13:18 GMT
Well done FQXi! The competition deadline is almost upon us and the number of essay entries is a record high, 177 on 30th August, beating the last figure of 162 topics which beat the previous 137 topics which again surpassed the original 114 topics of the first essay competition.

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Jose P. Koshy wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 15:33 GMT
I have submitted my essay and it has been accepted. Thank you and the rest at FQXi for having provided such an opportunity.However, now I have a serious doubt.Do you expect the essays to be in tune with QM and offer changes in the foundations to take QM forward? In my essay, I have argued to go back to classical physics, (pre-Einstein and pre-QM), correct some foundations and resurrect classical physics. Now I feel like 'odd man out'.

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Alan Lowey replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 09:33 GMT
You're not the only one Jose. See below:

*Brendan*

Now the deadline has passed for essay entries your ability to referee a possible discovery during the recent discussion between myself and another author is requested. The position of the moon appears to be a crucial factor in the earth flyby anomalies. The three biggest energy increases all occurred when the moon just started it's last quarter. I've informed the talkpage of Wikipedia and expect an update some time soon. The details can be seen here in Abraham's essay discussion section. Thank you for your time if you are able to spare any during this busy period.

Congratulations on a very successful competition,

Alan

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Alan Lowey replied on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 09:30 GMT
The lunar tidal bulge is responsible for the flyby phenomena imo.

attachments: FlybyLunarTidalEffect_001.jpg

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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 00:39 GMT
Hi Brendan.

1) The best essays are winners, correct? PhD or no PhD, correct?

2) I suspect that you will advise on here when all of the accepted essays are posted?

A very necessary and important selection of contest topic by the way. Thanks!

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Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 00:34 GMT
Brendan,

Thanks FQXi and to you for making the essay competition possible. In fairness to neutrality and bias-less rating,  I have following queries: 

Could you please inform us on what basis "Top Essays" are selected at this early stage. I refer to the home page http://www.fqxi.org/community

In the same context, could you please inform on what basis the essays are sorted when clicking "community rating" on the page http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/category/31418

Regards

Ant
on

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 18:03 GMT
Yes, sure thing, but I will answer in reverse order---

Community rating -- The "Community" members are the essay contest entrants plus FQXi Members. The Community ratings are therefore the ratings placed by community members. The current ratings numbers are not displayed, in order to create suspense, but you see the current order when you select the option to sort by community rating. The current finalists are the first 35 [plus a few more if there is a tie at the 35th spot].

The 'Top Essays' -- every Monday, we change the list. We post the 3 or 4 essays with the highest community rating, UNLESS they were featured the previous week. This last clause means that sometimes the featured essays are not the top 3 ranked; however, this way, we can feature more essays. For instance, George Ellis currently has the top ranked essay, but he was featured last week---therefore, we don't feature him this week. Instead, we have 4 essays that have not yet been featured.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 05:44 GMT
Brendan Foster,

Why do some people get top community ratings as soon as their esssays appear? Is this a contest between groups of friends who unconditionally support their members?

Pentcho Valev pvalev@yahoo.com

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Don Limuti replied on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 22:05 GMT
Hi Pentcho,

Good point. This makes FQXi look sleazy.

I do not necessarily think they are cherry picking ahead of time, but they sure give the appearance of it!

They show us what the order of community voting is but not the number of votes. I actually believe their web guru has made calculation errors. They can remedy this by showing the community vote tally.

Your question deserves a response from FQXi.

Don L.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 18:15 GMT
Pentcho -- I'm not sure I understand your question. The community ratings do not appear at any time, least of all when an essay first appears. Can you explain in more detail what you are asking?

Don -- would you like to explain in more detail what sort of error you think has occurred? In that case, we can look into it.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 18:39 GMT
Sara Imari Walker jumped to the top of the community rating list as soon as her essay appeared and was surpised herself. See our dialogue:

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1526

Pentcho Valev

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 04:11 GMT
Brendan

I often watching community rating and wondering when i see lady among leaders

Her submission was Sep. 6, 2012

Crim???

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 18:07 GMT
I'm not sure I understand the question. Do you mean--why did some essays appear after the contest deadline? The answer is, it takes a few days to process the entries, so that some entries are not officially approved until after the deadline. As it says in the contest rules, it can take up to 7 days for this process. At this stage, all essays are now online, so happy reading.

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 07:36 GMT
Dear Brendan,

This year's edition of the contest was an even bigger success, and I wish to congratulate the organizers.

There are so many essays, but unfortunately there is so little time to read them. I submitted the essay in a peaceful period, but it is unfair to the latest entries, which are so crowded, and definitely there's not enough time for them to get the deserved attention, and for their authors to give their attention to other essays.

That's why I would make a suggestion: why not giving us more time to read and discuss the essays? It is obvious that there is not enough time, even for the earlier entries. After all, we don't expect the next edition to happen right now, so extending the time with several months won't hurt. If you can extend the time until the next essay contest, we will have more time to read, with less pressure, and the assessment would be more correct. Maybe it would be not fair to change the rules at this time, but you can send to each contestant an email and give us a possibility to vote for this proposal.

Best regards,

Cristi Stoica

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Don Limuti replied on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 21:51 GMT
Dear Cristi,

I also feel there is not enough time to read all the essays (particularly this year). So:

1. Read http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1403 as soon as possible :)

2. Perhaps an essay map would be usefull? It would show essay title versus subject area.

Don L.

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Cristinel Stoica replied on Sep. 9, 2012 @ 14:25 GMT
In addition, if the rating will be open until the next essay contest, the site will have higher number of visitors for the entire year

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 18:36 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

I noticed a week or so ago that my number of comments went from 203 to 201 and this morning I note that the number went from 224 to 222.

I have not asked that any comments be removed, and, because I and my guests have written many interesting comments, I do not want them removed. Can you tell me what's going on here? There were, to my knowledge no insults or incorrect statements of fact that would justify even the consideration of such removal, and I do not think it should be possible for others to remove arguments that they do not like. Is there any way to track such removals, and have them restored. I know that you are already under a tremendous workload, but I believe this is a significant problem. Believing these comments are 'permanent' I have not been backing them up, and many comments take quite a bit of thought and effort. For someone to erase these, for whatever reason, is not right.

Thanks for your consideration.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 14:54 GMT
Flagged comments disappear from the forum at the moment they are flagged, but they go through a second review before the can be permanently deleted. Therefore, I can assure you that any comments removed from your forum were identified as clearly not relevant to the discussion. In fact, I agree with you---faulty arguments and incorrect facts should be left on view for all to see.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 05:15 GMT
Brendan Foster,

You wrote: "Therefore, I can assure you that any comments removed from your forum were identified as clearly not relevant to the discussion."

The contest is not fair, Brendan. Unwanted comments disappear and people are not even informed.

Pentcho Valev

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Eric Stanley Reiter wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 23:12 GMT
Brendan Foster: Much humble appreciation for the current exposure and its potential for a meaningful scientific hearing. I have sought 10 years for a fair hearing. It looks like I have the only essay containing description of original experiment to back its theory and conclusions. This is what separates physics from philosophy. However, my position is surely hard to take, and I expect arguments crying that my work was not peer reviewed, or something. Well, lets do a good job. I am willing to demonstrate the Unquantum effect anywhere. My portable gamma splitter now works and my portable alpha splitter is ready to test. I can bring them both to a FQXI San Francisco Bay area office or site of a contest sponsor.

An up-front recognition of this demonstration idea could make this contest a meaningful newsworthy win for everyone involved.

Thank you, Eric Reiter author of A Challenge to Quantized Absorption by Experiment and Theory (1344).

PS, Eugine, I agree.

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Eric Stanley Reiter replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 23:22 GMT
Here is a photo of the portable gamma-split experiment.

Thank you. Eric Reiter

attachments: gammasplitter.jpg

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Alan Lowey wrote on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 10:12 GMT
The latest FQXi twitter physics article:

[quote]Wang said the new field equations also lead to a modified Newtonian gravitational force formula, which shows that dark matter plays a more important role in a galactic scale at about 1,000 to 100,000 light years, but is less important in the larger scale, where dark energy will be significant (more than 10 million light years).[end quote]

Very interesting article and concept. I think they are on the right course. It fits with the idea of non-Newtonian matter being created at the centre of stars and spread to the planets via supernovae events and comet impacts imo. This fits with the scale limitations mentioned . Someone tell Mr Wang for me please!

Newton would have assumed that stars created non-Newtonian matter at their cores due to their spin rate and super high gravity field. Older stars would therefore have more of this extra force on the plane of rotation. This fits with the spiral galaxy rotation curves which have a central bulge of young stars and an outer disk of older stars which rotate faster than expected(!). Is the Main Seqeunce of Star Classification missing the onset of creation of non-Newtonian matter? I think it is. The evidence fits like a glove imo.

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Member George F. R. Ellis wrote on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 08:59 GMT
It's a good essay competition, thanks for setting it up. However there is a negative side. While I have had many good discussion with some participants, I have to say that I am disappointed by the aggressive, rude, and sometimes downright insulting note of some of the comments I have received on my thread. I have only flagged one as truly objectionable, but quite a few more have been pretty unpleasant. It is quiet a deterrent to taking part in these discussions.

Is this just an aspect of the general unpleasantness of the blogosphere, or is it more a reflection of the arrogance and condescending attitude of some theoretical physicists?

I think it would be improved a bit if you refused to accept anonymous posts or pseudonyms. Then those who are really rude are at least identified and cannot hide behind a shield of anonymity.

George Ellis

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Joy Christian replied on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 09:39 GMT
Dear Professor Ellis,

May I offer my two cents on the issues you have raised?

You ask:

"Is this just an aspect of the general unpleasantness of the blogosphere, or is it more a reflection of the arrogance and condescending attitude of some theoretical physicists?"

I would say both.

Blogosphere is a public forum, and as such it offers democratic freedom to all walks of life---from gentlemen to criminals. Sadly, what you have experienced is only a fraction of what I have experienced in the past year or two.

Moreover, theoretical physicists do not have a great reputation in this matter. As they say, a few bad apples can spoil the whole basket, and that is what you have been experiencing.

In an open Internet forum like this there are also other issues such as trolling etc., which psychologists are only just beginning to understand. These are aspects of bad human behaviour usually suppressed outside the cyberspace.

The issue of anonymity is a technical issue, and I will let the FQXi admin sort that one out.

Best wishes,

Joy Christian

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 15:29 GMT
Hello George -- Thank you for the input. I do apologize to you and all our essay entrants and forum users, for negative experiences like this. The participation of the authors and FQXi Members makes this contest unique, so we need to find ways to make the forum aspect enjoyable and worthwhile as the contest grows.

You have hit on a point that we need to think carefully about. We want to somehow balance the system's "democratic" openness as Joy says, with the need to have a sensible, meaningful, useful discussion. Your idea of non-anonymity is most likely a good step. Maybe only allowing comments from other entrants and Members? .

Ultimately, there will likely have to be a higher level of moderator oversight. For the time being, you [and all the other users] can feel free to flag posts as inappropriate. The messages go through a second stage of review before deletion, so this process actually helps us get a feel for what forum users consider acceptable.

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Don Limuti replied on Sep. 18, 2012 @ 00:22 GMT
Hi George,

This is my fourth contest, and it is by far the most civilized, thanks mostly to Brendan. And yes it is still rough, but remember it is a contest for "money" and therefore has some of the aspects of crowded bazaar. There are rude and greedy troublemakers in the crowd, and we can still have fun.

I have to admit that one of my posts was removed due to a fondness I have for a four letter word.... no not that one, but the one that Heisenberg used in referring to Schrodinger's work used in a letter to Pauli. Perhaps if I used the original German it would have been OK. :)

You have a great essay, do not worry.

Don L.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 15:37 GMT
A quick reminder to all our forum users during this contest -- please be aware that FQXi administrators will remove comments identified as inappropriate or "unwanted", i.e. spam. All forum users should read the terms of use before posting, listed here.

We hope to provide thoughtful, scientific discussions. These forums are not a wide-open free-for-all. Anything that would not be said in a seminar or public lecture should not be said here.

We will enforce the guidelines to remove posts that are:

Vulgar or offensive;

Inflammatory;

Excessively outside of the scope of the current topic;

Directed at specific individuals in an inappropriate manner;

Commercial in nature; and/or,

Incomprehensible or extremely lengthy.

We may also remove comments that are overly repetitious, including those that are close copies of similar messages in the same forum or in other forums. [Since the discussions are written, not verbal, it is not necessary to repeat an argument already made. Having made your point, please move on.]

If you find a comment of yours has disappeared, feel free to ask me for an explanation. I will be happy to give one.

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John Merryman replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 16:01 GMT
Brendon,

Would there be a way to better separate the flag and reply buttons? Occasionally I follow this on my phone and have it decide I'm touching the flag button, rather than the reply button. I've canceled them on the check page, but it would be nice if they were not so close together.

Also on the blog pages, there is a list of recent comments posted to the contest entry pages. Rather than just list previous contests in that space on entry pages, for those of us who are time challenged, it would be nice to have that feature on the left side of all contest entry pages as well.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 16:12 GMT
Brendan Foster,

You wrote: "We may also remove comments that are overly repetitious, including those that are close copies of similar messages in the same forum or in other forums."

No you may not. Whenever I find an argument of mine relevant, e.g. in a reply to Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, I must be free to use it, even if I have already used this argument countless times elsewhere. By secretly deleting it you bias the contest in favor of your friends.

Pentcho Valev

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Domenico Oricchio replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 16:16 GMT
I am upset for the insulting comments to Ellis.

It is difficult in internet to identify a person (alias in facebook, relay emails, etc), and it is difficult (and irritating loss of time) a secure access in a closed blog; until now I see a little number of offensive comment in fqxi weekly blogs (I am sure that the community members are innocent), and interesting comment in each field of the knowledge.

I think that the only possibility in an open blog is delete immediately the comment that are considered offensive by an entrant, or a blog author, or the administrator: if you give a delay time (some hours) between the author (or entrants, or administrator) reading and publication, then the spammer have not the possibility to be read by the community: sometime the people say worlds should not be remembered.

Saluti

Domenico

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 15:47 GMT
And next, just a clarification/reminder of how the voting works.

The main point is: The pool of finalists is chosen by the results of COMMUNITY ratings, and not the PUBLIC ratings.

The Public ratings are more or less "for fun". Anyone can place a public rating.

The Community ratings determine the finalists, and also affect the final winners. Only contest entrants and FQXi Members can place community ratings. The Community ratings are not currently shown, in part to add a hint of suspense. You can, however, view the current order of rankings by sorting the list of essays by community rating, in the list of sort options at the top of the page of essays.

If you are an entrant, and you have been placing Public votes---Stop! Place Community votes, not Public votes.

If anyone has questions, please let me know.

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Constantinos Ragazas wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 02:06 GMT
Brandon,

May I humbly suggest the list of finalists be selected as a percentage of the total number of essays? Rather than a fixed number of 35. Thus, this number will automatically adjust depending on the total number of essays. If we were to take, for example, the same percent of final essay in the last contest and apply this to the current contest, the number of finalists would be 54. The top 20% I think would be a fair number.

This is especially important in the current contest with 271 essay over many variety of topics by both physicists and non-physicists. Otherwise, the “professional entries” will dominate the final list and these will likely be limited to the same topics of interest. So in fairness and in scope, I think using percent is better.

I am thoroughly enjoying this contest. Great intellectual stimulation! Thanks!

Constantinos

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 17:24 GMT
Hi Constantinos -- thanks for the suggestion. At this stage in the contest, though, we can't make changes to the official, legally approved rules, which includes the numbers of finalists, the end dates, etc. It is something we will consider for the next time though. Especially if we expect the contest to grow even more, we may need to make various adjustments to the "infrastructure".

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Constantinos Ragazas replied on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 02:27 GMT
Brendan,

I understand! Will 'community rank ties' be treated the same as in the last contest? That is, all tied essays in the community ranking be treated equally the same?

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 14:46 GMT
Yes, essays with equal scores are in equal place.

err, I'm not sure if what I just wrote makes sense so what I mean is --- as it says in the rules, ratings are only calculated to the first decimal place. If two essays both have an average rating of 9.4, for example, then they occupy the same "place" in the ranking.

Now in fact, when we say "top 35" essays are the finalists, we still allow for a tie at 35th place, which means there may actually be MORE than 35 essays in the final pool. For instance, if the 35th essay has a score of 5.0, and there are 5 more essays that also have 5.0, then we include all those essays in the final pool.

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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 18:27 GMT
I'm sad to discover that the essay I posted, which I so far still believe to be a worthwhile, mathematically curious essay, has generated almost no discussion to speak of, and that apparently it is community-rated middling to low. Certainly I consider my material to be experimental, and it would not surprise me if there are errors either trivial or serious within it, but it seems very much not...

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 14:43 GMT
Hello Peter -- as the contest continues to grow, it could very well be useful (and fun) to introduce additional categories like you suggest. One downside that comes to mind is, Community raters generally don't have the time or inclination to sift through all the essays. Asking for multiple ratings categories will add a tiny bit of mental energy expense that might suppress the amount of voting even more. I wonder if it would be productive to have entrants decide themselves when entering, what category they would want to enter.

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 15:54 GMT
Thanks for your reply, Brendan. Another category that I would like to see would be "Novelty(1-10)". A brainstorming session would throw up something like "I can use this idea(1-10)", which to me is the highest praise there is.

After sifting through whatever might be generated, I'd see it as a line or list of four or five community categories, which anyone could fill in or not, as well as an...

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Georgina Parry replied on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 21:35 GMT
Peter has made a very good suggestion to consider for future contests. I would find it easier to vote for aspects of an essay such as relevance (or answering the question), accessibility, lack of errors, novelty, etc. rather than just giving one overall score. Currently the different merits and shortcomings of an essay need to be weighed up to give one final score. That, for me, is the difficult part. It hard to decide what an essay should be fairly awarded. For example should an essay that falls severely outside of the guidelines be marked high or low if it is very well written and fulfils other aspects of the guidance that was given?

It might also discourage the awarding of a score on the basis of a hasty first impression from a quick glance, or reading of the abstract or biography of the author, or tactical voting. Cumulative scores for the different aspects could be collected and then there could be awards for each aspect as well as for those essays scoring top overall in all of the categories. How an essay has performed in the different categories would be useful for authors, who could use that information to evaluate how their work has been received and could then use it as guidance for future writing.

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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 14:05 GMT
I have a question, is authors to rate their own essays, or only other authors essays? Thankyou

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 14:19 GMT
Authors are free to rate their own entries.

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anonymous replied on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 18:17 GMT
If author does rate(to 10 points) on their own essay, is it fair? Is it valid?

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 21:12 GMT
The rule is fair in that all authors are free to rate their own work. I'm not sure what is meant by valid--does the rating an author gives to their own work truly represent their opinion of their work? I would hope so.

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