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Current Essay Contest

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Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

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Terry Bollinger: on 5/5/18 at 15:53pm UTC, wrote To link to the above mini-essay abstract, please copy and paste either of...

Terry Bollinger: on 5/5/18 at 15:49pm UTC, wrote Kolmogorov Minimums and Wheeler-Feynman Emission-Absorber Theory...

Terry Bollinger: on 5/5/18 at 4:45am UTC, wrote Hi Giovanni, I think the American equivalent of "a stretto giro di posta",...

Giovanni Prisinzano: on 5/4/18 at 20:21pm UTC, wrote Hi Terry, Thank you for your kind, prompt, and articulate response, to...

Terry Bollinger: on 5/3/18 at 17:07pm UTC, wrote Giovanni, It is good to hear from you again! Your essays and those you...

Giovanni Prisinzano: on 5/3/18 at 15:04pm UTC, wrote Dear Terry, I'm happy to read new posts from you, even if there's a bit of...

Terry Bollinger: on 5/2/18 at 21:26pm UTC, wrote Hi folks, For anyone who is disappointed in not winning this year, and who...

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FQXi FORUM
April 4, 2020

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger [refresh]

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 22:35 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this essay I propose that a subtle but universal principle of binary conciseness lies behind the most powerful and insightful equations in physics and other sciences. The principle is that if two or more precise descriptive models (theories) address the same experimental data, the theory that is more concise in terms of Kolmogorov complexity will also be more fundamental in the sense of having the deepest insights.

Author Bio

Terry Bollinger retired in 2017 from The MITRE Corporation, where on behalf of the US Office of Naval Research he helped define, acquire funding, and oversee research by major universities and small businesses in robotics and the cognitive sciences. Prior to that he was a chief technologist helping the US Department of Defense find high-value emerging technologies relevant to US federal needs. Since retiring he hired himself to do full-time research in particle physics, with one of his goals being to assess the merits of applying machine learning and cognition methods to intransigent hard science issues.

Alan M. Kadin wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 02:44 GMT
Dear Dr. Bollinger,

My contention, as described in my essay, “Fundamental Waves and the Reunification of Physics”, is that both GR and QM have been fundamentally misunderstood, and that something close to classical physics should be restored, reunifying physics that was split in the early 20th century. QM should not be a general theory of nature, but rather a mechanism for creating discrete soliton-like wavepackets from otherwise classical continuous fields. These same quantum wavepackets have a characteristic frequency and wavelength that define local time and space, enabling GR without invoking an abstract curved spacetime.

This neoclassical picture has no quantum entanglement, which has important technological implications. In the past few years, quantum computing has become a fashionable field for R&D by governments and corporations. But the predicted power of quantum computing comes directly from entanglement. I predict that the entire quantum computing enterprise will fail within about 5 years. Only then will the mainstream start to question the foundations of quantum mechanics.

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 03:30 GMT

Thank you for your kind remarks, and I am glad you enjoyed reading my essay. The concept of binary conciseness is definitely compatible with the idea that the most fundamental particle solutions are wave packets rather than point particles. I am in fact working on a separate paper, under the acronym PAVIS, that explores certain implications of treating point particles as asymptotic limits rather than a pre-existing mathematical entities.

I will comment in more detail after reading your essay carefully and making sure I really understand your framework.

I do have one immediate question, however. While I agree that quantum computing has yet to prove it can meet its claims, companies such as ID Quantique sell off-the-shelf entanglement-based quantum encryption devices to achieve high levels of transmission security. If you have not already, it might be interesting to examine such devices in terms of whether your ideas could provide a different interpretation of how they achieve high transmission security.

Sincerely,

Terry Bollinger

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 14:48 GMT
Dear Terry Bollinger, I admire your method of testing the theory on fundamentalism. I believe that the New Cartesian physics, in the basis of which the identity of space and matter Descartes' is closer to other theories to Kolmogorov's minimum. You may be interested in my essay, in which I, among other things, showed the relationship between the Lorentz factor and the probability density of quantum states, and most importantly showed that the mass-energy equivalence formula is due to the pressure of the universe. I will be grateful to you for the evaluation you leave.

Sincerely, Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich.

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 18:33 GMT
Dear Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich,

Thank you for your kind words. I have downloaded and read your essay. Alas, and as is also the case for me with string theory, I was unable to make any unambiguous conceptual connections between your framework and the best-documented results of experimental physics. I promise to read your essay one more time to see if I can arrive at meaningful positive suggestions or comments.

Sincerely,

Terry Bollinger

Joe Fisher replied on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 16:41 GMT
Dear Terry Bollinger,

FQXi.org is clearly seeking to confirm whether Nature is fundamental.

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe must consist only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

post approved

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 10:28 GMT
Thanks, Terry Bollinger,, for his criticism of my essay. I understand that it was written poorly. Its main aim is to attract researchers to continue the theory of everything of Descartes’ taking into account modern achievements in physics. The principle of identity of physical space and matter of Descartes’ allows us to remodel the principle of uncertainty of Heisenberg in the principle of definiteness of points of physical space, according to which in order to get the point of it required an infinitely large momentum. Look at my essay, FQXi Fundamental in New Cartesian Physics by Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich Where I showed how radically the physics can change if it follows this principle. Evaluate and leave your comment there. Do not allow New Cartesian Physics go away into nothingness.

Sincerely, Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 16:07 GMT
Dear Fellow Essayists

This will be my final plea for fair treatment.,

FQXI is clearly seeking to find out if there is a fundamental REALITY.

Reliable evidence exists that proves that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe must consist only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

post approved

Flavio Del Santo wrote on Feb. 4, 2018 @ 23:01 GMT
Dear Terry,

I rated it high, and I hope you will get the visibility you deserve in the contest.

For what concerns our view, as you pointed out, they are not so distant, but I shall ponder more on how to express the differences. I will answer to your specific comments you added in the page dedicated to my essay soon.

All the best,

Flavio

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 00:35 GMT
Flavio,

Thank you, that was very kind of you to read my essay. I... did not expect that?

I've sort of given up on this contest, to be honest? So now I'm just trying to go back to my roots of my day job before retiring, which was literally assessing the hidden potential of leading-edge hard science and information research ideas and technologies, and before that being an associate editor-in-chief for a technical magazine. My research support job(s) was one of the more fun jobs in this world to be honest, but I've not missed it one bit since retiring to work for myself!

Again, I think you and your co-author have an idea there that is important. IT also fits very nicely into the "what's fundamental" theme. So good luck, and I'll look back at your page soon.

Thanks also just for submitting that essay. Due to a bad random choice in the first half dozen essays I sampled, I was very bummed out about even having submitting an essay to this contest at all. So it was important to me to see your essay with its precision use of very solid and interesting experimental work. (Sorry any FQXi staff listening in, but I ain't gonna sugar coat it. You really, really need to fix certain aspects of your review process.)

Cheers,

Terry

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 01:21 GMT
Hi Terry Bollinger

Very nice idea about "binary conciseness lies behind the most powerful and insightful equations in physics and other sciences. The principle is that if two or more precise descriptive models (theories) address the same experimental data...." is very progressive for understanding of consciousness, very good... Bythe way....

Here in my essay energy to mass conversion...

view entire post

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 04:35 GMT
Hi Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta,

First I must make you aware that because I was a magazine editor for many years, I took the following pledge just to allow myself to participate in this phase of the FQXi evaluation:

goo.gl/KCCujt

This pledge explicitly requires that I not engage in any form of reciprocity when evaluating essays, since reciprocity unavoidably would mean I am not giving my honest opinion based only on what I see in the essay. I simply cannot work any other way. For that reason, I will not yet promise to point-score your essay even if I comment on it, because I cannot keep the promise you just requested.

That is lot of material you cover! I do promise to take a look. My warning in advance is that I look for deep continuity in every essay, and have yet to see one that introduced that many concepts in which I saw that kind of continuity. But I will try hard to make any positive comments that I think might help.

Alas, I already see indications that my honest, no-inflation-allowed point score could come out low... which is why I might choose not to assign a point score to it. You are being very up front, and I appreciate that very much. I regret if you gave me a strong rating if you do not truly feel that rating justified.

Cheers,

Terry

Domenico Oricchio wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 14:42 GMT
It is an interesting essay.

I am thinking that there are infinite sequence of trascendental numbers, that admit a convergent series like an approximation; so that the optimal approximation using pi number is a compact way to saying that a generic sequence is an extraction of a string in a convergent series with simple terms description; so that if the terms have a simple, compact, description then the Kolmogorov complexity is low, if the convergent series have a complex description, then the Kolmogorov complexity must include the terms description complexity.

The pi number could contain each sequence, for each length, then a single trascendental number could contain the minimum description if the starting point is not too high (for example greater of the string description).

I am thinking that the minimum Kolmogorov message for a trajectory and the principle of least action could have a connection if the Kolmogorov complexity of the trajectory and the measure of the Lagrangian was proportional.

A good essay make think.

Regards

Domenico

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 19:14 GMT
Domenico,

Thank you for your kind words, and I am glad my essay gave you some interesting ideas to pursue.

I just downloaded your essay, which is almost surely the shortest essay submitted! I did not realize that a one-page essay would be allowed, but in retrospect the FQXi rules only prescribe maximum size limits, not minimums.

Please be aware that I have taken the following pledge:

goo.gl/KCCujt

If you do not wish me to review your essay, please let me know quickly and I will gladly just skip over it. If I do comment on any essay, I always try to add some positive or constructive strategy remarks, even if I do not see the essay as strong. For point scoring, alas, I do not do inflation, so I can be pretty tough.

Cheers,

Terry

Domenico Oricchio replied on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 23:10 GMT
I read your essay for interest in new ideas: everyone here, in the contest, are curious; my interest in the my score is close to zero.

Every opinion, critical or benevolent, on my essay is welcome.

Regards

Domenico

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corciovei silviu wrote on Feb. 11, 2018 @ 12:51 GMT
Mr. Bollinger

In your essay you cherish simplicity (and for good reasons) and I admire the elegance of your style. Let me ask something though: how do you recognize that simplicity in this contest? Should that simplicity be interpreted in just one way?

I am asking this because I noticed a confusing comment of yours regarding an essay that more or less is pointing (in terms of that simplicity recalled by you), in the same direction.

Thank you again for the elegant and personal approach of simplicity emergent from your essay (please don’t tell me is not emergent) )

Joyfully and respectfully Silviu

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 05:53 GMT
Dear Terry Bollinger,

Thanks for a most enjoyable essay. I first fell in love with information theory in 1967 when I encountered Amnon Katz's "Statistical Mechanics: an Information Theory Approach". Later I realized that ET Jaynes had done this circa 1951, and had noted that equating thermodynamic entropy to information entropy led to a lot of nonsense theorems being...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 02:33 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman,

Thank you also for your thoughtful comments and generous spirit. I am pleased to see that I was reasonably on target in understanding several of your key points, since we seem to share a number of views that are definitely not “standard” according to prevalent physics perspectives.

I’m going to cut to the chase on one point:

May I suggest that...

view entire post

Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 03:44 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thanks for your response. I think you're beginning to see how valuable FQXi comments are. For example, I learned from your response to Noson Yanofsky, in the comment that follows mine. The essays have a nine page limit, but there is no limit to how much information we can exchange in the comments!

My dissertation, "The Automatic Theory of Physics" was based on...

view entire post

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 21:09 GMT
Edwin Eugene Klingman,

I am delighted and more than a little amused at how badly I misunderstood your intent! I would have bet that your answer was going to be “yes, I was just being subtle about simulation”… and I was so wrong!

I’ll look more closely to figure out why I got that so wrong. I may even look up your thesis, but no guarantee on that -- theses tend to be long in most cases!

I downloaded your ref [10] and definitely look forward to looking at that one! I would say immediately that a lot of particle and especially atomic nuclei folks would vehemently disagree, since e.g. things like flattening have to be taken into account when trying to merge nuclei to create new elements. But that's not the same as me having a specific reference hand, as you do here.

So: More later on that point. Thanks for an intriguing reference in any case!

Cheers,

Terry

Member Noson S. Yanofsky wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 18:44 GMT
Dear Terry Bollinger,

Thank you for an interesting essay.

I was wondering about the relationship between Kolmogorov Complexity and Occam's razor? Do simpler things really have lower KC? Also what about Bennett's logical depth? Why is KC better than logical depth?

Please take a look at my essay.

Thank you again for great read.

All the best,

Noson

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 01:46 GMT
Dear Noson,

Thank you for your excellent and insightful question! The answer is yes. If you translate a solution that has survived Occam’s Razor into binary form (that is, into software), then the binary form of that solution will exhibit both the brevity and high information of a (near) Kolmogorov minimum.

One can think of the “side trips” of a non-compact message as the information equivalents of the various components of a Rube Goldberg contraption. Simplifying the message thus becomes the equivalent of redesigning an information-domain Rube Goldberg contraption to get rid of unnecessary steps. The phrase “Occam’s Razor” even suggests this kind of redesign, since for both messages and physical Rube Goldberg contraptions the goal is to cut away that which is not really necessary.

One point that I think can be a bit non-intuitive is that solutions near their Kolmogorov minima are information dense -- that is, they look like long strings of completely random information. The intuitive glitch comes in here: If the goal of Occam’s Razor is to find the simplest possible solution, how can a Kolmogorov minimum that is packed to the gills with information be called “simple”?

The explanation is that to be effective, messages -- strings of bits that change the state of the recipient -- must be at least as complex as the tasks they perform. That means that even an Occam’s Razor solution must still encode non-trivial information, and depending on the situation, that in turn can translate into long messages (or lengthy software, or large apps).

If the desired state change in the recipient is simple in terms of how the recipient has been “pre-programmed” to respond (which is a very interesting issue in its own right), then the Kolmogorov minimum message will also be very short, perhaps as short as just one bit. But even though a single bit “looks” simple, it still qualifies as having maximum information density if the two options (0 or 1) have equal probability.

The other extreme for Occam’s Razor extreme occurs when the state of the recipient requires a major restructuring or conversion, one that is completely novel to the recipient. That can be a lot of bits, so in that case Occam’s Razor will result in a rather lengthy “simplest possible” solution. Notice however that once this new information has been sent, the message recipient becomes smarter and will in the future no longer need the full message to be sent. A new protocol has been created, and a new Kolmogorov minimum established. It’s worth pointing out that downloading a new app for your smart phone is very much an example of this scenario!

We see this effect all the time in our modern web-linked world. As globally linked machines individually become more “aware” of the transformations they are likely to need in the future -- as they receive updates that provide new, more powerful software capabilities -- then the complexity of the messages one needs to send after that first large update also shrinks dramatically.

This idea that Kolmogorov messaging builds on itself in a way that over time increases the “meaning” or semantic content of each bit sent is a fascinating and surprisingly deep concept. It is also deep in a specific physics sense, which is this: The sharing-based emergence of increasingly higher levels of “meaning” in messages began with the emergence of our specific spacetime and particle physics, and then progressed upwards over time across a spectrum of inorganic, living, sentient, and (particularly in the last century) information-machine based message protocols. After all, how could we know some of the elements in a distant quasar if the very electrons of that quasar did not share the design and signatures of the electrons within our detection devices? We assume that to be so, but there is no rule that says it must be so. It is for example certainly conceivable that some distant quasar might be made of a completely different particle set from matter in our part of the universe. But if the universe did not provided these literally universally shared examples of “previously distributed” (by the big bang e.g.) information baselines, then such transfers of information would not even be possible.

So here’s an important insight into the future of at least our little part of the universe: Meaning, as measured quantitatively in terms of observable impacts on physical reality per bit of Kolmogorov minimum messages sent, increases over time.

This idea of constantly expanding meaning is, as best I can tell, the core message of this year’s deeply fascinating essay (topic 3088) by Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson, of Josephson diode fame. His essay is written in a very different language, one that is neither physics nor computer science, so it is taking me some time to learn and interpret it properly. But reading his essay has already prompted me to reexamine my thoughts a year or so ago (on David Brin’s blog I think?) regarding the emergence over the history of the universe of information persistence and combinatorics. Specifically, I think focusing on “meaning,” which I would define roughly as impact on the physical world per bit of message sent, may provide a better, cleaner way to interpret such expanding combinatoric impacts. When I reach the point where I think I understand Professor Josephson’s novel language adequately, I will post comments on it. (I should already note that I am already deeply troubled by one of his major reference sources, though Professor Josephson does a good job of filtering and interpreting that extremely unusual source.)

Cheers,

Terry

Stephen James Anastasi wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 11:42 GMT
Dear Terry

Thank you for your feedback on my essay, ‘

I will use a similar marking system to that used by you.

What I liked:

Easy to read. Well set out. Your core idea came through well.

The initial idea seemed quite a lot like Occam’s razor, shifted from a philosophical stance to a mathematical...

view entire post

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 13:50 GMT
Stephen,

-- Ironically, I’m not a big fan of E=mc2, since I immensely prefer the energy-complete, Pythagorean-triangle-compatible form:

[equation] E=mc2 addresses only the very special case of mass at rest, and so is not very...

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 05:42 GMT
Dear Terry,

With great interest I read your essay, which of course is worthy of the highest praise.

I found in the forum thread of Kadin your questions, which are much more interesting and relevant than the questions of FQXi.

My opinion on these issues:

(1) Entanglement - is the only remote mechanism in the Universe for forming the force of interaction between the...

view entire post

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 12:01 GMT

Thank you for your kind remarks and comments. I will take a look at your essay sometime today, Friday Feb 16.

Cheers,

Terry

James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 18:33 GMT
Terry,

There is a lot to like in your essay. It gives good guidance for simplistic discovery, including your 3 challenges, which add to a relatively out-of-the-box perception of simplistic processes of investigation. We all marvel over Einstein's equation, it's simplistic epiphany of the duality of energy and mass. Euler's identity is intriquing to all and fermion-boson spin baffling. And if we programmed in our careers we staggered over the mind-numbing immensity of mishmash of recursive equations years of coding piled on. I speak of new approach and discovery as well in my essay. Fundamental does involve fewer bits but also new discovery in following a more simplistic thread as you mention. I rate your essay high on several points. Hope you get a chance to look at mine.

Jim Hoover

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 19:40 GMT
Jim,

Thank you for your positive and thoughtful remarks! I look forward to seeing your essay, and will download a copy of it shortly.

Cheers,

Terry

Gary Valentine Hansen wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 18:49 GMT
Thanks Terry,

There are questions that arise concerning our interests in simplification that are not commonly admitted. For example:

1. Is simplification ‘simply’ a means of reducing complexity to a level of understanding that is acceptable (i.e. comfortable) and thereby communicable to others?

2. Is the search for simplification acknowledgement that the subject under consideration is beyond the capacity of a person to comprehend in its totality?

3. Is simplification a means by which one can get connected to people operating at a higher (or lower) level of consciousness?

4. If simplification is assumed to promote a common cause, the purpose of which is to unite one's interests with those of others, at what point does the process of simplification become too simple and thereby confuse rather than clarify issues?

5. Is the FQXi question so simple that it stimulates multiple lines of enquiry rather than serving to unite people in a common understanding?

At issue is how many people are reasonably expected to benefit from any process of simplification. If that family is limited to professional physicists, mathematicians, or people that happen to speak a particular ‘foreign’ language, then is the quest for simplification really justified?

Does being ‘more fundamental in the sense of having the deepest insights’ really contribute to understanding, or was Einstein the only person that truly understood what he was saying at the time?

Thank you Terry for inviting us along your chosen path. You carry my best wishes.

Gary.

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 20:58 GMT
Gary,

Thank you for your positive remarks! And wow, that is an intriguing set of questions you just asked!

I like in particular that you are addressing the human and social interactions aspects of communications simplification. These are critical aspects of what I call collaborative or collective intelligence, that is, the “IQ” of an entire group of people, systems, and...

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Scott S Gordon wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 01:25 GMT
Hi Terry,

I read you essay and I loved the last paragraph...

If you see such a thread and find it intriguing, your first step should be to find and immerse yourself in the details of any high-quality experimental data relevant to that thread. Some obscure detail from that data could become the unexpected clue that helps you break a major conceptual barrier. With hard work and insight, you might just become the person who finds a hidden gemstone of simplicity by unravelling the threads of misunderstanding that for decades have kept it hidden.

Now even though I am going to say this - I still loved your essay... Your conclusion is completely wrong and this is the reason why...

I can assure you with utmost confidence that no high-quality experiment with its high quality data will help in revealing what is hidden from us which is required to figure out the theory of everything. Yes I know I am making a very bold statement but, I just wanted you to hear this for future reference when physicists start looking into Gordon's Theory of Everything.

The law of conservation of energy is what is preventing us from realizing what dark energy is... Yes it would actually break the law of physics to solve the theory of everything the way you are proposing. :)

Anyway - if you have any interest - a very limited exposure to my theory is presented in my essay, "The Day After the Nightmare Scenario"

All the best to you

Scott S Gordon, MD/Engr.

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 03:41 GMT
Hi Scott,

I love it!!

Yep, you are right: Details of past data are unlikely to do squiddly for such incredibly important issues as “dark matter” and “dark energy”. You nailed me royally on that point! I was thinking in particular about overlooked issues in the Standard Model, but hey, even there the whole dark-dark issue has to come in somehow.

I’ve added you to my reading list, which is a getting a bit long, but I hope to get to it soon.

Thanks again! Since I am Missourian by upbringing, it is the well-stated critiques that make my day. I’ve found by hard experience that if I start getting way too confident in my own ideas, I start looking and acting like the rear end of one of those Missouri mules. :)

Cheers,

Terry

Anonymous wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 05:13 GMT
Hi Terry,

I liked that you provided a simple model of what is fundamental. And your essay followed its own premise: "Fundamental as Fewer Bits". I really enjoyed reading it.

In particular I liked:

"Because gravity is so weak, principles of quantum mechanics drove the scale of such models into both extremely small length scales and extraordinarily high energies. This in turn helped unleash so many new options for “exploration” that the original Standard Model simply got lost in an almost unimaginably large sea of possibilities.[9]"

I my essay "The Thing that is Space-Time" I attempt to pull gravity out of the Standard Model.

I postulate a graviton is not a Boson and that, and in general has very low energy and very large distances (aka wavelength) that span all the matter in the universe. Thus it is a very low energy particle. I use three basic equations to produce this theory: 1. The Planck-Einstein equation. 2. E=mc^2 and 3. The equation for the Planck mass. The general overview is that the graviton is much like a guitar string that is anchored on opposing Planck masses. This quantum mechanical guitar string (the graviton) has a mass and instead of supporting musical notes it supports the different frequencies of light (photons).

Question: Would you take a look at my entry and let me know if this version of gravity has any merit in terms of meeting your criteria of having fewer bits? Any response appreciated!

Thanks,

Don Limuti

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 18:00 GMT
Don,

Thank you both for your supportive remarks, and for your intriguing comments on a non-boson approach to gravity! I will definitely take a look, though I should warn you that my reading queue is getting a bit long.

I'd say that your proposing a "non-boson" approach sounds pretty radical... except that after about 40 years of trying, the boson approaches still haven't really worked, have they? Also, general relativity, which does succeed very well experimentally (well, there is that dark energy thing) is anything but "boson" based. I think folks underestimate just how utterly incompatible the boson approach of quantum gravity and the geometric approach of general relativity are! The very languages are so utterly different that it's hard even to say what either one means in the language of the other.

So, thanks again, and I'll get to your essay as soon as I can.

Cheers,

Terry

Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 18:27 GMT
Don,

My apologies, I completely forgot this one.

I have now created a response folder for your essay and my responses. (Yes, I create an entire folder for each essayist with whom I interact.)

Most likely I got distracted (left my laptop) right after responding to you. With so many essays and so many posts (and other distractions), I tend to forget my promises if I do not immediately created the corresponding folder.

Please note in advance that due to my own pledge (see link at bottom) I can be a pretty tough reviewer. So, when folks request reviews I reserve the right just to make comments and not to score the essay in cases where I know I would give a low score. I don’t mind giving blunt feedback— sometimes we all need that — but I just don’t feel good giving low scores in response to a polite request for a review.

It’s best to mention all of this before I look at your essay, since I have no idea in advance what I’ll be seeing or how I may react.

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

Essayist’s Rating Pledge by Terry Bollinger

Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 17:12 GMT
Terry,

This is a fine essay with many interesting points, eminently clear and sensible. On your main theme of simplicity, you should check out Inés Samengo’s excellent essay. She has a similar take, but also considers the scope of a theory as a second key factor in determining what’s fundamental. And she makes the point that these two criteria are not necessarily in synch. FYI,...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 19:57 GMT

[Argh, I almost became Anonymous! Why in the world does FQXi automatically sign people out after a few hours, without even giving a warning like everyone else in the world? And similarly, why do they keep expiring the reCAPCHA? That’s not security, that’s just annoying, argh2! Keeping folks signed in is the norm these days!]

First, I should probably mention...

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Conrad Dale Johnson replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 19:33 GMT
Hi Terry,

I saw the amazing brainstorm in your 2/17 “quick addendum” comment on Karen Crowther’s essay, but thought it was more appropriate to respond here. (Unfortunately since your comment is hidden in that thread, I can’t link to it directly.)

The basic idea is that perturbative theory is more fundamental than non-perturbative theory, even where the latter is actually...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 15:36 GMT

Out of sheer luck I managed to find this posting just now! Speaking of how difficult it is to find reply postings and such, would be sooooo nice if FQXi did things like:

-- When people sign up to get alerts for new or reply postings to an essay, send them emails with real, exact links to the new posts or replies, as opposed to mindlessly repeating only the generic link to the top-level essay;

-- Make linking to sub-posts trivial and intuitive;

-- Fix the "invisible sub-post" problem;

-- Stop taking people to some new or wrong location after they do something like logout to log back in again (which should keep you on the same login in page, not send you off to the home FQXi home page!);

-- And worst of all, stop logging people out invisibly and for no reason!

Other than that, I'm good... :)

Conrad, it will be my great pleasure to respond in more detail to you today. I'll also try to fix some of the invisibility issues. I am for example considering consolidating those two very radical on-the-fly postings into one top-level mini-essay of some sort.

More later!

Cheers,

Terry

Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 17:30 GMT
Dear Terry,

I was most impressed, even inspired. Your ability to find the right questions is leagues above most who can't even recognize correct answers! Lucid, direct, one of the best here.

I entirely agree on simplicity as the title of my own essay suggests, but isn't a reason we haven't advanced that our brains can't quite yet decode the complex puzzle (information)?

But...

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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 20:16 GMT
Terry,

I omitted the link to the Ridiculously Simple; 100 second video glimpse.

Peter

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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 20:19 GMT
..this time with the first 'h'(ttp); https://youtu.be/WKTXNvbkhhI 100 sec..Classic QM

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 02:33 GMT
Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 17:30 GMT

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_144251

De
ar Terry,

I was most impressed, even inspired. Your ability to find the right questions is leagues above most who can't even recognize correct answers! Lucid, direct, one of the best here.

I entirely agree on simplicity as the title of my own essay suggests,...

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 18:13 GMT
Dear Terry Bollinger,

My challenge #0:

Accept that the border between past and future is a non-arbitrary point of reference; hence cosine transformation is more concise than complex-valued Fourier transformation. Just the redundant information of a chosen point t=0 is missing.

Thank you for encouragement,

Eckard

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 04:53 GMT
Eckard,

Your essay caught me completely off guard. For a number or reasons I pretty much accept the “now is real” interpretation a the only one that is logically self-consistent, since all block models of time require a sort of magical preconstruction of the block that on closer examination cannot be made self-consistent without some kind of causality-enforcing “growth” from past to...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 12:11 GMT
A reply of mine to this comment was unfortunately edited in a mutilating manner. I merely recall that you mentioned fractional calculus. Maybe, I should have a look at this because for instance half differentiation implies boundaries.

Eckard

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Wayne R Lundberg wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 20:28 GMT
Dear Terry,

It has always been the case that the very high-end computing requirements of theoretical physics produce machines and codes specialized to the theoretic structure. So of course the IT community is always a key player. Lattice Gauge Theory, among others, are very compute-intensive stuff! But lets get to the fundamental physics of the subject...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 23:44 GMT
Dear Wayne,

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

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Wayne R Lundberg replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:00 GMT
...btw, the offer to work on a javascript part of the problem still stands.

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 18:40 GMT
All,

I'm having some difficulty getting in the amount of FQXi time I wanted to this weekend, but I still hope to get to all of your excellent comments and questions this evening, Sun 18 Feb.

Cheers,

Terry

James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 19:30 GMT
Terry,

Seems to be some subterfuge on scoring. My score for you on 2/16 was an 8, reflecting a high opinion of your piece. Hope you can check out my essay.

Jim

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 21:10 GMT
Dear Terry,

Congratulations for the essay contestant pledge that you introduced (goo.gl/KCCujt) --- I think we should all follow it, and I will certainly attempt to from now on. Congratulations also on the truly constructive comments that you have left so far on the threads of many of the participants in this contest. I thought I would use a similar format and comment on your...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 00:39 GMT
Marc,

Thank you for such generous, detailed, and insightful comments! That is the best critique section I’ve seen yet for my essay, and your comments definitely made me consider how to do a number of items better.

I put the diagram together with a focus on capturing the idea of “excursions” away from the main message, and freely confess that some of my choices for labels were...

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Jeffrey Michael Schmitz wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 23:37 GMT
Dear Terry,

This is a well-written essay for a general science reader (by far the hardest type of essay to write). Looks like you have a good shot at winning. The word "tree" is simple, but a tree is complex. Does a simple equation mean a simple thing? Perhaps a simple equation just fits with how we communicate or think.

A side note: I thought spin 1/2 is the way it is because of interaction with photons a spin 1.

All the best,

Jeff Schmitz

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 20:28 GMT
Jeff,

I did a boo-boo and replied to you at the essay posting level instead of directly to your above post. So in case you or anyone interested has not seen my reply, you can either mosey down a couple of posts to the next Author posting, or try this direct link. I also posted an essay assessment under your essay, which I assume you have seen. For anyone else interested, my assessment of Jeff’s essay is located here.

Cheers, Terry

Declan Andrew Traill wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 02:12 GMT
A nice essay. I think you would be interested in my 2012 FQXi essay titled "A Classical Reconstruction of Relativity" located here:

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1363

And my work on modelling the electron/positron wavefunctions as 3D standing waves, located here: http://vixra.org/pdf/1507.0054v6.pdf

I also have an essay in this year's contest titled "A Fundamental Misunderstanding" about a Classical explanation for QM entanglement (EPR experiment).

Regards,

Declan Traill

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 04:23 GMT
Declan,

Argh! Dang it! I was all ready to dismiss your 2012 essay out-of-hand as “obviously and immediately geometrically self-contradictory”… and then realized you’ve created a genuinely clever and self-consistent world with this idea, even if I’m still not convinced of it being the same world we live in.

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 02:27 GMT
Dear Jeff,

Regarding spin, it’s definitely the interaction between identical fermions, e.g. a bunch of tightly packed electrons, that makes them unique. What happens is that the antisymmetric nature of the fermion wave functions cause surfaces of zero probability of finding an electron to form between them. This compresses the electrons, which do not like that at all and fight back by trying to expand the space within these zero-probability cells that form around them. The result is a kind of probability foam that we so casually call “volume” in classical physics. Without this effect, earth would be just a centimeters-ish black hole.

This Pauli exclusion occurs for any cluster of identical fermions, regardless of electromagnetic or any other kind of charge, and so is completely unrelated to electromagnetism and the spin 1 photons that make electromagnetism possible.

By far the best short explanation of antisymmetric (spin ½) and symmetric (spin 1) wave functions that I’ve encountered on the web are these two teaching notes by Simon Connell, a physics professor in South Africa:

Symmetric / antisymmetric wave functions

Pauli's exclusion principle

Cheers,

Terry Bollinger, Fundamental as Fewer Bits

Heinrich Luediger wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 10:37 GMT
Dear Terry

“The universe indisputably possesses a wide range of well - defined structures and behaviors that exist independently of human knowledge and actions.” is what you say. I’m not asking for a proof of that naturalistic dogma (it does not exist), only a minimum level of critical attitude. Hilbert eventually understood that what a point or a line is doesn’t fall into the realm of logic/mathematics. And the literature dealing with what a bit information-theoretically is worth multi-gigabytes…

Heinrich

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 14:12 GMT
Dear Terry,

You presented your essay from a viewpoint with which I have little familiarity, and as a result I truly enjoyed having familiar ideas examined from a perspective that was novel to me.

1. Your example involving the sequence which can be found in the decimal expression of pi reminded me of the fact that most irrational numbers are still unknown to us....

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 03:00 GMT
Dear Armin,

Thank you for such a thoughtful and detailed set of comments! I’ll take out of order so I can address #3 first:

----------

#3. Wow, good catch! Not only are variational principles relevant to straightening out the Kolmogorov path, I had to cut that section out due to length constraints!

The variation of variational :) that I was originally planning to use...

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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 13:32 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thank you for your extended reply. I just wanted to acknowledge the following:

3. I am glad to see that connections between the variational principles and Kolmogorov Complexity have been discovered already. Applied specifically to the path integral, I believe that there is a more fundamental principle at work. In an amended form of Philip Gibbs' phrasing, it could be...

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 19:42 GMT
Dear Heinrich Luediger,

I took the liberty to read your “Context” essay before attempting to respond to your comments, to make sure that I understood fully what you are attempting to say. If you have read enough of my posting comments for this year’s (2017) contest, you will surely be aware that I hold philosophy as an approach to life in high regard, and that some of my favorite...

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Heinrich Luediger replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 12:27 GMT
Dear Terry (if that’s you),

Thanks for giving so much thought to my essay!

To begin with: already the comment I left on your site should make clear that I’m not under the impression of an ongoing conspiracy, but rather believe that much of science has got “lost in math”, to quote Sabine Hossenfelder. However, other than Hossenfelder I take the title of her book literally,...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 10:08 GMT
Heinrich,

I think the saying that we can agree to disagree works here. But doesn't using a fully classical computer sometimes get a little Bohring?... :)

Finally, I just have to mention that your first name, Heinrich, stands out for me because it was a very common name in my family eight generations ago, when they first came to the New-To-Europeans-World from Germany. They were from the same area in Europe, near a large lake (can't recall the name) as Bollinger sandstone and Heinrich Bullinger. So, probably some interesting history there. The name was transformed to Henry once they settled in Missouri.

(Regarding my phrase New-to-the-Europeans-World: I think is quite likely that the native Americans had already noticed both that their world was there, and that in terms of generations of ancestors, it was not even particularly new. They were quite observant about such things, often more so than folks who walk around all day with smart phones in front of them... :)

Cheers,

Terry

Heinrich Luediger replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 13:40 GMT
Dear Terry,

Maybe it’s in the German genes that we prefer to think it out over trying it out...

Heinrich

P.S. From the hints you gave your family once came from Switzerland. Gruezi!

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peter cameron wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 09:27 GMT
Hello Terry,

imo your contestant pledge is right on target, makes specific some of the concerns and disappointments i've felt in exploring many of the threads, and particularly the offers to barter good scores. Only point on which i hesitate is your contention that one should avoid rating an essay highly because its conclusions are agreeable to a given reader's perspective. After all the...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 19:46 GMT
Greetings Peter and Michaele,

Thanks you for this marvelous and extremely interesting set of comments! I did not know of the existence of viXra.org, which seems to have the same free-access goals arXiv.org originally intended to provide. Once I found it (with some difficulty; Google Scholar does not index it) and your spot there I downloaded a large sampling of your papers.

Each...

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peter cameron replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 18:05 GMT
Terry,

Like your practice of numbering responses by paragraphs. and a useful analytic. Had not thought of approaching my reading in that manner. Like that free acrobat permits highlighting and commenting.

Many interesting thoughts in your responses. Skipping beyond a few of them to

(4) Euler's identity - yes, apparent deepness of connection between math and matter befuddles....

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peter cameron replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 18:18 GMT
took a look at the Rochester poster. Had forgotten superheavies (top/higgs/Z/W) line is in the wrong place by a power of alpha in figure 4. Better reference for that figure is the big bang/bounce paper http://vixra.org/abs/1501.0208

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 23:20 GMT
Dear Terry,

I enjoyed very much your essay, and I take the opportunity to say that your pledge is great and we should all adopt it. I think the idea "Fundamental as Fewer Bits", using Kolmogorov complexity, is great, and I am also using it to propose to identify the simplest theory in section 5 of this reference. Of course, this is not an absolute measure, because each equation has behind...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 09:44 GMT
Cristi,

Thank you for such kind remarks, and I’m glad you liked my essay!

Your first paragraph above is a very good analysis of issues that for reasons both of essay length limits and keeping the focus on a general audience I decided not to put into the essay.

One way I like to express such issues is that the full Kolmogorov complexity can be found only by treating the...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 12:35 GMT
Terry,

Did you see my 17.2.18 post above & 100sec video deriving non-integer spins from my essays mechanism resolving the EPR paradox? (I've just found the 'duplet state' confirmation in the Poincare sphere)

That all emerged from a 2010 SR model http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1330 finally able to resolve the ecliptic plane & stellar aberration issues and a tranche of others (expanded on in subsequent finalist essays).

i.e you'll be aware of George Kaplans USNO circ (p6) following IAU discussions.

(Of course all including editors dismiss such progress as impossible so it's still not in a leading journal!)

Hope you can look & comment

Peter

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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 14:23 GMT
Terry,

I like your definition (quote?) of QM. The thing about history is that nobody can see it as history at the time.

There's history being written in my essay you've so far missed due to normal embedded assumptions. To make it more visible I've posted the below check list which the ontology builds on; Hope you can find the l time to look with a fresh mind.

AS MOST STRUGGLE WITH THE CLASSICAL SEQUENCE (TO MUCH TO HOLD IN MIND ALL AT ONCE) A QUICK OUTLINE INTRO IS HERE;

1. Start with Poincare sphere OAM; with 2 orthogonal momenta pairs NOT 'singlets'.

2. Pairs have antiparalell axis (random shared y,z). (photon wavefront sim.)

3. Interact with identical (polariser electron) spheres rotatable by A,B.

4. Momentum exchange as actually proved, by Cos latitude at tan intersection.

5. Result 'SAME' or 'OPP' dir. Re-emit polarised with amplitude phase dependent.

6. Photomultiplier electrons give 2nd Cos distribution & 90o phase values.

7. The non detects are all below a threshold amplitude at either channel angle.

8. Statisticians then analyse using CORRECT assumptions about what's 'measured!

The numbers match CHSH>2 and steering inequality >1 As the matching computer code & plot in Declan Traill's short essay. All is Bell compliant as he didn't falsify the trick with reversible green/red socks (the TWO pairs of states).

After deriving it in last years figs I only discovered the Poincare sphere already existed thanks to Ulla M during this contest. I hope that helps introduce the ontology.

Very best. Peter

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 13:57 GMT
Peter Jackson, Eckard Blumschein, Wayne R Lundberg, James Lee Hoover, Marc Séguin, and Jeffrey Michael Schmitz:

This is to let you know that I am aware that all six of you have unanswered postings on my essay-level posting thread. I will strive mightily today Wed 21 Feb to provide at least short replies to all of your postings. My replies will be in the form of direct subthread replies to your postings. I will also try but not promise to assess your essays, unless you have requested me not to. If I assess your posting, it will be as a new post under your essay-level posting thread.

As many of you have likely noticed, my problem is that I tend to do a pretty deep analysis of each posting and essay, including looking up author papers if they exist. So even when I try hard to be "brief", I tend not to be! I also do most posting composition and editing offline to reduces chances of loss, check spelling better, and make sure my sentences are whole. That too slows the process.

If you don't believe that I tend to be overly talky... well, take a look at this "brief alert to unanswered authors" that you are reading right now... :)

Cheers, Terry Bollinger

"Quantum mechanics is simpler than most people realize. It is no more and no less than the physics of things for which history has not yet been written."

Philip Gibbs wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 19:06 GMT
Terry, thanks for a very clear and interesting essay.

It seems there are two types of information covered in your essay. There is the information required to describe a theory such as the standard model, and there is the information in the state space of the theory. Mostly you are talking about the former, but for example, when you talk about redundancy in symmetry that is about the latter.

Do you make any distinction between the roles played by these two types of information?

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 19:12 GMT
Philip,

Thank you for your kind comments, and my apologies — I lost this one!

I will provide a longer reply after I take a look at your essay, which I had already independently listed as one that I definitely wanted to read.

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 04:30 GMT
Philip,

Your question about whether there is a distinction between descriptive (which I interpret as more “English like”) data and data that can be reduced though symmetry groups.

The best answer I can give is that (a) I really don’t know, and (b) I nonetheless rather strongly suspect that even the most random-looking descriptive parts of a theory are just finer-scale...

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 19:39 GMT
Terry,

I've been mulling this over. If I accept the Kolmogorov (Kolmogorov-Chaitin) complexity as the ultimate foundation standard, let me understand:

You would have me believe that the world is fundamentally made of information bits that are algorithmically compressible. Okay, I'll entertain that notion.

Except that you used the example of Einstein, E=mc^2, to serve as a minimum Kolmogorov complexity, arguing that mathematical conciseness is the standard.

The equation, however, is not irreducible. The meaning of the equation is in the expression E = m. The second degree addition tells us that the relations in the equation are dynamic, that energy and mass may take infinite values. The binding energy then was discovered through experiment, setting a practical limit.

So I find myself moving ever closer to Brian Josephson's premise that meaning itself is fundamental. And meaning seems to be that which contains the requisite first degree information to "Be fruitful and multiply" as the Bible has it. So I suspect that meaning precedes construction. Or compression.

Enjoyed the essay.

Best,

Tom

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 05:55 GMT
Tom,

Information (bits) and meaning are not the same thing at all, nor does the idea of binary compression create meaning. All compression does is eliminate bits that are not part of the primary meaning of the message.

To get at the meaning, you have to have some much broader context by which to interpret those bits. Since you mentioned the Bible, an example would be a Unicode version of the Bible in, say, German. Until you understand both Unicode and the German language, that bit string remains just that: a string of bits. The meaning only comes from that broader context.

Or for another analogy, compression is more like panning for gold. It helps pull out the gold, sure, but the value of that gold depends entirely on the person doing the panning.

For more on the relationship between data and meaning, please see this posting I did about how the meaning of a given string of bits can vary over time.

Thanks again for some well-stated questions!

Cheers,

Terry Bollinger

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 12:04 GMT
Terry,

Perhaps because I think like a complex systems scientist, I agree with your gold mining metaphor -- applied to information. Information without waste and redundancy is efficient and useful. On the other hand, waste and redundancy are assets to creativity. The meaning that one assigns to information is a subjective judgement; it does not necessarily contain the requisite information to "be fruitful and multiply."

A priori meaning is that which precedes information, and continues without the user's knowledge. For example, Leslie Lamport said, "A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable." Unusable, not meaningless. For in the context of the system, rejected information is useful somewhere else in the system.

Thanks for bringing the dialogue to a higher level. It is most welcome.

Best,

Tom

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:14 GMT
Dear Terry

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 05:27 GMT
Terry,

Not sure what you mean:

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

My comments above did not apply to you, basically the contest in general.

Jim

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 00:07 GMT
All,

I just did an evaluation of Karl Coryat’s excellent essay The Four Pillars of Fundamentality. It is both funny and profound, and I recommend it highy!

For anyone interested, I once again inadvertently got “into the zone” while contemplating Karl’s Pillar #3 (Relations), resulting in another one of my on-the-fly mini-papers. This one addresses two topics: (a) the deep physics level fundamentality of “relations”, which is the topic of Karl’s Pillar #4, and (b) a years-old space-as-entanglement idea from my personal physics notes.

I had not intended to present the space-as-entanglement idea here, but it just seemed too relevant. It is equivalent to a hugely simplified, non-holographic approach to constructing 3-space out of a direct 3D (not 4D) web of group-level entanglements. The entangled “unit of space” is an overlooked direction-only conjugate component of particle spin. Since these were just personal musings, I was genuinely surprised to find out that a lively community for exploring the idea that space is a form of 4D holographic entanglement has existed for years. My version is much simpler (3D), much more direct (just a web), and I think kind of fun to read as a mind-stretching exercise if nothing else!

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 01:19 GMT
All,

Another very well written essay that I must recommend is Marc Séguin’s Fundamentality Here, Fundamentality There, Fundamentality Everywhere.

It was one of my most enjoyable reads. It is lucid, learned, well-stated, well-ordered, addresses the topic in an interesting and engaging way, and has a sly self-deprecating sense of humor that had me chuckling multiple times. It is also spot-on for the question that FQXi asked this year.

On looking back at my assessment of Marc’s essay, it looks like I got a bit carried away again. This time the topic was the nature of qualia. That is the word for the internal sensations and emotions that you can bring up in your mind without external sensory inputs. Try it: Close your eyes and imaging red and green lights, alternating. Those are qualia.

Notice that even though your optical system consistently maps the external light frequencies that we call red and green into the corresponding qualia in your head, the very fact that you can bring up the qualia without any external stimulation shows that all that is going on here is mapping: the light frequencies get mapped into those “somethings” in your head that you can also bring up from memory. For all you or I know, what red light brings up in my head might be what you would have called green. That sort of thing happens all the time for folks with synesthesia (which makes me jealous!).

So if you happen to have any interest in qualia, you can see what I wrote in my comments on Marc’s essay.

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

Essayist’s Rating Pledge by Terry Bollinger

Member Marc Séguin replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 03:09 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thank you for the kind words about my essay! To keep the ball rolling, may I recommend another excellent essay,

"What if even the Theory of Everything isn’t fundamental" by Paul Bastiaansen

fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3063

I too got carried away with my comments on his thread... I used, of course, your very helpful and honest "what I liked/what I liked less" approach, and even referred to your essay contestant pledge!

Cheers,

Marc

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 16:37 GMT
The Crowther Criteria for Fundamental Theories of Physics

The source for this consolidated and lightly edited list is the 2017 FQXi Essay When do we stop digging? Conditions on a fundamental theory of physics, by Dr Karen Crowley at the University of Geneva. You can download her essay and read the discussion about it here:

_details/Crowther_Crowther_-_when_do.pdf

To qualify under the Crowther Criteria, a fundamental theory of physics must be:

CC#1. Unified: It must address all of reality using a single set of self-consistent premises.

CC#2. Unique: It should be the only possible theory once its premises have been stated formally.

CC#3. UV complete: There should not exist any phenomena are outside of its formal scope.

CC#4. Non-perturbative: Its formalisms should be exactly solvable rather than probabilistic.

CC#5. Internally self-consistent: It should be well-defined formally, and should not generate singularities.

CC#6. Scale smooth: Its explanation of reality should be continuous across all scales (levels) of space and time, with no gaps, overlaps, or other discontinuities.

CC#7. Fully generative: It requires no pre-existing fixed or “given” structures, such as space itself, that have complex and non-trivial properties.

CC#8. Natural: It should require no arbitrary, inexplicable “fine-tuning” of numeric parameters.

CC#9. Not weird: The underlying premises should be simple, easily comprehensible, and subject to Occam’s razor.

Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 18:52 GMT
Terry,

If #7 were true, physics would have no foundational theories. Complex, non-trivial properties are often the result of dynamics with specified boundary conditions.

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Paul Bastiaansen wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 19:30 GMT
Dear Terry,

An original and daring idea, to define a numerical measure to answer the question ‘what is fundamental’. It is really interesting to literally view scientific theories as a concise way to represent measurement data.

I have a few comments. Your example of decimals of pi nicely illustrates that an unambiguous measure of Kolmogorov complexity is not possible. The example...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 22:34 GMT
All,

I’m introducing a new FQXi process idea here, which is this: I want to create a new format for capturing important essay contest conversations in a more explicit, more accessible form that makes them easier to cite and reference.

Specifically, I will be posting for reference a number of supplemental "mini-essays" that capture, clean up, and document some of the particularly...

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Wayne R Lundberg replied on Mar. 3, 2018 @ 19:21 GMT
Terry, while I liked her essay and criteria a lot, I'm sure that there are more than really necessary. Especially when you consider that the mathematical uniqueness criteria can only be filled by a cosmology with 11 dimensions, one of which is a cyclic variable. I don't know of any other besides my own theta-mass-time.

WRL

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Gordon Watson wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 22:45 GMT
Terry, some quick short notes as I work my way to your essay:

1. FQXi Essay Contestant Pledge = Suggested FQXi Voting Pledge

Your Pledge is so refreshing that I've hot-linked it above. LHS wording of the title is yours; to me, it reads "official" and is thus too hopeful (for now). RHS is my suggested edit as we work with FQXi to improve things!

2. Under current...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 22:49 GMT
… and of course, not having a line return at the end of the text URL caused the FQXi software to invalidate the URL by placing its final digit on a separate line. I’m pretty sure that did not show up in the preview, but maybe I just didn’t notice it. Tsk, why didn’t I anticipate such an obvious bug in advance?... :)

Trying again:

--------------------

To link to the mini-essay titled:

The Crowther Criteria for Fundamental Theories of Physics

… Please copy and paste either the named link above or the direct URL below:

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14555
1

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 22:56 GMT
AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! EVEN IF I WIN THIS IS NOT WORTH \$10,000!!

--------------------

To link to the mini-essay titled:

The Crowther Criteria for Fundamental Theories of Physics

… Please copy and paste either the named link above or the direct URL below:

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14555
1

Mary had a little lamb, I hope it eats the bug…

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 23:03 GMT
(Why THANK YOU nice uniformed people that my wife just called in! Yes, I would just LOVE to wear that nice white jacket to help keep my arms from spontaneously beating my own head! Just be sure to send the bill to FQXi!)

Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 14:23 GMT
You're new here, aren't you? :-)

Being also retired from the DoD, you must have experienced the difficulties making legacy software work with rapidly advancing technology and updates to Windows. You're suffering from PTSD.

The world is catching up with us, Terry.

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 22:38 GMT
Oh yes indeedy! The stories either of us could tell... DISA alone...

But in recent years I had the true privilege of working almost entirely with (a) Leading-edge commercial tech (I saw Google's Earth tech before Google owned it, and some amazing drones long before anyone had them at home); and (b) AI and robotics research. In short, I got spoiled!

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 22:43 GMT
Fundamental as (Literally) Finding the Cusp of Meaning

Terry Bollinger, 2018-02-25 Feb

NOTE: The purpose of a mini-essay is to capture some idea, approach, or even a prototype theory that resulted from idea sharing by FQXi Essay contestants. This mini-essay was inspired primarily by two essays:

The Perception of Order by Noson S Yanofsky

The Laws of Physics by...

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Anonymous replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:21 GMT
Hi Terry,

I consider such mini-essays and / or addenda as very helpful - after one has read dozens of different essays with different ideas and at least I would need a somewhat more compact summary of the main ideas of the many different authors.

'Protocols' sounds like a rather mechanical...

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Conrad Dale Johnson replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 15:18 GMT
Terry –

That was wonderfully clear and readable, not to mention vast in scope - an excellent summary of what I think are the key issues here. I agree with pretty much everything, except – there’s a basic missing piece to your concept of meaning. Naturally, it happens to be what I’ve been trying to articulate in my essays.

You write, “To create and distribute a protocol...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 22:53 GMT
To link to the mini-essay titled:

Fundamental as (Literally) Finding the Cusp of Meaning

… Please copy and paste either the named link above or the direct URL below (beware of possible line breaks in the URL):

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_145761

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 00:28 GMT
FQXi Essay Contestant Pledge

Author: Terry Bollinger. Version 1.3, 2018-02-15

----------------------------------------

When evaluating essays from other FQXi Contest participants, I pledge that I will rate and comment on essays based only on the following criteria:

-- My best, most accurate judgement of the quality of the essay, without regard to how my ratings and comments on that essay could affect my own contest status.

-- How well the essay makes its argument to back up its answer.

-- How accurately and reliably an essay uses reference materials.

-- How focused the essay is on answering the question as posed and intended by FQXi. (This is secondary to criteria above.)

Furthermore, I will consciously strive to:

-- Avoid rating an essay low just because it has a novel approach.

-- Avoid rating an essay low because I disagree with its answer. Instead, I will focus how well the essay argues for that answer.

-- Avoid rating an essay high solely because I like its conclusion. Even if I agree, my rating will reflect the overall essay quality.

-- Avoid ratings inflation. If an essay does very poorly at arguing its conclusion, I pledge to give it the appropriate low rating, versus an inflated “just being nice” number such as a 5 or 6.

-- Avoid reprisal behavior. I pledge that I will never knowingly assign unfair point ratings or make false comments about another essay as a form of reprisal against another contestant who gave my essay low ratings or negative comments.

-- Avoid rudeness towards other contestants. If other contestants become abusive, I will appeal to FQXi to intervene, rather than attempt to respond in kind on my own.

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 00:33 GMT

FQXi Essay Contestant Pledge

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14577
9

Gordon Watson wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 10:31 GMT
Terry, I'm copying my "voting suggestions, etc" above to me essay-thread. I'm hoping to get others involved.

Thanks; Gordon More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 12:56 GMT
Gordon,

Thank you for supporting the Pledge!

Your title is intriguing; look at my signature line and its single-concept definition of QM and you can see why. My queue on this last day is long, but I will follow your link and a look at your essay.

Cheers,

Terry

Fundamental as Fewer Bits by Terry Bollinger (Essay 3099)

Essayist’s Rating Pledge by Terry Bollinger

"Quantum mechanics is simpler than most people realize. It is no more and no less than the physics of things for which history has not yet been written."

Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 13:29 GMT
Gordon,

Wow! That is one of the best arguments for locality that I think I’ve seen. I like your Bell-ish style of writing and focus on specifics. You are of course in very good company, since both Einstein and Bell were localists.

I can’t do a detailed assessment today — too many equations that would need careful examination to assess your argument meaningfully — but what I’ve seen at a quick look seems pretty solid.

That said, there is an expanding class of pro-entanglement data anomalies that you need somehow to take into account:

ID230 Infrared Single-Photon Detector Hybrid Gated and Free-Running InGaAs/InP Photon Counter with Extremely Low Dark Count

This field has moved way beyond the Aspect studies. A lot of hard-nosed business folks figured out years ago that arguments against the existence of entanglement don’t matter much if they can simply build devices that violate Bell’s inequality. Which they did, and now they sell them to some very smart, physics-savvy customers who use them on a daily basis to encrypt some critical data transmissions. Many of these customers would be, shall we say, upset in interesting ways if some company sold them equipment that did not work.

Again, thanks for a well-argued essay! I’ll try (no promises though) to take a closer look at your essay at some later (post-commenting-close) date. Again assuming the equations are solid, yours is the kind of in-depth analysis needed to sharpen everyone’s thinking about such topics.

Cheers,

Terry

Gordon Watson replied on Mar. 1, 2018 @ 05:00 GMT
Terry: NB: your time is avaluable to me; so no need to rush! Seeking to minimize misunderstandings -- see below -- from the get-go, your comments follow [with some editing for efficiency] -- with some bolding for clarity (and sometimes emphasis).

TB: "Your title is intriguing; look at my signature line and its single-concept definition of QM and you can see...

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post approved

Giovanni Prisinzano wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 15:44 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thank you for your beautiful, meditated and profound essay, as well as for your great and very balanced contribution to the forum!

All the best,

Giovanni

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:31 GMT
Giovanni,

Well... hmm, it's Feb 27 but this is still working, at least for a while.

Thank you for your very kind remarks! I'll be sure to read your essay, as I try to do whenever anyone posts, even though the rating periods is over.

(Or can we still post, just not rate? Sigh. I must read the rules again...)

Cheers,

Terry

Giovanni Prisinzano replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 18:11 GMT
Dear Terry,

there is no hurry to read my essay, if you want to do it. The forum remains open until the nomination of the winners (and even beyond), although I fear it will be very little frequented from now on.

Mine is the modest contribution of a non-specialist. Read it without obligation, when you have time.

Regarding the scoring system, I know it enough, having participated...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 01:50 GMT
Giovanni,

I have finally figured out how to finds posts like yours! I simply search by date, e.g. "Feb. 27" for this one. It has been very hard for my poor brain to find entries when they show up in the middle of the blogs, both in mine and in others.

Thank you for your positive and constructive comments! Also, thanks for that bit of info on how just the ratings close, not the commenting. I for one will be more likely to show up, not less. The ratings part is designed like a Hunger Games incentive program, so having it gone makes me feel like a more unfettered form synergistic interactions is now possible.

I am particularly appreciative of your quick list of essays worth examining. I plan to look at them, hopefully all of them! I keep finding unexpectedly interesting points in so many of these essays.

Finally, please feel very free to post in my essay thread anytime you want to. It never even occurred to me that it might not be the right "spot" for you to do so. (Come to think of it, considering some of the humongous posts that I've put on other folks' threads, I guess it's sort of a given that I'm not too worried about people cross-posting, isn't it?)

Cheers,

Terry

Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 17:52 GMT
Terry,

In our (Feb 17th) string above we didn't resolve the non integer spin video matter; 100 sec video Classic QM. It's just occurred that you were after a POLAR spin 1/2, 2 etc! Now that's not quite what the original analysis implied, but, lest it may have been, YES, the 3 degrees of freedom also produce that.

Just one y axis rotation with each polar rotation gives spin 1/2; Imagine the polar axis horizontal. Now rotate around the vertical axis to switch the poles horizontally. HALF a polar rotation at the same time brings your start point back.

Now a y axis rotation at HALF that rate means it takes TWO rotations of the polar axis to t return to the start point.

Occam never made a simpler razor! It's a unique quality of a sphere that there's no polar axis momentum loss from y or z axis rotations.

Was there anything else? (apart from confusing random number distributions explained in Phillips's essay with real 'action at a distance'!) Of course tomography works but within strict distance limits. Just checked through Karen's list again and can't find one the DFM doesn't qualify for apart from a few particle physics bits. Can you check & see if I can stop digging now and leave those to the HEP specialists!?

Peter

PS; Not sure if that link hasn't suddenly died!

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:37 GMT
Peter,

Thank you for the follow-up, but at 12:30 AM I'm not quite sure I followed all of that? I assume you did see my long posting at your site? I'll try to read your posting above again when I'm awake... :/ zzz

Cheers,

Terry

Ulla Marianne Mattfolk wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 19:23 GMT
Hi,

This is a wonderful essay, with Deep fundamental knowledge. I am impressed.

Ulla Mattfolk https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3093

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:39 GMT
Ulla,

Thank you for your generous and kind remarks! It's past the rating period now, but I'll be sure to take a look at your essay tomorrow (today?)

Cheers,

Terry

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 03:37 GMT
The Illusion of Mathematical Formality

Terry Bollinger, 2018-02-26 Feb

Abstract. Quick: What is the most fundamental and least changing set of concepts in the universe? If you answered “mathematics,” you are not alone. In this mini-essay I argue that far from being eternal, formal statements are actually fragile, prematurely terminated first-steps in perturbative...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 03:42 GMT

The Illusion of Mathematical Formality

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14
6091

Anonymous wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 04:33 GMT
An Exceptionally Simple Space-As-Entanglement Theory

Terry Bollinger, 2018-02-26 Feb

Abstract. There has been quite a bit of attention in recent years to what has been called the holographic universe. This concept, which originated somehow from string theory (!), postulates that the universe is some kind of holographic image, rather than the 3D space we see....

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 04:39 GMT

An Exceptionally Simple Space-As-Entanglement Theory

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14610
0

Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 13:18 GMT
Terry,

Going back to what spawned string theory and Len Susskinds thoughts an even simpler interpretation in another direction seems to yield a whole lot more useful stuff without infinite recursion; i.e. here; VIDEO Time Dependent Redshift. Are we locked in a circular one way street without the exit of helicical paths?

My present classic QM derivation emerged from a test of the model and SR components, via the 2015 top scorer;The Red/Green Sock Trick.

Might it not be time to step back and review other routes?

Peter

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 04:57 GMT
It’s Time to Get Back to Real String Theory

Terry Bollinger, 2018-02026 Feb

Abstract. There is a real string theory. It is experimentally accessible and verifiable, at scales comparable to ordinary baryons and mesons, as opposed to the energetically impossible Planck foam version of string theory. It has perhaps 16 or so solutions, most likely, as opposed to the...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 05:00 GMT

It’s Time to Get Back to Real String Theory

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14610
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Juan Ramón González Álvarez wrote on Mar. 4, 2018 @ 23:44 GMT
"The World’s Most Famous Equation" is also one of the most misunderstood. First, it was first derived by Poincaré, not Einstein, and it is better written as

E0 = mc2

"Thus the 20 digit sequence could in principle be replaced by a short binary program that generates and indexes pi". Which would consume more memory than simply storing the original 20 digit...

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Author Terry Bollinger replied on Mar. 5, 2018 @ 03:01 GMT
Juan Ramón González Álvarez,

Thank you for your interesting comments! It took me a while to realize that your essay was back in 2012 (must have been an interesting year!), and that FQXi grants forward commenting access to all prior participants. That’s good to know.

Poincaré was amazing! His math was so advanced in comparison to that of Einstein (who had to get his wife’s...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Mar. 6, 2018 @ 03:40 GMT
Biomolecular Renormalization: A New Approach to Protein Chemistry

Terry Bollinger, 2018-03-05

Abstract. In every cell in your body, hundreds of proteins with very diverse purposes float in the same cytosol fluid, and yet somehow rapidly and efficiently carry out their equally diverse tasks including synthesis, analysis, demolition, replication, and movement. Based on an...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on Mar. 6, 2018 @ 03:43 GMT

Biomolecular Renormalization: A New Approach to Protein Chemistry

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3099#post_14
6380

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 1, 2018 @ 02:37 GMT
Hi folks,

I've been so quiet that at least one FQXi community member was worried about me (which I really appreciated, incidentally).

For the last couple of months I've been working on a paper on special relativity (SR). While some of the ideas in it are ones I've been exploring for years, it was my need for a good reference paper relevant to several 2017 FQXi essays that provoked me to make completion of the paper a priority. The paper will have more explanatory graphics than most physics papers, since SR is an intensely geometric theory that requires good graphics to describe and explore properly. I'll provide status updates on the paper here.

I've been trying to practice what I advocated in my 2017 FQXi essay, Fundamental as Fewer Bits. Focusing on conciseness leads in turn to an assertion with which I think most physicists would agree in principle, but which can be surprisingly difficult to apply in practice:

Physics is both extremely efficient and minimally redundant.

It sounds reasonable, right? It is, after all, just a variant of Occam's Razor.

However, if you apply the above assertion to current physics in a ruthless, machine-logic-level, history-indifferent way, it can be devastating in deeply interesting ways. I'll leave it to the reader to wonder why and how.

Cheers, Terry Bollinger

Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 2, 2018 @ 21:26 GMT
Hi folks,

For anyone who is disappointed in not winning this year, and who may also have thought that my essay had a pretty good shot, don't feel too badly. The FQXi Essay Winners direct-contact announcement day has come and gone, and like most of you I didn't even get a mention.

That is of course disappointing. I really did think it was a pretty solid piece of work, enough so that I will most definitely use those ideas elsewhere. But the nice thing is that my involvement with all of you in this incredibly diverse community of off-the-beaten path thinkers was so stimulating that it helped me to look at my own years of private physics notes in new ways, and to develop a renewed enthusiasm for capturing certain recurring themes in the form of papers intended for journal publication. For that I thank all of you!

I will continue on occasion to post here notices about papers, ideas, or online postings of figures and such. It's possible but a bit unlikely that I may submit a new essay in some future FQXi Essay Contest. However, I think working towards getting published in appropriate journals is a better goal for me now, especially since I don't have much interest in the prize money part of this contest. FQXi questions are often delightfully inspiring, but perhaps that is the best way to view them: As personal research challenges, and not necessarily as part of a contest per se.

Finally, my sincere congratulations to whomever the winners for the contest were this year!

I have some personal favorites, but if you the winners are not whom I expected, I will focus all the more on reading your winning essays carefully to understand better your perspectives and insights.

Cheers, Terry

Giovanni Prisinzano wrote on May. 3, 2018 @ 15:04 GMT
Dear Terry,

I'm happy to read new posts from you, even if there's a bit of disappointment in the last one. That I can certainly understand, because your essay is perhaps the most inspiring and convincing among those I read in the contest and certainly deserves to be among the winners. I am still using the present tense because the announcement has not yet happened, even if the date indicated for direct notifications has already passed. But we cannot completely rule out the possibility of a delay, since - as I remember with certainty - the names of the winners of the previous contest were posted with a delay of at least a week, although of course I cannot know if the times of personal notifications were respected.

I can only agree with your intention to publish your future contributions in appropriate journals. I would probably do that too, if I had the opportunity and the necessary skills. Participating in a FQXi contest is a very engaging and exciting adventure, but perhaps some changes in the guidelines and in the rating criteria would be appropriate to maintain the same interest in those who, like me and others, have already participated more than once.

I too would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the winners and above all I hope to continue reading about you and your works, Terry, in the near future.

Cheers,

Giovanni

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 3, 2018 @ 17:07 GMT
Giovanni,

It is good to hear from you again! Your essays and those you recommended (Coryat, Losev, Becker, and Bastiaansen I think it was), along with others (Tejinder Singh for example) were among that most helped me appreciate and to at least some degree better understand broader, more philosophical approaches to understanding reality. Given the paucity of answers that science has to...

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Giovanni Prisinzano wrote on May. 4, 2018 @ 20:21 GMT
Hi Terry,

Thank you for your kind, prompt, and articulate response, to which I intended to respond "by speedpost", (I don't know if I can say so, there is an Italian way of saying: "a stretto giro di posta", that is perhaps untranslatable), but then I started reading the essay by Tejinder Singh, which you mentioned and which I had unfortunately neglected so far. And I got a bit “lost”, not only in the essay as such, but especially in the conversation between him and you in his thread, which is very interesting, but requires time and attention to be followed as well as it deserves. But I'm a bit slow, in reading and writing, and I don't even have much free time, by now.

I also began to think, after reading about your planned mini-essay, of the nature of time, or rather to re-think of it, because for the 2015 FQXi contest I had written an essay about this and before even a book, in Italian. In them I argued that time, as well as space, has a mathematical nature, but I also tried to maintain its difference with respect to space and to suggest a possibility of explaining the passage from the past to the future, or "arrow" of time, which science has never so far fully succeeded in clarifying. Later, I thought that my approach was too speculative, but after reading other contributions on the relationship between mathematics and the world, such as that of Tegmark, or even, in a different perspective, of Singh himself, I don't think it is too much...

But on this I will return. First I have to complete reading the thread of your conversation with Tejinder Singh!

Cheers,

Giovanni

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 5, 2018 @ 04:45 GMT
Hi Giovanni,

I think the American equivalent of "a stretto giro di posta", at least for older Americans like me, is "by FedEx", that is, by Federal Express. This phrase was used most often back when FedEx was the only company capable of shipping items overnight via their centralized receive-sort-ship facility in Memphis, Tennessee. The founder of FedEx, Frederick Smith, famously got...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 5, 2018 @ 15:49 GMT
Kolmogorov Minimums and Wheeler-Feynman Emission-Absorber Theory [ABSTRACT ONLY]

Terry Bollinger, 2018-05-05

Abstract. While the predominant reason for arguing the existence of a block universe is the Einstein assumption that there is no other way to reconcile the many possible multiple-angle space foliations of special relativity, quantum mechanics also contains...

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Author Terry Bollinger wrote on May. 5, 2018 @ 15:53 GMT