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TOPIC: The End of Time (The Essay Contest) [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 15:44 GMT
Happy New Year! With the end of 2008 comes also the end of the FQXi essay contest on The Nature of Time. Judging will be taking place over the next month or so, after which winners can be announced. In the meantime, I thought it would be worth opening up a forum to discuss how this very experimental project has unfolded so far. I have some thoughts, to kick off the discussion.

First, it's been really fun, and very satisfying, to see so much real interest and high-quality thought put by people into the contest. In the essays I've read, there was an amazing range of content and also style, ranging from poetry to literary discussions of Jung, Heidigger, Hegel and others, all the way to abstruse mathematical tracts. Quality-wise, some of the essays were, shall we say, content-challenged, but even these showed for the most part a real enthusiasm, interest, and humility before the problem. And many of the essays I read were really very good, including some by complete not-academics.

In addition, I was somewhat surprised at the positive and supportive tone of much of the discussion. I expected a brawl, but instead saw a lot of friendliness, genuine interest, and discovery of common ground. (With of course, a significant dash of grandstanding and self-advertisement thrown in.)

To the extent that the essay contest was designed to get a lot of smart people thinking about, and collectively discussing, a compelling question, I think things have worked out really well.

I was less thrilled about how the voting system worked out; next time we will definitely change to a 'rating' system, so that people do not feel compelled to read lots of essays before providing some judgement on them. (It will be interesting to see how the public votes versus the restricted votes versus the judges' evaluations will compare. I suspect there will be significant differences.) Also, I was disturbed to hear (from various sources) of people who would have liked to enter but found out about the contest too late. This sort of community is one that it is very difficult to get the word out to, but we will keep working to improve this; suggestions are welcome.

So: as we wait for results, what are your thoughts: what worked, and what didn't? what should we do differently next time? and what should the next contest be about?

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Doug wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 16:47 GMT
Hi Anthony,

Wow! What a remarkable event. I concur with you completely. As a contestant, I want to thank you for this milestone change in the way science can be discussed. I think it will have ramifications far beyond what was initially expected, and I look forward to the next contest.

As for constructive criticism, I can think of a few things. First, I think it would be wonderful if the contestant had more editorial control of the essay’s discussion forum. It would have been so easy to control the unwanted “grandstanding” and “self-advertisement,” if the authors were able to delete, rather than just complain about, the offending posts. In giving the authors this control, I think the danger of squelching critical dialog in the forums would be minimal, since most authors relish true criticism.

The second point is somewhat related to the first. I think that it would really improve the discussion, if the authors were judged on a demonstration of their willingness to engage the comments and challenges posted in their respective forums. They would probably be more willing to do this, if they had more editorial control over the discussion.

Finally, the voting scheme turned out to be just awful. My essay was rated number two in the restricted voting for a long time simply because it happened to receive one restricted vote, while the majority of around 700, or so, potential restricted votes remained uncast. Of course, I’m not complaining about the favorable exposure, which that afforded my essay, but there’s got to be a better way.

I think there should be one vote for the public and the restricted electorate, and that contestants should be permitted to vote for their own essays. If the public is required to register with their email address, in order to cast their vote, they will only be able to vote once, practically speaking anyway, and a contestant’s vote for his/her own essay will not materially affect the results.

Again, I can’t give enough praise to you and your colleagues for holding this contest. My suggestion for the next essay comes from Peter Woit’s observation that maybe further progress in theoretical physics will require not just the unification of the theories of physics, but the unification of theory with mathematics. Wow, what a concept!

Regards,

Doug Bundy

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 22:50 GMT
Thanks, Doug!

We'll look into a plan for editorial control, and to improve the voting. It's extremely hard, as you can imagine, to design systems that are low-maintenance, convenient, transparent, and also discourage various sorts of abuse. Additional specific suggestions (or examples where people have seen it done well) are welcome from all.

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Saibal Mitra wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 23:51 GMT
I liked this essay contest in which people with different backgrounds participated. If I had organized this contest, I would have done a few things differently.

I would not have published the essays before the deadline for submission had expired. By publishing the essays soon after submission you give an advantage to early submitters. The visibility of their essay is better.

I would not make the voting results visible when people are still voting as that will influence the way some people vote.

To improve the visibility of the essays, I would create different categories, e.g. general relativity, quantum gravity, quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, and a general category. The participants can then list their essay in the appropriate category.

I would have announced the essay contest well before the summer, allowing people to work on the essay during the summer vacation.

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Julian Moore wrote on Jan. 3, 2009 @ 02:44 GMT
Hello Anthony -

I think the essay competition should be considered a great success - there were some extremely interesting perspectives and ideas on offer; I hope they will remain on line ad infinitum so that I can review my favourites in a more relaxed manner over the coming months.

I would concur with the idea of rating submissions in future, rather than counting votes; I looked at all the essays (some more thoroughly than others, I confess) before voting, but it was a long-tailed distribution and I would have welcomed the opportunity to recognise the contributions of several more than the mere three I was able to.

For me it was a welcome opportunity to test some ideas; I must confess that I wrote not so much in hope of winning anything as in hope that someone might say, "Yes, it might look that way but..." Since tame experts (in my case, General Relativists) are a bit thin on the ground and (not unreasonably) usually better engaged in other things, it can be challenging for the conscientious dabbler to advance their understanding. Thank you for providing some airtime to pose a question. (Having said that, although the discussions did not in the end bear upon the content of the essay, I should express my appreciation to Istvan Nemeti at the Math Institute here in Budapest for fielding some general questions). Mini-forums for each essay were a nice idea.

Contrary to some, I think essays should be presented as received as it shows the interest generated - despite the fact that on Dec 2 you suddenly realise you've handed in a scruffy post-it to lie alongside the illuminated manuscripts of Barbour, Ellis, Rovelli et al of that Ilk.

I was both surprised and unsurprised by the quality and quantity of the submissions. When, for some initially unfathomable reason, ~100 philosophophiles gathered for a "Cafe Philo" discussion in London decided by a significant majority that the topic for debate that afternoon should be "Time" a lively debate was expected. For some several minutes there was in fact silence from a normally garrulous crowd and a lot of metaphorical beard stroking before things got going... it emerged subsequently that everyone wanted to know the answer, but no one really knew where to begin.

The Essay Competition on Time was an excellent beginning; thank you to all concerned.

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C. Vinson wrote on Jan. 3, 2009 @ 04:35 GMT
When I saw the number of essays submitted, my first thought was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting as the most manageable way of handling the voting. While reading through the essays while trying to select the three I wished to vote for, I ended up binning them into rough categories by overall quality, and under an approval system I probably would have just started casting votes right after reading essays once I was about one-third of the way through. Given the intellectual firepower around FQXI, it seems there may be someone more expert in voting theory who has a better suggestion, but approval voting seems like a good starting point and would, in my opinion, at least improve on the system used in the contest.

One technical improvement I might suggest would be some way to batch-download the essays, perhaps something like a complete collection made available by BitTorrent? I ended up downloading all the essays manually and reading them sometimes-offline on my laptop; I thought about using wget, but I didn't see any good way to do pattern-matching to find the essays and didn't want to overburden fqxi.org.

I've been thinking about the essay quality issue. On one hand, more feedback from other readers about essay quality would have allowed me to better use my time in reading; but I do worry about the problem of increasing returns where some authors build up an insurmountable early lead in feedback to the neglect of people who don't (for whatever reason) get that early lead. On the other hand, the well-known names will do fine whether feedback is allowed or not, but perhaps feedback will improve the prospects of some of the less-known authors because people don't have to sort through as many worse essays to find them?

I was one of the ones who found out about the contest late, in early November, which left me rather pressed for time in composing my essay and not entirely satisfied with the final product. I don't know how better to announce it, though.

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Don Limuti wrote on Jan. 3, 2009 @ 05:30 GMT
Anthony,

FQXI demonstrated courage in communication and a willingness to reach out to a wide community with this contest. Bravo!

Google Analytics provides a map view of who is hitting your

website. Each hit is geographically noted via the

originating network location. If something like this could

be provided for the public votes it would discriminate

between just local interest and world wide interest.

Congratulations to FQXI.

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Member Antony Garrett Lisi wrote on Jan. 3, 2009 @ 06:43 GMT
I think this essay contest was very successful. Personally, as a restricted voter, I found the visible popular vote useful in pre-selecting the essays I read. I don't know if this was intended, or if people gamed the system, but it made for a good collaborative filter. I agree that the voting could be improved by using some sort of rated voting, such as range voting. This way, voters could pace themselves by reading and voting on essays as they came in. Other than that... I think this was very well done. I guess I'm biased, but I'm amazed at what a great job FQXi has done at advancing its mission.

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Brian Beverly wrote on Jan. 3, 2009 @ 07:53 GMT
Anthony Aguirre,

Thank you! This contest provided everyone some much needed catharsis. This organization is truly unique because it has done the impossible. FQXI has brought together the heavy hitters of theoretical physics with passionate amateurs and kept them discussing ideas for months (while sober). Time was the subject of the contest but the deadline is what allowed the contest to flourish. If anyone were allowed to submit an essay at any time then everyone would have procrastinated. I think it was also important that the essays were required to be fewer than ten pages and limited to time. This forced everyone to focus on the big ideas.

Do not berate yourself for the handful of people who were unable to meet the deadline. Give them a second chance in a smaller, “better late than never” time contest that runs one day only. Instead of paying cash prizes (the early birds would complain and want to double dip their essay) make the prizes non-monetary: gold, silver and bronze. That way everyone is content and no one feels they have been treated unfairly. Keep the ideas fresh too; hold a second essay contest on time in five or ten years.

What other FQXI irons are in the fire?

I do think public voting that allows daily voting is a bad idea because of the contest environment. As soon as someone starts a vote race legitimate votes become worthless because of hyper-vote-inflation. I would suggest everyone get X restricted votes per Y essays. That way a balance can be found between votes being too scarce or abundant. I also thought it was a good idea to block the viewing of restricted votes to prevent the “herd” mentality. Hiding the vote tally from the start would focus people on the comments as well as create reciprocity between authors, you comment on my essay and I will comment on yours. I think the contest was a step in the direction of quantum gravity. Should the next contest focus on mass? How about the significance of physical constants like 1/137? My last suggestion is that when the winners are announced their forums are moved to a winner’s circle and posting is suspended for 24 hours.

I found this organization through a discoverymagazine.com ad banner. I would suggest more targeted marketing like facebook and myspace. Also to increase popularity everyone could vote for FQXI on digg.com (Everyone has practiced stuffing the ballot box.)

Thanks,

Brian

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James Putnam wrote on Jan. 4, 2009 @ 20:00 GMT
FQXI,

Thank you for your support of the development and free flow of scientific ideas. I think the prize money and prestige probably increases the participation by prominant scientists. However, for the rest of us, I believe it is the opportunity to be included in a quality window to the world. For us, that is a huge prize in itself.

I feel we did have an opportunity to provide judgement as we read the essays. Even more important than rating essays is saying why we feel the way we do. This gave the authors an opportunity to both answer questions and defend their work. Some messages were more self serving than helpful to the author; perhaps, it should be possible for an author to request to have those kinds of messages moved to the poster's own forum.

I also feel the voting worked well. I found that my restricted opportunity to vote three times caused me to make only strongly felt votes. The limitation that I could not vote for my own essay, did not, in the end, matter. When I saw essays that I felt deserved to be strongly supported, I was happy to vote for them.

The subject of the contest was kept general enough to allow ideas from many perspectives. Participants could chose, on their own, to concentrate on a narrower perspective that they felt strongly about. I think this is a better approach than narrowing the subject.

New subjects that I think would provide interesting essays containing a variety of viewpoints are those properties that are fundamentally important and yet are still not satisfactorily resolved. Subjects such as mass, force, energy, entropy, etc. Higher level theory and interpretation is built upon, and dependent upon the integrity of, such fundamentals. Why not see if the base can be firmed up and become better understood.

Finally, I think you should expect greatly expanded particpation for future contests.

James Putnam

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Myke wrote on Jan. 5, 2009 @ 06:41 GMT
Greetings Anthony, the essay contest is a great innovation at FQXi and apparently well accepted. It would be much bigger if advertised in a general science magazine. A few important points occur to me:

1. Essay launch should be announced when the results are announced, which provides continuity and maximum time for subject contemplation, writing, editing and entry, etc...

2. Ten pages and 5000 words is probably about right, but

given the time constraint this first time, it was rather difficult for me to fit into 5000 words and ten pages. It

would be better if more editing time was available to fit in with other end of year (Oct/Nov/Dec) commitments...

3. Public voting only by those who care to register; with

the maximum number of votes equal to the number of essay entries AND using a 1 to 5 grading scale. Some of us have

a local network with several dozen participants, which it seems makes it look bad at the IP level. Thus, you need to use unique voting identities to trap cheating...

4. A graph of essays by entry nunber against public votes would make reader selection easier, especially if colour was used to flag the essay's approach or main point. That could be a required addition to the abstract, by way of the entrant picking the essay's approach from an allowed selection set tied to colours, etc...

5. The post entry system is very poor! You need at least to use a WYSIWYG system, preferably with a preview function that allows correcting typos, formatting, etc., before the post goes lives. Also, the font size is far too small for people like me to read - a magnifying glass is needed, which makes it rather tricky to type and read what is being typed...

Regards, Myke.

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Jan. 5, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT
The contest has succeeded in generating open discussions on the nature of time, well done.

I thought the voting system was not as bad as some people say. Showing the votes openly would have helped bring people back to the site frequently so I dont think that should be changed. In fact I thought it was silly to hide the number of public votes when less than 10, especially since it was possible to figure it out by sorting on number of votes and observing the alphabetical groupings by author name. On the other hand, hiding the restricted voting for the last few days was fine.

Allowing public voting from the start was OK but restricted voting should not have been started until all submissions were posted. The number of votes cast could have been increased by sending out an e-mail reminder to all elligable restricted voters on the 2nd December, with reminders of voting codes included for authors. I think December was not the best choice of month for voting.

The discussion postings were a good part of the proceedings. The technology could be improved to allow some formatting, links, images and equations. A separate section showing latest posts would also have been very useful.

When the restricted voting was last shown, seven out of the top eight authors were existing FQXi members. Of course they were some of the best but there were also some deserving essays from non-members that were getting less attention I thought. Obviously the panel prizes may be awarded differently but if most prizes do go to existing members it will be dissapointing. Perhaps next time there could be a special prize category reserved for non-members.

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Peter Morgan wrote on Jan. 7, 2009 @ 02:43 GMT
Rather than allowing an author to delete posts they don't like, which allows excessive abuse on the author side, they might be allowed to make a comment into a stub of only a few lines, with the whole post readable by clicking through. This makes the author take some responsibility for their editorial actions. Posts of more than 30 lines, say, could automatically be made into a ten line stub. Perhaps there could be an expand all posts button, but of course there can be too many features.

A rating system might work.

As the number of essays increased, I would have liked a single page that listed all the abstracts. If you get 200 or more entries for the next competition, clicking through from every title to look at every abstract would be unmanageable. Rather random ideas, but perhaps something like a Wordle type object for each essay or automatically generated correlations of word use between essays?

It would be helpful to be able to enter a subset of LaTex, [latex]sumfrac{omega_theta}{2^pi}[/latex], at the partial implementation level of PhysicsForums, say, and to have a "preview" button as well as an "I'm ready to be embarrassed by whatever errors I've made in my comment" button.

Do I understand that the winners of the restricted voting prizes will be announced at the same time as the winners of the juried prizes?

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Peter Morgan wrote on Jan. 7, 2009 @ 12:38 GMT
I see that when I pressed the "I'm ready to be embarrassed by whatever errors I've made in my comment" button, I made the experimental discovery that all backslashes are deleted.

Continuing on the PhysicsForums theme, it seems rather as if the "FQXi Community" attempts to reproduce the technology of PhysicsForums. Although PhysicsForums has its troubles, I personally think their implementation of a forum is significantly better.

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Jan. 7, 2009 @ 23:00 GMT
Hi All,

Thanks so much for both the encouraging words and the suggestions. A few comments:

- I like the devious idea of using the entrants' talents to stuff the Digg ballot box. We should also explicitly encourage entrants to advertise the contest to people they know (which we have implicitly already done via the voting system.)

- Amrit, this thread is aimed at the essay contest itself, not issues of the nature of time; there are plenty of places to discuss that in the essay contest thread, so I've removed your posts from this one.

- There were a number of suggestions to better the forum system in general. Keep them coming! We'll consider them all and see what improvements we can make.

- I've only seen a few suggestions on what the next contest should be about. Pile them on!

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Myke wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 01:40 GMT
A relevant next topic would be: "The Source of Mass" given that the LHC will be looking for the Higgs, but won't find it in its mass range, the question will remain semi-open...

Anyway, I'm sure you guys will settle on something of great interest, but please announce it just after you go to press on the outcome of the current essay, thanks...

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Jens Koeplinger wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 02:54 GMT
Hello - first of all: This was a fun contest! I enjoyed it a lot, and learned a lot as well.

I have a few suggestions for the article-related forum debates. It was at times hard to follow the individual debates, and scan the 100+ threads for replies and updates.

I would have liked to see a "recent updates" list, where you see a list of recent changes, in descending chronological order. This list should include the submitters name, a date/time, the first docent or so words of the post, and the title of the parent thread. When doing a mouse-over, the first 50 or so words should show, and the entry should be clickable. This way, the reader could quickly see "what's going on", and - more seriously - detect a possible (false) impersonation as I saw it unfortunately happen during one thread.

Generally, I would suggest to have users post either anonymously, or with an identity that is confirmed to an e-mail address. This would allow to follow all of an authors post ("view all entries by ..."), and may be a deterrent to false impersonations.

Then I would suggest a notification bulletin, that highlights threads to which a reply was posted. Assuming that I would have registered as a user (by my e-mail address), I could e.g. envision getting a notification " has posted to the thread of by ", for my own article and also for articles to which I previously posted. Or at least this should show online after I log in.

Finally, I suggest to add search capabilities. A simple keyword search would be great. People have been discussing about various 'Time' articles in separate threads, and it was really hard to find everything that's going on.

Well ... and now maybe is the time for a confession ... in order to accommodate all of the above, I had written a script (shame, shame) which I ran about once a day, which would prepare me all of the above: Download the text-only versions of all threads, sort them by name, date/time, into a CSV file, which I could then mine for posts by author, most recent, and sorted by thread. --- In defense, I acted in good faith!!! ... but it is a bad thing, I am most remorceful.

Instead, the idea above to put all PDFs into a torrent, that's wonderful, way to go.

Ok, these were my suggestions. If these are in place, then I would not have a problem with the "public votes". The way the "public votes" were, however, they were a poster example for the risks of profiling: A public vote count greater than 10 was highly predictive (about 90% of these articles were also on my personal closer selection), but also about 10% of the articles with

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Jens Koeplinger wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 03:05 GMT
(oops ... my last post got truncated? I'm blabbering too much? ... well, I get the message)

... public vote count

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Jens Koeplinger wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 03:12 GMT
(truncated again? that's strange; now, I am out of time myself; here's one more suggestion: fix that bug, whatever it is ... let me try one more time; starting at the last sentence in full)

A public vote count greater than 10 was highly predictive (about 90% of these articles were also on my personal closer selection), but also about 10% of the articles with public vote count smaller than 10 votes were also in my closer selection. So, by reading only 90% of the articles with high public vote count, I would have been very efficient, and also very successful in selecting possible candidates for my closer selection. That would (very roughly) equate to a manager who is hiring for a software developer: 90% of all developer IT jobs are male, so by only interviewing male candidates, that manager would likely be successful in selecting a good candidate. ... Well, maybe the example doesn't stretch that far, but if we could incorporate some of the suggestions above, then we would have balanced high efficiency against transparency, which would in turn allow to detect skewed or inappropriate interpretations from the public votes count.

Well - all of the above are just suggestions. Altogether, this was a great contest, I hope to see more!

Thanks, Jens

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 08:26 GMT
If you are inviting suggestions for future essay subjects ...

"The Large Scale Shape of the Universe"

"What is Quantization?"

"Discrete vs Continuous"

"The Role of Symmetry"

"Why is there Something?"

"What is Conciousness?"

"Does the Universe Need Life?"

"Is the Universe a Computer?"

"What is Information?"

"Is Nature based on Simplicity or Complexity?"

"How Important was the Big Bang?"

"Why is the Cosmos so Big?"

"Is String Theory Right?"

"Explaining the Fermi Paradox"

"Will Computers Ever Think?"

"Why are Mathematics and Physics so Inseperable?"

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 8, 2009 @ 17:51 GMT
In the spirit of really "Foundational Questions;" What is space?

Is it the basis of geometry, or does it emerge from geometry?

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Myke wrote on Jan. 9, 2009 @ 00:26 GMT
Hi John, a good topic. I would suggest neither; rather space emerges and then geometry becomes effective!

However, when do you good people think the next essay contest should begin? What should its specifications be?

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Anonymous wrote on Jan. 9, 2009 @ 10:46 GMT
ETERNITY IS NOW is the result of my research on time.

yours amrit

attachments: ETERNITY_IS_NOW___Sorli__2009.pdf

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Jens Koeplinger wrote on Jan. 9, 2009 @ 20:43 GMT
As for potential upcoming essay titles, a few thoughts:

* "Knowledge and information" - allows to reflect on subjective experience and processing, as compared to objective projection of systems onto gauges; foundational in respect to the measurement process.

* "The medium is the message" after Marshall McLuhan, to reflect on separability of information and carrier, particle and wave, dependent and independent variables, parameters and properties of a quantum system, ... and maybe even subjective experience and understanding of a message, and awareness of it.

* "Dualism" - intentially left short and very generic, to solicit a wide range of feedback, much of it possibly unexpected.

Thanks, Jens

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Josh Cuppett wrote on Jan. 9, 2009 @ 22:09 GMT
I think it would be interesting to have an essay contest on the universe -- is it just the extent of everything originating from the Big Bang? Was the universe there before the Big Bang? Is there something out there beyond the extent of the known universe? How would we know?

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 10, 2009 @ 00:25 GMT
Myke,

That sounds like the basis for a very good essay.

My position would be that space is and geometry defines it. The vacuum fluctuates.

Jens,

That offers an interesting train of thought. Here is a dualism; Energy goes from past information states to future information states, as the information goes from future potential to past description. Thus we move forward and see backward.

Hmmm. Beats talking politics.

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Myke wrote on Jan. 10, 2009 @ 01:45 GMT
All rather interesting! I wonder how much space and time we will get to elucidate those issues? I look back at my large original essay on the nature of time (~26,000 words) and it seems amazing now (re-reading my 5,000 words again) that it even works; it needs a re-write in the light of recent thoughts. Nevertheless, up to 6,000 words and twelve pages to allow for graphics, would be better. I know that reading all the essays is quite difficult, because I did it. Upping the essay size will make that harder for many. Perhaps an oblique approach can work; that is, to reduce the size of the 'essay' with proscriptions to direct the content towards a more specific outcome...

I think that idea will attract debate... ;-)

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Jan. 13, 2009 @ 08:00 GMT
When will the outcome of the contest be announced? The FAQ says "Monday, February 2009" , but which Monday?

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Jan. 13, 2009 @ 17:45 GMT
Philip:

The judging is taking a bit more time than we anticipated, so the announcement will probably be late february or early march. Hopefully we'll be able to announce a fixed date for this soon.

Anthony

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C. Vinson wrote on Jan. 17, 2009 @ 02:28 GMT
Discreta and Continua

The question of whether physics at the most fundamental level is discrete versus continuous is at least as old as Democritus, one of the first known proponents of discreteness. All the most successful theories in physics have used the continuum: Newtonian mechanics (and its Lagrangian and Hamiltonian reformulations), general relativity, and even quantum mechanics. Essays should address what role discreta and continua play in the foundations of physics. Possible topics include: reasons for believing that foundational theories should contain discreta, continua, or some mixture of the two; the role of discreta and continua in the best current theories; or the philosophical or mathematical ramifications of discrete versus continuous physical models.

The Ontology of the Mathematics of Physical Theories

As physics has produced better models of the universe, those models have grown more abstract, farther from the elements of reality familiar to human intuition. While the mathematics work to predict experiments, what's the ontological status of entities in the theories? Is the electromagnetic field an abstraction, or is it real? What about theories that allow multiple interpretations with different mathematics, such s the contrast between the Lagrangian/Hamiltonian variational formulations and the prior Newtonian formulation based on forces? Does the ontological status of the "internal dimensions" of freedom in, e.g., quantum field theory differ from that of the more familiar space-time dimensions; if so, how and why? What about the ontology of the most problematic of modern theories, quantum mechanics?

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C. Vinson wrote on Jan. 17, 2009 @ 02:32 GMT
These are some rough possibilities for future essay contests that I've thought of so far. I might have some more with more thought.

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Jan. 20, 2009 @ 05:46 GMT
First, I'd like to join in the applause for FQXi's open contest, forum, and immediate post-mortem review of the contest.

Next, I've got a few suggestions:

1. provide a .zip file with all the essays. As each essay is submitted, it can be automatically added to the zip file by, say, a PHP script. (It doesn't need to be a torrent, and torrents aren't appropriate for content which is continuously updated; each user or "peer" then may have a different version.) Even just a dedicated download page with sorting by columns and checkboxes to download the few essays one is missing would be a big improvement.

2. As someone else said, reduce the post sizes... provide an auto-collapse or snippet view. It was difficult to read through some of the very lengthy responses.

3. In response to Garrett Lisi's post: the public voting scenario was unfortunate. I loved the essay by a professor emeritus from my university, David Finkelstein. Unfortunately, it received few reads, partly because it arrived late, but partly because it was easily filtered out by vote count. There was clearly some doubt regarding the authenticity or intention of public voters. Furthermore, many of my favorite essays were obscured by low vote counts: Finkelstein, Kiefer, Ray, Blumschein, Gao, etc. Similar to another poster's remark, I downloaded all of the essays, and searched all of them using Google Desktop so as to read the essays providing mathematics alongside the philosophy. I even posted a link to a .zip file of all essays, but I don't think anyone used it.

3. Incentive. Some authors did not comment on any other essay. I wonder whether they voted? Which scientists love to publish, and which love to review? If this contest is to support or augment conventional science, perhaps we ought randomly assign contestants as reviewers... of course we cannot assume all are qualified, but it would average out. For example, each contestant/reviewer must cast votes for the 2 best essays in his/her lot, and 2 additional overall votes. FQXi then provides some structure to the participation and interactions. This is a way in which FQXi may differentiate its role from other science forums (apart from the intellectual caliber and generous prize offering!). It's like a virtual conference with a sizable best-paper award.

4. Future contest idea: I like Vinson's idea of continuous vs. discrete, and I think this highlights duality. We wrestle with profound symmetries: energy and antienergy, entropy and negentropy, matter and space, position and momentum, harmony and dissonance, particle and wave, etc. But perhaps such topics are not specific enough. I would like to see FQXi pick a single paradox, any paradox. Consider also any axiomatic duality as a paradox. With topical collimation, we might see consensus. Then, each year, FQXi may be known for resolving a fundamental question en masse, and despite declaring a winner, we would have achieved something together.

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Jan. 20, 2009 @ 18:18 GMT
Hello all,

I love FQXi's nice initiative, which gathered together so many different and interesting visions.

I would make a few suggestions:

1. Voting

- I think that Anthony Aguirre's proposal of using the rating system is much better than the current 3-votes system. Maybe we can have a rating for each criterion. For example, referring to the evaluation criteria, we can have separate ratings for: "Topical", with few subtopics, "Foundational", "Original and Creative", "Technically correct and rigorously argued", "Well and clearly written", "Accessible to a diverse". And, of course, have a weight for each criterion, and a total.

- The default sorting of the essays: Maybe a permutation of the essays (cyclic or random) would be more "democratic". And keep the sort by date to see the last entries fast.

2. Length

- I thing that the 5000 words limit is too little for writing an essay, and too long for read it. This means that it is a good choice :)

- But maybe it would be good not to count the bibliography (or, optionally, to submit it as a separate file).

3. Forum

- The forum was great too. Maybe it would be better to be organized like a tree, to keep track of the replies.

- Perhaps the suggestion already given by someone, of limiting the length of the posts, at least their default view, should be considered.

- Allowing better formatting of posts, perhaps also embedding pictures.

- It would be really nice to support some latex tags inside the posts. There are several interesting solutions for doing this (e.g. MathTeX).

- A possibility of rating the posts (+ only, or +/-).

Best regards,

Cristi

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Jan. 25, 2009 @ 17:32 GMT
Hi All,

Here's a last call for more suggestions for (or votes on) topics -- I think we may decide the next topic soon. Some of my favorites on the list so far:

- The origin of the fundamental constants

- The inseparability of mathematics and physics

- Complementarity

- Is Nature continuous or discrete?

- What is the world made of?

- Why the quantum?

- Emergence

- Paradoxes

- Knowledge and information

- What will the ultimate theory (or at least the next one) be like?

These are quite general, by design. We might also choose to go more specific (thoughts on this?) A nice list of specific FQXy questions was put together at our last conference, and can be found here.

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Myke. wrote on Jan. 25, 2009 @ 18:02 GMT
Hi Anthony, talk about a paradox, what happened to the Fermi paradox? It vanished...

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amrit wrote on Jan. 26, 2009 @ 11:46 GMT
Myke by Fermy paradox energy transfer directly via quantum space is immediate. Speed of transfer is infinite, time of transfer is zero.

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Michael Sherbon wrote on Jan. 26, 2009 @ 20:23 GMT
From some of the questions of the last conference we could group them together into a category like "What is the quantum vacuum?" or something like that.

What is dark energy?

* Are we in a true vacuum or false vacuum?



* Are observable changes in fundamental parameters ruled out by near-constancy of vacuum energy?

* How exactly do fundamental constants couple to vacuum transition in something like the string-theory landscape?

*What role, if any, does the vacuum energy play in cosmic initial conditions?

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T H Ray wrote on Jan. 26, 2009 @ 23:39 GMT
Anthony,

I think all the suggestions in your last post are excellent. My vote would be for "Is Nature continuous or discrete?" because it is the more encompassing--taking in three of the other categories: "mathematics & physics," "Quantum" and "Knowledge & Information."

Tom

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 26, 2009 @ 23:51 GMT
That has my vote as well.

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Josh Cuppett wrote on Jan. 27, 2009 @ 02:26 GMT
I like Paradoxes, Why the quantum, Knowledge and information, or What will the ultimate theory (or at least the next one) be like?

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Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Jan. 27, 2009 @ 17:57 GMT
Hi Anthony, first of all thank you for all your efforts of organizing the "Nature of time" contest. I suggest "The origin of mass" as a topic for the next contest. It is similar to "The source of mass" suggested by Myke. I think it could attract both particle physicists and relativists.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 1, 2009 @ 21:51 GMT
I think the contest went pretty well, and most of the papers were interesting to read. I do sense that a problem with the open voting system some authors gave themselves a whole lot of votes. A couple of papers which I thought were rather low on intellectual content received a lot of public votes.

As for topics I would prefer that they exclude matters of consciousness and related matters. It is not so much that I think these are invalid topics, but I am certain that a whole lot of woo-woo types of papers will be submitted. I think it would be a field day for Deepak Chopra types and post-modernists. Not to mention that F. Tipler would probably post an essay with some of his wacky ideas.

Lawrence B. Crowell

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 2, 2009 @ 13:33 GMT
In particular I appreciate the possibility to continue important discussions after the end of the contest, because the topic "time" has been linked with still unresolved basic questions in physics and mathematics.

An appealing future topic could be the relationship between theory and reality in general, since theories seem to increasingly deviate from solid ground.

Maybe I am naive when concluding from myself that most people are honest. I tend to interpret so many public votes for rather simple essays not as fraud. We should not be surprised when the majority appreciates what was most widely pontificated in textbooks, journals, etc. as well as in churches.

Eckard Blumschein

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Don Limuti (www.zenophysics.com) wrote on Feb. 4, 2009 @ 01:47 GMT
Anthony,

1. My vote is for "What is the world made of" Or "Is Nature continuous or discrete?"

2. Cristi Stoica had a good idea in having separate voting categories for: "Foundational", "Original and Creative", "Technically correct and rigorously argued", "Well and clearly written", "Accessible to a diverse"...



3. Any forecasts on when the judging will be done?

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george ellis wrote on Feb. 4, 2009 @ 13:02 GMT
For the next one, I think there are some good proposals in the list given above. I'd choose out of them, one of these:

- Is Nature continuous or discrete?

- Why the quantum?

- Emergence: does it lead to genuinely new phenomena?

best

george ellis

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 5, 2009 @ 16:10 GMT
Regarding the ideas to split the essay competition into multiple categories or the grumbling with regards to essays that were lacking in technical details -- the competition guidelines very clearly state that the essay should be somewhere between a Scientific American article and a literature review type summary from Nature. If your essay went beyond this level of depth it went beyond the scope of what this competition was supposed to be looking for. You should expect to be judged accordingly.

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Feb. 7, 2009 @ 06:03 GMT
Dear anonymous,

1. The posts in this thread are not trying to change the rating system for the present edition of the FQXi contest. Some of the comments were triggered by Anthony Aguirre’s main post, from which I quote:

“I was less thrilled about how the voting system worked out; next time we will definitely change to a 'rating' system, so that people do not feel compelled to read lots of essays before providing some judgement on them.”

Perhaps the above observations led to proposals for the future edition of the competition.

2. I think that what I said (on Jan. 20, 2009 @ 18:18 GMT) was misinterpreted. Please allow me to repeat:

“Maybe we can have a rating for each criterion. For example, referring to the evaluation criteria, we can have separate ratings for: "Topical", with few subtopics, "Foundational", "Original and Creative", "Technically correct and rigorously argued", "Well and clearly written", "Accessible to a diverse". And, of course, have a weight for each criterion, and a total.”

This is not an attempt to drag the competition on non-technical quicksand. The essay contest already uses these criteria (please refer to http://www.fqxi.org/community/essay); what I proposed was just to be allowed (of course, in a future edition of the competition) to place the ratings per each criterion, and the total to be calculated as a weighted mean. Perhaps the jury is already doing something like this, in this case, one can extended this system to the restricted ratings (which may replace the current restricted voting) as well. It is not about splitting the competition into multiple categories.

I believe everybody here is well intended, and I find the proposals in this thread very constructive.

Regards,

Cristi

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Don Limuti (www.zenophysics.com) wrote on Feb. 7, 2009 @ 09:57 GMT
Cristy, Sorry I misrepresented your intent of having categories so that everyone can see how the votes (restricted or public) spread according to category. I hope I have got this correct. I think this would be very worthwhile because (if the spreadsheet were made public) an interested reader can have an idea of the various essays would suite them.

I also think having a prizes for a few different categories would make for a contest of greater interest. And yes there is the problem of having someone to sort the essays as they come in.

As it stands now we will never know how the judges evaluation is actually done. And the winning entry may be very spooky to anonymous' dismay, dispite the "guidelines".

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 01:59 GMT
anon here again:

Cristi, I was mostly posting with regards to Mr. Crowell who stated "A couple of papers which I thought were rather low on intellectual content received a lot of public votes." I'm guessing that he's equating intellectual content with technical content, and I wanted to clarify how I interpreted the rules. Sorry if I read too much into Don's truncated summary of your idea.

Don, if the judges want to award first prize to a paper that is "spooky" that's one thing, but if spooky goes beyond the competition guidelines I don't see the point in having the guidelines in the first place.

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Don Limuti (www.zenophysics.com) wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 07:25 GMT
Anon, Thanks for your input. It has forced me articulate my fear. Let me try to articulate why I do not trust the FQXi judges to follow the guidelines.

1. When I first heard about the contest I googled FQXi to see if any bad PR existed. I found a concern about the Templeton Foundation sponsoring FQXi programs. The concern was that the Templeton Foundation promotes the coexistence (unity, common goals) of religion and science.

2. Many of the essays submitted in my opinion do get involved with religious philosophy and consciousness matters as well as traditional science.

3. Are the judges immune to pleasing the Templeton Foundation? Anthony Aquirre says Templeton support has no influence on what FQXi does.

4. I would like to trust FQXi but there will be no visibility on how the judging is actually done.

5. What has more wreight the "guidelines" or the desires of the funding source?

I think that a few basic categories would mitigate this concern (and make the contest more interesting). Categories like "Standard Scientific" "Philosophical" "Consciousness Related" "Religious Related" would force FQXi to be a little bit visible in the judging.

And I know this suggestion has problems. I also think that not doing something like this is a problem.

And of course FQXi may be totally above board and deserving of the greatest praise in organizing this contest.

Please forgive my cynicism. My goals are very similar to yours.

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 08:32 GMT
Dear Don (post on Feb. 7), dear anon,

If I misunderstood some of your points, I apologize. I am glad that the forum allows us to receive feedback and to provide additional explanations.

One interesting feature I would like this forum to have is the possibility to get notified when a post is added (maybe there is, and I don’t know it).

Best regards,

Cristi

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 09:10 GMT
About embedding latex in the forum posts. One way is to have in the template page, right before the tag, the following script:



This would allow us to embed latex formulas in a very simple manner, as explained in http://doc.yourequations.com/. The drawback of this approach, as compared to having a solution running directly on the FQXi server, is that the equations are rendered on the fly each time we load the page, and this slows down the process.

Cristi

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Cristi stoica wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 09:14 GMT
Sorry, it appears that the script has been eliminated automatically from the post. It was just an html script tag with the attributes

type="text/javascript" src="http://tex.yourequations.com/"

Cristi

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 17:20 GMT
I for one won't be participating any longer if the "guidelines" are not enforced this time around. Many an excellent competition has been ruined by those running it being overwhelmed with the first year's response, only to see the subsequent years pale in comparison.

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John Merryman wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 20:16 GMT
I think some commentary by the judges on what they thought of the various entries would be interesting. Given the time it is taking to decide, there has to be some interesting conversations going on.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 9, 2009 @ 22:18 GMT
From 1997 to 2009, the net asset value of Templeton Growth Fund roughly changed as follows: 16 19 20 18 18 17 16 21 22 23 26 12. The heaven seems to be not as safe as claimed.

I nonetheless appreciate the belief related essays by Tiwari and Nath because they furnished the opportunity to factually object, and I tried to do so. I vote for strict separation between science and belief. History tells us that belief in narrower earlier ideas hinders the better understanding and the acceptance of a more comprehensive plurality of facts.

When Einstein confessed being a believing physicist and G. Cantor even claimed having got something directly from god and asked cardinal Franzelin in vain for confirmation of his infinitum creatum, then this should point us to possible flaws in their thinking. I would rather trust in the compelling reasoning of an arrested old man who wrote:

.. in ultima conclusione gli attributi di egale, maggiore e minore non aver luogo ne gl'infiniti, ma solo nelle qualita terminate.

Salviati

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Don Limuti (www.zenophysics.com) wrote on Feb. 10, 2009 @ 20:25 GMT
I second John Merryman's idea. Call it the Judge's Blog.

While essays were coming in the essay contest was exciting. This indeterminate waiting period (going on two months) is an anti climax to the contest.

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J Camlin wrote on Feb. 11, 2009 @ 20:00 GMT
I would recommend this concept in a voting system next time around:

Perhaps instead of an "all or nothing" binary vote add some dimensions with scale such as for one paper the reader is asked a small set of questions such as:

(1-5) Creativity / originality (New way of looking at it)

(1-5) Solid content (rigourous method / theory)

(1-5) (couple of other choices)

(only one number for each category allow, such that no paper can get all 5's for example)

Then, on one webpage, each of the question headings hotlink to the essays that scored highest in the category. This allows the reader to first pick the categories that are most important to them, and then validating which category they fall into.

The author would do a self assessment at submission to get the paper in the category that (the author) feels is most appropriate, validated by the reader.

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C Vinson wrote on Feb. 11, 2009 @ 23:11 GMT
And one more hopefully-decent contest idea.

New Experimental Regimes

There are two fundamental approaches to finding new experimental phenomena to study. The first might be termed the LHC approach: using more resources, build better probes to examine phenomena beyond the range of current experimental techniques. Unfortunately, physics has come up hard against the limits of this approach because of the cost projects such as the LHC. The other approach depends on figuring out how to use existing experimental techniques to perform new experiments. What haven't we tested? What kinds of experiments can we conduct without consuming immense resources?

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Feb. 12, 2009 @ 02:02 GMT
Hi All,

A few things:

1) Apologies for the long time that the judging is taking. It's quite a lot of essays for some very busy scientists to read. We have some ideas for making it more efficient next time.

2) In terms of judging, the criteria given to the judges are exactly the same as those given to the entrants, and there is no other pressure or consideration given by FQXi or any other body. The panel has been in active deliberation as to how to apply these criteria, of course, as well as to the merits of the essays.

3) Different votes for the different criteria might be useful, we'll think about that.

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amrit wrote on Feb. 13, 2009 @ 12:29 GMT
Understanding that motion does not happen in time, that time is only a measure of motion in timeless universe is a big jump that only few are able to do it

attachments: 1_ITT_phenomena__sorli_2009.pdf

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John Merryman wrote on Feb. 13, 2009 @ 17:34 GMT
Amrit, the problem is that organized, temporally sequential people make good scientists, while those of us who are ADD(personally speaking) have a more natural aptitude for appreciating the non-linear and random. We are all trying to draw a sea of information into a thread of logic, in order to scatter our brand of wisdom back out into the sea of other minds. Some tightly wound, some loose. Some long threads and many short. Some monochromatic and some bordering on chaos. Just as our lives draw together many elements and eventually scatter them like fall leaves. I suppose that's how quanta become entangled... Look, a chicken!!!

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amrit wrote on Feb. 13, 2009 @ 18:37 GMT
John temporally sequential events run in timeless universe.

We give time too much importance, time merely is scientific tool and not basic physical reality as energy and motion are.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 23, 2009 @ 21:12 GMT
I have only just come across this site by browsing the internet and had not been aware of this project or the competition. I do not work in an academic institution.

I am sorry I missed the opportunity to enter this contest as I have been independently working on understanding time for the past 2 years. I have had no funding and no input or feed back on my ideas from other scientists.

I sent numerous copies of my first book, containing my initial ideas about the fundamental importance of understanding time to the progress of science, at my own expense, to mathematicians and scientists. Not one even acknowledged receipt.

I think I could have put together an interesting and readable essay and would have appreciated the feedback generated.

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Brian Beverly wrote on Feb. 26, 2009 @ 00:22 GMT
Hey Georgina,

I sympathize and I understand how hard it can be to get people to pay attention. If you have written an essay or just want some feedback on your ideas you can post them in my forum and I’ll try my best to provide useful and relevant feedback. I only ask that you don’t post an entire book :)

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/291

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 26, 2009 @ 02:24 GMT
Thank you Brian.

I don't have a pre prepared essay specifically just on time at the moment. Time impinges on so many aspects of physics as well as other disciplines and comprehension of reality, that I have found numerous avenues to explore. (Which has grown into another book.) For a short essay I would have to pick out the most relevant aspects and pull them back together into a simplified overview of my ideas.

I am hopeful that I may get some feedback from this website, if it really is about exploring new ideas and answers to fundamental questions and I have already entered the Gravity Research Foundation competition 2009.

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Hrvoje Nikolic wrote on Feb. 27, 2009 @ 15:44 GMT
An idea for the next contest:

Measurements, observers, and reality in quantum mechanics

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Carl Brannen wrote on Feb. 28, 2009 @ 17:13 GMT
Probably the best way to judge these kinds of things is to tell the judges how many points are to be awarded in each criteria, for example, one might put 20 points for "new", 30 points for "not published before", 5 points for "length" etc. Then the judges will grade things faster because it will be more like reading homework and assigning grades (and they likely have lots of experience doing that at high speed).

I was going to send my article into Foundations of Physics, along with some Clifford algebra that wasn't suitable for the essay because of the limitations on the difficulty of arguments but I've postponed doing this until the judging here was complete. Now it's the end of February and still nothing. Of course I understand the delay.

As far as the next contest, I agree that the nature of quantum measurement makes a good topic.

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anon wrote on Mar. 1, 2009 @ 19:57 GMT
any idea when judging will be complete?

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anon 2 wrote on Mar. 3, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT
I don't know but someone should have the courtesy to explain what is really going on here. A lot of people worked very hard to get get their essays in by the deadline and now are waiting past the announcement deadline with no update since Feb 12th.

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John Merryman wrote on Mar. 3, 2009 @ 18:05 GMT
anon2,

Does the term "hung jury" come to mind?

There are some big name theoretical physicists among the submissions and a vast cross section of views on the topic of time are covered, as well as potential applications to different schools of thought in physics, of which many of the likely judges probably have significant tangental commitment. It is easy to put all these points of view up for discussion, as science often does, but actually making concrete up/down decisions is a whole other matter. So trying to decide among them is likely far more complicated than anyone considered when they first proposed this contest. That is why I think it would be very interesting to hear some of the discussions, but that is not going to happen, so we will hear they were just too busy to find the time.

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Mar. 4, 2009 @ 00:38 GMT
Hi All,

The time is nearly nigh. Your patience is appreciated. As John Merryman suggests, judging a contest like this is, as I have witnessed, very, very hard. But the jury is not hung, and you can expect an announcement soon.

Cheers,

-The Management

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John Merryman wrote on Mar. 4, 2009 @ 10:51 GMT
Anthony,

Thanks. Just prodding for information.

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Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Mar. 20, 2009 @ 00:18 GMT
The unification of gravity and electromagnetism is discussed in a newly published article entitled

The Dream Balances and Unifies Gravity and Electromagnetism. It may be found at The Radical Academy under Academy updates. It is most relevant to the discussions at this website.

http://radicalacademy.com/studentrefphilfmd13.htm

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Robert Sadykov wrote on Mar. 25, 2009 @ 11:34 GMT
If, we associate time with a motion and change, then it is logical to recognize, that a proper time corresponds to each motion. For example, if we accelerate an astable material particle, then elementary time connected with the linear motion of the particle also is accelerated. Actually, we equate time to the motion. However, at the same time the mysterious factor slows down speed of internal processes of the particle, and it slows down the proper time of the particle. In the special theory of relativity this factor is simple kinematics. In "The theory of time" this factor is the gravidynamic effect, which slows down average speed of all local processes. By the way, in the special theory of relativity the time dilation is symmetric effect in different frames of reference, but this symmetry is never observed. In the theory of time the asymmetry in speed of flows of time exists from the very beginning.

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amrit wrote on Mar. 25, 2009 @ 20:59 GMT
Robert

with meter we measure distance in universe

with clock we measure duration of motion in universe

universe itself is timeless (atemporal)

yours amrit

attachments: 6_ETERNITY_IS_NOW_Sorli_2009.pdf

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 25, 2009 @ 22:52 GMT
Robert,

This is due to confusion of Universal and subjective time only in my opinion. See my full reply to this duplicate post In "Judgement day at the end....thread"

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amrit wrote on Mar. 27, 2009 @ 10:35 GMT
Georgina

There is no confusion here. All is clear.

There is no experimental evidence about universal time.

Universal time is a-priory preposition.

We experience stream of material change that run in timeless (atemporal) universe in subjective time.

See file attached.

yours amrit

attachments: 6_6._Consciousness_As_A_Research_Tool_Into_Space_And_Time.pdf

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 27, 2009 @ 22:06 GMT
Amrit,

There is confusion on your part of my explanation. That is perhaps because I chose the unfortunate name of Universal time, which I will now be referring to as Positional time.

I agree that in objective reality there is no time. There is energy changes and space in which they occur. One can consider just the energy change or what is happening in relation to the space.

Time is a collection of concepts, applied to energy changes in space, giving explanation of sequential experience of subjective reality. Subjective time is a concept that fits with the mental processing of data to give experience, and Historical time fits with memory and anticipation, which are useful survival capabilities for an organism.

Historical time (past,present,future,=imaginary)

Subjective time (experience and assumption of regular change in time corresponding to regular change observed in 3D space)

Positional time.Concept of time being movement along 4th dimension.

Only positional time is directly related to Universal potential energy change i.e. 4th dimensional position of matter.But it is very different from subjective time. There is continuous forward motion through positional time for macroscopic objects although this is not absolutely uniform as position in 3D space affects 4th dimensional position also.

Sub atomic particles are affected by local environmental factors such as electrostatic forces,strong nuclear force, magnetic and electric field.These affect Universal potential energy level and thus also affect positional time for a particle.

The lorentz transformation is a framework using subjective time. Which is a good approximation for macroscopic objects that do progress continuously afore along the 4th dimension. The 4th dimensional motion can be related to a simultaneous continuous change occurring in 3D space.Relativity works within subjective reality for observed for macroscopic objects.

But this will not work for sub atomic particles which do not progress regularly and continuously along the 4th dimension. Only positional time is directly related to Universal potential energy level and 4th dimensional position. This will vary for each object and particle according to individual motion in 4 dimensional space.

This means that a quantum model should not contain the Lorentz transformation or comply with it. In objective reality there is no subjective time. Subjective time is assumed correct by scientists and laymen alike but it is not physical reality but an approximation that gives meaning to sequential experience of the macroscopic environment.

You have said "we experience a stream of material change." That is the manifestation of the asymmetry that I have previously spoken of, that is due to Universal potential energy difference.This gives continuous loss of Universal potential energy, which is motion afore along the 4th dimension.

Time only comes into this when an attempt is made to impose a temporal framework onto the spatio-energetic phenomenon.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Mar. 27, 2009 @ 22:24 GMT
Georgina, are you aware of having adopted an intentionally perverted notion of reality? The intention is to let room for a speculative idea, god, or a mathematical construct behind what ordinary people consider reality.

Einstein shared the same intention while he wrote more cautiously: If ... we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of reality corresponding to that quantity.

I do not share Einstein's belief, and I consider any prediction more or less uncertain. Nonetheless he obviously shares the common view that there is only one reality, and reality is something objective in the sense of something that exists independently of theory, perception, and the like. What you are calling subjective reality is just a picture of it.

Traces of and influences from past events are quite different from human anticipation. They are part of reality while anticipation and the idea of four dimensions are man-made. Future can be compared with negative distance, negative radius, and the like.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 28, 2009 @ 04:27 GMT
Eckard, I am sorry I did reply to this post on another thread but unfortunately attributed your opening paragraph to Tom, whom I was also answering in the same post. I apologise for the error.

This model is certainly not an intentionally perverted notion of reality.The model has arisen from determining what time actually is and what model will give subjective time and fit with relativity. It has developed from there until a structure was realised that is able to answer the fundamental questions. It is just a model which in my opinion works, is self consistent, corresponds to other science and explains observations in 3D space including some puzzles within cosmology and quantum physics.

I am aware of its correspondence to Buddhist philosophy and the Judaic idea of an omnipotent, omnipresent, unknowable Creator.These are religious explanations of unknowable underlying reality.

That is interesting but not a reason to reject the model as unacceptable.Rejection should be based on whether it works, is logical, corresponds with other science and can be used predictively.Not on personal prejudice.

Yes I agree with you there is one reality. But it can be considered as two separate realities from our human perspective. This is because one part we are able to access and have knowledge of via information transfer(the picture, which is the subjective reality we inhabit)and the other part (the material reality itself)we can have no direct knowledge of by any means including the scientific method.

Between these realities is the Prime Reality Interface where the information is detected by the senses or artificial sensors to provide data input, for subjective reality formation.

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amrit wrote on Mar. 28, 2009 @ 08:36 GMT
Georgina you say: The Lorentz transformation is a framework using subjective time.

I would say: The Lorenz transformation is using 4 dimensional math model of Minkowski space-time.

We have to distinguish between subjective time and math model of space-time. Both are created by the mind, but distinguishing them is essential.Eckard explain it why.

yours amrit

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 28, 2009 @ 13:17 GMT
Amrit, This is another concept of time altogether.Like an artists sketch.Abstract mathematical time that exists only within the mathematical formulae.

How is this related to the measurements made with a clock?(subjective time). When the data is input it ceases to be subjective time. After processing it does not become subjective time again but remains abstract mathematical time or Historical time.It is not time that can be experienced.Thank you,food for thought.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 28, 2009 @ 18:26 GMT
Georgina time is not a thing; time is a thought, a mind model. We live in timeless universe, we experience our lives in mind model of time and describe it in math model of space-time.

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Georgina parry wrote on Mar. 28, 2009 @ 22:14 GMT
Anonymous, Amrit?

Beautifully described. I agree.

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amrit wrote on Mar. 29, 2009 @ 05:53 GMT
great, i hope all will agree soon.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 00:58 GMT
I think that metacognition is an important avenue of future research in regard to the development of physics models and mathematics.This is something which is of personal interest to me.Although the overlap of neuroscience and physics,and biological development and physics are also really promising avenues for future investigation.

I think that chaos theory within dynamic quaternion space may be useful for modelling the creation of matter and later, with input of control factors, it may even be possible to extend this to modelling the developmental processes of living organisms.

This is an exciting turning point away from being led by mathematics and realising that not only does objective reality create matter including organic organisms but reality is also a product of those organic organism and their perception and cognitive processes.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 02:01 GMT
A new discipline, Metacognitive physics. Even the name sounds good.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 06:27 GMT
Let me remind of Thomas Gold. He was correct when he concluded: The passive traveling wave model does not work no matter that von Bèkèsy was awarded the Nobel price for it about 15 years later. Moreover, he seriously suggested a silly anti-world where all processes proceed backwards. His reasoning was compelling in so far, he just consequently applied still accepted laws.

Other physicists tend to judge in a biased manner.

It is presently common belief to imagine a universe like something created anyhow at some time. If someone points to possible indications that put this tenet in question his MHD arguments are ignored. God created the world at the Big Bang.

In order to prevent the misuse of Gold's mirror universe as a parody of nowadays tenets, renowned physicists like Barbour as well as less renowned like Georgina Parry invent a lot of substitutes for notions like time and reality.

Georgina's historical time includes future. Is there really already a history of what is future at this moment?

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 09:26 GMT
Hello all ,

Dear Georgina,

do you think that in the future ,it will be possible to check the time traval ?

Personally ,it's impossiblze for me ,the future is for the evolution ,....improve ,complexificate ,polarize,harmonize,psherisize,....

In your method ,is it possible to check time really ?

I think ,Past is to analyze ,present to act and future to evolve ,...

Kinds Regards

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 10:23 GMT
"Historical time" is imaginary only. It is a mental construct. In that mental construct there exists a physical realm that is the past(which does not exist in objective reality) and a physical realm that is the future, which is imagined(and also does not exist as a physical reality).This Historical time mental construct causes the Grandfather paradox. The paradox arises because this is not objective reality.

According to the Prime quaternion model, in objective reality there is space that exists aft and afore of visible 3D space.(Also there is objective reality that exists within 3D space that is un-seeable because as we look out at the universe across space we see an electromagnetic image of the universe, that is not its material physical reality within that 3D space.It is only an image.Not the material stars, galaxies etc.

I have not invented substitutes for reality. I have highlighted the difference between 2 aspects of reality. Reality that is observed by human senses and experienced, or constructed by models, which may have been derived from mathematics, that was originally created from translation of human experience of reality.That subjective reality being quite different from the underlying objective reality. Objective reality creates the material universe, and is not accessible to the scientific method.

I have also not created substitutes for time but determined what concepts actually make up the mental construct that we call time. I have said there are at least 3 different ideas muddled together Ht,t, Ut and I accept that there is also Mt, time that only exists within mathematical models.

I have not produced a substitute for time but said that in objective reality there are spatio-energetic changes that do not require the imposition of temporal mental constructs that relate to the subjective reality of experience.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 12:06 GMT
Steve,

If it is ever possible to travel along the 4th dimension beyond our 3D space then what would be found is more space, not the past or future. It will be necessary to provide huge energy input to jump beyond the progression of the matter of the universe along the 4th dimension.The energetic barrier may be too high.

Alternatively if there was a way to slow down and fall behind the progression of the matter of the objective 3D universe perhaps by super cooling to absolute zero, so that all energy is lost. It might be possible for a highly resistant artificial device. We may already have found substances able to move to aft space in the Bose-Einstein condensates which are super cooled.

Other possibilities are Macroscopic quantum tunnelling, which is loss of potential energy or macroscopic quantum leap which is a gain in potential energy.These would give theoretical means of teleportation within our 3D space.Caused by forced change in universal potential energy. This would be a small change in position along the 4th dimension that would give a corresponding change in position in 3D space.I do not see development of teleportation as anything more than a theoretical possibility.

Quantum tunnelling according to the Prime Quaternion model occurs when an electron looses potential energy,changing position along the 4th dimension.This causes a corresponding movement in space, so leaping beyond an insurmountable energetic barrier in 3D space as it does so. The quantum leap occurs along the 4th spatio-energetic dimension.The orbitals of the atom are potential energy levels and so arranged along the 4th dimension.Highest potential energy being furthest from the nucleus.When disturbed by a photon the electron gains potential energy.This is emitted as a photon, when it falls back loosing potential energy.So sub atomic travel along the 4th spatio-energetic dimension is already occurring, according to this model,but is not recognised for what it is.

Steve said "I think ,Past is to analyze, present to act and future to evolve" I can not argue with your personal analysis of the purpose of time. It is perfectly consistent with time being a mental construct that enables the organism to function well within its subjective reality.This mental construct being applied to the whole of that reality..

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amrit wrote on Mar. 30, 2009 @ 12:23 GMT
Georgina physicists do not understand that material change run in timeless universe. They think that in deep meditation time disappear because meditator has lost contact with physical reality. Opposite is happening: in deep meditation one experience physical realty in an objective way, as it exists. Meditative experience is objective and direct without model of time interfering, scientific is indirect and rational via mind model of time.

attachments: Consciousness_as_a_research_tool.pdf

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 31, 2009 @ 02:15 GMT
&otsAmrit,

Meditation is undoubtedly an altered state of consciousness giving awareness of a different reality.It may be the closest the mind can get to objective reality,while remaining conscious.

The processing of sensory input into subjective reality is a continuous task for the brain in the awake and non meditative state. There will be sub-conscious assumptions,filtering of information to prevent information overload of the conscious mind, gap filling and stitching together of data, recall of associated data and application of "mind models" and other decisions about that reality happening continuously. Without conscious awarenesses that this is occurring.

So the actual conscious awareness i.e. subjective reality is a continuously pieced together selective fabrication by the sub-conscious mind, that is passed to the conscious mind, with the message that this exists externally. It is not objective reality.The mind can relax when freed from the task of fabricating subjective reality from all of the data received.

Awareness is still present during meditation and a number of changes in neurotransmitter and hormone levels occur.Reducing stress and altering perception processes.During meditation there are changes in attentional, emotional, cognitive and perceptual functions involving multiple brain regions and alteration of brain waves to more alpha waves associated with relaxation.

The reality experienced during meditation is certainly as real as subjective reality experienced during non meditative alertness. Therefore it is relevant in the context of understanding how the mind creates subjective reality, which in turn is used to create models within physics, to explain what physical processes have led to the observations.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-11/mgh-maw111005
.php

[snipped.]

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 09:54 GMT
Hello dear Amrit and dear Georgina,

The spirituality is essential for me ,that's why I work on humanistic projects with some interesting friends .Indeed all is linked since the begining ,that's why a centralization of skills to solve our major problems is important .The truth of balances ....A deeper meditation ,when you see a bee fly for exemple ,show us the unify universe and its polarizations towards complexity.

Personnally ,The time is a constant of evolution ,a constant of building.

The Time is a parameter of complementary .

It s evident what if we extrapolate with mathematics ,many models can be studied .

But it's important I think to make some differences between this extrapolates mathematical models of time and the reality of Time .

You know I like your extrapolations(Amrit ,Georgina) ,it's very creatives and interestings and that permits to catalyze ideas ,and it's well as that .Thus continue dear friends .

On the other side ,this subjectivity can be interpreted differently by some people ,like a time travel ....The speculations continues ....by different interpretations .

It's there the reality and its objectivity is important .

If we admit the subjective method ,the objective method is more important I think thus implies an adaptation to the different perception of people .

When I said... ,Past is to analyze, present to act and future to evolve"

It's simple ,when we see our past ,we analyze its evolution and we admit a complexity in Time,in fact the past is to improve our errors when we see the line Time.

The present is to act in improvement of our past systems and the future to continue to evolve in spherization.

It's logic Georgina I think .

Let's take our hydrosphere 3 billions years,the first cells....the polarizations .....and now our Earth system with an increase of complexity ....our past has so many datas and show us the objectivity .

Georgina you say

I can not argue with your personal analysis of the purpose of time. It is perfectly consistent with time being a mental construct that enables the organism to function well within its subjective reality.This mental construct being applied to the whole of that reality.

I understand ,the subjectivity in correlation with your method ,a mental interpretation thus implies an objectivity because it's a part of Universal dynamic .The creativity is a good thing indeed.

The human being needs to dream and need spirituality ,the potential of the creativity is incredible ….in fac our Universe is fantastic ,a splendid story in evolution ,in complexification,in improvement .

I wrote some words ,that’s resume my spirituality …

. »Humanity is like a rainbow ,a diversity of colors united in the light. »

« It’s difficult to turn off a big fire with one water drop ,nevertheless a whole of drops makes Ocean »

All is linked indeed …the objectivity is around us and in us ,everywhere .

Kinds Regards

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amrit wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 13:22 GMT
Hi Steve

Scientific methodology is not objective, it is rational.

In this rational methodology time is a scientific tool for rational description of the universe.

Universe itself is not rational phenomena, universe itself is conscious phenomena.

That’s why science cannot grasp universe in totality.

Total comprehending of the universe one get in meditation.

In meditation one knows that ETERNITY IS NOW.

Yours amrit

attachments: 8_ETERNITY_IS_NOW_Sorli_2009.pdf

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amrit wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 17:26 GMT
we have now two fundamental approaches on time in physics

myself i see more adequate second one

yours amrit

attachments: Two_Fundamental_Approaches_on_Time.pdf

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amrit wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 18:31 GMT
i discover mistake in file attached

please read second one

attachments: Two_Fundamental_Approaches_on_Time_in_Quantum_Space.doc

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 20:39 GMT
Steve,

One does not see the past, one imagines the past or sees artefacts such as electromagnetic images or evidence of layering of rocks for example. The image is not matter it is light. We may learn something of the material universe that produced that image by studying it but it is prone to misinterpretation. This is because it is not the material universe itself. Also layers of rocks tell us about changes in spatial position of matter that have occurred. This also is not the past itself. It can be explained using a physical description of change in 4 dimensional position where the 4th dimension is spatio-energetic, just as easily as if it was describes as time. However time fits more easily with the way people think(which is with a muddle of different temporal concepts)rather than being a more accurate description.

The way a person thinks is in part due to the preference for a particular brain hemisphere. Those with a preference for the right hemisphere tend to feel the connection between everything and feel a part of that connectedness. They are creative, imaginative and use intuition to form ideas. This is because the right brain is comparative in function and draws together lots of different ideas for comparrison and analysis.

A person with left brain preference is logical and precise. At the extreme of left brained preference there may be a lack of ability to understand the semantic meaning of words beyond a precise dictionary definition or to grasp metaphor. These people use reductionist logic and see themselves as separate and distinct from everything else.These people are more likely to be very good at mathematics rather than artistic endeavours.As mathematics is widely used in physics, many physisits will also think in this way.

Both ways of thinking still lead to subjective realities, but each type of thinking style is thought superior by the person using that style.It is highly unlikely that a person who is using a left brained style of thought process will just change to using the other style of thinking unless there is a dramatic life change.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU

A hope lies in people who utilise both hemispheres for analysis and therefore see both sides of the argument for what they are.It is not a case of left brain is correct, right brain incorrect. we have two hemispheres for a reason. That being the ability to analyse problems in two different ways, in order to find solutions.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 1, 2009 @ 22:47 GMT
Hi Georgina and Amrit,

Dear Amrit,

In meditation one knows that ETERNITY IS NOW.....I like these words ...very beautiful exemple of the wall math/phys ...all is eternal ....fortunaly .lol

The consciencousness is so important to be in harmony with our physical Universe in evolution.It's so incredible our history ,different steps towards the improvement of ultim harmony in fact .The end is physical , the eternity of the unknew is eternal .....We are catalysts ,builders .It's fascinating and the word is weak .

Dear Georgina,

I understand your point of vue ,be sure ,I play piano ,guitar and Djumbe ,it's a big passion for me too with gardening and writing(poems and theater) and spherization of course 70% of my time 10% for music,10 for writing and 10 for gardening in bio and natural cultivation of course lol .

The brain is a fantastic dynamic where many polarizations have been built in the evolution .It's indeed an incredible system ,very complex ,

When I classed hominids ,I have linked with the evolution of the brain of the first selacian ...the evolution continues after.... the fishes .....,the reptils ,.....mammalians .....the brain evolution is very interesting too about the two hemispheres ,there too the spherization appears .

An other point interesting ,it's the inhibition and activation dynamic between the hypothalamus,the thalamus ,and the differents glands ....the hormons are fascinating ...In my theory ,I see spheres like quantum foundamental ....if we extrapolate a hormon for exemple like adrenalin ,its architecture is a spherical system too ...thus in resume the two hemispheres and its synaps ...the glands (too spheroids)and the transport of information with a specific polarization by hormons .

If we consider this dynamic ,

what do you think about the polarization of very weak particles to evolve .This particle of evolution ,if I can say ,can be polarized by human system like in our tori of adn or in our two hemisphere with its dynamic of + - .

Thus implies new polarizations to complexificate our actual systems.

friendly

Steve

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amrit wrote on Apr. 2, 2009 @ 11:26 GMT
Steve

consciousness is a driving force of evolution of life and awakening of human being.

Consciousness can be used as a scientific tool in time research

yours amrit

attachments: 8_6._Consciousness_As_A_Research_Tool_Into_Space_And_Time.pdf, 4_IIGSS_BASIC_FREQUENCY.pdf

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 2, 2009 @ 14:49 GMT
Amrit ,

Yes indeed the consciousness is a driving force of evolution ,it's so important to know the universal link with all things .

It's interesting this point about the tool in Time research .Very interesting .

sincerely

Steve

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 3, 2009 @ 08:08 GMT
Dear Steve

Awakened people know:

Clock motion does not run in time, clock motion itself is time.

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amrit wrote on Apr. 5, 2009 @ 13:42 GMT
Einstein marriage between space and time needs divorce.

attachments: 1_Two_Fundamental_Approaches_on_Time.pdf

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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Apr. 6, 2009 @ 01:04 GMT
Dear Amrit,

If I might quote a statement I much enjoyed, from your post above, "time is not a thing; time is a thought,".

Space and time, is space and thought.

Yours,

Jim George Snowdon

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amrit wrote on Apr. 6, 2009 @ 09:03 GMT
yes Jim, you can quote it.

Sure physical time we measure with clocks, and space-time is a math model , a thought.

Physical time is a clock run in timeless space.

yours amrit

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amrit wrote on Apr. 8, 2009 @ 08:41 GMT
Actually it came into my mind: TIME IS RUN OF CLOCKS.

yours amrit

attachments: TIME_IS_RUN_OF_CLOCKS.doc

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James Putnam wrote on Apr. 9, 2009 @ 21:53 GMT
Anthony Aguirre,

I recently suggested to others that they read the winning Barbour essay. I provided a link to fqxi.org. The link did not allow them to proceed to view the essays. I then gave a direct link to Barbour's essay. It also did not take them to view the essay. It seems that I can view the essays, but visitors cannot. Is this the case? Sorry to bother you with this. If I am doing something wrong, then I apologize. Are the essays currently viewable by the public?

James

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Apr. 10, 2009 @ 05:08 GMT
James,

You should be able to see all of the winning essays at:

http://www.fqxi.org/community/essay/winners

best,

Anthony

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Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Apr. 21, 2009 @ 02:34 GMT
Dreams improve upon the integrated extensiveness of experience and thought. This is what is described by the addition of a fourth dimension of space that unites gravity and electromagnetism/light. I have proven (in detail and with specifics) that the dream fundamentally unifies gravity and electromagnetism. With the fourth dimension of space being added, what is then described is thought that is more like sensory experience in general. The dream makes thought more like sensory experience in general. The ability of thought to describe or reconfigure sense is ultimately dependent upon the extent to which thought is similar to sense.

The Dream Fundamentally Balances and Unifies Gravity and Electromagnetism

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