• Information about Information

    Information about Information

    With a focus on AI, humanity and the search for intelligence in space

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  • Fruit-loving robots

    Fruit-loving robots

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  • Is another universe sitting too close to us on the multiverse bus?

    Is another universe sitting too close to us on the multiverse bus?

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  • New super-Earth found that could be best candidate for signs of life

    New super-Earth found that could be best candidate for signs of life

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  • Why we are wired to produce false memories

    Why we are wired to produce false memories

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  • Food for microbes found in the plumes of Enceladus

    Food for microbes found in the plumes of Enceladus

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  • AI and Machine Learning: can we build an artificial brain?

    AI and Machine Learning: can we build an artificial brain?

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  • The Grand Finale

    The Grand Finale

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Fruit-loving robots

Fruit-loving robots

The way fruit is harvested in the orchard hasn’t changed much since the Garden of Eden: it’s still a manual process, by and large.
Is another universe sitting too close to us on the multiverse bus?

Is another universe sitting too close to us on the multiverse bus?

Since the 1960s, astronomers have been aware of the electromagnetic background radiation that pervades the Universe. Known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, this radiation is the oldest light in the Universe and what is left over from the Big Bang. By 2004, astronomers became aware that a large region within the CMB appeared to be colder than its surroundings.
New super-Earth found that could be best candidate for signs of life

New super-Earth found that could be best candidate for signs of life

An exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth may be the new holder of the title “best place to look for signs of life beyond the Solar System”
Why we are wired to produce false memories

Why we are wired to produce false memories

How much do you trust your memories?
Astronomers found an enormous object orbiting at the edge of our solar system

Astronomers found an enormous object orbiting at the edge of our solar system

It’s no Planet Nine, but the planetary body astronomers have found at the far edge of our solar system is a notable discovery nonetheless.
Food for microbes found in the plumes of Enceladus

Food for microbes found in the plumes of Enceladus

The discovery of hydrogen in the water plumes suggests that although the moon is just 505 kilometers in diameter, it may harbor under its surface the chemicals and processes capable of supporting microbial life.
AI and Machine Learning: can we build an artificial brain?

AI and Machine Learning: can we build an artificial brain?

AI is changing the world around us, making its way into businesses, health care, science and many other fields.
Astronomers detect atmosphere around Super-Earth

Astronomers detect atmosphere around Super-Earth

An international team of astronomers, led by Keele University researcher John Southworth, has managed to detect an atmosphere around GJ 1132b
The Grand Finale

The Grand Finale

After almost 20 years in space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft begins the final chapter of its remarkable story of exploration: its Grand Finale.
Evolution in a test tube

Evolution in a test tube

Biologists have observed the evolution of a virus into two incipient species — a process known as speciation
Gravitational waves boot gigantic black hole from galaxy's core

Gravitational waves boot gigantic black hole from galaxy's core

The monster black hole has already zoomed 35,000 light-years away from its galaxy's center, farther than Earth and its sun are from the core of our own Milky Way.
The LHC just discovered a new system of five particles

The LHC just discovered a new system of five particles

The Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment (LHCb) collaboration just announced the discovery of a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.
The race to quantum AI

The race to quantum AI

Quantum computing promises a radical transition to computers that are infinitely faster, solving problems that would require unattainable amounts of computing power today.
New study confirms that the future of data storage is in DNA

New study confirms that the future of data storage is in DNA

DNA is one of the most robust storage systems available, and the technology could be available to consumers in a little more than ten years.
Left-handed molecules from outer space

Left-handed molecules from outer space

Although most amino acids exist in both left and right handed forms, life on Earth is made of 'left handed' amino acids, almost exlusively.
Seven earth-like planets discovered orbiting cool Trappist

Seven earth-like planets discovered orbiting cool Trappist

Scientists working with telescopes at the European Southern Observatory and NASA have announced a remarkable new discovery: An entire system of Earth-sized planets.
What would aliens look like?

What would aliens look like?

Hollywood has given us its fair share of humanoid aliens over the years.
Blue jets studied from space station

Blue jets studied from space station

For years, scientists have been piecing together evidence of peculiar phenomena known as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves – exotic types of electrical discharges that emanate from thunderstorms.
Fundamentally, the Universe is made of information

Fundamentally, the Universe is made of information

Or at least, that’s the idea more and more theorists are pursuing as they search for better descriptions of the laws that govern our Universe.
"What came before the Big Bang?" --Intriguing new theories on the origin of time

"What came before the Big Bang?" --Intriguing new theories on the origin of time

The answers can be traced to the moment of the Big Bang — or possibly before, discussed below by rock-star theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, at the California Institute of Technology.
Early tipping-point alerts found in various systems

Early tipping-point alerts found in various systems

Many complex dynamical systems have critical thresholds—so-called tipping points—at which the system shifts abruptly from one state to another
Could time have multiple dimensions?

Could time have multiple dimensions?

Time flies - but not if you're a fly.
China and Egypt

China and Egypt

In the past year, Sun Weidong, a highly decorated geochemist, has ignited a passionate online debate with claims that the founders of Chinese civilization were not in any sense Chinese but actually migrants from Egypt.
Discovery of quantum vibrations inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness

Discovery of quantum vibrations inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness

The recent discovery of quantum vibrations inside neurons in the brain supports a controversial theory of consciousness.
Strange numbers found in particle collisions

Strange numbers found in particle collisions

An unexpected connection has emerged between the results of physics experiments and an important, seemingly unrelated set of numbers in pure mathematics.
The oldest human DNA sequences

The oldest human DNA sequences

The Sima de los Huesos, or the Pit of Bones, is a cave site in the Sierra de Atapuerca of northern Spain, dated to around 430,000 years ago.
The entropy of consciousness

The entropy of consciousness

"Entropy is the normal state of consciousness - a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable." - (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
Smart robots are watching you

Smart robots are watching you

A first batch of ten intelligent robots have started to work as customs officers at three ports in the cities of Zhuhai and Zhongshan in Southern China's Guangdong province.
Alien hunters have 234 stars in sight

Alien hunters have 234 stars in sight

Astronomers have discovered 234 mysterious signals from stars that could be different alien species trying to talk to us.
Let Free Will be

Let Free Will be

We’ve all seen them, those colorful images that show how our brains 'light up' when we’re in love, playing a video game, craving chocolate, etc.
There are 10 times more galaxies than we thought

There are 10 times more galaxies than we thought

The universe suddenly looks a lot more crowded, thanks to a deep-sky census assembled from surveys taken by NASA 's Hubble Space Telescope, Nasa Kepler telescope and other observatories.
Home smart home

Home smart home

The so called smart-home has been gaining a lot of attention lately. Almost all the world’s major tech companies have announced plans and technologies to make the smart home the next big thing.
Secret life of crows

Secret life of crows

Crows have a reasoning ability rivalling that of a human seven-year-old.
Gaia mapping the Milky Way

Gaia mapping the Milky Way

The most detailed 3D map yet of a billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy was released last week on September 14, along with a sneak peek at brand-new data on millions of stars collected by ESA's Gaia spacecraft.
Do only humans have souls, or do animals possess them too?

Do only humans have souls, or do animals possess them too?

In common parlance, the word ‘soul’ pops up everywhere. We may speak of a vast, soulless corporation or describe an athlete as the ‘heart and soul’ of his team.
You gave clues to your personality before you could talk

You gave clues to your personality before you could talk

Your personality has been sculpted by many hands. Your genes, your friends, the schools you attended, plus many other factors, will all have played a part in making you the person you are today.
‘Alien cliques’ may be keeping Earth isolated

‘Alien cliques’ may be keeping Earth isolated

If the idea really is true that aliens are deliberately preventing humans from contacting them, then extraterrestrial civilizations most likely formed a number of cliques rather than a pan-galactic government.
Is the Universe actually a giant quantum computer?

Is the Universe actually a giant quantum computer?

According to MIT professor Seth Lloyd, the answer is yes.
Plate tectonics complicate search for habitable planets

Plate tectonics complicate search for habitable planets

"This would mean that many planets in the 'Goldilocks zone' may not be habitable after all."
China makes quantum leap with Mozi satellite

China makes quantum leap with Mozi satellite

A day after its launch, world's first quantum communication satellite has sent 202 MB of good quality data to the China Remote Sensing Satellite Ground Station (RSGS), located near Beijing.
Extreme survival: microbes and water bears

Extreme survival: microbes and water bears

A newly discovered microbe may help identify if there is life on other frozen moons or planets.
The shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains

The shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains

Socrates started what may have been the first technology scare.
Evidence found for China's Great Flood

Evidence found for China's Great Flood

A great flood at the dawn of Chinese civilization, around 2,000 BC, was said to have swept away settlements, the water rising so high that it overran hills, mountains and even heaven itself.
Humanity may not need a warp drive to go interstellar

Humanity may not need a warp drive to go interstellar

The field equations of Einstein’s General Relativity theory say that faster-than-light (FTL) travel is possible
We want Moore —but the law is reaching its limits

We want Moore —but the law is reaching its limits

In 1965, Gordon Moore, who later founded Intel Corporation, wrote an essay for Electronics Magazine.
We might live in a virtual universe —but does it really matter?

We might live in a virtual universe —but does it really matter?

Our world could be a clever computer simulation that creates the impression of living in a real world.
Life on Earth could be billions of years too early

Life on Earth could be billions of years too early

One day, aliens may stumble on the charred remains of earth and understand that we were here, ancient aliens they never got to meet
Moon Express approved for private lunar landing in 2017, a space first

Moon Express approved for private lunar landing in 2017, a space first

Spaceflight venture Moon Express wants to be the first private company ever to land on the Moon in 2017 — and now the company has been granted approval by the United States government to launch to the lunar surface.
Crimes in space: whose law will we use?

Crimes in space: whose law will we use?

It sounds like the plot of a bad science-fiction movie: a crew member decides to do something evil just for the sake of money, or fame, or for a cause.
Theory of a monkey mind

Theory of a monkey mind

It is often said that the way humans make and use tools is perhaps what sets our species apart more than anything else.
This team hopes to find "another Earth" around Alpha Centauri

This team hopes to find "another Earth" around Alpha Centauri

A new group of scientists is embarking on what could be the biggest scientific discovery of all time — to capture an image of another habitable planet.
The evolution of Homo Digitalis

The evolution of Homo Digitalis

Obviously, we won't live in our current form forever, but who or what might become our successor?
  • Space Exploration
  • The theory of parallel universes is not just maths – it is science that can be tested

It is important to keep in mind that the multiverse view is not actually a theory, it is rather a consequence of our current understanding of theoretical physics. This distinction is crucial. We have not waved our hands and said: “Let there be a multiverse”. Instead the idea that the Universe is perhaps one of infinitely many is derived from current theories like quantum mechanics and string theory.

You may have heard the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat, a spooky animal who lives in a closed box. The act of opening the box allows us to follow one of the possible future histories of our cat, including one in which it is both dead and alive. The reason this seems so impossible is simply because our human intuition is not familiar with it.
But it is entirely possible according to the strange rules of quantum mechanics. The reason that this can happen is that the space of possibilities in quantum mechanics is huge. Mathematically, a quantum mechanical state is a sum (or superposition) of all possible states. In the case of the Schrödinger’s cat, the cat is the superposition of “dead” and “alive” states.

But how do we interpret this to make any practical sense at all? One popular way is to think of all these possibilities as book-keeping devices so that the only “objectively true” cat state is the one we observe. However, one can just as well choose to accept that all these possibilities are true, and that they exist in different universes of a multiverse.

String theory is one of our most, if not the most promising avenue to be able to unify quantum mechanics and gravity. This is notoriously hard because gravitational force is so difficult to describe on small scales like those of atoms and subatomic particles – which is the science of quantum mechanics. But string theory, which states that all fundamental particles are made up of one-dimensional strings, can describe all known forces of nature at once: gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear forces.

However, for string theory to work mathematically, it requires at least ten physical dimensions. Since we can only observe four dimensions: height, width, depth (all spatial) and time (temporal), the extra dimensions of string theory must therefore be hidden somehow if it is to be correct. To be able to use the theory to explain the physical phenomena we see, these extra dimensions have to be “compactified” by being curled up in such a way that they are too small to be seen. Perhaps for each point in our large four dimensions, there exists six extra indistinguishable directions?

A problem, or some would say, a feature, of string theory is that there are many ways of doing this compactification –10500 possibilities is one number usually touted about. Each of these compactifications will result in a universe with different physical laws – such as different masses of electrons and different constants of gravity. However there are also vigorous objections to the methodology of compactification, so the issue is not quite settled.

But given this, the obvious question is: which of these landscape of possibilities do we live in? String theory itself does not provide a mechanism to predict that, which makes it useless as we can’t test it. But fortunately, an idea from our study of early universe cosmology has turned this bug into a feature.

During the very early universe, just after the Big Bang, the universe underwent a period of accelerated expansion called inflation. Inflation was invoked originally to explain why the current observational universe is almost uniform in temperature. However, the theory also predicted a spectrum of temperature fluctuations around this equilibrium which was later confirmed by several spacecraft such as Cosmic Background Explorer, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the PLANCK spacecraft.

While the exact details of the theory are still being hotly debated, inflation is widely accepted by physicists. However, a consequence of this theory is that there must be other parts of the universe that are still accelerating. However, due to the quantum fluctuations of space-time, some parts of the universe never actually reach the end state of inflation. This means that the universe is, at least according to our current understanding, eternally inflating.

Some parts can therefore end up becoming other universes, which could become other universes etc. This mechanism generates a infinite number of universes. By combining this scenario with string theory, there is a possibility that each of these universes possesses a different compactification of the extra dimensions and hence has different physical laws.

The universes predicted by string theory and inflation live in the same physical space (unlike the many universes of quantum mechanics which live in a mathematical space), they can overlap or collide. Indeed, they inevitably must collide, leaving possible signatures in the cosmic sky which we can try to search for.

The exact details of the signatures depends intimately on the models – ranging from cold or hot spots in the cosmic microwave background to anomalous voids in the distribution of galaxies. Nevertheless, since collisions with other universes must occur in a particular direction, a general expectation is that any signatures will break the uniformity of our observable universe.

These signatures are actively being pursued by scientists. Some are looking for it directly through imprints in the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the Big Bang. However, no such signatures are yet to be seen. Others are looking for indirect support such as gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time as massive objects pass through. Such waves could directly prove the existence of inflation, which ultimately strengthens the support for the multiverse theory.

Whether we will ever be able to prove their existence is hard to predict. But given the massive implications of such a finding it should definitely be worth the search.

Source: Phys.org

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