Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

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ahippo
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ahippo » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:06 am UTC

Oh boy this stuff's my bread and butter! Well when I was younger, not sure quite when, but a while ago, I was fiddling with something, probably a remote. I would put it up to my mouth and my siblings would tell me not to. I was just thinking, now why would I want to fiddle with things or put them to my mouth. Well maybe contact with things releases endorphins, or at least some sort of good feeling. That would explain why I want to fiddle with things. Maybe it gets stronger when the areas of the body are more sensitive. Like the lips, of course! The same principal applies to contact with other living things just it's probably stronger with living things. That's why we like to pet our cats or dogs. That's why we hug people. That's why kissing feels good. I don't know about you guys but it makes perfect sense to me. But I'm probably not the first person to think of this.

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Charlie!
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Charlie! » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:29 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Talith wrote:I used to think that the reason clouds move across the sky was because the atmosphere was stationary and the earth was rotating so the clouds would whiz by.

Iirc, this was one of the main Greek arguments against a rotating Earth--if it was rotating, the air would produce massive winds and the buildings would fall down.

A fun thing is that the earth's rotation DOES produce massive winds :D They're just not all next to the surface.
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Dimetrodon
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Dimetrodon » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:05 am UTC

So, I had this idea for an infinite energy source. You build a one-way glass mirror in a sphere shape, with the mirror part on the inside, and shine a flashlight into it. The light keeps reflecting off the mirrors in the inside, while you can see it from the outside. Boom! Infinite light source!
Or not.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby kiklion » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:47 am UTC

When I was in first grade, I remember being diagnosed as color blind. This led me to thinking that perhaps people don't see things the same way, specifically color. For instance every thing you see that is blue, appears to me as yellow. Now we both call it blue because we have been told that an object that looks like that IS blue, however what you see as yellow I see as blue.

I was also very detached from myself constantly viewing my body as nothing more then a tool for me to work with.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby frog42 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:21 am UTC

My theory from early high school (and still) is that you can't die. Infinite Personal Reality.

When it's about time for you to die from sickness, old age, etc., in your reality, a miracle cure will be found and you'll be saved. Unfortunately, other people can die (in your reality) but will continue on in their own IPR.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby QwertyKey » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:53 pm UTC

I just remembered this today, I had this idea of powering cities using lightning electricity using gigantic batteries(With no knowledge of electricity at the time).

Looking back, it sounds not just dumb but ridiculous :D

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby lulzfish » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:51 pm UTC

frog42 wrote:My theory from early high school (and still) is that you can't die. Infinite Personal Reality.

When it's about time for you to die from sickness, old age, etc., in your reality, a miracle cure will be found and you'll be saved. Unfortunately, other people can die (in your reality) but will continue on in their own IPR.


That's called Quantum Immortality.
There's an infinite number of universes, and you can only observe the ones where you continue to live, so you appear to live forever.

It depends on a lot of quantum mechanics that I don't really understand, though, so I can't believe in it.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Outchanter » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:34 am UTC

lulzfish wrote:
frog42 wrote:My theory from early high school (and still) is that you can't die. Infinite Personal Reality.

When it's about time for you to die from sickness, old age, etc., in your reality, a miracle cure will be found and you'll be saved. Unfortunately, other people can die (in your reality) but will continue on in their own IPR.


That's called Quantum Immortality.
There's an infinite number of universes, and you can only observe the ones where you continue to live, so you appear to live forever.

It depends on a lot of quantum mechanics that I don't really understand, though, so I can't believe in it.

It also has some rather nasty consequences. For example, if you're caught in a car crash, there will be some universes where you survive, but in most of them you'll be horribly maimed for life. Which, given the immortality part, is a long, long time.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby frog42 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:14 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:
lulzfish wrote:
frog42 wrote:My theory from early high school (and still) is that you can't die. Infinite Personal Reality.

When it's about time for you to die from sickness, old age, etc., in your reality, a miracle cure will be found and you'll be saved. Unfortunately, other people can die (in your reality) but will continue on in their own IPR.


That's called Quantum Immortality.
There's an infinite number of universes, and you can only observe the ones where you continue to live, so you appear to live forever.

It depends on a lot of quantum mechanics that I don't really understand, though, so I can't believe in it.

It also has some rather nasty consequences. For example, if you're caught in a car crash, there will be some universes where you survive, but in most of them you'll be horribly maimed for life. Which, given the immortality part, is a long, long time.


And here I thought I was original. Those consequences sound pretty bad, but what happens when you decide to end your life because of your painful disability and seeming immortality? Either you mess up to the point that you can't even try anymore or they find a way to cure you before you get that far.

As I've grown older, I've aligned my thoughts more with Buddhism though. Maybe you're only quantumly immortal until you're ready to move on.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby userxp » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:32 am UTC

lulzfish wrote:That's called Quantum Immortality.
There's an infinite number of universes, and you can only observe the ones where you continue to live, so you appear to live forever.

It depends on a lot of quantum mechanics that I don't really understand, though, so I can't believe in it.


I have to say that quantum Immortality sounds good, but makes no sense.
If every possible universe exists, then there is an universe where I have just turned into a chair, a frog, or anything or anyone.
you can only observe the ones where you continue to live

What if my body turns into an exact copy of my father's body? Is it me or is it my father? What if my body disappears from here and appears in china?

Also, quantum immortality should work in the past. I've been dead ever since the big bang, and only less than 20 years ago I started to exist.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby frog42 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:52 am UTC

userxp wrote:I have to say that quantum Immortality sounds good, but makes no sense.
If every possible universe exists, then there is an universe where I have just turned into a chair, a frog, or anything or anyone.
What if my body turns into an exact copy of my father's body? Is it me or is it my father? What if my body disappears from here and appears in china?

Also, quantum immortality should work in the past. I've been dead ever since the big bang, and only less than 20 years ago I started to exist.


I hate it when people assume "infinite universes" implies "absurd universes". There are "infinite universes" because very slight changes can build up over time to create larger ones. I assume in quantum immortality that when you "die", you simply begin to perceive a universe where that diverged JUST ENOUGH to keep you alive.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby phlip » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:29 am UTC

Spoilered for long and offtopic rambling about quantum immortality.
Spoiler:
Right. If the many-universes model is accurate, then there may well be a universe somewhere where you suddenly disappear. Quantum tunnelling and such. It doesn't make it any more likely that this would happen than in any other QM model. Say there's a one-in-a-googol chance that a particular crazy thing will happen, just from quantum nonsense. In a single-universe model, that just means exactly what it says... it has a one-in-a-googol chance of happening. In a many-universe model, there exist universes where the crazy thing happens... but for every universe where it happens, there are a googol more where it doesn't... so the chance that you're observing one where it happens is, you guessed it, one-in-a-googol. Where the interesting things start to come in is when your ability to observe the result is not independent of the result itself.

The standard thought experiment is a flawless quantum computer connected to a doomsday device that can instantly destroy the entire universe - just, at a certain point in time, the universe ceases to exist. Trying to talk about what happens after that time is as meaningless as asking what happened before the big bang, or what's north of the north pole. Now, this computer uses quantum randomness to generate a single bit, 0 or 1. It then writes the value on a piece of paper. If it's a 0 it then stops, if it's a 1 it activates the doomsday device as it writes the number. You activate it, and then look at the number it wrote down... it will be a 0... because if it was a 1, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to look at the number.

Now, in a single-universe model this just means that there's a 50% chance that the universe will survive and we'll see a 0... and a 50% chance that the universe will be destroyed and we won't see anything. There won't even be an "us" to do any observing. The weak anthropic principle applies - if we are able to make an observation, we shouldn't be surprised that the observation matches the requirements for observation to be possible.

However, in a many-universes model, the strong anthropic principle applies... after the machine is activated, half as many universes will exist, in all of which the value on the paper is 0. So the standard probability calculation - number of universes where the value on the paper is 0, divided by the number of universes... gives 100%. The computer will always write 0.

All of which is great for a philosophy debate, but isn't science at all... there's nothing testable here. In both cases, where observations are possible, the observations will match.

Quantum immortality is taking that premise, and applying it to a single person. It ties into another philosophical untestable thing: "I know that I am conscious, and I know I can observe things... but everyone else could all be soulless robots for all I can tell." What if I'm the only real observer of the universe, on some fundamental level? Then if I were to stop observing, it would be basically the same as the universe ending. But even without that... in all situations where I'm able to make an observation, I am still alive. So in the many-universes model, so long as there exists a universe where I am alive (that is, so long as me being alive is physically possible), those universes where I'm alive are the only ones in the probability state-space for my consciousness. Of course, other people dying isn't a problem - that doesn't affect my ability to observe the universe.

Of course, one of the big assumptions this rests on, is the many-universes thing... in a single universe, sure, you'll still be alive as long as you can keep observing stuff, but one day you'll stop being able to observe stuff. Another assumption is that consciousness completely disappears immediately at death... a proposition many religions would disagree on... pretty much any religion that includes any sort of afterlife.

But still, it's fun to think about, if you're into that sort of thing.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby ACU-LP » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:32 am UTC

One reason why I wouldn't want that quantum such to be true is that everyone you ever love or hold dear will die, and you will end up alone.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby userxp » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:43 am UTC

frog42 wrote:I hate it when people assume "infinite universes" implies "absurd universes". There are "infinite universes" because very slight changes can build up over time to create larger ones. I assume in quantum immortality that when you "die", you simply begin to perceive a universe where that diverged JUST ENOUGH to keep you alive.

OK, but first, I'm not sure there can be infinite universes, a lot of them yes, but infinite...
Second, I don't know much about quantum things so I could be entirely wrong, but AFAIK quantum theory means that a particle has a certain probability of "being here" and a lower probability of "being there". Couldn't many very slight changes such as an atom moving out of its place produce a big and apparently absurd change?

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Hydralisk » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

Beacons! wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:If so, your sons have a good chance of being colour-blind, I'm sorry to say.


Colour-blindness really isn't bad. What you lose in the ability to tell light pink from light grey etc, you more than gain in a good topic of conversation at nearly all social events. What you're trying to say is "I'm sorry your sons can't be pilots or bomb defusers", both life threatening jobs.

That's something that's always bugged me. When the terrorists are making the bomb, why do they colour code which wire should be cut first? Surely the disposal teams wouldn't stand a chance if you carefully coloured all the wires one colour? Though I suppose the positioning of the wire would give away which wire did what...

One of my childhood theories entailed building a large solar array in space and having the wire transmitted back down to earth via radiowaves or a really really long wire... bear in mind I was about 7 (This is around '96) and had never heard of dyson spheres etc.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby userxp » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

One theory I had was that if you take a really long wire, put electricity in one end and quickly connect it to the other one, electricity would keep going forever in circles.

Wait, wouldn't it happen with superconductor wires? Hmmm....

Hydralisk wrote:[
One of my childhood theories entailed building a large solar array in space and having the wire transmitted back down to earth via radiowaves or a really really long wire... bear in mind I was about 7 (This is around '96) and had never heard of dyson spheres etc.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aJ529lsdk9HI

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby starfire09 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

I used to think (And still often humor myself with it) that when we dream, we create a parallel universe with a whole new set of physics (Hence flying, teleportation, and all the other fun stuff in dreams). What we remember when we wake up is "experiencing" the life of the parallel "us." Of course an entire universe's lifetime elapses during our dreams, but when we wake up we only remember a random memorable part of our parallel life. Of course, this theory means that the universe we live in is somebody's dream, and all the parallel universes we worry ourselves with are other peoples' dreams from the universe "above" ours.

Now I just need to figure out what happens when we're startled awake mid-dream...

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Problem212 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

I was looking for a reason not to do my math homework. Naturally, i tried to disprove the logic of Math. (this may offend some of our super nerds and mathematics professors.) I thought: "Well, math didn't just pop out of nowhere, it was thought up by a dreamer like myself." Who exactly thought-up the concept of math? What is math derived from? At what point, as we search for the beginning source of math, do we find out that math is a spider web that is detached from the wall of the universe? What properties relate math to any part of the universe?

I was totally ignored, and then given two consecutive detentions: One for interrupting the classroom, and one for not having my math homework.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby DrZiro » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:12 am UTC

Charlie! wrote:
DrZiro wrote:When I was really little, I thought that it would be possible to make a perpetual engine.
Then I learned about the first law of thermodynamics, so I figured, it should still be possible to make a perpetual engine, as long as it is also a perpetual refrigerator.
Then I learned about the second law, so I figured, it should still be possible to make a perpetual engine, as long as it is also not only a refrigerator but also a radio emitter.
(Since the radio waves are a more entropic form of energy than heat, right?)
I don't think the third law of thermodynamics prevents this, but there might be another law that does. If you know of one, do let me know, so I can move on to the next stage.
Conservation of energy. If your machine goes on forever in the same state and it puts out energy as radio waves, that's infinite energy, which is illegal.


Okay, it wouldn't be able to go on forever, only as long as there is heat. It still sounds rather utopian. It doesn't actually run out of energy, but it does run out of (negative) entropy.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:56 pm UTC

userxp wrote:If every possible universe exists, then there is an universe where I have just turned into a chair, a frog, or anything or anyone.

What if my body turns into an exact copy of my father's body? Is it me or is it my father? What if my body disappears from here and appears in china?
Maybe those ones aren't possible universes. In a Many Worlds Theory, not all apparently conceivable universes exist. Universes have to be consistent.

userxp wrote: Also, quantum immortality should work in the past. I've been dead ever since the big bang, and only less than 20 years ago I started to exist.
Very good point.

I think you'd enjoy the Swampman thought experiment.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby tms » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:13 pm UTC

I was 8, if that, when I thought a strong "first contact with extra terrestrials" would be the impetus to get rid of nation states. I mean looking at it now, one is similar to zero... Also, I didn't think any severe conflict between the species was necessary.
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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby SuicideJunkie » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:07 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:I think you'd enjoy the Swampman thought experiment.
How does that marble example show anything?
Everyone would have the exact same questions and answers about the marbles regardless of the situation.

I suppose that's the argument against it, given that only a broken, semi-omniscient observer (that perfectly tracks atoms but not information) would be confused.
That same observer would probably go instantly insane if it witnessed an entanglement experiment...

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Opus_723 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:12 am UTC

I was just thinking to myself the other day that I actually think a lot of the 'explanations' of natural phenomenon in flat-earth theory would be fiendishly clever... if they were coming from a ten-year-old.

Expect for the whole 'sunsets are optical illusions' thing. I feel like even a ten-year-old could do better than that.

But the disk Earth with the South Pole broken out into an ice wall, and the winding solar orbit creating the seasons, would get a chuckle of admiration from me if it was a kid making it up in a fit of imagination.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:41 am UTC

I have a model of the Earth that is at odds with both the disk and the globe. I think the Earth is a cylinder, with the sun in the middle. The sun's motion is (to the first approximation) a circle, so that you have day when it is on your side of the cylinder and night when it is on the other. At the equinoxes, the sun's path is over a privileged circle on the cylinder called the equator, and the sun actually traces out a helix from one tropic to the other and back over the course of the year. The "poles" are myths, and you can actually go infinitely far north or south (though it will rapidly become uninhabitable). In the center of the cylinder is a smaller, dark cylinder which blocks out the sun at night and which exerts the complicated gravitational forces required for this motion and for the motions of the moon, planets, and stars. Our eyes have naturally evolved to correct for the east-west curvature, so the path the sun takes appears to curve down toward the horizon rather than slightly upward to meet a horizon curving up even faster. The whole shebang is rotating rapidly, producing what we experience as gravity. Hypothetical Soviet ICBM paths "over the north pole" actually referred to direct shots through the center of the cylinder, past the sun, curving slightly to avoid the dark cylinder.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Carmeister » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:10 am UTC

Sounds like you're describing the Ringworld, more or less.

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Re: Childhood (not so) crackpot theories

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:05 am UTC

But like an infinitely wide ring. A cylinder even.


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