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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Life in the Cubicle: part 2

When I asked for topics last time I was not expecting the huge flurry of answer I received.

Yeah, just the one, but still an interesting one. José has asked me write about “commercial advantages of paraell universives”. José is a very good friend of mine, budding author (of things that will actually make money) and a hell of a good guy. However like the biblical character Samson, take away his spellchecker and he is powerless. So I assumed that what he meant was either “Parnell Universities” or “Parallel Universes”. The latter is funnier (God I hope so), so I’ll look at that.

Parallel universes, for those not in the theoretical physics loop, are what people use when they want to create a situation where they are cooler than they actually are. This is why physicists invented them. As I have previously mentioned weird stuff often happens (LITC episode 1) and these parallel universes often get the blame. The cool thing is that because it’s “theoretical” physics you don’t have to prove a damn thing. “Oh that chupacabra must have come from a parallel universe where the little goat-suckers evolved instead of Humans”, “Oh, really prove it”, “Blow me”. Physics labs are full of conversations just like this.

According to an article in Scientific American you have a doppelganger in a parallel universe only 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 28 metres from wherever you are at the moment. That is over 50 car lengths. So now we know where they are the question is; how can we make money out of this?

A worrying thought is what if another universe has already thought of this. These universes split from each other every time we make a choice, theoretically, so we should aim for the universe that decides not to take advantage of this opportunity. Thinking about this too much may cause your head to hurt a little after a while (this is the reason physicists have such large foreheads).

What we have to be careful of is that now the theorists are saying there are also duplicate universes (i.e. an exact copy of ours) only 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 118 metres from wherever you are at the moment. This is roughly the length of a trip from Wellington to Auckland on a hot day with no air-conditioning.

I know what you’re thinking, “For Godsake man get to the money!” Ha ha, in time my impatient friend. First let me share more from the Scientific American article sent to me by an observant reader. Well, ok the reader was me but still here it is.

Quantum Dice:

Imagine an ideal die whose randomness is purely quantum. When you roll it, the die appears to land on a certain value at random. Quantum mechanics, however, predicts that it lands on all values at once. One way to reconcile these contradictory views is to conclude that the die lands on different values in different universes. In one sixth of the universes, it lands on 1; in one sixth, on 2, and so on. Trapped within one universe, we can perceive only a fraction of the full quantum reality.

You can only be thinking the same thing as me, (once you stop thinking “what the hell, did he expect us to read that whole thing?”), that’s right, GAMBLING, or to be more precise cheating. Imagine playing craps, I know many of you are playing craps (or “throwing dice”) as you read this, up comes dirty old ‘snake eyes’, all you have to do is zip 10 to the power of 1028 metres down the road to where you actually rolled a 7. I know more than one jaw has hit the floor. Also if you are a ‘worker’ like me, feel free to skip off to lunch early and come back two hours later knowing in your heart that, theoretically, you are still at your desk ‘working’ hard. “Jenkins, you were at lunch for 3 days!” “Yeah but at the same time I was here going over the OOLATROP proposal”, “What?! Prove it”, “Blow me”.

So really the spoils of parallel universes are, theoretically, there for the taking. We really only have to worry about ourselves figuring it out before we do and showing up at the same craps table as ourselves both claiming the winnings while the chupacabra croupier wonders where we both came from, theoretically. My not-so-big forehead hurts.

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