Really? Then you must not have been reading much… 🙂

*Perhaps some libertarians want fire departments privatized, but that’s not the same as not wanting to put out fires.*

Sorry; I assumed readers would understand I was talking about the former.

*Secondly, you referred to your “lifetime of web surfing.” That would make you about 12 years old, at best.*

I was born in 1981, and started using the web in 1993. Even if it *had* been invented by 1981, I couldn’t have used it for much before about 1988. So “lifetime” seemed pretty accurate.

Libertarians don’t want there to be fire departments? Nonsense. Perhaps some libertarians want fire departments privatized, but that’s not the same as not wanting to put out fires. After all, the doctor who removes someone’s tumor doesn’t work for the government, and that’s certainly a life-saving function.

Secondly, you referred to your “lifetime of web surfing.” That would make you about 12 years old, at best.

]]>I paid lip-service to the many-worlds interpretation until I came up against refutations of Cartesian dualism. At around that point, I reflected on how obvious it seemed that *we are a part of the world* and that we shouldn’t deny that of ourselves. The most straightforward many-worlds theory I knew was something I called the buckyball-manyworlds theory, which holds that dualism is true, there is a multiverse consisting of all possible material states and configurations, like a graph, and our conscious experience more or less “walks” from node-to-node, sometimes consciously (e.g. decisions), and sometimes unconsciously (e.g. the passage of time). The name came from the complicated graph-like pictures of buckyball molecules that you saw in the news in the early 2000s, before Jan Hendrik Schön was revealed to be a fraud.

But then I got access to a wonderful set of The Teaching Company lectures on Philosophy of Mind, by John Searle. His criticism of dualism and emphasis on the obvious picture — that brains somehow cause minds, and minds somehow cause things like body-movements et cetera — really struck a chord with me. Also, I took Cornell’s applied-physics course on QM and listened to the Feynman lectures on QM; I read QED. The whole process was really fast-paced, but it gave me a better appreciation of the field.

I don’t know what can be learned from my experience. Maybe libertarianism and the many-worlds interpretations are both simply unable to handle the complexity of the real world. In that case, the libertarian and the many-worlds proponent both correlate strongly with the set of people who can’t see the large-scale complex consequences of their small-scale simple philosophies; and perhaps they then correlate with each other indirectly *via* that set.

Nevertheless, many think they have the perfect government figured out. Sometimes they get in power. When their dingbat ideas are confronted by reality, they often resort to killing people to prove they are right. An exceptional example is Pol Pot, who is often credited with hitting the 0.25 mark before retirement.

Those proclaiming simple fixes for intractable problems (government, the environment, aging, …), might notice they get humored a lot.

]]>a purpose— they force us to re-examine our own point of view.

This is healthy and good. And, on some issue, they

may be correct OR at least lead us to modify our views.

*QUESTION: Do many-worlders serve the same purpose?*

Bill, that’s actually a really perceptive point. In my experience, yes, many-worlders *can* serve a similar purpose — as can Bohmians and other people with strong views about quantum mechanics.

I often have the same feeling with regard to Hilbert space … it is a very awkward size … the universe would be better-designed IMHO if its quantum state-space dimensionality were either much smaller (as Ashetkar and Schilling would have it) or much bigger (as Candes and Tao would have it).

Unfortunately (or fortunately) it seems that any one of these three eventualities is amazingly good at emulating the other two … of all the mysteries of quantum mechanics, its dimensional quasi-invariance is for me the most central.

For further meditation … with tongue-in-cheek … I comment this video meditation on how much bigger the world is, than we might at first imagine it to be … voiceover by Stephen Hawking, music by the Dixie Hummingbirds, and concept-bending “footage” by the never-imitated Rodney Mullen. 🙂

]]>Libertarians (and others with extreme views) DO serve

a purpose— they force us to re-examine our own point of view.

This is healthy and good. And, on some issue, they

may be correct OR at least lead us to modify our views.

QUESTION: Do many-worlders serve the same purpose?

]]>AFAICT, there were *zero* talks on quantum information theory at this L1 workshop … but there *should* have been … because the mathematical themes of QIT mesh almost perfectly with the themes of L1 informatics that are developed in Anna’s talk.

One wonders, for example, how the surprising capabilities of L1 reconstruction relate to Scott’s equally surprising theorems on the learnability of quantum states?

Equally interesting (IMHO) was the talk by Dobrev, Guermond, and Popov titled *Approximating PDE’s in L1*. Those of you who have been tracking Terence Tao’s lectures on the Poincare Conjecture will recognize the overlap in subject matter … it would be interesting indeed (IMHO) if Perelman’s proof could be simplified via these emerging L1/PDE techniques.

The point being, that even though this thread began as a meditation on highly abstract questions of fundamental physics and information theory, some of the most interesting and powerful new *mathematical* tools for answering these high-level questions are emerging from a classical nuts-and-bolts context.

As yet, there is no standard reference on the subject … in part because the subject is new, and in part because RIP-related research touches very many other areas of mathematics, quantum physics, and information theory.

Three recent arxiv preprints (there are dozens more) that are RIP-related are 0804.4666 for classical information theory, 0805.1190 for quantum chemists, and our own QSE Group’s 0805.1844 on practical recipes for simulating large-scale quantum spin systems.

None of these preprints reference one another … in fact you have to read pretty closely to realize that the quantum chemists are talking about RIP-related mathematics.

Only slowly is the realization dawning that we are all working on pretty much the same set of fundamental problems … using pretty much the same set of conceptual tools … and reaching pretty much the same (enjoyable) mathematical conclusions … about the surprising virtues of state-spaces that have many *more* dimensions than usual … even more dimensions than Hilbert space.

My own opinion is that once the practical implications of RIP geometry is better understood, the resulting algebraic/ geometric/ informatic mathematical arena will be cheerfully explored by the fundamental quantum theorists and philosophers … it’s happened before! 🙂

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