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About this blog

My views about philosophical and scientific matters.

Entries in this blog

Explaining Magic, part 2

As previously established, I need something that makes magic special, that allows it to bypass a physical limitation that normally applies. And I think the best choice for that limitation is the second law of thermodynamics. It states that in a closed system (and the entire universe is a closed system) the amount of entropy (which can be understood as disorder) must remain the same or (more likely) increase. It also means that some processes are very easy in one direction of time, and very hard

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PawelS in Fictional Concepts

Explaining Magic, part 1

To make things clear: I don't believe magic exists in our world, I'm just considering it in context of a fictional universe, like MLP. I don't like the "It's magic, you don't have to explain it" approach. If magic is an integral part of a fictional world, then it should be explained like any other part of it. And that's what we will try to do here. We'll start with the sources of magic. What causes it? I think what Starlight says in "All Bottled Up" is a good explanation: Of course there

Real Numbers Continued

The title of this entry means we're still talking about the real numbers, but it also means we're talking about something called "continuum". But what is it? The answer is it's a kind of infinity, and it's different from the "countable infinity". (There are more kinds of infinity, but let's focus on these two.) "Countable infinity" is, for example, the number of elements in the set of all integers. "Countable" means we can arrange the elements in a sequence, so for any integer there is a we

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PawelS in Mathematics

Are Real Numbers Real?

Let's talk about the different sets of numbers. First, we have integers, which are a simple and intuitive concept. It's a series of numbers going in both directions (positive and negative) to infinity. Rational numbers are not hard to understand either, as the name suggests they are ratios of integers. But what about the real numbers? Are they a valid mathematical concept? There is one fact that made me question it: most of them are "unreachable", which means we cannot create any formulas that "

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PawelS in Mathematics

"No two ponies are exactly the same, no two snowflakes ever match their design..."

This quote (I think you all know where it comes from) shows us that complex physical objects are all different from each other. Ranging from very big ones like galaxies, to very small like the aforementioned snowflakes, there are no two identical instances of them. But what happens if we consider really small objects, like atoms? Well, the atoms of one chemical element aren't actually all the same, but they are not all unique either. Every element has several versions called isotopes, which diff

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PawelS in Physics

The Guiding Light

Warning: contains spoilers for the G5 movie. This entry is different from what I usually post here, but I just had to share some of my thoughts about the new movie. Specifically, what I want to discuss here is the symbolism of the lighthouse. I love that they made it the house of Argyle and Sunny, and here's why: The thing that immediately came into my mind when I saw the movie is a piece of literature from my country: a short story called "Latarnik" ("The Lighthouse Keeper") by Henryk

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PawelS in Culture

From tip to TOE

By TOE I mean "Theory of Everything". The basic rules that govern our universe (so if you think there are multiple universes, it's not really about everything). There are several attempts to unify all physics, but there is no widely accepted version of it. I have an intuition what it should be, which I'm going to share with you here. I believe the fundamental theory is not geometric. Geometry should be an emergent phenomenon, a statistical property of a large number of basic objects, someth

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PawelS in Physics

Do Extra Dimensions Exist?

(Sorry for posting this 2 days later than usual.) In some physical theories there are not only the 4 dimensions we know (3 space and 1 time), but also some small extra ones. But they hasn't been observed yet, so do they really exist? Well, there is a very convincing argument (for me at least) that they do. It's called "CPT symmetry". Symmetry is a very important concept in physics, it means that some differences between two systems don't really affect the way they work. For example the

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PawelS in Physics

How to Solve the Time Loop Paradox

In principle, physics doesn't forbid traveling back in time. We don't have the technology to do it, but maybe someday we will. But what about the paradoxes it causes? Well, if you go back in time and, for example, land in a distant galaxy where you don't do anything that would contradict what you already know about that place, then there is no problem. The paradox arises when you create a time loop, which means a closed chain of cause and effect. Now, if the time loop is consistent, then th

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PawelS in Physics

The Nature of Time

What is time? According to physics, it's just another dimension. There is a slight difference between spatial and time dimensions. Basically, the distance across two or more spatial dimensions is the square root of the sum of squares of the distances in the individual dimensions (as in Pythagorean theorem). But, due to time being a different kind of dimension, the distance across a spatial dimension and a time dimension is the square root of the difference of squares. Also there is only one time

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PawelS in Physics

Free Will Makes No Sense

So, for some people (I think I'm using 'some people' too much in this blog) free will is a very important thing. They feel that if everything is deterministic, then it's already decided what they are going to do, so they can't decide it themselves. It's like something is forcing them to do things, and they don't have a will of their own. So determinism is a bad thing, and free will should exist to make the human existence meaningful. This is wrong. We are a part of the universe, and th

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PawelS in Philosophy

Do We Live in a Simulation?

Some people argue that advanced civilizations should be able to run simulations with beings like us in them, and, due to the fact that one civilization can make many simulations, and there can even be simulations within simulations and so on, it's most likely that we live in one of these simulated realities. My approach to this question is related to the subject of my last week's entry: consciousness. Can simulated beings be conscious? Well, for those who think consciousness requires only a

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PawelS in Philosophy

But What is Consciousness?

(This blog entry is the longest of all that I made so far, but it's about something very important to me, so I need to be thorough with it.) That's a hard question. Actually I think it's the hardest question of all. We don't have a mathematical or physical equation to describe consciousness. So, let's try to use a very powerful tool, that is able to explain almost everything in our universe. It's called reductionism. What is reductionism? It's a process that is used very often in scien

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PawelS in Philosophy

What Makes the Difference

Continuing the subject of multiple universes, I think we can divide them into two kinds: those that have 'observers' in them (probably the minority), and those that don't. The 'observerless' universes exist (at least I believe they do) only to satisfy the principle I wrote about two weeks ago, that any logically consistent system exists, because there is no reason why it shouldn't exist. But does its existence really matter? I think it doesn't, because if there is an universe and there is no one

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PawelS in Philosophy

The Anthropic Principle

This time we're going to figure out if there's anything special about our universe, but let's start with another question: Do we live in a typical place in it? By 'typical' I mean the kind of place that we will most likely end up with if we pick one at random. The answer is of course not, because a typical place in our universe is just empty space. And we happen to live on a planet where there are good conditions to support life. And the reason why it is so is obvious: as far as we know, in the

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PawelS in Philosophy

The Big Question

Welcome to my blog. I'm going to cover a wide range of philosophical and scientific topics here, but don't expect walls of text, my goal is to make the entries brief and straight to the point. I welcome discussions and feedback in the comments, as well as suggestions what I should write about in the future. We'll start with the most important question in philosophy: Why does anything exist at all? My answer to this question is simple: Because why not? In other words, there shouldn't be any

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PawelS in Philosophy

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