Berfrois

Many, Many, Many, Many Worlds

Many, Many, Many, Many Worlds

I have often talked about the Many-Worlds or Everett approach to quantum mechanics — here’s an explanatory video, an excerpt from From Eternity to Here, and slides from a talk. But I don’t think I’ve ever explained as persuasively as possible why I think it’s the right approach. So that’s what I’m going to try to do here. Although to be honest right off the bat, I’m actually going to tackle a slightly easier problem: explaining why the many-worlds approach is not completely insane, and indeed quite natural. The harder part is explaining why it actually works, which I’ll get to in another post.

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Nicholas Coghlan sails with Darwin’s ghost

Nicholas Coghlan sails with Darwin’s ghost

Bosun Bird at anchor at the foot of Monte Darwin, in the Northwest Arm of the Beagle Channel by Nicholas Coghlan It was the late seventies and I had just graduated from University in Britain. The economy was depressed, the country was strike-bound and rainy. On the spur of the moment...

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Gerardo Aldana: Behind Astronomical Patterns

Gerardo Aldana: Behind Astronomical Patterns

Kan B’ahlam as warrior, depicted on the Palenque Temple XVII Tablet by Gerardo Aldana One of the real challenges facing the interpretation of ancient astronomies—from non-academic ’2012′ prophecies to the most traditional scholarship on the Dresden Codex Venus Table—is that presented by ‘patterns in randomness.’ In my opinion, the...

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Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Researchers Re-Open Their Minds to Psychedelic Drugs | by Sam Kornell

Miller McCune

Mike told me doesn’t do mushrooms very often-maybe once or twice a year-but when he does, it’s because he wants to explore a problem in his life that...

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With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

Su Chun Zhang From Stanford Medicine: On the surface it seems easy. Overseas stem cell “clinics” peddling unproven treatments to desperate and dying patients, charging tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being injected with mysterious concoctions of cells meant to cure almost every ailment: What’s not...

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Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Clockwise from top left: Nuclear power plants at Windscale, Three Mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through...

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Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Corps of Discovery member Andy Brand pushing for crickets by John Himmelman A few years ago I gathered some friends to hunt for the smallest cricket in North America, the Sphagnum Ground Cricket (Allonemobius palustris).   The friends are part of a group we call “Corps of Discovery”, after the...

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No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

Refuting a Myth About Human Origins | by John J. Shea

American Scientist

For decades, archeologists have believed that modern behaviors emerged among Homo sapiens tens of thousands of years after our species first evolved. Archaeologists disagreed over whether this process was...

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Good-bye to the straw feminist

Good-bye to the straw feminist

Eflon  by Cordelia Fine “This was not a permissible hypothesis”. That was social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s recent explanation of the outrage that followed Lawrence Summers’ speech at a conference on the under-representation of women in science and engineering, in which he suggested that women are on average intrinsically less...

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Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

HD 209458b From Nature: Until Kepler, the leading detection method used to discover exoplanets — planets outside the Solar System — was much more likely to find giant planets, resulting in a sampling bias. Known as radial velocity or Doppler spectroscopy, the method depends on identifying the shift in...

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Changing Our Minds

Changing Our Minds

From Wired: Every so often Al Frances says something that seems to surprise even him. Just now, for instance, in the predawn darkness of his comfortable, rambling home in Carmel, California, he has broken off his exercise routine to declare that “there is no definition of a mental disorder....

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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