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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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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