New Dimensions of Crackpottery

Feb 26 2013 Published by under Bad Physics

I have, in the past, ranted about how people abuse the word "dimension", but it's been a long time. One of my followers on twitter sent me a link to a remarkable piece of crackpottery which is a great example of how people simply do not understand what dimensions are.

There are several ways of defining "dimension" mathematically, but they all come back to one basic concept. A dimension an abstract concept of a direction. We can use the number of dimensions in a space as a way of measuring properties of that space, but those properties all come back to the concept of direction. A dimension is neither a place nor a state of being: it is a direction.

Imagine that you're sitting in an abstract space. You're at one point. There's another point that I want you to go to. In order to uniquely identify your destination, how many directions do I need to mention?

If the space is a line, you only need one: I need to tell you the distance. There's only one possible direction that you can go, so all I need to tell you is how far. Since you only need one direction, the line is one-dimensional.

If the line is a plane, then I need to tell you two things. I could do that by saying "go right three steps then up 4 steps", or I could say "turn 53 degrees clockwise, and then walk forward 5 steps." But there's no way I can tell you how to get to your destination with less than two directions. You need two directions, so the plane is two dimensional.

If the space is the interior of a cube, then you'll need three directions, which means that the cube is three dimensional.

On to the crackpottery!

E=mc2 represents a translation across dimensions, from energy to matter.

No, it does not. Energy and matter are not dimensions. e=mc^2 is a statement about the fundamental relation between energy and matter, not a statement about dimensions. Our universe could be 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional, 4 dimensional, or 22 dimensional: relativity would still mean the same thing, and it's not a statement about a "translation across dimensions".

Energy can travel at the speed of light, and as Special Relativity tells us, from the perspective of light speed it takes no time to travel any distance. In this way, energy is not bound by time and space the way matter is. Therefore, it is in a way five-dimensional, or beyond time.

Bzzt, no.

Energy does not travel. Light travels, and light can transmit energy, but light isn't energy. Or, from another perspective, light is energy: but so is everything else. Matter and energy are the same thing.

From the perspective of light speed time most certainly does pass, and it does take plenty of time to travel a distance. Light takes roughly 6 minutes to get from the sun to the earth. What our intrepid author is trying to talk about here is the idea of time dilation. Time dilation describes the behavior of particles with mass when they move at high speeds. As a massive particle moves faster and approaches the speed of light, the mass of the particle increases, and the particle's experience of time slows. If you could accelerate a massive particle to the speed of light, its mass would become infinite, and time would stop for the particle. "If" is the key word there: it can't. It would require an infinite amount of energy to accelerate it to the speed of light.

But light has no mass. Relativity describes a strange property of the universe, which is hard to wrap your head around. Light always moves at the same speed, no matter your perspective. Take two spacecraft in outer space, which are completely stationary relative to each other. Shine a laser from one, and measure how long it takes for the light to get to the other. How fast is it going? Roughly 186,000 miles/second. Now, start one ship moving away from the other at half the speed of light. Repeat the experiment. One ship is moving away from the other at a speed of 93,000 miles/second. From the perspective of the moving ship, how fast is the light moving away from it towards the other ship? 186,000 miles/second. From the perspective of the stationary ship, how fast is the laser light approaching it? 186,000 miles/second.

It's not that there's some magic thing about light that makes it move while time stops for it. Light is massless, so it can move at the speed of light. Time dilation doesn't apply because it has no mass.

But even if that weren't the case, that's got nothing to do with dimensionality. Dimensionality is a direction: what does this rubbish have to do with the different directions that light can move in? Absolutely nothing: the way he's using the word "dimension" has nothing to do with what dimensions mean.

All “objects” or instances of matter are time-bound; they change, or die, or dissolve, or evaporate. Because they are subject to time, objects can be called four-dimensional.

Nope.

Everything in our universe is subject to time, because time is one of the dimensions in our universe. Time is a direction that we move. We don't have direct control over it - but it's still a direction. When and where did I write this blog post compared to where I am when you're reading it? The only way you can specify that is by saying how far my position has changed in four directions: 3 spatial directions, and time. Time is a dimension, and everything in our universe needs to consider it, because you can't specify anything in our universe without all four dimensions.

The enormous energy that can be released from a tiny object (as in an atomic bomb) demonstrates the role dimensions play in constructing reality.

No: the enormous energy that can be released from a tiny object demonstrates the fact that a small quantity of matter is equivalent to a large quantity of energy. As you'd expect if you look at that original equation: e=mc^2. A gram of mass - something the size of a paperclip - is equivalent to about 25 million kilowatt-hours of energy - or more than the total yearly energy use of 1,200 average americans. That's damned impressive and profound, without needing to draw in any mangled notions of dimensions or magical dimensional powers.

Higher dimensions are mind-blowingly powerful; even infinitely so. Such power is so expansive that it can’t have form, definition, or identity, like a ball of uranium or a human being, without finding expression in lower dimensions. The limitations of time and space allow infinite power to do something other than constantly annihilate itself.

Do I even need to respond to this?

Einstein’s equation E=mc2 bridges the fourth and the fifth dimensions, expressed as matter and energy. Imagine a discovery that bridges expressions of the fifth and sixth dimensions, such as energy and consciousness. Consciousness has the five-dimensional qualities of energy, but it can’t be “spent” in the way energy can because it doesn’t change form the way energy does. Therefore, it’s limitless.

And now we move from crackpottery to mysticism. Einstein's mass-energy equation doesn't bridge dimensions, and dimensionality has nothing do with mass-energy equivalence. And now our crackpot friend suddenly throws in another claim, that consciousness is the sixth dimension? Or consciousness is the bridge between the fifth and sixth dimensions? It's hard to figure out just what he's saying here, except for the fact that it's got nothing to do with actual dimensions.

Is there a sixth dimension? Who knows? According to some modern theories, our universe actually has many more than the 4 dimensions that we directly experience. There could be 6 or 10 or 20 dimensions. But if there are, those dimensions are just other directions that things can move. They're not abstract concepts like "consciousness".

And of course, this is also remarkably sloppy logic:

  1. Consciousness has the 5-dimensional qualities of energy
  2. Consciousness can't be spent.
  3. Consciousness can't change form.
  4. Therefore consciousness is unlimited.

The first three statements are just blind assertions, given without evidence or argument. The fourth is presented as a conclusion drawn from the first three - but it's a non-sequitur. There's no real way to conclude the last statement given the first three. Even if you give him all the rope in the world, and accept those three statements as axioms - it's still garbage.

33 responses so far

  • Thom Smith says:

    A couple of nitpicks.

    My understanding of relativity is that time dilation does applies to light. That is, if you tied a clock to a light ray, and read that clock later (from your perspective), no time would have elapsed on the clock. I'm not sure whether this actually has any interesting implications, since obviously you can't do that, but you don't need to make an exception for light.

    You can take types of measurement (time, distance, energy, mass, etc.) and turn them into an almost-vector space (a module) with the integers, and you wind up with a neat description of how unit multiplication and division work. In this sense, I have definitely heard time called a dimension. I don't know whether this is considered in pure mathematics to be an abuse of terminology. I suppose that the author might have heard this and gotten terribly, terribly confused.

    • Jesse Raffield says:

      Space and time dilatation can be calculated from a Lorentz transformation of a velocity 4-vector. However, to measure the passage of time from the frame of a photon of light, you would have to boost to a speed of c where the light would be stationary. If you take the axiom of a constant speed of light to be true, then such a boost is impossible, so it doesn't really make sense to ask what the passage of time is for a light wave.

  • This is my question: How can photons have energy and momentum, but no mass?

    This is the answer: http://www.askamathematician.com/2010/09/q-how-can-photons-have-energy-and-momentum-but-no-mass/

    I wish I understood it. My weak-sauce understanding of photons break down here.

    • Simple answer: they have no rest mass. That is, all of their mass comes from their kinetic energy.

      Let's say you mass 70 kg. If you run past me and I (somehow) measure your mass as you pass me, I'll actually measure slightly more than 70 kg because some of that mass is the kinetic energy of your motion.

      The difference is basically your kinetic energy in Joules -- kg (m/s)^2 -- converted into kilograms. If you're moving at a velocity v -- measured in meters per second -- the kinetic energy is 35kg * v^2. To convert this into a mass, we divide by c^2 to get 35 (v/c)^2 kg. And since you're probably running at some vanishingly small fraction of the speed of light, this is almost zero. That's why I don't normally notice you getting heavier when you run.

      But for a photon, we can measure its mass -- its momentum, really -- and calculate how much of that is due to its kinetic energy. As it turns out, all of it is! That is, there's no rest mass -- like your 35 kg basic mass -- there at all.

  • hundalhh says:

    There is another fun way to think about dimensions. It's called the Hausdorff dimension. Generally speaking, the Hausdorff dimension matches our normal intuitive definition of dimension, i.e the H-dimension of a smooth curve or line is 1, the H-dimension of a smooth surface is 2, the H-dimension of the interior of a cube is 3. But for fractals, the H-dimension can be a non-integer. For the Cantor set, the H-dimension is 0.63. For more information, check out the Wikipedia article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hausdorff_dimension

  • The crackpot says,

    Energy can travel at the speed of light, and as Special Relativity tells us,
    from the perspective of light speed it takes no time to travel any distance.

    I'm not sure, but I think he may be referring to the fact that a photon is not changing internally as it travels, so that, if it were to have an internal clock, this clock would measure no time passing between the starting point and the ending point. Time is the sequential ordering of change via causal relationships, so, if something is truly unchanging, it does not "experience" time passing. Put another way, relative to itself, it is static because no part of it changes in relation to the rest of it (in a vacuum, of course).

    Actually, a similar idea applies even to sound waves traveling through a uniform medium; the wave travels, but it's shape does not (as long as it is constrained to a single direction of travel, as in a frictionless waveguide). Even unconstrained sound waves retain their basic shape, even though they tend to spread out perpendicularly to their direction of travel (in open air, etc.).

    Also, he may be using the word "dimension" in a broader sense than the space-time sense. "Dimension" is often used to refer to any aspect of something that has a continuous range of values and that can be represented as a single-valued variable,

    Thus, in this sense, we can think of a given amount of matter (the amount being a value along the matter--or would "mass" be better here?), while the energy it can be converted to would be another dimension, so that the relationship between them would be represented by a line sloping downward (the greater the energy value, the less the mass value.

    That is, besides the four space-time dimensions, we could add matter and energy "dimensions." and then use six values to specify any point in this (conceptual) "space." In this case, converting matter to energy would be a translation (in the quasi-geometrical sense as some kind of non-rotational movement of a figure from one location to another). As more of a given mass was converted to energy, the point representing it in the matter and energy "dimensions" would move higher in the energy "dimension" as the value representing the amount of matter went down.

    I'm not at all sure that there is any particular value to viewing matter and energy as two dimensions, but it is one way to make sense of the use of the word "dimension" when he talks about "translation across dimensions." But, since matter and energy are inter-convertible, I think we really only need one "dimension" to do this, not two.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you for the criticism -- Thanks also for this much more charitable interpretation, which is much closer to what was intended. The logic at the end was sloppy, and I have no excuse for that -- I will work to clarify it asap.

      You've made a lot of good points that I'd like to address, and found a lot of weak points that I'd like to fix. This includes the use of the word "dimensions." I also don't like it when that word is abused, and if I'm participating in that, I want to stop it.

      One of the main issues I'm having with that word is expressed here:

      "The enormous energy that can be released from a tiny object (as in an atomic bomb) demonstrates the role dimensions play in constructing reality."

      To which you replied:

      "The enormous energy that can be released from a tiny object demonstrates the fact that a small quantity of matter is equivalent to a large quantity of energy."

      I meant to convey something more like this: In the same way that states of matter are based on temperature thresholds (solid below x, liquid above x and below y, gas above y), there is a sort of threshold at which energy takes the form of matter. I ascribe this threshold to a change in dimensionality, from five (not being bound by time) to four (being bound by time). I expressed that idea in the best way I knew how at the time, and obviously there is still room for improvement.

      Moving on:

      I like the idea that a dimension is a direction. What if we consider a dimension to be an axis, as on a Cartesian graph? X is length, Y is height, Z is depth. Time would be like a meta-axis, allowing the values of x, y, and z to change depending on the entire graph's position on the time axis.

      Another way I've heard it visualized is this: Imagine we live in a 2D world and a 3D tree passes through it. We would only see a group of circles (cross sections of branches) that change in size and number over time. In a 2D world, the third dimension is temporal. To us, the fourth is. So which dimensions can be called "space" (and therefore "directions") just depends on point of view. Time is spatial, but we don't generally experience it as such... yet.

      As for the fifth dimension, I extrapolated on two ideas:

      1) All dimensions are essentially spatial
      2) Each dimension is a sort of "infinity-squared" compared to the previous. That is, infinite points make a line, infinite lines make a plane, infinite planes make a solid, infinite solids make a time-line (the same way infinite points make a line).

      Because time is a limit from our perspective, but infinite from the perspective of light-speed, I figured that light is five-dimensional. It doesn't take light any time to occupy an infinite amount of space, in the same way it doesn't take me any time to occupy about 2.5 cubic feet of space.

      As for the sixth dimension, I don't claim that consciousness IS the sixth dimension, but that consciousness expresses six dimensions: In the same way that what limits space (time) does not limit light, what limits light (it can't collapse its own wavefunction) does not limit consciousness. I realize that it may be a stretch to suggest that the main difference between light and consciousness is the capacity to collapse wavefunctions, but it's the best I've got at the moment.

      I obviously don't have a formal scientific background, but I think that lack of background helps me to see where we could apply patterns we've already observed to "unobservable" things. If you could help me see how to sound less crackpotory in the future, I would appreciate it.

      Once again, thanks for the criticism and I look forward to your response.

      --The Crackpot

  • Where I said, "but it's shape does not", I meant to say, "but it's shape does not change".

  • Nice article. It would be a good one to refer my students to. One of the things we discuss in my classes is learning how to judge the information they find online when doing research.

    Also, nice discussion on relativistic effects at close to the speed of light. One area students often find confusing is that no matter how fast you go, the speed of light remains constant relative to you. Related to that is the odd result that the observer sees the increase in mass, the time dilation, length contraction and so on for a space ship going close to the speed of light, but not the people in the space ship itself. Because of course they are at rest relative to their ship. That leads to the famous (or some might say infamous :-)) twin paradox.

    The photon example always leads to some great questions about how light can be both a particle and a wave. Most students are comfortable with the idea of light as electromagetic radiation with wavelength and frequency, but the idea that it can also act as a photon, that is a particle, is a whole other ballgame.

    One quick typo fix for the article: it takes about 8 minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth.

    Distance from Earth to sun about 92,960,000 million miles.
    Speed of light equals 186,000 miles/sec
    So (92,960,000 miles/(186,000 miles/sec * 60 sec/min) = 8.3 min

    Thanks for a great article.

    Best,
    Catherine Asaro

  • Tim Martin says:

    There's actually some pretty bad physics in this post. Now I'm not an expert, so take the following with a grain of salt, but the mistakes here are fairly big ones.

    First, Mark, you confuse matter with mass. They are completely different things. Matter has several different definitions, but matter is *stuff.* Mass and energy are not stuff; they are properties that stuff has.

    There's lots more that can be said about this. I'll just direct you to these two articles written by theoretical physicist Matt Strassler:
    http://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/mass-energy-matter-etc/matter-and-energy-a-false-dichotomy/
    http://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/mass-energy-matter-etc/mass-and-energy/

    Second, your discussion of E=mc^2 makes it sound like nuclear bombs work by converting matter into energy. This is also completely wrong. In a nuclear bomb, no "stuff" is converted into energy (whatever "energy" is; see the links above). E=mc^2 is actually fairly boring in what it says about nuclear energy (as far as I understand it). The equation merely says that energy and mass *are the same thing.* It's not that one can be converted into the other; it's that one *is* the other. You're just using different units to describe them.

    Consider two identical objects, one hot and one cold. Though the difference isn't large enough to measure, technically the hot object has more mass than the cold one. But what's the difference between a hot object and a cold one? Simply that the molecules of the former are vibrating more energetically. So the hot object has more mass because it has more energy? Yeah, that's what it comes down to. They're simply the same thing.

    If you want to explain where the energy "comes from" in a nuclear fission, you don't need E=mc^2 at all. Feynman gave the best explanation I've ever heard in one of his lectures: As you go up the periodic table, atoms increase in size. The electromagnetic repulsion between the protons in the nucleus becomes stronger and stronger, meanwhile the nuclear force (which operates across only short distances) becomes less able to hold the nucleus together. After a certain size is reached, you only need to "nick" the nucleus with something like a stray neutron in order to cause the atom to bust apart. The electromagnetic repulsion overcomes the nuclear force, and this manifests itself as a great amount of energy.

    That's it. Even though it's called "nuclear" energy, the fact is that most of the energy comes from electromagnetism, not from the nuclear force. It's an incredibly simple explanation (as you'd expect from Feynman) that ignores all the bullshit you usually hear about the mass defect (which doesn't help answer the question at all).

    Hopefully that made sense.

    • Robert says:

      The thing you're missing is that the energy in these nuclear/EM forces also manifests itself as mass via the same E=mc2 energy-mass equivalence. In the center of a star, 4 protons are fused to form one Helium core and two positrons. The mass of the helium core plus positrons is about 0.007% lighter than the combined mass of the 4 protons. The missing mass (or missing binding energy) is what is released.

      The same goes for fission, the end products are slightly lighter than the original uranium or plutonium atom, but I dont know the reactions or efficiencies out of my head.

      • Tim Martin says:

        I don't see how that adds anything to the explanation...

        First, if you keep track of *all* the products of nuclear fission (including photons), you will find that the mass of the products is exactly the same as what you started with - as it would have to be, since mass is conserved.

        Of course, any time a nuclear reaction takes place, some of that mass/energy is lost to the environment. But this is the entire point of nuclear fission - to use some of that mass/energy to heat water and produce electricity. The mass/energy hasn't disappeared; it's simply moved somewhere else. There's nothing more profound to it than that. Saying that the fission products are "lighter" than the reactants is just the same as saying that we took some of that mass/energy away to heat water. You can explain how the water gets hot without invoking E=mc^2 at all.

        • Peter says:

          No, *mass* is not conserved. Energy is conserved, and mass conservation is just a low-energy consequence of that.

          Fission products are in fact lighter than the reactants.

          Or maybe it depends on how one defines "mass" Photons don't have inertial mass, I guess. That's what's not conserved.

          • MarkCC says:

            No, mass is conserved. Or not, depending on exactly how you define your terms.

            Fundamentally, mass and energy are the same thing. That's not how we normally think about it, but they really are. You can specify any quantity of energy by its mass - that is, by the quantity of mass that is completely equivalent.

            Likewise, you can specify any quantity of matter in terms of energy. (In fact, if you look back at the description from the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, the mass of the particle is specified in electron-volts, which is a unit of energy.)

            They are the same thing. I think that that's what Tim was getting at. In any reaction of any time, the total quantity of matter and energy is conserved. If you choose to look at all of that as mass, then mass is conserved. If we think about it that way, then the change between matter and energ is a state change, in some sense similar to the change between liquid water and ice. When ice melts into liquid water, it isn't correct to say that the ice was destroyed. The ice is water. The amount of water before melting and after melting is exactly the same.

            But in our normal day-to-day experience, we perceive matter and energy as being very different things. So we think of turning matter into energy as being something very different. We think and talk about turning matter into energy as destroying the matter. But it's not destroyed. It's not turned into something fundamentally different then it was. It's just changed state.

          • Peter says:

            Well, I don't understand all the details, but mass, as a measure of the amount of inertia of an object, is *not* fundamentally the same thing as energy in general. There is something special about "massive" particles that interact with the Higgs field as opposed to massless particles that don't. And the amount of stuff interacting with the Higgs field *is not conserved* in nuclear reactions.

            On the other hand, gravitational mass-energy is conserved through a nuclear reactions.

            But, uh, yeah, the fact that inertial mass is, as far as we can tell, numerically equal to rest mass does make talking about mass a little confusing sometimes.

    • Peter says:

      It doesn't make sense to say that "most of the energy comes from electromagnetism". If I recall correctly, the electromagnetic force inside a nucleus is completely overwhelmed by the weak nuclear force. Note that the electromagnetic forces between protons in a nucleus are *repulsive*, so that they can't be what's holding a nucleus together.

      What happens in nuclear fission is...not really intuitive. It happens that sometimes if you add a proton or neutron to an atom (or several protons and neutrons), there is a lower energy configuration of two (or more) nuclei with the same protons + neutrons than there is for a single nucleus. So the nucleus splits into the lower energy configuration. Why this happens for some numbers and not others is--I don't think it's a complete mystery, I think people understand it in terms of quantum mechanics, but I certainly don't know and it's obviously not a simple matter of just more hadrons means a less stable nucleus (since of course there are some stable elements that are heavier than unstable ones). Also, you can have meta-stable isotopes where there is a lower energy configuration exists but there's no allowed transition to that lower energy configuration--as in radioisotopes like carbon 14 (I think, been a while since I've been doing much physics). You seem to be referring to something like that, where a passing particle might provide the "catalyst" to allow the transition.

      Really, the details don't make sense without understanding how the math of quantum mechanics works out.

  • Bradley Robinson says:

    This essay on dimensions is helpful. This is a topic I have pursued for both it's practical application and its theoretical value in my own work as a builder focused on efficiency of resources. Could a dimension of time be re-explained from the perspective of Kurt Gödel who "proposed time to be an illusion." Only in the last few years has Gödel received recognition, as in notably the highest of compliments from Stephen Hawking who in revisiting the rotating Gödel universe demonstrating the consistency of time travel with the laws of relativity, Hawking decreed the Chronology Protection Conjecture...which amounts to an anti-Gödel postulate so unacceptable that he proposed an ad Hoc modification of the laws of nature to rule out the Gödel Universe as a physical possibility. It has been sugested that a definite theoretical decision on the status of the chronology protection conjecture would require a full theory of quantum gravity.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am not a proponent of the supposed crackpot, nor do I know who or what he/she is. I actually came here to make a comment about Chris Michael Langan (and possibly start a conversation with him), but alas, I found this blog post. I will probably repost this in the other relevant section(s).

    So, I will briefly summarize my thoughts:

    I have noticed a few things with both crackpots/cranks (whatever derogatory label you pick) and their so-called debunkers: Neither are willing to compromise and learn from each other. And then people wonder why modern physics is more akin to middle-age religious bickering, than a serious perspective on nature.

    And please don't give me that tired and tested argument from the perspective of technological progress. It is a fallacy, that shifting bits of physical matter around to construct Turing Machine Automation, along with labeling objects you can measure in the lab and beyond, constitutes enlightenment. It does not. Modern Science is depressingly primitive. Don't believe me?

    Answer me these basic questions: What is Life? What is Consciousness? What is matter and why does it move?

    But now that we are at it, let me embarrass you even more:

    What is a dimension? In particular, where does the 1st dimension start, and the second begin?

    What is time and space? I promise you, you have not even the faintest clue what it is, although you rejoice at the misunderstood notion that Einstein went far to answer that question.

    He did not. His theory is far more problematic and flawed than what most GR theorists would care to admit.

    They have fallen in love with geometry. They understand neither geometry, nor mathematics, unfortunately (but then again, neither did Einstein).

    Okay, end rant.

    (If you start providing mathematical arguments, and introducing vectors, vector spaces, metrics and manifolds, I will laugh heartily at your pathetically infantile brain).

    And yes, as a matter of fact: I *do* have a superior mathematical formalism to deal with these issues. But I am not here to discuss this (I am not using this worthless blog to express my personal work). I am merely cutting down the few wiseacres, who will jump in like idiot-jack-in-the-box to blurt out their brain farts.

    The only useful work that so-called debunkers do, is put a lot of intellectual lightweights into their place -- but that's about it. The fallacy of sciencians (religious fanatics of science) is that the very little bit of flimsily associated facts they have managed to accrue in the past several centuries and glue them together, suggests that much of the remaining information can be more-or-less neatly bundled and tucked into the pockets and crevices of conventional scientific paradigms.

    Terrible error.

    Science is not reductionism. Science is a method, not an establishment (unfortunately, idiots like MarkCC need to be reminded of this again and again, although they falsely believe themselves to be adherents of reason, rationality and scientific practice, with disastrous contradictions).

    In the entire so-called debunking of this individual, I noticed that MarkCC embarrassed himself more than the crackpot.

    Although the crackpot was certainly mistaken about some issues, he seemed to be sincere and genuine in his willingness to think outside of the box, question established dogma and venture out by himself into that big wonderful world of discovery.

    Yes, he didn't solve the universe. Far from it. But so what? He has started a journey. He put some shoes on and opened the door. Good on him.

    What's MarkCC done? He is an intellectually painfully average pygmy, who atrociously overrates himself and his abilities to judge the work of others (especially Michael Langan's -- I will get to the CTMU later). An armchair critic, with a boring job as a programmer and arguably even more boring and insignificant blog, that contributes nothing to anybody (not contributing even to himself, because he cannot for one moment think a single original/independent thought). Nobody will remember MarkCC, the brilliant, daring Programmer with a blog on Cranks/Crackpots. The irony is not lost, that somebody like Langan will be remembered and seriously discussed in the future (and no, I am not Langan, his friend, his advocate, his lawyer, his wife, his pet, etc. I have never actually had a conversation with the guy, online or offline, and I am not advocating his theory. I respect it, although I have some issues with it. End of story.)

    MarkCC, the mediocre mind with the mediocre life. Congratulations, you're just another mouth to feed.

    Are you done sitting on your high horse and yapping on about what your equally average professors at University carefully chewed and spoon fed into your hungry, overly eager-to-swallow throat? What about all those books you've read? Are you ever, for one moment, going to challenge anything in there? Dare to grow a pair and maybe question some of it? Hmmm?

    Ever asked yourself the question: "Why do people think they have understood the concept of dimension, when in fact no two particles are ever at rest? If I cannot establish stability between the particles, then how can I hope to establish a stable metric, so as to establish a stable space, so as to establish a stable dimension? Is dimension just a mathematical abstraction? Just a convenient way for mathematicians to label an object using the co-ordinates available in the respective n-dimensional space (or space-time)? But if that is the case, then why do we treat dimensions as if they are real, instead of abstract mathematical concepts? They cannot be both. Or can they? How? Why? Ah, screw it. Too much for my mediocre brain. I wonder what's for lunch and on TV tonight. I sure hope David Letterman drops his trousers again and invites a hot celebrity to discuss her/his meaningless life. Maybe Jimmy Stewart or Bill Maher, those public clowns, will make fun of US politics/politicians again, to convince my dull and overly worked AVERAGE brain that there's a free and independent media; because, you know, they make fun of the president and stuff....Hehehehe. I'm so clever."

    "I'll get on with my homework, stick my head back in the sand, and obtain that piece of paper from my institution, so that I may gloat in the future about my intellectually worthless degree, that ultimately is of no consequence to anybody but economically self-serving agents leeching off each other in a bankrupt and corrupt system designed to keep intellectual peasants like myself nicely and comfortably at bay -- oh wait, did I just think that out loud? I better keep that to myself, before I start getting attacked by my equally intellectually average fellow-peasants. Nope, who's gonna kill more brain cells with me at the local pub, if I don't adapt to their world-view? I'll be a loner like Langan. Can't have that. I'm stronger in greater numbers -- even if the numbers are irrational."

    You haven't demonstrated a single original and worthwhile thought in basically every post (blog post and blog response) I have ever had the misfortune of reading. Almost everything you type, I've heard/read before by some other parrot, who managed to pass his exams because he is a good rote learner with basic mental association skills and turbo-boost belief in authority.

    I can hear some clever ape in the background yelling "don't read it, idiot!"

    I have to read it, if I am to follow what Langan (or somebody else) was responding to, numbnuts, otherwise how can I contextualize the issue? And yes, I am interested in what Langan has to say.

    Unlike almost everybody else on these forums, I am not an intellectual coward with an inferiority complex. MarkCC recognized (I am giving him credit here) that he had the intelligence to grasp that he didn't grasp Langan's material (not because Langan's material is pseudo-intellectual/pseudo-scientific hogwash masquerading as profundity. If Mark and others were slightly more intelligent, they'd be able to see the difference between thesaurus-laden hollow claptrap and genuinely insightful and USEFUL ideas. Of course Mark and his cohort do not have the mental equipment to adequately differentiate between the two. Langan's sometimes involved presentation is not an attempt from his part to hide behind incomprehensible jargon. Ironically, that's what most modern academics do. Langan is a precise thinker and thereby a precise communicator of information. If you bothered to check the use of his words and think a little bit outside the box that's been nicely built for you by others, you'd have recognized this. I have come across pseudo-intellectuals who feign their ignorance in a forest of impressive platitudes and projections before. They're everywhere, including the ones sitting on this blog giggling with MarkCC at his bad jokes. They exist in politics, the media, academia, occult sects/societies, organized religion, philosophy books, science books, math books etc. Langan isn't one of them and bluntly speaking, you do not have the brain power to see it and unfortunately, Langan doesn't have the patience to bother trivializing the material, so that even you mental peasants can grasp it. I know I am sounding like Langan's biggest fan right now, but I am not. As I have stated before, I have issues with his material, but I believe they can be resolved with a few conversations and some rigorous and precise mathematics. I am, simply, disgusted, however, at the amount of derision and self-congratulatory hokum hurled his way by a pack of trolls in owl's clothing.)

    If poor Mark had a moment or two of inspiration, he might have even recognized his intellectual superior (I am not counting on it) in Langan. This infuriated his delicate and easily tainted ego. It was too much for this intellectual lightweight to take (and yes, I am ad-hominizing this troll to my heart's content. Go shout fallacy! fallacy! to your heart's content, and scream back to your mother to get that dummy shoved back into your mouth. Congratulations, you can form basic mental associations in your brain. Next thing, you're gonna argue the definitive semantic nature of the word 'set' and how my ramblings represent the set of all sets rambling to themselves incapable of rambling at all and thereby forming a closed loop of contradictions, causing the universe as we know it to collapse in on itself as the apotheosis of pure reason subsists no more.)

    I am not here to defend this crackpot (whatever he may or may not be). I am here to tell the 'crackpot': Continue as you were. Paying attention to nobodies like Mark (another monkey with a PhD in 'nobody-cares' who published in the 'inconsequential times' a bunch of nothing) will only warp your mind to the extent that you become another robot-moron like him with his robot battalion, who take pleasure in attacking others (wrong or right) by citing conventional scientific dogmas (very transient and flimsy artifices, I am afraid Mark) and feeling most clever and important indeed.

    Mark, you're neither particularly clever, nor important. You're another dim-witted clown with a blog and an unimaginative and inconsequential opinion.

    I see people like you everywhere on- and off the internet. Profusely self-important chimpanzees, hopelessly overestimating themselves, going through life blissfully ignorant of anything other than a box and a cage, carefully constructed around their head to keep them wage slaves, paying taxes, watching the boobs on television, eating the disgusting food your unenlightened bodies crave and serving the upper 0.1 percent admirably and amicably. Mark's another cog in the wheel, willingly accepting the institutional penis firmly lodged in his mouth, swallowing everything and spitting it out on his blog post, proud of having served his masters.

    You have nothing to be serious about, so don't be so serious.

    Believe it or not. This message is a positive one. Its bottom line: Shut up, dribble less and think more.

    It's the only way you'll ever develop that peanut entity you have lodged between your skull.

    Take this as an encouraging and caring bit of 'advice' given to you by somebody who cares so much, he had to be a little cruel, for you to get the point.

    But knowing what I know about you, I somehow doubt you'll still get it. Perhaps in your next life.

  • Spencer says:

    "E=mc2 represents a translation across dimensions, from energy to matter."

    This statement would be true if the author were using 'dimension' in the sense of 'dimensional analysis'. It's a simple equation relating energy units to mass and velocity units (J=kg*m^2/s^2). But all of his later statements seem to use 'dimension' to mean 'spacial dimension', so I'm being overly generous.

  • socratus says:

    About multi Dimensions and reality.

    My question is:
    How did the idea of Multi Dimensions arise?
    My answer is:
    It began in 1907 when Minkowski tried to understand
    SRT and invented 4-Dimensional negative spacetime
    continuum ( some kind of multiverse ).
    Nobody knows what Minkowski 4– D really is.
    #.
    Poor young Einstein, reading Minkowski interpretation,
    said that now he couldn’t understand his own theory.
    Th. Kaluza agreed with Einstein and in 1921 tried
    to explain SRT using 5D space- ( another kind of multiverse )
    This theory was tested and found insufficient.
    "Well", said physicists and mathematicians, -
    " maybe 6D, 7D, 8D, 9D, 11D or 27D spaces will explain it".
    And they had done it.
    But………. But there is one problem.
    To create new D space, they must add a new parameter.
    Because it is impossible to create new D space without
    a new parameter.
    And they take this parameter arbitrarily
    (it fixed according to they opinion, not by objective rules).
    The physicist, R. Lipin explained this situation in such way:
    "Give me three parameters and I can fit an elephant.
    With four I can make him wiggle his trunk…"
    To this Lipin’s opinion it is possible to add:
    "with one more parameter the elephant will fly."
    The mathematicians sell and we buy these theories.
    Where are our brains? Where is the logic ?
    #
    If we don't know what 1+1 = 2
    how can we know what 5+4 = 9 ?
    And if we don't know what is 4-D negative Mincowski
    how can we understand 11-D, 27-D. . . . . etc spaces ?
    =========.
    Best wishes.
    Israel Sadovnik. Socratus.
    ====…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well put, Socratus. Very well put.

    • Mike says:

      I agree with Lipin.

      "The elephant will fly" does not follow the pattern that Lipin establishes. The elephant can fly in four dimensions, as all it is is time+space. Flying is no different from trunk-wiggling in that sense. I think the step after trunk wiggling would be either "eternal trunk wiggling" or "superposition of trunk location," as both of these involve time but are not limited by it. Each new dimension is a vista opened, a limitation removed.

      3D -- the elephant exists, but can't move
      4D -- the elephant can move, but for a brief period
      5D -- the elephant can move forever (or infinite times in a brief period, which is FAPP the same thing)

  • Alan Wade says:

    I have several doubts about the original post and replies and also about relativity and physics in general.
    The first is regarding the use of the word reality when referring to mathematical constructs. These are not of necessity analogues of reality on Earth and this leads me to doubt their reality in space where they cannot be tested.
    For example: the use of straight lines: They do not exist in space as everything is in orbit about something else, as any kids astronomy book will show.

    My next quibble is about time. The original post states that everything is matter or energy and yet time is neither of these. Time cannot empirically be shown to exist. And so we have mathematical constructs based upon metaphysical physics - which is philosophy. I understand that Stephen Hawking has recently declared that philosophy is dead, replaced by physics?

    I eagerly await some answers?

    AL

  • [...] at Cocktail Party Physics[3], a blog published by Scientific American, I came across a link to a post[4] on the proper use of the term ‘dimension’.  Since I’m currently working on [...]

  • [...] was reading MarkCC’s gripe about the misuse of the word dimension and it reminded me about the Hausdorff dimension. [...]

  • Ben says:

    Here's a funny one from Conservapedia about e=mc^2:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/E%3Dmc%C2%B2

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