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  1. 04 Jun '08 12:17
    I am in the process of reading an article in Scientific American which has some very interesting ideas on time that I never understood before (though I have heard of it).
    A rough summary is:
    The arrow of time is caused by entropy.
    The laws of physics all work both ways, so we can think of time moving in either direction and the laws of physics still work.
    We can only accurately remember the past because of entropy.
    And example of how it works like this:
    When a photon is absorbed, it is often possible to identify exactly which direction it came from in the past.(the eye does this).
    When a photon is emitted however it can leave in a totally random direction and there is no direct feedback from the future as to which way it went.
    This disparity is due to the flow of entropy with time. If entropy was not increasing with time we would remember the future just as easily as the past.
    The interesting thing for me, is the implications for quantum mechanics.
    When we are unable to accurately 'remember' the past, the past ceases to exist, or more accurately, becomes a wave function of all possible pasts which fit the memories. When only one past fits the memories then it sort of 'snaps' into place. Schrödinger's cat turns out to be either alive or dead.
    We can do the same with the future, except that due to entropy, the wave function always covers such a wide range that the future remains a blur. Schrödinger's cats future remains largely unknown.

    I think all this leads to two possible ways of looking at it:
    1. There is one continuous time line that we travel through, but we always know more about the past than the future.
    2. There is an infinite number of timelines, continuously branching, and we are on one of them.
  2. Standard member Thequ1ck
    Fast above
    05 Jun '08 08:09 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am in the process of reading an article in Scientific American which has some very interesting ideas on time that I never understood before (though I have heard of it).
    A rough summary is:
    The arrow of time is caused by entropy.
    The laws of physics all work both ways, so we can think of time moving in either direction and the laws of physics still w ere is an infinite number of timelines, continuously branching, and we are on one of them.
    Point 2 is known as the greater anthropic principle. It implies an infinite
    number of divergences at each point in time.

    If point 1 were true, that the passage of time forwards is just
    an illusion it would beg the question, what driving force in 'the futuret'
    is making us continue allong this specific path (as seen from our perception).
    If point 2 were true we would need to ask ourselves if these dimensions
    were actually separate to ours or somehow part of the same 'reality'.

    Very interesting subject, I think some theoretical physicists might have
    a good take on this.

    My own take on this is to address the question 'are there infinite
    possibilities in a game of chess'. Hypothetically the answer is yes but
    as the piece shuffling increases towards infinity, so would the difference
    between games approach 0. The idea seems to me to be inherently
    flawed. I find it much more likely that conciousness has necessitated
    the physical universe but then I smoke too much weed.
  3. 05 Jun '08 08:27
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    My own take on this is to address the question 'are there infinite
    possibilities in a game of chess'. Hypothetically the answer is yes ....
    Actually the answer is no. The number of possible Chess games is most definitely finite.
  4. Standard member Thequ1ck
    Fast above
    05 Jun '08 08:44
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually the answer is no. The number of possible Chess games is most definitely finite.
    Oh yeah, you're right, I forgot about the threefold thingy. Has anyone
    actually calculated what the number of games is?
  5. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    05 Jun '08 08:50 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    The arrow of time is caused by entropy.
    What is 'the arrow of time'?

    Isn't time simply a function of space and motion?
  6. 05 Jun '08 10:26
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    Oh yeah, you're right, I forgot about the threefold thingy. Has anyone
    actually calculated what the number of games is?
    Not exactly, but there are some estimates:

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Chess.html
  7. 05 Jun '08 11:07
    Originally posted by Thequ1ck
    Oh yeah, you're right, I forgot about the threefold thingy. Has anyone
    actually calculated what the number of games is?
    I think you would need to calculate what amounts to a database of every possible game. It would take only a tiny fraction of that to make a database that guarantees a win (to the database holder).
  8. 05 Jun '08 11:10
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    What is 'the arrow of time'?

    Isn't time simply a function of space and motion?
    The laws of motion work in both directions of time.
    We think that we are moving through time in one direction.
    The only reason we think we are moving in a particular direction is because at any given point in time we can 'remember' the past better than the future, and the only reason for that is that entropy is increasing.
  9. Standard member Thequ1ck
    Fast above
    06 Jun '08 06:56
    Originally posted by mtthw
    Not exactly, but there are some estimates:

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Chess.html
    Thanks for the link, that's a bit nutty!

    I wonder if Russ ever does db comparims of games. I would love
    to see if any of my games had been played out before even the
    first 10 moves. Also would be cool to have 'most similar' player
    searches based on common moves and strategies.
  10. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    06 Jun '08 16:56
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The laws of motion work in both directions of time.
    We think that we are moving through time in one direction.
    The only reason we think we are moving in a particular direction is because at any given point in time we can 'remember' the past better than the future, and the only reason for that is that entropy is increasing.
    I just came across this article about time's arrow and hints of the universe our universe sprouted from:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm