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The Answers to Life's Great Questions

Maister

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Last night after a rehearsal for a radio show (comedy) I'm involved in, a group of about 7 of us repaired to the local bistro. After partaking of 3 pints of Guinness a certain young lady asks me out of nowhere "is the universe finite or infinite?" Mind you, prior to this point the discussion around the table had revolved around the Carol Burnett reunion show, a bad traffic tie-up, and who should get the extra million dollars on Survivor.......Amazing, the powers of Guiness to create such a thoughtful state. Without missing a step, I drew upon my vast store of cosmological knowlege and responded "It's finite. There is a huge brick wall at the edge of the universe and it's billions and billions of miles away." I figure that should have been that, but NO she then has the audacity to pose a follow up question "what's on the other side of that wall?". I'm fairly confident that the correct answer is that it just goes on forever but I figured I better confirm this with the Throbbing Brain first. Oh yeah, and while you're at it maybe someone could tell me what purpose our existence serves and if consciousness can exist without matter (and as a follow up to that what are 'consciousness' and 'matter'). Please keep your answers to two sentences or less. Thanks in advance.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Maister said:
Oh yeah, and while you're at it maybe someone could tell me what purpose our existence serves and if consciousness can exist without matter (and as a follow up to that what are 'consciousness' and 'matter').
Nothing, our existence is futile. Don't you realize Maister, that we're living in the matrix? B-)
 

Richmond Jake

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IMHO, the cosmos is infinite and will continue to expand unless there's enough matter in the universe to reverse course and contract into a single black hole which would start things all over again. Based on chaos theory, our existence serves no particular purpose with the exception of self gratification.
 

Michele Zone

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Maister said:
Please keep your answers to two sentences or less. Thanks in advance.
When my kids ask me such questions -- like 'Is the universe finite or infinite?' -- I usually answer "Yes".
 

Maister

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Rumpy Tunanator said:
Nothing, our existence is futile. Don't you realize Maister, that we're living in the matrix? B-)
Well, I didn't want have to freak her out with the whole red pill/blue pill thing. You know how it is trying to free a mind that's not ready yet....
 

mendelman

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Well.....

At the risk of being derivative...I would say the answer to at least one of Life's Great Questions is forty-two (42). Method :)
 

Maister

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mendelman said:
Well.....

At the risk of being derivative...I would say the answer to at least one of Life's Great Questions is forty-two (42). :)
That was actually the first answer I gave her! Her furrowed brow (and a few other obvious non-Adams fans at the table) required me to think fast and come up with the brick wall response.
 

SGB

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Maister said:
That was actually the first answer I gave her! Her furrowed brow (and a few other obvious non-Adams fans at the table) required me to think fast and come up with the brick wall response.
[ot]Well, at least you know what gift to buy her when the opportunity presents itself. :)[/ot]
 

boiker

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The hardest thing for us to grasp is the concept of nothing. If the universe is infinite then the universe is what is exists and what wille exist no matter location, dimension, time, etc..

If the universe is finite, then it exists as a single object within nothing. At the edge of the universe is the beginning of nothing, but nothing can't be percieved to exist because then it would be something.

ok.. my brain is going to take a 15 year hiatus, I'll be back then.
 

biscuit

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This is why you never hear of a job descrption for an Urban Planner/Astro Physicist. All of the research funding would go towards the bar tab.

I would suppose that if the universe is indeed expanding that it would have to be finite. It may be able to infinitly expand and stretch itself, but anything expanding would have to have an 'edge', and objects with an edge can only occupy a finite amount of 'space.'

I dunno. I'll have to put my brain to work and think about this one some more.
 

Michele Zone

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Maister said:
That was actually the first answer I gave her! Her furrowed brow (and a few other obvious non-Adams fans at the table) required me to think fast and come up with the brick wall response.
Gawd, y'all are a bunch of Geeks. Who reads obscure crap like that? :-D (But they are excellent books, aren't they? :) )
 

Doitnow

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Line1:
The universe is infinite
Line2
That lady is extraordinary( maybe crazy but yes! extraordinary, because only different people ask such questions and that too after a few beers, You know what I mean??) :) So watch out Buddy!
 

Maister

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biscuit said:
This is why you never hear of a job descrption for an Urban Planner/Astro Physicist. All of the research funding would go towards the bar tab.

I would suppose that if the universe is indeed expanding that it would have to be finite. It may be able to infinitly expand and stretch itself, but anything expanding would have to have an 'edge', and objects with an edge can only occupy a finite amount of 'space.'

I dunno. I'll have to think about this one some more
Whaddaya mean, the way I figure it Planners already display one great prerequisite for making good astrophysicists by already ringing up huge bar tabs. Agonizing over existential/epistemological questions is only a short jump from things we usually agonize over.
 

el Guapo

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Life is the Kabuki theater of Cosmology.

The sum electrical charge of the universe is 0.00000000000000000000000000....You should get this concept by now.

Life is the mathmatical certainty that it has to be; in order to fit the mathmatical model the universe is based upon.

The sum of all (mass - e10*2) o the universe is 0.00000000000000000000000000....You should get this concept by now.

Life is of great interest to those involved in its manifestation, but the universal program is far to busy to care.

The chances that any of this matters to a supreme being 0.00000000000000000000000000....You should get this concept by now.

Life is the Tibeten sand sculpture of physics.

The chances that any single human will ever be able to comprehend the purpose of life, the universe and everything 0.00000000000000000000000000....You should get this concept by now.

You can't see beyond a singularity. The answers are on the other side of it.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Maister said:
Well, I didn't want have to freak her out with the whole red pill/blue pill thing. You know how it is trying to free a mind that's not ready yet....
This might freak her out too, beware......;)
 

SkeLeton

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AFAIK.. the limits of the universe are around 4600 Mega Parsec, and expanding...
God, that sounded geeky... Yet, I had to learn that for a test!
 

Maister

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el Guapo said:
Life is the Kabuki theater of Cosmology.



Life is of great interest to those involved in its manifestation, but the universal program is far to busy to care.



Life is the Tibeten sand sculpture of physics.
hmmmm, reminds me of...."Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"
 

Plannerbabs

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We've come for your liver....

What's the point of all these hoax?

Is it the chicken and egg time, are we all just yolks?

Or perhaps, we're just one of God's little jokes,

Well ca c'est the Meaning of Life.




(with thanks to google and intriguing.com)
 

Achernar

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The finiteness of the universe is not totally certain, so feel free to speculate on it, but as of the last year or two, it's looking to be inifinte. The thing is that the mathematics to describe the expansion of the universe really isn't that different between the two scenarios, so for the most part cosmologists can do what they do without worrying about it.

Assuming what we know about physics is correct, the universe could be closed (think of an expanding balloon), flat (think of an infinite rubber sheet being stretched), or open (don't bother thinking about this one). In any of the situations, any two points are moving apart from each other, and we see this as expansion. But a closed universe is finite in size, whereas flat and open universes are not. And it currently looks like the universe is flat.

If the universe is flat, there is a place beyond which we can't see, and will probably never be able to see. This is currently at a distance of about 4600 megaparsecs, as SkeLeton said. This is called our horizon, and stuff inside it is called the "observable universe". That'd still be finite.

In any event, there is no edge to the universe, even if it is finite. So no wall or anything like that.

But that's only if you want a real answer. Sorry I don't have anything funny to add. :-D
 

Maister

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Achernar said:
The finiteness of the universe is not totally certain, so feel free to speculate on it, but as of the last year or two, it's looking to be inifinte. The thing is that the mathematics to describe the expansion of the universe really isn't that different between the two scenarios, so for the most part cosmologists can do what they do without worrying about it.

Assuming what we know about physics is correct, the universe could be closed (think of an expanding balloon), flat (think of an infinite rubber sheet being stretched), or open (don't bother thinking about this one). In any of the situations, any two points are moving apart from each other, and we see this as expansion. But a closed universe is finite in size, whereas flat and open universes are not. And it currently looks like the universe is flat.

If the universe is flat, there is a place beyond which we can't see, and will probably never be able to see. This is currently at a distance of about 4600 megaparsecs, as SkeLeton said. This is called our horizon, and stuff inside it is called the "observable universe". That'd still be finite.

In any event, there is no edge to the universe, even if it is finite. So no wall or anything like that.

But that's only if you want a real answer. Sorry I don't have anything funny to add. :-D
Having read something about this not too long ago, I guess I may concede that maybe the brick wall theory contains some..... limitations. I have (and all other mere mortals) difficulty understanding the expanding space hypothesis. while I can understand the idea of an event horizon in one sense, that is in the sense that I can visualize a balloon expanding in three dimensions, I still remain unable to comprehend what is on the other side of the 'event' (nothing is precisely the one thing I cannot imagine). This displays a limitation in thinking in three dimensions - which is after all the way we experience the universe. If someone can explain to me in terms of a common referrant consistent with the way I experience reality what exactly 'additional dimensions' are, I promise I will award them with a Nobel Prize in Curing (my) Stupidity.
 

boiker

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Maister, I believe the "event horizon" is the point where the fabric of space and time is compressed to an incredible small scale and the "speed" of stuff in this thing approaches the speed of light. It is the edge of our perceptible universe at the "event" we don't know what the event is or where the matter going into the event comes out. Usually, an event horizon is the single point at the center of gravity of a black hole. this builds onto wormhole theory..

Now, we have planners describing quantum physics to each other..

/checks window for airborne swine
 

Gedunker

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This is all very well and very good :-D
I happen to subscribe to the RichmondJake theory of collapse and reversal.

What I would like to know is this: What immediately preceded the Big Bang?
 

mendelman

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Gedunker said:
This is all very well and very good :-D
I happen to subscribe to the RichmondJake theory of collapse and reversal.

What I would like to know is this: What immediately preceded the Big Bang?

The collaspe of the previous universe.
 

el Guapo

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An even horizon is the point where light cannot escape the pull of a black hole. And add in interference patterns in light passing through a slit and this proves the duality of light being both wave energy and mass. Toss in the Heisenburg hand grenade which is the uncertainity principle and you should have an good foundation to start working on new urbanism. This is on the AICP so pay attention kids.
 

Michele Zone

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Gedunker said:
This is all very well and very good :-D
I happen to subscribe to the RichmondJake theory of collapse and reversal.

What I would like to know is this: What immediately preceded the Big Bang?
Dinner and a movie?
 

Glasshouse

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Why has no one mentioned the theory of threads. It would allow the proper mass for reversal of the big bang as well as explain some principals for the existance of life.

I'm told that if it proves true, there are at least 11 undiscovered dementions of reality.

Bob
 

el Guapo

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Glasshouse said:
Why has no one mentioned the theory of threads. It would allow the proper mass for reversal of the big bang as well as explain some principals for the existance of life.

I'm told that if it proves true, there are at least 11 undiscovered dementions of reality.

Bob

Read any text on Superstring theory and you'll find that the number 11 is far short of the theorized reality (That is, if the brainiacks are correct and not just jerking my Superstring) Think of foamy-chaotic space on 28 dimension and just before your head pops you might get a glimpse into the unfathomability of it all. Its far easier just to go to the GAP and Starbucks or Church. :-\

This book put my ego down for the count: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
by Brian Greene


Maybe it can f you up as well. :)
 

Glasshouse

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Thought about checking it out.......then I realized I'm already f....ed up enough.

Maybe I'll check it when I feel a little more f....ing together. :-}

Bob
 

michaelskis

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Maister said:
....local bistro. ... certain young lady asks me out of nowhere "is the universe finite or infinite?" ..."what's on the other side of that wall?"

8-! First of all, I would like to inform everyone that Maister gets into these types of discussions every day. We still have this on going battle if Pi has an end or not (I say that it does)

But I have to ask, Maister where the heck did you go eat that a waitress would just ask you this? Second, you should have known the rule one of life

Rule 1, Never try to argue with the waitress, she is the last person to see your food before you eat it.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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check out the:

Weak anthropamorphic theory of the universe.

BEER is the answere! What was the question again? :-D
 
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