In Reality

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In particular, which role do calibration, statistical inference, and structural change play? What is the current state of affairs, what are the successes and failures, what are the challenges? I shall tackle these questions moving from general to specific.

For the general perspective, I examine the following four points of view. First, economics is a science. Second, economics is an art. Third, economics is a competition. Forth, economics politics.

Hero Feature

I then examine four specific cases for illustration and debate. The train approaches the station at a high speed, and as it is passing, two lightning bolts strike the ground, one in front of the moving train and the other behind it bolts A and B respectively. These strikes coincide with the moment that both Y and X are across from each other.

From the perspective of Y, both lightning bolts A and B hit the ground at the same time; the light from each bolt traveling the same distance to reach Y simultaneously. But on the train, X is moving towards bolt A and away from bolt B. As such, the light from bolt A has a shorter distance to travel and the light from bolt B has a longer distance to travel. Therefore, X sees the bolts strike at different times.


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So which is it? Did the lightning bolts hit the ground at the same time, or at different times?

The End of Reality - The Atlantic

Consider this carefully; our two conflicting postulates are that time and space are absolute Newton , and that the speed of light is the same speed for all observers regardless of relative motion Maxwell. Y would measure the time of both lightning bolt strikes to be simultaneous, as the time they hit would occur at one specific time on their watch, say at 4pm and 10 seconds. If time and space are absolute, then X must also measure the lightning bolt strikes as both occurring at 4pm and 10 seconds.

But if the speed of light is a fixed value for all observers regardless of motion, X has to see bolt A strike first, say at 4pm and 9 seconds, and then bolt B strike second at 4pm and 11 seconds. So who wins this titanic battle, Newton or Maxwell? To answer this, Einstein proposed and later proved something he called the Relativity of Simultaneity.

Both observers were correct in their frame of reference due to the speed of light being fixed. However, from the perspective of X, the bolts struck at different times due to the motion of X with respect to Y.

Economics and Reality

Light from bolt A got to X first as the reference frame of X the train was moving towards that bolt, and moving away from bolt B, thus B striking second. Relativity of Simultaneity showed that different frames of reference have their own, independent measure of time and space. Simultaneous events in one frame of reference do not necessarily take place simultaneously in another, with the variable being the velocities between the two reference frames. Newton had been toppled. Einstein began approaching his ideas mathematically by removing time from the constant column and allowing it to vary depending on the frame of reference that the measurements were taking place in.

He showed that time could vary and could no longer be said to be absolute. What came along with this was that space itself was also no longer absolute, and could vary accordingly depending upon frame of reference. All of this varying of space and time comes down to how fast an object is moving relative to other objects.

This is a lot to take in at first. Admittedly, it still can confuse me at times and I am a graduated physicist. There are a lot of paradoxes that would seem to arise from these amazing revelations about space and time being variant. However, upon closer inspection and moving these paradoxes into the realm of General Relativity, which is the theory that describes all that talk from before about the warping of spacetime, you actually see that these paradoxes melt away.

Remember again that mass warps spacetime and this affects light our rubber sheet and bowling ball scenario from earlier. This warping of space also means that it can warp time being that they are intimately connected. To connect this idea into the moving reference frames discussed above with our friends Y and X, we look at mass and energy. Mass warps spacetime, and via we owe this to Einstein as well , we see that mass and energy are equivalent.

This means that both mass and energy can contribute to the warping of spacetime, or rather the effect we call gravity. When a massive body accelerates it gains energy; the faster you accelerate it, the more energy it gains. Therefore, this acceleration adds to the warping of spacetime.

Pierce Fulton - In Reality (Official Audio)

The warping of spacetime is what causes the relativistic effects we have discussed time and space varying, and light deflecting These concepts are all linked and are fairly complex subjects to discuss. The actual nature of acceleration warping spacetime has to do with mathematical constructs and frames of reference within those constructs, topics that we will not attempt here. However, when you apply these ideas oversimplified to say the least to the various scenarios and paradoxes that naturally arise from Special Relativity, you arrive at the correct conclusions and the paradoxes resolve.

If all of this seems too unreal for you, recognize that the relativistic effects of time and space changing depending on motion or gravity come into play in most of our everyday lives. They are also traveling very fast compared to you or me. In order for GPS to work, it has to know your exact position, where you are going, and how long it will take for you to make that trip based on those two parameters.

Its timing has to be set to match yours. Where does this leave us with our initial futuristic vision? I spoke of a dilation calculation for the ship that would be heading out towards the Andromeda galaxy. I mentioned the correct time being implemented for the cryo-tubes based off of frame of reference. To demonstrate the strange reality of reality, we will use a simplified, ideal situation. By simplified, I mean that we will set up our question with respect to the rules of Special Relativity, and use the two following equations:.

But fear not, this is actually a common way of introducing the strange nature of time and space to young physicists, and the results of our equations listed above are just as valid so long as the physical situation being described remains simplified constant velocity. The Helios II has launched and arrived at a velocity of nearly the speed of light, say 2. We can now begin inputting what we know into our equations. We can now plug in t and v and witness just how strange our universe really is. What we discover is that even though roughly 2.

You read that correctly: the cryo-pods on the ship will only be programmed to keep the crew asleep for years, but yet for humanity back on Earth, more than 2. Let this sink in a bit; what will only amount to a few centuries of time for the Helios II will be more than half the time the entire Earth has existed for humanity back in our solar system. But things get even more strange. That would mean they had to have traveled faster than the speed of light! The other equation that was mentioned above, the Length Contraction equation, now comes into play.

We can break that one down for clarity as well:. When plugging in the known values l and v , we arrive at a startling conclusion: that the distance traveled by the Helios II was only around lightyears. Meaning that moving at near the speed of light, it takes them a little more than years to make that trip. And yes, space physically contracted for the Helios II. This is a measured phenomena that has been physically proven using muons subatomic particles and how they arrive at the surface of the Earth after being created in the upper atmosphere.

As the title of this article suggests, reality is very strange. The president, reportedly, has already pioneered this tactic: Even though he initially conceded the authenticity of the Access Hollywood video, he now privately casts doubt on whether the voice on the tape is his own.

In other words, manipulated video will ultimately destroy faith in our strongest remaining tether to the idea of common reality. The foundation specialized in experiments with LSD. These developers wanted to create machines that could transform consciousness in much the same way that drugs did. Computers would also rip a hole in reality, leading humanity away from the quotidian, gray-flannel banality of Leave It to Beaver America and toward a far groovier, more holistic state of mind. Fake-but-realistic video clips are not the end point of the flight from reality that technologists would have us take.

The apotheosis of this vision is virtual reality. With its goggles and gloves, it sets out to trick our senses and subvert our perceptions. Video games began the process of transporting players into an alternate world, injecting them into another narrative. VR has the potential to more completely transport—we will see what our avatars see and feel what they feel.

Life could be more interesting in virtual realities as the technology emerges from its infancy; the possibilities for creation might be extended and enhanced in wondrous ways. But if the hype around VR eventually pans out, then, like the personal computer or social media, it will grow into a massive industry, intent on addicting consumers for the sake of its own profit, and possibly dominated by just one or two exceptionally powerful companies. The ability to manipulate consumers will grow because VR definitionally creates confusion about what is real.

Reality Check

Designers of VR have described some consumers as having such strong emotional responses to a terrifying experience that they rip off those chunky goggles to escape. Studies have already shown how VR can be used to influence the behavior of users after they return to the physical world, making them either more or less inclined to altruistic behaviors. Virtual reality will test us. It will amplify our character more than other media ever have. Perhaps society will find ways to cope with these changes.

Thus far, however, human beings have displayed a near-infinite susceptibility to getting duped and conned—falling easily into worlds congenial to their own beliefs or self-image, regardless of how eccentric or flat-out wrong those beliefs may be. Governments have been slow to respond to the social challenges that new technologies create, and might rather avoid this one. Few individuals will have the time or perhaps the capacity to sort elaborate fabulation from truth.

Our best hope may be outsourcing the problem, restoring cultural authority to trusted validators with training and knowledge: newspapers, universities. Perhaps big technology companies will understand this crisis and assume this role, too.