Brian Greene on How To Make Your Own Universe

According to this radio broadcast, Stephen Hawking’s butt boy, Brian Greene, claims that humans are very close to being able to “create their own Universes.” Readers of this blog shouldn’t be surprised that Greene’s (probably Salvia-induced) hallucinations have reached this new low. But fans of Greene’s might be disheartened. At least now they can know the truth.

Greene’s idea has a couple of premises. One is his mythological view of history, that the beginning of the Universe happens “over and over and over again.”

He also talks about – get this – a “cosmic bubble bath.” If you listen carefully enough, you’ll notice that he admits his theories are a “mental exercise.” Indeed. So basically Brian Greene is doing Yoga, not physics. I ask you:


Interestingly, Brian Greene also justifies the Holocaust in this broadcast. He says, “I don’t think it’s a good guide to use our senses and our intuition to determine what we think is right or wrong.” Well Brian, that’s what Hitler said. Don’t worry, you just think genocide is wrong. Really the math works out quite nicely!

Without further ado, here are Brian Greene’s instructions for how to build a Universe:

If you want a manageable way of building a Universe, what you want to be able to do is build something pretty small. But a small thing is not a Universe, so it has to expand. For something to expand, there’s got to be some outward push, there’s got to be some repulsive push. And that’s where this repulsive side of gravity come into the story. There are conditions, which according to the Laws of  general Relativity, the laws Einstein wrote down a long time ago, well tested, those laws tell us that in this context of the right energy density carried by the right substance, you will have repulsive gravity, which means, if you can build this little seed, this little nugget, it will on its own start to expand, grow, faster and faster and faster, begin tiny and sprouting into a gigantic Universe. You can calculate that the nugget that we believe perhaps gave rise to our unvierse – maybe someone created it in their aprartment in some other universe – was about roughly, mmm, ten to the minus 26 cneitmeters across, weighed about ten pounds. That’s small! You wouldn’t really think intuitively you could build the whole universe from ten pounds of stuff. … But it turns out that that’s all you need, because the repulsive side of gravity is so powerful that it actually injects energy from gravity itself into the expanding space. So from that point of view all you need is the seed and the gravity takes over and does the rest of the work.

Now Mr. Greene thinks this “seed” needs a black hole. But how to get a black hole? As always, Greene has the answer.

It turns out that black holes don’t have to be big. You give me any object, and if I squeeze it sufficiently small … it will be a tiny black hole. There’s nothing that you could give me that I couldn’t turn into a black hole by squeezing it sufficiently small.

And if you’re worried that the Universe would expand and kill everyone, don’t be.

This Universe that you create would in essence create its own space. It wouldn’t encroach on your space by expanding into your domain, your house, into your region. It would expand by creating new space, space that hadn’t existed before. So it would be off on its own, if you will, creating its own bubble universe. What you’re creating on the other side is there, and in principle you could go there.

If you feel like after that primer, you’re still not quite able to make your own Universe, don’t feel bad. Greene’s instructions are border-line incoherent, and where they are coherent, they are impossible. For example, everyone knows that creating a black hole would cause Planet Earth to be sucked into itself. And so on.


Spiderman, the IRS, and Brain Surgeons having heart attacks

In non-science news….

Did you know that if your kid is kidnapped, then you can still make money off him? At least that’s what is claimed over at The Prestigious Internet, one of my favorite blogs other than my own.

It’s good news for parents of kidnapped kids!

Speaking of good news, a real Spiderman has saved a real child. I think the IRS should offer a tax break for parents with kids saved by Spiderman.

Spiderman saves the day!

Spiderman saves the day!

And less importantly but still good news, a brain surgeon finished a surgery despite having a heart attack.

Immortality within the grasp of Science

[UPDATE, 11/29/2012: There have been recent developments on this issue, which I analyze here]

Apparently, there is a Microsquid capable of nearly infinite lifespan. What the article doesn’t delve into is whether or not it can be killed by outside forces. Now that would be worth reporting. I wonder what implications this has for John Leslie’s crank metaphysics? Read the article. This thing is a regular Benjamin Button of a sea creature. Also, does this make Alex Chiu obsolete? You be the judge.

The Immortal Microsquid

The Immortal Microsquid

Gravity and the Myth of 0mph

It’s long been an axiom of physics that everything is constantly in motion, due to the cosmic background stretching of the Universe. At least that’s what Brian Greene tells us, and in this case I’m inclined to believe him. No matter that everything he concludes from this fact is not even false.

Yet, al a cartes Thomas Kuhn, we know that old washed up ideas die hard. This is the case with a little gem I was taught in high school physics concerning an object falling toward the Earth, after been thrown away from it. Specifically, if you throw an object straight up, gravity will cause its acceleration/speed to decrease until reaching 0mph, at which point it will begin increasing its acceleration/speed in the opposite vector. Your immediate reaction should be that the phrase “at which point” is inherently ambiguous. Yes it is, and that’s half the problem. Let’s look at a chart provided by a propaganda website.


According to this diagram, an object will be basically at rest right where you see the a= 0 m/s2. Of course, none of these wizards can tell us how long the object will be at rest. That’s because it’s impossible to tell. Why is it impossible to tell? Despite the fantasies of William Tells, the object is never at rest. We know from contemporary science that nothing is ever at rest! Well then, to paraphrase Hume, whence the cognitive dissonance? Basically people have a hard time conceptualizing an instant change in vector – it makes them nervous. As Kant described, the human mind has to impose mental structures on physical perception in order to make sense of it. Well, in the case of “in between time” (the real culprit here), the structure happens to be irrational. It’s what gives us Zeno’s Paradox – the idea that you must be able to always divide time/distance sequences. This idea turns out to be false, as proclaimed loudly and clearly by Bertrand Russell. Well, it’s also false in the case of allegedly negated vectors. There doesn’t have to be a “zero” in between positive and negative opposite vectors. Hard to rap your mind around, but take a look at this adjusted diagram, which should help (although we can’t ever fully understand physical reality, since we play too many language games).


Alright. The concept of “0mph” can now be put to rest. No matter what science fiction authors say. Very simply, when you throw up an object into the air, it never stops moving. After all, if it did stop moving, how would it ever get back to you, without something to force it back down? Few people think of the most obvious dilemmas in their allegedly scientific reasoning.

Go ahead and try this one out on your physics friends. Have them tell you how long an object supposedly stays at rest for, at the peak of the falling down curve. They won’t be able to. If pressed, they will tell you that it is an infinitely short moment. And by now my readers can’t fall prey to those shenanigans.

Technopoly and the New Animal Genocide

As any Berkeley professor can tell you, animals rights activists are getting more violent by the nanosecond. But, given certain recent events, I’m beginning to contemplate what President Obama once said: “[D]oing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence.” Perhaps animal rights activists are, for the first time in their angry lives, on to something.

The coming animal genocide is already being foreshadowed in zoology. And the justification appears to be tough economic times. This is known as the “starve the beast” tactic, pioneered by philosopher of rights Leo Strauss, later developed into its modern form by Richard Weaver. While politically it’s a Machiavellian brilliant move, it’s morally dispicable. But Zoology isn’t the only field where we can see that a storm is coming. Bird Studies has also issued some ominous omens, corroborated by everyone. But this is just where it starts to get interesting.


My more sophisticated readers will have read enough Neil Postman to know that our society is basically run by Technopolists. Professor Postman coined this term, and it refers to those whose primary modus of operandi is that technology not only be used, but more or less worshiped as mankind’s salvation. Sound silly? It may have back in the 1980’s when technology was largely fictional, but now it is a reality realer than realness itself. Combine the disturbing facts about birds with the recent development of flying cars, and you might begin to get the picture. Never mind the primitive out-of-date propaganda we’re sending out kids, innovations like flying cars are the wave of the future. And these innovations have a one-to-one correspondence with the animals they are replacing. Using Bayes’ Calculus a la cartes Richard Swinburne, it is enormously improbable that this is just coincidence.

Of course, as Professor Postman warned us, technopoly comes with a price. And the genocide against animal life has consequences both dire and ironic.

Looks like Postman’s “childhood” isn’t the only victim in this race to the technopological finish line; the entire animal kingdom is going down with it.