Friday, April 12, 2013

Perpetual Motion by Means of Black Holes and Dark Energy

I can tell that physicists don't understand black holes or spatial expansion because the current models can straightforwardly make perpetual motion machines.

First, get some unobtainium. A string with a tensile strength a few million times any known material should be sufficient. Wind the unobtainium around a spool, gear the spool onto a turbine, and lower one end into a black hole. From our perspective, the string has infinite space to fall into before it hits the event horizon, so the string can be fed into the hole indefinitely. The only difficulty is manufacturing the string for less than the turbine creates in power, but the force, and therefore the turbine output, is inversely proportional to the size of the black hole in question. The Schwarzschild radius decreases linearly with mass, but force increases as the square. A half mass size black hole pulls half as hard at a given distance, but is also half radius, which means it pulls twice as strongly at the event horizon.

Two bits of luck at this point. First, it is unobtainium, so I can make it as thin or as strong as necessary. Second, a suitably small black hole may evaporate quickly, but the string would, according to convention, replenish the black hole. (Even though we never see it reach the black hole.) Simply increase the force (and tensile strength) and lower the feeding speed until the turbine makes more energy than you're putting in.

There's also a reaction force to take into account, so these need to be built in pairs. Solid rings aren't orbitally stable, so I need slightly bigger turbines to power the stabilizing thrusters.

(For lulz, search up black hole perpetual motion and be amazed at how complicated they try to make it.)

The second method may need much stronger string, and costs much more to set up, but I don't have to worry about feeding the string slower than the black hole evaporates.

The velocity of other galaxies is not a normal kind of velocity. We see Doppler-shifted light because the space the wave is in expands while it is travelling through it; it just happens to work out to be exactly how much it would be redshifted by real velocity. Acceleration is absolute, because it usually requires transfers of energy and thus interactions and mass flows. Other galaxies are accelerating but not gaining kinetic energy, because otherwise we would be gaining kinetic energy. (Or I could say their velocity is changing without acceleration.) Nevertheless...

Tie the unobtainium around a couple rocks a few million light years away in opposite directions. They will accelerate away indefinitely, powering the spool turbines. Indeed, the output will increase the longer the machine is run. Though the friction losses alone will be immense, and the tension at the rock's end will grow faster, so it needs especially pure unobtainium.

Perpetual motion machines are singularities. If nothing else, potential energy has mass too, and so they should have infinite mass and subsequently destroy the universe.

You can try to argue that since these need unobtainium, they aren't naked singularities. In any realistic situation, limits of electromagnetic bonding and so on, the strings on the expansion machine will snap before they break even. Galaxies accelerate away from each other, and so won't ever turn this phantom kinetic energy into a collision. The black hole small enough to create more energy than it consumes in mass will evaporate so hot it burns the string to plasma.

However, the second law of thermodynamics is supposed to be true even in highly idealized mechanisms. A frictionless Carnot engine with zero switching costs between its infinite hot reservoir and infinite cold reservoir still cannot break even. All I need is a very strong kind of string. I could also use a ridiculously sized bit of piezoelectric.

To be precise, a Carnot engine feeding into absolute zero can be 100% efficient. However, my unobtainium spools can produce infinite energy for zero cost by turning an infinitely large turbine infinitely slowly with an infinitesimal string. This means if you back off from those infinities, you can get any amount of energy you might need.

Put another way, it is not feasible to make these machines profitable for humans, but if I did this with regular twine, while it break almost immediately, for that fraction of a second more energy would be coming out of the system than went into it, even though I wouldn't be able to capture most of it. If I can do it, nature is doing it, it is merely a question of when and where.

If something seems to be violating conservation of energy, it isn't, you've overlooked something. These models have overlooked something apparently infinite.

I find that physicists often, usually, forget that they don't understand black holes. Or space in general, it would seem - "shut up and compute" has laid low most of the field. To be charitable, do I assume they talk about it at physicist cocktail parties, just never in public? Not even during lectures?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Other Minds and Colour Qualia

Yes, there are other minds, and they see the same colours as yours.

There's a trick from physics. If an electron can't apparently know where itself is, but every other particle knows where it is, then the electron must know where it is, even if we can't figure out how. It works because the next position of the electron must be consistent with the observations of all observers, and to reach there, the electron had to have been in the observed location.

By yourself, the other-minds problem is apparently insoluble. However, the problem would only occur in the first place to a conscious entity, as there is no observable explanandum for unconscious observers. (Go on, start listing things that you haven't thought to explain because they don't exist.)

As per my last post, objective entities cannot properly pretend to be conscious. An unconscious entity can only parrot the words of the other-minds problem. (Wikipedia isn't conscious, but you can read it there.) Which means when you observe a statement of the other-minds problem, you can be certain there's a mind in the statement's past light cone. Combined with your certainty you have a mind, you can be certain there are other minds.

Relative to that other mind, you might be parroting, like Wikipedia. However, literally all other conscious observers can be certain there are other minds. When a fact is knowable from all perspectives but one, it is knowable from all perspectives. Even if you can't work out how.

If nothing else, I can back off slightly from pure idealism and note that it must have been independently stated as a problem by at least one other person.

I'm pretty sure but can't quite prove that conscious entities are absolute. If red is unmistakable, then when you think you see red, there's only one possible entity you can be seeing, red itself. (Plato was almost right.) Similarly, for the brain to talk to consciousness, it would either have to tune the signals after each birth (and tune it to a standard according to what? How would the standard know to be different?) or the signals are themselves absolute, so they evolve once and stay good.

Regardless, there's an entirely separate line of evidence that they're absolute, at least inside each mind. Conscious entities can be similar or different from each other, just like objective entities. Blue is similar to cold, and red is similar to warm. (Sharp sounds are similar to sharp surfaces, and smooth sounds are similar to smooth surfaces.)

We know from other complex phenomena that simply inverting them cannot preserve all symmetries. The opposite of red isn't blue, it's cyan. Cyan is similar to energetic and blue is similar to calm - they are similar to each other in some ways but different in others, which means even if you also inverted calm and active, the colour characteristics would no longer hold. The red-warm-energetic relationship converts to cyan-warm-energetic - that fire still looks as warm and frenetic as it feels - but cyan was originally energetic, it should register as calm on the inverted scale. If you don't invert that scale, blue-cold-calm can't convert to yellow-cold-calm, because yellow isn't calm - someone who saw this way wouldn't find ocean waves soothing, because of the colour.

Meanwhile, warm and cold are direct opposites, but the sensations indicating such are not. Especially hot, which is qualitatively different from warm, as reflected by the fact that hot results from the warm and cold detecting nerves being excited simultaneously. You cannot change the relationships to make red similar to cold without changing the relationship between cold and warm and hot, thus changing the second-order relationship between the red-blue relationship and the cold-warm relationship.

A person with an inverted or rearranged colour scale would have different relations of similarities between their sensations, no matter how cleverly rearranged. Since we do not observe different relations or relations-between-relations, we can safely conclude humans see the same colours the same way.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Picking at the Mind

I found a hole in my last post, so I'm going to pick at it to see if I can destroy my own logic. If you would rather skip the preamble, it's contained in 1.x. The conclusion is 2.3.1.

I wonder if I can reasonably summarize. Consciousness, the unexplained phenomenon, is inherently epistemically subjective - the explanandum is epistemic subjectivity. Epistemology implies ontology, which means it is also ontologically subjective. As physics is ontologically objective, consciousness cannot be physical.

I'm concerned that if your mind is objective relative to me, I might be able to transform the viewpoint so that it is objective relative to you, without losing features from the description.
(To avoid the flinch away from being wrong, I note that even if I disprove myself this way, I've still solved the problem.)

1.1 Time to double check. Is that really the explanandum?
I think I learn that by attempting the proposed transformation and, if it works, then it must not be the explanandum. If I'm truly begging the question, then I should run into a contradiction when I try to enter the logic complex by the other doorway.

For now, there's four entities. The red lamp, the photons the lamp emits and that excite my eye, my perception of the red lamp, and my interpretation of the perception.

If I am dreaming, there may not be a red lamp at all.
In a photon vacuum, the lamp only emits infra-red, which I cannot see.
When I close my eyes, it shuts off the perception of the red lamp even in a lit room.
If I do not pay attention to the sensation of a red shape, I am unable to conclude, "I have a red lamp."

(Technically I can break it down further, but not into independent bits. For example, I can tease apart the photon-eye-visual cortex causal chain, but, as a sufficiently healthy human, I cannot shut off the visual cortex except by shutting off the eye.)

Consciousness is the third entity.
I can be dreaming, I can fail to see the lamp, I can screw up the logic and fail to conclude I have a red lamp. However, if I am dreaming or seeing a red lamp shape, I cannot also be failing to see a red lamp shape - this is epistemic subjectivity, by definition: if I conclude I see a red lamp shape, I cannot be wrong.

1.2.1.1 What is a 'you'? What constitutes a perspective?
1.2.1.2 Can subjects partially overlap?
The homunculus fallacy is indeed a fallacy. Perceiver and perception don't have independent existences, consciousness is fully constituted by the subjective sensations. As a result, there would be a synchronization issue if consciousnesses tried to overlap. If the non-overlapping parts had any causal influence, then the overlapping parts, having no way to know what the non-overlapping bits were doing, would diverge instantly, contradicting the presumption of unity.

It's of a piece to assume subjective entities get entangled (red + lamp shape) or to assume a single consciousness is a single subjective experience. (Red-lamp-shape.)

1.2.2 Is that what is really bothering me about the idea of perspective?
That plus 1.1, I think so. (I had to try a few times to get it right.) I need to know what I'm going to try to transform, especially as I'm pivoting across a second perspective.
If I'm wrong about 1.1, then 1.2 will topple like a domino. This is good - it means that I don't feel like my supposedly dependent clauses will survive the death of their superiors. If I so felt, it would indicate that I was lying to myself about my justification.

1.3.1.1 For my purposes, the key apparent feature of the subjective ontology is control of the properties of the entities. Is this really key or even relevant?
I think it's key because it makes the ontology clear. If you can change the perception by will - stop thinking about red lamps and move onto blue mugs - then to prove the epistemic premise, the experiment is simply to switch back and forth a couple times. External opinions go from true to false and back, while internal opinion remains true.
1.3.1.2 The control may be determinism from the environment.
Ultimately this is irrelevant, because if the subject is indeed inherently subjective, it will remain inherently ontologically subjective. Therefore, 3.1.1 must also be irrelevant, however handy as a thought experiment.

2.1.1.1 Given that I can't find a problem with the foundation, can I pivot the subjective into the objective
First, I should figure out what that would mean. New hypothesis: consciousness is objective.
2.1.1.2 Could consciousness be cloaked, like the black hole's singularity?
Not if it is causally linked, as we could measure its downstream effects, if so. The cloak hypothesis reduces to non-physical consciousness.

2.2.1.1 Consciousness is objective.
I can confirm the contents of your consciousness, in principle, by measuring your effects on your brain. The contents, decided by will or determinism, nonetheless are knowable and mistakable by me. Therefore, they are similarly related to you. My observation that my own thoughts are epistemically subjective must be mistaken.
2.2.1.2 I can state that the brain and mind are different, but that is begging the question.
It is begging the question to say that I can't know what is in your consciousness without comparing it to mine, and matching your brain measurements against mine. By assumption, consciousness is objectively knowable.

2.2.2 This means when you're thinking of a red lamp, there is only one way the red lamp can causally influence your brain.

Since I don't require a conscious comparison, a unconscious observer can (and therefore I can) work out that you're thinking of a red lamp because a brain with certain correlates can be thinking about a red lamp and only a red lamp; the red lamp is the only possible explanation.

2.3.1 Unfortunately, to clearly state the case is to disprove it. While begging the question in this context, 2.1.2 is true - I can only investigate your consciousness because I have a consciousness.

2.3.2.1 Encoding is arbitrary.
For a brain, like any computer, to enact the action of reaching out and turning on the lamp, the only requirement is that the input code causes that action. As a basic fact about wiring, any code can be converted to any other code, and arbitrary input codes can lead to arbitrary output codes.
So, for example, imagine a 'real' red-lamp code that, when fed into the motor cortex, causes lamp-turning-on. Imagine it must be first converted to a different, arbitrary code, to interface property with the motor cortex. Now imagine the visual cortex simply produces that different code in the first place. (Standardization across computers is hard. Standardization across brains is much harder.)
2.3.2.2 Put another way, can thought-codes be absolute? Can I wire up a red-lamp circuit and have it continually think of a red-lamp based on a constant input?
Ockham's razor. Objective consciousness can be removed from the description without loss of information. You conclude the chunk of silicon is thinking of a red lamp. I reply by simply describing it at the electronic level. You say, "But that is a red lamp!" I reply, "No it isn't." However, my electronic description fully describes and predicts the circuit - the postulate of consciousness is in fact meaningless in this case.

2.3.3 The conscious sections of human brains would have to be wired identically.
Were someone's brain wired differently, I would have to conclude they are unconscious, or perhaps insane - even if they acted identically due to having properly-adjusted unconscious sections. To assume that the mind is the same as the brain is indeed to assume away the explanandum.

2.4.1 To check: is it indeed impossible to mistakenly observe epistemic subjectivity?
The assumed facts: I perceive epistemic subjectivity, and I am wrong.
2.4.2 Am I perceiving that I perceive epistemic subjectivity? Can I be wrong about that?
I think I'm perceiving that I perceive subjectivity, but I'm in fact perceiving that I perceive objectivity.
Am I in fact thinking that I perceive that I perceive subjectivity, or am I wrong? Etc...
In other words, it is indeed a contradiction. The chain either terminates at the epistemic subjective level, or runs off into an infinity of mistakenness, meaning nobody is in fact thinking the supposed thought.