Despite the intuitive attractiveness of the ideal of markets unencumbered by regulations upon transactions between informed, consenting participants, such a state of affairs is impossible to implement morally, because many transactions have adverse effects on unknowing, nonconsenting third parties.
Via Sean Carroll:
I Tweeted the following inscrutable remark. Probably best left unexplained, but upon reflection I can’t resist.
My consciousness freely travels up and down my world line, but sadly it only carries the memories appropriate to the moment it inhabits.
The point is that (some) people don’t think about the flow of time in the right way, and this leads to a couple of unfortunate consequences: a difficulty in understanding the psychology of time, and a scattering of entertaining but illogical science-fiction scenarios.
Modern physics suggests that we can look at the entire history of the universe as a single four-dimensional thing. That includes our own personal path through it, which defines our world line. This seemingly conflicts with our intuitive idea that we exist at a moment, and move through time. Of course there is no real conflict — just two different ways of looking at the same thing. There is a four-dimensional universe that includes all of our world line, from birth to death, once and for all; and each moment along that world line defines an instantaneous person with the perception that they are growing older, advancing through time.
Given special relativity, by which events taking place at near-light speeds over nonzero spans of space can be described in multiple, contradictory, but equally correct sequences by various observers in different frames of reference, it might be a meaningless question to ask whether Han shot first.
I live in a suburb of Cleveland, and work in the city proper–that’s probably the first time I’ve mentioned that in this blog. Anyway, parts of downtown are blocked off because a director of whom I have formed an opinion is shooting a quirky little indie film called (checks IMDB) “The Avengers.” Today, I ducked out of my internship early to check out the set on Prospect and East 9th Street where they’ve been blowing up cars all week (surreally enough, about two blocks down from the insurance company at which my father works). I saw some cool stuff, but saw nothing happen.
Most of the set on Huron was obscured by a white screen for moderating light, and platform for equipment I’m not going to guess the function of. It’s the sausage making-machinery of movie magic.
A security officer told us gawkers that the real action was happening at the other side of the street, on Prospect. A small contingent of us then set down a freakishly and nonthreatening clean alleyway (way to be on your best behavior, Cleveland!), and past some catering trucks. I was afraid crew would look at me weird if I took pictures of their food trailers, so I didn’t.
But when we got around to Prospect, there was no one close enough to give us weird looks; onlookers were sequestered a couple hundred feet from the staged wreckage of a Times Square battle involving Captain America (Chris Evans) and a foe yet to be confirmed, but which everyone who knows The Avengers comics* assumes are the Skrulls.
Here is my Sasquatch hunter-caliber photo of two men in contemporary Army fatigues walking away from the wreckage site. I saw several more on the Huron side of the set earlier.
Here are a few vehicles on site with New York-y markings. Thoroughness!
Nothing was happening, and my meter was running out, so I headed back down the nonthreatening alley. It was occupied by some extras in FDNY firefighter and EMT costumes. Some hipsters were engaging them in conversation; my social anxiety and the specter of a Meter Valkyrie kept me from doing the same.
I hope to make it down to the set again before Whedon wraps the Cleveland leg of filming at the end of the month, and file another report. With good fortune, the next one will have a more exciting takeaway than the fact I WAS WITHIN ONE CITY BLOCK OF JOSS WHEDON. We probably breathed the same air at some point, and if I were a superstitious man, that would mean something. But I’m not (my own views on heroic object veneration are close to this essay), and it doesn’t.
*I am not such a person. The only title I ever read as a kid was The Amazing Spider Man. Granted, it took place in the Marvel universe continuity–the same occupied by the Avengers–but there was never a crossover in the few years (months?) I followed it.
THE ONLY WAY OUT IS TO TUNNEL THROUGH THE EARTH AND BEG THE HYPERBORIANS FOR SAFE PASSAGE THROUGH THE FOURTH DIMENSION GIVE THEM ANYTHING THEY WANT OUR CIVILIZATION IS AT STAKE. PRIDE IS A LUXURY OF AN AGE OF INNOCENCE WE SHALL NEVER KNOW AGAIN. TELL US OF OUR DOOM, BBC!
A thin band of antimatter particles called antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time.
The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters, confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth’s magnetic field could trap antimatter. The team says a small number of antiprotons lie between the Van Allen belts of trapped “normal” matter. The researchers say there may be enough to implement a scheme using antimatter to fuel future spacecraft.
The antiprotons were spotted by the Pamela satellite (an acronym for Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics) – launched in 2006 to study the nature of high-energy particles from the Sun and from beyond our Solar System – so-called cosmic rays.
These cosmic ray particles can slam into molecules that make up the Earth’s atmosphere, creating showers of particles. Many of the cosmic ray particles or these “daughter” particles they create are caught in the Van Allen belts, doughnut-shaped regions where the Earth’s magnetic field traps them. Among Pamela’s goals was to specifically look for small numbers of antimatter particles among the far more abundant normal matter particles such as protons and the nuclei of helium atoms.
The new analysis, described in an online preprint, shows that when Pamela passes through a region called the South Atlantic Anomaly, it sees thousands of times more antiprotons than are expected to come from normal particle decays, or from elsewhere in the cosmos. The team says that this is evidence that bands of antiprotons, analogous to the Van Allen belts, hold the antiprotons in place – at least until they encounter the normal matter of the atmosphere, when they “annihilate” in a flash of light.