29. September 2021

Details on my ScienceCode

As stated in the earlier post my ScienceCode is:

bb+/un ci0 eu+ dm+/sn de- 
mv/rp sm+ ss- st- lqg+ gr+ 
sr++ gut- fp++/gf  sh0

Here comes my explanation:

I think there was a Big Bang. But I don't know how it came about. There is the idea that the universe has zero total energy, thus making it possible to have been started by a chance quantum fluctuation. The so-called "universe from nothing", although conformal cyclic would be cool: bb+/un. 

I am indifferent about the initial inflation. With "superluminal speed" from Planck length to apple size sounds like a wild theory. Do regions really have to be able to communicate in order to develop the same conditions? (ci0)

I am fine with expansion and have my doubts about the acceleration. Might have been observation bias, so simply: eu+

I am undecided about the source of "dark gravity". I say 50:50 that it is something in our universe, e.g., so far unknown elementary particles. If I had to choose, I'd go with sterile neutrinos for now, even though it is as unclear what sterile neutrinos would be as ist is unclear what dark matter is, basically a synonym dont-know-matter: dm+/sn

I am not convinced by the popular interpretation of dark energy, especially the part about 70% of the universe, etc. I think this is something else: de-

I am totally pro standard model (full disclosure: I may be biased because I worked on it in my master thesis). I have no problem with (too) many parameters. I don't understand why 19 parameters should be worse than, say, 3. Who can claim with authority that 19 parameters are "too many". Maybe 1000 would be "many" and 19 is already "few". I don't like renormalization, though. A satisfying description should do without. On the other hand, that's a kind of beauty argument. Maybe renormalization is what nature does behind the scenes all the time. On the other hand, physics beyond the Standard Model would be cool. As a science fiction writer, I cannot ignore the fact that "new physics" might offer new solutions. Maybe even small ones like solving the energy problem forever. Anyway: sm+

I don't believe in Supersymmetry. First, that's a lot of theory and necessary particles compared to the added value. Second, none of the supersymmetric partners has been found yet. Until then: ss-

I am critical of String Theory because it is hard to prove. But I see a big hole in other theories that might be filled by String Theory: why does energy clump together into different types of elementary particles. What makes a blob of energy a gluon and another one an electron? String Theory would explain it. But on the other hand, it could be completely wrong, so: st-

I like loop quantum gravity. It is hard to test like string theory. But I could imagine that everything is quantized, including space. Quantization always makes life interesting. Everything we know arises from quantization. A good principle. However, the scale is so small that it is practically irrelevant. That's a pity. I don't know why I like LQG more than ST. It is a bit unfair. I am blank on both. Anyway: lqg+

I think there are many universes, and we happen to live in one that supports life, obviously: mv++/rp

General Relativity nails it. I could (I mean I wish I could) imagine quantum-corrections which make General Relativity an approximation of a more general General Relativity. Incompatibility of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics is not a practical problem apart from quantum black holes. And if primordial small black holes from the Big Bang are not a thing, then this problem lies 10^40 years in the future until stellar sized black holes evaporate (if they do). General Relativity is good enough for me: gr+

I am afraid that Special Relativity is the final word. On the other hand, 200 years ago everyone knew, that nothing can fly (with fixed wings) if it is heavier than air, right? Logically deduced, undisputed, any defiance a career ending stupidity. Here comes the wing effect. Even fixed wings produce lift. An effect completely unheard of and unthought of until it was invented. The wing effect circumvented a dogma that seemed logical at the time. I am hoping for a similar effect, that we just don't know yet. But I am afraid resistance is futile (and career ending in modern theoretical physics): sr++.

I could imagine that there is no grand unified theory of everything. For sure there is a consistent description of the universe. It may be very simple and emerge from new ways of thinking. But it may be as complex as the universe and not expressible in few symbols on paper. Maybe General Relativity and the Standard Model are independent. Why does it have to be a unified description of all forces? Maybe it's just three forces plus warped spacetime. Two fundamental structures with small modifications so that they work together even in extreme circumstances of Planck lengths and black holes. Modifications so small that we will never test them. Besides, if gravity is not regarded as a fundamental force, then the hierarchy problem disappears: the question why gravity is sooo much weaker than the other forces. The relative strengths of the forces look like: Strong force: 100%, E/M: 1%, weak force: 0.0001%, then nothing for a long time and then gravity with 37 zeroes hiding a very small 1. The first three forces are quite close. Gravity is far off. Much farther than you think because counting zeroes makes it logarithmically. A logarithm of 37 is nonexistent for all practical purposes. Gravity is a totally different beast. Good luck unifying that. The verdict: gut-

I think there are great filters like Rare-Earth and Rare-Intelligence, and we already passed them. In other words, no aliens, at least not in range. Billions of Earth-like planets per Milky Way or not, great filters squeeze the probability really fast. No aliens, too bad. On the other hand: having past the great filter, the universe is ours. Still undecided which great filter really hurts the most. So: fp++/gf

The real world or a very good simulation. It might be a simulation, but for sure not a computer simulation. We are primed to think of "computer" simulations because that's what we learned growing up. Even the real world could be regarded as a simulation run by the multiverse with certain standard model parameters. If it really is a simulation, then in a way we do not (yet?) grok. Like theorizing if God has a beard without being able to grasp the concept of God. Pointless: sh0

All together that makes:

bb+/un ci0 eu+ dm+/sn de- mv/rp sm+ ss- st- lqg+ gr+ sr++ gut- fp++/gf sh0


21. September 2021

ScienceCode - The GeekCode for Science

Do you remember the geek code in the 90s? It encoded how geeky you were and your thoughts about geeky topics. 

I am a physicist and I want a ScienceCode that tells in short what I think about various science, physics and cosmological theories. 

My ScienceCode is: 

bb+/un ci0 eu+ dm+/sn de- mv/rp sm+ ss- st- lqg+ gr+ sr++ gut- fp++/gf  sh0

What is your ScienceCode?


We are starting with a format that is a bit more regular than the original Geek Code. Roughly:

  [ theory rating [ "/" modifier ] ]+


  theory: [a-z0-9]+
  modifier: [a-z0-9]+
  rating: "--" | "-" | "0" | "+" | "++"

Big Bang

bb--: Never Happened. There was nothing resembling a Big Bang like starting point. 

bb-: No Big Bang, maybe close, but no singularity.

bb0: I am not sure if there was a Big Bang. Things could be completely different. Maybe it only appears like there was a start. 

bb+: I think there was one. Maybe more, but our universe began with a singularity. 

bb++: There was a Big Bang almost 14 billion years ago starting with a singularity. After that the laws of nature unfolded. 

bb++/1: There was a Big Bang and only one. No cycles, no big crunch, no bounce, no conformal transformation. 

bb--/ss: No Big Bang, because the universe is in a steady state. 

bb-/cc: Conformal cyclic cosmology has a state that almost looks like a singularity for the new phase. 

bb+/un: Universe from nothing. Happens "all the time" if you wait "long enough" in a non-universe without time. 

Cosmic Inflation 

ci--: There was no initial inflation. Maybe even no Big Bang. All made up. Just one theory constructed after the data to fit the data, without another independent proof. 

ci-: Probably no initial inflation. It is just not necessary in order to generate the measured homogeneity in the microwave background. Also, the large-scale homogeneity of the current structure of the universe is in question. 

ci0: I don't know if there was an initial inflationary phase. There could be other explanations for the structure of the microwave background. I think we're still figuring that out

ci+: There probably was an initial inflationary phase resulting in the homogeneity we see in the microwave background and the current large-scale structure.

ci++: For sure there was inflation after the Big Bang. That's what explains the observational data. 

Expanding Universe

eu--: The universe is not expanding. It is infinite, static. What would it expand into? Also: science does not agree on the expansion rate. 

eu-: The universe is not expanding. May be tired light, may be another effect that only shows on a very large-scale. 

eu0: The jury is still out on continued expansion. It might just look like expansion. Sure, far galaxies are increasingly red. But that's so far away that even a small yet unknown effect might accumulate to let it look like redshift. We don't know enough. 

eu+: Looks like the universe is expanding. Also, the expansion is faster for galaxies farther out. 

eu++: The universe expands at an accelerating rate. That's what the data show. There is a Nobel price for that (a universe can be from nothing but not a Nobel price)

Dark Matter

dm--: Not necessary to explain the observations. Conclusions are misled by observation bias and by the desire to find "classical" answers. Sure, there are measurements, but they will be disproven or explained one at a time without dark matter. 

dm-: Something, just not matter. No particle, no heaps of frozen energy. There is an effect but it does not result from something in our universe, maybe not even from inside our universe. Should not be called dark gravity or not even "dark", just unexplained large-scale gravitic effects. 

dm0: Could be anything: modifications to gravitational theories, yet unmeasurable discrepancies in electromagnetic forces, shadow gravity from other universes. Or it might be a yet undiscovered not event theorized particle. Impossible to tell as long as the standard model is not the last word. 

dm+: Dark matter explains all the data better than any other theory, so I'd say 50:50 that there is stuff in our universe. 

dm++: There is dark matter, because it explains so many different observations. I also have a preferred theory on what it is made of. We just need more time to prove it. 

dm++/ax: with axions 

dm++/w: with WIMPs

dm++/bh: with black holes, tiny ones, and/or primordial or big ones. 

dm++/sn: with sterile neutrinos

Dark Energy

de-: Nope, no dark energy, because there is no explanation required. Even if it were, dark energy is a big gun. Any measurement can be explained with the properties "dominating the universe", "ubiquitous", "unknown". 

de-: Some measurements look like there is a need for a driving force that might even increase. Unfortunately, it has been called dark energy which is an even worse term than dark matter. There are no doubts about the measurements, but about their interpretation and about some assumptions that went into the calculations. 

de0: I am not sure if there is the need for dark matter. That's not even a theory yet. "Fills the universe uniformly" sounds like a modern Aether, the medium where EM-waves used to propagate. It might evaporate like its predecessor. 

de+: Something causes the universe to expand, and it is not the momentum from the Big Bang. 

de++: A field that uniformly fills the universe. Universe grows, so its power grows, hence accelerated expansion. As simple as that. You are the 4%. 

Standard Model of Particle Physics

sm--: The Standard Model is wrong. The interpretation of probability amplitudes is unclear. The theory is too complex, has too many parameters, is not unified with gravity, not even close. Also, there are experiments with statistically significant measurements that clearly show something is missing. It barely covers 4% of the universe. We need a new theory. 

sm-: The Standard Model works for everyday purposes just like Newton without Einstein: usually delivers the right numbers, but that does not make it the truth. The truth is very different and not yet known. May be strings or any supersymmetry, may be a holographic theory or something we do not yet grasp. 

sm0: The current Standard Model is just the current model. It is workable, but there have been many "standard" models. It is a set of equations that mostly return the numbers we find in experiments. The equations may be almost right or totally off. I don't care as long as they work. Future generations may develop totally different models. 

sm+: The Standard Model works very well. There might be small corrections necessary. But for all practical purposes now and in the foreseeable future the Standard Model (and General Relativity) is all we need. Even if there are measurements significantly above reasonable doubt which are not covered by the Standard Model, they will never lead to new physics that changes anything in our lives. 

sm++: Nature is not a collection of formulas. It just is. If we really want to cover nature by mathematics, then the formulas we call Standard Model are the best we can get. We won't come closer to the truth. The symbols in the Standard Model are good models for the particles and forces at play.


ss--: Definitely not Supersymmetry. Too much new stuff for too little gain. None of the extra particles materialized. Complete failure. We need something else. 

ss-: Hardly Supersymmetry. Claiming that 50 % of all required particles have already been found sounds like a win, but it does not solve the problem of the missing supersymmetric partners. Unlikely, but not impossible, though. 

ss0: May be Supersymmetry. Difficult to tell without any experimental confirmation. 

ss+: It's probably Supersymmetry. But it is difficult to choose which one. Looks kind of arbitrary. 

ss++: Supersymmetry it is. The future will tell which version exactly. Everything will fall into place. 

String Theory

st--: Vibrating non-entities is nonsense. You are not even allowed to ask what vibrates. Also, too many extra dimensions necessary. Nice try, but that is not how nature works. 

st-: Probably not. String Theory is not even complete. Too many open questions and some answers are problematic. 

st0: Could be true. Elegant approach, but too incomplete (yet?). Reproducing the observed spectrum of elementary particles needs arbitrary parameters. Unclear if they are emergent or if it is just another theory with a parameter set that is larger than desired. 

st+: String Theory unifies the forces, produces dark matter and even has inflation. Needs more research, but the direction is clear. 

st++: All particles are just oscillation modes of strings. Period. Problem solved.

st++/26: Bosonic string theory, 26-dimensions

st++/10: Superstring theory

st++/m: M-theory

Loop Quantum Gravity

lqg--: Spacetime is continuous on small scales. It is neither quantized, nor foamy.  

lqg-: Kind of pointless. A theory that has no measurable effect is useless. It is not even a scientific theory, because that needs a model and fitting data. 

lqg0: Undecided. Could be true or not. I don't care because it will never affect the real world. 

lqg+: Space is quantized and spacetime fluctuates on the Planck length. There is just no way to prove it or use it. 

lqg++: Loop Quantum Gravity merges quantum mechanics and general relativity. Experimentalists will find ways to show it. 


mv--: There is only one universe: ours. 

mv-: Practically there is no multiverse. Our universe seems to be much larger than our observable universe. We cannot even decide if our universe is infinite or just very large. Anything beyond our light cone should be beyond consideration.

mv0: Impossible to tell. Our universe may be part of a multiverse. But we will never know. 

mv+: There are many universes. Very many, but the number would be countable if anyone could count. They might induce each other. They might follow after each other sequentially. Black holes might spawn new universes. Our universe might be the inside of a black hole. Or maybe universes are branes and a Big Bang happens when 2 universes collide in the higher dimensional multiverse. 

mv++: There is a (practically or literally) infinite number of universes popping in an out of existence in the multiverse. Ours is just one of them that allows for life to emerge.

mv++/rp: Many with any combination of parameters. Some bear life, many do not, but who can tell what "some" and "many" mean with respect to an infinite number. 

General Relativity

gr--: General Relativity only seems to work. It is made to fit the data. Actually, the universe is driven by other forces. Gravity is so weak compared to other forces that even unmeasurable discrepancies or imbalances in the other three would completely dominate the universe. This is much more probable.  

gr-: General Relativity is an approximation. Galileo, Newton, Einstein, we are getting closer to the truth. But it is not the end of the road.

gr0: Just one theory. A good one, but it could be the wrong model. Imagine there are 2 models. Both returning the same numbers in the value ranges we are used to. But their interpretation is completely different. Both cannot be true. Yet we know only one such theory. We cannot compare. And because General Relativity works so well in practice, we are convinced that there is a 4-dimensional spacetime that is warped by matter and in turn creates geodesics for said matter. Even though General Relativity works, this may be the wrong picture. Just saying.

gr+: General Relativity works really well. But it is not compatible with Quantum Mechanics as we know it. There will be a theory that harmonizes probabilities of Quantum Mechanics with determinism of General Relativity. 

gr++: General Relativity is all we need to understand the interaction of matter, energy, and spacetime.

Special Relativity

sr--: FTL is possible. Tachyons are real. Special Relativity is an oppressive pseudo theory.

sr-: Quantum entanglement might be usable for communication in the future. An Alcubierre-like drive might move spacetime with less requirements than currently theorized and without being suppressed (I am talking to you, firewall). 

sr0: There may be more elaborate theories in the future. Maybe a grand unified theory has loopholes for paths beyond Special Relativity. 

sr+: Special Relativity doubtless works. Though we might find limited ways to work around it. Maybe causality is not "that badly violated" for purely inactive observers. 

sr++: The fact is: c is the limit. Not just for speed, but also for effects. No FTL travel, no time machines. Any theoretically possible path that seems to circumvent Special Relativity is practically forbidden by infinitesimal probabilities, by firewalls, by event horizons. No chance. 

Grand Unified Theory, Existence of

gut--: The three fundamental forces of the Standard Model plus General Relativity is all there is. Gravity is an effect of warped spacetime. It is an effective force, but not a fundamental one. There is no such thing as a spin 2 graviton (for that matter :-). No particle mediated force, no gauge theory, nothing to unify. Period. 

gut-: A unified theory does not have to be a gauge theory, not even a field theory. Maybe the field theory thing is wrong. Maybe the standard model is wrong. Maybe String Theory is right. Maybe Richard Feynman made computations easy and erected a smoke screen at the same time. It needs a new way of thinking. For sure there is a theory that harmonizes quantum and relativity, because they do co-exist in this universe. So, there must be a way to unify them. But it is not the GUT you expect.

gut0: Not sure if we will ever get there. The ways of the universe might be above us mere humans, even if we let our best specimen work on it. 

gut+: It takes longer than physicists thought, but sometime in the future the fundamental forces will be unified by a new theory, a new way to see the universe.

gut++: There is a unifying theory, and its name is X. 

Fermi Paradox

fp--: Not a paradox. There are no aliens. 

fp-: Irrelevant until the aliens land 

fp0: Many intelligent people talk about it, so it seems to be a thing. I don't know if we'll ever know and if we should care. Fun exercise, though. 

fp+: Interesting question. I wonder what the solution is. We'll find out.

fp++: It looks like a paradox, but that's only because of our limited knowledge. It has a solution, and the solution has serious implications for humanity.

fp++/gf: The solution to the paradox is great filters in general

fp++/re: No aliens because of rare earth.

fp++/ri: No aliens because of rare intelligence that is detectable.

fp++/zoo: We live in a galactic zoo.

Simulation Hypothesis 

sh--: This is the real world.

sh-: There is no indication. I don't believe that we are living in a simulation. That would be weird. 

sh0: Undecided and not interested. If this is a simulation, then it's a good one. It definitely looks like the real world, so I treat it like that. Knowing this would not change anything. 

sh+: That could well be. The probability argument is very much in favor of this being a simulation. Also, the delayed-choice quantum eraser is a hint that the simulation fixes things after the fact if any simulated consciousness looks at the result. This is - in turn - a hint that consciousness is not emergent, but really special, because it gets extra treatment by the simulator. Which - again in turn - is an argument for a simulation. Furthermore, quantum entanglement works exactly as it would if the entangled particles were not really separated in space because they are all simulated. There is no spatial separation for the simulator, hence it is easy to update both states at once. 

sh++: This is a simulation. 

sh++/n: We are at the n-th level. 


There are more theories out there. Several theories in this list could profit from a more knowlegable explanation. I am sure you also have many ideas about modifiers. Write me if you want to add or change something. 

Until then,

10. April 2021

Converting Markdown to HTML on the fly in Web Pages

The Problem:

A long text on your web site, say, a privacy policy, with lots of headlines, lists and paragraphs. It is a lot of work to convert the text made in MS Word by your lawyer into the HTML that fits your web page design. 

The Solution:

Convert to Markdown, basically the plain text with '#'s and '-'s. Put the markdown into a <pre>, then let JavaScript on the client convert it into HTML replacing the Markdown text.

Like so:

<div id="html">
  <pre id="text">
# General

We take privacy seriously. 

[...long text with markdown...]


<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/showdown/1.9.1/showdown.min.js"></script>

  $('#html').html(new showdown.Converter().makeHtml($('#text').text()));

Yes, a bit of jquery, which is already there in case of bootstrap.css and you will know how to do without.

If the conversion fails, there is always the markdown plaintext satisfiying the law. 


...just saying.