TED SCHRAM
stories
home news music bio pictures gigs stories links contact

 

An old theory of mine on the universe:

 

colin wrote:

> "With 95 percent confidence, we can say the universe is going to expand forever"

> - researcher Ruth Daly of Princeton University speaking at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society

Well you know, Colin, I actually already knew that. You see, forever is basically until time ends. Time is not really a physical thing in itself, it is more just a measure of the movements of molecules relative to other molecules, and energy moving relative to other energy. In order for there to be time, there has to be some change in something relative to something not changing (or not changing as much), because that's how time is measured! When the universe finally stops expanding and contracts back into the huge black hole from whence it exploded from, time will have stopped, because everything will be still. You can't say that everything stops for just a trillionth of a second before it explodes again, because the moment everything stops, time stops for an eternity . . . When things move again, time starts up again. The idea is that there is a point in this massive universe-sized black hole when everything that is in the universe is in this black hole and it stops accumulating stuff because it gets too big and explodes. At that point the universe is contracted into one big ball, and it makes the crossover between accumulating stuff and exploding with stuff - that crossover point is the fulcrum of time's existence - that fulcrum is the end of eternity and the beginning of time all in one point (for that universe, that is).

It gets complicated when you consider that other universes might have gotten some of our stuff! If the universes don't all begin all at the same time, then some of the stuff from our universe could be experiencing time at the point that our universe is not experiencing any time (i.e., the aforementioned "fulcrum"). If our universe is at the fulcrum and not experiencing time, but something else is moving somewhere else, does time exist then? Should we be universe-centric and say that the stuff in the other universe is so far away that it doesen't matter because it has no effect whatsoever on our universe? If space curves inward to and from the center of our universe at that fulcrum point, then anything outside the universe, anything outside that "black hole" (actually a black ball) of matter is not in the same realm of space that our universe is in, and thus time cannot be measured because there would be no way to measure anything relative between the two.

Even if there was stuff just a billionth of a millimeter away from the black ball at the fulcrum point of time, since all space for our universe is completely enclosed on the black ball, it would also be forever away from us, because space at that point is completely enclosed upon us and anything outside the envelope is at an immeasureable distance - you can't measure outside of the space envelope. For the latecoming stuff, it will simply miss the fulcrum point and will be experiencing time and space, but only for itself - it is outside the envelope. At that point it will not be part of our universe, but when our universe explodes out of the black ball shape, it will of course become integrated with ours, but will not have passed through the fulcrum.

As for other universes far away, as long as they are outside our space-time envelope, they can be considered completely independent with respect to space and time and eternity and so on. One universe can be experiencing its fulcrum (which will last for both an infinitely long and infinitely short time, both at once) and another universe can just be expanding away doing its normal day to day stuff, like ours. Since the two would be in different space-time envelopes, you really cannot measure time in one as compared to another. And since they are in different space "spaces", our concept of distance between the two doesn't really work. From a fourth-dimensional point of view there would be an infinite amount of 3D spaces in an infinitely small 4D space. There is no such thing as "distance" between two 3D spaces - our measurement of distance only works within a 3D space; from one to another you must go through the fourth (or an even higher) dimension. If you use 3D to get from one to the other it will take forever because the "distance" is infinite by 3D standards. If you use the 4th dimension, the other universe (and thus the other space-time envelope) is right next door.

So, you ask, if the two universes are infinitely far apart, how can stuff get from one to the other? Well, as I mentioned before, the smallest final contraction of the space time envelope happens at the fulcrum of time, when the universe crosses over from contracting to blowing up again. At that fulcrum point, anything outside the "black ball" is outside that universe's space-time envelope, no matter how close the late stuff may have gotten. Since the stuff is outside the envelope, and inside the envelope time is stopped, the stuff will be outside the envelope "forever". It will thus be in it's own space-time continuum, or it may still be associated with the envelope of another universe if that universe is still experiencing time, and the stuff has thus never really left the other universe. When our universe expands, the two space-time envelopes will merge, because obviously the stuff will not be able to get away from our "big bang". So it is then that two universes merge; in one time has just begun, and in another time has been going on for probably quite awhile. Now, it is possible that in the accumulation of the next black ball, the black ball will experience a space-time fulcrum point while the rest of the universe is still going about its business. But when the envelope contracts around that black ball, as far as that black ball is concerned, it IS the entire universe because everything else in the universe that it was just with is completely outside its space-time continuum. Thus, the two universes have now separated, and within the contracted one, time has stopped, and everything else is infinitely far away, and for this universe, this lasts forever. For the other universe, once universe #1 has contracted fully, universe #1 is completely outside the bounds of universe #2, in another space continuum, infinitely far away, and life in #2 goes on as normal. When #1 explodes again, #2 may simply experience an infusion of new stuff, appearing out of nothing!

Here's where it gets really tricky: for #1, which is at the fulcrum of time and space, exploding into a new universe takes forever to happen, since time there has stopped! but for universe #2, it happens instantaneously. What happens in between the two (in the fourth-dimensional "space") while one is experiencing the fulcrum point? That I simply do not know . . .

 

 

 

What does "race" really mean for the human species?

 

Well, to be certain, there are clear physiological distinctions between different groups of people - coroners and archaeologists can often determine if bones have "Caucasoid" vs. "Mongoloid" features (look up Kennewick Man), and some groups are more prone to certain genetic diseases, such as Sickle-Cell in Africans and Cystic Fibrosis in Europeans.

As the idea of "Races", however, those distinctions are really pretty minor and the biological divisions between us all simply do not run as deep as they do between biologically distinct races in other animals. Today's population of humans descended from a group of about 10,000-20,000 people who survived some sort of disaster 70,000 years ago; probably the massive eruption of Mt. Toba on Sumatra. It's been speculated that the major ethnic divisions are approximately 15,000 years old, not enough time for us to diverge significantly. Humans have the lowest genetic diversity of ANY large aminal with a wide population distribution - a pretty amazing fact considering that we are so numerous and inhabit almost the entire planet! Only 25% of our genome has any variation whatsoever, and that's mostly very minor things like hair & skin color and nose shape. The other 75% of our genome is identical in all people. It's also been postulated that there's more genetic diversity on the continent of Africa than among all the other groups on Earth.

The concept of the "three main races", Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negroid, comes from old theories of human migration that simply don't reflect the true complexity of human history. According to that idea, populations would have had to settle in the Caucasus Mountains, East Asia, and Africa, and remain isolated from the others for many thousands of years, and not come into contact with each other until very recently. Well that's just not what happened! People have been on the move since the beginning of the species, migrating, trading, fighting, resettling, etc . . ., with plenty of interaction and breeding between nearby populations, and so the current group of ethnicities shows a gradual gradation of traits as one moves geographically across any wide area. People in inner Mongolia may have not had any contact with folks in Africa, but they had contact with people in China, who had contact with people in Indochina, who had contact with people in Burma, and then India, and so on. Some groups, like the Andaman Island tribes, have been isolated from everybody else for a very long time (30,000 - 60,000 years on the Andamans, see www.andaman.org ). But except for those very isolated groups, there really is no such thing as a "pure race" of any kind of people, because most ethnic groups simply have not been genetically isolated for long enough to be "pure" anything.

Dark skin color is an evolutionary adaptation to a high UV light influx; groups from tropical areas all have darker skin than those from cold or temperate climates. Light skin is probably an evolutionary response to cold weather. It's thought that a light-skinned population would eventually evolve dark skin in a few thousand years, and vice versa. Skin color is one of the most easily and rapidly changeable traits of our species, and so by itself leads to an oversimplified and incorrect classification of the groups within our species. And, as far as classifying human groups, why would we even need to do that? It IS important in science, medicine, anthropology, and a couple of other studies, but only in ways that apply to specialized aspects of those fields. For the human population as a whole, the classifications are interesting, and it helps one to connect more with one's group, but the group that we really need to connect with and understand is all of humanity. Because, aside from a couple of minor surface traits, all of us are really the same group of people!