Brain Dump, 4 February 2023

A long time ago, people talked about the LAMP stack. The M stood for MySQL, a database. I got pretty good at LAMP, and I could figure out the M well enough. But that was a long time ago.

Now I’m learning about how people do databases in this decade, and there’s a lot of fun stuff to take in. I think I’m pretty close to being able to make real applications – ones that use databases! – again. I’m pretty excited. I feel like I’ve been working on a car, and now I’m about to drop in the engine.

Loading screens
For years, my startup has had a pretty utilitarian loading screen. A few days ago I finally posted a cutesy loading animation. I’m thrilled with it, and I can see some additional things to add to it.

I feel the same way about the Firehose animation on this site. It adds a little bit of joy that can go a long way.

Firehose continues to be flippin’ amazing
Once Firehose can tuck everything into a database, it opens up all sorts of new opportunities. I’m reeling thinking about the thing I’m building because I think can be truly great. Something someone would even pay money for. Imagine!

It’s hot
I live in the Southern Hemisphere and good gravy it’s been hot lately. The end of summer is coming, and you know what that means. It means the Northern Hemisphere is about to experience spring!

Prince Harry’s book
I am enjoying it a lot.

For very different reasons, and to scratch very different itches, I am reading both NANA and AKIRA. I’m clicking with them more than I am used to clicking with Manga, so we’ll see how that pans out.

Our Mathematical Universe
I’m reading this for the second time. I bought it for my son. I told my friends and mom about it. I am trying to process the theory and I keep getting stuck. I’ll talk to GPT about it to explain where I’m getting stuck, and where I hope to eventually get un-stuck.

Me: Hi, I'm reading Our Mathematical Universe. Do you know it?

Bot: Yes, I am aware of the book "Our Mathematical Universe" by Max Tegmark. It is a popular science book that explores the concept that the physical universe is a mathematical structure and that everything in the universe, including matter and consciousness, can be explained by mathematics. The book provides an overview of the theories and ideas in physics, cosmology, and computer science that support this idea.

Me: Right. So I am having trouble comprehending the book. Everything makes sense until he talks about the concept of inflation. Then suddenly he says all these crazy things like they've been proven and I just can't follow it.

So can you explain what inflation is at a level a ten-year-old can understand? Can then can you explain why the existence of inflation means that there are a truly infinite number of universes that contain every version of me that could possibly exist? How can this be proven?

Bot: Sure! I'll do my best to explain the concept of inflation in a simple way.

Imagine you blow up a balloon. At first, the balloon is small, but as you blow air into it, it starts to get bigger and bigger. This is kind of like what happens during inflation in the universe. Inflation is a theory that says, in the very beginning of the universe, everything was very small and close together. But then, suddenly, the universe started to get bigger and bigger very quickly, like blowing up a balloon.

As for why the existence of inflation means there are a truly infinite number of universes, it's because inflation suggests that our universe may have started as a tiny patch of space that grew and expanded very quickly. This expansion could have created other patches of space that became separate universes. So, in theory, there could be an infinite number of universes out there, each with their own version of you.

The existence of inflation cannot be proven with 100% certainty, as it is still a theory. However, there is some evidence that supports the theory, such as patterns in the cosmic microwave background radiation (the afterglow of the Big Bang), that are consistent with the predictions of inflation. But more research and data is needed to confirm this theory.

Me: Thank you for that, that makes sense mostly.

But I still don't understand the infinity part. The author says that because of inflation, there is a version of me with three eyeballs. There is a version of me that is president of the United States. There's a version of me that has landed on Mars. Literally everything exists, with no limitations, because everything branches off at every moment.

How in the world does inflation imply that somewhere in the multiverse I am married to Barack Obama? Or somewhere in the multiverse I am an ant? I just don't see that connection.

Bot: The idea that inflation implies that every possible version of reality exists in some universe is based on the concept of the "many-worlds interpretation" of quantum mechanics. This interpretation states that every time there is a quantum event (such as an electron jumping from one energy level to another), the universe splits into multiple universes, each containing a different outcome.

So, in this interpretation, every time there is a decision point or a chance event in your life, the universe splits into multiple universes, each containing a different outcome of that event. This means that, in some universes, you may have made a different choice or ended up in a different situation, leading to a different version of you.

This idea is combined with the concept of inflation to suggest that these many different universes created by the splitting of reality in quantum events could have been created during the rapid expansion of the universe during inflation.

So, the idea is that, due to inflation and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every possible version of reality, no matter how unlikely or fantastical, exists in some universe in the multiverse. That includes a version of you who is married to Barack Obama, a version of you who is an ant, and a version of you with three eyeballs.

It's important to note, however, that this idea is purely speculative and has not been proven. The multiverse and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics are still the subject of ongoing research and debate in the scientific community.

Me: Fair enough. So every time there is a quantum event, the universe splits. That's the theory.

And where's the evidence for this theory? That sounds INSANE.

Bot: The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is a theory that has been proposed to explain some of the strange and seemingly random behavior of subatomic particles in the quantum world. It is one of several interpretations of quantum mechanics and is not universally accepted by the scientific community.

As for evidence, there is currently no experimental evidence that directly supports the many-worlds interpretation. This is because the many-worlds interpretation is a purely theoretical construct and cannot be directly observed or tested.

However, proponents of the many-worlds interpretation argue that it provides a consistent and coherent explanation for the strange behavior of subatomic particles and resolves some of the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. They also argue that the theory is compatible with current experimental results and is not in conflict with any established scientific laws.

It's important to note that the many-worlds interpretation is still a subject of debate and discussion in the scientific community, and there are many other interpretations of quantum mechanics that have been proposed. While some physicists and philosophers find the many-worlds interpretation compelling, others view it as an untestable and untenable theory.

Me: Thanks, bro. I think I understand more now.

Bot: You're welcome! I'm glad I could help clarify things for you. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.