The idea of parallel worlds is one of the more favorite topics of science fiction writers, but also a popular subject of interest for many researchers. If you watched the Fringe series, you will remember that there were two simultaneously existing versions of the same world with slight differences between them. It seems that something like this could be possible, according to a new quantum theory.
A group of Australian and US physicists suggests that there may exist multiple versions of our universe, which can interact with each other on a quantum level. Dr. Howard Wiseman and Dr. Michael Hall of Griffith University in Australia, together with Dr. Dirk-Andre Deckert from the University of California, published their so-called “Many Interacting Worlds” (MIW) theory in the journal Physical Review X.
It is a known fact that quantum mechanics display strange phenomena which violate the principles of cause and effect. That is why it is so difficult to explain the nature of these phenomena. “Any explanation of quantum phenomena is going to be weird, and standard quantum mechanics does not really offer any explanation at all–it just makes predictions for laboratory experiments,” Dr. Wiseman wrote in an email to the Huffington Post. “Our new explanation…is that there are ordinary (non-quantum) parallel worlds which interact in a particular and subtle way.”
The new theory is an alternative to the ‘Many Worlds’ concept, which was proposed in 1950s by American physicist Hugh Everett to explain the ability of quantum particles to be in two states simultaneously. He suggested that both states co-exist in different realities, that is why quantum particles can seemingly occupy two places at once. Thus, in accordance with the ‘Many-worlds interpretation’ hypothesis, each version of reality branches into a bunch of new realities, which exist separately and can’t interact with each other. From this point, the “Many Interacting Worlds” theory is totally different, as it speculates that multiple universes can overlap and influence each other.
There are three key points to understanding the MIW theory: first, there is a gigantic number of universes, some of which may be nearly identical; second, all of these universes are equally real; third, there is a force of repulsion between similar universes, which is a cause of quantum interactions between them.
“The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics. In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton’s theory nor quantum theory. We also believe that, in providing a new mental picture of quantum effects, it will be useful in planning experiments to test and exploit quantum phenomena,” Wiseman noted.
In spite of some negative criticism, such as the article by Czech physicist Luboš Motl in which he called the MIW approach “a hopeless enterprise and a huge waste of time,” prof. Wiseman and his team are optimistic about the prospects of their research: “I think there are many who are not happy with any of the current interpretations, and it is those who will probably be most interested in ours. I hope some will be interested enough to start working on it soon, because there are so many questions to answer.”
The biggest challenge now is to come up with the ways to test this hypothesis and find the indications of possible interactions with other universes. As for the possibility that someday humans might establish contact with other universes, Dr. Wiseman said: “It’s not part of our theory… But the idea of interactions with other universes is no longer pure fantasy.”
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South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash
What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?
It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.
The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.
The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.
“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”
The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.
Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.
Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.
Get Castrated If You Want to Age Slower and Live Longer, Scientists Say
New research suggests that if men want to delay their aging in an effective way, all they have to do is – wait for it – get castrated.
A study by an international team of scientists from New Zealand’s University of Otago found that the castration of male sheep successfully delayed their aging compared to males whose genitalia was intact – and the same principle would hold for human males.
The study could give us some crucial insights into why women live longer than men.
“Both farmers and scientists have known for some time that castrated male sheep live on average much longer than their intact counterparts; however, this is the first time anyone has looked at DNA to see if it also ages slower,” said the lead author of the study, Victoria Sugrue.
The study also shows how cutting-edge technology has allowed us to gain surprising insights from DNA and the rate at which it ages, including the ability to estimate the age of humans based solely on analyzing their DNA.
“We developed a way to measure biological age in a broad range of mammals — we have looked at over 200 species so far and discovered surprising commonality in which animals age,” said study co-author Steve Horvath of UCLA. “But the sheep study was unique in that it specifically isolated the effects of male hormones on aging.”
Using an “epigenetic clock” invented by Horvath to measure age, researchers were able to find that male and female sheep had quite different aging patterns for their DNA.
“We found that males and females have very different patterns of DNA aging in sheep; and that despite being male, the castrates [wethers] had very feminine characteristics at specific DNA sites,” said research team co-leader Tim Hore.
These findings can also apply to humans.
“Interestingly, those sites most affected by castration also bind to receptors of male hormones in humans at a much greater rate than we would expect by chance,” Hore said. “This provides a clear link between castration, male hormones and sex-specific differences in DNA aging.”
Scientists Find Possible New Signs of Alien Life on Saturn’s Icy Moon
A new study suggests that Saturn moon Enceladus, which is covered in an icy crust, could be a great place for life to exist.
New evidence collected by NASA’s retired Cassini spacecraft offers tantalizing details on the chemical makeup of the water plumes erupting from Enceladus.
The heavy amount of methane – a gas associated with life on Earth – suggests that underneath the icy crust of Enceladus, there could be a huge ocean of briny water potentially teeming with life.
The new study by researchers from the University of Arizona and Paris Sciences & Lettres University also found that there was a relatively high concentration of molecules of dihydrogen and carbon dioxide.
“We wanted to know: Could Earthlike microbes that ‘eat’ the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” asked University of Arizona associate professor and lead author of the study Prof. Regis Ferriere.
Scientists have long speculated that conditions on Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and sources of warmth, could be conducive to the development of living creatures.
However, one possible explanation for the chemical composition of water on Enceladus could be the existence of microbes on the Saturn moon.
“In other words, we can’t discard the ‘life hypothesis’ as highly improbable,” Ferriere noted. “To reject the life hypothesis, we need more data from future missions.”
Confirmation of the “life hypothesis” will likely remain elusive for the foreseeable future.
“Searching for such microbes, known as methanogens, at Enceladus’ seafloor would require extremely challenging deep-dive missions that are not in sight for several decades,” Ferriere said.