This time I am sending you off to read other people–not that I have nothing to say, but they have really good posts on their blogs this week.
First, and self-explanatory, is a commentary on the dazzling news from the South Pole that the immensity of the universe seems just to have gotten moreso. Here is a wonderfully intelligent and readable-by-the-rest-of-us article by physicist and Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island Nick Knisely. It is too good to miss. His blog, Entangled States, is a continuing marvel.
Second, and of obvious personal interest to me, is an in-depth review of Dancing Past the Dark–the first that actually discusses the book’s content! For those of you interested in knowing what somebody else thinks about the book, I am passing this along. The blog is Everybody Means Something, which I’ve just discovered, covering a wide range of interests. Fractals, anyone?
Sheila Joshi says
Very intelligent and respectful review of your book, Nan! Please do let us know when the next sections of it are posted.
Just about my favorite quote of all time is Hamlet’s “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” It’s really fascinating – and I can totally relate – that some peoples’ dNDEs don’t actually have much horrible content to them, but people *feel* devastated by them nonetheless.
I just had a depressing dream like that last night. The content wasn’t remarkable, but I woke feeling doomed.
What a thing doom is. The stripping of meaning and hope and coziness.
I just listened to an interview that talked about how we used to think Black Holes just sucked everything in to oblivion, but we’re now discovering that they actually *generate* particles, and might even be the “portals” through which our material universe enters. That is quite a change in perspective on something!
I would like to think that feelings of doom are something similar – the void or chaos through which new (happy, goldurnit!) creation occurs.
After all, according to Bishop Knisely, there is more being both created and discovered every day.
Nan Bush says
You do say such good, perceptive things! I’m on my way out the door; want to say more about doom, but will have to wait until later.
It’s taken me awhile to respond to this post, because I have so many thoughts about both topics, that I had to chill out until I could squeeze them into an ill-fitting nutshell. So…
Pete Hulme’s review of Dancing Past the Dark is absolutely the most thorough unpacking of the book written by anyone. He hasn’t just read it, he’s totally immersed himself into it and turned it into a project. After reading his perspective, it was like seeing the text all over again, with a fresher, deeper perspective.
This is a three part series. The second installment is up now, and here is a direct link to it:
For posterity’s sake here is a direct link to the first review (which has been buried by now):
As far as the gravity wave confirmation announcement by the BICEP2 program, this is astounding. The results of the study have a sigma value of five with an r value of point-two, which is similar to CERN’s confirmation of the Higg’s Boson. I don’t know what a sigma value of five with an r value of point-two means either, but apparently it’s about as close to to proof as the physics world can get.
For fun, this proof does have its detractors. Here’s a link to an article that questions the study’s conclusions:
It looks like the larger physics community is ignoring this. After all, what self respecting MIT physicist would want to let a couple of hayseeds at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette ruin their parade?
I have to say that I’m on the side of BICEP2’s results, but that’s because I want to be on their side. Confirmation bias and all that.
Yet at a deeper level, what does it all prove? For me it verifies that a Greater Intelligence beyond our present comprehension is directly involved in what we call “reality”. But the existence of a mathematically reducible cosmos tells me the same thing.
There are some Really Smart People out there who would accuse me of magical thinking, because they know better. Lawrence Kraus has a loyal following that buys into his theory that the Universe was created out of nothing, by nothing. At least, it could have been created out of nothing by nothing as long as a law of gravity was present at he time.
I sure am glad to see that Lawrence Krauss doesn’t engage in magical thinking…
Nan Bush says
LOL for your last line about Krauss’s “non-magical” thinking! Good to have you back. As you’ll see (if you haven’t already), the third section of Pete Hulme’s review went up today and is now linked in a new post. I’m quite blown away by his thoroughness–and deeply appreciative.