In an earlier post I suggested that the vast majority of ultimate events appear for a moment and then disappear for ever : only very exceptionally do ultimate events repeat identically and form an event-chain. It is these event-chains made up of (nearly) identically repeating clusters of ultimate events that correspond to what we call ‘objects’ — and by ‘object’ I include molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. There is, thus, according to the assumptions of this theory, ‘something’ much more rudimentary and fleeting than even the most short-lived particles known to cojntemporary physics. I furthermore conjectured that the ‘flicker of existence’ of ephemeral ultimate events might one day be picked up by instrumentation and that this would give experimental support to the theory.  It may be that my guess will be realized more rapidly than I imagined since, according to an article in the February edition of Scientific American an attempt is actually being made to detect such a ‘background hum’  (though those concerned interperet it somewhat differently).

Craig Hogan, director of the Fermilab Particle Astrophysics Center near Batavia, Ill., thinks that if we were to peer down at the tiniest sub-divisions of space and time, we would find a universe filled with an intrinsic jitter, the busy hum of static. This hum comes not from particles bouncing in and out of being or other kinds of quantum froth……..Hogan’s noise arises if space is made of chunks. Blocks. Hogan’s noise would imply that the universe is digital.”     Michael Moyer, Scientific American, February 2012
Moreover, Hogan thinks “he has devised a way to detect the bitlike structure of space. His machine ― currently under construction ― will attempt to measure its grainy nature.(…) Hogan’s interferometer will search for a backdrop that is much like the ether ― an invisible (and possibly imaginary) substrate that permeates the universe”.
         Various other physicists are coming round to the idea that ‘Space-Time’ is ‘grainy’ though Hogan is the first to my knowledge to speak unequivocally of a ‘backdrop’ permeated with ‘noise’ that has nothing to do with atomic particles or the normal quantum fluctuations. However, the idea that the universe is a sort of giant digital computer with these fluctuations being the ‘bits’ does not appeal to me. As I see it, the ‘information’ only has meaning in the context of intelligent beings such as ourselves who require data to understand the world around them, make decisions and so forth. To view the universe as a vast machine running by itself and carrying out complicated calculations with bits for information (a category that includes ourselves) strikes me as fanciful though it may prove to be a productive way of viewing things.      S.H.  30/08/12

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