The good folks over at io9 have posted a really nice piece on the possibility that we are living inside a huge computer simulation.
Sound like codswallop? Probably. Is it possible? Definitely.
A snippet:[quote]Interestingly, the researchers consider their simulation to be a forerunner to more powerful versions in which molecules, cells, and even humans themselves might someday be generated. But for now, they’re interested in creating accurate models of cosmological processes — and finding out which ones might represent hard limits for simulations.
To that end, they have investigated the Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin limit (or GZK cut-off) as a candidate — a cut-off in the spectrum of high energy particles. The GZK cut-off is particularly promising because it behaves quite interestingly within the QCD model.
According to the Physics arXiv blog, this cut-off is well known and comes about when high energy particles interact with the cosmic microwave background, thus losing energy as they travel long distances. The researchers have calculated that the lattice spacing imposes some additional features on the spectrum, namely that the angular distribution of the highest energy components should exhibit cubic symmetry in the rest of the lattice (causing it to deviate signi?cantly from isotropy).
“In other words,” write the arXiv bloggers, “the cosmic rays would travel preferentially along the axes of the lattice, so we wouldn’t see them equally in all directions.”
And that would be the kind of reveal the physicists are looking for — an indication that there is indeed a man hiding behind the curtain.[/quote]
Read the whole thing here.