It’s not just humans that still reel from the effects of a trauma many years later

It’s not just humans that still reel from the effects of a trauma many years later: ecosystems do too. Thousands of years after human hunters wiped out big land animals like giant ground sloths, the ecosystems they lived in are still experiencing the effects.

Michael Marshall, “Kill all the big beasts, impoverish an ecosystem”, New Scientist 17 August 2013, p. 13

‘in thrall to a sense of space and time that might not exist beyond ourselves’

“We think time and position and so on are important variables for describing the world because we evolved to perceive them. But whatever is going on down there doesn’t seem to worry about them at all.”

– Terence Rudolph, Professor of Quantum Physics, Imperial College London

“Rudolph doesn’t have an answer – no one does. But he reckons the problem is that we are still hopelessly anthropocentric. The growing disconnection between our experience of the world and the results of quantum experiments, he says, are simply a modern version of the ever-more-complex epicycles that Ptolomy and those who followed him used to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies. The problem back then was that we could only see the planets as revolving around Earth; it took Copernicus to turn things around, and suddenly all was plain and simple.”

All from Michael Brookes, “Reality Check”, New Scientist 3 August 2013, 33-36

Interesting use of “we”. Beyond anthropocentrics: Time and Me

“No single feature of our universe is more in need of explanation than the forward march of time,

yet physics and cosmology have so far failed to explain this basic fact of nature…”

Lee Smolin, “It’s time to rewrite time”, New Scientist, 20 April 2013, pp. 30-31

“…The only way we can explain the time asymmetry of our universe [that time only goes in one direction] is some mathematical trickery which involves choosing special solutions to time symmetric laws. Which is to say it is not explained at all.”

“Ever since Rene Descartes in the 17th century, time has been represented as if it were just a dimension of space. This culminated in the “block universe” conception of general relativity in which the present moment has no meaning – all that exists is the whole history of the universe at once, timelessly. When laws of physics are represented mathematically, causal processes which are the activity of time are represented by timeless logical implications….

“The idea that nature consists fundamentally of atoms with immutable properties moving through unchanging space, guided by timeless laws, underlies a metaphysical view in which time is absent or diminished. This view has been the basis for centuries of progress in science, but its usefulness for fundamental physics and cosmology has come to an end due to its inability to answer key questions…A new scientific world view is emerging based on the principles that time is real, laws evolve and irreversibility is fundamental…”