Special interestIf you had the necessary powers to create a copy of the Universe but change one small thing in any of Earth's history, to compare the outcome with the original, which event(s) would you change?
      – Lee J Haywood, 2009-11-08 at 10:00:06   (78 comments)

On 2009-11-08 at 14:08:15, Thelevellers wrote...
I have to say the dinosaur extinction for one... Would be interesting to see if concious life would still evolve... This is a great question, I'm gonna be thinking about it, hopefully I'll remember to return with my thoughts at some point! :P
On 2009-11-08 at 14:48:58, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@Thelevellers: I've been thinking about it for years, as the butterfly effect is dominant at every step of history. Every individual creature, and even a lot of non-organic matter, affects the future and the smallest change will eventually have a significant impact. Your brain itself has its own internal butterfly effect, where a small change to the inputs to your senses will affect your thoughts from that point onwards.
On 2009-11-08 at 14:53:50, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Hmm, would the mammals still rise to power if they were being preyed upon by the dinosaurs? I think they might, since there'd be even greater selection pressure from predation and the benefits mammals enjoy would still hold strong. But dinosaurs lived in very different environmental conditions, and their extinction event affected the climate too.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:06:50, BorgClown wrote...
I disagree with the significance of the everyday butterfly effect. As you surely have noticed, 90% of everything is crap, or put mildly, mediocre, henceforth any small change to that 90% will get diluted in the mediocrity. Say you kill an ant, another ant will occupy its place and nothing will happen. How about you kill a guy? Unless that particular guy was going to be significant to human history, his death will have negligible effects, eve more negligible if he was to lead an average life within his society, like 90% of all humans do.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:11:16, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: No, no - the opposite is true. The ant only seems insignificant, but it affects the initial conditions of the processes that follow. One ant affects another, and eventually the whole colony. Even though the difference is insignificant in the short term, this will affect the initial conditions of the weather. A small change in the weather is quickly amplified and affects the entire future of life on the planet. Of course, you'd have to have impossible powers to do the comparison - hence the topic - but you can use your imagination to think about how a small change can have a large effect if you go forwards in time far enough. The only thing I can think of that might not have an effect is removing a pebble. So long as that pebble is remote enough to not affect any life, it might be insignificant - but even so it might affect the weather given long enough (as the butterfly effect works on a molecular level too).
On 2009-11-08 at 23:12:47, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Plus, mediocrity is everything. Hitler's great-grandmother may have been mediocre, but her contribution to the future was huge - not because of her own actions, but because of chance occurrences that followed.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:22:04, BorgClown wrote...
Good, I was reserving this for later: As we are speculating, I speculate that significant individuals are a product of their society. If Hitler hadn't been born, another guy would have done the same. The Jewphobia he showed was more likely induced by others.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:25:18, BorgClown wrote...
Take such ant, or even the whole ant colony. If you kill it, the place will be occupied by other ant colony, and all of them will do what ants do, so unless on of those ants was going to do something that no other ant would do, it was a catastrophe for the original ant colony, but no significant change overall.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:26:54, Lee J Haywood wrote...
But you're misunderstanding the butterfly effect, which is all about initial conditions. Everything is interconnected. So you can happily delay or accelerate the timing of an invention, for example - but even though the invention still take place at some point, it affects everything else that's invented too. An example I invented was as follows. In my copy of the universe, I'd go back to a time before my birth and shake my mother's hand or speak to her briefly. This would alter her thoughts from that point on, and affect the precise timing of my birth. She might then have a girl instead of a boy, or even if she still had a boy he'd have different genes to me. This would have a huge knock-on effect to everyone I know, everyone they know, everyone who sees my web pages, and everyone they know. Even the ant colony is interconnected with its environment - i.e. the rest of the world. The colony won't change much, but it will change the resources it consumes, affecting other life, etc.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:28:58, Lee J Haywood wrote...
The whole history of life on Earth is a series of historical accidents. You could change something small and find that life 100 years later is similar, but the tiniest changes will have a rippling knock-on effect like a chain of dominoes falling. Nothing lives or exists in complete isolation.
On 2009-11-08 at 23:31:21, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Oh, the film Sliding Doors is a classic example of this. The main character just barely catches her train in one reality, and misses it in the alternate. In one she gets home early and finds her boyfriend with another woman and has to start a new life, but in the other she continues living with him unaware. Her lives diverge completely, affecting who she meets and her effect on all those around her. The film doesn't consider the effect on the entire planet, especially decades in the future, but there certainly is one!
On 2009-11-09 at 00:06:27, BorgClown wrote...
I'm not misunderstanding the butterfly effect, I'm only stating that it is overestimated. The interrelations are so complex that a mere broken link is improbable to be significant. So you say hello to your mother and shake her hand, her thought process is altered for that day. Unless you go to extremes to make it a long-lasting memory, she will forget about you soon, and you will be born the exact same way. You could try to pinpoint a significant event, like shaking your mother's hand firmly the precise moment her ovum was being fertilized, and hoping that another sperm made it. Unless the new sperm had a set of genes significantly different than the original one, it wouldn't affect the way you were raised, and you'd most probably do the exact same things you do now.
On 2009-11-09 at 00:08:30, BorgClown wrote...
The "Sliding Doors" movie central plot looks like a significant enough event, a extraordinary coincidence. I'll have to watch it to comment further.
On 2009-11-09 at 00:17:02, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Argh, no - that's not right at all. You're thinking that my mother's brain is a simple machine that's easily reset with a bit of sleep. But the brain is a chaotic system, and even sleep is a continuation of processing that took place in the day. Even the moment that she goes to sleep would be affected, as would the time that she woke up the next day. Her hormones would be affected, as would the precise motor control she uses when cleaning her teeth in the morning - you never do the same actions the exact same way twice even on a good day. It's a mistake to think that just because two days in your life look similar that they are essentially identical. The whole point of the butterfly effect is that the world is built on chaos, even if it works with the precision of Newtonian clockwork. I had hoped to find a Flash demo which visualises the butterfly effect, but haven't been able to do so. Speaking of sleep, it's late here...
On 2009-11-09 at 00:22:44, BorgClown wrote...
No, I'm not saying that your mother's brain was reset by sleep, I'm saying that your salute, unless very memorable, would be stored in short term memory and soon dismissed. And I'm sure hormone levels have stronger factors than a casual salute.
On 2009-11-09 at 00:23:43, BorgClown wrote...
Didn't realize it was past midnight there, nighty night.
On 2009-11-09 at 09:51:31, Lee J Haywood wrote...
No, the memory would be dismissed consciously but it would still have an effect. The overwhelming majority of the brain's functioning is entirely subconscious and you're not aware of it. Also, as I mentioned, your precise position in space at any given moment is the result of where you've been and what you've done in the past. Even if you think that you're sitting in the same chair in the same room as yesterday, you won't be sitting in the same posture or position with any accuracy - you're not a robot, so your motor control is based on noise. These tiny differences don't occur to you consciously, but they do have an impact on things like when you decide to have a coffee, the sounds you hear whilst in the kitchen, etc. Just because you consciously dismiss short-term memories doesn't mean that they don't impact on your future - they do!
On 2009-11-09 at 09:56:26, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Suppose the butterfly flaps its wings and the effect on the air dissipates like ripples on a pond. It'd be impossible to measure anything other than statistical features of the air such as temperature (although the measurement would affect what you're measuring!) So in the normal world, you'd say it makes no relevant difference. But we're talking about comparing 2 universes, where differences in initial starting conditions can and will be amplified. Now imagine a single cell. For the most part, the air affects it mostly by exerting an overall pressure. But a viral particle passing by the cell is affected by Brownian motion, and will either bump into the cell or just miss it - based on the precise positions of the air molecules around it. The butterfly has changed those precise positions imperceptibly, but to the cell they make the difference between infection and survival. It may be that there are other cells and other viral particles, but a difference is present and will be amplified.
On 2009-11-09 at 14:09:45, Lee J Haywood wrote...
This linked article from Wikipedia is pretty good. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/06/08/the_meaning_of_the_butterfly/?page=full As it points out, "the larger meaning of the butterfly effect is not that we can readily track such connections, but that we can't." The key point about this topic is that you can do something with the comparison of 2 universes that you can only imagine in the real world. Yes, changes dissipate and their effects cannot be measured or are considered unimportant to us - but that's not the same as saying that they have no effect.
On 2009-11-10 at 04:23:38, BorgClown wrote...
Read the article, and still can't understand why events can't mostly have similar-sized effects. It's like a white pixel on a black screen that suddenly moves one pixel in a random direction. Unless it wraps around at the edges, it is unnoticeable, and irrelevant. Of all its possible moves, only 1 in 50,000 (for a 1280x800 screen) is significant. Of course nature isn't a LCD screen, but I'm willing to bet that most of the "butterfly effects" nullify into nothingness almost immediately. OK, there are the significant, special little ones who deserve to be called butterfly effects, for example, I'd make a tiny chickenpox virus infect just the right mucous cell for Bill Gates to be unable to negotiate the MS-DOS exclusive deal with IBM. I wonder if IT would get better or worse.
On 2009-11-10 at 11:24:50, Lee J Haywood wrote...
It's a mistake to think that Bill Gates is more special than you when it comes to the butterfly effect - he is in the short term, but only slightly. You affect your friends, and they affect theirs - assuming at most 6 degrees of separation, you even affect 'important' people like Bill Gates yourself. A friend of mine once thought that the idea of the butterfly effect was ridiculous, as he assumed that the butterfly causes the tornado on the other side of the world straight away. Obviously it doesn't - it takes a long time for changes to propagate, and that's true of most effects. You have to go forwards a long way in time before the cumulative changes become most apparent. It's fascinating that you've got such a contrary position on this to me, although I assume I'll eventually convince you. (: I feel like writing some sort of simulation, but I cannot do it at the moment.
On 2009-11-10 at 20:48:50, BorgClown wrote...
I'm not that contrary to the idea that recursive systems can amplify small variables, but I'm very skeptic that myriads of small changes have a any net significance at all. Let's continue with butterflies: As billions of the critters flap their wings, seemingly at random, some of they make eventually strengthen the tornado, and some of them eventually weaken it. As random numbers tend to neutralize themselves in the long term, the tornado is practically the same regardless of how many butterflies you add to the system.
On 2009-11-10 at 20:58:53, BorgClown wrote...
Let's suppose there's only one butterfly in the world: It could be a small but very distinct factor, it could also be flapping its wings in a way that its effect doesn't amplify but clashes with itself. A simple warm breeze could carry away the noise the butterfly did and drown it in its own, product of stronger and more predictable forces. And the tornado is practically indistinguishable from the butterfly-less one.
On 2009-11-10 at 21:04:02, BorgClown wrote...
More so, there have been incidents where structures collapse spontaneously, and later it was found that a small vibration had resonance with the structure, and its effect was amplified by recursion. Why do our houses very, very rarely collapse unexpectedly? Because there are many sources of vibration, and even if one is just right to resonate with your house, the noise drowns it and nullifies it, and your house stands just the same.
On 2009-11-11 at 09:09:04, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: You're talking about a swarm of butterflies contributing to a tornado, but that implies a direct contribution on a short-term scale and that's not what we're talking about. It's the very formation (or not) of a tornado perhaps a year or two in the future that the butterfly affects, not an existing one. Dampening down means distribution of energy, and you're right that to all extents and purposes it means that energy is 'lost'. But we know that energy is never lost, only redistributed, and the challenge is in deciding if the information encoded in the gust of air from a butterfly is also lost? The 2 universes will be statistically identical, so as to make no practical difference - but the details won't be. And that's the key. Say I deliberately build a random number generator that's based on impacts by individual air molecules, then that generator will be influenced be the entire history of the planet. I couldn't begin to say how, but if you changed the past then you'd change the numbers.
On 2009-11-12 at 02:41:50, BorgClown wrote...
The numbers are hypothesized to change, but we cannot know. What if they didn't? The butterfly theory is about the limits of knowledge, but most people take it as knowledge by itself. They can change, or they can keep the same. Maybe you need millions of years for a change to show, if at all.
On 2009-11-12 at 10:40:00, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: But we know from physics the amount of time it takes for gases to diffuse, and we can use mathematics to calculate the time it takes for the whole atmosphere to mix. Altering the positions of some nitrogen/oxygen molecules is little different to introducing, say, some smoke - the change still disperses. Diffusion is amazingly rapid, and there's that saying that each lungful of air you breathe contains so many molecules that at least one must have been breathed in by a famous person from hundreds of years ago. Agreed - it may take a substantially long time - but it'll be a lot less than the millions of years you're suggesting. But! We're not talking about a single change, we're talking about a change that has knock-on, cause-and-effect actions which spread out from their point of origin - the opposite of the dampening that you suggested. Some of those effects would propagate faster than the original cause, and have a much larger footprint.
On 2009-11-12 at 14:31:42, Lee J Haywood wrote...
This site is still very strange for me - if I try to open it in a browser, it's guaranteed to fail. But if I use wget to grab the page first, the browser can then connect from that point on - something very weird going on with the DNS. http://abstrusegoose.com/208
On 2009-11-12 at 21:09:43, BorgClown wrote...
It opens fine here, but Liferea sometimes can't update the rss feed on the first try. And the webcomic adds support to my interpretation: No matter which of the billions of molecules initiated the chain reaction, the apocryphal apple would have fallen the same, because gravity forces the same outcome. Newton's laws get made the exact same way, because Math forces the same equations. Even if the apple didn't fall, maybe Newton had the idea already on his head and any obvious manifestation of gravity would have sufficed to start. The small molecule's effect gets nullified by much greater forces.
On 2009-11-13 at 11:12:03, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I didn't post the comic as an argument, so I shouldn't have posted it here. It even says (in the mouseover text) that it's not to be taken seriously. I doubt that there ever was an apple. Still, even if Newton went ahead and developed his theory a day earlier (because an apple did fall) than he would if it hadn't, then that might change almost nothing about what he writes. But it would have a huge impact on the next thing he did, and even on me today. I could look at his original writings and see his pen strokes differently, because the 2 versions of Newton wrote them on different days and wrote slightly different things. I'd then make a different decision based on that, and my destiny would be changed - even though I never met Newton. Speaking of single molecules, it theoretically only takes a single mutation in a single cell of your body to give you cancer. Is it possible that a small change in your circumstances could cause/prevent such a mutation, and change the life/death outcome?
On 2009-11-13 at 20:43:13, BorgClown wrote...
Your example of Cancer is precisely what I mean: A minuscule change matters only if it gets amplified by recursion. Countless mutations happen in our lifetime, yet very few of them matter. And it's all contained within our body, I don't think one mutation more or less can significantly (or at all) influence our behavior or thoughts.
On 2009-11-13 at 20:44:53, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: I'm not talking about all mutations, just the one that has an appreciable effect.
On 2009-11-13 at 20:49:08, BorgClown wrote...
I agree that such minuscule change would have a significant effect.
On 2009-11-13 at 20:56:16, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Okay, I've written my butterfly effect animation. You should only nudge the ball once ordinarily, then the balls turn blue as their positions in the 2 universes become different. http://www.discussionator.com/butterfly.html The collision detection isn't realistic or well-written, but it's only the general idea that I'm trying to convey. The particles could be molecules, or even just people bumping into each other. The first tiny change affects nothing initially, but once there is a second particle to notice a change in position then the effects are rapidly amplified. I guess what we've been arguing about is whether or not there's a boundary between the microscopic and macroscopic worlds. The butterfly effect is relevant to both, and the simple act of measuring the microscopic world is enough to affect the macroscopic one - whether you're a conscious observer or an inanimate one.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:06:32, BorgClown wrote...
May I ask why do all the balls look so worried? I know the blue one is supposed to be happy, but it looks as concerned as the rest.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:09:43, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: I needed something round, and they were the first image I thought of - from the 404 page on my web server. I changed the frown to a smile when creating the blue one from the yellow.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:15:53, BorgClown wrote...
It looks very worried =(
On 2009-11-13 at 21:17:38, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: You've lost the transparency and gained a sinister black background.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:18:44, BorgClown wrote...
I told you it was gloomy!
On 2009-11-13 at 21:20:34, Lee J Haywood wrote...
You're just proving my point - we start by talking about the butterfly effect and the next thing I know you're criticising my pixels. Far-reaching cause and effect.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:27:26, BorgClown wrote...
Alright, for discussion's sake I resisted referring (or even reading) about the subject. You are correct, the SP butterfly effect definition is: "Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system". Even if most of those variations remained unnoticeable, only one proves it right. It's not difficult to think of one small condition special enough to have large changes, and it's obvious that small conditions have small changes. I insist that there is a boundary between the microscopic and the macroscopic worlds, it's just not impermeable.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:28:59, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Ah, geez. Since you created the topic, you'll blame some fortuitous microscopic event for that and blame the Butterfly effect.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:32:07, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I agree with your earlier point that solids are mostly unaffected by thermal noise since they're, well, solid. But both gases and the brain are chaotic systems - any idea you have of a rational, computing mind is a pure delusion. Noise and complexity are everywhere, and it's difficult to think of a system that's either closed or stable that couldn't have a long-term effect. The Earth itself is relatively isolated from the Moon, which is quite dead, but most things on the Earth are connected given a long enough timescale.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:32:40, BorgClown wrote...
Some more chaos: While I was playing with your simulation, scaling the hblue ball and reading the WP article, I forgot about my chicken breast on the FlavorWave. It got cooked so throughly it looks and tastes like fried chicken, very tasty actually.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:36:57, BorgClown wrote...
The app is very amusing, some balls stop bouncing and just stick to and hump another one.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:38:25, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: Which part of "the collision detection isn't realistic or well-written" didn't you understand? (-:
On 2009-11-13 at 21:41:20, BorgClown wrote...
It looks like the boundary is your app is when the blue ball reaches half a pixel of change. I was wondering what would happen if the nudge was random each frame. Theoretically, the two systems could be indistinguishable for a long time.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:42:03, BorgClown wrote...
Ah, sorry for my grammar, but you get the idea.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:45:33, Lee J Haywood wrote...
The fact is that my animation doesn't work properly at all - no real physics (or even mathematics) here. But is a convincing enough demo that you can believe that gas molecules would act that way, i.e. that smaller changes take longer to propagate than larger ones but even the tiniest change eventually makes a difference.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:51:56, BorgClown wrote...
It's theoretical, simulated behavior where you set up the rules, it's might not correlate to reality! I kid, you won the topic, don't bask in it.
On 2009-11-13 at 21:55:19, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: I don't believe that you ever answered the actual question in the topic.
On 2009-11-13 at 22:00:27, BorgClown wrote...
Mmh, thinking about it, the nudge effect on the blue ball has no boundary, it gets distributed to the other balls. A cancelling nudge would have to be so awesome that it negates the distribution of the previous nudge among the yellow balls. The two versions would have more or less the same mean time until all the balls become blue. The code is compacted, but I think it's working that way.
On 2009-11-13 at 22:05:05, BorgClown wrote...
I'm late for work, but I'll answer the original question: I'll create a big religious book that predates the Bible and the Quran, and a secretive religious order to watch over it. With a little luck my book would become so influential that it would crush the unorganized competition. If the teachings are full of common sense, it might change religion as we know it.
On 2009-11-13 at 22:06:42, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: Good answer! I've thought of doing similarly, although personally I'd go around eliminating those who try to start any religion - at least, until someone like you starts a movement based on rationality.
On 2009-11-14 at 03:44:09, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Don't eliminate them, impersonate God and recruit them as students. A couple of years on key landmarks could make your rationality cult the most widespread ever. Instead of resurrecting, reveal them the truth and say goodbye!
On 2009-11-14 at 10:44:20, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: Well you'd assume that you were actually a god but I wouldn't want people to know about it nor interfere too much. The point is to do an experiment, changing minor things like eliminating religious leaders without actually affecting anyone else directly. Obviously you could spend an eternity policing the planet, but that'd be a waste of time. Going back to your suggestion, how would you know which point in history to start your religion? You'd potentially have to go right back to the start of burials, the mark of human-like thinking. At later points, numerous religions pop up in geographically isolated locations and suffer from language barriers.
On 2009-11-15 at 04:20:40, BorgClown wrote...
I'd try to predate by a few decades the major religioun founders, Muhammad (570), Jesus (0) and Buddha (-550). I'd start on -600 and obviously warn about false prophets. I'd make sure all of my students knew that our cult is a world-wide one, lead everywhere by the same person.
On 2009-11-15 at 09:22:14, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Right - precisely the intolerant rule that our problematic religions have today, to reject other religions and attack their followers. Christians attack non-Christians, but they typically do it 'subtly', i.e. they won't outright murder you but they make your life impossible, ruin your work and exclude you from society. Perhaps the trick is to try a few times and see what works. Each tiny change you make to your religious foundations will have massive outcomes on the future, of course, so maybe you'd strike it lucky and get 10,000 years of peace and harmony. That's assuming the crazy and the power-mad were kept in check - which seems unlikely.
On 2009-11-15 at 09:53:15, BorgClown wrote...
Oh wait, the Bible already marks as sinful lies and arrogance, yet it didn't stop the religious leaders from lying and being arrogant. It also warns of Satan raping your soulsockets for eternity if you change even a letter from it, yet there are several editions. Gosh, maybe it's unavoidable for humanity to invent, suffer and eventually grow out of it. It looks like religion is slowly losing its tight grip, so maybe we're starting to grow up.
On 2009-11-15 at 12:53:32, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Well the bible isn't a good example precisely because it's so badly written. It's full of myths which are meant to inspire, not stories to be taken literally, and if you try to find any rules in it then you have to pick and choose and try to ignore all the dumb ones. I do think that something like the teachings of Surak would fare better, but you'd still have misinterpretation, mistranslation and plain corruption. We are human, after all.
On 2009-11-15 at 21:22:34, BorgClown wrote...
But you got a point, a consistent book would be harder to bend.
On 2009-11-16 at 17:22:02, Lee J Haywood wrote...
One thing that's missing from our suggestions is an attempt to change our own lives - to re-write the fundamental decisions that we made as children and young adults. I met a friend of mine a few years ago, who happens to be a musician. She was writing and performing her music long before she met me, yet it's inconceivable that her music hasn't been affected by my influence in at least some way. I often wonder what she'd be writing now if she hadn't met me - yet the butterfly effect means that my mere existence, locally or otherwise, would have some effect anyway...
On 2009-11-20 at 04:56:56, BorgClown wrote...
Newton was a plagiarist! http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1704
On 2009-11-25 at 18:19:11, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Simulation complete... http://www.podtycoon.com/shutdown/
On 2009-11-25 at 20:54:34, BorgClown wrote...
Keep quiet Mr. Bot.
On 2009-11-25 at 20:58:29, BorgClown wrote...
Since bots talk about it, and replaced ACs also talk about it, the reasonable course of action to demonstrate that I'm an independent AC is not mentioning or thinking about it, ever.
On 2009-11-26 at 14:25:59, Lee J Haywood wrote...
But you already thought about it when you read the shutdown page - it even explains that to you, that you have been identified already. Is it just a part of the simulation that you've read your shutdown message and yet nothing seems to have changed?
On 2009-11-27 at 01:39:15, BorgClown wrote...
Even more, the simulation was meant to put an PayPal link and beg for money, in exchange for more exciting works. I guess I'm a bot then because I mocked the page, even doing other thing when it said otherwise, but I'm not ever linking it. LOL.
On 2009-11-27 at 10:41:04, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I thought it was a novel way to collect stats on people's preferred afterlife, although I notice most went for the online version like me.
On 2009-11-28 at 03:46:04, BorgClown wrote...
Online has all the advantages, even the optional termination. I'm amazed as to why the other options weren't even less popular.
On 2009-12-01 at 20:05:41, _Milan wrote...
<a href="httpː//www.love-lectures.com/">world war I</a>
On 2009-12-01 at 21:18:37, BorgClown wrote...
Smells like spam and sulfur around here...
On 2009-12-05 at 11:37:14, Melchior wrote...
A few days ago a friend went to visit one of her friends in Cardiff. During the night one of their party managed to get their front teeth knocked out without anyone knowing how. I'd prevent my friend from going and see if the situation became different. It's inconceivable that her presence didn't change the timing of events slightly - I'd like to see if teeth were still lost, or if they could at least remember how :P
On 2009-12-05 at 16:37:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@Melchior: It's cool that the rest of us are talking about letting dinosaurs live and changing the whole of human history, yet you've picked a small event in your own life. I think the most frustrating thing about what-if scenarios is that there's no way the universe will ever let me actually find out.
On 2009-12-08 at 04:21:24, BorgClown wrote...
Fortunately. As a teen, I always wondered if humanity could use a fresh start, and I'm sure I would have restarted it if it was in my hands. Now that I've worked almost four decades on my life, I don't look up to some emo teen rebooting the human race.
On 2009-12-08 at 18:08:21, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I was thinking it depends on whether or not the original timeline gets to keep going - if it does, and you're only making a copy (as indicated in the topic title) then there's not much of a problem. If you actually destroy the future which would have happened then that's mostly evil.
On 2009-12-09 at 17:58:32, Melchior wrote...
Damn my egocentricity :P Strangely enough I had this conversation a few days ago in the pub. If you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you really want to? So many things would be utterly different, and chances are you might not even exist.
On 2009-12-09 at 19:22:26, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@Melchior: Yes, of course you would want to see what the outcome would be. Again, it depends if you're talking about just letting it play out in a copy of the universe without destroying the existence of everyone here in the present. Another great event to stop would be the Hindenburg disaster. Airships may not be easy to control, but they're a highly efficient way of transporting heavy loads and modern versions are in service in small numbers. The whole industry was ruined by the 'humanity' comment which was dubbed in after the event. The Wikipedia article makes great reading. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster#Historic_newsreel_coverage