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Thread: Vacuum Collapse Clarification

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    Vacuum Collapse Clarification

    This article really seems to put the fears into perspective. And shows how you need to properly search to find real info.
    It actually explains the theory properly and helps people to understand that vacuum collapse if real if far far away from happening. Unless the article is just trying to calm people fears and it’s not actual facts in the article

    What do you all think

    Also I read something that this theory or o believe it is still a hypothesis was founded in around the 1980’s is that correct and that when the Higgs was found in 2012 the theory became more well known

    https://www.science20.com/robert_wal...pse_of_higgs_0
    Last edited by Sinbad; 2020-Jan-07 at 10:42 PM.

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    Did I say something wrong in this post. I was hoping someone would be able to answer my questions

    Thank you

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    I didn't think there was much to add - it looks like a level headed article written to explain the quotes and reports used by popular science writers in less bombastic terms. It makes it clear what the level of 'threat' is and how the translation of this into less technical language was badly done.

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    Sorry my question were

    Unless the article is just trying to calm people fears and it’s not actual facts in the article. I had read a post somewhere that this has happened and is being hushed up not to cause panic.

    What do you all think

    Also I read something that this theory or o believe it is still a hypothesis was founded in around the 1980’s is that correct and that when the Higgs was found in 2012 the theory became more well known

    A lot of my confusion comes from this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1212113034.htm
    Last edited by Sinbad; 2020-Jan-08 at 01:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Sorry my question were

    Unless the article is just trying to calm people fears and it’s not actual facts in the article.
    No, I think that the article is a reasonable explanation that the chance of something like this happening is tiny, even if it is even possible at all (and it remains uncertain that it is). And it does a reasonably good chance of explaining that in some cases, when physicists talk about something having a tiny chance of happening, it's hard to really comprehend just how tiny we're talking about. And I agree that it seems that sometimes people seem to read popular descriptions of things like this and panic, worrying that this is something that they should be concerned about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    I had read a post somewhere that this has happened and is being hushed up not to cause panic.
    If we're in a metastable false vacuum, and if somewhere in the universe there is a bubble that has decayed to a true vacuum (thus beginning the destruction of the universe as we know it), then that bubble would expand outward at the speed of light, the fastest that information can travel. So if that bubble happens to be close enough that it will reach us soon as it expands, there would be no way to know it had happened until the bubble swept through our region of space, destroying everything in its path. I don't know if you count that as reassuring, but there's no way that anyone could have observed this happening, because we're still here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    A lot of my confusion comes from this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.
    A false vacuum decay remains at least consistent with what we know about the universe so far, but there's not really any particular reason to think that it's definitely possible.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    f we're in a metastable false vacuum, and if somewhere in the universe there is a bubble that has decayed to a true vacuum (thus beginning the destruction of the universe as we know it), then that bubble would expand outward at the speed of light, the fastest that information can travel. So if that bubble happens to be close enough that it will reach us soon as it expands, there would be no way to know it had happened until the bubble swept through our region of space, destroying everything in its path. I don't know if you count that as reassuring, but there's no way that anyone could have observed this happening, because we're still here.
    But even if this has happened depending how far it did it can take a long time to reach us am I correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    But even if this has happened depending how far it did it can take a long time to reach us am I correct?
    It's possible in principle that this has happened somewhere in the universe, but far enough away that the expanding bubble of true vacuum has not reached us yet. But in that case, we'd also have no way to observe the bubble (because the bubble would be expanding at the speed of light, and so would be expanding just as fast as any light or other signal coming from it).
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    To clarify what I meant in the article it stated if this happened far enough away moving at the speed of light it can take billions of years to reach us?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    To clarify what I meant in the article it stated if this happened far enough away moving at the speed of light it can take billions of years to reach us?
    Yes. The observable universe is very large. We see light today that has travelled for billions of years to reach us from distant galaxies.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    But even if this has happened depending how far it did it can take a long time to reach us am I correct?
    I detect some concern in your tone, but there is no cause at all to be concerned. Every time we learn something new about the universe, it comes with it some speculative theoretical idea about how the universe could destroy itself, yet the universe muddles through all the same. When Newton discovered a theory of gravity that worked great, it presented a problem that the universe could collapse on itself, and Newton never found a satisfactory solution to that but he didn't lose sleep over it because experience told him it wasn't happening any time soon. Indeed, every time some new astronomical discovery was made (asteroids exist, stars can explode, cosmic rays exist, huge solar flares are possible), it came with the potential for extincting species on Earth, but yet we know from experience that species can muddle along for millions of years all the same. We know that every few million years the Earth gets hit with something big enough to cause widespread hardship, and every few thousand years the Earth is hit with something that is smaller but can still produce a local catastrophe for whatever is under it, but we don't lose sleep about that discovery because the chances of it happening to us or anyone we know are astronomically low, no pun intended.

    There is nothing about the speculative idea of vacuum collapse that elevates its threat level into comparison with these rare but well-known threats. If you want to worry about something, look at the things we already know kill lots of people are are very commonplace: war, disease, and famine. Why on Earth would we worry about some speculative physics theory destroying the universe when we won't take even the most obvious precautions against these other things that we know affect millions of people every day?

    It also sounds like you are "reading somewhere" a bunch of things with little evidence to support them, and then you, quite rightly, come to a forum where people are knowledgeable to check its veracity. Perhaps you would do better restricting the sources you consult in the first place to reputable outlets. The modern internet affords many opportunities to find reliable information if you stick to evidence-based sources maintained by professionals in their fields, but you should be aware that most of the internet isn't like that at all-- much of the internet is essentially a propaganda machine, trying to get you, for whatever reason, to believe things that aren't true. When the internet first came out, the idea is that it would be a great way to bring good information to people, making it harder for powerful interests to control them. Although we are seeing some of that, we are also seeing the internet being used to control people by inundating them with misinformation. At the end of the day, it is the individual that has to figure out what is information, and what is misinformation, because there is a lot of both out there.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2020-Jan-08 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Unless the article is just trying to calm people fears and it’s not actual facts in the article. I had read a post somewhere that this has happened and is being hushed up not to cause panic.
    Sounds like your run of the mill conspiracy theory. "They" are keeping things from "us" for "reasons". Brought to you by the same people who reliably tell me that the world is flat, that the Queen is a lizard and that Australia doesn't exist. As others have said, if it had happened we wouldn't know about it in advance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Also I read something that this theory or o believe it is still a hypothesis was founded in around the 1980’s is that correct and that when the Higgs was found in 2012 the theory became more well known
    It has been around since the 80s. It had a little blip in the public awareness when they were firing up the LHC (the press was saying that was going to destroy the universe by triggering this, or if it didn't then it was going to destroy the Earth with a barrage of mini black holes - and because of this fear mongering someone actually committed suicide which is a timely reminder that these kinds of articles have serious real world implications). Not sure why the current press interest is happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    A lot of my confusion comes from this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.
    What they mean is that the probability of it happening has been calculated using new method and may be higher than previously estimated. Nothing has changed to make it more likely, it is as likely as it has always been. We've just assigned it different odds. Think of it like betting. If the odds on a horse winning shift it is not usually because the horse or the racecourse has changed - it is the bookie's knowledge of it that has changed leading to a different prediction.

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    Also, I have a general rule that probability calculations are almost complete baloney in any situation where the required assumptions in the calculation are not clearly valid. I can't see any reason why anyone would pay any attention to a calculation of the probability of the creation of a black hole in a particle collision, when we know so little about how gravity works at that scale. What we actually know is that the Earth has a long history of not being eated by mini black holes, and we know that CERN isn't doing anything that doesn't already happen with cosmic rays. That's enough to know there is not a serious risk, there's no need for any calculation there.

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    Thank you all for the info, I guess the part that confuses me is the articles that state it can happen today or 2 billion years from now. It makes it sound that at the snap of a finger it can happen. Articles do not detail that the odds of this happening are so low it’s barely possible. I am not sure where everyone here gets that information from since all the articles are the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Thank you all for the info, I guess the part that confuses me is the articles that state it can happen today or 2 billion years from now. It makes it sound that at the snap of a finger it can happen. Articles do not detail that the odds of this happening are so low itís barely possible. I am not sure where everyone here gets that information from since all the articles are the same.

    You need to keep in mind that articles written for a general audience are designed specifically to attract readers. Papers from refereed journals have the technical details, but non-scientists aren't going to read them. "Universe Could Evaporate Tomorrow, but Won't" is less effective as click bait than the same headline without the "but". Read and think critically.

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    I understand that but some of the articles on this come from new scientist or science daily and different science based sites which I assume are written by scientists and not a regular joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    I understand that but some of the articles on this come from new scientist or science daily and different science based sites which I assume are written by scientists and not a regular joe
    If only that were so.

    Grant Hutchison

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    So why if the papers actually have facts that there is nothing to worry about in the immediate future would the sites not post the actually facts and make people think otherwise. That just does not make sense to me. Articles states within the article and not just the headline Can happen and minute, probability higher than previous. Etc.
    It is hard to determine what is real vs what is said to not cause fear. Articles say 1 thing, people here say other things. For someone who does not understand makes it hard to determine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    So why if the papers actually have facts that there is nothing to worry about in the immediate future would the sites not post the actually facts and make people think otherwise. That just does not make sense to me. Articles states within the article and not just the headline Can happen and minute, probability higher than previous. Etc.
    It is hard to determine what is real vs what is said to not cause fear. Articles say 1 thing, people here say other things. For someone who does not understand makes it hard to determine
    You can tell by the language, as much as anything. Vague non-scientific terms, use of exclamation points and frequent capitals, scary suggestions posed as questions, absence of links to peer-reviewed papers. The first paragraph usually screams "click-bait".

    And surely enough people have pointed out to you by now that the reason these sites don't post the facts is because they want you to read to the bottom of the page, see the advertising, and click on the link to the next TERRIFYING STORY. They're monetizing your attention. A headline that reads "Abstruse Speculation by a Small Number of Physicists is Entirely Inconsequential to your Daily Life" isn't going to get you to do what they want. And the only way to stop this happening is to stop reading the garbage they write. It's that straightforward.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    I understand that but some of the articles on this come from new scientist or science daily and different science based sites which I assume are written by scientists and not a regular joe
    And here's a case in point: You ought to question your assumption about who the authors are. It's not hard -- a few short minutes with the search engine of your choice will let you know something about the background and qualifications of the authors.

    From your repeated questions and seeming reluctance to accept the answers, one infers that you are predisposed toward believing too much of what you read. I suggest that you adopt a less credulous embrace of Things You Find on the Internet. Take under serious consideration what you've been told here (by many who are, in fact, scientists by profession). Consider the motivations of the authors who write the articles you are reading. Keep thinking about the meaning of "click bait" and the reasons for the existence of same. And if reading such articles upsets you, I can only second Grant's advice: Stop reading them.

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    What is there to gain for journalists to post things of fear in articles, once someone clicks the click bait title link The article has been opened, so I don’t get why words like “can happen any time or in billions of years, scary thing is it May have already happened.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    What is there to gain for journalists to post things of fear in articles, once someone clicks the click bait title link The article has been opened, so I don’t get why words like “can happen any time or in billions of years, scary thing is it May have already happened.”
    Do you notice all the ads down the side of click-bait articles, and all the links at the bottom? The longer they keep you on the page, the more likely you are to click through one of these links. And the more worried you are, the more likely you are to share the original link with other people on social media. (Just look at how you keep posting links here, which some of us dutifully click on to to find out what is bothering you, which sends traffic to the click-bait site, which improves their search profile, which makes them more attractive to advertisers. You're exhibiting exactly the behaviour they want from you, and that's why they keep writing misleading, worrying articles. To make it all stop, you've got to stop letting them monetize your attention.

    Grant Hutchison

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    My apologies I guess the stupid articles plus that stupid YouTube video from last month 10 ways the world could end in 2020 with vacuum collapse being the number 1 way played with my head a little

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    So why if the papers actually have facts that there is nothing to worry about in the immediate future would the sites not post the actually facts and make people think otherwise.
    Iím trying to be helpful though Iím not sure it will. If such an event happens, we will never see it coming and we will simply vanish with no awareness of anything happening. Plus there is nothing we could do about it, so why worry?


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    I am not sure what your trying to say Jens, is it more possible that previously thought to happen soon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    I am not sure what your trying to say Jens, is it more possible that previously thought to happen soon?
    Itís just calculations about what might happen if some assumptions are made, and the chance depends on the assumptions you make in your theory. To me, itís reasonable to think that since the universe has been around for 13 billion years without this happening, the chances are fleetingly small that it will happen anytime soon, so itís not something worth worrying about.


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    An example that might be helpful is that once Newton's laws of motion (and especially orbits ruled by gravity) were well understood, a very interesting (and almost entirely academic) question that arose was, what are the chances that the Earth's orbit could be unstable enough that the Earth might no longer continue to orbit the Sun? The question prompted the discovery of the potential for orbits around the Sun to become chaotic and unpredictable, and possibly unstable enough for the Earth to fly off into space or collide with another planet. Modern calculations suggest this is highly unlikely, but we already knew that because the Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years without that happening. So we have the possibility of catastrophe stemming from the potential for chaotic behavior, and that stimulates a lot of interesting mathematical new theory and some discoveries of orbital phenomena that we do see evidence of, but there was never any real concern there-- we always knew from experience that this is not something to worry about unless there was evidence (which there wasn't) that something new or strange is happening to Earth's orbit, so there is no reason to think it's going to go more chaotic than the tiny fluctuations we've had all while humanity was evolving. This is to be contrasted with something like climate change, which can point to evidence of something changing (the rising CO2 levels) and can point to an expectation that these changes are going to continue to raise the average temperature, unless we take steps on a global scale. So what I'm saying is, we must always pay close attention to the evidence, rather than to the speculation. Speculation is generally of academic interest, evidence is generally of practical interest. Worry about what there is evidence we should be worried about, which includes a lot of things that are being ignored despite the evidence.

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    Thank you all for responding. You have given me a better understanding and helped me realize that this will not likely happen in our lifetimes. The part that I was failing to grasp most was this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1212113034.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Thank you all for responding. You have given me a better understanding and helped me realize that this will not likely happen in our lifetimes. The part that I was failing to grasp most was this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.
    I hope we were able to provide some reassurance, and I hope you'll feel welcome to ask any future questions about cosmology or any other science here.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    Thank you all for responding. You have given me a better understanding and helped me realize that this will not likely happen in our lifetimes. The part that I was failing to grasp most was this article that states it is more possible now that it was before, that is why I wonder what changed to make this more possible now.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1212113034.htm
    The article is badly worded. Nothing has changed in the universe that has made this more or less likely than it was before this paper was published.

    The relevant paragraph in it is:
    So far physicists have worked with one equation at a time, but now the physicists from CP3 show that the three equations actually can be worked with together and that they interact with each other. When applying all three equations together the physicists predict that the probability of a collapse as a result of a phase change is even greater than when applying only one of the equations.
    All that has happened is that by applying a new method to calculate the tiny probability the team have concluded that we have historically underestimated the probability of it happening.

    The key badly worded bit used to generate the headline is:
    Although the new calculations predict that a collapse is now more likely than ever before, it is actually also possible, that it will not happen at all.
    As you can see, in context of the previously quoted paragraph this would be better worded as something like "Although the new calculations predict a higher probability for a collapse to happen than any previous work has, it is actually also possible, that it will not happen at all."

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    Thank you for the response. For some reason not sure if it’s lack of knowledge I am failing to see how the Tev from the newly discovered Higgs which is a borderline collapse state tev and the comment that is is more probable now than before translates to your comment that it just shows more probability that they saw with a previous equation but does not change how it is not more possible to happen now than in the past thousands of years.

    Also not sure as to why if apparently this is still a hypothesis and not an actually proven theory as to why there is so much faith that they are right?

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