October 19, 2008

I want my parallel universe now!

Dang it, I might not live long enough to learn the truth of parallel universes, at least if I believe Michio Kaku, who writes of such things in his book Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel.

Essentially, Kaku attempts to build a case for humans achieving Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Kaku shows how the terrain of the impossible is being systematically conquered by science, although, as I understand it, he fails to explain why we aren't all wearing silver jump suits and zipping around in personal pods.

Kaku classifies various fantastical ideas into three ranges of time for when we will see them. "We" being used rather loosely, since "we" won't be here ... even botox and filler won't hold out that long.

Class 1 Impossibilities: technology that is not possible today but within the realm of physics. These are possible within a century or two. In this class, Kaku lists force-fields, invisibility, phasers and death-stars, teleportation, telepathy, psychokinesis, robots, ETs and UFOs, starships, antimatter and anti-universes.

Class 2 Impossibilities: Technology that lies on the cusp of our knowledge of physics. These are possible perhaps within millennia or millions of years. In this class, we find faster than light travel, time-travel, and parallel universes.

Class 3 Impossibilities: Technology that violates known physical laws. Here we find perpetual-motion machines and precognition. That’s it, only two.


In case you've forgotten the other two of Clarke's three laws of prediction (surely not, hmm?):

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


  1. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Gee I wish we'd known that when I was at school:

    JO: Sorry Teach my home work got gobbled up by a parallel universe.

    TEACH: That's magic JO. Go sit down and I'll explain what happened.

  2. Re: Class 3 Impossibilities.

    Precognition is easily possible because of the other two classes.

  3. Anonymous7:00 PM

    The other two classes are technologies though, so unless technology, will induce precognitive abilities - and that's a huge assumption - classes 1 and 2 don't invariably lead us to three.

    Intriguing why it falls into class three though. The human mind will change?