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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Forget environmentalism: Could mankind be shortening the universe's life?

In this case however, it turns out that quantum mechanics implies that if an unstable system has survived for far longer than the average such system should, then the probability that it will continue to survive decreases more slowly than it otherwise would. By resetting the clock, the survival probability would now once again fall exponentially.

"The intriguing question is this," Prof Krauss told the Telegraph. "If we attempt to apply quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole, and if our present state is unstable, then what sets the clock that governs decay? Once we determine our current state by observations, have we reset the clock? If so, as incredible as it may seem, our detection of dark energy may have reduced the life expectancy of our universe."
Reminds me a bit of the Tralfamadorian apocalypse from you-know-what:
"We know how the universe ends—" said the guide, "and Earth has nothing to do with it, except that it gets wiped out, too."

"How—how does the Universe end?" said Billy.

"We blow it up, experimenting with new fuels for our flying saucers. A Tralfamadorian test pilot presses a starter button, and the whole Universe disappears." So it goes.