01 February 2007

Information at the speed of ... isomerisation

With Some Thoughts on Informationpart - III, Dr C has taken the strand beyond my competence to comment - never mind dare to respond when he asks "if I make a big boo-boo, please let me know"!

That doesn't mean I am uninterested - only that my specialist knowledge is insufficient for my interest to be more than that of an intelligent lay reader. So, for the moment at least, I am just along for the ride - learning a lot, seeing what I already know placed in context, and waiting to see where we are heading.

Some details, though, do particularly catch my attention and trigger lines of thought which, while at a tangent to Dr C's route, find echoes within my own spheres of experience or competence. I can, while I watch the passing wonders, also muse on those in another part of my mind. (As an aside: I was, in the distant past, for a comparatively short time, subjected to both solitary confinement and the sensory deprivation which Dr C mentions. SD is as frightening as he suggests, and this ability we have to pursue lines of curiosity entirely within our minds was the escape route.)

One of these details is the factlet, tossed out by Dr C in a casual, offhand, en passant sort of way, that "This isomerization takes place pretty fast, somewhere on the order of 200-500 femtoseconds." Think about that, for a moment ... it dazzles the mind. That's a fraction of one trillionth of a second. If you were flying an aircraft at the speed of sound, you would travel just one or two millimetres in that time. Yup ... I reckon that qualifies as "pretty fast".

Most important to me, though, is the promise of a full circle return to the point at which this thread started:

"...at each stage of the process the information is digitized at the most basic level. This has profound implications for how we process the information and, ultimately must have some reflection on how we think. It also has a real world prediction about free will..."

I'm agog, and fascinated; quite apart from enjoying the journey, that is a destination worth looking forward to.

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