Semi-initiation Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the expulsion of Richard Feynman from his mother.

Everybody take a bowling ball and rhythm instrument (ideally a bongo drum,) go up on the roof, drop the bowling ball, and play the instrument.

Ethanol is optional.


Spring of Morn

One Day! Once more into the breach! Or at least, the gym. Not too crowded and the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” was passable, an interview with the Israeli Harrari (sp?) who wrote Sapiens. 

I have to admit to reading his book and finding it worthwhile, finding a mixture of things agreeable and disagreeable, and hence good. But I do wish I could ask him why happiness should be a metric of humanity. 

First of all, it’s not measurable, so comparison are decidedly specious. How do I know my happiness is greater than yours?

But I did like his quote – unattributed? – that human language developed for gossip. Maybe I will re-read his tome.

On a tangent azimuth, can I entangle two Fermions and then entangle that entanglement with a Boson?

Electron Longevity

I am NOT a particle physicist. All this stuff with standard model came about after I finished coursework and quite frankly being an introvert I am not driven to lemming physics environments. 

Maybe I should have said ant colony? 

Anyway, not given to more than arms length, few people collaborations.

But I was intrigued to read [Link] that some folks in Italia have taken a stab at making measurements to indicate the mean-time-to-decay for an electron.

They came up with 6.6E28 years (approximately) which was given by one source as “66,000 yottayears “. I had never seen the prefix yotta before and when I looked it in in my copy of Tuma I discovered it didn’t go that high.

I personally have always favored a prefix system that is logical and numeric: kilo; milli; killi, trilli, quadrilli, quintilli;…..

But I’m not in charge of usch and don;t want to be. Too much fervency and pseudo-boggism.

But that’s a lottayears, which is a Saganesque type of prefix. Happily the chicken guy is more rational about such. 

In fact it’s older than the life (to date) of our universe. 

Sorta makes you worry about how things end, doesn’t it?

Except the EXTRO Bogs. They go and party.

Light Straggling

Thor’s day. End of gym for the week. And the weather beavers foretell I will likely be able to do some constitutional this week out. Huzzah!

Sparse in gym. Only one weight bouncer and that the polite one. And no (!) educationalists. And a moderately diverting podcast, an episode of Linux Luddites, with scant enrichment but at least the attention span was led away.

Not so outside. Frawg! Or as the weather beavers saw, fawg. A real one, not the wimpy hazes that the weather beavers pass off as frawg.

No this one was quite heavy and so thoroughly a frawg it grabbed you by the eyeballs as soon as you were outside. Every point sourse was surrounded by a dense, solid halo, none of this christianist ring stuff, that immediately filled you with the awe of reality and its physics, much less mysticism and superstition.

And driving in it was achingly tactile. You were immediately reminded that there are two ways to hide things. One is to keep light from it. But the other is to take its light and send it so widely that the contrast is obliterated and the object cannot be seen against its background. That’s the majesty of frawg. 

It’s also the adventure. Driving in this stuff is a minor risk, at least for nerds and sentient geeks. And who really cares about the rest so long as they don’t drag you along with them? On which azimuth I should mention for those such who might be reading the correlation with the comedian Andrew Griffith who larked about frawg stragglin’. Of course in his case frawg referred to an amphibian genus, and not to aerosols in the atmosphere. Ah!, the joys of language.

It struck me last night, while watching a rather egregiously prevaricative commercial that language is not important in physics. Communication, yes; but understanding, no. 

The day begins well.

People Physics

Ice Cream Day! And Brrrrrrrrrr! Off to park for constitutional and was only barely wrapped enough. And that much more than the jogging jiggles. Was almost too chilled to think. But not to cramp. Why is it that by the last day of constitutional I have about gotten the aching under control?

Speaking of which I note an article[Link] about Steven Hawking entitled. “Forget black holes! Women are the biggest mystery in the universe, claims Stephen Hawking”. Part of this is utter rubbish. We are not allowed to conduct experiments on people like we do on particles, even though the latter make up the former.

Another part is adject agreement. Physics is easy when compared to social interaction. All you need for the former is maths and smarts and a bit more. I am not at all sure what you need for the latter but I know I don’t have it. I have the hypothesis that no man has it. Which bolsters the theory that we are only kept around for perpetuating the species and entertainment. And I am quite unsure of the latter,

I was also taken by some other comments:


Do you believe AI is evil? 

‘The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence. 

‘A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.

‘You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants.

‘Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.’

What is your favourite song?

‘Have I Told You Lately’ by Rod Stewart.

What is your favourite movie?

Jules et Jim, 1962

What was the last thing you saw online that you found hilarious?

The Big Bang Theory 

Hawking’s worry about AI (and IT in general) is well founded. And well stated. One of my greatest problems as a CIO was the apathy of too many IT people when it comes to content and consequences. Plumbing is NOT all.

I cannot speak to his choice of music nor cinema since I am unfamiliar with both, but I agree with is television assessment. The program in question is indeed so bad that it is hilarious. All hollywood and vanishingly little physics. And that catch phrases. 


Part of A Herd

The dihydrogen oxide sorta falleth. More a heavy mist than an actual rain. Enough to soak rather a bit after a full constitutional, happily uninterrupted by boscos and haggis brains. 

In my youth walking in rain was uplifting, exhilarating. Now it is only distracting. Sometimes the weight of existence is enough to crush life. But I did manage to exert a bit of attention direction to consider an article [Link] by Brian Greene entitled “The Theory of Relativity, Then and Now”. It’s basically a bog article with the physics almost missing. But sometimes making contact with colleagues is a useful thing even if all we talk about are stomach aches.

The article is about Einstein’s closing difficulties with the theory of relativity. This is a useful thing. We get taught how to work on problems and research but we don’t always get told about the problems – other than monetary and bogs – that crop up. Sometimes it’s a mental block of sorts; sometimes it’s an attack of delusional fidgets. And we think that others don’t have these so we don’t mention them. We don’t discuss them. And we all have them.

It doesn’t seem to matter what we are working on, and certainly most of us don’t work on things as complicated or big as gravity. It’s more a matter of how we work. And that is pretty common. 

So let’s review some of what Greene had to say about the specific:

“Leveraging results from the mid-1800s that provided the geometrical language for describing curved shapes, Einstein created a wholly novel yet fully rigorous reformulation of gravity in terms of the geometry of space and time. .. But then it all seemed to collapse. While investigating his new equations Einstein committed a fateful technical error, leading him to think that his proposal failed to correctly describe all sorts of commonplace motion. For two long, frustrating years Einstein desperately tried to patch the problem, but nothing worked.”

In statistics (or sadistics as some call it behind their hands,) we are taught that errors are both positive and negative. Fluctuations in research and thinks are the same. Sometimes they are constructive and sometimes destructive. And we all get them. The problem is that it takes a long time to get them wrestled into submission. We have all had brilliant epiphanies (well, all nerds, at least) that seem instantaneous but built over unappreciated time and then take agonizing time to apply. We also have what seems a brilliant epiphany that turns out to be a false worry but we still have to worry it into submission. Over too long a period of time.

“His estranged wife, Mileva Maric, finally accepted that her life with Einstein was over, and had moved back to Zurich with their two sons.”

Marriage is an intriguing process. It struggles to exist, usually successfully, in spite of all the things we do to destroy it. I am quite in favor of it but I do have to admit that I seem to get more done when FD SCP is absent.

“By November, this freedom bore fruit. Einstein corrected his earlier error and set out on the final climb toward the general theory of relativity. But as he worked intensely on the fine mathematical details, conditions turned unexpectedly treacherous. A few months earlier, Einstein had met with the renowned German mathematician David Hilbert, and had shared all his thinking about his new gravitational theory. Apparently, Einstein learned to his dismay, the meeting had so stoked Hilbert’s interest that he was now racing Einstein to the finish line.”
I have difficulty understanding how theoretical folks can work in coveys (or whatever a collective of theoretical physicists is called?) I can understand it for experimentalists since they have to borrow tools and get help bailing or whatever, but theorists works best alone IMHO. That is not to say that discussions are not useful. Sometimes until you utter something you don’t realize how whacked it is. But you run the risk of sparking ideas in your colleagues and losing your stuff. It happens. And the etiquette of it is difficult. Especially since nerds are so contra-social. I know there have been several times I got ideas from colleagues that let me beat on a problem of common interest. I try to make sure they don’t lose their chance and give them credit but it is still a difficult thing. 
“To his friend Heinrich Zangger, Einstein confided, “In my personal experience I have not learnt any better the wretchedness of the human species as on occasion of this theory….””
Even when it turns out right – whatever right is, it is unpleasant. This is one of the reasons theoreticians need to work alone. It hurts too much otherwise. And we lose our smarts in the pain.
“Of course, the credit would only be worth having if the general theory of relativity were confirmed through observations. Remarkably, Einstein could see how that might be done.”
This incidentally is the nutmeat of physics, its duality of theory and experiment. This is why neither mathematicians nor engineers are physicists. The one never gets beyond “the maths say so” to “observed reality says so” and the other never worries about why, just how. We need both but neither can do physics. 
Which is rather like marriage.

Not there if Unseen

OK, Mundane day and back to gym. Schule has to desessioned since the place was void of educationalists. I have toyed with the idea of asking one such why the behavior but so far have conjectured they won’t understand the question and will thereby get nasty. That’s what educationalists do in my experience. If you ask a question that isn’t 0.9 in the flow of the current course insecurity turns to panic turns to violence. College is less so but asking cross-disciplinary questions is a risk to life and health.

I noted this weekend [Link] that the Australians have done an experiment that indicates that reality only comes into existence when we look at it. Observer effect. What Quantum mechanics has been saying for a long time but we are too afraid to actual internalize it.

Especially with politicians around. They observe a very nasty reality.

The question again rises of what does the world look like when the first observer emerges? Is sentience necessary? Was there some sort of condensation? 

There are times I wish that there was some way to reverse the effect. To unobserve reality and have it go away. But as much as I try to unobserve politicians they keep messing up reality. 

So the question of the day is: why is the collapse irreversible?