Thursday, May 2, 2013

FTL Signaling Made Easy

Demetrios Kalamidas: Prove me wrong or turn in your PhDs
When I was getting my undergraduate degree at Ohio State University, physics and math classes took up a lot of my time. But when preposterous claims were brought to our attention, me and my friends always seemed to find time to check them out. Two such claims stand out in my memory. The first was a curious explanation for why trees can grow taller than 30 ft. If trees raise water by pulling a vacuum by evaporating water from their leaves, then atmospheric pressure (15 lbs/square inch) is insufficient to push a column of water higher than thirty feet. Yet outside my door there are redwoods effortlessly growing to five times that height. The explanation offered to "explain trees" was that thin water columns could support "negative" pressure and hence surpass the "natural limit to growth". This could be checked by trying to lift a mercury column to a greater height than 760 mm by placing water on top of the mercury and evaporating it thru a sintered-glass funnel. We had all these thing in the physics lab, so a few of us built an "artificial tree" and were surprised to see that after a few days of evaporization, the mercury column was indeed much higher than the "natural limit" suggested by  naive arguments based on air pressure.

At about the same time Edmund Land, the inventor of polaroid film and the Polaroid camera, announced that he could produce full-color images with only two colors rather than the three colors required by the conventional models of color vision. Land had his best results with the color yellow and white. So, following Land's recipe, we made black and white transparencies thru the appropriate filters, then projected these two negatives thru two slide projectors one of whose lenses we covered with a yellow filter. And sure enough we found that, contrary to received belief, yellow and white light could produce blue, green and red sensations on our retinas. The colors were not faithful, but, by Zeus they were there!

That was in the 50s at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

A few years ago I was talking to a physics professor at a California university, which shall remain unnamed, about a preposterous parapsychology experiment called "autonomic presentiment" and wondered if any of the students in his school had tried to reproduce its results which seemed to show that certain physiological measures such as skin resistance or heart beat changed a few seconds before an emotional picture appeared on a computer but not when a calm picture appeared. Surely someone in the psychology department or the physics department would possess the intellectual curiosity, I guessed, to check out these preposterous claims.

"Intellectual curiosity?" my friend replied. "What's that? The only thing these students are looking for are good jobs."

Recently another preposterous claim appeared on the physics radar and attracted my attention. Demetrios Kalamidas, who graduated from CCNY and worked in laser labs, came up with a faster-than-light signaling scheme based on quantum optics. Kalamidas's scheme passed peer review and was published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America B (an arXiv preprint is available here.) His proposal was received with a deafening silence.

Since I have some experience with FTL signaling schemes, I supposed that I could easily refute the Kalamidas proposal. I devised my own version of his scheme and after some effort was able to establish that (my version of the) Kalamidas scheme would not work. So far so good.

Armed with this comforting result, I reformulated the original Kalamidas scheme using my own notation and confidently proceeded to disprove it--without success. In fact I actually discovered a way to improve Kalamidas's scheme that raises his original fringe visibility from 9% to 22%. My paper (with the new improved FTL signaling scheme) is available here.

The Kalamidas experiment uses hardware found in every modern optics lab and every process Kalamidas cites has been achieved tho never in the combination he envisions. However before any hardware is actually assembled to test his claims, it is important to remember that a thought experiment is less expensive than a real experiment. And the conceptual elements needed to test Kalamidas's scheme inside the mind are available to most every physics graduate student, are openly published in every modern optics book and are present in extremely high concentration in the minds of hundreds of scientists working in modern optics labs around the world.

But months have gone by without a peep from the professionals.

The Kalamidas scheme is begging to be refuted. And thousands of people exist who are intellectually over-equipped to do so. But, if my unnamed professor of physics is right, then Demetrios Kalamidas need not worry. The one factor today's generation of physicists seems to be missing is this: sheer intellectual curiosity.

Prove me wrong, punk. Make my day.


Wes Hansen said...

Ahem, cough, hack, spit . . .
Mossbridge, J., et. al., An analysis of 26 reports published from 1978 to 2010 and regarding unexplained pre-cognition physiological response in: Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis (, Frontiers in Perception Science, 17 October, 2012, accessed 19 April, 2013.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. Go Kalamidas and Nick!
Allthough I lack knowledge on these topics I do have the sheer intellectual curiosity and if I had the possibility to test this I would not sleep until proven or refuted.

nick herbert said...

I've lost many a night's sleep, thinking I had found a refutation of the Kalamidas Effect, only to discover, as the sun was coming up, that I was once again mistaken.

Benign said...

Ditto Wes's comment. Dean Radin is a pretty careful researcher. These experiments have been replicated.

nerd1024 said...

Sigh....I feel very sad that we now live in an age where we no longer have Bell labs (an example) where curiosity is rewarded ( okay, so the original big phone co. that funded that lab is different and it's better to own your own phone etc.) the point is, is that most corporations and governments (Canadian gov just recently (it's right wing conservative) decided that all gov labs have to stop basic research (what's that?, can it make money?) and instead become practical apps labs for industry that too cheap anyway to fund any research because we can't have the gov funding basic blu sky stuff unless it goes boom (shades of Reagan's 1980's Star Wars waste of money)...really, my opinion is that we should finance Aubrey de greys SENS project and the Mprize projects that are trying to support gerentology researchers trying to regenerate organs/fix aging (they are tax deductible research foundations in the US/uk and have some world class researchers working for them....

Adam Crowl said...

Party's over, the cops have arrived...

On a quite recent proposal of faster than light quantum communication
G.C Ghirardi, R. Romano
(Submitted on 24 May 2013)

In a recent paper, Kalamidas has advanced a new proposal of faster than light communication which has not yet been proved invalid. In this paper we show that, as all previous proposals, it does not work. The mistake arises from an inappropriate use of some approximations.

Comments: 4 pages, 1 figure

Anonymous said...

jassu dimiti

Adam Crowl said...

On Kalamidas' proposal of faster than light quantum communication

GianCarlo Ghirardi, Raffaele Romano(Submitted on 5 Jun 2013)In a recent paper, Kalamidas has advanced a new proposal of faster than light communication which has not yet been proved invalid. In this paper, by strictly sticking to the standard quantum formalism we prove that, as all previous proposals, it does not work.Comments:8 pages, 1 figureSubjects:Quantum Physics (quant-ph)Cite as:arXiv:1306.1133 [quant-ph] (or arXiv:1306.1133v1 [quant-ph] for this version)