Monday, December 21, 2015

QuantumTantra 2015

Happy New Year 2016 from Quantum Tantra blog
On the longest night of the year, it seems appropriate to summarize the old year's notable happenings.

This year witnessed the deaths of Don Joyce, Terry Pratchett and my brother Tom. The world is poorer and much less funny with their passing.

I've read a lot of books this year but three in particular stuck in my mind: 1. Victor L. Wooten's The Music Lesson: a Search for Spiritual Growth Through Music. Wooten is a virtuoso bass player (review of the book and video of Wooten jamming here,) Wooten's writing has been compared to Carlos Casteneda's as he describes meeting up with various unlikely musical shamans who trick and tease Wooten into seeing more deeply into the magic that hides behind all the notes and the practice.

2. Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey is a science-fiction portrayal of a society in which one's rank is determined by the range of one's color perception ("greys", who perceive only in black-and-white, live at the bottom of the heap.)  In Fforde's fictitious Chromatacia, color possesses extraordinary power -- it can be used to damage and to heal. A particular shade called "Lincoln", available only to doctors, is a powerful painkiller and if stared at for more than 10 seconds causes hallucinations. On his blog, Fforde actually displays some of the more stunning shades (including Lincoln) that play a big part in his story.  But don't expect to get high off these tints -- we humans just aren't put together that way.

3. Charles Seife's Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception shows how easily people can be impressed by a number no matter how fictitious or meaningless that number might be. Seife uses mostly examples from politics, showing how the numbers from polls and elections are almost always misleading. He analyzes in great detail a few famous close political races and as a bonus explains who actually won the recent Gore/Bush presidential election. (It's not whom you think.) Seife's book deserves a place on the shelf next to Darell Huff's classic How to Lie with Statistics which covers much the same ground. Cuts through numeric bull shit like a hot scalpel. The biggest message I took away from Seife's book is this: 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

This blog's main concern is quantum physics, poetry, and more recently, music.

On the physics front there appeared Some Notes on Quantum Entanglement in which I present a simple and informative new way to describe the classic double-slit experiment. For reasons unknown, this post has accumulated a comparatively large number of hits. In The JJCCTT Device I analyze a new FTL signaling scheme proposed by a student from Jerusalem Center for Technology. The main advantage of the JJCCTT proposal is that the correlation between Alice and Bob consists of 2 bits rather than the usual 1 bit. After some calculations we find, as might have been expected, that this doubling of possible outcome patterns does not allow FTL signaling. Thanks, Omer!

Following up on our early invention and investigation of Sirag Numbers, we define the notion of Sirag Triangles and discover a surprisingly elegant solution that generates all Sirag Triangles with integer sides.

In The Quantum Olympics we look at recent attempts to experimentally discover the largest material object that displays clear quantum effects.

And in Six Optical Miracles we describe the remarkable yet little known Ewald-Oseen Extinction Theorem that explains why a pane of glass is transparent rather than behaving like a dense fog.

See also Does Earth Possess a Second Season? my small contribution to the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming conversation.

On the poetry front, the world of letters has been enriched by a dozen mostly new poems cooked up inside the frenzied minds of Nick Herbert and his alter ego Doctor Jabir 'abd al-Khaliq. These poems include: Is Jack a Tacit Muslim?, Church of the Origin, Esalen Institute (written to honor founder Michael Murphy's 85th birthday), Jabir's Proof, The Philosopher's Bone, Thirteen Unnatural Acts, Kiss My Bare Art, Ninety-nine Names of Goddess, Reading Readiness, Altered State, Dangerous Candy, No Torture Please.

And lastly Abduction by Aliens, a videoed performance at the Grand Conclave of Glad Scientists convened at a secret Pacific beach front location by Dr and Mrs Future.

In this little collection, even the most jaded reader will find something that will please, educate, amuse, mystify, enlighten and offend.

Finally, this years achievements on the music front in both composition and performance.

For the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bell's Theorem, the museum at Queen's University in Belfast asked to exhibit my song "Bell's Theorem Blues" as an example of art inspired by this famous result in physics. I persuaded a trio of musicians in Boulder Creek to perform the song and sent lyrics, sound and video recording to the month-long Bell Fest.

Then our little Irish band Blarney was asked to play at the Santa Cruz Art League's theater on Broadway Avenue: Blarney on Broadway. For two hours the four of us performed for an enthusiastic and responsive audience and here is one of our tunes.

All in all, a very good year.

On this, the season's longest night, may your New Year be brightened by the coming of the light.

Matt, August, Kim and Nick are Blarney

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Dear Internet Friend, Keep filling your days with that which brings joy to you! I love the picture of you and August at Blarney. Thanks for sharing your year with your friends. May your new year be even fuller of spiritual fulfillment. I feel like we are closer than ever after all these years. Thanks to Reno that I had the privilege of meeting you, even if it is all online. Me, Virginia aka "Ginny" ... the old lady in Anaheim :)