Sunday, November 18, 2018

First Contact

Photo by Gabrielle Cianfrani


If I open to you
Will you hurt me?
Or will we two be discovering
Brand new kinds of play?

Are we destined
To be known as
That Astonishing Couple
Or will we act out Darwinian
Predator and Prey?

Will we be so overwhelmed
By the mechanics of being
That we miss each moment's role
As a step on the Way?

Or will our lucky lives be joined
By co-experienced wisdom?
By a pragmatic cosmology
Deeply felt but impossible to say?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018



When my breasts began to swell
And I had my first bleeding
I went to my friend Janice's house
Who showed me how to use a tampon
And told me her first sexual experience.

With a "bad boy" in school named Nick.

"How far did you two go?"

After dark we snuck off into the woods 

behind Nick's house
Talked about nothing, held hands 

and listened to animal noises.

"Holding hands in the dark? 

Is that all you two did together?"

Well, we did smoke a little pot
And we each dropped a tab or two of CHUB:
(CHUB = hexa-methoxy-triathlon).

And let me tell you, sister.
Holding hands
Felt to both of us
Like the interpenetration of galaxies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Collapse of the Wave Function

Nick Herbert (Photo by Rudy Rucker)

(For Kate Bowland and Raven Lang)

Each moment's a never-repeated creation
Hot, sticky, wet, and screaming to be
Feeling this squeeze itself out
Of a hole in the mystery
Each moment's birth is a new birth of me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Scientific American Interview

Scientific American 1905
When I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I read everything I could get my hands on. One of the most curious books in my home library was my father's pair of bound volumes of reprints from old Scientific American magazine issues from the beginning of the 20th Century. These pages featured giant construction projects, huge airships, early radio accomplishments and predictions of a brighter, more noble and much more electrified future.

Little could Nick imagine that one day he himself would appear in this renowned popular science magazine in a column called Cross-Check (named after an illegal ice hockey move) being interviewed by John Horgan, the author of Rational Mysticism and The End of Science. Besides Nick Herbert, Horgan's interviewees have included physicists David Bohm, Steven Weinberg, Edward Witten, Martin Rees, Sabine Hossenfelder, Lee Smolin and many others, a very distinguished company of thinkers.

Horgan's interview was motivated by my 10th anniversary blog post and by my big role in David Kaiser's recent book How the Hippies Saved Physics.

Among Horgan's questions to me were:
How did you end up as a physicist?
How did you end up as a hippy?
Is quantum mechanics the key to explaining consciousness?

Get the answers to these questions (and more) at John Horgan's Scientific American Cross-Check blog post: Chasing the Quantum Tantra.

Nick Herbert resting from the chase.
 Simultaneous with this blog post, John Horgan had just completed a magnum opus on the nature of consciousness, a book called Mind-Body Problems: Science, Subjectivity & Who We Really Are which he made available for free on the Internet at In this book, Horgan interviews nine specialists representing nine different perspectives on human subjectivity. This book is unusual in that Horgan does not just interview these nine people about their ideas but about their personal lives as well. John's curiosity and desire to really know what's going on entangles himself and the reader in a sometimes embarrassingly intimate connection with some of these scientist's personal lives. For that reason, this book is a lot more lively than your typical psychology textbook.

John Horgan, author of Mind-Body Problems.

For my evaluation of this engaging book, I can do no better than echo the opinion of Deepak Chopra in the Discussion section:

"Giving an abstract problem a human voice -- in this case ten voices, counting the author and the nine people he interviewed -- has many rewards. We get something close to the real texture of how ideas are woven into biography. These ten people -- like all people -- lead lives in which mental activity cannot be tweaked out and examined objectively. I envy Horgan his ability to convey the lived-in quality of thinking."

Horgan's logo for Mind-Body Problems

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Ten Years Old
Quantum Tantra Blog is now 10 years old. Happy Birthday, old friend!

During its life QTB has published 495 posts which have received more than 500,000 views. The blog is mainly a kind of diary of the major concerns and accomplishments of Nick Herbert and his alter ego Doctor Jabir 'abd al-Khaliq.

Nick's primary goal is to father a brand new physics (Quantum Tantra) which will connect us all with Nature in a more direct and intimate way. This quest has generated dozens of pages of quirky quantum tantric poetry but no concrete physical results as yet. But I continue to pursue this "impossible dream".

The quest begins with quantum mechanics, the most successful theory of the physical world ever devised, which comes at the price of physicists not knowing what this theory actually means: the "quantum reality problem" -- about which I wrote my first book Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics.

One of the important milestones in quantum reality research is Bell's Theorem in which Irish physicist John Stewart Bell proved that although the quantum facts are everywhere "local", the quantum reality underlying these fact must be "non-local". The term "non-local" essentially means "faster-than-light", which Albert Einstein declared verboten in physics.

John Stewart Bell: Reality is Non-local

But, in a truly peculiar twist of logic, Bell's faster-than-light proof applies only to REALITY not to the FACTS. Einstein's prohibition still holds for the world we can see; only the invisible reality behind these facts must be faster-than-light.

Bell's Theorem has led to many clever attempts to move FTL REALITY into FTL FACT. One of my hobbies is superluminal signaling schemes, many of which are described in my book Faster-Than-Light: Superluminal Loophole in Physics and in quite a few of my QTB blog posts.

In fact, exactly ten years ago, as I was just beginning this blog, I had just published, in the physics arXiv, a FTL communication scheme called ETCALLHOME which was refuted within 24 hours by Israeli physicist Lev Vaidman.

Demetrios Kalamidas: inventor of KISS

The most exciting FTL scheme reported in QTB was the KISS proposal of Demetrios Kalamidas which uses a kind of "fake news" effect to exploit quantum path entanglement to send superluminal signals. Six prominent physicists, including one of Kalamidas's former optics professors, were involved in KISS's eventual refutation.

KISS: A New Superluminal Commication Scheme
Demetrios: the Opera
The Kalamidas Experiment
FTL Signaling Made Easy
Kalamidas Refuted
The Kalamidas Experiment: Easy Pickings

The refutation by Wooters and Zurek of one of my own FTL schemes, called FLASH, led directly to the quantum no-cloning rule, a result important in the field of quantum computing since it proves that, unlike classical information, such as a jpg of your cat, which can be exactly copied, perfect cloning of quantum information violates the laws of Nature. The story of the discovery of the no-cloning rule is the centerpiece of David Kaiser's recent book How the Hippies Saved Physics which also recounts the adventures of some of my disreputable physics friends.

David Kaiser and some hippies who "saved physics"

Kaiser describes the Esalen Seminars on the Nature of Reality, hosted by myself and eccentric mathematician Saul-Paul Sirag, where for eight years prominent physicists were invited to discuss Bell's Theorem along the Big Sur cliffs and in the Esalen sulfur baths. Through the good graces of Fed Ex philanthropist Charles Brandon we were able to award, in Esalen's Big House, the Reality Prize to John Bell (theory) and John Clauser (experiment) for their decisive demonstration of quantum reality's necessary non-locality, possibly the first time these guys's important achievements were publicly recognized.

Esalen Reality Prize Day. Left to Right: Charles Brandon, Nick Herbert, Adriana Chernovska, John Clauser, Saul-Paul Sirag, Bernard D'Espagnat (John Bell's proxy), Henry Stapp. Nick's son Khola in front holding wine glass

Also in QTB, I describe my collaboration with Saul-Paul Sirag in elucidating the nature of the Sirag Numbers, a sequence of integers indirectly related to the quantum theory of angular momentum. Later, I give a brief biography of Saul-Paul (who was born in a concentration camp) as preface to a review of his new math book ADEX Theory: How the ADE Coxeter Graphs Unify Mathematics and Physics.

Saul-Paul Sirag, eccentric mathematician

In 2014, the city of Belfast celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bell's Theorem by naming a street in its Titanic district after his theorem and by hosting a museum exhibit of works of art inspired by Belfast-born John Bell. My song Bell's Theorem Blues was chosen as one of the exhibits and was performed by local (Boulder Creek) vocalist Joy Rush, pianist Jack Bowers with George Galt on harmonica. The festival could not afford to pay our fares to Ireland but you can listen to the recording we sent and read the lyrics here.

BC Blues Trio: George Galt, Jack Bowers, Joy Rush

In this blog I also recall my two meetings with John Stewart Bell at the home of Stanford physics professor Pierre Noyes.

In the spirit of our old quantum physics seminars, Esalen has been hosting invitational meetings on the more general topic of human Superpowers, initiated by one of its founders Michael Murphy and expanded by extraordinary religious scholar Jeffrey Kripal. Most of these superpowers are considered IMPOSSIBLE so they thought it might be fun to have a few physicists on board. I was invited to two of these seminars including one devoted to the extraordinary levitations of St Joseph of Copertino, chronicled in the recent book by Michael Grosso The Man Who Could Fly. This seminar inspired my own levitation project, a subset of my quantum tantra urge to learn to relate to Nature in radical new ways.

Jeff Kripal & Nick Herbert: Old Esalen Lodge

As part of my project to relate to Nature in brand new ways, I invented the Metaphase Typewriter, a quantum-random putative mechanical spirit medium. In common with all of Nick's efforts so far, this project seemed to utterly fail. But recently the Metaphase Typewriter was revived as an art project by Lynden Stone in Queensland, Australia and by Dmitry Morosov in Moscow.

Lynden Stone's Erwin's Puss
While Nick was waiting for the Messiah to come (a play on the name of the wonderful picture book about Esalen by Bernie Gunther : What to Do Till the Messiah Comes), he fell in with a bunch of rowdy Irish musicians in Santa Cruz, learned to play the Irish whistle, and became part of a band called Blarney which plays at private parties and (a few times) on stage. My biggest achievement as member of the wonderful Blarney band was the composition of a patter song, 32 Irish County Jig, that recites each of Ireland's 32 counties. I am really surprised that no one else had ever done this before.
Blarney Band: Matt Johnson, August O'Connor, Kim Fulton-Bennett, Nick Herbert

Then there is my poetry ("the kiss of death" according to my literary agent John Brockman). In Boulder Creek, for a dozen or so years, there arose a remarkably fertile poetry movement, which I call the Bistroscene after Conrad Santos's Boulder Creek Bistro where a majority of the action took place and where I premiered my quantum tantric poems and many others. Many of these performances were videoed by Alan and Sun Lundell (aka Dr and Mrs Future) and are still being rediscovered as Al and Sun transfer their ancient video formats to archival hard drive.

Kiss My Bare Art
The New Sex Robot
He Did Not Die
Harlot Nature
2000-year-old Pickup Line
The Aphrodite Award
Los Gatos Apple Store

Celebrating the Irises
Mayday Play

Regarding weird literary output, it would be impossible to ignore my friend Rudy Rucker, the Lawrence Ferlinghetti of cyberspace. Rudy conceived and published Flurb, an online magazine of radically trippy inventions, including some of my own stuff and the most imaginative alien psychedelic I have even encountered -- James Worrad's Eye-High.

Since quantum tantra (the search for new doorways into Nature) is still in its embryonic stage, there is very little concrete accomplishments to which I can point. Here however are a few teasers:

Abu Asks About Quantum Tantra
No More Safe Science
Opening Night
Happy Doomsday
Greatest Pleasure
Elements of Tantra

Urge: A Short Opera about Reality
Tantric Jihad: the Video
Quantum Tantra Stripped Bare

In this short post, I cannot cover completely all ten years of my blog: I have decided to exclude the numerous book reviews and friends' obituaries (except for my two younger brothers Tom and Duke and my cat Onyx). Please click the tags for topics and people that interest you. My apologies to everyone I have left out. Although concrete quantum tantric research seems at an absolute standstill, I can at least briefly brag about six minor accomplishments:

Nick Herbert aka Dr. Jabir
I self-published two books of verse: Physics on All Fours and Harlot Nature;
I invented 99 new chakras: 99 Nick Chakras;
I invented a new (Ukrainian) holiday: YIDD;
I invented a new (imaginary) element: Khaliqium;
I invented a new (psychic) currency: Khlit Coin;
I devised a new proof that classical and quantum ESP powers must be precisely equal: Nick's Proof.

The quantum tantra posts with the most views ares:
1. Schrödinger's Proof for the Existence of God
2: Does Consciousness Create Reality?
3. Jailbait

Many thanks to all my viewers.

Happy 10th Birthday, dear Quantum Tantra Blog!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

First Contact

Meteor crosiing Andromeda galaxy: APOD Aug 12, 2018

To open ourselves to pleasure:
It's what the aliens want to teach us
For who would wish telepathic contact
with a world of whiners?

Aliens call Earth
"Planet of the Hates"
We are so bitter
so pain-obsessed
so cruel and full of malice.

All acts of love and pleasure
are invitations to alien contact
Are you ready to merge
with the Neighboring Other?

Have you freed yourself from hatred?
Have you made your mind a pleasure dome?
Have you adorned yourself as ready bridegroom?
Have you adorned yourself as temple prostitute
offering your golden body/mind at bargain rate?

Are you ready to merge 
with the Neighboring Other?
Have you prepared your body/mind 
as worthy playground
for beings with superior notions of play?
What substances have you ingested
to make your mind receptive
to unearthly forms of enjoyment?

Are you prepared to open your body
to alien pleasure transmissions?
Are you prepared to open your mind
to an otherworldly physics of orgasm?

Yes, they all want to marry our sisters.
And they want us to marry their sisters too.

All acts of love and pleasure
are invitations to alien contact.
Are you ready to join the Galactic Club?
They are opening their warm arms
their sticky tentacles
their moist fur-lined cavities
to Earth's uniquely beautiful males and females.

They know what they want.
They've made the first move.
They've touched us gently so as not to frighten.
For those with eyes to see
they are opening themselves 
and yearning for contact.

What then holds you back
from joining the Galactic Dance? 
What then holds you back
from wholeheartedly embracing
the beckoning Cosmos?

Nick at the God Farm, Boulder Creek, CA


Sunday, July 15, 2018

The KleurNet Interview

In the flower-filled back garden of Conrad Santos's Boulder Creek Bistro, Dutch entrepreneur and TV producer Luc Sala interviews visionary physicist Nick Herbert concerning mind, matter and quantum tantra for Luc's KleurNet Channel in Amsterdam.

Videoed by local media wizard Allan Lundell (now operating as Dr Future), Luc's interview succinctly captures the gist of Nick's dream of a new sensual science in a mere thirty minutes.

The best TV interview of Nick ever, on his home turf. All killer. No filler.

M57: the Ring Nebula

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Kalamidas Effect as Fake News

The Kalamidas Effect as Fake News

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Quantum Tantra blog for which I will soon be publishing a retrospective. But as I was reviewing dozens of exciting projects reported here, one event shone out in my mind, the day I was standing in my friend Reno's driveway overcome by intellectual ecstasy: I had calculated a way to send signals faster-than-light (FTL).

My thrill lasted only a few hours till a friend found an error in my calculation.

This particular FTL mind high was instigated by Demetrios Kalamidas, a Greek-American physicist, now employed by Raith Nanofabrication, who had recently published in an optics journal a particularly ingenious FTL communication scheme. The quest to refute Kalamidas's proposal was for me a particularly fine adventure: my brief ecstasy in Reno's parking lot was the result of calculating my own refinement of the Kalamidas effect; and it was Demetrios himself who pointed out my math mistake.

I called the Kalamidas proposal KISS (for Kalamidas's Instant Signaling Scheme) and documented the struggle to refute this scheme in six blog posts.

1. KISS: A New Superluminal Communication Scheme
2. Demetrios! The Opera
3. The Kalamidas Experiment
4. FTL Signaling Made Easy
5. Kalamidas Refuted
6. The Kalamidas Experiment -- Easy Pickins
A seventh post: 7. Some Notes on Quantum Entanglement provides useful background material for understanding FTL proposals of the Kalamidas kind.

When DK put forth his proposal, it attracted the attention of three prominent physicists, GianCarlo Ghiraldi (Trieste), John Howell (Rochester) and Christopher Gerry (CUNY), one of DK's former teachers, who each quickly came up with three different but quite solid refutations.

These three separate refutations should have put an end to the Kalamidas affair, but the feisty Greek came back fighting. Since you know I am wrong, Demetrios replied, it should be "easy pickins" for you to point out my specific mistake. General proofs are fine, but the devil is in the details. Show me that devil, Kalamidas challenged his critics.

The first detailed calculation of the Kalamidas effect was due to Martin Suda at the Technical University of Vienna followed by a similar calculation by Nick Herbert from Boulder Creek. Both of us showed why KISS wouldn't work but the physical meaning of some of the terms in our calculations were difficult for us to understand. But after much conversation, these difficulties were eventually resolved.

And that was the end of the KISS affair. Or was it?

One of the features of the Kalamidas proposal is its extreme cleverness, a feature, that in my opinion, has been insufficiently recognized and appreciated. I intend in this post to briefly explain the Kalamidas effect, and to show off its beauty by placing it in a more familiar context than the physics of photons.

Modern FTL communication schemes conventionally involve two QUANTUM-ENTANGLED photons A and B -- one sent to ALICE and the other to BOB.

Since Bell's Theorem seems to prove that entangled photons such as A and B are  instantly connected, there exists some hope that clever action by BOB on his (B) photon might have some measurable (and instantaneous) action on ALICE's distant (A) photon. However, by using the same quantum math that describes entanglement one can easily prove such instantaneous signaling to be impossible. (To which John Bell was said to have famously remarked that what impossibility proofs show is failure of imagination.)

The KISS scheme begins with a pair of PATH-ENTANGLED photons. This situation is difficult to visualize (because it's a quantum thing) but easy to produce in any modern optics lab. In the manner of Schrödinger's famous Cat, each photon takes two paths at once (path #1 and path #2) as long as you do not observe it. Furthermore, the path of Alice's photon A is perfectly correlated with the path of Bob's photon B: if photon A is observed to be present in its path A1, photon B will be found also in its path B1.

FIG 2 shows a path-entangled photon source S, sending one photon to Alice on the left and a second photon to Bob on the right. Under certain conditions a photon that takes two paths at once can be made to INTERFERE with itself. To prepare for this eventuality, Alice has constructed an INTERFEROMETER by combining her two photon paths at a 50/50 Beam Splitter BS(A) and by placing a variable phase-shifter Q in path A1.

To look for interference, Alice varies the phase Q of path A1. If two waves meet out-of-phase, they cancel one another, and no photons will be observed in Detector A3. In the other detector, waves will meet in-phase and all photons will be observed in detector A4. When the conditions for interference are met, Alice should be able, by varying Q, to vary the percentage of photons in counters A3 and A4 from 0% to 100%.

On the other hand, when the conditions for interference do not exist, the photon counts at Alice's detectors are always 50% each, no matter how she sets phase angle Q. FIG 2 shows such a no-interference condition (called "the Fock choice", for reasons I won't mention here). Because Bob has chosen to measure which path his photons take, his choice forces Alice's photons to take definite paths as well. Since only a photon that TAKES BOTH PATHS can interfere, Bob's choice of what to look at absolutely precludes any interference on Alice's part.

The gist of any purported FTL signaling scheme is to discover something that Bob can do with his two-path photon that will allow interference to occur at Alice's detectors. Fortunately this is easy to do.

As long as Bob makes any kind of measurement that reveals which path his photon took, he destroys any chance of interference. On the other hand if Bob makes a measurement which ERASES which-path information, then interference at Alice's site becomes possible.

The essence of the Kalamidas proposal is his discovery of a clever scheme that Bob can use for erasing his which-path information.

The simplest way that Bob can erase his which-path information is to create an interferometer just like Alice did. An interferometer combines both paths without prejudice. Once so combined, the question of "which path?" becomes meaningless.

FIG 3 illustrates Bob's choice to measure his photon using an interferometer (called "the Frost choice" for reasons not relevant here). Bob's choice does indeed lead to measurable interference at Alice's detector, but there is a condition on this interference that precludes using this setup for FTL signaling.

Bob's interferometer has two outputs, Detectors B1 and B2. If we just look at the output of B1 and what happens at Alice's detectors we observe a clear interference pattern P1.

Likewise, if we just look at output B2, we see an interference pattern P2 at Alice's interferometer.

However these two interference patterns, P1 and P2 are exact complements of one another, where one has peaks the other has valleys. The sum of P1 and P2 is exactly 50% in each of Alice's detectors, hence no interference pattern at all. This feature seems to be common to all putative FTL schemes of the path-entangled type -- that whatever interference pattern Bob's action creates at Alice's site will be exactly canceled by an equal and opposite anti-interference pattern.

The genius of the Kalamidas scheme was that he had apparently created a way that Bob could erase his which-path information without creating a self-canceling anti-interference partner.

Kalamidas begins with the simple which-path setup of FIG 2, and, rather than erasing or recombining Bob's two separate beams, he "ambiguifies" Bob's path information by randomly adding photons from a synced external source in such a manner that for a certain output (labeled (1,1), it is impossible to say which path the photon took. Furthermore, this process is asymmetric: there is no partner anti-process that might produce at Alice's site a self-canceling anti-interference pattern.

FIG 4 illustrates the "Kalamidas Choice". A mirror with reflectivity "r" is introduced into Bob's path B1. This mirror can add or subtract photons from Bob's beam. The added photons end up at detector B3; the subtracted photons end up at detector B4. The source of added photons is designated U1 which produces a single photon a% of the time; and no photon (100 - a)% of the time.

Using this setup, there are many outcomes where "which path Bob's photon took" can be inferred. But there is one special outcome where we are left in ignorance. This is the outcome [1,1] where both B3 and B5 detect a photon. Did the real photon take the upper path and a "fake photon" take the lower? Or did the opposite occur?

A simple physics calculation shows that this abiguification works. Whenever Bob observes the [1,1] outcome, a corresponding interference pattern appears at Alice's detectors. Furthermore, there seems to exist no obvious Bob outcome that could cancel out this singular effect.

I will return to the resolution of the KISS paradox, but first I would like to pursue an amusing metaphor inspired by Kalamidas's clever and beautiful scheme.

For each photonic event, Bob's two detectors can have several different outcomes but only four are important for this discussion. the outcomes [1,0]. [1,1], [0,1] and [0,0] where the brackets enclose the outcomes of detectors B3 and B5 thus [B3, B5]. Let's look at how each of these 4 outcomes might have been produced by the Kalamidas scheme.

1. The [1,0] outcome ostensibly represents TRUTH: one real photon ended up in detector B3. No "fake photons" were added. No "real photons" subtracted.

2. For the [1,1] outcome, one photon is "real", the other is "fake" (it came from the external U1 source, not the original entangled source S) but there is no way to tell which is which, so "which path" information is totally erased for this outcome.

But the situation rapidly gets more complicated as we can see here:

The [1,0] --> [1,1] is analogous to confusing an issue by deliberately adding "fake news". Suppose someone is claiming that certain towers were taken down by demolition charges rather than by airplanes. Instead of defending the airplane story, one can "muddy the waters" by publicizing a claim that the whole thing was "done by holograms".

One of the features of the Kalamidas effect is that, by virtue of the partially-silvered mirror, a photon can be lost from a beam as well as added. This can lead to the peculiar situation [1,0] --> [0,1] where a photon in the upper beam is incorrectly recorded as though it came from the lower beam. This outcome is produced when the upper mirror deletes the upper photon while the lower mirror adds a "fake photon". This complete reversal of the facts finds many an analogy in mainstream media which also employs both fact suppression and fake news oftentimes simultaneously. A common example is the fabrication of atrocities on the part of the enemy (fake news) while unreporting the atrocities carried out by "the good guys". I call this "switched news", in which the truth is the very opposite of what the media presents. As it turns out, "switched news" is crucial to the resolution of the KISS paradox: what prevents Kalamidas's clever scheme from working?

In the final Kalamidas transformation [1,0] --> [0,0], neither of Bob's primary detectors detects a photon. Whatever channel once held a photon, that photon has been censored, sequestered, quashed, hidden from public view, leaving no evidence of which channel it once occupied. In the media analogy, suppressing the true facts is a not uncommon way of conducting government business as the brave work of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and many others has shown. "What never happened" never needs to be justified.

Make no mistake, fake news, switched news and suppressed news is not confined to obscure photon physics experiments. It constitutes most of what you see and hear on TV. And other media forms are not immune.

Speaking of obscure photon physics experiments, we now return to the resolution of the Kalamidas proposal. As it turns out, all three of these fake processes add enough ambiguity to the question of which path Bob's photon took that they produce interference at Alice's distant site.

But where then is the anti-interference that usually appears to save the day in situations of attempted signaling using quantum entanglement? What exactly intervenes to prevent quantum time travel, humans messing with the past, and general disruption of the space-time continuum?

You might imagine that the [1,1] result is balanced by the [0,0] result, but actually they produce the same kind of interference.

Instead, as calculated first by Martin Suda in Vienna and Nick Herbert somewhere in the redwoods, what cancels out the "fake news" and the "suppressed news", which act in concert, is (surprisingly) the "switched news" which produces equal and opposite interference at Alice's site. No interference. No signaling, FTL or otherwise.

As illustrated by this calculation of interference at Alice's A3 detector as witnessed by my cat.


Monday, June 18, 2018

The Best Science

Sciencegasm by Rian Fike
(For John Bell)

The best science
Is done after midnight
In the darkest part
Of the night.

The best science
Is done
On hands and knees
Some obscure delight.

The best science
Is done
By two or by one:
A risky high-wire act
Which only few can see.

The best science done
Is done for fun
And love of mystery.

The best science
Where the darkness is deepest
Not merely to bring home a kill
But to become the very first seeker
Of a deeper darkness still.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Nick Chakras: Part Three

12 Cranial Chakras


Worship at your local TEMPLE
At the forward lobe dividing man from ape
And the hind brain situated near the NAPE
Then the CHEEK bones, the MAXILLA
And the MANDIBLE's estate.
Little landmarks on the skin. 
Toast skoal to the skull, your CRANIUM's domain
Protecting a thing thought useful called the brain.


Most creatures whom you meet today
Will be propped up by vertebrae
They'll have a PELVIS and a TAIL
A NECK and THORAX without fail.
Though all were born for different fates
Salute your fellow vertebrates.

What partners with the small of back?
Was a matter of no small debate
Both of them are saddle-shaped

Bring attention to the WHOLE body
Then turn your thoughts to a larger goal
Imagine all and everything you're not:
The Universe with a you-shaped HOLE.

Pelvis by Emma Craig

Nick Chakras: Part Two


This little PIGGIE went to Stanford
This little PIGGIE stayed in bed
This little PIGGIE joined the convent
This little PIGGIE got wed
This little PIGGIE texted Oui, Oui, Oui
On his iPhone.

Clever piggies in your HAND
Some piggies even play Chopin.


connected to
Humerus connected to
The ELBOW joint
Elbow connected to
Forearm connected to
The joint of the WRIST.

Now please
What's a nice girl like you doing
With joints like these? 


ANKLE joint
connected to
The SHIN bone
Shin connected to
The KNEE joint
Knee connected to
The THIGH bone
Thigh connected to
The joint of the HIP.

now please
What's a nice girls like you doing
With joints like these?


This little PIGGIE went to market
This little PIGGIE stayed home
This little PIGGIE ate roast beef
This little PIGGIE had none.
This little PIGGIE went Wee, Wee, Wee
All the way home.

Restless piggies in your FEET
Some piggies even live in Crete.

Exploring the little finger chakra

Nick Chakras: Part One


This being sucks energy out of the GROUND
Sitting tight and secure on its ROOT
Fulfilling your debt to the species with SEX
Ruled by BELLY the ego, the core absolute
The HEART has its reasons that bypass the brain
The THROAT fills your silence with history
The BROW vainly tries to make sense of it all
While the CROWN connects you to mystery.



To hear and see
To smell and feel
To taste and fabricate the vowels
And for breathing in and pushing out
Thank your servants LUNGS and BOWELS

Hindu Chakras: after Sir John Woodroffe

Friday, June 1, 2018

Nick Chakras 2018

84 Nick Chakras 2018

In the year 1918, Sir John Woodroffe, Indian High Court Judge and Sanskrit scholar, published his highly influential Serpent Power (under the pen name of Arthur Avalon) which introduced the Indian tantric notion of  "chakras" to the English-speaking world. These classical chakras, seven in number, form the central organs of a "psychic anatomy" -- seven physical locations in the body that also serve psychic functions as well.

One hundred years later, books on the chakras publish pictures of the same seven chakras with or without the elaborate decorations illustrated in Woodroffe's Serpent Power. Why only seven? I wondered. Has the last century witnessed no progress whatsoever in psychic anatomy? A century ago, physicists recognized only three elementary particles --  proton, neutron and electron. Now today's Standard Model shows us more than a dozen of the Universe's fundamental parts. Why aren't there more chakras than seven?

For more than fifty years, since I was working at a psychic bookstore in Menlo Park while studying physics at Stanford,  I have been considering this problem, working to rationally expand the traditional Hindu system of elementary bodily physical/psychical centers and have now reached a satisfactory conclusion.

A preliminary account of this research can be found here. 

What is a chakra anyway? At the very least it is a part of the body to which one can direct one's attention and observe what happens. Most of the time we take our body parts for granted. And except when they are in pain we pay them no mind. How might our life change if from time to time we systematically brought our attention to each particular body part with as strong a mental intensity as we could muster?

When I was a kid in Ohio, the floor of our boy's room (Nick and his brothers Tom and Duke) was covered with a gigantic linoleum map of the United States which we boys traversed in our imaginations using toy cars, planes, trains, trucks and tanks. Similarly one might regard Nick's 84 Chakras as a map of 84 of your body's principle cities (not including suburbs) and let your imagination go exploring.

Nick Chakras contain the classic seven Hindu chakras plus many extras. For the sake of symmetry I require each chakra to possess a partner chakra which is in some sense its consort, its opposite, its dark side. This partner chakra is designated symbolically by a black/white reversal. In most cases the "dark chakras" are located in the lower part of the body. For example, the Thumb Chakra's opposite is the Big Toe. And the classic Heart Chakra's opposite is the Belly Chakra.

In place of Woodroofe's spectral-colored, multi-leaved lotus symbols, I have chosen simple black-and-white symbols based on geometric shapes each intended to be suggestive of the body parts they signify.

Nick Chakras are divided into 5 categories: the Hindu Chakras, Spinal Chakras and Sensual Chakras, each with eight members, the Cranial Chakras with twelve members, and the Limb Chakras which possess 48 members. (8 + 8 + 8 + 12+ 48 = 84.

To the seven classic Hindu Chakras, I have added a "Ground Chakra" (whose opposite is the Crown Chakra) which I later learned corresponds to the Yung Chuan or "Bubbling Spring Chakra" of Taoist esotericism.  As a partner to the Lumbar Chakra I have added a "Perineum Chakra" which corresponds to the Chinese "Hui Yin" Chakra or "Gateway of Life and Death."

This post introduces the new chakra system. The following three posts will connect names to each symbol and clarify some of my choices:

Part One: Hindu and Sensual Chakras

Part Two: Limb Chakras

Part Three: Spinal and Cranial Chakras.
(Unlike the rest, none of the 12 Cranial Chakras is paired with a partner.)

I have constructed this new chakra system for the fun of it. My main interest lies in the search for a brand new science I call quantum tantra based on an as yet to be discovered quantum-inspired way of connecting with Nature.

I want to woo Her, not view Her
Pet Reality until She purrs
Longing to merge with Dame Nature bodily
Yearning to mingle my substance with Hers
And them content with merely observing
Are nothing but Nature's voyeurs.

Nick Chakras might be considered a map of naked-eye objects of the body compared to what the deep-space quantum compassionscopes of the future will reveal about the nature of Mind and its hidden relations to this marvelously agile meat machine.

Artist's conception of quantum-tantric chakras

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Khlit Coin

First example of a Khlit Coin? Artist's conception of an old US Silver Dollar infused with quantum-tantric vibes.


At the local bank a few days ago I was cashing a royalty check from one of my physics books.

 [Warning: gratuitous blog ad!] The book was Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics which more than 30 years after publication is still one of the royal roads to understanding why no physicist can tell his kids a believable story about how the physical world effortlessly comes into being. [End of blog ad.]

 As the teller was counting out my bills, I mentioned that I had once come across a bill with a lipstick kiss on it and speculated that her bank must get a lot of bills disfigured in unusual ways. She reached into her cash drawer and pulled out a big wad of bills that were worn, torn and otherwise degraded but none that seemed at first glace to be imaginatively defaced. In particular, in the Boulder Creek branch of Liberty Bank distressed currency stash, no kisses did I see.

A contemporary smooch for old Ben Franklin (from Bitter Lemon)
A few nights later, I was still wondering about unorthodox ways of infusing ordinary objects with non-ordinary energies. Kissed currency and the the occasional perfumed letter aside, I don't believe mere paper has much of a potential as a "psychotronic medium"? As we shall see, metals are more marvelous than paper on the quantum level, and may be the most appropriate medium for recording "psychic impressions" on every scale imaginable. Indeed some sort of ordinary metal object, acted upon in a seemingly preposterous way, might be the first concrete manifestation of quantum tantra among human beings. (More advanced cultures, I presume, have been practicing these sorts of things for millennia.)

Metals have a long history as containers for extra-physical powers. Besides coinage, which possesses a conventional secular power, one thinks of jewelry, holy medals, amulets, lucky charms, magic swords, the Holy Grail, and various rings of power, from Wagner to Tolkien to the simple Western wedding ring. But that's ancient history. What can we do now with metals in the modern quantum era that's akin to kissing a hundred-dollar bill?

From the quantum-physical point of view metals are well-understood. (Part of that quantum understanding has been utilized to create the multi-billion dollar semi-conductor industry). A metal consists of a regular crystal lattice of say, silver ions, interpenetrated by a number of bound electrons plus a delocalized gas of free electrons called the Fermi Sea after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. Unlike the bound electrons, the electrons in the Fermi Sea can move about which accounts for the fact that metals are good conductors of electricity. For reasons which I don't completely understand (I am not a solid -state physicist.), the temperature of the electrons at the top of Fermi's Sea is hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Because the silver crystal lattice possesses different properties in different directions, the surface of the Fermi Sea is not spherical. The shape of the Fermi Sea illustrates how easy it is to pull an electron out of a silver crystal using an electric field acting in various directions.

Map of the silver Fermi Sea: from Tuo Li & W.A. Schroeder)
 The most peculiar feature of this diagram is that in certain special directions (shown in green) the Fermi Sea for silver exhibits "nipples" through which electrons can be "milked" most easily.

Building on our intimate technical knowledge of the quantum state of metals, the quantum tantrika is looking for a way in which metal objects can be filled with "psychic energy" of a (most probably) erotic nature.

More particularly, we want to take certain US quarters and "charge them up" in such a way that almost anyone (even dull old Nick Herbert) can sense their intrinsic "vibes". Women and men who by nature or by practice are more sensitive to such things should be able to unerringly select the single "charged up" coin from a pile of ordinary pocket change.

This new psycho-erotically enhanced medium of exchange is expected to possess large intrinsic value among those prepared to appreciate such worth. I have christened this new quantum tantric currency the "Khlit Coin" (rhymes with "Bit Coin"), in honor of Khaliqium, the fundamental immaterial substance whose discovery is destined to completely transform our world, and which itself is named after one of Islam's Ninety-Nine Names of God.

Men who find themselves able to produce such coins out of ordinary US quarters could be called Khlit-coin Mint Masters. Women with this power: Khlit-coin Mint Mistresses. To the ordinary person these chosen few would seem to be creating value out of nothing (similar to the fractional reserve banking system for normal unenlightened currency) but that would be a big mistake. These Masters and Mistresses of the Khlit-coin Mint are encouraged by quantum mechanics and so begin their work not with ordinary nothing, but with the Deep Nothingness that lies at the world's very foundations. (See Physics for Beginners.)

Pay close attention, pal, the next time some beautiful being presses a quarter into your hand. It might be HOT!

Two once-ordinary US quarters fresh from a Khlit-coin Mint

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ode to HIV

HIV virus: a subtle and beautiful enemy

If you seek peace
Prepare for war.
        -- Vegetius

HIV by itself isn't fatal
It merely opens the gate
To opportunistic diseases
Put here like you to replicate.

Who want to swarm over your borders
Uncivilized, unkempt and unfed
Viral barbarians, bacterial Vikings
Make you crippled, wounded and dead.

HIV is a fervent pacifist
A world without war is the slogan it chants
By disarming your violent immunity system
Compelling your body to give peace a chance.

Friday, May 4, 2018


Megellanic Clouds above Laguna Lejia, Chile

(for Ezra Pound)

Saturday night in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Power knocked out by two days of storm
Lull in the rain, clouds clearing
Awakened by bright moonlight filling my bedroom
I walk barefoot out onto the debris-strewn deck
See winter stars: 

Orion, Pleiades, Cepheus, Cassiopeia
Sparkling through the scudding clouds
Raw moonlight illuminating the glistening forest
Like a Spielberg alien contact set
I watch lightning sparking, thunder grumbling
Inside mammoth clouds retreating to the East.

The Greek word for "beauty"
(Cognate to "cosmetic")

That's what our predecessors called this world
Cosmos was their word for Everything
Cosmos: one name for All Phenomena

Inside and out
One name for this uncanny experience
Spread open for all conscious beings
For you, for me, for the fish in the sea.
This one equation:

Cosmos equals Beauty.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The New Flute

Nick playing a (Guinness aluminum) Irish whistle

A dozen years ago I fell in love with Irish music and begin to practice the Irish whistle -- in private, in small groups, in various Irish sessions in Santa Cruz and as part of a band named Blarney.

Last month my friend and bodhran virtuoso, August O'Connor and I played for a party in a cliff-side hacienda called "the SkyPad" with gypsy fiddler Elijah Ray -- we really rocked, one of the most memorable moments of my musical career. A couple of weeks later, August and I were eating supper with Baron, the proprietor of the SkyPad, when he offered me a concert flute that he had just acquired.

"Sure, Baron, compared to the whistle, it takes a thousand years to learn to play a flute."

"Well, bring it back if it doesn't work out for you"

Armstrong 201 Student Flute

So, for better or worse, I now possess a concert flute to experiment with.

The difference between an Irish whistle (also called a "fipple flute") and a concert flute is immense. Like going from riding a tricycle to riding a bicycle. Or, with my moderate musical skill, like going from a tricycle to a unicycle.

Besides a larger number of holes and more complicated ways of opening them (the whistle has only six holes covered by bare fingers), the root sound of the flute is accomplished through a tricky interaction between the player's lips and the flute's tone hole -- a procedure called "embouchure" which is French for something that you do with your mouth to coax music out of a tube's aperture by blowing across it.

To play the whistle, on the other hand, you produce the root sound by simply blowing into its "fipple" which is a fixed, mechanical embouchure made of plastic, wood or metal. Since its embouchure is fixed, there is not much that you can do with your lips to change the sound of the Irish whistle. Most of the whistle's subtlety is achieved by fingering rather than breathing.

The concert flute consists of three parts, the head joint, the foot joint and the body. The head joint is where the root sound is produced and the rest of the flute acts to modulate this root sound in various ways.

The first exercise in taking up the flute consists of practicing with the head joint alone. And exploring how to produce the perfect embouchure that brings out a loud, clear and consistent root tone. Most of the ways that you can blow into the head joint produce no tone at all, only the sound of rushing air. Like so many other things in life, the perfect flute embouchure is surrounded by lots and lots of wrong ways to blow into that tone hole. The path to mastery is bordered by a million mistakes.

Before the Internet, a music student would seek out a tutor to guide him or her over the rough spots, to show first hand how one can learn from mistakes, and to serve as a living example of what you might be able to accomplish some day. I will certainly seek a few personal lessons, but for starts I'm going to the web where there are dozens of people who want to teach me how to play the flute.

For instance, this nice lady with glasses gives you a first lesson in embouchure. If one picture is worth a thousand words, one video is worth a thousand pictures. I've watched this video a dozen times and still can't easily produce a root tone. But each day I am getting better.

Learning to play the head joint (closed position)
The Internet has the ability to put the student in contact not only with talented amateurs and teachers but with instrumental super stars, such as Sir James Galway (who, among other honors, played flute and Irish whistle for the film version of Lord of the Rings). Galway has produced a series of short YouTube videos called "first flute" that includes this wonderful little lesson on playing the head joint.

Galway playing the head joint (open position)
Taking up a new musical instrument is like traveling to an invisible new country, populated by people with a wide range of experience, stories and accomplishments on that instrument. The process of learning to play the flute consists of letting the instrument itself teach you a new way of kissing (embouchure) that opens up the secret door to making music in this peculiar way. Suggestions for exploring the flute country abound. My friend, Kim Fulton-Bennett, member of Blarney and flute player since his teens, suggested that after practicing with the head joint, I mindfully consume a bottle of Guinness stout and play with my embouchure by blowing across the top of the empty bottle.


Bring attention back to breath
Hours of mindful focus on lips
Is the flautist a species of musical Buddhist?
Do flute players give unforgettable kiss?

Now breathe from your belly
Set thinking on "Less"
Proceed with compassion
Pay heed to the beat.

Lip kiss the Emptiness.



Lord Krishna playing his flute