Saturday, October 31, 2009

Elements of Tantra


Love every one of My Elements
Caress My Paradox
Embrace each phase-entangled photon
Hug My Molecules; kiss My Quarks.

The universe is My Body
From every eye, the glance is Mine
Down every river flow My Fluids
In every thing resides My Mind.

I loved you inside your mother's womb
Your every atom have I kissed
I've made you everything you are
You treat Me like I don't exist.

When you open your eyes you gaze on My Body
You taste My Flesh with your lips
Every smell is My Sexual Attractant
Every touch is My Kiss.

Come open your sensors to Nature's flirtations
Come lend your step to My Dance
I'm only fourteen (billion) years old
But I'm eager and ripe for romance.

Love every one of My Elements
Caress My Paradox
Embrace each phase-entangled photon
Hug My Molecules; kiss My Quarks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The John Greeley School of Quantum Awareness

It's a well-kept secret that John Greeley--a man of many talents--in addition to performing weird poetry in the BistroScene also proposed a new school of quantum theory, as an alternative to Niels Bohr's better-known Copenhagen Interpretation and N. David Mermin's Ithaca Interpretation. Greeley's scheme slyly bypasses quantum theory's conceptual paradoxes and focuses instead on direct experience of the quantum world. While searching for something else in my files I discovered today this early draft of John Greeley's seminal contribution to quantum thinking and decided to share it.

The Greeley School of Quantum Awareness is modeled after the zen monasteries of Japan where the goal is to experience transcendent awareness by means of a sudden awakening, sometimes at the end of a stick.

To understand quantum mechanics is, in the Greeley School, analogous to sen awakening, but it must not be a shallow understanding in the manner of classroom rote learning, but something which is directly experienced, requiring, as an absolute requisite, freedom from the spell of language.

All discussion in the Greeley School is conducted only with action verbs, with hand signals, or by direct contact with nature. Naming any "thing" (which mistakingly localizes "objects" in space) is a punishable offense, the worst offense being to apply a name to a living creature. Matriculants are encouraged to use art, poetry, music and mathematics to express themselves. Anyone who quotes an author will likely be kicked or struck, have cold water thrown in his or her face, or be sprayed with a CO2 fire extinguisher, which makes a terrifyingly loud roar that tends to freeze misconceptions. Matriculants may in turn attack the teacher if his or her approach is found wanting, but a false attack is a CO2 offense.

Students are encouraged to wrestle, eat, drink, smoke, laugh and play games. The highest goal is laughter, but one of the worst offenses is shallow laughter.

If you are in doubt about your sanity or your emotional stability, do not attend the Greeley School. Anyone claiming they have found or "got something" will be expelled. Only those who have already gone past psychologism, or who have never been involved in it, need apply.

The objective of the Greeley School is simply to understand quantum mechanics. Since such an understanding is admittedly indescribable, and since there is no agreement as to what it means anyway, this would seem to be an impossible task. Therein lies the paradoxical lesson of the school, which, if you already understand, means you need not take the course.

There is no pretense of "experiencing the eternal Now" or any of that mystical sounding stuff. However, one of the greatest attainments is to stretch time, which is conceived of as a malleable function of consciousness, through the creative process. "Abandon all thought of past, present, future, ye who enter here."

Greeley himself is a tolerant man, but there are several things he will not endure, and which are strictly forbidden as subjects for conversation or artistic expression. These include patriotism, love of technology (especially computers), love of some saint or savior, and what the prices of things are when you go shopping.

The central message of the Greeley School is embodied in the following words: "The particle is a misconception; the wave is a misconception; likewise, the notion that particle and wave are misconceptions is also a misconception."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Submit to Walt

During the Sixties and Seventies, Walt and Rachel Bachrach ran the Encounter bringing a bit of Berkeley-style sophistication to the backwoods. Part convenience store, part bookshop, part art gallery and salon, the Bachrach's Encounter was the social center of Boulder Creek. After the Encounter closed and Rachel died, Walt was set adrift. He continued to play his role as store front Santa Claus at Christmas and as Parade Master for Fourth of July, but he had no project he could really sink his teeth into. Then came the BistroScene and Walt was in his element.

Walt's poetry was loud, bawdy and funny. Walt was like Burl Ives on LSD. Not only was he inspired to create dozens of new poems and stories, Walt actually invented an entirely new poetic genre!--The Abbreviated Aphorism.

To illustrate Walt's new poetic form, a few examples will suffice:

The road to Hell is paved.
Time heals.
All roads lead.
A penny saved is a penny.
No news is good.
Money is the root of all.
People who live in glass houses shouldn't.
Let your conscience be.

Walt Bachrach was part of the BistroScene from its very beginning. Which meant that he was on stage for the legendary Joyce Kilmer Cannabis Sativa Challenge on Oct 23, 1994 at the Boulder Creek Brewery--a competition for the best parody of Kilmer's Trees based on "dee wisdom weed". Not only did Walt participate in the JKCSC, he actually won the Gold Medal (as judged by audience acclamation), leaving myself and Jim Rintoul with the Silver and Bronze awards. Here's Walt's entry. What a memorable opening line! At the BC Brewery, I'll bet it's still ringing in the air.

I think that I shall never see
a pot head try to fuck a tree.

Beer drinkers--yes, and we know why;
machismo tells them they must try

to prove to you, to prove to me
that any fool can make a tree.

I'd be glad to be their coach
and teach them how to smoke a roach.

But no; their hungry mouth is prest
against the earth's sweet flowing breast!

Stoned, we sit beneath a tree,
and hope the drunks will let us be.

To raise money for the Boulder Creek Library, people were putting together theme baskets to be auctioned off. Walt Bachrach, inspired by Omar Khayyam, decided his basket would contain "a jug of wine, a book of verse". So each Bistro evening, Walt appealed again and again to the assembled poets to "submit to Walt" original love poems for his basket. Nick judged Walt's appeal fair game for satire:

Spaced-out bards
and word-intoxicated seekers of the Real
we mine our lives
we bare our hearts and heads, we grandly feel.
And we
Submit to Walt.

We worship sacred language
holy speech, enchanted sound
we praise the body
hog the podium, kiss the ground.
And we
Submit to Walt.

We leer, we wink
hike up our skirts, pull down our pants
we guzzle booze
we smoke, we venerate illegal plants.
And we
Submit to Walt.

We utter love songs
blessings, soft lullabies and curses
croon nursery rhymes
Gregorian chants and hot Satanic verses.
And we
Submit to Walt.

We worship Kenneth Patchen
Whitman, Rumi, Keats (or is it Kates?)
John Donne, e e cummings
William Blake and Butler Yeats.
And we
Submit to Walt.

We cultivate our darkness
while we celebrate our light
fall half in love with easeful death
and rage against the Night.
And we
Submit to Walt.

Each Earthly thing is holy
Each second, Heaven--or a Hell
Each lady is a Goddess
Could we see beneath Her shell
Each man a living Buddha
And so we might as well
Submit to Walt.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Patti Sirens was a wild card in the Boulder Creek BistroScene. She brought a hard New York edge to our laid-back California consciousnesses and her performances at the Bistro were delightfully electric and unpredictable. Patti's bio in her poetry collection Antarctica reads:
Patti Sirens grew up in and around New York City. where she was a club maven during the early days of punk rock, studied poetry at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, played bass in a rock-gospel band. and edited scientific and medical journals. She moved to California so she could be with her first love, the ocean. She lives in Santa Cruz, where she surfs, writes, and produces poetry performances.
One warm spring night, Nick was pleased to appear on the same bill as Patti Sirens at one of Santa Cruz's perennial standing-room-only "What is Erotic?" shows at Louden Nelson Center. I did some scatter-shot tantra and (inspired by Flesh Gordon) threatened the audience with a Sex Ray Gun which after some teasing I finally discharged. Patti Sirens performed her unique brand of erotic poetry and movement while rubbing a fresh honeycomb donated by local beekeepers over her upper body. Then, after the hisses and boos, after the cheers and applause, in Louden Nelson's crowded backstage, Patti laughingly let me help her remove some of her honey.


I am Antarctica /I take up the most space produce the least /no sustenance here to cradle of civilization /I just am /I was the surprise in my mother's womb /the late baby /the troubled teenager /the black sheep /look how white I am and hardly virginal /I am miles of glare /look me in the eye when I'm speaking to you /I am the childless woman /with legs unshaven /pierced and branded skin /the glacial language tattooed like crystals in the blue air /dyke /spinster /queer /I am Antarctica /and there's nothing can be taken from me /no oil tapped like blood from the veins /no gems /no gold /no alchemy /there's nothing can be taken I've not already relinquished /the house with picket fence /the endless shopping lists /the happily ever after /I am Antarctica /mother of nothing except perpetual night and cold /the layers of glacier deep and unmovable as will and resolve /the land few care to explore /there are no maps here /I am a continent contained yet wild and dangerous /I am a land not lonely but alone /I am Antarctica /I take up the most space produce the least /I don't apologize for my insolence /I just am


"I love how you lick me
like you're committin' a sin"
she says
as I enter the darkness
of her confessional booth
and tell her all my impure thoughts...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Whoreson Crawl

A few years ago I spoke at John Greeley's funeral which was held not in a church but in a second-hand furniture store on the fringes of Santa Cruz. John's friends knew him as an entrepreneur and avid baseball player but few suspected that he was a closet poet.

And not just a poet but a supremely weird and twisted poet. As a prime denizen of the Middle and Late BistroScene, John produced some unusually moving verse but his most notable accomplishment was his co-editing (along with Stephen John Solberg) of a small red book of poetry allegedly composed by lunatic Polish poet Ladislaw Tzestrczyk (LAD-is-lof dez-DARE-shik).

In the preface to this collection the editors describe how this book came about:

Sometimes the experiences of a lifetime can explode through the dikes of the conscious mind in a flood of feeling. Such was the case in the creation of this volume of poems. The entire outpouring was the result of a single 36-hour drinking and drug-taking binge during which the editors attempted to dissuade their friend, little-known Polish poet Ladislaw Tzestrczyk, from committing suicide.

Hence the origin of Whoreson Crawl which is defined on its title page as "a type of surreptitious movement performed on all fours by an illegitimate person, usually resulting in negligible gain."

Shortly before he died, John Greeley was busy composing an opera about this obscure Polish poet and would play tape-recorded arias from Whoreson Crawl--the Opera at some of our later gatherings. Here are are two examples of Tzestrczyk's verse from Whoreson Crawl, the book.


I climbed Olympian mounts of yore
And drank the piss of the Minotaur
On leathery wings I soared above
The Citadels of Ovid's love
I swam the streams of forest gloom
Arm-in-arm with the she-wolf's groom
I dug beneath the Trojan earth
And dined on Helen's afterbirth
I walked the roads of Leningrad
And pinched the sluts my father had
For you, my friend, I did these things
For you, my friend, I did these things


If I should die tonight
Would not the sun still rise
Would not the markets open
Would not the world spin
without a halt?
You probably wouldn't care
"Ladislaw Tzestrczyk is dead,
so what?"
But if you should die tonight
The sun would not still rise.
would it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Oyster

The common name oyster is used for a number of different groups of bivalve mollusks, most of which live in marine habitats or brackish water. The shell consists of two usually highly calcified valves which surround a soft body. Gills filter plankton from the water, and strong adductor muscles are used to hold the shell closed. Some types of oysters are highly prized as food, both raw and cooked. Other types, such as pearl oysters, are not commonly eaten. (taken from the J. Orlin Grabbe intertidal zone.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boulder Creek BistroScene (1992-2007)

Near the turn of this century the former logging town of Boulder Creek experienced a sudden renaissance, an eruption, an outburst, an overflowing of the art of the spoken word. Dozens of folks found their voices and spilled out of the hills to share their passions with like-minded others. Because this movement was centered largely around Conrad Santos's Bistro, I call these times the Boulder Creek BistroScene Era and divide it like geological strata into the Early, Middle, and Late BistroScene.

It began sometime in '92, when Andy the Bartender at the Boulder Creek Brewery decided there needed to be some poetry in town and persuaded his boss to give him an open mike one Sunday a month. My wife Betsy and I have always been big fans of live entertainment and we were among the first enthusiastic supporters of Andy's poetry evening. Then one night Betsy dared me to go on stage and read some of my own stuff. I got addicted to the applause and now they couldn't keep me away. Soon establishing my name among the Brewery Poets, I organized the Joyce Kilmer Cannabis Sativa Night in which Kilmer's Trees was gang-parodied in honor of one of Boulder Creek's most popular house plants.

The Middle BistroScene began in January of '94 when Conrad Santos opened up his Bistro restaurant to poets one Friday a month. Unlike the Brewery, which was about a block away, the Bistro had no mikes and felt as small and intimate as someone's living room. For two years or so Boulder Creek had two poetry scenes going on--the Brewery where you had a mike but had to compete with two bars, a TV, a full-service restaurant and a pool table in the rear; and the Bistro where everyone sat close and hooted and hollered at the poets. In the Middle BS Era, poet and impresario J. J. Webb set up a Poetry Grove north of town with mikes in the middle of a redwood ampitheatre and also created two poetry venues in cyberspace, The Hawk and Zero City. In meat space, as well as the Brewery, Bistro, and the Poetry Grove, local poetry overflowed into the BC Library, Camp Joy Gardens and into private homes. So many Boulder Creek poetry scenes that birth nurse poet Carol Brendsel dubbed our town "little Paris on the San Lorenzo."

In '99 the Bistro closed, Andy the Bartender left the Brewery and the poetry scene moved 4 miles south to the Santa Cruz Mountains Arts Center in Ben Lomond. In this Late BS Era, the main instigator was Phyllis Mayfield who MCed the readings as well as formulating the longest-running and most popular show at the Art Center--the Poet's Eye; Artist's Tongue exhibit in which a poet and a visual artist collaborate to create a single work. For seven years starting in '98, each April these popular collaboration would hold sway for a month at the Art Center.

I date the end of the BistroScene Era in 2007 when the poetry anthology Harvest from the Emerald Orchard was published. Some of the poets in this volume were denizens of the BistroScene but most were from Santa Cruz and it became obvious that the center of gravity of the poetic passion had shifted out of the woods and into the city. See Poetry Santa Cruz for a snapshot of today's local poetry scene.

I intend to highlight some of the people and poems of the BistroScene Era in this blog and would appreciate any suggestions, corrections, and especially pictures from those wild, word-crazed days in the redwoods.

Some featured BistroScene Poets:
1. Walt Bachrach
2. John Greeley
3. Bonnie Eskie
4. Patti Sirens
5. Ed Cramer
6. Philip Wagner
7. Ladislaw Tzestrczyk 
8. Nick Herbert
9. Jim Rintoul

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nick's Favorite Feghoot Tale


In 2263, Ferdinand Feghoot and his beautiful wife landed on Blaupunkt, a backwards planet where thousands of construction hands, crewmen, and scientists had been marooned for six years. They at once fell madly in love with her. Luckily, one of their scientists had perfected a matter duplicator which could duplicate living beings as easily as ten credit bills. The duplicates were shy on intelligence, but the Feghoots' hosts didn't care in the least. Very politely, they asked Mrs. Feghoot to act as their model, and amiably she agreed.

Because the duplicator could turn out only a few dozen women a day, polyandry was resorted to. Each new woman was married to a gang of ten men. The gangs prized their wives highly, and treated them well; and the good-natured duplicates enjoyed the arrangement tremendously.

Soon, however, Mrs. Feghoot began to lose weight and feel tired and irritable. "Every time they marry one of those girls, it takes something out of me," she complained. "Ferdinand, take me away!"

Feghoot watched for his chance. Slamming the air-lock of his spaceship when all the men were outside, he prepared to take off.

The men pleaded and wept. "Please don't go yet," they begged.

"i'm sorry," Ferdinand Feghoot said sadly, "but those wedding gangs are breaking up that old belle of mine."

from Through Space and Time with Ferdinand Feghoot
Grendel Briarton
Paradox Press, Berkeley 1962

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nick's Theorem as a Coin Guessing Game

In the late Sixties, Aberdeen Proving Ground physicist Evan Harris Walker published a novel theory of consciousness in which an immaterial mind occupies a physical brain by taking advantage of quantum uncertainty in the neural synapses. According to Walker we operate our bodies by a sort of quantum psychokinesis (PK) in the brain. Later Walker extended his mind model to explain external PK on rolling dice which he modeled as an unstable mechanical system in which small quantum uncertainties are amplified by the chaotic nature of tumbling cubes. In 1977 Walker and I published a paper together in John White and Stanley Krippner's book Future Science originally entitled "Calculating the Push of a Wish" which popularized this quantum PK model.

A week ago I discovered a mathematical proof that strongly constrains local psychic powers and is relevant to the late E. H. Walker's hypothesis (he died in 2006) that consciousness and its paranormal extensions cannot arise in a classical world and are fundamentally quantum-mechanical phenomena.

Nick's Theorem concerns an observer BOB trying to guess the outcome of an instrument that measures the polarization of light via a beam splitter whose outcome is either a Vertical or Horizontally Polarized photon. The photons impinge on the detector at a rate of 1 photon per minute so BOB has plenty of time to make his choice. BOB's task is always the same--to guess whether the next photon will be an H or a V. But the photons he has to guess are packaged in two distinctively different ways--Situation #1 corresponding to CLASSICAL IGNORANCE and Situation #2 corresponding to QUANTUM IGNORANCE.

In Situation #1, the state of the photons are definite but unknown (classical ignorance). In Situation #2, the state of the photons are in a quantum superposition of H and V and whether this superposition will register H or V upon measurement is considered "quantum random". The outcome of such a measurement event is "causeless", a happening that is so uncertain "that not even God knows the outcome."

We assume that BOB possesses LOCAL PSYCHIC POWERS and can reliably guess the outcome of the polarization meter (H or V) with a score P better than chance. We then examine the question of whether it is easier for BOB to exert his psychic powers in a situation of classical ignorance (score = P(C)) or in a situation of quantum ignorance (score = P(Q)).

Instead of photons we will imagine that BOB is presented each minute with A COIN IN AN ENVELOPE. These are unusual coins--their faces are the same on both sides--both sides HEADS or BOTH sides tails. They are a kind of coin that tricksters use to astonish or dupe. We may imagine they were minted by Sir Isaac Newton in the Tower of London.

In the situation of classical ignorance a single coin is in each envelope. It is either a HEAD coin or a TAIL coin and the condition of the coin is the same before and after opening the envelope. BOB's score at guessing a classically unknown coin is P(C).

In the situation of quantum ignorance BOB's envelope contains a quantum superposition of HEAD coin and TAIL coin with "mutual phase" of zero degrees (+ sign) or 180 degrees (- sign). In the quantum picture all matter has a wavelike quality and waves possess a property called phase. We don't completely understand what the "phase of a coin" might actually mean in reality but in graphical representations of quantum systems such as Dean Dauger's Atom in a Box the phase is represented by a position on the Color Wheel. Matter with the same phase has the same color; matter with opposite phase has the complementary color. The superposed coins pictured above are colored according to this convention. We may imagine that these quantum coins were minted by Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen. When BOB opens an envelope containing a Heisenberg coin, it instantly changes into either a HEAD coin or a TAIL coin in a completely uncertain manner. BOB's score at guessing a quantum unknown coin is P(Q).

Now if consciousness, both conventional and "psychic", is purely quantum mechanical (as Walker and others have surmised) we might expect that BOB's score for predicting the state of a classical Newton coin would be zero. And that his score for predicting the state of quantum Heisenberg coins would be significant because Heisenberg coins are as quantum as it is possible to be. The outcome of a measurement on a Heisenberg coin is absolutely uncertain, precisely 50/50 random for HEADS or for TAILS.

Thus quantum models of consciousness would seem to favor the conclusion that P(Q) must be greater than P(C).

However Nick's Theorem proves that P(Q) must equal P(C). The reason? If these two scores were not equal, then BOB could use his local psychic powers to communicate faster than light.

Therefore if Einstein's speed limit is valid, quantum ignorance and classical ignorance must be equally accessible to psychic investigation--a coin minted by Newton precisely as easy to guess as a coin minted by Heisenberg. I believe this simple and unanticipated result is one of the few instances where mathematical reasoning has been used to derive fundamental constraints on the powers of mind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meta-Doctors on Duty

Meta-Doctors on Duty

Doctor Jabir's the metaphysician
For those deep philosophical pains
For those troubles we've all had since Eden
For those problems burnt into our brains.

Who am I? And what are you?
And is One and One makes Two
A made-up noise or universal?
Is this mad drama dream or real
Or simply a rehearsal?

Is there a God or is She not?
Should I believe what I've been taught?
Or should I go it all alone?
Can one find wisdom on one's own?

Cosmetic repair
On this kettle of flesh?
Where meat doctor staggers
Met-doctor's still fresh.

Is it One or is it Many?
Is it moving? Is it still?
Is it conscious? Is it sleeping?
What happens when I take this pill?

Some suffer from a bone-deep fear
That matter's all that matters here
That love and hate and pretty faces
Are naught but atoms changing places.

For constipated ideology
Say, science as idolatry
We meta-doctors recommend
LSD enemas--at least ten.

From Leningrad to Olduvai
We all suffer, we all cry:
"Doctor, doctor, will I die?
Tell me truth and do not lie."

Brother, Sister, take my word
From everything I've seen and heard
While practicing philosophy
I swear upon my PhD
You'll get no truer Truth from me.

Don't worry, don't wonder
Don't doubt this:
Death has your number
She won't miss
So give your life one final kiss.
The surest truth in medicine
Is that we doctors never win.

The most powerful drug
In Jabir's Meta-kit
Is Absolute Certitude
You will be hit.

Life's first lesson is death
And now that you know
Will death get you down, or
Make every sense glow?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nick's Theorem: A Fundamental Limitation on Local Psychic Powers

Tuesday I awoke with an intellectual orgasm that lasted all day.

This was nothing new--the exhilarating certainty that I had discovered some brand new way of looking at things in math or physics--but usually by the time I poured my second cup of coffee I could refute the half-formed message from the world of dreams.

But today was different. Despite my best efforts this new insight refused to be dispersed.

So I wrote it all down in the form of an article entitled: Nick's Theorem: A Fundamental Limitation on Local Psychic Powers and mailed it to my friends for comments.

Proving a mathematical theorem is a bit like telling a joke: first you prepare the ground, follow with the buildup, then finally you finish with the punchline. I won't spoil the joke by giving away the punchline and anyway the paper is still being reviewed by my peers--it may yet turn out to be a pipe dream. The abstract reads: "Using Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Einstein's light-speed restriction, I derive a simple and unanticipated limitation on local psychic powers. I believe this proof represents one of the few instances where math and physics have been applied to quantify the powers of the human mind."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reality is When Nature Says No

Reality is when Nature says No--Philip K. Dick

Almost all of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt Sinai are prohibitions--a big list of moral "thou shalt nots". Likewise in physics, some of our most precious intellectual possessions are also a list of material "thou shalt nots"--strict limits placed by Nature Herself on what can or cannot happen in the world. These negative commandments were not handed down in stone tablets but are based on the best knowledge that human have gained so far concerning the implacable and impersonal laws that seem to us to govern the entire Universe.

Situations where "Nature says No" are of great interest to scientists as they can motivate deep investigation into the details of how Nature enforces Her prohibitions as well as encouraging debunkers to attempt to find loopholes in Nature's prohibitions who in their failure might teach us even more about Nature's ingenuity in enforcing Her rules. Outlaw regions where these prohibitions are flaunted are places where a brand new physics is sure to emerge.

In casual review of the laws of physics I've isolated eight examples of "thou shalt nots" in the material world.

#1. No perpetual motion of the first kind. This law prohibits machines that produce more energy than they possess when they start.

#2. No perpetual motion of the second kind. This law prohibits machines that operate by extracting energy from random thermal motion.

#3. No faster-than-light motion and/or signaling: a prohibition discovered by Albert Einstein as a consequence of Special Relativity.

#4. No perfectly accurate joint measurement of complementary variables. Otherwise known as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

#5. No non-contextual reality can underlie the facts of quantum mechanics. Otherwise known as the Kochen-Specker Theorem.

#6. No local reality can underlie the facts of quantum mechanics. Otherwise known as Bell's Theorem.

#7. A single quantum cannot be cloned--a fundamental prohibition proved by Wooters & Zurek in 1982.

#8. A pair of quanta cannot be wed--a fundamental prohibition proved by Nick Herbert in 2008.

I welcome comments and nominations to this list. We need at least two more physics prohibitions to match or exceed the classic "thou shalt nots" handed down to Moses.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bruce Damer Famed in NYT

My Boulder Creek friend and neighbor Bruce Damer is a man of many parts. He runs a company that creates virtual reality simulations for NASA and other organizations in which moon landings, lunar exploration, asteroid mining, for example, can be carried out on comfortable Earth-based computers rather than in the harsh airless environment of outer space. Bruce is the proprietor of a quaint hacienda in Boulder Creek which among its lush gardens, performance stages, meditation huts and pig pens, houses the world-famous Digibarn, a collection of historical computers from the primitive Altair to a Cray supercomputer--many of which actually work.

Recently Bruce has turned his considerable talents to the question of how life evolved on Earth and, using his ability to simulate extreme environments in software is attempting to simulate the primordial soup from which all life on Earth, including you and I, presumably emerged. Bruce calls his Origin of Life system the "EvoGrid" and has made it the topic of his PhD thesis at the University of East London. Last week Bruce's work attracted the attention of a major article in the New York Times and now my Boulder Creek friend is experiencing his fifteen minutes of fame.

Congratulations, Bruce. Now back to work. We're all waiting to see what sort of primitive creatures will emerge from your homebrew digitized primordial soup. But please keep them in their cages. The last thing humans need is competition from novel software-evolved life forms.