Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fifth Anniversary

Nick Herbert June 2013 (photo by Reno De Caro)
This month marks the fifth year of my Quantum Tantra blog -- five years of posting things that piqued my curiosity enough to respond in print. See here for the Quantum Tantra Blog origin story.

Quantum tantra is Nick's project to connect with nature in a brand-new way--direct, unmediated and sensual--using techniques informed by quantum physics. I am looking for hints, handholds, shortcuts to begin my ascent, but have been confronted so far with a sheer face, so up till now have been just singing around the campfire with good companions waiting for that one flash of inspiration that will nudge humanity into beginning its next big climb (or will it be a descent?).

Some of this year's top campfire songs include Just Ask Isaac, Seven Reconfigured Sacraments, Quantum Theology, Happy YIDD, Kiss my Bare Art and Greatest Pleasure by Nick plus Applesauce for Eve by Marge Piercy and What You Should Know by Gary Snyder.

And while we are waiting, we also write books. I recently published a second collection of my songs in Harlot Nature. Richard Grossinger produced Dark Pool of Light his splendid three-volume magnum opus on consciousness. Rudy Rucker republished a too-little-appreciated first person account of the early days of the psychedelic era, William Craddock's Be Not Content. Ethnobotonist Dale Pendell wrote a book of verse celebrating the magical runes of physics Equations of Power. And just yesterday, too soon for review, Dennis McKenna gave me a copy of Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, Dennis's account of his and his more famous sibling's encounters with mind-altering molecules.

2013 saw the death of Bruce Eisner, a psychedelic pioneer and author of a book on MDMA, and the tenth anniversary of the death of my wife Betsy Rose Rasumny, one of the most extraordinary creatures I have ever met.

This year Lynden Stone, an artist in Queensland, Australia revived my Metaphase Spirit Typewriter as an art project both in Australia and Philadelphia. I also rigged a makeshift observatory on my Boulder Creek deck to photograph a rare Transit of Venus and was filmed on the same deck for a new movie Supernature about the history of Esalen Institute. On the performance side of things, my Irish band Blarney made a few appearances in Santa Cruz and my Urge: a Short Opera about Reality topped 1000 viewers on YouTube.

This year's most exciting project by far was working with Demetrios Kalamidas who proposed a novel scheme using pairs of path-entangled photons to signal faster-than light. See here, here and here. Kalamidas's clever FTL signaling scheme passed peer review and was published in a major American journal of optical physics. Several physicists, including myself, have scrutinized his scheme and constructed disproofs of various sorts. Now we know for certain that the Kalamidas scheme can't possibly work. However, all the various disproofs are either very general or disprove schemes that are not precisely what Kalamidas has proposed.

So the quantum optics community is faced with a peculiar challenge. "Since you are certain I am wrong," says Kalamidas, "it should be 'easy pickins' for one of you to find my mistake."

And there the situation remains. Everyone (including Demetrios himself) knows he is wrong, but no one can yet show exactly where his physics or his math goes off the tracks.

Kalamidas has done the impossible
Refutation should be precise, swift, and strong
We physicists know this can't happen
So where is Demetrios wrong?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Ask Isaac

Isaac Newton
(for Ruth Kastner)

And where lies the Source of Gravity--
That draws to Earth both Moon and dingo?
"Beats me," spake the smartest man alive:
"Hypotheses non fingo."

Now Vicar Sacks is here to ask:
Sir, does your mother cheat at Bingo?
The Master of the Mint just scowled:
"Hypotheses non fingo."

Tell us, Lord, which is thy fave:
John or George or Paul or Ringo?
The Principia's author merely sneered:
"Hypotheses non fingo."

Professor, what do women want?
Can you uncrypt their alien lingo?
Newt pulled his cowl across his face:
"Hypotheses non fingo."

Friday, June 7, 2013


PROWESS June 14, 2013 Santa Crux, CA
For more INFO and BUZZ