Friday, May 7, 2021

De Gustibus #2


Tastes like copper pennies
Tastes like the Seven Seas
Tastes like egg white
Tastes like Mephistopheles.
Tastes like a bit of bleach
Tastes like Bolinas Beach.

Tastes like zinc
Tastes like something peachy
Tastes like deep-sea bladder kelp
Tastes like Frederick Nietzsche.
Tastes like Big Sur hot spring
Tastes like a living thing.

Tastes like a gush of wisdom
Tastes like something French
Tastes like mozzarella
Tastes like the Übermensch.
Tastes like cream of tartar
Tastes like holy water.

Tastes like pulque
Tastes like a Valentine
Tastes like marijuana butter
Tastes like the Gegenschein.
Tastes like folded silk
Tastes like malted milk.

Tastes like Holy Communion
Tastes like water mixed with rum
Tastes like goat’s milk
Tastes like Götterdämmerung.
Tastes like a gush of grace
Tastes like outer space.

Tastes like soy sauce
Tastes like the Wild West
Tastes like tapioca
Tastes like Oktoberfest.
Tastes like the night sky
Tastes like the right guy.

De Gustibus #1

Tastes like vinegar
Tastes like Chardonnay
Tastes like salt lick
Tastes like s’il vous plait.
Tastes like lemon rind
Tastes like a silver mine.

Tastes like butterscotch pudding
Tastes like sushi raw
Tastes like Turkish Taffy
Tastes like je ne sais quoi.
Tastes like valerian tea
Tastes like the Irish Sea.

Tastes like oyster
Tastes like champagne
Tastes like vanilla
Tastes like je t’aime.
Tastes like creme de mushroom
Tastes like tablespoon of moon.

Tastes like Yosemite
Tastes like Irish stew
Tastes like hijiki seaweed
Tastes like deja vu.
Tastes like hazel-nut honey
Tastes like stolen money.

Tastes like fish.
Like fish, I say
And, honey, you know
How much I like fish.

Tastes like feminine mystery
Tastes like Isle of Innisfree.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

TIBET: A New Superluminal Signaling Scheme

  • The Way to Shambhala by Nicholas Roerich

     Near the First of April of this year I received an eMail from my physicist friend Demetrios Kalamidas proposing an original new way to use quantum entanglement to send signals faster-than-light. Kalamidas and I have a long history in which he proposes such a scheme, I try to understand, clarify, simplify it, give it a cute acronym and then work together with him to eventually refute it. Previous Kalamidas FTL proposals have included KISS (Kalamidas Instant Signaling System), TKO (The Kalamidas Option) and KHAN (Kalamidas-Herbert Augmented Nearness)

    Kalamidas's latest scheme I call TIBET for "TIme-Bin-Entangled Telegraphy".

    All of these schemes involve Alice and Bob receiving a series of photon pairs--one photon going to Alice, the other to Bob. These two photons are emitted from a source S located somewhere between Alice and Bob and are characterized by one or more of their properties P being "quantum-entangled". Entanglement means that, before measurement, neither Bob's property P, nor Alice's property P possesses a definite value but, in the quantum representation at least, the value of Bob's property P appears to depend on how Alice choses to measure her property P, and vice versa. Seemingly then, quantum entanglement appears to permit superluminal signaling resulting from, say, Alice's choice of how she measures P.
    However, a proof due to Philippe Eberhard (no-signaling theorem) shows that no way of making measurements on an entangled system can produce such distant instantaneous effects. The gist of Eberhard's Proof is that the intrinsic randomness that characterizes every quantum measurement destroys any coded pattern Alice attempts to impose. Another limit to Entanglement Telegraphy is the Holevo Bound which limits the amount of classical information one can extract from a quantum system. The polarization state of a single photon, for instance, encodes an infinite amount of quantum information, corresponding to the infinite number of directions an arrow can point on the Bloch sphere. The amount of classical information that can be extracted from a polarized photon, however, is exactly one classical bit. The most you can learn about the polarization of a single photon is the answer to a single yes/no question. You can pick the question, the photon provides the answer but is irreversibly changed in the process of measurement.
    There is a sense in which my own FTL FLASH proposal was an unsuccessful attempt to violate the Holevo bound on the amount of classical information one is able to extract about the polarization state of a single photon. 

    Kalimidas's previous proposals involved either path-entangled or polarization-entangled photon pairs. His newest proposal uses time-bin-entangled photon pairs, which I had never heard of but which apparently have the potential to play an important role in future quantum communication systems.

    The source S emits a pair of photons, one to Alice, one to Bob. In the peculiar quantum manner, each photon is uncertain into which time bin it was emitted. Was it a Late Photon L or an Early Photon E? Until measurement, neither Alice, nor Bob knows the answer to this question. But one thing is certain (the essence of entanglement) whatever time bin Bob's photon is measured to be in, Alice's photon will be the same. In the pictured situation, both photons possess the same (Horizontal) polarization, symbolized by H.

    It must be understood that although there are two time bins in each pulse, there is only one photon which occupies both bins in a manner only possible in quantum mechanics before a measurement happens. If one could bring the two time bins together in some way, it would be possible to make the photon interfere with itself in a wavelike manner. The conventional way of achieving this superposition uses a pair of beam splitters to split the beam in two, delay one beam by a time equal to the pulse separation and then recombine the two beams.  I call this the Detour Method.
    Detour Method of combining time bins 
    The Detour Method takes in two input pulses Early (E) and Late (L) and transforms them into three output pulses, one of which is the desired Late pulse superposed with the delayed Early pulse (L/dE) The other two pulses are an undelayed Early pulse (E) and a delayed Late pulse (dL)

    Kalamidas could not find any way of using this Detour Method as an FTL signaling scheme so he devised another way of mixing the two time bins. 

    To keep the time bins separate, the coherence time of each pulse must be smaller than the pulse separation. But if one could increase the coherence times the pulses could be made to overlap. To achieve this kind of superposition, Kalamidas inserts a narrow-band interference filter in both Alice and Bob's photon channel. This I call the Expand Method because it mixes the two time bins by expanding their coherence length
    The Expand Method of combining time bins 

    Kalamidas calculates that when his Expand Method unites the L and E packets, that because they are now indistinguishable, Bob's entanglement with Alice is lost. And that what was once an entangled state is transformed into a product state.

    The Detour Method adds the L and E states and outputs the result into TWO MODES, the two outputs of the final beam splitter. Kalamidas's narrow-band filter unites the L and E states into ONE MODE, call it |C>, traveling in the same direction as the original L and E states but now coherently overlapping over a portion of their path.
    The action of Filter F applied to both Alice's and Bob's photon can be written:
              |EH(a)> + |LH(a)> --- F- --> |CH(a)> Alice's Photon     1)

              |EH(b)> + |LH(b)> --- F ---> |CH(b)>   Bob's Photon    2)

    As a result of filter F, at least part of the entangled wave function turns into an unentangled product state:

         |EH(a)>|EH(b)> + |LH(a)> |LH(b)> --- F --->
                                                            |CH(a)> |CH(b)>    3)
    In what follows we will consider only this part of the total wave function, regarding the non-overlapping portion of the filter-induced superposition as "noise".  Eq 3) describes the essence of the Kalamidas scheme: when both E and L photons have the same polarization (Horizontal in this case), the Filter transforms entangled states into an unentangled product state.

    The next stage in the Kalamidas scheme is to change the polarization of the Late photons from Horizontal to Vertical by quickly inserting a Late rotator H -->V in both Alice and Bob's beam. This Late rotation takes place before the filter, at a place in the system where the time bins are still cleanly separated.

    The main consequence of the Late rotation is that now the Early state and the Late state are no longer identical, so even after the Filter they remain entangled:
    |EH(a)>|EH(b)> + |LV(a)> |LV(b)> --- F --->
                                  |CH(a)>|CH(b)> + |CV(a)> |CV(b)>  4)
    The combination of a Late rotator plus a narrow-band filter has transformed the original time-bin entangled state into a polarization-entangled state. 

    Now comes the clever part. What happens to the superposition if Alice decides to turn off her late rotator but Bob continues to rotate his late state?
    |EH(a)>|EH(b)> + |LH(a)> |LV(b)> --- F --->
      |CH(a)>|CH(b)> + |CH(a)> |CV(b)> =
                |CH(a)> [|CH(b)> + |CV(b)>] =
                     |CH(a)> [ |(H + V) C(b)> ]                     5)

    The final state is again a product state and Bob's photon seems to be in a pure polarization state H + V which we call Diagonal polarization.

    An alternative way of considering this scheme due to Nick Herbert yields the same general result. Bob's photon is unpolarized when Alice inserts her rotator; Bob's photon is polarized when Alice withholds her Late rotation. Voila! An apparent viable and robust  superluminal signaling scheme!

    In Nick's version, Bob's photon is polarized when Alice withholds her Late rotation, but Bob's polarization depends on the phase of the Filter-induced Early/Late overlap:

    Bob's Polarization = H cosine (z) + i V sine (z) where z is some phase angle that depends on the nature of the filter but is constant for any given experimental run. Note  that Diagonal polarization does not appear in this derivation but when z = 45 degrees, Bob's photon is Right-circularly polarized (RCP).
    It took me some time and many false steps to understand this scheme and now that I do, I find that I cannot refute it, I will leave that task to others.
    Congratulations, Demetrios! They said it couldn't be done. And you did it! (At least provisionally)
    Kalamidas's handwritten notes on TIBET

    Demetrios Kalamidas emerging from the sea

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919 - 2021)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 I first came to San Francisco from Ohio in the early sixties and was immediately attracted to the wonders of North Beach, dining upstairs family-style at the Basque Hotel or at the old Spaghetti Factory on Grant Avenue, witnessing the antics of would-be beatniks at the Coexistence Bagel Shop and especially browsing and buying books at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore which was, and still is, the epicenter of San Francisco's vibrant literary scene. Scanning my bookshelf, I spot half a dozen or so of the City Lights published Pocket Poets paperbacks including Allen Ginsberg's Howl, of course, which anyone who wanted to seem cool had to flaunt, but also other Pocket Poet books, Kaddish, Planet News and The Fall of America by the same woolly-bearded prophet. Other of my Pocket Poets include Kenneth Patchen's Love Poems and Kora in Hell by William Carlos Williams. Somewhere in my piles of books is buried Ferlinghetti's own A Coney Island of the Mind, Pocket Poet book #1, which has sold more than one million copies. Eat your hearts out, poets!

[Erratum: Actually, Nick, Pictures of the Gone World was Pocket Poets #1. Coney Island was published by New Directions.]

Despite many visits to City Lights and other Bay Area poetry venues I never met Ferlinghetti but yesterday on Facebook I received an elegy from Neeli Cherkovski who knew him quite well, which I am taking the liberty of posting here. Farewell, grand old soul.


Ferlinghetti and I
Would go to the Surf Theater
Way out by Yokohama
He was an aggressive
Driver, his old Volkswagen
Bug had several dents.

Driving through the Stockton
Tunnel he'd proclaim,
"We're leaving the Casbah"
And he would chuckle
As he turned left on Van Ness
Leaving North Beach
And City Lights Books.

We saw a movie set in Paris.
The title escapes me, but
Lawrences's excitement
Over the sights, Notre Dame
In a side view, the Seine
Head-on, Apollinaire's shadow
On Boulevard St. Germaine.

"I should go for a visit," he said
"Like Henry Miller did."

Two days later we headed
To Bixby Canyon, he said
I could carve my name on
The outhouse wall alongside
Kerouac and Ginsberg.

We read from "Leaves
Of Grass" that night by
A campfire. "He's like
An older brother."
Lawrence said of Whitman.

A year later
He wrote from
Paris, "I'm bringing you
A new beret, made right

San Francisco, Paris,
Big Sur, an open
Heart who would
Never grow old,
Who would be an
Ancient bard, who
Would hold a lantern
In the dark.

He wrote
The dog
Trots freely
In the street" and
Told anyone
Who would listen
The secret meaning
Of Goya's greatest scenes.

Neeli Cherkovski


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Quantum Cat Nap



(For August's Birthday)

Tonight when we're in the mood to explore
I'd like to superpose my body with yours:
Schrödinger-Cat style.
Aligning both our buzzing possibility waves
Till each cell of mine's
In tight quantum connection
With each cell of thine.

Our hearts aligned, our pulses
Our lungs aligned, our breathings
Our brainwaves, pelvic twitches
Each capillary's motion
Completely in sync.

I'd like to merge with you fully, love,
In a way no other man has ever imagined.

Such aligned
Let's experience quantum entanglement
Warm and first-handedly
Not like equation in a book.

Let's both deeply feel
Naked quantum superposition 

Of head, shoulder, knees and toes
Fingers, pelvis, both elbows.
Which part is me and which is not?
Neither one of us on top.

Then when we've learned what we can
From our first playful superposition
Let's fall asleep inside one another
Going to sleep me added to you.
Could both of us then experience
The world's first two-person dream?

Then waking up together
From our first quantum Cat Nap
Slowly breaking the superposition
Experiencing our mutual possibilities
Gently re-scrambling themselves
Like tangled bed clothing.

Alone now in my bed
I recall what I've read
About non-locality of the quantum kind:
No space between us, no time
So the physicists say.

So for billions of years, dear,
We've slept together this way.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Goat Cheese Tantra




Thin-sliced mushroom marjoram

Goat cheese omelette:

Bacon, corn chips, cold beer

Hot coffee, dark chocolate.

The joy of taste is a blessing

Each bite an overflowing purse

Whatever part I choose to feed on

I'm eating out the Universe.

Now experience the eating completely

Send the chattering mind down South

As you wholeheartedly sip this liquid, friend,

The Universe cums in your mouth.


Friday, January 1, 2021


This year's New Year's gift from my Buddhist masseuse was a new poet, Alfred K. LaMotte, whom I had never heard of. She sent me his poem My Ancestry DNA Results and a link to his website Uradiance where I found this poem Body. Someone once said that poetry is the art of expressing in words what cannot be said in words. LaMotte has taken up this challenge from a particularly Buddhist perspective: poetry as a finger pointing to the moon. Once you glimpse the moon, ignore the finger. I like what this guy is trying to do.


'We awaken in Christ's body as Christ awakens our bodies, and my poor hand is Christ. He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him, for God is indivisibly whole, seamless in His Godhood. I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning.' ~St. Symeon the New Theologian, b.949

Philosophers who asked, 'Why am I trapped in this body?' were not trapped in this body. They were trapped in the mind.

Your body is not a tomb, or a trap, or a punishment. Your body is the universe inviting you to wake up and dance.

Your body has no edges. It is an ocean of energy expanding in waves of breath, teeming with stars, swirling with galaxies, overflowing the very rim of time and space. And your dance can be as wild as a whirlwind, or as quiet as a heartbeat. You need not even move; your body is moving anyway, hosts of cells, countless atoms in the marvelous ballet of incarnation. Your body is filled with the same breath Jesus took, the same breath Buddha received to polish his spine and sparkle his emptiness.

When you come Om to the body, you are already where you need to be, and your heart opens like a morning glory to contain the blue empyrean. The axis of infinity runs up your hollow spine, a silver thread of silk to tether your skull to the most distant star, and your belly to the fire of darkness in the center of the planet.

Your body is the lightning bolt that grounds God, connecting heaven and earth. When you spread your arms, you embrace all your ancestors and unborn children. When you sense the rain, the wind, the sun upon your skin, you are covered not just by the grace of angels, but by the fur of every four-legged creature. In truth, it is only the limited mind that insists on distinguishing the spiritual from the physical, the animal from the angelic. Celestial dolphins leaping and playing in the waves of the vacuum, far beyond the Milky Way, are leaping and playing in the waves of your body.

You can wear this little brass trinket of mind around your throat and use it to carry precious pictures, a lock of your grandmother's hair, a prayer, a map, a tiny key. Or you can take off your mind like a woolen shirt. Lay it aside when you want to refresh your Being, bathe in the sea of God's breath, or dance naked with the Goddess. Then when you need it again, you can put the mind back on, use it as an instrument to deconstruct a problem, or as a box to hold important memories. Whenever you need space, you can empty the mind again, sweeping it clear with an exhalation.

But please, don't mistake this mind for your Self. You are not your mind. You are more vast. You are the cosmos. You are the universal body of Christ.

The breath in your body is the very form of the Goddess, who is the Holy Spirit. And a single breath, flowing in gratitude through the energy of your flesh, dissolves your mind into the infinite sky. Be bold. Leap into the unfathomable ocean of your body. Live in the silent grace beyond thought.

I am sure that Jesus was born in a human body just to show us who we really are, and reveal the diamonds in every handful of dust.