Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘reality

Monday Links!

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* Academic freedom in Wisconsin.

* This is silly, but I confess I found it an interesting wrinkle: Wonder Woman Actor Says Chief Is Actually a Demi-God.

* People shouldn’t live in Arizona.

* Sinofuturism in LARB.

* Why work?

Democrats Don’t Need Trump’s Voters To Retake The House. The overall message of 2017 special elections is that Republicans are in trouble. Why Paul Ryan’s race for Congress next year bears watching, even if he’ll be hard to beat. An Associated Press study of U.S. House races found that Republicans may have gained up to 22 additional seats in the 2016 election due to redistricting. The AP’s analysis also found four times as many states with GOP-skewed state legislative maps as Democratic-skewed ones. Voter suppression is a greater threat to U.S. democracy than Russian election tampering, if you can imagine it.

Bernie and Jane Sanders, under FBI investigation for bank fraud, hire lawyers.

Senate GOP expected to add new penalties for the uninsured into their health bill. Privately, health plan worries Senate bill would “cause most small employers’ premiums to go up.” Coverage Losses Under the Senate Health Care Bill Could Result in 18,100 to 27,700 Additional Deaths in 2026. Crazy waivers: the Senate bill invites states to gut important health insurance rules. Medicaid Cuts May Force Retirees Out of Nursing Homes. You’re Probably Going to Need Medicaid. Pure Class Warfare, With Extra Contempt. Can the moderates save us? Even Ron “Horrible” Johnson: ‘We should not be voting’ on healthcare this week. (But, you know, partial credit at best.) The principled support for the bill is apparently pass it no matter what’s in it just cause Team Red. Trump and Social Darwinism. Keep calling.

What we have just witnessed can, I think, be legitimately referred to as the popping of the Blair-Clinton bubble. That is, the ending of the assumption that a tepid, compromised, market-friendly, bureaucratic centrism that nobody actually liked was the only form left-of-centre politics could take, because everyone was convinced that everyone else thought so.

What It Was Like to Star in the Trump-Themed Julius Caesar.

Centrist Democrats are now the great defenders of social justice? Please.

Trump’s Deflections and Denials on Russia Frustrate Even His Allies.

* Remember when we had laws and dumb stuff like that? God, we were such dorks.

NJ Assembly Passes Bill Requiring Kids Be Taught to Interact With Police. Maybe give some of the same training to off-duty cops next?

Cops Sent Warrant To Facebook To Dig Up Dirt On Woman Whose Boyfriend They Had Just Killed.

* I wasn’t one, but congratulations to all the Locus Award winners!

The Many Lives of the Medieval Wound Man.

* Pale Blue Dot. The Weinersmith Test for Artificial Intelligence. Everything happens for a reason. Hot lava. Markov dating.

Alarmingly, one source speaking to THR claims that upon the announcement to the crew that Ron Howard would step in to take over the film a day after Miller and Lord’s firing, applause broke out. Report: Lucasfilm Was So Concerned About Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo Performance It Brought in an Acting Coach. What a mess.

* The race to save Florida’s devastated coral reef from global warming.

* Crimebook noplane freedomhate.

High Court Mostly Revives Trump Travel Ban, Will Hear Appeal.

* High-stakes scenarios and market failure.

The amount of work that once bought an hour of light now buys 51 years of it.

* Everyone, get your guesses in! Last call for Kennedy bets.

* This is no time for optimism.

* Prince Was a Secret Patron of Solar Power.

Flashback: David Bowie’s Failed Attempt to Adapt George Orwell’s ‘1984.’

150 times actors were forced to say the title of the movie they’re in.

* Riot at Disney tonight, details TK.

Superhero Rescues Put Everyone in Danger, Urge Scientists.

* This is why we can’t have nice things. Do not panic; the authorities are in complete control. Bitch I might be. Happy last week of summer school.

* And I’ve said it all along: don’t blame me, blame the world.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Quittin’ Time Links

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tumblr_o62a9nqZo81romv9co1_500* Canamania 2016: Just another reminder that Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (out now!) and Octavia E. Butler (out this November!) appear this year.

* And speaking of Octavia: a previously lost interview from 1995 has resurfaced.

* Call for Papers: Disability and Superheroes.

* A landmark special issue of Extrapolation (if I do say so myself) on Indigenous Futurisms, ed. by Grace Dillon, Michael Levy, and John Rieder.

The Managerial University: A Failed Experiment. 

How Janelle Monáe turned Harriet Tubman’s legacy into an Afrofuturist sci-fi epic.

“Culturally and geographically, EMU football will simply never succeed from an attendance and financial standpoint,” faculty member Howard Bunsis, who helped prepare the report, said in a presentation to the Board of Regents on Friday. “It is a losing proposition – always has been, and always will be. We hardly raise any money for football, and our attendance is the lowest in the country. Some of you believe that we are close to succeeding, if we just throw more money at the situation. This proposition is insane.

* Eleven Theses for the Bernie Sanders Generation.

* Being Melissa Click.

* Wrongthink watch: The Tools of Campus Activists Are Being Turned Against Them. When Slogans Replace Arguments.

* “Literature about medicine may be all that can save us.”

* …but marketplace feminism has simply embraced a mediagenic vision of leadership, most notoriously in the new women’s conference industry, where, Zeisler writes, attendees can “access and sell a certain kind of female power at a comfortable distance from the less individualistic and far less glamorous reality of the majority of women.” These conferences come with a hefty price tag to hear inspiring celebrities and CEOs’ tales about bootstrapping their way to the top and kicking sexism in the rear in stiletto heels. It’s a vision that, she notes, “erases the presence of anyone who isn’t empowered in the most crucial sense of the word—financially…” Feminism, Inc. is big business.

Global warming has made the weather better for most in U.S. — but don’t get used to it, study says. But it’s not all bad news: Chicago is better poised to survive climate change than New York or LA .

Living Near A Highway Is Terrible For Your Health. 1 In 10 Americans Do It.

* Too good to check: Tabloid says it has proof: Ted Cruz’s father is mystery man in Lee Harvey Oswald photo.

Suicide Rates Are Up, But the Most Obvious Explanations Are Probably All Wrong.

The Arctic Suicides: It’s Not The Dark That Kills You. Milwaukee suicide rates lower than rest of US.

Study of exceptionally healthy old people fails to trace their well-being to specific genes.

The Rise of Pirate Libraries.

A Scientific Guide to the Fantastical Predators in Game of Thrones.

* Abolish Neil deGrasse Tyson. But he’s got the right idea here.

* Is there God after Prince? The rejected Simpsons script Conan O’Brien wrote for Prince. Musician’s secret vault reportedly contains ‘thousands’ of unreleased songs. Prince and Springsteen duet, one night only. Springsteen covers “Purple Rain.”

Companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system. No! It can’t be! That’s impossible!

EVE Online Could Become a Television Show. I’d watch at least a few!

How does a porn parody get made? And elsewhere on the porn beat: Child Porn Is Being Hidden in Legal Porn Sites and It Could Land You in Trouble.

* The new Doctor Who companion has been announced and I’m already annoyed because [felled by assassin’s bullet]

You Should All Be Reading These Criminally Underrated Comics Right Now.

Superman v. capitalism.

The Case Against Reality.

* Twilight of the New York Times.

* The end of literature.

* HBOnarok.

* Clean, safe, and too cheap to meter.

* Chernobyl as an Event: Thirty Years After.

* I never should have agreed to appear on the cover of American Legion Magazine.

* Will America’s Worst Wildfire Disaster Happen in New Jersey?

Kurt Vonnegut, Our Reluctant, Agnostic, Hippy Guru. I taught Galápagos for the first time in years this month and fell in love with it all over again — and I’m presenting on it at a meeting of the Vonnegut Society at ALA in May.

* I’ve been saying it for years: Oxford Scientist Confirms Starting Work, School before 10 AM is Torture.

Kids Play in Backyard While Mom Does Dishes. An Investigation Ensues.

Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules.

* A recent experiment suggests dolphins may speak to one another in a type of holographic language that may be understood by humans.

* Snitchr.

* Definitely evidence of galactic civilization watch: A Dozen Black Holes Are Mysteriously Spewing Energy In the Same Direction.

Remembering Google Reader.

* But maybe everything dies someday comes back: Ecto Cooler returns.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Realism and Quantum Mechanics

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Seed has a long article on recent experiments in quantum mechanics that seem to disprove realism, at least on the quantum level:

Leggett doesn’t believe quantum mechanics is correct, and there are few places for a person of such disbelief to now turn. But Leggett decided to find out what believing in quantum mechanics might require. He worked out what would happen if one took the idea of nonlocality in quantum mechanics seriously, by allowing for just about any possible outside influences on a detector set to register polarizations of light. Any unknown event might change what is measured. The only assumption Leggett made was that a natural form of realism hold true; photons should have measurable polarizations that exist before they are measured. With this he laboriously derived a new set of hidden variables theorems and inequalities as Bell once had. But whereas Bell’s work could not distinguish between realism and locality, Leggett’s did. The two could be tested.

When Aspelmeyer returned to Vienna, he grabbed the nearest theorist he could find, Tomasz Paterek, whom everyone calls “Tomek.” Tomek was at the IQOQI on fellowship from his native Poland and together, they enlisted Simon Gröblacher, Aspelmeyer’s student. With Leggett’s assistance, the three spent six months painfully checking his calculations. They even found a small error. Then they set about recasting the idea, with a few of the other resident theorists, into a form they could test. When they were done, they went to visit Anton Zeilinger. The experiment wouldn’t be too difficult, but understanding it would. It took them months to reach their tentative conclusion: If quantum mechanics described the data, then the lights’ polarizations didn’t exist before being measured. Realism in quantum mechanics would be untenable.

This is a very good, really thought-provoking article on a subject that fascinates me but which I simply do not have the training to properly understand. Whenever I read about quantum mechanics I feel as though I can almost, but not quite, grasp it.

Especially thought-provoking is this:

Last year Brukner and his student Johannes Kofler decided to figure out why we do not perceive the quantum phenomena around us. If quantum mechanics holds universally for atoms, why do we not see directly its effects in bulk?

Most physicists believe that quantum effects get washed out when there are a large number of particles around. The particles are in constant interaction and their environment serves to “decohere” the quantum world—eliminate superpositions—to create the classical one we observe. Quantum mechanics has within it its own demise, and the process is too rapid to ever see. Zeilinger’s group, which has tested decoherence, does not believe there is a fundamental limit on the size of an object to observe superposition. Superpositions should exist even for objects we see, similar to the infamous example of Schrödinger’s cat. In fact, Gröblacher now spends his nights testing larger-scale quantum mechanics in which a small mirror is humanely substituted for a cat.

Brukner and Kofler had a simple idea. They wanted to find out what would happen if they assumed that a reality similar to the one we experience is true–every large object has only one value for each measurable property that does not change. In other words, you know your couch is blue, and you don’t expect to be able to alter it just by looking. This form of realism, “macrorealism,” was first posited by Leggett in the 1980s.

Late last year Brukner and Kofler showed that it does not matter how many particles are around, or how large an object is, quantum mechanics always holds true. The reason we see our world as we do is because of what we use to observe it. The human body is a just barely adequate measuring device. Quantum mechanics does not always wash itself out, but to observe its effects for larger and larger objects we would need more and more accurate measurement devices. We just do not have the sensitivity to observe the quantum effects around us. In essence we do create the classical world we perceive, and as Brukner said, “There could be other classical worlds completely different from ours.”

Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm