Brainy Quote of the Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Schrödinger's Temperatures...

A new uncertainty principle holds that quantum objects can be at two temperatures at once, which is similar to the famous Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, in which a cat in a box with a radioactive element can be both alive and dead.
Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Nanotechnology, Schrödinger's cat, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics

The famous thought experiment known as Schrödinger's cat implies that a cat in a box can be both dead and alive at the same time — a bizarre phenomenon that is a consequence of quantum mechanics.

Now, physicists at the University of Exeter in England have found that a similar state of limbo may exist for temperatures: Objects can be two temperatures at the same time at the quantum level. This weird quantum paradox is the first completely new quantum uncertainty relation to be formulated in decades.

Heisenberg's other principle
In 1927, German physicist Werner Heisenberg postulated that the more precisely you measure a quantum particle's position, the less precisely you can know its momentum, and vice versa — a rule that would become the now-famous Heisenberg uncertainty principle. [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

The new quantum uncertainty, which states that the more precisely you know temperature, the less you can say about energy, and vice versa, has big implications for nanoscience, which studies incredibly tiny objects smaller than a nanometer. This principle will change how scientists measure the temperature of extremely small things such as quantum dots, small semiconductors or single cells, the researchers said in the new study, which was published in June in the journal Nature Communications.

"I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." Richard Feynman

Bizarre Physics Phenomenon Suggests Objects Can Be Two Temperatures at Once
Meredith Fore, Live Science

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tunable Quantum States...

When the researchers turn an external magnetic field in different directions (indicated with arrows), they change the orientation of the linear electron flow above the kagome (six-fold) magnet, as seen in these electron wave interference patterns on the surface of a topological quantum kagome magnet. Each pattern is created by a particular direction of the external magnetic field applied on the sample.

Image by M. Z. Hasan, Jia-Xin Yin, Songtian Sonia Zhang, Princeton University

Topics: Modern Physics, Nanotechnology, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics

An international team of researchers led by Princeton physicist Zahid Hasan has discovered a quantum state of matter that can be “tuned” at will — and it’s 10 times more tuneable than existing theories can explain. This level of manipulability opens enormous possibilities for next-generation nanotechnologies and quantum computing.

“We found a new control knob for the quantum topological world,” said Hasan, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics. “We expect this is tip of the iceberg. There will be a new subfield of materials or physics grown out of this. … This would be a fantastic playground for nanoscale engineering.”

Hasan and his colleagues, whose research appears in the current issue of Nature, are calling their discovery a “novel” quantum state of matter because it is not explained by existing theories of material properties.
Hasan discusses the discovery with Yin and Zhang in his office in Jadwin Hall.

Photo byNick Barberio, Office of Communications

Hasan’s interest in operating beyond the edges of known physics is what attracted Jia-Xin Yin, a postdoctoral research associate and one of three co-first-authors on the paper, to his lab. Other researchers had encouraged him to tackle one of the defined questions in modern physics, Yin said.

“But when I talked to Professor Hasan, he told me something very interesting,” Yin said. “He’s searching for new phases of matter. The question is undefined. What we need to do is search for the question rather than the answer.”

The classical phases of matter — solids, liquids and gases — arise from interactions between atoms or molecules. In a quantum phase of matter, the interactions take place between electrons, and are much more complex.

“This could indeed be evidence of a new quantum phase of matter — and that’s, for me, exciting,” said David Hsieh, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and a 2009 Ph.D. graduate of Princeton, who was not involved in this research. “They’ve given a few clues that something interesting may be going on, but a lot of follow-up work needs to be done, not to mention some theoretical backing to see what really is causing what they’re seeing.”

Hasan has been working in the groundbreaking subfield of topological materials, an area of condensed matter physics, where his team discovered topological quantum magnets a few years ago. In the current research, he and his colleagues “found a strange quantum effect on the new type of topological magnet that we can control at the quantum level,” Hasan said.

Princeton scientists discover a ‘tunable’ novel quantum state of matter
Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications, Princeton University

Monday, September 17, 2018

Textbook...


Topics: Civil Rights, Diversity, Existentialism, History, Human Rights

Republicans: Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers, the Republican Party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party. In 1860, it came to power with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. The party presided over the American Civil War and Reconstruction and was harried by internal factions and scandals toward the end of the 19th century. Today, the party supports a conservative platform (from an American political perspective), with further foundations in supply-side fiscal policies, and social conservatism. Merriam-Webster

Fascism: The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43); the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also Fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Oxford dictionary

Friday, the campaign manager flipped to help Special Prosecutor Mueller, and himself as the cost of defense was becoming prohibitive, and at 69, spending the "rest of his life" in prison will likely be a short duration.

Also Friday at the end of a week of the Woodward book and an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, an anonymous woman's incident with the Supreme Court nominee was proffered by Senator Feinstein (D-California). The alleged victim's name was hidden at her request. Senator Grassley was determined to plow ahead with a nomination in committee on the 20th. The charges by an anonymous person was "baseless" unless she came forward.

So, his accuser, came forward. In her own words "Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation." We will see if Chairman Grassley will follow "the rule of law," give her a hearing before the senate committee vote. Senators Collins and Murkowski will have pressure on them if Kavenaugh goes before the full senate.

The Republican Party prior to the fall of Richard M. Nixon had made a Faustian compromise between my kindergarten and first grade year. They turned from their foundation in Civil Rights and prosecuting the Civil War for political expediency by pulling in the disaffected "Dixiecrats" disillusioned by the tilt that started with Harry Truman in the '48 Democratic convention towards expanding equal opportunity towards African Americans. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights and 1968 Fair Housing Acts were more than many could bear. They were wooed, then migrated en masse to the siren song of the "Southern Strategy" and Nixon's "law and order" platform (read: reestablishment of white supremacy). This would be slightly camouflaged by coded language, as Lee Atwater opined:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.” Rick Perlstein, Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy, The Nation

The Republican Party of Ronald Reagan I did not agree with in my youth, but I did admire aspects of it as a lot of people did. If you read novels as I did and still do, Tom Clancy and "The Hunt for Red October" or Robert Ludlum's "Bourne Trilogy" held your rapt attention. That was back when you talked about novels at work near water coolers. That was post the Vietnam era, when the country spat on vets as "baby killers." In the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis, we wanted desperately to seem "tough" and in control. We recreated a new mythology for ourselves, and catharsis with characters like Sylvester Stallone bouncing between "Rocky" and "Rambo"; we all loved Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry."and through a brash machismo, we tried to rescue our bruised national self-image in a tough-talking, B-movie actor, who's "awe shucks shrug" persona masked an agenda infused with the Janus religions of Ayn Rand worship and libertarianism. This was also prior to the "Me Too" movement and acknowledging the lingering toxicity of misogyny. AIDS was becoming a health crisis in the LGBT community that Mr. Shucks would ignore as the bodies represented by memorial quilts piled up, and pop culture along with Hollywood had a keen focus on nostalgia.

Abstract
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hollywood studios churned out film after film that sought to recapture, revise, and re-imagine the fifties, as evidenced by films like American Graffiti (1973), Grease (1977), The Outsiders (1983), Reckless (1983), Footloose (1984), Back to the Future (1985), Blue Velvet (1986), Stand By Me (1986), and Hairspray (1988). Academic and popular critics alike have noted the peculiar fascination Hollywood had for the fifties, comparing the politics of its fifties nostalgia to the rise of the neoconservative movement that took Ronald Reagan as its avatar.

However, it is important to recognize that representations of the fifties in Reagan Era films and popular culture were far from homogeneous. Rather than a concept with discrete political or social import, "the fifties" functioned in the Reagan Era as a set of unstable signifiers, the meanings of which were the subject of intense negotiation and struggle.

Dwyer, Michael D., "Back to the fifties: Pop nostalgia in the Reagan Era" (2010). English - Dissertations. 54.
https://surface.syr.edu/eng_etd/54

*****

This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now
They don't know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan
They don't know if they want to be diplomats ...
Or continue the same policy of nuclear nightmare diplomacy
John Foster Dulles ain't nothing but the name of an airport now

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia
They want to go back as far as they can ...
Even if it's only as far as last week
Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards

And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes
Riding to the rescue at the last possible moment
The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse ...
Or, the man who always came to save America at the last moment
Someone always came to save America at the last moment
Especially in "B" movies

B-Movie, Gil Scott Heron

This is a party, before its current avatar, that has always looked back longingly to the 1950s: when industry wasn't so global and a white male with a high school education (or less) could purchase a house and support a family. This of course was a time of segregated schools, transportation and neighborhoods by law prior to the nascent efficacy of the Civil Rights movement; an era of closeted LGBT people, who's existence I can only imagine was like constantly living in a suffocating envelope or cocoon; there weren't many Hispanic/Latino with exception of pockets in California and Texas, usually in agriculture and women - white women - were in the kitchen at home. Black women were too - mostly, but not completely as the servants of white women.

And now, they see a chance at a stolen Supreme Court seat to take us all back to those (not-so) Happy Days, a sexual assaulter appointed by a sexual assaulter to sit next to a sexual harasser to decide the future of women and their bodies, as well as people of color and LGBT and their Civil Rights. The desperation for those (not-so) Happy Days will have them lie, cheat, steal (2016 and past questionable late 20th century elections) and possibly collude with a foreign power to maintain Christian Supremacy sans White Supremacy that has had remarkable staying power.

Their "great again" has since the existential threatening presence of President Obama been quite literally by "any means necessary" (Malcolm X). We just didn't fathom how much power meant to them.

So, when do we stop calling them "republicans"?

Republicans: Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers, the Republican Party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party. In 1860, it came to power with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. The party presided over the American Civil War and Reconstruction and was harried by internal factions and scandals toward the end of the 19th century. Today, the party supports a conservative platform (from an American political perspective), with further foundations in supply-side fiscal policies, and social conservatism. Merriam-Webster

Fascism: The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43); the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also Fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Oxford dictionary

Which definition...fits?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Cynical Capitalism...

Image Source: AARP, which up to this moment, I didn't realize was so "woke."
Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, Star Trek

The home world of the Ferengi species is Ferenginar. The Ferengi have a culture which is based entirely upon commerce. They follow a code of conduct known as "The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition." These rules ordain conduct such as "Never place family before business." Reportedly these rules are subject to interpretation depending upon the situation. Plea bargaining is a legal tradition, as is the purchasing of an apprenticeship following the Attainment Ceremony. There is no distinction between business and pleasure in Ferengi culture. Source: Star Trek (the link to Ferenginar is priceless)

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.

Naomi Klein, though a Canadian author is a national treasure, that despite the faux-existential crisis between our nations initiated by a baboon. The Shock Doctrine came out in 2007, 6 years after 9/11; 11 years ago and her follow on books This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate and The Battle For Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists follows the same theme: using the misery of others by climate, terrorism and war for profit. She is the proverbial "voice calling in the wilderness" metaphorically speaking, minus the camel's hair wardrobe and proto Paleo diet of locusts and wild honey. Quite literally, it is about the only planet the human species currently lives and exists on.

We may not be able to reverse climate change, but we can adapt to it—and climate change isn't all bad for the construction industry. Construction Business Owner tells us that climate change means warmer winters and a prolonged construction season for many states. And as the pressure grows to reduce our carbon footprint, new solutions and innovations are introduced within the construction industry each year. Source: Concentra: The Effects of Climate Change on Construction

We had literally decades to address this repeated, slow-moving catastrophe. There is only one thing that delayed any actions to mitigate it.

Profit. The crass, self-serving reason nothing about guns, climate change, terrorism or wars get any better. There are businesses that require this chaos. It's a part of their business model. Serenity and world peace are death knells to them. We see this in every American mass shooting that increases the profits of gun manufacturers, causing hand ringing and naval gazing by the news media, until the next shiny object diverts our attention. We saw it when we stumbled into Iraq on the manufactured lie of "weapons of mass destruction," the prelude to "alternative facts." Martin Paredes in Medium took a humorous stab at 47 rules of acquisition sans our twitter freak with presidential seal.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9. I had to give you the original.

Puerto Rico's death toll was raised from 64 to almost 3,000, approximating 9/11. The current resident of the executive mansion made his first tweet all about "no Russian collusion" on the 17th anniversary and a fantasy collaboration between his democratic opponent, the FBI, foreign spies and his Russian benefactors. He then denied almost 3,000 American citizens (which I doubt he knows they are) died at all. Puerto Rico is still under stress, they still have limited access to electrical power and in North Carolina, I have little confidence in the efficacy of government assistance from a raging lunatic.

The campus closed Wednesday at 5:00 pm. We await Hurricane Florence, whose eye proceeds up the Carolina coasts. An estimated 1 million people have evacuated South Carolina, the highways converted to one-way lanes out. I have supplies for several days; no water's on the shelves in grocery or convenience stores. Gas stations have plastic bags on pump handles. This reminds me of Hurricane Sandy in upstate New York, when people from Manhattan drove up to gas up (get in a few fights) and drive back. This reminds me of Katrina: the citizens called "refugees" by the news media; in central Texas - grocery shelves stripped of water, food and empty pumps - the monstrous eye, the survivors on rooftops, the stratification of society before we called it by its modern nom de guerre "income inequality" and which sides of New Orleans recovered and which were purchased as distressed properties and gentrified. It would remind me of "heck of a job, Brownie," except the reality of failure would just be denied, "explained" and parroted by cult ditto heads. I have somehow been on a jury to witness the effects of climate change up close. It's something I didn't think I volunteered for.

For a very brief, shining moment, the republican presidential candidate George W. Bush talked about "compassionate conservatism." It was short-lived, as compassion led to diversity, black pres, healthcare and gay marriage. What is within the darkest bowels, hidden from view by "winks and nods" with coded language eventually erupts like a boil or a pimple; it is an infection that must emerge, and cannot be denied its day in the sun.

And, "We The People" breathlessly, daily await that rancid zit, who might actually tweet its first jumbled, insane thoughts during morning bowel movements.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Apokolips...

Image Source: DC Wiki

Topics: Existentialism, Global Warming, Politics

Apokolips is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The planet is ruled by Darkseid, established in Jack Kirby's Fourth World comic book series, and is integral to many stories in the DC Universe. Apokolips is considered to be the opposite of the planet New Genesis. Wikipedia

Apokolips is an ecumenopolis with burning firepits, extant in between dimensions, occupying a 'frequency' somewhere between the physical universe and Hell; the war that destroyed the Old Gods and created New Genesis and Apokolips separated the Fourth World from the rest of the universe proper, leaving it accessible by Boom Tube.

The population is a downtrodden lot, including many kidnapped from other worlds before being 'broken.' The majority of the population are called "Lowlies", a bald and fearful race that has no sense of self worth or value. The Lowlies are subject to constant abuse that ends only with death. Slightly above them are the Parademons, who serve as the keepers of order on the planet. Higher above the Parademons are the Female Furies, who are Darkseid's personal guard. (Male Furies also exist, but are less common.) They are blessed with unnatural strength and longevity and are allowed to develop as individuals. This exposure to new concepts often results in them developing comical or garish personalities that contrast strongly with the immense sadism that is required to reach their position. The leaders of the Furies are Granny Goodness, who sports the appearance of a matronly old woman while being the most powerful of the guards, and Kanto, who enjoys a unique position as Darkseid's master assassin. The chief guard, Big Barda, had a third position under Granny, which has not been filled since her defection from the group. DC Wiki

As if the name Apokolips wasn’t foreboding enough for this place, the planet is actually just one massive city that is peppered with raging fire pits. These pits are engines of war and torture, fueled by the very fire that stems from Darkseid himself. It is where the armors and weapons of the Parademons are forged and where they learn that pain is no obstacle, merely a nuisance. Apokolips Now: 15 Crucial Facts About The Justice League Movie Villains, Comic Book Review

And now...

The Trump administration has been working to rollback rules instated by the Obama administration that would limit how much methane gas could be vented to the atmosphere at oil- and gas-drilling and processing operations. In a press release today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is proposing to relax Obama-era rules, saving the industry $484 million in avoided energy costs.

But the EPA is expected to justify its rules with analysis. That analysis (PDF) suggests that this regulatory rollback will also come with costs in the form of 308,000 short tons of methane emitted between 2019 and 2025. For context, the Aliso Canyon gas leak three years ago represented the largest accidental release of methane in US history, and over the four months that workers struggled to plug that well, 107,000 short tons of methane are estimated to have been released.

That is a serious amount of methane with serious climate consequences in the short-run. Methane is many times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, though it decomposes in the atmosphere more quickly. Carbon dioxide sticks around in the atmosphere for a longer time, but each individual molecule of CO2 has less of a warming effect than a molecule of methane.

The EPA's own analysis also says than an additional 100,000 short tons of volatile organic compounds and 3,800 short tons of hazardous air pollutants would also be emitted, compared to keeping the existing rules in place.

Trump admin. proposes rollback of methane rules to save industry $484 million
The new rules would save regulatory costs for industry at a huge cost to climate.
Megan Geuss, Ars Technica

...Apokolips...

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Florence...

At 2:30 a.m. EDT (0630 UTC) on Sept. 11, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite looked at Hurricane Florence in infrared light. MODIS found coldest cloud top temperatures around the eye, as cold as or colder than minus 80 degrees (yellow) Fahrenheit (minus 112 degrees Celsius). Surrounding the eye were thick rings of powerful storms with cloud tops as cold as or colder than minus 70 degrees (red) Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 degrees Celsius). Credit: NASA/NRL

Topics: Climate Change, Global Warming, NASA, Stochastic Modeling, Research, Weather

Predictive Modeling: Another good reason why science is important.

Sep. 11, 2018 – NASA Satellite Finds Hurricane Florence Undergoing Eyewall Replacement

NASA’s Aqua satellite provided an infrared look at powerful Hurricane Florence early on Sept. 11 that indicated it was likely undergoing eyewall replacement.

Intense hurricanes can and often undergo an eyewall replacement cycle. That happens when a new eyewall or ring of thunderstorms within the outer rain bands forms further out from the storm’s center, outside of the original eye wall. That ring of thunderstorms then begins to choke off the original eye wall, starving it of moisture and momentum. Eventually, if the cycle is completed, the original eye wall of thunderstorms dissipates and the new outer eye wall of thunderstorms contracts and replace the old eye wall. The storm’s intensity can fluctuate over this period, initially weakening as the inner eye wall dies before again strengthening as the outer eye wall contracts.

Florence (was Potential Tropical Cyclone 6) 2018, NASA

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Water Worlds...

In a new study, Asst. Prof. Edwin Kite finds ocean planets could stay in zone of habitability longer than previously assumed.
Copyright istockphoto.com

Topics: Astronomy, Astrobiology, Astrophysics, Exoplanet, Planetary Science, Space Exploration

The conditions for life surviving on planets entirely covered in water are more fluid than previously thought, opening up the possibility that water worlds could be habitable, according to a new paper from the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University.

The scientific community has largely assumed that planets covered in a deep ocean would not support the cycling of minerals and gases that keeps the climate stable on Earth, and thus wouldn’t be friendly to life. But the study, published Aug. 31 in The Astrophysical Journal, found that ocean planets could stay in the “sweet spot” for habitability much longer than previously assumed. The authors based their findings on more than a thousand simulations.

“This really pushes back against the idea you need an Earth clone—that is, a planet with some land and a shallow ocean,” said Edwin Kite, assistant professor of geophysical sciences at UChicago and lead author of the study.

As telescopes get better, scientists are finding more and more planets orbiting stars in other solar systems, called exoplanets. Such discoveries are resulting in new research into how life could potentially survive on other planets, some of which are very different from Earth—some may be covered entirely in water hundreds of miles deep.

Analysis by UChicago, Penn State scientists challenges idea that life requires ‘Earth clone’
Louise Lerner, University of Chicago News