She’s cute, but what if she would say: “Quantum Mechanics doesn’t make sense to me intuitively.”?


This is one of those portraits generated by Midjourney, not that of a real person.
Like many people I’m impressed with the facility of Midjourney to create portraits of photogenic people. But how attractive or engaging would a person Iike this seem to be to you if you are someone, as I am, who struggled to master the content of Quantum Mechanics, and passed a PhD qualifying exam in this subject (many years ago) as well as working as a graduate school teaching assistant in this subject if you then imagine (fantasize) encountering someone like this in a casual social situation?

Discussion of the SCI-FI book “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch.

Just finished reading an excellent and provocative book: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. The image is a fantasized depiction of me discussing the physics of this book, which is based on the concept that we live in a multiverse, with three of my doppelgangers. What would be appealing would be a work of science fiction that built upon the premise of his book, that we live in a multiverse and that it’s possible for different versions of ourselves to travel between them and interact, but with a plot that wasn’t as gruesome and violent as the one in Blake Crouch’s book.

A discription of the book from the author can be read here:

A depiction of a section of “The Long Earth” as described in the sci-fi book by the same name by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, as if viewed through a crystal ball.

A depiction of a section of “The Long Earth” as described in the sci-fi book by the same name by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, as if viewed through a crystal ball.

The “Long Earth” is a name given to a possibly infinite series of parallel worlds that are similar to Earth, which can be reached by using an inexpensive device called a “Stepper”. The “close” worlds are almost identical to “our” Earth (referred to as “Datum Earth”), while others differ in greater and greater details.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Pink Flamingos in full color and as depicted by reflected infrared light.

(above) Pink Flamingos at the Maryland Zoo, as depicted by reflected infrared light.


(above) Pink Flamingos at the Maryland Zoo (full color version)

Larger views of the images are available here

There is a similar reason for the flamingo’s pink appearance and also the high reflectivity of infrared light by their feathers as shown in the B&W version: the presence in their feathers of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is present in both the algae and in the shrimp that are part of the flamingos’ diet. Beta carotene is an organic chemical that contains a reddish-orange pigment and is also highly reflective of IR radiation, explaining the light color of the flamingos’ feathers in the B&W image.

The equipment was a Nikon D100, Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens, Hoya R72 IR filter. Exposure under bright sunlight of 1/30 sec at f2.8, ISO of 200.



In last night’s Democrat Debate neither candidate addressed the issue of how they would deal with the problem of GRIDLOCK in government.

Gridlock is the situation where there is difficulty getting government to work because the  two legislative houses or the executive branch and the legislature are controlled by different political parties, or otherwise cannot agree.
depiction of gridlock in Washington

The other day Bill Clinton attacked Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health plan as unfeasible and a “recipe for gridlock.” But these days, nothing of any significance is politically feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock. This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system. In other words, it’s about power – whether the very wealthy who now have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well.

See Robert Reich:The Most Pragmatic Way to Fix American Democracy

Update Feb 14,2016:
Government Gridlock has involved taxes, a shutdown, a sequester, and the debt ceiling. Now it’s looks like it’s also going to include a Supreme Court appointment. 🙁

Trump thinks that evidence for global warming is a hoax

Donald Trump is a global warming denier who spouts
goofy arguments to support his denial.
 As a result of winter storm Jonus,
 Baltimore just had the worst one day
 snow storm on record. Trump apparently thinks that
 this indicates that assertions of
 Global Warming are part of a hoax.

Satirical depiction of Donald Trump's position on climate change / global warming

Trump implies Bush deserves some blame for 9/11: ‘The World Trade Center came down during his reign’

See Trump implies Bush deserves some blame for 9/11: ‘The World Trade Center came down during his reign’

A Congressional report produced in 1946 contained a section, a minority report that censured President Roosevelt as bearing responsibility for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some of the arguments presented there seem to echo or elaborate the point that Donald Trump was attempting to make when he cast blame on President Bush for the September 11 attacks. The relevant section from the Pearl Harbor report is contained below:



The President of the United States was responsible for the failure
to enforce continuous, efficient, and appropriate cooperation among the
Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Staff,
and the Chief of Naval Operations, in evaluating information and
dispatching clear and positive orders to the Hawaiian commanders as
events indicated the growing imminence of war; for the Constitution and
laws of the United States vested in the President full power, as Chief
Executive and Commander in Chief, to compel such cooperation and vested
this power in him alone with a view to establishing his responsibility
to the people of the United States.

As to the power, and therefore of necessity, the responsibility of the
President in relation to the chain of events leading to the catastrophe
at Pearl Harbor, there can be no doubt. The terms of the Constitution
and the laws in this respect are clear beyond all cavil.

The Constitution vests in the President the whole and indivisible
executive power subject to provisions for the approval of appointments
and treaties by the Senate.

The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
appoints high officers, civil and military.

He is Chief Magistrate in all civil affairs, including those related to
the maintenance and operation of the Military and Naval Establishments.

Under the law he conducts all diplomatic negotiations on behalf the
United States, assigning to his appointee, the Secretary of State, such
duties connected therewith as he sees fit, always subject to his own
instructions and authorizations.

Under the Constitution the President is Commander in Chief of the armed
forces of the United States, and with the approval of the Senate he
appoints all high military and naval officers. He assigns them to their
duties in his discretion except in the case of the Chief Staff and Chief
of Naval Operations-these appointments must approved by the Senate.

And why did the framers of the Constitution vest these immense powers in
one magistrate-not in a directory or a single official checked by a
council, as was proposed in the Convention of 1787?

The answer to this question is to be found in No. 70 of The
Federalist. The purpose of establishing a single rather than a plural
executive was to assure “energy in the Executive,” “a due dependence the
people,” and “a due responsibility.” A plural Executive, it is there
argued, “tends to deprive the people of the two greatest securities they
can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power, first, the
restraints of public opinion; and, secondly, the opportunity of
discovering with facility and clearness the misconduct persons they

The acts of Congress providing for the organization, operations, powers,
and duties of the Military Establishments under the President
particularized the powers and duties of the President in relation them;
in brief, they empowered him to issue orders and instructions the civil
Secretaries and also directly to the Chief of Staff and the Chief of
Naval Operations.

Such are the terms of the Constitution and the laws relative to the
Chief Executive.

From March 4, 1933, to December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was
President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United
States and in him was vested all Executive powers under the Constitution
and the laws.
See President Roosevelt’s failure to enforce cooperation between high military authorities in Washington

Carl Jung’s observations about Hitler and the “madness of crowds”

What Carl Jung had to say about the leadership and characteristics of large groups of people would also seem to apply to social groups linked together by the Internet and bonded by religious causes such as Islamic Fundamentalism:

“There is no question but that Hitler belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man…since the time of Mohammed nothing like it has been seen in this world. This markedly mystic characteristic of Hitler is what makes him do things which seem to us illogical, inexplicable, curious and unreasonable….Don’t you know that if you choose one hundred of the most intelligent people in the world and get them all together, they are a stupid mob? Ten thousand of them together would have the collective intelligence of an alligator…. In a crowd, the qualities which everybody possesses multiply, pile up, and become the dominant characteristics of the whole crowd. Not everybody has virtues, but everybody has the low animal instincts, the basic primitive caveman suggestibility, the suspicions and vicious traits of the savage age. The result is that when you get a nation of many millions of people, it is not even human. It is a lizard or a crocodile or a wolf.”

~Carl Jung interview with H.R. Knickerbocker in Cosmopolitan [1938] See: C.G. Jung Speaks; Pages 115-135.

Quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France

Some quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France:

“I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

“There are those whose views about religion are not very different from my own, but who nevertheless feel that we should try to damp down the conflict, that we should compromise it. … I respect their views and I understand their motives, and I don’t condemn them, but I’m not having it. To me, the conflict between science and religion is more important than these issues of science education or even environmentalism. I think the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief; and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.”

Today these religious fanatics are murdering satirical cartoonists. I would not be surprised if in the future they turned their attentions to attacking intelligent atheists who express themselves as eloquently as Steven Weinberg does.

Richard Feynman metaphorically describes the quest for scientific understanding (video)

What Feynman is presenting in the video is an atheist’s version of the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Feynman’s banana is analogous to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which is more typically depicted as an apple.

And as an atheist, Feynman rejects the version of man’s origins presented in Genesis, but rather considers man to be a close relative and a descendant of the apes. Plucking a banana from its tree is like obtaining one additional bit of understanding of “the ultimate laws of physics”.