Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Infinite Potential, the movie

A new move, Infinite Potential - the Life and Ideas of David Bohm, is available on YouTube.

The movie gives the impression that David Bohm figured out quantum mechanics several decades ago, but a conspiracy of closed-minded physicists blackballed him. He is compared to Einstein, and considered one of the great underrated geniuses of the XX century. He is shown consulting with Eastern mystics, as if no one in the West were enlightened enough to appreciate him.

His theory led a revolution to help man reach a higher state of consciousness that is happy with the oneness of the universe.

The day he died in 1992, he told his wife, "I feel that I am on the edge of something."

So what was his great discovery? A theory of nonlocal hidden variables.

This is all crap, of course. The theory of nonlocal hidden variables was a dead-end research project that has led to no new physics, no better understanding of quantum mechanics, no advantages over the Copenhagen interpretation, and certainly no philosophical enlightenment.

The movie makes a few references to him being ostracized for political reasons. There is some truth to this. He was a Jewish Communist, and an American traitor. His politics was even more abominable than his physics.

So why is Bohm such a great hero that someone spent a lot of money making a movie about him?

I cannot explain it. There is so little physics in the movie, that the makers were not trying to explain some physics. It doesn't explain his politics either, so I don't see how it could be a Communist propaganda movie.

My guess is that the movie makers are Leftist mystics, and Bohm's Communism was a motivator for the movie.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Quantum radar is overhyped and useless

There are many quantum technologies that get gushing write-up in science magazines, but have delivered no practical benefits. These include quantum cryptography, quantum computation, quantum teleportation, etc.

Another is quantum radar.

AAAS Science magazine reports:

A mini–arms race is unfolding in the supposed field, initiated by press reports in 2016 that China had built a quantum radar—potentially threatening the ability of stealthy military aircraft to hide in plain sight from conventional radars. ...

But to really make the scheme work, physicists must also preserve the retained microwave pulse until the reflected pulse (or the background replacing it) returns. Then, both pulses can be measured together in a way that enables the quantum waves to interfere. So far, however, nobody has done that. Instead, they’ve measured the retained pulse immediately and the returning pulse later, which in the experiments wipes out any gain from the quantum correlations.

Even if experimenters can overcome the technical hurdles, quantum radar would still suffer from a fatal weakness, researchers say. The entangled pulses of microwaves provide an advantage only when the broadcast pulses are extremely faint. The extra quantum correlations fade from prominence if pulses contain significantly more than one photon—which is overwhelmingly the case in real radar. “If you crank up the power, you won’t see any difference between the quantum and the classical,” Barzanjeh says. And cranking up the power is a much easier way to improve the sensitivity.

Such considerations suggest quantum radar will never be deployed for long-range uses such as tracking airplanes, says Fabrice Boust, a physicist at France’s aerospace agency, ONERA, who specializes in radar.

A lot of people are convinced that long-range entanglement is a form of quantum magic that will drive 21st century innovation. It is not.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Black holes have no singularities

Lubos Motl writes:
But pretty much everything that used to look "singular" about black holes has completely disappeared in our modern understanding of black holes. The singularity at the event horizon is just a coordinate singularity, an artifact of coordinates. The singularity at the black hole center may be "more real" but you can't really measure its properties by apparatuses that survive for a suffficient amount of time. The black hole itself doesn't qualitatively differ from other "kinds of matter"; ...

The main message is "Please don't send me would-be deep e-mails about black holes if you still believe that the singularity is what is important in a black hole." Everyone who believes in this misconception is a 100% layman who hasn't started to understand general relativity (let alone quantum gravity) at all.

I agree with this. There seems to be a widespread belief that a new theory of quantum gravity will be needed to understand black holes. I think not.

On the outside, a black hole just appears like a heavy black planet. We can only see what is outside the event horizon. The event horizon requires tricky spacetime coordinates, but there is no singularity. If you go in past the event horizon, you cannot get out.

Inside that black hole, there is a much smaller (as viewed from the outside) region with a theory horizon. If you go in past the theory horizon, then our physics theories break down, and we have no idea what happens. Maybe there is a singularity on the inside, maybe there is infinite volume on the inside, maybe there is unification of all the forces, maybe there is supersymmetry, we just don't know. And we will never know, because we cannot get past the event horizon and report what we see.

Some wise guy is probably going to ask me why I have another blog called Singular Values if I do not believe in singularities? The answer is the title does not refer to infinities.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No text info comes out of burning books

In Mindscape 115, Sean M. Carroll gives this explanation of the black hole information paradox:
That's why it is different from just throwing a book into a bonfire, for example. ...

Somehow, it's weird. That information in the book -- maybe a lot of people don't get how natural this is to physicists.

We would say that literally all the information about where the ink marks were on the lettters in the book somehow affects the light and heat and ash that comes out of the fire, and that doesn't seem to be what happens in a black hole.

His guest agrees with this.

This is bizarre. First, his claim that the letters affect what comes out of the fire is not something that has ever been corroborated by any experiment or required by any theory. It is almost a religious belief, like believing that the human soul survives death of the body.

But then he jumps to saying that black holes are different!

This is like a theologian saying human souls go to heaven, but then being puzzled about why space aliens from the Andromeda galaxy don't have souls.

Carroll gives good explanations of a lot of standard physics, but then he goes off the rails with these statements that seem to have nothing to do with science. This shows how theoretical physics has gone astray.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Endorsing Biden, stating no good reason

You would think that if our nation's smartest men were making a public policy endorsement, then they would have hard facts or analysis to back up what they are saying. Nope, their statements are as dopey as CNN commentators.

81 Nobel Laureate endorse Biden:

During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, ...
24 Turing Award Laureates say the same:
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris listen to experts before setting public policy, essential when science and technology may help with many problems facing our nation today. As American computer scientists and as US citizens, we enthusiastically endorse Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President.
Really? This is pitiful. After 4 years of Pres. Trump, can't they find some specific grievance against him, or some explanation of how Biden will do better?

Saying that Biden listens to experts is the lamest endorsement imaginable. The laureates do not even pretend that Biden brings any competence to the White House. They seem to be just saying that Biden is a puppet, but he is a puppet of the forces that they are ideologically aligned with.

I am sure all these geniuses have the intellectual capacity to say something substantive and/or original. My guess is that "listen to experts" is some sort of code phrase for "controlled by the Deep State".

I think what is most notable is what they don't say. No complaints about the economy, or foreign policy, or science funding, or energy policy, or trade policy, or even about George Floyd. I wonder if they even believe what they say, or if they are just going thru the motions to please their colleagues.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

SciAm joins partisan politics

I have pointed out how science journals have become increasingly preoccupied with leftist politics, and not
Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. ...

Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.

Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.

This is pretty crazy. I have been reading SciAm all year, and it never suggested any better way of handling COVID-19.

Of those 200k deaths, COVID-19 was sole named cause of death in only 6% of the cases. The vast majority were elderly with multiple other co-morbidities. The changing climate did not cause the California wildfires.

The NY Times has an article saying "conservative media stars dismiss climate change — which scientists say is the primary cause of the conflagration". For its source, it links to a 2018 NY Times story saying that climate change was the source of the 2018 fires, and the paper updated that story to refer to the 2020 fires. That story blames the fires mostly on immigration, but also says that a changing climate can lead to changing fire conditions.

Biden is senile, and controlled by leftist nuts. He has not said anything sensible about either COVID-19 or the climate or any scientific subject. Nobody seriously thinks he has the competence to be President.

This endorsement is just another sign that our academic and scientific establishments have been taken over by leftist ideologues.

Update: One of SciAm's complaints against Trump is this memo:

The memo obtained by media outlets says, in part, that "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. [Anthony] Fauci has been wrong on things."
SciAm calls this a "despicable attempt".

What goes here? Fauci has indeed been wrong on many things, and such knowledge should be considered by the public when relying on his advice. Assessing the accuracy of the pronouncements of an expert is a very pro-science thing to do. SciAm editors obviously just hate Trump, and attack whatever he does.

Update: Scott Aaronson writes:

For the past few months, I’ve alternated between periods of debilitating depression and (thankfully) longer stretches when I’m more-or-less able to work. Triggers for my depressive episodes include reading social media, watching my 7-year daughter struggle with prolonged isolation, and (especially) contemplating the ongoing apocalypse in the American West, the hundreds of thousands of pointless covid deaths, and an election in 48 days that if I didn’t know such things were impossible in America would seem likely to produce a terrifying standoff as a despot and millions of his armed loyalists refuse to cede control.
This is lunacy. Millions of people are buying guns because Democrats are allowing and even encouraging race riots in the cities. The Democrats are the ones trying to abolish free speech on social media, and to take over the govt and abolish the filibuster rule.

Update: Here is a Slashdot discussion. The Trump Derangement Syndrome is amazing. Some commenters point out that there is no hard evidence that Trump's COVID-19 policies were any worse than the Democrats or than the Europeans.

It used to be that the main complaint from academic scientists about Republicans was that favorite projects were not being sufficiently funded. However, that complaint is absent this election year. Apparently Trump is funding all the good science the professors want. They just don't like his personality.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Nature mag pushes sex propaganda

Nature magazine is the leading non-American science journal, and it often has articles reporting on some difference between men and women. Apparently this is problematic for today's Left. So now these articles insert this disclaimer:
(Nature recognizes that sex and gender are not the same, and are neither fixed nor binary.)
This is just nonsense, as many of those articles use the words sex and gender interchangeably. And sex certainly is binary.

For example, one article is on The gender gap in cystic fibrosis. If sex and gender are not the same, then it should be titled "the sex gap in cystic fibrosis". And the article is filled with statements treating sex as binary, and none about anyone ever changing sex.

A medical journal has published a proposal for converting our medical schools to anti-White propaganda machines. One of the three authors looks as if she could be White, but she is actually the Jewish daughter of a Yale law professor. They have a 7-point plan to insure that all medical students will be committed to leftist anti-White causes. The only alternative they mention is to try to re-education on race an colonialism.

Friday, September 11, 2020

We desperately need another Einstein

Israeli-American astronomer Avi Loeb is interviewed in Salon:
To start, let's talk about some of Einstein's contributions to science. What compelled you to help curate this celebration of Einstein's legacy?

Well, to start, Einstein's special theory of relativity revolutionized our notion of space and time.

No, Einstein's space and time was the same as Lorentz's, and years behind the Poincare and Minkowski view that is popular today.
I've wondered, say, if Einstein were born 30 years later, would someone else have figured out relativity, and the photoelectric effect, and so on?
Relativity was figured by others. Not sure about the photoelectric effect.
[String theorists] are still advocating that they're the smartest physicists — although they're not doing physics, because in my book, physics is about testing your ideas against reality, with experiments.
That's right, but the string theorists adamantly argue that they are following Einstein's example.
the most natural versions of supersymmetry are ruled out. So here's an idea that was celebrated as part of the mainstream — not only celebrated, but it was the foundation for string theory.

And so I asked the experimentalists, "how long will you continue to search for WIMPs, these weakly interacting particles, since the limits are orders of magnitude below the expectation?" And he said, "I will continue to search for WIMPs as long as I get funding."

So we do need — we desperately need another Einstein. There is no doubt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

SciAm rewrites quantum supremacy history

Neil Savage writes in SciAm:
When researchers at Google announced last fall that they had achieved “quantum superiority” — a point at which a quantum computer can perform a task beyond the reach of regular computers — some people wondered what the big deal was. The program, which checked the output of a random number generator, was of limited practical value and did not prove that the company’s machine could do anything useful, critics said.
This use of quotation marks is curious, because the same author wrote in SciAm last year:
Hands-On with Google’s Quantum Computer

Staking its claim for “quantum supremacy,” the company pulls back the curtain on its landmark Sycamore chip ...

All this chilling and vibrating, Google’s quantum team says, has allowed it to achieve quantum supremacy, the point at which a quantum computer can do something that an ordinary classical computer cannot.

Apparently SciAm has decided that the word "supremacy is racist, because it invokes images of white supremacy, slavery, lynchings, and the KKK. So it has purged the word, and retroactively gone back and changed quotes.

Another SciAm article declares:

The Idea that a Scientific Theory can be 'Falsified' Is a Myth

It’s time we abandoned it ...

Falsification is appealing because it tells a simple and optimistic story of scientific progress, that by steadily eliminating false theories we can eventually arrive at true ones. ...

But if you propagate a “myth-story” enough times and it gets passed on from generation to generation, it can congeal into a fact, and falsification is one such myth-story.

It is time we abandoned it.

Maybe it is time we abandoned Scientific American as a source of hard science news and developments.

Update: Evolutionist professor Jerry Coyne attacks the latter article, as SciAm argued that evolution is a theory that cannot be falsified.

Friday, September 4, 2020

City-Sized Ultrasecure Quantum Network

SciAm reports:
Quantum cryptography promises a future in which computers communicate with one another over ultrasecure links using the razzle-dazzle of quantum physics. But scaling up the breakthroughs in research labs to networks with a large number of nodes has proved difficult. Now an international team of researchers has built a scalable city-wide quantum network to share keys for encrypting messages. ...

Instead of building a network in which each of the eight nodes is physically connected to all the other nodes, the researchers created one with a central source that sends entangled photons to the eight nodes, named Alice, Bob, Chloe, Dave, Feng, Gopi, Heidi and Ivan. Each node is only connected via a single optical fiber link to the source, making a total of eight links—far less than the 28 that would be required for traditional QKD with no trusted nodes.

So even though the nodes are not physically connected, the protocol the researchers developed establishes a virtual link between each pair of them via the magic of quantum entanglement such that each pair can create a private key.

The central source has a so-called nonlinear crystal that spits out a pair of photons that are entangled in their polarization. ...

Adding a new node is simple: just connect it to the central source, which only has to modify its channel-splitting-and-multiplexing scheme. ...

Future large-scale quantum networks will have to solve at least two major problems: One is that they must interconnect an arbitrarily large number of users. Secondly, such networks have to span vast intracontinental and intercontinental distances—something that requires using either quantum repeaters to extend the range over which one can distribute quantum states or satellites to beam down qubits or entangled particles to nodes on the ground.

So they can create a central source to share a key over fiber optic lines to 8 nodes.

Of course it still has to use conventional cryptography to send any messages. And there is no way to authenticate the sender. And there is no way to scale up to more users or more cities. And there is no way to protect against your hardware from leaking information.

Underlying all this is a myth that analog hardware cryptography is inherently more secure than digital software cryptography. It is not, and it cannot be. You can trust your PC or phone to add digits correctly, but you can never trust it to send an analog signal perfectly.