Saturday, October 26, 2019

Penny and Leonard as Schrodinger's Cat

So, in writing about the new Quantum computer from Google, I was going to use the Schrodinger's Cat analogy to explain Quantum mechanics.  But then something hit me.

First, the puss puss.

To explain how something can be in 2 states at the exact same time, Dr. Schrodinger has us think about a cat. The cat is inside a sealed box. The box has (in addition to food and liter) a radioactive isotope which will decay at an unknown point in the future. If / when it decays, it will trigger poisonous gas that will kill the cat.

Schrodinger used this example (but not a real cat) to show us that some point, unknown in the future, the isotope will possible decay and kill the cat. But, while it is sealed, we don't know. If the multi-universe splits, the cat will be alive in one reality and dead in another reality. We don't know which reality we live in until we open the box. The very act or looking at the cat will change the outcome. Until we look at it, the cat is both alive and dead.

This is not only understandable, but was actually used as an example in The Big Bang.

Now think of Penny and Leonard on the show. They dated in real life, broke up in real life, but got married on TV. So whenever we watched them we could attribute their interaction, either love or annoyance, as "real" and "fake" at the same time.

And this is because in both real life AND on the TV show they were often in love, friends, enemies, exes or agnostic towards each other.

 So, the act of observing them in that moment actually defined how they felt about each other. But in real life, or in the show? Or both? Or neither?

Was their actual relationship alive or dead? And, which was their "real" relationship anyway.

The Impossability of What Just Happened

Quantum mechanics is, despite years of Sheldon and Leonard on the Big Bang Theory, not easy to wrap one's head around. Traditional thought tends to be a yes or no equation. The idea behind quantum states is not that hard to understand, but almost impossible to imagine.

Take the smallest thing we can logically think of / observe - the electron. When we think of a molecule, we know they are made up of atoms. When we think of atoms we know they are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.

AND, we know that the protons and neutrons are stuck in the middle, orbited by electrons. But do we really "know" that? Turns out, no.

Electrons are sooooo impossibly minuscule that to use light or a microscope (by the by a super-super-super microscope is an "electron microscope") to view an electron, the very act of seeing it, changes it's path. So we "know" it's orbiting somewhere, but we can't observe it without changing it.

So when computers use smaller and smaller items to simulated On/Off states they use something, it used to be switches, then lights, then electrical charges,, etc.

By "Quantum Computers" don't use a state of On/Off. In a quantum computer a switch and can on/off simultaneously. It (ultimately, but not now) allows a computer to be over 10 billion times (or maybe 10 million, I nether understand nor does it matter for our purposes) faster than a traditional computer.

The idea of quantum mechanics was postulated less than 100 years ago as a fanciful idea. An idea that IBM and Google have turned into computers now. And one that Google just made work.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Jojo Rabbit is... Wunderbar

Okay, I know it seems odd, but the movie Jojo Rabbit is fantastic. Jojo is a nickname (the character's real name is Johanson) for a 10 year old boy at the very end of World War II in Germany. The war is going horrible for the Nazi's and they are training children to defend the home front.

The deeply disturbing message of these times, children trained to hate and kill, is made light and fanciful by Jojo's imaginary friend Hitler (played by the director for laughs by the ton). And the tone of the movie and the supporting players. Most of the characters see the end of the War coming (albeit, not Imaginary Hitler) and have given into to a sense of pretending all is going well.

(only Jojo can see his imaginary friend, Hitler)
Also adding to the madness (instead of bleakness) is Sam Rockwell as an injured and disillusioned veteran injured at the front, now forced to teach children at a summer camp / training camp. Sam Rockwell, as always, can pull anything off. Even a vain-glorious Nazi self-aware of how he is being used.

The overzealous female administrative assistant, excited to be free of gender limitations as she gets to train these kids for the fatherland, is a scene stealing Rebel Wilson.

Jojo's mother, definitely NOT a committed Nazi is wonderfully played by Scarlett Johanson.

There are other great actors, in fact nearly all the actors are great, balancing the idiocy of war with the bleakness of Nazism. But Roman Griffin Davis, as young Jojo, is the most surprising to me. You know I hate children on stage or in film. They are too cute or too sassy or too just.... to much.

Young Roman is not. He plays a child dealing with fear, wonder, surprise and does not understand the politics of what he is training for.

Go see this now!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

BEFORE I Knew You Couldn’t Take Pictures.

After visiting Kykuit (the Rockefeller Home) we went to the local church. The Rockefeller Family had, over the years, donated money and time to the church. And, after the death of the Patriarch, John D Rockefeller the first, had stained glass windows made in his honor. Since he was a Rockefeller, the windows were commissioned to a little know architect, Marc Chagall (!).

This window is the largest and is the story of the Good Samaritan. It is gorgeous!

New Poster Museum - Interesting Show

There is a new Poster Museum in Manhattan and we visited it about a week ago. We saw an interesting show on Ghana Movie Posters. What was fascinating was the fact that these were from independent movie exhibitors, and painted based on either the VHS cover jacket or their ideas.

By the way, the one poster that was wired as hell was in the pic above, Ghost. Apparently Ghanaian Pentecostals believe in ghosts, and they aren’t nice. So you see Whoppi coming our of Demi Moore’s abdomen. Gross.  I’m guessing they were disappointed with a comedy.

The show also explored how the movies were sold in concert with the Ghanaian Pentecostal values of good and evil, with evil losing.  It was an unusual way to look at the movies themselves.

Well This Confirms the Absolute Worst Conspiracy Theories About America

Help! Our foreign policy has been taken over by a madman.

This just confirms the world’s WORST assumptions about America.  We have left (at least) 160 Kurd Civilians to die. We have left 275 Kurd fighters to be killed by our ally, Turkey.  We have left the land to be occupied by Russia and Syria.

But don’t worry. We are protecting the oil....

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What Do I Care About Politically

I was thinking today that so much of politics right now is about Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, he sucks up all the oxygen in the room. But what is next? What happens when this is over?

And I love Pete Buttigieg, but why?  It isn't because he is gay, although no doubt I gave him a hearing because of that.  I'll tell you what is important to me.
  1. Americans. All Americans, I think that the country should be run for the benefit of all Americans. Sure, we have to worry about immigrants and foreign countries, but I feel that first all Americans should be important to our government, even those that don't agree with me.
  2. Science. I think science is important. I believe in Climate Change. I believe that vaccines are critical for the country. Science can't answer everything, but that doesn't mean we should ignore what it can answer.
  3. I believe that the government can be a force for good. I think the federal highway system, public schools and colleges, air traffic control, traffic lights, sidewalks, regulated internet, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks, clean air and water are made better by the government. I don't believe that government is our enemy. And most others don't believe it after a hurricane or fire, shooting.
  4. I believe in the Constitution. Not just the parts I like, but others (like the right to bear arms) are law and should be obeyed.
  5. I believe in the ability to have control over yourself. 
  6. I believe in keeping our promises to others. Other countries, other people, members of the other party. Our seniors and our children.
  7. I don't like liars. I especially don't like liars in government. I know most politicians lie sometimes, but then I try to find people that lie less than others.
  8. I believe in the community of mankind. Sure, "the community of mankind" is less important that our country's population for my government, but it is still important to me. What Clinton did in Rwanda was bad, we actively ignored the suffering to keep Americans out of harms way. What Trump did with the Kurds was worse, we actively sold them out and pulled out Americans (who weren't in too much danger) to allow the slaughter.
Those guidelines help to form  how I make the decisions on who I support. At least that is what I try to support.

So, for me, Pete Buttigieg believes much of the same, that is why I like him. I love his plans for minority Americans, his plans rural Americans. In speaking, he wants to unite all of us Americans for a greater good.

 I like his ideas that allow for individuals to police themselves when possible. Women with control over their own bodies. People with control over their own health care decisions.

I still want to believe that America and Americans can be a force for good in the world. I know that is naive and a little stupid. But I believe it and it informs my decision making.

This post has been brought to you by the letter P, for positivity.

Ed’s Big Fish

Eddie is down in Florida fishing.  Fishing

You heard that right. It is a team building exercise for his work where everyone fishes, eats and sleeps  communally.  Yay.

BUT... he did win the “longest” fish award.  Here is pictorial proof.

Week-End with a Friends

My friend Shelly was here this week-end and we did a lot. We saw Hadestown and Moulin Rouge. She is a huge stage fan - in fact we were in drama in High School together.

Then on Sunday we went to Kykuit (the Rockefeller Estate). I know, I take a lot of people there, but it is like Hearst Castle. There are different tours and something new to see every time.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Just Like America

President Trump tweeted this out to make fun of Nancy Pelosi.

But I see 1 woman, standing up to idiot men.  FYI, this is NOT what America looks like: 1 women and a passel of old white guys.

PS, look at the dejected faces of the military men at the far end of the table. Their Commander in Chief is justifying leaving our allies to be slaughtered.  I applaud their honor to stay in this fuck up of an administration in order to try to protect the troops.  Seriously.

instagram's Overheard in Williamsburg

For those of you that haven't heard of Williamsburg, it is ground zero of hipster land. Not in a good way.

But Instagram's Overheard in Williamsburg is da bomb.

Some examples:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Some Interesting Notes About the Will and Grace Building

Eddie and I walk by the building all the time, and it is the Will and Grace building. It’s the building that supposedly houses Grace Designs.

Last weekend we walked by the the building and the statue of Puck (from Shakespear’s Midsummer’s Night Dream) was cleaned recently. So we stopped by and looked at the building.

It is called “The Puck” building and originally housed many publishing houses. It was the home of UK’s Puck Magazine in the United States for years.

Now it houses a 3 story REI store, some companies, 2 ballrooms for rent (one on the ground floor and one of the top floor). It also includes 4 condos added by (wait for it) Jerod Kushner in 2012. The first one sold for $28 Million. He added them to the top floors.

It actually is two buildings built about 40 years apart. That is why part of it is 6 stories tall, and the southern part is 9 stories tall.

Interesting Read

This is a fascinating read. If you change out the words "Attorney General Barr" for "Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei"

Saturday, October 12, 2019

THAT Moment of Fucking Clarity

I was reading the NY Times this morning and I was smacked with a moment of clarity that whipsawed my brain. It put into print a problem I have been having since our long national Trumpmare began. I have pointed out the ways Trump and my father have the same personality for years. It was amusing, then scary, not sits on my mind like a gargoyle incubating a precious egg.

Here is the passage from this morning's opinion piece (here is the whole article):
But it is also crucial to understanding the electorate’s response to Trump — particularly the traumatized majority that opposes him.
“We wake up each day much like the kid of a narcissistic parent wakes up, in the sense that we don’t know what the crazy parent is going to do,” said Brian Baird, formerly a Democratic member of Congress, and before that, a professor of psychology with a private practice in Washington State. “Yet we have to somehow go to work each day and act like things are normal.”
And there’s the rub: You can no sooner quit your president than you can quit your family. If you look at the children of pathological narcissists, noted Baird, their symptoms look a lot like many of ours: “Anxiety, foreboding, depression, anger, frustration, fear, bewilderment at the state of the universe.” Their minds have been annexed; they doubt their perceptions. “What they know to be real,” he said, “is itself challenged by this person’s actions and statements and deeds.”
(Online, in fact, there’s a shadow universe of children of pathological narcissists, who argue that “what’s happening on a national level is activating and retraumatizing a lot of people who have been gaslighted in the past,” in the words of the writer and memoirist Ariel Leve.)

Yep, that was my entire life from about 9 to 18. While my father was reasonably good to me (like Trump is to Ivanka), it was either to a) help get him laid or b) it cost him nothing.

My father with a child he cannot screw, talk to or make fun. He is annoyed and perplexed.

And it has created so many obsessions that I know about:

Like my mortal fear of being late. When I was a minor, being late meant we couldn't do "it" today and would have to do it later (i.e. never). Not just fun things like miniature golf, but things like shopping for school clothes, visiting my grandparents for my birthday, going to the dentist. I wasn't  taken to the dentist from the age of about 9. Once I got to college myself, I went. Although my front teeth look pretty good, I had 4 wisdom teeth removed, 2 impacted morals removed, 4 other teeth shaved down to take 2 bridges and about 5 cavities filled. I went to a Mexican dentist because they don't yell at people. (Now I have a nice gay dentist and I go 2 or 3 times a year - of course the fact he has botox helps immensely).

Like my ability to spot and lie, and my inability to call people on it (to their face).

Like my phobia of conflict. My father was a great guy, unless you crossed him. Then he was petulant and nasty. Lashing out verbally and belittling you in front of people.

Like my inability to argue when something is important. Because I know that I'll lose, or if I don't lose, I'll pay for it for a long, long time.

My dad wasn't a bad person to me. One adapts. One changes their life to avoid getting into a bad position EVER AGAIN. But now I have a President that is not just like my dad, but one I cannot avoid. He's on the TV or in the paper every day.

In 2020, something changes. Either he loses or I leave. If I stay, it will be like choosing to live this way again. Yet, if I leave I force Ed into a terrible situation. See it's all fucking coming back to me.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Waiting for Pete Buttigieg

It's Coming Out Day

There are a lot of "Days" now. But today is National Coming Out Day (I wonder if there is a different "International Coming Out Day"?).

I have been supremely lucky to have the friends, family and life I have had.

Thank you to all that didn't freak out when I came out. Who let me do it in my own time. And my friends who had my back whenever there was the hint of a problem.

My life is good.

Frustration All Around


The rest has nothing to do with penguins.....

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Channeling My Husband

He's gorgeous and I can telepathically telling me to get the hell off twitter.  Done.

This is Priceless

I love this tweet.  He now gives 3 options.

 Note that #2 - Destroy their economy is the one he "promised" less than 2 days ago.

Three days ago we had one other option, "Don't fucking take out our 200 troops!"


This... This I Love...

Please Watch

Attacking the Kurds is a War of Choice for Turkey

What is rather interesting, and amazingly sad, is that the current Turkish attack on Kurds in Syria is 100% a war of choice by Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan. In multiple ways.

Starting with the worst

Turkey does NOT have to fight the Kurds. In fact, Turkey in the very very recent past has allowed Kurds to participate in democracy, and the fighting stopped. In June 2015 there was an election for the national government. The Kurds combined with other minority groups and liberals to field a new Party, The People's Democratic Party. There were many fears that they would fall below the 10% threshold to have seats in parliament, but instead, they won about 13 - 14% of the vote.

Between the PDP and other parties, President Erdogan's party did not win enough votes to rule without a coalition. That was not a result Erdogan would allow.

Instead, the President hamstrung and fought efforts to build a coalition, and so the hung electorate went back to the poles in November 2015. In between June and November, President Erdogan attacked the Turkish Kurds, first politically, then militarily, until he got a militant reaction. Then he banned the Kurds from participating in the election because they were terrorists.*  After banning them from participating, Erodgan's camp won a majority in the November election.

What makes this heart-breaking is that the President would rather create a new civil war, rather than govern in any coalition. Yes, he stayed in power, but thousands have been killed or injured since.

Now the Syrian campaign

The Kurds in Syria have done nothing in Turkey. They haven't sponsored terrorism. They haven't done any raids over the border. They haven't even helped their Turkish Kurd relations. Even if they wanted to, they could not has Turkey has stationed men between the areas.

The lands they have governed (after defeating the Taliban) have been essentially well-run and peaceful. It is one of the few places in the Muslim middle east where woman have a large say in power.  There have been zero incursions into Turkey, or anywhere else. Like the Kurds in Iraq, they have been going about their business peacefully.

But Edrogan cannot have a functioning Kurdish territory next to his territory. It belies the argument that Kurds are blood thirsty, inhuman beasts (although some, no doubt, are good people). Attacking the richest areas of this place allows him to drive the Kurds into the poorest areas and for him to take over the rich farming areas on the border (within 20 miles).

And the World Stands By, why?

And so one might seriously ask, why? Why does the world ignore this (and images of dead Kurds we will soon see in pictures)?
  1. The United States has no good reason for allowing this. Having 100 to 200 people in Kurdish Syria costs us almost nothing. And we stopped the fights between the Kurds, the Syrians and the Turks - leaving a peaceful territory where life begins to get back to normal. We left because the President doesn't like us being in the Middle East. And I fully agree with that sentiment, I hate being in the middle east. But the United States' leaving will cause (has caused) a lot of death, more fighting and probably freedom for thousands of ISIS fighters that the Kurds are holding in jail. The way we left means we will probably be back to fight ISIS again, this time without Kurdish allies.
  2. Europe is afraid to cross Turkey. Turkey's leverage here is that there are millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. If Europe objets too loudly, Turkey lets them immigrate to Europe - and that caused a ton of political problems. UPDATE... Well that didn't take long.
  1. 3.The political fig leaf here is that Turkey will use this rich buffer area to resettle hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Syria Arabs back into this buffer zone. Will that work? Probably not. History has shown that forced resettlement will probably infuriate the Syrian Arabs, who aren't from the area, and the Kurds, who will now be overwhelmed with refugees from a different ethnic and religious group. 

Our country has done the equivalent of releasing the parking brake on a car parked on a step hill. Will the car crash? Yes. How many people will die? Too early to say.

*Interestingly, Ed and I visited Istanbul between June and November of 2015, before the 2nd election was called. The young people we met, including our guide, were very excited about the prospect of a diverse government sharing power with Erodgan. Obviously, that did not happen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

This is Who America is Now

This was fully predictable and predicted. The graphic below is from Fox News, the President's own cheering section.

So this is who America is now.

We used the Kurds to defeat ISIS. Now we have left the Kurds to the be killed by the Turks. It is no doubt a coincidence that President Trump has a condo development in Turkey.

As for any repercussions from this offensive, the President's quote is:
We just need to see now, if Turks killing Kurdish civilians are off limits - in Trump's "great and unmatched wisdom".

And this is from yesterday (read from bottom up, it's twitter)..
We have in no way abandoned the Kurds. Unless you consider at full scale attack by a NATO ally on civilians to be "abandoned". President Trump likes to call it, disengagement.

Nobel Prize Goes to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz (& James Peebles)

This years Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to James Peebles for work on how the Universe expands (I don't get it) and to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering the first verified planet that orbits a Sol type star.

The very first finding of another planet happened in only 1992(!), which seems a long time ago now, but is really a wink of time.

Before Misters Mayor and Queloz identified a planet, exoplanets were a source of conjecture. The thinking went like this (paraphrasing Carl Sagan):

"Just suppose there are a billion stars out there. Even if only one in 10,000 has planets, then there might be up to 10 million planets. And with a 10 million planets it strains belief to believe ours is the only one with life on it."

Turns out that a shitload more than 1 in 10,000 systems have planets. We have discovered, with the tools delivered by Misters Mayor and Queloz: big planets, little planets, super hot giants, super cold dwarfs and everything in between, including earth-like planets, giant planets with earth like atmospheres and a planet of actual dinosaurs*.

We have, in fact, discovered the universe is a great and fascinating place we may be able to explore one day, if we don't blow ourselves up.
Dider and Michel (I feel on a first name basis)
Gentlemen, congratulations.  You're discovery gives us hope and returns a sense of awe to us all.

*Just checking if you're still reading.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Great and Unmatched Wisdom

Nice Tweet.  First our President has agreed to let Turkey to invade the parts of Syria where our allies, the Kurds, are extremely over matched.

We have agreed to abandon the area, in fact we started leaving Sunday PM / Monday AM to let Turkey attack the Kurds - who they see as terrorists.

Now this threat for our home consumption because Republicans see a sell out.

I do love the comment embedded ".. I, in my great and unmatched wisdom..."

The Republicans pitched a hissy fit when Obama did a simple draw down of troops based on George Bush's treaties. Imagine if Obama said he had "great and unmatched wisdom".

Nincompoopery at its finest.

First Furries, now this..

 MAGA has a problem understanding the truth versus movies or jokes. The previous issue (and still quoted) is that some classrooms have litte...