Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creatures with poor memory may time travel

Last night, I watched The Time Traveler's Wife, based on a 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger, so it's time for another crazy post related to Quantum gravity and afterlife and Wormholes into the past.

The host introducing the trailer says that the novel/movie is a work of "good love and bad science" and that Albert Einstein is undoubtedly spinning in his grave now. But I will argue that the general theme about the time-traveling librarian (or at least something remotely similar to it) is actually something that is suggested by Einstein's theory of gravity when combined with some results rooted in quantum mechanics.

A small boy sees his mother – a professional singer – die in a car accident. He escapes because sometimes, usually during moments of stress or excitement, his body disappears and time travels into a nearly random but not quite random point of spacetime, which is usually (surprisingly enough) near the Earth's surface in some relevant situation. The precise rules describing the timing of the disappearance and the spacetime locus of the new materialization are unknown. But just to be sure, only his "body proper" is tunneling in this way so he appears naked at random places and has to look for some clothes after every tunneling event.

Meanwhile, a cute 6-year-old girl who is playing on the meadow meets an apparent 40-year-old nude paedophile in the forest. She gives him her towel but he soon disappears again. Later, he reappears. The girl understands that the man is really able to travel in time. She is being told that she would marry the same person sometime in the future. She's getting prepared for the wedding. Finally, she's really excited and in love when she actually finds the young librarian who still has no idea that she's his partner for life. But he marries her and is becoming happier and more relaxed.

So they live together, the husband is disappearing and reappearing. Sometimes, when he is missing, an older version of himself substitutes him; this trick is needed during the wedding ceremony, for example. They try to have children but the embryos are affected by the time-traveling "genetic" deviation as well, so she suffers from multiple miscarriages. He doesn't want her to suffer again so he undergoes vasectomy but she just manages to meet a younger, fully fertile version of himself somewhere in the parking lot, rapes her rejuvenated husband, and becomes pregnant once again.

(I am omitting irrelevant and obvious stories, e.g. that they manage to win $5 million in a lottery because the time-traveling tricks allow them to predict the numbers.)

This time, the baby is born. It's Alba, a daughter, who is not only time traveling like her father and the other embryos but she is in a greater control of her special ability. So because of the librarian and Alba who travel from one place of time to another, they also learn in advance that the time-traveling father will die at age 43 after his Republican father-in-law will shoot him during a hunt, thinking it's a deer (the librarian just appeared naked in a forest). Alba's sometimes playing with her older (10-year-old, already fatherless) time-traveling herself so she knows her family's life in advance. She and her loving mother are once visited by the time-traveling father after his official death (for a while), but they're told not to spend their lives by waiting. They're strong and I can assure you that at that moment, I was crying more than they were! ;-)

Now, is that storyline possible?

It's clearly not possible in this exact form. The laws of physics prevent – make it extraordinarily unlikely – human bodies from appearing and disappearing. The mass conservation laws are enough to show that. But is something similar to the novel/movie possible?

Note that the author and the filmmakers had to make a choice about the chronology in which the story was presented. Both books and films provide us with a "linear timeline" on which a story has to take place. The chronology of the loving wife corresponds to the "global time" that may be agreed upon because she's not traveling in time. It's the "most correct" chronology, you could say.

But the time-traveling librarian experiences the events in a different ordering. This is a likely source of logical contradictions but I think it's a good idea to be careful about the identification of the contradictions and their actual causes. One shouldn't dismiss "every" type of time travel as a logical contradiction from the very beginning. The actual contradictions only emerge when closed time-like curves appear in the spacetime (e.g. because the entropy can't be both increasing and periodic). In the movie, the CTCs apparently do appear, so the storyline isn't possible. But could there be some "more cautious" representations of a similar paradigm that are not inconsistent?

From the time-traveling librarian's viewpoint, the world isn't aging continuously. The world around is sometimes discontinuous. His wife sometimes seems to get younger – going back to the pre-school age – and so on. Could it work? How?

I think that the ER-EPR correspondence-based kind of thinking really does lead us to assume that there is a real bridge connecting two regions of spacetime whose degrees of freedom are exactly the same (at the quantum level of entanglement; there should be a proof that the local quantum states are nearly equal as elements of a reduced Hilbert space). In my opinion, it should be true even for timelike-separated events. (But I am not quite sure about this key point; this point is related to the question whether it's legitimate to quantize gravity on slices that "double count" some regional degrees of freedom and whether the double-counting is equivalent to the entanglement.)

Imagine that your brain is found in the same quantum state "now and here" and at another place of the Universe. You may need to wait for the (gigantic) Poincaré recurrence time to see that. Is there some sense in which you may think that you jump from the current location to the new one and experience discontinuous events that are taking place around you? Could science consider these counterintuitively ordered perceptions to be (in principle) equally justified as those in the global time chronology?

I think that the ER-EPR-based answer is indeed Yes: the two regions of the spacetime with your brain are literally, geometrically connected with one another. There is some continuity and the continuity of the spacetime in the region around your brain should be a sufficient condition for the (however modified) continuous perception of the flow of time to become legitimate. So in principle, you could be experiencing the life in your town here, but suddenly the perceptions could change discontinuously when your brain reappears in a completely different environment in some distant future, for example, a future that still happens to allow for brains like yours.

A problem is that in realistic situations, your brain can't be in the same state if it is sitting in these two very different environments because your brain remembers – i.e. is affected by – the recent past. So if there is something looking like your brain in some distant future paradise, this brain remembers some paradise-like events so the content of its memory isn't quite the same as the content of your brain here and now. Because the content of the memory influences the quantum state of your brain, the brains in these two spacetime regions are not truly identical, so there is no (robust enough) bridge connecting these two regions of the spacetime geometrically. And the counterintuitive way to combine and glue the pieces of the spacetime are indeed illegitimate.

However, I think that this counter-argument disappears if you try to think about (still conscious?) creatures that have a poor memory, some stupid bacteria etc. They may really be found in the same state even if they're located at rather different environments of the spacetime. These reappearances of the same bacterium are geometrically connected by bridges according to the (perhaps generalized) ER-EPR correspondence. So the bacteria etc. may really feel that they're jumping from one place to another.

To win the $5 million lottery might be cool but you might view the librarian's "ability" to time travel to be a curse, indeed. In the context of physics, such an "ability" depends on the poor memory or poor capabilities to measure the environment – in other words, this "supernatural skill" of time travel depends on the poor ability of the brain to change its quantum state according to the environment and the experience. Creatures like ourselves who may nicely probe the environment around us and remember the experiences are given a special gift – the gift is that we are aware of the flow of time in the usual "global time coordinate" and the corresponding chronology and nothing else. We are given the gift of immunity against time travel! But without a sufficient memory, the creatures are not kept on the right world line and they may perceive the discontinuous jumps across the spacetime due to the geometric connection between them and their equally low-memory clones anywhere.

Let me emphasize that it's not just a psychological illusion. If the exact quantum states of two regions of the spacetime are really the same – perfectly entangled – the connection between these two regions should be interpreted literally and geometrically just like the connections between other spacelike regions that everyone agrees to be "nearby".

In order to spin this unusual but arguably quantum-gravity-supported interpretation in a slightly different way, let me mention that we sometimes talk about consciousness. Pure consciousness is a mysterious spiritual phenomenon that can't be quite defined or proven (a solipsist believes that he is conscious but everyone else is a mindless robot and there's no "direct" way to falsify this assumption) but we still feel that consciousness exists. We like to say that this true spiritual consciousness is completely independent from mental abilities of our brains like the ability to calculate or remember things.

Why are we saying that the poor consciousness is different from the mental abilities? Well, it's because the mental abilities seem to be a part of the in-principle understandable natural sciences – neuroscience etc. (the brain is just some computer with a sloppy yet creative and self-organizing design) – while the pure consciousness seems to be intrinsically, eternally mysterious. Mysterious things can't ever be identical with the understandable functionalist questions about our brains so they can't be equal, most of us think when we play the role of philosophers.

However, there is no real proof that consciousness really has to be forever inexplicable and eternally separated from the "materialist" properties of the brain that are accessible to conventional natural sciences. And the text suggests that connections between them could exist. In particular, the perception of the flow of time may probably be linked to the (near) equality between the relevant degrees of freedom of a brain-like object in two regions of the spacetime. The usual reason for the (near) equality is the proximity of both of these copies of the same brain in the spacetime. But there may exist other solutions, too.

What I find convincing about this – so far vague – way of looking at things is that it turns the mental abilities such as the brain's memory into necessary conditions for portions of consciousness, in this case the awareness of the continuous flow of time. So at least some – and perhaps all – aspects of consciousness are linked to the body of information that is evolving according to the laws of physics and that may be parameterized by them and that may be studied by physics.

And yes, just like in the previous "supernatural" blog posts in this series, I like the idea that the "spiritual proximity" is being geometrized by the recent realizations in quantum gravity. For centuries, we would have no doubts about the primary role played by the spacetime arena on which everything takes place. Two brains may be very similar – the ultimate identical twins-soulmates may exist – but they may still be geometrically distant which seems more important than their identical internal state.

The modern quantum gravity insights lead us to a different way of thinking, however. The spacetime is emergent and the proximity of two brains is given by the proximity of their internal states (what they look like and what is stored in their memory), too. I think that it is really necessary to think about the "internal state" when we want to quantify "the true location of a brain" in the spacetime or multiverse (including all previously overlooked wormholes), otherwise we are contradicting some technical results connected with the slogan that the "spacetime is emergent or doomed".

The ideas above look vague, somewhat undefined, uncertain, and seemingly untestable. But I still find it plausible that a new, complete way of looking at the spacetime that will really disagree intuitively with the "materialist" picture we are used to will emerge and will be justified by highly indirect, yet solid, physical arguments.

Off-topic, causes in death in Fukushima

The Japan Times (see also The Times, Voice of Russia) released some fascinating numbers about the deaths in the Fukushima Prefecture (region) since 2011. Radiation has killed 0 people, 1,607 were killed by the initial tsunami-related disaster, and a higher number – now 1,656 – died due to the evacuation-caused stress and related health complications. Panic kills. Alarmism kills. Alarmists of all kinds belong among the bloodiest killers in the contemporary world. The comparison of these three numbers is particularly striking if you realize how dominant the anti-nuclear and alarmist Luddites and scammers are in the politico-media complex these days.

Off-topic, six Californias

It's rather likely that there will be a ballot box in November 2014 on whether or not the "ungovernable" state should be split to six states, Jefferson (Chiko, Eureka), North CA (Sacramento), Silicon Valley (SF, Monterey, richest state of the U.S.), Central CA (Fresno, poorest state of the U.S.), West California (LA, Santa Barbara), South California (Riverside, San Diego, Irvine). The only obstacle stopping the referendum is the 800,000+ signatures that the proponent, venture capitalist Tim Draper (who became rich by Skype and Hotmail investments) has to collect by July.

Jefferson, Central, South would be swing states; the other three states would go Democrat.

I am not 100% sure about the motivations – what would improve (maybe the guy wants to make the Silicon Valley even richer, by reducing the redistribution; maybe he wants to increase chances of GOP to have many lawmakers from the California[s]; see interview in Time). Some extra bureaucratic baggage could be created, state tax returns, new interstate (previously intra-Californian) commerce, and so on. But why not? Silicon Valley could take care of the paperwork, it could still deal with everyone's taxes, for example. And it's not hard to draw a U.S. flag with 55 stars, either. ;-) So at the end, nothing substantial would probably change.


  1. I thought this was a very beautiful movie at the time. I'd like see more of Eric Bana and Rachal McAdams, they're not quite A-listers but I've enjoyed them where I've seen them.

  2. To be sure, Russia and Ukraine have had some troubles. In fact, a sizable portion of its population are ethnic Russians, and I am sure they are some of the most ardent supporters of maintaining strong ties with Russia.

    But the EU would be no fairytale either. If Ukraine aligns with the EU, and eventually joins the EU, then they will be forced to open their nation to every immigrant and refugee that can get in. If they think ethnic Russians, the most similar people in the world to them, are a problem, just wait until they get a taste of multiculturalism EU-style. If people as close as Ukrainians and Russians cannot make nice, how is it they'd expect non-Europeans to do this as well?

    Unfortunately for Ukraine, geopolitics have not been kind. On one side are the Russians who have already watered down your population, and on the other is the EU who stands to totally change your population, religion, culture, etc. You might get more welfare and toys with the EU, but you will not keep your nation.

    Ukraine no doubt has the worst economy in Europe and the deepest poverty because of the incredibly ruthless corruption of the political elite - especially Yanukovich's family - and the greed of the tycoons and a hostile policy against small businesses.

    Now many Ukrainians might see their salvation in the West and that is very dangerous for this nation, because it would be a real threat to Russia if the economic relations to the West slowly would merge with military games of alliances. In the long run, that could mean war and Ukraine would become a battlefield.

    The best strategy therefore would be for Ukraine to emulate Switzerland. Trade with all countries and neutrality from all alliances.

  3. Lubos, it's you who has been brainwashed and indoctrinated, and speak in uninformed platitudes. But judging from the above post of yours, it makes little sense to argue with you, patiently and point-by-point. Asking for a Russian invasion... you do not have an idea of what you are talking about.

  4. Quite on the contrary, people who understand what's going on are thinking about such invasions, assassinations by drones, and so on.

    See e.g. Paul Craig Roberts, a co-father of Reagonomics:

    Link by Oleg Lebeděv, thanks.

  5. Right, excellent artists, sort of cute.

  6. Dear Lucretius, there is a huge gap in between us about how democracy should work.

    I don't think that it is legitimate to decide about the fate of a political leader by counting how many oligarchs are his friends. In fact, I find coups based on similar ideas to be so unacceptable that I fully endorse drone-powered assassionations of people who are working on coups "justified" by similar shaky arguments.

  7. Dear Luboš, I doubt that the Paul Craig Roberts of today has much similarity with the Paul Craig Roberts of the Reagan administration, although biologically they are identical.

    The word "neo-conservative", as used by Roberts and the even nuttier representatives of that corner of the political spectrum (about which more later) is a codeword for "Jew", more precisely "western Jew in a position of influence and/or power". Roberts does not need to point out that Victoria Nuland is Jewish, his readers already know.

    White nationalists and Nazis, ranging from seemingly moderate figures like Steve Sailer (who on his own weblog suppresses the genocidal comments that his paranoid antisemitic columns provoke but lets the garden-variety Jew-hatred through) to people such as David Duke and even more extreme figures -- with someone like Roberts orbiting on the fringes of this crowd --
    have a set of beliefs in common that include the conviction that there are far too many powerful and influential Jews in the world, that their agenda is to benefit "the Tribe" while pretending to serve their "host society", that Jews are "leeches and parasites", that they wield the Shoah as a weapon designed to "demoralize and depress" white people with whom they compete, that they have dual loyalty and in case of doubt will choose the interests of Israel over their "host society", that they insidiously pursue a strategy of third-world immigration to the West so as to weaken the "white race" and strengthen their own power, that they are warmongers dragging the western world into armed conflict with Russia/Iran/China/the Muslim world, and so on and so forth.

    Here is an American Nazi webpage (Google cache so as not to give them traffic) that one can view as the mother lode from which Sailer, Duke, and to a much lesser extent also Roberts draw inspiration for their screeds.

  8. Dear Eugene, the guy wasn't solving any internal Ukrainian crisis in the 1980s so it is pure speculation for you to claim that his views are different from those he would pick in the 1980s.

    And it is pure paranoia to say that Roberts' essay is all about anti-Semitism. It is really the key organizers of the rallies in Western Ukraine who are rather fanatically anti-Semitic, but you know that, don't you?

  9. Thanks Anna !

    However, I think it is not yet over as David Z is now trying very hard to set the stage for making an unilateral closure or lock of the now reopend question superficially justified

    And it is clear that things after this test period can only get worse for the people still left on the site who want to learn (theoretical) physics at a technical level

    That question is just a meaningless foofaraw, the mods and more in policing and politics than physics interested dominating high rep users are already dynamically creating pretext for not having to accept my answer

    even though it is the one with the highest net score. They will never change their anti technical-level physics attitude and rather strenghten their crusade against questions of people who want to study (advanced) physics at a technical level.

  10. Thanks Lumo for this a lot of fun to read article containing rather cool and quite Zen thoughts :-)

    Reading this (and the earlier related articles too) made me so happy and calmly relaxt, that my consciousness went down so much that I had the feeling of my brain being in perfect agreement with you while you have been writing it ;-)...

  11. Great idea a priori for California to split imo. We should do the same in Europe!

  12. Thanks, lucretius. You are always interesting. I must reserve judgment, as only the ignorant can do in good conscience, and look forward to Lubos's reply.

  13. I like the poor memory theme as a time traveling aid. As an additional aid to samsara and the wheel of life I like the conservation of consciousness theme as embodied by entanglement with other souls in other parts of space-time, perhaps in the nuclei of black holes or neutron stars as Bose Einstein Condensates, viz., Polchinski or Penrose/Hameroff.

  14. It was said that Pythagoras could remember four of his previous lives in detail. Lubos likes Pythagoras, so he might favor this story. :-)

    Actually, many people claim to remember previous lives. I know, I know, they're full of it. But I know of one case that's somewhat impressive. A friend of mine was an amateur hypnotist. Once, at a house party, he hypnotized a woman, whereupon her voice, accent, and manner changed, and she acted confused. Upon questioning by my friend, she indicated that she was a male farm hand in 19th-century Canada. (The party was in Southern California.)

  15. "Chiko"? Wow, you Slavs and Northern Europeans really go for the K's! :-) The letter K sort of doesn't really exist in Spanish, except for use in foreign words. BTW, Anthony Watts lives in or near Chico.

  16. I wonder if there's any chance the six-states proposal is aimed at preventing secession. There are more moderate proposals to divide California into 2 or 3 states. Six-states would make the public think that secession movements were idiotic, so they'd reject all secession proposals.

  17. Re time travel, I recommend Jack Finney's novels Time and Again (1970) and From Time to Time (1995). They're moving, but aside from that, the method of time travel is interesting: In every city there's at least one place that hasn't changed since the late 1800s. You go to such a place, and you concentrate or meditate, and this sends you back to the 1800s. It's like the idea of quantum-entanglement across time.

    In the interests of science, I insist that you try it in Pilsen! And be sure to tell everyone that's what you're doing! :-)

  18. Hi Smo"c"ing Frog,

    yup, I always find it a priori silly to have two letters C,K for the same sound K. We use "C" for the sound "ts".

    The less I know a word, the more li"c"ely I am to write it phonetikally which means "K" in the place of the sound "K".

    I wouldn't kall Germans - and especially Swiss and Austrians - Northern Europeans even though they know just li"c"e we do that even Kalifornia itself is spelled "Kalifornien", and so on.


  19. Smoking Frog, I heard similar stories before but I also recently heard that there is a recognised psychological pathology when people affected do change their accent.

  20. I've heard of that, too, but I don't recall the details. Something I do recall is reading that in a person with multiple personality disorder, several physical signs may differ among the personalities, including visual acuity and blood pressure.

  21. The C-K twists above were deliberate.

    Seriously? You're not pulling my leg? :-)

    I suppose it's possible that "chico" has Indian origin, but in Spanish it means "boy" or at least it's less formal "boy." (The formal "boy' is "muchacho.") So I think the test would be whether "chico" is used in Spain, i.e., not just Latin America. BTW, there's a town in California called Manteca (lard).

  22. However, there is no real proof that consciousness really has to be forever inexplicable and eternally separated from the "materialist" properties of the brain that are accessible to conventional natural sciences.
    I fully agree with that statement and there actually are suggestions that the contrary is true.
    The brain is 2% of our weight but uses 20 % of the energy.
    Now only a few % of the used energy are necessary to treat the sensory input, the huge majority is spent in oscillating activities which have no obvious use.
    Now it is supposed that these spontaneous activities where separate areas of the brain engage in various more or less synchronised oscillatory behaviours are precisely the basis of consciousness.
    Indeed it would be hard to believe that the Nature after 1 billion of years of evolution would promote totally useless energy consuming devices which would decrease the life expectancy instead of increasing it.
    Other neuroscientific theories develop the idea that consciousness defined as self awareness is a brain function with an obvious high added value so that it justifies both the energy consumption and the very sophisticated collective behaviour among the 100 billions of neurons.
    So basically "consciousness" would be an emerging property of the neuronal activity aiming at allowing to the brain to separate inside and outside, me and the world, subjective and objective.
    If one follows such ideas (I do), then the problem is indeed horribly complicated because "consciousness" would be an emerging property of holistic brain dynamics and not some local property of a set of neurones and their interactions.
    In any case all these studies and theories fully based on physics and the laws of nature clearly indicate that any concept connected to the brain activity, be it consiousness, predicting activity or form recognition will receive one day an answer 100% linked to local or non local brain dynamics and properties.

  23. Thanks for these lessons of basic Spanish that I may have known at some time! ;-)

  24. Interesting thoughts, Tom, but I would be among those who don't understand how an abstract question of "self-awareness" could be answered by engineering observations about energy efficiency etc.

  25. Very interesting articles.

    I saw this yesterday (while looking for the other movie), similar in some things.
    (Hardly remembered how improve some movies with marijuana:)

  26. Yes. "Chico" is commonly used in Spain.

  27. The impeachment vote was patently null and void. The politically correct guys of course say it was simply ''controversial''. People supporting parties like Svoboda here in the West even don't deny that they're violating the law, they say it's good and the ''measures are extraordinary''. It's ironic how the Communist Party faction also votes unanimously in support of their former arch-enemies' proposals. No-one dares to vote against on any such proposals, some Regionals simply do not vote or vote neutral. Yanukovich can well argue that the key Rada votes were made under duress. .

  28. Well actually it is not so abstract and has been studied experimentally years ago like in e.g in the Conscious Mental Field Theory : ( )
    The Bereitschaftspotential has been discovered experimentally and is a fact.
    Regardless whether Libet is fully , partly or not at all right, there is a connection between brain processes and the energy they consume.
    Also when, where, why and how energy is consumed is obviously paramount because energy will be allocated where it is needed so this knowledge gives important hints about what brain processes matter most.
    For instance if you find out that in some system 80% of energy are used in unknown ways that we don't understand, you may safely conclude that we don't understand the system itself.
    Basically and this is known, the question of self awareness can be reinterpreted by asking how the brain achieves to create unified representations of reality when they are parametrised by a large number of local and spatially separated areas/processes (f.ex sight processes).
    Such a unification can only happen if these different spatial areas concerned start interacting and this interactions will obviously need energy.
    Therefore many researchers infer from that that this apparently "useless" energy going in this kind of global oscillating/synchronizing processes that are observed but not understood, could be called awareness of oneself and the universe e.g consciousness.
    Again, I do not advocate any theory in particular but I have read much about neurosciences and am convinced that ANY brain process be it predicting, doing maths or self awareness will be one day explained (certainly not in a classical strictly deterministic way) and predicted by the scientific method and will appear as being just some particular mode of brain dynamics.

  29. Lubos. You concern yourself with the Ukraine, but you have to look further a field. What type of society do we want in the future. That is what Kiev is all about. But it does not throw up many pointers. You must look to Venezuela where Maduro is riding a storm of protest. And knowing you, you would condemn him. In England we have those that would pursue the Harrowgate Agenda, but it deals with the machine of politics but not its driving force. Marx analysed the structure and modus operandi of capitalism, and very succinctly analysed the developments of society to the present era. And yes what we have seen is the impoverishment of the middle class, driving it further into the ranks of the proletariat. The disparity between the haves and the have not's is jaw dropping. One could say that capitalism works for the rich. However it wasn't communism that invented PC's or Commodore 64's. The driving force for those inventions was the free market. And one that can make mistakes. WhatsApp was invented, discovered whatever, by two guys that were turned down by Facebook. Under Soviet Communism they would never have had a voice. Whether any of the valuations turn out to be fruitful is anyone's guess. What we do know is that bureaucracy would have crushed it. Proof - the first 8086 used in the Soviet space programme used a die master that included a deliberately included error track. Proof of reverse engineering.
    I know that the famous quote of the consensus is "well submit your own papers to peer review". Well what sort of society do you envisage. And how are the economic levers to be deployed. Do you envisage no taxes and winner takes all. Or do we acknowledge that some in society can not survive the rat race? Do you want them to survive? Are they to be voted out with only the rich having votes proportionate to their wealth? Do you really want Kiev Independence Square writ one hundred thousand fold?
    These people do not understand what they are asking for. It is the EUSSR!!! It is no accident that the Maurice Strong's of this world gravitate to China. They as so many of their counterparts see Chinese Communism as the way forward. Society politic governed from the top with the mechanism beneath solely driven by profit. Homes and villages destroyed driven by the common good. 15,000 miles of High Speed Railroad laid down in 10 years where it took Britain 150 years to lay an equivalent network of low speed lines.
    I struggle for the outlines of a future. As Trotsky wrote shortly before his death, "Life is beautiful, let future generations cleanse it from all that is ugly."
    Do you Lubos want an ugly society, do you want only the rich to have a decent quality of life? Are the rest to be condemned to a life of relative poverty? Tell us your vision of the future.
    And why did I start with Venezuela. Simples!! Because there we have reached a cross roads. The Marxists call for the transformation of society by demanding the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy. The banks, the foreign assets etc etc. But underneath there are huge classes who do not want this dictatorship from above. They know that workers control comes with state control. Plurality is the determining factor. Lenin once said that when everyone is a bureaucrat, no one is a bureaucrat But the structures that are thrown up create a bureaucracy where command passes to one. Stalinism created the modern Ukraine. Khrushchev once stated that "We were up to our armpits in blood" during the second world war. Are these people to be condemned to a future based on a pogrom.
    I don't know, perhaps you can enlighten us.

  30. Dear Brian, I don't think that your Marxist commercial has anything to do with the Ukrainian matters. But you ask what society I want.

    I finally want a society that is free of this idiotic dishonest Marxist brainwashing about the proletariat, "impoverishment of the middle class", starvation of the poor, and the need for equality, among relatead things. I've experienced this shit for almost half of my life and it's been enough, indeed.

    Egalitarianism is a form of cancer and people promoting are tumors - and also liars because no one is really starving to death. Yes, I think that the state-guaranteed redistribution should be limited at most to bare survival and yes, I think that it is currently many many times greater than it should be.

  31. Thanks, Fer137.

  32. Just a few remarks regarding Ukraine: it is interesting to notice that it is the national diplomacies (Germany, Poland) that are at work, and not the EU diplomacy which is totally inexistant. The EU is only good to threat and blackmail.

    Ukraine belongs to Ukrainians.

    Kiev was Russia's cradle. 1/3 of the population is russophone.

    The EU made false promises to them and these were the reasons why the chaos came. With an average wage of 300€/month Ukraine cannot join the EU.

    The EU has just accepted Croatia without asking any countries for their opinions. Soon Albania and Macedonia will join without European people fully aware of the consequences. The EU has a plan of its own.

  33. Actually one thing is correct - there is virtually nothing positive on Putin's Russia and the fact that you don't see it point at your endless naivete.
    To be sure I know very well Russia - in its Breznev version, in its Eltsine version and in its Putin version.
    OK let's see:
    - balanced budget.
    - low debt
    - average unemployment (compared to "advanced" countries like France, Italy or Spain)
    - correct growth (same comparison basis)
    - positive trade balance
    - huge increase of industrial productivity (almost doubled from 2001)
    - stable currency
    - no gay marriage laws
    - agressive desecrators of traditions like Pussy Riots judged and sentenced
    Etc etc.
    Not saying that there are not some things that can and will still improve.
    Especially when one knows what the starting point was - Russia in 1992 was a completely f...d up bankrupt country.
    But this short list of things so positive that every western country would dream of, just shows that you have not a clue about Russia,, its economy and more generally about anything.

  34. Eugene: "In that region on the far right side of the Bell curve where it tapers off to become nearly asymptotically flat, a.k.a. Lubošland, "


  35. Paul Craig Roberts is clearly nuts, whatever else you might think about him.

  36. FWIW, Steve Sailer does not believe that Jews "are "leeches and parasites." In fact I am a big fan of his and no one (yet) has ever accused me of being an anti-Semite.

    I think it would be more accurate to say, regarding Sailer's position (and my own too I suppose) is that some Jews have the faults that you list, not all, not most, in fact only a few, but that those few deserve to be criticized because they do have undue influence.

    On of the things about Ashkenazis (and let's face it it is Ashkenazis not Jews we are taling about) is that they seem to have higher variance on almost any personality trait you can name. Thus their are more jerks and more saints, more vulgarians and more aesthetes, more boors and more gentlemen. The problem is that the sore thumbs stick out so, giving a bad name to the millions of (as Heertzl called them) mediocre Jews who are more or less like everybody else except a little smarter.

    Also, another risky generalization: left-wing Jewish intellectuals are remarkable for their political naivite and for their ignorance of the secular history of their own people: all they remember are the pograms.

    Anyway, when it comes to Ashkenazis I admit I discriminate. I only like the good ones.

  37. Dear Luke, I haven't called you an antisemite although you may well be one:

    -- Obsessive-compulsive interest in Jews: check
    -- Claiming an influence for Jews far out of proportion to reality: check
    -- Blaming Jews for ills of modern society: check
    -- Making excuses for full-time antisemites: check

    In any case, I have decided that dialogue with you is a waste of my time, ever since you claimed (without evidence) that Jews were to blame for the decline in the standard of living and the end of full employment for blue-collar workers in the U.S.

    I expended 1000+ words on explaining to you some of the actual causes for such shifts in society, you came back with a non-responsive paragraph that showed you either hadn't read or hadn't understood what I wrote.

    Sorry, but I feel that life is too short for me to spend time on conversation with you.

  38. ''And yes what we have seen is the impoverishment of the middle class, driving it further into the ranks of the proletariat. The disparity between the haves and the have not's is jaw dropping.'' - commies have been arguing this for centuries by now ;) The truth however is exactly the opposite for democratic countries with reasonable economic policies. Like Japan.

    There are serious economists who have claimed e.g. that real incomes for poorer Americans have not been rising for some decades, however, the talk is about stagnation, not impoverishment. Now, the surest thing proving the Marxists' wet dream i.e. the impoverishment and growth of the ''revolutionary proletariat'' in the Western world is not taking place is the fact that Marxists themselves do not act in accordance with such theories when it comes to real politics.

    Since 1960s the Western Marxists have been aligning with all kinds of minority/marginal groups. For some time, the issues have been gay rights (but until 1960s, commies called homosexuality a ''bourgeois perversion'' btw), then the ''rights of the immigrants'' came, now it is first and foremost ''the rights of the Muslims''. The western commies are the staunchest supporters of the folks who demand Sharia law in our countries, not because the Marxist theory would prescribe it (in fact, orthodox Marxism would necessitate ruthless struggle against such ''religious reactionaries'') , but because Muslims are the closest possible thing the commies would get to a ''revolutionary vanguard'' these days (i.e. opposition to our western way of life). The native ''proletariat'' is quite happy with the slow but sure rise in standards of living.

  39. Eugene, I am surprised at your reaction. An better case I think can be made that I am a philo-Semite, especially since I converted to Judaism (reform, Mitzbah congregation, Chattanooga, TN) back during the Zionism is Racism controversy at the UN and have been a staunch and faithful supporter of the state of Israel and defender of the Jewish people ever since. (See my The Torah and the West Bank for evidence, which you can find on the web.)

    I never talk about "the Jews" as such, nor very seldom do I talk about "the Ashkenazis" as such, apart from such comments as the ones above. The ancient Hebrews and their descendants are, together with the ancient Greeks, one of the seminal groups in Western culture and civilization, besides which they are in many ways unique, outstanding, and altogether fascinating as a sociological and historical phenomenon. Nothing human is alien to me. Why shouldn't I be interested.

    Now, if you will just withdraw your supposition that I "might" be an anti-Semite I will be happy. yours sincerely, Luke

  40. Luke, if I were you I would have told Eugene to fuck off.

  41. Well, no, Shannon, that's my way. But since I always post under my real name I do think it is important to protect my reputation for honesty and for not being a racist/anti-Semite or other kind of bigot engaged in hate. I am a private person and so have a right not to be libelled or slandered, at least I think I do. There was a guy, Lexington Green I think it was, who once accused me of being a racist. When I threatened to begin civil action against him he withdrew his remark. I plan to do the same with Eugene if he doesn't withdraw his. I might not win the case but it will cost him some money -- and, most important of all, my reputation will not be besmirched for no good reason.

    Just Google my name, Luke Lea, together with terms like Jew, Israel, anti-Semitism, etc., and see if by any possible description I can be considered an anti-Semite. No way.

  42. CentralCharge15

    The APODs and politicians ganging up in chat have really no clue about what is legitimate theoretical physics is and what is crack

    This is why they should not be allowed to review questions about theoretical topics. Every honest reasonable person usually refrains from overstepping his knowledge in a way as the APODs do in the review queue.

    And now they are even ganging up against mbq behind his back, in order to fetch mod powers themself as tpgxxxx said in chat

    And all of the mods elegantly ignore my flag on the meta post saying that it should be featured because the whole community (including the physicists on the site) should be aware of such important issues instead of the political clique who is continuously licking a well hidden part of the mods bodies ;-), taking such far reaching decisions on its own ...

    If one of the APODs gets a mod position on that site, I will import my posts to my offline test site, slowly remove what I can from Physics SE, before they get it ...

    However, the technical private beta of PhysicsOverflow going rather nice has the effect that the political clique drives me a bit less far up the wall than usually ... ;-)

  43. Whoever is interested in separation of countries and Klaus etc. Klaus gave a talk at an Austrian palace yesterday:

    He talks not as a regionalism expert etc. but as about an economist and the most important person behind the most peaceful and smooth separation of a state in the world history.

    It's important that we acknowledged the rights to have a sovereign state; reject all "third ways" (sovereignty is a Yes/No binary quantity); we appreciated the positive role of some homogeneity of the state; we refused the interventions from abroad, and so on. It was a success.

  44. I am finding it more and more difficult to remain in any way enthused by the site at all - most of my questions are unanswered. What gets me is that the response I get is that my questions are outside their expertise - however, they are capable of research - but choose not to. The fact is, the 'popular' clique there tend to shun Atmospheric Science - which may be on topic, but is ignored on Physics.SE

  45. (Graduate-Level) Atmospheric Physics should, by right, be on-topic on Physics Overflow, since it falls into the category of "Graduate-Level Physics" and is not exactly Engineering, ...

  46. Could not really tolerate there anymore - my account is now deleted on Physics.SE, not that they would care.

  47. And have you seen what Dmckee has done here ?

    Community moderation is completely pointless because ot the their mod powers abusing jerks. The community just reopend a question and a mod comes along and shoots it down ...?!
    And Dmckee clearly advocates that generally not a single question on Physics SE is save, even the best and by the community most appreciated questions can by the ruling clique of politicians or APODs or their power abusing mods haphazardly be shot down any time.

    And this ruling clique gives a damn about what very knowledgeable people such as Lumo, Emilio Pisanthy, or even maths and physics professors say. At best such knowledgeable people are grudgingly tolerated by the ruling clique, and at worst they are actively driven away like Ron and Idear.

    There is nothing wrong with Physics SE being nothing but a playground for politicians and SE disciples who want to play physics as the Website is owned by SE and they can do with it what they want.
    But they should stop dishonestly pretending in the about that the site is for students, researchers, and academics of physics and astronomy (since the last elections such people are no longer weilcome), and spread wrong claims about the site to lure good people into spending time and effort there under false promises.

  48. Oh I am sorry for you :-/

  49. Some people are such cry-babies, always running to the teachers for support when other kids do something they dont like or disagree with

    At school there were also those strivers cleverly playing up to the teachers to always getting their personal will enforced with their help ...

    The continuous ganging together of the political clique in chat or meta to make the life of people who want to seriously learn, study, and do physics on the site more troublesome and difficult than it should be on a physics site has become really disgusting.