Mea Culpa from the Priesthood

D-Wave kicks Goals
D-Wave: The Quantum Computing Company That Could

I continue to be enthused by the efforts of D-Wave Systems from Burnaby, Canada:

The Quantum Computing Company That Could

These intrepid folks have overcome the most extreme and vitriolic attacks from other members of the physics community. Rather than welcome the new approach signified by quantum annealing and adiabatic computing, the Academic Physics community issued a constant stream of negative commentary, ridicule and invective.

In their minds, the idea was pure poison, an idea to be opposed because it undermined their faith that a quantum computer should look like a classical computer! It must use gates and support the belief in quantum parallelism. Any other ideas about what constitutes computation were Verboten!

To anybody, like me, who researched quantum computing in the early days (for me starting in 1986) who was familiar with other approaches, this extreme fixity of mind always seemed as foolish as it was ignorant. Unknown, to quantum computing zealots, von Neumann himself had rejected the model of computation embodied in the von Neumann architecture. He did not think gates, or circuits based on switches, were anything but an interim idea. Physical computing is engineering, it requires creativity.

Not so for the Zealots! They had imbibed Feynman and they knew that gate based computing was the way to do things properly. Such certainty must be Bliss!

It is Bliss until it becomes a Living Hell.

Now we are at the very early stages of One Giant Backlash.

Perhaps the most manful of the early detractors to step up is Seth Lloyd. A researcher of significant accomplishment in quantum computing theory, Lloyd was recently quoted in a BBC story on the D-Wave-NASA-Google tie up as saying:

“I was probably wrong, and [Lockheed and D-Wave] were probably right”

This is in reference to his opinion that the device would not work, in spite of his own early involvement in the theoretical development of adiabatic quantum computing.

It is to be hoped that other scientists have the decency and honesty of Seth Lloyd.

The last two decades in quantum computing and quantum information sciences research have been ones of stupendous Lost Opportunity.

Very early in the development of the subject, somewhere around 1990, there was an unwarranted “closing of the mind”. We saw a select few approaches, a few among many, anointed as conventional wisdom. These select few ideas then garnered all the attention and funding dollars. The result has been an unmitigated disaster of scientific puffery of the worst kind. It has been a dreadful period of unscientific misadventure.

Thankfully, one very committed group of researchers and their investors have now shattered that world for good. Creativity is now unbound and possible.

I had gotten heartily fed up with the claims made by a few defending their “superior” knowledge and insight to distort the scientific landscape of what is “known” and what is considered “fact” and what is held as “viable” for research purposes.

This has led to a greatly distorted and warped research agenda which is overly narrow and has proven to be spectacularly unsuccessful as compared with the committed program of exploration pursued by Geordie Rose and his team at D-Wave.

Hat’s off to D-Wave!

They may well end this suffocating Dark Age which has so restricted scientific progress over the last twenty years. There is so much more that can be done in taking physics to the next level of scientific inquiry.

If we are to take those giant leaps forward we must end the Zealotry and Academic Feather-Bedding which has so bedeviled research in quantum measurement, quantum information, quantum computing and quantum cryptography.

We need a return to principles of honest scientific discourse. A properly engaged dialogue that is not caught up in the endless perpetuation of whatever dogmatic viewpoint serves the self-interest of so-called leaders in the field.

There are real advances to made in quantum theory.

Hell, in the field of self-field electrodynamics we already have a candidate new theory of quantum fields! In the work of Barut and others, you have an actual live body of referred work going back twenty-five years, which lays out a cogent and very credible basis for a new version of QED that is non-perturbative.

Why has nobody heard of this? Why are funding dollars not committed to figuring out experimental signatures of that theory and its fuller development?

I think I know why… it is the same reason D-Wave attracted such opprobrium. Those reckless Canadians at D-Wave dared to back the Dark Horse and it came home.

They were punished mercilessly for breaking ranks and trying something original!

Elsewhere, you now have a bunch of overweight, overfed and inbred Nags to put down.

It is the same in many fields of Academic physics. Money goes to whomever can form the greatest and most vocal Mystery Cult. It is not science anymore to back crap when there are better avenues available, however unpopular they may have been.

Those are the actions of a self-perpetuating Priesthood, not a community of minds who are committed to find the truth. Once you allow such attitudes to take root, as they have done, then you are left with a stupid H-Index Fueled Fund Feast:

Who can garner the most Funding Heat for the least amount of Scientific Light.

The contemporary patterns of behavior are insane!

I am hopeful that the D-Wave affair, once the true scale of it becomes public, will at least shame a few of the worst perpetrators to clean up their own scientific act.

It has been a shambles for two decades and the time for real change is now upon us.

I have my own wee challenge to get on with. When that is done, I think we can put a whole stable full of Old Nags down and fire up the glue factory.

Science and Engineering will be better for it.

All hail those Reckless Canadians from Burnaby!

They may well have saved the very soul of physics.

Introduction to Mongol Physics

Mongol #1: Erwin SchroedingerMongol #1: Erwin Schroedinger
In my view, the Academic Physics Community remain light years from comprehending their task to Fix Quantum Theory. This is why we embarked on the idea of Privateer Science and the Mongol Physics project.

The issue is not any lack of intelligence on the part of Academics. On the contrary, it is probably an acute excess of misspent brain power and a marked deficiency in practical commonsense. In particular, the Academic community seem to be unprepared for the idea that they will need to rebuild the entire quantum theory. Yes, you heard me right… all of it. Not incremental improvement, but radical improvement.

This may seem a little drastic, but I for one am quite convinced that this is necessary. Not only do I think it is necessary, I also think it is feasible within five years from now.

In actuality, I think it could happen a lot faster than that. However, Academics are slow learners and seem poor at taking direction. They are unlikely to comprehend the need or the necessary focus for effort. They are all trying to be brilliant in small ways rather than wise in expansive fashion. This has made them: discovery ineffective.

Hence my target of five years is really a target that calls on the skills of dedicated amateurs. Ordinary Mongols like you, out foraging on the Steppes of the Internet.

I will write more on this in the next weeks and months, but I also have businesses to run and revenue to raise. People in the Real World do not have the luxury of Pontificating from an Ivory Minaret. We Mongols actually have to work for a living!

However, to kick things off please consult this resurrected conference post-print:

Quantization as a Nonlinear Eigenvalue Problem

In it you will find a statistical interpretation for nonlinear field theories.

In Academic land, you would spend a few centuries debating whether this was a good interpretation. In the world of Mongol Physics, this one is perfectly adequate for all practical purposes. If it is simple and works, just use it!

The important thing about it, the statistical interpretation that is, is that it functions fine as a means to compute the observable quantities of the theory. These are not spelled out in great detail in the above paper, but are generally things like one-body charge densities and currents. The very things Maxwell knew how to observe.

One does not actually need to dwell on this very much, because the real work comes when you re-build quantum field theory. To do that one has to accomplish several additional tasks. These are mainly to do with re-tracing the history of the original development of QFT and taking a different road at each major turn.

That you can do this represents the fun part of Mongol Physics.

The Academic Community don’t know there may be an alternative quantum field theory because they never actually looked for it. They always assumed there could not ever be one, which is why we don’t ask them for help. They are certain there is none.

In short, they won’t help with this project because they can’t help. Their mental blinkers prevent them from even looking and you won’t find it if you don’t look!

However, you, my Good Mongol, can help.

All you need to do is start thinking like Erwin Schroedinger

The above paper deals with the first steps along that road: realizing that the problem of quantized values can be understood as a nonlinear eigenvalue problem.

That means: no operator fields required.

Once you get past that first hurdle, things get a lot easier.

Think of this whole Mongol Physics caper as being like the plot of that very cheesy war movie: The Final Countdown. The one where the Nimitz Aircraft Carrier goes back in time to fight the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

The Mongol Horde go back in time and come back with a Superior Quantum Field Theory! Superior in every way… non-perturbative, and finite, with added gravity.

The rest, as they say… is History.

The Color Blue

Faster than Light TravelAdvanced_Test_Reactor.

Physics seems in desperate need of a Religion of its Own.

You see this every day.

Theories of Everything.

Theories of Anything.

Theories of Nothing.

This is a group of people who desperately want to believe in Something.

The Mongol feels the Pain of this Community.

The Mongol has decided to give Physics a Religion of Their Own.

It is called the color Blue.

Henceforth, the Physics Community will worship the color Blue.

It is no ordinary color. It is a special color. Only to be rejected under Pain of Death!

There may be some dispute, but there is only one True Shade of that color.

It is the True Color Blue.

It is Čerenkov Blue

It is the Blue of Eternal Heaven.

All true Mongols can appreciate the color of Faster than Light Travel.

The Warrior-Scout Spirit

Capt Reginald Walter Jones, MC, MM
Capt Reginald Walter Jones, MC, MM a deadly rifle shot

Today is an appropriate day to remember my grandfather, Capt. Reginald Walter Jones, MC, MM of the 14th Battalion of the 1st AIF. He was a decorated and highly effective Scout-Sniper and Company Commander in World War I.

He had a good war, meaning he survived, while his two brothers Cpl. Llewellyn Rowland Jones, MM (K.I.A. France. 18th September 1918) and Sgt. Raymond Leslie Jones (K.I.A. France. 11 April 1917) did not return.

In the case of Ray, 128 or more men of the 14th were K.I.A. on that day alone, not to mention the next. They were very ugly battles in those days. He was killed along with a total of 2260 men from the 4th Brigade in the infamous Battle of Bullecourt:

“So ended the Battle of Bullecourt, the most disastrous, the most bloody, yet perhaps the most glorious day in the history of the 4th Brigade.”
History of the 14th Battalion, AIF, by Newton Wanliss, 1929

People cannot relate to such things now, it seems incredible.

Nor do they remember Jones of the 14th, because the role of a Scout-Sniper is not well understood outside of the theater of operations.

If you want to know what a Scout-Sniper actually does, think of the character of SFC Norm “Hoot” Gibson in the movie Black Hawk Down.

That movie character was in fact based on an amalgam of real-life people: SFC John Macejunas, SFC Norm Hooten and SFC Matthew Rierson and their exemplary conduct at the Battle of Mogadishu.

That is what Jones and Jacka did during World War I, in and around the trenches and No Mans Land of the Dardenelles, Turkey and the Fields of Messines, France. There were no special forces or commando units then.

Certain men just volunteered themselves for the tricky jobs and got them done: Capts. Jones and Jacka at Messines. Jacka in the Dardenelles for a Victoria Cross.

Jones, Jacka and Wanliss
Jones, Jacka and Wanliss

Although Jones enlisted as a Private, the Army soon figured out that he was a deadly rifle shot and promoted him. As in any war, the best shooters become snipers. With that, naturally goes the role of scout. This involves missions to probe the enemy and determine threats, and to find weaknesses in their defenses.

Such work requires men who are very resourceful, quick-witted, and fearless under fire. Their role requires high powers of observation and intuitive perception. This means they often work alone. A good scout may stake his own life on his own intuition and abilities, but will not risk the life of others without cause.

That is why scout-snipers often appear to be outsiders. They make a wall. Reg did that.

However, that does not make them poor leaders of men. On the contrary, Capt. Jones led companies in France in action alongside those led by his good mate Jacka. Jones of the 14th was by then a highly regarded combat veteran, and counted as one of the “three or four best men”, in the AIF, in the company of that deservedly famous soldier Capt. Albert Jacka, VC MC and Bar, according to the official War History.

Jones was effective in command, and as a soldier, because he was single-minded and had a simple view on leadership by example.

Strategy according to Jones:

Form a Shooting Gallery and stock it with the finest riflemen in the Battalion.

Tactics according to Jones:

Shoot every man who pops up his head, stone cold dead.

Risky Business - Gun Shot Wound to Shoulder
Risky Business – Gun Shot Wound to shoulder from opposing sniper

He was never a cruel man, but he knew the enemy sniper was a clear and present threat to him and his men. It is the threat, and not the man, that must be eliminated.

It was that simple.

The sniper's curse: bullet fragment in the eye from opposing sniper ricochet.
The sniper’s curse: bullet fragment in the eye from opposing sniper ricochet.

As a sniper, he accounted for over fifty Turkish soldiers and snipers in the Dardanelles. He was shot several times himself by enemy snipers and lost many mates, shot right beside him. They would work in teams of two with periscope and often one got hit.

In later life, he would recount such tales of war. It was never with pride at having taken the fathers and sons of many families. He was a deeply religious man who lost many friends and both his brothers in the Great War. However, he did consider that he had shot well. He had shot across ravines, through brushes, and dust and swirling smoke at ranges of up to a mile in harsh and deadly conditions. That was the only thing he really took pride in. He did his duty, shot well and survived.

Understandably, while he had a good war, he had a difficult peace.

Even today, the Special Forces and other highly demanding roles for the professional soldier are not well regarded. Society does not rightly understand what it demands of young men and women when we send them off to war.

This is very unfair to such men and women. They do their duty for their country at great personal physical and psychological risk. We demand a Titanium Psyche of them and we really should respect them for taking on such a burden.

Reg certainly had a powerful psychic presence. That I recall, but we did not interact much when I was a child. He passed away before I was five.

In truth, he scared the Living Daylights out of me.

However, as any small boy, I did admire his 0.303 Lee-Enfield rifle. That was some kind of weapon, designed for a shooting war with two opposing galleries and a mountain of mud and guts in between. That 0.303 is what got Capt. Jones through the war.

That, and a very cool head for risky situations.

The official history describes Jones as an “aggressive” soldier, however he had a clean war record, all 174 pages of it. Occasionally, he would get into minor skirmishes with superiors over this and that, but nothing serious. In our family, the story was told that he was busted for jumping ship in Italy to go and see Rome, because he did not want to: “Come this far and miss it.” However, I could find no mention of that in the war record. In any case, if he was busted, he was very soon promoted once more.

The AIF so respected Capt. Jones that when he asked for something he got it. He had been shot up a lot already, and then his brother Ray was killed in action at the very bloody Battle of Bullecourt. His mother and sister became sick with grief and worry. At his request, the AIF gladly sent him back to Melbourne for two months with their blessing. Then he went straight back to the front in France.

Special leave granted to return home and comfort his family.
Special leave granted to return home and comfort his family.

People say the Word War I command was harsh.

The Australian Command were tough yes, but in the AIF they respected good men.

Jones never shirked a battle, but was often in hospital. On one occasion, he manged to blow his own thumb off when probing a captured German Flare Thrower. The official War Record makes very clear this was an accident and was no fault of Jones himself. People today would not understand what that means. In those days, if you shirked a battle through intentional self-wounding, the command could, in their rights, have you Shot as a Deserter. That’s War. No Shirkers. No running from what needs doing.

Reg blows his thumb off by accident.
Oops! Reg blows his thumb off by accident.

The highlight for the military career of Capt. Reginald Walter Jones was his award of the Military Cross for a daring raid in France. He covered 800 yards of open ground under heavy machine gun and sniper fire to disable and capture a German gun emplacement. He captured three 77mm German guns and a large cache of ammunition. The result was an advance of the whole line by 800 yards at one stroke.

Commendation for Military Cross: This operation resulted in an advance of 800 yards into hostile territory, he displayed the greatest tactical skill and judgment throughout.
Commendation for Military Cross: This operation resulted in an advance of 800 yards into hostile territory, he displayed the greatest tactical skill and judgment throughout.

Not a Bad Day Out in France for a Bloke from St Kilda!

True to form, Reg got himself shot, just enough, by accident, and not too much: through the cheek and neck. That was an MC. The wily fellow was sharp enough not to get himself killed and risk a posthumous VC.

The real prize and commendation was to: advance the line and survive.

Today, of all days, I am proud to remember my grandfather: Capt. Reginald Walter Jones, MC, MM (returned). I am especially proud of the last citation: returned.

I have to say, I was not always proud though. Sometimes, the whole family history really creeped me out. When I was a child, I would say to the other children in the playground:

My Grandfather, Reg, shot fifty Turkish snipers at the Dardenelles!

Then the other kids would not play with me, so I never ever spoke of it again.

However, now I am older, and wiser. The veteran of my own battles, I say:

My Grandfather, Reg, sniped for The King so he could go hunt Grouse!

That is the proper division of labor in any society:

Those who can shoot, Snipe.

Those who can’t shoot, hunt Grouse.

I really hope my grandfather can hear that now.

It would bring a smile to his sometimes strained face.

He was a good man: “Jones of the 14th”, and I am proud to be his grandson.

On ANZAC day, my thoughts go out to all who have fought, loved and lost in a War.

Takin’ Care o’ Business

Book of the Samurai
Hagekure: The Book of the Samurai

“Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.”

HAGAKURE, Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1719)

In the outrageous 1974 film Network, an important new worldview was exposed, perhaps even more important and socially penetrating for this exact social moment than the tired and cliched stereotypes of Coppola’s The Godfather. A worldview explained in the marvelous dialogue between the supposedly radical Mr Beale and the Chairman:

The famous Corporate Cosmology scene.

This worldview has much in common with the Many-Worlds philosophy of Hugh Everett III, as well as to the possible future of the “Academy”. What is a University when they are now offering their lecturing material for free through the internet?

It seems that the ponderous Medieval Scholastic academic profile, so celebrated through the ceremony, fancy hats, robes and all, is now officially a dinosaur. The meteorite has struck! It is a dying relic of the past in a world where computing machines become more and more intelligent and decision making is awarded and divided between both man and machine alike. They must now form a team and get along with one another.

(Ed. Bravo, my good Mongol! We are now on a journey to the Post-Medieval World).

Surprisingly enough, both Marx and Popper always considered the traditional professional Guilds as enemies of an open society. We may think of this as still being true apart from any Messianic attitudes towards history.

(Ed. Guilds are anti-competitive. The Monastic Academy is the Biggest Guild of all. IMHO.)

There is evidence that future society will be a far more Open Society than ever. Consider the Mars One mission now in preparation. This is a truly private mission that garnered global private funding along with support from the Nobel Laureate Gerard T’Hooft.

The Mars One mission and mission philosophy is Radical.

It proposes to start Mars colonization inside ten years but at a price of a one-way ticket! After landing, there will be no turning back. You are Martian for good or ill!

(Ed. A classic Point of No Return strategy. Crash through or Crash. Shatter the Gloom Barrier, or Die Trying! Very Hagakure! No Frequent Flyer points on offer.)

From Mars One company data, it seems that there are already about 40,000 or so applications for an apparent suicide mission. Compare this with the very famous Shackleton Advertisement for the Voyage of the Endurance:


(Ed. Booyah! Men are not born Mice: they are only made so by weak leadership. Leave it to the Marines to get the job done! Lock and Load: Now ship those battle wagons out!).

Having heard this, I started thinking what would a future Martian educational system be like, as there will be families. It is known from evolutionary biology that isolation helps drive diversity. This is one of the reasons, for example, that animals in Australia seem to be so unique and strange. They spent millions of years in isolation from the other continents .

(Ed. Music to my furry little Aussie marsupial ears! We evolved Cold Beer you can Drink.)

I am really eager to see the University of Wild Marslands and how it will function. Pioneers are more practical as they have to resolve any number of new and unexpected situations for survival. As in the Yester-Years of American Colonization, old habits inspired by the European Aristocracy and Papal Authority gradually gave their place to new, more libertarian forms of social arrangement. This is the famous Frontiersman Spirit.

This time though, there will also be a new companion in the form of huge A.I. systems that will be created in the next decades and apparently they will also follow the human path to Mars and beyond in a purely symbiotic form.

(Ed. Never send a Fleshbot to do a Droid’s work in the Photosphere.)

An key element in Evolutionary Computing Strategies is the use of simultaneous alternative viewpoints. Academic stubbornness and conservatism will not help in an unknown terrain with lots of possible challenges along the way.

(Ed. Agree. Traditional Academia is now Combat Ineffective).

In order to cultivate this attitude, it seems imperative to abandon the follower’s stance of a dogmatic truth and develop an inner dialectic where one remains calm in the face of paradoxical and conflicting data.

(Ed. In Confucian China, the classical text the I Ching was used to mold minds prepared for command to accept the reality of change and opposites. This is vital under the Fog of War. Certainty is Certain Death. The Japanese Samurai tradition trained all warriors to be less certain of their logic. They must cultivate Intuitive Perception also, to maintain the supple mind. This is the skill of the Scouting-Warrior, the soul of all true Ninja.)

People that are treated from their childhood to have no clear cut and sharp distinction between opposites like “black” and “white” are perhaps a bit better at doing so.

Some teachings of Soft Martial Arts suggest the absolute complementarity of all movement. This is the art of leaving any mistakes to the opponent, even to eliminate the concept of opponency itself! In Zen philosophy, there is no opponent only a shared dynamic which creates an outcome.

A recent example of this Attitudinal Rigidity problem came from an interesting paper titled

Full characterisation of polarization states of light via direct measurement

which has been published in the eminent science journal Nature.  

But ain’t that supposed to be impossible? Would not a full knowledge of the quantum state come into conflict with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and undermine the whole Copenhagen School of Physics viewpoint?

(Ed. I have stated my own views on this already.)

The authors of course claim a certain use of strong and weak measurement that avoid collapsing the wave-function and so leave the system unperturbed.

But wait a minute! Ain’t that even more preposterous? And what do these crazy “weak” measurements really mean after all? I read a while ago in another blog about these Weakers being apostates of the worst kind. An unwelcome lot during the Recitation of Divine Liturgy. I think the blog was that of a sturdy Wavewatching Buccaneering Sailor from that shadowy harbor, down Treasure Island way!

But then, who cares any more? Computers of the future will still spit their own nice results, new incomprehensible theories will rise and fall, and most of all new territories will still be there to conquer on Mars or elsewhere.

Who will remember some old academic that had a vision problem a century from now?

Most of all, will it become possible to build a new kind of science closer to the Chairman’s vision in the Network movie? A nice, ecumenical company where everyone will hold a share of stock?

That I think would be worth pondering.

Rhyme and Revolution

Where to now? People suppose that society gravitates to order.

I do not think that the natural state is chaos. Mankind greatly prefers order. However, the creation of a Fresh Order is always difficult, particularly in the World of Ideas.

The Greeks were right. Man is a Teleological Creature, animated and propelled by spirit.

Here, I follow Carver Mead. His thoughts on physics energize me. They make sense.

His recent outing at an electrical engineering conference impressed me.

The essential point that he made is this:

Science Ultimately serves Humanity.

This goes double for the Engineer. If your ideas help no-one then why have them? You must develop and simplify your ideas to move us all forward.

Carver Mead has spoken of the Crisis in Physics. This once noble subject, which has served as the bedrock of Engineering, now seems to be a Rotting Corpse.

The people in it seem to have forgotten that Physics is useful, even if it is old physics. I would go further, the Old Physics is the most venerated and useful of the lot.

What do we see instead?

An endless obsession among Academic Physicists for: New Physics.

This is an ego-maniacal exercise on the part of the community to “Wipe the Slate Clean” and Enter the History Books. Hence the recent comment of Mead:

A Bunch of Big Egos are Strangling Science

I think he is damn right. On target, to perfection.

The essential problem is that Physics cannot change quickly. Nature does not change her laws. Why pretend that New Physics is Always Just Around the Corner?

This is lunacy. It is also damaging to young careers. Expectations are too high.

Classical Physics evolved continuously for some 300 or more years after Newton. The laws did not change but the depth of our understanding of them did.

That is the Clarion Call of Mead:

For God’s Sake People: Let us make the Present Quantum Theory Make Some Sense.

Consider this. The majority of Physicists will not rise to this challenge. They respond, weakly and wanly, in the spirit of Feynman:

Well, Gee, Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics!

Well, did you ever goddam try? Really! I like Feynman, but this crap really annoys me.

It is a holier-than-thou attitude. I am Feynman, I tried, and it did not work out for me.

Mead made a valiant attempt at this goal in his monograph Collective Electrodynamics.

The book seems to have received the same attention as his talks.


I find this perplexing.

How can people claim that it is legitimate to run around claiming all kinds of grand insights into speculative physics such as String Theory and then Pooh Pooh every considered effort to understand the: Goddam Theory We Already Got?

In my opinion, Mead is spot on in his critique. Laser sharp and right on target.

You may think his solution poor, but he goddam tried.

All the Big Egos are off very safely speculating on things that will never be examined.

The solution, I feel, is obvious.

Let Engineering Inherit the Earth.

Physics is One Lame Mule.

Put it down now. We could take the theory we got and just work hard at simplifying it.

I can see massive opportunity to do this already, and society is alive to understand Quantum Mechanics. For some bizarre reason, the public want to understand it.

Not the Teleportation Bullshit…

I mean understand how the world actually works without the Holy Wow Shit.

People want “To Get It!” They are hungry for actual real live working understanding.

So: Stop Bullshitting Folks! Stop pretending that blowing Opaque Colored Smoke out of Every High Priest Orifice counts for understanding. It Counts for Nothing.

It is a Ruffle Collar and a Purple Robe and Bunch Of Cryptic Latin Verse.

Right now, I see zero evidence of that among the carefully groomed Egos of Big Shots.

I see an endless: Fan the Flames of Confusion Ego Trip.

A droning dull as dog crap incantation: This stuff is so weird you will never ever get it.

Bullshit! That is why I am not a Physicist anymore.

It is just too Goddam Embarrassing.

I am a Quantum Engineer.

The Mongol Way

shootbackThe Mongol Way
I Genghis, Scourge of the High Priests of Quantum Zealotry, and fond admirer of the Color Blue of Eternal Heaven, do hereby declare:

1) The Mongol Horde shall only trade in: Marketable Theories of Something.

2) Trade in Theories of Anything, Everything and Nothing is: Punishable by Death.

3) Jousting for Mind Fluff, is permissible, but only on Feast Days, which are held daily.

4) Those traveling without a passport stamped “j” will be the: Object of a Game of Polo.

5) When a choice of color is involved it shall: involve Blue.

6) When no choice of color is involved it shall: be Blue.

7) There is no choice for the square root of minus one – It Shall be “j”, The Mongol Way.

8) Those under the banner of “i” shall be hunted down mercilessly – You “i” You Die!

9) Loyalty to “The Mongol Way” enjoins: Merchantable Solutions to Many Problems.

10) The Mongol Way is based on merit. You solve it, you enjoy the: Spoils of Plunder.

The Mongol Horde may lay siege to any problem under the: Blue of Eternal Heaven.

The Spoils of War are Yours when: The Back of Opposition is Broken.

Bury your Gold. Lock up your Horses, your Women and your Goats.

The Mongol is Coming!

The War of the Copenhagen Succession

War of the Spanish Succesion
War of the Spanish Succesion
The concept of a War of Succession is well established and deeply rooted in history.

In essence, it represents the natural human reaction to a Power Vacuum.

I may comment primarily on Physics, for this blog, but my audience should understand that economically I am a Professional Investor. Sure, I know physics and you will, by now, understand that I am opinionated (Ed. No, really? Ed. Yes, you Dozy Bastard!).

However, from a professional, earn my crust, battle-proven, perspective I am an Investor and Trader. The last qualification, the single word Trader, is significant.

Emphatically, it means I am a Turncoat.

I would just as happily buy you as sell you. Not You specifically, but my inventory exposed to the thoughts and actions of you as I perceive them. If I see a glut of Bananas coming then I will certainly sell you Bananas.

However, mostly, I will not appear eager to do so.

Why would I want you to know that I have too many bananas?

Well, even that depends. Perhaps you are a great customer and I will warn you?

Then again, perhaps not!

That is the thing about traders. They are, well, Traders. You can trust them but only if you move with the times. I say this because very many people despise traders. They say: Why do you first sell me bananas and now lemons?

Er, you got good grades in school: Work it Out!

Back to the War of Succession.

What has this historical phenomenon (repeated over and over and over again) have to do with trading? It is very simple. People are made differently, which is a Good Thing. Traders know which way the wind blows and when it blows they Change.

They have a knack for self-preservation. Like a Cat, they land on their feet. They are non-aligned and say things that will certainly piss off: Somebody – All of the Time.

You do not actually need many such people. Their function is limited and their craft is very murky. On the other hand, you do need many stalwart people who more or less assume humanity is: Well-Directed – Most of the Time.

In Roman terms, these people are the proverbial Salt of the Earth. They are good, hard-working, caring people who contribute actively to progress.

They are the Bulk of Society.

However, let me remind you of a strange geological fact.

Every so often, the magnetic field of the Earth reverses. What was the North magnetic pole becomes the South and vice-versa. I mention this fact, not because of any mystical connotation, but to explain for what reason a War of Succession happens. The majority of folks have no interest in Hacking the Kernel of Human Nature. However, if you want to be a good Trader, and certainly if you crave Excellence, you must.

When the magnetic field of the Earth reverses… that is a War of Succession.

People seek security in Authority because they are generally good, hard-working souls. They rightfully expect that authority, certainly Authority of Noble Descent, will reward them for their labor. That is reasonable, and the normal state of affairs.

Beware though! When the stars realign and the field switches polarity then: The Old Allegiances are Thrown into Chaos. The Ancient Greeks knew this well, from bitter experience, and invented a bunch of Remedies.

Tragedy, Poetry, Philosophy and many other sundry diversions including Wine!

Modern Man is ill equipped for the present shift in thinking. It takes many forms and is near Universal. Contrary to a bunch of popular nonsense, it has nothing to do with The Mayans, Astrology, Disaster, or the Urgent Need for Nuclear Weapons to Fry Incoming Asteroids. However, it has everything to do with finding new productive ways to live.

When traditionally productive activities are threatened then the Good Folk, who make things happen, who care little for hacking human nature, feel threatened. Indeed, they are Restless for a Reason.

The old ways of living are not working and so there is desperate search for New Authority. Often that involves the Canonizing of, or Demonizing of, Old Authority.

Just like Football Teams! This is Our Time, Right Now.

In such times, it pays to know History.

The title of this blog: The War of the Copenhagen Succession betrays my concern.

I see a great Foment of Activity about a simple fact: Modern Physics is in Crisis. It has just this year progressed from Theories of Everything to Theories of Nothing. This is a manifestation of Social Crisis. Niels Bohr, with help from Werner Heisenberg, gave us the quite useful Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. This concerns our deepest and most mysterious theory of how Nature works.

However, that theory is old now… 85 or 100 years old, depending on how you count it. Humanity has grown out of it, and asks questions which the theory denies entirely.

Ergo… the geomagnetic field reversed and that World View is Toast.

Like all theories it was and is a Mental Construct. It is an impermanent Approximation to Truth. However, folks do not comprehend how the picture we employ of the world may well turn on a dime. They do not concern themselves with philosophical nonsense!

One year the earth is flat, the next it is round and we have potatoes.

This perplexes folks and leads to Wars of Succession. If now the world is round and we have Potatoes, what is to become of my Aubergines?

Shall I mount a protest and Storm the Bastille?

My advice, as a Trader, is: Never Fight Change.

If the mind of the physicist should move – like a Star Quake – from contemplation of Theories of Nothing in the direction of Theories of Something then do not fight it.

Just work out what people will Buy in that New World!

Even better, if you really want to survive, be the Agent of Change.

The Eye of the Storm is the Calmest Place in God’s Firmament.

The Mongol Horde

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A striking feature of the Academic Physics Community is the failure to engage with its own diaspora. I left because I was completely bored with academic research. I had no shortage of new results, but the culture of physics research in those days was toxic.

Firstly, there were the infantile rejection letters and stupid priority fights. Secondly, there was the unashamed plagiarism, which I experienced first hand. Finally, there was the ignorant Sun King attitude of leading professors when you showed them something different that they did not already know.

Let them Eat Cake and Dine on Stringy Ectoplasm.

Not for any of these people a research path that may actually lead to success!

When you deal with that kind of nonsense at a formative age it kind of changes your view of the world. I made up my mind in 1995 that Academic Physics was certainly headed for a Titanic Fall from Grace. I just up and left in search of greener pastures.

However, now I can discern how that very fall might encompass a rise in the general level of research quality and a fuller public engagement for Physics – The Enterprise.

As I see it, the central issues to be addressed are these:

1) The Academic Physics Business Model is Busted

2) It is Illogical that The Physics Diaspora are effectively excluded from research

3) The push for New Physics is delusional with regard to the claimed social benefits

Let us take each of these in turn and then propose a partial remedy.

The Academic Business Model is Busted Since the 1950s and 1960s expansion there has been a near universal business model for the conduct of physics research. Outside of a handful of industrial labs such as Bell labs and IBM Research the bulk of physics research was academic and grant funded.

Success in this world required tenured status as a Professor followed by expansion of the venture through public grant moneys to hire and employ graduate students.

Result: a huge expansion in product, both research papers and PhDs.

Sometime around the 1980s and 1990s this business model began to break. It is no surprise why. It has the properties of a pyramid scheme.

To progress a career one needed to manufacture more PhDs. Very soon there is no room for all the PhDs and they get sent out into the big wide world. Nothing wrong with that! However, as the Professors who stay behind compete ever more furiously for grants they get more and more specialized.

Worse the product is research papers which can only be read by other specialists.

That is where we are now. Overly specialized PhDs who come out knowing a great deal about the abstruse and speculative elements of the research frontier. The vast bulk of what they know is not established in any way shape or form as Science. A great deal of it is Pure Junk and useless to society at large. Worse, the poor PhD never learned any of the eternally useful old-fashioned physics that describes how Nature actually works.

Result: a glut of hyper-arrogant know-nothing specialists in speculative souffle subjects. These people are useless to hire in any engineering enterprise and dangerous when set loose in financial markets. You give them a Vanilla Mortgage and they make a Constant Proportion Portfolio Insured Portfolio of Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligations with a Neat Auto-Destruct feature when the capital buffer falls below 5%. Light fuse, RUN!

That is a thoroughly broken business model.

The Excluded Diaspora As anybody who did leave graduate school can attest, the attitude of the professors to those who leave is often rather arrogant. They look down on PhDs who entered commerce in search of a living as “not cut out for research.”

This is a stupid attitude. There are now far more physics PhDs outside of Academia than there are inside. The critical mass of brain power is not in the Ivory Tower.

It exists outside the Walls of the Citadel.

It is a Mongol Diaspora, happily living out on The Barbarian Steppes of Commerce.

Far more significantly, and against the professorial prejudice, the folks outside of the Academic environment are often among the more engaged, capable thinkers and creative problem solvers. They typically entered graduate school because they were gifted academically and chose physics since they liked to think about how things work. However, once exposed to the arrogance of professional research and the stupidity of its mores they simply left in search of a more stimulating and rewarding environment.

I know many many physics PhDs around the world who fit this description to a tee. Furthermore, since they were forced to make new careers in a host of different fields they are much more open minded about science than the typical academic. They actually have very fertile minds and great preparation for cross-disciplinary work.

This is where most scientific advances are made. However, Academics typically prefer to specialize. Once you are an established expert in a tiny area, cross-pollination is viewed as an existential threat.

The Push for New Physics is Delusional I myself am involved in a privately funded effort to develop a New Quantum Theory based upon the Barut Self-Field Quantum Electrodynamics. Therefore, this last point may seem a bit contradictory. How can you say New Physics is Delusional when you are pursuing exactly that?

The point I would like to make is that genuinely new physics generally springs from exposure to important problems. One of my associates and collaborators is involved in fracture mechanics. This is a key area of materials science and engineering. The other day he shared with me how old fashioned the models are. We agreed to work together on it. We saw a huge opportunity overlooked by the Academics.

The delusional element in the typical push for new physics from Academics is the idea that they will find it by pursuing a grant application. The risk calculus of research grant applications is that you should never ever write one unless you already know the answer to the problem being posed.

Ergo… they are a complete and total waste of money.

The best way to find new things is to be exposed to a rich array of hard problems that matter. Academics generally shun such dirty, messy real world problems because they mess up the grant application! The Research Hamster spins ever faster to make the stuff we already know less readable. Hell, Physics with Functors! Why Not?

I see this now with the on-going D-Wave quantum computing saga. In various of my own business interests I deal with solid commercially minded enterprises who are evaluating the technology.

About this development I have some bad news for the quantum computing zealots. The feedback I have is that this new architecture is well suited to complement more traditional processing for constraint problems.

The buyers of D-Wave computers (we are up to #4 now) do not give a Rat’s Arse what the dang thing is called. They do not fundamentally care if it is called a quantum computer or not.

Hell, you could have called it the Windows 666-Box and they still would have bought!

They just care about solving a commercial problem.

That is commerce 101. Meanwhile, back in Academic Zealot Land we have spent billions of public dollars to work out that $$15=3\times 5$$. You get the point. Superconducting electronics now has an emerging marketplace. Thanks to who?

Thanks to D-Wave.

The Mongol Horde – A Remedy Academic Physics has Jumped the Shark. It promised this World, a Teleportation Machine to New Worlds, and a whole new Parallel Universe of your own. In place of that we got:

Icky-Sticky Pea-Brained Stringy Ectoplasm and A Splendid Theory of Nothing.

The Citadel is now chock-full of Quantum Jumping Half-Crazed Lunatics.

The PhD trained physicists that I correspond with are all members of the Academic Diaspora. They all pretty much shake their heads in unison about how sad and twisted physics has become. Reading the headlines of the science reporting magazines is one long succession of Psychobabble, Fudge and Souffle.

I believe there is genuinely New Physics in the wings but I do not trust any Academic to find it. It would seem to me that they are diligently ignoring the specific evidence about where they should look for it.

Recognizing this fact, I think we can introduce a New Business Model for Physics.

This is an idea borrowed from an article published in the The Clute Institute Journal:

Big Physics At Small Places : The Mongol Horde Model Of Undergraduate Research

The central thrust of that experiment was to engage undergraduate students in a big physics project at the accelerator labs. Through bringing eager students into the process of detector design and development the researchers hoped to get more value for their grant dollar and also some able young minds on the job.

The most delightful idea in this paper lies embedded in the title: The Mongol Horde Model of Research. I love this idea so much I am going to run with it.

However, I aim for a much more ambitious experiment. Given the earlier work I did in nonlinear field theory I think it is feasible to build a New Quantum Theory. I am going to release my own bottom drawer research as start-up capital to seed this project.

The Mongol Kernel Fork of the New Physics will be hosted at

There is plenty of work to be done, so I am happy to crowd source the parts that I am missing. The product will, of course, be modified equations, but much more importantly it will be software that implements them. The focus will not be the Delusional Dance of New Physics but the practical commercial goal of Non-Perturbative QED.

We will see if the Mongol Horde can accomplish what the High Priests could not.

A Genuine Theory of Something.

Subversive Epiphany

I have just gotten back from an extended business trip to the United States.

This was a lot of fun. I went to the SIAM Boston meeting on Computers in Science & Engineering. Later in the trip I went to PyCon2013 and PyData2013 to catch up with where things are at in the Pythonic universe.

It is probably close to fifteen years since I have been to a scientific conference. I very much enjoyed the developments in computational science since they involved many practical problems.

Regular readers of this blog will appreciate my love-hate relationship with mainstream physics. I tend to get very annoyed when I read physics journals, but I do enjoy the computer and applied mathematics literature.

However, I may yet come to some rapprochement with physics-at-large.

The epiphany for me was the sudden realization that most physicists today do not seem to believe in the Copenhagen interpretation but they do believe in point-like particles.

I don’t know exactly when that dawned on me, but it was somewhere in the middle of listening to some talk on numerical solutions of the Schroedinger equation in the semi-classical regime. None of the correspondents in that session seemed to know anything about my work in this area so I kept quiet.

I did not want to spoil the fun of searching for the elusive classical limit.

Reflecting upon what I already knew to be a grand folly I realized that physicists in general seem very sure that they know what rests within the Schroedinger equation. Look at it this way. They know three things:

1) the Schroedinger equation is right
2) the Classical world seems real enough and sensible
3) therefore, it must fall out of the mathematics somehow

All very sensible, but sadly untrue. The relevant mathematics does exist but is not what they are looking for!

Now to the epiphany. The physics community, in general, believe that we know particles are real. However, they are confused about what a wavefunction might be or mean since a wave is clearly not a particle!

What the community has yet to appreciate is that in a certain limit, that of the Classical Schroedinger Equation, the wavefunctions do bounce around, scatter and behave exactly like particles. However, that is a limit where the wave aspect of the physics is frozen out. You get to the idealised particle from the wave description.

However, that regime of behavior is very special and only ever approximate.

Let us now turn things around. Suppose there are no particles at all. Suppose that is merely an illusion and matter is pure wave. Even further, suppose that the phase of that wave is the gauge field (e.g. the photon). Then there is no light separate from its sources. They are part and parcel of the same phenomenon.

In that case, we have things perfectly upside down. We are using a micro-level mental picture of particles and then wondering why the classical level continuum physics is not easily recovered. Turn that around and employ a micro-level picture of pure waves. How then do you recover familiar billiard ball behavior?

That is easy, it is the decorrelated approximation of mean-field theory for which the Classical Schroedinger Equation is just the simplest example in a family (the next one up is the Hartree-Fock approximation).

What then is the reality? Well, in the alternative picture it is a matter wave in configuration space.

What about measurement theory, you ask? How come we only see fields in 3+1 dimensions not (3+1)N dimensions? How can you possibly shrink a beast in configuration space to a manageable quasi-classical field?

Easy. The very same rule invented by Max Born still works!

If you calculate the one-body density of the matter wave you get the classical level of experience. The mapping from (3+1)N dimensions to (3+1) is trivial and we already know the empirically supported rule.

Once we abandon thinking about particles, then there is no measurement theory at all. There is nothing separate, just a whole. There is no particle being measured by something, and no observer either. You can just junk the lot.

There is only one single wave and a continuum foundation to everything. Since the wave equation does admit eigenfunctions, that wave is quantized. Think of it as Universal Jelly with Natural Modes of Vibration.

Furthermore, the classical limit is merely an idealization. The wave never breaks up into independent particles in the sense that quantum field theory describes. Entanglement is ubiquitous and permanent (eat your qubit socks quantum computing zealots).

Wilder still, if you analyze the causality structure of such a theory it is not determinable.

While the underlying wave evolution may well be deterministic the one-body quantities are not sufficient as initial data. You could know them exactly and still not be able to predict what happens.

There is no need for God to Play Dice. You can have a non-local fully deterministic hidden wave theory. This you cannot do for particles, since local hidden variable theories are excluded!

The epiphany which struck me in Boston was the realization that hidden variable theories are alive, but only when constructed in the wave formulation.

If you insist that the wave describes a point-like particle then you cannot conceive of a hidden variable theory. This is because particles are local entities. Waves, on the other hand, are non-local entities. If you only think of particles you will miss this possibility.

The totality of the wave in configuration space is a non-local hidden variable.

I think it is possible to build a new theory now. However, this journey is not for the faint hearted. Quantum Field Theory simply cannot survive such a revision of physical interpretation in its present form.

QFT is necessarily a theory of particles not waves.

If we do get new physics it will be New Physics. Interpretation changes everything.

Getting the particle back as an idealized concept is easy. That is the Classical Schroedinger Equation.

Sionara QED I. Enter QED II, the sequel with added Gravitation.

The question is what to call this hidden layer of reality we are positing. Since the idea of junking QFT in its entirety is so utterly subversive I favor the term subverse.

To be really perverse, let us call the perceivable layer the PERVERSE and the imperceivable hidden layer the SUBVERSE. As Confucius himself might opine:

Contemplation of perverse perceivables guides us to subversive imperceivables.


SIAM meetings are a lot of fun.

I’ll be back.