The weirdness of reality

Send light through a beam splitter one photon at a time. Send one of the resulting beams to one lab and the other to a second lab. In the first lab, use a device to change the phase of each photon that arrives. Then measure its phase. In the second lab, just measure each photons phase. Conventional logic would tell you that the photons arriving at the second lab would not be effected by what was happening in the first lab, and so the phase of the photons measured there would be unchanged. But no, it’s phase was changed too. Now remember that an individual photon acts like a wave, until you measure something about it, like exactly where it is, or its velocity, or its state (like measuring its phase). Then the wave “collapses” and it is no longer a wave, spread out over space, but a particle, occupying […]

An accommodation

As reported on KSL.com the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made it official policy today to call for the state to restrict the right of individuals to deny employment, housing, etc. to gays. Unfortunately the statement is couched in terms of “protecting rights”, which this most assuredly is not. No one has a right to someone else’s property. The idea is an absurd contradiction. If you have the final say over a thing’s disposition then that thing is yours – your property. If someone else has the final say, then it is the property of that other person. We can speak of multiple persons each having an “interest” in property such as when two people each hold an equal 50% undivided joint interest in a property. But that is different than saying that any random unspecified person has a right to march into your residence or business and […]

The Blockchain is Bigger than Bitcoin

In this recent article, Matthew Sparkes looks at the current status of Bitcoin. He argues that what is much more important is the fate of the blockchain, the decentralized infrastructure upon which Bitcoin is based, but which does not depend upon Bitcoin for its existence. Or does it? He says that if the price of Bitcoin falls far enough, it is possible that a cascade of failing Bitcoin miners will bring the infrastructure to a stand still. With no mining activity, the length of time it takes to confirm transactions, whether of Bitcoin or any other transaction, would grow until finally they might never be confirmed. This scary possibility is enough to encourage me, as someone who looks forward to the scenario Sparkes described last June in this piece, to continue to hold Bitcoin regardless of the downward trend. Comments comments

Strong and Equal

A better translation of Genesis 2:18 reveals the true stature of woman in the eyes of God. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The Hebrew word rendered as “help” is “ezer” which has two roots. One means “to rescue” or “to save” and the other means “to be strong”. It is used several times in the Bible and the majority of time it is used to describe God with reference to the kind of help he provides. Consider the kind of “help” God provided to Moses and the children of Israel in crossing the Red Sea. He opened the sea and let them cross on dry land. That’s the kind of help we’re talking about here, not the kind of help as in, “she helps out around the house.” The word translated […]

The Morality of Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Lots of people make fun of those of us who typically wait until Christmas Eve before hitting the mall. (Uuggh, the thought of it turns my stomach.) But it’s last minute shoppers like me who have the moral high ground. What kind of person, I ask you, buys something for someone else – something the other person wants or even needs – and then stows it away in a closet for days, weeks, even MONTHS instead of giving it to that person? Isn’t the value of the gift increased by it timeliness? Example, giving parents a high chair is a fine gift – but not when their youngest child is already 8 years old. In this day and age, when almost everything contains at least some tech that is starting to become obsolete the minute it leaves the shelf (or more accurately, the plant where it was made), the value […]

The cause of homosexuality

I saw a post on a Facebook page today that got me doing a little research. This isn’t my favourite subject. I much prefer physics and technology to biology and psychology. Obviously people who have devoted a lot of time and attention to this subject have a lot more information upon which to base their opinions. But many of them are of differing opinions. Surely those of us who have only casually considered the issue are entitled to form a tentative opinion without being subjected to ad hominem epithets? Ha, wishful thinking. But I am not dissuaded. The post was about a billboard someone had erected saying that research studies on identical twins showed that people are not “born gay”. It seemed to me that such studies ought to shed some objectivity on the subject so I found an article entitled, Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic. The […]

Take that Krauss

I really like how John Horgan put that bigoted, pseudo-scientific, anti-religious tag team of Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins in their place. The idea of offering the fact that quantum fluctuations can result in virtual particles becoming real as an answer to the question of why there is something instead of nothing is an insult to the intelligence of their audience, or worse, an appeal to their anti-religious prejudice as being sufficient to blind them to the absurdity of the proposition. As Horgan correctly rejoins, just where or where do the quantum fields that can give rise to virtual particles come from? Surely quantum fields are something and not nothing. Krauss’ thesis would be just plain silly if it weren’t so clearly intended simply as a rallying point for equally rabid atheists whose own pseudo-religious fervor trumps any appeal to reason and quest for truth. I disagree with Horgan’s view […]

Power corrupts

I’m starting a collection of links to stories about the abuse of power by police, politicians and any other so-called “public servants”. Lots of people complain about this abusive behaviour but few understand its cause. Power is the ability to get one’s way, to affect one’s environment, to have control over one’s circumstances. We all need and want power and that’s good. But there are only two kinds of power. One is acquired by reason, persuasion, and respect. It is the power over that which one acquires a right to by voluntary exchange, by bringing into being, by discovery, or by first use (homesteading). The other is the power asserted by brute force, violence. The former is appropriate for rational animals – humans – who maintain and enhance their lives by virtue of their mind’s ability to reason. The latter is appropriate for wild animals. It is a measure of […]

Some cool formulas

A few formulas I came up with and want to save. S = 1/I The measure of entropy is inversely proportional to that of intelligence. So this might be a catchy little way of expressing extropy. AI > I – AI The measure of so-called artificial intelligence will exceed the measure of “organic” intelligence before the previous formula will become of any practical consequence. These would be catchier if there was a neat symbol of intelligence. Oh well. Comments comments