Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Solution Washington part 10

"What if we're meant to be destroyed in an ELE or whatever?" asked Potus. "May the best every-man win."
"What about the every-woman?" asked U.N. Ambassador.
"She won't win," said Potus.
"Sir, you can't just let the planet be destroyed and all the people on it," said Sam.
"Fuck 'em," said Potus. "You don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can just go back to your laboratory and perform your little fun experiments. I have to worry about whether there is tuna or albacore in my sandwich. Imagine how I feel about all this? The every-hanger-on has to pull my sleeve and beg for something."
There was a long profound silence. Samantha sat down heavily and bumped her cast. She cried out in pain.
"You seem bright and you're an American hero," Potus said to Samantha. "What's a really nice way to say, 'Go fuck yourself'?" he asked. "We've never really found a good way to say that."
"How about, 'Have a nice day'?" Sam asked.
"Sheer genius!" said Potus. "Shaniqua, get the fuck in here!" he shouted. "Sorry about that," he apologised. "My maid, er, administrative assistant is less than reliable. She's probably doing her nails."
There was another stretch of silence.
"Fuck 'em!" cried Potus. "Have a nice day."
"Fuck them," agreed Chief of Staff.
"May those who are less fortunate suffer," said U.N. Ambassador. Then she covered her face in shame and wept.
"Fuck 'em and suck 'em. Kapow!" shouted Defense Secretary.
"Yeehaw!" said the large man from the NSA.
"Yippeekaiyay, mother..." said Mark who stopped abruptly under the vicious glare of Samantha.
"Well if that's it, I guess there's no reason for us to be here anymore then," Sam said.
Samantha and Mark stood up and left the conference room. Johnson escorted them out.
"Six forty four, flan souffle leaving oven," he said into his wrist.
"Goodbye, Agent Johnson," Sam said.
Johnson nodded and waved as they exited the East Gate.
They walked a bit in the crowds when Mark looked up and shouted, "Look!"
Sam looked up and saw the third light behind the two moons had solidified into a blueish orb with swirling white caps and a green-brown centre.
"My god," she said. "It's full of stars."
"There aren't any stars," said Mark. He looked over and saw too late that Samantha had fainted dead away onto the sidewalk.
He bent down and yelled for someone to call an ambulance. The crowd separated, torn between their desire to get close but not too close. Mark kneeled next to Sam and patted her cheeks. "Wake up," he called. "Wake up! Ms. Griffen! Ms. Griffen!"
"Don't hit me brother," she said as her eyes fluttered open.
"Brother?" he asked, confused.
"Half-brother. Half-step-brother. Whatever. Never mind."
"What?" Mark asked bewildered.
"We're still wearing microphones?" she asked while she sat up and patted her shoulder.
"Yes," said the large man from the NSA who approached just then.
"I can help you," he said and helped lift Samantha.
"Help us?" asked Sam.
"Yes, come with me," he motioned and they followed him. The large man from the NSA had a long stride but he did pause for them to catch up every few metres. He motioned them around a corner and along a walkway east of the Mall. Soon the large man from the NSA found a suitable spot that fairly empty and sat on a park bench. Sam and Mark sat hesitantly.
"Here," the large man from the NSA said, producing a plastic bag from his pocket. He held it out to Mark. Mark took it and looked at it quizzically. "And you," he said, handing Sam another similar plastic bag.
"Sandwiches?" asked Sam incredulously.
"Yep," he said and pulled one out for himself. He opened the sandwich bag and took a big bite. "You must be hungry. You haven't eaten since room service this morning at the hotel."
"Tuna sandwiches?!" cried Sam.
"No, these are albacore. They're good. Eat up," the large man from the NSA said.
They ate sandwiches in silence for a while. "These are really good," said Sam. Mark nodded.
When they had eaten the sandwiches down to the crust, Mark asked, "So what are you going to help us with? What can you do?"
"Good question, son," said the large man from the NSA. "I'm just trying to cover up some of the details of what we're working on. I'd like to ask you to politely forget about what you've been working on and all the things you revealed in that room. Normally we'd just clean things up simple like, but I'm afraid things don't matter now."
"I'm scared," said Samantha. "You don't think things can be fixed? That's why you won't kill us?"
"We don't kill people," said the large man from the NSA in such a way that it was understood that they actually did. "We just clean up messes. The CIA kills them."
"But you work together with the CIA," said Sam.
"Watch it, lady," said the large man from the NSA. "If my colleagues from the CIA were aware of this operation I'd be in some really big trouble. Instead, we're just sharing sandwiches and conversation. Okay?"
"Okay," nodded Samantha.
"Alrighty then," said the large man from the NSA as he stood and stretched. He palmed the plastic bag and threw it on the ground. "No use cleaning up messes any more," he said as he walked off.
"Pick that up," Sam told Mark. "What a slob that man is."
Mark hopped up and retrieved the litter. He extended his hand to Sam who handed him her plastic sandwich bag to throw away. Mark turned to look for a trash can. Mark screamed as the large man from the NSA appeared all of a sudden next to them.
"Calm down," said the large man from the NSA. "Microphones please," he said and held out his hand. Mark and Samantha ripped of the microphones and handed them to him. He nodded and walked away once again.
"It's the end of the world as we know it," Samantha said. "I feel fine."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solution Washington part 9

"Very childish, Mister President," said Samantha frowning. She looked over at Mark who was giggling. She whacked him on the shoulder.
"You're the one who mentioned my... my... anus' tilted... axis..." said Potus in between bouts of laughter.
Secretary of Defense asked, "Is that Ronald Reagan's 'axis of evil'?" to more laughter.
Mark spoke up and said, "Uranus him? Damn near rectum!" Fewer people around the table laughed. Samantha frowned miserably.
"Doctor! Doctor!" cried Chief of Staff standing and turning around to show his rear, "Does my axis of spin look off to you?" Even less people laughed than before.
Samantha waited until the laughter died down somewhat. She said, "Very well, that was my fault. I brought up the planet. Anyway, let's continue with the important topic of the whole world being destroyed."
Everyone suddenly settled down and listened. Sam nodded at the quiet and said, "As I said, our measurements were getting worse and worse. I was measuring the speed of light increasing, which should be impossible. The speed of light is called 'the speed limit of the universe'. It is invariant. If it changed even slightly, the whole universe and the laws that govern it would change dramatically. Most scientists, including myself, believe that the speed of light has not changed since the creation of the universe.
"What if the moon were moving closer? Or more distant? Or what if the moon were in a superposition of two moons, one at a particular frequency of interaction with the phase of a different moon at some slightly different frequency. It's a little hard to explain, but what if the two moons were overlaid on each other and only now split out into two different moons as some sort of projection off a splitter?
"So how would we explain that? Most of our measurements of the speed of light are done by reflecting a laser off mirrors that were placed on the moon by the Apollo missions. Apollo 11 was the first on the moon and placed a mirror for the experiment. Apollos 14 and 15 placed similar mirrors which are used to this day. Does anybody know what happened to the other missions?" Sam looked around the room and nobody nodded. "Apollo 12 landed and had some very strange anomalies.
"Alan Bean tried to record colour video with a camera. However, he 'accidentally' pointed it at the sun in outer space and it broke. Later, he admitted he had smuggled a camera timer on board to take a timed selfie on the moon with his fellow astronaut in front of the lander. He mysteriously lost the timer and couldn't find it. Later, Alan Bean was knocked unconscious during reentry when a camera hit him on the head. True stories."
Samantha paused for effect. She said, "And we all know what happened with lucky Apollo 13."
Samantha let the weight of all this sink in. "So the moon might be in reverse focus or something. It may always have been in that state until someone observed a different state. I know from a trusted resource that the NSA has been experimenting with the double slit diffraction patterns using the Hubble as a recording target. Presumably they are running experiments on which-way analysis and using the Hubble as a delayed choice receiver. If they can view the experiment in both a deterministic and viewable state, they might violate the Heisenberg Principal.  Perhaps they intend to use the outcomes of various experiments to spy on U.S. and foreign citizens, which is supposed to be illegal."
Potus pointed at the large man sitting next to Samantha. "He made me do it," Potus said. "I told him we couldn't use the fancy equipment that the common every-taxpayer bought."
The large man from the NSA raised his hand and said, "I don't know anything about that, obviously. We don't spy on people after the Snowden incidents. He was tried and executed by a fair trial. Nothing else is relevant."
"What about the microphones?" asked Samantha pointing at her blouse.
"Those are for your own safety," he answered. "People who watched _Bewitched_ as a child on television are more unstable than the population at large."
Samantha covered her mouth with her good hand in shock. She regained her composure and said, "In any case, I believe that the three rules might be broken somehow. Locality might be broken because so called 'spooky action' might be changing our results. Another feature that might be breaking is realism. Certainly, seeing two moons where there was only one is probably a violation of realism. Freedom might be affected in the action of humanity around the world.
"I was visiting the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva and lost my luggage. How would I have chosen the wrong luggage and gotten it mixed up with someone else? What forces make the luggage move around, or force me to choose the wrong one when getting out of the taxi? I think that I have free will but maybe my hand is forced, so to speak. In Geneva as well, I witnessed some violence from a mad person. Could this be a general case of people behaving badly during a loss of freedom?"
Mark interjected, "I also witnessed riots on Paradise Island at Atlantis." People looked at him strangely. "I mean, when I visited Nassau on vacation. The resort is named Atlantis. I saw the cruise ship Ecstasy appear and disappear the day before I was supposed to get on it. Later, it discovered it had been missing for a day."
Sam said, "And the airplane I was on collided with itself. I saw an alternate universe of another airplane and myself seated in the same row just before the crash. It could be a hallucination, but what if it is not? And anyway, everyone agrees that the duplicate moon appearing is not an illusion. Scientists have measured a real effect of the new satellite. Everyone can see the moon by looking up in the sky. And the plane crash was most definitely real." Samantha raised her cast as proof. "And to this day, the cruise ship Ecstasy and her 2000 passengers are missing.
"Taking the first rule of locality, suppose that the experiments we've been testing and uncovering have created an expanding bubble of effect. As the bubble of effect spreads, it moves outward from one city, to another, to the ocean, to other parts of the world, and finally into outer space. Perhaps the process is expanding and reproducing effects of interference and affecting realism as we know it. How do we reserves this process?
"Schrödinger put the cat inside the closed box. He hid the outcome from us. So now we must find the way out of this mess we're in. We must save the cat and find the 'Schrödinger Solution', as I call it. How can we solve the riddle of what is happening? And more importantly, how can we save the earth?"
Samantha looked around the table. Everyone waited expectantly. The room was deathly quiet. Finally Mark said, "Well? How?"
Sam said, "We have to do the opposite of Pandora's box. We must open the box to look inside. Whether the cat is alive or dead, we must find out the true state of the cat. Of course, in this case, the box and the cat and the lid are metaphors. We need funding for a project to detect the anomalies and explain them so that we have a hope of putting our world back together and avoiding an ELE."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Solution Washington part 8

"Yes, I'm listening," said U.N. Ambassador. "Let her speak! Let the women's voices rise up so all can hear!"
"Why, just because they're women?" grumped Potus.
"This is a matter of survival for everyone," said Samantha. "Thank you perm rep to the U.N." The ambassador nodded. Sam continued, "This is an extinction level event. ELO is the common acronym. I've given you the background physics. I apologise if it was boring and made you think of sandwiches. But we need to focus on the crisis at hand and find a solution to the problem."
Sam looked around the room and everyone seemed to be paying attention. She continued, "I've spent the last two years investigating what we thought were defects with the solid state devices manufactured by Thorne Industries. Mister Thorne here represents the interests of the controlling family of the corporation. At first we were baffled by the data we were getting back from the quality tests that we run on the electronic systems.  I should back up to explain what solid states are.
"Solid state electronics differ from other mechanical devices such as vacuum tubes, relays or switches, and moving devices. For example, probably the most famous solid state device invented in the 1940's was the transistor. Other solid state devices that you have heard of are light emitting diodes (LEDs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and memory devices. Your fancy phones are made possible by solid state electronics." Here Potus covered his breast pocket with his hand and looked fearfully at Johnson. "Solid state devices use a bit of quantum mechanical engineering to move electrons through a substance that typically wouldn't conduct electrons. There could be two forms of electrical motion in solid state devices, a negative electron moving through a substance or the positive pull of an electron 'hole'."
Samantha looked around the room and most of the people's eyes were glazed over. "I apologise for being too technical. It's my job. Where was I? Ah, yes, solid state devices. So Thorne Industries has been manufacturing these devices for global positioning satellite (GPS), memory and disk storage, and other devices in wide use. We have been measuring a lot of anomalies in the output of these devices for a while, and it has been getting worse. Imagine if you have a GPS and it tells you that you are three feet behind where you think you knew yourself to be. The errors were a lot smaller than three feet, obviously. But they were getting worse.
"We also have very precise timing equipment which is vital to the correct functioning of the satellite tracking and positioning systems. Time doesn't really exist, but we need to count how many times a cesium atom oscillates so that we can keep track of how the universe is changing. Imagine you are in a dark room and you can hear a clock ticking. You know that the ticking represents some state where the pendulum is at one end of the swing and that implies it must have moved through an arc so that something is different from before until now. That's what we do to sense the passage of this illusion we call time. Time is just the illusion of the state of saying 'oh, this thing was over there and now it's here.' Clear enough?" she asked. No one seemed very clear on the subject.
"Once again I apologise for being so boring. If you keep up with me, we'll get there I promise. Everyone's heard of Einstein?" A few nods around the table. "Einstein and his friends came up with a counter-argument to quantum mechanics which had just come out around the time. Einstein was happy with his theories of relativity and felt very contented that he had solved most all of the physics problems that might exist. He had certainly explained a lot about what we now call 'classical' physics, and had shown how Netwon's, previously called 'classical', physics was lacking. Suddenly this new theory of quantum mechanics was upturning Einstein's world view which he had just finished nailing down pretty well.
"He and his buddies, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen tried to make fun of quantum mechanics by proposing all sorts of problems that couldn't be solved by the new theory. They had a lot of friends like Schrödinger and Bell. Bell famously came up with a theory that was found to be false. And EPR were collectively shown to be on the wrong side of the fence. People like Heisenburg and Bohr were on the right side of the fence and created what is now called the Copenhagen interpretation, which has been largely upheld with experimental evidence. No one has been able to duplicate Schrödinger's experiments, but Bell has been shown to be wrong on almost every count. Bell's failure is spectacular. Even Einstein had to admit he might have backed the wrong horse, as they say. God doesn't throw dice but he does go to the racetrack, I guess."
"Sacrilege!" cried Potus amid murmurs from the people at the table.
Samantha raised her good hand. "Just a joke. However, as a point of fact, Schrödinger's famous cat was a thought experiment designed to discredit quantum mechanics! It turns out he wasn't wrong and his equations still work for most of the observations we're making to this day. If we take a Copenhagen interpretation of the outcomes we're observing we have three common features that we look for. The three are locality, realism, and freedom. I'll go through each one.
"Locality means that information is contained wholly in the object or surrounding information of the particle or experiment we're working on. One way to make it clearer is to say that a particle is in a state that is self-contained and does not transfer information or state with something else far away. If a photon is polarised at 90 degrees, then that information is available locally. It does not get that information remotely from some other particle or photon far away. Likewise, the particle does not transfer information to some other experiment far away to be retrieved remotely. Everything about the photon is contained locally and tested locally. This agrees with Einstein's aversion to so-called 'spooky', or instantaneous, action at a distance.
"The second part is realism and this is usually described by saying that, 'the moon exists even if you don't look at it'. We like to believe that the universe would clock along in some state without us observing it. Otherwise, things might shift and change when we don't look at them. In fact, a very small fraction of anything is ever seen or observed at all. We would like to believe that the dark side of the moon, for example (which isn't dark at all), is the same as it ever was and will always remain there even if we don't see it from earth. But if we ever sent a space craft up there with people or cameras, we'd hope to always see the same thing. That is realism.
"The third part is controversial, and that is freedom."
"Everyone here is aware of freedom." said Potus. "I'm the leader of all freedom in the world." There were murmurs of approval around the table.
"Yes, it is what I referenced earlier about freedom of choice, but in the opposite direction in this case. Freedom in our interpretation means that the experimenter has the freedom to choose the outcome of an particular experiment and should not be locked into a particular choice due to the setup of the experiment. For example, a photon can behave as either a wave or a particle. It can be either one depending on how we choose to measure it. If we pretend that an experimenter wishes to observe the photon in a wave state, but the photon 'resists' somehow and forces the outcome of the experiment to change that would violate our beliefs in freedom. If the photon, for example, was somehow in a fixed particle state and didn't want to be caught in a wave experiment, it couldn't somehow change the experimenter's choices so that the experimenter decided instead to measure particles. In other words, freedom means that the experimenter chooses whether to measure wave or particle behaviour, not the object under observation."
"Freedom!" said Potus. "The most important part of all this, obviously. Hey, let me ask you something," said Potus. "Let me ask you a personal question in front of all these people since you seem so bright."
"Okay mister, um, I mean, Potus," said Sam.
"Okay," said Potus. "Did you ever imagine that the sun was like a nucleus to an atom and that the planets were electrons, say, going around this atom?"
"Yes, that is a common misconception of lay physics. Every sixth grader who learns about the standard model eventually makes the conflation between an atom and the solar system or a galaxy. But it's not possible is it? Electrons have a spin of one half. Uranus has a tilted axis so its spin is wrong."
"My anus?" asked Potus. "Nobody said anything about my anus." There was laughter all around.

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