The Quantum Pontiff

What These Days Remind Me Of…

“Dreams of poverty excited universal enjoyment in Berkeley, coupled with the hope that the political and economic situation would worsen, throwing the country into ruin: this was the theory of the activists. Misfortune so vast it would wreck everyone, responsible and not responsible sinking into defeat…” – from The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Philip K. Dick

Comments

  1. #1 Quiet Desperation
    September 25, 2008

    Ah, PKD!

    I see a lot of that, even in comments on some of these science blogs.

    There’s people out there who will jump up and down with uninhibited glee, squirting ejaculate, at millions of lives and livelihoods laid waste in order to make some sort of political point or check off a bon in their precious manifesto. What is sadder is that they generally have it wrong about what actually happened. And by wrong, I mean an ancient tribe thinking their daily human sacrifice causes the sun to rise in the morning type of wrong.

    It’s just another symptom of ideology, the mind killer.

    Little Frank Herbert reference for your PKD one. :-)

  2. #2 Dave Bacon
    September 25, 2008

    Is “Quiet Desperation” a reference to Thoreau or Pink Floyd? :)

  3. #3 John Sidles
    September 25, 2008

    Hmmm … this thread urgently needs a counter-balance to PKD.

    That fine movie Apollo 13 depicted flight director Gene Kranz saying: “With all due respect, sir — I believe this is going to be our finest hour” (and Kranz’ fine autobiography Failure Is Not An Option gives further fascinating details).

    It is possible (IMHO to make a very strong case that the coming decades are going to be “the finest hour” for the math, science, and engineering community.

    Here are some of the reasons that particularly relate to quantum information science (QIS):

    (1) Increasingly deep foundations for QIS are providing increasingly strong tools for quantum system engineering (QSE).

    (2) There are no obvious barriers to further increases in QIS depth and QSE strength … in fact the pace of advance in both fields is accelerating.

    (3) Soon there are going to be ten billion people on the planet … and the little finger of each child has more atoms than there are stars in the observable universe. To the extent that people are resources … and human biology is a resource … the our planet has no shortage of resources.

    (4) The link between our planet’s vast human resources and its unbounded biological resources passes through QIS and QSE … as far as quantum science is concerned, what could be a more exciting opportunity than that?

    Only one thing is needed to actualize these dreams … beer!

    So please let me ask, is that science blogging festival still happening, that you announced at “Ozzie’s in lower Queen Anne (105 W Mercer St.) That’s right: beer, beer beer! At 4pm on September 27th.”

    `Cuz if so, then I’ll be there … possibly others from our UW QSE Laboratory too.

    Also, thanks for a great blog! :)

  4. #4 Dave Bacon
    September 25, 2008

    Yes, 4pm Ozzies!