The Quantum Pontiff

Archives for October, 2008

War I Tell You

Self promotion for those around the University of Washington campus: I’m giving a talk in the physics department at UW. Mondays, October 20 at 4:00 P.M. Ronald Geballe Auditorium, Rm. A102 (cookies at 3:45): Title: “Who Will Build a Quantum Computer: the Physicists or the Computer Engineers?” Abstract: Building a quantum computer large enough to…

Dude! Look At Those Equations!

Garrett Lisi, surfer and creator of possible theories of everything, has given a TED talk: I had never thought to put Schrodinger into the box. “I try to balance my life between physics, love, and surfing. That way even if the physics I work on comes to nothing, I’ve lived a good life.” Word.

(1+p)(1-p)

I wonder how many people this week realized that “ten percent down” followed by “ten percent up” does not equal “no change.” Probably a few. And how many realized that “ten percent down” followed by “ten percent up” is the same as “ten percent up” followed by “ten percent down”? Or that up 5 percent,…

SOHCAHTOA

A new entry in the best title every competition: arXiv:0810.0827: Sine function with a cosine attitude Authors: A. D. Alhaidari Someday I promise that I will use the phrase “an exponential function with a logarithmic attitude.”

Mortgage Backed Quantum Computers

From the annals of strangely mixed news stories. Canada: $25 billion government bailout and….$50 million for the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing: BRANTFORD, Ont. — The $25-billion government deal to buy mortgages from Canada’s banks isn’t a lifeline for lenders stuck with bum loans, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday… He said the…

You know it’s a heavy volume day when even Google can’t handle it: Your message could not be posted to the DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE INDEX group because there have been too many messages posted to the group recently.

Markets

Fear Google’s view of capitulation Irrationality? Anyone seen any old men with canes yet? Crisis per capita winner? Iceland. Will the last one leaving Reykjavík please tear up that recipe for Súrsašir hrútspungar? Panics 1812, 1837, 1869, 1873, 1882, 1884, 1896, 1901, 1907,1937, 1973, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2001. Add 2008. Just over a hundred…

Information Age Transcripts

Not just grades but: Grade distribution for the class. At a minimum: class average, standard deviation, median. Even better: a breakdown by grade. Scores of students in the class on standardized exit exams. For example I’d like to see how students who took the class scored on physics GREs. Surveys of the students perception of…

Google Battles Drunk Emails

A priceless new email feature for gmail: Mail Goggles: Sometimes I send messages I shouldn’t send. Like the time I told that girl I had a crush on her over text message. Or the time I sent that late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together. Gmail can’t always prevent you…

Nobel Prize in Physics 2008

And the Nobel prize in Physics 2008 goes to…Yoichiro Nambu (1/2), Makoto Kobayashi (1/4), and Toshihide Maskawa (1/4) “for discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics” and “for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature.” I’m…