Thursday, December 29, 2011

How I will vote in the primaries

If we feel a duty to vote, and yet admit that Romney is as electable as Kerry was, and knows as much about the world economic system as Donald Trump...

First, I can't see voting for any of those candidates. Tradition says we should
aim for the best candidate in EACH party, to make democracy work as well as possible. But it doesn't feel right to vote for someone who is a disaster of one kind or another.

Many say... well, Romney is not a disaster. Like Trump, he has made money. But he epitomizes the belief that politics can and should be a service purchased by the wealthy,
using money to pay for dishonest and distracting negative ads, with total obliviousness and myopia about how they might be disassembling the foundations and future of our nation. Romney BELIEVES that his negative ads are what took out Gingrich. As a voter,
I feel a duty NOT to reinforce those kinds of beliefs, regardless. They now offer a clear opportunity for the world economy to move from recession to depression...

What of the others?

I was looking hard at Gingrich about when others did too (40% in the polls).
What turned me off was what I saw in the debates, what he wants to do to the
judicial system. Sure, I appreciate his deep love for his present wife,
and her devotion (which she has got him into too) to her spiritual traditions. But history has shown... if you turn the courts over to the curia, life gets frozen until and unless you go through a reformation all over again. That's as scary as having to live through World War II again with nuclear weapons... (which current European economic policies have gotten me to think about)...

Perry is maybe the scariest of all of them... and so on... but a week ago I was thinking, if I were in Iowa, maybe I would vote for Ron Paul in the caucuses
as a kind of protest against what Romney and Gingrich were both doing (negative ads
and money obsession; supreme curia). And maybe I still would, but I live in another state, where we have votes, not causcuses. And Ron Paul simply abolishing EPA...
weakening governments and unions does not on balance reduce the problem of excess concentration of power, or the reduction of human freedom.


I plan to write in Arianna Huffington. What the hell. Her book
"Pigs at the Trough" really goes to the heart of what's wrong with the Republican party
(and politics in general) at this time. She is the closest we have to
an authentic Teddy Roosevelt option in this field. If we don't clean out the corruption, other things are messy anyway.. So I'm really serious, that's what
I'm going to do.

I thought at first... what about writing in Stewart, that comedian who ran the rally for sanity here, biggest rally ever in DC (yes, I've looked at the local information)
for good reason. But at this point, Huffington has both far more management experience and far more experience with the Republican side on Congress, and an understanding of
the real conservative principles which she wanted to pursue. She clearly
is the most sensible choice for a write-in candidate, and that's what it's time for.

Others I know would say they would sooner vote for a dog than for the folks on the ballot now. But what dog? Write in the cat in the hat? Morris the cat?

No, I plan to write in Huffington. Maybe the story will change, but I don't see how.

I just hope we don't end up with a surly dog taking over in 2013, and biting everyone..
like the last President in Atlas Shrugged..

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

meditation on how the universe really works

Meditation On How the Universe Really Works

 Yes, meditation. Or conversation with God, if you will.
 In that space…

Think of Kahlil Gibran, the poet asks the questions, the answers come out poetic.
As the poet is not the one giving the answer, only a reporter or messenger, no claim of infallibility… only of something worth checking into.

I began with the question: “What is a fermion, anyway?”

My old work at arxiv moves a lot of the way, but leaves loose ends. The answer:

First, review the boson, which you do understand, though you can tighten up some points. Some “bosons” in quantum field theory, like the photon and like what Higgs would be if EWT were exact… (or to the extent that it is a good approximation)..
are not particles at all, just fields which may appear particle-like when people do not
understand the basics of time, as spelled out in your IJTP paper.

Of course, patching up time is the next immediate step before us. Besides the
quantum separator kind of work, which is physically difficult (because of input
issues), there is the easier but messy work of Bell’s experiments with realistic
polarizer models, to probe the difference between a singular polarizer and a real one, which exposes the approximate and local nature of traditional quantum measurement. That is in your arxiv papers on B ell’s theorem and quantum separation, the photon, the boson we know which is not a particle.
But of course, some bosons ARE particles, like many bound states of two or more fermions. They are particles in the sense that they are chaotic solitons, a concept
you have defined precisely in CSF.

But the fermion…

Review your paper on nuclear stability at arxiv. It addresses the mathematically crucial issue, the …..

Yes, your excursion was correct… the stable approximately boson particles we see
are basically all bound fermion particles, with true nonparticle bosonic glue. Heisenberg was right in his intuition that everything we see as bound particles or matter is bound fermions… but what are these fermions, your initial question…

As in arxiv… they disprove the old Makhankov Rybakov Sanyuk “theorem”
(conjecture) that chaoitons cannot exist in topologically trivial field theories
over Minkowski space. (Some ask: “hey, does God know those weird words like
Minkowski space?” I ask “what kind of idiot are you assuming God is? Not
infallible or omniscient, but not such a limited intelligence either… If your con versations are only with an idiot, what does that do to you?”) Unlike the old versions
of ‘tHooft solitons you saw before, these really are acceptable, going to zero as r goes
to infinity, and able to coexist because of the stability property. And the key thing is that the core is presently modeled as zero radius, just as today’s polarizers are
effectively modeled as perfect in Bell’s theorem analysis done today. (Imperfect polarizers may be easier to get than measurements of the core of a primary fermion
like an electron.)

How could such a simple chaoiton have statistics like an electron?

It is not the full field, or the electron field, which is fermionic. It is none of the constituent fields which has dynamics which appear anticommutative.
It is the object itself, the electron, which is fermionic… and it is precisely fermionic only in the limit as its radius approaches zero. With nonzero radius, it is not perfectly fermionic. Fermionic statistics is basically the fact that the wave function is approximately zero for “occupation number” (moments, in the P or W or Q
Representations mentioned in other arxiv papers, with citations) more than one, in describing states made up of, say, electrons and “electron glue” (the photon and its cousins). The approximation is exact to the extent that radius is zero.

And then… in the limit of radius zero for the fermion, the usual recently discovered bosonization mechanisms (which still need better exposition) give bosons as bound fermions (plus glue) which obey bosonic statistics imperfectly, imperfectly due to the nonzdro radius of the underlying boson, but even more imperfectly due to the fact that approximating them as elementary particles does not express all aspects of their composite nature, like what happens when you are close up… like when even
the dipole approximation develops measurable errors.

So that is our universe… much cleaner than you previously realized… though zitterbewegung is still there, as even these electrons can bounce around…

And then I ask:

“OK, that’s nice, but is it real? What is that REAL universe like?”

Ah, that would be telling… but OK… I can say something at least for now…

Maybe a year ago, you were saying… we need a placeholder… a place in our minds to remain open to the idea that perhaps the true universe/cosmos is a Great Mind,
to develop and above all find ways to test or look for clues to a different kind of mathematics…

And a few days ago, I reminded you of Eli Yablonovitch (and Laughlin) and the Great Crystal, whose speed of sound is your speed of light, whose space is mostly full with a few holes as what seems to you like small regions of high density (like nuclear chaoitons)… and the need to maintain a placeholder for that one as serious as the placeholder you talk about for Great Mind.

Well now consider a third placeholder…

You remember that time when you traveled out of body to a thousand years or so in the future, to a restaurant in France, where you asked a physicist of that time what they finally learned? You remember that it was a veridical one, because the primary person you visited (in Palmer Eldritch style) used an ATM in the restaurant, and ATMs basically did not exist at the time of this… and the idea of an ATM in a restaurant seemed hard to believe at your then time….

He said… eight dimensions and 16 pointer fields. So do take that seriously, if you want to know.

Of course, it is not superstring theory, but it entails many of things you have heard from people inspired into superstring theory in a subjective way. The math of superstring theory as it is today is hopelessly wrong and confused, because they do not know anything about the basics of “quantum” phenomena and even simple time… but in truth, major parts of the intuition do become manifest, once the more elementary foundations are rebuilt. Let me show you a picture…

I ask: “But hey, they know a lot about ‘condensation’ and all that. Do I have to
get into the details of how they do that..”

The response:

No… (chuckle). How could you imagine they know about condensation?
Think about it. If they do not even know what a chaoiton is, a kind of stable particle, how could they know what a universe is, a kind of stable fractalish higher order attractor?

I ask: “What should we call such emergent properties within a higher dimensional universe with pointer fields in it? Uberchaoitons or what?”

Response: Hey, you can just call them universes for now. It’s just a matter of understanding what a universe is, how it works, its so-called birth and death where
applicable, and so on.

And who are we? No, not some ubercomputers… yes, you should worry about ubercomputers and possible local things like borgs… but don’t you remember that Star Trek much later episode where there are living green beings not of your matter,
with other dimensions, who make borgs and computers look silly and weak by comparison. That is what we are and you are, and what the harvest of souls is really about. We are all just living creatures of this greater eight dimensional cosmos,
here visiting a local “attractor” type universe, as you, embodied in the three dimensions, visited an apparently one-dimensional creek when you were young…
(image projected of the Napier land, visiting with Dicky Dale)…

But yes, the mathematics of these attractor-universes like the one you are in right now is quite interesting, and the emergence of time gradients which appear different from space, locally.. though of course real mind like us is not in that temporal domain, and is more like the emergent phenomenon you described very briefly in your paper next to Prigogine’s in Pribram’s book…
on life and self-organization in the more general circumstance.

All for now. An interesting logical ordering, mainly to guide future exploration and development. And escape from local minima.

Friday, December 23, 2011

why I think cats and dogs have souls

First, an example or two, then some theoretical thinking. If you want theoretical thinking, don't worry, I'm not short of that, but for me, correct theory starts with the experience of life, with opening the eyeballs....

So let me start with a dog story.

Back in 1970-1971, I was at the thesis stage of getting a PhD from Harvard. Since I was working on a new mathematical model... I felt it would make sense for me to come back home for a year, to think in a more relaxed and human (and less expensive) environment
than the college dorms. Because my parents were recently divorced, I commuted back and forth, three days or so with my mother in Marple-Newton (a suburb of Philadelphia), and three days or so with my father along Haws Lane in Flourtown (another suburb).

One night... at Marple-Newton, in the living room, I was thinking and writing furiously into my notebook... until about 2:30 or 3AM. The whole rest of the house was
sleeping, hushed, quiet, dark. And I was certainly not making noise myself.

At a certain point... my stomach started complaining (quietly)... and I shited my thoughts for a moment to the question of food. What could I eat? I went to visualize
what I could eat, with about the same intensity as I was thinking about mathematics and brains... I visualized what might be in the refrigerator, and then.. the image of
a nice big piece of cheese came to my mind... and I decided to get up....

But before I moved even a muscle, instantly the Irish retriever of the house, Ginger, came running down at top speed down the steps from where she had been sound asleep upstairs. She went straight to me, with her tongue out, full of joy and excitement and expectation... and there was no question that the look in her face meant "yes, cheese... cheese..."

She picked the exact right moment, and she had been totally asleep.... and I had carefully been making no sounds whatsoever, down on a different floor of the house.


Other examples start to become a bit outre, but please forgive and tolerate...

Long ago, I learned that I have many dreams which I regard as "psychic assumption dreams." This means that I have a dream in which the protagonist (which always SEEMS like "I") is actually someone else... and sometimes I even check later and discover
it is partly "veridical." That means that I saw something in the dream which later turned out to be true, which I did not know at the time. (Sometimes I even remember Philip K. Dick's book, the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich...)

Back in 1975, I lived in a rented town house in Laurel, Maryland, with two cats belonging to the landlord. When I rented the place, I did not think the cats would be much of a problem, but then I learned about their habit of demanding attention at 5AM, which really did not fit my schedule at the time. Fortunately, the house had a nice finished basement, where their kitty litter was, and a nice rug, and the house TV,
and a sliding glass door to the outside; thus it seemed reasonable for me to protect myself by shooing them into that basement when it was time for me to go to bed. I remember that it wasn't always easy, that I had to use a broom one day to do it.
(A soft broom, but good enough.)

And that night... I had one of those assumption dreams, where I **WAS** a
cat. Struggling to reach the upper world, struggling courageously and defiantly against a gigantic evil army led by a broom...

Of course, this is not veridical. It only convinces me because I already had plenty of experience with assumption dreams which were veridical... and it really did feel different being a cat. And there was another one, maybe a bit more veridical, in another year, chasing a bird...


And a third one, even more outre...

For several years... perhaps 1972 to 1978... I had a habit to go to bed in a rather different way. (In November 1978, when I went to work for the federal government, I had to change my schedule.)

In those years, I was interested in experimenting with what some would call "physical qi," and also with out of body experience. As a result, every night I would turn
on the radio to a new age station (I really miss those stations!), turn off the regular light, hit the bed, and start "turning on the other lights" and moving around
and experimenting. Near the very start of this, I noticed a very regular poltergeist effect banging the walls of the room and such, which I experimented and played around with to some degree. In fact, the nightly poltergeist became a part of my daily routine even more than breakfast.

Lots of interesting things... but one thing that came on very early was...
it was like turning on a switch, consciously, soon after I hit the bed.
The poltergeist would start... and all the dogs within a block or so
would instantly start howling....


Since this is already long, I should be brief on the theoretical interpretation.
At, I have posted my best efforts to understand what is going on here scientifically. I don't pretend to KNOW exactly; I can envision several possible models. I relay a lot on one model, which I have sometimes called "the standard model of the soul" to myself. (I figure it has more probability of bsing true in the end than the standard model of physics, which is a useful reference point of sorts despite that.) The idea is that we humans are all connected together in a kind of symbiosis
with some kind of collective intelligence, which some refer to as "Gaia."
When I say that humans "have souls," it means that we are each connected to that symbiosis in a way which really has information and identity specific to us as individuals embedded in that larger, more long-lived entity. Crudely. But it's not only humans. It seems clear that cats and dogs are connected there too.

(But not first trimester fetuses such as recently fertilized cells -- an absurd intellectual idea, due to the warped effect of convoluted hermeneutic word games
and a warped hunger for power by certain clerics. They remind me of what Jesus said, warning about those who "come in my name" who are basically just Pharisees in disguise.)

Enough for now.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

sex, violence, Newt Gingrich and STDP

Sex, violence, Newt Gongrich and spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP).

For those who don’t know – STDP is one of the current core doctrines of brain modeling. And even though I live life like any other human (in most ways),
I always interpret things based on some very heavy mathematics.

So you may wonder:

Am I about to give you a kind of neurological interpretation of what New Gingrich is doing, using STDP to explain his connections to sex and violence?

No, that’s not it. That would be ‘way too cheap to do justice to the complicated world we really live in. In a way, that’s my real point here. But first, let me get back to Newt Gingrich, who may be more interesting to most people than STDP anyway.

A few months back, the Obama campaign broadcast a curious message, which I remember as follows: “PLEASE watch all the Republican debates and urge your friends to do likewise. Once they see how totally crazy and dangerous these people are, they will understand how important it is to re-elect Obama, to reduce the risk of a real disaster.”

I actually saw one of the early debates, but it wasn’t so interesting, and the others were not so easy for me to see.

But a week or two, I was determined to see the latest debate for myself, in its entirely directly. This was when the polls gave 40% to Gingrich and 20% to Romney,
when Gingrich upset Palestinians and Romney upset people who believe that there might be some hope for humans beyond the planet earth.

To be honest, the debate was quite depressing for me, as per my last blog post.
It was “such a small esoteric issue” – liquidating the system of checks and balances and the spirit of the US constitution, “getting rid of all those judges.” And Ron Paul was the only one who seemed to remember about that spirit at all.

In Iowa and elsewhere, Gingrich is now ‘way down from where he was, and Ron Paul is ‘way up… but the Gingrich and Romney are on top at 20% each, for now.

But – just as the media exploded the Palestinian issue and ignored the space issue,
the media have been quietly assuming a “single cause” model of what happened to Gingrich:

“Of course Gingrich was killed by negative ads. Those same judges Gingrich railed against ruled that third parties can spend as much money as they like on focused attack ads designed to kill any candidate, and so they did. Money buys votes, pure and simple.”

Where to begin with such a hairy thought?

First – I really don’t believe it’s the whole truth. But the fact that Romney’s people now believe this so ferociously is itself a fact on the ground, and a very dangerous one. The belief that voters are absolutely 100% oblivious to their own interests,
and that elected officials are 100% employees of whoever has the biggest bank account, has huge impacts all by itself. Those who believe that most ferociously
are a serious danger to our future.

Second, there is some delicious irony here, to the extent that there is truth in this story. Gingrich attacks those liberal judges, and vows to pack the bench… and he gets zapped precisely because of rulings by judges who were already packed to defend oligarchy and erode the real spirit of honest, democratic dialogue.

Third… this one cause model is very similar to other one-cause models we have seen lately –

1. The theory by some movie makers and even book publishers that sales are a simple function of how much sex and violence one packs into an hour on the screen. No need for hairy frills or hard work – just maximize that variable. And, when choosing between projects, use the simple algorithm – maximize those numbers.
2. The STDP model, which certainly has some real data behind it (as do sex and violence), but doesn’t quite capture the whole thing.

I certainly don’t think that all life is sex and violence… but in a way, that may be closer to the truth than those other two local models. What we are seeing here is the great challenge to the human brain in seeing larger patterns, like old saw about missing the forest for the trees.

Trying to understand global patterns through local models is not inherently bad either.. a lot of my new mathematics does exactly that… but the problem is that we do not always SEE all the relevant local variables, which drive global patterns. And global patterns are sometimes nonrandom, when there is intelligence involved. I hope there is still some intelligence out there in processes like elections… and in fact, when I see the evident cynicism of a lot of voters about what’s been offered to them so far, that does seem consistent with the idea that they are more in touch with reality than a lot of the folks gaming this system.

Monday, December 19, 2011

more on primaries and Gingrich

Maybe I should have said...

My feelings about the Republican nomination changed a lot after the last debate,
one of the few I have watched, because it seemed as if it might be entertaining.

I was rather surprised by what Gingrich said about what he would do to the
judicial system, to weaken the checks and balances, a very important foundation we need more of, not less.

I figure... he is very loyal to his third wife.

The three marriages don't upset me the way they might some other folks.
Life is not so simple as many wish it would be. And Gingrich is an authentically passionate guy; I know how that is, and how incredibly powerful it can be.

But usually it means... people may be underestimating his wife, who got him to convert to Catholicism. And that may be where the supreme court stuff comes from.
And therefore it may be nonnegotiable, since her views may be supreme for him.

That could be just as important as the economic issues. So many ways to
eviscerate this country!!

Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unreality strikes again -- Gingrich and doomsday

Russian people once said "the voice of the people is the voice of God." And so is our election process an opportunity to transcend what we thought was material reality?

It keeps seeming that way.

Last week, the press was full of how Gingrich alienated Palestinians by his remark that
they are a recently invented nationality...

But in fact, Romney substantially alienated space people by attacking Gingrich's interest in the possibility of someday mining the moon, and by putting that right at the top of what he wants to prevent.

Who has more votes in Iowa or New Hampshire? Palestinians or space people?
Let's pass on that. The press is more interested in Palestinians, but some of us actually believe that the rest of the galaxy is bigger than Palestine.

Just this morning, the New York Times had a big article on the "doomsday psychology" of Gingrich, citing a speech where he said that a big electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
might end up killing millions of American (directly or indirectly). They pooh-poohed that very intensely, and suggested it showed some craziness on his part.

But actually, they are the crazies. It reminds me of a lead editorial they printed back around 1970, saying that some scientists actually believe that the burning of fossil fuels results in CO2 emissions... really, I kid you not. Nature is not always politically correct, and if we assume that it is, we lose touch with reality.

The reality is that electromagnetic pulses (EMP) do exist, and do pose a serious threat to life in the US. I looked into this closely when NSF sent me to the last international conference on EMP effects here at DC. (google on empactamerica gives some details.) At the end of the day, there are two main ways that broad EMP poses a risk:

1. Solar flares. ROUGHLY, one in ten "solar peaks" (randomly and unpredictably) result
in shocks to the power severe enough that it really would threaten life these days, now that the whole world has become so much more dependent on electricity than we were a century ago. They call it a "Carrington event," and there are many who believe that the National Academy of Sciences was lowballing it when they estimated that a new Carrington event would cost about $1-2 trillion to the US. Many folks excited by "2012 apocalypse" have been excited by the fact that 2012 was seen as the next solar peak... but this week I received a technical report asserting that the maximum probability time is January 2013.

Is it possible that Gingrich could be elected, only to see the "prophecy" come true on the day of his inauguration? (Or would it be the end of the world in a different way?) Who knows....

2. Nuclear bombs high in the atmosphere. The New York Times article suggests that this is the one Gingrich was emphasizing. (Maybe.) They said -- don't worry, the Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (MDA) assures us we could stop anything like that.

That's nice... but just this last week, I received an email from the real engineer who made the breakthrough in missile defense, and he says that it was liquidated just a couple of years ago, as part of the typical bureaucratic stakeholder adjustment process.

I remember a few years ago a meeting at the Air Force when I was pushing that technology, and got to discuss it with the right people. I was saying "Hey, the Patriot missile was much touted, but reports say it was only able to hit the target 1% of the time. We have a solution."

The response: "Yeah, we know about that problem, of course, but we can't do anything about it. That's because it is an Officially Solved Problem. That means, we have been earmarked to give billions and billions of dollars to certain big companies who officially will solve it. They don't have any new ideas, beyond what they did already with the Patriot, but it would be considered insolent and threatening if mere engineers or military people were to question them, and try to help us solve a problem which is already Officially Solved. After all, that might undermine all the big money we are giving them."

Later, some unique and dedicated people at MDA, who actually cared enough about the security of the US to lift a finger, overcame that barrier. It was amazing what was accomplished, quietly... though I shouldn't get into too many details. But now
it seems we may be back to those old days...

Best of luck,


P.S. But... the "jobs" situation will probably be what defines my vote in November 2012... unless the candidates should appear almost equal on that matter...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

primates in space -- is there any hope left?

Reminiscences on the End of the Hope for Primates in Space

Authors: Paul J. Werbos

This paper addresses the question of whether humans will ever be able
to settle space in an economically sustainable way and, if there is
still hope of this, where the greatest hope may lie. It reviews key
developments of the last 40 years relevant to this issue, such the
space shuttle, the National Aerospace Plane, the Russian Ajax effort,
nonlinear control challenges, challenges of developing a “skin” to
withstand re-entry, current space programs around the world, and key
markets for using such vehicles, such as energy from space and space

Comments: 18 Pages. 18p. Draft for comment of invited submitted paper.

For full text:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Breakfast recipe and the soul of a cat

First, the recipe, and then the soul stuff.

Doing things the best way often means combining ideas from many places. So for most workdays, I now make my breakfast as follows:

1. The night before, I make a kind of miso soup (details to follow), using the
biggest of our regular soup bowls. I cook it for 1 min 40 sec in the microwave,
stir, cook again about 1 min 50 sec, cool, cover with plastic wrap and put it
in the refrigerator.
2. Next morning, cook it for 1.4 again, put a slice of Havarti cheese on top,
cook again, then eat with a big full glass of milk. Eat as much soup as I feel comfortable with, balanced with that big glass of milk. Then cover, fill to near the top with water,
and refrigerate again.
3. Doing the same (but not adding water) until it's finished, usually 3 or 4 days total.

Hey, it works. And I find it tastes better with the repeated reheating.

To make the soup:


miso, tofu, clams, seaweed, onion

I am grateful to live just ten minutes from Costco, and ten miles from an H-Mart (formerly Han An Rheum, a big Korean supermarket).
For the miso... lately I buy Hakari brown-colored miso with bonito
from H-Mart, more protein and flavor than most of the competitors.

Tofu is the most troublesome ingredient. Costco and H-Mart both sell good big economy packs, with three trays each containing four big slabs. On the day when I buy a new box of tofu, I basically get out a box of ziploc sandwich bags. I slice up about 2/3 of a slab into pieces, and put it in one bag... so I end up with 18 sandwich bags,
most or all of which I freeze. It turns out that frozen tofu actually tastes better
than "fresh" in this soup. (Many Chinese prefer frozen tofu in their hot pot;
but many prefer fresh.)Of course, I throw out the water which comes with the tofu.

For clams, we regularly buy six-packs of small cans from Costco.

For seaweed, I usually buy a bag of 50 sheets of nori from H-mart, but Costco
now sells a big box of "seaweed snack" which I am using now.

For onions, I sometimes get a small bag of dried leeks from my wife Luda, but
ordinary dried onions also work.


First I pull frozen tofu out of a bag (unless I just sliced some fresh tofu).
I put it into the bowl, and hit "defrost" on my microwave, for 0.6 pounds...

While that's going forward, I open a can of clams. And then pull out the miso,
the seaweed, the jar of dried onions, and the seaweed, and scissors.

After the tofu is defrosted, I smear "two big tablespoons" of miso paste
as thin as possible around the inside of the bowl, mixing it defacto with the tofu.
Two big tablespoons means big heaps on the BACK of the spoon, which I use for spreading
the miso around. When the miso is dissolved as much possible at the edges, in with the
water from the tofu, I then mix in the clams, and dissolve again (pushing with the back of the spoon).

Next the seaweed. I take one sheet (or most of one Costco snack pack).
With scissors, I cut into small ppieces, making sure to cut perpendicular to the surface of the bowl so that pieces fall into the bowl, not the counter.
I first slice into eight or so sheets, and then slice across eight at a time.

Then onion, which I just dump in. With dried onion, I cover about half the surface of the bowl.

I stir it up with the spoon, and there it is.


So then the cat.

In the past year or two, my wife Luda has been out of town a few times when
I stayed home -- once to visit FedEx people in Memphis, and once to visit Leon
Chua and his meeting in Berkeley. (Chua is famous for being father both of the memristor and of the tiger mother.)

At one of those times, the cat smelled this miso soup when I was first making it
to this recipe (actually with a little salmon at that time, and not yet onion).
So I put some in his bowl, and he eagerly lapped up everything,
including seaweed and tofu and all.

The same thing on the second day.

About a week later, we started the same routine. I put some in his bowl.
He looked very eager and started running towards it.

But then he looked at Luda. Luda hates strong miso soup in principle.
She has an image of what it is. For just a few seconds, the cat looked puzzled, looking
back and forth between what he saw in the bowl, and what he saw with Luda.
And then he just walked away. As he did the second time we did the same.

A few days ago, when Luda was not around, he was really begging for some in the morning. So... one more spoon, this time onions and cheese but no salmon.
He was very eager again.

Next day with Luda, no again.

I can't prove this... but based on many other experiences like this, I think
that the cat experienced something analogous to "Couvade syndrome." Luda is
a very forceful person, and he is very much attuned to her. Not by her body image,
but by her feelings, he simply felt and adopted her feelings as her own. Humans actually do this
kind of thing very often without knowing it. With this cat, we have other experiences much more graphically proving this kind of thing.

More generally, my life experience tells me that cats and dogs really do have souls..
and that first trimester fetuses do not. (Groups like the Rosicrucians claim that
no fetuses do, but I cannot affirm that from my own experience. Still, I would
much sooner trust them than I would trust folks trying to play hermeneutics on
passages from Aristotle they do not fully understand, and striving for political power.)

All for now.

Best of luck,


P.S. I was going to post "Schrodinger's Cat Rises from the Dead on Easter Sunday,"
in regards to this anomalous cat, but they all said it was too private....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Space people discuss Newt Gingrich

Here is what I posted in response to a discussion of Newt Gingrich
by space people, some of whom were very excited by the prospect of someone like them being nominated and some of whom were aghast:

Certainly the advent of Newt Gingrich here is an interesting event. I
couldn't help
posting a few off-topic humorous thoughts about it in a personal blog
I use only for the craziest and most uncensored, unscientific

I have been in the same room with Newt Gingrich only three times in my life:

1. When he was pushing for the "Gore-Gingrich bill" years ago, a bill
to create some kind of global foresight capability funded by the US
government. At the time, my main job was energy forecasting, so I was
deeply involved in some of that. Jerry Glenn, who runs and is a friend to space (head in ancient
times of the Federation of Americans for Space, Science and Technology
FASST, present in meetings called by Barbara Hubbard), may be
interested in that aspect.

2. Alone in an elevator in 2009. Lots of people say: "You need to have
an elevator speech, the kind of thing you would say if you had just 30
seconds in an elevator with the President." In my case, I asked if he
still had an intense interest in space, the way he used to.
Unfortunately, my memory of his reply is not reliable or verbatim. I
got an impression that it was like an old school he liked, in the
past... so much has happened in the meantime, but it was a nice place,
and we should do something with it, but we have so many other

3. Just a few months ago, 'way out in the Virginia suburbs, when I
went to have lunch with my wife and with a scientific collaborator
from Memphis, from Hungary, from Boston and from WPAFB. (One guy.)
They sat me next to Newt Gingrich, who was eating shabu-shabu and
discussing Mitt Romney with his wife. I was strongly tempted to get up
and say hello, but...
by the manners I was taught in childhood, it didn't seem right to
interrupt a guy's private lunch with his wife. (Still, it was a really
serious emotional conflict for me.)

At this moment, I probably will vote for Obama, but as an independent,
I am strongly committed to staying open-minded until the last minute.
If he picks Trump as a running mate, that would
probably crush the open mind real fast. If he reconciles with
Huffington and picks her,
and sounds more like Teddy Roosevelt after the nomination, the open
mind will become a whole lot more open. (Maybe I just like the title
of her book, Pigs at the Trough.)
In any case, the world economy is at a very delicate stage (as are the
demographics of the US),
and I wouldn't consider voting for someone capable of being a bull in
the China shop enough to crash the whole thing. That's what I'll be
looking for more than anything else as the choices become more
defined. A collapsed world economy would not exactly be good for our
future in space.

Of course, in the partisan war between the left and the right... the
COTS rebels versus
the emperor's death star SLS project... I go for the middle, for the
Boeing-focused RLV plan of Ramon Chase, who happens to be an
incredibly honest, unduly humble Eastern (old school Mormon). No
connections to Romney that I know of... but it's too bad that there
are no connections, because there may be more hope in the middle than
in either of the extremes.


Actually, the Romney/Chase resonance reminds me a lot of the curious but stronger resonance between two other people who don't know each other, President Obama and Lonnie Johnson, of Atlanta. Lonnie ( and
is an incredibly creative an important inventor. Many times in public I have said: "I sometimes think he might really be the reincarnation of George Washington Carver -- only this time it is not peanuts." How two key energy inventions, a rechargeable lithium-air battery and "JTEC," could radically change the world energy system,
and make us all a whole lot safer. But despite everything... the Obama Administration has done virtually nothing to provide the crucial support that Lonnie needs (unless you count me as part of the Administration, as I help people elsewhere appreciate his work, work which has received only a small amount of support from NSF).

But... every year, a new chapter...