Thursday, December 31, 2015

Grim End to a Grim Year

There are many many times when the whole combination of things happening on earth remind me of the scene in the first Star Wars movie where people get stuck in a garbage room, and the walls keep shrinking inexorably... When this happens, I am reminded of the way that most stories have a long period of challenge right up to the end, and so on. But I also try to look for a way out of the garbage room. I don’t yet see it. The further I look, the more impossible it seems. The real consolation for me is that understanding the brain and the physics of the universe, even in a qualitative but coherent mathematically-based way, once seemed equally impossible... but eventually did work out, as I see it (with URLs previously posted here or papers in google scholar).

For now – one of the depressing things of the day for me were Donald Trump’s attacks on Bill Clinton. Some may find it amusing that THOSE are what cross the line for me, when he has said so many other things which cross so many other lines. But there is a difference.  Yet at the same time... others have suggested that Kasich, who might otherwise be the last hope of the Republican party this year, has an uncanny resemblence to Taft...a character who figures prominently in the great Netflix documentary, The Roosevelts (covering both Teddy and Franklin and the matrix connecting them). Corruption, more or less legalized corruption, is threatening the very existence of the human species, in my view, but who is left to oppose it? Will we be facing eight more years, starting in 2017, which are a rerun of the unsustainable nonsense of the last year or two?

Certainly the political wings of the oil industry and the billionnaires supporting sharia play a pivotal role in the way on which corruption has gotten out of hand, all over the earth. They occasionally send out quiet declarations of the new order, a kind of word to the wise on whom they should obey, and it was not a joyous occasion for me to receive yet another of those yesterday.

In a more positive part of the noosphere – the mental space including humans and other local life – at least one highly
respectable guy is deeply upset and troubled by our positive mention of Buddhism in a previous post... and has a picture in his mind of “Buddha blobs.” It is true that a very large part of Buddhism provides people with an excuse for the defense mechanism called “denial” in solid psychiatry (see for example the great book by George Valliant, which everyone should be able to appreciate!)... but when there is no visible way to survive, a proper higher form of Tibetan style Buddhism with echoes in the West, viewing the world as a school, actually provides a way forwards and a kind of call to action even in circumstances where actual survival on earth seems harder and harder to visualize.  As always, it is a challenge to find the  right balance.

Before some of these new inputs... I was about to record some more positive things on the spiritual side... and will still post a lot of them, but am not prepared to go much further today.


Where I was before the new events:

Meditations in a Quaker Meeting Dec27

A major rule in Quaker meetings is to be brief, to speak only when one has good reason to believe it is a message from beyond one’s personal thinking, and not to overdo it. For the first time in months I spoke yesterday (Dec 27). An expanded version of what I said:

“A few days ago, my wife and son and I returned from a Caribbean cruise. (Questioning looks...) My wife set it up and it didn’t cost much money, and it had some real spiritual value. There was some value in being forced to sit quietly for hours at the  fulcrum of four great forces of nature... the sun.....   the ocean ..... the stars of our galaxy.. and my wife. Of the many messages from there... the first and most important is that we here on our little piece of land are still at the fulcrum of those four great forces, and that there are many important, diverse and concrete messages available if we reach out and listen, messages too complex to speak in detail here here and now.” And again, this is a little longer than what I said. That was near the end of the meeting, and no one else spoke. However, Langley meeting has a great new tradition, of starting the after-meeting part with “afterthoughts,” a time when people voice their personal thoughts mainly in response to actual messages, if there was not time or if they did not meet the high standard of being actual messages. One woman spoke: “My family, whom I was just with for a few days, is the great force of nature for me...” Another meeting member, who teaches in a local university, said, smiling: “I too just returned from a Caribbean cruise. And when we returned... the sun and the warm weather stayed with us here! I said to my wife, ‘It was paradise, and paradise is with us here too.’” Then came self-introduction of visitors, including my daughter Maia visiting from California, and announcement that my other daughter Lissa married Dave at the courthouse on Dec. 21 (formal celebrations TBD). Also interesting new people from Kenya and from the Episcopal ministry... for discussion later.

But in fact, I did not intend to speak at meeting yesterday. I felt a bit becalmed and almost disoriented after so many shifting tides and distractions of the previous week, and in my mind reached out a bit... thinking... towards those stars in our galaxy, so visible at night from the cruise ship (and from going out at night on the days when we visited Alma in Chile a year ago). On the ship, I forcibly pushed my mind as hard as I could in quiet time towards the questions of MQED, which I mentioned and cited at the end of my last blog post.  On our first day after the cruise, I spent the whole day writing up those thoughts as coherently as I could, as a paper posted at researchgate and vixra... not with any intent to publish but to leave at least some trail of an essay I wrote for three purposes: (1) as a kind of school essay, to show I learned the material; (2) as a way to make the thoughts more coherent, and finish the task; and (3) – least important – maybe provide a foundation for further work, as my illegible notes and scattered other diary notes would be of less value for that. Einstein once said something like: “I owe my great success to how much I was actually able to focus on The Question.... only about 30% of the time I tried to, but that’s a lot more than the percent of time other people spend on really facing up to the real questions at hand.”


I have considered on-again off-again joining the Rosicrucian order, which was extremely useful to me in my intense “spiritual” explorations from 1972 to 1978, a period which ended abruptly when I joined the US civil service. On the positive side – I joined above all for the sake of the “experiments,” the specific exercises which I put my full heart and soul into, which were motivated by a desire to acquire the first-hand data of experience essential to weeding out the many, many possible theories one might have as to why paranormal experience is possible. Yet the absolute hierarchical nature of the organization worried me, and there was a time when Ralph Lewis approached death, when I feared that AMORC might follow the same path of decay which also gave us grand muftis, the inquisition and feudal oppression in Thailand due to the same kind of entropy over time (above all because of power-seeking successors). The switch back to France reduced such worries, and my personal inspection of Christian Bernard reassured me... for his time... but how could the system be made to work better? The great things about Quaker Universalists is that they do not have that problem – but the writings of Brinton, which I mentioned before, show that even Quakers are susceptible to some of the same kinds of entropy if they are not strict and careful enough.

Yet... Yeshua has reminded me of the central importance of Social Contracts, as part of whatever hope we may have of peace on earth and survival of primates. A central concept in the founding of the United States – a great moment in the history of humanity, despite the unfortunate nonsense we have seen in recent years – was the understanding by Friends and their Friends that maximum development of the human spirit requires a kind of liberation of the spirit, and the avoidance of state-sponsored religion in the form which gave us grand muftis and inquisitions. (I am reminded as well of friends in the Christian orthodox part of the world. I especially remember a big meeting at Rhodos, where the great archbishop of Russia and the great archbishop of Georgia stage what looked like a remake of the Three Stooges, big fat men in pompous black robes throwing pies at each other.  In all fairness, there was one archbishop who tried to calm things down by saying ‘Hey guys, weren’t we supposed to be Christians?’ He played an important role, but he was only one in that group.)

But – a Quaker meeting as such is not a school, and the constitution (even if restored to what it was meant to be, e.g. declaring that physical walking and talking humans are the ones guaranteed inalienable rights) is not a university. It provides a system in which schools and even limited corporations can flourish, under constraints of honorable competition. But schools, like AMORC, still play a crucial role, in getting to the technical details which are also an essential part of life.

Last Sunday’s meeting reminded me a bit of another school, a recent one on a shoestring set up by Pete Sanders, who left MIT for Sedona Arizona. His book, “You are Psychic,” I saw in my brothers bookshelves... scanned... and now have on my galaxy tab and my kindle paperwhite.  A well-trained student of world mystical schools... (should I buy that book, Yoga the Art of Transformation?... one of the many important world sources...)...  would say that Sanders identifies only four centers, and is “reinventing the wheel”... but it is a good wheel and a good reinvention. He speaks of four centers – intuition (like frontal lobes, which some associate with “third eye”), gut feeling in the gut (rather familiar solar plexus chakra to many), and clairovoyance and clairaudience.  In his test questions... well, I came out almost 100% frontal lobe type, while Luda was more 50% that and 50% visual.

Perhaps the primary interface of “soul” (our local part of noosphere) and “body” is a matter of what soul hooks up to. Frontal lobes are a logical part, along with thalamus and epithalamus, but what of visual input zone (back of brain) and audio? And for our personal growth, is it not important to keep a balance between “playing to our strength” and developing new capabilities in a careful way, leveraging our strength?

Curiously... the closest I came in RECENT years to working on a clairovoyance kind of strength... was on a cruise ship. The challenge was simply to go to the bathroom and back without turning on lights, in pitch black, making a minimum of noise, with Luda and Chris in the same room. I did not close my eyes... but there was hardly any light, especially a few years ago when we were in an inside cabin, but even now in a closed bathroom (with reasons not to turn on light in the bathroom). I would focus actively to see where I was, of course... and move my arms to assist focusing whatever vision I had, not excluding any kind of vision, and exploiting what I know about prediction and boostrapping in the brain, to train myself better. At some level, it was just a straightforward application of what I wrote in the section on bootstrapping in my 2012 paper in Neural Networks, with a notable extra wrinkle. Being open to ANY inputs which might help me predict what I saw (and felt touching things).. and moving around on several levels to create variance... I noticed that a certain kind of consciousness from/in the back of my head correlated very well with being “in focus” (like in the zone?).. and of course that was an opening not only to doing a bit better but to understanding, two things very closely connected.

And at meeting on Sunday... I remember back to the period 1969-1971, when I was uncertain whether I even believed in paranormal phenomena, and when my only ideas for experiment came from my own logic... when I played with ideas like heterodyne, receiving and transmitting and amplifying and tuning... and when I now remember how interface with the lateral part of the brain was a clear memorable part of the early experiments/experience, not repeated later.

But... enough of that.

Yesterday... a day with Luda at Spa World, and finished the Gatekeeper trilogy of Orson Scott Card, which does a great job of explaining the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the connection between experience and theory in that part of the world. But no way will I be part solving problems by murder, either his way of Modesitt’s way. As Obama might say, “That’s not who we are.” There are certain deep inherited features in the noosphere which might give life on this planet some chance (or at least the noosphere), which are unfortunately related to restricted technology, but in crude terms do impose some constraints, not those of sharia... but more like those of certain types of integrity... and I will not cross those lines.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trump and Jesus Two Days before Christmas

Trump and Jesus Two Days before Christmas

First, a small but interesting tidbit. ********************************

The news this morning is about how Trump said that Hillary Clinton was “schlonged” in 2008. It was strange to start the day seeing CNN (first day like that for me in about three weeks!)... with everyone saying Trump used “that word,” without saying what the word was. Seeing the partial information ... was a surreal experience in itself. It reminded me of the day I returned to the US after a long absence, and saw a headline: “Reagan stonewalls, refuses to answer questions about his nose.” What??? Or when, in the restricted graduate student library at the University of Leningrad (1968), I saw ever so many card catalog entries for criticisms of Camus, but not the books actually being criticized. But finally CNN deigned to include an image where the word appeared.

Luda —knowing ever so many things from unique life experience – told me: “All those horrified people presumably are either Jewish or getting their information from Jewish sources. More precisely, in Yiddish, the perfectly sanitary German and Russian word schlong has acquired additional connotations well beyond the actual meaning of the word. Assuming that ‘schlong’ must have that meaning is like assuming that the word ‘jewish’ itself has all the meanings attributed to it in the Webster’s Second International Dictionary – and we really wouldn’t want to propagate those kinds of assumptions.”
(Golly. The word ‘propagate’ can also be taken in unintended ways too, no?) “The true meaning is simply like ‘to be hosed.’” OK, so if someone of German background happens to use a German word in an appropriate word, describing what actually happens a lot to people in real estate...  shouldn’t we have some tolerance for that culture too?

In fact, I remember quite well what happened to Hillary in 2008. Back then, I supported her quite strongly versus Obama for the nomination, and it was a touch and go contest. The folks supporting Obama were not only the Sanders crowd, attracted to beautiful pictures, good intentions and eloquent words, but also right-wing people not so visible to the public convinced he would be easier to beat than Hillary. The situation both on the ground and in the noosphere was quite different then, in many ways. Perhaps this time the right-wing will not repeat the mistake they made in 2008. Better an honest election and an honest dialogue than double-dealing conspiracy nonsense. And this year... the noosphere is always tricky to talk about, much more sensitive objectively than specs for Xray lasers or state department emails. Crudely – one shift in the tide involves something like “bringing balance to the force,” and it is entertaining that a new Star Wars movie series is coming out at the same time. It is a really huge shift in the tide. It reminds me of those drastic last-ditch medical treatments which have a 50% chance of killing the patient... when the only alternative is for the patient to die a certain if slower and more painful death. The US elections this year are only one part of that process, but they do tend to reflect its character.

By the way, Luda makes the interesting suggestion that Trump might pick Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, as his running mate. That might be a brilliant suggestion, for that future time, if the right-wing establishment does not make Hillary’s election inevitable anyway. (Haven’t they learned in recent years how a lot of their strategic plans for elections might be based on partial information?) Like Fiorina, she has a CEO background (badly needed in DC today), but unlike her, she was actually a success, known for a great expansion and productivity rather than liquidation of enterprises better off before she came. Unlike her, she has an acute first-hand sense of reality, and a deep understanding of the health care system in America, much deeper than any of the lobby and pundit and lawyer types which have confused so much as they float around at an imaginary “300,000 foot” policy level. And yes, she could massively improve his chances of election.  


So what does Yeshua have to do with it, and what is the larger context?  Too much to type to cover everything important, as usual....

I was very glad to see a thoughtful and interesting email from my friend Yeshua ben David when Luda, Chris and I returned from our recent Caribbean cruise and some exploration of Florida. You may recall how he and the local Quakers called me to “the watch,” which in a way encompassses observation of the entire noosphere, of which US elections are one part. Recently they are both calling very hard for an effort to oppose Islamophobia, which could get very risky in many ways. (Yes, it has obvious relations to bringing balance to the force, and to the 1930’s.) The specific new call is to pay deeper and more effective attention to the core issue of relations between the Islamic “lobe” and the English-speaking “lobe” of the noosphere. Yet we are also in a very difficult balancing act, where we need to have full respect for the positive side of Donald Trump, in particular.

My mundane, human knee-jerk reaction to much of the recent news is: “Trump promised to be like Teddy Roosevelt, and root out the constrictor snakes of corruption and manipulation now strangling the politics of the US, and with it the soul of the US and the hopes of survival of humanity itself. (This is not imagination or ideology – it’s a matter of tracking specific technologies like low cost RLV and transportation secure against OPEC revenge and such, and seeing what happens in the DC system, in immensely specific concrete detail. Fire and brimstone, aka misuse of nucs and H2S, really are coming to a place near you, along with a bunch of wormwood.) Luda has reminded me that Roosevelt did have an international policy side as well – but many of us would have been happier if we heard more about rooting out the snakes in DC than about things which drive Yeshua and Quakers to try to balance things out.

Yet in the end, Teddy Roosevelt did have to get elected, and the snakes we see in DC have very important connections back to the Middle East. I do not believe in killing snakes out of a desire for vengeance or even a hatred of snakes; rather, my concern is to try to prevent the death of every human on earth, or at least to exercise due diligence in giving them a fair chance of survival. Yes, I do think it is entirely fair to compare Dick Cheney to a Sith Lord, not because of the battery pack he had to wear to stay alive when his human heart became too weak, but because of his Halliburton headquarters in the Gulf – exactly like Palpatine in Star Wars, the VP who tried to assassinate the president, who commuted between his headquarters in the dessert and DC, who installed a network of anti-republican imperialist loyalists in the security world (e.g. Hayden’s extragovernmental apparatus with deep tentacles throughout the power structure), and somehow pushed policies exactly like the Moslem Brotherhood plan to use wars first in Iraq and then in Iran to kill off both enemies of the main customers of Halliburton, a select group of wealthy shariacs in the Middle East. Along among the major candidates, Trump stood up against those who were well advanced in pushing for a new war between US and Israel versus Russia and Iran. That counts for something. So many well-meaning oblivious puppets falling for Cheney’s line... well-meaning but enough to kill us all.

As for myself, I do plan to oppose any Presidential candidate now in the running EXCEPT for Clinton, Trump or Kasich, all of whom deserve a fair hearing beyond what has already happened. All three are high-risk candidates for glaring reasons, but it is like those medical procedures I mentioned. Better some hope than none. If the snakes are not rooted out, we are all dead anyway.

The media has often asked: “How can so many Americans still support Trump? Are they all just ignorant fascists?” But one good media story interviewed Trump supporters, and found out it is not that way. Stuff which sounds like simple Islamophobia worries them too, but they will never forget those snakes now. They understand we are in a struggle for our lives.

I can almost hear Hillary ask: “But how could you view ME as a high-risk option?” In my view, the main risk is that, like Obama, she might not have the force, energy and effectiveness to be able to root out the snakes. The Cheney types were the real culprits in the Benghazi incident, and Hillary’s only failing was that she did not root out the snakes in the State Department and keep them under control. (The same is sadly true of Pete Worden at Ames, another wonderfully well intentioned guy whose people and PR side may be the last nail in the coffin on human chances of lost cost RLV, and avoiding the extinction which that simple omission may be enough to cause.) She has had some serious line management experience, and has been bitten (or scholnged) by those same snakes herself, so there is real hope for her, and I will support her as best I can (to within whatever time I still have left for the mundane world) if she is elected, but I worry about the risk that the same might be done to her as was done to Obama. The risk that she would be hosed again after being elected, as she was in 2008, is a risk we should minimize but not ignore. When Trump talks about “energy” – hey, is this a guy who “unconsciously” has an actual sense of qi?

Too bad about Kasich fading. I had a friend once in the Morgan/Mellon families, a truly upright Republican, who would have drastically preferred Kasich over both Trump and Clinton. But in this zone of the noosphere... as the force moves towards a real balance, led more by EU than US... and as the Republican establishment fails to understand he was their last hope (exactly BECAUSE he is not a clear hope for the snakes!)... well, I regret I seem alone in including him on the list. Perhaps it is just as well, because, brilliant as he is... the task is pretty hard, and may take someone more hard-bitten to accomplish. Maybe. Maybe a moot point anyway.

Also... I remember when Trump refused even to listen to a question from a reporter for France24. “No one listens to you.” Well, I am one of those no one’s, in great part because of Verizon’s new TV set up. Am I Verizon’s only customer? If Trump watched France24, he might know that the socialist Hollander has closed several mosques, even as he also tries to fight a growing wave of Islamophobia, even as La Pen won 6 of the 13 recent regional elections in France (4 won by conservative Republicans, 2 by socialists, and 1 by the Corsican local party).

By the way, Yeshua also commented that my discussion of “peace of mind” on this blog had one rather important omission. Of course, the concept of “sanity/zhengqi”  in  addresses the core issue of internal disharmony far more completely than any of the well-meaning but fuzzy stuff in Brinton. It was an incredible blind spot in my own thinking that I did not mention that in my blog post on “higher Buddhism”! For myself, I take for granted that I have already had one kind of very fundamental peace of mind for many, many years, due to full assimilation of those principles both at the mundane level and the level of “alchemical marriage” – though I am called to grow further still. Brinton’s discussion of religion as such as a foundation is simply wrong as a starting point for peace of mind at that fundamental level. Yet even so, I fully resonate with his simple observation “If we have chaos in our own minds, we cannot bring peace or harmony to the world as a whole.” Achieving a first-level zhengqi or second-level zhengqi, there are still turbulences in the mind, even as pain, fear and memory do not just disappear altogether either.


None of this was a major part of the last few weeks for me.  I said more about my own experience on Facebook on the day we came back.

For a solid week on the Norwegian cruise ship Escape... I felt I was at the peaceful fulcrum of four great forces of nature, spinning with energy like a four-color yin-yang symbol: the sun, the ocean, the stars and Luda. Major PARTS of that week were spent following Luda in very vigorous physical exertions (like rope climbing over the ocean, climbing up the mountain “with the best view” on St. Thomas panting hard due to heat and humidity and steepness, fumbling through caves to Davil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda BVI...) and in exploring free dining options on-board (the best of them being breakfast with really high quality smoked salmon, herring, and plain yogurt with properly cooked berries n the Gardn Cafe overlooking the ocean).

For the stars part... so many hours at rest, no internet and no news... I forced myself to revisit one of the intellectual tasks described in my new paper with Luda on analog quantum computing: the development of a new theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), as close to the old QEDs as possible, but consistent with a dramatic new experiment last year at one of the three labs in the world which has produced three entangled photons. On the first morning after we returned home, I typed up an overview of my new thoughts – so complicated I would forget their connections if I only had my green notebook to rely on:

This was basically written for me, for a kind of intellectual completion. I also left out a few pieces too. Given the way so many things are working, I have no plans to spend the many years necessary to pump so much material through a narrow bandwidth system.

The problem of coping with a narrow bandwidth system reminds me of another treasured friend, who recently asked about Musks’ new approach to the Terminator threat of extinction (not as close as fire or brimstone but still quite serious)

Part of my reply:

This link basically seems to echo the kinds of discussions we have had (slacking off a lot this year) on the Scientific Advisory Board listserv of the Lifeboat Foundation. In fact, it echoes the kinds of approaches which David Brin was pushing very hard, not only at Lifeboat but at the Potomac Institute (in the office side of the Hilton building next to NSF) and elsewhere; for a long time, Brin and I had a very good communication, but Brin went totally bonzai when I insisted that Orson Scott Card also has some important things to say (above and beyond his political filters which I do not support). There was a previous time a few years ago when someone went on a crusade to eliminate some other heretic... which makes me wonder how deep the progressive thinking really is in some circles. Filters and foibles everywhere!

For many years, I dedicated most of my energy to a complex, shifting strategic effort to do what I could to reduce the probability that the human species simply goes extinct before its time, sometime in the next few millennia (most likely after a long denoument, though lately I am less sure about how long that would be). It was great to have a discussion group dedicated to understanding the extinction threat directly, instead of just hiding such thoughts in illegible notebooks...even though I never liked their use of the word "existential" instead of "extinction." (There are other meanings of "existential" I hate to see obscured...) That Board has a strong base in the silicon valley culture, and I sense a lot of interlocking directorates...

In my view, US government lead in IT technology is not one of the direct "end game" final threats of human extinction. It is rough... but I still see it mainly as two big threats and three smaller ones, the big ones being misuse of nuclear technology (which leads to many end game scenarios I feel uncomfortable talking about even in relatively secure email) and H2S -- 'fire and brimstone", the small ones being Terminator II kinds of scenarios, .. oops, must be brief, Xmas complexities...

I do not see wide dissemination of AI as an answer to the Terminator threat, any more than military drones operated by all nations and factions would reduce the terminator threats specifically related to drones. Excessive concentration of power and corruption in the US government is indeed extremely important, above in preventing an effective response to the primary threats... and wide dissemination and other transparency policies could help with that, but if real AI became available to all, I'd see it as riskier situation. Fortunately, I don't see Musk's group as having much hope of that; this week, I would see China, Europe and maybe Microsoft as now more likely to get there than anyone else in the US. 

My current view of how to deal with the Terminator threat: (1) emphasize getting vector intelligence right, with lots of new apps in the distributed, less complex part of the world (e.g. local task automation in Baiden's "teleautonomy" robotics); and (2) get back to being serious about data mining not as AI but as a tool to assist human inference, with more attention to the human. (There has been huge froth about that, but can it become more principled and powerful?)

This week, I also note the news about an Iranian hacking into a US dam, presumably as a kind of response to things we did to THEIR physical infrastructure. I hope some folks in the security community might just begin to get more serious about the really nasty tradeoffs I discussed with them (and also Brin) in 2014: above all, the need to really live without backdoors in operating systems, recognizing that more damage gets done if enemies destroy lots of physical infrastructure than if a few lone wolf shooters get to make the usual type of mess. As for communication systems... that's very high on my "nichevo nye znaio" list. 


Enough for now.

Oh no... oops... at the very beginning of this day... I was reminded of old story I posted before about that preacher who forcibly closed his eyes to Yeshua even when he was peering right through him, wearing sandals and robes fresh from the Sinai... in Singapore... and how that forcible closing of the eyes reminds me a lot of other preachers like Musk who say many good things, but ....  you can't be a Carnegie without awareness of Bessemer... having pals in the PR department of Ames is not the same thing. Such a big part of our life... but this post is too long already.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quaker Inner Peace, Buddhist Here Now and Quantum Multisimultaneity

This week I have had some very fundamental dialogues on two subjects, inner peace, and quantum multisimultaneity, with really serious folks. I have also had interesting discussions on what really happens when an electron jumps an energy level, but that I save for other venues. Item 2 will be quantum multisimultaneity, but my response to that also refers to Christianity and Islam. Republican politics also figure in both.

1. Inner Peace, and link to Buddhism =========================================

1.A: my memory of the first part of the dialogue (at Quaker Meeting)

Last Sunday, our Quaker “drop in” discussion began from a two-page extract from the writings of Howard Brinton, who for many years had a leadership position at Pendle Hill, the number one center for Quaker publications (and many other activities) in the US. “It’s just a ten minute drive from Swarthmore” towards the west. (My mother once lived in Marple Newton, also about ten minutes west of Swarthmore!) Many, many traditional Quakers were religious about keeping spiritual diaries (not unlike this blog, but less censored?), and Brinton had access to hundreds and hundreds of them – a rather interesting resource to think about.

The title of this extract made me interested but nervous: “The Quaker doctrine of inner peace.” DOCTRINE?  But inner peace has been a core theme in true Christianity (Yeshua’s family talks a lot about it to this day), and it is certainly not absent from some good things in Buddhism... where people sometimes meditate on the experience of sitting next to a moonlit pond surrounded by woods in a calm vibrant evening in the forest. (I remember the intense feeling WALKING by such a pond in very late evening, dragging a suitcase, walking through a deep park on my way from New Carrellton metro stop and my house, when my ex-wife forgot to pick me up. Such a mixed melange of strong inputs!)

The first paragraph asked: “How can we expect to create peace and harmony in the world if we do not have it within ourselves? No matter how hard we work to create peace and harmony in the world, it will all end in failure as we project the chaos in ourselves out to the world, if we do not achieve inner peace.” That was pretty persuasive to me. It resonates with a lot of my own personal experience. One of the factors nudging me towards retirement last February... was a hope for straightening out some of these things.

Before we discussed the rest of the reading, we did get deep into analyzing what that first paragraph says. Should we REALLY aim to reduce the chaos in our lives, with such priority? Is that like the folks who want to eliminate fear, or pain, or aberration caused by memory (the cause of scientologists)? But we shouldn’t take pain-killing drugs under normal circumstances; that is like shooting the messenger! The natural sane approach is to fight the source of the pain or fear, or to reduce the confusion and ignorance which causes a lot of mental turbulence, NOT the phenomenon of mental turbulence as such. Like painful memories, it is an important tool, which should not be repressed but should be managed carefully.  I think we mostly agreed on this.

But then – after the commercial, Brinton argued for a very specific WAY to achieve inner peace. I wish I could just post the reading, but it came on paper (and I have even lost the paper!).  Basically, he said that we should listen quietly to hear the voice of God, learn what our life’s mission is, and then be calm and steadfast in simply focusing on that mission for the rest of our lives. He did cite noble and notable activities by Quakers built on that foundation. He extolled his choice of “RELIGION” as primary leading – but then showed respect for others who feel real meaning and purpose and inner peace by suffusing spiritual calling into whatever role in life they have gravitated to.

There was less of a feeling of immediate consensus here than on past meetings in this series, so we continued a bit by email.

1B. My Initial email follow-on ******************************************************

Good morning......!

We discussed the important selection from Howard Brinton a bit more after we left meeting.

His first paragraph was very meaningful to me, on more levels than one, but we still feel some discomfort with the rest. I am reminded of some Eastern people who say "be here now" or scientologists who just want to ditch the power of associative memory in human life, or Ayn Rand, or folks who try to be fearless, and so on. There are many many concepts about life which can be exciting at times and very useful in the right context, but also unbalanced and dangerous if taken too far. It is really vital to put such things into the right context, to preserve the benefits but avoid the downsides. 

In fact, a whole lot of my own life has been intensely "mission oriented." Crudely, I think of this as a kind of "yang" style of life, which is vital to life, but which strongly needs balance with the "yin" side. In fact, this month, as I came to understand more and more the limits of Zen Buddhism as it emerges from the Shaolin Monastery in China (which we have visited), I have joked to myself: "This was NOT so Chinese as Shaolin claims, to get money. Maybe the Chinese need to invent a third Buddhism, Yang Buddhism.... to create balance with the extreme yin which makes China strong in some ways but very weak in others."
So yes, mission oriented life is an important PART of life, but....

In my case, the mission I have felt most called to address in my life is: "Try to minimize the probability that the human species does not go extinct within just a few millennia." That is a clear mission, much better defined in principle than most,
and it does allow a kind of integration and one-mindedness as Brinton describes.
But it does not really avoid chaos and turbulence in the mind, and does not create calmness. Indeed, understanding the various threats to human existence in anything but calming! There is a kind of chaos of mind which is a natural, healthy way to consider multiple hypotheses and multiple approaches, always readsy to adapt to changing circumstances.

Sometimes that is too much for me. For example, I am recently interested in the challenge of "formulating MQED," a model of physics as proposed at the end of my recent paper with Luda. That is much smaller, and much more focused... yes even there, it is essential to open up to chaos, to uncertainty, to hundreds of viewpoints, to have a real chance of success.

What worries me most about Brinton's description is HOW he would in effect choose a mission for himself. I do not believe that God gives just one
clear well-defined simple mission for each person on earth, for their entire lives.
In a way, I think of God as more like a teacher in a Montessori school, who offers choices and is aware of the need to make it not too hard and not too easy.
Brinton's emphasis on peaceful thinking is biased towards too easy, in my view.
Much of my own life has been TOO yang, probably biased towards to hard,
inhumanly hard. Yet... we are called to push ourselves to our limits -- not beyond, but enough... a bit like "no pain, no gain."

I really liked an old Quaker woman I once heard from at Adelphi meeting, whose testimony was: "I really listened to the thoughts about getting rid of unimportant things, to make room for what is more important in life. My life was so overcluttered with things which were not really important. Now I got rid of those things... and now my life is even more cluttered with important things, where I know it will cause real harm if I do not keep up..!!" I believe we are all called to
follow her path, one way or another... but lately I am drifting towards a bit more yin to balance things. To some degree. Not pushing things so hard that I break myself or others. I think. (I am reminded of some neat things people said about Kasich, "He sounds so moderate and in the middle but actually he drives everyone nuts...")

Best regards,

1C. His Initial Response ************************************************************

Thanks for your thoughts.  I think Brinton's experience is that God does communicate (if we listen). And if that really is the case (not hypothetically, but actually), then that experience puts everything else in a distant second place. The important question has been answered:  there is a God who loves me and has something for me to do. Now, get to work and do it. That really does have the effect (at least, for me) of focusing and putting all other matters into proper perspective. It becomes possible to live "single mindedly." Which is what I think Brinton means by "peace of mind." No conflicting motives and purposes. All for His glory.

I do not see how to frame this idea, of a personal God with whom I have a direct relationship, into (say) Buddhist or Taoist terms.  No Yin or Yang. Just one-on-one relationship with God. You know, somepeople really do have such an experience of God. Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been talking to my imaginary friend again. But, hey, to me God is not imaginary, or just an idea.

The other quibble I have is your choice of the word "mission." It seems to me freighted and not really how I experience much of my relationship with God. For example, what God calls me to do might only last for two minutes (say, speaking a word of encouragement to someone). And then the next instruction. And the next. etc. I'm not saying that some people don't experience a call to mission (that might last years); but much of the communication (in my experience) fits much more into the minute to minute, daily rhythms of life.  IMHO.

1D. My First Reply *************************************************************

>You know, some people really do have such an experience of God. Yeah, yeah, I know.  I've been talking to my >imaginary friend again.

Ah, but am I the imaginary friend? 

The Greeley piece suggests many people have had experience they would not discuss in public. This fosters a situation where ever so many people imagine that they as individuals have seen so much more than all or 90% of the world.

To be honest, when Brinton suggests that God acts like a marine sergeant, handing out orders and saying "just do it, stupid, no questions," that suggests to me that his experience was substantially modulated by what he himself asked for and wanted, based on his own fears and limits. (Another theme Greeley probes quite well.) If one ASKS God for simple, stupid orders, he may provide what is asked, but the request from the person who asks really drives that outcome.  

> But, hey, to me God is not imaginary, or just an idea. The other quibble I have is your choice of the word "mission. It >seems to me freighted

That's pretty much what Brinton was saying, no? Isn't that what focused and specific and single-minded MEANS, especially when one views it as exactly representing what God is asking of one?

>and not really how I experience much of my relationship with God  For example, what God calls me to do might only >last for two minutes (say, speaking a word of encouragement to someone). And then the next instruction. 

Yes, that was part of what I was saying, in contrast with the pure single-minded approach. To some extent, it is a matter of one thing at a time. 

>And the next.  etc.  I'm not saying that some people don't experience a call to mission (that might last years); but >much of the communication (in my experience) fits much more into the minute to minute, daily rhythms of life.

Perhaps that is closer to the real thing than Brinton's more formal statement of it. But again, it is a matter of balance.

Of course, there is a very deep and fundamental challenge of discernment. Many people on earth have asserted very strongly that God wanted them to do things which you and I would agree are not really that. My brother recently talked to me about the lessons he has learned about being very careful to manage what LEVEL one listens to, and there are many levels, and many ways the process can be biased by ego. Brinton clearly rejects the idea of tuning into the earth as a whole, in the spirit of de Chardin... yet did his mind really reach out beyond the earth, or do we see more reflection of his personal needs? In many ways, it reminds me of what Greeley says about people who recoil from the ongoing dialogue, by saying "Please God, I'll be a good boy, I will be loyal and perseverant in (whatever tradition they grew up in), if only you will please not do THAT again ... please be satisfied by my being a loyal (X)..."

1E. His second reply ***************************************************

Hi, Paul --
Your choice of words (marine sergeant; handing out orders; just do it, stupid, no questions; substantially modulated; simple, stupid orders) does not accurately capture my own personal experience. Here is my attempt to rephrase your concern. You seem to be worried that people like Brinton (and me?) actually have a personal, hidden agenda that they may not be fully aware of themselves, and are using the excuse that "God told me to do it" in a kind of narrow, neurotic way to justify what are in fact selfish motivations. You may also be worried that people like Brinton (and me?) cannot easily handle complexity, and therefore seek ways not to have to deal with it (simple orders). Again, the motivation is self-serving. God is being used as a psychological justification for a hidden selfish agenda.

I respond: I think that both these concerns are realistic, and occur widely. Whether they occur, in fact, for Brinton (and for me?) requires more careful analysis.  I observe (something you already know) that the fact that some people mis-use grace does not mean that others may not use it well.  I think we ought to look more closely on a case-by-case basis; "one size fits all" doesn't work here, IMHO.
For what it's worth, I think you are a sensitive, thoughtful person.  It's likely that I am over-reacting to some words that don't have the same emotional overtones to you that they have to me. I apologize.

1F. My second reply ************************************************************************************

Yes, I did note a difference between the fully single-minded approach advocated by Brinton and 
what you said towards the end about your experience.

>Here is my attempt to rephrase your concern. You seem to be worried that people like Brinton (and me?) actually >have a personal, hidden agenda that they may not be fully aware of themselves, and are using the excuse that "God >told me to do it" in a kind of narrow, neurotic way to justify what are in fact selfish motivations. You may also be >worried that people like Brinton (and me?) cannot easily handle complexity, and therefore seek ways not to have to >deal with it (simple orders).

I certainly did not want to raise questions about your own practice. My concern was simply with the lack of balance in Brinton's recommendations for us all, which were labelled as THE Quaker doctrine on inner peace.

>>Whether they occur, in fact, for Brinton (and for me?) requires more careful analysis.

All of us who are serious about our spiritual practice must always be vigilant about the effects of normal human psychology. Normally, I should put much more effort into critiquing my own limits (as Jesus suggested... removing the beam, from my own eye...)... but written formal doctrines do require that we evaluate such doctrines carefully, to keep ourselves in the right context.

Just as I see Brinton's "solution" as one-sided (good but bad if pursued too far and too completely), I would also criticize the "be here now" Buddhists and Taoists in the same way. It is very good to be here now sometimes, energetically, but it is also very important to be somewhere else far away at times. More enlightened Buddhists are serious about being somewhere else at times and taking a middle way, and more enlightened Taoists call for a yin-yang kind of balance, but in all major cultures people do sometimes forget the larger picture, to their loss. 

>I observe (something you already know) that the fact that some people mis-use grace does not mean that others >may not use it well. I think we ought to look more closely on a case-by-case basis; "one size fits all" doesn't work >here, IMHO.

Yes, we agree completely. In a good Montessori school, the teacher works hard to meet the distinct needs of individual students, and to be sensitive to what they need and what they can handle. There are many forms of Buddhism, some as decadent as the most decadent forms of Christianity or Islam, but there is also some kind of higher form, which seriously views the world as a school. I see no inconsistency between that and what Yeshua was teaching.

2. Quantum Multisimultaneity: What Does that New Experiment Tell us? ===============

2A. A friend in the quantum field asked***************************************************************

Transactional Interpretation

Physical Review Letters - Experimental Test of Multisimultaneity

Jenny Lorraine Nielsen: Attention all physicists – Does this result take out the transactional interpretation?
Sabine Hossenfelder Jes Scott Paul Erlich Nick Herbert – It's curious I do not see it cited very often despite it being a big name paper with an interesting result. (I don't personally endorse a conclusion that all forms of the pilot wave interpretation are ruled out, but also do not have a firm opinion in re: Bohmian interpretations.)

2B. My evaluation of this: ************************************************************

Just yesterday, I was considering joining APS primarily for the sake of journal access (which I had at NSF but no longer I think)... but the web page was a bit fuzzy. "members pay $50." Per issue? Per journal? For full access?

But "multisimultaneity" is a good google term. As I understand it, they are philosophers looking at the way reference frame effects change predictions for Bell's Theorem experiments. The new empirical result is that they DON'T change those predictions, just as Copenhagen would say, more or less.

But: so far as I know, I am the only on earth ever to demonstrate local realistic models which correctly predict the Bell experiments. (Not just in arxiv, published also in SPIE, QIP and IJBC.) Of course, I know how those models work. Change in reference frame does not change the predictions. Thus it is simply incorrect in logic to say that the new experiment does anything to invalidate the class of models I have developed (and am working on-again off-again to extend).

What about "pilot waves"? Well, there is a lot of stuff done in the name of De Broglie and Bohm (like stuff done in the name of Jesus or Mohammed) which would have really horrified the folks who developed the original version. Perhaps the new experiment invalidates a lot of that, but perhaps it was already logically invalidated, depending on which instances of Bohmianism you pick. However, in my view, the basic concepts of the linear and nonlinear wave discussed in the book by De Broglie and Vigier are still quite tenable, at least if one allows for some chaos in the dynamics of the "pilot wave" (the linear wave). 'tHooft claims that he believes that, just as Jeb Bush and Cheney claim to be Christians and the Koch brothers claim to be fighting for freedom...
but I don't see him having any interest in the type of mathematics needed to make it real.


Maybe I will write more on that, or maybe not.....

(By the way, I kept the letters I received from DeBroglie long ago, and included them in my scans from the time I retired.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

message to a colleague selling nuclear reactors to China

My previous post described how a certain TYPE of climate change threatens the very existence of the human species -- but the "fire" half of "fire and brimstone" is equally serious. (Back when people did not know what H2S was, it was best described as the smell of brimstone.) I have had very productive conversations with a colleague who  nevertheless is guilty of selling nuclear reactors to Jiang Zemin's group in China. Here is what I sent to our discussion group this week on THAT threat:


In all fairness, I still remember the hard realities I learned when I was the coordinator (for about three years) of the DHS(DNDO)-NSF joint initiative on research to help us cope with the risk of nuclear terrorism. There are lots of nice safeguard programs at airports, for example, to try to keep out nuclear materials -- but in the end it was clear that "The US is like a house with 20 doors, 10 locked and being locked ever tighter, but 10 swinging wide open with little prospect of our being able to close them." By far the main factor which has kept us from having a nuclear type of incident, which would vastly dwarf the things we recently saw in Paris, is the limited supply of nuclear materials and technology around the world. Certainly the ratio of risk to the US to kwh generated is greater for kwh generated OUTSIDE the US than for kwh generated inside the US -- which creates a paradoxical situation: US national security demands that we work especially hard to make non-fission non-CO2-emitting power more widely available, at lower (unsubsidized) cost
OUTSIDE the US. But it's hard to do that if we don't do the most we can inside the US.

As I see it, the misuse of nuclear technology (mainly weapons, terrorism and proliferation) is one of the two greatest threats to the very existence of the human species, along with   aspects of climate change (future H2S emissions from oceans) which we need to better understand. If we value survival far above other mundane variables, then the challenge is how to avoid BOTH risks, as much as possible. Probably IEEE is not the best place to get into all the gory details of the nuclear pathways to extinction, as they involve the behavior of political actors  and national security issues, but it should be clear for the record that some of us would not want to reduce the probability of human survival. (Still, I do see nuclear fusion in space as much safer than fission on the ground, as few terrorists could accomplish a raid up to geosynchronous orbit!)


In response to a question about fusion, I followed up:

Serious people have considered the possibility of fusion in space for a long time now.

Of course, there are many forms of fusion, and there are lots of debates between them.

Perkins of LLNL predicted back in 2003 that LLNL (NIF) would reach "breakeven point" with laser-induced fusion about ten years sooner than the big tokomak programs like ITER. People have objected that the NIF laser cost many billions of dollars to complete -- but the main costs were things like California real estate, construction, permits, and capacitor banks to pump the lasers. By contrast, in space, it is possible to use lightweight mirrors to OPTICALLY pump the required types of lasers. Years ago, Richard Fork (who worked a lot with Willis Lamb, famous for the Lamb shift) worked with me to develop a design for a high power laser which could be assembled in space, massing little enough that a single shuttle launch could get it into orbit. NASA long proved out the required types of lightweight mirrors... much easier in space, where wind and fighting gravity are not issues. 

John Ragan of Entech was one of the leaders of EPC recently, and his company was also a leader in developing mirrors/lenses BOTH for space use (funded by NASA's previous SSP program under Mankins) AND for earth use (funded by DOE). It's my understanding that proven lenses for use in space were about 500X, and lighter in toto than the 50X which were the best state of the art for earth.

Back around 2008, I had a chance to interview one of the laser physicists working with Perkins' group. While many US (and Brazilian) laser people said they could design and prove the kind of lasers Perkins would need for use in space, that guy said the Chinese are far ahead, that they lead major international conferences on that type of high-power laser, and that I should not worry about security levels. I am sorry that I was unable to persuade NSF management to fund a design competition for that kind of high power laser... but management does turn over, as does the appetite for new areas.

I am especially impressed by Perkins' designs for pellets which would be mainly deuterium, yielding proton momentum (i.e. electric current) as 70% of the outgoing energy! And in space, neutrons turn into protons in about 12 minutes. No need for giant steam reactors.

No one knows for sure whether this would be cheaper than any form of fusion on earth, but it looks promising enough it would be well worth the effort. People have also discussed in-space use, including propulsion. 

However -- as with everything else in space, the cost-benefit tradeoff depends hugely on the cost to LEO. That is the bottleneck for many, many things! I usually discuss RLV first, because of how urgent and how clear it is, objectively... but there are ever so many more entertaining if unproven possibilities which branch out from there!

Best of luck,


P.S. They also warned me that pellet design for NIF is a whole lot more an object of caution for national security. I personally am very interested in new things we could do in that space as well, but haven't yet developed the right communication pathways.  


There may be those who imagine that this is an issue for the West, and not for China. But I have seen what goes on in Xinjiang, and networks connecting to Xian (which in a way is to China what Belgium is to the EU -- think of this month's issues in France.)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Update on H2S threat of human extinction: news keeps getting worse

Bottom line: as the oxygen gets depleted in the deep waters on the Pacific side of the Antarctic, it
seems ever more likely that a major new extinction event -- to include all humans on earth -- will begin in about 40 years. I STRONGLY recommend major new research efforts to better understand where oxygen levels may go all across the Pacific on that time scale, accounting for the exhaustion of those deep waters, linked to studies of what drives the proliferation of H2S-producing microbes and some ability to predict H2S prediction in regions like the offshore waters of California, China and Japan.

Here is some recent correspondence on that issue (to Lifeboat Foundation and Energy Consensus):

Just to easy my conscience, I report just a few more thoughts on the H2S issue.

One of you referred to "your theory" about the risk from H2S emissions from the ocean. For the record, it is not a theory, but an empirical fact that H2S levels in the atmosphere and radiation levels (expected from stratospheric ozone levels implied by H2S emission levels) have 5-10 times in the past reached levels high enough to kill every human on earth, if humans had been there at the time. We may disagree with various THEORIES in the book Under a Green Sky by Peter Ward, but his reports of what was measured and how are about as authoritative as it gets. 

Kump of PSU (cited by Ward) explained that we KNOW what causes proliferation of the archaea which produce H2S in the ocean. (Right now, most of the Black Sea is a reservoir of that kind of poison... though fortunately the waves in the Black Sea are not as vast as those in the Pacific.) It is low oxygen, plus nutrition.

About two years ago, I discussed this with a leader in physical oceanography at Columbia. He was already well aware that the "main lungs of the planet" (the thermohaline currents which bring oxygen 
from the surface waters near Antarctica to all of the Pacific) have ALREADY been cut off. I previously sent you the link to the main data available from NOAA:

The main pathway for oxygen is from deep Antarctic to the rest of the oceans. It looks fine on the Atlantic side, but on the Pacific side it looks like 40 years.

What I did not really pay attention to before is that nutrition ANYWHERE in the Pacific (especially deep waters) is enough for a proliferation of H2S-producing archaea, when low oxygen gets that far.
A friend (formerly part of the NOAA oceans group) tells me that the nutrients washing off China, California and Japan in huge quantities,
unprecedented in earth history, are exactly what those archaea need. 
Thus if we study what is going on here... what we would need to study is the future of oxygen levels in the Pacific.. and if they get low... I see much less hope/uncertainty now than I did when last I wrote.

Just this week, there was an interesting story suggesting that mainstream, narrow climate science has ALREADY been blindsided
by changes in the microbiome of the ocean:

But that is as nothing compared to what happens when the deep waters run out and oxygen drops much lower....

My friend the physical oceanographer said I was UNDERESTIMATING
the threat to the human species, and that he and a group of folks who understand this stuff tried to get together to push geoengineering as a last ditch effort to save our species. But when our thick skulled politics got in the way, even in the face of a strong push by folks with lots of ocean credentials... He just retired, not like me to the DC area, but to a beach far away. 

It is a good sign that the Chinese for Paris have asked for a new international effort to really understand what is happening with oxygen and future microbial ecology in the Pacific... short of that, it would be typical for human leaders to just wait until we have little if any hope left. 

And again... I would ask for RESEARCH, not for BELIEF. 

There are thousands of people who OUGHT to be following up... and I can only contact a few myself, given that I have more unique knowledge (and hence responsibility) in areas related to geoengineering technology. 

Best of luck. We really do need it.


More details: 


Fascinating stuff!


Can you comment on relationships between ocean water pH, T, and source and on atmospheric CO2 and T?


Hi, Hal!

Thanks for providing an entertaining exercise here.

People have written books to give a more complete picture of all these relations... so I must simplify and choose which aspects to stress.

You start with pH. PH ****************************************** 

In the mainstream climate change research, there has been a kind of progressive minority saying that we should also worry about "ocean acidification -- ph." Early on, in my year (2009) handling climate for Senator Specter, I checked a lot of the claims from the climate mainstream and its critics, including the ocean acidification literature. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) had a great review, which translated the issue into numbers.   Summery: "The great fear is the risk that ocean pH might decline from 8.0 as it is now to 7.9 or even 7.7 in a hundred years." Those numbers drive me to an about-face on that issue! Fresh water normally has pH of 7.0, so it is incredibly implausible to worry that our form of life would have troubles adapting to pH even as low as 7.0! By the way, that fear was based on the well-known chemistry of CO2 dissolving in water, one of the major mechanisms in nature for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

I mentioned before that the historical measurements of H2S and radiation reported by Ward in Under a Green Sky are solid data -- but that I don't believe all of Ward's theories. (I am very grateful to Ward for providing a useful annotated bibliography in his book; for a condensed summary of the book, see Ward says very clearly that he is NOT an expert on ocean currents... he proposes that low oxygen ("stratified ocean") and ACIDITY in the ocean may be the two drivers of past mass extinctions. And so, he warns us that higher CO2 could cause BOTH low oxygen AND acid ocean, and get us to a new mass extinction, starting perhaps when CO2 reaches about 1000 ppm. He admits that this is just a seat-of-the-pants guesstimate, and calls for new crossdisciplinary research, to bring in people who know more than he does about the physics of ocean currents -- especially "thermohaline currents (THC)," the currents caused by variations in water density caused by variations in temperature T and salinity.

But we do not need to speculate like that, in order to understand what conditions cause the (very rapid) proliferation of the microbes which produce H2S! Ward cites an important classic journal article by Kump which cites what we KNOW about those organisms -- that oxygen level and nutrient level are the two main drivers. (Kump's paper, like Ward's book, also includes thoughts about other larger issues, which people debate, but the conditions for growth of these microbes is reasonably clear.) Low oxygen in water and high nutrients -- these are not esoteric conditions found only on Mars! I actually did a google search on "stinky aquarium" to verify how easy it is to create this problem. (Too bad the parents of those kids interpreted the outcome as a mess, not as an important scientific result!) Still, IF THE WORLD HAS THE SENSE TO INSTITUTE A NEW RESEARCH PROGRAM AIMED AT REALLY UNDERSTANDING AND CALIBRATING THE H2S RISK TO HUMANITY, it should include a small component of competitive university-based research (with high school outreach?!) to nail down more precisely the mathematical conditions for proliferation of the H2S-producing microbes, to support mathematical models to predict H2S output as a function of oxygen levels and other variables. Seeing when or whether pH is an important variable should be part of this. After reading Ward's book, I was hoping that "good" H2S-eating bacteria might save us, and that pH might be important in killing them in earlier history, but papers on ocean chemistry suggest to me that the stoichiometry is not right for them making much of a difference in this situation; again, however, a proper research effort should include some effort to check and calibrate this, to consider not only the H2S-producing bacteria but  the role of the main bacteria which can eat some of the H2S sometimes. 

Final observation on PH -- the Smithsonian had some really great exhibits about ten years ago, showing just how much lower the ocean bottom pH once was (4 or 5?) in parts of earth history, and how all this interacted with evolution, from archaea to eukaryotes.. Now that evolution is considered less acceptable to many in power than the public exhibition of sex, and funds have been withdrawn for such things, it is harder for people to engage with reality. 

******************  T
As I mentioned above, "T" is important to the H2S risk because T and salinity are the two major factors determining the density of ocean water, which in turn drives the powerful THC currents which have brought oxygen to all the world's oceans for many thousands of years.

The mechanism behind these currents is insanely simple and straightforward,
and I am embarrassed that I did not have a really clear picture of how T and salinity interact here until just a few years ago. Ward said "We need to being in folks who understand this kind of physics,"  and I instantly felt a duty to try some of this analysis on my own time, since I really do know about PDE and about computer models. (Back in the 80's I built a few big computer models for DOE, used in their Annual Energy Outlook, and I have a recent paper in Quantum Information Processing which trees back to harder PDE than any the climate folks work with.) But it doesn't require such hairy stuff!

The primary currents here, "the lungs of the planet," are simple convection currents, like what we should all understand from seventh grade. We all know how the sun often heats up the air next to the ground, so that it has lower density and rises up to higher altitude, creating a motion which drives the weather of the earth (and wind energy and so on). But normally, when the sun heats water at the surface of the ocean, the water just gets lower density and does NOT float up into the air! No currents produced. The "lungs of the planet" are driven by the fact that fresh water in the temperature range from 0 degrees C and 4 degrees C is a rather special material, for which higher temperature RAISES density, causing a current which plunges DOWN in the ocean. When water is salty, the range from 0 to 4 degrees changes to something like -4 degrees to 0 degrees. (In other words, salty water won't freeze unless it gets significantly colder than 0 degrees; that's why people put salt on driveways in winter.) These curves are VERY well known!!!

For several years, I was worried more about the Arctic than the Antarctic, because of EU empirical work suggesting we might be only a decade or two away from 0 degrees C in the Arctic Ocean and far north Atlantic, which could shut down the northern (small) lung of the planet. Even just the Arctic and North Atlantic could produce enough H2S for a major extinction event. 
(In fact, the most recent mass extinction, the eocene-paleocene event described by Ward was based mainly on North Atlantic production.) But at the time I had not fully understood how salinity plays into this, and how the situation in the Antarctic is more serious than I knew.

Of course, salty water is denser than fresh water at the same temperature! 
We all have heard about how easy it is to float on the Great Salt Lake in Utah! And the basic chemistry is pretty obvious to those who study such things. In the short term, as ice still covers Greenland, melting ice creates fresh water which floats to the top, and sometimes blocks the northern Gulf Stream, which keeps the UK and France from being as cold as Labrador! The University of Southampton in the UK has done a stellar job of tracking these near-term variations in the Gulf Stream. (It is curious how their lead researcher -- Broyden? -- was denounced as a "crackpot" and "alarmist" by the PR mavens of political correctness some years ago, when the Economist ran an article "Will England freeze over?"... but then won some great prize as the number one contributor to ocean inputs to climate models a few years later!)  Because the RATE of melting of Greenland has fluctuated, the impact on the Gulf Stream has waxed and waned, but once T crosses a critical level, the whole game changes, and it is no longer a matter of fluctuation.  That is quite serious, but only for the EU, really, and maybe Boston. 

For the earth -- the crucial problem right now is the outflow of fresh water (often freezing into sea ice) into the waters around the Antarctic, which
has already floated to the top and blocked the MAIN THC, including the THC which brings oxygen to the Pacific. Anoxic Pacific could produce enough H2S to give us a rerun of the biggest mass extinction, the PT event which Ward talks about.

The key point is NOT that warming COULD SOMEDAY lead to enough melting to block the southern THC. The point is that it already HAS, and that the oxygenated bottom waters on the Pacific side of the Antarctic appear to be just 40 years away from disappearing. It is as if we were already under water, with 40 years worth of oxygen left in our lungs. Again, I am merely describing the numbers in the NOAA map whose URL I sent out last time.
This is data, not speculation. 

Professional political tranquilizers have stressed the possibility that the total thickness of ice over the total Antarctic may have even increased lately. But that is not the variable which drives the H2S risk here. Total thickness is like precipitation minus melting -- but melting ITSELF, especially on the Pacific side, is what has ALREADY shut down the THC.    

If, after more research, we get a better handle on the risk, and find that we are indeed on a pathway to extinction of humans and almost all other mammals, what can we do about it? For now, I am just arguing that we need to FIND OUT, and that BETTER UNDERSTANDING of the risk will be important to figuring out what we can do. But... it is possible to guess a little, tentatively, in advance. Since the two key drivers are oxygen in the ocean and nutrient levels... the possibilities which seem most promising to me would be: (1) to arrest the fresh water runoff around the Antarctic; and (2) to drastically reduce the nutrient runoff from places like China, California and Japan. Both would be quite heroic -- and if we don't recognize the problem soon enough, we may not have enough time to do either.

Is it possible to REDUCE CO2 in the atmosphere enough to help much with (1)? Breakthroughs seem possible, but present politics seem to make it impossible. There are also possibilities for geoengineering -- such as Abdul Kalam's favorite idea of using lightweight mirrors in space to reduce warming of specific areas like the Antarctic, feasible if we reduce the cost of getting to space. The technology is now there to make that possible, but corruption and ideological insanity in Washington  currently makes it very heroic to try to deploy it. (They give us a choice between "blue pixie dust" -- just giving more money to jobs programs in Alabama and Georgia to build expendable rockets with no hope of cutting costs anywhere near enough -- and "pink pixie dust", counting on the sheer charisma and ideological correctness of guys like Musk  to overcome physical barriers they have no real understanding of.) Maybe the sight of the gallows might help wake people up before it is too late? It is a thin reed to depend on, but we don't have much else. Of course, keeping humans alive beyond the earth, as in the movie "Wall-E," would also require low cost RLV lifting lots and lots of new stuff.

The nutrient side probably can't be improved all that much, but the 15 Sept 2015 issue on Earth and Space News (EOS) has an interesting related story on page 3. Already, there are three really big "dead zones" on earth -- the Black Sea (full of H2S but relatively tranquil water), the seasonal dead zone off of Louisiana and a bigger zone in the Baltic (mentioned briefly in the article).  Those ocean dead zones are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE smaller than what we could expect with a low oxygen Pacific; the nutrients flowing in from the Mississippi mainly cause growth of algae, which THEN cause a local area of low oxygen, as the bodies of the dead algae then float deeper into the ocean. But they give a useful foretaste. Since NOAA already has models to predict this dead zone, maybe it would not be SO hard to extend the models to consider what happens if one would START with low oxygen where the 
nutrients flow in, such that archaea, not algae, proliferate from the beginning. The article also discusses what kinds of changes in agricultural practices might reduce the nutrient inflow.  I would guess that such changes would only be good, at best, for one order of magnitude reduction, and that we would need much more than that to reduce the coming problems in the Pacific to a manageable scale.

If we reduce the problem to a manageable scale, such that H2S production off each of the three key regions of nutrient source (China, California, Japan)
is comparable only to the Black Sea, that might possible save us. Or not. Even if that works, the waves there are a lot bigger than those of the Black Sea.  There might still be some occasional breakouts,  like mass death in the night in those three areas... but it would not threaten extinction of the entire species. Poor Japan... Fukushima II?

**************** Your other questions

I am not sure whether I have addressed your final questions. 

Re sources -- it is important here how oxygen gets FROM the deep waters off the Antarctic to the Pacific as a whole. My physical oceanographer friend was very emphatic that this is where the oxygen mainly comes from for the Pacific... but actual mathematical models of the flow of oxygen, which account for the reduction as the deep water source gets exhausted,are really essential here. In fact, that is the biggest part of the new research we need. to nail down better the numbers of when and where we can expect oxygen levels to fall in the Pacific, especially about 40 years from now.

For now, the onset of large scale H2S production is enough of a research challenge. But I have done a few quick calculations on what happens next.
The outgassing and accumulation of H2S in the atmosphere would have a kind of 2,000-year trajectory, which sounds reassuring at first... except that 
very awful things happen well before the H2S concentration is enough to be directly fatal. Acidity ON THE LAND AND IN THE ATMOSPHERE resulting from H2S emissions reaching the atmosphere are one concern. Another concern is that the initial chemical descendants of the H2S (like sulfuric acid and whatnot) can break down the stratospheric ozone layer. My guess is that the radiation which that produces is what would really kill us first. Prior to the fatal level of radiation... well, let me not chronicle the various dire wrinkles here and now. 

Thank you for your interest, and I apologize if this is too long for others.

Wouldn't it be nice to know more exact numbers and to 
understand what possible escapes or loopholes might exist in reality, and not just in the imaginary worlds of left and right ideologies, or in the limited stuff we know today? That's my real point. We need to find out.

But in allocating my own limited capabilities... I am more on the geoengineering and CO2-reduction technology side, one important part of what needs to be done. Other groups are needed to do the new research to really calibrate this threat.