Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump's space policy: making Russia great again and turning US into an ant

Promise Versus Reality in Human Settlement of Space

I still have access to a huge network of technical, economic and human information
regarding space. As of the end of 2016, the information coming back points to a high probability of
a near-term disaster in that sector, where Trump may promise and sincerely try to rise to the level of John Kennedy... but then end up with a fate similar to Richard Nixon – who also had the great thrill of being elected and reelected before reality caught up with him.  My motive in writing this up is a wild hope that someone might be able to prevent disaster in time for the State of the Union speech, or at least in time for when decisions become irrevocable. Small hope? Better than nothing, but Nothing may yet come...

I wish I could explain this in a quick twitter burst. I have tried, and failed, as I will describe later.

A basic problem:  even when your car is urgently about to explode, a quick thrust of the sledge hammer won’t make things better. Here is a RELATIVELY simple picture, unfortunately the minimum needed to avoid disaster... to keep this car from exploding... I will add more detail later... even a bit on methods and sources..

1. Disaster before Trump:

Much of America’s erosion as a real great power has been due to what Trump has called “the swamp,” a system of corruption quite similar to what Ayn Rand depicted in describing Taggart’s DC operation in Atlas Shrugged.
(No, I do not believe everything in that book, and I do not believe everything in the Bible. One would have to be a total fuzzhead or schizo to believe everything in both of THOSE books! But they both have moments of intense clarity and realism. I can’t say that the Catholic Church was totally irrational when it banned public access to the Bible a few centuries ago, or that rulers of Morocco were wrong in saying that certain parts of the Koran should not be discussed with children in general.) When I was in Senator Specter’s office, as the person assigned to handle space policy in 2009, I saw first hand how the swamp creatures’ operation worked to prevent any new wave of US progress in space, getting rid of efforts to develop new high technology to max out our capabilities in space launch  in order to reduce risk, in order to get rid of the painful uncertainties and anxieties for investors which had occurred when there was real competition, and in order to shift jobs to areas of low skill and low understanding of advanced technology; Shelby and Lamar Smith are current centers of the swamp creature movement, in effect, to drown out hopes of humans in the galaxy.  

2. What COULD be done:

Concretely, when I was at NSF, for a few years they let me fund the most advanced serious concepts of hypersonic flight to orbit, and to exploit the full peer review capabilities of NSF, interagency cooperation and workshops to probe what is actually possible.  I learned that “off the shelf” (high technology readiness) technology would allow us to reduce costs to earth orbit by a factor of 10 or 100, beyond anything now in sight realistically from “old space” (Lockheed and Boeing and such) or from new space (like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, XCOR, Blue Origin and many others). World class industrial cost estimators agreed with the realism of a $12 billion total 5-year price tag to get to flying prototypes (already enough to
dramatically increase our space launch capability!)  and, more important, an upgrade of Boeing’s Seattle plant to be able to pump out low-cost spaceplanes as well as they pump out Dreamliners. (It is so hard for me NOT to say anything about important and exciting technical details, right now... but essential as they are they don’t go in the summary section.)
I posted a few more details, as of 2008, in the space part of, but need to update that part...

At one point, I asked the guy running the national security work at the Marshall Institute: “What happens, strategically, when one nation can orbit ten to a hundred times as much into orbit, for ANY purpose? Who really owns the highground of space at that point? Do we really want to relinquish the US fate?” Before that, I had a long friendly meeting with the Major General who ran the National Security Space Office, who gave direct orders in my sight “to get this started yesterday.” But two weeks later, the dinosaurs ate him.

3. Where we are now:

In DC, the term “stakeholder process” has become a euphemism for corruption and corporate welfare, the general system
which Trump has called “the swamp.” For many people embedded in that particular corporate culture... if you can’t turn all decisions over to a coalition of Lockheed and Boeing lobbyists, you need to find another hero in the same kind of PR business. And so, the exciting effort to get out of the swamp and make America great again in the space launch business has been shanghaied by another corporate welfare movement, this being the one to pick SpaceX as a kind of new virtual monopoly. Lots of good intentions, moving towards a disaster. Ironically, I myself did my best (which was relatively effective) to get SpaceX more visibility on Capitol Hill when I worked for Senator Specter, and I really do not want to use harsh language here. But objective reality... nature.. Murphy’s Law can be quite unforgiving, even for the nicest of people with the best of intentions. The current stated Trump space policy is to cut back on stuff like the great space dinosaur called SLS (great!), to rely more heavily across the board in civilian and military space on strong competition for launch services (also great, part of what SpaceX has asked for), and to rely on the private sector for new development of launch technology (OOPS!!).  That new launch technology, well beyond the capabilities now present OR IN SIGHT of the New Space companies, is what offers the 10 to 100 times improvement in launch capability. By analogy... if our lives depended on Elon Musk developing a new unified field theory on his  own, without effective strategic help... well, some of us would be reviewing what we do or do not know about afterlife. That’s where I am right now, at the end of the day (and perhaps of the human species beyond earth).

Still, there is some hope that the EU, India or Russia might fill in, and occupy the high ground. (China’s space programs look as mired as ours.) Wouldn’t that be an interesting end to Trump’s six to eight years, an image of the US as a little old bug overshadowed by a Russian mother ship? Or even a simple coup d’etat as the generals who have the intelligence data decide they just won’t put up with it (egged on by a variety of folks emotional about Russia, some who support democracy less than Netanyahu supports the two-state solution)? This is a serious crossroads folks, and I’m not the only one worried.

4. What Could Be Done

Many people resist rational policies because rationality is not exciting to them. But that is the only possible way forward. It can be packaged to be exciting (even scary) at times, but if we fall into “let’s play dress up and pretend Elon Musk is Iron Man or Andrew Carnegie” we lose what hope is left.

At a technical level, when I was in a few inner circle meetings at the international Hypersonics conferences of the AIAA (lead society for real aerospace technology, though IEEE is also big there) ... my entree was control technology and systems technology. But anyone really good in systems engineering knows the importance of fighting the perpetual pitfalls of tribalism, and of working hard to protect and defend other pieces of the puzzle, other specialities which complement one’s own. I have learned that the number one urgent need, to get to orbit at low cost with rockets or airbreathers or more advanced technology from Russia, is now to restore, upgrade, digitize and harden Boeing’s technology for “hot structures.”

Wow is that hard for your garden variety ersatz rocket scientist to understand! Let alone the PR people who really hate being reminded that the used cars they are selling would all lose their tires after just a few trips!

How could nature possibly be so cruel to cancel all the value of huge investments just on the basis of something so mild and petty as the skin of spacecraft melting away as it enters or leaves the atmosphere at high speed? (For rocketplanes, repeated reentry is the challenge, but advanced airbreathers and “Ajax” technology also require skin which is robust when going up.)

DARPA’s little XS program is the closest we now have to developing that technology, but they don’t have enough money.  
Also, they have political oversight. I remember very vividly when Senator Shelby’s person, attending a meeting at the Pentagon with me and Gary Payton (head of USAF space programs), expressed puzzlement about that, and she and other leading authorities said “of course we know how to solve that problem. TPS is the solution..” and the political appointees overseeing DARPA have insisted that TPS be the lead there, as “we know it works.”

Lots of folks know it works, and that’s a key reason why the US and the secret Chinese military space programs are going nowhere. They know it works, and it doesn’t. (Musk by contrast is counting on a combination of older technologies, manna from heaven and incredible expensive wastes of fuel. I do hope we can supply the manna, which neither he nor NASA Ames show any sign of being onto yet. Ames COULD be upgraded, with new money and strong more serious technology

TPS – active cooling of the leading edges – was in fact the technology which the National Aerospace Program of Ronald Reagan relied on. NASP ended up as a great failure for Reagan and for me and for many others, but it was our best try so far, and it did develop some useful technology. I worked very closely with McDonnell Douglas at the height of NASP.
(Just look up The Handbook of Intelligent Control by White and Sofge, and google about it.  Some things in 1992 were ahead of where the industry is today!) When the NASP program office decided it was finally ready to fulfill Reagan’s vision, with enough proven well-tested component technologies to put together to design a vehicle with real data (not Musk data), the net payload worked out to be negative... because of the huge weight of the very best active TPS system which the best people in the US were capable of supplying. (Actually, White and I had an idea for how to cut the TPS weight in half, by really risky new combinations of technology, but from a  systems viewpoint you’d be an idiot to choose that over what Boeing proved out before at Wright Patterson test labs. To do it, you’d also have to give tons of money exactly to me and to White... not a set of technologies they teach even at MIT lately. China and UK are closer to it... but it really is scary.)

A more complete plan for how to fix NASA, with lots of bells and whistles, is posted as an article in:
In a way, this represents a joint viewpoint of IEEE and AIAA, as I was deputy chair of the IEEE Committee on Transportation and Aerospace Policy in 2015, and Ed chaired the AIAA Colonization committee (with tons of access to 
current industry work on such issues). I did not accept to be chair of that committee in 2016 because the previous VP of IEEE-USA for government relations overrode a unanimous vote of the committee to accept this as an official IEEE position. We have reached a point where substantive technical inputs are more and more essential to avoiding disasters in many, many areas of policy! If only professional PR/lobbyist views ever get to the top... well, it all is at risk. 


OK, I am out of time today. You might search this blog for what I learned about NASA from its earlier effort to build a Mach 6 airplane without an engine (keyword: legends), and how the stakeholders got rid of the one guy at NASA headquarters who really tracked and tried to provide technical oversight to prevent that.... Much much more meat for all of this...   

If OSTP lived up to the original vision and scuttled the corruption which has grown there lately, under orders to follow the stakeholder system strictly, disasters like this might be easier to avoid...  well-meaning fuzzy leadership or technically ignorant leadership has been a growing problem.

I vetted this by asking specific technical questions about the SpaceX (and Trump) plans of many people, some very well embedded in the aerospace community. The best that any of the SpaceX crew could come up with was
"well, we have done our own tests, and of course we can't say more to nonmembers." But Dr. Paul at WPAFB assured me that his was the only test facility in America able to test all three kinds of stresses which a reentry vehicle must pass,
and it did not come cheap for the government. When I visited it, it was sobering to see the many hundreds of test articles there at any time... let alone the thousands tested over time.. and I was very pointed in asking: "Is it true as I have heard that only the Boeing article ever passed the whole suite"? Yes, even though every one of those thousands were supposed to be certain to work and well-funded by SOMEONE.  The ((now declassified) TASC evaluation said that all three competitors failed at first, in the most serious test to date, even Boeing's, but they figured out how to change the design and make it work to the full satisfaction of the group paying. (CIA at that time.) 

Many DC salesmen argue we don't NEED reusable rockets, because expensive expendables are cheaper when you orbit just one payload per year. That's greta if our plan is for the US to orbit just one payload per year  (even in event that someone kills a key satellite) and for someone else to be able to orbit thousands efficiently and economically. Any hope of human settlement of space would require the latter.  I really know those DC salesmen... and I remember the DARPA-funded global reach vehicle which melted and exploded not so many years ago (after a valid program was modified by political appointees responding to a guy I actually met in other contexts).  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

This event today is certainly entangled with crucial larger issues in play, and possible outcomes.

Among other things, one immediate issue appears: will Erdogan tell the real truth to Russia and to the world? I hope any serious major power with serious intelligence capabilities knows by now not to take at face value the PR of folks quite willing to "bend the truth" for their political purposes. The news says it was a Turkish policeman who shouted "Ali Akbar." Erdogan wants to blame everything on Kurds and Yezidis, but to accept such BS PR right now would be a strong warning about the sanity and maturity of anyone believing it. (Sure, Russia has some value in being tactful and not saying "BS PR" itself to the TV, but.,.. )

At best, Erdogan might have just been "playing to his base" by shifting Turkey to be more of an Islamic Republic with Sunni theocracy and sharia and so on... just as Trump has at times played to a base. But it is clear that "playing to that base" has serious consequences. Purging the independent thinkers and managers form the police and the army of course creates the potential for this situation... and a lot more. In his deal with Erdogan, Putin was ... making a deal with the devil... while Erdogan himself might have executed an actual employment contract of that sort.

Clearly Putin now has an option, after Trump's election, to move decisively to a different kind of deal. It would also have some costs (maybe quiet and lubricated), but a lot less than the kind of thing we saw today and where it might lead to. It helps to have a principled goal.


So many jokes floating in the ether....

China navy grabs a US research drone, opens it and sees the secret... the secret is "made in China." Oops.

Is it time to turn Turkey over to Assad?


but back to reality...  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cyber Capabilities of China and Russia Which US Does Not Have

Cyber Capabilities of China and Russia Which US Does Not Have

Whether we like it or not, the world is right now undergoing a rapid, massive reorganization due to the emergence this year of Information Technology (IT) powerful enough to suddenly make IT an equal partner with money, biology and spirit as a basic force organizing our lives on earth.  I previously posted an “elevator speech to Heritage House” on the big picture, and posted a vision of three major steps needed to build a sustainable IT foundation. Parts of that vision are really urgent, because we see serious crises around us right now, and the possibility is real that good things may crumble away as bad things erode too quickly.

I have made a lot of noise about unbreakable operating systems recently (as in, because a combination of policies by Mike Rogers and those pushing him from outside NSA, and leaks of cyberattack technology, have created an urgent crisis and a need for urgent technical action. I was very sad hearing one of our best senators talking today about cyberattack capabilities unique to Russia, when the press already covered how those capabilities came from the US but escaped to the larger world back when I was writing that NATO paper. The higher steps of the new IT vision, developing things like better intelligent markets and collaboration tools, are important, but less urgent. But what about the middle level, communications security?

I have not put out a proposal for communications in the new global IT system. But certainly I see key aspects of technology there  which are quite different from what most people know about.  

For example, from my web page:

Werbos, Paul J., and Ludmilla Dolmatova. "Analog quantum computing (AQC) and the need for time-symmetric physics."Quantum Information Processing (2015): 1-15. To see the full paper, click here. For more information on the amazing new experimental results of 2015, and possibilities for confirmation, click here.

Notice the citations in that paper to new unbreakable quantum communication designs from China and India, well beyond what is possible in the digital, first generation quantum technology which dominates most of the US work. (Apologies to Seth Lloyd of MIT, cited in my paper, who gave us the first footholds into the new continent of continuous-value quantum computing – but it goes much further than that early foothold.) Howard Brandt, the quiet leader of US government quantum technology, planned to showcase such developments in a workshop at SPIE a year or two ago, but died very suddenly a couple of weeks before that workshop. (Three or four of us did speak about the subject, but not with the kind of energy that Brandt would have created.)

Luda today tells me of a many-thousands-of-kilometers quantum communication line in China, being used in a practical way for secure communication. The same systems, she says, were proven in satellite communications as well. But I do not know whether they have deployed second generation yet.

Can we develop a third generation, exploiting time symmetry effects for even more powerful communications? That is what my NATO paper talked about.

Probably I will say more later today. For now, there is a key point: time symmetry is NOT the same as faster than light (FTL), backwards time telegraph (BTT) or forward-time camera (FTC). I do see pathways to the latter, but the ghost imaging technologies I cited in the NATO paper do not provide such pathways. All-angles triphoton is crucial to the future of science AND OF CULTURE, and only Austria and Tsinghua have the required entangled sources currently operating.    
It is not a crucial national security technology, and I hope the current blocks to US-China collaboration in that focused area can be overcome.


For your amusement, I hear lots of people asking "what does Russia really want?" The drumbeat of people itching for a stupid war is very disturbing. Certainly Putin wanted Trump, because he likes the idea of a genuine alliance focused on extreme sharia (the Third Caliphate movements including the Moslem Brotherhood.). Yet many people in the US depend on funds laundered from the Moslem Brotherhood origin, which is much more interested in overthrowing US democracy immediately than any of the original Trump people.  I am very disturbed by people who sound as if they want a legal action to outlaw RT, a clearly expressed outlet for one set of viewpoints, even as the bigger and more covert flows of laundered money from the Middle East (e.g. to Fox or to various allies in Congress) are quietly ignored.  Admittedly, Putin's recent deals with Qatar and Erdogan, as his earlier arrangements with Chechens, would have to be on the table in negotiating any alliance, but that still makes sense.

What does Putin really want? Luda said... she saw him express great regret on TV recently, about how he "has travelled to so much of the world, only seeing hotel rooms and offices." "What would really make him happy would be if he could join us on one of our kinds of adventures (small sample picture below), ideally with us and Katherine Neville to keep him company." Well... back to more immediate things...

Picture taken in Condor Pass in Peru, more than twice as deep as Grand Canyon, discovered only relatively recently by folks not native to the area. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Most immediate possibility of us all dying

Is there a person out there ready and able to start a new world war post haste really?

No, I am not talking about Trump ordering demolition of the Chinese military islands in the South China Sea.  In a hypothetical sort of way, I can see a possible chain of logic for why he might do that.

No, I am talking about something more immediate, more likely, more indefensible and more destructive.

CNN reported yesterday that Mike Rogers (not the Congressman) wants to use cybercom to conduct offensive retaliation against Russia (but he loves China and Iran too) for their actions in hacking the DNC. Since DNC is Democrats, he expects they wouldn't resist. They report we really have great cyberoffensive capabilities we can use, like Stuxnet,

Oops!  Don't the CNN people have any memory, or read Fortune magazine? (OK, for decades I only read Fortune when google sends me there, but I do LOTS of all kinds of google stuff.) Don't they know that that cyberoffensive capability is out there now for anyone?

There is no nation on earth with significant energy whose electric power system is not highly vulnerable.

The reality is that any day now YOU could wake up to discover that your electricity is off, that it won't be on again for six months (forget your little diesel backup if you have one) , and that the same is true for the folks who brought you food. No problem, if you don't mind stopping food for six months, And Rogers (and the folks egging him on) don't seem to care.

CNN did at least note that if the US followed his desires we might experience a wee little pushback.

What's amazing is that we have such powerful people intent on causing such stupid damage to everyone, presumably for political purposes of their own, which are indifferent to whether we starve.

There COULD be a way out, if he had not abolished the department at NSA addressing the key protection issues. Is there any hope Trump's new people could understand what is going on and
install the urgently needed patches, while avoiding the immediate huge risks?  (By the way, my paper at www.werbos,com/NATO_terrorism.pdf has already had significant international distribution.
For myself, I would feel it already said what needs to be said, but if it were really understood on first read we would be in a different situation. Yet I remember the Republican staffer who quoted Upton Sinclair... "There is no fact so simple that people can fail to understand if they feel their paycheck depends on not understanding.")

Enough. We may live, and we may die, and I just a retired old guy with other things on his plate and absolutely zero authority. Sensitive enough that I can wake up and feel what your future pain may be.


For the few days left in which Obama is President, I suspect he would NOT authorize this kind of warfare, but the particular gang involved might or might not care all that much about such niceties. (No coincidence they have offloaded a lot of stuff the way Ollie North did, but of course not reporting to Nixon in this case, and burned a few bridges that would make connections obvious.) More likely, Obama will support "name and shame" leaks. It will remind Putin of how the US might have
strengthened its policy of becoming "mother in law to the world" under Hillary.

======= Clarification Dec 17

CNN just had a guy saying "the left also says the American intelligence community wants a war with Russia and China." This speaks to the same incorrect implicit assumptions which led Trump to say
"it's those folks who told us Saddam had WMD." There is a big difference between long-term government employees and outside networks developing powers to harass intimidate and overrule them. The WMD story is a classic case, where honest hardworking people did not lie, but folks like Cheney and his minions (still very much around, recommending cabinet officials to Trump!) took over the communication channels. I did name the name Mike Rogers because CNN already reported on Cybercom, and the reorganization which wiped out Information Assurance was also reported in the press (as cited in www.werbos.,com/NATO_terrorism.pdf). Massive reorganization, and massive strengthening of connections which input from a network quite different from the "bureaucracy" legal hierarchy. The analogy to Ollie North... well, enough said. To look beyond Rogers, look up and out, not in and down, and least in that sector. Other sectors... well, Hillary herself has pretty clear earthy data by now.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yin and Yang and Xi JinPing

This week, the noosphere seems to have decided it is time to give me a flood of inputs related to China. But with warring factions within the Trump camp, with radically different goals, I sadly conclude it is probably not a good idea to discuss more than a few small bits of them. Certainly there are factions both within the US and within China which would love to see a war in the South China Sea, and even rational people on both sides face a tricky problem in how to deal with determined crazies on the other side. Rational people on both sides would find it remarkably easy to arrive at
arrangements (as I have noted before) which would be an emphatic win-win and free up resources to address common very serious problems (like the larger plans and capabilities of the Moslem Brotherhood, a particular organization which many underestimate).

Before his rise to power, Xi Jinping said very important things about the fundamental importance of unifying the subjective and objective views. But... there are huge practical issues in how to implement that.  As I noted at, the best of Confucianism addressed those basic issues of zhengqi better than other world "religions" (though is Freud a religion, and does he count?). But when he attended the "Thousand Year Academy," Mao learned all that, and noticed how Confucianism in practice had developed extremely destructive aspects, due to twisting to serve warlords and such. (Zu Xi? sp?). Maybe his most important saying there was "all of China is my family." At the level of the noosphere, all of earth is our family... and even our Self.
Xi has rightly concluded that the value-free pursuit of truth must be supplemented by consideration for values, for affect, and that the degenerate forms of Confucianism would cause real problems if used in a simple-minded way to fill that gap.

But the deep contradictions persist, and the folks who want to make useless war for lack of larger perspective are not encompassed by the slender reeds now in use. A more complete and modern objective view is essential, building on the past but building beyond it and making stronger connections.

All for now.


Well... let me add that I have tried to learn what I can from the whole body of human experience as pertains the human mind, and the aspects which go beyond the mundane and the obvious.

So of course I know about yin and yang, as does everyone in China. My COPN "flag" includes an icon I really like, which I developed, with a rose on the yin-yang, to symbolize the goal of... full development of human potential. To me, that is coequal with survival of the species as a basic goal, never to be forgotten, valid across all of humanity.

But I also probe Western traditions. So, for example, I attended two small discussions of a book called the "Kybalion," downloadable for free on the web.  I remember vividly a friendly Lebanese woman from the 1970s who swore by that book, and what it seemed to mean at the time.
This year, knowing more, and connecting to others in the group as I once connected my NSF panels... I find it a lot easier to penetrate to the objective meaning behind it, what it really says.

It was very amusing for me, this time, to read chapter 15, about "mental gender" to realize in a flash that this was very much the yin-yang concept. So much so that I wonder how much they actually drew on Taoism, how much knowingly and how much unknowingly.

But more. Yin-tang itself seems like a useful but fuzzy concept. Like "consciousness," it is a word
(OK, two words) with several different distinct and important meanings. Curiously... as chapter 15 got deep into the feelings and use they propose for the yin-yang concept... suddenly I could see beneath, and see that the core meaning is simply the objective/subjective duality which Xi JinPing has talked about (in more objective and concrete terms) and which I also wrote about in and in my big talk to the Confucius Institute in Qufu/LinYi
(posted somewhere on It "adds meat to the bones," describing how this feels.

In a way, we all start like mice or monkeys, in a highly subjective state of mind. We gradually learn to "look in the mirror" (with the help of mirror neurons of course). Looking at ourselves in the mirror, we develop a concept of "Me" which is different from the "I" looking in the mirror, though the two are connected.  Development of an objective view not only enables consistent, sane and powerful symbolic reasoning (one theme of my paper), but other capabilities as well, such as a certain kind of larger stronger Will. One of the other folks talked about the way that exercises like making yourself do things which do not come naturally is one way to strengthen the Will, but in general the objective view does this.

It is curious how a piece of sheer mysticism is such a strong advocate of the Objective or yang point of view. Maybe too strong. I reminded folks of how German and Russian folks in my past circle know of folks in those communities who took Will and Objectivity a bit too far, a bad extreme as bad as pure yin. I mentioned a guy I knew named Nguyen who had such strong yang control of his brain and his body that he did really outstanding world-famous work at Stanford, and did feats in the gym
as powerful as if someone else had hypnotized him to do amazing feats. (The book Hypnosis by Estabrooks is well worth reading, as I did when 14.) I mentioned how one day he went to the gym, gave strict orders to his body, his body obeyed, and he died of a heart attack right then and there.

The pure yang way, I concluded, is not the right or the natural way. Harmony and integration is the way. (That is what "sanity" is, as described more analytically in www.werbos.,com/Mind_in_Time.pdf and in my papers in Neural Networks.)
Yes, the Kybalion has useful suggestions, but, I said, it is important: (1) that the objective consciousness or Will work hard to listen to the other side ("Ferdinand smell the flowers"); and (2) in exercising yang "I am", it is important to exercise both the "I am" of the self and the "I am" of the larger Self, in effect the noosphere. We then discussed Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, which I didn't actually read but intuit easily and scanned long ago.

Of course, the objective mind depends on the quality and degree of objective, scientific understanding.   Even the peak of German and Russian cultures have had a long way to go in understanding some very basic things, and need to discipline themselves to use the scientific method,
which calls for us not to be overly attached to the models of the day, and calls for us to exercise mathematical probability theory as part of the very ground of our being. That applies to all nations -- and especially to China as it begins to explore the yang side of life more sincerely, with the combination of strengths and pitfalls it entails.

It is curious who utterly "yin" Trump is in many ways, reminding me of Japanese generals who would fight hard and effectively but fight like artists with an artist's yin view of the world.
Tough-minded pursuit of truth and even of scientific approaches becomes a necessity more and more for the complex world humanity as a whole tries to survive in.

And yes, I mentioned to the group how much more "yang" Luda is than most male leaders of states,
and how incredibly much I owe her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Has Trump defected to the Moslem Brotherhood?

Not consciously -- but it raises questions about how much consciousness is there after all.

For Secretary of State... he has taken advice of Condolezza Rice and Dick Cheney.

Just a few days ago, when he derided the US intelligence agencies for being "the folks who told us Saddam Hussein had WMD", some folks on TV noted that no, the folks providing the intelligence were the professionals who had had a different opinion, but were overridden by the geniuses who created the Iraq war -- above all Cheney, with Rice as perhaps his most loyal agent on scene. And I have seen enough with my own eyes here to know who is who more than .. many.

Of course, the Moslem Brotherhood (the folks wanting a global Third Caliphate) were pushing the Iraq War, and Cheney's company (Halliburton) was dedicated to serving clients in the Middle East above all (based in HQ in the Gulf now, recognizing a long-term de facto reality).

What should Russia think about this? Already they must have questions about how Trump says he would be friendly to Russia but would pick a fight with Iran. Where does THAT go? It goes to a kind of inner conflict, which of course the Secretary of State (whom many now call the new Cheney) can steer. And that group wants a war with Iran as a top priority, though also a US-China War, because they are led by folks who know the ancient game of encouraging enemies to destroy each other to create a clear field.

All the dominos are falling that way this week -- these and some others I should not say more about even here in this obscure site.

Best of luck. You will need it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Extinction watch: New Trump appointments, coup plotters and yin yang

I have had a great and positive week this week, but the news coming in on the survival prospects of the human species are looking a lot worse than they did a few days ago.
       Day before yesterday, late at night, I returned from NIPS2016, the most important meeting on artificial general intelligence in the world in 2016. (More precisely: the most important meeting covering the realities of the technology; there are also big fantasy sessions for fans or enemies.)
I got to speak to thousands of people myself, but I also got to hear on-stage and off from leaders of the real work at google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and people developing real systems for companies and governments. It was ENORMOUS fun... but on the airplane home, I realize that some of the information requires a lot of recovery. Especially, there is the depressing sensation that we are back to finding hard to imagine that this thread of human life will avoid extinction. Scary stuff related to Trump appointments and folks quietly planning coups d'etats.

(Seriously. Remember the folks at that conference monitor every social network on earth, using pattern recognition technologies far more powerful than what the world had just five years ago.
Lots of folks I know still think telephones are secure, but how can anyone NOT know about speech recognition systems NOW? Or about natural language and social networks? But spoken conversations in THIS conference center, thousands of people all milling about with similar keywords... technology to monitor THAT would be a whole lot harder, so real folks know...
things they would never say by email or telephone.)

Trump's choice of Pruit is already... to those seriously betting on human extinction, it's like an event which wold send the Dow down by about 30% all by itself.  NOT because he is a doubter of climate change. NOT because he rightly views EPA as having really screwed up a lot of regulations.
(At, I described in great detail how totlaly screwed up are the regulations implementing RFS, which I studied in detail when I worlked for Senator Specter.) The problems are:
(1) no one has a chance of making regulations more rational if they don't have a firm grasp and deep respect for the challenge of rational market design, which requires at a minimum some economics and some desire to get to a Patreto optimum (and of course to know what it is); and (2) it now seems uinlikely that guys like Maddis (talking to Woolsey) will have any chance to put the US on a more secure footing versus real threats from the Middle East, with this kind of myopic suicide bomber type getting in the way of market design for energy security. If he wants a tough establishment guy... hell, Trump would  be better off with an electric power economist like Oren Schmuel of Berkeley (not a guy I have had collaborations with, to put it mildly... tough on me!) who knows about market design and a lot of energy economics, rule-making to make things work... or even maybe some Wharton guy.. As for climate doubting, reality will be heaving some impacts on that anyway...

The State issue is a bigger drop in the "stock value" of the human species. Trump says the Exxon guy
makes big deals solely for his company.  Is this perhaps the ultimate in totally unmaking the most basic and essential principles of conflict of interest? (COI). COI can get in the way of efficiency at times, when taken too far, but if grossly flaunted can cause entropy disintegrating a political system. That is now a very real danger. Making lots of deals is no good if they are made on behalf of myopic variables flaunting issues of survival itself. Even Putin has made questionable deals with terrorists;
he has a good side and a bad side himself (let alone his systems of advisers and supporters), and playing to the bad side is not a way to make that relation more productive and sustainable. It was also a scary sign when Qatar bought such a large share of Rosneft recently... a very bad sign.

I had to miss an important DC meeting on US-Russia relatoins last week because I was in Spain... but my very brief summary of "elevator point": dealing well with Russia is like dealing well with the Republican Party itself. The one-actor model is understandable when a single guy like Trump or Putin has a special role, but it is a HUGE mistake to ignore the incredible contradictions and diversities and such...

And yes, there is serious evidence Trump might even be fooled into appointing a guy who is a key partner in a plot to do a coup d'etat. Really. Maybe Obama might be able to give him a word to the wise, as Obama did learn a few things in his final weeks. (A damn shame it was so late, but the bad guys did choose the timing.) After Pruit and Exxon, many may hope that liberals would not resist the coup at all... though it is not liberals doing it... but some of the control techniques they have in mind suggest the coup would reduce our chances of survival even worse than those two clear bad choices would. Techniques; technologies. We do live in an IT world now.

But must run. Good luck. You need it.

P.S. Sorry my time ran out on the yin yang side this morning. Maybe later.    

Quick thoughts:

(1) why didn't Putin make a deal with Kerry instead of Qatar (and Erdogan)? Sure, Kerry was not a total pushover, but he was sincere and flexible and a lot safer than Qatar and Erdogan. I suppose good old fashioned ego and optics were there; it was pathetic a few weeks ago to hear Hilary advisors saying: "What does Putin mean by saying he wants more respect? What is this respect he is talking about? Of course it must be a codeword for some specific trade arrangement but we can't figure out..." That's valid, but do we have to sell out to a special Exxon gameplan (one I have seen in not-so-constructive action in recent years, a main part of the swamp, much more like Taggart than Galt) to deal in balanced respectful way?

(2)  After the labor appointment, I heard a joke: "Trump, before election: 'We will bring back your jobs from China.' After election: 'Oh, I forgot to say, when we bring them back, we will give them all to robots."

I wonder how many US people realize how close we may be to frexit and italy just falling off the table?


At NIPS2016, at the Q&A session, I mentioned
"If we don't get a solid IT foundation, fast, the rest will disintegrate and be swept away. "
The dissolution of Information Assurance at NSA is a gigantic problem, and warning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

extreme vetting of immigrants ala Grand Inquisition

Spain before 1492 had an extreme problem with certain Moslem leaders following their natural inclination to want to control everyone on earth. And so they, like Donald Trump, decided they had to take really unusual measures, reluctantly, simply in order to survive. Are there any lessons we could learn?

Well, here is an extreme measure ... half a joke, but is it really?... inspired by what Luda and I saw when we toured through Andalusia a couple of times in recent years.

Trump suggested somehow adding a kind of rough loyalty declaration. But the only people who might have troubles with faking that would be honest people, and those aren't the problem.
And it might seem mean.

And so: perhaps any adult entering the US ... in certain visa categories.. could be directed to a friendly place, where they are greeted warmly and offered a choice of two free snacks:

(1) a mug of good dark beer, and a tasty quality pork hot dog;

(2) a glass of cognac, and pork liver pate.

But anyone refusing to finish either would be sent back home at their own expense.


Yes, that's an extreme measure, but if it is well publicized to those flying to the US in those visa categories, flybacks could be minimized. It would keep out many other fundamentalists besides just
Islamic ones, but that's the definition of an extreme measure. It may be that some Trump supporters would   want to exclude anyone as unAmerican who rejects hot dogs and beer, but the experience of Spain reminds us that there are ways to soften this a little. A curious measure of basic American values, but not as crazy as it may seem at first.

Actually, we saw a story in Spain of a woman who was killed in classic Inquisition style because she refused to eat a particular piece of ugly fatty pork thrust in her face, as part of a nation-wide test for everyone (not just immigrants). She said she was simply unable to bring herself to eat something so ugly and unhealthy, and was not again pork as such. So for her, a little pork pate would have solved the problem. In any case, this measure would be a whole lot weaker than what Spain felt it had to fall into.

But if Trump himself were a German citizen, could he pass this test? His aversion to alcohol is very, very rational... but if it is rational rather than fundamentalist or ideological, he could recognize the very strict limited nature of this one-time event. (Yet I have to admit... what if it were coca leaves
entering Peru? Would that keep me out of there? Certainly coca leaf products would.)

The most extreme jihadis follow orders saying they can do anything at all (kill innocents, cavort with prostitutes the night before the grand event, unlimited drugs of any kind)... and this would not affect people at that stage... but lying on a written declaration certainly wouldn't either! The test would reduce the probability of entry of people vulnerable to certain kinds of insane propaganda or to efforts to undermine our Constitution in other ways.

Of course, I see clearly that any true Christian or Moslem (without a rare genetic disorder
on alcohol metabolism which can be verified by DNA testing) would have no troubles with this test.
It reminds me of an entertaining experience I had in Singapore years ago:


The fancy hotel insisted I sit at breakfast next to a rich retired businessman who came in by cruise..
on a cruise tour to "teach the word."  "That is the one commandment Jesus had for every one of us, to spread the Word." Verbus paulus replied: "Well, I read that book myself, and that isn't exactly what I remember. Didn't he and Paul say that the first thing was to open your eyes and your ears? (OK, Kerry is also right that the two great commandments came in there, another slice into the same pie.)
If all you do is talk and do not open your eyes, Yeshua himself could come right up to you,
in sandals fresh from the Sinai, look deep into your eyes and your soul, and you would just turn away
and really miss something."

The funny thing is that a few hours later, I walked into the area in front of that restaurant, and there was Yeshua (of the same family and tradition as his illustrious uncle)  in sandals, admittedly a few years since the Sinai, and he said he wanted to talk about some things. As we entered, that same old preacher man was leaving, and it happened EXACTLY as I had warned! But when we entered, he led me and a couple of other folks to the well-lit open bar area.   The old Greek guy with him ordered wine, and I ordered Guinness.   When Yeshua ordered water I felt a moment of anxiety: "Oh, does consuming alcohol bother you?" And I will never forget his smile: "Hey, no problem, no worry, I only ORDERED water. There are a few things you need to learn about water..." I would guess he would pick the cognac and pate.  Or at least porto and pate, if cognac is too expensive. (For American values, Madeira would be even better, as that's what they drank when writing the Constitution in a local Irish bar my mother's family kept the bar bills from, donated to Philadelphia historical society
when I was young.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

cracking the neural code

Is the brain an "Artificial Neural Network"? For years it has been almost a religious dogma that the neural network computation used by brains is radically different from what works in engineering and technology. Yet even as governments pour huge investments into brain-computer interface, it has been like recording hieroglyphics which no one could begin to read. We have now taken the "first" steps towards decoding the neural code (building on work by people like Barry Richmond of NIH), supporting a different kind of model of brain dynamics and consciousness.

Big Picture Elevator Speech to Heritage House

A few days ago, I had dinner with a group of people which included one of the folks funding the Heritage House, in real time cell phone communication with folks organizing the new era. At one point, she turned to me, and asked: “What do YOU think about our present situation?”

For a moment,  I was amused inside myself about how impossible this question was. There are SO many different life or death urgent issues requiring focused deeply informed action... but then, OK, in that situation, why not talk about where we stand right now in the big picture?

So roughly I said: “We are at a hugely difficult moment of transition in the big picture. We are debating the interactions between the economic system and the natural system of human interaction which comes from millions of years of biological evolution.   That’s still important, but it’s nothing new. What’s new, what introduces the most uncertainty and instability, is the fundamental change in human life due to two massive changes in how we organize our lives. Just as important as dollars and DNA, there are now two additional massive intelligent systems – the new IT system, and the more powerful crystallizing spiritual consciousness (not religion, but the objective spiritual reality which religions try to talk about).

“IT is not just one issue among many debated in Congress and chased by dollars. It is a massive organizing system in itself.
It will be defining what the rules really are, just as much as the Constitution does – and if we don’t get it right, soon, we are at great risk.”

“The noosphere is not new, certainly, but the crystallization of consciousness going on now is also massively important.”

“In essence, the new transitions of IT and noosphere make us like teenagers at a crucial period of life. We may grow, or our conflicts may simply kill us. There is no guarantee of survival in any level of life.” And I mentioned some of the game plans for the Internet of Things, which could paralyze and then kill us if we do not act quickly to prevent some terrible possibilities. (Guys like Lamar Smith and Tom Kahlil of OSTP have been pushing us towards disaster, but, sadly, they are not at all alone in that.)  

In another discussion by video conferencing with some lead IT people... I said: “I tell the AI people you need to build an artificial mouse before you can build a real artificial Einstein. But for this global design issue, it is even more basic. We need stable cells first, which do not dissolve into goo, before we can afford to depend  more on the designs of brains or markets. Step one is the really urgent need for deploying unbreakable operating systems, with a proper balance between privacy and law enforcement, exactly as detailed in, in press.”

That paper also discussed some entertaining stuff about research for forward time cameras (FTC) and backward time telegraph (BTT), which it described as 50-50 long-term maybe-possibilities. The operating system stuff is near-term and well founded, but this NATO workshop was for futurists. After the conference, I decided to look into  the FTC and BTT stuff more carefully, as in step two of the four-step exploration I proposed (even though step one is still awaiting
the experimentalists).  I was surprised to learn that the literature on quantum ghost imaging is as shaky, at bottom, as the thermal-light entangled photons turned out to be. But I found six or seven alternative, better grounded pathways, and
there may even be an experiment in process on the first and easiest (though least powerful) of the six or seven.  That could be fun.

By the way, the odd resonance I mentioned with Donald Trump seems to be over, at least for now. Not a trace for about a week. Latin America, and folks worried about their personal freedom, and (of course) some quantum physics have taken over some airways.

And I have been reminded that there are interesting parallels between the Republican Party and Russia – both very forceful but both wrestling with incredible and incredibly important inner contradictions.

In fact, I also mentioned to the Heritage person: “The apparent conflict between science and religion is one of the basic reasons why our situation seems so hard and hopeless, not only between the West and Islam, but inside the US as well.
When the contradictions are left fallow... it is like repression in the brain... it causes chronic problems as bad as the obvious acute ones. It causes erosion of ethics and morality, as people do not know what to believe and regress to myopia and incoherence. “ So maybe it is important that the principles of objective reality and mathematics, on the one hand, and of spirit and noosphere and Pater Galacticus, are utterly consistent with each other, in one universe without any kind of dualism needed, objectively, as in www.werbos,com/Mind_in_Time.pdf. Getting the foundations right is really crucial.

Best of luck...  

small addendum: if my resonant circuit with Trump is off, what of other resonances that were supporting him? At least one focus of thought has been shifting from the election to economics. Serious, real economics, not the plastic ideological kind.  I meant to say that earlier today... forgot.. was reminded by CNN. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

a very large technical issue people have missed

Just before the election, when I might have put more energy into supporting Hillary Clinton, I received three very distinct tides of pushback -- one from a Mormon cluster (not Romney, but there are some links), one from a Russian tone kind of cluster, and another... you would not expect.
It was one of those "small technical issues" which could kill us all, which has been swept under the rug... or, in other language, which is a serious cancer allowed to grow in the darkness under Obama (just as "the gestapo" was allowed to grow).

Lots of notice from Obama's OSTP, actually due to Tom Kahlil (s?), who has given support to a lot of the hard core transhumanist agenda, and who might have expected to expand the already dangerous misdirected efforts if Hilary had been elected. Both with Trump and with Clinton, it is really crucial what kind of people get empowered to do what kinds of things.

The notices I was receiving from all directions... involve the use of electrical stimulation of the brain
on human beings.

I do not intend to write pages and pages on that tonight... but at the end of the day, I have been shocked that people can get away with claiming to be experts on brains or on human potential who are not fully aware of the details and significance of the experiments done decades ago by James Olds senior ... showing how electrical stimulation in certain areas is like cocaine multiplied by 100.
(That's reinforcement areas. For other, more purely cognitive areas, we have only this year even begun to decode the "neural code'.... in press... and NONE of those folks even begun to know what is involved. Just BS, like the green jobs guy Obama headed to misrule his climate change group at OSTP in 2009, well known to the head of CBO... a guy Trump should really get to know.)

Just before the election, they were having... well, let me not use the precise Freudian terms.

If there is any truth at all to backwards flow of intelligence in the noosphere...  this was
a factor even in the election. It is not a small issue.

I have often mentioned the stakeholders meeting where we were urged to line up beind a new business plan for the internet of thinmgs, in which people would be converted to things by brian-computer-interface. Those are their words, not mine, and they were a major reason to retire sooner than I had planned (as did more than half the permanent NSF technical program leaders.).

But... back to family duties..


A few minutes... there was also a major IEEE conference on BCI... whose organizer suddenly got multiple forms of cancer,,,,

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Great Choice Trump could pick for NASA -- or even DOD

Trump has been facing really tough choices and dilemmas in his cabinet picks. Better not to elaborate here and now. But it occurs to me that for NASA, there is a very clear winner for the kind of criteria he has been thinking of:

Why not bring back Admiral Steidle to run NASA?

Anyone who knows NASA would remember that scary no nonsense Admiral. Everyone who wants to feed hippopotami and crocodiles in the swamp would  cringe at the memory. Steidle was George W Bush's appointment to run his first (more energetic and more credible) "return to the moon" thrust,
but he inserted so much competition and strict quality standards that everyone into pork barrel waste complained, and Bush caved in to accept the Ares pork barrel project developed by lobbyists and cancelled for gross overruns a few years later. If Trump really wants to drain the swamp, and introduce competition in aerospace procurement, Steidle would be the guy. ANYONE who goes to teh usual DC social registers of politicians and lobbyists instead... would be undermining the core
of Trump's position. (Will Trump drain the swamp, or the swamp drain Trump? Steidle would be a great step to make it the former.)

The best argument against Steidle for NASA would be Steidle for DOD.

George W Bush picked Steidle because of his famous "shoot-out" at DOD between competing new fighter planes. Could one have run that shoot out better, technically? To be honest, I would ask some people at Boeing about that. If they see a pro-Lockheed bias, that would be worth considering, since Boeing has a lot to give NASA in critical technology areas. But who else is there?

What about trying to get real economic benefit form space activity? At NASA, Steidle hired John Mankins to run HR&T (technology) competition. Mankins, again, is a human with human foibles, but he was far more serious and real about trying to get real economic benefits (and real technology quality and innovation) than any of the swamp feeders we have seen lately, in so many parts of the federal government.. rising high by lies and stealing from the public. (It really did become a swamp in recent years, and it would take great skill to avoid being tied up and conned by it.)


Trump is facing at least two fundamental difficulties in staffing:

(1) The skills needed to run a complex organization like the US executive branch are very different from those needed to win an election. I remember very well the importance of balancing the PR part and the issues part in Senator Specter's office! And what my father said about balancing manufacturing and marketing in complex companies with a heavy manufacturing/technology component. (Actually, my father, Walter J. Werbos, taught some classes on marketing at Wharton, and someday I should check the time... and the "J" style percolating?).

(2) From the DC scene and the election scene, Trump has been overloaded with possibilities one might characterize as ideologues (on the same message but not heavy in admin credibility) or as
killer wimps (his terms are a bit stronger, and not to be repeated, but yes he would include Jeb Bush and probably even Mario Rubio in there). Steidle is a great example of someone just as intense as Trump wants to be in draining the swamp, for that reason not part of the lobbyists' wish list, but with strong admin capability and commitment to integrity along with the nonwimp intensity needed to make Trump's best hopes real.

As I do other things.. yet respond to feedback... I am reminded that Lowell Wood, Ed Teller's old sidekick (or lead apparatchik manager) is another person of that same type. There are kooks out there who would say that Ed Teller and Lowell Wood are litmus-test-failing liberals... but hey, I do hope someone in this machine knows or can easily find out who Ed Teller really is. If winning the struggle with the Moslem Brotherhood is really top priority, and tough honest and capable people get the priority they need (Not killer wimps popular with PR types)...  Lowell Wood could do lots of important and useful things.

As , by the way, could really serious econmists from Wharton. Too bad Larry Klein is not around so much more... but I sure remember Mark French and the Annual Model group, infinitely more real and less corrupt than some companies which won more of the big model market by telling government folks "our model can tell Congress whatever you want them to hear." (I was there in the sessions organized by Wharton's competitors, and know very concretely how that part of the swamp was fed with calculated lies. They wanted to sell their stuff to folks like what I was in the 1980's, building the main models predicting more than half the energy sectors of the US economy, back when there was more investment in strict quality control and truth.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Crude impressions on flow of events

Last night as I went to bed I told myself: "The larger world situation is basically looking hopeless. There are a few positive loose ends, where I am waiting for other people to do things... but tomorrow I will do a certain calculation in quantum optics which I am now more confident I can do (linking to experiments in Germany and possibly New Zealand)." That was then. I still hope to do those calculations, maybe even later in this hour... but ... even if it's fuzzy... I feel called to say at least SOMETHING for now about what hit me in two assumption dreams last night and subsequent discussion. (My mind is always clearer earlier in the day.)

There have actually been many interesting and important things this past week, but also lots and lots of intensity about what I am allowed to say and what I am not allowed to say, to whom. So I will give very heavily censored account of the second assumption dream: There I was in a place much less elegant than the usual Trump assumption dreams, talking to a kind of wiry shaggy guy (supposed to be me), with two folks close to Trump sitting on the couch beside/him.  It is odd to see an image of oneself from the viewpoint of someone else, but actually I have had lots of experience with that before, veridical. (It takes getting used to.... but I have seen Trump's images of some other folks and this was not so rough.) From the first assumption dream, from others I have not mentioned in the past few days, and from the news, it is clear that Trump is in 100 binds all at once. In essence, he was interested in just one or two questions: "OK, what do YOU see coming down the pike here? It would be nice to see a hint of even half of it. What would you propose I do in this situation?"

Well, it would not be appropriate to get into specific veridical details, or even to go much beyond the evening news (CNN with a touch of France24).

Hearing about a climate denier yesterday was part of what put me to bed early. I have often discussed why the H2S problem in the future might well kill every human on earth, and of course that depresses me. If that subject is off limits, and the US cannot even do the research to calibrate the nature and extent of the threat beyond what I know (e.g. at well, if we all die, what's the point of other politics? To be honest, I tend to feel that a deeper understanding of quantum optics could maybe possibly be of objective spiritual value, even if the species dies, so that was part of my resolution.

But that is just one thread. I tend to agree with what Obama and Romney have said: "We can agree on SOME goals, and we can do our very best to help Trump achieve glowing success in those goals we both agree on."

Luda pointed me to a web site,, soliciting ideas. After thinking about that a day, I went to it yesterday and put in a few sentences (It only allows a few lines.)  Logic said: hey, we should at LEAST be able to agree that it would be good if the US, within its existing budgets, could deploy
new access to space which can put 10 to 100 times as much mass into orbit per dollar as any of the current United Launch Alliance or SpaceX or other live projects being funded today.  Really serious national security people, who care about US defense more than they do for the graft for their friends,
should immediately see that this would be a good thing and worth serious effort. That's not a trivial topic (advanced rocket science), so I posted a new paper I have in press, and gave the link in my brief sentences ( One of the things which really depressed me was
a statement in the space community network saying that Trump will pick Congressman Spudis to lead NASA... exactly a case of the swamp draining Trump instead of the other way around; that was a major factor in how I felt going to bed yesterday.

Of course, there is also the issue of defeating the total long-term program of the Moslem Brotherhood
(a serious international network) to establish a third caliphate (more like the corrupt Abbas stuff than the stronger and more enlightened things after and even before)... to impose sharia on the entire world. Just before the elections, I was really depressed when I heard an international relations "expert" on CNN saying "Putin says he wants respect. we are trying to figure out what kind of specific little piece of graft he is asking for when he uses this code word 'respect.'" God help us.
What kind of international relations expert forgets that there are some human beings here?
It's not just guys in the 'hood who hate being dissed. And so, a certain kind of Putin-Trump axis might indeed offer chances to really defeat the Moslem Brotherhood, and that's certainly an important need of this species, both for mundane survival and for authentic spiritual growth. (But no, I am not saying we should require anyone to be "Christian" either, especially when that term has been abused to refer to things Yeshua would deeply abhor.)

I mentioned a Mormon and a Russian component in the "miracle" of Trump's incredible last minute surge. But I put in caveats that Mormons are diverse too. Can I say more about the nature of this miracle? I did observe some, and was alive in passive resonance and in watching... enough to know more, but, sorry, there are limits. Somewhere between Orson Scott Card, Babylon V and Star Wars there are hints, from people who in my view also have a bit of resonance and ability to see. Orson Scott Card seems a bit blind when he fulminates about Obama, but some people might therefore trust him more than they trust me!

Enough. Time for me to face up to some scary but basically tame equations.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

How Could We Now Avoid a new Great Depression?

How Could We Now Avoid a new Great Depression?

In a previous blog post, I explained the crucial role of interest rates in driving the world economy, and cited some of my earlier work in economics on those kinds of issues. When Trump announced his plans for the economy, I was amazed that the two key elements were exactly what caused the Great Depression of the 1930’s: (1) a commitment to crack down on the Federal Reserve (much as some Republicans have cracked down on the Supreme Court and even NSF, quietly but effectively), and substantially cut back the world money supply; and (2) intense cutback on trade and new restrictions on trade, like the famous Smoot-Hawley action of the 1930’s. Many economists signed an open letter warning about the implications. Trump’s plan was discussed on CNN by one of the friends he brought together for the meeting which led to the plan, and nothing he said was reassuring at all.

So where are we now?

I will resist the many temptations to talk about related issues, like how the markets have gone up and down and how they might respond in the future, or like the essential lack of serious professional content in economics in any of the election debates. As of today, the key new event is:

A serious talk by Carl Icahn, who helped launch Trump in the first place, who reaffirmed and clarified the Trump economic policy.  He basically just said:

“It is not sustainable to maintain aggregate demand by money supply and zero real interest rates. Zero real interest rates are unsustainable because they cause instability, like the possibility of real estate bubbles and things like that. Our policy will be to maintain demand by using fiscal stimulus, which is the better way.” And I was privately informed that a new head of Federal Reserve will be a bona fide serious economist, equipped to follow through.

OF COURSE we should want (and work for) success here, exactly as Obama and Clinton have urged us all to do.

But: will it work, and what are the hazards?

First, it is reassuring that they really do want to maintain aggregate demand.

But to increase aggregate demand by fiscal means they must either increase spending or reduce taxes or both. Short of voodoo nonsense, that would require a big increase in the deficit – exactly what sequestration was constructed to prevent. I for one will never forget Kasich’s successful heroic effort to create a bipartisan patch to prevent the deficit bleeding which was occurring before that. If we start borrowing a whole lot more money again (with or without faith that god will magically make the numbers work for us), AND raising interest rates... we again enter territory unexplored as yet in the US, but well known in South Americn. (There is a Chilean economist, Ffrench-Davis, whose work should be required reading for any economist in the US if we really follow Icahn’s proposed path.)

So: is it hopeless?

Not entirely, but it’s a kind of “mission impossible” that would require a whole lot of flexibility and strength of mind beyond what one would normally expect possible in Washington. No, not a whole lot of narcissism; a whole lot of objective, analytic, mathematical insight.

Trump actually gave some hints of what COULD be done to make his policy viable, which I mentioned before. There are really only two big, direct options. One is a massive reversal in the growth of medical costs, even beyond the reduction in the rate of growth which Obamacare has already delivered. (Back in the real world, we all know that medical costs are still rising faster than they should, but less than they would have, due to Obama’s inability to get more than a kind of 50-50 compromise in Congress. Some lobbyists have proposed “solutions” like what certain friends-of-the-governor have done to taxpaying in Virginia: big promises of reduced costs through the magic of paying selected people in the private sector, followed by a big increase in costs due to constant efficiency plus added markups and new paperwork.) One is reduction in nonproductive tax loopholes and tax breaks – but the tax plans we have heard so far would increase them, not decrease them, and in DC “productive” often seems to be measured by how much money they give to PACs, negatively correlated with aggregate demand generated per dollar of deficit. Without a massive midcourse correction in those two areas, the Icahn policy is a prescription not for 1930’s US but 1930’s South America, maybe even worse.  

Still, I do hope it works, and that sequestration is relaxed so much that we can even reverse the horrible cutbacks in education which the US is already suffering from (in great part because of pressures on states).  Technical economics offers ways to actually measures aggregate demand per dollar of deficit source, to fine tune all this, and even a few other useful options, beyond the scope of this blog post. (Those also require automatic stabilizers, looking ahead.)

In the debates, discussing how to avoid cutting social security, Trump proposed more competition in things like defense procurement. But Trump has also proposed an INCREASE in defense spending; thus more effective competition is extremely important to the PRODUCTIVITY of that defense (and related) spending, but not to the Icahn plan as such. There is an extreme need for much more competition in that sector, and I very much hope that folks like McCain and Steidel have a voice in this. (Even I have some specifics of some importance.) It has the potential to increase economic productivity through better general technology, above and beyond the issue of maintaining aggregate demand while limiting deficit.


Icahn’s comments about interest rates remind me of important technical issues which I can only touch on briefly today.
Real interest rates serve as instructions to the world economy about whether to care for the future (zero means the future is as important to us as the present) or not (under high interest rates, the economy is instructed to get rich now even if everyone dies a few years later). Human behavior is more stable and predictable if we simply never pay attention to anything which might happen in five or ten years – until that thing eats us alive. Creatures who do not think are more predictable than creatures who do, but there is a very heavy price to be paid. Yes, with zero real interest rates we need to be more careful about the details of economic relations, to reduce the resulting craziness (like overvaluation of Trump’s property), but failure to properly value investments in the future is fundamentally harmful to growth and sustainability.

All for now.

Well.. let me note that EU and China will also be crucial re whether the world avoids a new Great Depression, but those complexities are well beyond the scope of this blog post. There is some link between the EU issues and what we posted earlier at and  For China... I only have a few reviews at Amazon now.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

parallel processing of quantum optics and Donald Trump

Light stuff first ------------------------

As I was getting up this Saturday morning, it was especially striking how strong the two independent parallel threads were in my ... thinking. (I do not say "two tracks" because the word "tracks" has other meanings for me, as in multiverse quantum mechanics.) One, a quantum optics thread, and the other, a Donald Trump thread. I put a lot of energy into thinking about quantum optics yesterday, and almost none into active thinking about Donald Trump, yet the threads of thought and inputs back to my mind were substantial for both.

I do not entirely know what to make of the Trump connection, which seems rather odd and curious at one level, but exactly what I would expect at another. "This is something I really need to be super careful and gentle about," I told Luda this morning. Lots of censorship needed, and various levels of detachment. Yet we are all part of the same noosphere, too, and we all have a responsibility to the whole, which we are called not to shirk.

A few days ago, at the height of election intensity, I commented to a friend by email: on most days,
I can hear some piece of music in my mind, sometimes a piece of classical music I know from long ago, sometimes a popular song or melody I may even look up on google. But that day, the background was just a line from the Bible: There was a silence upon the face of the earth. And I felt called to reduce complexity that day, to relax and detach and not get so deep into any of the complex puzzles around me. That same day, I did watch a little CNN, and there was Donald Trump saying to everyone out loud (to the great astonishment of the press): "Stay calm, Donald. Calm, relax, Donald..." Not so veridical, but as part of a pattern...

And today, my last dream was an assumption type dream, set in a luxurious resort. (Luda and I have been to a few luxurious places from time to time, but not quite these...). The final theme was about control of angry feelings, which is an issue for all humans but hasn't been such a big deal for me lately. (It was a big deal on my first tenured job, but I felt so bad when a couple of people developed sudden medical problems I had not intended but could easily see, and worked to manage such things more than most people do, long ago.) "Not my dream." And there was a kind of miniature wild lion
in this resort... which would be very scary if it were bigger... but thank god it was miniature. Still, it was big enough that it really did concern me seriously. I interpret that as a representation of the demonstrations going on. Not at all veridical, since I knew of the demonstrations before I went to bed... but the form of symbolization was familiar by now, and not how my brain fills in.

Did I even THINK about Trump and his issues at all, other than watching a bit of CNN earlier in the day? Not much, but briefly. At a "cosmic consciousness" kind of moment... thinking of all the winds of spirit blowing through our lives... at a kind of in-focus moment... yes, I understand and accept the basic reality that we are all really together here in the noosphere, with the responsibilities that entails.

----------- then light itself

But my own initiative was entirely towards quantum optics yesterday. A curious little set of issues, which I enjoy as much as a dog sometimes enjoys chasing a duck or a bone, maybe more a duck since it seems to move. One such duck: what is the proper quantum mechanical model of what a quarter wave plate (QWP) does? A few years ago, I looked for the proper quantum mechanical model of what a polarizer does, and was surprised that I could find nothing more than the baby aggregate model they teach in quantum mechanics 1: the collapse of the wave function, a simple projection model, as a model of the polarizer. What of all the solid state physics out there? There was a lot of classical physics for the two most common types of polarizer (birefringent like calcite, or dichroic like polaroid or sunglasses), but not a quantum model.

Yesterday I did first pass of a similar search, for the QWP, an important basic circuit element for complex photonic circuits.    This time I did not find even an aggregate quantum mechanical model, so far.

In addition to texts on classical optics (most notably by Lipson and by Born and Wolf), I rely a lot on 4 texts which, so far as I know, cover all the basics of what humans know about quantum optics:
(1) Scully and Zubairy; (2) Mandel and Wolf; (3) Walls and Milburn; (4) Carmichael, volumes 1 and 2.  I found just one reference to the QWP in Scully and Zubairy (the leading text for the broad empirical or device side of this field), page 153 -- less than half a page of discussion, really just discussing a Bell's Theorem experiment USING a QWP. It cited a paper I had seen before, which I knew was important, but I had not really studied why they inserted a QWP. I will now study that paper more carefully, to see what they say about the right way to model a QWP at a quantum mechanical level. (It also cited two papers with no QWP in them, and google scholar showed me a later paper by the same group doing more with QWP). Nothing at all in any of the others; too applied and practical for them.

I may search more today, using web search into journal type papers, or just study the two papers I downloaded yesterday, or just think. In really proper quantum mechanics, as in various flavors of quantum electrodynamics (QED), one would want to model the quarter wave plate as a function of the underlying creation and annihilation operators for circularly polarized photons (the only kind which really exist, according to QED). That's important here in complex circuits, because a proper representation of circular polarization is crucial to what a QWP actually does. (In classical physics, it converts linearly polarized light to circularly polarized light, but what does it do in QED?)
So all I saw last night was a picture of that QED type model of that object.... today I will try to fill in the details. Unless we all get Trumped somehow.


Later: Clinton now blames her defeat on the Comey affair. As I have noted, the Comey affair was serious indeed, and if Trump has a strong enough sense of self-preservation he will rise above past hostilities towards her and work with her in rooting out the very risky and unAmerican chains of pressure and reporting which led to such a gross violation of American constitution and rights and spirit in this case (and in the Peter Worden case), as hinted at in the final chapter of the book "A G Man's Journal."

However, let's face it, the shifts in the last day or two went beyond that. I view Trump's surge as a kind of authentic "miracle," an outcome of "spiritual" energy in the noosphere surprising those who ignore such important realities. Some CNN people have started talking about "the narrative" which is a nice and sophisticated intuition, enough I can't help think: "Why don't I try to shift my resonance more to THEM?" Well... but I am on the trenches side, not the PR side.

Whose fingerprints are on that miracle? Hard to say. If at all local... there is some whiff of some folks in the Mormon world with a special worldview (NOT ATK or THEIR centers of corruption!)... and some of Russia itself (not a weak place)..... or maybe even something much further... BUT certainly not ANY stream of thought which would be encouraged by anything anti-female.

Friday, November 11, 2016

more space people ask about Trump

What I told them:

Predicting what Trump will REALLY mean for space is like predicting dice. Trump has at times said he really wants to be hard to predict, whenever there is serious international competition and strategic stuff going on. Even with Obama, there were position papers on climate legislation VERY different from what Boxer and Reid tried to ramrod through, which resulted in legislative debacle. Which issues will Trump delegate to his (more energetic) equivalent of Boxer and Reid and mafia, and which will he try to rise to a new level through greater personal involvement?? I have done a few analyses for a few people, and LARGE UNCERTAINTY bounds are a major theme for all of us (with the POSSIBLE exception of Trump himself) at this time.

One may hope that his rapprochement with Putin, and making up with McCain, will get us out of the swamp we were in on RLV (without which all we had were dreams and hopes of pixie dust)... but lots of pixie dust salesmen have high hopes that the swamp will grow even bigger than before, with room for even more false salesmanship and ripping off of the nation.  I hope... but... we will see.

More thoughts, lots of things on this topic in the noosphere....

"Why will Trump ask IMMEDIATELY for a plan from his generals to wipe out jihadis and madressas of death? Why not instead convene a quiet 'council of war' inviting them AND a variety of key people in Russia, for a really serious all-out new direction, perhaps in the strictest security available in Russia with higher than usual protections on all sides, as soon as the right cast of characters can be set?

"And... since he needs more fiber and omega 3, why not
partake of the many great forms of fish which a real man like Putin can appreciate? "

Though red herring is part of that diet... good but to be treated with care. I am grateful that I get all those great varieties (and Japanese varieties) at home, though the most joyous is the red caviar with appropriate cheese and porto or madeira. (The US Constitution was mainly written in a bar, by folks drinking madeira. My mother's family owned the bar, on Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia as I recall, and my father donated the bar bills to the Philadelphia Historical Society
or Association -- I forget its exact name.) That would perhaps be too much for Trump, and perhaps alcohol really can be a slippery slope without limits in Russia... but we will see.

But as for space... I do not know whether even the Russians appreciate what Boeing did for hot structures technology, vetted by WPAFB (and beyond what anyone at NASA or SpaceX knows). Also, there is a serious risk that Trump will give high-level access to people who helped him in the campaign who plan to rat him out to folks who want to take over as soon as he is inaugurated.

If Trump is VERY wise, he will realize that the folks preparing to violate the constitution and human rights in the cases of Hillary Clinton and Pete Worden are now preparing to tarp HIM... unless he limits his circle and finds a way to uncover who they are and break their power. He could trust Boyden Grey, Bush's old General Counsel, but certainly not the guys Cheney suborned in order to force his (Moslem Brotherhood's ) war in Iraq. Not any of the guys pushing Lamar Smith or Chafettz around (though Smith probably didn't need much pushing). 

The difficult times are anything but over.  

3PM: Will Trump drain the swamp or will the swamp drain him? Already it is starting to look like the bleak side of this. CNN is comparing the role of Pence to that of Cheney. And the new chief of staff is expected... well, maybe it is time for me to go back to Z stuff.