Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump and the World: Damned if we Do, Damned If We Don’t

 Donald Trump, like many people around the world today, has said that getting to heaven is a serious priority for him, reflected in his State of the Union speech and in his selection of preachers for his inauguration. Things are looking very grim on that score right now, not only for Trump, but for everyone else of us on this planet. I have resisted saying more about that kind of subject for the past week or two, but things have reached a point where I feel I have no choice – even though my responsibility is still to objective truth which does not bias in favor or against anyone, or, more precisely, aims to be helpful equally to all but a few very evil people (which does not include Trump). 
Here in Washington, and on “the watch,” I see more and more things which are unmentionable... but also some which should be mentioned. For myself... the words “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” come to mind a lot lately... and if Trump is serious he must feel a lot of the same. But it’s not just about Trump; there is news from all over this planet

This past week, the “dump Trump” movement has become a lot stronger, both in the US and in other nations.  For example, the local Quaker Meeting approved a unanimous motion to speak out on threats to religious liberty, with a clear connection to Trump’s new “Moslem ban,” and many members promised to redouble their efforts and join protests like the ones at Dulles Airport and next to the White House last week. At a key moment last Sunday, the clerk asked anyone with strong objections to speak out and even exercise a kind of veto power which Quakers extend to all members; I did not feel called to speak out, though in a follow-on discussion of community and leadings from God, I did say that I felt like a bit of a Martian after the previous two hours there. Long and tricky story.

One of the things I heard this week:
“Quakers work hard to listen to the voice of God. The voice now says: ‘That antiabortion march in DC is like unto a huge pile of horse manure. It is a great thing that you humans love and value your horses, but when you set up these big altars of burning manure, it stinks to high heaven. Beware the sanitation squad.”  Not long after, Luda showed me a new astronomy paper, reporting a curious case where the dark matter in another galaxy seems to have attacked the ordinary matter, and is systematically disassembling entire solar systems. That’s not exactly what I expect here, but we did have a technical discussion among Friends about how the spiritual principle of Visualization works, and how  Trump’s
(beautiful and wonderfully attractive) spiritual advisors have oversimplified in a way which can be very dangerous when playing in the big leagues; above all, there are BOUNDARY CONDITIONS affecting our consciousness at all levels, and we risk pushback or feedback much stronger than we might imagine.

This applies to the entire earth, not just Trump. For example, the ocean/H2S issue, which seems small and technical to folks whose entire “Being” is just a corner of a political brothel, is very big for earth as a whole, and may well be a very hard “red line” for the sanitation squad. (Once certain aspects get to them... that’s like reporting misconduct to an honest Inspector General... no longer in our hands... and somewhat restricted in discussion. Again, not just a US issue; nations other than US could afford to implement the Teller/Wood/Caldeira geoengineering proposal for the Antarctic without US support.)  

Earlier this month, I was at a meeting where many US government people were present from many agencies.  One looked at me in the eye and said: “You know what’s going on. Why don’t you come out and join the effort to get rid of this guy?” My reply: “Bad as Trump is in some ways, I promise you there are folks a whole lot worse itching to take over as part of the next phase.” And indeed, on the day of the Women’s March (day after inauguration here in DC), as I heard a woman speak on TV “The revolution begins here and now,” I thought: “Ah, is this another Arab Spring, this time in the US instead of Syria?”  And yes, folks, the Moslem Brotherhood has very powerful tendrils right here in the US, not just in Syria. This is not speculation; I am not into naming names when that violates a lot of principles, but I have had lots and lots of hard empirical data.

No, folks, I am not talking about Moslems or Islam in general. The Moslem Brotherhood is a very specific organization with specific goals, with a high level of documented funding from specific billionnaires in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey who basically act as puppetmasters for a diverse suite of activities (ISIS not being the largest). The Qatari group is the most outspoken and obvious, with clearest open flagrant power over the government of Qatar (not included in Trump’s ban, maybe because they have friends in Trump’s inner circle now), while life is more complex both in Saudi Arabia and in Turkey.

Whatever Trump’s failings in dialogue, we should never forget that he was the only person in the Republican field last year who clearly opposed the pressure building for a war between the US and Israel versus Russia and Iran. Yes, Russia has given a few pennies to its small TV station RT, but that is absolutely nothing compared to the huge (though sneakier) tendrils of the Moslem Brotherhood here.
The recent clamor to start a war with Russia should be a clear warning sign to all of us; if we are truly alert and sensitive, we should be like a hunting dog who really notices a whiff of where that smell is coming from. If Jeb Bush had shown true awareness of what a mistake was made in letting Cheney (a great asset of certain people in the Gulf, former chairman of a service contracting company with headquarters there) have his war in Iraq, Phase 1 of their plan, maybe I would have considered supporting him over Trump at that time, but he clearly displayed the same kind of oblivious eagerness to please such people which has already put the country into great risk. Obama was certainly much less of fellow traveler for the Moslem Brotherhood, but as a “friendly 300,000 foot person,” he smiled as he gave away management powers to the very worst third columns, third columns whose operations I have seen in very concrete terms.

Some of you may assume that my proposal for “extreme vetting” by handing out pork hotdogs and pate containing pork at the border would have been crude and unworkable... but was this recent immigration ban one bit less crude? Yes, some fundamentalist Hindus and Jews would also have complained, but wouldn’t that be a lot better than the present approach, which COMBINES a high level of complaint AND ALSO creates an appearance of a ban on Moslems as such, and which is purely stick without a carrot or a smile? (Yes, I would even throw in a choice of beer or porto as well, making it more even-handed and less region-specific.) The Spanish spent centuries taking back their civilization from Caliphate overlords, and we should not just laugh at what they came up with (even as we look back and clean it up some, and skip all the horrid doctrinal half of their vetting).

Will Trump “drain the swamp” enough to cut off the huge tendrils, direct and indirect, from the Moslem Brotherhood to the corruption of the US government executive branch, including the folks whom Cheney installed in key positions (a lot like Palpatine in Star Wars, though at least his assassination attempot against “W” was foiled, barely... see what Laura wrote...), and including the folks whom Comey referred to as “my people who want to imprison Hillary Clinton.”  Will Comey really turn “state’s witness” and tell Trump where the moles are hiding in his part of the woods, or will Trump allow himself to be blinded by ego and by the same bland encouragements which worked on Jeb Bush? Will he fight for real competition and advanced technology in aerospace, or will he give in to folks like Lamar Smith and Shelby who have led an erosion of US technology beyond what many of us thought was even conceivable just a few years ago?

By the way... scanning the world...
There is also a voice speaking to East Asia: “Do not pick a fight with the US just yet. History has shown how most emerging powers act too soon, when they would be better off waiting until they have gained more advantage. In this case, the US is on course to destroying itself far more efficiently at lower cost to you than they would under any immediate military engagement.” For example, they announce their support for stronger missile defense, but in actuality that just means more money for specialists in graft at 300,000 feet, and no sign on the horizon of any possibility of being able to launch enough material for any serious boost phase intercept. All virtual reality, all failing and incomplete visualization exercises.  


By the way, someone at our Quaker discussion group this Sunday briefly asked “Which side would Jesus take on the abortion issue?” People decided not to go further on this line of discussion... but I was reminded that Yeshua in the New Testament was very clear about opposing those who would stone women ... opposing that kind of person. Should beliefs about the soul be a community decision, binding on all members of the nation? Do we really need a Grand Inquisitor ala Brothers Karamazov?
This too is a very serious fundamental issue.


By the way, if Trump and the rest of us get this wrong, as badly as we might, I do not really believe we will go to anything like Dante's Hell. Rather, in my understanding, it would be more like what is depicted in the Book of Esdras, one of the Apocrypha. Just burning away the chaff, the spiritual equivalent of bankruptcy or of "garbage collection subroutines."

Received from the Clerk of Langley Hill Meeting one minute after I posted the above:

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, in witness to our 2015 minute on Freedom of Religion and consulting with some Friends at meeting yesterday, I felt called in my capacity as your Clerk, and after considerable discernment, to send the attached letter of support to the nine Mosques in northern Virginia. Our minute compels us "to speak out" and so we have. Others may be called to further actions or have already acted in ways they feel necessary. Our next steps will reveal themselves in the weeks and months ahead but this is a start, a voice to lend to the many others that are speaking up now and to reach out with love to our Muslim neighbors.

I intend to share this with other Quaker meetings, BYM and post to our website and Facebook page. 

In service and in the Light,


What a minute! Two more appeared almost at the same time. To one I wrote further:

It is depressing for me to hear how Bannon was a loyal agent of Cheney, and is quite open about being a loyal agent of The Dark Side exactly as in Star Wars. Though I also received an email from Germany, and agreed that we need a balance between order and chaos and not a polarized war. Will Trump bring balance to the force, as was prophesized for Anakin? Or should we change the channel to something more like Babylon V, or even a better story written as a novel?

I have also thought at times lately about Heisenberg and Von Braun, one of whom stopped German development of a new technology, the other of whom accelerated it. In my view, BOTH probably made the right decision; different technologies have different implications. If there is any hope that Trump is no further from reality than Hitler was, perhaps a new Von Braun would be possible, and even worth working for in the broadest understanding of the larger sweep of history. But if he sticks with the usual DC crowd, as he has with many of his appointments, it may be more like the Vanguard program and the US failures before Von Braun was brought back into play here.


My German friend just expressed interest today in what I sent him yesterday on a related theme:

Life as we know it in general, in any mathematical universe on any platform, is "at the edge of chaos." 
It emerges in systems which are INTERMEDIATE between fire and ice, between the "heat death" of gaslike systems and the freezing of systems with fixed point or very simple attractors.

There is some resonance between "order" and "chaos," with the path of life going between the two and avoiding both extremes.

If fermions are a kind of pure order, and bosons a kind of pure gassy chaotic field... life requires a mixed universe, like ours.
Actually, the deepest structure, in my view, is pure PDE with bosonic characteristics... so in a very strict mathematical sense, the "order" of fermions emerges "out of chaos," as topological solitons grounded in continuous fields.

But... it may be that "Einsteinian materialism" is all we have in our cosmos, or maybe some other foundation will prove to be more encompassing... someday... maybe... but if so, we have hardly any evidence yet if any about how it would differ from Einsteinian materialism.  

A key point here is that Lagrangian PDE can lead to much more interesting emergent phenomena than even I expected just a few years ago, before I studied them more deeply. No problem with paranormal and "soul" and noosphere and Father in Heaven and such... though of course when a Roman Emperor proclaims himself co-creator with Jesus of the entire cosmos, that is obviously silly and grounded in vested interest and ego rather than anything objective. (I saw a plaque claiming that in Santa Sophia in Byzantium, and I wish I had had a camera there at the time.)


Also depressing is evidence that the immediate quiet actions we needed urgently to protect our power infrastructure and others from cyberattack (see www.werbos/NATO_terrorism) was started but effectively blocked, by draconian actions quite similar to other Moslem Brotherhood actions I have mentioned.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A few short words on the next big wave BEYOND "5 coming levels" of deep learning

Neural networks with deep learning and digital quantum computing are opening up new worlds in computing. Analog quantum computing, exploiting time-symmetric physics, offers even more new worlds, in more fields of technology, but we can only attain those worlds if we firmly understand the underlying physics and develop design simulation packages which embody that new understanding. We can only do that by first performing relatively simple experiments which tell us how our basic device components actually work under new circumstances, more general and more weird than the limited regimes of classical and digital quantum computing. We can never truly understand or use the full powers of our own minds until we understand these principles.

-- Thanks to Thomas for eliciting a much-needed short summary....

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Deep Learning and the "New AI": You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Last week, Sergey Brin of Google gave a talk at the World Economic Forum describing how surprised he was by the great breakthroughs in deep learning and machine intelligence just in the past few years: Davos 2017 - Sergey Brin: The Future of AI and Google

Brin is probably much closer to objective reality and advanced technology than anyone else at his level of economic power, but to know what the real risks and opportunities are coming up there is no substitute for digging deep into the front lines – front lines like the major symposium last month, where many of the “Deep Mind” Google people whom Brin talks about got to speak about the next big wave:

If you go to the web page of that symposium (where I saw 2,000-3,000 people in the audience), you will see names and links to those technology leaders at Google and other major players – and you will also see my own name on top, because I originated a lot of this technology, and led the NSF actions which actually caused the great rediscovery (new to the computer science world) which happened just a few years ago.

The main theme of this symposium was that the deep learning which the whole world knows about is just now starting to hit a second great wave. A reporter asked me how I assess that wave, and the new startup of Juergen Schmidhuber who organized that symposium; the overall summary I sent him was:

Please forgive my delay;  this is a pivotal moment for a huge technology, and I have often caused more harm than good by accidentally putting the wrong spin on this kind of thing. 

The kind of deep learning which has received wide application so far -- starting from a successful grant to Ng and LeCun which I funded at NSF (see the 13 attached slides of my talk at the symposium) -- is just the first step in a huge stream of technology with risks and opportunities much greater than people imagine even in the IT field. In 1988, at one of the two big neural network conferences of that year, I remember Jasper Lupo of DARPA saying "this is bigger than the nuclear bomb"; I did not realize at the time just how precise his words were, but as I look at the next wave of what we can do (and what a few people have already done in industrial and military settings ) -- I do hope we will be careful as we let this huge new genie out of the bottle.

The kinds of neural networks -- robust recurrent networks -- which Schmidhuber is implementing are far more powerful than the earlier generation, and they are an entry to  even more powerful systems, systems which do indeed have the potential to outsmart human brains. How safe is it to disseminate this powerful type of technology more widely? It is very important that we think hard about this question, in a way which society has not done right in the case of brain-computer interface (BCI), another important new technology. 

With BCI and longevity technology, I often think we would have been better off just to let sleeping dogs lie. But here, the latest issue of Scientific American argues that we need to develop true artificial intelligence, fast, before we get locked into a new pattern of IT-based top-down control by corrupt and/or confused human political opportunists. Schmidhuber's company is firmly addressing the next big steps needed to get to such true artificial intelligence, but I worry what could happen if the wrong people use this technology in the wrong way. Still, we are really at a crossroads, as the Scientific American article argues, and to find our way to a safer path, we need to understand what we are doing; I hope that the attached slides, as well as Schmidhuber's company, can play a pivotal role in helping us all understand what we are doing better.


An industry guy at a later discussion asked for something on "what ARE those next big steps even after NNAISENSE?" To some extent, the slides and the links in the slides give some answer to that – above all, the link on the last slide, to a paper written for a NATO workshop, for futurists and decision-makers interested in the big picture.  The most futuristic part of that paper, proposing some useful first steps towards a quantum level of intelligence, was initially written before certain leaks appeared on cybersecurity, and I worried what I could safely talk about; however, since I did write about that aspect, please note that my previous blog post on backwards time communication summarizes the outcome of some further work on “step two” of a path towards useful backwards time communication. Yes, the well-mapped road ahead goes very, very far now.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sports Medicine for Brain, Soul and Effective Management

 What is an effective grand strategy when the variable you really want to maximize (or the target you want to achieve) is hard to measure, and even harder to predict?

In many investment boards, every discussion of every possible project or activity comes down to the question: “What would the impact be on the bottom line?” Except in family matters, I  have always been the same way, essentially no-nonsense and strategic, except that I care about two ultimate bottom lines which I will never forget:
(1) What is the probability that there will be no living human bodies left anywhere in the universe in a relatively short time, such as 10,000 years from now or less?
(2) What is the impact on the growth and strength of that “half” of us which is not limited to the mundane human body, the part we often refer to as “soul”?  
(People ask: are you a real expert on this? Well, by some definitions of “expert,” no one is an expert on anything but the tiniest minutia; people who criticize big picture thinking should at least read the introduction of Toynbee’s great book on civilization on trial, and what it says about misguided ways of thinking blinding us to questions we need to address. No one on earth knows all aspects of these questions, but I certainly have unique backgrounds in some key parts of these two pictures and, above all, have revisited the questions again and again for many years.)  

In essence, goal (1) expresses the most enduring part of the basic feelings we inherit from our genes, from our human DNA, from the “beast” half of us, which I for one am simply not ready to renounce (especially in the presence of a woman like my wife). Goal (2) expresses the part we get from the noosphere, from being half “angel,” half part of something much larger.
When I talk very crudely about “God supporting the human potential movement as such above all organized religious organizations,” I am referring to the priority of goal (2) both to our noosphere and to its supporters, including what Yeshua referred to as “Our father in heaven.” Organized religions sometimes assist goal (2), and sometimes are as bad as folks like Ayn Rand and the darkest oligarchs as threats to goal (2) and to the very survival of our local noosphere. (Survival? Yes, survival of all the souls of earth. Even among whales, not all babies live to adulthood, and there are diseases and parasites which threaten the very lives of their hosts.) In truth, my “frivolous” suggestion of using hot dogs and beer, or porto and pork pate, as a form of “extreme vetting” for immigrants was grounded in fundamental issues of sanity, related to the distinction between which manifestations of religion actually support the soul and which try to lock it up in prison and damage it (just as tying up the feet of women destroyed those feet at times in ancient China).  

But... how can we address goal (2) itself more effectively, exactly what “God would really support”? The founding principles of the US were a big step forward on that, back in the day when the US began, when folks like George Washington and his Scottish Rite Freemasons, and like the Free Quakers, and even like my own wild sea-going Irish ancestors (half the family) worked hard to build a new situation to liberate them all. Back when the US Constitution was understood as giving rights to “people” defined as human beings, it too was closer to “what God will support” for the general population than any of the religious codes of law ever before in the world – though corrupting influences from money in politics and money in religion have caused a lot of erosion since then, and also caused a lot of the disorder we see all over the world today, not just the US.

One big step forward would be to follow up more effectively on something we (of Adelphi Friends Meeting at the time) did in starting Friends Community School:  set up a school really focused on the bottom line of developing and strengthening body and brain and soul of all students. Not easy to do or to define, but doing the wrong things because they are easy has already been tried elsewhere. Much more could be done. By the way, the curriculum on conflict resolution has been great not only for what it teaches, but for the effectiveness of the whole rest of the curriculum!
(I have heard this not only from the school but from friends at the forefront of education research.)  

But what about adults?

In fact, there is a major new current in management science, in serious futuristic economics and in policy circles asking ever more urgently: “What can we do to better support the workforce of the future? And how can we foster real innovation and creativity in a new kind of economy?” I have had a chance to observe extremely serious new professional studies from the International Labor Organization and from the Millennium Project (MP, or themp), collecting hundreds of research reports, which lead to very scary questions about the world 20 years from now. In the last main study of the MP, even the most conservative scenario/viewpoint predicts a 70% drop in “jobs.” Automation is no longer just a possibility for the future. It is not a joke that Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor says “We will bring your jobs back from China, and give them to robots.” (Not his exact words, but clearly what he has been saying.)  There is another discussion group centered in key industry stakeholders... and everyone is deeply worried and puzzled. This is not a case where we can forget it and watch it just go away.

One theory is “everyone should be an entrepreneur.” Folks who struggle to figure out... even basic things... are supposed to maintain a whole new life like that?

Whether people become entrepreneurs or not, clearly we need much stronger efforts to advance the potential of human adults, as well as children, on a much more urgent basis than before... whether to prepare them for money-based contract labor or more natural human network connections (which used to be a bigger part of US life before certain folks started turning the screws!!)... but HOW?

One of the four groups I talk to about this, grounded in management consulting practices, has been excited by a new management/creativity course growing in popularity in Silicon Valley. That kind of course really does have a role to play here, and looks a lot more real than the grossly silly stuff Lamar Smith has been quietly encouraging NSF to do (rather similar to Bo XiLai’s old use of patriotic songs to stimulate morale, not so good for independent creativity) instead of what it used to fund under more serious folks like Joe Bordogna. Part of the new management consulting practices focus on helping clients develop better “maps” of their environment, crucial to falling into inertia and low creativity, which is all too common lately in large enterprises.

In the discussion, I noted:

1. There are no simple silver bullets here. Developing real management competence is a lot like learning the complex things Piaget talks about, a matter of a whole lot of things. In addition to the kinds of courses they discussed, rooted in deeper experience and psychology than the Bo Xilai/Lamar Smith nonsense, other resources need to be integrated in. One of my favorites would be the study by Valliant on Harvard graduates, bringing out what kind of psychological factors go with life success versus failure in their lifetimes. (Of course, this is not a study of the needs of village drunks or vagabonds.) Another would be what I learned from running NSF panels for almost 30 years, about how to arrange really deep dialogue, engaging both leading experts and relative novices, and really moving all of us forwards – especially important to getting closer to reality in a wide variety of economic areas which the amateurs on the Hill screw up with great regularity. (My analogy to Piaget is doubly good – insofar as it points to the need to always keep improving in such a complex terrain without simple silver bullets.)

2. But even so, there are a few universals. (Piaget, by comparison, mentions how there is a deeper level of studying learning, which he calls “accommodation and assimilation,” which elicits more universal principles. My paper a month ago in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience is a watershed on exactly that subject, reviewing many other new results.) Among these are:

 --  THE MIRROR. The wonderful course we discussed includes people looking at themselves in the moods they get into, especially as they try to handle frustration. Looking at ourselves in the mirror is a truly universal basic principle we need to learn how to exercise again and again, at many levels. There is a relation of course to “mirror neurons,” an important fundamental discovery of modern systems neuroscience. Even monkeys have them. Even  mice can learn from their mistakes, from their own experience... but a monkey naturally will look at another monkey doing the wrong thing and suffering, and can learn not to commit that mistake . Even though monkeys already have mirror neurons, we as humans have an ability to learn to be self-conscious about using this very basic faculty. It is analogous to an athlete learning the basic set of muscles he or she has to work with, important even as he or she work on a much more complex set of exercises.
(And yes, the best forms of sports medicine help provide that kind of capability, important to strengthening of the body, even in K-12 schools!)  

-- MAPPING the possibilities. Some humans in management are so haphazard and fuzzy that they could even learn by considering the example of the reptile (lizard, dinosaur, turtle). (Is this like Shao Lin King Fu, for the mind? For brain and soul both? “Hey, cricket, look really deep at that raptor.”) The reptile has one three-level cortex which it uses to map out the space of the environment it lives in, and other to organize time into chunks – as in plans, decisions, etc. (Does anyone suspect a relation to something they read in AI? The citations in my new paper point to more advanced versions of exactly that math and AI.) It is like voting fro Reagan over Carter: “See how Decisive our new leader can be.” Yes, decisiveness is an important skill... but not by itself the highest skill. Higher than the dinosaur is the great elevated consciousness and intelligence of the Mouse. In the mouse, those two three-level cortices merge (in most but not all of their area), to support a new level of intelligence which proceeds by mapping THE SPACE OF POSSIBILITIES. In a way, a kind of 4D map.
Exploring possibilities is the foundation of the much higher level of creativity of the mouse over the reptile.
By consciously using and advancing that natural capability of the mouse brain, we can enhance our own natural creativity far beyond those singsong people living only “in the now.” (It’s great to be ABLE to live in the now... to focus consciousness on the present moment.. and then focus it elsewhere... and thereby learn to consciously and strategically control the whole focus of the whole brain and soul.)  

By the way, what special hardwired advantage do humans possess, even above all primates, if any?
(My old book, “The Roots of Backpropagation”, has a chapter on that!) In addition to mirror neurons, we have a natural ability to  share experience we did not see directly. That can come via symbolic channels like words... or, in my view, via channels like assumption dreams, which the psychiatrist Eisenbud is said to have written about long before my 2012 paper in Neural Networks.

In essence, better use of “the mirror” is one of the foundations of sanity or zhengqi, discussed in

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Proposal for Simple Experiment to Demonstrate Backwards Time Communications

For those who fully understand the principles of time-symmetric physics, the figure above really gives the full story. On 1/17/2017, I figured out for the first time how to demonstrate true backwards time communication of information without resort to more difficult technologies like the quantum separator (QS) which I figured out a few years before, requiring facilities in nanotechnology. Keeping the environment dark enough really means that the detectors should be shielded as much as possible from light coming directly from the black bodies, the surrounding room and any source other than the two-photon source and left-channel calcite crystal. (If necessary, the effective light isolation could be improved further by simply putting color filters in front of the detectors, to keep out light at frequencies other than what the two-photon source produces.)

For those who do not fully understand the principles of time-symmetric physics, I append five references basically giving five stages in the evolution of time-symmetric physics, from my initial formulation in 1973 to the more complete version of 2015 [4], through to a discussion for the policy maker as one part of a larger analysis of future possibilities [5]. Note that reference [3] is beautifully clear. Aharonov, who recently won the National Medal of Science for his work on time-symmetric physics, only knew a very different concept back in 1997 (the same book as [3]), equivalent to more conventional versions of quantum mechanics, but has gradually come closer to what we published in 1989.

According to the mature version of time-symmetric physics [4], we can still use exactly the same type of Schrodinger equation used in conventional quantum electrodynamics (QED) to predict the outcome of experiments in electronics and photonics, like the example of the experiment proposed here. The only thing we need to change is the measurement formalism. We do this by developing new models of the macroscopic objects which INTERFACE with quantum systems (objects like polarizers and detectors). A key rule for these models is as follows: the model of any PASSIVE object (one which is not a source of time-forwards free energy) should be symmetric with respect to time. When we combine these rules for macroscopic objects together with the usual QED Schrodinger equation (or equivalent), I call this “MQED”, a new flavor of QED, distinct from the other varies KQED, FQED and CQED which I have written about before [4].

In this figure, the black body radiators are passive objects. For all practical purposes in this experiment, we model them as objects just sitting there at a certain temperature. Thus they must radiate light both in the well-known forward direction, and in the backwards time direction, equally, if time-symmetric physics is true.
Simple passive objects heated up to red-hot or white-hot clearly would qualify. (Would old incandescent light bulbs, heated to different temperatures by simple dimmer switches, qualify? That I am not certain about yet. It might even depend on the type light bulb, which reminds me of Edison's old adventures. If the filament is well enough insulated, so that electricity is not constantly replenishing the mix of excited states, simple light bulbs might well do the job.)

If our eyes were evolved to see backwards flowing photons, we would already see an image of our environment on earth which is virtually identical to what people see at night with infrared glasses. This experiment simply captures that effect in the simplest possible way. It exploits Klyshko’s insight that two-photon entangled sources (as used in Bell’s Theorem experiments) act as a kind of “mirror in time,” such that a photon moving back on one channel effectively “continues” as an ordinary time-forward photon on the other.

The purpose of this experiment would be two-fold: (1) as a decisive test of time-symmetric physics versus
conventional measurement models, easier to perform than the all-angles triphoton experiment I proposed (and funded) in the recent past ; (2) as a decisive proof in principle that information can be communicated from future to present, in a way which is certainly not possible with conventional Bell’s Theorem experiments (as discussed in the seminal book by J.S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable).

To be completely honest, I should admit that I am still a bit of a heretic in regards to physics below of distance scale of about 3 femtometers. For 3 femtometers or above, MQED  should be even more complete and precise than older versions of QED, but high-energy electron-electron scattering has already shown that the predictions of QED break down at energies corresponding to smaller distances. (I have cited that extensive, mainstream experimental work in several places.) Of course, electroweak effects become more important at such distance scales, but I would claim that there is still hope of deriving MQED as the emergent statistical outcome of a more fundamental field theory involving the usual B and W fields of electroweak theory obeying Lagrange-Euler equations of the type which Einstein would have appreciated. ([2]). However, that hope is a very different issue from the issue of MQED as such; I hope that readers can due full justice to MQED as an alternative to traditional forms of QED, without being distracted by the totally different issue of how to derive MQED from a more fundamental theory.

Once people accept the basic principle here, after the crucial experiment, there are a number of
viable approaches to improve the engineering and substantially reduce the unit cost.


[1] Werbos, P. J. "An approach to the realistic explanation of quantum mechanics." Lettere al Nuovo Cimento (1971-1985) 8.2 (1973): 105-109.
[2] P.Werbos, Bell’s theorem: the forgotten loophole and how to exploit it, in M.Kafatos, ed.,           Bell’s Theorem, Quantum Theory and Conceptions of the Universe.    Kluwer, 1989.
[3] Huw Price, Cosmology, time’s arrow, and that old double standard. In Savitt Steven F. Savitt (ed), Time’s Arrow Today:Recent Physical and Philosophical Work on the Arrow of Time, Cambridge U. Press, 1997
[4] 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.
[5] Paul J. Werbos, New Technology Options and Threats To Detect and Combat Terrorism. In Sharan, Gordon and Florescu eds, Proc. of NATO Workshop on Predetection of Terrorism, NATO/IOS, 2017 (in press, approximate citation).

Some additional references:

Werbos, Paul J. "Bell’s theorem, many worlds and backwards-time physics: not just a matter of interpretation." International Journal of Theoretical Physics 47.11 (2008): 2862-2874.  Also see Aharonov, Yakir, and Lev Vaidman. "On the two-state vector reformulation of quantum mechanics." Physica Scripta 1998.T76 (2006): 85.

arXiv: 0801.1234.

It is interesting that primate evolution never gave us the ability to "see in the dark" by seeing infrared frequencies of light, despite the clear value of night vision as shown in experience of US military. It is an example of how the cost of such a capability may result in it not being present in some species. Of course, detection of infrared photons in backwards time is more expensive for the organism; on earth, it would not be worth the cost, because it would provide only nanoseconds worth of additional foresight for normal primates in their normal environment. But using technology we do not have to wait for our DNA to catch up.  We can create delays, and we could use nanotechnology to reduce the cost and improve the quality, even for applications on earth. I do not discuss those extensions here because it is essential that the basic principle be established first, and then some greater design capabilities (as in [4]). Applications in astronomy could also be interesting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cixin Liu says: you are silly fish and hungry cats are tracking you

Cixin Liu says: you are silly fish and hungry cats are tracking you

People who live their whole lives in the fishbowls of Washington DC, Wall Street and Houston can easily develop delusions of grandeur, and grossly underestimate the folks who are tracking them who may undo all their plans
in an easy, cat-like strike of the paws. That is true at many levels. This morning, I feel called to discuss analytically
what Cixin Liu himself says about this theme – though I hope I will have time this morning to mention a few other aspects of this serious life or death theme.  

Cixin Liu is perhaps the best-selling science fiction author of China, the “Isaac Asimov
 of China.” My wife Luda recommended his new novel – and this was the first time I remember her even reading science fiction since I met her; she reported that Obama and Zuckerberg (the Facebook guy) recommended reading it.
If you search on “Three Body Obama Zuckerberg” you will in fact see Zuckerberg’s post on this.

Which hungry cats am I referring to? No, I am not talking (today) about the advocates of a global Third Caliphate in the Middle East who are laughing about how easy it is to distract and manipulate the politicians in Washington. China itself has its own tradition of taking the long view; people like the followers of Meng Tzu and the Liu family of the Han dynasty worked very hard and remarkably well (despite some obvious shortcuts requiring revision) to get past the self-destructive chaos one can fall into when one is too myopic. Cixin Liu’s book The Three Body problem, and the sequel, the Dark Forest, are well worth studying, just for the sake of better understanding China and Chinese thinking... and how it feels to be an intelligent person living in China today (or to be a competent engineer) ... but that is not what this story is about. The two-volume series, Three Body Problem and Dark Forest, is about the old theme of earth itself as a fishbowl, and what happens when the universe beyond earth gets involved. This is not a new question, but it is very important, and deserves being revisited in a serious way. Cixin Liu gives a view of this question different from what we see in thoughtful Western writing. Myself, I have a third view.

Where to begin?

David Brin, a prominent American science fiction writer, has a short and easy science fiction “Existence” which contains reviews of the current literature on “Fermi’s paradox.” According to one legend, Fermi observed: “If interstellar travel is possible, if the universe is billions of years old and contains many planets where life should evolve according to our best understanding of what Darwin taught us, WHERE ARE THE ALIENS? Why haven’t we seen them yet?” This paradox really does cry out for an answer; yes, we can guess many possible explanations, but a serious scientist would not just Believe the first possible explanation, especially when the choice of explanation says a lot about our fate and our real future possibilities. For example, if we explain the lack of aliens by saying that almost all species which develop nuclear
technology end up blowing themselves up in a few thousand years, shouldn’t we be very serious about thinking twice about where our world is going today? (To be honest, I found Brin’s “Uplift series” to be a more serious theory than the theory in his new novel, but they are all just speculation. Liu is a bit closer to real science.)

One more amusing cartoon for introduction.  Several years ago, I participated in a big workshop “Humanity Three Thousand,” funded by the Foundation for the Future, which was funded in turn by Kistler of Kistler Aerospace. A leader of Japan’s space movement praised the great vision of Kraft Ehricke, where he said we humans today are like the first fish who started to crawl up upon the land, opening up a whole new phase of the evolution of life. He had a slightly sad and sour expression on his face when I mentioned a kind of Pogo cartoon which flashed into my mind as he was speaking:
In the water, a ragged big old fish is speaking to younger fish assembled around him: “Children, I have sorted to the heights.  
 After much great struggle, I survived the trip to the land and even survived the return. I have seen the higher universe and learned what our role in it really is.” “Oh” ask the children, “What IS our role in the greater universe?” The old fish says: They have a word for it. They call us sashimi.” Seriously, it makes a difference if we are not the first. Is it not a typical childlike exercise of silly narcissism and wishful thinking just to assume we must be the first, in such a large universe? The recent movie Jupiter Rising is less realistic scientifically than any of the other stories I mentioned yet – but it still has some value as a kind of correction to silly assumptions which Cixin Liu also criticizes.

Orson Scott Card has also written on this theme, and there is a compendium called Far Futures which contains serious insights, but for now let me focus on the final picture which emerges at the end of The Dark Forest, which I finished reading yesterday  (on the Kindle app in my galaxy Tab). (I have yet to read the third volume of this trilogy, but my wife says it just develops the same picture further.)

In essence, Liu argues what I said in the headline: the galaxy is full of big hungry cats poised to swipe at us and gobble us up very quickly as soon as we make even the smallest move exposing our location.

He doesn’t actually compare us to fish in a fishbowl. He starts the Dark Forest by comparing us to ants crawling over the letters of a tombstone... and then he returns to that metaphor with great force at the end of the novel, when a big cat appears.

He starts by saying we can deduce it all from two simple axioms – that resources to support life are finite in this galaxy, and that life naturally expands (ala Darwin) to reach the limits of those resources. Throughout the novel, he gives us examples of how things work... but at the end, a canny Chinese official still has to ask: “What do your axioms actually tell us concretely?” I enjoyed that scene, because very few people even in science seem to fully understand the full power of axiomatic analysis (when tempered by respect for experience). At, I review a larger set of axioms, which are more powerful than the small set of two which Liu tells us about, but it seems it would take more than one human lifetime to explain to people what  all the concrete implications are. But yes, I see no reason at all, in any of human experience, to reject a view of the cosmos which I sometimes call “Einstein materialism,” in which life as we know it is indeed the outcome of natural selection, and Liu’s axioms do apply.

That’s a bit of a simplification; here I will just state the main caveats without explanation: (1) even in the Einstein formulation, based on Lagrange-Euler equations, the cosmos itself has some of the properties we commonly associate with life; (2) natural selection as we know it is basically just a limiting case or approximation of  more general higher order thermodynamics, the study of emergent phenomena in systems like PDE, which allows for more time symmetry in life, as discussed in my chapter for Pribram’s edited book on self-organization; and (3) though I know of no serious evidence, in science or in spiritual experience, to contradict Einstein materialism,  it is natural and proper that we try to be open-minded to alternative models and, more important, alert to any evidence suggesting which of the many many concrete alternatives might actually be justified. But even after those caveats, the main gist of Liu’s concern remains valid. For billions of years on earth, Darwinian selection has been a primary driver, and limits on resources have led to life or death struggles and species extinctions and so on; we have no good reason to believe it is otherwise in this galaxy, apriori. I do wish we humans could face up more intelligently to the serious issues raised in E.O. Wilson’s book Sociobiology; we can put our heads in the sand, but the issues of DNA and evolution will not just go away. Still, when Kistler had a bit too much to drink as he gave the FFF award to Wilson, and when Wilson himself withdrew like a frightened turtle in his recent books... (as did Wittgenstein and Stephen Hawking, on the issues of meaning and time-symmetry respectively)... I am sorry that our culture did not just revise the model as logic requires, move on and continue to use the model. Liu gropes with the right issues in a verbal sort of way... but... but could he have had some math in his mind that he did not put on paper? It is possible. His book makes it clear he does know a bit of mathematical thinking, and has a right-brained clarity American novelists usually lack... but he gets lots of things backwards as also happens often with right-brained people.

He argues that the galaxy simply does not have the special kinds of local networks and personal contact across star systems which allow somewhat less war-or-all-against-all in our life on earth. Absent such mechanisms, the outcome is predictable he says. Actually, if you read the novel with some awareness of Chinese history (like most of its many, many enthusiastic readers!), you will remember that China itself has experienced many brutal times of such war of all against all, and famine,
and that higher civilization was very much hard won (after the early pre-Malthusian period wore out, a period most Chinese do not know as much about). The novel seems very bleak, at one level, but it also argues that there is some hope even in the galaxy, if we work very hard, think very hard, overcome childish ways of thinking and acquire more situational awareness.
(As did Kung Fu Tzu and Meng Tzu, but at a much higher level?) That awareness includes an awareness of a need to be very, very secretive in some ways, even as we work to achieve better cooperation with those we must be most secretive to as a matter of realistic current awareness.

And.. in truth, he also mentions the great divide between our level of life, in the realm I would call “3 femtometers” and above, and the realm of how things work and life below that level. Only this past year, after a lot of productive struggle to really understand that kind of physics mathematically, do I fully understand just how sharp that divide really is; I wish, in retrospect, I had maintained more separation between those realms, to avoid unnecessary confusion and conflict, but we children of earth and sky really do all have a lot to learn and should not shy away from learning.

A key question Q: is Liu really right, at least on the basics? Is the galaxy very likely to be full of life already, or is it a case where all or almost all species totally destroy themselves after discovering nuclear technology?

Here, Liu’s way of thinking has some scary limits. For example, when he talks about the final days, he talks about “which theory is right?” and “what is the right action, to fit the true case?”, when a rational, fully sane person would think very explicitly about UNCERTAINTY (discussed of course at length in Instead of deciding WHICH POINT to locate one’s fleet at, what of a mixed strategy, some here, some there, to hedge? He shows some awareness of the risks of deterministic thinking, but only sometimes.

If you fully understand and accept uncertainty, you could respond to the questions Q in the same sort of way that Pascal once did. If you feel uncertain... EITHER we are on a path of certain destruction, OR we might be part of a different scenario, it is rational to base action on the possibility of hope. But fortunately, I see more real justification for hope than what this limited argument provides.

What justification? In, I review the powerful streams of evidence which have convinced me that the types of experience which some folks call “psychic phenomena” (and which others call spiritual or paranormal) are inescapable realities and that they really are NOT physically impossible from the viewpoint of Einsteinian physics (a physics which is a lot weirder in its implications than typical clerk type people imagine).  Yes, I agree with those Chinese historians who say that most organized religions on earth are really just the untrustworthy propaganda arms of people in power, the modern descendants of the priest kings of Sumeria who would put to death all “heretics” who dared even to think for themselves.  But humans all over the earth have had serious odd experiences since long before those priest kings; an important NSF-funded study by Greeley (cited in Mind in Time) shows how a majority of PhDs today have had at least some experiences which force some rethinking. Liu also reports some such experiences, an evidence of artistic honesty, worthy of deep respect... but how can we make sense of them scientifically, without succumbing to the mumbo jumbo of fuzzy priest kings with huge conflicts of interest?

As a beginning, I cite the “noosphere” or “Gaia” concepts of Verdansky and Teilhard de Chardin and many others. The ancient view that we are children of earth and sky actually makes a kind of sense, in science.  Dante has said that we humans are “half beast, half angel” – ideally living our lives as a kind of joint enterprise of the beast (DNA organism) and the angel (life form existing as a pattern of a kind of dark matter). This is not really crazy, now that we have strong evidence BOTH that dark matter is most of the matter of this cosmos, AND that dark matter is not unstable stuff like “WIMPS”.
(See the latest issue of Scientific American! By the way, that issue also has an important article  on AI which demands a third way, but that’s for another discussion.) But to encompass the full range of what we really see in psychic phenomena,
the “angel” must be understood more as kind of ... hive?... of angels, a collection, with strongly evolved communications mechanisms.

Here is where I part with de Chardin: I agree strongly with the critics of de Chardin who say that the natural “evolution” of a complex system like the earth is NOT towards that kind of intelligence. Rather, it is towards entropy, and current world politics certainly has elements of entropy, where every possible pathology receives lots of support, pushing towards suicide in a hundred ways at once. (The thought leaders of the Third Caliphate movement are really just one of those, but in many ways they are as serious as the sophons of Liu’s novel. And likewise the clusters Koch had organized, and Halliburton, and the serious powerful lurkers like Kahlil hinted at in the new issue of Scientific American.) We SEE a noosphere... yet a noosphere could not exist if it were just the earth. Even with computers and AI, the final outcome is total death if that were the total story.

But hey, folks, dark matter is not limited to earth! My proposed revision to the theory of de Chardin is that our noosphere is just ONE instance of a much larger species. It is not our specific kind of DNA, but a kind of “dark matter DNA” which, like our local DNA, is the outcome of billions of years of evolution, over a much larger sphere of complexity, with its own evolved mechanisms of variation, longevity and childhood states.

A corollary of this is that our hope of living longer, as a living planet, depends crucially on how well and fully these noosphere mechanisms are actually manifested and implemented on earth. NEITHER sharia NOR canon law NOR any of the political ideologies now active in the US are CONSISTENT with this hope of survival, EXCEPT for the movement for greater human potential which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for human survival all across the globe.

Is Gaia just going through her teenage years? Ah, but in nature (and even in the US!), not all teenagers survive those difficult years. Giving up delusions of grandeur is one part of what is also necessary... but keeping up our energy is also necessary. Best of luck with it...    

Friday, January 13, 2017

Grim Prospects in Bigger Picture

Grim Prospects in Bigger Picture

First, the little picture – what happens in Washington DC, which is not so encouraging right now.

Several fundamental problems with Trump’s effort to adapt to a new situation:

Even though he has made noises about “this is like Nazi Germany” and Putin has talked about a “witch hunt,”
 still has not caught on to the fact that the effort to impeach or isolate him before he is even elected goes far beyond mere Democrats’ response. Previously, I mentioned that I did not seriously consider Bernie Sanders for the Presidency as it exists today, because “they would convert him into the Queen of England,” a totally impotent object of display with no ability whatsoever to affect the trends he (or Trump) talked about. With Hillary, I mentioned that certain folks were ready and willing to handle her exactly as they handled Rousseff of Brazil (a kind of dress rehearsal or warning?). They had to adapt a little when it turned out to be Trump, but ... the current news suggests that Trump himself might well be emasculated just as Sanders would have been.

Key evidence: if he knew what is going on, and what is awaiting him, he would not be going back now to the theme of “lock her up.” He would be offering very vigorous support for the investigation of what was done IN THE US, by US government moles and their external operators, to prepare to get rid of Hillary Clinton. He would push to have them fully exposed and rooted out, because  the exact same people are exactly the same kind of threat to his own hope of having at least some limited power and staying out of jail.

Another piece of evidence: he seems to have chosen his appointees with the implicit assumption that it is like picking lieutenants for a company he runs. He has line experience (a major argument for him over Sanders and Clinton at a time when line capacity is essential)... but in a different environment. He doesn’t seem to have understood that he may or may not be “the boss” of “his” cabinet people after they are appointed. Maybe he needs another, deeper and more personal one-on-one with Clapper? To learn what Clapper was referring to in regards to “micromanagement” from selected people in Congress and the stakeholder managers many of them (like Lamar Smith, Shelby and Chaffetz) grovel to?
It was especially jarring for me to hear, in the hearing on Tillerson, how one senator praised Tillerson as a “wonderful asset.” The word “asset” does have special meanings...



On a positive side, there may be some chance of literally making America great again in its space capabilities,
which are... a different kind of potential asset. Even if the rest of the enterprise goes south, in any of a hundred ways, it would probably be a serious good thing to restore the space capabilities if there is still some hope of that. So I may narrow focus on that, in one strand.

In another strand... what of the growing gap between the coming H2S collapse and current policies all over the world?

Had an interesting conversation with a climate guy this past month. If no one revives the Teller/Wood/Caldeira proposal for emergency action to restore the specific ocean currents which brought oxygen to the Pacific Ocean, then what?
I have searched and found no credible scheme for geoengineering to prevent the new damage to stratospheric ozone which
would be the quickest pathway to eliminating all humans. But there is one other thing he raised which I had not considered:
what of raising albedo in the north enough to refreeze the antarctic enough to restore currents? Certainly not a US government proposal, under present circumstances! It is very hard to imagine Putin and Trump agreeing (and getting support and funding) for a dam to block the Bering Strait to restore ice in the north. But... is there any other way?
Immediately after we understood... and discussed... it is odd how sudden snow and cold stretched from Portugal to Turkey and Russia. One hell of a way to get albedo! But as human policies depart more and more from what is needed, things like the curses of Moses (actually a great gift, when  all is considered) may become more likely. Who knows?

But back to reading the Dark Forest...

At some point, I should also note how analysis of stability of the noosphere has changed my views of Fermi’s paradox. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Actions We Need This Week Re Urgent Risk of World War

Three new data points I cannot ignore: (1) Hayden gets on TV, underlines urgency of starting new conflict with Russia; (2) CNN Commentator describes Trumps interest in (tough) talks with Putin as “a threat to the New World Order”; (3) just this morning, US Navy suddenly starts shooting at Iranians.

Based on more details than I will cover in this blog: I do hope Trump’s people, libertarians (senator Paul?) and democrats together could get the senate to give first, urgent priority to confirming Mattis, who in turn should be fully empowered to put the lid on rogue elements reporting outside the normal chain to folks who want to start a war while they still can.

It would be nice if that former DIA guy could also be moved quickly, so as to help provide backup in tracking down the
folks violating normal order here – folks who really threaten not only the spirit but the letter of the Constitution.
At the same time, there have been reports before of Sunni infiltration in Iran, and any new Russia-US alliance 
should work to make sure dangerous folks trying to make trouble on that side are also tracked down. No need to choose -- just to cover all bases. 

Other appointments are mostly a lot less urgent, though of course Trump family is no real risk to put through.


But... all for now. I promised to focus on other things this day, and will... 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

McCain and CNN urgently call for war

Much as I respect McCain and CNN, when they are within their spheres of competence, I am aghast at how seriously and dangerously they both are departing from reality this morning.  The effort to create war between US and Russia (to the benefit of the Moslem Brotherhood and all those who get funded and/or guided by them around the world) is an extremely serious matter, and if we fail to think twice we are all in deep trouble – all us humans.

First key point: McCain says that Russia has performed an act of war, and that the US CANNOT just sit back and let anyone get away with that.

I understand where he is coming with that. I took a graduate course on formal deterrence and game theory under Schelling, and one of Hermann Kahn’s seminars, so I fully understand where is coming from. But we live in a new world now,
and, above all, the borders in cyberspace have simply not been well-defined by anyone. We do need such borders, as a matter of urgency; that is why the technical measures proposed in are objectively a whole lot more urgent and important than all the hacking and terrorism incidents of the past year. But when there are no borders yet... as Clapper very rightly noted in the hearing, we who live in a glass house should not throw stones.

The idea that we should treat this NOW as a classic act of war... reminds me of how visibly hard it was for Mike Rogers of Cybercon to contain his laughter when... one senator... asked for jobs for some of her people, in effect, to show up in foremen’s suits around the Pentagon, to create a cordon to keep out malware. It was so funny! (OK, she was not quite so crazy as that... but for the objective realities of cyberwarfare today... it note just how well he contained his laughter and played her along.)

It is simply not act of war when we don’t have borders. Yes, we need to establish borders... and no it is not enough to build a “Maginot Line”... but we can and urgently need to strengthen that kind of border before we get too far into things which work only after such borders are established.

The CNN commentator attacking Trump was also very deeply troubling to me. I do not care about insults to Trump the way he might himself... but I can see how some OTHER people, reacting  just as emotionally to what they perceive as insults to them, can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, calm and suave as they may imagine themselves to be, calmly and suaving asking for a return to Cold War and even asking for immediate hostile actions against Russia instantly and urgently...
well, that’s actually more dangerous than anything Trump has called for (yet). (Sadly, Kim of the North might yet get hTrump’s goat on a major scale.... though I wish he could just invite Kim to a Hefner bash instead, or, failing that, to see who else might be ready to just annex North Korea with full US support. Still, even nuclear war with North Korea would be less dangerous that war with Russia to the benefit of Moslem Brotherhood!)

I wondered what kind of mental hospital we are in when people are lying dead in Fort Lauderdale and another giant sexual assault riot has broken out in the German world, and the CNN commentator tells us to ignore all these irrelevant distraction and get to the really urgently need to attack Russia. Just what does he think we would gain by doing more than what Obama has already done, by ratcheting things up ever so many levels?


OK, that’s the urgent part. Just the tip of one of about ten icebergs I could see on the watch this early morning....

Should I add any more?

Well, in my last post I admitted that I personally (having no access at all to any material classified anywhere on earth)
could not say for sure that Putin authorized the DNC hacks. My emotional tendency is to expect that he did, but that is just a kind of normal human tendency, in part because the story is so plausible. How could I have any doubt?

Well, I have had a lifetime of learning to doubt. Maybe it started with Howard Raiffa’s class, where he reported survey results showing that what the elites call “impossible” occurs about one-third of the time. (That’s an important story, but I will hold back on details for now.) Life tells me that those heads of agencies (like Clapper) who looked seriously and professionally at the evidence would tend to have a bias here – a bias of not wanting to think hard about those folks WITHIN the US who might well have motive, opportunity and ability to more or less frame Putin. I am NOT asserting that
that is a valid explanation, but, without having data myself to disconfirm it, I do not have such a firm basis for ruling it out.
Certainly I do know that there are folks who want war with Russia and Iran as soon as possible (before the event they fear of Trump/Putin alliance), just as much as they wanted war with Iraq under Cheney. And many of the same networks and people still exist, even though the vast majority of people in any of the US intelligence agencies would much prefer to avoid such unconstitutional “informal” networks.

But still, no one should imagine that a full understanding between Putin and Trump would be a child’s moonlight romance
for either one of them. In a way, it reminds me of the article I read in Psychology Today decades ago about divorces between firstborns, and of how Luda and I need to exercise our full intelligence to do justice to our different complex thoughts and strategic assessments. From Putin, Trump must accept some harsh realities about the thousands of years history of the Middle East. (Hey guys, I read Eisenstadt, not just Spengler and Toynbee and the Russian stuff. It’s not a game of musical chairs. And I did just review Kay’s new book, on one third of the story.) From Trump.. Putin must accept a more mutual face-saving and forward-looking approach to Ukraine proper (not including Crimea). And there are those IT issues I mentioned above.  That really ought to be a god starting foundation.


Meanwhile, what of that guy who said he heard voices in his head asking him to watch ISIS propaganda?
If we take that seriously AT ALL, will they lock us up? Just yesterday, I read a review of Eisenbud’s publications on what I have called assumption dreams. The review admitted that Freud himself strongly argued that so-called “paranormal”
phenomena are real, a reality inescapable to folks who really open up and deeply track clinical or deep human psychological experience.  “But that can’t be” say the clerks who now classify socially incongruous laughter or tears as a syndrome to be removed by drugs.   I am now reading, the Dark Forest, the sequel to “Three Body Problem” (Chinese sci fi recommended, by Zuckenberg, Obama and Luda.) I do’t agree with everything it says... but I do agree that if we work hard to become a nation of clerks controlled by IT puppetmasters, we will be doomed...... and yet that some of us must still have some cautions in what we say, especially when some Congresspeople call for a new “fake news bureau” (aka censorship) to keep out all views they disagree with.)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day of Destiny Tomorrow: Trump vs Outgoing Intelligence Head

CNN says that tomorrow, Friday January 6, will be a major day of destiny, as Trump confronts or is confronted by the outgoing heads of intelligence agencies. As I peer ahead myself, I believe this crossroads is even more serious than CNN imagines, but also trickier at many levels than they seem to be aware (though I am puzzled how they can be so oblivious to things in front of their face).

In general – the meeting to come reminds me a lot of a Russian documentary my wife showed me, on the final meetings between Khruschev and others and the coup which ousted him. (Of course I needed the English subtitles and comments she provided.) There is a certain unique interaction or spirit in those meetings far beyond anything Trump or I have ever encountered in this lifetime, and one cannot count on past success or skills to survive them.

Just now, I have also watched the full Congressional Hearing. The true picture which emerges is even more complex than what I saw this morning... but to be orderly, I will try to start with the initial simplified (and censored) version, then say more about the hearing, the dig a bit deeper.

To begin with, Trump needs to be ready for the reality that some of the people he will speak to tomorrow will be much smarter than he is – much more than what he is used to. Some want to help him, some want to fool him, and some are in an emotional state of distraction such that they will only be halfway there. Some will be making a calculation: can we turn this guy into just another puppet for plans very different from what Trump himself wants, or can we exploit what starts here by being friendly today but developing ammunition we need to basically kill him  in whatever way is most efficient in the coming year? And every one has a professional poker face far beyond anything Trump has ever experienced before.
Some are loyal puppets of other outside forces, while some others pretend to be so and have games of their own which will lead to yet another round of major conflict if they succeed in sidelining Trump. (Some of these try to persuade us that this would even be for the best, given how urgent our situation is, but history suggests it would not be realistic to expect much hope that way.)

It is very depressing that CNN has bought totally into the line that “this is all about Trump going to war with those wonderful people who lay their lives on the line in the intelligence world.” It is important to know that this Mike Rogers (and Hayden and Cheney before him, and behind him) have jerked around those people a lot more than Trump ever imagined doing (except for violating their esthetic sensibilities).  At the hearing today, Clapper said: “I have not really done a survey of their feelings..” which made many of us want to laugh, but it amazes me that CNN people would not be automatically by reflex aware of the role of Cheney and his outside people not only in intercepting communications but in oppressing the natural integrity and dedication of the mass of US intelligence people from before his time (excepting of course his inner circle of moles, similar to what Palpatine had in the early Star Wars films).  Why would CNN take that viewpoint? Well, I remember years ago when my father own and ran a sophisticated marketing agency (and even taught a few courses on that subject as civic duty at Wharton, using a big middle “J” as a flourish in his signature.) When he talked about how easy it was to get a press release printed as news, if it was well written enough. There are folks already working on pitching a new narrative to get us used to the idea of supporting our “intelligence people” (actually Mike Rogers
and the folks he reports to, not the civil service or regular brass) over that pesky Donald Trump and unreliable electoral process, and to do whatever it takes to let them dominate. (And again I urge folks not to ignore the last chapter of that book “A G Man’s Journal” from a primary source for part of the picture.) Can Trump and his people applaud greater dedication to truth and due process and rights, and act as a liberator rather than oppressor, and rewrite the narrative? Rewriting the narrative is crucial here – as well as getting serious about conflicts of interest.

Enough for now on the first level.

The hearing itself showed a lot of complex dimensions. In truth, Rogers did project an image as the smartest of the people on TV (counting the senators as well), and Clapp as next, both far ahead of the rest. But Cruz too is smart; he, like several others, imagines that he will become the new Emperor of America, the new Julius Caesar, when the corrupt old order is swept away. But high IQ is not always high EQ, let alone high... “SQ”... “spiritual quotient.” Agile left brains do not always imply competence in the right brain, which makes more ultimate value judgments in a sane human. Serious psychiatrists certainly know about paranoid schizophrenics, who can be incredibly agile in ingroup tactics but in pursuit of devastating targets in a larger world they do not understand, posing a serious threat both to themselves and others. Do watch out for Rogers and for Cruz.

Clapper, like Hillary Clinton, is also afflicted by an emotional weakener right now – the more normal human neurotic response of intense emotional distraction by a big disappointment (elections) and, even more, a perceived insult.
My wife, being Russian and in some ways more normal human than I am, has trained me to be a bit more aware to the way in which perceived imaginary insults (let alone real ones!) dominate so much of human thinking, even for the most intelligent of people! And Rogers and his backers are ever so gleeful about how that kind of emotional block is letting them play people like Clinton, Clapp and even McCain, towards their own ends.

Still, Clapper was very candid about his well-informed bad feelings about where cybercommand is going.

Rogers: “Let’s make everything go to faster execution, less obstructions from legalistic barriers (like privacy, constitution, due process, rationality and the spirit of the Constitution). Let’s be more like our most agile adversaries (ISIS plus Moslem Brotherhood?).  Let’ s be more unified and avoid duplication. (Or competition, even honorable competition? The mantra used in creating United Launch Alliance, a great source of incredible stagnation in US aerospace strength since... at least since they kicked out Admiral Steidle. And really, part of the recent decay of NSF.)”

No, Rogers is certainly not stupid. He showed awareness of lots of important things. I am impressed how hard he contained himself when he wanted to laugh about “let’s use our local national guard to stand at the ramparts and defend us form viruses.”  And he demonstrated his ability and will to  play along, to throw away a bit of money on harmless people doing nothing (of whom we already have a whole lot, as in SLS)... in order to advance towards his target.

But I have to admit that I was disappointed by McCain’s demonstration of emotions overcoming intelligence, even more than I would have expected. All humans have their limits, and despite his high integrity and competence when on-target, McCain really let himself be bamboozled even more than the Democrats were.

“This is all about the real bottom line, which is... where is our plan? How do we respond to our number one adversary which is  Russia now as it was Russia in the 1950’s.” So whatever happened to the Moslem Brotherhood or Al Qaida?
To other manipulations of US elections and press far greater, far more effective and far more sinister and hidden than RT?

Actually, I did an amazon review yesterday of a wonderfully entertaining new novel, “Children of Earth and Sky”, by Kay,
about the period (circa 1500) when Western civilization was closest to being totally eliminated by the Second Caliphate, the most powerful and enlightened caliphate in all of past history. It is worth thinking hard about parallels to where we are today... where Russia is a lot like a player called “Senjan” in the novel. (Ironically, that actual place might be where Melania Trump’s people actually came from... in recent decades... though the top female character is a lot more like my wife, whose people back home are in a difficult situation and know it.)

It is true that Putin’s way of trying to be nice to Trump was a bit awkward, reminding me less of my wife and more of one of my daughters, who, in second grade, was hauled before the principal for trying to make friends with another girl by bopping her on the head. (“No, whichever daughter you were thinking of, it was the OTHER daughter..”  Really, we are all human, and all children of earth and sky, with a lot of growing up we ALL need to do.)

But this hearing was a lot scarier than anything Putin has done in his whole period in power. What kind of people think that “mutual assured destruction” and “affirmative new action” (either cyberattacks or more sanctions) will get us out of the horrible decaying box we are in?

I would have said “idiots” instead of people, except that really... it is people who understand nothing about computers or the realities of IT. (The details are a matter of life or death – details you will only read about in

I found myself nostalgic during this hearing, not for the Cold War, but for the time when I was a Brookings Fellow for Specter and assigned to cybersecurity (albeit as number 5 of my 5 areas), and would get to report back in detail on this kind of hearing. (Inhofe came closest to digging a level deeper this time, and I was reminded of how I once was close to his key staffers, and even to EEI.)

We do not need to fall into the dynamics of mutual assured destruction, which, as Clapper rightly noted, would be far more destructive and riskier here than it was for nuclear missiles. Reagan pushed the heresy of missile defense, which many still debate very hotly (in Russia as here), but for critical power infrastructure more attention to defense is the immediate crisis need (as in that paper!!). It is very upsetting that Rogers has disbanded the group at NSA which did its best for the defensive side, and needed to be more empowered, not subordinated to offense and assured mutual destruction!

Another problem with assured mutual destruction there is that the US is now more vulnerable than North Korea!!
I understand why Clapper visibly hesitated to speak when he projected that clear thought.. but for God’s sake (literally) let’s FIX the problem,  not fall into neurotic denial (though again, I would view Roger’s position as different.).

The folks pushing mutual destruction remind me a lot of the scene in Atlas Shrugged where she asks “who would cause such havoc, knowing, at the top, what it would do to people?” Her answer: “They would rather rule an eggshell or ashes than not be in charge. They give absolute priority to a personal will to power.” And perhaps they imagine that 5% of the population would survive, giving them someone to rule. But it doesn’t actually work that way.


All for now.  News tomorrow evening may also be interesting... but for me, it is back to another novel.

And oh... those recruitment issues... the smart people who really understand IT (hey, I know a LOT of them)...
they would prefer to build a sustainable new infrastructure (again, see
than become pawns and puppets in someone’s top-down attempt to create a top-down tyranny undoing centuries of work to promote real human freedom and growth. Even NSF has had some very serious recruitment problems lately due to the intervention of other folks doing what Clapp euphemistically called “micromanagement” form outside...  
In actuality, despite the fine words, a search for predictable puppets has been the operational priority of many in the new .. Palpatine-style network.

On the bright side, I have wondered recently whether ISIS actions in Turkey might be giving Ergdogan second thoughts about   what he has done to make Turkey more like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and even Egypt, where Moslem Brotherhood has developed an especially strong base. Or does he rely on funding sources who are ready to do unto him what some donors plan to do unto Trump?

Best of luck..

Added Friday morning:

A question has come to me (not from my wife!!): How certain am I that it would have been ordered by Putin?
With 17 intelligence agencies, and Clapper's own visible level of integrity, how could there be doubts? Well, I do have to admit that 17 agencies could all be fooled in principle if someone else had the means and the will to falsify it -- and even some Russian hacking agents of their own. Yes, I have to admit that there are groups in the US with the means and the motivation to do something like that -- first to stop Clinton being elected, and then to cash in marbles after
Trump gets elected. The official story still seems more plausible -- Trump acted friendly to Putin and Putin fulfilled his request to a modest extent -- but I should not pretend to know what I do not know. Would Russia itself have the ability to unravel the actual chain in that case? But then could it be that Russia has less capability than they would want to advertize? Whatever.

Roger's words "faster" echo in my mind. Many say computers are faster than humans, and there is a subtext of whether humans do or do not get replaced altogether by computers on this planet.  But... back to following orders to relax and read and try to get closer to the spiritual side of life...