Monday, September 18, 2017

reminder that the hard left threatens renewable energy more than Trump does

Quakers say "There is that of God in everyone." Some are more sincere than others in saying that. Deeply spiritually authentic as most Quakers are in this area, both the Christocentric ones and the cosmopolitan Quaker Universalists (like me), there is diversity, and even a few folks who are basically just secular hard cases in it for ego boosting, as bad in their way as the soulless fundamentalist true believers of religions all over the world. What was that passage where St. Paul says that those who have the law but not the spirit have nothing?

For many of us, seeing that there is that of God in Donald Trump has some challenging aspects... but I was very glad to see this morning that Secretary-General Gutierrez , like Schumer, fully appreciates how we are called to try to build connections with authenic if a tad alien folks ranging from Trump to .. others.

That's just background to a consideration of the real-world practical needs of renewable energy, which are quite different from the bullshit metaphysical posturing one often sees both on the left and on the right (aimed at ego boosting, displaying group loyalty and getting votes rather than really helping national security or the environment).

Just as Trump and Schumer mace huge progress on DACA (and ought to be able to come to a deal which works if people really care)... several political allies of mine who claim to be committed bipartisan policy analysts recently encouraged me to write up a simple new proposal which Trump could easily get implemented which would benefit renewable energy FAR MORE than anyn other federal action discussed seriously for the past few decades. What I hoped they would at least send on to Trump's people, with or without endorsement:


Could true conservative principles work better than a carbon tax?

The current Administration has strongly opposed all actions, whether subsidies or national regulations or even a carbon tax, to  reduce greenhouse gas emissions or dependency on fossil fuels. But could there be a silver lining in this cloud? Could it it be that conservative principles which the administration has promised to push harder this year would actually do better than a carbon tax in expanding market-based profit-based renewable energy?  Could it be that the outcome would be better if we pushed them to actually implement their principles instead of just paying lip service or being distracted by other things?

Many economists would say “That could only be possible if there has been a huge market failure here.” That is exactly what the problem has been.  The most important barrier to economically sound growth of renewable energy has been endless regulation blocking the development of interstate transmission lines. The reason for that is simple.  Renewable energy in the best sites is now costing as little as 3 cents per kwh, in actual Purchase Power Agreements accompanied by actual construction, in regions of sun so reliable that it isn’t intermittent energy any more. But wind and solar in areas of mediocre weather and less sun costs far more, to the point where many demand subsidies worth 40 cents per kwh to justify it, and utilities have to pay a lot of additional money to compensate for the intermittency.

Why is it that FERC was long ago given the authority to cut through unnecessary complexity, and approve interstate gas pipelines, but never given that same authority for long-distance electricity transmission? Why does the political system give special preference to projects like pipelines to enable the Canadians to sell their gas to the Chinese, while not respecting the huge unmet potential for Texans to sell electricity from wind or sun to the East Coast US (especially between noon and 8PM Eastern Time, where the numbers look good even without subsidies)? (It’s not because the gas pipelines encounter less local opposition!) This is not a level playing field. This is a rigged system, picking Americans as losers and Chinese as winners. Maybe this might be a good time to put a stop to this kind of imbalance.   

Some further sources:


Oops! Turns out that certain folks who sell themselves very hard as bipartisan really did not want to be associated with such a degree of pandering (true as the details were objectively). So, OK, a moderated version:


Title: Regulations Are Hindering Renewable Energy Too
By: Paul Werbos, Program Director for Energy, Power and Adaptive Systems; National Science Foundation, retired

The current administration has strongly opposed federal government intervention, whether it be subsidies, regulations, or even a carbon tax. Could it be however that a deregulated market, which the administration has promised to push, would actually expand market-based, profit-based, renewable energy more than other forms of federal action? In response, economists might argue this outcome could only be possible if a market-failure exists. But, perhaps that market failure is actually the maze of regulations impacting the development of interstate transmission lines which are essential for the future growth of renewable energy.

Transmission lines are so essential in fact that a 2016 study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory identified a lack of transmission capacity as an obstacle slowing the growth of renewable energy.  And while regulations are the problem, perhaps the solution lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). See for a concrete example of how large the economic impacts could be if more long-distance transmission were allowed.

FERC has the authority to approve siting and construction of interstate gas pipelines but was never initially extended similar authority for siting high voltage transmission lines. Although transmission siting is traditionally reserved for the states, in 2015, Congress recognized an immediate need to expand transmission infrastructure and passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Specifically, §1221 permitted the Department of Energy to create National Interest Energy Transmission Corridors. It also granted FERC the backstop authority to site high voltage transmission lines in specific circumstances. Decisions in the 4th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals however severely limited FERC’s authority under §1221 and no utility has successfully obtained a transmission siting permit from FERC. The role of the federal government in strengthening interstate commerce is one of the strongest, clearest principles enshrined in the founding of the United States.

But with greater amounts of clean energy available, the need for infrastructure to transmit this generation becomes that much greater. A regulatory scheme that approves gas pipelines so foreign firms can sell gas abroad, yet, fails to recognize the huge unmet potential for the Midwest to sell wind or solar generation to the parts of the US seeking clean energy is clearly outdated. Maybe now is a good time to put a stop to this kind of imbalance.  


Still no. the PRINCIPLE of not working with the Administration and showing the kind of "moral lapse" that Schumer and Gutierrez showed was too much. So we are missing a really huge opportunity.

Now, it IS true that some kinds of cooperation can be a slippery slope. When I was at NSF, I cooperated a whole lot with industry, inviting about 20% if my panelists from industry -- but only from the really cutting edge parts of the relevant companies, in panels managed very clearly to ask about proposals NOT overlapping with existing industry efforts, and to ask about goals which are too risky for industry to invest in where success would nevertheless open the door to industry follow-on. And that was ONE of the inputs to the decision. as I did that, I remember the horrid old days of how the stakeholder system was implemented at DOE almost from the start, after Reagan's dentist left the scene. I remember how collaboration with industry can degenerate into the worst kind of corporate welfare and rigged system, and was horrified in 2014 when folks like Lamar Smith harmonized NSF so much with that kind of destructive vision. (No the swamp is not all Democrats, though replacing Reid with Schumer was a helpful step.)

Because this proposal would help SPS as well as solar farms and wind farms (on a competitive market basis), I do hope that someone like Rohrabacher could take the lead, and maybe even someday help restore the vision of Vannevar Bush, a vision of honorable open competition which needs to be expanded worldwide to more sectors... 

explaining astral travel and dreams to Vedanta discussion group

[Bruno]: Are "we" (our bodies) not a dream in the dialogue  between the reality and itself?

[Vinod]:Neither we nor our bodies are dreams but the most  intense dream is that we consider  or experience  ourselves as bodies. We are consciousness, a manifestation  of the primordial  cosmic consciousness (CC) and our bodies are part of the physicality in form of matter. Neither of these is illusion or dream but a very very long and intense/deep dream takes birth when consciousness  starts identifying itself with the matter (physicality) despite the two being distinct  and of the entirely different nature.

I have done a lot of thinking about the role of stories and of dreams since Nepal. It is one thing to have an adequate, clear mathematical theory, and quite another to figure out how kit connects to personal experiences from day to day in the complex world we are living in, even just on earth. Metaphors, prototypes and archetypes are all crucial tools our minds naturally use -- so crucial that even effective machine intelligence uses them at a certain level of intelligence, and we understand the mathematical principles involved. (No, I will not post more equations here, though I have posted a few at times when discussion of quantum mechanics was meaningless without them.)

To begin with, it seems very clear to me that "astral travel" and "out of body experience" is all a matter of dreams. That is true for a wide variety of concepts of what a dream IS, and a wide variety of credible theories ( not just Einstein realism + noospheres, but including that as part of the set).

I certainly remember being excited and impressed by some of the work of Annie Besant and others, claiming that we have one to six OTHER physical bodies, perhaps made of dark matter, which travel around in other-physical form. Probably in the 1970's I gave them serious consideration as part of the "zoo" of possible theories in my mind, but even from the start -- ONE form of unknown dark matter is one thing, six whole interpenetrating levels of unrelated types of substance seemed a bit much, and I never saw serious justification for assuming six in the kinds of experience people reported. 

One of the major classics on out of body travel available in the 1970s was the book Astral Projection by Fox, which I notice is available now for $2
in kindle format: Perhaps this was the most authentic feeling first person accounts I read in that period, but I certainly compared with other accounts by Ingo Swann, by Munro, by Twitchell and by Joan Roberts, and probably others which don't come to mind right now, and with the protocols recorded by LaBerge. 

(Comment: I probably would not have taken any of this seriously if I had not had some pretty serious experiences myself with veridical content in the 1970s -- 1973 to 1978.)

Fox's account was the most persuasive, in my view, about the feeling of an actual astral body. Yet he portrayed a crucial astral visit he made to a place he could check
(checking, reality testing, is EVER so important!!)... and described how the place he "visited' was actually an older version of the place.
It seemed more and more clear to me over time that this was a case of his MIND (the soul part, as a cell in the noosphere) "visiting" that part of the noosphere mind directly linked to that physical place (but not identical to it), in the same way as a patch of our cerebral cortex can "visit" different parts of the primary visual field. (For a simplified model of how that "gating" works in the brain, see the model by Olshausen in Arbib's first handbook on neuroscience. Gating is of huge importance to true machine intelligence, and to how the higher levels of intelligence work, not counting the cosmos itself which has no need of it.)

As I type this, though, I have the caveat that I understand time better now that I did then. Could it not have been a case of moving an astral body in time as well as space? I do not remember thinking much about that, in part because the more interesting varieties of astral projection or OOBE would involve "higher planes" like Pynchon's novel Gravity, where he depicts meetings of British military leaders in the astral plane in World War II (not to avoid tapped telephones, but that might be one benefit). Every first person description I read of that kind of thing emphasized the mutability of the "astral plane", the kind of mutability one sees in a dream. In fact, when the brain experiences (remembers) such projection, it is doubly dream-like, insofar as the brain uses its own dream mechanisms to fill in details of the experience,  but the experience itself is located in a kind of shared dream, analogous to an internet chat room. Checking mostly involved checking with the other people involved, or checking the validity of information which other people would possess. The "many planes" basically mirror the variety (levels and continuous variation) of levels of thought one would expect to find in a brain. One important variety is gating from one person to another, as in the classic works of Eisenbud in psychiatry research. This is basically the Einstein realism viewpoint, seeing astral projection as information-level gating within the noosphere of our solar system; certainly Ramanuja and Buddha would take the dream theme even further.

Of course, dreams and memories and our plans for the future commonly take the form of "stories" or "Narratives".  From the Nepal visit a few weeks ago, I certainly remember the visit to the sleeping Vishnu shrine, and the idea of trying to create and manifest good dreams or narratives, as consciously as possible. I also remember the guy (from a\monist school in India, or..?) who constantly broke in and complained about "stories, stories, we don;t need these dreams, these stories..", during the conference itself but also in the morning after. I suggested he read the short novel Muse of Fire by Simmons on the theme of stories creating our entire world of experience. And I went home, and recently reread Voyage to Arcturus, a novel I read in the 1970's giving a variety of that theme, compatible with Buddhism but more cabbalistic or Norse in its roots. A more benign story in that space is the video series "Touch" which I am watching now, but I will refrain from saying more for now. 

Even at a mundane level, our ability to study possible scenarios for the future is crucial, in my view, to avoiding really terrible possibilities, which could involve the extinction of the human species. There is a profession of futurism out there, which I have been deeply involved in (connected to lead players but turning down offers to become a more official leader myself), which simply is not living up to the complexity of the challenges we face. But at a spiritual level, if we are connected or engaged at all (and not just playing solipsistic word games), we are also part of a kind of collective intelligence process which offers another way to coordinate visualization of possible futures, and the search for better vivid realizable dreams. Both are very important actions, at the end of the day, which all of us are called to support in whatever way we best 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Next really big thing, beyond the AI and AR already out there


How to Get IP At Minimum Risk On Next Big Wave in Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuIST)

1.       Today’s quantum computing is as exciting, but as narrow and as limited, as the old AI of the 1960s. Since about 2008, a massive new wave of deep learning and neural networks (sometimes called “the new AI”) has surged far beyond those old limits. A similar new wave is now clear, but an early stage, in quantum computing and  in QuIST as a whole. Because this new wave is at an early stage, someone with resources and foresight could not only lead but get a huge share of the IP, by taking a very small risk.

2.        Should you believe me? In the 1960’s, when the AI world agreed with Minsky that neural networks could never be made to work, I re-examined the mathematical foundations, changed the paradigm, and led the NSF research which led to the empirical demonstrations which finally broke through and past the conservative culture of AI in academia. In December 2016, I gave the keynote plenary talk at the world’s top symposium on the next wave in deep learning, where Google’s folks also spoke; for  a summary of that story (and a link to Sergey Brin’s video talk), see  To achieve a similar breakthrough in QuIST, it is again essential to go back to mathematical basics, and use a new paradigm – which I have in fact developed.

3.       What ARE the basics of QuIST today? The DXC blog citing Seth Lloyd reviews some of the practical ideas very well, but to see where it came from, look at: Today’s paradigm for quantum computing, based on digital logic and qubits, came from the work of David Deutsch of Oxford on quantum universal Turing machines. Crudely, Deutsch said: “Parallel computing is much more powerful than sequential, but what if we can harness the power of parallel UNIVERSES all working together?  By extending the many-world interpretation (“MWI”) of quantum mechanics, I can make this tangible and real. Here is how..”

4.       Deutsch’s MWI makes two key assumptions: (1) the wave function ψ(t) describing the state of all the universes at time t evolves according to “the canonical Schrodinger equation”; and (2) when the quantum system hits a nonquantum, classical object, it behaves according to Heisenberg’s old “collapse of the wave function.”

5.       In 2008, I published a paper in the top peer-reviewed journal, International Journal of Theoretical Physics (see reassessing his MWI. Heisenberg’s collapse model simply does not follow logically from the Schrodinger dynamics and the boundary conditions – but a new class of “measurement models” does. The old model and the new ones do equally well in predicting well-known tests in quantum optics, but predict radically different results in either of two new experiments which could be done at RELATIVELY low cost.

6.       Two months ago, as I developed the design for the second experiment, which is easier and more amazing, I posted it at an obscure web site,, just to establish priority. If the Schrodinger dynamics are correct, the new measurement models should work where the old ones do not, and demonstrate two main things: (1) that information can be sent backwards in time and faster than light; and (2) that the famous “Bell’s Theorem” experiments do not rule out finding a more fundamental local realistic model of physics, in the spirit of Einstein.

7.       If the experiment gives you confidence, before its wide publication, it becomes possible to start taking out IP on a wide range of applications I will not discuss so widely until the proof is there that they would work. These include: applications in communication and imaging through time (see, published in a NATO book for a workshop on predetection of terrorism); applications in a whole new level of deep learning and AI (see Werbos, Paul J., and Ludmilla Dolmatova"Analog quantum computing (AQC) and the need for time-symmetric physics."Quantum Information Processing (2015): 1-15,; and applications in time reversal of the flow of free energy and energy dissipation. These would also build on Lloyd’s continuous QC and the quantum Boltzmann approach of Dwave and Google, but go further.

    This was on just one page in Word. Originally I intended it for use only in very restricted discussions, but the discussions have expanded enough that I feel it is appropriate now to post in an obscure blog. (There have been other discussions going a bit further.) The new rules of the game (aka a "rigged system") give me very powerful incentives NOT to post or even type details of the apps; I may seem reticent,  but I know folks sitting on other technologies even more dramatic and market-ready who have chosen to be FAR more reticent because of the growing problem of trust.  But in fact, the people who would be needed for the deployment of the new technology mostly will not look at it seriously UNTIL  one or both of the new experiments validate it; sadly, everything I have seen about those who already believe in retrocausal physics lately make me deeply embarrassed and worried.  The LOGIC is overwhelming, but the diversities of what humans believe seem unrelated to logic both pro and con. Just as EMPIRICAL DEMONSTRATIONS were what finally freed deep learning from a morass of prejudice and illusion, so too COULD they do so here. (Not that there is true freedom from illusion in either case; the liberation is towards more optimistic illusions, illusions which are empowering but also require caution to prevent abuse and risk.) 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

my response to someone's idea about North Korean crisis

There were lots of folks arguing for tactical nuclear weapons years ago. Just think of what money certain contractors could get from that!

But folks like Hermann Kahn and Tom Schelling looked a bit more deeply into how these things actually work, back in the days when Congress and White House were less subservient to sales pitches from stakeholders, and more diligent about careful reality testing. 

Still, it is scary just how effectively China and Russia are backing the US and Japan into a hole, the kind of hole where we almost have no choice but to try Cuban missile crisis backwards, putting hardened offensive ICBMs into full control of South Korea, because (1) South Koreans are asking for it very hard; (2) it may be our only way to avoid options whose long-term outcome is far worse. Terrible, but if China and Russia bet on our myopia and stupidity, we have excellent reason to make it clear to them quickly that better options need to be implemented quickly.


Another factor is that neither of the missiles sent over Japan were intercepted. Why did Lockheed (and their supporters like Ron Paul) not push for a demo of shooting down at that point? Don't imagine that North Korea or China or Russia would ignore the "paper tiger" interpretation, that intercept would not work. It is ironic that Senator Paul recently cast a diatribe against Trump and Brindenstine, well-crafted to match exactly what he and his friends
(like Shelby and Lamar Smith, the Texas mafia and satellites) have ACTUALLY being doing for decades with ULA, systematically weakening the US launch capability, interception ability, and advanced tech in general... all just to preserve cash cows. Yes, Senator Paul can describe such things well, as an insider of the bigger ring we ever had. The swamp. Now comes time to pay the piper, and I doubt Trump will just accept what-me-worry anesthesia. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Is the present affected by the future?

A well-known Nobel prize winner recently asked two of us:

Do you really believe in retrocausation, i.e. that what is happening now is influenced by what is actually going to happen, vs. simply projections of what will happen, or anticipation?  Just curious.
My reply:

It is always a great pleasure to hear from you.

I do believe that information can be communicated backwards in time. In fact, I have proposed a specific experiment to demonstrate precisely that:
I explain the logic a bit further in recent posts at:
and in a more direct 1-pager which I have not posted because of discussions with a Fortune500 company interested in the IP potential.

I was studying these issues, and publishing key ideas in journals, long before ...


Next day:

As I think over the exact wording of your question, I worry whether I did justice to it.

You asked whether what is happening now is influenced by what it going to happen. But I only said I believe it is possible to communicate information from future to past, and that I believe in authentic paranormal experiences in which people can experience information from the future. That still begs a few questions.

In addressing those questions -- I am not one of those people who pretends to have definite knowledge of everything. Bayesian epistemology says we should keep up a "zoo" of competing models in mind, keep revising our beliefs about their probability of being true-- and I do roughly follow that approach.

With a very high probability (98%?), I believe that the various versions of QED in use today should be replaced by MQED,
"the correct model" for electrical and magnetic forces interacting with charged particles when one can live with the approximation which treats them as point particles.  MQED is a Many Worlds type of model. Even though a deeper model exists, the predictive power of MQED tells us that a lot of very weird stuff really does happen.

In the Many World's view, what happens "now" includes what happens not only here but what happens in the "universes" parallel to us in the cosmos. A major part of the impact of the future on the past is not so much about changing the past, but changing the probability of the multiple pasts which already exist.

Last year, great pressure was put on me to speak out and give my real views on the subject of predetermined of terrorist activities,  for a NATO workshop. I gave in, and also wrote a paper published in the NATO book on that topic, and also posted at One question we discussed: if you were standing at ground zero, and had a backwards time cell phone letting you warn authorities to let them stop it half an hour before it happened, would you send the message even if it would result in "dissolving you away," dissolving your experience and world into nothing (near zero probability)? Some folks would, some wouldn't, but I tend to side with those who would,  though I also like quantum computing as an example of how the cosmos could actually benefit from and exploit some diversity in the universes retaining nonzero probability.

With somewhat lower, but high enough, subjective probability, I believe that MQED can and should be derived as the emergent statistical consequence of something more familiar and deterministic, the same general idea which 'tHooft has recently argued for in his book at But I now fully understand that this does not simplify our lives. "Simple classical PDE derived from a Lagrangian " can generate emergent phenomena far more complex and strange than what we see in one dimensions (ODE, chaos theory). All the weirdness predicted by MQED is still there, even in ordinary Minkowski space. After all, PDE generated by maximizing a Lagrangian  (one example of PDE) are a limiting case of the ADP math we use for optimization in neural networks, and we know very well how complex the behavior can be emerging from such math, expecially when we "tighten the screws" and approach more perfect foresight and optimization.

All for now. I hope this helps.

Best regards,  Paul

Thursday, September 7, 2017

quick clarification of HOW quantum mechanics needs to be corrected

I am grateful to the folks asking simple questions, helping me explain just how simple and obvious the changes are which are needed to today's versions of quantum mechanics.

What we need, before anything else, is to fix Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), the type of quantum mechanics which is actually used to explain and design the huge mass of real-world experiments and designs used in quantum electronics, photonics and so on. Because I built up a new version of QED incrementally, scattered across many papers in two serious journals, and even this blog, I decided to collect it in a new paper, defining exactly what I mean by MQED, my proposed new version of QED. I posted it at vixra, just to get it out quickly.

In a discussion list, I was asked today:

Is MQED modification of MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) or Born rule?


Lately I wonder whether I need to try to figure out how to rewrite, which I THOUGHT was explicit enough. 
But I do understand the limits of my ability to be clear, especially after my wife had to rewrite my paper in QIP.

Your question has a clear answer. MQED is a modification to the Born rule, not to MWI.


MQED is a modification to what I call KQED, the canonical version of QED. 

"MWI" is a term I have never used, but I assume it's OK to interpret it as what I remember from the PhD 
thesis of Hugh Everett (reprinted in the classic collection of DeWitt), namely as:

  (1) Use of the canonical "Schrodinger equation" to describe the evolution of the wave function over time;
  (2) Interpretation of that wave function at each time as a specification of the state of objective reality at that time
  (3) Use of the Copenhagen  measurement formalism (including Born rule, collapse of the waved function, whatever) to derive the 
       probabilities of actual measurements we might make at the end.

Everett tried hard for his PhD thesis work to show that the Copenhagen measurement predictions could be DEDUCED from the "Schrodinger equation", such that the entire system of prediction could be justified as the emergent consequence of the "Schrodinger equation" as a dynamical model of reality. But it really was just hand waving. 
I believe I was the first to really demonstrate that Copenhagen measurement does NOT follow from those dynamics,
in my 2008 paper in International Journal of Theoretical Physics More precisely, I showed that A DIFFERENT TYPE OF MEASUREMENT FORMALISM follows from those dynamics. MQED is essentially just what Everett HOPED the MWI would be: the combination of Schrodinger equation dynamics, PLUS a measurement formalism which can be deduced from those dynamics. 

But -- the modern versions of QED all contain a SPECIFIC model of how collapse of the wave function occurs in polarizers (no metaphysical observers needed).

In fact, people actually using QED have a whole library or zoo of models for all kinds of measurement devices. To TEST MQED against the old version, I did need to develop specific new models of collapse of the wave function in polarizers, COMPLIANT WITH the new measurement rules in the IJTP paper. Only in later years did I develop those specific new models, and show that they do result in the same correct predictions of the "Bell Theorem" experiments. The new vixra paper reviews the papers containing those models (including our paper in Quantum Information Processing), proposes a second new experiment, and describes a compliant new model of black body radiation sources ( a new creature for my own zoo). 


Please forgive a few "footnote" comments, not changing, but explaining just a LITTLE more.

I keep putting "Schrodinger equation" is quotes here because it isn't the actual equation which Schrodinger developed! People generally use the term "Schrodinger equation" these days to refer to 
(d psi/dt)=ihH psi , where H is some Hamiltonian operator. In KQED and MQED, H is the normal product form of the Maxwell-Dirac Hamiltonian. Some folks assume the raw product form, and assume it couldn't make any difference; "what me worry." Close enough for those who do not have to get dirty with actual experiments. 

 I also put "Bell expeirments" in quotes because the critical seminal theorem was in the paper by CHSH (not B), and one of the H's was my classmate who actually performed the first experiment. I remember the expression on his face when the very first results came through.

I was grateful to have a chance to discuss these issues with Everett himself in the late 1970s, over lunch in the DC area, but probably I was overresponsive; my first paper in Nuovo Cimento in the early 1970's was a great start, but I basically wish I had not written the two in the later 1970's. We all have a lot to learn in this incredibly complex area.  Still, in after good friendly correspondence with De Broglie back then (still in my files, and scanned), I learned that there were two types of "Bohmian" model then out there: 
(1) classical type models, really De Broglie's early attempts, which never solved the statistical problems involving the spectrum of helium, etc; and (2) models which reinvented MWI through a tricky cokmplic ated back door, by making Q a function of Fock space. I did alert people to this second point in my late 1970's paper,  but probably those guys would cite later sources, for understandable but dishonest esthetic reasons. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Child’s History of Reality in Physics Post Heisenberg

Child’s History of Reality in Physics Post Heisenberg

Two weeks ago, I returned from Nepal, where I was asked to speak on a well-defined topic: how can we create a new worldview which rationally, consistently COMBINES belief in objective reality with not only belief but active immersion in spiritual reality? In truth, my seven days in Nepal and two days in Qatar were mainly about the spiritual side and about “the watch,” but those are too complicated to talk about here today.  Today I will review a few basic facts about objective reality in physics, and even make a few new observations which no one has written yet in plain English.

There are many, many areas of human life where people survive based on hypocrisy. They are taught one set of beliefs in childhood, and learn to repeat the right things reliably whenever asked. And then they learn patterns of behavior which are quite different, often contradictory. Personally, I was born with what psychologists call a “low tolerance of cognitive dissonance’; I feel very uncomfortable with those kinds of inconsistency. But psychologists tell us that society needs many different kinds of people, for different situations, so I won’t say much more here about the broader implications of things like hypocrisy.

 But I should say a LITTLE more. Using a large computer system, my wife says she found the connection between the Bohr family and the Werbos family from the early 1800’s, when both were in the region near Trier or Mosel. Niels Bohr basically argued that there is no harm in modeling an electron as a wave on Mondays and Wednesdays, and as a particle on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He called this “the principle of complementarity.” I believe we have a natural instinct, which we should not resist, to try to develop a more general, universal model to predict our experience, but when we haven’t yet learned how to do that, there is always the need to survive in the short term even if we hope and strive to learn more.

The “apostle’s creed” of quantum mechanics, taught in all first year classes and in high school preview classes, teaches quantum mechanics according to Heisenberg. Heisenberg’s version actually IS a universal model, not just a model for Mondays and Wednesdays. It has several key principles, the four commandments according to Heisenberg:

1.      1. There is no such thing as objective reality. People like Einstein believed that objective reality changes over time, such that the universe is in some state S(t) at every time t. (Einstein also said that time is more like space than people used to believe, but that is another story for later.)
        2. To make numerical predictions of what we will see in experiments, we give up the idea of S(t). Instead, we base everything on a mathematical object ψ(t), the “wave function.” Ψ(t) represents all of our knowledge at time t, reflecting our uncertainties.

3.       3. To predict how our knowledge changes, to predict what our knowledge of the future is as a function of our knowledge of the present, we use the “Schrodinger’s equation” (dψ/dt)=ihHψ. (He didn’t call that one the Schrodinger’s equation, but that’s how people call it today.)

4.       4. To predict what we would actually see at some future time, when we do a measurement, we use a totally different set of mathematical rules, which I would call the “Heisenberg measurement formalism.” In that formalism, we predict different results depending on whether we believe that cats have souls, because only proper metaphysical observers with the proper ontological hermeneutic form of consciousness are able to invoke the magic of measurement. Of course, there are many people who really love that aspect, and would sooner let women become priests than give it up.

So that’s the childhood religion. Some people, like some kinds of priests, spend their whole lives “preaching the word” by repeating and at times enforcing the childhood version.  Others move on to studying actual experiments in areas like electronics and photonics, especially, where they learn what actually works in predicting actual experiments. Because of their own low tolerance of cognitive dissonance, many philosophers and theorists adhere strongly to the view that all the many versions of quantum mechanics predict the same things, and that the childhood religion works 100% of the time exactly as it was taught by Heisenberg. But when it was my job in the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to oversee the review of the many ways that people actually make predictions of quantum phenomena in electronics and photonics (fields dominated by new experiments and devices), I learned more and more that the real world of experimental physics simply does not fit that ancient narrative.

In truth, there are MANY issues which have yet to be resolved about the correct way to formulate quantum mechanics. Some of that was obvious when I started overseeing what goes on in that part of experimental physics. ( I published a few of my early observations in the well-known journal International Journal of Theoretical Physics ( I updated and corrected that part of the story in a more recent paper (

Even in the early work, I explained why Heisenberg’s second commandment (“2”) yields WRONG predictions. No, the catechism does not make the same predictions as modern versions, or the correct predictions. It yields wrong predictions. I learned what the simple, clear situation ACTUALLY is, back when I was part of the team at NSF reviewing proposals for the new emerging area of quantum computing. (The IJTP paper  does tell this story too.)

Many, many theorists would submit proposals for quantum computers based on the Heisenberg catechism. The proposals would be reviewed by a mix of people – some theorists, and some folks deeply expert in studying how the actual components of these proposals actually work.  The second group included people like solid state physicists who know how electronic components work, and like quantum optics people who know what works in optics. Many times the theorists would love their proposals, which assumed that every object in the experiment (except for the cat or the graduate student watching what the final output looks like coming out of the computer) would obey what they call “unitary dynamics”. They assumed that a definite wave function ψ(t1) describes what we know before light or something else reaches a solid object, and that the solid object results in a new wave function ψ(t2) for what comes out. The solid state or quantum optics people patiently explained why the proposed system simply would not work as advertised, because that is not a correct model of what we actually now know about how these objects work.

Nowadays, we know that we need to use a mathematical object called a “density matrix” or “density operator” ρ(t) to describe our knowledge at any time t in these experiments, simply in order to get correct predictions. This is not about a different INTERPRETATION from Heisenberg’s four commandments. It is about a different theory, or rather a set of theories, which yield different predictions. We know that "collapse of the wave function", with a definite  ψ(t) coming in and a MIX of possibilities coming out (represented by a density matrix) happens all the time in macroscopic objects, without any metaphysical observer being involved at all. If you don't want to take my word for it, look at highly respected books like Walls and Milburn, like Carmichael, or just google on "Lindblad form master equations." 

Furthermore, there is a neat connection here to a particular theory of quantum mechanics, due to Everett, Wheeler and David Deutsch, called the “many worlds theory of quantum mechanics.” In that theory,  we give up Heisenberg’s first commandment. We assert that ψ(t) describes the actual state of objective reality, not just our knowledge of it.  According to the dynamic systems version of realism, if the state of reality at any time t is given by a mathematical object S(t), our knowledge is fully summarized only by Pr(S(t)), the probability distribution, a function much more complicated than S itself. In the many-worlds viewpoint, it makes sense that the STATE of reality is described by ψ(t), but we need something more complicated to describe the state of our knowledge.

By the way, at the end of the day, after probing all kinds of dirty linen which the priests do not want people to talk about, I have concluded that the only correct form of quantum mechanics to describe what we can do in electronics and photonics is a NEW VARIATION of the many-worlds theory (MQED), which uses a new measurement formalism deduced from the dynamics and from the boundary conditions, without metaphysical observers. ( I have many life-or-death issues on my to-do list; one of them is the need to somehow get the inexpensive  experiments done to prove that the new measurement formalism is better than the old one, no matter what version we assume for the dynamics and reality and such. Even MQED is only an approximation, however; because it represents the proton as a point particle, we know that the approximation starts to break down at a distance scale on the order of 1 femtometer.


But now, here is something new, a bit more radical than MQED.

In the many-worlds picture, where ψ(t) gives us the present state of reality at time t, the state of our knowledge should be described in general by a probability distribution Pr(ψ(t)). The density matrix ρ(t) is much simpler than that. IS EVEN the density matrix enough to handle all experiments correctly??

People who know modern quantum statistical thermodynamics could easily come up with an excuse for why ρ might be enough. They have shown that certain values of ρ, called the “grand canonical ensemble”, do represent the mix of possible states which can exist in equilibrium, for a universe described by a wave function ψ  following Heisenberg’s third commandment. If those are the only states we actually encounter, then ρ should be enough.

Or should it? Most of physics is based on states we create using free energy which are far from thermodynamic equilibrium. If we truly believe that the many-worlds dynamics are the WHOLE STORY, then we really should support efforts to design new types of experiment, aimed at creating Pr(ψ) not fitting what is described by a specific density matrix ρ, proving that we need even more information, and proving that we can do things not permitted under the ρ story. Or else somehow proving that such experiments are truly impossible?

But I personally do not expect that such experiments are possible. 
PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER UNLESS YOU FEEL ABLE TO STUDY THE ISSUE OF MQED ON ITS OWN MERITS, WITHOUT FALSE ENTANGLEMENT WITH OTHER ISSUES. If you are the kind of person who would just laugh at special relativity and everything else that Einstein ever did, after his prediction for the EPR experiment was proven false, you should not read further. But if physics for you is about truth and about theories and experiments, and not about personalities, do read further.


AFTER one accepts MQED as the correct version of QED, there are MANY approaches available for building on MQED to try to understand the rest of physics. It turns out that ONE of the possible choices is to do exactly what Einstein called for, before he moved away to variations of differential geometry far more complex than general relativity. “Local realistic” models of the underlying physics are again allowed under MQED. It is possible to explore the possibility that MQED is a consistent statistical approximation to something deeper, maybe even something “deterministic” as ‘tHooft still claims he believes. (

In, I evaluated some possibilities for what a local realistic model might look like. Based on those evaluations, I now see other models in that same general family as more promising – but in any case, how could we explain an object like ρ and the “Schrodinger equation” as an emergent statistical outcome of that kind of simpler underlying model? The main part of the answer lies in some new mathematics which I developed years ago:

And so, in my approach, I would assert that ρ(t) is enough, because the underlying reality is much simpler than ψ or pr(ψ).

But it would be interesting if anyone could devise and perform a counterexample with a real experiment.


And yes, folks, this is all quite simple compared to what I learned in the past two months. Two minutes to see, two hours to type, versus weeks to see in still partial form. Lamar Smith has successfully cracked down on this kind of heresy, and the old NSF building is being evacuated at this very moment, even as his district (and Cruz's) is experiencing serious stuff as well. Who really knows where all of THAT will go?