Friday, May 1, 2015

poor us

The top computer guys are racing to be the first to make a quantum computer.
Hey -- are we on the verge of technology that would make your computer into an out-of-date thing, like an  abacus? Are our computers sort of like horses that we were riding not really that long ago, and now we're riding in jets?

I'm not a computer creator, programmer, math person, scientist. I am just a user. I vaguely understand that the computer I'm using is going to be replaced by something faster, better, much more advanced.

Yes, I have read in more than one place, that the quantum will be millions of times more powerful than today's fastest super computer. Oh my goodness, all that stuff we bought, we did, to update, to make our computers do more, faster, and better.

What will the new computers have that's different from what we have now?

Bits -- binary digits is what we have. We are going to need qubits.

Quantum computers make calculations using qubits and rely on physics to make multiple parallel universes. Example -- if you had to find an "x" written in 37 million books in the Library of Congress, a typical computer would look at every page in every book, one at a time -- it would do this very quickly but in a serial process. The Quantum could look at every page in every book at the same time -- yes, simultaneously -- looking for the X by splitting the task into a billion parallel universes and finding them all, right away, simultaneously.

That's the difference.

IBM announced excitedly that it found a way to detect a spooky-weird quantum error characteristic -- the very act of looking for an answer can make the qubit change its answer. So science guys need to create some mechanism that can figure out which is right answer.


Yes, it's weird and it's spooky too. The art of programming qubits is as big a challenge as making the Quantum machine in the first place.

Software today -- based on algorithms which are linear one-step-at-a-time calculations -- is definitely going to be useless. We will have to find a way of coming up with a recipe for apple pie in which all the ingredients combine in the pan in the same split second.

It's terrifying. I dug up two videos. Look at the first one -- if it doesn't make sense peruse the second one. Don't moan! Just look and learn and you'll know as much as I know, and be braced for the future.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


One look at this forest, and right away I see myself walking down the path that winds between the trees.

Wonderful trees -- they absorb and store tons of carbon dioxide, the gas that we need to survive.

Tons? Yes. Climate negotiators are in Peru, measuring with laser beams that spit out color-coded conclusions  that reveal how much carbon is embedded in trees, roots plants.

Peru  -- 3,500 miles from NYC where I live -- is dead center of the area of our world that generates carbon. It's a small country -- about 320 million acres -- but half of its acres are forests.

The laser beams reveal that out of the 7 billion tons of carbon that are in the Peruvian forests, one billion tons of carbon will be lost as greedy corporations proceed with their current plans for oil drilling, logging, mining, and clearing land for farms.

Numbers tell the SCARY-sad story.

Deforestation -- cutting down those forests -- removes about 15% of all greenhouse gases. It's harming our future more than cars, air and ship travel.

Stopping deforestation, buying back the forest land, and planting trees is what has to be done immediately.

Money is what's needed. The UN now has a Green Climate fund -- Norway has promised $300 million.  Obama has promised $3 billion.

Climate negotiators, utilizing maps of the world's forests areas, conclude it will take about $15 billion a year, for the next 10 years, to significantly reduce deforestation.

Hey, maps -- back in the days when the world was supposedly flat -- helped Columbus discover our home-sweet-home -- America the beautiful

You and I -- with some praying and strong talky-talk -- can help save the forests, and help the guys who are currently, passionately devoting themselves to saving the earth.

Sing guys -- along with all the other things we have to pray for, negotiate, and support with money -- pray, sing, and quote:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~ Joyce Kilmer, "Trees," 1914 ~

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
~ Ogden Nash, "Song of the Open Road," 1933 ~

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!"
~ Joseph Campbell ~

Monday, April 27, 2015


John Cullum and his wife, Emily Frankel, find themselves watching "Full House" --  reruns of a TV show that grownups and kids  watched 20 years ago.

One by one, we have fallen in love with the characters -- delight in the way they care about each other -- help, enjoy, and have fun together.

We're riveted, and entertained -- you might give it a try.