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Archive for the ‘humor’ category

Mar 27, 2020

Teleportation is Here, But It’s Not What We Expected

Posted by in categories: humor, particle physics, quantum physics, space travel

In 2005, the obituary of physicist Asher Peres in the magazine Physics Today told us that when a journalist asked him if quantum teleportation could transport a person’s soul as well as their body, the scientist replied: “No, not the body, just the soul.” More than just a simple joke, Peres’ response offers a perfect explanation, encoded in a metaphor, of the reality of a process that we have seen countless times in science fiction. In fact, teleportation does exist, although in the real world it is quite different from the famous “Beam me up, Scotty!” associated with the Star Trek series.

Teleportation in real science began to take shape in 1993 thanks to a theoretical study published by Peres and five other researchers in Physical Review Letters, which laid the foundation for quantum teleportation. Apparently, it was co-author Charles Bennett’s idea to associate the proposed phenomenon with the popular idea of teleportation, but there is an essential difference between fiction and reality: in the latter it’s not matter that travels, but rather information, which transfers properties from the original matter to that of the destination matter.

Quantum teleportation is based on a hypothesis described in 1935 by physicist Albert Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, known as the EPR paradox. As a consequence of the laws of quantum physics, it was possible to obtain two particles and separate them in space so that they would continue to share their properties, as two halves of a whole. Thus, an action on one of them (on A, or Alice, according to the nomenclature used) would instantaneously have an effect on the other (on B, or Bob). This “spooky action at a distance”, in Einstein’s words, would seem capable of violating the limit of the speed of light.

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Mar 10, 2020

Life Extension Humor

Posted by in categories: humor, life extension

A little of humor: with rejuvenation technologies, I would have much more time and health to do things like this! How could I get bored? And I want to be a player in the football world cup of 2200 as well…

Feb 7, 2020

Why Life Expectancy Could Rise Significantly in the Near Future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, humor, life extension, neuroscience

Let’s face it, getting older sucks, and not because of all the extra candles on the birthday cake. Getting cake and presents every year is great, but the loss of health and independence isn’t a particularly good birthday present. (Wow, what’d I get this year? Just what I didn’t want: sarcopenia and hearing loss!)

Given the downsides of aging, it really is surprising how little people talk about it beyond the odd grumble or even as a joke. Normally, it’s to complain about the aches and pains that gradually appear as the years roll by, as we find it harder to walk up the stairs and “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” turns into “cloudy-eyed and with an aching back”.

That’s not even the serious side of aging, which involves the gradual loss of independence and the age-related diseases that first rob us of our quality of life before they get around to killing us. The serious part is the horror of Alzheimer’s and the loss of self that it brings, the heart disease that cripples us, the frailty that steals our independence, and the lurking threat of cancer that rises dramatically as we age.

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Jan 31, 2020

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

Posted by in categories: computing, education, humor, quantum physics

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The National Science Foundation has done just as part of its EPiQC (Enabling Practical-scale Quantum Computing) program. So far eight €˜Zines €™ have been created with more to come.

€œComic books offer approachable ways to convey both humor and information. One might think that comic books would not be able to convey complex information like the ideas behind QC. In this case, one would be wrong, at least for one as creative as the University of Chicago €™s Diana Franklin, as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded https://www.epiqc.cs.uchicago.edu/”>EPIQC Expedition in Computing, € wrote Mark Hill of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a recent blog for Computing Community Consortium, run by NSF.

€œIn particular, Diana and colleagues have developed eight, with more coming, €œ https://www.epiqc.cs.uchicago.edu/zines”>zines € that are comic-book-like pamphlets obtained by printing and folding a single sheet of paper. The topics include quantum notation, superposition, and history. In my humble opinion, these are great examples of the synergy possible with research and education done together. Enjoy! €.

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Jan 28, 2020

5 Big Ideas for Making Fusion Power a Reality

Posted by in categories: humor, nuclear energy, particle physics

After decades of not happening, fusion power finally appears to be maybe possibly happening.


The joke has been around almost as long as the dream: Nuclear fusion energy is 30 years away…and always will be. But now, more than 80 years after Australian physicist Mark Oliphant first observed deuterium atoms fusing and releasing dollops of energy, it may finally be time to update the punch line.

Over the past several years, more than two dozen research groups—impressively staffed and well-funded startups, university programs, and corporate projects—have achieved eye-opening advances in controlled nuclear fusion. They’re building fusion reactors based on radically different designs that challenge the two mainstream approaches, which use either a huge, doughnut-shaped magnetic vessel called a tokamak or enormously powerful lasers.

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Jan 17, 2020

Cold fusion: A potential energy gamechanger

Posted by in categories: energy, humor

Think it’s a failure, a joke? Think again. Big investors are positioning themselves, Japan & US in the lead.

Dec 9, 2019

Why you should take Trump’s Space Force seriously

Posted by in categories: business, economics, entertainment, humor, internet, military, satellites

The case for creating a United States Space Force is compelling. The United States military’s ability to wage war has become increasingly reliant on satellites. Navigation, reconnaissance, and communications are all handled by space assets. The world economy has become dependent on space satellites. The Internet consists of servers throughout the world linked by satellite constellations. Knock out those satellites and commercial companies’ ability to do business becomes seriously compromised. The space version of Pearl Harbor could reduce the United States to developing-world status in a single blow.

China and Russia, the main enemies of the United States in a potential conflict, are busily developing weapons systems to destroy America’s space infrastructure. Indeed, remote jamming may well do the job without resorting to a direct strike. The potential for jamming is a reason why Pence mentioned the development of jam-proof satellites in his speech. In all, Pence proposed an investment of $8 billion in new space systems during the next five years. The money is likely to be just a down payment for creating a new military branch that would achieve President Trump’s dream of achieving American space dominance.

The idea of a United States Space Force brings science fiction visions of American military personnel doing battle against an enemy in space. Indeed, the joke that has become common on social media is that President Trump is proposing to create nothing less than Star Fleet, the organization made famous in the Star Trek franchise of movies and TV shows.

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Oct 8, 2019

Elon Musk: Teslas Will Soon Make “Fart” and “Goat” Noises

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, humor, transportation

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a weak spot for potty humor.

First, the carmaker introduced a “fart app” for its electric vehicles, which generates rude bathroom sounds.

Now, Musk says Teslas will soon be getting “customized horn and movement sounds,”— including “goats” and “farts,” according to a emoji-laden Sunday tweet.

Sep 12, 2019

Is the Universe Actually a Giant Quantum Computer?

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, humor, quantum physics, space

According to MIT professor Seth Lloyd, the answer is yes. We could be living in the kind of digital world depicted in The Matrix, and not even know it.

A researcher in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, Lloyd is one of the leaders in the field of quantum information. He’s been with the field from its very conception to its sky-rocketing rise to popularity. Decades ago, the feasibility of developing quantum computing devices was challenged. Now, as quantum computation is producing actual technologies, we are only left to wonder—what kind of applications will it provide us with next?

But, first things first. In a round-table discussion with undergraduates, Lloyd speaks of his early days in the field with a touch of humor, irony, and most surprisingly—pride. When he just started to research quantum information in graduate school, most scientists told him to look into other areas. In fact, out of the postdoctoral programs he considered, not many were too invested in researching of information in quantum mechanics. Most universities and institutes were reluctant to take up quantum computing, but Murray Gell-Mann accepted Lloyd for a position at the California Institute of Technology. This is where many ideas behind quantum computation were born, and Lloyd is “excited by the popularity of the field today.”

Aug 4, 2019

Why an AI pioneer thinks Watson is a “fraud”

Posted by in categories: humor, robotics/AI, transportation

The other gaming was that computers don’t really understand words… So you ask, “Who was the sixteenth president of the United States.”? The computer doesn’t know what “sixteenth” and “president of the United States” mean. But it can go and rummage through Wikipedia-like sources and find those words and match them to a president, Abraham Lincoln and come back with “‘Who’ was Abraham Lincoln.”

But then you put anything in that’s like a pun or a joke or a riddle or sarcasm, that you can’t look up in Wikipedia, and computers are helpless. For example, in the first round, one of the final Jeopardy clues was, “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest for a World War II battle.” And the correct answer was “Chicago.” And Watson guessed “Toronto,” apparently because it was confused in the second part of that sentence, what “it” referred to. And that is a common problem with computers. (See: Why did Watson think Toronto was in the U.S.A.?)

Terry Winograd is a computer scientist at Stanford and he thought up this test of computer knowledge. The question is, “What does ‘it’ refer to in this sentence?”

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