Posts Tagged With: Quantum Mechanics.

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Shadow 0006. ( July 18, 2017)

 

“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”
Jake Needham

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS TO MY BELOVED SISTER MARYANN AND TO BOTH HER CHILDREN KATIE AND BRENDAN DREAPER AND ALSO TO MY FRIEND MARCO GALLO.

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The extent of my explorations of Bangkok during the three weeks or so I have been here have been limited to the streets along a narrow mile long corridor between my apartment and the health club with occasional digressions to Terminal 21, the large mall at Asoke. Packed in along that short passageway, I encounter lifestyles as diverse as any I have seen anywhere. I sometimes feel I am in a movie where the universe changes with every step.

These streets are not a place for the rich or the petite bourgeoisie. Their habitats are the gleaming silver towers that loom over these streets. Nor are the people on these streets the teeming spitting masses. They live elsewhere, in squalor, and forgotten enclaves, along the rivers or in dark alleys behind the gleaming high-rises.

The people I encounter within the corridor are the hucksters, petty criminals, ladies of the night, and sneak thieves; those who never rest from scrabbling and fighting for a few baht to survive another day in order to hopefully rise up out of these streets to where they can feign respectability or in the case of the tourists sober up and return home where they reassume their pretend decency. Those that fail are here also, overdosed on alcohol or drugs and staggering along or lying on the streets and sidewalks.

I am old and bent now. I lean on my walking stick as I trudge the streets. Perhaps, I have become one of them now, a denizen of the Bangkok streets. Fortunately, I’ll be leaving here soon, flying back to the Golden Hills. Few of those I see on my daily walks will ever leave.

Peter, in responding to my last T&T post, reminded me that Mumbai and Calcutta are every bit as exciting — appalling, fascinating —wretched, and glorious — degraded as my little slice of Bangkok. That may be true and perhaps there are many more cities like those, but this is my here and now.

Sometimes when I take my walks through my Bangkok I feel a little like or pretend to feel a little like, Ulysses. Not the Greek Ulysses but the Jewish guy from Dublin, Leo Bloom who “ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls”. The difference between him and me, besides the relish for inner organs and his obsession with Blazes Boylan both of which I can do without, is that he was actively involved in the events of his day and in the city around him. I, on the other hand, mostly simply observe, avoiding involvement wherever possible. I stop a few moments and stare at whatever catches my attention and move on. Like, for example, the tiny pool in the sidewalk in front of the restaurant I eat at sometime. It is filled with giant Koi. Not the restaurant, the pool is filled with giant Koi. I stand there a second or two and wonder how the fish survive the night. Why haven’t the rats or the soi dogs scarfed them up — what about all the homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks? Surely some of them are hungry? Do the owners of the restaurant take the Koi in at night like someone would bring in their cat? That seems odd. Perhaps the Koi are fierce or mythical. See there, just like Bloom in Dublin, I also get to ponder the mundane, ridiculous and superficial as I wander about in my Bangkok.
IMG_2968

HRM arrived from Milan after having visited London, Paris, and Dubai. He liked Dubai best. We had dinner with N and Adrian at a Korean BBQ place. The next day, Nakoul (Nong), my old business partner in Ava Bar, invited me to visit his new venture a little further down Sukhumvit Soi 11. It is one of those upscale non-surgical cosmetic clinics that are becoming increasingly popular in BKK. It is called Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic. It offers Botox and ultrasound treatments to adjust facial alignments, vitamin injections and a number of generic facials and the like. I opted for a facial treatment that lasted for about an hour and a half.
IMG_2988

I am much prettier now after my treatment.

 

A few days later, I had lunch with the Gemologist and met his lovely wife. She was born and raised in Nagoya Japan. She is also a gemologist. They first met in Japan during the 1970s. He returned to the US and enrolled in gem school. They then completely lost contact with each other. She, later traveled to San Francisco to enroll also in gem school. While coming out of I. Magnin on Union Square in San Francisco, she bumped into someone who was not looking where he was going. It was the Gemologist. It was a better story listening to them both tell it while gently correcting each other on the details. They eventually, finished Gem school (he two years before she) and opened a well known Japanese Restaurant next to the Miyako hotel in San Francisco’s Japan Town before settling in Bangkok and a life of adventure.

Recently, the Gemologist, Richard Diran, who is also a well-known ethnologist and photographer had one of his photographs included for consideration in the LensCulture Portrait Awards for 2017.
PastedGraphic-1

 

Every couple of days, I drop in on the old sailor in his room above a small plaza off of Soi 8. He doesn’t leave the room as much as he used to except for long morning and evening walks. He serves me fresh coconut water and regales me with stories of his life in the Caribbean.

One evening I went to the movies with Hayden, Adrian, and the Little Masseuse. We saw the newest Spiderman feature. As Superhero movies go, it was one of the more enjoyable. The acting was better than the writing. My favorite scene was the very last one in the movie.

Nikki then arrived. He, HRM and I spent a day at the health club pool and then they were off to Pattaya and the Little Masseuse and me off to Angkor Wat in Cambodia,

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Vittorio and Teacher Brian arrived in Santiago de Compostela after their almost 30-day hike from France, through the Pyrenees and across Northern Spain.

2. A representative of the Thai government, in response to criticism that the military government had not done enough for the poor, proposed that the top prize in the State lottery be increased so that members of the poorer classes, who waste their meager income on lottery tickets, would stand a chance to be even richer if they win. A quick and unscientific poll on the proposal by the newspapers indicated that the members of the poorer classes addicted to the lottery thought it was a great idea.

3. A seemingly effective reformist head of a small rural community in Thailand and his family were killed in a home invasion by several hooded men in military uniforms carrying military weapons. The Thai police, upon arresting a suspect, announced the motive for the killing was a dispute over a mortgage on the headman’s property. The suspect, the lender on the property, apparently took back a mortgage and then promptly re-mortgaged the property to someone else. When the headman returned with the final payment on the property, the lender refused to honor the mortgage terms so the headman took him to court.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

I cannot help being amused by the misunderstanding most people have about power—that presidents or anyone else with executive power merely sat in their offices and decided what should be done next, then their eager minions hurried out and turned these whims into fact. In truth, managing or ruling anything, let alone a large country, is a process of learning about and reacting to hundreds upon hundreds of small problems, some of which would quickly become larger problems if left unsolved, and then persisting with them until they had been solved or at least reduced from crisis to mere irritation. And standing between a president and these solutions is not a horde of loyal citizens waiting only to be told what to do, but thousands of individuals, each with his own plans and wants, most of them quite willing to break the rules if they could get away with it, and yet each of them also furious at any idea their own rights might be somehow abrogated. And of these citizens, the wealthy are the worst, prickly and full of righteous demands. And alas, it is these wealthy, whose wealth allows their voices to clammer the loudest, who, more often than not, get heard first — generally to the dismay of everyone else and to the disadvantage of the nation.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

Five Years Ago Today In T&T:

This weekend I returned to “Paradise by the Sea” (Jomtien Beach) to visit with Bill who was spending a few days in “The Outskirts of Hell” (Pattaya) about two miles from “Paradise by the Sea.” He had just returned from a brief trip to Malaysia scoping out business opportunities there and unwinding somewhere between the gates of paradise and the portals of hell from the rigors of Muslim Puritanism.

I met him and Ray at the “Oval Table” where about a year ago the Geriatric Knights set off on their adventures. Three of the original five Knights were there, Density, Harvey, and Giufa. Horace who prefers to be called Jerome we would meet up with that evening. Spy was off knight erranting somewhere south of Outremer searching for the Grail or a stray yoni or two which was hard to find where he was at.

We decided to dub Ray into the club (The Rub a Dub Club?). We could not decide on a suitable heraldic name for him. We were stuck between “Omar the Tent Maker” and “Sinbad the Sailor.” I decided to compromise on “Sinbad the Tent Maker.”

Alas, Angelina-Tai, Selma-moo, Princess Oy and the other houri had long ago departed for other caravansaries, and soon so did we.

I checked into the guest house on Jomtien Beach Road Soi 3 where I stayed the last time I was there, napped and waited for LM.

That evening we met Bill, Mike, and Ray for dinner at a restaurant on the Walking Street. After dinner, we went to a nearby go-go bar where Ray was to meet with the ex-owner to discuss business opportunities in Pattaya. The ex-owner’s claim to fame was that he managed to sell his failing go-go bar to someone else and now passes himself off as an expert in doing business in Thailand.

The tiny club consisted of a row of booths surrounding a small stage upon which about 10 poles reaching to the ceiling were set. A selection of slightly overweight women, naked from the waist up, one hand on a pole, moved their bodies in a desultory fashion to some over loud 20-year-old rock music while staring bored at themselves in the mirrors that covered the walls behind the booths. We were the only customers.

We then went to a place called the Windmill a few steps away from the go-go place. Here the joint was packed. It featured various fully naked women performing simulated sex acts and others, equally naked, jumping in and out of Jacuzzis, while various old over-weight men with wallets out were peeling off notes from wads of Thai money and handing it to other naked women whose bodies were pressed against them.

For those who picture the Outskirt’s of Hell as a simply an aging white male sexist paradise, you could not be further from the truth. Unlike God, who seems to prefer well muscled male mesomorphs, Lucifer is nothing if not an equal opportunity corrupter. Within the Outskirts of Hell, there are alley’s devoted to transsexual (Be all that you can be) clubs, lesbian sex clubs and the standard run of the mill gay bars.

You can also shop for souvenirs and buy the sex enhancement medication of your choice at the many establishments specializing in selling those products. And of course, restaurants by the ton located on the land or on boats anchored offshore. Food, sexual indulgence, and gross corruption are never too far apart.

After a few minutes of observation, LM and I excused ourselves and returned to the hotel.

The next morning LM and I took the ferry to Koh Larn one of the several islands in the Bay of Thailand located off Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. It contains a small village and several tiny beaches adjacent to which one can enjoy lunch for about twice the price of similar fare on the mainland and stare at the high-rises lining the shore across the straight.

We ate lunch at a tiny place by a beach of strange maroon and lemon yellow stones. We were the only customers. After lunch, we returned to Pattaya and continued on back to BKK and our apartment.

Also:

Alas, it finally happened as it had to happen, the Sauna Nazi, decided to bump chests with me and scream because I put my bathing suit in the sauna to dry (as does almost everyone) so I punched him in the jaw. He staggered back and did something almost comical, he started dancing around and flicking out his leg like some Asian martial artist expert. As expected, the health club security intervened before things got further out of hand. After things quieted down they wanted to know if I intended to press charges. I declined but requested that they instruct him in the value of the word, please. I am amazed at how much pleasure I get, even at seventy-two, from involving myself in adolescent male adventures in foolishness.

Hayden asked me if that was how attorneys do it; insult their opponents in court before throwing punches. I explained that we generally refrained from the physical part, but that slander and defamation are our stock in trade. He said he still wanted to become an airline pilot when he grows up.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

This Equation Contains Everything We Know about the Universe.

the-whole-thingt

 

Although I have lost the cite, the above equation supposedly sums up everything we know about the known universe (Quanta, Relativity, the Higgs Bosun and what have you). The mathematician who put this together spent many months doing so. After he was done and his work was reviewed, it was discovered that somewhere he had inadvertently switched a sign. He was too exhausted to go back through everything to find it. No one else has been willing to do so either.

It should be noted the formula begins with a minus and ends with an empty set raised to zero power (which I think equals 1 in maths notation or the Higgs Field in physics). One might conclude from this that either the universe does not exist or, we are confused and know little or nothing about it or, it is what it is. If one did conclude one of these was true, he would probably be wrong and would in all likelihood have to begin at the beginning again. No rational human should under these circumstances go through all this again especially since it only exists when we observe it and who has the time. I can only conclude that we would all be happier considering the universe irrational and let it go at that.

I noticed there is no sign for square or any other root in the equation. Perhaps that means in our universe there are no square roots of anything. Millions of high school mathematics students forced to try to compute roots can now thank the gods that their ignorance has not been in vain.

On the other hand, as it often is the way with the universe, after writing the above, I discovered a much shorter equation by another mathematician:
Everyday-Equation 2
http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/04/the-world-of-everyday-experience-in-one-equation/

 

If I understand the maths symbols correctly, everything in the Universe but quantum mechanics is a set. That seems about right. In quantum mechanics, nothing is set until the damned cat gets out of the box.

Quantum questions — Once the box, that may or may not contain the cat, is opened and you see a cat lying at the bottom without moving, is it dead when you observe it or only when you feel for its heartbeat and find there is none? Does anyone care that the cat is dead? Did the cat know whether or not it would be found dead when the box was opened?

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. A Thai comments on his society:

 

Arglit Boonyai, the highly respected and sometimes brilliant columnist for The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s most respected English daily newspaper recently wrote:

“Thailand – and I am trying to be fair here — is as honest as a North Korean press release on famine. We steal, we cheat, we lie, we treat people with a lower social status badly, we’re racist, the list goes on and on. For years we successfully hid all that behind the famous Thai smile and the ‘mai pen rai’ attitude. And by gosh and by golly, most of those suckers fell for it.”

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

“In America today you can make more money inventing a new conspiracy theory than you can from curing cancer.”

 

C. From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

 

“Zenosyne”

 

The Sense That Time Keeps Going Faster

“Life is short. And life is long. But not in that order.”

http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/tagged/dictionary-of-obscure-sorrows

 

D. Today’s Poem:

 

O what can the matter be
And what can the matter be
O what can the matter be
Johnny bydes lang at the fair

He’ll buy me a twopenny whistle
He’ll buy me a threepenny fair
He’ll buy me a Bunch o’ Blue Ribbons
To tye up my bonny Brown Hair

O saw ye him coming
And saw ye him coming
O saw ye him coming
Hame frae the Newcastle fair
English Ballad 1770

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“Some people knew what they wanted like they knew they needed to breathe—as though they had been born with goals written into the very fiber of their beings. They were a gifted minority of humanity in possession of a valuable thing. Those without purpose could not imagine what it was to have one—because to be able to imagine a true purpose was to have one. People like himself searched and searched within, only to find a void where there was supposed to be a mission. They had an absence—a space inside where nothing seemed more important than anything else, and the search for what mattered became the closest they could get. He’d envied those who had no need to search.”
Hodges, T. Ellery. The Never Paradox (Chronicles Of Jonathan Tibbs Book 2). Foggy Night Publishing.

What struck me about this quote was neither its eloquence nor its profundity but its resonance with my life. I cannot recall ever having a goal in my life other than now and then to complete whatever I found myself doing at that time. More often than not, even in those cases my goal usually was to avoid as much work and responsibility as possible. Even if this is not the best way to be, it is probably how most of us behave. There are a lot worse ways to live our lives.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
Pasted Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:
226910_1712061530440_3992824_n.jpgIMG_2811_2
A Few Short Years — HRM Grows Up As I Grow Old.

 

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Categories: July to September 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Joseph 0002 (New Year’s Day) December 31, 2012

 

Happy New Year (See below)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Maggots are amusing only to those who consider them a culinary delight.

One morning I woke up in the midst of one of my periodic struggles with depression and despair wondering if I even was going to be able to get out of bed that day. I turned over and looked across the room to the blanket on the floor in the corner where LM slept. She was lying there staring up at the ceiling giggling.

Annoyed that in the midst of my existential crisis anyone could find anything amusing, I growled, “What’s so funny?” Besides who giggles at 6:30 in the morning?

In her fractured English she said, “In America you white and fat. In Thailand you black and small.”

“And, you find this amusing,” I responded?

She did not answer but got up, squatted by the small water heating appliance and began making that morning’s jolt of instant coffee.

I turned back and stared up at my section of the ceiling and contemplated the impenetrable barrier of intercultural humor while she continued to chuckle in the background.

I later got up and glanced in the mirror and noticed that indeed my belly, if not necessarily flat, seemed to protrude much less than when I was most recently in California. As for the blackness, I decided that she was referring to the current state of my soul.

As I sat at the table drinking my coffee (three heaping tablespoons in a small cup), I wondered if there was not something about that morning that was auspicious, but alas, its meaning escaped me.

2. Creation myth update #I

Recently I have been reading several books about genetic research that trace the descent of humanity since that moment when our ancestors first dropped from the trees and began walking upright through the veld until, through sheer persistence, we now are poised on the brink of becoming the only species to consciously choose to risk their own continued existence.

I have now read five books on the subject and several articles. The books, because the unraveling of the human genome that enabled much of the research only occurred within the last 10 years or so, all have been published within the past three years. Although they are “popularizations”, they are for the most part written by the scientists that actually worked on many of the breakthroughs that enabled the current view of human genesis to develop. One book, however, written by a journalist who has been covering the field for the past twenty years, is the best written of the lot.

According to the generally agreed upon calculations based upon the analysis of the Y chromosome in males today and something called mitochondria DNA in females, both of which strangely enough remain mostly unchanged throughout the generations, they estimate that the male and female ancestors of just about everyone outside of Africa today lived in East Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia etc) sometime between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years or so (Adam Y and Eve Mitochondria).

It is a fascinating story but one still full of inconsistencies and holes. For example, although I do not for one moment doubt that modern humans first arose in Africa and then spread throughout the world, a mystery surrounding indigenous Australians persists. The generally accepted theory is that about two dozen individuals from a tribe left Africa sometime around 45,000 years ago, most likely by crossing the Red Sea into what is now the country of Aden on the Southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. All of the rest of humanity outside of Africa (not including migrants from that continent, forced or otherwise, within the past 600 years) according to DNA analysis appears to be descended from this small but obviously determined and exceptionally fecund band.

At that time because of the various cold spells that sucked moisture from the air and the sea and deposited it in its crystalline form, ice, in great glaciers around the earth’s higher latitudes, the sea was often much lower, about 100 meters or so, and the climate considerably drier than it is now. The most accepted speculation is that the descendants of this band went walk-about along the sea bed thus exposed until, after what I am sure were many adventures, a group ended up in the Australian outback feasting on kangaroo meat and dingoes.

The problem is that some archeological and anthropological evidence puts the original native Australians in Australia at about 60,000 years ago. Now I figured out that early migration patterns move roughly about a kilometer a year. One kilometer would put the new settlement probably in sight of the old. I pictured one or two of the younger members of the band every year or so sitting around the campfire suddenly announcing they were tired of the same old songs and stories and were moving out down the road a bit. After they have a few children of their own, this little traditional domestic scene would play itself out again, until eventually one disgruntled adolescent stumbled over a platypus, decided he had gone far enough and began the first aboriginal song-line.

“…the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as ‘Dreaming-tracks‘ or ‘Songlines’; to the Aboriginals as the ‘Footprints of the Ancestors’ or the ‘Way of the Law’.
Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic being who wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.””
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines.

This 1 kilometer or so rate has been confirmed by several scientists and is consistent with every other migration during these initial expansions of humanity (for example, Tierra del Fuego is about 30,000 kilometers from the Red Sea by way of Alaska and the first humans arrived there about 15,000 years ago). So, if it is about 15,000 Kilometers from Ethiopia to Adelaide, the original Australians should have arrived there about 30,000 years ago, not 15,000 years before they even left Africa. That’s a lot of dream time to go walk-about in. Even were one to assume that the notoriously difficult dating methodology was off; to be off by 30,000 years is a pretty broken song-line. (More to come)

Manukirni
Dijankirni
Wurulu layynngkirni

Blind Rainbow Serpent is old;
he does not want Law from the
Whirlwind Rainbow Serpent

Barbabarda karma
Bardangimanji

Whirlwind Rainbow Serpent moves on;
he leaves the Blind Rainbow Serpent
with nothing
 Songline

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Retirement: A few days ago I read that Thailand was among the top five places in the world to retire to. Panama was number one and Ecuador number two. About five years ago, I visited the town in Panama referred to in the article. It is located by the ocean and was chock full of new retirement developments. Unfortunately, I found it somewhat remote requiring the retiree to possess personal transportation options. Ecuador I have never visited but suspect that although the retirement communities are located in the mountains, they also are somewhat remote from the country’s major urban areas. Thailand, in addition to being less expensive than the other countries identified, has an abundance of public transportation (only the craziest’s farangs drive). Also, even when living at the sea-shore or in the mountains, you are usually close to an urban area, if actually not right in one. Finally Thailand is thankfully free from the retirement community blight, thereby forcing retirees to forgo living next door to other retired farangs and instead necessitate that they live cheek by jowl next to native Thais, who for the most part ignore their existence (but not their money).

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quantum Mechanics:

Just in case you wondered–

1.2 Basic axioms of quantum mechanics…

Axiom (States). The state of a quantum mechanical system is given by a vector in a complex vector space H with Hermitian inner product <·,·>…. *

(* Is this the quantum version of a happy face? Can a Hermitian inner product ever be happy?)

Note two very important differences with classical mechanical states:

The state space is always linear: a linear combination of states is also a state.

The state space is a complex vector space: these linear combinations can and do crucially involve complex numbers, in an inescapable way. In the classical case only real numbers appear, with complex numbers used only as an inessential calculational tool….
[T]he notation introduced by Dirac for vectors in the state space H: such a vector with a label ψ is denoted:|ψ⟩

Axiom (Observables). The observables of a quantum mechanical system are given by self-adjoint linear operators on H….

Axiom (Dynamics). There is a distinguished observable, the Hamiltonian ℋ. Time evolution of states |ψ(t)> ∈ H is given by the Schrodinger equation: d/dt(|ψ(t)⟩) = − (i/ħ)(ℋ|ψ(t)⟩)

The Hamiltonian observable ℋ will have a physical interpretation in terms of energy, and one may also want to specify some sort of positivity property on ℋ in order to assure the existence of a stable lowest energy state. ħ is a dimensional constant, the value of which depends on what units you use…. We will see that typically classical physics comes about in the limit where(energy scale)(time scale)/ħis large….

Principle (Measurements). (1) States where the value of an observable can be characterized by a well-defined number are the states that are eigenvectors for the corresponding self-adjoint operator. The value of the observable in such a state will be a real number, the eigenvalue of the operator. (2) Given an observable O and states |ψ1⟩ and |ψ2⟩ that are eigenvectors of O with eigenvalues λ1 and λ2 (i.e. O|ψ1⟩=λ1|ψ1⟩ and O|ψ2⟩=λ2|ψ2⟩), the complex linear combination state c1|ψ1⟩ + c2|ψ2⟩ may not have a well-defined value for the observable O. If one attempts to measure this observable, one will get either λ1 or λ2, with probabilities c1^2/(c1^2 + c2^2) and c2^2/(c1^2 + c2^2), respectively.

This principle is sometimes raised to the level of an axiom of the theory, but it is better to consider it as a phenomenological over-simplified description of what happens in typical experimental set-ups…
Peter Woit: Quantum Mechanics for Mathematicians http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/QM/fall-course.pdf

(Now you know — or you don’t know. It is quantum mechanics after all. On the other hand, perhaps it is all a phenomenological over-simplified description of what happens. Wouldn’t that be a shame?)

(You know now that I think about it, God seems to be a simpler source for it all than quantum mechanics. Perhaps it is as Kurt Goedel implies, no matter how far you go or how deeply you think about it, sooner or later it all comes down to six of one or a half-dozen of the other.)

 
B. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter four: At the airport with no place to go).

Having arrived at the airport and ignoring the insane itching all over my body from the flea bites, I rushed up to the fourth floor as I was directed to by the bemedaled and braided uniformed character back at the immigration office. I was still clutching the tiny slip of paper with my printed interview number on one side and the scribblings of that esteemed gentleman on the other: “Airport, fourth floor immigration” in both Thai and English.

Upon reaching the fourth floor, I recognized it as the departure floor with its row upon row of counters for ticketing and hundreds and hundreds of people busily engaged in going or processing the going or cleaning up after whoever was going actually went.

Knowing that in all this turmoil I could never figure out the location of the immigration office, I sought out an airport information desk. Found it. The woman behind the desk smiled at me. I explained the situation to her and waved around the piece of paper. Her smile disappeared and she motioned me to wait while she called someone. After speaking to whomever for a few minutes she put down the phone and told me to wait and then proceeded to completely ignore me. I recognized that particular Thai trait. To her I had suddenly become a non-entity; someone no longer quite human.

Perhaps a little explanation about Thai culture would help to understand her reaction. To a Thai you are not completely human if you are not Thai or are a lower social status (this is a trait not unknown among Americans also). Farangs, could be forgiven their non-Thai-ness only if they are of a superior class . A superior class in Thailand usually means, money. If you have it you are rewarded with a smile and an acknowledgement of potential humanness even as they try to separate you from the money. There were three reasons that disqualified me from being truly human in the eyes of the lady behind the information desk; 1) I was not Thai; 2) I was not dressed like I had money (I was in my Ocean’s Eleven outfit, flowered shirt, short pants and floppy hat) and; 3) If I had money, I would not be doing this myself but would have paid some Thai some of it to run around collecting the documents and paying the bribes on my behalf.

The phone rang. She picked it up, spoke for a moment and handed the receiver to me. I explained everything to the woman on the other end and waved the piece of paper around even if she could not see it. She said that I should hang up and wait until someone calls back. I did and waited. After awhile the phone rang and we repeated the process, at the end of which the voice at the other end directed me to be at door M-28 at precisely 20 minutes after the hour where someone will appear there to help me. After profusely thanking the voice, I hung up. I asked the information lady where door M-28 was located. She pointed vaguely across the departure area to the right and returned to ignoring me. I went off in search of door M-28 full of optimism that someone there would finally solve all my problems. It was only 10 after the hour. I, nevertheless, rushed to find door M-28 not wanting to risk being late. (To be continued)

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

In my last two posts, I have included: a series of holiday photographs, seasons greetings, my feeble attempts at holiday inspired wit, and clever observations of others about the festive season. With one or two exceptions all I received in return was silence. On Christmas Day, I sent out an email containing some of this same photographs and a simple holiday greeting. Almost everyone who received it responded.

From this I deduced that for the most part the appearance in ones email the words, “This and that…” produce in the recipient the irresistible urge to click on the delete button.

Having thought at length about the merits of the amusement generated by writing to myself versus the desperation exhibited in repeatedly shouting down into an empty well, I decided that it is simpler and less onerous for one to click on the delete icon than it would be for me to give up hoping that someone at the bottom of that particular well will respond to my pleas for recognition with the hoped for, “All-right, I hear you. Shut the fuck up already.”

So, no apology or regrets and only the slightest humiliation.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. James Lee Burke:

“…Marry up, Screw down.”
Pegasus Descending

2. Wisdom from Lake Woebegone:

190061_10151176310861275_2065903362_n

Really now — As much as I like Keillor this is a bit over the top: in fact, golfers are totally oblivious to the fact that golf is nihilistic as well as sadistic; only pimps would wear brown shirts with pinstripes and; the rest of the world believes we hear well enough, it is just that we do not listen.

TODAY’S CHART:

assault-deaths-us-ts-region

This is an interesting graphic. It shows assaults in the US by region. Over all, among the world’s advanced democracies, the US is by far the most violent. The Southern portion of the US is significantly more brutal than the rest of the nation [Note: In some urban areas in the US the rate of violence approaches and even exceeds that found in the South]. Firearms make up a major and sometimes majority component of the violent events. Interestingly enough, although in the rest of the country there is a sizable “hunting” contingent, it is in the exceptionally violent South where gun control efforts have had the least success. Not surprisingly, the death and injury rates from firearms in the South approach those experienced in the charnel house that is Mexico.

[ Note: Perhaps one of the best repositories for these type of peer-reviewed studies can be found at the Harvard School of Public Health [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html]] )

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0583

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THAILAND

 

 

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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