Monday, May 23, 2011

Schrodinger's Terrorist

In 1935, Edward Schrodinger conceived a thought experiment to point out the incompleteness of current quantum mechanics. If a live organism was put into a sealed box, and then the principles used to describe subatomic particles were applied to said organism, it would, probablistically speaking, be both alive and dead. You really can't tell until you open the box. For this symbolic paradox, Schrodinger chose a kitty.

The Obama Administration recently declared Osama bin Laden dead, offering mathematical proofs instead of opening the sealed box. For domestic political consumption, assuming a re-election is intended, this is an elegant solution. For military policy, it only has value if victory is declared and intent to pull out is demonstrated with fair rapidity. It surely gives admirable leverage to that end, yet if unused, the value turns vengefully negative.

A handful of Taliban just besieged a naval base in Karachi. They kept it up throughout the night, even destroying US drone aircraft, citing as their motivation the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty in whacking the Cat. With that attack, not to mention others, the cracks in the US-Pakistan alliance have riven into gaps. In the morning, Pakistan announced China is going to turn the commercial port of Gwadar (in Balochistan, 70 kilometers from the border with Iran) into a naval base as part of a "string of pearls" strategy to protect oil imports.

The US badly miscalculated its bin Laden mechanics. With no signals forthcoming as to a draw-down, Pakistan must actively seek allies with better chances of keeping its own domestic pressure cooker from turning into steam and shrapnel. Pakistan needs oil, it needs food, it needs to maintain balance of power versus India, and it will find them from less toxic and far more proximate benefactors.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Regina Spektor: Blue Lips, Song and Lyrics

He stumbled into faith and thought,
"God, this is all there is?"
The pictures in his mind arose,
and began to breathe.
And all the gods and all the worlds
began colliding
on a backdrop of blue.

Blue lips, blue veins...

He took a step but then felt tired.
He said, "I'll rest a little while."
But when he tried to walk again,
he wasn't a child.
And all the people hurried fast,
Real fast, and no one ever smiled.

Blue lips, blue veins...
Blue, the color of our planet from far far away.

He stumbled into faith and thought,
"God, this is all there is?"
The pictures in his mind arose,
and began to breathe.
And no one saw, and no one heard.
They just followed the lead.
The pictures in his mind arose,
and began to breed.

They started out beneath the knowledge tree.
Then they chopped it down to make white picket fences,
and, marching along the railroad tracks,
they smile real wide for the camera lenses.
They made it past the enemy lines
just to become enslaved in the assembly lines.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Case-Schiller Housing Price Graph

We like our house and will never flip it unless a nice couple in Paris or Denmark wants to trade.