Schrödinger's Cat

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Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics by Paul Halpern

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, cosmological constant, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, lone genius, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics

After clawing its way through literature, the eerie cat leapt into the world of pop music, thanks to the band Tears for Fears. The group released the song “Schrödinger’s Cat” as the B-side of a single in the early 1990s. (Later they also released “God’s Mistake” with the lyric “God 218 The Last Waltz: Einstein’s and Schrödinger’s Final Years does not play dice”—transforming Einstein’s statement into a musing on love’s unpredictability.) As songwriter Roland Orzabal explained: “My song . . . is merely a dig at the classical scientific way of seeing things, a dig at rational materialism, at taking things apart without being able to put them back together, at seeing the trees and not the wood. At the end of the song, I sing, ‘Schrödinger’s Cat is dead to the world.’ Is the cat dead, or just asleep? I like the ambiguity, the uncertainty.”23 In recent years Schrödinger’s cat has become a popular meme. It has appeared on T-shirts, in cartoons (such the popular online comic strip xkcd), and in television shows (such as The Big Bang Theory and Futurama).

Francis of Assisi, 80 Salam, Abdus, 226 Scherk, Joël, 231 School of Celtic Studies (DIAS), 156, 159, 163 School of Cosmic Physics (DIAS), 185, 196 School of Theoretical Physics (DIAS), 156, 158, 160, 166, 180 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 5, 17, 50, 76–77, 78, 96, 143 Schrödinger, Anny, 11, 91–92, 95–96, 98, 110, 120, 127, 144, 154, 155, 157, 161, 162, 180–181, 197, 199, 214, 216, 217, 219 Schrödinger, Erwin, 2, 24, 46, 49–50, 51, 131, 139, 148 Anny and, 76, 77, 91–92, 95–96, 110, 120, 151, 161 in Austria, 136, 144–145, 151–152, 213–215 Bauer-Bohm and, 143–144 in Berlin, 109–110 birth and childhood of, 16 Boltzmann and, 23, 25 casual appearance of, 118– 119 cat paradox, 2, 3–4, 141–143, 215–216, 218–219 controversy over intellectual estate, 219–220 correspondence with Einstein, 5–6, 7–8, 134, 140, 171, 177, 186–189, 207–208, 221 daughter Blathnaid, 177 daughter Linda, 178 daughter Ruth, 132, 136, 161–162, 180–181, 217–218, 219–220 death of, 217 de Broglie and, 94 Radiation, 45–46, 103 blackbody, 31–32 Radiation-filled box thought experiment, 137 Radioactivity, discovery of, 28 Radium, 28 Radium-A, 46 Ramond, Pierre, 230 Randall, Lisa, 232 Randomness Einstein and, 5–7, 90 Newtonian physics and, 14 Schrödinger and, 5–7, 81 Rebka, Glen, 200 Rechenberg, Helmut, 46 Reichelt, Hans, 152 Reichstag, fire in, 124–125 “Relative State’ Formulation of Quantum Mechanics” (Everett), 215 Renormalization, 199 Ricci-Curbastro, Gregorio, 54 Ricci tensor, 172, 173, 191 Riemann, Bernhard, 21, 54, 74 Riemann curvature tensor, 21, 61 Rogers, Will, 109, 115 Romer, Robert, 208–209 Roosevelt, Eleanor, 132 Roosevelt, Franklin, 132, 169 Rosen, Nathan, 8, 133, 137, 138–139 Rosenwald, William, 199–200 Rovelli, Carlo, 232 Royal Irish Academy, 9, 10, 173, 175, 186, 189–192 The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 75 Rubin, Vera, 229 Rudolph, Terry, 178 Russell, Bertrand, 212 Russell-Einstein manifesto, 212 Rutherford, Ernest, 45, 129 Rydberg, Johannes, 48 Rydberg formula, 48 267 Index Schrödinger, Erwin (continued) declaration of victory over Einstein, 9–12, 186, 187, 191–192, 193–194 defense of determinism, 102–103 departure from Austria, 153, 155 desire for Oxford position, 129, 130–131, 155 de Valera and, 10, 153–154, 155, 159, 174, 190, 194, 214 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and, 154–155, 159– 160, 162–164, 166–167, 186–187 Einstein’s response to his theory and, 197–198 Einstein’s unified theory approach and, 206–207 electron continuity and, 81–82 embrace of Ireland, 160–161, 199 entropy and, 92 extramarital relationships with women, 76, 96, 151, 162, 177–178 family life, 75–76, 120–121, 135–136, 161–162 flaunting connections with Einstein, 8–9, 166 general theory of relativity and, 64–66, 68 general unitary theory, 2, 171– 177, 184–185, 189–194, 195, 196–198 health issues, 214, 216 Hilde and, 130, 132, 136, 151, 156, 157, 161 Irish residence, 158 loss of position at Graz, 152–153 mainstream interpretation of quantum mechanics and, 119–120 as man of contradictions, 4–5 mathematics and, 17 at Naturforscherversammlung, 91 Nazis and, 127–128, 152 Nobel Prize, 7, 96, 131 nomination for Nobel Prize, 123 nuclear forces and, 206 philosophical interests of, 50, 76–78, 214–215 portrait of, 8 presentation of equation at Institute for Theoretical Physics, 100, 102–103 publicity for, 1, 110 put downs of Einstein, 166–167 retirement from university, 215 Schopenhauer and, 76–77, 96, 157 scientific legacy of, 219–221 search for commonality in all things, 80, 81 Spinoza and, 78, 157 statement of support for Anschluss, 152–153 university career, 24–26 as vagabond scholar, 91–92 Vedantic beliefs and, 76, 77– 78, 80, 120, 157, 217–218 visits to Einstein, 118, 119, 140 visit to Princeton, 134–135 wave equation, 5, 6, 93, 96–99, 106, 145–146, 218 World War I and, 51 Schrödinger, Georgine “Georgie” Bauer, 16 Schrödinger, Rudolf, 16, 76 “Schrödinger’s Cat” (Le Guin), 218 268 Index Spin, 95, 209–210 Spinors, 146, 216 Spinoza, Baruch, 2, 5, 17, 34, 78–79, 104, 120, 150 Spooky action at a distance, 137–138, 209 Stachel, John, 220 Standard model of particle physics, 225–230 Stark, Johannes, 131 Starlight, bending of, 50–51, 53, 66–67 Static universe model, 62–63 Statistical mechanics, 22–23, 90 Steady-state theory of cosmology, 157 Stoney, George, 28 “The Straight Dope” (Adams), 218 Strange quarks, 227 Strassmann, Fritz, 168 Straus, Ernst, 9, 181, 187, 196 Stress-energy tensor, 59, 60, 62 String theory, 230–233 Strong nuclear forces, 14–15, 136, 173, 199, 211 Strutt, John William (Lord Rayleigh), 32 SU(2), 210–211 Subatomic particles, 206 Sum over histories, 198–199 Sun, bending of starlight by, 50–51, 53, 66–67 Sundrum, Raman, 232 Supergravity, 231 Superstring field theory, 232 Superstring revolution, 232 Superstrings, 231–232 Supersymmetry, 230–231 Symmetry rule, 60 Synge, John Lighton, 195 Synge, John Millington, 195 Syracuse University, 169 Szilard, Leo, 168–169 Schrödinger’s cat paradox, 2, 3–4, 141–143 many-worlds interpretation of, 215–216 popularization of, 218–219 “Schrödinger’s Cat” (song), 218–219 Schulmann, Robert, 220 Schuschnigg, Kurt, 144–145, 152 Schwarz, John, 231, 232 Schwarzschild, Karl, 59 Schwinger, Julian, 199 Science fiction, Schrödinger’s cat and, 218 Scientific American (journal), 4, 110, 204 Scientific research, caution regarding hasty announcements, 233–236 Separation principle, 138 Sheldon, H. H., 115 Smith, Datus, 204 Smolin, Lee, 232 Solovine, Maurice, 34 “Some Thoughts on Casuality” (Schrödinger), 164 Sommerfeld, Arnold, 45, 54, 82–83, 84, 85, 86, 98, 166 The Sound of Music (film), 153 Space, Time, Matter (Weyl), 70 Spacetime, 39 curvature of, 21, 61, 172, 191 Einstein tensor, 59, 60–61, 62 extending by extra dimension, 72–73 in loop quantum gravity, 233 Spacetime interval, 39–40 Space-Time Structure (Schrödinger), 207 Special theory of relativity, 34, 36–40, 55, 95, 145–146 Speed of light in a vacuum, 27–28, 30, 36–38 269 Index 148–149, 150–151, 169, 170–171, 181, 203, 212–213 electroweak unification theory, 225–228 fifth dimension and, 71–74, 148–149, 150–151, 169, 170–171 Heisenberg and, 216 Klein and, 101–102 Schrödinger and, 2, 6–7, 9–11, 173–177, 184–185, 189– 194, 195, 196–198 standard model of particle physics and, 225 United Jewish Appeal, 200 The Universe and Dr.

Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics Paul Halpern, PhD A Member of the Perseus Books Group New York Copyright © 2015 by Paul Halpern Published by Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address Basic Books, 250 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10107. Books published by Basic Books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the United States by corporations, institutions, and other organizations. For more information, please contact the Special Markets Department at the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103, or call (800) 810-4145, ext. 5000, or e-mail special.markets@perseusbooks.com.


pages: 185 words: 55,639

The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything by John Gribbin

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking

.… Diligent readers without any specialized knowledge of physics or mathematics will come away with a flavor of the latest ideas theorists are grappling with.… Overall, this is an exciting tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly “Gribbin's enthusiasm is unmistakable, and his voice is friendly and reassuring as he guides us through this exotic material.” —John Ashkenas, San Francisco Chronicle “A clear, comprehensive popular treatment of the cutting edge of physics.” —Kirkus Reviews “From the author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat and In Search of the Big Bang comes yet another enthusiastic exploration on and lucid explanation of scientific theory.… Gribbin's straightforward approach leads the layman through the maze of scientific babble and ideas without either complicating or oversimplifying matters.” —Katrina Dixon, The Scotsman (U.K.) “Writing in his clear prose style, Gribbin introduces the general reader to the mysterious world of high-energy physics—a formidable task because of the complex theories involved; nevertheless, he translates these ideas into a readable, enjoyable narrative.

.… Here he introduces the ‘quarky’ zoo of subatomic particles and their mediating forces, Gribbin himself mediating for generalists the theories advanced to explain and unify them.… In these mind-bending realms, Gribbin's seasoned skills wonderfully simplify matters (and forces) without ‘dumbifying’ them.” —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist BY THE SAME AUTHOR In Search of the Edge of Time Hothouse Earth Being Human In Search of the Big Bang In Search of Schrödinger's Cat The Hole in the Sky Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science (WITH MICHAEL WHITE) Albert Einstein: A Life in Science The Matter Myth (WITH PAUL DAVIES) In the Beginning Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality Companion to the Cosmos The Case of the Missing Neutrinos Almost Everyone's Guide to Science Thanks to Benjamin Gribbin for editorial assistance Copyright Copyright © 1998 by John and Mary Gribbin Illustrations copyright © 1998 by John Gribbin All rights reserved.

It tells us that it is impossible to predict with absolute certainty the outcome of any atomic experiment, or indeed of any event in the Universe, and that our world is governed by probabilities. And it tells us that it is impossible to know simultaneously both the exact position of an object and its exact momentum (where it is going). How and why physicists came to these startling conclusions I have described at length in my book In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. Here I intend only to present an outline of the new world picture, without going into the historical and experimental details on which it is founded. But that foundation is secure; quantum physics is as solidly based, and as thoroughly established by experiments and observations, as Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Together they provide the best description we have of the Universe and everything in it, and there is real hope that the two pillars of twentieth-century physics may yet be combined in one unified theory.


pages: 208 words: 70,860

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Olbers’ paradox, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, Wilhelm Olbers

We may have resolved the Paradox of Laplace’s Demon; but in doing so we have not answered all these questions. 3 Pierre-Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities (1814), trans. F. W. Truscott and F. L. Emory, 6th ed. (New York: Dover, 1951), p. 4. 9 THE PARADOX OF SCHRÖDINGERS CAT The cat in the box is both dead and alive—until we look. In 1935 one of the founders of quantum mechanics, the Austrian genius Erwin Schrödinger, had had enough of the weird interpretations of its mathematics. Following lengthy discussions with, among others, Albert Einstein himself, he proposed one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science. He wrote a lengthy paper entitled “The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics,” which was published in a leading German scientific journal. It has since become known simply as the “Schrödingers cat paper,” and it is incredible how many people, quantum physicists included, have since tied themselves up in knots trying to emphasize or explain away the supposed paradox Schrödinger described in it.

Q173.A395 2012 500—dc23 2012005011 eISBN: 978-0-307-98680-1 Illustrations: Patrick Mulrey Cover design: Kyle Kolker Cover photography: istockphoto v3.1 To Julie, David, and Kate Contents Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication Preface 1 The Game Show Paradox 2 Achilles and the Tortoise 3 Olbers’ Paradox 4 Maxwell’s Demon 5 The Pole in the Barn Paradox 6 The Paradox of the Twins 7 The Grandfather Paradox 8 The Paradox of Laplace’s Demon 9 The Paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat 10 Fermi’s Paradox 11 Remaining Questions Acknowledgments About the Author Preface Paradoxes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are straightforward paradoxes of logic with little potential for investigation, while others sit atop icebergs of entire scientific disciplines. Many can be resolved by careful consideration of their underlying assumptions, one or more of which may be faulty.

After stating each one, I will lay it bare and explain how it evaporates away to reveal the underlying logic that shows its fallacy, or why it is not really an issue at all. They are all fun because they have some intellectual meat, and because there is a way out. You just need to know where to look, where to find the Achilles’ heel that can be exploited with careful prodding and a better understanding of the science, until the paradox is a paradox no more. The names of some of these paradoxes will be familiar. Take the Paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat, for instance, in which an unfortunate feline is locked into a sealed box and is simultaneously both dead and alive until we open the box. Less familiar, perhaps, but still known to some, is Maxwell’s demon, the mythical entity that presides over another sealed box and which is seemingly able to violate that most sacred of commandments in science, the Second Law of Thermodynamics—forcing the contents of the box to unmix and become ordered.


pages: 287 words: 87,204

Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, Brownian motion, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, trade route, upwardly mobile

., with a finite transmission speed of all influences,” and in a paper published in the Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society later that year said: “It is rather discomforting that the theory should allow a system to be steered or piloted into one or the other type of state at the experimenter’s mercy in spite of his having no access to it.”3 This was the genesis of Schrödinger’s famous cat. The cat in the box The ideas encapsulated in the famous “thought experiment” involving Schrödinger’s cat actually came in no small measure from Einstein, in the extended correspondence between the two triggered by the EPR paper and preserved in the Einstein Archive at Princeton University. Einstein introduced the idea of two closed boxes and a single ball, “which can be found in one or the other of the two boxes when an observation is made” by looking inside the box.

When he retired in 1956, Schrödinger returned to Vienna and served as Austria’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency before his death in 1961. Like other elderly physicists, including Einstein, he had tried unsuccessfully to find a unified theory of physics. But generations of physics students know him from the equation which bears his name, and countless non-physicists know him from the parable of Schrödinger’s cat. The whole point of that parable was to demonstrate the absurdity of quantum physics, and it could only have been dreamed up by a physicist steeped in the classical tradition. So the search for Schrödinger begins with classical physics. Chapter One Nineteenth-Century Boy Erwin Schrödinger was the only child of a wealthy Viennese family in the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

There must be a limit to how many electrons could occupy each orbit, and once that limit was reached any more electrons had to occupy orbits farther out from the nucleus. The idea was so outrageous that it might have been laughed out of court. But Bohr had an ace up his sleeve—or rather, a pair of aces. The first is only tangentially relevant to the story of Schrödinger as a reluctant quantum pioneer, so I will not go into details here (I have described it fully in my book In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat). Briefly, it is that Bohr’s model of the atom gave the first plausible explanation of why atoms can only join together to make molecules in certain ways, by forming so-called “bonds”—why, for example, a water molecule always consists of a single oxygen atom joined to two hydrogen atoms, and we never find a molecule composed of a single hydrogen atom joined to two oxygen atoms. It made chemistry a branch of physics.


pages: 999 words: 194,942

Clojure Programming by Chas Emerick, Brian Carper, Christophe Grand

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Amazon Web Services, Benoit Mandelbrot, cloud computing, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, finite state, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, mandelbrot fractal, Paul Graham, platform as a service, premature optimization, random walk, Schrödinger's Cat, semantic web, software as a service, sorting algorithm, Turing complete, type inference, web application

Inline implementations will be covered in detail in Implementing Protocols; for now it will suffice to provide a simple example of a type that contains a single mutable field and implements the sole method of the Clojure interface that defines the deref abstraction, IDeref:[198] Schrödinger’s cat. (deftype SchrödingerCat [^:unsynchronized-mutable state] clojure.lang.IDeref (deref [sc] (locking sc (or state (set! state (if (zero? (rand-int 2)) :dead :alive)))))) (defn schrödinger-cat "Creates a new Schrödinger's cat. Beware, the REPL may kill it!" [] (SchrödingerCat. nil)) (def felix (schrödinger-cat)) ;= #'user/felix @felix ;= :dead (schrödinger-cat) ;= #<SchrödingerCat@3248bc64: :dead> (schrödinger-cat) ;= #<SchrödingerCat@3248bc64: :alive> Felix is still both alive and dead… …until we—or the REPL—kill him (or ensure his survival) as a side effect of dereferencing. Mutable fields or reference/dataflow types? Because the state of our SchrödingerCat is not determined until we “look in the box,” it is equivalent to (delay (if (zero?

Further, multimethods provide a “preference” mechanism that can be used to specify how to resolve such ambiguity.[208] * * * [206] An example of the latter is described at http://dosync.posterous.com/51626638. [207] …and thus never any ambiguity of dispatch among protocol implementations for deftype or record types. [208] Multimethods are described in detail in Chapter 7, with their preference mechanism discussed in Multiple Inheritance. Participating in Clojure’s Collection Abstractions In “Schrödinger’s cat”, we had a glimpse of how to make a custom type participate in one of Clojure’s abstractions by making a type dereferenceable. Let’s raise the bar a bit and work through a complete data structure implementation that is fully integrated into Clojure’s abstractions: namely, an array-backed set, specialized to be more efficient in both performance and memory than standard tree-based hashing sets for very small numbers of items.[209] Participating in a Clojure abstraction currently means extending certain Java interfaces that Clojure defines for each abstraction.


pages: 258 words: 73,109

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone, Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Broken windows theory, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fudge factor, new economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel

LYING ABOUT A score in this way has a lot in common with a classic thought experiment called “Schrödinger’s cat.” Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who, in 1935, described the following scenario: A cat is sealed in a steel box with a radioactive isotope that may or may not decay. If it does decay, it will set off a chain of events that will result in the cat’s death. If not, the cat will continue living. In Schrödinger’s story, as long as the box remains sealed, the cat is suspended between life and death; it cannot be described as either alive or dead. Schrödinger’s scenario was intended to critique an interpretation of physics that held that quantum mechanics did not describe objective reality—rather, it dealt only in probability. Leaving the philosophical aspects of physics aside for now, Schrödinger’s cat story might serve us well here when thinking about golf scores.

Leaving the philosophical aspects of physics aside for now, Schrödinger’s cat story might serve us well here when thinking about golf scores. A golf score might be a lot like Schrödinger’s alive-and-dead cat: until it is written down, it does not really exist in either form. Only when it’s written down does it obtain the status of “objective reality.” YOU MAY BE wondering why we asked participants about “the average golfer” rather than about their own behavior on the course. The reason for this was that we expected that, like most people, our golfers would lie if they were asked directly about their own tendency to behave in unethical ways. By asking them about the behavior of others, we expected that they would feel free to tell the truth without feeling that they are admitting to any bad behavior themselves.* Still, we also wanted to examine what unethical behaviors golfers would be willing to admit to about their own behavior.

., 188 Prada bags: fake, 119, 122 real, given to author, 118–19, 122, 140 Predictably Irrational (Ariely), illegal downloads of, 137–39 preferences, creating logical-sounding reasons for, 163–64 prefrontal cortex, 169–70 Princeton University, honor code study at, 42–44 probabilistic discounting, 194 prostitutes, external signaling of, 120 prudence, principle of, 220n punishment, 13, 52 cost-benefit analysis and, 5, 13, 14 self-cleansing, in resetting rituals, 250–52 Rather, Dan, 152 rationalization of selfish desires: of Austen characters, 154–55 fake products and, 134–35 fudge factor and, 27–28, 53, 237 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 172 revenge and, 177–84 tax returns and, 27–28 see also self-justification reason vs. desire, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 “Recollections of the Swindle Family” (Cary), 246 religion: reminders of moral obligations and, 45, 249–50; see also Ten Commandments resetting rituals and, 249, 250–52 reminders: of made-up achievements, 153–54, 238 see also moral reminders resetting rituals, 249, 250–54 to change views on stealing, 252–53 self-inflicted pain and, 249, 250–52 Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and, 253–54 résumés, fake credentials in, 135–36, 153 revenge, 177–84 annoyance at bad service and, 177–80 author’s tale of, during European travels, 180–84 Rich, Frank, 150 right brain, 164–65 Roberts, Gilbert, 224 Rogers, Will, 55, 57 Rome, ancient: memento mori reminders in, 247 sumptuary laws in, 120 Romeo and Juliet, 98 Rowley, Coleen, 215 Salant, Steve, 115 Salling, John, 152 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 234 Schrödinger’s cat, 62–63 Schwartz, Janet, 80, 229, 259 Schweitzer, Maurice, 104, 260 scorekeeping, dishonesty in, 61–64 self-deception, 141–61 author’s personal experience of, 143–44 cheating on IQ-like tests and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 “I knew it all along” feeling and, 149 Kubrick imitator and, 150–51 negative aspects of, 158–59 people with higher tendency for, 151 positive aspects of, 158 reducing tendency for, 156–57 reminders of made-up achievements and, 153–54, 238 repeating lies over and over and, 142–43 selfishness of Austen characters and, 154–55 in sports, 155–56 veterans’ false claims and, 152 white lies and, 159–61 self-flagellation, 250–52 self-image: amount of cheating and, 23, 27 fudge factor and, 27–29 self-indulgence, rational, 115–16 selfishness, see rationalization of selfish desires self-justification: creation of logical-sounding explanations and, 163–65 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 172 mulligans and, 60–61 repositioning golf ball and, 61 see also rationalization of selfish desires self-signaling, 122–26 basic idea of, 122 charitable acts and, 122–23 fake products and, 123–26, 135 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31 Sense and Sensibility (Austen), 154–55 service providers, long-term relationships with, 228–31 service records, exaggerated, 152–53 Sessions, Pete, 209 Sex and the City, 103–4 Shakespeare, William, 184 shareholder value, maximizing of, 208n Shiv, Baba, 99–100 shopping malls, susceptibility to temptation in, 113 Shu, Lisa, 45, 259 signing forms at top vs. bottom, 46–51 insurance claims and, 49–51 tax reporting and, 46–49 Silverman, Dan, 114–15 Simple Model of Rational Crime (SMORC), 4–6, 11–29, 53, 201, 238, 248 author’s alternative theory to, 27–28; see also fudge factor theory guest lecturer’s satirical presentation on, 11–14 life in hypothetical world based on, 5–6 matrix task and, 15–23 tested in real-life situations, 23–26 sincerity, principle of, 220n Skilling, Jeffrey, 2 social norms, infectious nature of cheating and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social utility, collaborative cheating and, 222–23 South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commission in, 253–54 split-brain patients, 164 sports, self-deception in, 155–56 stealing: Coca-Cola vs. money, 32–33 joke about, 31 resetting mechanisms and, 252–53 from workplace, 31, 33, 193 steroids, in sports, 155–56 storytelling: creation of logical-sounding explanations and, 163–65 reinterpreting information in self-serving way in, 187–88 self-deception and, 142–43 Stroop task, 109–12 opportunity to cheat on, 111–12 Suckers, Swindlers, and an Ambivalent State (Balleisen), 188 sumptuary laws, 120 sunshine policies, 88, 91–92 suspiciousness of others: fake products and, 131–34 self-deception and, 158–59 Tali (research assistant), 21, 24–26 Taliban, 152 Talmud, 45 Tang, Thomas, 44 tax returns, 45–49 IRS reaction to author’s findings on, 47–49 rationalization of exaggerated deductions in, 27–28 signing at top vs. bottom, 46–49 technological frontiers, potential for dishonesty and, 188 temptation, resisting of: cognitive load and, 99–100 dieting and, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 ego depletion and, 100–116 evenings as difficult time for, 102 physical exhaustion and, 97–98 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 in shopping malls, 113 Ten Commandments, 39–40, 41, 44, 204, 250 This American Life, 6–7 Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) (Jerome), 28 Time, 215 token experiment, 33–34 Tolkien, J.


pages: 509 words: 92,141

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt, Dave Thomas

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A Pattern Language, Broken windows theory, business process, buy low sell high, c2.com, combinatorial explosion, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, general-purpose programming language, Grace Hopper, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, index card, loose coupling, Menlo Park, MVC pattern, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, revision control, Schrödinger's Cat, slashdot, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, traveling salesman, urban decay, Y2K

Related sections include: Decoupling and the Law of Demeter, page 138 Metaprogramming, page 144 It's Just a View, page 157 Challenges Time for a little quantum mechanics with Schrödinger's cat. Suppose you have a cat in a closed box, along with a radioactive particle. The particle has exactly a 50% chance of fissioning into two. If it does, the cat will be killed. If it doesn't, the cat will be okay. So, is the cat dead or alive? According to Schrödinger, the correct answer is both. Every time a sub-nuclear reaction takes place that has two possible outcomes, the universe is cloned. In one, the event occurred, in the other it didn't. The cat's alive in one universe, dead in another. Only when you open the box do you know which universe you are in. No wonder coding for the future is difficult. But think of code evolution along the same lines as a box full of Schrödinger's cats: every decision results in a different version of the future.

., 273 RCS, see Revision Control System Real-world data, 243 Refactoring, 5, 185 automatic, 187 and design, 186 testing, 187 time constraints, 185 Refactoring browser, 187, 268 Refinement, excessive, 11 Regression, 76, 197, 232, 242 Relationship has-a, 304 kind-of, 111, 304 Releases, and SCCS, 87 Remote Method Invocation (RMI), 128 exception handling, 39 Remote procedure call (RPC), 29, 39 Repository, 87 Requirement, 11, 202 business problem, 203 changing, 26 creep, 209 DBC, 110 distribution, 211 documenting, 204 in domain language, 58 expressing as invariant, 116 formal methods, 220 glossary, 210 over specifying, 208 and policy, 203 usability testing, 241 user interface, 203 Researching, 15 Resource balancing, 129 C++ exceptions, 132 checking, 135 coupled code, 130 dynamic data structures, 135 encapsulation in class, 132 Java, 134 nest allocations, 131 Response set, 141, 242 Responsibility, 2, 250, 258 Reuse, 33, 36 Reversibility, 44 flexible architecture, 46 Revision Control System (RCS), 250, 271 Risk management, 13 orthogonality, 36 RMI, see Remote Method Invocation Rock-n-roll, 47 RPC, see Remote procedure call Rubber ducking, 3, 95 Rules engine, 169 S Saboteur, 244 Samba, 272 Sample programs, see Example code Sather, 114, 268 SCCS, see Source code control system Schedule, project, 68 Schrödinger, Erwin (and his cat), 47 Scope, requirement, 209 Screen scraping, 61 Scripting language, 55, 145 Secure hash, 74 sed, 99 Sedgewick, Robert, 183 Self-contained components, see Orthogonality; Cohesion Semantic invariant, 116, 135 sendmail program, 60 Sequence diagram, 158 Server code, 196 Services, design using, 154 Shell, command, 77 vs. GUI, 78 see also Command shell “Shy code”, 40 Side effect, 124 SIGPLAN, 263 Simple loop, 180 Singleton object, 41 Slashdot, 265 SmallEiffel, 267 Smalltalk, 46, 186, 187, 268, 272 Software development technologies, 221 quality, 9 requirements, 11 Software bus, 159 “Software Construction”, 184 Software Development Magazine, 263 Software IC, 189n “Software rot”, 4 Solaris, 76 Source code cat eating, 3 documentation, see Comments downloading, see Example code duplication in, 29 generating, 103 reviews, see Code reviews Source code control system (SCCS), 86 Aegis, 246 builds using, 88 CVS, 271 development tree, 87 plain text and, 76 RCS, 250, 271 repository, 87 tools, 271 Specialization, 221 Specification, 58 implementation, 219 language, 62 as security blanket, 219 writing, 218 Spy cells, 138 Squeak, 268 Stand-alone mini-language, 62 “Start-up fatigue”, 7 Starting a project problem solving, 212 prototyping, 216 specifications, 217 see also Requirement Stevens, W.


pages: 262 words: 65,959

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Benoit Mandelbrot, cognitive dissonance, Erdős number, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Wolfskehl Prize, women in the workforce

A similarly obscure joke appears in “Mars University” (1999), when we briefly see a blackboard covered in esoteric equations relating to a branch of particle physics known as supersymmetric string theory, except in Futurama it is called superdupersymmetric string theory. The main joke involves a diagram labeled Witten’s Dog, which is a sly reference to both Ed Witten and Schrödinger’s cat. Ed Witten, one of the fathers of superstring theory, is generally considered the world’s greatest living theoretical physicist and arguably the smartest scientist never to have won a Nobel Prize. By way of compensation, Witten can at least claim the accolade of being immortalized in Futurama. Schrödinger’s cat is a famous thought experiment, one that is conducted in our imaginations rather than in the laboratory. Erwin Schrödinger, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933, asked what would happen inside a wooden box containing a cat, some radioactive material, and a poisoning mechanism that can be triggered by an unpredictable radioactive decay.

In particular, the Copenhagen interpretation suggested the bizarre notion that the cat was in a so-called superposition of states, which means it is both dead and alive . . . until the box is opened, at which point the situation is resolved. Schrödinger and his cat make a guest appearance in another episode, which is titled “Law and Oracle” (2011). Traffic cops chase after a speeding Schrödinger, who eventually crashes. When he emerges from the wreckage, he is questioned about the box in his car. The cops are URL (pronounced Earl) and Fry, who has temporarily left his job at Planet Express. URL: What’s in the box, Schrödinger? SCHRÖDINGER: Um . . . A cat, some poison, und a cesium atom. FRY: The cat! Is it alive or dead? Alive or dead?! URL: Answer him, fool. SCHRÖDINGER: It’s a superposition of both states until you open it and collapse the wave function.


pages: 257 words: 80,100

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, index card, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, wikimedia commons

Having drilled far down inside the atom, to a place where particles are inconceivably small and behave sometimes like particles and sometimes like waves, physicists encountered what appears to be an inescapable randomness at the heart of things. They were continuing the project of computing future states from specified initial conditions at time t = 0. Only now they were using wave functions. They were solving the Schrödinger equation. Calculations of wave functions via the Schrödinger equation produce not specific results but probability distributions. You may remember Schrödinger’s cat: either alive or dead, or neither alive nor dead, or, if one prefers (it’s something of a matter of taste), simultaneously alive and dead. Its fate is a probability distribution. When Borges was forty years old and writing “The Garden of Forking Paths,” a boy named Hugh Everett III was growing up in Washington, D.C., where he read voraciously in science fiction—Astounding Science Fiction and other magazines.

“One can imagine an advanced civilization pulling a wormhole out of the quantum foam,” they wrote in the 1988 paper, and they included an illustration captioned “Spacetime diagram for conversion of a wormhole into a time machine.” They were contemplating wormholes with mouths in motion: a spaceship might enter one mouth and exit another mouth in the past. Fittingly, they concluded by posing a paradox, only this time it isn’t the grandfather who dies: Can an advanced being measure Schrödinger’s cat to be alive at an event P (thereby “collapsing its wave function” onto a “live” state), then go backward in time via the wormhole and kill the cat (collapse its wave function onto a “dead” state) before it reaches P? They left that question unanswered. Hawking stepped in. He analyzed the wormhole physics as well as the paradoxes (“all sorts of logical problems, if you were able to change history”).

Given proper input, good quantum physicists can compute the output with certainty and keep on computing. The only trouble comes in the act of returning from the idealized equations to the real world they are meant to describe. Finally we have to parachute in from the Platonic abstract mathematics to the sublunary stuff on laboratory benches. At that point, when an act of measurement is required, the wave function “collapses,” as physicists say. Schrödinger’s cat is either alive or dead. According to a limerick: It comes as a total surprise That what we learn from the ψ’s Not the fate of the cat But related to that: The best we can ever surmise. This collapse of the wave function is the trigger for a special kind of argumentation in quantum physics, not about the mathematics but about the philosophical underpinnings. What can this possibly mean?


pages: 298 words: 43,745

Understanding Sponsored Search: Core Elements of Keyword Advertising by Jim Jansen

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AltaVista, barriers to entry, Black Swan, bounce rate, business intelligence, butterfly effect, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, first-price auction, information retrieval, inventory management, life extension, linear programming, megacity, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, PageRank, place-making, price mechanism, psychological pricing, random walk, Schrödinger's Cat, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sentiment analysis, social web, software as a service, stochastic process, telemarketer, the market place, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vickrey auction, yield management

So, we should expect it with our views of the foundational elements of sponsored search and even the implementation aspects. (Continued) 203 204 Understanding Sponsored Search The one thing that we mostly know about scientific theories and models is that they are eventually proven incorrect. This is not just true for “science back in the old days.” It is happening now with our current theories and paradigms. One of the most interesting examples to illustrate this is known as Schrödinger’s cat paradox, which is a thought experiment to expose the bizarreness of, and perhaps incorrectness of, quantum mechanics. Basically, a cat is put in a box where there is poison in a flask, a radioactive source, and a Geiger counter that releases the poison if radiation is detected. The paradox is this. Mathematically, there becomes a stable period (i.e., more than a moment, an enduring and stable time) where, according to quantum [2]. mechanics, the cat is both dead and alive [2 2].

So, we can expect sponsored search to evolve in the future. In the next chapter, we look at possible changes to sponsored search and the drivers of these changes. References ╇ [1] Popper, K. 1972. Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ╇ [2] ErwinSchrödinger (Translated by John D. Trimmer). 1980. “The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics: A Translation of Schrödinger ‘Cat Paradox Paper’.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 124(1), pp. 323–338. ╇ [3] vonBertalanffy, L. 1976 [1956]. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. New York: Braziller. ╇ [4] Hart, M. H. 1992. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. New York: Citadel Press. ╇ [5] Wilson, T. D. 2000. “Human Information Behavior.” Informing Science, vol. 3(2), pp. 49–55. ╇ [6] Putrevu, S. 2002.

., 151 Perception, 66, 117 perceptual process, 65 perfect information, 179–180, 184, 189, 197 personalization, 184, 226 Persuasive communication, 122 Pirolli, Pete, 44 Popper, Karl, 203 position impact, 74 positioning advertising, 126 power law, 49–55, 91, 104, 136, 211 prestige pricing, 133 primacy effect, 74–75 principle of least effort, 42–43, 49, 53–55, 58, 66–67, 70–72, 91, 96, 100, 114, 211, 213–214 privacy concerns, 223 Procter and Gamble, 11 prominence, 125 psychohistory, 47 Psychological needs, 125 quality score, 14, 184, 190–193, 196, 198, 200, 221 Quantum mechanics, 204 query length, 23, 41, 48–49 rational actor, 96, 100, 106 Real time content, 224 recency effect, 72, 74–75, 212–213 relevance, 10, 14, 20–21, 37, 64, 74, 76–77, 112–113, 118, 163, 184, 191, 211, 213 reliability, 141, 150, 164, 166, 171 Renaudot, Théophraste, 122 Resnick, Marc, 20, 118 RFM analysis, 104 right rail, 22 Rose, Dan, 44 Saracevic, Tefko, 44 satisficing, 42, 70, 92, 96 Schmidt, Eric, 177 Schrödinger’s cat paradox, 204 Schultz, C., 113, 116 Schwab, Victor O., 68, 100, 120, 165 screen real estate, 3–4, 21, 64, 120, 178, 199 search determinants, 92 Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. See€SEMPO search engine optimization, 22 search engine results page. See€SERP Search goods, 39 search motives, 92 search outcomes, 93 Index 277 search theory, 38 Search, Experience and Credence.


pages: 634 words: 185,116

From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time by Sean M. Carroll

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Columbine, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, gravity well, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, lone genius, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pets.com, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Schrödinger's Cat, Slavoj Žižek, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, the scientific method, wikimedia commons

After one day has passed, you will find yourself at the same place and time in spacetime as you were one day earlier (by your personal reckoning)—and of course, you should see your previous self there. If you like, you can exchange pleasantries with your former self, chatting about what the last day was like. That’s a closed timelike curve. This is where the paradoxes come in. For whatever reason, physicists love to make their thought experiments as violent and deadly as possible; think of Schrödinger and his poor cat.81 When it comes to time travel, the standard scenario is to imagine going back into the past and killing your grandfather before he met your grandmother, ultimately preventing your own birth. The paradox itself is then obvious: If your grandparents never met, how did you come into existence in order to go back and kill one of them?82 We don’t need to be so dramatic. Here’s a simpler and friendlier version of the paradox.

One famous attempt to grapple with the concept of life from a physicist’s perspective was the short book What Is Life? written by none other than Erwin Schrödinger. Schrödinger was one of the inventors of quantum theory; it’s his equation that replaces Newton’s laws of motion as the dynamical description of the world when we move from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. He also originated the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment to highlight the differences between our direct perceptions of the world and the formal structure of quantum theory. After the Nazis came to power, Schrödinger left Germany, but despite winning the Nobel Prize in 1933 he had difficulty in finding a permanent position elsewhere, largely because of his colorful personal life. (His wife Annemarie knew that he had mistresses, and she had lovers of her own; at the time Schrödinger was involved with Hilde March, wife of one of his assistants, who would eventually bear a child with him.)

I’ll be advocating that point of view in this chapter. But the subject remains controversial among the experts. The one sure thing is that we have to confront the measurement problem head-on if we’re interested in the arrow of time. THE QUANTUM CAT Thanks to the thought-experiment stylings of Erwin Schrödinger, it has become traditional in discussions of quantum mechanics to use cats as examples.196 Schrödinger’s cat was proposed to help illustrate the difficulties involved in the measurement problem, but we’re going start with the basic features of the theory before diving into the subtleties. And no animals will be harmed in our thought experiments. Imagine your cat, Miss Kitty, has two favorite places in your house: on the sofa and under the dining room table. In the real world, there are an infinite number of positions in space that could specify the location of a physical object such as a cat; likewise, there are an infinite number of momenta, even if your cat tends not to move very fast.


pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

But doing that, we also learned, significantly modifies the experiment itself. Answering the question implies introducing the specific apparatus that allows us to answer it. Introducing an apparatus that permits us to determine which slit a particle takes automatically means that the phenomenon of quantum interference disappears, because of the unavoidable interaction with that apparatus. Or, in the case of the famous Schrödinger cat, asking whether the cat is alive or dead immediately destroys the quantum superposition of the alive and dead states. Therefore, we have here a completely new situation, not encountered before in science—and probably not in philosophy, either: Creating a situation in which a question can be answered modifies the situation. An experimental quantum setup, or any quantum situation, can represent only a finite amount of information—here, either interference or path information.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

An actual experiment to examine retrieval of information falling into a black hole cannot be carried out. The notion was particularly important during the development of quantum mechanics, when legendary gedankenexperiments were conducted by the likes of Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein to test such novel ideas as the uncertainty principle and wave-particle duality. Examples, like that of “Schrödinger’s cat,” have even come into the popular lexicon. Is the cat simultaneously dead and alive? Others, particularly the classic double slit through which a particle/wave passes, were part of the first attempt to understand quantum mechanics and have remained as tools for understanding its meaning. However, the subject need not be an esoteric one for a gedankenexperiment to be fruitful. My own favorite is Galileo’s proof that, contrary to Aristotle’s view, objects of different mass fall in a vacuum with the same acceleration.

., 242–45 Randall, Lisa, 192–93 randomness, 105–8 rational unconscious, 146–49 ratios, 186 Read, Leonard, 258 realism, naïve, 214 Reality Club, xxix recursive structure, 246–49 reductionism, 278 Rees, Martin, 1–2 regression, 235 ARISE and, 235–36 relationalism, 223 relativism, 223, 300 relativity, 25, 64, 72, 234, 297 religion, 5, 6, 114 creationism, 268–69 self-transcendence and, 212–13 supernatural beings in, 182–83 and thinking in time vs. outside of time, 222 repetition, in manufacture, 171 replicability, 373–75 Revkin, Andrew, 386–88 Ridley, Matt, 257–58 risk, 56–57, 68–71, 339 security theater and, 262 statistical thinking and, 260 risk aversion, 339 risk literacy, 259–61 Ritchie, Matthew, 237–39 Robertson, Pat, 10 Roman Empire, 128 root-cause analysis, 303–4 Rosen, Jay, 203–5 Rovelli, Carlo, 51–52 Rowan, David, 305–6 Rucker, Rudy, 103–4 Rushkoff, Douglas, 41–42 Russell, Bertrand, 123 Rwanda, 345 Saatchi, Charles, 307–8 safety, proving, 281 Saffo, Paul, 334–35 Sagan, Carl, 273, 282 Sakharov, Andrei, 88 Salcedo-Albarán, Eduardo, 345–48 Sampson, Scott D., 289–91 Sapolsky, Robert, 278–80 Sasselov, Dimitar, 13–14, 292–93 SAT tests, 47, 89 scale analysis, 184–87 scale transitions, 371–72 scaling laws, 162 Schank, Roger, 23–24 Schmidt, Eric, 305 schools, see education Schrödinger’s cat, 28 Schulz, Kathryn, 30–31 science, 192–93 discoveries in, 109–11, 240–41, 257 humanities and, 364–66 method of, 273–74 normal, 242–43, 244 pessimistic meta-induction from history of, 30–31 replicability in, 373–75 statistically significant difference and, 378–80 theater vs., 262–63 scientific concept, 19, 22 scientific lifestyle, 19–22 scientific proof, 51, 52 scuba divers, 40 seconds, 163 security engineering, 262 security in information-sharing, 75–76 Segre, Gino, 28–29 Sehgal, Tino, 119 Seife, Charles, 105–8 Sejnowski, Terrence, 162–64 self, 212 ARISE and, 235–36 consciousness, 217 Other and, 292–93 separateness of, 289–91 subselves and the modular mind, 129–31 transcendence of, 212–13 self-control, 46–48 self-model, 214 self-serving bias, 37–38, 40 Seligman, Martin, 92–93 Semelweiss, Ignaz, 36 senses, 43, 139–42 umwelt and, 143–45 sensory desktop, 135–38 September 11 attacks, 386 serendipity, 101–2 serotonin, 230 sexuality, 78 sexual selection, 228, 353–54 Shamir, Adi, 76 SHAs (shorthand abstractions), xxx, 228, 277, 395–97 graceful, 120–23 Shepherd, Jonathan, 274 Shermer, Michael, 157–59 shifting baseline syndrome, 90–91 Shirky, Clay, xxvii, 198, 338 signal detection theory, 389–93 Signal Detection Theory and Psychophysics (Green and Swets), 391 signals, 228 Simon, Herbert, 48 simplicity, 325–27 skeptical empiricism, 85 skepticism, 242, 243, 336 skydivers, 39 Smallberg, Gerald, 43–45 smell, sense of, 139–42, 143–44 Smith, Adam, 258 Smith, Barry C., 139–42 Smith, Hamilton, 166 Smith, Laurence C., 310–11 Smith, John Maynard, 96 Smolin, Lee, 221–24 social microbialism, 16 social networks, 82, 262, 266 social sciences, 273 Socrates, 340 software, 80, 246 Solomon Islands, 361 something for nothing, 84 specialness, see uniqueness and specialness Sperber, Dan, 180–83 spider bites, 68, 69, 70 spoon bending, 244 stability, 128 Standage, Tom, 281 stars, 7, 128, 301 statistically significant difference, 378–80 statistics, 260, 356 stem-cell research, 56, 69–70 stock market, 59, 60–61, 151, 339 Flash Crash and, 60–61 Pareto distributions and, 199, 200 Stodden, Victoria, 371–72 stomach ulcers, 240 Stone, Linda, 240–41 stress, 68, 70, 71 string theories, 113, 114, 299, 322 subselves and the modular mind, 129–31 success, failure and, 79–80 sun, 1, 7, 11, 164 distance between Earth and, 53–54 sunk-cost trap, 121 sunspots, 110 Superorganism, The (Hölldobler and Wilson), 196–97 superorganisms, 196 contingent, 196–97 supervenience, 276, 363–66 Susskind, Leonard, 297 Swets, John, 391 symbols and images, 152–53 synapses, 164 synesthesia, 136–37 systemic equilibrium, 237–39 Szathmáry, Eörs, 96 Taleb, Nassim, 315 TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”), 84 Tapscott, Don, 250–53 taste, 140–42 tautologies, 355–56 Taylor, F.


pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

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Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

It postulates a vast and rapidly growing number of universes, existing in parallel and mutually undetectable except through the narrow porthole of quantum-mechanical experiments. In some of these universes I am already dead. In a small minority of them, you have a green moustache. And so on. The alternative ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ is equally preposterous – not wasteful, just shatteringly paradoxical. Erwin Schrödinger satirized it with his parable of the cat. Schrödinger’s cat is shut up in a box with a killing mechanism triggered by a quantum-mechanical event. Before we open the lid of the box, we don’t know whether the cat is dead. Common sense tells us that, nevertheless, the cat must be either alive or dead inside the box. The Copenhagen interpretation contradicts common sense: all that exists before we open the box is a probability. As soon as we open the box, the wave function collapses and we are left with the single event: the cat is dead, or the cat is alive.

The ‘many worlds’ interpretation of the same events is that in some universes the cat is dead; in other universes the cat is alive. Neither interpretation satisfies human common sense or intuition. The more macho physicists don’t care. What matters is that the mathematics work, and the predictions are experimentally fulfilled. Most of us are too wimpish to follow them. We seem to need some sort of visualization of what is ‘really’ going on. I understand, by the way, that Schrödinger originally proposed his cat thought-experiment in order to expose what he saw as the absurdity of the Copenhagen interpretation. The biologist Lewis Wolpert believes that the queerness of modern physics is just the tip of the iceberg. Science in general, as opposed to technology, does violence to common sense.156 Wolpert calculates, for example, ‘that there are many more molecules in a glass of water than there are glasses of water in the sea’.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

LYING ABOUT A score in this way has a lot in common with a classic thought experiment called “Schrödinger’s cat.” Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who, in 1935, described the following scenario: A cat is sealed in a steel box with a radioactive isotope that may or may not decay. If it does decay, it will set off a chain of events that will result in the cat’s death. If not, the cat will continue living. In Schrödinger’s story, as long as the box remains sealed, the cat is suspended between life and death; it cannot be described as either alive or dead. Schrödinger’s scenario was intended to critique an interpretation of physics that held that quantum mechanics did not describe objective reality—rather, it dealt only in probability. Leaving the philosophical aspects of physics aside for now, Schrödinger’s cat story might serve us well here when thinking about golf scores.

Leaving the philosophical aspects of physics aside for now, Schrödinger’s cat story might serve us well here when thinking about golf scores. A golf score might be a lot like Schrödinger’s alive-and-dead cat: until it is written down, it does not really exist in either form. Only when it’s written down does it obtain the status of “objective reality.” YOU MAY BE wondering why we asked participants about “the average golfer” rather than about their own behavior on the course. The reason for this was that we expected that, like most people, our golfers would lie if they were asked directly about their own tendency to behave in unethical ways. By asking them about the behavior of others, we expected that they would feel free to tell the truth without feeling that they are admitting to any bad behavior themselves.* Still, we also wanted to examine what unethical behaviors golfers would be willing to admit to about their own behavior.

., 188 Prada bags: fake, 119, 122 real, given to author, 118–19, 122, 140 Predictably Irrational (Ariely), illegal downloads of, 137–39 preferences, creating logical-sounding reasons for, 163–64 prefrontal cortex, 169–70 Princeton University, honor code study at, 42–44 probabilistic discounting, 194 prostitutes, external signaling of, 120 prudence, principle of, 220n punishment, 13, 52 cost-benefit analysis and, 5, 13, 14 self-cleansing, in resetting rituals, 250–52 Rather, Dan, 152 rationalization of selfish desires: of Austen characters, 154–55 fake products and, 134–35 fudge factor and, 27–28, 53, 237 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 172 revenge and, 177–84 tax returns and, 27–28 see also self-justification reason vs. desire, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 “Recollections of the Swindle Family” (Cary), 246 religion: reminders of moral obligations and, 45, 249–50; see also Ten Commandments resetting rituals and, 249, 250–52 reminders: of made-up achievements, 153–54, 238 see also moral reminders resetting rituals, 249, 250–54 to change views on stealing, 252–53 self-inflicted pain and, 249, 250–52 Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and, 253–54 résumés, fake credentials in, 135–36, 153 revenge, 177–84 annoyance at bad service and, 177–80 author’s tale of, during European travels, 180–84 Rich, Frank, 150 right brain, 164–65 Roberts, Gilbert, 224 Rogers, Will, 55, 57 Rome, ancient: memento mori reminders in, 247 sumptuary laws in, 120 Romeo and Juliet, 98 Rowley, Coleen, 215 Salant, Steve, 115 Salling, John, 152 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 234 Schrödinger’s cat, 62–63 Schwartz, Janet, 80, 229, 259 Schweitzer, Maurice, 104, 260 scorekeeping, dishonesty in, 61–64 self-deception, 141–61 author’s personal experience of, 143–44 cheating on IQ-like tests and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 “I knew it all along” feeling and, 149 Kubrick imitator and, 150–51 negative aspects of, 158–59 people with higher tendency for, 151 positive aspects of, 158 reducing tendency for, 156–57 reminders of made-up achievements and, 153–54, 238 repeating lies over and over and, 142–43 selfishness of Austen characters and, 154–55 in sports, 155–56 veterans’ false claims and, 152 white lies and, 159–61 self-flagellation, 250–52 self-image: amount of cheating and, 23, 27 fudge factor and, 27–29 self-indulgence, rational, 115–16 selfishness, see rationalization of selfish desires self-justification: creation of logical-sounding explanations and, 163–65 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 172 mulligans and, 60–61 repositioning golf ball and, 61 see also rationalization of selfish desires self-signaling, 122–26 basic idea of, 122 charitable acts and, 122–23 fake products and, 123–26, 135 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31 Sense and Sensibility (Austen), 154–55 service providers, long-term relationships with, 228–31 service records, exaggerated, 152–53 Sessions, Pete, 209 Sex and the City, 103–4 Shakespeare, William, 184 shareholder value, maximizing of, 208n Shiv, Baba, 99–100 shopping malls, susceptibility to temptation in, 113 Shu, Lisa, 45, 259 signing forms at top vs. bottom, 46–51 insurance claims and, 49–51 tax reporting and, 46–49 Silverman, Dan, 114–15 Simple Model of Rational Crime (SMORC), 4–6, 11–29, 53, 201, 238, 248 author’s alternative theory to, 27–28; see also fudge factor theory guest lecturer’s satirical presentation on, 11–14 life in hypothetical world based on, 5–6 matrix task and, 15–23 tested in real-life situations, 23–26 sincerity, principle of, 220n Skilling, Jeffrey, 2 social norms, infectious nature of cheating and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social utility, collaborative cheating and, 222–23 South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commission in, 253–54 split-brain patients, 164 sports, self-deception in, 155–56 stealing: Coca-Cola vs. money, 32–33 joke about, 31 resetting mechanisms and, 252–53 from workplace, 31, 33, 193 steroids, in sports, 155–56 storytelling: creation of logical-sounding explanations and, 163–65 reinterpreting information in self-serving way in, 187–88 self-deception and, 142–43 Stroop task, 109–12 opportunity to cheat on, 111–12 Suckers, Swindlers, and an Ambivalent State (Balleisen), 188 sumptuary laws, 120 sunshine policies, 88, 91–92 suspiciousness of others: fake products and, 131–34 self-deception and, 158–59 Tali (research assistant), 21, 24–26 Taliban, 152 Talmud, 45 Tang, Thomas, 44 tax returns, 45–49 IRS reaction to author’s findings on, 47–49 rationalization of exaggerated deductions in, 27–28 signing at top vs. bottom, 46–49 technological frontiers, potential for dishonesty and, 188 temptation, resisting of: cognitive load and, 99–100 dieting and, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 ego depletion and, 100–116 evenings as difficult time for, 102 physical exhaustion and, 97–98 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 in shopping malls, 113 Ten Commandments, 39–40, 41, 44, 204, 250 This American Life, 6–7 Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) (Jerome), 28 Time, 215 token experiment, 33–34 Tolkien, J.


pages: 625 words: 167,097

Kiln People by David Brin

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index card, jitney, life extension, pattern recognition, phenotype, price anchoring, prisoner's dilemma, Schrödinger's Cat, telepresence, Vernor Vinge

"In other words, that 'subjective viewpoint' you were talking about." "Right again. Someone has to consciously notice the effect of an experiment or event, in order for the wave functions to collapse and for it to become real." "Hm." I was struggling, but tried hard not to show it. "You mean like that cat inside a box, who's both alive and dead at the same time, till they open the lid." "Very good, Albert! Yes. As in the life or death of Schrödinger's cat, every decision state in the universe remains indeterminate till it's reified through observation by a thinking being. Even if that being stands many light-years away, glancing at the sky and casually noting the existence of a new star. In so doing, he can be said to have helped create the star, collaboratively, with every other observer who noticed it. The subjective and the objective have a complex relationship, all right!


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

As with tailgating, the profitability of lending can only be assessed over the long run, and then with difficulty. Loss accounting for banks has always been problematic. What provision, if any, should be made against profit today for loans believed to be sound? Suppose there is a 1 per cent probability that a loan of £100 will not be repaid. A ‘mark-to-market’ or ‘mark-to-model’ approach might value the loan at £99. But the loan is not worth £99. Like Schrödinger’s cat, which is either dead or alive, the loan is either good or bad; it is either worth £100 or nothing. ‘God does not play dice with the universe,’ Einstein said of problems like Schrödinger’s, but bankers do play dice with the financial universe. Traditionally, banks would squirrel profits away in anticipation of hard times: more recently, however, their senior management has had the opposite concern, seeking to justify their bonuses by declaring as large profits as possible.

.: Hyperion 220 Loomis, Carol 108 lotteries 65, 66, 68, 72 Lucas, Robert 40 Lynch, Dennios 108 Lynch, Peter 108, 109 M M-Pesa 186 Maastricht Treaty (1993) 243, 250 McCardie, Sir Henry 83, 84, 282, 284 McGowan, Harry 45 Machiavelli, Niccolò 224 McKinley, William 44 McKinsey 115, 126 Macy’s department store 46 Madoff, Bernard 29, 118, 131, 132, 177, 232, 293 Madoff Securities 177 Magnus, King of Sweden 196 Manhattan Island, New York: and Native American sellers 59, 63 Manne, Henry 46 manufacturing companies, rise of 45 Marconi 48 marine insurance 62, 63 mark-to-market accounting 126, 128–9, 320n22 mark-to-model approach 128–9, 320n21 Market Abuse Directive (MAD) 226 market economy 4, 281, 302, 308 ‘market for corporate control, the’ 46 market risk 97, 98, 177, 192 market-makers 25, 28, 30, 31 market-making 49, 109, 118, 136 Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID) 226 Markkula, Mike 162, 166, 167 Markopolos, Harry 232 Markowitz, Harry 69 Markowitz model of portfolio allocation 68–9 Martin, Felix 323n5 martingale 130, 131, 136, 139, 190 Marx, Groucho 252 Marx, Karl 144, 145 Capital 143 Mary Poppins (film) 11, 12 MasterCard 186 Masters, Brooke 120 maturity transformation 88, 92 Maxwell, Robert 197, 201 Mayan civilisation 277 Meade, James 263 Means, Gardiner 51 Meeker, Mary 40, 167 Melamed, Leo 19 Mercedes 170 merchant banks 25, 30, 33 Meriwether, John 110, 134 Merkel, Angela 231 Merrill Lynch 135, 199, 293, 300 Merton, Robert 110 Metronet 159 Meyer, André 205 MGM 33 Microsoft 29, 167 middleman, role of the 80–87 agency and trading 82–3 analysts 86 bad intermediaries 81–2 from agency to trading 84–5 identifying goods and services required 80, 81 logistics 80, 81 services from financial intermediaries 80–81 supply chain 80, 81 transparency 84 ‘wisdom of crowds’ 86–7 Midland Bank 24 Milken, Michael 46, 292 ‘millennium bug’ 40 Miller, Bill 108, 109 Minuit, Peter 59, 63 Mises, Ludwig von 225 Mittelstand (medium-size business sector) 52, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172 mobile banking apps 181 mobile phone payment transfers 186–7 Modigliani-Miller theorem 318n9 monetarism 241 monetary economics 5 monetary policy 241, 243, 245, 246 money creation 88 money market fund 120–21 Moneyball phenomenon 165 monopolies 45 Monte Carlo casino 123 Monte dei Paschi Bank of Siena 24 Montgomery Securities 167 Moody’s rating agency 21, 248, 249, 313n6 moral hazard 74, 75, 76, 92, 95, 256, 258 Morgan, J.P. 44, 166, 291 Morgan Stanley 25, 40, 130, 135, 167, 268 Morgenthau, District Attorney Robert 232–3 mortality tables 256 mortgage banks 27 mortgage market fluctuation in mortgage costs 148 mechanised assessment 84–5 mortgage-backed securities 20, 21, 40, 85, 90, 100, 128, 130, 150, 151, 152, 168, 176–7, 284 synthetic 152 Mozilo, Angelo 150, 152, 154, 293 MSCI World Bank Index 135 muckraking 44, 54–5, 79 ‘mugus’ 118, 260 multinational companies, and diversification 96–7 Munger, Charlie 127 Munich, Germany 62 Munich Re 62 Musk, Elon 168 mutual funds 27, 108, 202, 206 mutual societies 30 mutualisation 79 mutuality 124, 213 ‘My Way’ (song) 72 N Napoleon Bonaparte 26 Napster 185 NASA 276 NASDAQ 29, 108, 161 National Economic Council (US) 5, 58 National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) 255 National Institutes of Health 167 National Insurance Fund (UK) 254 National Provincial Bank 24 National Science Foundation 167 National Westminster Bank 24, 34 Nationwide 151 Native Americans 59, 63 Nazis 219, 221 neo-liberal economic policies 39, 301 Netjets 107 Netscape 40 Neue Markt 170 New Deal 225 ‘new economy’ bubble (1999) 23, 34, 40, 42, 98, 132, 167, 199, 232, 280 new issue market 112–13 New Orleans, Louisiana: Hurricane Katrina disaster (2005) 79 New Testament 76 New York Stock Exchange 26–7, 28, 29, 31, 49, 292 New York Times 283 News of the World 292, 295 Newton, Isaac 35, 132, 313n18 Niederhoffer, Victor 109 NINJAs (no income, no job, no assets) 222 Nixon, Richard 36 ‘no arbitrage’ condition 69 non-price competition 112, 219 Norman, Montagu 253 Northern Rock 89, 90–91, 92, 150, 152 Norwegian sovereign wealth fund 161, 253 Nostradamus 274 O Obama, Barack 5, 58, 77, 194, 271, 301 ‘Obamacare’ 77 Occidental Petroleum 63 Occupy movement 52, 54, 312n2 ‘Occupy Wall Street’ slogan 305 off-balance-sheet financing 153, 158, 160, 210, 250 Office of Thrift Supervision 152–3 oil shock (1973–4) 14, 36–7, 89 Old Testament 75–6 oligarchy 269, 302–3, 305 oligopoly 118, 188 Olney, Richard 233, 237, 270 open market operations 244 options 19, 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 263 Osborne, George 328n19 ‘out of the money option’ 102, 103 Overend, Gurney & Co. 31 overseas assets and liabilities 179–80, 179 owner-managed businesses 30 ox parable xi-xii Oxford University 12 P Pacific Gas and Electric 246 Pan Am 238 Paris financial centre 26 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards 295 partnerships 30, 49, 50, 234 limited liability 313n14 Partnoy, Frank 268 passive funds 99, 212 passive management 207, 209, 212 Patek Philippe 195, 196 Paulson, Hank 300 Paulson, John 64, 109, 115, 152, 191, 284 ‘payment in kind’ securities 131 payment protection policies 198 payments system 6, 7, 25, 180, 181–8, 247, 259–60, 281, 297, 306 PayPal 167, 168, 187 Pecora, Ferdinand 25 Pecora hearings (1932–34) 218 peer-to-peer lending 81 pension funds 29, 98, 175, 177, 197, 199, 200, 201, 208, 213, 254, 282, 284 pension provision 78, 253–6 pension rights 53, 178 Perkins, Charles 233 perpetual inventory method 321n4 Perrow, Charles 278, 279 personal financial management 6, 7 personal liability 296 ‘petrodollars’ 14, 37 Pfizer 96 Pierpoint Morgan, J. 165 Piper Alpha oil rig disaster (1987) 63 Ponzi, Charles 131, 132 Ponzi schemes 131, 132, 136, 201 pooled investment funds 197 portfolio insurance 38 Potts, Robin, QC 61, 63, 72, 119, 193 PPI, mis-selling of 296 Prebble, Lucy: ENRON 126 price competition 112, 219 price discovery 226 price mechanism 92 Prince, Chuck 34 private equity 27, 98, 166, 210 managers 210, 289 private insurance 76, 77 private sector 78 privatisation 39, 78, 157, 158, 258, 307 probabilistic thinking 67, 71, 79 Procter & Gamble 69, 108 product innovation 13 property and infrastructure 154–60 protectionism 13 Prudential 200 public companies, conversion to 18, 31–2, 49 public debt 252 public sector 78 Q Quandt, Herbert 170 Quandt Foundation 170 quantitative easing 245, 251 quantitative style 110–11 quants 22, 107, 110 Quattrone, Frank 167, 292–3 queuing 92 Quinn, Sean 156 R railroad regulation 237 railway mania (1840s) 35 Raines, Franklin 152 Rajan, Raghuram 56, 58, 79, 102 Rakoff, Judge Jed 233, 294, 295 Ramsey, Frank 67, 68 Rand, Ayn 79, 240 ‘random walk’ 69 Ranieri, Lew 20, 22, 106–7, 134, 152 rating agencies 21, 41, 84–5, 97, 151, 152, 153, 159, 249–50 rationality 66–7, 68 RBS see Royal Bank of Scotland re-insurance 62–3 Reagan, Ronald 18, 23, 54, 59, 240 real economy 7, 18, 57, 143, 172, 190, 213, 226, 239, 271, 280, 288, 292, 298 redundancy 73, 279 Reed, John 33–4, 48, 49, 50, 51, 242, 293, 314n40 reform 270–96 other people’s money 282–5 personal responsibility 292–6 principles of 270–75 the reform of structure 285–92 robust systems and complex structures 276–81 regulation 215, 217–39 the Basel agreements 220–25 and competition 113 the origins of financial regulation 217–19 ‘principle-based’ 224 the regulation industry 229–33 ‘rule-based’ 224 securities regulation 225–9 what went wrong 233–9 ‘Regulation Q’ (US) 13, 14, 20, 28, 120, 121 regulatory agencies 229, 230, 231, 235, 238, 274, 295, 305 regulatory arbitrage 119–24, 164, 223, 250 regulatory capture 237, 248, 262 Reich, Robert 265, 266 Reinhart, C.M. 251 relationship breakdown 74, 79 Rembrandts, genuine/fake 103, 127 Renaissance Technologies 110, 111, 191 ‘repo 105’ arbitrage 122 repo agreement 121–2 repo market 121 Reserve Bank of India 58 Reserve Primary Fund 121 Resolution Trust Corporation 150 retirement pension 78 return on equity (RoE) 136–7, 191 Revelstoke, first Lord 31 risk 6, 7, 55, 56–79 adverse selection and moral hazard 72–9 analysis by ‘ketchup economists’ 64 chasing the dream 65–72 Geithner on 57–8 investment 256 Jackson Hole symposium 56–7 Kohn on 56 laying bets on the interpretation of incomplete information 61 and Lloyd’s 62–3 the LMX spiral 62–3, 64 longevity 256 market 97, 98 mitigation 297 randomness 76 socialisation of individual risks 61 specific 97–8 risk management 67–8, 72, 79, 137, 191, 229, 233, 234, 256 risk premium 208 risk thermostat 74–5 risk weighting 222, 224 risk-pooling 258 RJR Nabisco 46, 204 ‘robber barons’ 44, 45, 51–2 Robertson, Julian 98, 109, 132 Robertson Stephens 167 Rockefeller, John D. 44, 52, 196 Rocket Internet 170 Rogers, Richard 62 Rogoff, K.S. 251 rogue traders 130, 300 Rohatyn, Felix 205 Rolls-Royce 90 Roman empire 277, 278 Rome, Treaty of (1964) 170 Rooney, Wayne 268 Roosevelt, Franklin D. v, 25, 235 Roosevelt, Theodore 43–4, 235, 323n1 Rothschild family 217 Royal Bank of Scotland 11, 12, 14, 24, 26, 34, 78, 91, 103, 124, 129, 135, 138, 139, 211, 231, 293 Rubin, Robert 57 In an Uncertain World 67 Ruskin, John 60, 63 Unto this Last 56 Russia defaults on debts 39 oligarchies 303 Russian Revolution (1917) 3 S Saes 168 St Paul’s Churchyard, City of London 305 Salomon Bros. 20, 22, 27, 34, 110, 133–4 ‘Salomon North’ 110 Salz Review: An Independent Review of Barclays’ Business Practices 217 Samuelson, Paul 208 Samwer, Oliver 170 Sarkozy, Nicolas 248, 249 Savage, L.J. 67 Scholes, Myron 19, 69, 110 Schrödinger’s cat 129 Scottish Parliament 158 Scottish Widows 26, 27, 30 Scottish Widows Fund 26, 197, 201, 212, 256 search 195, 209, 213 defined 144 and the investment bank 197 Second World War 36, 221 secondary markets 85, 170, 210 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 20, 64, 126, 152, 197, 225, 226, 228, 230, 232, 247, 292, 293, 294, 313n6 securities regulation 225–9 securitisation 20–21, 54, 100, 151, 153, 164, 169, 171, 222–3 securitisation boom (1980s) 200 securitised loans 98 See’s Candies 107 Segarra, Carmen 232 self-financing companies 45, 179, 195–6 sell-side analysts 199 Sequoia Capital 166 Shad, John S.R. 225, 228–9 shareholder value 4, 45, 46, 50, 211 Sharpe, William 69, 70 Shell 96 Sherman Act (1891) 44 Shiller, Robert 85 Siemens 196 Siemens, Werner von 196 Silicon Valley, California 166, 167, 168, 171, 172 Simon, Hermann 168 Simons, Jim 23, 27, 110, 111–12, 124 Sinatra, Frank 72 Sinclair, Upton 54, 79, 104, 132–3 The Jungle 44 Sing Sing maximum-security gaol, New York 292 Skilling, Jeff 126, 127, 128, 149, 197, 259 Slim, Carlos 52 Sloan, Alfred 45, 49 Sloan Foundation 49 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), financing 165–72, 291 Smith, Adam 31, 51, 60 The Wealth of Nations v, 56, 106 Smith, Greg 283 Smith Barney 34 social security 52, 79, 255 Social Security Trust Fund (US) 254, 255 socialism 4, 225, 301 Société Générale 130 ‘soft commission’ 29 ‘soft’ commodities 17 Soros, George 23, 27, 98, 109, 111–12, 124, 132 South Sea Bubble (18th century) 35, 132, 292 sovereign wealth funds 161, 253 Soviet empire 36 Soviet Union 225 collapse of 23 lack of confidence in supplies 89–90 Spain: property bubble 42 Sparks, D.L. 114, 283, 284 specific risk 97–8 speculation 93 Spitzer, Eliot 232, 292 spread 28, 94 Spread Networks 2 Square 187 Stamp Duty 274 Standard & Poor’s rating agency 21, 99, 248, 249, 313n6 Standard Life 26, 27, 30 standard of living 77 Standard Oil 44, 196, 323n1 Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon) 323n1 Stanford University 167 Stanhope 158 State Street 200, 207 sterling devaluation (1967) 18 stewardship 144, 163, 195–203, 203, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213 Stewart, Jimmy 12 Stigler, George 237 stock exchanges 17 see also individual stock exchanges stock markets change in organisation of 28 as a means of taking money out of companies 162 rise of 38 stock-picking 108 stockbrokers 16, 25, 30, 197, 198 Stoll, Clifford 227–8 stone fei (in Micronesia) 323n5 Stone, Richard 263 Stora Enso 196 strict liability 295–6 Strine, Chancellor Leo 117 structured investment vehicles (SIVs) 158, 223 sub-prime lending 34–5, 75 sub-prime mortgages 63, 75, 109, 149, 150, 169, 244 Summers, Larry 22, 55, 73, 119, 154, 299 criticism of Rajan’s views 57 ‘ketchup economics’ 5, 57, 69 support for financialisation 57 on transformation of investment banking 15 Sunday Times 143 ‘Rich List’ 156 supermarkets: financial services 27 supply chain 80, 81, 83, 89, 92 Surowiecki, James: The Wisdom of Crowds xi swap markets 21 SWIFT clearing system 184 Swiss Re 62 syndication 62 Syriza 306 T Taibbi, Matt 55 tailgating 102, 103, 104, 128, 129, 130, 136, 138, 140, 152, 155, 190–91, 200 Tainter, Joseph 277 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas 125, 183 Fooled by Randomness 133 Tarbell, Ida 44, 54 TARGET2 system 184, 244 TARP programme 138 tax havens 123 Taylor, Martin 185 Taylor Bean and Whitaker 293 Tea Party 306 technological innovation 13, 185, 187 Tel Aviv, Israel 171 telecommunications network 181, 182 Tesla Motors 168 Tetra 168 TfL 159 Thai exchange rate, collapse of (1997) 39 Thain, John 300 Thatcher, Margaret 18, 23, 54, 59, 148, 151, 157 Thiel, Peter 167 Third World debt problem 37, 131 thrifts 25, 149, 150, 151, 154, 174, 290, 292 ticket touts 94–5 Tobin, James 273 Tobin tax 273–4 Tolstoy, Count Leo 97 Tonnies, Ferdinand 17 ‘too big to fail’ 75, 140, 276, 277 Tourre, Fabrice ‘Fabulous Fab’ 63–4, 115, 118, 232, 293, 294 trader model 82, 83 trader, rise of the 16–24 elements of the new trading culture 21–2 factors contributing to the change 17–18 foreign exchange 18–19 from personal relationships to anonymous markets 17 hedge fund managers 23 independent traders 22–3 information technology 19–20 regulation 20 securitisation 20–21 shift from agency to trading 16 trading as a principal source of revenue and remuneration 17 trader model 82, 83 ‘trading book’ 320n20 transparency 29, 84, 205, 210, 212, 226, 260 Travelers Group 33, 34, 48 ‘treasure islands’ 122–3 Treasuries 75 Treasury (UK) 135, 158 troubled assets relief program 135 Truman, Harry S. 230, 325n13 trust 83–4, 85, 182, 213, 218, 260–61 Tuckett, David 43, 71, 79 tulip mania (1630s) 35 Turner, Adair 303 TWA 238 Twain, Mark: Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar 95–6 Twitter 185 U UBS 33, 134 UK Independence Party 306 unemployment 73, 74, 79 unit trusts 202 United States global dominance of the finance industry 218 house prices 41, 43, 149, 174 stock bubble (1929) 201 universal banks 26–7, 33 University of Chicago 19, 69 ‘unknown unknowns’ 67 UPS delivery system 279–80 US Defense Department 167 US Steel 44 US Supreme Court 228, 229, 304 US Treasury 36, 38, 135 utility networks 181–2 V value discovery 226–7 value horizon 109 Van Agtmael, Antoine 39 Vanderbilt, Cornelius 44 Vanguard 200, 207, 213 venture capital 166 firms 27, 168 venture capitalists 171, 172 Vickers Commission 194 Viniar, David 204–5, 233, 282, 283, 284 VISA 186 volatility 85, 93, 98, 103, 131, 255 Volcker, Paul 150, 181 Volcker Rule 194 voluntary agencies 258 W wagers and credit default swaps 119 defined 61 at Lloyd’s coffee house 71–2 lottery tickets 65 Wall Street, New York 1, 16, 312n2 careers in 15 rivalry with London 13 staffing of 217 Wall Street Crash (1929) 20, 25, 27, 36, 127, 201 Wall Street Journal 294 Wallenberg family 108 Walmart 81, 83 Warburg 134 Warren, Elizabeth 237 Washington consensus 39 Washington Mutual 135, 149 Wasserstein, Bruce 204, 205 Watergate affair 240 ‘We are the 99 per cent’ slogan 52, 305 ‘We are Wall Street’ 16, 55, 267–8, 271, 300, 301 Weber, Max 17 Weill, Sandy 33–4, 35, 48–51, 55, 91, 149, 293, 314n40 Weinstock, Arnold 48 Welch, Jack 45–6, 48, 50, 52, 126, 314n40 WestLB 169 Westminster Bank 24 Whitney, Richard 292 Wilson, Harold 18 windfall payments 14, 32, 127, 153, 290 winner’s curse 103, 104, 156, 318n11 Winslow Jones, Alfred 23 Winton Capital 111 Wolfe, Humbert 7 The Uncelestial City 1 Wolfe, Tom 268 The Bonfire of the Vanities 16, 22 women traders 22 Woodford, Neil 108 Woodward, Bob: Maestro 240 World Bank 14, 220 World.Com bonds 197 Wozniak, Steve 162 Wriston, Walter 37 Y Yellen, Janet 230–31 Yom Kippur War (1973) 36 YouTube 185 Z Zurich, Switzerland 62


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

If Cairns’s results were right, then cells must also be capable of reversing the flow of genetic information, allowing the environment to influence what is written in DNA. The publication of Cairns’s paper unleashed a storm of controversy and an avalanche of letters to Nature attempting to make sense of the finding. As a bacterial geneticist, Johnjoe was profoundly puzzled by the phenomenon of “adaptive mutations,” as they came to be known. At the time, he was reading a lay account of quantum mechanics, John Gribbin’s popular In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat,11 and couldn’t help pondering whether quantum mechanics, particularly that enigmatic process of quantum measurement, could provide an explanation of the Cairns result. Johnjoe was also familiar with Löwdin’s claim that the genetic code is written in quantum letters; so, if Löwdin were right, the genome of Cairns’s bacteria would have to be considered as a quantum system. And if that were true, then inquiring whether a mutation was present would constitute a quantum measurement.

Yu, “Distinct contributions of replication and transcription to mutation rate variation of human genomes,” Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics, vol. 10: 1 (2012), pp. 4–10. 9 J. Cairns, J. Overbaugh and S. Millar, “The origin of mutants,” Nature, vol. 335 (1988), pp. 142–5. 10 John Cairns on Jim Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Oral History Collection. Interview available at: http://library.cshl.edu/oralhistory/interview/james-d-watson/meeting-jim-watson/watson/. 11 J. Gribbin, In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat (London: Wildwood House, 1984; repr. Black Swan, 2012). 12 J. McFadden and J. Al-Khalili, “A quantum mechanical model of adaptive mutation,” Biosystems, vol. 50: 3 (1999), pp. 203–11. 13 J. McFadden, Quantum Evolution (London: HarperCollins, 2000). 14 A critical review is published here: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0101019 and our response can be found here: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0110083. 15 H.

Science...For Her! by Megan Amram

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Albert Einstein, blood diamonds, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, double helix, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, pez dispenser, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Wall-E, wikimedia commons

If you wrote down all the names of all the women Avogadro down-there-mistletoe’d, it would stretch to the moon and back thirty million times (rounded to the nearest thirty million). * * * ALBERT EINSTEIN (special and general relativity) Though many know him as one of the most famous scientists who ever lived, Einstein was also a notorious playboy who invented the condom because he loved to pork but didn’t want any STDs. E = MC squared? U = VD spared! * * * ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER (quantum mechanics) Famous for the hypothetical “Schrödinger’s cat.” Which is referring to his mistress Marta Schrödinger’s pussy! I would date any of them! Because unfortunately I’m single again. During the writing of this chapter my hockey boyfriend Anton dumped me, saying that I was tearing him and his hockey teammates apart and the “Brotherhood of the Ice” was more important than any girl. Joke’s on him: I replaced his puck with a used diaphragm! America has historically been good at producing physicists.

Lint by Steve Aylett

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death of newspapers, Mahatma Gandhi, rolodex, Schrödinger's Cat

Themes in “Opulence” were picked up in the penultimate story, another fiction, “Glove Begs for Skeleton,” in which an administration imprisons its people in the comfort of gold robots and need do nothing more. Care became wiring and anti-inflammatory drugs. A needle-sharp nose, a screwdriver neck, something cold and perfectly tooled—for the days the inhabitant took to starve and beyond, it was a fine item and on the outside there was no change from one with a live inhabitant and a dead one (recalling Lint’s rebuttal to Schrödinger, “The cat does know the difference”). Later the administration discovers it needn’t have the robots really made of gold, nor need they really function. Soon leaden and untooled, these small tombs were cheap and easy. A man placed in an old-style case with functioning limbs wanders out into the arid landscape, collecting plain gut and shells out of vestigial curiosity. The pattern he apprehends in the clinking shells is clear, and made clearer by a kind of quartz Zohar he finds in an abandoned bunker.


pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

How meaning manifests itself via the culture machine often links directly back into the specific histories of the individual media being simulated, and their traditions of authorship and reception. What follows here catalogs some of the strategies that these media have followed in this new era. T SIDEBAR The Soviet Man Who Fell to Earth Of all the delightful thought experiments that theoretical physics has given birth to, from Erwin Schrödinger’s cat to Richard Feynman’s Brownian ratchet, my favorite is Albert Einstein’s “twins paradox.”4 This story of two brothers explains the 49 CHAPTER 3 relativity of space and time. The first brother travels into space, while the other stays on Earth. The space farer is on a fast rocket and goes on a ten-year journey. When he returns home, though, he finds out that his brother has aged twenty years during his trip.


pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

The computer, the model of self-replication, game theory — and if that weren't enough, von Neumann also made major contributions to quantum physics. For what it is worth, however, I suspect that his formulation of the measurement problem in quantum mechanics is his one bad idea, a sleight-of-hand endorsement of a fundamentally Cartesian model of conscious observation that has bedeviled quantum mechanics ever since. My student Turhan Canli first opened this door in his (undergraduate!) term paper for me on the problem of Schrödinger's cat, in which he developed the sketch of an alternative formulation of quantum physics in which time is quantized. If I ever master the physics (a very remote prospect, sad to say), I will tackle this hunch, which might extend in wildly ambitious ways my theory of consciousness (1991a); more likely, however, is the prospect that I will be a semi-comprehending but enthusiastic spectator of this development, wherever it leads. 14.


pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

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augmented reality, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of the steam engine, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

And he’s rigged the game to keep us in it—you with Elsie, and by the way, have you called your sister to check that it’s not just a crock of lies he’s feeding you?—and me with—” She stops. “You haven’t called your sister. Why not? Is it just your…record?” You really don’t want to have to explain the truth about Elsie, and your sister, and the rest of your non-standard family arrangements, so you endeavour to tiptoe around the elephant in the living room without actually making eye contact with the pachyderm. “You know about Schrödinger’s cat? The superposition of quantum states? Michaels has put my niece in a box, and I’d rather not know for the time being who’s more ruthless—the other side, or the bastards we’re working for.” Because Team Red might have done something, like Barry says, or Barry’s cell might be running a really nasty Augmented Reality game against you to secure your co-operation. And neither possibility is pleasant to contemplate.


pages: 298 words: 84,394

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

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Albert Einstein, illegal immigration, Schrödinger's Cat, Skype, theory of mind

If anyone was eager to see the worst in Dad, it was my grandma Donna. Her instant dismissal was enormously comforting. It gave me back the things I knew—that my father was a kind man, that he would never do such a terrible thing. To this day, I can feel the bump of the tire over the cat’s body. And to this day I am very clear in my mind that it never happened. Think of it as my own personal Schrödinger’s cat. Was my father kind to animals? I thought so as a child, but I knew less about the lives of lab rats then. Let’s just say that my father was kind to animals unless it was in the interest of science to be otherwise. He would never have run over a cat if there was nothing to be learned by doing so. He was a great believer in our animal natures, far less likely to anthropomorphize Fern than to animalize me.


pages: 237 words: 64,411

Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Jerry Kaplan

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Brian Krebs, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, haute couture, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, Satoshi Nakamoto, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, The Chicago School, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Similar proposals have been made to eliminate spam: charge a tiny fraction of a cent for each email sent, making it unprofitable while permitting substantive communication to flow. 9. There’s a related concept in quantum physics: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you can’t know both the position and momentum of a particle precisely; the analogy here is that you can’t know both the exact price of a security and the time of that price precisely. Divergent prices of the same security on different exchanges are like Schrödinger’s mythical cat—the values exist simultaneously in superposition. The problem with HFT is that unlike quantum physics, the exchanges don’t cause an observation of price at a specific time to collapse the inconsistent prices (wave function) into a single value; that happens only as a result of a trade, which delivers value (energy). If you were able to make such costless observations in physics, you could harvest energy for free by picking and choosing which superposition value to make “real”—a form of Maxwell’s demon.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Greenberg, Donald, Aaron Marcus, Alan H. Schmidt, and Vernon Gorter. The Computer Image: Applications of Computer Graphics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley 1982. Greenberger, Martin, ed. Computers and the World of the Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1962. Greenblatt, R. D. et al. The Greenblatt Chess Program. Proceedings of the Fall Joint Computer Conference. ACM, 1967. Gribbin, J. In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality. New York: Bantam Books, 1984. Grimson, W Eric L. Object Recognition by Computer: The Role of Geometric Constraints. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990. Grimson, W Eric L. and Ramesh S. Patil, eds. AI in the 1980s and Beyond: An MIT Survey. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987. Grimson, William Eric Leifur. From Images to Surfaces: A Computational Study of the Human Early Visual System.


pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

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Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

More than a pure creation of imagination, complex numbers have found a fantastically large role for understanding properties of telecommunications by electromagnetic and acoustic waves, which we use daily in our modern civilization, because they conveniently encode the dual information of a wave, namely its amplitude (the loudness) and its frequency and phase (pitch). Complex numbers are also essential elements to formulating in a simple way one of the most fundamental theories of particles, quantum mechanics, for instance in the famous Schrödinger equation. The nonintuitive novel phenomena captured by quantum mechanics, such as the superposition principle made famous with Schrödinger’s cat, which is both alive and dead as long as no one observes it, result technically from the fact that quantum mechanics is a theory of complex numbers; or, to be technically more specific, quantum mechanics is a theory of their immediate (noncommutative) generalization, called the quaternions. We can now attempt to explain intuitively how a complex fractal dimension may lead to log-periodic oscillations, as claimed above.


pages: 229 words: 67,599

The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age by Paul J. Nahin

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, New Journalism, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, thinkpad, Turing machine, Turing test, V2 rocket

Any coupling is equivalent to observing the qubits, causing premature collapse, a phenomenon called decoherence. All realistic quantum computer technologies eventually succumb to this degradation. The trick is to get the computation done in a time less than the decoherence time (which varies from microseconds to minutes, depending on what quantum technology is used). The collapse of a measured (observed) quantum state-vector is the origin of the famous paradox of Schrödinger’s dead/alive cat. The mystery of state-vector collapse with observation is what was behind Einstein’s famous skeptical question: “Do you really believe the Moon exists only when you look at it?” 20. This curious name was probably motivated by the following geometric imagery. The numbers − 1 and + 1 are vectors on the horizontal axis of a rectangular coordinate system, to the left and to the right, respectively. is a vector on the vertical axis (upward).


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

DARPA has some 140 program managers on staff, mainly PhDs in the hard sciences, with a few others from social sciences and medicine. Joel Garreau, who wrote a book on DARPA, notes that the organizational culture is to seek out problems that staffers call “DARPA-hard.” These are “challenges verging on the impossible.” The presentations at its annual conference (DARPATech) illustrate with such panels as “The Future of Aviation,” “Obtaining the Unobtainium: New Materials,” and, of course, the ever popular “Letting Schrödinger’s Cat out of Pandora’s Box: Quantum Mechanics for Defense.” The location is equally instructive; the agency that tries to make the future come true holds its conference in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland. For all its success, not everyone is a huge fan of DARPA. Its critics in the blogosphere use such descriptors as “creepy” or call it the “Frankensteins in the Pentagon.” Part of this animosity lies with a fairly flawed public affairs operation.


pages: 823 words: 220,581

Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, open economy, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave

planetary behavior, theory of pleasure, pursuit of Poincaré, Henri policy ineffectiveness proposition politicians, influenced by neoclassical economics polynomialism Ponzi finance Popper, Karl positive economics post-Keynesianism potato famine in Ireland Power Law model Prescott, Edward price; changing, impact on consumer demand; controls imposed on; determination of; positive; theory of (‘additive’) pricing, of financial assets printing of money probability product rule production; Austrian theory of; economists’ assumptions about; neoclassical theory of; reswitching of; with a surplus; with explicit labor; with no surplus productivity: diminishing, causes rising price; does not determine wages; falls as output rises profit; definition of; falling tendency of; Marxian calculation of; maximization of (short-run); normal; rate of (determination of; falling); source of; super-normal proof by contradiction Property Income Limited Leverage (PILL) proto-energetics psychic income Pythagorean mathematics QE1 qualitative easing quantum uncertainty Quesnay, François Quesnay Economic Dynamics (QED) random numbers Rapping, Leonard rational behavior rational expectation see expectation, rational rational numbers rational private behavior rationality; definition of; in economics realism recession reductionism; fallacy of; reconstituted; strong Regulation Q regulatory capture rent; theory of Repast program representative agent passim Reserve Requirement reswitching returns to scale Ricardo, David; Marx’s critique of; Principles of Political Economy and Taxation; theory of rent risk; and return; measurement of; risk-averse behavior Robbins, L. Robinson, Joan Rodbertus, J. K. Roosevelt, Franklin D. Rothbard, Murray Roubini, Nouriel roundaboutness Russia Samuelson, Paul; ‘social indifference curves’; Foundation of Economic Analysis Sargent, Thomas Savings and Loans crisis Say, Jean Baptiste Say’s Law; Marx’s critique of scarcity Schiff, Peter Schrödinger’s cat Schumpeter, J. A. Sciabarra, Chris scientific realism second-order linear differential equations self-employment self-interest self-organization of systems Shadowstats.com Shaikh, Anwar, ‘Neo-Ricardian economics’ Sharpe, W. F. Shedlock, Mish Shiller, Robert shocks, exogenous short run short-term funding, dependence on Simulink system dynamics program Sippel, Reinhard size, importance of Smith, Adam; The Wealth of Nations Smith, Edgar, Common Stocks as Long Term Investment Smith, Yves social conflict, not taken into account social security social welfare; maximization of social well-being socialism; perceived inevitability of; scientific socialist economies, shortages in society, as sum of individuals soft budget constraint Solow, Robert Sonnenschein, H.


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pages: 295 words: 89,280

The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger

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Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Columbine, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, impulse control, Jony Ive, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Walter Mischel

My younger daughter has always been a bit better at that than my older daughter, and after she has emerged from her room following a long solo play session, I’ll sometimes go discreetly in and look at the little world she’s built—with the Polly Pockets figurines lined up in parade formation, a couple of Barbies sitting at a tea table, even a Little People farmhouse from her first-grade days pressed into service as scene setting—and try a little fantasy forensics to see if I can figure out what kind of story she has dreamed up. I dare not ask—or even worse, look in on her while she’s playing—lest, like Schrödinger, I kill the cat. But that mistress-of-the-universe ethos is exactly what’s not called for in group play, in which individual identity must be secondary to collective identity, and solo goals must give way to group goals. Yes, the very same collective values are stressed in organized, adult-supervised play—the no-I-in-team bromide, the eternally repeated refrain that sportsmanship and fair play are more important than winning.


pages: 240 words: 60,660

Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion With Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life by Emanuel Derman

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cepheid variable, crony capitalism, diversified portfolio, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, law of one price, Mikhail Gorbachev, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, riskless arbitrage, savings glut, Schrödinger's Cat, Sharpe ratio, stochastic volatility, the scientific method, washing machines reduced drudgery, yield curve

But you should never forget that even the best financial model can never be truly valid because, despite the fancy mathematics, a model is a toy. No wonder it often breaks down and causes havoc. Think of Models as Gedankenexperiments No model is correct, but models can provide immensely helpful ways to estimate value. I like to think of financial models as gedankenexperiments, like those Einstein carried out when he pictured himself surfing a light wave, or Schrödinger when he pictured a macroscopic cat subject to quantum interference. I believe that’s the right way to use mathematical models in finance, and the way experienced practitioners do use them. Models are only models, not the thing in itself. Models are better regarded as a collection of parallel thought universes to explore. Each universe should be consistent, but the world of financial concepts and the minds of the humans that interact with them, unlike the world of matter, are going to be infinitely more complex than any model you make of them.