Friday, June 7, 2013

NSA Over Reach (Around) --Don't Blame Obama...Blame The Idiots That Passed The Patriot Act

People are shocked! Shocked I tell you!
(Regarding the NSA spying on US citizens within US borders.) Agreed it is out of line if you have regard for civil liberties. No Argument from me there.  The National Security Agency's expansive reach should be criticized and scrutinized.
However let's be clear. It's nothing new at all. The tech has the collection improved. The "patriot act" did away with any remaining privacy rights one may have envisioned. Spying on US citizens while in the U.S.borders without a waiver from the AG was deemed unconstitutional  by the Supreme Court..(Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that intelligence agencies cannot conduct surveillance against American citizens. There are a few extreme circumstances where collecting on a U.S. entity is allowed without a USSID 18 waiver, such as with civilian distress signals, or sudden emergencies such as the September 11, 2001 attacks) however the USA PATRIOT Act has significantly changed privacy legality. Citizens simply  no longer have these privacy rights.

The anger at Obama is a bit curious really...after all , the outrage at him is for not stopping it, for allowing it to an ideal world, yes ..I sort of understand. One can say it's a matter of conscience...however  I've seen little or no evidence of conscience or idealism in positions of power in my lifetime (hinting at it gets one assassinated actually). Hence the need for rule of law, and those laws have to be written well with clear honest intent...not driven by outlandishly amplified fears.

Every president since Truman had equal opportunities to nip this sort of thing in the bud, but did not...they just seem to add to it. Think back, Remember the domestic wiretapping under Richard Nixon?
In the years after President Richard Nixon resigned, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NSA facilities. Senator Frank Church headed a Senate investigating committee which uncovered previously unknown activity, such as a CIA plot (ordered by President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro. The investigation also uncovered that the NSA had wiretaps targeted American citizens for Nixon's political purposes. After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 became law, limiting circumstances under which domestic surveillance was permitted. Then of course there was the warrantless wiretaps under George W. Bush. In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing  hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens. So this scandal goes back at least to that date. It's not current news really.

 I was very vocal in criticism to the patriot act at the time it was passed. It's terrible legislation that only passed because of the paranoia created by the 9/11 attacks. It needs should at least have had a sunset clause.

Once you give an agency a power they don't give it back. Which means we have to be very careful about letting such things start at all. 
I liken it to the corporate personhood issue, very very unlikely to change once that threshold is crossed. 

Yes we are screwed, because we did not heed Ben Franklin's words...' Those who would trade freedoms for security will have neither.'

The National Security Agency's predecessor was the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), created on May 20, 1949. This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It's original purpose was to direct the communications and electronic intelligence activities of the U.S. military intelligence units: the Army Security Agency, the Naval Security Group, and the Air Force Security Service. In 1951  the "Brownell Committee Report," after committee chairman Herbert Brownell, surveyed the history of U.S. communications intelligence activities and suggested the need for a much greater degree of coordination and direction at the national level.  The role of newly named 'NSA' was extended beyond the armed forces.
The creation of NSA was authorized in a letter written by President Harry S. Truman in June 1952.
It's purpose had been re-defined as "for the performance of highly specialized technical functions in support of the intelligence activities of the United States."
Vague huh?

How many clandestine espionage groups are authorized in the U.S.??
 The CIA....
The NSA....
Central Security Service (CSS)...
the DHS...Department of Home Security
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)....
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA)
Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)
Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Office of National Security Intelligence (ONSI)
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)

That's a lot of prying eyes...a lot of potential loose cannons.
There's probably plenty of "black budget" stuff as well....that we can't know about or they'd have to ....
I don't know, are we crazy?  England for instance has MI5 and for domestic issues and one for foreign issues.   Seems a lot more efficient. 
One Nation,
Under Surveilence...
Well, you're never alone with a tap on your phone....♫ are you lonesome tonight?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Heisenberg Probably Rules!

The "Infinity Environment,"
an installation art piece by Doug Wheeler on display at the Doug Zwirner Gallery in New
York City.
Quantum mechanics describes the world in terms of probabilities,
rather than definite outcomes.
The Many Worlds interpretation
suggests our own Universe is drifting
among a veritable sea of spontaneously inflating bubbles,
each being a self-contained
and causally separate pocket of higher-dimensional spacetime.
It seems the mathematics of this theory
may suggest
that all possible outcomes of a situation
actually do occur — in their separate universes.

For example, let's say you are a blues musician,
and you are standing at a crossroads
where you can go right or left,
the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes:
one in which you go right, and one in which you go left.
  In each universe, there is a copy of you witnessing one or the other outcome,
thinking — incorrectly — that your reality is the only reality,"

Every universe comprising the multiverse is a discrete timespace bubble
Einstein walks into a bar and says to the bartender,
"I'll take a beer, and a beer for my friend, Heisenberg."
The bartender looks around and asks,
"Is your friend here?"
"Well," says Einstein,
"he is and he isn't."

A Cloud of Probabilities

There are numerous disciplines that suggest a multiversity, or numerous universes.
Scientists can't be sure what the shape of space-time is, but most agree that likely, it's flat (as opposed to spherical, even donut-shape) and stretches out infinitely.
But if space-time goes on forever,
then it must start repeating at some point,
because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.
So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Because the observable universe extends only as far as light has had a chance to get in the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang (that would be 13.7 billion light-years), the space-time beyond that distance can be considered to be its own separate universe. In this way,
a multitude of universes exists next to each other in a giant patchwork quilt of universes.

Physicists at University College London, Imperial College London, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have designed a computer algorithm that actually examines the WMAP [NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite] data for these telltale signatures of collisions with other universes. After determining what the WMAP results would look like both with and without cosmic collisions, the team uses the algorithm to determine which scenario fits best with the actual WMAP data. Once the results are in, the team’s algorithm performs a statistical analysis to ensure that any signatures that are detected are in fact due to collisions with other universes, and are unlikely to be due to chance. The results of this ground-breaking project are not yet conclusive enough to determine whether we do actually live in a multiverse or not; however, these scientists remain optimistic about the rigor of their method and they hope to continue this research as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is probed more deeply by the Planck satellite, which began its fifth all-sky survey on July 29.

In addition to the multiple universes created by infinitely extending space-time, other universes could also arise from "eternal inflation." Inflation is the notion that the universe expanded rapidly after the Big Bang, in effect inflating like a balloon. Eternal inflation, first proposed by Tufts University cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin, suggests that some pockets of space stop inflating, while other regions continue to inflate, thus giving rise to many isolated "bubble universes."

Our own universe, where inflation has ended, (allowing stars and galaxies to form) is but a small bubble in a vast sea of space, some of which is still inflating, that contains many other bubbles like ours. And in some of these bubble universes, the laws of physics and fundamental constants could be different than in ours, making some universes wacky strange places indeed.
String theorists also suggests we exist in but one membrane universe coexisting in a multitude of membranes.
(See the previous post)

Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature.
If the latter is true,
then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn't the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes.

As you can see there are many paths that arrive at multiple universes.
In the realm of probability, it's a good bet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The immense Colossal Whizzbang Whangdangdoodle

Implications Of The Multiverse
On The Big Bang

How many theoretical physicists
specializing in general relativity
does it take to change a light bulb?
One to hold the bulb
and one to rotate the universe.

Hello friends!
I'm writing to you from an alternate universe in which time moves backwards, the planets orbit around Stephen Fry, The U.S. Congress is not comprised of racketeering imbeciles, & this article was never written. According to the Big Bang theory, our universe began extremely hot and extremely dense around 14 billion years ago. Space itself expanded and cooled down, eventually allowing atoms to form and clump together to build the stars and galaxies we see today. On this, most scientists are in agreement as there is plenty of evidence to indicate this is indeed so.
University of Pennsylvania particle physicist Burt Ovrut has said "I would say that there is 100 percent consensus, really, there is overwhelming evidence all of the predictions are true."
University Of Penn Physicist Burt Ovrut

For example, this theory predicted that the universe today would be filled with pervasive light left over from the Big Bang. This glow, called the cosmic microwave background radiation, was discovered in 1964,  20 years after it was predicted. However, what caused the Big Bang, what happened at that exact moment, and what came immediately after it, are much more open to contentious controversy, disputable debates, & general brouhaha.

Neil Turok
"Inflation is easily the most popular theory in cosmology," according to theoretical physicist Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada. "It's a good theory, but it has some weak points. It can't describe the moment of the Big Bang."
The Big Bang theory envisions the universe beginning from a singularity, a mathematical concept of infinite temperature and infinite density packed into a single point of space. But scientists don't think this is what actually happened. "It wouldn't really be infinite," explained physicist Paul Steinhardt, director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, who himself was one of the architects of the inflation theory. He noted "Infinity just means a mathematical breakdown. It's a statement that you shouldn't have extrapolated your equations back that far because they just blew up in your face."
So neither the Big Bang theory nor inflationary theory can describe what happened at that moment.

Princeton's Paul Steinhardt

There are some problems with inflation because of quantum fluctuations, different parts of the universe could inflate at different rates, creating "bubble universes" that are much larger than other regions. Our universe may be just one in a multiverse, where different scales and physical laws reign. In such a reality, everything and anything that can happen, will, so basically everything could be a prediction of inflation. This is a fundamental problem and we don't know how to escape it.
Of course there are scientists who say that while inflation may not be complete, it's still the most useful thing we've got to describe the origins of the universe.

Another case where the study of the smallest bits in the universe leads to an understanding of the largest bits is the idea of Cycles. The origins of which come from String Theory or "M Theory" more accurately  (a branch on the string theory tree).  Physicist Paul Steinhardt and Paul.Turok (Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics) proposed an idea called the cyclic model, based on an earlier concept called the ekpyrotic universe that they'd conceived with Ovrut.
In this scenario, the universe undergoes an endless sequence of "bangs" and "crunches".
 Periods of expansion followed by periods of contraction.
 At each transition, the universe would have some finite temperature and density, rather than the infinity of the singularity, and the expansion and contraction would be relatively slow, as opposed to the exponentially quick expansion proposed by inflation.

The idea is based on M-theory, a version of string theory which suggests that every particle is in fact a tiny loop of string whose vibration pattern determines what type of particle it will be. However, M-theory requires the universe to have 11 dimensions. So far, we can only detect four dimensions, three of space and one of time. The other seven are hidden, proponents say. Scientists call the four-dimensional part of the universe we can see a brane, (short for membrane) and suggest that other four-dimensional branes also exist inside this 11-dimesnional space.
"If you have another brane living in higher dimensions, it's extremely likely to move and slam into our own brane," Ovrut said. "You have a brane with exactly the structure of our real world, and other branes that are likely to hit us, and all of the energy of colliding universes would come into play. Gee, that sounds a heck of a lot like a Big Bang to me."
Advocates of the idea say it offers an exciting way of addressing the issue of what prompted the Big Bang, and it avoids some of the pitfalls of inflation such as infinity which is problematic.
Particles such as antimatter from a parallel universe, interacting with our own may be behind the mysterious deep space gamma bursts that have puzzled astronomers since their first observation.
"In the cyclic theory you are not only describing the last bang, but the ones before it," Turok explained. "It's a bigger picture, more complete and hopefully more logically consistent."
Schroedinger's Cat in it's natural habitat

The idea of alternate universes is not new, it's been around in Quantum Physics since the "many worlds" interpretation. In the Copenhagen interpretation, the mathematics of quantum mechanics allows one to predict probabilities for the occurrence of various events. In the many-worlds interpretation, all these events occur simultaneously.

What meaning should be given to these probability calculations?
And why do we observe, in our history, that the events with a higher computed probability seem to have occurred more often? One answer to these questions is to say that there is a probability measure on the space of all possible universes, where a possible universe is a complete path in the tree of branching universes. This is indeed what the calculations seem to give credence to. Of course this is all theory, yet quantum computing relies on a very real particle being in many places simultaneously, it relies on dimensions beyond the ones we perceive. Fortunately for those who work in this field, they don't particularly have to make sense of it or explain it, but rather just focus on the fact that it works. Indeed we are standing on a whale looking for minnows.

  1. ^ Perimeter Institute, Seminar overview, Probability in the Everett interpretation: state of play, David Wallace - Oxford University, 21 Sept 2007
  2. ^ Perimeter Institute, Many worlds at 50 conference, September 21-24, 2007
  3. ^ Wojciech H. Zurek: Probabilities from entanglement, Born’s rule from envariance, Phys. Rev. A71, 052105 (2005).
  4. ^ M. Schlosshauer & A. Fine: On Zurek's derivation of the Born rule. Found. Phys. 35, 197-213 (2005).
  5. ^ Lutz Polley, Position eigenstates and the statistical axiom of quantum mechanics, contribution to conference Foundations of Probability and Physics, Vaxjo, Nov 27 - Dec 1, 2000
  6. ^ Lutz Polley, Quantum-mechanical probability from the symmetries of two-state systems
  7. ^ Armando V.D.B. Assis (2011). "Assis, Armando V.D.B. On the nature of and the emergence of the Born rule. Annalen der Physik, 2011.". Annalen der Physik (Berlin) 523: 883–897. arXiv:1009.1532. Bibcode 2011AnP...523..883A. doi:10.1002/andp.201100062.
  8. ^ Everett FAQ "Is many-worlds a local theory?"