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January 17, 2011

Just another day at the office


Above and below, Gray Cat keeps an eye on my treadmill workspace (running at 2 mph as these photos were taken by my crack team) about an hour ago.

You may ask yourself, why is she curled up where she is?

And she would reply — if she deigned to speak your language — that it's toasty there, right above the 3HP motor that gives off plenty of heat.


Breaking news: my resident cinematographer went all in and recorded a one-minute-long video while the photo shoot was happening.


My crack editing team is on it as we speak and with a little bit of luck there'll be a new movie featured in this space tomorrow and up on YouTube for my subscribers — all 71 of them — to enjoy at their leisure.

January 17, 2011 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wear your level


"This Level & Bit Tool Set features three screwdriver bits, rule, and level. Clips conveniently to pocket."


January 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Extraction of Timelike Entanglement From the Quantum Vacuum"

Time teleportation

Constant readers will know that an undercurrent of quantum thinking forms the basis for everything that appears here.

It may not be obvious but hey, who wants to constantly have their face shoved in it?

But I don't digress — for a change.

Now come scientists Jay Olson and Timothy Ralph, from the University of Queensland in Australia, to report that "Conventional entanglement links particles across space; now physicists say a similar effect links particles through time."

If you're already getting a headache, hey, I'm sympatico.

For you, long story short: "It's possible to travel into the future without being present during the time in between."

For everyone else, excerpts follow from a Technology Review story about the work.


Conventional entanglement links particles across space. Now physicists say a similar effect links particles through time.

Entanglement is the strange quantum phenomenon in which two or more particles become so deeply linked that they share the same existence.

That leads to some counterintuitive effects, in particular when two entangled particles become widely separated. When that happens, a measurement on one immediately influences the other, regardless of the distance between them. This "spooky-action-at-a-distance" has profound implications about the nature of reality but a clear understanding of it still eludes physicists.

Today, they have something else to puzzle over. Jay Olson and Timothy Ralph at the University of Queensland in Australia say they've discovered a new type of entanglement that extends, not through space, but through time.

They begin by thinking about a simplified universe consisting of one dimension of space and one of time.

It's easy to plot this universe on a plane with the x-axis corresponding to a spatial dimension and the y-axis corresponding to time.

If you imagine the present as the origin of this graph, then the future (ie the space you can reach at subluminal speeds) forms a wedge that is symmetric about the y-axis. Your past (ie the space you could have arrived from at subluminal speeds) is a mirror image of this wedge reflected in the x-axis.

When two particles are present, both sitting on the x-axis, their wedges will overlap in the future and in the past. This has a simple meaning: these particles could have interacted in the past and could do so again in the future, but only in the areas of overlap.

Conventional entanglement cuts across this world, quite literally. It acts along the the x-axis, linking particles instantly in time and in defiance of the boundaries to these wedges.

What Olson and Ralph show is that entanglement can just as easily work along the y-axis too. In other words, entanglement is so deeply enmeshed in the universe that a measurement in the past has an automatic influence on the future.

That may sound like a truism. Isn't this is how the universe works?, I hear you say. But this isn't ordinary cause and effect; there are some interesting subtleties to this phenomenon.

To see one, imagine an experiment that Ralph and Olson describe in which a qubit is sent into the future. The idea is that a detector acts on a qubit and then generates a classical message describing how this particle can be detected. Then, at some point in the future, another detector at the same position in space, receives this message and carries out the required measurement, thereby reconstructing the qubit.

But there's a twist. Olson and Ralph show that the detection of the qubit in the future must be symmetric in time with its creation in the past. "If the past detector was active at a quarter to 12:00, then the future detector must wait to become active at precisely a quarter past 12:00 in order to achieve entanglement," they say. For that reason, they call this process "teleportation in time".

But how is this different from ordinary existence? After all, we're all time travellers, moving into the future at the same rate. What's special about Olson and Ralph's route?

The answer is that Olson and Ralph's teleportation provides a shortcut into the future. What they're saying is that it's possible to travel into the future without being present during the time in between.

That's a fascinating scenario that immediately raises many questions. One of the first that springs to mind is what advantage might we get from this process. Might it be possible, for example, to make short-lived particles live longer by teleporting them into the future?

That isn't clear. Neither is it clear exactly how such an experiment might be done although. Presumably, it wouldn't be very different to the type of teleportation that is done in labs all over the world today, as a matter of routine (in fact Olson and Ralph say that timelike entangelment is interchangeable with the spacelike version).


All warmed up?

Your brain in a quantum frenzy, topped by perfect quantum foam?


Then you're ready for the abstract of Olson and Ralph's paper; it appears below.


Extraction of timelike entanglement from the quantum vacuum

Recently, it has been shown that the massless quantum vacuum state contains entanglement between timelike separated regions of spacetime, in addition to the entanglement between the spacelike separated regions usually considered. Here, we show that timelike entanglement can be extracted from the Minkowski vacuum and converted into ordinary entanglement between two inertial, two-state detectors at the same spatial location -- one coupled to the field in the past and the other coupled to the field in the future. The procedure used here demonstrates a clear time correlation as a requirement for extraction, e.g. if the past detector was active at a quarter to 12:00, then the future detector must wait to become active at precisely a quarter past 12:00 in order to achieve entanglement.


What, you say you want to read the eight-page original paper in its entirety, along with the three figures (one of which appears up top under the headline of this post)?

No problema: here you go.

Quantations cover BEST

[via Richard Kashdan, who knows a qubit from a cubit]

January 17, 2011 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

World Map Pillow


From the website:



Felt pillow with planisphere and imaginary world metro map.

Applications entirely hand-cut and sewn by machine.

Synthetic fiber pad covered with white cotton.

Metro lines are machine-embroidered.


Felt — 3mm; applications — 1mm.

48 x 31cm (19" x 12.2").

Zippered closure.



"Only one available."

Don't wait till Christmas, would be my advice.

Fair warning.

€47 ($64).

[via interior design room and swissmiss]

January 17, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Egg Man of Shanghai — Episode 2: Evicted!


Alas, young Chinese architect Dai Haifei's home hack didn't meet the standards of Shanghai's architectural review board: reader Ncinerate reported last evening in a comment on last Friday's Episode 1 that "City officials evicted him and carted his home off. The plan didn't really work out."


According to Ben Muessig's December 15, 2010 AOLNews article, "On Dec. 1, a representative with the Haidian District Urban Management Division told The Epoch Times that any roadside structure without a building permit would be considered 'unauthorized construction' and would be subject to removal."

"Officials reportedly ordered the egg to be taken down on Dec. 3, and the shell-shaped residence was wheeled away."


In an attempt to soften the blow, I hereby declare that Dai Haifei is welcome to rebuild his Egg House in my backyard and live there as long as he wants.

And my wicked fast WiFi works great out there so there's no reason he can't use it as his American headquarters — rent-free, the way he likes it.

January 17, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Soundproof Underwear


What took so long?

[via boxbank+Holycool and The Klutz Book of Inventions]

January 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

"I'm the king of reverse" ("Why we insure women")

Commercial for a South African insurance company that only insures women.

Res ipsa loquitur.

January 17, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: not a representation of dark matter.

Another: nor dark energy, for that matter.


January 17, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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