Monday, April 21, 2014

Karl Deisseroth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Karl Deisseroth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:



 "Karl Deisseroth M.D., Ph.D. is the D. H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He earned his A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard University and his M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford University in 1998, and completed medical internship and psychiatry residency at Stanford Medical School. He is known for creating and developing the technologies of CLARITY and optogenetics, and for applying integrated optical and genetic strategies to study normal neural circuit function as well as dysfunction in neurological and psychiatric disease. He has led his laboratory at Stanford University since 2004, serves as an attending physician at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and has been affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) since 2009.[1] [2]"



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Brain Control in a Flash of Light - NYTimes.com

Brain Control in a Flash of Light - NYTimes.com:



 "SAN DIEGO — Dr. Karl Deisseroth is having a very early breakfast before the day gets going at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Thirty thousand people who study the brain are here at the Convention Center, a small city’s worth of badge-wearing, networking, lecture-attending scientists."



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Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real - NYTimes.com

Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real - NYTimes.com:



“One Hundred Years of Solitude” is 47 years old now, and despite its colossal and enduring popularity, its style — magic realism — has largely given way, in Latin America, to other forms of narration, in part as a reaction against the sheer size of García Márquez’s achievement. The most highly regarded writer of the next generation, Roberto Bolaño, notoriously declared that magic realism “stinks,” and jeered at García Márquez’s fame, calling him “a man terribly pleased to have hobnobbed with so many presidents and archbishops.” It was a childish outburst, but it showed that for many Latin American writers the presence of the great colossus in their midst was more than a little burdensome. (“I have the feeling,” Carlos Fuentes once said to me, “that writers in Latin America can’t use the word ‘solitude’ any more, because they worry that people will think it’s a reference to Gabo. And I’m afraid,” he added, mischievously, “that soon we will not be able to use the phrase ‘100 years’ either.”) No writer in the world has had a comparable impact in the last half-century. Ian McEwan has accurately compared his pre-eminence to that of Charles Dickens. No writer since Dickens was so widely read, and so deeply loved, as Gabriel García Márquez.



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Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real - NYTimes.com

Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real - NYTimes.com:



"Gabo lives. The extraordinary worldwide attention paid to the death of Gabriel García Márquez, and the genuine sorrow felt by readers everywhere at his passing, tells us that the books are still very much alive. Somewhere a dictatorial “patriarch” is still having his rival cooked and served up to his dinner guests on a great dish; an old colonel is waiting for a letter that never comes; a beautiful young girl is being prostituted by her heartless grandmother; and a kindlier patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, one of the founders of the new settlement of Macondo, a man interested in science and alchemy, is declaring to his horrified wife that “the earth is round, like an orange.”"



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cracking the Particle Code of the Universe

I just finished reading this book by John W. Moffat.

Highly recommended.

The discovery of a particle with the quantum numbers of the vacuum, is a transition point for Particle Physics.

First though, the coming run of the LHC in 2015 has to tidy the picture a bit, but it seems OK so far.

Nielsen  claims that the measured mass value means that our Universe, is near collapse. This means that a different value would've  made it unstable.

"The PREdicted Higgs mass is essentially the smallest value, that would not make our present vacuum unstable. "

 This is related to ideas of Jean Pestieau, arXiv.

"In the electroweak standard model we observe two remarkable empirical mass relations,   and   where , e is the positron electric charge and v, the strength of the Higgs condensate."

 is 

The value just found at CERN, is where it should be, according to this prescient scientists.

Very important indeed!

Now I have to Crack the Code.

Dimension and Electric Force

A friend recently reminded me of something I thought years ago. I have a little note here.

The Google Docs implementation of a delta function is here.

As you can read in the first note, I got the idea from John Kogut.

This is Electrodynamics, which is a Gauge Theory  forcing fields to change in the presence of charges to conserve them. 

Remember this is a 1-D world, electric field lines cannot leave and come out or back into the source (positive) or sink (negative). Everything has to happen on the line. I use  Gauss's law for this field here. The charge is in the origin, it is represented by a Kronecker Delta function, in my discrete version of this problem, not by a distribution function like the Dirac Delta function.

In Gauss's version of the Law of Conservation of Electric Charge, we have a surface, where field lines representing the amount of charge cross. In 1-D these surfaces, or boundaries, are points to the left and right of the delta function. One electric field line points to the left, and other to the right of the charge. You can see in the Google Docs interpretation, how the value of the field changes sign, once one passes the charge. After passing the charge the value of the field stays constant, until another charge is inside the surface.

Gauss's Law is then, an accountant view of the charges we have inside the bag. Since charge is conserved, the field value remains constant also.

In other dimensions, the field has to decrease as one gets away from the charge, as  in two dimensions, and  in three. There are more directions where the field has to go, to keep charge reckoning alright.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Taking on Adam Smith (and Karl Marx) - NYTimes.com

Taking on Adam Smith (and Karl Marx) - NYTimes.com:



"PARIS — Thomas Piketty turned 18 in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, so he was spared the tortured, decades-long French intellectual debate about the virtues and vices of communism. Even more telling, he remembers, was a trip he took with a close friend to Romania in early 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet empire."



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Father Goriot, by Honore de Balzac

Father Goriot, by Honore de Balzac:



"Title: Father Goriot

Author: Honore de Balzac

Translator: Ellen Marriage

Release Date: February 22, 2010 [EBook #1237]
Last Updated: April 3, 2013

Language: English"



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A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth - NYTimes.com

A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth - NYTimes.com:



"What if inequality were to continue growing years or decades into the future? Say the richest 1 percent of the population amassed a quarter of the nation’s income, up from about a fifth today. What about half?"



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Why We’re in a New Gilded Age by Paul Krugman | The New York Review of Books

Why We’re in a New Gilded Age by Paul Krugman | The New York Review of Books:



 "Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics, isn’t a household name, although that may change with the English-language publication of his magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Yet his influence runs deep. It has become a commonplace to say that we are living in a second Gilded Age—or, as Piketty likes to put it, a second Belle Époque—defined by the incredible rise of the “one percent.” But it has only become a commonplace thanks to Piketty’s work. In particular, he and a few colleagues (notably Anthony Atkinson at Oxford and Emmanuel Saez at Berkeley) have pioneered statistical techniques that make it possible to track the concentration of income and wealth deep into the past—back to the early twentieth century for America and Britain, and all the way to the late eighteenth century for France."



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Economist Receives Rock Star Treatment

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French economists who boldly question the dominance of capital over labor — and call for a progressive global tax on wealth — visit the American halls of power about as often as French rock stars headline Madison Square Garden.
But those halls of power are where Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old professor at the Paris School of Economics, has been singing his song of late.
Since touching down in Washington this week to promote his new book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” Mr. Piketty has met with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, given a talk to President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and lectured at the International Monetary Fund, before flying to New York for an appearance at the United Nations, a sold-out public discussion with the Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and meetings with media outlets ranging from The Harvard Business Review to New York Magazine to The Nation.
The response from  fellow economists, so far mainly from the liberal side of the spectrum, has verged on the rapturous. Mr. Krugman,  a columnist for The New York Times, predicted in The New York Review of Books that Mr. Piketty’s book would “change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.”
Photo
Thomas Piketty at one of his New York talks this week.CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times
But through all the accolades, Mr. Piketty seems to be maintaining a most un-rock-star-like modesty, brushing away comparisons to Tocqueville and Marx with an embarrassed grimace and a Gallic puff of the lips.
“It makes very little sense: How can you compare?” he said on Thursday between gulps of yogurt during a break in his packed schedule — before going on to list the 19th-century data sets that Marx neglected to draw on in “Das Kapital,” his 1867 magnum opus.
“If Marx had looked at them, it would have made him think a bit more,” he said. “When I started collecting data, I had no idea where it would go.”
Mr. Piketty’s dedication to data has long made him a star among economists, who credit his work on income inequality (with Emmanuel Saez and others) for diving deep into seemingly dull tax archives to bring an unprecedented historical perspective to the subject.
But “Capital in the 21st Century,” which analyzes more than two centuries of data on the even murkier topic of accumulated wealth, has elicited a response of an entirely different order. Months before its originally scheduled April publication, it was generating intense discussion on blogs, prompting Harvard University Press to push the release forward to mid-February.
Since then, it has hit the New York Times best-seller list, and sold some 46,000 copies (hardback and e-book) — a stratospheric number for a nearly 700-page scholarly tome dotted with charts and graphs (as well as references to Balzac, Jane Austen and “Titanic”).
And not all those readers are economists. Six years after the financial crisis, “people are looking for a bible of sorts,” said Julia Ott, an assistant professor of the history of capitalism at the New School, who appeared on a panel with Mr. Piketty at New York University on Thursday. “He’s speaking to a real feeling out there that things haven’t been fixed, that we need to take stock, that we need big ideas, big proposals, big global solutions.”
Photo
Mr. Piketty's book on sale after he spoke Wednesday at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times
Those big ideas, and the hunger for them, were on ample display at N.Y.U., where the standing-room crowd was treated to Mr. Piketty’s apology for having written such a long book, followed by a breakneck PowerPoint presentation of its main arguments, illustrated with striking charts.
At the book’s center is Mr. Piketty’s contention — contrary to the influential theory developed by Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and ’60s — that mature capitalist economies do not inevitably evolve toward greater economic equality. Instead, Mr. Piketty contends, the data reveals a deeper historical tendency for the rate of return on capital to outstrip the overall rate of economic growth, leading to greater and greater concentrations of wealth at the very top.
Despite this inevitable-seeming drift toward “patrimonial capitalism” that his charts seemed to show, Mr. Piketty rejected any economic determinism. “It all depends on what the political system decides,” he said.
Such statements, along with Mr. Piketty’s proposal for a progressive wealth tax and income tax rates up to 80 percent, have aroused strong interest among those eager to recapture the momentum of the Occupy movement. The Nation ran a nearly 10,000-word cover article placing his book within a rising tide of neo-Marxist thought, while National Review Online dismissed it as confirmation of the left’s “dearest ‘Das Kapital’ fantasies.” 
But Mr. Piketty, who writes in the book that the collapse of Communism in 1989 left him “vaccinated for life” against the “lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism,” is no Marxian revolutionary. “I believe in private property,” he said in the interview. “But capitalism and markets should be the slave of democracy and not the opposite.”
Even if he doesn’t expect his policy proposals to find favor in Washington anytime soon, Mr. Piketty called his meetings there gratifying. Mr. Lew, he said, seemed to have read parts of the book carefully. A member of the Council on Economic Advisers corrected a small error concerning Balzac’s novel “Le Père Goriot,” which includes a discussion of getting ahead through advantageous marriage rather than hard work. “I was impressed,” Mr. Piketty said.
His book, however, ends not with an appeal to policy makers, but with a call for all citizens to “take a serious interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it and its history.”
“It’s too easy for ordinary people to just say, ‘I don’t know anything about economics,’ ” he said, before rushing to his next appearance. “But economics is not just for economists.”

Thomas Piketty Tours U.S. for His New Book - NYTimes.com

Thomas Piketty Tours U.S. for His New Book - NYTimes.com:



 "French economists who boldly question the dominance of capital over labor — and call for a progressive global tax on wealth — visit the American halls of power about as often as French rock stars headline Madison Square Garden."



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When Gabriel García Márquez Went Back to Aracataca - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com

When Gabriel García Márquez Went Back to Aracataca - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com:



 "The novelist and maestro Gabriel García Márquez died Thursday , mourned by the world at the ample enough age of 87. But for a time during his youth in Colombia — when he was inhaling three packs a day — he was sure that he would die young, dissolute “and in the street,” as he put it in his 2003 memoir “Living to Tell The Tale.” At that point, his mother, Luisa Santiaga Márquez, appeared unexpectedly in the city of Barranquilla, determined to rescue her law-school dropout son from a wasteful life as a mere writer. She convinced him to travel with her to the desolate, hellishly hot Caribbean town of Aracataca, where he was born in 1927."



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Friday, April 18, 2014

A Tiny Deal Maker Among Giants, Standing on His Own - NYTimes.com

A Tiny Deal Maker Among Giants, Standing on His Own - NYTimes.com:



 "I’m not making any declarations,” Mr. Taubman said. “Right now, I’m enjoying being in the mix, helping clients and advising them. Longer term, I’m open to a more permanent structure.”"



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Strong Earthquake Shakes Mexican Capital - NYTimes.com

Strong Earthquake Shakes Mexican Capital - NYTimes.com:



"ACAPULCO, Mexico — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties."



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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gabriel García Márquez - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:



 "Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez (American Spanish: [ɡaˈβɾjel ɣarˈsi.a ˈmarkes]  audio (help·info); 6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014) was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.[1]"



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Salvation Gets Cheap - NYTimes.com

Salvation Gets Cheap - NYTimes.com:



 "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pools the efforts of scientists around the globe, has begun releasing draft chapters from its latest assessment, and, for the most part, the reading is as grim as you might expect. We are still on the road to catastrophe without major policy changes."



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Gabriel García Márquez, Conjurer of Literary Magic, Dies at 87 - NYTimes.com

Gabriel García Márquez, Conjurer of Literary Magic, Dies at 87 - NYTimes.com:



 "Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87."



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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Court Deportations Drop 43 Percent in Past Five Years - NYTimes.com

Court Deportations Drop 43 Percent in Past Five Years - NYTimes.com:



 "New deportation cases brought by the Obama administration in the nation’s immigration courts have been declining steadily since 2009, and judges have increasingly ruled against deportations, leading to a 43 percent drop in the number of deportations through the courts in the last five years, according to Justice Department statistics released on Wednesday."



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Cracking the Particle Code of the Universe

John W. Moffat recently wrote a book with this title. Professor Moffat has been an active participant in the quest for the structure of matter. He independently discovered the charm quark, which is a very important piece of the Code he discusses in his book. Given the announcement from CERN about the discovery of the Higgs particle, this is a very timely book. Here I write some of my own ideas inspired by this book.

I met Professor Robert Brout in Mexico in the early 70s. He explained to us, the importance of understanding phase transitions concurrently with the study of Particle Physics Theory. He would've gotten the Nobel Prize in Physics last year for his discovery of spontaneous symmetry breaking in particle physics. Unfortunately he died prior to that announcement.

My contribution here is non-standard, as the authors mentioned here encourage me to be.

A friend, from my student years at UCSB, Kris Krogh, also inspires me. He made me aware of the pioneering, and non-standard , work of Louis de Brogle, on the so-called Pilot Wave Theory.  Which is pursued by Professor Antony Valentini at Clemson University.

What follows is my interpretation of the recent BICEP2 result, on polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background.

I imagine inflation as a bottle neck, increasing in size very fast. Waves and matter reach thermal equilibrium, which I imagine as a purely statistical behavior. At that scale matter becomes locked, just like Lord Kelvin predicted in the middle of the nineteenth century. In this view, quantum behavior is explained as a dead state of matter. The particle with a mass of 35.25 GeV, surmised by Dan Hooper, et al., could be the first WIMP observed. With this scale, one could try to get fundamental constants, like Planck's, and the speed of light; determined with principles of information, stability, and structure formation.

That'll crack the code!

Bad Astronomy April 2014 Lunar Eclipse

Lunar eclipse: The Blood Moon of April 2014.

Lunar eclipse: The Blood Moon of April 2014.:



 "You can see the bright star Spica (the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo) just to the Moon’s lower right, and the much fainter star h Virginis just above and to the left of the Moon. "



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kansas Shooting Suspect Is Charged With Murder - NYTimes.com

Kansas Shooting Suspect Is Charged With Murder - NYTimes.com:



 "OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A state prosecutor on Tuesday charged a 73-year-old white supremacist in the killing of three people outside two Jewish community facilities on Sunday."



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