2016 — 19 September: Monday

My brain has yet to untangle — and, frankly, I doubt it ever will — all the ramifications of yesterday's essay in "Aeon" on retrocausality as a possible way around the minefield that is Bell's Inequality. Though it certainly untangles what the "Leonard" character (from my current ridiculously-enjoyable binge-rewatching of The Big Bang Theory) meant when he was explaining to his dinner-date that "pretty much nothing new" has happened in theoretical physics for 40 years.

... there remains one last, somewhat philosophical loophole, first 
identified by Bell himself: the possibility that hidden variables 
could somehow manipulate the experimenters' choices of what properties 
to measure, tricking them into thinking quantum theory is correct...


I would take comfort from Feynman's observation that if you think you understand quantum physics, you really don't. But that applies to so many areas of my life these days that it's almost a trivial observation.

I had enough trouble...

... realising that my initial Pythonic failure yesterday (silently glossed over in the carefully-edited snippet from the Command Line session) was simply because of an inadvertent re-naming (though not on my part!) of the name of the Books Schema file used to define what goes where in my little SQLite DB.

And even realising and fixing that fails to explain the whys and wherefores of the Black Hole that (I assume) has swallowed those "Antrobus" tales. It's a tad ironic to think that I bought the compendium to replace the three separate shorter collections, culled the triplet, and have now had1 to replace the replacement.

Breakfast is calling to me to make it. So I can eat it. And fill the Black Hole in the tum.

Remind me...

... not to buy a car from GM:

airbag recall delay

Just one of the many unacceptable faces of Capitalism, surely? Or am I missing something?

During the vital field testing...

... of my new vari-focal glasses that I picked up earlier this morning I fear I found some evidence that I'm getting older. I'd gone along to Asda to give the Mazda a bit more of a run, and was chit-chatting there to a Ms "Happy to help you" Asda lady of about my son's age, largely because I knew I would need her help to remove the 'security' devices from the cases of the two DVDs I'd bought:

DVDs from Asda

This was after first having strolled the entire length of the "manned" tills looking in vain for the one that met all three of my simple criteria — working, "manned", and with only a small queue. My harmless opening serve:
  "I can still remember when this was a Carrefour."
came whizzing back across the net:
  "Yes, I do too. My mum worked here back then."

Then, without my asking her to, she pushed every touch screen 'button' for me in a rapid blur. (Or maybe that was the glasses?)

If the Spectator continues...

... to commission and print book reviews that pander so neatly to my prejudices I may have to consider re-subscribing. Source and snippet:

... early psychoanalysis consisted of Freud misdiagnosing young Jewish women with types of neurological complaint (usually epilepsy) or organic illness (stomach cancer in one shocking case) as suffering from 'hysteria'...
While Freud was proposing a psychological constant, the Oedipus Complex, on the basis of something that hadn't happened (he had not seen his mother naked on a train and had not become aroused, but if he had, then...), Jung, by utter contrast, could not go all the way with Freud about the prime importance of infant sexual trauma because he himself had been abused as a child. So Jung was debarred by fact from entering the house built by Freud on fiction.

Sebastian Faulks in Spectator

Sorry I was a bit off-hand about you some years back, Sebastian!

Eric Schwitzgebel...

... had an essay in "Aeon" a while back (on my birthday in 2014, in fact) on "a theory of jerks". Two years on, he refined it for "Nautilus". And that led me first to his blog (The Splintered Mind), and from there to his splendid paper on group consciousness: "If Materialism Is True, the United States Is Probably Conscious". Something of a nightmare stretch with Trump rattling around.

I smiled when I noted "Sep 16, Florida State: "The Moral Behavior of Ethics Professors"" as that skates rather near the territory explored in Tom Stoppard's 1977 TV play "Professional Foul" — Ethical Fact in Ethical Fiction. Or is that just the way my mind works?

Having just heard, and...

... been pole-axed by, the Korean jazz singer Youn Sun Nah's live-in-the-studio version of the Randy Newman song "Same Girl", I've just downloaded her 2010 album of the same name.


1  "Had" may be putting it a bit strongly, I suppose.