To quote directly (from this article):
“Imagine if there was public transportation on the streets like on weekdays. We would not know it is Shabbat in Israel,” said Rabbi Arie Stern, one of Jerusalem’s chief rabbis.
In the US, public transportation operates on Saturday, and yet US Jews somehow are still able to know it is Shabbat. How do they manage that? Calendars?
It’s a great mystery—at least to Rabbi Stern, who depends on the lack of public transportation as his only means of knowing when it is Shabbat.
In Quanta, an interesting article by K.C. Cole on speculative physics:
One hundred years after Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity, physicists are still stuck with perhaps the biggest incompatibility problem in the universe. The smoothly warped space-time landscape that Einstein described is like a painting by Salvador Dalí — seamless, unbroken, geometric. But the quantum particles that occupy this space are more like something from Georges Seurat: pointillist, discrete, described by probabilities. At their core, the two descriptions contradict each other. Yet a bold new strain of thinking suggests that quantum correlations between specks of impressionist paint actually create not just Dalí’s landscape, but the canvases that both sit on, as well as the three-dimensional space around them. And Einstein, as he so often does, sits right in the center of it all, still turning things upside-down from beyond the grave.
Like initials carved in a tree, ER = EPR, as the new idea is known, is a shorthand that joins two ideas proposed by Einstein in 1935. One involved the paradox implied by what he called “spooky action at a distance” between quantum particles (the EPR paradox, named for its authors, Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen). The other showed how two black holes could be connected through far reaches of space through “wormholes” (ER, for Einstein-Rosen bridges). At the time that Einstein put forth these ideas — and for most of the eight decades since — they were thought to be entirely unrelated.
But if ER = EPR is correct, the ideas aren’t disconnected — they’re two manifestations of the same thing. And this underlying connectedness would form the foundation of all space-time. Quantum entanglement — the action at a distance that so troubled Einstein — could be creating the “spatial connectivity” that “sews space together,” according to Leonard Susskind, a physicist at Stanford University and one of the idea’s main architects. Without these connections, all of space would “atomize,” according to Juan Maldacena, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who developed the idea together with Susskind. “In other words, the solid and reliable structure of space-time is due to the ghostly features of entanglement,” he said. What’s more, ER = EPR has the potential to address how gravity fits together with quantum mechanics.
Not everyone’s buying it, of course (nor should they; the idea is in “its infancy,” said Susskind). Joe Polchinski, a researcher at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose own stunning paradox about firewalls in the throats of black holes triggered the latest advances, is cautious, but intrigued. “I don’t know where it’s going,” he said, “but it’s a fun time right now.”
The Black Hole Wars
The road that led to ER = EPR is a Möbius strip of tangled twists and turns that folds back on itself, like a drawing by M.C. Escher.
A fair place to start might be quantum entanglement. If two quantum particles are entangled, they become, in effect, two parts of a single unit. What happens to one entangled particle happens to the other, no matter how far apart they are.
Maldacena sometimes uses a pair of gloves as an analogy: If you come upon the right-handed glove, you instantaneously know the other is left-handed. There’s nothing spooky about that. But in the quantum version, both gloves are actually left- and right-handed (and everything in between) up until the moment you observe them. Spookier still, the left-handed glove doesn’t become left until you observe the right-handed one — at which moment both instantly gain a definite handedness.
Entanglement played a key role in Stephen Hawking’s 1974 discovery that black holes could evaporate. This, too, involved entangled pairs of particles. Throughout space, short-lived “virtual” particles of matter and anti-matter continually pop into and out of existence. Hawking realized that if one particle fell into a black hole and the other escaped, the hole would emit radiation, glowing like a dying ember. Given enough time, the hole would evaporate into nothing, raising the question of what happened to the information content of the stuff that fell into it.
But the rules of quantum mechanics forbid the complete destruction of information. . .
I woke up this morning trying to remember a George Starbuck poem: “On First Looking Into Keats’ Chapman’s Homer.” I didn’t remember that it was by Starbuck, but search engines can be helpful, and I renewed my acquaintance. I learned that he died some years back—in 1996, at age 65.
Once in Iowa City, he and I lived in the same precinct, and I recall his support in a precinct caucus for my fervent opposition to ending the draft. (This must have been in the early 70’s, since the draft ended in 1973.) My feeling was that having a substantial part of the military be (in effect) civilians in uniform—that is, a military whose outlook and sympathies were largely civilian in nature—was preferable to have a professional military, whose culture and outlook and interests would tend over time to diverge from those of civilians. A civilian-oriented majority in the military would keep it more in tune with civilian society and would also mean that civilians would be much more wary of sending the military into wars, since they might well find themselves sharing battlefield risks. Starbuck supported that position, but most did not.
At any rate, I got to reading some of his poems on-line. (Most of my books are now gone, but I had several books of his poetry.) For example, take the first half of “A Tapestry for Bayeux,” which uses three-syllable lines:
Over theseaworthycavalryarches arocketrywickerwork:involutelacerieslacerateindigoaltitudes,making askywritten
filigreeinto which,lazily,LCTssinuate,adjutantsnext to themeversharp-eyed, amongdelicatebattleshipumbragestwinkling an
anger asmeasured asorgandy.Normandyknitted theeyelets andyarn of thesewarriors’armoring—ringbolt anddungaree,cable andaxletree,
tanktrack andammobeltlinking andopeninggarlands andislands ofseafoam andsergeantry.Opulentfretwork: onturquoise andemerald,red instants
accentingneatly adearth of red.Gunstationsissue it;vaportrailsease intosmoke from it—yellow andochre andumber andsable andout. Or that
man at theedge of thetapestryholding hisinches ofniggardlyground and histrumperyorder ofred and hisequipageangled anddated. He.
That’s the first half of a poem from his first book, Bone Thoughts, which contains many poems pleasant to read aloud. I could not find “On First Looking Into Keats’ Chapman’s Homer,” but I ended up ordering a few of his books in secondhand copies to renew my old acquaintance.
He was not merely a formalist but also had real passion. The Vietnam War divided and angered the US, a time when many realized that our government was against the people. Starbuck’s poem “Of Late” is from this period, written about the same time he and I were opposing the end of the draft.
“Stephen Smith, University of Iowa sophomore, burned what he said was his draft card”
and Norman Morrison, Quaker, of Baltimore Maryland, burned what he said was himself.
You, Robert McNamara, burned what you said was a concentration
of the Enemy Aggressor.
No news medium troubled to put it in quotes.
And Norman Morrison, Quaker, of Baltimore Maryland, burned what he said was himself.
He said it with simple materials such as would be found in your kitchen.
In your office you were informed.
Reporters got cracking frantically on the mental disturbance angle.
So far nothing turns up.
Norman Morrison, Quaker, of Baltimore Maryland, burned, and while burning, screamed.
No tip-off. No release.
Nothing to quote, to manage to put in quotes.
Pity the unaccustomed hesitance of the newspaper editorialists.
Pity the press photographers, not called.
Norman Morrison, Quaker, of Baltimore Maryland, burned and was burned and said
all that there is to say in that language.
Twice what is said in yours.
It is a strange sect, Mr. McNamara, under advice to try
the whole of a thought in silence, and to oneself.
I commented in the Guide on the cherry-blossom nature of some artisanal shaving products: available briefly, then gone forever. Special 218 is one that is now gone: QED’s soapmaker retired, and I will never be able to replace the QED Mocha Java I so casually gave away. I am treasuring every use of the tub of Special 218 I have. Things do not persist, nor do we. (My next post is about a poet who died in 1996.)
Indeed, Morris & Forndran brushes now seem to be scarce. It’s an excellent brush, and the lather this morning was superb.
I used my iKon Shavecraft #101, an underappreciated gem of a razor. With a Personna Lab Blue blade, it provided a very comfortable and enjoyable route to a flawless BBS result. It really is a superb razor.
A splash of Ginger’s Garden Havana Cognac aftershave, and I’m ready for the weekend.