Rainier Wolfcastle

Clipped from a New Yorker article on Mr. Schwarzenegger (thanks to a tip from Patrick Hayden)

In the “Pumping Iron” series, which chronicles events leading up to and including the Mr. Olympia contest of 1975, there are intimations that Schwarzenegger’s ultimate goal, absurd as it would have seemed at the time, was power. “I was always dreaming about very powerful people—dictators and things like that,” he soliloquizes at one point in the original film. “I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years or even, like Jesus, being for thousands of years remembered.” In “Raw Iron,” he recounts another dream: “Me being a king and standing on top of a mountain—and there was no room left for anybody else up there, O.K.? Just for me.” Later, a fellow-bodybuilder teases, “Arnold, when are you running for President?” He shoots back, “When Nixon gets impeached.” And in “A Portrait” Butler recounts a conversation he had in a taxi with the actress Candice Bergen a few months after the Whitney show. Bergen is insisting that bodybuilding, and Arnold, has peaked. “I disagree,” Butler replies. “It’s here to stay, and Arnold is going to be the Governor of California one day.” (Bergen, hooting with laughter, retorts, “And one day Ronald Reagan will be President.”)

All Hail King Schwarzenegger!

Who is Watching Who?

Okay. I promise. This will be my last time travel post for a while. But interestingly, the day after my paper appeared I got a hit on this blog from an ARDA internet address. Of course if I were ARDA I would pay attention to any claims of algorithmic speedups. So if I disappear tomorrow, you’ll know what happened. Of course, this could just be my good friend Tom Scott, who does who knows what for the Army, but if it is I’d rather not know so that I can keep my paranoia at a peak level.
Note added: Wired has changed the introductory sentence of this article. Where it now says “futurist” it used to read “time travel believer” (or “time travel afficionado”…well at least it had the words “time travel” in it)

Wesley Clark

Following up on my follow up to my time travel paper, there is an article on Wired describing comments Wesley Clark made about traveling faster than the speed of light. Seems everybody’s favorite four star general believes deep down in his heart that faster than light travel is possible. My first reaction, being a scientist and all, was “Great, Clark is some kind of crazy crank!” But I thought about this a bit and I think I’ve come to completely the opposite conclusion. I mean, does anyone really think George Bush even knows that traveling faster than the speed of light does not appear to be possible according to modern physics? Second, it was impressive that Clark claimed that he has argued about this with “physicists” and realizes that his belief is nothing more than an unsupported faith. My guess is Shrub would think a physicist is someone who is good at making fizzy beverages. Not to mention Shrub and his cohorts rampant political overrunning of scientific oversight (see this page for details.)

Followup on Time Travel

David Deutsch emailed me with nice comments and suggestions about my just posted paper. I told him the funny story behind the paper.
A few years ago I was watching a NOVA program about time travel and closed timelike curves. On watching the program I thought: “hmm, I wonder if quantum circuits always give you self-consistent evolutions?” After thinking about the problem for a few days, I was able to hack out a proof. Only then did I decide to go look in the literature to see what others had done. There I discovered Deutsch’s 1991 paper and found the result I had hacked out. The scary thing was how close our two proof were (I seem to recall even the symbols we used were identitical!) Getting deja vu when writing a paper on time travel is really spooky.

BQP^(Time Travel)

Well I’ve done it. I’ve gone completely crazy. The proof? Today I submitted a paper on what happens to quantum computation when you have access to a time machine. But of course physicists don’t like to say time machine, so the title of the paper is “Quantum Computational Complexity in the Presence of Closed Timelike Curves.” It can be found on my publication page and will appear on the arXiv monday.
Click below for the abstract
Continue reading “BQP^(Time Travel)”

Retired Physicist

A place where really distinguished older physicists went to retire

-Robert Calderbank describing quantum computing prior to Shor’s algorithm

What Would You Do?

Me: W.W.F.D.?
Person: What would who do?
Me: What would Feynman do?
Person: Oh. Is Feynman like some kind of California Jesus?
Me (with an evil Mr. Burns-ish tapping of the fingers): Yeeees.