Strange Metals…

A diagram showing different states of matter as a function of temperature, T, and interaction strength, U (normalized to the amplitude, t, of electrons hopping between sites). Strange metals emerge in a regime separating a metallic spin glass and a Fermi liquid. P. Cha et al./Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2020

Topics: Black Holes, Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Superconductors, Theoretical Physics

Even by the standards of quantum physicists, strange metals are just plain odd. The materials are related to high-temperature superconductors and have surprising connections to the properties of black holes. Electrons in strange metals dissipate energy as fast as they’re allowed to under the laws of quantum mechanics, and the electrical resistivity of a strange metal, unlike that of ordinary metals, is proportional to the temperature.

Generating a theoretical understanding of strange metals is one of the biggest challenges in condensed matter physics. Now, using cutting-edge computational techniques, researchers from the Flatiron Institute in New York City and Cornell University have solved the first robust theoretical model of strange metals. The work reveals that strange metals are a new state of matter, the researchers report July 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The fact that we call them strange metals should tell you how well we understand them,” says study co-author Olivier Parcollet, a senior research scientist at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Quantum Physics (CCQ). “Strange metals share remarkable properties with black holes, opening exciting new directions for theoretical physics.”

Quantum Physicists Crack Mystery of ‘Strange Metals,’ a New State of Matter, Thomas Sumner, Simon Foundation

Pig Slop…

A fan-made cover for George Orwell’s novel. “Animal Farm” is one of Orwell’s most well-known works and gained unlikely popularity with Ukrainian refugees. (Photo from Flickr user Ben Templesmith.)

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Farmers feed their pigs slop, a messy, wet mix of various leftovers—and when they do, they can say they slop the pigs. A derogatory way to talk about food that doesn’t look very tasty is to call it slop. And you can call sticky, overly sentimental music, writing, or films slop as well. Source:

When President Obama used an executive order for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), that was considered constitutional overreach and tyranny from the executive branch. That was likely the executive at the time and the children in question are both brown. This was due to the GOP-dominated congress not passing a DREAMS Act for those same children’s path to citizenship. Immigration reform used to be a thing with republicans: Saint Ronald Reagan made a whole bunch of illegal immigrants citizens, and that might have contributed to the high numbers his republican successor, George W. Bush enjoyed for his 2004 reelection. That compassionate conservatism advantage has been dwindling ever since, at least until our current moment of discontent.

Ben Sasse called Orange Satan’s executive orders unconstitutional slop, which it is. His clap back to the middle school mean-girl tweetstorm from Mango Mussolini is an admittance: “I don’t need you to get reelected, you need me.” He like a lot of other republican senators had their constitutional duty to remove a criminal from office. They are the beneficiaries of Jim Crow, the Southern Strategy, Voter Purging and Suppression. They shirked it because they are criminals themselves. Conditional integrity is still cowardice.

HuffPost senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked the president during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing if, after 3½ years, “do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people? All the dishonesties?”

“That who has done?” Trump replied. 

“You have done,” said Dáte, who wrote at length about Trump’s “Ministry of Untruth” earlier this year. 

Trump paused and then moved on to the next question.

In his report, Dáte noted that Trump’s stream of falsehoods across nearly every topic and in any setting is corroding America’s democracy as it normalizes lies coming from the nation’s highest office.

Trump’s Response When Asked If He Regrets All The Lies He’s Told America: None, Josephine Harvey, HuffPost

We have a view of history that fascism doesn’t need competency. Hitler was quite literally a shit show, and the mythology of Nazi efficiency is…just that.

It’s poignant that Senator Kamala Harris is African Diaspora through her Jamaican father and Indian Diaspora through her mother – both immigrants who met in Oakland, California where she and her sister were born as American citizens. Both marched and shouted for Civil Rights for all its citizens, especially their daughters, as civil rights have never had a hue simply for and of humans. America, India, Germany have had and have caste systems that assign portions of humanity to either the apex of the pyramid where all riches are siphoned to, or the base where all the weight of society crushes pariahs beneath it. She’s a woman that self-identifies with black culture through her HBCU – Howard University and her Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She married another human that happens to be of European descent. She is above all, an earthling, and Oakland isn’t a crater on Mars. Her fraternity brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – found himself in an inflection of revelation.

Caste (Oprah’s Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabelle Wilkerson

In 1935, Nazi Germany passed two radically discriminatory pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. Together, these were known as the Nuremberg Laws, and they laid the legal groundwork for the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust and World War II.

When the Nazis set out to legally disenfranchise and discriminate against Jewish citizens, they weren’t just coming up with ideas out of thin air. They closely studied the laws of another country. According to James Q. Whitman, author of Hitler’s American Model, that country was the United States.

“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” says Whitman, who is a professor at Yale Law School. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”

In particular, Nazis admired the Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against black Americans and segregated them from white Americans, and they debated whether to introduce similar segregation in Germany.

Yet they ultimately decided that it wouldn’t go far enough.

How the Nazis Were Inspired by Jim Crow, Becky Little,

Fascism, like its cousin racism, doesn’t need rationality over “us” and “them.” It allows one group to dominate another without guilt, or blame for the consequences. It allows you to long for mythological glory times where Germany and America were “great again.”

Fascism in Germany or America just needed enablers, and frankly, intellectuals that underestimate how a cornered animal – hog, rodent or narcissist – is its most dangerous and cunning when it figures it’s going to die in prison and has nothing – other than its freedom – to lose.


Occator Crater and Ahuna Mons appear together in this view of the dwarf planet Ceres obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on February 11, 2017. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Handout via REUTERS.

Topics: Asteroids, Exoplanets, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, and the love a mother bears for her child. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, the sister of Jupiter, and the mother of Proserpine. Ceres was a kind and benevolent goddess to the Romans and they had a common expression, “fit for Ceres,” which meant splendid.” Source:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is an “ocean world” with a big reservoir of salty water under its frigid surface, scientists said in findings that raise interest in this dwarf planet as a possible outpost for life.

Research published on Monday based on data obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which flew as close as 22 miles (35 km) from the surface in 2018, provides a new understanding of Ceres, including evidence indicating it remains geologically active with cryovolcanism – volcanoes oozing icy material.

The findings confirm the presence of a subsurface reservoir of brine – salt-enriched water – remnants of a vast subsurface ocean that has been gradually freezing.

“This elevates Ceres to ‘ocean world’ status, noting that this category does not require the ocean to be global,” said planetary scientist and Dawn principal investigator Carol Raymond. “In the case of Ceres, we know the liquid reservoir is regional scale but we cannot tell for sure that it is global. However, what matters most is that there is liquid on a large scale.”

Dwarf planet Ceres is ‘ocean world’ with salty water deep underground, Will Dunham, Reuters Science

CdTe and IoT…

The thin-film materials being tested during development. Courtesy: I Mathews

Topics: Alternate Energy, Internet of Things, Materials Science, Solar Power

Photovoltaic cells made from cadmium telluride (CdTe) – already widely used in solar energy generation – also excel at harvesting ambient light indoors, making them an excellent energy source for the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT). This is the finding of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and the Tyndall National Institute at the University of Cork, Ireland, who fabricated low-cost CdTe cells and measured their photovoltaic response when exposed to light from various sources, including LED bulbs.

At present, indoor IoT devices such as wireless sensors are typically powered by batteries.  However, study lead author Ian Mathews says that photovoltaic cells would be better because of they require less maintenance and are cheaper and easier to make. In his view, these characteristics present a “significant market opportunity” for CdTe cells in particular, yet researchers have rarely tested their effectiveness at converting ambient light (from incandescent, compact fluorescence, or LED bulbs, for example) into electrical energy. Instead, previous studies of indoor-light energy generation have mainly focused on rival photovoltaic technologies, such as silicon, III-V semiconductors, organic PV devices, and perovskite materials.

Thin-film solar cells make champion harvesters of ambient light, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Quantum Hush…

Party line: the new protocol allows 10 parties to share information securely. (Courtesy: University of Witwatersrand)

Topics: Cryptography, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics

A “quantum secret sharing” scheme that allows 10 parties share information securely – the highest number so far – has been developed and demonstrated by researchers in South Africa. The protocol involves each party performing quantum operations on the photon without measuring its state and the team says it could help increase both the rate at which data is shared on secure quantum networks and how many parties can be involved in the sharing.

In the original quantum key distribution (QKD) protocol, two parties, known as Alice and Bob, communicate by exchanging photons polarized in one of two possible bases over an untrusted link, each varying the polarization basis of his or her transmitter or receiver randomly. At the end of the transmission, Alice and Bob reveal to each other which basis they used to measure the photons sent and received, but not the result of the measurements.  Alice and Bob then announce their results for a sample of the photons in which they measured in the same polarization basis, to check that the emitted polarization always agrees with the received one. If it does, they can use the remaining photons that they measured in the same basis to form a secure cryptography key that allows them to communicate securely using conventional telecoms technology. A third party that intercepts the photons inevitably disturbs their state, so some of Alice and Bob’s measurements disagree and they know the line is bugged.

‘Quantum secret sharing’ scheme allows 10 parties to communicate securely, Physics World

Holographic Microscopy…

FIG. 1. (a) Schematic of an inline digital holographic microscope. In a typical setup, a collimated laser (light red) illuminates a sample, which scatters light (dark red wavefronts). The transmitted and scattered light pass through an objective and tube lens, which focus the light onto a digital camera. (b) A hologram of a polystyrene particle obtained from an inline holographic microscope.

Topics: Holography, Microscopy, Optical Physics, Modern Physics


In the past few years, the venerable field of holographic microscopy has been revitalized by computational data analysis. It is now possible to fit a generative (forward) model of scattering directly to experimentally obtained holograms of complex microscopic objects. This approach enables precision measurements: it allows the motion of colloidal particles and biological organisms to be tracked with nanometer-scale precision and their optical properties to be inferred particle by particle. In this Perspective, we discuss how the model-based inference approach to holographic microscopy has opened up new applications. We also discuss how it must evolve to meet the needs of emerging applications that demand lower systematic uncertainties and higher precision. In this context, we present some new results on how modeling the optical train of the microscope can enable better measurements of the positions of spherical and nonspherical colloidal particles. Finally, we discuss how machine learning might play a role in future advances. Though we do not exhaustively catalog all the developments in this field, we show a few examples and some new results that spotlight open questions and opportunities.

Precise measurements in digital holographic microscopy by modeling the optical train, Ronald Alexander, Brian Leahy, Vinothan N. Manoharan, Journal of Applied Physics

Occam’s Razors and Scorched Earth…

Stephanie Miller Show with Malcolm Nance, 5 August 2020

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

As Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder was a strong advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project, which aims to supply Russian gas directly to Germany, thereby bypassing transit countries.

At the time of the German parliamentary election, according to Rick Noak of The Washington Post:

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Schroeder hastily signed the deal just as he was departing the office from which he had been voted out days earlier. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.

Wikipedia: Gerhard_Schröder-Relationship_with_Gazprom_and_Rosneft

Occam’s razor, also spelled Ockham’s razor, also called law of economy or law of parsimony, principle stated by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed as “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” Source: Britannica online

Occam’s razor: Orange Satan spoke two consecutive days to Grand Pooh-Bah Putin; 16 or more private conversations last year (in the current Coronavirus apocalypse, we’ll refer to that as the “before times”). He’s managed to without fail insult every [former] ally we’ve had since the end of the Second World War, but not even a nickname for Vlad the Impaler of democracies. What he says in those conversations that like his salary, we’re paying is apparently none of our business. We can’t see his grades, SAT scores, or his taxes. Al Capone wasn’t too keen about the idea of revealing his taxes either, and that ultimately is what landed him in prison. A guy who had “Joey No Socks” at his New Year’s bash after Pooh-Bah gifted him the 2016 election and planet is probably a crook. The producers and showrunners of “The Apprentice” were in on the joke, as well as most residents of New York City. He’s not a businessman, except of the Keystone Cop variety, every decision is a pratfall and every pronouncement word salad. Case-in-point: you’re reading this during a pandemic. His lack of talent his 74 years of wasting oxygen and producing flatulence at wee tweet hours has been covered by white male privilege, his father, the Mafia, Russian money laundering, and republicans that never once believed their own shtick. Enter Bizarro Capone with a dead Propecia ferret on his head yelling manically “he can fix it.”

The “empty vessel” model was introduced by Reagan: as he deteriorated, others like William Barr worked the marionette strings from the shadows as Ronnie “aw shucks” himself into B-movie legend. Mind you, “nature abhors a vacuum,” but Donnie just “isn’t there.” He doesn’t say “aw shucks”: he might say “oh, fuck,” or “oh, I’M fucked.”

Nixon – Roger “rat fuck” Stone’s back tattoo totem – was unscrupulous, but he was competent: Affirmative Action and the Environmental Protection Agency just two of his accomplishments, other than the whole Watergate Plumber’s thing. Simultaneously insulting a landmark and a culture by saying “yo-Semite” (“yo-sim-e-T,” idiot!) isn’t the “stable genius” his twisted mind and cognitively dissonant followers believes him to be.

EIGHT republican “patriot” senators were in Moscow on July 4, 2018, months before the midterms. That’s strange for patriots (Tom Clancy is confused in the hereafter), especially on the nation’s birthday. Probably totally innocent. Good luck with the 2nd Amendment, over there: it doesn’t exist.

The Republican Party is shrinking. The Southern Strategy was great for Nixon in 1968, and cool for Reagan in the 80’s nostalgic “Back to the Future” decade, when Lee Atwater resurrected the ghoulish grog in “welfare queens”, “young bucks”, and Willie Horton when Pappy ran in ’88, which actually means something to white supremacists. 52 years into the future, any milk left on the shelf that long would be rancid, if not mummified.

So, what do you do when your shtick is shit, your base is melting by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and you just can’t win legitimate elections anymore? Domestically, that takes the form of a faux war on faux voter fraud, voter purges and voter suppression of the groups that probably won’t vote for endless tax cuts for the 1%, genteel racism and not-so-subtle sexism and homophobia. Internationally, you might “get a little help” from your Russian friends, and make sure they can still help.

Jill Stein, Gary “Aleppo” Johnson, and for God’s sake, red hat KANYE are not going to BE president!

And, what if you lose and you don’t accept it? A lunatic currently has the nuclear codes, and twitchy Twitter fingers.

It’s 87 days to the election (yesterday was 88).

It’s 165 days to the inauguration of the NEXT president.

Tomorrow is after that.

Quantum Dots and Diffusion…

QD tracking
3D tracking of QDs in A549 cells and dynamical analysis of their trajectories. Courtesy: Chinese Physics Letters

Topics: Biology, Diffusion, Quantum Dots, Quantum Mechanics

Quantum dots diffuse within living cells in a nearly two-dimensional fashion. This result, which was obtained using a new 3D microscopy technique that can track single particles, sheds fresh light on intracellular diffusion – a process that is critical for moving molecules around the cell and for mediating other important activities. According to study leader Hui Li, a biophysicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Beijing Normal University, the 2D motion he and his colleagues observed is robust and stems from the complex architectures of the flat “adherent” biological cells they studied.

Quantum dots make ideal probes for studying intracellular diffusion in living cells. They are similar in size to intracellular macromolecules and can be made to mimic biological materials relatively easily, by coating their surfaces with organic molecules. Previous studies, however, relied mainly on two-dimensional measurements of their movement, with the assumption that three-dimensional diffusion is an extension of 2D diffusion and is isotropic.

Quantum dots track two-dimensional diffusion in cells, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Blind Mice Seeing…


Topics: Bioengineering, Optical Physics, Nanorods, Nanotechnology

Even in the dark, rattlesnakes and their fellow pit vipers can strike accurately at small warm-blooded prey from a meter away. Those snakes, and a few others, can see in the IR—but not with their eyes. Rather, they have a pair of specialized sensory organs, called pit organs, located between their eyes and their nostrils and lined with nerve cells rich in temperature-sensitive proteins that cause the neurons to fire when heated.1 The pits work like pinhole cameras to focus incoming thermal radiation onto their heat-sensitive back walls; the thermal images are then superimposed with visual images in the snake’s brain.

Heat-responsive neurons are not unique to snakes. We have them over every inch of our skin, to feel objects warm to the touch, and on our tongues, to taste spicy food. But the snakes’ ability to resolve the source of radiated heat at a distance is unusual.

Inspired by the snakes, Dasha Nelidova and her colleagues at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology in Basel, Switzerland, are developing a new treatment for forms of blindness caused by the degeneration of retinal photoreceptors.2 Using gene therapy, they endow remaining retinal cells with thermoresponsive proteins, thereby compensating for their lost light sensitivity with heat sensitivity. The proteins by themselves aren’t sensitive enough to rival normal vision, so the researchers tether them to gold nanorods, as shown in figure 1. The 80-nm-long nanorods strongly absorb near-IR light at 915 nm and convey the concentrated heat to the attached proteins.

Near-IR nanosensors help blind mice see, Johanna L. Miller, Physics Today


FILE PHOTO: Dr. Benjamin Tee, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS), demonstrates how his device can detect the texture of a soft stress ball at a lab in NUS, Singapore July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Joseph Campbell

Topics: Bioengineering, Materials Science, Robotics, Star Wars

The device, dubbed ACES, or Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin, is made up of 100 small sensors and is about 1 sq cm (0.16 square inch) in size.

The researchers at the National University of Singapore say it can process information faster than the human nervous system, is able to recognize 20 to 30 different textures and can read Braille letters with more than 90% accuracy.

“So humans need to slide to feel the texture, but in this case, the skin, with just a single touch, is able to detect textures of different roughness,” said research team leader Benjamin Tee, adding that AI algorithms let the device learn quickly.A demonstration showed the device could detect that a squishy stress ball was soft, and determine that a solid plastic ball was hard.

Scientists inspired by ‘Star Wars’ create artificial skin able to feel, Joseph Campbell, Reuters Science