Location: Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany

I'm a sort of creative person, seeking the meaning of life . Hard to capture the essence of the mind/brain/soul - but I delight in arguing with ultra-materialists on consciousness. Ah! the smell of a rose and its redness, the smell of a fine wine, a sunset, - great stuff, and all subjective. Oh yeah and actually am Scorpio by 4 hours according to expert astrologer friend - blogger auto-star-sign system missed the fact that I'm on the cusp. Though I agree with Casius when he said "the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings".

Friday, April 29, 2005

Book in space shop & genome

Good - I am now allowed to sell my book, Grannies and Time Machines, ISBN 1-905277-15-6 via the space shop - oh yeah, must see about getting a better mug-shot for the poster. Then all I need is the next shipment from PABD of copies of the book and I'll be ready to roll.
Not to mention Ian bought another copy. It was his suggetion with the shop and not a bad one at that.

Next - the genome: flame on after seeing that Sci-Am had another article trying to conjure the rabbit out of a 1 megabyte hat. Ha! I think in my next essay I will emphasise the twin anomalies - extreme complexity from only 20,000 genes or 1 MByte, and subjective consciousness. Both point in the direction of something beyond matter - as I said, flame is on there and I may have to go in and edit Wikipedia accordingly. As if the burkhard Heim flame war wasn't enough.

sorry for negecting this old blog a bit - been a bit busy submitting stuff to -
at least there people read your stuff - here I might as well be whistling in the dark.
Are you there, dear reader?
Make yourself known unto me, forsooth.

P.S. Humid cycle home, still have the cold - 7 days with medicine and a wet week without, and it has been wet - could only cycle yesterday and today. M's goodbye drink on Tuesday - his good wines Spaetburgunder mit Predikat went down a treat, but the gathering was a bit stiff nonetheless - especially when mr. F played his usual trick of psych war - thus we breathed collective sigh of reief when said he was not successor. 'Nuff said. C to go on class trip 3 days next week. Gotta ring argentinian brother re July jaunt... If the cat wants to wake me at 4 or 5 tomorrow well and good - it's the weekend. Gone the daystaht I danced in the may - maybe will suss out the vibes there again - I long for the exegesis of ecstatic movement to sublime music - even if it is the rock frowned on by Ratzinger - though he jams it up with Mozart - all music is a gift of God or the Celtic deities of the Beltaine Feast - see Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley for details. over and out

Sunday, April 24, 2005

colour, time,heim, Habermas & Pope

Had a fairly technical book 'time, temporality, now' edited by Atmanspacher (gosh how I admire that guy!) and for a few years laid it aside as it was not as philosophical as I'd hoped, in the subjective sense, and too abstrusely mathematical. But thumbing through it anew, discovered the essay by Von Weizacker, teacher of Heim and slogged through it in the hope of gleaning an insight into Heim's weird notation. To an extent I was successful, and Von W has his own charms: after Heim's calculus W's is positively childish. Philosophy is in at the mo, as Ben-16 is a theologian-philosopher and crossed friendly swords with Habermas a few years ago - they could argue and curse (if need-be) in their native tongue together. I wonder should I send some links to my philosophical musings to the new incumbent. Better not - he's no time for that sort of thing now, unfortuantely. C'est la vie.
In a more general sense, each day is time to appreciate anew the beauty of colour and the Spring foliage and blooms. Hard to believe that we had snow just a few weeks ago, now that the green woodpecker is here again with her shrill cry.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Book on book

Will anyone ever read this? If there is life in blog-read world, then leave a comment so I know that the lonesome reader exists out there in cyberspace. But what of it? Like other bloggers I'll probably use some of this stuff as material for a book in its own right. Thus a blog started at the behest of those suggesting publicity methods for first book may be the making of another. Thus book generates book, like Woody Allen's films churned out in an endless quest to fight neurosis by work therapy. Yet every now and then will still stop and wonder at the miraculous nature of it all - life in all its facets. Those long-legged wasps sailing up to the roses in the spring garden just now, sun illuminating numerous species of insect flitting to and fro, each with its own agenda. Cat a majestic sentinel by the bush, her ears swivelling to follow the numerous stimuli - cars here and there, children, lawn-mower some gardens away, voices conversing, bees buzzing. No wonder her radar is a bit confused. And all the while that cute little brain weighing up the possibilities of the different sounds until she makes a decision on where to move. Yes, and the eternal mystery of consciousness - to be savoured like a succulent fruit. Thus soon will I turn abew to my philosophical texts - McGinn is not bad at all - he and Baars maybe the most readable of the lot. Though Searle, Penrose and Llinas ain't bad either, Johnnie. I hardly knew ya. All those nice comments following mine in the condolence book and the photo looking so fine, characteristic grin, suave and gently mocking, had prompted many to address J in the 2nd person, as well they might.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Popes, cats etc.

Great that the new pope is German, from Bavaria, with such a nice manner and such piercingly intelligent eyes. Just a bit of a pity that he's conservative. Maybe he'll mellow with age. Wait and see. Momo the cat is already mellow, except when she's hunting or in a rough-play mood. N did not so well in her vocab test because she had been sick on Monday. I edited a bit more on the Burkhard Heim pages - who knows, he might soon crack the international science scene and then the sky's the limit - Nobel here we come. Though have to check my enthusiasm a bit, in memory of poor Johnnie Houser, who died sadly on Tuesday. He was an immortal diamond, as the poet said, or a luminous being as Casteneda would have it. Somewhere his soul will go on and that personality, his charcteristic smile and American twang will continue in our memories - surely souls will revive - could imagine future technology that would 'store' the personality of all those who go before us marked with the sign of fate, as Benedict XVI would say. His (Johnnie’s ) stories of cruel uncles on the ranch as a kid reminiscent of the Horse Whisperer Monty's tales of cruel father maltreating horses. Sad, sad, sad. Makes you realise what a deadly serious business life is, and how infinitely precious is each and every one of us. God bless us every one, as Tiny Time or similar used to say. That would also be in the sense of Ben-16. I've ordered a book with some of his theological discussions from Amazon for the book club - certainly better than Barbara Cartland - well, another genre at any rate. As is my pot-pourri of a book, Grannies and Time Machines.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My book, "grannies and Time Machines"

Yes, unbelievable really that it's finally been published - the cover is indeed fine, as you can see by clicking into my web-site - also, quite a few positive comments have been forthcoming. One or two of the anti-globalisation stories caused controversy, while the straight sci-fi tales have been praised by friends (one a writer) as rich in imagination and ideas. A few people have gone through the illustrations with me and also paused long and thoughtfully over many of them. This confirmed me in my selection of a pick of the best black and white illustrations in the collection of my drawings. Yes, all in all this has been an envigorating project. Why not secure your own copy of this handsome volume?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What is the mind?

I find the idea of being any old lump of matter as somewhat anonymous and pejorative. Anyway the idea of a simple lump of matter ain't what it used to be. First, 'matter' is not the hard and fast stuff it used to be - break it up and you find ghostly probability patterns - the stuff of which dreams are made. Secondly saying that consciousness is the 'totality of feelings corresponding to being a lump of matter' reminds me of Colin McGinn's book on mind and matter - he ridicules rather skillfully the idea that we are nothing but a computer made of meat. Particularly brilliant I found his description of space and mind - every phrase and idea relates to space, but thought is not of space - consciousness is not located in any one place and does not have spatial extent. The brilliant idea that before the big bang there was no matter and maybe just mind and that the universe oscillated between mind and matter states and our consciousness now is sort of pockets of the primordial consciousness entering the special conditions offered by brains. In a way, though, the 'computer made of meat' idea is true in so far as the subjective aspect of consciousness has objective correlates that are the fluxes within the lump of matter, those fluxes being partly electrochemical in the classical sense and partly quantum with its superpositions, non-locality and interconnectedness. But although we know that the subjective aspect is associated with the objective correlates, it is perhaps too much to say that the former arises from the latter, e.g. as an 'emergent' property. Science at the moment is silent on the connection between the two: that's why behaviourism tried to ignore and deny the subjective side of the coin. And that's how it is: two sides of the coin, the subjective and the objective, or as Malik puts it nicely, the subjective aspect or feeling is the 'inside' of the system: e.g. in meaning - there's an outer or objective aspect, but to get the full shilling you have to be in the driving seat, i.e. inside the feeling. That horrified the behaviourists: the little man in the centre of the brain - that leads to infinite regression or the 'soul'. Also to say you 'are' a lump of matter restricts to locality: but take that lump of matter consisting of two electrons in an orbital or two photons in coupled polarisation states that in an experiment are separated and shot apart, one going to Alpha Centauri and one to here. Aspect showed that until you burst the bubble of the wave function by measuring here or in Alpha Centauri this pair of particles has no fixed locality - it is spatially extended and interlinked in Einstein's feared 'ghostly action at a distance'. In the same way a brain seems to be interlinked in a non-local way - certainly our inside experience of it 'binds'
inputs from disparate areas into one unified whole: so your internal TV screen incorporates info from all over the brain – there is no central place where it all comes together.

If a "materialist" is a person who wants his explanations to be in terms of things that exist, then if a 'soul' or 'interconnectedness of all things' existed, then his explanations would have to encompass them. We know from Aspect that the latter exists, so already the old style materialist with his surly countenance and gloomy insistence on brute matter is passe. Thus Occam's razor now is a two edged blade, as far as the lugubrious hero of the last sentence is concerned, for it urges us to explain as much as we can in terms of the molecules, atoms, particles, superstrings and ghostly action at a distance (Einstein’s description). And even that is mostly airy fairy, as atoms and even molecules have now been superposed in double slit experiments: matter is all ghostly wavefunctions interacting. Even the entanglement that leads to the illusion of hard matter that fooled our old style buffoon may be seen as evidence for proto-consciousness reaching as far as the atomic level: One entity (electron, atom or molecule) wandering on it's own is lost in the dream (of Gerontius) that blurs it into a ghost to all others, until it bumps into another ghost, at which point both come briefly to their senses as something measured and definite. Each atom then becomes Von Neuman's or Wigner's (proto-)conscious collapser or collapsed. This is what gives the illusion of solid matter. However, the fact that matter even at room temperture is full of ghostly ineffable quantum effects (mmmm... lovely, as the Brauerei Fest band play 'let it be' as I write) was shown recently in new confirmation of that
anomaly of ordinary water - it is H(3/2)O and not H2O since probing lasers always show a bit of the second H missing! The latter is evidence that good old H2O is not quite there. And this quantumly suspect liquid is the basis of all life, so via Occam life is riddled with quantum!
Thus your, as a materialist's, demand that extra (w.r.t. old fashioned matter-as-a-hard-brick) fundamental ingredients be as existent (and therefore as susceptible to investigation) as our beloved atoms is met: the investigators are investigating them!

Anecdotal evidence: Reproducibility is all well and good for electric currents, pendulums,
and the more regular action-at-a-distance quantum effects, but it is not vouched safe for many things we know to be real but which dissolve in the white heat of the lab: Conscious states, for one - each is unique: in fact some of the more 'materialist' neuroscientists make much of the fact that the same wine will never taste the same twice as the brain/mind will be in different state each time depending on a complex mix of emotions, alcoholic stupor, circadean or menstrual rhythm etc. Thus a wine tasting is not reproducible in the narrow sense: just as a meteor causing a giant crater in Arizona is not exactly reproducible: telepathy and other psi effects are more reliable as they are occasionally reproducible - just not always, no more than wine tasting or Arizonan craters. Come on, who are we fooling here? Physicists don't want to accept psi on philosophical grounds and thus will always shift the goalposts to suit their desired result. However, that notwithstanding, even religion and mysticism are achieving a synthesis with science - doctors showed in some studies that patients prayed for (without their knowledge) did better than control patients not prayed for. Just read a review of William James' "Varieties of religious experiences" in which the founding father of American psychology urges a union of religious-mystic ideas and psychology.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Makes you think

Yeah, those (see last posting) were exercises in positive thinking - but looking back I did indeed have much to rejoice in during the last year. Today could also be referred to in the same vein, as we had a nice visit to our favourite vegetarian restaurant on this final day before school starts up again. After meal (which was good though we got the spinach and not aubergine dish) nice walks down by the river - playing with the girls on island in Modau in Eberstadt. Then N & B go off for a walk and I help C to throw stones at sticks floating in river - during which we traverse the length of the sprawling island and cement parent-child relationship. Ditto for N when she returns and suggests we walk back to P over the sand dunes. That was better this time as I'd my new running shoes and not the unsuitable footware of yore. Saw the glowing green moss and a woodpecker after we heard him above the roar of the passing train by the tracks. Talk on the biology of Lichens and telling her to tread softly in the dunes as the rare alpine plants, remnants of the ice age, were in danger from our bumbling feet. Exhausted upon return, revived by waffles and tea. Fell asleep as tired from cat night, beer and fresh air. Now final plane reserving for August Ireland and blogging to boot. Besides all which, I like ever more what I see in my book, Grannies and Time Machines, despite a few typos undetected before. Yes, I have stories in there to answer a host of themes - one was tailor made to fit the slightly depressing though ultimately uplifting GEO docs last night on disappearance of species and threat of filthy oil companies to the jungle paradise of Indians of southern Ecuador. The illustrations in my book are also delightful, as Jordi made me realise the other day. What oh, eh, old chap? Whisht arra gow arrra that!

Some older proto-entries

Here's a few old diary type entries before I blogged:
Sunday 25th March
3 things – warm roggo of Seeger, arguments against Pinker, Boelle walk

Last week – thankful for health, consciousness, daughters, financial stability, reasonable work, back-stroke in swimming
M: Sunny mild weather whilst cycling, FCM & PSFs completed at work, Pinker not bad, sweet children saying goodbye at baker.

T Nice talk with Fr. S ,

W Got the chain guard of N to Fahrrad G. Spanish class v. good.

T Meeting not as bad as expected. Passed 2 cyclists on way home.

F Work good moon errors & eclipse PSFs, Ufo prog Mexico Ufo, NASA on Apollo 16, N & C doing Irish dancing with me.

S May 1st: Shops closed, relaxed. Worked well on N’s bike. Modau lovely at new bridge.

S Calm morning, Aussschanck, Momo there a lot, N cycle. Caro dance.

Last week – thankful for meeting not bad, lovely spring weather, birds & ‘wasps’, restful mayday.
M May 3d – Loeffler butter croissants for the girls, jokes with Tom C..l at lunch, Apollo Jordi.

T May 4th – heard bird before leaving wood. Apollo 16 excitement. C at Seeger. Moss. Lichen

W May 5th – N playing Pianito on PC. Spanish with Ruth

Satu May 8th – C at Maruhn with me. B & I made nice dishes – she olive bread and Basil sauce, I baked potatoes and eggy sauce

Sun – Nice talk with boy in Avanti – lovely curries for Mother’s day. Also nice Seeger cake and flower. Fruehjahrsmesse Dst – Ghost walk with N – scary demons and moving floor.

Grateful for being financially okay, healthy, IQ 136 or higher.
Mon 10th – Pay You’s story in the swimming class – swam well. Nice reading to midnight

Tue may 11th – dentist okay. Picking up C from Kipf. Way she said ‘lovely Spring’ as we were alone together in the garden. N’s nice essay or description, rather.

2005-01-30 – as hurt wrist pouring from heavy bottle realised how wonderful fully functioning wrist and all body parts are ß and how we only realise it when one goes wrong – the wonder of it is almost frightening.

Look, don’t have time for blow-by-blow every day – today this list
- Survived another Kid’s birthday party unscathed – N’s 11th with 3 friends went off well.
- Anomalism is at an interesting point: JBIS article by Haisch et al. on UFOs - never could have imagined that years ago.
- U2 praised as rivals to Beatles on afn radio talked of punk origins in Dublin of early 80s. Made me think of me as mote in a radiation of brilliance and magnificence from the Dublin Diaspora of that time.
- Heim stuff getting more interesting – Jordi recognises my victory in the Heim debate on Wikipedia.

2005-02-05 – Restful weekend – N sick but improving and can rest tomorrow, Rosenmontag. Both girls good school reports on Friday, so we feel good having 2 clever girls. Fasching speeches and TV shows are fun, as was house of shadows in scary way. My black and white drawings/illustrations scan in more easily than I’d thought, and I found the comic strips to scan in, so it’s looking good for a PABD run in a month or so. Good feeling that the old cartoons & drawings will reach a wider audience.

2005-02-14 – We had a good weekend & it was a good Monday today. Yesterday made aubergine Parmesan (2 batches as we ran short last time with Sabine & Tomas or Gaby).
Ca helped me a lot, first salting the Aubergines, then wit h the sauce and then frying – she speeded up as I’d have been real stressed otherwise making 3 lots (1 potatoes only for kids). Rene & Cherry liked it a lot and I could taste myself that it turned out well. Nice talks with R & Ch. Today in forest lucky in morning that it was dry (it was sunny too yesterday when R & Ch came, just as I’d prayed for to avoid muddy shoes…) and in Evening though it was raining a bit it soon stopped and Klinsacker Schneise was not really wet at all – and it was finally bright enough to see tree roots etc. Swimming fine too and feel bit tired now but satisfied with exercise, after so long without due to ice and rain. Oh and yesterday to top a fine day suddenly the internet was working! Though we hadn’t yet received the DSL router. Theory that we were tapping into Hegeman’s router or similar. Strange, but we got a good preview of working with the DSL interface. Today it was gone again – but we’ll have own router later this week.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

THE book is here! Yippeee!

Yes! THE book is here now. The first consignment arrived yesterday evening – weird feeling, having such a smooth and self-designed cover between one’s fingers. Today I managed to sell 8 of them. Positive comments so far, especially for the graphic work. I hope to have an internet site to sell them from soon. Then folks far and wide can have the pleasure of leafing through this slim (211 pages) volume. It was only when Jordi quizzed me on every one of the illustrations that I realised how good they were. Now I’m rather optimistic about this. Maybe I will be catapulted to fame as I nearly was with R.A.W. 25 years ago, only Poland was beckoning and I had to pursue my destiny, to become one with the pontiff’s people. I even went with an astronomical girlfriend to Zakopane to the Pope’s old stomping ground – though I was scaling the Tatras with athletic Moni in Summer and not the snows of Karol’s winter sports. Yes, most of us have grown up with KW and will miss him sorely, for all his conservatism. Let’s hope his successor allows women priests and a few other liberal 21st century things.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Heim, book, life

Yes, it was great to see that Burkhard Heim achieved more recogniton through the receipt of a best paper prize by 2 of his colleagues, Haeuser and Droescher - the prize was for thebest paper received in 2004 by the AIAA Nuclear and Future Flight TechnicalCommittee. And to think I'm one of a small group of physicists who believed in his Theory of Everything or GUT or whatever. We may be vindicated yet! Yes! Next thing to be glad about is that the first copies of my book are on their way to me by post. Finally, there's life and limb, and the wonder of consciousness, science, art and music, philosophy and human relations - doesn't it restore your faith in humanity to see all the countries, some of them Muslim, who declared days of mourning for the Great John Paul? I pray that his soul will go soaring to Heaven. Forgive him his little foibles like denying women the priesthood, etc. as he was by and large a force for great good in the world. Amen

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Tribute to John Paul II

Before going down to fix the slow puncture on my bike, let me add my praise to the great pontiff who has just passed away, Karol W. As I lived for nearly a year in Poland in the late 80's, I was fully aware of how highly he was thought of in his native country. When he visited Ireland in 1979 I was in the Phoenix park with the rest of 'em, one million people, cheering on the pope-mobile. Johndee had woken brother M by throwing stones at his window in the dark of early morn as we had to catch the early special bus to the park. 9 years later M and I would be in a mass audience with the pontiff, although we didn't always agree with his conservative policies on birth control, women priensts etc., where I told M how to say hello in Polish. M, ever more extravert than yours truly, got up above the heads of the masses and just as JP was going passed called out 'Djen Dobry!' and sure enough the Pope stopped and turned to the beaming face of my incorrigible brother to shake his hand. I am in The Osservatore Romano photo too, in a bit role as the mastermind behind the shake, still sporting Walensa moustache. Sic transit gloria Mundi!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

back from hols

Yes, it was a nice stint in the south Odenwald/Neckartal. House itself was okay, near to long forest walks where one could commune with nature, if not with correctness. Nature to me was all in all. And in that other Eden the stress of everyday life fell away and one walked for hours and hours where no man had been before - at least none was seen in tens of km of walking - only birdsong, squirrels, babbling brook.