土豆新窝

这一个新窝,好像有些大。一整栋的仓库,两层。总共2300平米。包括一个小阁楼,露台。总算有一个露台了。晒太阳,晚上翘着腿,喝杯啤酒都不错。

这个新窝,可以搭很多的休息区,活动区,淋浴室,客房,我们自己的厨房和餐厅,很多的会议室。办公桌可以横着摆了。

土豆现在有多少人?还不到20。现在2300平米的新窝,人均面积,嗯哼,按照老曹的计算,人均0.0001平方公里。有点大。我们到年底前,可能会增加到50人。有兴趣的,欢迎来把这个人均面积弄小些。

装修之类弄好,可能6月搬进去。

新闸路地铁出来大概3分钟路。苏州河边,还是。

经过的

整栋的这个灰楼

进去的小路。土豆门?先把门牌号给抹掉先。真要找,当然也是很容易的。先小小地隐藏隐藏。

走进去的土豆小路。

一角。顶上的白板打算全拿掉。屋顶弄高。说会是一个阁楼形状的。

从土豆的仓库顶上

苏州河正对面的对岸

到此一游,留个影。从去年11月搬到四行仓库,这才4个多月,又要搬了

本来还想小小保密一下,发现aether都已经爆出来了。得,就放出来这个卫星图吧。箭头的起点处,是土豆现在的位置,四行仓库。终点处,就是土豆自己的新仓库。从原本的苏州河北岸,到了南岸。New Toodou该叫什么名字,“土豆窝”“土豆的家”“土豆田”“土豆窖”“土豆仓”?

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思维拉出的线,和线头

最近可能所谓的有些小小的透支。今天在跑步机上跑了两千米,感觉就不是太愉快。

去西藏的计划因为原本同去的几位改时间,推迟到了9月。也就不着急了。慢慢来吧。

前两天和Aether还有Hans,三个人吭哧吭哧地把跑步机从原本面壁的位置,挪到了窗边。跑步的时候,人民广场的无数灯火,林立高楼,苏州河上的点点水光和灯光,都在眼前。

不过这个新位置,跑起来看着,居然有些头晕。

最近有些事儿,需要对自己反省反省。欲速则不达,对人对事儿,都一样。

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原来俺们都不是中国人

北京匆匆忙忙地转了一圈。比较好玩儿的是昨天被Kate忽悠去了拜会了一下蔡文胜。

老蔡半年前见过一次,而老蔡的名声当然在半年之前的很长一段就早就久仰了。比较难得的是,老蔡的名声,从所谓的精英到所谓的草根的口中听来,评价居然都能保持一致性的高。这个就比较难得。

从2点钟坐到6点半。我,kate,顾雪,zcom的黄,后来又来了两hedge fund的老美。这一下午侃将下来,当中各种的互联网,草根,精英,西湖论剑,草根大会,各种理论,商业模式等等,都不说了。这要说下来,我得打字打到明天早上5点可能。

就我听了一下午布道而自己没怎么发言的因此比较有权威的总结归纳,如下:

一,老蔡和Kate大约是就此成了哥们,互称景仰,互为偶像了以后。这叫草根和精英的水乳交融,互相折倒。
二,乌龙茶喝了一下午,除了有要不断上洗手间的后果,还能让人咖啡因摄入过量,头疼不止。

这第二点要是老蔡看到,知道我这个福建人居然吃不消一下午的乌龙茶,一定要瞪着他的眼睛,用他很闽南口音的普通话很掷地有声地再说一次,“只有闽南人才系真正的中国人!”

这句话他昨天下午说的时候,我当时想,恩,这过来前,我本来还想和老蔡可以算作老乡,都是福建的。但是这话一出,好,不要说老乡了,俺们整个和那两hedge fund的老美一样,都成老外了。

福建的客家传统,有说自己是晋代来到福建的,有说是唐代的,有说是五代十国的,总之,都是遗民。连我们这个肯定不是客家的王家族谱上,也很自豪地要说,这个三斗坪王姓,乃是1000年前从中原迁来的。

问题是,老蔡的这句话,我们家的族谱,还有很多理论,包括互联网公司们的商业模式,都有个同样的问题,就是,这个世界的事实,其实要比这么勾勒出来的归纳总结,要复杂得太多。

比如说,这个家谱。似乎是很直接了当的一个所谓谱系。但是仔细想想,就会发现每个人上面,都着一棵巨大的呈几何级数的家谱的大树。每个人都有父和母,他们也各自有自己的父和母,然后他们又各自有,以此类推,就是2的次方的级数往上倒推。不需要几次倒推,你自然发现这全世界的人口还不够倒推回几十轮。当然,需要考虑到其中的各种交错混杂,不可能是完全的2的次方。但是即便如此,也可以想象这个族谱的大树,绝不是那个单一的男性谱系所能表现的。

再比如说,中国人的问题。现在的国家认同感,无非是两个因素,一个是种族的,一个是文化的。文化的认同很容易,一代,顶多两代,就完全融入了。而种族,就稍微地比较困难些,比如经常说到的华人如何难以融入美国主流社会,而高加索白人在第二代就会完全融入。

但是即便种族,时间一久远,也一样变得模糊了。

谁都知道大唐的开国君主,一多半是突厥血统。这个就不用说了。最好玩儿的是,这两天在来回的飞机上看John Keenan的a History of Warfare,说到在公元前2000年到1000年间,拿着组合弓,驾着战车的游牧民族,征服了当时的所有已知古老文明,从埃及到巴比伦到印度到中国,对,中国。

这个好像是我们的历史书上从来没提过的。这些驾战车的游牧民族开创了什么朝代呢?

商。

一次次的民族大融合,到了后来,如果任何一个人要看一千年的个人血统,一定要看得晕头转向。所以,只好看看大的王朝变革。但是就算是大的王朝变革,也一样看得头晕。到了最后,最容易看的,就是技术的变革。

John Keenan的,看的就是每种革命性的新武器和拿着这些新武器的种族,如何改变了世界。从战车,到战马,到火药,到今天的让大国之间不敢打战的原子弹。

互联网也一样。这个彻底改变信息流动的新革命,和战车战马火药们一样会冲击旧有的系统。旧系统是一定要完蛋的。只有适应这个革命的旧有系统才能活得很好,而且也许有机会翻盘。

比如说,后期的赵的胡服骑射了。比如说,更早时候,学会了战车和组合弓的新王朝,周。而花了很长时间没学会因此只好融入许多游牧民族成分的印度,到今天还有种姓的制度,小数目的征服者控制大数目的被征服者的非常有效的手段。

当然,时间要是放得很长了去说,说到了历史这么长,几百年几百年地说,就只剩了理论。

对于未来,我的视野的截面只要很短。1年就够了。

起码看得出去的1年之内,俺们都还系中国人。

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不更新对不起大家

这儿才两天没写blog,就有几个人MSN这儿问了,“你怎么好几天不写blog了啊?去你的blog去了几回,都白去了。快写。”

为了表示愤慨和鄙视,我得说两句。

一,我这是自娱自乐。什么时候成了公众娱乐了?管他是大众还是小众。我自己爽了就行了。
二,知道怎么用RSS吧?RSS拿了干什么用的,就是专门用来给blogger用的,因为不可能每天更新啊。每天更新的,比如keso王冉什么的,要不是评论家,要不就是上了瘾了。高翔以前说过,我印象还挺深,说,RSS就是给我们这样的不经常更新的blogger用的。

高翔我估计他是半年没更新了,所以高翔那儿,那是找借口。到我这儿,就是义正词严的理由。发现自己这两个理由都说的不错,给自己鼓鼓掌。

既然写了,就多写写。

这两天土豆里头病倒了好几个。上海这一个阴冷的冬天都过来了,天气暖了,居然同志们反而有些撑不住了。看来都是劳碌命。

今天碰到个小问题。土豆的招贤纳士榜,外加我自己的blog,说,发简历来,到join@toodou.com。我还说了,发过来的每一封我都看。

这个诺言最近看来越加有保持下去的难度。垃圾信太多。以至于漏过几个很不错的简历。而且,土豆在51job上的联系邮件也是这个。用过51job的都知道,那儿过来的简历,虽然质量高的很少,数量可是一点都不少。

好像有点问题。我想只好换一个邮件地址了,改成,enterthematrix(at)toodou(dot)com吧。用这么个拼法,希望各个垃圾邮件的搜索引擎(有很多还是很聪明的,仰慕仰慕),不会很快发现这个新地址。

发到这个邮件地址上的简历,我都看。

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理由有用吗?

一天下来,听了大大小小各种各样的理由。听得我慢慢不耐烦,到后来整个就是忍无可忍。

And I exploded.

任何一件事情,都可以有各种各样的理由和原因。做成,或者做不成。

到了最后,都应该只关心一件事:做成了吗?

就像做土豆一样,需要有很多事情都顺利做成。其中一件事儿没做成,可能就是,土豆就是没做好。

那个老儿歌是什么?

一个钉子没了,所以一个马蹄没了

一个马蹄没了,所以一匹马没了

一匹马丢了,所以一个骑士没了

一个骑士没了,一个战役就输了

一个战役输了,一个国王就没了

一个国王没了,一个国家就没了

天底下的事,我最痛恨的就是借口。借口是自己给自己找安慰的时候用的,不是可以给人看的。

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生命,宇宙,终结,都是问了几千年还是几万年的问题了?

今天果然一个人去了科技馆,而且,还看了两部电影。

科技馆就没什么好说的。建筑的设计是很有些新意的。尤其门口的一排长喷泉,还是颇有些气魄。但是整个建筑本身,无论如何没有什么特别震撼的感觉。这是个很奇怪的现象。为什么呢?是因为建筑没有用到很多的大石块?没有玻璃建筑的玲珑剔透?还是说,我们的施工队伍的水平低了?施工队伍好像并不是没有水平,有很多的办公楼,都修建得所谓的有国际水准。

看了太空电影,中文叫“神奇的宇宙”,英文是,“the Wonders of the Universe”。小影院里,基本就是我一个人,躺在座椅上,抬头看,这宇宙的变化。这些基本的事实当然早就知道,但是看着这些星云变化,完全是另一种感觉。

看完了这个,意犹未尽,接着就去了底层的Imax,看了个“地底火山”。说的是海洋的底层,高温之下,还孕育着生命。说的是海洋底下的事,其实还是在说宇宙万物,生命的演化。Imax的电影,质量和音响都是强得多了,何况,为了电影的效果,还穿插了些科学家的小故事。影片的主线,就是一个地质学家,50年前在西班牙的海滩度蜜月时候,发现的化石。50年后,他已经是垂垂老矣,却有了机会可以坐深海潜艇,到了海洋的底部,发现当年他百思不得其解的化石,那些生物的化石,居然还在海洋底下生活着。

这几天的blog,似乎总是忍不住要回到生命和死亡。

其实还是回到前几天那篇纽约时报的文章。除了它的文字的优美,不是我所能的。所有它想说的,都是我想说的。

我们所知道的宇宙,只是这我们眼下完全不可知的事物的一部分。而我们的星球,只是这太空中的一颗石子。这个石子上,有些原子,组成了生命。生命演化,有一天,演化出了一种生物,人。

这是个特别的生物,他会仰望太空,看着满天星辰,问自己,我从哪儿来,我到哪儿去。

我心里知道,这个生物,他其实是很不幸地,很不幸地学会了问问题。他有了自我的意识,有了许多的快乐,也因此,他有了恐惧。这周围的一切,地球,太阳,宇宙,问问题的生物,智能,有一天都会完全消失。

但是我也知道,起码,从那些太空的图片中知道,悬浮在一片漆黑的太空中,是这个蓝色的星球。孤独的星球。美丽的星球。

不能要太多。至少,因为了我的意识,我看到了这璀璨星空,蓝色海洋。

在夜的深处,我总是会想起,一个人,夜里3点,站在怀俄明那一片大草原上,仰望天空,铺满整个青黑天空的那无数繁星的笼罩之下,一微秒也犹如永恒的感觉。

没有办法,宇宙和生命,这是我从10岁那时候起,唯一会让我夜半惊醒的东西。

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这个影片太酷了

Cool – 文章里说这个影片有上海科技馆的参与制作。不知道什么时候上映。不过倒是提醒我了,这个我周末要去科技馆看看这些圆球巨幕的电影去。在纽约时候的一个爱好。Museum of Natural History.

不错不错。

Crash, Bang, Boom Across the Universe

American Museum of Natural History

After a collision four and half billion years ago between Earth and a small planet, debris circling Earth coalesces into the Moon in a planetarium recreation.

Published: March 17, 2006

MY daughter, Mira, calls it the big boom, the asteroid impact that spelled the death of the dinosaurs. She’s only 3 and still gets scared, or so she says, when it comes up on her favorite Disney dinosaur movie, so I don’t think I will be taking her to "Cosmic Collisions," a new show at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

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Beginning tomorrow, "Cosmic Collisions" will be shown at the Hayden Planetarium daily every 30 minutes, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on the first Friday of every month), except atnoon and 3 p.m. when the system is maintained. Tickets, which include museum, Rose Centerand planetarium admission, are $22; students and 60+, $16.50; 2 to 12, $13; under 2, free;(212)769-5200.

It’s not that the dinosaur boom, as portrayed here from space, is so scary. But that boom, as the new show makes clear, is only one ― and not the most violent one at that ― of a series of cataclysms that have punctuated and continue to shape the history of the cosmos and the life in it.

Take, for example, the show’s pièce de résistance, in which a small planet sideswipes young Earth, blasting itself and a chunk of Earth into a spray of molten drops shimmering like blobs of mercury. The seats shake, the music screams.

That, scientists say, is how the Moon was formed. Within a month, some of the blobs had cooled and congealed into what would become that friendly pale face in the sky. And we have that whack to thank for our seasons; it knocked Earth off kilter and left its rotation axis tilted with respect to the Sun. Not to mention the tides, caused by the gentle gravitational churning of the Moon.

"Cosmic Collisions," narrated in a calm voice by Robert Redford, pays homage to a new perspective on cosmic history that belies the serene image of lights wheeling peacefully and predictably, stars evolving nearly imperceptibly. Sometimes things happen quickly, out of the blue, and by chance.

Two years in the making, the new show was produced in collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; Goto Inc., makers of planetarium projectors in Tokyo; and the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

Accompanying the press kit for the show was a list of dozens of scientists and laboratories whose data and supercomputer simulations of everything from the evolution of stars in a cluster to Earth’s magnetic field have formed the basis for the show. When we see the Sun popping off sparks and rays and arcs of incandescent gas like an angry New Year’s Eve ball, we are looking at actual spacecraft images of the Sun.

When, at the end, we sail off into deep space, each of the glowing smudges that we sail past corresponds to a real galaxy mapped by astronomers and painstakingly projected on the big dome around us.

The realism is palpable. After that Moon-forming collision, which comes early in the 20-minute show, I could not endure the image of a rock intruding upon the sky without feeling an anticipatory jolt of adrenaline.

But not all the events depicted here are so literally earthshaking. Some are even microscopic ― protons colliding inside the Sun produce the thermonuclear energy that makes it shine and makes plants grow on Earth.

Others are ethereal. Waves of high-speed particles blasted from the Sun clash soundlessly in the near vacuum of the upper atmosphere with the bubblelike protective structure of Earth’s magnetic field, creating electrical storms that can interfere with radio transmissions and the wavering curtains of light called auroras that decorate the polar nights.

If this show were a symphony, the section on the Sun and the aurora would be a flute solo, but most of us will have come for the crescendos, the planet-cleansing life-changing events, the big booms.

The appearance of something new in the sky, like comets, was often regarded as a bad omen, Mr. Redford says at the beginning, as we watch a dark rock appear in a dark Milky Way-lighted sky over the Adirondacks. It spouts fountains of gas liberated by the Sun’s heat and then spits meteorites from its tail as it passes.

Space, we know, is big and mostly empty. The odds that an asteroid might hit Earth in any given year are only one in a million, Mr. Redford explains. Those odds might sound reassuring until we remember that Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Tell that to the dinosaurs, whose reign on Earth was abruptly cut off 65 million years ago. It was then, astronomers and geologists have concluded, that a particularly nasty rock appeared in the sky. An asteroid seven miles in diameter, apparently nudged from its normal orbit between Jupiter and Mars, ploughed into the sea near what is now the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico at 40,000 miles an hour.

From space we see a fireball the size of a continent. The entire Earth, we are told, baked at 500 degrees for an hour. Soot blackened the atmosphere for months, blocking light.

Most of the species on Earth went extinct, but among the survivors were our own ancestors, who might not have gotten the chance to thrive and take over without the demise of everybody else.

The question looms, as we see yet another big rock take aim at Earth (the music swells again), whether we could go the way of the dinosaurs.

Happily, that need not be the case. Given enough warning, according to new studies, we could nudge an incoming asteroid off its collision course by flying a spacecraft by it and giving it a gravitational tug. This is the opposite of the gravitational slingshot effect used to fling spacecraft to the outer solar system by sending them past planets.

And so the new rock passes without the money shot.

There is little we can do, however, about a much bigger collision fated to happen billions of years in the future, when the Milky Way galaxy, in which the Sun and its retinue reside, and the Andromeda galaxy, some two million light years away now but closing in, collide and merge.

Step-by-step computer simulations, in which each second represents 40 million years, show the two spiral galaxies, spinning like jeweled spiders, approach, flow through each other, separate as arms of stars flow gracefully akimbo and then draw together again in a double-yoked embrace, finally merging to become a giant egg-shaped agglomeration billions of years from now.

Because colliding galaxies are so vast, the stars and planets in them would probably just slide by one another, Mr. Redford tells us. What w
ill collide, he says, is the gas and dust that fills the lanes of each galaxy. As the gas compresses and heats, those collisions will produce countless new stars and planets ― new arenas for whatever life might populate the new enlarged galaxy as it sails on into the universe’s golden years.

Whoever lives there someday will be able to thank this collision for the spark of life.

Without such collisions, the Milky Way wouldn’t exist. And probably, neither would we, Mr. Redford says as we cruise outward through the galaxies, a journey I was sorry to end.

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blog干啥用的?random thought

好像有点生病了。这两天早上醒来,都有些起不了床的迹象。不过也怪,起来了也就起来了。

晚上,躺在了床上了已经,11点不到。

电视里,菲律宾的电视在放个小制作的电影。风格手法,一眼就能看出,是同一个导演的。这电影名字,Las Ponggols,不知道是什么意思。导演更不知道是谁(连Google都Google不出这个电影的资料)。有英文的字幕,还能看明白电影,不象其他的菲律宾电影,整个就是得猜了。

这导演拍出的一系列都是我喜欢的。虽然之前看过的两部都很情色。第一部说的是3个女孩在马尼拉的生活。第二部,说的是个失业的小青年,找了个看门人的工作,开始偷窥其他的房客。这一部却是一点情色的意思都没有,颇荒诞的两个醉心电影的小帮工,要投身电影,阴错阳差,卷入了件阴谋,被追杀,然后还一路拍电影。这么件事儿。

连用的演员都是同一帮人。一眼就能认出。

整个电影的手法和风格,都属于都市荒诞型,带些喜剧色彩。荒诞喜剧色彩。节奏很快,摄影的大部分构图都很有想象力。不知道过个几年,这个导演会不会像墨西哥那个拍y tu mama tambien那位,一举成名,然后就去拍Harry Potter去了。

写着电影,不知道怎么就想到昨天的那个纽约时报的文章。不太好的一点就是,在比较低落的时候,看到越有创意和想象力的东西,忍不住就想到所有这一切的脆弱。它们都会消失。

就算这样,看一眼我的书架,上面摆的还是所谓的艺术的居多,画,建筑,美丽的东西。再怎么消失,总是存在过。至少,看过的人知道,在看的那一瞬间,美存在过。

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such a beautifully written piece

I love this part:

"There’s a great story to be told about atoms and the void: how atoms evolved out of fire and bent space and grew into Homer, Chartres cathedral and "Blonde on Blonde." How those same atoms came to learn that the earth, sun, life, intelligence and the whole universe will eventually die."

and this:

"I’d like to believe that like Galileo, I would have the courage to see the world clearly, in all its cruelty and beauty, "without hope or fear," as the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis put it."

Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics?

By DENNIS OVERBYE

Two years ago, a movie with the unpronounceable title "What the #$!%* Do We Know!?" became an underground new-age phenomenon, raking in $11 million out of midnight screenings and word of mouth, spawning an industry of books, tote bags, clothing, DVD’s and "biofield" jewelry.

It purported to argue, based on the insights of modern quantum physics, that reality is just a mental construct that we can rearrange and improve, if we are enlightened or determined enough. Science and spirituality have tied the knot, and the world is your infinitely deformable apple.

This winter an expanded version, "What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole," began to play to audiences who say that the movie confirms what they already thought about the cosmos, some vibe they had that it is a slippery, woo-woo-woo kind of place. The movie just finished a two-month run in New York and is to be shown in May at the Quest for Global Healing Conference, in Ubud, Bali, with luminaries like Walter Cronkite and Desmond Tutu attending.

Like its predecessor, this film features a coterie of talking heads: physicists with real Ph.D.’s, biologists, philosophers and a woman who claims to be channeling a 35,000-year-old spirit warrior from Atlantis. It tells the story of a sourpuss photographer played by Marlee Matlin who learns to love herself and take a chance on life.

Like its predecessor, the film touts the alleged power of meditation to affect the crystalline structure of water, as revealed in photographs by Masaru Emoto, a doctor of alternative medicine in Japan. Love and gratitude make for symmetrical and intricate crystals, according to the film, while hatred produces an ugly mess.

If thoughts can do this to water, imagine what they can do to humans, who are, after all, mostly water ― at least so runs the mantra repeated several times in the film.

When I first heard that Marlee Matlin had made a movie about quantum theory, I was excited. (Total disclosure: Ms. Matlin once bought an option on the film rights to an essay of mine about Albert Einstein and his wife.) What could be more deserving of wide-screen cinematic treatment than the weirdness and mystery of the laws that sculpture our space-time adventures?

But hours and hours spent watching the two films and navigating their splashy Web site have tempered my enthusiasm. These films and the quantum mysticism industry behind them raise a disturbing question about the muddled intersection between science and culture. Do we have to indulge in bad physics to feel good?

The "rabbit hole" in the title refers to the philosophical muddle that the contemplation of quantum mechanics, the paradoxical laws that govern subatomic life, can lead to. And it is a legitimate and maddening one. Quantum physics proclaims, for example, that an electron (or any object, elementary particle or not) is both a particle and a wave before we look at it, a conundrum neatly illustrated by a cartoon featuring "Dr. Quantum" in the new film.

Physicists have been at war for the last century trying to explain how it is that the fog of quantum possibilities prescribed by mathematical theory can condense into one concrete actuality, what physicists call "collapsing the wavefunction." Half a century ago the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Eugene Wigner ventured that consciousness was the key to this mysterious process.

Wigner thereby, and inadvertently, launched a thousand New Age dreams. Books like "The Tao of Physics" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" have sought to connect quantum physics to Eastern mysticism. Deepak Chopra, the physician and author, has founded a career on the idea of "quantum healing," and a school of parapsychology has arisen based on the idea that things like telekinesis and telepathy were a result of probing minds’ manipulation of the formless quantum potential. And now the movie.

All of them promote the idea that, at some level, our minds are in control of reality. We are in charge of the holodeck, as one of the characters in "Down the Rabbit Hole" says. And if it doesn’t work for you, it’s probably because you don’t believe.

So what’s wrong with that? Like everyone else, I am inspired by stories of personal change. The ideas that consciousness creates reality and that anything is possible make for terrific psychology.

We all know that self-confidence breeds its own success. I wish I were a member of that club. But physics has moved on. It has been decades since anybody took Wigner’s idea seriously, said David Albert, a professor of philosophy and physics at Columbia, who has the dubious honor of being one of the talking heads in both "What the Bleep" films and is not pleased with the results.

Many physicists today say the waves that symbolize quantum possibilities are so fragile they collapse with the slightest encounter with their environment. Conscious observers are not needed. As Dr. Albert pointed out, Wigner framed the process in strict mathematical and probabilistic terms. "The desires and intentions of the observer had nothing to do with it," he said.

In other words, reality is out of our control. It’s all atoms and the void, as Democritus said so long ago. Indeed, some physicists say the most essential and independent characteristic of reality, whatever that is, is randomness. It’s a casino universe.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. There’s a great story to be told about atoms and the void: how atoms evolved out of fire and bent space and grew into Homer, Chartres cathedral and "Blonde on Blonde." How those same atoms came to learn that the earth, sun, life, intelligence and the whole universe will eventually die.

I can hardly blame the quantum mystics for avoiding this story, and sticking to the 1960’s.

When it comes to physics, people seem to need to kid themselves. There is a presumption, Dr. Albert said, that if you look deeply enough you will find "some r
eaffirmation of your own centrality to the world, a reaffirmation of your ability to take control of your own destiny." We want to know that God loves us, that we are the pinnacle of evolution.

But one of the most valuable aspects of science, he said, is precisely the way it resists that temptation to find the answer we want. That is the test that quantum mysticism flunks, and on some level we all flunk.

I’d like to believe that like Galileo, I would have the courage to see the world clearly, in all its cruelty and beauty, "without hope or fear," as the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis put it. Take free will. Everything I know about physics and neuroscience tells me it’s a myth. But I need that illusion to get out of bed in the morning. Of all the durable and necessary creations of atoms, the evolution of the illusion of the self and of free will are perhaps the most miraculous. That belief is necessary to my survival.

But I wouldn’t call it good physics.

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