Supersymmetry: Is It In Our Universe?

Morning Meeting, 1/15/15
The Taft School
Theoretical Physicist S. James Gates, Jr.
Paduano Endowed Lecture

{starts at 7:00}

{30:00} Created slides for Doubly Even SDEC’s* Control Folding
*Self-Dual Error-Correcting

Relating Doubly-Even Error-Correcting Codes,
Graphs, and Irreducible Representations of N-Extended Supersymmetry

Codes and Supersymmetry in One Dimension










The Dream of Diversity

The Dream of Diversity
Brian Li ’17 • April 18, 2014

As a former student of an American school in Shanghai, China, I am somewhat unfamiliar with the experience of being at a traditional US high school. The student body of the school I previously attended was largely composed of kids like myself – Chinese kids strongly influenced by American culture. In other words, I did not know what a diverse, international community really looked like.

During the application process to Lawrenceville in the eighth grade, I happened upon this novel concept of a racially and culturally diverse school community. This was one of the things about Lawrenceville that appealed to me the most – the idea of being able to live with and bond with kids who have had vastly different experiences from my own. The school’s Admissions Philosophy states that “Lawrenceville actively seeks a student body that is racially, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds.” Additionally, Lawrenceville strives to “provide a multicultural environment where students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to learn from, with, and about one another.” Up until that point, my friends and I, for the most part, had experiences similar to mine. I was curious about the idea of living in an environment where backgrounds differed from dorm room to dorm room.

In fact, Lawrenceville’s diversity was the selling point for me. I decided to jump into a completely new environment full of completely new people from all around the world – thousands of miles away from home. I was excited to make friends with people who were racially or culturally diverse. In the fall of 2013, I came to Lawrenceville with an open mind, expecting to find a diverse community of individuals representing a wide spectrum of backgrounds, all brought together by the school. And I found it. I met kids from the Dominican Republic to all the way on the other side of the world in Korea. There were kids from Virginia, Arizona, Massachusetts, and so many other American states.

However, as I entered Lawrenceville, there were also many things I did not expect. There was a culture in the school that was completely new to me, summarized aptly with the term “preppy.”Of course, I understood that the school I was going to was a preparatory school. However, I wasn’t exactly aware of what all that truly meant.

At first, I felt out of place and simply did not feel like I belonged in a “prep” school. I immediately began noticing the conspicuous formation of cliques by people with similar interests and backgrounds. This was another relatively new concept – in my old school, cliques were not so glaringly transparent. At Lawrenceville, cliques were so much more defined. These cliques created clear divisions between people who were from different backgrounds. And, in terms of diversity, the demographics at Lawrenceville are not as cosmopolitan as I’d thought they would be. Years ago, the average Lawrentian was privileged, Protestant, and deeply involved in athletics; that conception still holds today. Lawrenceville, in many ways, hasn’t changed much since the twentieth century – it really is a seemingly homogenous, fancy American prep school after all.

Moreover, Lawrenceville touts this faux “diversity” incessantly. But when I look around, I don’t see much of it. Music performances and dances involving foreign culture are rarely held on campus. Students moan and groan about having to go to chapel-related functions and learn about world religions. Gender-neutral bathrooms, seemingly innocuous facilities designed to accomodate a diverse range of gender identities, have been lampooned and ridiculed.

I am still a freshman and have three more years left with this school; with the experiences still left ahead, I may begin to perceive the diversity at Lawrenceville differently. But at this point, it seems, Lawrenceville has yet to discover what it means to be a truly diverse community.

Here’s the racist, xenophobic Lawrenceville open letter to alumns:

Also of special note is that of ‘legacy’ applicants and the special attention that may or may not be given currently to such applicants and their respective families by Admissions. The history and the importance of legacy to Lawrenceville is so well documented – – – through generations the legacy factor no doubt has provided a stable and positive influence.

What Happens When A Prep School’s Black Student President Mocks Her White Male ClassmatesThe Prep School Negro

Black Boy White School, Brian F. Walker

The treatment of Sudanese immigrants in Maine really plays a critical role in the story. How did you decide to give this immigrant group such prominence? Have you seen things change for the Sudanese?
I teach a unit in one of my English classes that takes a look at the Somali presence in Lewiston. I found it fantastic and fascinating that so many Somalis would choose Lewiston, Maine as a place to settle in the USA. As you may know, there was (and still is) a great deal of tension in Lewiston after so many Somalis settled down there. I just took that tension, put the fictitious school near the town, and rode it out. Also, admittedly, when I was a prep school student a bunch of townies really did march through our campus, dressed like the Klan and shouting racial slurs, before they planted a burning cross on one of our soccer fields. I have heard that over the last couple of years things have gotten better for the Somali and Sudanese folks in Lewiston, which is great. There are still, however, some things that can be improved.

Southgate’s ‘Fall of Rome’: if Horatio Alger knew irony

I don’t trust white people, myself included, to make sensitive judgments about the consciousness of being black. Nor do I trust myself to judge books by people I’ve known and been fond of – or, at least, I don’t expect others to trust my judgment in such cases. Thus, there are two reasons I should not write here about The Fall of Rome, a novel by Martha Southgate (Scribner, 223 pages, $23). But having read Southgate’s book, I am so impressed that I shall fly in the face of those cautions.

Heroic Frenzies

Giordano Bruno: Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic
Edited by Richard J. Blackwell and Robert de Lucca
Introduction by Alfonso Ingegno

Introduction, xxv–xxvi

Bruno distinguishes between two types of contraction achievable by man. Contraction is a phenomenon through which the soul, by concentrating on itself, can realize particular powers; but this can have an opposite effect if it is directed towards a higher contemplative level or if it is carried out so as to render us no longer masters but servants of our imagination, and thus exposed to demonic influence. Here Bruno echoes Ficino in his exemplification of various types of contraction; but instead of calling them ‘vacationes animi’, as Ficino had done, he gives them a name which allows him to incorporate this phenomenon into the metaphysical structure governing our consciousness.22

The point of distinction between the two forms of contraction is therefore represented by the intermediate cognitive faculties which turn the data of sensibility into figments of our imagination. This distinction, and the separation into two distinct levels of humanity, find their exemplary expression in the Cabala del cavallo pegaseo (The Cabala of Pegasus) and in The Heroic Frenzies. The Cabala outlines the characteristics of the man who, faced with the difficulty of searching for the divine, freely renounces his superior faculties, those which make us really human, and contracts his cognitive powers into the single one of hearing, to passive reception alone. Thus stripped of all power of judgment and reduced to the animal condition of an ass, he can no longer tell if his rider is a god or a demon – an allusion to a famous line from Luther’s De servo arbitrio, aimed at denying the very possibility of our freedom. This is the reason why, in The Heroic Frenzies, he praises the ‘divine seal’ of the ‘good contraction’.23 We have seen that, in this work,24 the metaphysics of Cause are translated in terms of the highest experience which man can have, of contemplation of the divine by means of an adequate image of it. Bruno claims, however, that this can be attained only by someone whose mind is constrained by two bonds (vincula): love, and the highest intelligible species which divinity could present to his eyes (i.e. beauty and the goodness of nature). In relation to the action of these two vincula, the ‘divine seal’ of the ‘good contraction’ acquires an essential importance: divinity, in fact, yields and communicates itself to us only at a level proportionate to our receptivity of it. Therefore, it is always our responsibility to intervene in the passive moment of our consciousness so as to raise ourselves above that moment, actualizing the infinite potency which is within us.

This leads Bruno back to the distinction between two types of humanity, those who fall victim to demonic deception and those who, rising above the level of the multitude, overturn the scale of values in which humanity believes and set out to attain the level of a heroic humanity.

Shaping Anglo-Saxon Lordship in the Heroic Literature
of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries
John Hill, US Naval Academy
The Heroic Age, Issue 3, Summer 2000

Abstract: Most scholars of Anglo-Saxon heroic story think of that literature as embodying conventional virtues (generosity, bravery, boasting), obligations (to kin and lord) and conflicts of loyalty. This overview of a contrary view stresses the political nature of those stories — whether in prose or poetry — and argues, essentially, for the reformation of traditional codes and obligations. That reformation has the strengthening of lordship and, ultimately, of kingship in mind. The reshaping of traditional codes begins in the literary record during the period of Alfred’s father and grandfather, early to mid-eighth century, and continues down to the end of the eleventh century.

Mucusless Diet Healing System
Arnold Ehret

In my first published article I promulgated the gigantic idea that the white race is an unnatural, a sick, a pathological one. First, the colored skin pigment is lacking, due to a lack of coloring mineral salts; second, the blood is continually over-filled by white blood corpuscles, mucus, waste with white color; therefore the white appearance of the entire body.

The skin pores of the white man are constipated by white, dry mucus; his entire tissue system is filled up and filled out with it. No wonder that he looks white and pale and anaemic. Everybody knows that an extreme case of paleness is a “bad sign.” When I appeared with my friend in a public air-bath, after having lived for several months on a mucusless diet with sun baths, we looked like Indians, and people believed that we belonged to another race. This condition was doubtless due to the great amount of red blood corpuscles and the great lack of white bloody corpuscles. I can notice a trace of pale in my complexion the morning after eating one piece of bread.


Sodium/potassium/calcium exchanger 5 (NCKX5), also known as solute carrier family 24 member 5 (SLC24A5), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SLC24A5 gene that has a major influence on natural skin colour variation. The NCKX5 protein is a member of the potassium-dependent sodium/calcium exchanger family. Sequence variation in the SLC24A5 gene, particularly a non-synonymous SNP changing the amino acid at position 111 in NCKX5 from alanine to threonine, has been associated with differences in skin pigmentation. The SLC24A5 gene’s derived threonine or Ala111Thr allele (rs1426654]) has been shown to be a major factor in the light skin tone of Europeans compared to Africans, and is believed to represent as much as 25–40% of the average skin tone difference between Europeans and West Africans.[4][1] It has been the subject of recent selection in Western Eurasia, and is fixed in European populations.

Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity, and the Gothic at the Fin-de-siècle
Andrew Smith, Introduction

This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siècle. My principal argument is that the final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. By exploring theories of degeneration, sexological writings, and medical writing on syphilis at the time, it is possible to see how such a pathologisation of the ostensibly dominant masculine scripts becomes developed in scientific, quasi-scientific, and literary contexts… It has become somehwat of a commonplace to argue that the fin de siècle was characterised by crisis, and I want to pursue a different line of enquiry by suggesting that, in part, this notion of crisis was staged within the dominant masculinist culture, rather than that this culture was thrown into crisis by external threats to it… For Adams [Dandies and Desert Saints], such pressures meant that men sought to establish new masculine identities which operated beyond the traditional, patriarchal domestic spaces. A new form of masculinity, one associated with Empire, for example, therefore became constructed during the period… Hendershot [The Animal Within] claims that ‘One area that has served a crucial site for defining modern masculinity has been science. As the Gothic troubles stable notions of the body, so it invades the objective discourse of science. [The Gothic scientist uncovers the destructive man lurking beneath the exterior of the respected positivist. Gothic science reveals horror by opening the laboratory door, inviting the audience to indulge its darkest suspicions regarding the maker of the modern world — the empirical scientist.]’ (p. 69).

Kevin Spacey: 3 Elements of Storytelling


  1. CONFLICT. Conflict creates tension, and tension keeps people engaged with your story… This kind of conflict between who we are and what we want to be and what others may expect of us is the central thread of the human experience. Look into your own lives and you’ll see that kind of tension everywhere… Our stories become richer and become far more interesting when they go against the settled order of things, to really achieve something different and unexpected.
  2. AUTHENTICITY. I think a lot of content marketers need to be mindful of falling into the trap of looking for keywords or quick hits to boost their ranking on Google. [Applause] Stay true to your brand and true to your voice, and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion.
  3. AUDIENCE. Possibly [the] most important element of any story… The device and the link are irrelevant to the story, which is an essential concept that content marketing has learned and embraced better than anyone… It’s no longer about who you know, or how much you can afford, but what you can do, and audiences have spoken: THEY WANT STORIES. They’re dying for them; they’re rooting for us to give them the right thing — and they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them to the bus and to the hair dresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, facebook, make fan pages, silly GIFs, and God knows what else about it. Engage in it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie can only dream of. And all we have to do is give it to them.


Agent Query offers writers a literary touchstone. We want every writer posing as an accountant, office manager, bus driver, police officer, housewife, flight attendant, or juvenile delinquent to know that their story has a chance to be something more than a shameful, indulgent escape— pages hidden in desk drawers that only see the light of day in whimsical dreams of publication.


Today we call it programming

10 second exposure of the SRW extracting a square root

Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science, by M.G. Lord

After the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958, spacecraft trajectories began to be JPL’s stock-in-trade.
Introduced in 1952, the Friden SRW calculator weighed forty-two pounds, contained two registers and over one hundred keys. It was nearly always operated by a woman. An early advertisement for the firm, which was founded by Swedish immigrant Carl Friden in the 1930s, showed a voluptuous woman poised with her hands over the keys. Nor were the devices unique to engineering. At insurance companies, rooms full of women used them to compute actuarial tables. The relentless pounding, one listener remarked, was like the thrum of a marching army.
At JPL, computresses made up “Section 23,” an all-female department that some engineers have compared to a convent and others to a harem. They were expected to have the devotion of nuns and to relinquish aspirations to the engineering priesthood. Insofar as JPL had a social season, it involved the competition among these women and other female staff for the title of Miss Guided Missile. Although a torpedo brassiere might thrust a contestant to the forefront — one campaign manager described his candidate as a “shapely craft, 5’6″ in height, payload 120 lbs of well-designed equipment” — beauty alone would not secure the title. Aspirants had to mount the sort of popularity contest that one associates with class office in junior high. This was not a marginalized pageant; it dramatized the impunity with which JPL men objectified women. William Pickering, the director of JPL from 1954 to 1976, himself crowned the winner. In 1959, after the formation of NASA, when JPL turned its attention from missiles to planetary probes, the title became the Queen of Outer Space.
As technology evolved, however, the Friden seraglio became obsolete, replaced by the room-size IBM mainframe computer. (As did the Queen of Outer Space, which vanished in 1970 with no explanation)…

Walter Isaacson on the women of ENIAC

Wanted: Women With Degrees in Mathematics…Women are being offered scientific and engineering jobs where formerly men were preferred. Now is the time to consider your job in science and engineering…You will find that the slogan there as elsewhere is WOMEN WANTED!

Andreessen: The Tech-Eyed Optimist

While he doesn’t know the obesity-hunger paradox are “flip sides to the same malnutrition coin”, Andreessen does pick up on another paradox:

And it’s so weird, but it actually goes to the heart of American culture. You’ve read de Tocqueville,* right? There’s a paradox at the heart of American culture: In theory, we like change, and then when change actually materializes and presents itself, it gets vast amounts of blowback. We like change in the general case, but we don’t like it in the specific case. With every single thing that anybody here has ever done, there’s always been people saying, “That sucks. That’ll never work. That’s stupid.”

* “I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.”

The Return of Jobs

The Apple Revolution: 10 Key Moments, #4

“He had become a far better leader, less of a go-to-hell aesthete who cared only about making beautiful objects,” wrote Fortune’s editor-at-large Peter Elkind of the co-founder’s triumphant return. “Now he was a go-to-hell aesthete who cared about making beautiful objects that made money.” In time, he became recognized as one of the company’s most valuable assets.

I have the same likes (both soundtracks are superb, both casts are great) and dislikes (both screenplays are lousy) with Jobs as The Social Network. Robert X. Cringely nails it for Jobs (as John Hagel did for TSN; cinematic tropes fail Storytelling 101 with these type of tech stories):

Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs somehow misses the whole point

something happened during Steve’s NeXT years (which occupy less than a 60 seconds of this 122 minute film) that turned Jobs from a brat into a leader, but they don’t bother to cover that. In his later years Steve still wasn’t an easy guy to know but he was an easier guy to know. His gut for product was still good but his positions were more considered and thought out. He inspired workers without trying so much to dominate or hypnotize them […] at some point Steve did change. It was subtle but real and it set the tone for the last 15 years of his life — the most productive 15 years of his life or that of any American executive.

Everything in italics is Cringely’s emphasis, mine is bolded — because it’s the most significant point he makes (but I’d also add, with NeXT, Pixar). I also give Ashton Kutcher big points for acting, but question the inaccuracies used. The art of cinematic biographical storytelling — condensing a lifespan into a two-hour frame — fails. However, John Debney’s score actually tells the story. Watching the movie when Track #33.- Think Different started playing captured something. It made me watch Jobs’ introduction of this ad campaign, 8-10 weeks (September 23, 1997) after returning to Apple.

Jobs notes the “poetic” first airing of Think Different on The Wonderful World of Disney that Sunday during the television premiere of Toy Story {11:00}. The permissions needed, and granted, to show the images of everyone appearing in this ad: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso. Until Think Different, most of these people never appeared in this type of advertisement and Jobs adds, “and never would until we asked them”.

It’s been an incredible moving experience for me that these people, both living and dead (their estates), have felt so strongly about Apple that they were willing to let us do this. I don’t think there is another company on earth that could have done this campaign. And that to me is something very special.

Think Different Rosa Parks Poster

In 2005, when Rosa Parks died, the Apple website had a photo of her on their first page with the Think Different logo. Many, unfamiliar with the 1997 campaign, thought this was tasteless.

Do you know who that is? Rosa Parks. They’ll be five buses running around five major cities like that.

Turing’s Cathedral

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
By George Dyson

On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem
Alan Turing, Proc. London Math. Soc. (1937) s2-42 (1): 230-265

IAS Electronic Computer Project

In this 1953 diagnostic photograph from the maintenance logs of the IAS Electronic Computer Project (ECP), a 32-by-32 array of charged spots––serving as working memory, not display––is visible on the face of a Williams cathode-ray memory tube. Starting in late 1945, John von Neumann, Professor in the School of Mathematics, and a group of engineers worked at the Institute to design, build, and program an electronic digital computer.


There are two kinds of creation myths: those where life arises out of the mud, and those where life falls from the sky. In this creation myth, computers arose from the mud, and code fell from the sky.

In late 1945, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, Hungarian American mathematician John von Neumann gathered a small group of engineers to begin designing, building, and programming an electronic digital computer, with five kilobytes of storage, whose attention could be switched in 24 microseconds from one memory location to the next. The entire digital universe can be traced directly to this 32-by-32-by-40-bit nucleus: less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today. {&myemph;}

Von Neumann’s project was the physical realization of Alan Turing’s Universal Machine, a theoretical construct invented in 1936. It was not the first computer. It was not even the second or third computer. It was, however, among the first computers to make full use of a high-speed random-access storage matrix, and became the machine whose coding was most widely replicated and whose logical architecture was most widely reproduced. The stored-program computer, as conceived by Alan Turing and delivered by John von Neumann, broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things. Our universe would never be the same.

Working outside the bounds of industry, breaking the rules of academia, and relying largely on the U.S. government for support, a dozen engineers in their twenties and thirties designed and built von Neumann’s computer for less than $1 million in under five years. “He was in the right place at the right time with the right connections with the right idea,” remembers Willis Ware, fourth to be hired to join the engineering team, “setting aside the hassle that will probably never be resolved as to whose ideas they really were.”

IAS Shifting Register

Electronic Computer Project
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, N.J.
Shifting Register No. 7
Functional Diagram

The First Five Kilobytes are the Hardest:
Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and the Origins of the Digital Universe at the IAS

IAS Video, March 16, 2012

Dyson also gave this presentation June 6th at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences [Theme: “@The Edge”]. Part 2 | Part 3