An article in New Scientist (which sounds like a Christian science magazine but I swear that it’s actually a legitimate publication) today indicates that closing the loop on reality with quantum computing may be prohibited by fundamental limits relating to how long a group of particles can remain entangled. The putative combinatoric representational power of the quantum computing model hinted that it might be possible to create high fidelity simulations of reality inside a piece of computing machinery. This is a neat thing to think about because there would be nothing from stopping one from infinitely nesting simulations inside of each other. However, the universe seems to prohibit these “something for nothing” transactions so it’s not surprising to me that these limits exist (the scientist who discovered them was “shocked”). My prediction is that quantum computing will turn out to be like hover boards. In the 50s we were all promised that in the future, there would be hover boards. The hover boards never showed up. I want my hover board dammit!
I’ve always enjoyed the homophony of cubit and qubit. The word for one of civilization’s most ancient measurements of distance has been reborn as one of its most cutting-edge measurements of information. While qubits have taken a hit recently, cubits have recently been uncovered in the deserts of Eygpt in the form of a previously unknown Sappho poem. Sappho is the famous female poet in the ancient Greek tradition, despite most of her poetry coming down to us only in fragments. In her time she was known as the “Tenth Muse”. We will have to wait until Stanley Lombardo does a good translation to really appreciate it – he renders Sappho into English much better than Anne Carson or anyone else I have read.
[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses' lovely gifts [be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre: [but my once tender] body old age now [has seized;] my hair's turned [white] instead of dark; my heart's grown heavy, my knees will not support me, that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns. This state I oft bemoan; but what's to do? Not to grow old, being human, there's no way. Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn, love-smitten, carried off to the world's end, handsome and young then, yet in time grey age o'ertook him, husband of immortal wife.
As you can see, it is kind of rough. Like I said, Stanley Lombardo has published a book of beautiful translations. Get cultured for nine dollars. My favorite is Sappho 16.
Some say an army on horseback,some say on foot, and some say shipsare the most beautiful things on this black earth, but I sayit is whatever you love. It's easy to show this. Just lookat Helen, beautiful herselfbeyond everything human, and she lefther perfect husband and went sailing off to Troy, without a thought for her childor her dear parents, led astray lightly reminding me of Anactoria, who is goneand whose lovely walk and bright shimmering faceI would rather see than all the chariotsand armed men in Lydia but it cannot be humans pray to share unexpectedly
Ha. A blog post touching on quantum computing and the poetry of Sappho. Find that anywhere else on the web.