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The Marianne Williamson Campaign RIP

The graves are now full of the coffins of campaigns for the Democratic nomintion for POTUS in 2020 that have bitten the dust for a number of reasons.

One of the most fascinating of the departed is the campaign of Marianne Williamson, a New Agey spiritualist writer and lecturer whose interest in electoral politics took everyone by surprise when she announced it, almost a year ago now.  On January 28, 2019 she walked onto a stage in Beverly Hills, California to announce her candidacy and its goal, to: "engage voters in a more meaningful conversation about America, about our history, about how each of us fit into it, and how to create  sustainable future."

You might fairly judge from that language that it was never entirely clear that the office of the President was part of her goal.

Williamson enlivened the first  couple of debates, and her presence has been missed from the subsequent ones. She was the very rare intersection of two Venn diagram circles -- one might be labelle…
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The Sound and the Fury

The opening words of Faulkner's masterpiece, THE SOUND AND THE FURY, are as follows:

"Through the fence, beneath the curling flower space, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward me where the flat was and I went along the fence....They took the flag out and they were hitting. Then they put the flag back and they went to the table, and he hit and the other hit. Then they went on, and I went along the fence."

Most adults 'get' this in its straightforward meaning after a couple of reads. To be clear, though, we are asked to identify with an "I" who is watching  two men play golf. A bit of a golf course (including the putting green for one hole and the tees [the "table"] for the start of another) is on the other side of the fence.

The description of this action is literal to a fault. One oddity may strike you -- the observer of the golfers doesn't mention the golf balls that the golfers "were hitting" No explicitness about…

Ricky Gervais

"You could binge-watch the entire first season of After Life instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself because his wife dies of cancer, and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert: Season 2 is on the way, so in the end, he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein."

Groans from audience

"I know he was a friend of yours. I don't care." 

In our moment of Gervais appreciation, it is well to remember that the "suicide" death of Jeffrey Epstein came three weeks after another "suicide" attempt. After that latter effort, Epstein was supposed to have been put on suicide (though not apparently on "suicide") watch. 

There were, when Gervais spoke, plenty of reasons to believe him literally right. Epstein was murdered. But the case became stronger a short time AFTER that Golden Globe ceremony, when the major news organizations all carried stories that the footage taken by security camer…

A New Laptop

No new babies in my life but I do have a new laptop.

It is a bit wrenching to realize how long I have gone without being able to see the letters on the keys. I had worn them right out on the older one.

And I am not the conscientious sort of writer who will remain forever free of typos. I'm not proud of it, but I can use these letters.

So let's call this a red-letter day for me.

Three Cheers for Frances Arnold

The world needs more forthright retractions.

The tendency, given the nature of the human ego, is to defend one's own record. This is a temptation perhaps especially for highly intelligent people, who bend their intelligence to defend what they see as their legacies, and thus find themselves looking back and fighting defensive wars.

Frances Arnold is obviously very intelligent -- she is a recent winner of the Nobel in Chemistry! -- yet she resisted whatever temptation in that direction she may have felt.

Three cheers!

More Notes for a Novel

He sat balanced with his feet on the seat of the chair and his ass on the top edge of the back.

An observer might have thought him in danger of falling over and doing some serious damage, except that his face conveyed no such concern, simply a slight irritation at the inconvenience of having to sit like this.

Which was odd, since to all appearances there was no reason he had to sit like this. And he was 50 years old, so it was not some adolescent prank.

Ned (Linda's husband -- we've met him before, uttering disconnected snippets in his sleep) was just a month beyond that big milestone birthday. He was here in court without her, or a lawyer or any other visible support system, sitting on a chair in a conference room awaiting the woman who was suing him, a former high school teacher. One of his former high school teachers.

This was the first time Ned had perched on a chair like this since ... well ... high school.

Now he was sitting there and Mrs Washington (with her lawyer, pr…

Quantum Computing and the Quantum Mind

I believe I may have mentioned at some point in the history of this blog, or its precursor, that at least one great physicist, Roger Penrose, believes quantum mechanics offers the key to the understanding of how consciousness arises within the function of the human brain.

Today, I simply want to make the observation that quantum computing is no longer a hypothesis. It is a fact. Google declared its breakthrough this year.

Some of the premier quantitative-analytic hedge funds in the world, including Renaissance and DE Shaw, have high hopes for quantum computing and expect that it