quarta-feira, outubro 30, 2019

Englishness: "Agent Running in the Field" by John le Carré





After more than 10 years attending the British Council I feel only half English now at best and even that is waning. The other half I associate with things like football hooliganism, small mindedness, nationalism, old white blokes spouting shite in decaying working men's clubs, establishment rabble rousers and middle England (those have always been very English things, and I probably wouldn't have it any other way, apart from the hooliganism perhaps...). This novel by Le Carré makes me think he has an expected standard of mind and spirit and maybe others are losing it. That's when it's time to split. Le Carré doesn't give any evidence of preparing to pack his bags to quit the world. Like most of us who thought we knew the England we grew up with, maybe he feels alienated by the paucity and naivety and lack of integrity in those whose job it is to protect the rights and interests of all its citizens. I'm a huge fan of Le Carré, and - weird admission - if I have insomnia or I'm awake because I'm anxious about something, I re-read bits of "Tinker, Tailor” (I love the way George Smiley spends most of the novel reading reports and rummaging through archive boxes). I know it off by heart of course, but every time it still comes up fresh. His insights on Englishness and the state of the English nation are so accurate. Writers can be simple storytellers - spinners of mildly entertaining diversions. Some writers though go a little deeper, and reflect a mood or reveal tensions in our lives. Their words can help us see a little further, beyond ourselves, or prompt discussion of ideas. Le Carré’s work has done this; provoke thought and question England’s role in the post-war political world, examine the moral ambiguity that every nation wrestles with, and tell a bloody good story along the way. That’s both interesting and entertaining to many, and his views and opinions that fuel those books make compelling reading too. But if you’re not up for that, that’s fine. I always feel that reading a Le Carré novel is a bit like life - it's only around page 80 that you have any real understanding of what the hell is going on. I love how his stories enter through side doors and lead us though back stairs with glimpses of the main house. The man is a wonderful storyteller. Loved how the former head of the KGB wanted to meet him. Whether he knew well enough that Le Carré's work was elegant fiction, or believed it described to us the real workings of espionage, either way it's a testament to the author's skills that the two met.

Bottom-line: I’m so glad he has achieved publishing a new book, and it plainly shows one of the truly great writers of our time who has been diminished in people's eyes because of his writing spy novels (and bashing Brexit). Pity!


terça-feira, outubro 22, 2019

DNS over HTTPS (DoH): "Permanent Record" by Edward Snowden



The minute some politico starts banging on about that we need to restrict something because we need to "protect the children" you can be absolutely sure that they mean to prevent the people having the same access to information as they do. Or they have been caught with their trousers down. And I am not talking about defence related stuff categorised as Top Secret. It is doubly funny when the person banging on about it is so remote that they cannot even send an email without the help of a child. What has been troubling me about the Snowden revelations, is something George Orwell failed at in not going beyond in his books "Animal farm" and "1984" which that there seems to be a "force of intent" that is operating in our world far more powerful than governments, as Google's prime example is currently demonstrating this historical fact.

So the question I keep asking myself, is who or what, would want personal data on every single one of us on this earth and where we live, and what we think? Well, at a relatively young age reading Einstein's paper on special relativity (LINK), I learned how to do "thought" experiments. So it comes in handy, when considering that public opinion seems to be that if (any) governments are hoovering up all that Mega-data then they must have a real purpose of intent beyond what they could practically use of so much information. But in this, public opinion may be totally mistaken, if what Mr. Snowden has told us in so many words that the process almost has a mind of its own, this hoovering business, and that nobody is actually minding the store of there in the US. And that its just grown and grown so humongously astronomically huge that nobody knows what to do with it. My God, you know, as if something else is orchestrating the whole business. They used to say in America that "government intelligences" was a contradiction in terms. They couldn't possibly be all that smart: look at how they screwed up the whole planet. People have now become ( ever so slightly) animated as to who might have access to their personal data, and what this could mean for the future, and I for one think this line of thinking is going in the right direction.

I was opposed to Snowden's activities until I saw the staunch demands by Nancy Pelosi for Snowden's capture and prosecution as a war criminal. That kind of response from Pelosi, who reserves her most intense hatred for conservatives and people of integrity and honor, has caused me to reassess my perceptions of Snowden. I now have no doubt that he has discovered more nefarious activities of the Obama administration and, like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and the IRS assaults against conservatives, the current administration and their minions in the press are doing their best to paint Snowden as a traitor as damage control. The U.S. has now lost all credibility internationally as a nation that has freedom, justice and charity as its primary concerns thanks to the thugs in office and congress.

I find this whole debate stale by about 10 years and it is driven by a right wing "project fear" of the "deep state". It is fuelled by the American perspective again, just as freedom of speech has been modified to a U.S. norm beyond our own laws. The fact is we’ve have been used to freedom of speech being merely a privilege and also being constantly surveilled. Most, I wager, are of the view that if one is indeed law abiding, then it is a trade-off worth paying. This is why no one here seems to object too much to the enormous number of CCTV etc, speed detection etc. Whereas, the very land that "protects freedoms" indeed pitches one "freedom" against the other. The U.S. Constitution is largely useless in protecting people against the excesses of corporations, even if, the legal philosophical justification of a company is largely a hangover from Portuguese Empire days where companies were used to control vast parts of the World! So really, Mr Snowden: I don't fear governments so much because ultimately they are subject to judicial review etc. IF they interfere with my PERSON. It is the rise of the U.S. super-corporate that is the biggest privacy threat, if indeed it is privacy per se which exercises you mind the most, but on that you don’t have much to say.

The Internet in combination with tech innovation and expanding high speed networks has changed the world. The real complexity lays in the question to which extend (or even at all) a government or government (related) agency should be allowed to access encrypted messages. Currently in most countries a government agency still needs a court's approval to wire tap a phone and it needs to prove the need to do so. In the U.S. and for instance China the government and it's agency are trying to gain access and control over every bit of data of its citizens and is actively developing various policies to tighten the control and inflict control over peoples personal lives. The latter going against the democratic principles (even China has those till a certain extend). I am almost thinking that encryption itself could be seen as an "offense" against the state if some countries get their way. Therefore the right for privacy and encryption should be considered civil rights and/or human rights. I've heard a lot of people talking about companies working on providing security solutions for IoT applications. Wot?? That, by the way is probably the best example for the issues in screwing up with cryptography. Let's for a second assume that a foreign adversary gains control to the connection to a large number of IoT devices which have significant power consumption and whose location is KNOWN. One way of doing this will be for example to backdoor encryption. All they need to bring the grid down in the target country is to flip 'em up and down in a preprogrammed and well orchestrated sequence. I have seen that computation done elsewhere as far back as 80s. It is not a "vapourware" attack and it actually can be executed provided that you are flipping up and down significant load in the exact sequence to start triggering fail-safes in the grid resulting in disconnections. So does back-dooring encryption still look good? Shall we discuss the same question in the darkness of a 12h+ blackout? Sometimes people what they want to believe.

Some realities that are not necessarily very palatable...

- It is clear that if encryption is allowed, than many entities can create entire ecosystems of operation that are completely invisible to governments. This includes peer-to-peer agreements between groups of corporations to net off work (in effect private multipartite barter utilising blockchain) bypassing all taxation. Nation states cannot survive the introduction of such models of counter-currencies;

- encryption is ultimately inherently a lost battle, because the most basic, fundamental aspect of the privacy of an individual is unencryptable: your genome, which is going to be wide open to everyone, and this type of genetic hacking is just a few years away;

- For those without the means of having direct control over software, the choices are, trust the authorities over you to act benignly, or trust that the various corporations that operate in the digital world can be trusted to not sell you down the river. Given that both of these are not the most sensible decisions you can make, the only way out of the labyrinth is to learn to code and understand IT to a level that means you can avoid becoming a victim.

The reality is that the majority of people (and especially politicians) don't have a clue about the inner workings of IT systems. This is caused by an inevitable increase in the degrees of separation between humans and systems at both the hardware and software levels. But underneath those levels of complexity, our current systems can, without exception, ultimately be rendered down to two basic elements - zeros and ones. With sufficient processing power (centralised or distributed), any encoding system can ultimately be compromised. As proven by Alan Turing.

A few weeks ago at the annual Five Eyes summit in London, there were calls for backdoor access to encrypted apps such as WhatsApp via a so-called "Ghost Protocol"...I’ve also heard Mr. Snowden will make a presentation talk at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon...the stars aligned...WTF!

I’m glad Snowden wrote his memoirs, but he if he wanted to be entirely honest with himself he should have gone after the Vast Cyber Mega Corporations as well (attempts to stop major companies using encryption for messaging services are totally pointless though. Any half competent computer science undergraduate could put together a totally secure system using freely available open source encryption software. If terrorist groups know that widely used systems have 'backdoors' they will do exactly that. As for banning or compromising the open source software, any fully competent undergraduate could also write their own version).

Security services are not going to let it be known whether they have cracked encryption regimes or not. One suspects they have cracked ToR some time ago but it suits to let "crims" think otherwise. Garbage in garbage out on a massive scale. Anyone who posts anything out there that remotely resembles the real facts other than to banks and govvy type sites (where you can sue the arse off them) needs to have a long hard think. It has taken me an hour to summon up the courage to say, I am too scared to say anything. Lol. I like Ed, Thanks Sir.

NB: I am strongly against mass surveillance. No government or company has the moral right to invade my privacy. Which is why I encrypt all my private emails with a 4096 length bit key, right now unbreakable. How do you do this? By either using a PGP addon for Outlook with pgp keys I generated by the stand alone PGP program at the max of 4096 bit keys. PLUS if using Thunderbird, I use the Enigma Mail imported with gpg4win installed on my computer - it allows me to import all my pgp keypairs and public keys or make new ones at 4096 bits. All my friends uses one of those also and use my public key so all our emails back and forth are encrypted - pretty extensive pass phrases also. The easiest way is probably to just use ProtonMail - if my answer above is too technical for you to follow (although ProtonMail is not quite as secure as a 4096-bit key, it should be secure enough for 99% of users using the default settings; I used to use Proton until they responded that their bit key is only 2048 and they will upgrade to 4096 in the future, that made me drop them. Plus they charge you to be able to do a pop or imap with outlook or anything. Ever since I found an openPGP source for Outlook called Encryptomatic, I haven't looked back.). It's sad that Portugal’s ISPs are so complicit in wanting to work hand-in-glove with the Portuguese govt in undermining Portuguese citizens' privacy. An industry group of UK internet service providers not long since branded Firefox browser maker Mozilla an 'internet villain' simply because of their ongoing efforts to implement options for DNS over HTTPS (DoH). The UK version of the browser has DoH turned off by default and has to be enabled via configuration settings. This excellent presentation explains in easily understood terms what DNS is and how DNS over HTTPS can ensure greater user privacy. Moreover, since Cloudflare is a U.S. company, there may still be a risk of (a) if you're a tinfoil hatter, the NSA already having a backdoor to all their routing data of (b) of them being subpoenaed and required to hand over records. There's a security-in-obscurity element to the exiting random routing which goes along with the possibility that one of the routers is a bad actor. Presumably one looking for random victims because it doesn't know in advance who'll pass through its hands...Privacy? Long gone! The lunatics who programmed all this have, one way or another, allowed the lunatics to start running the asylum. Old wine from new bottles, anyone???


sexta-feira, outubro 18, 2019

Shit-quels: "The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset" by Suzanne Collins



Me: “Pardon me? There's enough in the books for prequels? There was barely enough in the books for the films themselves. They're not exactly a speculative tour-de-force and they offer nothing that no one's done or said before. Why exactly did they take off?”

Passerby: “Publicity brainwashing pre-pubescent fans. Loathsome books/movies. How about a shequel? A spin-off based on her character.”

Me: “With a role for Sean Connery, perhaps?”

Passerby: “I don't think that will shit well.”

Me: “You mean shit-quel? The entire bunch of these "movies/books" was shit, pure and simple.”

Passerby: “I love it when a pop culture analysis arrives to tell us that this has never been done before. Who, really... never ever been a story or saga about a female who beats men and generally reforms the structure of society? Athene, goddess of Athens was a warmonger. Thank goodness she did not encourage Athens to become... well, Athens. The Amazons... oh well yes, but they got their geography wrong. How about the nasty Hindu goddess who likes eating babies? Or IS fighters who fear being killed by a woman because that is - crossing religiosity - bad karma? The and-ors could go on and on and on. The two longest serving monarchs in history have been women. First was an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh and then there is Queen Elizabeth II. We have fables about women who dress as men to undertake rebellion. Women who sacrifice everything to protect children, or save a marriage [but it is the same violent thuggee, duh!]. Women have been vastly more integral to history than seems to be told. That exclusion may be sexism, but I cannot embrace that Jennifer Lawrence somehow entrains an original statement of female presence, effect, and renaissance.”

Me: “Well, one of the oldest (maybe the first) dystopian movies was Metropolis with the central figure of Maria as the healer of a civilisation. The books/movies are shameless rip offs of other books/movies; this theme has been with us in film since Metropolis and in print from even before that.”

Passerby”: “I heard it’s a rip-off from another movie...”

Me: “ Have you read both books and seen both movies? I saw Battle Royal before I read the Hunger Games and I'm sorry - the similarities are just too flagrant to ignore. Both were crap; it was the same story transposed to a different time and slightly different setting. Copy? Maybe not, but same-same? Definitely. I enjoyed Battle Royal more - only because it didn't have the saccharine-sweet-sexless-shove-morals in your face Hunger Games has.”

quarta-feira, outubro 16, 2019

Bullshit Fantasy: "The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang





“When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.”

In “The Poppy War” by R. F. Kuang



I’m going all metaphorical on this one...

Take the following entirely fictitious example:

Side character: "The key was inside you all along."

Hero: walks away

Side character: "Wait? Where are you going?"

Hero: "I'm off to dig a hole and find a bush with a lot of leaves."


A writer could take any of these weaker tropes and turn them on their heads. For example, that "you were the key this whole time" bullshit...let's say our protagonist has been suffering a lot on his journey to find this key. Everyone around him keeps dying, he's nearly died himself more than a couple times, and he's starting to wear down. By the end of his quest, he's tired, he's discouraged, he's grieving, and he's wondering how all of this could possibly be worth it. Then, the mystical priest or whomever, tells him, "you were the thing you've been seeking this entire time. Sorry all your loved ones are dead." The protagonist then proceeds to kill the priest, everyone in the temple, and even takes out a small village for good measure. When we meet him again in the second book, he's pretty much the villain. With magical key powers. Everybody's screwed. Enter new hero, who may or may not be connected to the former hero in some way.

It's not perfect, but if people want to use abused tropes, they need to utilize twists and a little more creativity to keep them interesting. Problem is, "turning tropes on their heads" is not a new concept and normally it's always done in the same 2 or 3 ways, so those "inverted tropes" have become new tropes themselves...you end up with the same problem.  Also, tropes are not inherently bad; it's how you use them, how many of them you use and if you add anything to them. You take a stop by SF Tropes in Clute’s SF Encyclopedia, search for your favourite, most immaculate perfect book and you'll be treated to a list of 300+ tropes they've used.

That every use of the trope is bad, just when they're used uncreatively. Yeah, when tropes are abused it is bad and pretty obvious sometimes, but twisting the tropes can be fun too. For example in some Fantasy novels male protagonists are sometimes a dick to women but everyone still wants his body- turns out he is actually gay and he was cursed to be irresistible to the opposite sex. Or maybe the key dude is a leader of a group. When the leader decides the journey is too tough and not worth it, his group reveals to him he's the key himself and orders to go home but his followers restrain him and force him to lead on. I call this ”Bullshit Fantasy”

I was thinking in amusement of a dude going through so much shit and then a wizard coming along like “Oh yeah! You was the key all along!” Only for the hero to be mortified like “I WAS THE KEY????” Plus the guy has been so mentally screwed up he can’t take it anymore and stabs himself. Meanwhile the wizard just stares down at him like “Welp! We’re fucked.” And then it ends with the villain winning and messing shit up.

In some cases, a few cliches arent bad, their good even, they give the audience something familiar to entertain them. Its the over reliance on cliches and stereotypes that is bad; you should have more original ideas in your story than cliched ones, and you shouldnt take too long to incorporate your original ideas into a story either. Some authors will take you on a long cliched story only to upend the tropes at the end, but by that point youve taken too long. One of my favourite fantasy series has a mystical swordsman as the hero, and instead of going on the cliched heroes journey of every man peasant to king, he learns how to meditate and draw on a zen state of mind to resist being possessed by demon spirits. This power is necessary because he hunts a demon who killed his mother. He kills the demon, but by seeking revenge over protecting the innocent he allows a good person to be killed.  Then his enemies manage to subvert his zen training by making him angry with the knowledge that the demon he killed was a victim of another worse evil, and he is possessed by a demon and attacks his friends. It’s a pretty cool arc and its unlike anything I’ve seen in fantasy before.

What about “The Poppy War”? Cliches left and right. Moreover, if I want to read Inhumane Stuff I’ll go watch the news. Honestly, half way through I couldn't stand it anymore. Got sick of Rin, of the little character development, the random flows in the pages. I started loosing interest when the characters stopped developing and they just kind of started doing things just to move the plot forward. By the end of the book I really had no idea what was driving the characters to do what they were doing. I'm still confused as to whether all those history lessons were actually important or just fillers because if they did have any importance to the story it was definitely lost on me. Why can't protagonists be characters and their gender not be the focal point of the book? I want Depth, I want insight! And I don’t want a frigging mainstream novel disguised as Fantasy! It's an easy marketing ploy to loop in gullible readers. But don’t mind me. I’m just a cynical cantankerous bastard...

This is not Grimdark. It´s Utter Crap.



SF = Speculative Fiction.


segunda-feira, outubro 14, 2019

Un-PC British Farce: "Blott on the Landscape" by Tom Sharpe



Who’s funnier? Lee Child, P. G. Wodehouse, or Tom Sharpe? (*) What has happened to funny books these days? Most of these are old, some very old. The Goodreads best of 2016 humour category was all non-fiction (apart from an Alan Partridge autobiography which is still sort of... but not quite). There's nothing wrong with old. Except I've read or decided not to read most of them already. Where's the next great comic novelist? Same with TV. Lucky to get anything that isn't swish, poo-faced, up its own arse, wanky drama.

Remember being stuck in the library of the British Council when I was 15 I think and starting to read a borrowed copy of Blott. I’d never read anything even vaguely comic before and was quickly in absolute shuddering tatters. Unfortunately I was a wee specky fanny at the time and couldn’t control myself which was way too embarrassing as the library was jam full of raging adults and weirdly quiet. I kept trying to get a hold of myself and stop laughing. Put the book down, stared at my shoes, all of which made it worse when I battered on a few pages and ended up blowing snot bubbles all over the sofa in the reading room. Later on I bought “Blott on the Landscape”. So many people often asked me why I was laughing so much that they had to borrow the book...eventually the people who borrowed the book lent it to people who wondered why they were laughing so much ...and then they lent it to other people....and I never got the book back !!!!!!!!!... I hate you all!!!.... Bastards!!!
Within a month I think I’d tanned everything he’d written and rattled onto Wodehouse. But the most I've guffawed at a book is when reading Tom Sharpe. From the razor sharp satire of his South Africa books, to his excellent social commentary in the Wilt On High and Porterhouse books he always had me roaring with laughter. He abandoned his edge for curmudgeons in his last few books but they still excelled in farce. I recall re-reading The Throwback, his tale of inbred aristocrats, and understanding why Cameron et al were such useless sods. You see books advertised as being 'Like Tom Sharpe' but, in reality, none of them are. No-one has captured the sheer farce of his books and think a bit of badly-written smut and bad language is all that it takes. It's “Blott on the Landscape” for me every time I need to cheer myself up.

Un-PC British romping farces! The way he brought his characters to life on the page and the comical antics that they got up to during the seemingly mundane activities of life always made me laugh out loud and was perhaps unique to Tom Sharpe's way of writing.

NB (*): Close call. First things first. Jeeves and Wooster: The episode of Gussie dressed as the devil after a fancy dress ball and the taxi driver clutching the railings made me fall of the sofa with laughter. Honoria Glossop 'with a laugh like a troop of cavalry going over a tin bridge'. I fell in love with them at about 12 and I still have deep affection for them. Gussie Fink-Nottle, 'face like a fish', lives on forever. I must admit that when I was reading Boris Johnson's column in the Telegraph I always hear the voice of a Wodehouse chinless wonder in my head…But I think nothing beats Lee Child. Anything by Lee Child is always improved by the knowledge that Lee takes himself seriously; after a while every novel becomes about when, how, or if Jack Reacher will manage to change his underpants. I few years ago I went on cruise to the Greek islands; the library on the ship was fully stocked up with Lee Child books; his or her readers were happy to discard them afterwards. With nothing else to read, I got started and must confess, the logistics around him not stinking due to his 'travel light' policy was the most gripping thing about the books! I can’t wait to read “Blue Moon” coming out this month. Will Reacher finally change his underpants I wonder?

sábado, outubro 12, 2019

Neocon Conspiracy Theories: "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand





When I was a student at The British Council I was shagging left and right. I met a very cute Swedish girl learning both English and Portuguese (I was attending the English classes) who was truly counter cultural in that amongst a sea of left wing/liberal ideas; she was a lone right wing voice (what we know may call a “free spirit”). In my defense, she had the most pert arse you could imagine but hey, nobody said I wasn't superficial. Especially at 22! So our relationship stumbled on for a bit and as part of getting to know each other, she gave me as a gift “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” with the suggestion (or perhaps with hindsight warning!) that if I really wanted to know what she was about, her Goddess that she worshipped aka Ayn Rand would tell me all. Suffice to say, I managed with great effort and irritation to get through one of the books, started on the first chapter of the second and realised that actually it really wasn't working. Both the book and the relationship. And with that I bid farewell to Ayn,...and the butt :)

The moral of the tale - apart from looks aren't everything kids! - came many, many years later when I bumped into said Swede on a train platform somewhere in London of all places. Apparently, her politics had remained as hardened as ever while also managing to now live in a beautiful housing association flat. How fitting I thought that just like her "goddess" with her social security benefits, she had not allowed a minor thing like an accusation of hypocrisy to get in the way of grabbing what she could. Oh and fear not dear reader, no old neo-liberal flames were rekindled that day! The cute girl had turned into a very much old prune. Which I guess is a moral in itself...

Coming back to Ayn Rand; she mentioned disabled people in “The Fountainhead”, when one of the protagonist's brilliant buildings, designed as a temple, is instead handed over to a school for disabled and "special needs" kids, as they'd be known now. So, the innovative architecture goes for nothing as money and resources are poured into these kids who can barely communicate, while kids from the nearby slums, with their "intelligent eyes" are shooed away. It's only a brief mention, but there are some chilling implications, there. Hey, but what do I know? Having read and re-read the book over the last twenty five years, apparently I'm shallow for having more than just a neocon conspiracy theory to froth at the mouth over. I had a suspicion Rand's utopia might involve a lot of "undesirables" dying off, or being helped to die off. The trouble with utopias, is so many people so plainly aren't the ideals that a utopia would be filled with. So what happens to them? The answer always seems to involve a great many corpses.

Still, we have objectivists in lots of the reviews on GR. Tell me then, what happens in an objectivist state to the physically handicapped, the mentally handicapped, orphans without living relatives, those who contract serious illnesses beyond the ability of their income to pay for treatment for (and bear in mind, if you fall ill at 22, the odds on your having earned through brilliance enough to pay for much treatment ain't great)? In a state in which no man should be asked to care for another, what exactly do we do with all those who for whatever reason cannot care for themselves?

Is there an answer to that, or just the comforting fantasy of some stateless utopia in which people whose lives are not I suspect presently as successful as they would like them to be suddenly find their hidden talents recognised and rewarded?

NB: This review will probably be deleted sooner or later. Read while you can if you feel so inclined…or don't. I don't care. As soon as the minders delete it I'll upload it again. But I'll always have the memories of the Swedish girl...



quarta-feira, outubro 09, 2019

Utter Trex: "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand




Well, I couldn't resist (re-reading this after I read so many enlightened reviews on GRs and elsewhere).

The idea that people will work if they receive some benefit is true. The expectation that others should do the same is perfectly normal. I don't expect to be enslaved and neither do I expect others to be enslaved to me. Also, government from the beginning of time, had to ensure that collectively certain work was done for the good of the collective. That 'service' was often a respected duty in a small community - whether it be defending the territory or being responsible in the use of shared resources. In a larger community those responsibilities and duties had to be enforced by law. Every great society had to manage a precarious balance between laws and individual autonomy that enables both collective prosperity and individual freedom. We may have never had it exactly right but we work towards a balance of ideals so there should be no room for single- minded self-righteous preachers in a practical policy debate.

The real debate should focus on our collective cultural transformation to one that rewards immediate gratification and spin versus real value. The Bernie Madoff culture (just invest with me b/c of my reputation culture), the Enron culture (quarterly earnings are the only thing that matters), the Batchelor/Match.com culture (find your soulmate between commercial breaks), the Pharma culture (all your problems can be fixed with this pill), the fast food culture (eat it – it’s cheap and it tastes good), the Dow Ticker culture (immediate market fluctuations are the best policy measurement). These are the things that make it harder and harder for America to be truly productive. More and more in our nation have forgotten about the discipline and the creative ingenuity it took to build the institutions that are crumbling around us today. Of course we may work long hours but that is no measure of 'Productivity'. Of course, it is more honorable to earn than to beg or steal. We're a nation with a historically low savings rate, an over-dependence on credit, a receding lead in technology yet we spend more time on our reality game shows, or political score-keeping than identifying the root causes of this new reality.

Back to Ayn, whose repulsive aura, if only she'd been a better writer, would be the least important thing about her? If she'd been as good as Henry Miller was on slightly off days, she'd be remembered as the female Henry Miller, since the female analog of Henry's satyriasis isn't nymphomania (it's just too rare a condition to be that, innit?), it's... some Greek word combining the concepts for material security and status with "mania" stuck on the end. We know men think about sex every seven seconds (my friends assure me this is true)... what do women think about every seven seconds? And if men who think about sex seven times every seven seconds write books like Henry Miller, women who think about the Other Thing as frequently write books like Ayn Rand.

If only the books were better-written; weren't such utter trex! Then it wouldn't matter that Rand, whose life was bent by an event that was the 19th century's dying grab at the 20th century's shapely leg, was such an opportunistic shaman-creep-refugee (that was the era for them: Gurdjieff, anyone?). What is it about refugees who scurry up the ladder from the lifeboat and want to pull the ladder right up after themselves?

I guess the aspect which irritates is the overly romantic way in which some of the characters are discussed, the convolution of beauty and talent, the brazen discussion of human perfection. But why not? If you want to believe those kind of people exist, good for you.

Final question: how popular would this stuff be if "Rand" hadn't been smart enough to change her name before going to work? "Ayn" isn't even that far from "Aryan". Will ironies never cease?

(I was going to put an Atlas Shrugged excerpt here and let hilarity ensue from my fellow book reviewers but I fear being excommunicated for reasons of “decency” (wait until you see what I wrote after I re-read “The Fountainhead”…). The Randiose would also have accused me of "cherry-picking", of course... to which I would have replied, "What else would I do in an orchard?")


segunda-feira, outubro 07, 2019

Restlessness: "The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro" by Antonio Tabucchi, J.C. Patrick (Trans.)





Once upon there was a guy, me, who used to just seemed to dislike novels that took the piss out of philosophies (or at least any I liked)… “Candide” was a good piss-take, - and in fact very bleak about humanity rather than cheerily commonsensical. Even though Swift wasn't atheist, it seemed to me that Candide had much in common with Gulliver's Travels... I don't think there is a useful category to be termed "philosophical fiction"....there is more just that baggy old category, "the Novel of Ideas", and even that breaks down when one considers that most "great works" of fiction have quite a strong relationship to ideas of their time, including sometimes philosophically elaborate ideas (Proust influenced by Bergson, Tolstoy doing ""philosophy of history"- but fortunately not only that, in “War and Peace”, Thomas Mann influenced by Jung - despite denials, etc., etc...). Sorry. I missed that epistemology class where the criterion of truth was determined to be cultural greatness, presumably because I was busy thinking for myself, and comparing the subtlety of Leibniz to the crassness of Voltaire (in that work). To be fair to Voltaire, he did not have sight of all the philosophical papers Leibniz kept hidden from the world during his life for very sensible reasons, but even so, enough could be established to see where Leibniz was driving from and just how astonishing some of his ideas were. It's that kind of thinking for oneself that Voltaire was trying to support with the work. Leibniz however, perhaps second only to Spinoza, was a "thinker for himself" of the first order - autodidact, he had to work stuff out for himself and experienced the joy of self-determined understanding. It got him into trouble when he showed off his discoveries only for someone else to say they had already found it - part of this was Leibniz's own excitement about what he was doing off his own back. Perhaps he should have just kept nodding to cultural "greats" like so many of his German contemporaries.

Also, love Sartre - and Simone de Beauvoir...and Camus. There was an affinity between Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche, who mentions D's Notes from Underground. What about Swift? Could he be considered a philosophical novelist? Or George Eliot? I suppose the 19th Century, being such a time of intellectual change, with the novel as a primary form of communication, entertainment and debate, was a time when novelists were very engaged with ideas.

And where is Antonio Tabucchi’s “The Missing Head of Dasmaceno Monteiro” in all of this? There’s more wisdom in Tabucchi’s Portuguese milieu (in this case Oporto) than in the light beams delineated by dust moats of 18th/19th Century literature. I like reading novels which engage with contemporary ideas - through the medium of the characters and their relationship with the world -which can make the ideas and concepts come alive. Dostoyevsky was driven to debate ideas which he saw as fundamentally important - engaging with authenticity and empiricism and rationality, individual freedom and mass culture and socialism, Christian faith and alienation- in his work. Thus, he often argues against himself, questions his own views, through the medium of fiction, and this gives his work its great power. Yes, Tabucchi like Leibniz, and Nietzsche were original thinkers, if that is what we mean by 'thinking for ourselves.' Of course my criteria of truth began and ended in God as instigator of the best possible world within which our freedom and will is self-determined.

As soon as I saw there was an English version of this Tabucchi, I snapped it up. A quote taken from the English version which I also took from my Portuguese edition:

“For his piss he had chosen a massive oak that cast its great shadow over a grassy clearing just on the verge of the pines. Who knows why it gave him a sense of comfort to piss against the trunk of that tree, perhaps because it was very much older than he was, and Manolo liked to think there were living things in the world older than him, even if they were only trees. The fact is that it made him feel at his ease,  and filled with peace, in harmony with himself and with the universe. So he walked up to the great trunk and urinated with relief. And at that moment he saw a shoe.

(“…Para mijar tinha escolhido um grande carvalho que espalhava a sua sombra sobre um campo à beira do pinhal. Não sabia porquê mas dava-lhe prazer mijar contra aquele carvalho. Talvez por ser uma árvore muito mais velha que ele, e o Manolo gostava que no mundo houvesse seres vivos mais velhos do que ele, mesmo que se tratasse de uma árvore. A verdade é que se sentia bem, como se uma serenidade o invadisse enquanto fazia as suas necessidades. Sentia-se em paz consigo próprio e com o universo. Aproximou-se do carvalho e urinou com alívio. E nesse momento viu um sapato” in the Portuguese edition).

When I was young I also liked to piss against light poles, particularly in Festas dos Santos Populares in the Summer in Lisbon where we couldn’t find a bathroom even if our lives depended on it… packed Bon Vivants thronging the streets in Lisbon…

This is Tabucchi at his best. I can feel what Manolo feels, I can empathise with Loton’s speculations and with Firmino’s literary interests…

Bottom-line: Tabucchi is dead. He got rid of the restlessness. We, among the restless and the nonconformists, continue reading his books to appease our own restlessness. It is the least consolation that we deserve I’d say.


sexta-feira, outubro 04, 2019

De Broglie-Bohm Interpretation vs. Copenhagen: "Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics" by Nick Herbert






“A gravity wave is a ripple in the curvature of space-time. Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts that gravity waves ought to be generated wherever huge masses accelerate - for instance, in binary star systems. If Einstein is right, gravity waves from all parts of the sky pass through the Earth every day. A gravity wave slightly warps every object in its path, squeezing it in one direction and stretching it in the orthogonal direction. Because of the ubiquity of gravity waves, every object we see is continually pulsing to the gravitational rhythm of distant stars.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


“Bell’s theorem has immensely clarified the quantum reality question. For instance we now know for certain that no local model can explain quantum facts. Bell’s theorem has important consequences for all models of quantum reality including the Copenhagen Interpretation, and its effects continue to reverberate in physics circles.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


“It’s beginning to look as if everything is made of one substance - call it ‘quantumstuff’ - which combines particles and wave at once in a peculiar quantum style all its own.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


“The manner in which an electron acquires and possesses its dynamic attributes [e.g., ‘position’; to distinguish them from the ‘static’ attributes mass, charge, and spin] is the subject of the quantum reality question. The fact of the matter is that nobody really knows these days how an electron, or any other quantum entity [or ‘quon’ by using Nick Herbert’s coinage], actually possesses its dynamic attributes.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


“In its most up-to-date version Bell’s theorem reads: ‘The quantum facts plus a bit of arithmetic require that reality be non-local. In a local reality, influences cannot travel faster than light. Bell’s theorem says that in any reality of this sort, information does not around fast enough to explain the quantum facts: reality must be non-local.[...] Bohm’s model is an example of such a world. In this model an invisible field informs the electron of environmental changes with a superluminal response time. [...] Bell’s theorem proves that any model of reality, whether ordinary or contextual, must be connected by influences which do not respect the optical speed limit. If Bell’s theorem is valid, we live in a superluminal reality. Bell’s discovery of the necessary non-locality of deep reality is the most important achievement in reality research since the invention of quantum theory.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


“Thus Eberhard’s proof [of no-communication between quantum entities] permits nature to send perfectly encrypted messages along FTL channels but denies humans access to such channels so long as their actions are bound by the rules of quantum theory. [...] Skeptical scientists [and SF authors] compare the attempt to construct real superluminal communicators based on strong quantum correlations in the face of Eberhard’s impossibility proof with attempts which flourished in the last century to devise perpetual motion machines in the face of the law of energy conservation.”

In “Quantum Reality” by Nick Herbert


In 2015 gravitational waves were “observed by the LIGO consortium.” It was a only a question of time but it took physicists 30 years since Nick’s book...

I first read this book in high-school when it came out. I didn’t understand much of it back then. For a few months I’ve been binge reading my way through Quantum Mechanics books, and I wanted to see whether Nick’s vision still held up after so many eons. Nick’s ability to give us a vision of Quantum Reality is still like no other. Nick’s take on Bohmian Mechanics was the first one I read that seemed to make some sort of sense. Pilot-wave theory is Bohmian mechanics. De Broglie realized pilot-wave theory was incorrect and went back to his original double solution theory. To refer to pilot-wave theory in order to refute de Broglie is not only misleading, it is incorrect, since de Broglie himself realized pilot-wave theory to be incorrect. In de Broglie's double solution theory there are two waves. There is the wave-function wave which is statistical, non-physical and is used to determine the probabilistic results of experiments. There is also a physical wave in the chaotic sub-quantic medium which guides the particle. Today, the chaotic sub-quantic medium is the chaotic super-solid dark matter. There is evidence of the super-solid dark matter every time a double-slit experiment is performed as it is the super-solid dark matter that waves. Wave-particle duality is a moving particle and its associated wave in the super-solid dark matter. In a double slit experiment the particle always travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the super-solid dark matter passes through both. As the wave exits the slits it creates wave interference which alters the direction the particle travels as it exits a single slit. Over time the particles form an interference pattern. Strongly detecting the particle exiting a single slit destroys the cohesion between the particle and its associated wave, the particle continues on the trajectory it was traveling and does not form an interference pattern. It is the chaotic nature of the super-solid dark matter which causes the Casimir effect which Nick does not use as experiment.

Re-reading this now I got the impression Nick seems to be a proponent of deBroglie.Bohmian Mechanics. I never thought the weird wave-particle mashup of dBB could work out. It has other problems, such as needing a relativity-violating preferred frame or foliation to handle strong correlations. The strong correlations might be too much for even FTL signalling to handle, if complications like intervening wave plates are in place. Also, Copenhagen does have a core thesis: fully identical starting conditions can lead to various results. Deterministic dBB however, implies that identical starts lead to singular identical results. Various initial distributions might typically develop to expected multiple outcomes, but shouldn't we expect some convergence toward repetitive outcomes as initial preparations become more fully alike? Put aside basic atomic physics for a minute. Can dBB handle muon decay, Delayed-Choice-Experiments, K-electron capture, intrinsically (?) ambiguous number of photons in QFT or as reflected from accelerating mirrors, or Hawking radiation? Can it gracefully handle the banality of a photon or electron deciding whether to take a right-angle turn at a partially-reflecting mirror? This expands to the general problem of speeding tiny nuggets banging into microscale structure. One strange irony: pilot waves "guiding" particles is reminiscent of the criticism that mental influences break conservation laws. Still, dBB and proposals like GRW deserve credit for their less-shaky arguments although I don’t believe in them. Nick’s surreality shouldn't be surprising to me though, considering lots of physicists nowadays still apparently believe in the completely unphysical Copenhagen interpretation. Although I'm mystified at their skepticism about non-locality considering Copenhagen is itself non-local. Of course, “anyone-who-knows-anything-about-QM” knows that "non-locality" in this context does not refer to FTL signalling. Nick even writes about supra-luminal “communication” and I have lot’s of problems with this..

I’ve seen being bandied about that “non-locality is unavoidable in any interpretation". Simply not true. What they mean is "non-local realism" which is an entirely another beast. What we know is that the universe can't be local AND realist at the same time...and not even that, given the possibility of a super-deterministic scenario, as Bell himself admitted. Unfortunately Pilot Wave theory does have some problems of its own and adds some unneeded complexity to the interpretation of quantum mechanics which goes against the principal of Occam's razor. John Bell and Von Neumann have given Pilot Waves a lot of evidence to overcome as they completely dismiss the idea of a hidden variable theory or at the very least that hidden variable theories do not have any sense of locality to them which is yet another problem since local properties are common property to exploit in the mathematics of physics. Any type of pilot wave theory is a hidden variable theory which is something that sits very uncomfortably with many mainstream physicists. Especially since due to Heisenberg there is no way to ever measure the hidden variables that this type of pilot wave theory would need to make its deterministic predictions and then yet again we run into Occam's Razor. Also invoking spooky action at a distance is a very strong thing to invoke. Quantum Field Theory and others have attempted and succeeded to remove this idea from the theory. Now Entanglement does seem spooky, but what are the underlying principals of Entanglement and could they be explained with modifications to our current theories rather than invoking spooky action at a distance. Even though many physicists are OK with this idea, I am not and spooky action at a distance is equivalent at least in my mind to having no explanation at all. Bohr was at least honest when he said he has no explanation for that mechanism. Bohm seems to invoke more spooky stuff which makes this stuff more mysterious than it should be. The universe doesn't have to be deterministic either. There is no law in physics that states that the universe must be deterministic. If it did pilot wave theory would definitely be a shoe in. However the universe doesn't seem to be deterministic at all at least on the scales of the size of atoms and smaller. This isn't to say that I like the interpretations of quantum mechanics myself. As a matter of fact I don't like them at all. However the Copenhagen is more feasible or at the very least present fewer problems for physics as a whole. The Copenhagen one goes a little further by not even attempting to touch the subject of how it works but rather to just give us a way to predict this quantum weirdness (“Shut-up-and-Calculate”). Philosophy really shouldn't be a consideration here as we could all be brains in jars for all we know but that does nothing to help us with solving this problem.  

Now I'm more interested in determining what the wave function actually is and then perhaps we can garner some insight into what the wave function is even describing. The wave function is inherently a complex function and that poses many problems in interpreting it as we don't know what to do with it other than square it to get a probability amplitude which is just fine for making a measurement or doing a calculation, or making a prediction but it tells us nothing about the nature of the wave function itself. What do the complex number in this function even mean? What is the real world analog for a complex or imaginary number? How can we use the behaviours of real waves to potentially find out this information about complex waves? These are all really hard questions to answer and perhaps they have no easy or obvious or comfortable answers but those answers will help guide us to a better interpretation of quantum mechanics.

I can see a way out of this conundrum for dBB. dBB uses its Guiding Equation to describe something that Copenhagen dismisses as random: the actual location of the particle in question. That location is what is referred as the "hidden variable" of Bohmian Mechanics. What dBB makes explicit is that this location is not a local function of a particular particle - it is a global property of the inherently non-local wave function itself. And it MUST be non-local, since the wave function manifests NOT in physical 3D space, but in complex-valued configuration space. PWT uses its Guiding Equation to describe something that Copenhagen dismisses as random:  the actual location of the particle in question. That location is what is referred as the "hidden variable" of Bohmian Mechanics. What BM makes explicit is that this location is not a local function of a particular particle - it is a global property of the inherently non-local wave function itself. And it MUST be non-local, since the wave function manifests NOT in physical 3D space, but in complex-valued configuration space. That is also the answer to your questions about the interpretation of the complex nature of the wave function. All things we can directly observe in 3D space must be real-valued solutions of the wave function. For example, the probability density function, which squares wave function complex coefficients, a mathematical operation that can only produce positive real numbers. But behind the scenes is the tricky part that the complex nature of the wave function explains. Real-world probabilities are positive numbers from 0-100%. But in the double-slit experiment we see wave interference effects that mutually cancel out, resulting in near-zero probability of finding a particle in certain locations. How can these positive-valued probabilities negate each other? The answer might lie in the complex-valued probability amplitudes of the wave function. In configuration space, these amplitudes are not exclusively positive-valued, they range over negative and imaginary coordinates as well. When probability amplitudes from overlapping waves are combined, they can and do cancel out, a straightforward result of complex mathematics. It is that result that is squared to produce the positive-valued probability density function, which in physical 3D space always ranges from 0-100%.

I can see some people in the back of he room wanting to ask a few questions. Here they’re with my answers:

1.         “Is there an interpretation of the measurement problem in the double slit experiment in pilot wave theory? As in, what's the equivalent to Copenhagen's "collapse of the wave function"? If the pilot wave is considered a physical entity, why does measurement/decoherence suppress the interference pattern?” Answer: According to Bohmian Mechanics, each time a measurement is made, the wave function of the measuring device becomes entangled with the wave function of the measured particle. That mutual entanglement is what Copenhagen refers to as the "collapse" of the measured particle's wave function. (But note how Copenhagen excludes the measuring device, thus creating its notorious self-inflicted "measurement problem".) The Pilot Wave is NOT a "physical entity" manifested in 4D spacetime, it propagates non-locally in complex-valued Configuration Space (the domain where the quantum wave function is defined). If it manifested in 4D spacetime, the Pilot Wave would become a local phenomenon subject to relativistic propagation effects, contradicting the non-local nature of Bohmian Mechanics;
2.         “How does this interpretation account for the disappearance of the interference pattern when the slit the photon went through is detected?” Answer: The photon always goes through one slit, but when you have two slits available the WAVE can go through both and affect the photon accordingly. Closing a slit blocks off the wave and changes how the photon is affected;
3.         (follows from 2). “Yes, but what i mean is, when a detector is placed to definitively determine which slit a photon passes through, the interference pattern disappears. And further, if a scrambler is placed down the line to prevent that measurement, the interference pattern emerges, even though no modification was made where the photon travels. I'm not talking about closing a slit.” Answer: The pilot wave guides the particle. The wave however is always affected by both slits just like any other wave would. So if you're placing detectors to try and detect the particle, you will in fact affect the wave passing through the slits. Since the wave guides the particle, the particles path is also altered. In that case, it results in the particle going through only one slit, since the detector (in a sense) is blocking off that path for the wave. This also explains 'weak measurement' in that if you place a detector so that you still can't tell where the particle is at but can narrow it some, the pattern begins to change. Pilot wave theory interprets that as interfering with the pilot wave to a lesser extent. Copenhagen interprets this as collapsing part of the wave function in that only part of the possible states is excluded from the possible outcome. If you are not familiar with waves there is quite a lot of literature or you can do the same setup as I did a long time ago (with oil) and observe the "particles" and the behaviour on macro scale. For all intents and purposes it's pretty accurate representation of what is going on on subatomic scale but it's incredibly slowed down and scaled up. if you do enough runs you can even compare that it really corresponds with the odds you get with the classical "quantum" statistical equations but you can see how each particle arrives and what influences the movement and how. The double slit experiment is great way how to spend afternoon (or a week). I have studied quantum physics, but pilot wave theory are among the most advanced thing you can find in the field. So I can only say there is an explanation to the quantum eraser with the pilot waves theory, it has to do with hidden variables, but anything deeper than that, I'm not gonna dive into a book about pilot waves theory to answer that. The problem is that this theory is being discuss among the smartest and knowledgeable scientists on earth, and they've yet to reach an agreement themselves, so I'm not gonna even try to argue about if it's right or not. So either you dive into the study yourself or you should just take it as a scientific news like me;
4.         “Can dBB account for all or more experiments than previous established theories?” Answer: Yes it can. It's basically just a mathematical transformation of the traditional quantum mechanics. Writing equations in a new form. So everything Copenhagen interpretation predicts, BM can reproduce with the same result. For your original question, the answer is the collapse of the wavefunction, same in both theories, only in BM there is more "explanation" on the cause of the collapse so collapse is no longer a basic hypothesis (In Copenhagen interpretation it's simply observation causes collapse and that's an axiom so no more questions asked. While in BM its the observer's wavefunction and the system's wavefunction cannot be decoupled and they as a whole evolve according to the Schrodinger Equation, so if you only look at a part of the wavefunction which is the observed system it behaves as if it collapses. In fact, strictly speaking, in dBB the whole universe wavefunction evolves as a whole which never collapse, and cannot be taken apart. But for a system that's independent enough, with nobody looking at it, the factorization of the wavefunction makes it look like the system itself evolves according to the Schrodinger Equation, like a little universe of itself.) Experimental physicists even performed a second experiment after the original double slit experiment called the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment which showed that even with a detector as long as the path information is impossible to know it acts as a wave but if they knew the path information then the result provided a pattern of 2 bands and not an interference pattern a wave would produce. From that you basically see that the detector is not a factor in the wave turning into a particle and vice-versa;
5.         “Could the vibrating oil analogy also describe how Pilot Wave Theory works with Quantum Field Theory? The surface of the oil is the quantum field, and the droplets bouncing on top of it are the particles that emerge from the field. Or am I misunderstanding something?” Answer: No. Quantum field theory has pretty much declared any pilot wave interpretation dead. Photons, for instance, don't even have a wavefunction, and cannot be talked about as having any definite position at all (this also kills many worlds interpretations, by the way). The correct picture is one where particles can be created and destroyed all the time -- but when I say "particle" I should really say "wave". Quantum field theoretical particles are wavelike in all aspects except for the fact that they come in discrete units. So one unit of light of wavelength 530 nm, two units of light of wavelength 435 nm... these "units", though they look and behave in all aspects just like plane waves, we call "photons".
6.         “Relativity proves that all reference frames are equivalently valid from the observer's perspective at speeds less than the speed of light. It's math breaks down at speeds greater than c. Relativity says NOTHING about speeds greater than c and it certainly does not prove faster than light travel causes causation or backwards time travel problems. Using the principle of relativity at speeds greater than c is far outside of the scope of relativity and anything ever tested. Just try doing the math for it. Your statement is the equivalent of being a fish and forming laws about how fish swim underwater then trying to use those same principles to explain that nothing can fly in air. Forcing a theory to uphold a principle thought up by humans in a realm outside of any experiment ever done on that principle is arrogant and unwarranted. We simply do not know. Also we can't distinguish between reference frames meaning we can't find a universal clock. However, relativity never proved there was no such thing. In fact relativity allows an observer to prefer their own reference frame over all others. There is no reason nature can't have a single reference frame all FTL effects occur on (or actually what physicists call a foliation). This would not violate relativity in any experiment we've ever thought of because there would still be no way to distinguish between reference frames at speeds less than c. It does violate the principle of relativity which is why it's said that pilot wave theory violates relativity. HOWEVER, you can violate a principle of nature in a theory no matter how well experimented on as long as this violation is outside of the domain of all experiments. The speed of light is a very special boundary so it may be a boundary where the laws of physics change. Perhaps all particles including light move at speeds v < or = to c but other effects can move faster. The real problem is trying to run experiments in a domain we can't even test. Physicists like Lorentz, Bell, Susskind, and many others have brought up this fact.In the end nature does not care about our "principles.” Nature works and in areas where she does not allow us to perform clear experiments we are left ignorant no matter how smart we are. The situation is analogous for other particles.” Answer: No. The issue isn't that dBB theory can't handle particles and waves; that's what it's built from. The issue is how Quantum Field Theory's waves deal with relativity. Pilot Theory's waves do unruly things like change all at once without sending a slower-than-light signal. (More specifically things get a bit odd such as when you take he Schrödinger equation and restrict it to shorter and shorter periods of time so that it tends to 'pile up' on its light cone; for regular Copenhagen and suchlike this is an important result but Pilot Waves skip it and need some way to bring it back.) Pilot waves moreover have issues that violate things we have already observed meaning that dBB must be modified or abandoned, not relativity. There are also a number of interesting effects that depend deeply on the wave nature of particles that pilot wave theories couldn't begin to predict;
7.         “How do the Copenhagen Interpretation and dBB compare with each other?” Answer: dBB mechanics describes something like the double slit experiment in very understandable terms, unlike the spooky Copenhagen Interpretation where photons are both particles and wave (a logical contradiction).  According to Copenhagen electrons and photons exist as a probability wave until it is detected at which point the wave function collapses to become a particle.  There is absolutely nothing in the mathematics that accounts for the "collapse" of the wavefunction, but most physicist don't like to talk about that little discrepancy. The mathematical formalism for dBB mechanics is mostly the same as the standard version (Schrödinger's Equation) with an addition guiding equation. In the De Broglie-Bohm interpretation there is no wave-particle duality nonsense, no wave function collapse, the particles travel along well defined paths from beginning to end. It is an explicitly non-local theory, which is in ostensible conflict with special relativity, so it won't satisfy the Dirac equation but I see this as the theory being incomplete, not wrong. Also, we know from quantum entanglement and Bell's inequality that non-locality is real, in fact, it was Bohm's work that inspired John Bell's work. Bell was a big advocate of the pilot wave interpretation.

Bottom-line: But rest assured, Copenhagen is well on its way to that dumping ground of physics. From near universal dominance as an interpretation, now less than half of physicists working on QM fundamentals actually believe in Copenhagen. It's really only textbook inertia keeping it going now.

NB: Loved the way Nick used Bell’s theorem “to read” all the 8 quantum interpretations, and also loved the way Nick uses Fourier’s Analysis to “explain” normal-energy waves (ocean and sound waves) and then extending the analogies to empty-energy waves (wave-functions). I remember playing the drums when I was younger and many times experiencing what I referred to as "sonic black holes" when playing really fast and beats that should be heard randomly weren't- but really they were just instances of frequency cancellation; often accompanied randomly by their opposite, "sonic booms", which I presume were just frequency amplifications when the waves came together just right as they entered my 2 ears... or should I say, my double slits..?