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A Life Update Of Sorts

July 29, 2013

How is everybody doing?  It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about what’s going on in my life.

This summer has been pretty busy for me.  As some of you may recall, I was hired by a scientist to work in his laboratory studying the properties of crystals which are used in quantum computers.  It’s been quite a learning experience.  I’ve learned that I have little interest in doing actual hands on research in a laboratory.  Most of the work itself is very tedious.  You have this shelf of different metals and chemicals in jars, and you slowly measure small amounts of these substances, place them in vacuum sealed tubes, melt them, heat them, and do all kinds of things to them.  After a very long process you get your crystal.

Then you take that crystal and do various experiments on them, which takes a long time.  Just soldering the crystal onto the little “holder” to lower it into the liquid helium can take over an hour.  One of my initial jobs was to design a faster process to mount these crystals into the holder and perform various experiments.  Dr. Hor came up with this design for a stainless steel tube contraption with this holder built into it.  I had to do lots of tedious research related to different temperature sensors to mount on the holder, and then I also had to write software to take data from the digital equipment.  We have all these really sensitive voltmeters, current sources, temperature controllers, and I’ve been writing software to read the data from these devices, perform calculations, and then pass that information on to Dr. Hor for his analysis.

There’s a lot of other labs interested in our results and crystals, so Dr. Hor is often flying off to conferences leaving us guys in the lab, sometimes not being sure what to do next.

The equipment itself mostly uses an interface called GPIB.  Sometimes I’d spend an entire day just fighting a voltmeter to take data readings properly.  I’d fight and fight and fight and the stupid thing would keep freezing up my program.  It’d read data for ten minutes and then freeze up.  I’d want to throw things and scream, “What’s wrong with you!”  In order to understand the problem, I’d have to read detailed specifications on the GPIB system, how it works, and exactly, in minute detail, how to program it.  I remember sitting back in my chair thinking, “There’s no way I have to write low-level code to manage the GPIB bus…”  One voltmeter wouldn’t listen to me, no matter what I told it to do.  I’d send it an *IDN? query, and it’d just send me back a data reading.  IDN is supposed to respond to me, “I’m a Keithley Nanovoltmeter, blah blah”, instead if just gave me its current voltage reading.  Turns out it has a little switch on the back.  It was in “talk only” mode.

This whole experience has confirmed to me that my interest in in theoretical physics, not experimental work.  I want to understand what goes on within the crystal, not so much doing tedious experiments.  Oftentimes the experimentalist doesn’t even concern himself or herself in what’s actually happening within the crystal, in detail.  I enjoy computational physics, and to a lesser extent, writing software to take data from the equipment.  As for actual lab work, I don’t like it at all.  Thankfully, a person can be a computational physicist and never do lab work at all.

Other than working, I’ve been spending a lot of time this summer studying international relations, U.S. foreign policy, history, and those sorts of things.  I bought pretty much every book Noam Chomsky, a professor at MIT, has written and have been reading them.  I’ve never been an expert in foreign policy.  Whenever I’d hear about goings on in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Kosovo, and other places, honestly, I had little idea what was going on.  However, Noam Chomsky specializes in those areas and his books go into lots of detail into what actually happened and it’s completely fascinating.

For example, he’ll go back to declassified top-secret national security documents from the 1950s and 1960s and quote directly from U.S. planners, telling exactly what they were up to and their real objectives.  I’ve learned so much.  I’d like to write about these things some time.  For example, at the end of World War II, one of our top planners was a guy named George Kennan.  Well aware of our position of dominance as much of Europe, Russia, and elsewhere was decimated by the war, his top-secret 1948 Policy Planning Study 23 read as follows,

“we have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population….In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity….To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives….We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

– George Kennan, Policy Planning Study 23

Our policies have little to do with promoting democracy or freedom.  We’ve labored tirelessly to set up puppet governments and systems of crony capitalism to exploit other nations.  For example, large U.S. corporations will own fruit plantations, copper mines, and telecommunication companies in these poor countries, and we’ll exploit the peasants there and export everything back to the U.S. and abroad for huge profits.

A typical example goes like this.  The peasants rightfully reason that they’ll never get out of abject misery and poverty unless they get these corporations out of their country.  So they rise up, organize, and elect a leader who wants to socialize the country.  Those plantations and mines will belong to the people and they’ll use the money to build schools and institute a much needed universal healthcare system.  Well, U.S. corporations can’t have that.  The media immediately starts running full boar, “Communism!  Communism!  Communism!”  and then we’ll invade and overthrow their government.

We set up democracies there but if they vote in people who try to change anything, we literally go down there with our military, kill them, and sabotage their economy, instilling massive fear into the people.  For example, under CIA supervision, we train Death Squads to defend the interests of these petty tyrants, and they’re trained to use the exact same tactics the Gestapo used.  Rape, torture, bombings, pretty much anything goes.  This is a picture from El Salvador when the Death Squads killed innocent nuns.

el salvador death squads

I feel ashamed of myself.  My country has been doing all these things for the past hundred years and I was only vaguely aware of it.

As a kid, I used to see movies about Latin American countries and I always wondered, “Why are they so poor?”  Every movie shows all these peasants out in the jungle, holding old hand-me down rifles, in rebellion against the government.  Countries like Brazil and others are full of natural resources.  They should be wealthy countries, with technological developments like Japan and Europe.  Instead they’re all peasants living in grass huts and abject poverty.  But that’s all by U.S. design.  We’ve purposely held them there to exploit their natural resources.

We have policies which purposely keep them in poverty.  I used to wonder why we give hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to U.S. farmers.  The real purpose is two fold.  1) Those rich corporations lobby for money, and 2) it artificially pushes the price down of U.S. crops, like corn and other things.  Why do we do that?  It keeps all the third world countries from developing.  They can’t make any money farming and can never build up any capital or wealth of their own.  We artificially push down the prices of U.S. crops and third world farmers can’t compete.

wto

U.S. corporations don’t want them developing.  They’d lose billions of dollars in profits.  Chomsky said something like, over a short time, 700 billion dollars in profits was extracted from Brazil alone.

Because the peasant farmers can’t earn any money growing things like cotton, corn, beans, etc., they instead grow things like coca plants, which is used in cocaine.  This leads to a huge drug market which the CIA is directly involved in.  That’s how they fund these massive coups and underground propaganda movements with no trail.  It just goes on and on, and I read these 400 page books written by Chomsky, breaking down all the details.

I sit back in my chair here in my little study and just think to myself, “This world is so evil.  Just everything around me.  Lies, lies, and more lies.”  The level of greed is beyond anything most people can imagine.  Total exploitation.  No concern for human rights or dignity.  Everything is about power and control.

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