Light quanta a la Eberhart

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What is light and why is that the right or wrong, or –even– a useless question?



"Basically light is emitted as an electron loses energy."

spectrum of light

Its luminous signals are a preeminent form of control technology.


Light as quanta | Questions as accurate | worship of objectivity | zero, as a neutron | lessons

Compare Themes in the Invisible Technologies, chapter in Technopoly, Postman, previous chapters.


This is how, in technopoly,* science (as scientism) is a used to make democracy 'rational'."

Postman, p. 132.


spectrum of light

"think about an excited electron as having been knocked out of the top of a staircase. It loses energy by falling down the stairs, and in the process gives off light. The color of the light given off is related to the height of the steps.

If an electron falls of a high step it gives off blue light. A low one and out comes red light."

"a very high step will emit very energetic light that cannot be seen" gives off "x-rays"."

"a very low step will emit low energy light that similarly cannot be seen. Such light is called infrared or microwave."

p. 199-200.

emissionThe accurate meaning of quantum leap arises from the behavior of light in atoms.

Ideology of invisible technologies rests on small unseen pieces that we have to visualize based on things we handles that do not behave the way light or sub atomic particles behave, hence there is mystery and power surrounding these unseen presences that can help, harm or hinder us depending on how we read their signals.


  • light is more than we see
  • the zero or cipher as numerical symbol can signal conditions
  • unseen worlds of nanotechnology require signals to inform us
  • measurement in the quantum dimensions is fraught with statistical uncertainty
  • ultra-violet and higher energy radiation can embrittle strong substances over time
  • Quantum leap is a metaphor based on the reality of atomic conditions where electromagnetic changes are signaled by light emitted from electrons (leptons).

Politics is thus transformed by polling into a neutering of advocacy where opinion which is merely a transient manifestation-- replaces deliberation and reflective thinking-- making technopoly able to demand obedience if not dictate the manufacture of consent and a willing conformity to the mechanics of daily life.

Power and light:

Examples of light based inventions are everywhere imposing their presence if not will on our behavior.

"To put it simply, like any important piece of machinery --television or the computer for example-- language has an ideological agenda that is apt to be hidden from view."

This is much the same as Pursell's argument about behavior and the rationalizations we use to explain that conduct with language. But he is even more suggestive when he argues that language together with instruments and devices wield power over our imaginations.

    • Electricity
    • radio
    • telephone
    • refrigeration
    • automotive engineering
    • television
    • computers
      • mainframe
      • personal
    • aircraft engineering
    • atomic energy

All of these new inventions are parts of the automated tool complex that Kaku understands as fostering a quantum leap in our capabilities. As an extension of human powers the convergence of biological, electronic and computational telated instruments have redefined knowledge of nature and are reorganizing society.


In Pursell's terms -- these instruments possess power and influence out of all proportion to hand tools, older machinery, or appliances.

"If we define ideology as a set of assumptions of which we are barely conscious but which nonetheless directs our efforts to give shape and coherence to the world."

p. 123.

"In the case of language, that agenda is so deeply integrated into our personalities and world-view that a special effort and, often special training are required to detect its presence."

p. 124

"see how a machine re-creates the world in its own image."

p, 125

"0" as neutral

Zero, cipher [sifr -- Arabic, from the Hindu word for void], naught, nothing

Zed as the English say, or zero can also be thought of as signifying an uncharged particle -- such as the neutron in atoms.

Neutrons are entities without a positive or a negative charge -- hence another way of thinking outside of dialectical opposite.

By that we mean that negative charged electrons are oppositely charged from protons that carry a positive electrical charge. But neutrons are a far different sort of thing--not accounted for by thinking of the subatomic world in terms of opposite electrical charges.

worldview, idea of

Techniques are social and cultural means of organizing our world to control the uncertain aspects of life -- even though they often fail.

Confusion in the use, meaning and understanding of quantum leap metaphors.

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The embrittlement problem now seemed straightforward.

"everything was organized around the use of writing code and models "

Sulfur atoms embrittle iron when segregated (pushed aside) to grain boundaries (edges of the atomic fissures).

"It appeared as if the brief but expensive materials design programs had ended in failure."

Thus "procedures and rules designed to standardize behavior." in Postman's terms -- had failed to deliver a sufficient answer in the Eberhart case of embrittlement.

Eberhart, pp. 214-216.

recall the legend of Thamus and his warnings?

"electrons and electronics are signals of advanced automated technology."


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Questions act as powerful machines because the guide our thinking. In this way they are analogous to management guiding the use of machinery for production.

These mechanisms or intangible means are related to questions because they have powerful influences on our behavior. Among these techniques are: statistics, management, grading, polling, IQ measurements, advertising promotion and Scientism.

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Automated techniques require new commitment to visibility:

The hidden dimensions need to be exposed and known for what they are, political ideologies.

Technologically advanced civilizations rely on statistics, management, and voluntarism to control the function of machinery to serve the ends of technopoly.


"We must understand where our techniques come from and what they are good for; we must make them visible so they may be restored to our sovereignty."

Make the unseen -- visible so that we may get past our seductive illusions.

p. 143.

"The intricate and vast ensemble of techniques I call Scientism."


Tools of Toil: what to read.
Tools are historical building blocks of technology.