The Quantum Pontiff Has Landed

Look, up in the air, is it a bird? No. Is it a plane? No. Is it the quantum pontiff? Yes! Yes! The Quantum Pontiff! Um, okay....but what exactly is the quantum pontiff? Besides, of course, the juxtaposition of two words which don't often find themselves seated together at the dinner table...

Some quick digging turns up the following disturbing list of facts about "The Quantum Pontiff":

  • "The quantum pontiff" is, according to Google, the second most likely thing you are looking for if you have searched for the word pontiff. At one point it was the number one thing you were looking for when you typed "pontiff" into Google's search engine, but that was before Google realized that its role in life was to direct searchers directly to wikipedia pages.
  • "The quantum pontiff" is somehow also the source of a wide variety of poorly planned neologisms. Words like "extralussionary intelligence," "philosonomicon," and "circumpolitical," occur far to often in the context of quantum pontification and are a sure sign of the degradation of civil society (and the fact that the Quantum Pontiff has a B.S. in literature.)
  • "The quantum pontiff" also appears to be a front on the vast ethereal battlefield between physics and computer science. These twin titans of twentieth century transfiguration have been at each others throats ever since the computer scientists noticed how good physicists were at waving their arms and still getting the correct answer and the physicists needed computer help. Today this battle is waged all over the world, but most particularly in places where quantum computing is studied. Which is to say Canada. (Yes, dear public, there is a brain drain of quantum computing theorists across the Canadian border. What with their strong currency and all, I'm sure Canadians will soon be masters of the entire quantum universe. Your RSA keys mean nothing to our future Canadian masters.)
  • "The quantum pontiff" is also apparently a place where you can go if Wayne Dyer makes you cry.
  • "The quantum pontiff" seems to be a blog of little note (nor long remembrance) written by a theoretical ski bum who also appears to be a either a theoretical physicist, a theoretical computer scientist, or a wacky guy at a keyboard with way too much spare time on his hands.

Thats right, after many years at, my blog (me being a guy named Dave Bacon), the Quantum Pontiff has moved to a new home on Why, you ask? Why, you scream! Why, you extol with tears in your eyes? Okay, well maybe that's a bit far.

Reason numero uno: one can ask for no better locale to log rhetorical blows against such monsters of the blogosphere as Pharnygula (squid monster), Uncertain Principles (dog monster), and Dynamics of Cats (cat monster) than a spot on the scienceblogs roster. Plus, you know, change is good. Without change, I'd still be, like, a baby. (That last sentence should be said with a California surfer dude accent for those of you reading along out loud.)

Reason numero dos: Well operates under the umbrella of Seed Media Group. Which means that by moving my blog, I can say "I'm going to Seed." I had a good friend who swore if he had a daughter he would name her "Destiny" so that some lucky guy would get to say "I have a date with Destiny." Did I mention I find bad jokes really punny?

But more seriously, what should you expect at "The Quantum Pontiff?" Well as I wrote when I first started my blog (back before the earth cooled, when I was a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology), I have no idea what you should expect! And that is what makes it so exciting. So sit back, relax, take a sip of that glass of wine you almost just spilled on your new laptop, and enjoy the ride. Quantum computers, physicists wielding axes of equations against algorithm armed theoretical computer scientists, and poker-playing-ski-bums are likely to soon dance across your screen. I'm pretty sure of one thing. That is that I'm going to have a good time, and I'm guaranteed at least one audience member who will find my posts interesting. Sure that one guaranteed reader is my mom, but you've got to start somewhere...


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Thanks all. Just back from teaching discrete math. Fun, fun!

Dude! Scott warned us when he was being tempted, and we turned him back into the fold. Can't you trust us?!


Does what have anything to do with Roger Penrose? Roger Penrose is a brilliant physicist whose singularity theorems in general relativity, ideas about twisters, etc are among the best around. Of course I don't think much of his brain/quantum/uncomputable ideas, but to bash on the guy who has achieved so much seems to me more than a little one sided.

Congrats to a new super position.

By Torbjörn Larsson, OM (not verified) on 05 Nov 2007 #permalink

Torbjörn Larsson, OM wins the best pub award. Wasn't that pun...

brilliant physicist whose singularity theorems in general relativity, ideas about twisters, etc are among the best around.

Reasons to praise and be gobsmacked by his accomplishments

his brain/quantum/uncomputable ideas

Textbook example of every conceivable way to argue fallaciously and speciously for an unfounded, scientifically unsupportable belief, with which science can do nothing but smile, nod indulgently and steamroll on doing exactly what Penrose says it can't. (Sorry, I've just been writing a paper about Penrose, and just finished reading the latest Discworld novel, so I'm a bit oversensitive to the employment of the word quantum.

Much as I like a good pun (and someday if you're nice to me I'll tell you my praying mantis one), I never substitute one for a pub.


By Johnny Vector (not verified) on 05 Nov 2007 #permalink

Welcome to SB, Dave! It's good to see you here, SB has been painfully light on the phys/math/comp-sci side of things (too much friggan biology). I've been enjoying your blog for a while look forward to seeing your contributions here.

Always the one to be the bore on parties, I feel I have to point out that both your feeds (Atom and RSS) give 404s, which makes it a bit hard to add your new quantum outpost to my feed reader. Other than that, congratulations with the move!

I have a friend who pleaded with his wife to give his newborn son the middle name "Danger". As in, "Danger is my middle name." She wasn't having any of it. True story.

Yes the RSS and Atom are broken. Working on it. My apologies.

Now all you have to do is sponsor a blog carnival and call it Entangled Bank. You'll be rich.

By JohnnieCanuck, FCD (not verified) on 05 Nov 2007 #permalink

Welcome to ScienceBlogs! I loved getting to talk to you at SQuInT, am an avid reader of your blog, and am looking forward to reading your works here. Kinda funny how SciBlogs is absorbing so many good blogs, like this and GMBM. Anyway, once again, glad to see you here.

By Christopher Granade (not verified) on 05 Nov 2007 #permalink

Greetings and salutations from a regular "Hey! Seed!" reader. Looks like you've got d'brains to the nth degree for this gig....

I'd give you a better welcoming comment, but some überladen postal worker of Germanic descent is keeping me from better expressing myself. Wait a minute... it's

[Best Seinfeld voice:] Neumann!

"Look, up in the air, is it a bird? No. Is it a plane? No. Is it the quantum pontiff?"
No, it's a banner ad!

I liked your old blog better, but whatever.

As a token Canadian at U Waterloo where the quantum theories have gathered to sing rude madrigals about Einstein, welcome (I am an ecologist and envirometrics-computer nerd in my spare time thus am too off key to join in so don't count as your future master here in Canada).

However, you for one should welcome your new Canadian overlords. Join us. Don't be afraid.

By steve murphy (not verified) on 05 Nov 2007 #permalink

Hey Christopher. Thanks for the note. Hope all is well in Alaska! Ready for winter :)

Dude zevans, you mean you actually _see_ banner ads? I've long ago lost my ability to actually see the damn things.

Steve: there is just something so wrong about putting the words "Canadian" and "overlord" beside each other. Almost as bad as "quantum" and "pontiff."

You've just given me the ultimate reason to live. I hereby swear that at some point in my life I will "have a date with Destiny!"

Ok Dave, you got me there. I don't see the banner ads. Someone else told me there were there and I felt compelled to comment anyway.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I still don't like ads even when I can't see them.

The link to Peter Rohde's blog is broken. It seems to have been concatenated with the scienceblogs URL.

Thanks Joe.

zevans: I thought that in room 408 all web pages were reformatted so as to look pretty AND not have ads. Or have the filters not been working correctly? And what is this I hear of eviction from 408? I mean 408 is the sum of eight consecutive primes, while 606 is the sum only six consecutive primes. What a downgrade.

I'd love to follow your blog in its new home, but I won't, as the rss version of it does not include the full post, and I don't need to be teased.

Sorry to hear that David. Me, personally, I love teasing. But then again, I'm a pretty patient guy.