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Don Tow's Website https://www.dontow.com Tue, 01 Dec 2020 05:33:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Some Thoughts on How We can Experience and Learn from the Past Virtually https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/some-thoughts-on-virtually-experience-and-learn-from-the-past/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/some-thoughts-on-virtually-experience-and-learn-from-the-past/#respond Tue, 01 Dec 2020 05:15:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6742 We know that time runs in only one dimension:  going forward.  What has happened in the past has already occurred and we cannot go back in time to relive that period.  The question is whether we can make use of the information from the past, not only to relive past events, but also to make use of that information to learn from it.

We discuss an idea that by combining artificial intelligence (AI), we can utilize the memories of the past that exist in our memories, as well as information we know about the people from the past (that we might have or might not have interacted with) to virtually recreate events and even more importantly to create new events that could lead to new insights or discoveries.

We can virtually recreate past events.  For example, we can virtually recreate:

  • a fond memory of our holding our new-born son or daughter
  • a reenactment of an athletic or musical achievement
  • a replay of an important speech we gave in the past

This is like playing back a recorded movie of that event. However, we can do much more than that. 

We can also create events that might not have occurred, but could have occurred.  For example, we can create a virtual event:

  • involving a high school student discussing with his/her parents for advice on which colleges to apply to and possibly the field to major in
  • involving family members or business partners to discuss whether and how to proceed with a potential new business
  • involving a group discussion on an important social or political issue
  • involving a brainstorm of a group of scientific researchers on a difficult problem

The end result is that we could end up with new insights and solutions in addressing difficult and important social, political, economic, engineering, or scientific issues.  We can reap the benefits of such collective virtual brainstorms.

We can populate the database with:

  • dates and times
  • descriptions of the relevant people (not only physical characteristics, but also their personalities, background, knowledge, and experience)
  • happenings of related events (e.g., hurricanes, forest fires, pandemic, mass demonstrations, current important and outstanding problems in science or engineering)
  • social and political environments of that time for the community, state, country, and the world (e.g., unemployment, stock market, health, hunger, climate change, terrorism, conflicts between races, conflicts between countries, arms races, wars or tensions/marching toward wars)
  • other relevant factors or statistics

There are at least four objectives for creating and implementing such virtual events:

  • Enjoy reliving real or simulated past events
  • Analyze important past events to see whether we should make adjustments to guide our future actions
  • Discuss important issues to see whether we can reach consensus and move forward toward winning solutions
  • Brainstorm on outstanding scientific or engineering problems that could lead to new insights or discoveries

Of course such AI tools and conclusions may be only as good as the inputs we populate in the database.  Initially the basic input data and the learning and decision making algorithms may be primitive, unrealistic, and unsophisticated.  However, with time and experience, the database will increase in accuracy, completeness, and sophistication, and the AI algorithms will also improve in breadth, depth, speed of analysis, and creativity.  Therefore, such virtual creation of the past could create real values so that it can become a powerful tool for us to learn from the past.

Yes, we cannot turn the arrow of time backward, but we can make use of our past experience to learn virtually and lead us to a better path for the future.

Of course, if this idea merits further investigation, and new discoveries can emerge from this idea, then just like any scientific advancement in the past, both positive and negative results could emerge from such discoveries, and it will be up to us (the human race) to decide which path to follow.

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Criteria for Choosing an Exercise for Health https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/criteria-for-choosing-an-exercise-for-health/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/criteria-for-choosing-an-exercise-for-health/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2020 05:10:57 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6762 We all know that exercise is important for good health. The question is which exercise makes it appealing to people who would want to practice it on a regular basis. There are several criteria for choosing an exercise:

  • It is good for your health
  • It can be practiced in all kinds of environment, indoors or outdoors
  • It does not require fancy and large space
  • It does not require expensive equipment
  • It doesn’t cost a lot of money to practice
  • It is not very stressful or painful
  • It doesn’t require teammates to practice
  • It is something that you enjoy doing
  • It is an exercise that you can practice for many years, for all ages, from young to old
  • It is an exercise that can also help you in self defense.

This article discusses why Taiji can meet all of the above criteria. That is why it is a popular exercise around the world, especially in China. However, in my opinion, its potential should be able to attract an even larger group of practitioners, including young adults and children.

The first and most important criterion is that the exercise has to be good for your health. It is well known for over a century that Taiji (also spelled as Tai Chi) has many health benefits. [1] Furthermore, many scientific/medical research investigations during the last quarter of a century have provided preliminary scientific confirmations that Taiji is a good exercise for health [2], although much larger sample sizes still need to confirm these preliminary medical research findings.

Taiji can be practiced indoors or outdoors, and it doesn’t require a large amount of space to practice it. So you can practice it in the comfort of your home no matter what the weather is like outside, and it doesn’t require a large space to practice it. It can be practiced in any reasonable size room, like 12’x15′. [3]

It doesn’t require any equipment, so you don’t have to buy expensive equipment or join a health club to do the exercise. The cost of practice is essentially zero. You can practice it as a group with other people, but you can also practice individually.

Although Taiji is soft and gentle, it does increase the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body, which is an objective of more aerobic exercises. Because the exercise is soft and gentle, you don’t feel any pain or discomfort while doing the exercise. As a matter of fact, it relaxes you physically and mentally. This is one of the reasons why Taiji is an enjoyful exercise to practice.

Taiji is known as moving meditation. Its meditation component can soothe your mind, and that is why it is considered to be a mindfulness exercise, which has mental and psychological benefits, including the ability to increase concentration and reduce ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). [4]

For all the reasons mention above, Taiji is an exercise that you can enjoy doing, no matter what is your age and how long you have been practicing it. It is something that you can do it as a child, and continue to do it as an adult, and keep on doing it while you become a senior citizen.

Finally, besides being a good exercise for health, Taiji is also good for self defense. [5] This is another reason why Taiji is such a good exercise, and provides another reason why Taiji should appeal to children, males or females, as well as young adults.

In summary, when you take into account all the characteristics that a good exercise should have, Taiji should emerge as a front runner.

[1] There are many popular articles on the web describing the health benefits of Taiji. See, e.g., “10 Benefits of Tai Chi for Better Overall Health, Well-Being and Living Longer” by Suzanne Kane, Oct. 8, 2018: https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-benefits-of-tai-chi-for-better-overall-health-well-being-and-living-longer/.

[2] For a summary of modern scientific research on the health benefits of Taiji, see, e.g., the author’s article “Health Benefits of Taiji”: http://www.dontow.com/2010/01/health-benefits-of-taiji/. A longer version of that article can be found in the article “Health Benefits of Taiji,” published in Qi:  The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, Volume 29, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 20-28.

[3] It can be practiced even in smaller spaces. During part of doing a Taiji form set, it just requires some stepping back a few feet before continuing.

[4] See, e.g., the author’s article “Mindfulness, Children’s Social and Emotional Health, and School Initiative”: http://www.dontow.com/2020/09/mindfulness-childrens-social-and-emotional-health-and-school-initiative/.

[5] See, e.g., “Is Tai Chi Effective For Self defense?”: https://worldofselfdefense.com/is-tai-chi-a-form-of-self-defense/

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Paradoxes of Quantum Physics, Bell’s Theorem, and What Do Experiments Tell Us https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/paradoxes-of-quantum-physics-bells-theorem-and-experimental-confirmation/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/12/paradoxes-of-quantum-physics-bells-theorem-and-experimental-confirmation/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2020 05:05:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6648 Our previous article “Wonders and Mysteries of Quantum Physics” discusses how Quantum Physics (QP) [1] completely revolutionized our industrial world and our daily lives since its discovery about 100 years ago. Everyday we utilize a variety of products based on Quantum Physics. [2] That article also pointed out that QP introduced many mysteries, such as particle-wave duality, the act of observation can change what we are observing, uncertainty principle, our physical laws can only give us a probabilistic, and not a deterministic, prediction of the future.

These mysteries, especially the probabilistic interpretation, or a superposition of states, led many people to question from the beginning of QP around the mid 1920s whether there is a more fundamental theory than QT that would lead to a deterministic prediction. The most famous critic was Albert Einstein, who made critical comments such as “does the moon exist even when no one is looking at it” and “God doesn’t play dice.” Many people thought that there are probably physical variables that we are not aware of. Because these variables could have different values, and if we can determine their values, then we would have a deterministic prediction.

These are known as “hidden variable” theories. Even though the usefulness of QT became more and more apparent as more and more products based on QT permeated our lives, this debate never went away, partially because no one could think of any experiment that could be done to differentiate the predictions of QT and the predictions of hidden variable theories.

That ended in 1964 when the Irish physicist James S. Bell proved a remarkable but simple theorem (now known as Bell’s Theorem) that shows that Quantum Theory and local hidden variable theories can lead to different experimental results. [3] Therefore, this is no longer an academic debate, but a debate that can be decided by experiments, which is the fundamental concept behind physics. Before we discuss Bell’s Theorem and the subsequent experimental results, we need to make a digression to discuss two precursors of Bell’s Theorem.

Precursors that led to Bell’s Theorem – Schrodinger’s Cat:

As we discussed in my previous article about the double slit experiment, the act of observing can change what we are observing. So in the double slit experiment with the electrons, when we insert a light source behind the double slits so we can determine which slit the electrons went through, the interference pattern observed downstream is disturbed and the interference pattern is no longer seen. Note that this does not mean that the electrons did not go through both slits (after all, the electrons already went through the slits before reaching the position of the light source), but the light from the light source did disturb the motion of the electrons from that point forward, and as a result the interference patterns have been changed. Therefore, the act of observing can change what we are observing. Within the wave function mathematical description of QT, the wave function was originally a superposition of states, but then the act of observation causes the wave function to collapse to a specific state.

This is also the reason why in the double slit experiment when we detect the electrons in the backstop, we always hear a full click and detect a whole electron, and never hear a half click and detect half an electron. In other words, in the act of detection, the electron’s wave function collapses from a superposition of states to a single state.

This led to the thought experiment of Schrodiner’s cat proposed by Schrodinger in 1935. [4] In this thought experiment there is a radioactive atom inside a box that is connected to a radioactive detector that is connected to a hammer that breaks a glass jar which then releases a poison gas, and inside this box is a cat. The radioactive atom has certain probability of radioactive decay, e.g., for certain atoms with a half-life of about 10 minutes. From QT, the radioactive atom is described by a wave function that is a superposition of two states, a decay state and a non-decay state. A decay state will release the poison that will kill the cat. A non-decay state will not release the poison and the cat remains alive. Before the box is opened when we don’t know what is inside the box, the quantum wave function of what is inside the box is a superposition of a live cat and a dead cat. However, when the box is opened, we will find either a live cat or a dead cat, and never a half-dead cat and a half-alive cat. In other words, the act of observation caused the wave function to collapse from a superposition of states to a specific state. This is analogous to the double slit experiment with electrons that the act of observing changes what we are observing.

This leads to a deep philosophical or logic question of what physics is supposed to be able to achieve? Is the ultimate objective of physics to be able to explain why certain things happen besides predicting what will happen? Or is the ultimate objective of physics to be able to predict only what we can observe, i.e., only the outcome of experiments? This led Einstein to make the comment “Does the moon exist when there is no one looking at the moon?” I think before QT, most physicists would think that it is the former, i.e., physics should be able to explain why certain things happen as well as predicting what will happen. With the advent of QT, physicists became divided on what is the ultimate objective of physics.

Another Precursor to Bell’s Theorem: Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox:

Also in 1935, Einstein, together with two colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen at the Institute at Advanced Study at Princeton, proposed another thought experiment. This involved a QM system at rest and zero angular momentum, also known as spin-0, that emits two photons in the opposite directions. Since photons also have spins (their spins are either up or down) and linear momentum and angular momentum are conserved, if one photon is moving to the left and is measured to have spin up, then the other photon is moving to the right and if measured must then have spin down. If we provide sufficient time for these two photons to travel a large distance, then if we measure the spin of the left photon and find it to be spin up, then if we measure the spin of the right photon, then its spin has to be down. However the distance between these two photons can be sufficiently large so that no information can be transmitted from the left photon to the right photon unless that transmission occurs essentially instantaneously or at least faster than the speed of light. Therefore, unless we are willing to give up one of the cornerstones of the theory of special relativity that stipulates that no information can be transmitted faster than the speed of light (or allow what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), then it appears that QT cannot be right or complete. This is known as the “EPR Paradox.”

However, Niels Bohr [5] argued that information was never transmitted from the left photon to the right photon. The two photons were entangled particles in a quantum superposition state, and that was the state of the system at that time. When we measure the spin of the left photon, we disturb the system, and the system’s wave function collapes from a superposition of states to a specific state, and that was the state of the system at that later time. In Bohr’s explanation, the wave function provides a method to calculate the outcome of experiments (i.e., if you do the experiments many times, you will find that half of the time the cat is alive and half of the time the cat is dead), but it does not represent the physical state of the system (i.e., the cat is half alive and half dead).

Bell’s Theorem:

This debate on the completeness and accuracy of QT continued, with no agreement and definitely no consensus. Although people thought that QT provides an extremely accurate description of experimental results, many people thought that QT is not a complete theory, and its explanation of how and why things happen in nature is not satisfactory. Some people thought that something like local hidden variable theory (LHV) may turn out to succeed QT and will be able to predict not only what will happen, but also to explain why certain things happen. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be any possible experiment that can be done to differentiate QT and LHV.

This came to an end in 1964 when the Irish physicist John S. Bell prove a very simple but extremely important theorem that tells us that QT and LHV do not make the same predictions (some people have even proclaimed that Bell’s Theorem is “the most profound discovery of science”). In spite of its importance, it turns out to be a simple theorem to prove using nothing more than logic and high school mathematics, although the proof does require ingenuity.

Bell’s Theorem states that QT and LHV do not always make the same experimental predictions. To prove this theorem, it is sufficient to show one experiment that will lead to different predictions for the two theories. We now present a proof developed by others that is simpler than Bell’s original proof. The proof makes use of logic and some simple concepts inherent in all “local hidden variable theories.” This theorem will show that QT and LHV will not always have the same predictions.

For people who are not interested in the mathematical proof of Bell’s Theorem and the quantitative predictions of QT for the experiments discussed in Bell’s Theorem, they can skip the rest of this section and continue with the section on Experimental Results.

The experiment is the one discussed in the EPR paradox: a QM system of zero angular momentum (also known as spin-0) that emits two photons in the opposite directions. As discussed in the earlier section on the EPR paradox, because of the conservation of linear momentum and angular momentum, if one photon travels to the left and has spin up, then the other photon must travel to the right and have spin down.

Proof of Bell’s Theorem for Local Hidden Variable Theories:

Many people have discussed this proof. I will use the proof as presented in the video by Alvin Ash. [6][7]

In this experiment, when we measure the spin of the photons, we can choose to measure its spin relative to any direction. Independent of the direction, its spin is either spin up or spin down relative to that direction. In any LHV theory because of the hidden variables which are not defined in QT, the left and right photons are always a pair of (left up, right down) or a pair of (left down, right up). This is different than in QT, where each of the photons in the pair is a superposition of an up-state and a down-state. The uncertainties or the superposition of states as in QT is removed by the very definition of hidden variable theory. Note that we also used locality in the sense that no information can be transmitted instantaneously or at least not faster than the speed of light, that is, the information on measuring the spin of the left photon when the two photons have moved apart to a large enough distance cannot be transmitted to influence the measurement of the right photon. Separating the left measuring apparatus and the right measuring apparatus at far enough distance will guarantee that.

Now, let’s consider two people doing the measurements: Alice doing the measurement of the left photon, and Bob doing the measurement of the right photon. Part of Bell’s ingenuity is to point out the need to do this experiment at least three times: (1) Measurement relative to the z-axis, (2) measurement relative to the x-axis which is 90 degrees rotated from the z-axis, and (3) measurement relative to the q-axis at some angle, say 45 degrees, between the z-axis and the x-axis. Let’s denote a spin-up measurement along the z-axis as Z+, and spin-down measurement along the z-axis as Z-. Similarly, let’s denote a spin-up measurement along the x-axis as X+, and a spin-down measurement along the x-axis ad X-. Finally, let’s denote a spin-up measurement along the q-axis as Q+, and a spin-down measurement along the q-axis as Q-. So there are eight possible results for the 3 sets of measurements of Alice along the z-axis, x-axis, and q-axis. The results are:

E1:  Alice:  Z+, X+, Q+

E2:  Alice:  Z+, X+, Q-

E3:  Alice:  Z+, X-,  Q+

E4:  Alice:  Z+, X-,  Q-

E5:  Alice:  Z-,  X+, Q+

E6:  Alice:  Z-,  X+, Q-

E7:  Alice:  Z-,  X-,  Q+

E8:  Alice:  Z-,  X-,  Q-

Let P (Z+, X+) denote the probability that such an experiment would result in Alice measuring the left photon with a positive spin in the z-axis and in Bob measuring the right photon with a positive spin in the x-axis (which means that Alice would measure the left photon with a negative spin in the x-axis). Then looking at the 8 possible measurements of Alice for the left photon, only E3 and E4 would result such a combination. This gives the following equation:

Eq. 1: P (Z+, X+) = (E3 + E4)/8 = 2/8 = 0.25

Similarly, let P (Z+, Q+) denote the probability that such an experiment would result in Alice measuring the left photon with a positive spin in the z-axis and in Bob measuring the right photon with a positive spin in the q-axis (which means that Alice would measure the left photon with a negative spin in the q-axis. Looking at the 8 possible measurements for Alice of the left photon, only E2 and E4 would match such a combination. This gives the following equation:

Eq. 2: P (Z+, Q+) = (E2 + E4)/8 = 2/8 = 0.25

Finally, let P (Q+, X+) denote the probability that such an experiment would result in Alice measuring the left photon with a positive spin in the q-axis and Bob measuring the right photon with a positive spin in the x-axis (which means that Alice would measure the left photon with a negative spin in the x-axis. Looking again at the 8 possible measurements for Alice of the left photon, only E3 and E7 would match such a combination. This gives the following equation:

Eq. 3: P (Q+, X+) = (E3 + E7)/8 = 2/8 = 0.25

We will shortly come back to Eqs. (1), (2), and (3).

Now we discuss another ingenious observation of Bell. Since P (Z+, X+), P (Z+, Q+), and P (Q+, X+) are probabilities; each one is either positive or zero. So we can write the following inequality:

Eq. 4: (E3 + E4)/8 (E3 + E4 + E2 + E7)/8 = (E2 + E4)/8 + (E3 + E7)/8 = 4/8 = 0.5

which can be rewritten as:

Eq. 5:   P (Z+, X+) ≤ P (Z+, Q+) + P (Q+, X+), which is known as Bell’s Theorem

Because it is expressed as an inequality, it is also known as Bell’s Inequality. Since all the probabilities in Eq. 5 can be measured in an experiment, Bell’s Inequality can be tested.

Just to be sure, we can also substitute Eqs. 1-3 into Eq. 5, and get 0.25 ≤ (0.25 + 0.25) = 0.5, which is satisfied, which shows that Local Hidden Variable Theories satisfy Bell’s Inequality.  But whether it agrees with experiments is another matter to be seen.

Predictions of Quantum Theory:

In the above experiment, all the measurements can be predicted by QT. We know that if Alice measures the left photon and found its spin along the z-axis to be positive, then when Bob measures the right photon, he will find its spin along the z-axis to be down. But what if Bob measures the spin of the right photon along the q-axis, say at 45 degrees relative to the z-axis or x-axis, what is the probability that he will find the spin of the right photon to be positive. QT can calculate this probability and gives the result:

Eq. 6: P (Z+, Q+) = [sin (45°/2)]².  [8]

Similarly, the QT predictions for

Eq. 7: P (Z+, X+) = [sin (90°/2)]²

Eq. 8: P (Q+, X+) = [sin (45°/2)]²

We can now write the QT predictions for the left side and right side of Eq. 5 of Bell’s Theorem.

Left Side = [sin (90°/2)]² = 0.5.

Right Side = {[sin (45°/2)]² + [sin (45°/2)]²} = 0.293.

This gives:

Eq. 10: Left Side = 0.5, and Right Side = 0.293, i.e.,

the Left Side is not ≤ the Right Side.

Therefore, Bell’s Inequality of Eq. 5 for local hidden variable theories is not satisfied in QT. This means that QT and LHV do not always give the same predictions.

Experimental Results:

Although it took about a couple of years for people to realize the significance of what Bell had done, once it was understood, it shook up the whole physics community. Starting in early 1970, many experiments have been done during the next 40+ years. The first experiment was completed in 1972 by Stuart Freedman and John Clauser at the University of California at Berkeley. [9]  Similar and more refined experiments have been done by several other groups in different parts of the world in the next three-four decades. These experiments have all confirmed the predictions of QT, and they showed that the Bell Inequality, which is required by all local hidden variable theories, is violated. Furthermore, there are variations in these experiments, such as in the choice of particles, e.g., photons, electrons, as well as other particles, their results are all consistent with the predictions of QT, and not consistent with the predictions of LHV.

Therefore, the view toward QT for the last quarter century has shifted somewhat from that during the three decades between 1935 and the mid 1960s. Although physicists are still not completely satisfied with QT, especially in its explanation of what is happening in nature, and not just on whether it can predict accurately the results of measurements, most physicists no longer have their hopes on local hidden variable theories.

Besides experiments related to Bell’s Theorem, QT during the last 100 years has led to a huge number of extremely innovative and useful products that have revolutionized and permeated our industry and our everyday life. QT has also made many very detailed predictions that are in agreement with experiments, some remarkably to 10 decimal places. Therefore, fewer physicists now question the predictions of QT. However, because there are still mysteries of QT and we would like to be able to explain what happened in an experiment, and not just what will be the predictions of experimental measurements, many physicists still believe that there may be a more fundamental theory that on the one hand can duplicate the predictions of QT, and on the other end also resolve at least some of the mysteries of QT and provide a more satisfying description and explanation of nature.

Quantum Entanglement and Quantum Computing:

When we construct computers making full use of QP, the mystery of quantum entanglement has important implications for encryption and computer security.   Quantum entanglement means that two physical entities that originated from the same entity are correlated no matter how far apart they are.  So once you make a measurement on one entity and cause the wave function to collapse to a specific state from a superposition of states, then the system is disturbed and the wave function for the other entity also collapses from a superposition of states to a specific state.  Therefore, if the two entities contain an encrypted message, and the message is intercepted by an intruder, then you know that the message has been disturbed.

Quantum computers can also significantly increase the processing power and speed of computers.  Besides providing the ability to solve many problems which are currently not solvable from a practical point of view, such powerful and faster computers can also break many currently used security algorithms.  Some of the implications from QP for computers and information networking will be discussed in the next release of this website.


[1] Quantum Physics (QP) is also known as Quantum Mechanics (QM) or Quantum Theory (QT).

[2] E.g., PC, cell phone, TV, radio, GPS, light bulbs, electron microscopes, x-rays and medical imaging, electronic appliances, digital cameras, lasers, Internet, modern aircrafts, satellites, nuclear powers, missiles, …

[3] Bell’s Theorem applies only to hidden variable theories that are local, i.e., no information can be transmitted faster than the speed of light, as required by Einstein’s theory of special relativity.

[4] Erwin Schrodinger was an Austrian physicist who with the German physicist Werner Heisenberg were the co-inventors of QM. Heisenberg formulated QM using a matrix formulation, and Schrodinger formulated QM using a wave equation formulation. It turned out that the two formulations are equivalent. Heisenberg received the 1932 Nobel Physics Prize, and Schrodinger received the 1933 Nobel Physics Prize.

[5] Niels Bohr is the famous Danish physicist who invented the Bohr model of the atom to provide a theory of the atoms, and also made many great contributions to the formulation of QT. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

[6] Although his training was not in physics, Alvin Ash is extremely good in explaining complex physics topics to laymen in easy-to-understand videos. My discussion on the proof of Bell’s Theorem is based on his video “The EPR Paradox and Bell’s Inequality explained Simply”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f72whGQ31Wg. Note: Because Bell’s Theorem can be shown as an inequality, Bell’s Theorem is also often known as Bell’s Inequality.

[7] There are many documentary lectures and videos on Quantum entanglement and Bell’s Theorem.  A good and enlightening documentary is the video by Jim Al-Khalili “The Secrets of Quantum Physics with Jim Al-Khalili (Part 1/2):  Spark”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISdBAf-ysI0.  Another excellent program is the more recent (2019) PBS Nova program “Einstein’s Quantum Riddle”:  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/einsteins-quantum-riddle/.  This program provides an excellent summary of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox, Quantum Entanglement, and Bell’s Theorem.  It also reports on a very recently completed experiment that is a refinement of the Freedman-Clauser experiment (see Ref. 9), and once again verifying that Quantum Theory is correct.

[8] There is a proportionality constant in front of the right side of Eq. 6, Eq. 7, and Eq. 8. Since it is the same proportionality constant that will appear on both sides of the equation, we have ignored the proportionality constant.

[9] S. J. Freedman and J. f. Clauser “Experimental Test of Local Hidden-Variable Theories,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 28, 938, 3 April 1972. This was also the Ph.D. thesis of Freedman, who was a student of Professor Eugene Commins, but the idea of doing this experiment came from Clauser, who was a postdoctoral fellow under Professor Charles Townes, the inventor of maser/laser and the 1964 Nobel Physics Laureate who just came to UCB in 1967. The experiment made use of some experimental apparatus from an earlier experiment by Commins. So this project was jointly sponsored and funded under Commins and Townes. Freedman and I were undergraduate and graduate students at UCB in the same period.



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Diao Yu Tai Student Movement: Recollection 50 Years Later https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/diao-yu-tai-student-movement-recollection-50-years-later/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/diao-yu-tai-student-movement-recollection-50-years-later/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2020 04:04:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6506 Why should we discuss a Chinese student movement that occurred 50 years ago?

  • Just exactly what was the issue 50 years ago?
  • What is that student movement?
  • Why is it important?
  • Why is it important for the American people, as well as for the people of the world?
  • More importantly, why is it even more important today than 50 years ago?

Ten years ago in 2010, I posted in this website a long article “Diao Yu Tai Student Movement: Recollection 40 Years Later” [1] . In this 50-year recollection article I will answer the above questions by extracting key summaries from the previous article and updating the discussion to take into account more recent events.

What Is the Issue?

The issue is the ownership of a set of small islands, called Diao Yu Tai (or Diao Yu Islands) in Chinese and Senkaku Islands in Japanese, in the East China Sea that is claimed by both China and Japan, and since the 1950s the official position of the U.S. government is that the territorial sovereignty of these islands is undecided, but the administrative rights of these islands were handed over in 1970 as part of the Ryukyu Islands (also known as Okinawa) by the U.S. to Japan. Although the U.S. states that these islands’ territorial sovereignty is undecided, it has also repeatedly said that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan would be applicable, thus leading to the possibility of war over these islands between the U.S. and China.

Historical and Legal Status of These Islands

Records of the Diao Yu Islands date back in maps of China to as early as 1403. The Diao Yu Islands are a group of eight small uninhabited islands located about 120 miles northeast of Keelung, the northern-most city in Taiwan, and about 240 miles southwest of Okinawa which is part of the Ryukyu Islands, and the water deepens significantly beyond the Diao Yu Islands heading toward the Ryukyu Islands.

During all these years Chinese fishermen had been fishing around these islands and also used them as temporary shelters. For several centuries the demarcation between the Ryukyu Kingdom and China always put the Diao Yu Islands as part of Taiwan, a province of China.

As the result of the first Sino-Japanese War of 1894 when China was defeated by Japan, China ceded the island of Taiwan to Japan, as well as paying a huge sum of money (equivalent to 6.4 times the annual Japanese government revenue or two-and-half years of Japanese government revenue depending on whose estimate). However, at the end of WWII, Japan accepted the terms of the July 26, 1945 Potsdam Declaration [2] which cited the November 27, 1943 Cairo Declaration [3] that stated that “all territories Japan has stolen from China, such as Manchuria and Taiwan shall be restored to the Republic of China (ROC).” The Japanese Instrument of Surrender that was signed on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 also explicitly referred to the Potsdam Declaration. On all these three occasions of the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, the ROC was represented.

It is perfectly clear historically and legally that the Diao Yu Islands belong to China, as part of the Taiwan Province. More information on this part of history can be found in Reference 1.

What Changed in the 1950s?

The case was very clear and there shouldn’t have been any question about which country should have sovereignty over the Diao Yu Islands. However, the international political environment changed with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war over the Chinese Kuomintang Party. If it weren’t for the military support of the U.S. for Chiang Kai-shek’s government in Taiwan, Taiwan would have been united with the rest of China.

All of a sudden, China, instead of being an ally of the U.S., is now viewed as an arch enemy that needs to be weakened, isolated, and plotted against.  On the other hand, Japan, the country that bombed Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack and committed massive, unimaginable inhumane atrocities in China and all over Asia, is now considered an ally of the U.S. to plot against China.

One of the first major manifestations of this new attitude occurred with the 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty), which was supposed  to officially end WWII.  This treaty was signed on September 8, 1951, and became effective on April 28, 1952.  Fifty one countries participated in this conference, and 48 countries signed the treaty, which was basically drafted by the U.S. and the United Kingdom.  Yet, China, the country in which Japan stationed the most soldiers and the country that suffered the most at the hands of the Japanese military, was not even invited to the conference, with the excuse that it was not clear whether the PRC or the ROC should be invited to the conference.

Unlike the various previously mentioned documents associated with the surrender of Japan at the end of WWII that explicitly stated that Taiwan and other Chinese territories stolen from China by Japan should be returned to China, the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty only said that Japan will relinquish those former Chinese territories, but did not explicitly say that they should be returned to China.  This intentional twisting of history by the U.S. to the detriment of China has since been repeated on several occasions by U.S. senior government officials that the agreement was that Japan would give up their jurisdiction over Taiwan and other territories, but the receiving country of these territories was not specified. For example, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, co-author of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, said in 1955 “the treaty ceded Taiwan to no one; that Japan merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan, and that America cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem of China.”  The PRC denounced the treaty and stated that it was illegal and should not be recognized.

Therefore, as early as 1951, it was already fairly clear about the imperialistic intention of the U.S. toward China and their planting the seed to ally with Japan to contain and weaken China.

In spite of the fact that neither PRC nor ROC was invited to the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, a similar Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (also known as the Treaty of Taipei) was signed by the ROC and Japan on April 28, 1952, the same day as the effective day of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty.  This Treaty of Taipei is basically the same as the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, and it did not say that Taiwan and other Chinese territories stolen from China by Japan should be returned to China.  The fact that the Treaty of Taipei was concluded so quickly and the fact that it essentially mirrored the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty strongly suggest that the chief orchestrator of this development was the U.S.  The fact that the Treaty of Taipei did not say that Taiwan and other Chinese territories stolen from China by Japan should be returned to China also strongly suggests that the ROC government was weak and more interested in gaining the support of the U.S., and to a lesser extent Japan, than to defend the territorial sovereignty of China.

Who were representing or speaking for the Chinese?  Furthermore, as the sole administrator under the U.N. of the Ryukyu Islands, the U.S. on December 25,1953 made the unilateral decision to include the Diao Yu Islands for the first time in the territory of the Ryukyu Islands, whose administrative control is scheduled to be handed over by the U.S. to Japan in March 1972. [4]  The above described complicities by the U.S. helped to create a dispute which should not have existed in the first place.

More information on the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and the 1952 Treaty of Taipei can be found in Reference 1.

What Triggered the Diao Yu Tai Student Movement in 1970?

In 1970, the U.S. and Japan were planning for the transfer to Japan of the administrative control of the territory of the Ryukyu Islands which since the 1953 unilateral decision of the U.S. included the Diao Yu Islands, both the PRC and the ROC objected to this agreement and argued that this agreement did not determine the sovereignty of the Diao Yu Islands. At that time, Japan and the U.S. had even more incentive to want to claim the Diao Yu Islands because within the previous few years, it was found that vast resources of oil could be under the area around these islands. Japan also sent troops to the islands to set up boundary markers, sent patrol boats to chase away Taiwan fishermen that have been fishing near these islands for centuries, and even tore down the ROC flag on the Diao Yu Islands.

When the oversea Chinese students heard about this, a grass-roots movement started and quickly spread around the world. It began in the fall of 1970 at Princeton University and at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Quickly grass root organizations sprang up like new grass after a cool night of constant rain following a dry summer. For example, a Baodiao (or Protest Diao Yu Islands) organization was established at the University of California at Berkeley by early December 1970. Similar organizations sprang up overnight in many universities across the U.S., as well as in Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and other parts of Asia and the world. What was remarkable was that these organizations separated in distance by hundreds or thousands of miles kept in constant touch with each other keeping in mind that that was several years before email became available and about a decade before the invention of the Internet.

This grass roots student movement energized Chinese students all over the world. Many of these student leaders labored days and nights educating themselves, putting on discussion meetings, organizing, producing newsletters providing background information on the issues, spreading the message to the media and local communities beyond the campuses (including buying a full-page ad in the May 23, 1971 issue of the New York Times), producing educational plays and musicals, and organizing protest rallies. Many were willing to sacrifice their studies and careers on the movement, and many ended up doing so. For those who did so, most of them did not regret and have not regretted when looking back many years later.

This movement has three targets:

  1. The Japanese government for wanting to steal more, although they haven’t even acknowledged the thefts, murders, and atrocities they committed all over Asia against the Chinese people and other people of the world.
  2. The U.S. government’s interventions in the internal affairs of other countries and its unfair and imperialistic policy to surround, isolate, and weaken China, and to use Japan as its Asian pawn in this containment policy of China.
  3. The ROC government in Taiwan for not standing up to defend the interest of the Chinese people, and instead more interested in gaining the support of the U.S., and to a lesser extent Japan, than to defend the territorial sovereignty of China.

The PRC government’s position has been consistently clear that the Diao Yu Islands belong to China. However, because those islands are part of the Taiwan Province, which was under the control of the ROC, the PRC government’s hands around the time of 1970 are partially tied in what they could do to protect the Diao Yu Islands from the infringement of Japan and the U.S.

Mirroring the Massive May 4, 1919 Chinese Student Movement

The famous May 4 Movement of 1919, which was initiated by Chinese students to protest against the grossly unfair treatment that the 1919 Versailles Treaty that ended WWI. Instead of returning the Shangdong Province to China after Germany was defeated in WWI, it was handed over to Japan. But instead of protecting the interest of the Chinese people and its country, the weak Chinese government was ready to acquiescence to the decision of Versailles. That so enraged the Chinese students that they burned the house of the minister of communications and assaulted China’s minister to Japan, both pro-Japanese officials. The slogans of the May 4 Movement were “Resist Foreign Powers” and “Rid Internal Traitors.” The student-led May 4 Movement quickly spread to workers, merchants, and businessmen and became a massive nationwide movement, and led to the Chinese representatives walking out of the Versailles Conference.

Although the May 4 Movement did not manage to achieve all their objectives as evident by the handing over of Shangdong Province to Japan, the movement did result in successes, such as the ability of China’s various social classes to successfully collaborate, an ideal that would be admired by both Nationalists and Communists. Furthermore, the May 4 Movement sparked national protests and marked the upsurge of Chinese nationalism, a shift towards political mobilization and away from cultural activities, and a move towards populist base rather than intellectual elites.

The Diao Yu Tai Movement that was initiated in 1970 used the above slogans as its guiding principle: “Resist Foreign Powers” and “Rid Internal Traitors.” The reason for the second part of that slogan is already clearly seen by how the ROC government immediately signed the Treaty of Taipei that mirrored the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treat. As another example, we only have to look at how the ROC government tried to snuff out the big Diao Yu Tai Movement’s protest rally in San Francisco on April 9, 1971. They wrote bad-mouth slogans on the student leaders on the fences of Portsmouth Square, site of the rally, and hired local youth gangs to try to disrupt that protest rally. Fortunately, the rally organizers were well prepared and its security people took care of the disrupting youth gangs and handed them over to local police.

Similar to the May 4, 1919 Student Movement, the Diao Yu Tai Movement of 1970 also has not yet achieved its objective of the Diao Yu Islands returning to Chinese sovereignty.  However, it did achieve a major step toward that goal.  The movement played a crucial role in persuading the U.S. government to adopt a position that although it was transferring the administrative rights of the Ryukyu Islands over to Japan, the territorial sovereignty of those islands is still to be determined. [5]  Furthermore, it led the students not to be confined to the ivory tower, but to the workers and the community. It also expanded the students’ horizon to choose majors beyond science and engineering which were the majors of the majority of their predecessors, but to also social and political studies. It led them not just focus on intellectual pursuits, but also to social and political activism. These student leaders became involved in the movement when they were in the 20s, and some times in the early 30s. Many of them continue to be involved in various social and political activities for many years, including to their senior years.

Why Is the Diao Yu Island Movement Important for the American People?

Americans always claim to be standing on the side of justice. In the case of the Diao Yu Islands, it is crystally clear that China has always had and should continue to have sovereignty over the Diao Yu Islands.

Americans should not want to be dragged into a war with China in the East China Sea that has no moral or legal reasons to be involved. When the U.S. government has repeatedly stated that the territorial sovereignty of the Diao Yu Islands still needs to be determined, why should the U.S. government claim that the Mutual Defense Treaty with Japan should be applied to these islands? It is an obvious inconsistent policy that is based on the premise to weaken China and to use Japan as its pawn in that policy.

Yes, China has become the U.S.’s major competitor. On the one hand, we should let the two sides compete fairly. On the other hand, there are many important and urgent world-wide issues such as the pandemic, global warming, poverty, war and peace, and nuclear disarmament that the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies and most powerful countries, should collaborate with each other and with other countries to solve these critical issues. Otherwise, we may not have a planet to live in and survive.

Why Is This Movement Even More Important Now?

All the reasons just discussed in the previous session are still applicable. The U.S. is not on the side of justice in the case of the Diao Yu Islands. The dispute over the Diao Yu Islands may very well trigger a major war involving China and the U.S. that has no moral or legal basis.

With recent events, those and other reasons become even more important.

The U.S.’s reputation as a responsible world leader has fallen significantly in the last few years. President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement as the world is experiencing warmer climate, melting ice caps, more coastal flooding, more forest fires and violent storms. President Trump has also just withdrawn from the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world is facing a huge global pandemic, the worst one for at least the past 100 years. If we are the best and most powerful country in the world, then let’s work together with the world and lead the world to solve these problems.

Instead on focusing on solving the many grave problems faced by the U.S. due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant economic collapse, the U.S. government is using a scapegoat, China, for its failures. We need to be brave enough and honest enough to admit that we contributed to these problems, instead of blaming all these problems on the Chinese. The best strategy to solve the pandemic is to work together globally to solve the pandemic because it is a global pandemic in a world that is intimately interconnected, and the virus does not recognize state or national boundaries.

Yes, China is the U.S.’s major competitor. As stated earlier, on the one hand, let’s compete with each other fairly. On the other hand, let’s see how we can grow the pie together. In the current world where countries are interconnected via fast planes, fast trains, and instant communications virtually through emails and the Internet, isolating ourselves via restrictive trade policies or restrictive virtual inter-connectivity is going to shrink the pie, and definitely is not going to grow the pie.

We also need to be more willing to share the pie, both domestically and globally. It cannot be continued that 10% of the U.S. population own 90% of the wealth of the U.S. Similarly, 10% of the people of the world cannot continue to own 90% of the wealth of the world. Otherwise, we will face continued turmoil both domestically and globally. We must find new ways to work together to grow the pie and to share the pie.

U.S. has already been involved in several questionable wars. Our country cannot afford another questionable war. We cannot afford it from a moral perspective, and we cannot afford it from a world leadership perspective. Furthermore, even from a purely economic perspective, we cannot afford it, because wars are costly and extremely destructive.

It is not an exaggeration that our children and grandchildren may be living in a world that will turn out to be much worse than our current world. With global pandemic, global warming, global poverty, and global arms competition, whether we will still have a livable planet 100 years from now is an alarming question. Countries of the world must work collaboratively to solve these big problems.

[1] “Diao Yu Tai Student Movement: Recollection 40 Years Later”: http://www.dontow.com/2010/10/diao-yu-tai-student-movement-recollection-40-years-later/.

[2] The Potsdam Declaration was signed by President Harry S. Truman of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China.

[3] The Cairo Declaration was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China.

[4] For more information on the significance of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute for the American People, see http://www.dontow.com/2013/03/significance-of-the-diaoyusenkaku-islands-dispute-for-the-american-people/.

[5] Playing a crucial role in that persuasion was the Diao Yu Tai student movement’s lobbying efforts with the U.S. Senate that culminated in a key testimony in front of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate on October 29, 1971 by representatives on behalf of the student movement. In particular, the representatives included Professor C. N. Yang (Physics Nobel Laureate), Professor S. B. Woo, and others. The end result was that a paragraph on Committee Action and a paragraph on Committee Comments were included in the Senate Executive Report No. 92-10, November 2, 1971 that read in part (see p. 5) “United States action in transferring its rights of administration to Japan does not constitute a transfer of underlying sovereignty (which the United States does not have), nor can it affect the underlying claims of any of the disputants. The Committee reaffirms that the provisions of the Agreement do not affect any claims of sovereignty with respect to the Senkaku or Taio Yu Tai Islands by any state.” Note: This Report should have used the spelling “Tiao Yu Tai Islands” or “Diao Yu Tai Islands,” instead of “Taio Yu Tai Islands.”

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Mindfulness, Children’s Social and Emotional Health, and School Initiative https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/mindfulness-childrens-social-and-emotional-health-and-school-initiative/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/mindfulness-childrens-social-and-emotional-health-and-school-initiative/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2020 04:02:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6557 Recently, a number of schools has stressed the importance of the need to focus on the social and emotional health of young students, especially in the current environment of epidemics, school closings, racial conflicts, social unrest, layoffs, and poverty. Several of these developments such as epidemics, school closings, and racial conflicts affect them and their schools directly, and several others such as social unrest, layoffs, and poverty, are experienced by their parents but the impacts also affect them.

One approach adopted by some schools to help young students to handle social and emotional health problems that may arise from this environment is the focus on mindfulness. In this article, we explain what mindfulness is, and in what ways Taiji can contribute to mindfulness.

The word mindfulness means that the mind is focused on the present task at hand, being aware of the environment but at least for that moment not overly anxious or worry by what is going on around us. Mindfulness can help a person concentrate on the current work, and not get distracted or overwhelmed by other events and the greater environment in which we live. Children attending school need to learn what the teacher is teaching them or the homework problem they are trying to solve, and at least for that moment do not worry about other things, such as that they may have sick siblings at home, or they may be bullied during recess, or their parents have been laid off.

The ability to concentrate is especially important when there is an observed increase among children experiencing ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), stress, depression, and even suicides [1]. While our society and government need to remove certain underlying contributors to these problems, such as poverty, abuse, domestic violence, racial intolerance, and more recently a global pandemic, many school districts are also taking actions that are within their jurisdiction of responsibility and within their budgets to reduce the problems. One recent emerging method is the focus on teaching simple mindfulness techniques that can be integrated in the classrooms as well as perhaps when doing homework at home. [2]

Mindfulness is a general term and can mean many things. In this article, mindfulness refers to the ability to focus on the current task (or activity) and do not get distracted with many other tasks that may be waiting for us. Mindfulness is to train our mind to focus on the immediate task at hand, and at that moment lay aside other tasks that may be happening in our life. While we are working on the task at hand, we may get distracted, mindfulness will help us to get back quickly to the current task, i.e., quickly returning to the present moment. It can increase concentration and decrease stress.

A common technique of mindfulness is to focus on our breathing, e.g., teach the students to sit down comfortably, relax the body and mind, and focus on breathing in and out softly and slowly, paying special attention to the expansion and contraction of the tummy during the breathing in and out process. An enhancement of that technique is to use lower abdominal breathing (or deep belly breathing) in which the expansion and contraction become even more obvious. The mind is very conscious of our immediate environment, although extraneous thoughts are driven from the mind and forgotten at that moment.

Mindfulness also teaches students to think of positive thoughts, about themselves and others. They should think of pride and respect for themselves, show tolerance toward others, and display caring and respect for others.

When students are taught and practice mindfulness while in school, they can also utilize the technique when they are home. For example, before they do their homework, they can do the mindfulness exercise of relaxing with deep and soft breathing, with the mind focusing on the breathing and getting rid of extraneous thoughts. Not only that after such exercise, the mind can be more focused on the homework at hand, but they also feel less stressful.

Mindfulness is really an integral component of Taiji, where the body and mind are relaxed, where slow and relax deep breathing is practiced, and sensitivity and responsiveness of our bodily environment is enhanced. Most Taiji movements are soft and slow, especially in the Yang style Taiji. Slow and deep breathing is practiced (and once one advances beyond the elementary level, lower abdominal breathing is practiced). Furthermore, utilizing the ability to relax, the practitioner’s sensitivity via touch is increased to become more aware of the opponent’s movement as well as the opponent’s motive or intended movement, while at the same time the practitioner’s body is so relaxed, his opponent cannot sense the practitioner’s movement and motive or intended movement. This is why Taiji, besides being considered to be an exercise that is good for health, is also considered to be a good martial art.

Mindfulness is really a technique of meditation to relax our body and mind, to increase our concentration and reduce stress. Meditation is also an integral part of Taiji, not only while performing various Taiji form sets, but it is also part of various warm-up exercises to Taiji. That is why Taiji is also known as “meditation in motion.”

Taiji is such a wonderful exercise. It is a wonderful exercise for all ages. It is not only a good exercise for senior citizens, but also a good exercise for young people and children. Unfortunately, it has been overlooked, and more appropriately speaking, underappreciated for its value to children. With the emphasis on mindfulness for children, perhaps Taiji’s value to helping children to focus and relax can bring this age-old exercise to our young people. [3]

[1] According to a 2019 article in Psychology Today, suicides among children under the age of eleven more than doubled in the last ten years (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/wicked-deeds/201901/suicide-rates-even-among-children-are-rising-dramatically) .

[2] An example is the Saddle Brook School District in north NJ that started Mindfulness training in their schools starting shortly after online schooling went into effect in mid-March 2020:

[3] After this article was posted, a friend alerted me that recently an article “Subtle Motor Signs as a Biomarker for Mindful Movement Intervention in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: June/July 2020 – Volume 41 – Issue 5 – p 349-358. This medical research article reported that Taiji-based mindfulness training reduced core ADHD symptoms in children based on measurement of objective biomarkers of treatment. This research is also described in the article “Study finds Tai-Chi-based mindfulness training reduced core ADHD symptoms in children” by Kennedy Krieger Institute, in Medical Xpress, April 21, 2020.

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Wonders and Mysteries of Quantum Physics https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/wonders-and-mysteries-of-quantum-physics/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/09/wonders-and-mysteries-of-quantum-physics/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2020 04:01:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6446 The impact of quantum physics (also known as quantum mechanics or quantum theory) since its introduction almost 100 years ago has had large and deep impacts on almost all aspects of our lives, including business lives, personal lives, and war and peace between nations. Our everyday usage of electronic appliances, fluorescent light bulbs, televisions, computers, digital cameras, cell phones, Internet, GPS, lasers, electronic microscopes, MRI scans, modern military aircrafts, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons, etc. all make use of quantum physics.

Quantum physics differs significantly from classical physics. Classical physics describe the physical laws governing the behavior of ordinary size objects that we deal with everyday in our lives – objects like a baseball, a bullet, a musical instrument like a violin, water waves on a beach or in an ocean. Quantum physics describe the physical laws governing the behavior of very small objects that we have to deal with in the subatomic world – objects like an electron, a proton, a neutron, a photon (the constituents of light). This article discusses some of the largest differences between quantum physics and classical physics, and the associated wonders and mysteries of quantum physics.

In classical physics, the objects that we deal with behave either like particles (e.g., a baseball, a coin) or like waves (e.g., a water wave, an air or light wave). Furthermore, an object is either a particle or a wave. But in quantum physics, the objects that we deal with have characteristics of a particle and characteristics of a wave. In other words, the subatomic objects behave both like a particle and a wave. This new and surprising discovery occurred through a series of experiments known as the double-slit experiments from the 19th century to the first quarter of the 20th century. [1]

Series of Crucial Experiments

First we discuss the double-slit experiment using a classical object like a bullet from a gun. In this double-slit experiment, there is a source producing the objects of concern, the bullets. Then there is a wall with two slits allowing the bullets to go through. With the exception of the two slits, the wall blocks the bullets. Finally, beyond the wall there are movable detectors mounted on the backstop, with the position of the detectors being movable. This experiment is shown in Figure 1: Double-slit experiment with bullets.

Figure 1: Double Slit Experiment 1 – With Bullets

(from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 3 – Quantum Mechanics, p. 1-2, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1965)

The movable detector measures the probability of the bullet arriving at the location of the detector. The most likely position of the arriving bullet is the straight line from the gun source through the slit to the backstop. As a matter of fact, if you ignore that the slit is larger than the width of the bullet and a bullet could be deflected by the edges of the slit, the distribution function of the bullet at the backstop will be a delta function, i.e., showing 1 (i.e, 100% probability) at the x-position that is a direct straight path from the bullet source through the slit to the backstop, and zero everywhere else. Because the slit width is larger than the width of the bullet and the bullet hitting the edges of the slit could be deflected, the bullet can be deflected upward or downward with a smaller and smaller probability of arrival the farther the detector deviates from the straight line.

When we do the experiment with Slit 2 closed, the bullet can only go through Slit 1, we find that the probability distribution for the bullet arriving at different positions at the backstop is depicted as P1 in the above diagram. Similarly, if we do the experiment with slit 1 closed, the bullet can only go through Slit 2, we find that the probability distribution for the bullet arriving at different positions at the backstop is depicted as P2 in the above diagram.

Now when we do this experiment with both slits open, we find that the probability distribution for the bullet arriving at different positions at the backstop is depicted as P12, which turns out to be exactly the sum of P1 and P2, i.e., the sum of the probability of the bullet going through Slit 1 and the probability of the bullet going through Slit 2. Saying it mathematically, there is no interference to the motion of the electron when a second slit is opened and allows it another path to reach the backstop. This behavior of objects like bullets is very much different from the behavior of objects like waves, as in water waves, sound waves, or light waves, which we now discuss.

We now perform a similar double slit experiment, but now the source is generating water waves, instead of bullets. and the detector is a gadget that measures the water wave intensity denoted as I, e.g., the height of the wave. This is illustrated in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2: Double Slit Experiment 2 – with Water Waves

(from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 3 – Quantum Mechanics, p. 1-3, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1965)

Again, when Slit 2 is closed, the measured probability is shown as I1. Similarly, when Slit 1 is closed, the measured probability is shown as I2. However, when both slits are opened, the measure probability is shown as I12, which is definitely not the sum of I1 and I2. The reason is that with waves, the waves can go through both slits at the same time. Mathematically, the intensity of the water waves for I1 is the square of a complex function h1 (complex in the sense of real versus complex numbers), and the intensity of the water waves for I2 is the square of a complex function h2. Experimentally, it turns out that the Intensity I12 when both slits are opened is equal to the square of (h1+h2), and due to the cross terms, it is not the square of h1 plus the square of h2. This means that when both slits are open, there are interference terms (corresponding to the cross terms) because the waves can go through both slits at the same time.

Now, let’s do a third double slit experiment using electrons at the source and counters (such as Geiger counters) at the backstop. The counter in the backstop produces a sound to tell us that the electron has arrived at that location on the backstop.

Fig. 3: Double Slit Experiment 3 – with Electrons

(from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 3 – Quantum Mechanics, p. 1-4, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1965)

Again, when we block Slit 2, the measured probability distribution at the backstop is shown as P1. Similarly, when we block Slit 1, the measure probability distribution at the backstop is shown as P2. However, when both slits are opened, the measured probability distribution surprisingly is shown as P12, which is not the sum of P1 and P2. As a matter of fact, if you compare Fig. 3 with Fig. 2 and Fig. 1, the distribution function of the electrons behaves just like the distribution function of water waves, and not like the distribution function of bullets.

Mysteries of Quantum Physics

This series of crucial experiments in the 19th century and first part of the 20th century led to one of the first mysteries found when we deal with very tiny objects like electrons of the subatomic world.

Mystery 1: The behavior of these subatomic objects like electrons behave very differently from macroscopic objects like bullets. Electrons exhibit wave-like properties (similar to what we saw with water waves as in our second experiment).

But this is not the only mystery when dealing in the subatomic world. We now discuss several more mysteries.

Now, if the electrons go through both slits at the same time, when we detect the electrons at the backstop, do we find only part of an electron? From the experiments, we found that the clicks that we hear from the counters in Fig 3 that detect the arrival of the electrons at the backstop are always the same. For example, we don’t hear any half clicks that perhaps indicate that only half of the electron arrived at that location and the other half might have arrived at another location, which may be what you would guess if the electron went through both slits. This means when you detect the electrons, you detect the whole electron, and not only part of the electron, i.e., electrons also behave like particles. This leads to:

Mystery 2: Subatomic objects, although displaying wave-like characteristics, also display particle-like characteristics. This is known as the wave-particle duality of quantum physics., i.e., subatomic particles display both characteristics, showing behavior like a wave, and also showing behavior like a particle.

There are more mysteries of quantum physics. From the previous experiment, we saw that electrons behave with wave-like properties in the sense that they seem to go through both slits at the same time, and they don’t just go through slit 1 or slit 2.

Can we try to detect which slit the electron went through? We know that electric charges scatter light. Since electrons are charged particles, if we put a light source behind the wall, we should be able to determine the path the electron took by observing the location of the scattered light. So let’s do an experiment as depicted in the next figure.

Fig. 4: Enhanced Double Slit Experiment with Electrons and a Detecting Light Source

(from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 3 – Quantum Mechanics, p. 1-7, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1965)

In this experiment, if the electron went through Slit 2, we should see a flash of light coming from the vicinity of location A in the above diagram. Similarly, if the electron went through Slit 1, we should see a flash of light coming from the vicinity of a location above the light source. If we see flashes of light coming simultaneously from both spots, then we can conclude that the electron went through both slits at the same time.

So when this experiment was done, what did we observe? Whenever we hear a click from the counter at the backstop, we also see a flash of light either near Slit 1 or near Slit 2, but never both. Furthermore, with this experimental setup, the probability distribution observed at the backstop is no longer P12 of Fig. 3, but P12 (i.e., P12Prime) of Fig. 4 (which is similar to P12 of experiment 1), i.e., there is no longer any interference.

What does this mean? When we observe the location of the scattered light to determine the path of the electron, the observing light gave some momentum to the electron and disturbed the path of the electron and changed the original distribution pattern. If you keep on reducing the momentum of the observing light passed on to the electron (by reducing the light frequency or increasing its wavelength), then when you increase the wavelength more and more, you increase more and more the uncertainty on the position of the scattered light. When you reach the point of being unable to detect the location of the electron, the distribution pattern at the backstop also changes back from P12 (i.e., P12Prime) of Fig. 4 to P12 of Fig. 3! This leads to the following:

Mystery 3: The act of observance can change what you are observing. This is understandable for the experiments discussed above because in order to observe, you need to use light. In order to give more precision to what you are observing, you have to use smaller and smaller wavelengths (or larger and larger frequencies of light), which is equivalent to imparting larger and larger momentum to the electrons and therefore results in larger and larger disturbance to the path of the electrons.

This also leads to:

Mystery 4 Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – One cannot simultaneously measure precisely the position and momentum of any object (first proposed in 1927 by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg).

This uncertainty principle applies not just for the position and momentum of any object, it actually applies for any pair of complementary (or conjugate) variables, like time and energy of an object. Furthermore, it is an intrinsic limitation of nature, and not just due to inadequacy of the accuracy of our current experiments.

The uncertainty principle leads to one of the most significant and puzzling implications of quantum physics: Something may be created from “nothing.” We often think of a vacuum as made up of empty space. However, if we are talking about an extremely tiny interval of time, as at the moment of the Big Bang when our current universe was created, then the uncertainty principle tells us that the uncertainty in the involved energy could be very large, large enough to create electron and positron pairs, or mater and anti-matter pairs to form stars and galaxies. This is known as vacuum polarization or vacuum fluctuation. That means that things may be created from the nothingness in a vacuum. [2] However, solving this mystery of creating something from nothing leads to another great mystery that currently we have no clue of solving, i.e., why is there not an equal amount of matter and anti-matter, instead of our observed universe which is made up of essentially only matter.

Predictability of Quantum Physics

In classical physics, if we are given the initial conditions of an object, then using the laws of physics, we can predict precisely the future behavior of an object. However, in the subatomic world, because particles have wave-like characteristics, we can no longer predict precisely the behavior of an object even if given the initial conditions.

Mathematical digression: The physical state is described by a complex wave function (complex in the mathematical sense of real versus complex numbers), which we denote as C (or the Greek letter phi ϕ in Fig. 3). The distribution function is determined as the square of C. In the double slit experiment, when only Slit 1 is open, that function is C1. When only Slit 2 is open, that function is C2. When both slits are opened, the distribution function is the square of the sum of C1 and C2, which is not the same as the sum of C1 squared and C2 squared. When you do this square calculation, there will be cross terms involving both C1 and C2. These cross terms are the interference terms coming from the fact that the wave can go through both slits 1 and 2.

Because in quantum theory, the state of an object is described by a wave function, we can calculate only the probability distribution of the future, and unlike classical physics where we can calculate precisely the object’s future state. This leads to another mystery of quantum physics.

Mystery 5: In the subatomic world, we can only predict the probability distribution of certain physical happenings in the future.

As we stated at the beginning of this article, on the one hand quantum physics has introduced many wonders and has revolutionized essentially all aspects of our lives. It has introduced all kinds of gadgets, like vacuum tubes, transistors, TVs, computers, video games, medical imaging, cell phones, GPS, Internet, nuclear weapons, missiles, and so on. However, on the other hand, quantum physics has also led us to many mysteries, like the wave-particle duality and the probability interpretation of quantum physics. That has led many people, including Albert Einstein, to make the remark that God does not play dice and question whether there is a more fundamental theory than quantum theory so that the uncertainties. can be removed and the theory can then be deterministic, and not probabilistic.

Interpretations of Quantum Theory

As just stated, the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory has led many people to feel that quantum theory cannot be the ultimate theory of physics. For example, perhaps there are some hidden variables that we are not aware of and therefore we have not defined their values. In the future, if we can figure out what these hidden variables are and determine their values, then we can remove the uncertainties and our physical theory then becomes deterministic. This is known as the hidden variable theory.

In 1964, the Irish physicist John Bell proved a very simple theorem that states that all local hidden variable theories [3] cannot make the same predictions as quantum theory. Therefore, one can perform experiments to prove whether quantum theory or local hidden variable theory is correct.

Even though Bell’s Theorem is one of the most important and remarkable theorems in physics, it is relatively simple to prove in terms of the length of the proof and the sophistication of the required mathematics. But the proof requires some ingenious use of mathematics and logic.

In a future article, we will discuss Bell’s Theorem and the experiments that have been done which so far have shown that quantum theory is the correct theory. [4] Also, in another future article, we will discuss the quantum entanglement from the wave function description of quantum theory and its implications for encryption in quantum computers.

[1] The discussion that we use in this article follows closely the lectures of Richard P. Feynman, in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 3, by Feynman, Leighton, and Sands, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Inc., Palo Also, 1965. This series of lectures came from the lectures that Feynman gave for the freshman and sophomore physics courses at Cal Tech in 1961-1963. Although they were intended for college freshmen and sophomores, they have been valuable references for many graduate students.

[2] On the subject of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and creating something from the vacuum via vacuum fluctuations, there is a good and interesting science documentary “Everything and Nothing: What is Nothing? – 2019 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXbIzc3bcT8). This is part of a series of science documentaries by Professor Jim Al-Khalili.

[3] Bell’s Theorem applies only to hidden variable theories that are local, i.e., no information can be transmitted faster than the speed of light.

[4] Another good and interesting science documentary of Professor Jim Al-Khalili’ series of science documentaries is “The Secret Of Quantum Physics: Einstein’s Nightmare” – 2019 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_4nYgrDJvc). This discusses the double slit experiments, the mysteries of quantum physics, and Bell’s Theorem.

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One Speaks for the Voiceless and One Is the Conscience of Japan https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/one-speaks-for-the-voiceless-and-one-is-the-conscience-of-japan/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/one-speaks-for-the-voiceless-and-one-is-the-conscience-of-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2020 07:00:00 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6301 Next year will mark the 90th anniversary of the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War: 1931-1945, a war that resulted in approximately 25-30 million Chinese killed, millions of women and girls raped, and millions of innocent civilians slaughtered. Yet, the country that did all of this still has not acknowledged what it did and has been trying to rewrite this part of history. We are reaching the time when all of the people who experienced this tragedy first hand will have passed away. However, many people of different nationalities around the world have not forgotten and are working hard to make sure that we learn the lessons from this part of history so that similar mistakes will not be repeated any where else in this world.

Two persons, one a Chinese citizen and one a Japanese citizen, have done the most to lead this movement so that justice can be restored and history will not be forgotten. This article provides a short summary of these two people, Tong Zeng (童增) of China and Tamaki Matsuoka (松岡環) of Japan.

Tong Zeng (童增) – Who Speaks for the Voiceless:  Although millions of Chinese people suffered great atrocities under the Japanese military in the form of massacres, rapes and kidnapped comfort women, slave laborers, biological and chemical weapon attacks, vivisection as POWs.  The instigators never admitted to their guilt and basically never punished.  The victims never received any apology and were never financially compensated for their sufferings. 

When China and Japan established diplomatic relationship on September 29, 1972, in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese people, China, as a gesture of good will, renounced its demand for war reparation from Japan, i.e., the Chinese government no longer required the Japanese government to pay reparation for the damages it did to China during WWII and the Second Sino-Japanese War.

As a young man studying for a masters degree in law, Tong Zeng investigated various international legal cases and issues regarding compensation related to atrocities committed during a war by one country on the citizens of another country.  He concluded  that there are “war reparations” and “damage compensations.”  The former, “war reparations,” are compensations for the losses that the defeated countries launching the war caused to the countries they invaded.  The latter, “damage compensations” are compensations for the sufferings and losses of the people of the invaded countries caused by acts of the invading militaries violating the laws of war and humanitarian principles.

In July 1990 he wrote a White Paper “China Demands Japan to Compensate Atrocity Victims.”  [1]  Although initially he received no interest in any newspaper on the contents of his White Paper, on March 31, 1991 he got the newspaper Ming Bao in Hong Kong to post a short article about it.  Then a couple of days later, he  distributed copies of his White Paper to various delegates on their way to attend the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.  Several delegates showed interest in his proposal.  Although it was too late to discuss this in the 1991 NPC, it was taken up as a topic of discussion in the 1992 NPC.  When news of this discussion was reported in the mass media, it ignited a brush fire across the whole country.

Seeking compensation for the atrocities committed by the Japanese military was a long-overdue item for seeking justice and closure that has been buried in the hearts and souls of thousands and thousands of Chinese atrocity victims and their relatives. During the next few years, thousands of people wrote to Tong Zeng endorsing and thanking him for his proposal and wrote to him providing details of the atrocities that they or their family members had experienced. Within a few years, he had received about 10,000 such letters. [2]  This became an archive of letters of historical significance that document the atrocities experienced by the victims and written by the victims or their close relatives. 

Here are excerpts of a few sample letters that were sent to Tong Zeng starting in the 1990s [3].

  • Written on 12/15/1992 by Tang Qiangshen of Zhejiang Province, with the first part of the quote referring to air bombing:  “More than 8,000 people died from being buried alive, burning to death, freezing, boiling with hot water, cramming pepper water, poisoning, attacking by hounds, starving, body splitting by horses (all kinds), hanging, skinning, mutilation, (gang) raping, live targets of shooting and flesh carving.  …  After the Japanese army retreated in May 1945, 25 shoulder pole loads of human bones were excavated, more than 2,700 skeletons were discovered across the area.  …  18 women were raped (gang raped) before death, over 500 women were raped by brutal force; these women were stripped and raped in broad daylight, and “teased” before being raped, some even died from splitting the body with knife.”

  • Written on 11/20/1992 by Tang Qingyu of Kunming, Yunnan Province:  “In 1941 when the Japanese Army invaded Western Yunnan, after Baoshan was conquered, large crowds of residents living in Baoshan and other places in Western Yunnan swarmed to Kunming to avoid slaughter by the Japanese Army. Immediately afterwards cholera broke out in Kunming. At first people thought it was epidemic plague, but soon it spread to the whole city. Those contracted cholera first would have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, and soon they died in less than one day. On the streets one could see dead people each day. Back then at the biggest and most famous coffin shop (the boss was surnamed Zhao) on Wenmiao Street in Kunming, all the coffins were sold out.  …  The Japanese army spread cholera bacteria in Western Yunnan, therefore the fleeing people of all social circles brought the cholera bacteria to Kunming and spread it around. … As mentioned above, the number of civilians suffering direct or indirect damage from the Japanese Army runs to thousands and millions. Newspapers published at that time all carried the story.”

  • Writtten on 3/18/1993 by Zhou Zhenqiu of Changsha City, Hunan Province:  In June 1944, the Japanese army invaded Changsha for the third time. On the afternoon of lunar July 13, when my mother, along with a group of women, was returning home from the countryside, they were captured by the Japanese army, stripped off with hands tied on the back and then bayoneted to death. My mother was bayoneted for eight times and thrown into Xiang River. An old widow was also thrown into the river after being bayoneted to death. As nobody came to collect her corpse, the corpse was pushed to the river bank by waves and eaten by crows bit by bit in the hot weather, with bones dragged away by dogs.”

  • Written on 7/6/1944 by Wang Genyou, describing the experience of his deceased uncle Wang Jinsheng as a slave laborer in Japan for four years:  “In January 1942, many people including my uncle were captured by the invading Japanese army during a raid in northern Daqinghe, Hebei and sent to Tanggu Camp. Later they were sent to Japan to labor for 4 years in a ravine 3 km southern of the railway station. They dug a cave every day, which was over 15 km long from east to west and used for hydraulic power generation. They did heavy work every day but ate pig feed and they were always starved. Instead of being provided with warm clothes in winter and thin clothes in summer, they were only given a crotch cloth in a year to work naked. The Japanese foremen often beat the Chinese laborers with sticks and whips and called them morons. My uncle saw with his eyes that many Chinese laborers were beaten to death by the Japanese foremen. The life was inhuman and intolerable. Some laborers committed suicide and some escaped and were caught back, bitten to death by foreign dogs. The Japanese foremen said, ‘You Chinese people cannot run away. You are just food of Japanese dogs.’ Many Chinese laborers died there of torturing. Also, many laborers were disabled due to the beating or work and some got blinded. They suffered in Japan until the end of 1945 after Japan surrendered. My uncle and other survivors returned to the Red Cross of Qingdao, China in March 1946 with the help of the American army. Finally, my uncle reunited with the family.”

As the result, Tong Zeng became the leader of the whole grievance and compensation movement in China.  For example, he helped to establish and became the Chairman of the Chinese People’s Association for Compensation Against Japan.  He gave voice to the thousands and millions of voiceless Chinese atrocity victims and provided an organized force to seek apology, justice, and compensation from the Japanese government, as well as those Japanese companies who were involved in slave laborers.

One of the accomplishments of this organized force is the negotiated settlement between former Chinese slave laborers of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (or Mitsubishi for short) and Mitsubishi that was reached on 6/1/2016.  The negotiated agreement included:

  • Mitsubishi (or its predecessor Mitsubishi Mining Corporation) admits that during the war they had deployed 3,765 Chinese slave laborers of which 722 died during their deployment.
  • Mitsubishi admits that the human rights of these Chinese laborers were violated for which Mitsubishi expresses deep remorse.  Mitsubishi accepts the historical responsibility and sincerely apologizes.
  • Mitsubishi will compensate each of these slave laborers (or their inheritors) 100,000 RMB (or roughly $15,000 U.S.).
  • Mitsubishi will set aside 100 million yen (or roughly $1 million U.S.) to build a memorial for these slave laborers.
  • Mitsubishi will set aside 200 million yen (or roughly $2 million U.S.) to help locate any of the 3,765 Chinese slave laborers whose locations are currently unknown.
  • Mitsubishi will pay 250,000 yen (or roughly $2,500 U.S. to each slave laborer or one of his inheritors to attend the Memorial Service.

More than 70 years after the war ended, a portion of the atrocity victims finally received justice and compensation.  However, this is only a small portion of the millions of atrocity victims. Much more hard work remains in the years ahead.

The thousands of letters that Tong Zeng received from atrocity victims were accumulated and kept in many boxes in his office. 

Tong Zeng's Letters

Thousands of Tong Zeng’s Letters Kept in His Office

When years and years have gone by and there was still no apology and compensation from Japan, Tong Zeng was worried such important archives could be lost from history with a theft or fire.  So he tried to find a method of safe-keeping these letters.  In early 2014 when a couple of Chinese Americans in the U.S. heard of this dilemma, they offered to work with Tong Zeng to develop a website to keep and post all the letters, including digitizing all these letters and translating a subset of the letters into English.  This led to a joint collaborative project between a small Chinese team, led by Tong Zeng and his able assistant Meng Huizhong (孟惠忠), and a small Chinese American team of volunteers.  After almost two years of hard work working almost days and nights, the initial website called “10,000 Cries for Justice” was completed, and this important historical archive has been posted in a bi-lingual website www.10000cfj.org.  This important historical archive is now safe from loss due to thefts or fires.  This website (the current address of this website is now “https://2018.10000cfj.org) is still being worked on, as only a small percentage of the letters have been translated into English.  The goal is to eventually translate all these letters into Japanese also.

Because of the political climate at that time when China was still trying to establish diplomatic relations or build up its friendship with many countries, Tong Zeng did not always have the support of the Chinese government in what he was doing.  As a matter of fact, when certain important visitors, e.g., Japan’s Prime Minister, were visiting Beijing, Tong Zeng’s employer, the National Committee on Aging, would arrange an out-of-town business trip for him so that he was not around Beijing just in case he would cause trouble.

As stated earlier, the whole compensation movement is far from completed, Tong Zeng and many other similar leaders will continue to work hard to restore justice and seek compensation for millions of other atrocity victims, so that all the voiceless victims can be heard and rest in peace.

Tamaki Matsuoka (松岡環) -The Conscience of Japan:  One of the largest atrocities that the Japanese military inflicted on China was the Nanking Massacre which occurred for approximately six weeks starting from December. 13, 1937 to near the end of January 1938.  During these six weeks, approximately 300,000 Chinese, most of them civilians and many were women and children, were slaughtered, and over 20,000 Chinese females (women, girls, and even very young girls and great grandmothers) were raped, and one third of the city of Nanking was burned to the ground.

Tamaki Matsuoka was born in Japan in 1947, and was an elementary school teacher.  As she was growing up and as a young adult, she was taught and heard many different versions about the Nanking Massacre, including that it was fake and fabricated by the Chinese.  So starting in the mid 1980s, she decided that she was going to find out for herself what really happened during the Nanking Massacre. 

She did and spent more than 30 years of her adult life to find out just exactly what happened in Nanking during those six weeks.  An ambitious and formidable task even for a person working full-time on such a project. But Tamaki had to earn a living working full-time as an elementary school teacher, and also together with her husband raising a family with two sons. She was able to work on this project only during the summers, school holidays, or weekends. Initially she only had herself to work on this project, and she had to pay for any incurred expenses (e.g., travel expenses between Japan and China). Furthermore, she endured a lot of criticisms and attacks from the Japanese right wing, including death threats.

But she endured this difficult, challenging, and dangerous journey.  The journey was not easy at all.  She exhibited courage, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to achieve her objective. Among other accomplishments, she interviewed over 250 former Japanese soldiers who participated in the Nanking Massacre and over 300 Chinese survivors of the Nanking Massacre.

Even after establishing some initial contacts with former Japanese WWII veterans after posting an announcement in Japanese newspapers, she had to overcome significant cultural and political reluctance to talk about this sensitive subject. Again it took months or even years of building friendship with these veterans and gaining their trusts in the importance of the project that the veterans were willing to open up and discuss these long-held memories which they had not discussed with anyone else (including their immediate family members) for over half a century. Similarly, she had to overcome significant reluctance for the survivors to revisit the long suppressed terrifying dark memories of the past, including cultural reluctance to discuss being raped, and political reluctance to discuss atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers when at times the Chinese government was trying to establish friendlier relationship with the Japanese government. 

By comparing notes of the perpetrators and victims, Tamaki matched up records and compiled testimonies of the mass slaughter, rape, arson, destruction, plunder and other unimaginable violence committed to the Nanking residents including women, elderly and children. Her work produced numerous presentations, research articles, films and several books, including winning the “Japan Congress of Journalists Prize” in 2003.  A summary of her life-long project is summarized in the English book Torn Memories of Nanking [4], which should be a must-read book for everyone.

Thanks to her and others [5], the true picture of Nanking Massacre is gradually being revealed to the world with irrefutable evidence.  Through these testimonies, there is an undeniable case for the existence of the Nanking Massacre as one of the most horrific atrocities in the history of humankind.

The best way to get a good sense of the Nanking Massacre is from interview statements that Tamaki recorded from Chinese survivors and Japanese soldiers.  Here is a small sampling from her published English book.

  • Qiu Xiuying (7 year-old Chinese female survivor):  “There were lots of bodies lying around Yijiang Gate.  It was a truly horrific sight, with bodies piled up to a height of more than one metre and there were more bodies lying in front of the gates and along the city walls.  There were more bodies at Zhongshan Wharf.  It was so terrifying that I couldn’t look at the bodies, but I recall that most of them were wearing civilian clothing rather than military uniforms.  There were even naked corpses.  Just like the bodies at the city gate, some were bound up and others were naked.  It was truly terrifying.”
  • Deguchi Gonjiro (23 year-old Japanese soldier):  “The day that Nanjing (Nanjing is another spelling for Nanking) fell, there were mountains of dead bodies piled up outside the walls of the city.  I felt something soft beneath my feet.  Lighting a match to see what I was stepping on, I realized that the entire surface under my feet was like a carpet of dead bodies.  There were dead bodies everywhere.  I don’t know which unit was responsible, but they had all been killed by bayonets.  There were women and children, but no soldiers.”
  • Yang Mingzhen (7 years old Chinese female survivor):  “Japanese soldiers came back again that afternoon while my mother and I were lying on the kitchen floor.  My father was so weak that he was just lying there.  A Japanese soldier came up to my father, opened his eyes with his fingers and thrust a knife into his mouth.  Then he came up to my mother and pulled her trousers down.  As he wiped the soot from my mother’s face, she bit his hand.  Livid, the Japanese soldier hit my mother’s face again and again and then raped her.  After that, he started taunting her, twisting the barrel of his gun around inside her vagina.  The other Japanese soldier pulled my trousers down and started taunting me, prizing open my still-firm vagina with his fingers.  At any rate, they were prepubescent genitals, the genitals of a six or seven-year-old.  I screamed out in pain.  The Japanese soldier forcibly raped me.  He was a beast.  The two of them took turns raping my mother and me  Blood flowed in torrents, and it was so painful that I couldn’t even walk afterwards.  My genitals became swollen and continued to bleed.  Urine would dribble out uncontrollably and flow into my wounds, causing unbearable pain.  I still suffer incontinence to this day and am unable to urinate normally.  Even now, I still have to use diapers.  My parents were killed.”
  • Teramoto Juhei (24 year-old Japanese soldier):  In the case of girls who were virgins, they would start frothing at the mouth and pass out as three or five men hold them down.  I did it as well, and nothing good came of it.  Soldiers from all over Japan did this kind of thing all the time.  It’s just a case of whether they admit to having done so or not.”
  • Yang Shaorong (25 year-old Chinese male survivor):  “The Japanese practice was to make each group of three (prisoners) advance toward the river and then shoot them.  As the bodies steadily started to pile up, Japanese soldiers would then douse the bodies in gasoline and set them alight.  Gradually, my turn approached.  Since we knew that we were going to die in any case, our group moved forward on its own.  As gunfire rang out and the people in front of us were killed, we fell forward on our own accord.  However, although we had avoided being shot, we were worried about being burnt alive if we remained where we had fallen.  As my hands were bound, I used all of the strength in my legs to crawl to the edge of the Yangtze River, a short distance at a time.  Thinking that I could avoid being burnt to death by entering the river, I slowly submerged myself in the water.  Under my feet and above my head, there were bodies everywhere.  My stomach was touching the shore and there were bodies above my head, so I was able to avoid being discovered.  Finally, my fear of being burnt alive faded away.”
  • Tanaka Jiro (29 year-old Japanese soldier):  “We dragged all of them (Chinese prisoners) out of the freight train hangar and made them sit down facing the shore.  When the command was given, they were sprayed with bullets at point blank range from machine guns that had been hidden in nearby trenches.  They fell down, one by one, like dominoes.  Blood-soaked, smoking pieces of flesh and clothing flew up into the air.  Light machine guns that had been set up on the wharf took care of the several dozen or so of them who had jumped into the river.  The muddy waters were soaked red with blood.  What a miserable scene!  Will such a wretched scene ever be seen again in this world?”
  • Tokuda Ichitaro (23 year-old Japanese soldier):  At Xiaguan (the district in Nanking that is next to the Yangtze River), I saw a large number of bodies floating on the Yangtze River.  Corpses were continuously being tossed into the river until the water was full of them.  While transporting the corpses, we noticed that there were so many corpses on the road that automobiles could not drive through.  Basically, it was a road made of dead bodies.
  • Deguchi Gonjiro (23 year-old Japanese soldier):  “What the newspapers often refer to as the ‘Nanjing Massacre’ is an indisputible fact, and people who deny this are lying.”
  • Teramoto Juhei (24 year-old Japanese soldier):  “The Nanking Massacre happened.  I saw it with my own eyes.”
  • Zhang Xiuying (23 year-old Chinese female survivor):  “I saw those things with my own eyes.  On no account am I telling lies.  I hear that there are people and politicians in Japan who say that the Nanking Massacre is a fabrication, but I [honestly] suffered these kinds of horrendous experiences, even having my daughter burnt to death.  How can Japanese people still say that the Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication?”

How could humans use such atrocious treatments toward other humans?  Although a complete explanation may not be found from the interview statements, they do mention some of the reasons.

  • Matsumura Yoshiharu (24 year-old Japanese soldier):  “Back then, we did not think of the Chinese as human.”
  • Zhang Xiuying (23 year-old Chinese female survivor):  “The Japanese didn’t consider the Chinese as human beings.”
  • Itsuki Makio (22 year-old Japanese soldier):  “At that time, the Japanese thought of themselves as superior and did not treat the Chinese as human beings.” … “I heard that our company commander had issued an order saying, ‘Once you’re in Nanjing, robbery, rape, and murder are allowed.’”
  • Wang Jinfu (10 year-old Chinese female survivor):  “The Japanese killed us like insects.”

I want to end this section on the Nanking Massacre with a quote of Mitani Sho, an 18 year old Japanese soldier whom Tamaki interviewed: “Until now, I had no opportunity to tell my story.  After sixty years, I can finally give my testimony.  I am extremely grateful.  As a Japanese, I often reflect deeply on this episode.  Today, however, many Japanese deny that the Nanjing Massacre or military sexual slavery took place.  What kind of people are they?  These people are trying to find an excuse to slowly change the interpretation of the Japanese constitution.  Today, they are establishing a large military, and completely revamping the armed forces.  In addition, they are trying to place the Japanese Army under U.S. command as an allied army that is prepared to fight American wars.  Under a new security treaty and guidelines, Japan would be automatically pulled into any wars that the U.S. started.  If such a situation were to arise, it is possible that events like the Nanjing Massacre could happen again.  If we do not clearly state the historical truth and admit to this truth, we will not be able to establish a peaceful world for ourselves and our families.”

That is why Tamaki Matsuoka is known as “The Conscience of Japan.” [6]

Ending Remarks:  Seventy fives years have transpired since the Second Sino-Japanese War ended in 1945.  We must acknowledge what happened during that war, we must learn from that painful experience, so that that painful experience will not have to be endured by anyone else in this world in the future. 

We must, like Tong Zeng, continue to speak for the voiceless.  We must, like Tamaki Matsuoka, continue to spark the conscience of Japan.

I hope the following comments will be used to guide us in the future:

  • From Zhang Xiuhong, a Chinese female survivor (then 11 years old) of the Nanking Massacre: “We are all brothers, whether Japanese or Chinese. Please don’t do bad things like the Japanese Army did before.  Japan and China want to cooperate in a spirit of friendship. I want young people in each country to come together, to study, to work, and to build peaceful nations. Please don’t do anything bad.”
  • Remark from Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito on February 23, 2015:  “It is important today, when memories of the war are fading, to look back humbly on the past and correctly pass on the tragic experiences and history Japan pursued from the generation which experienced the war to those without direct knowledge.”

[1] You can find this White Paper (both English and Chinese versions) at “An Archive of Historic Cries for Justice Letters”:  http://www.dontow.com/2015/09/an-archive-of-historic-cries-for-justice-letters/

[2] In the early 1990s when the majority of these letters were sent to Tong Zeng, many relatives and Chinese media personnel borrowed many of these letters.  Because at that time copying machines were not readily available to Tong Zeng and other people in China, many of these letters were borrowed and unfortunately, most of them were never returned.  That is why Tong Zeng now has only about 5,000 letters.

[3] For more sample letters from Tong Zeng’s collection, see “Sample Letters from Tong Zeng’s Collection of “10,000 Cries for Justice”:  http://www.dontow.com/2018/03/sample-letters-from-tong-zengs-collection-of-10000-cries-for-justice/

[4] Torn Memories of Nanking, by Tamaki Matsuoka, ALPHA Education, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9920550-I-1 (paperback).  Parts of this English book, plus other material, have previously been published in several other books in Japanese and Chinese by Tamaki Matsuoka.

[5] The most notable contributor was the late Iris Chang, who authored the best-selling book The Rape of Nanking:  The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, Basic Books, 1997.

[6] For more information about Tamaki Matsuoka, see “Torn Memories of Nanking – A Must Read”:  http://www.dontow.com/2016/06/torn-memories-of-nanking-a-must-read/

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Taiji, Health, and Pandemic https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/taiji-health-and-pandemic/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/taiji-health-and-pandemic/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 06:00:33 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6363 Taiji is known as a good exercise for health and a good martial art. A natural question is whether and how Taiji can be beneficial to a person’s health in the environment of the current coronavirus pandemic. This article discusses this topic.

A person with better health is in general less likely to become susceptible to getting sick, whether the illness is due to the new coronavirus Covid-19, or some other illness. Taiji is already known to give rise to a lot of benefits for health. [1] A 2019 article [2] has shown that modern scientific research during the past 25 years or so has provided preliminary confirmations of this long-standing belief; that article also provided an explanation why Taiji can give rise to such health benefits. A brief summary of that journal article can also be found in a recent article posted in this website. [3]

Therefore, the reasons that Taiji can give rise to all those health benefits can also be applied to why Taiji can be beneficial in preventing or overcoming any illness associated with the new coronavirus.

Our discussion in this article will focus on the reasons associated with oxygen and blood circulation, stress reduction, correct posture, exercising your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and increased immunity.

Good health requires adequate supply of oxygen to various parts of our body. Although Taiji movements are soft and slow, Taiji is an aerobic exercise that provides oxygen and stimulates blood circulation. Taiji exercises your heart and lungs. It synchronizes with breathing, especially with lower abdominal breathing for experienced practitioners, and brings in more oxygen. Lower abdominal breathing also massages the internal organs inside your abdomen.

The fundamental principle of Taiji of relaxation can reduce stress. It is emphasized in almost every aspect of Taiji, including associated meditation exercises. Relaxation reduces anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, and ADHD. It soothes the mind, leads to better sleep quality, and reduces various bodily pains. On the one hand, it relaxes the mind, but on the other hand the mind is involved and leads the forms, and that may be why Taiji can slow down the onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Another fundamental principle of Taiji is to keep your upper back straight. This guiding principle manifests all throughout the Taiji movements and results in good posture. This guiding principle together with the emphasis on keeping your feet separated by a shoulder width lead to better balance and stability.

Taiji movements, as well as various accompanying warmup exercises such as the Eight Silk Brocade [4] or the self-massaging Paida exercises [5] stretch and strengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and increase flexibility. These exercises stimulate air and blood circulation throughout your body, and also strengthen all parts of your body, thus increasing your immune system.

As a matter of fact, more than 15 years ago, Taiji was found that it can increase immunity to shingles, caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus (the varicella-zoster virus, or VZV). Taiji can increase a person’s immunity by as much as taking the shingles vaccine VARIVAX. Furthermore, if a person takes the VARIVAX vaccine, practicing Taiji can increase that person’s immunity even more. [2]



Since Covid-19 is caused by a virus, increasing a person’s immunity is key to avoiding being infected with Covid-19, or recovering from it if one has been infected. Increasing one’s immunity, together with other health benefits, practicing Taiji can be an important part of our defense against the current global pandemic.

With the current global pandemic, we are faced with lockdown and staying at home. My personal experience has found that in some sense, this has been a blessing. Without the need to attend various activities outside of the home, and without needing to spend the time to drive to these activities, I find that I now have more time than before.

My Taiji practice takes about one hour per practice. But the practice consists of various components, such as warm-up stretching exercises, meditation exercises such as Eight Silk Brocade and Standing Meditation, Forms such as the Mixed-Style 42 Form or the Yang-Style 24 Form, and strength-building exercises. The components take about 15-20 minutes each, and could be as little as 5-10 minutes. Therefore, while I am preparing dinner, I can exercise one component, then while baking in the oven, or steaming in a wok, or cooking in a pressure cooker, I can do another component. Since all these activities are done at home, I can easily go from one activity to another. The end result is that I have found more time to do my Taiji practices on a more regular basis.


[1] See, e.g., “Health Benefits of Taiji”: http://www.dontow.com/2010/01/health-benefits-of-taiji/.

[2] Don M. Tow, “Health Benefits of Taiji,” Qi:  The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, Volume 29, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 20-28.

[3] A brief summary of that article can be found at “Trying to Understand Why Taiji Has So Many Health Benefits”: http://www.dontow.com/2019/09/trying-to-understand-why-taiji-has-so-many-health-benefits/.

[4] See, e.g., “A Set of Simple Time-Tested Health Exercises: The Eight Silk Brocade (八段錦)”: http://www.dontow.com/2018/12/a-set-of-simple-time-tested-health-exercises-the-eight-silk-brocade-%e5%85%ab%e6%ae%b5%e9%8c%a6/.

[5] “Lajing and Paida Therapy – Reviving Ancient Chinese Self-Healing Exercises”: http://www.dontow.com/2013/09/lajing-and-paida-therapy-reviving-ancient-chinese-self-healing-exercises/.


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A Letter to Mr. Biden and His Presidential Campaign Strategy Team https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/a-letter-to-mr-biden-and-his-presidential-campaign-strategy-team/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/a-letter-to-mr-biden-and-his-presidential-campaign-strategy-team/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2020 05:00:26 +0000 http://www.dontow.com/?p=6379 A letter via an email I sent on 5/11/2010 to Mr. Biden and his presidential campaign strategy team. It was a response to a recent email from him (or his campaign) to solicit a donation from me.


This is my reply to your 4/29/2020 email asking me for a donation for your presidential campaign and the Democratic Unity Fund. 

First, let me say that I am a strong critic of President Trump and I would like to support Mr. Biden to be the next President of the U.S. and other Democratic candidates running for office in the 2020 election.

I think we are offered a golden opportunity to defeat Trump and to remove from office many incumbent national, state, and local Republicans.  The main reason is due to the performance track record of Trump and the whole Republican Party during the last 3 years and 4 months:

  • Trump’s incompetence in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • His disregard for laws and the American constitution in his dismissal of the Russia interference in the U.S.’s 2016 presidential election and his pressure campaign in Ukraine in 2019
  • His behavior as a dictator, with the latest example of Attorney William Barr’s dismissal of the ruling against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI
  • His cronyism and surrounding himself with only yes people as clearly demonstrated in his firing of many courageous Americans who dared to speak the truth
  • His policies have widened the inequality in the American society and increased racism and sexism
  • His policies always benefit the rich and neglect the welfare of the working class and poor people
  • His mismanagement of the trade war and insisting on building a border wall with Mexico
  • His non-stop lying
  • The complete lack of respect by other Republican leaders for our constitution’s separation of power and checks and balances to keep Trump from destroying our American democracy

The above track records provide ample reasons for removing Trump and his Republican yes-people from power, and provide critical and convincing arguments to choose Mr. Biden over Trump. If Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party would seize and focus on this poor performance record of Trump and the Republican Party, then you will be able to defeat Trump and the Republican Party come this November.

However, if Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party would try to outdo Trump in his bashing of China as in Mr. Biden’s recent “Unprepared” ad [1], then Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party will be unable to seize this golden opportunity, because instead of attacking Trump’s poor performance record  where he is so vulnerable, your trying to outdo Trump in his bashing of China is not based on facts, and furthermore you are supporting Trump’s scapegoat excuse for his mistakes and incompetency.

China did not create the new coronavirus.  On 12/31/2019, about a month after mysterious illnesses first appeared in Wuhan, China, the Chinese government alerted the WHO about these mysterious illnesses.  On 1/11/2020, Chinese scientists posted to the world the genome of the mysterious new virus (now known as COVID-19).  This led shortly after to WHO developing a template for preparing tests.  Then many countries (such as Germany and South Korea) used this information to successfully develop diagnostic tests for COVID-19.  Unfortunately, our country did not use the WHO template, and instead tried to develop our own test which took a long time to develop and the initial tests did not work.

Yes, China made some mistakes in its initial handling of this new mysterious infection, but it is understandable that such mistakes could have easily occurred in light of the newness of this infection.  Just look how the U.S. and other countries on multiple occasions have revised their statistics and understanding of the origin and methods of spreading of this virus.

Almost on every step of the way, Trump has completely mismanaged our country’s response to COVID-19.  After wasting about more than two months of critical time, he tried to cover up his own mistakes and find a scapegoat in China.

If Mr. Biden follows the same path, he is essentially validating Trump’s excuse and incorrectly and unfairly putting the blame on China.  Furthermore, the kind of ads like “Unprepared” is not convincing and is unlikely to gain the support of other Democrats and undecided voters, and definitely not any Trump supporter.

Another consequence is that you help to create phobic against China and Chinese Americans, as well as Asian Americans.  This just contributes to more racism in our country.  Does Mr. Biden want to scare away and lose the votes and support of Chinese Americans, as well as Asian Americans which is the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S.

Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party need the votes and support of a cross spectrum of Americans, including a progressive coalition as well as younger voters.  Your campaign must be based on criticizing the lousy performance record of Trump and the Republican Party, instead of finding a scapegoat in China.

Mr. Biden, do you want to seize this golden opportunity and provide leadership and hope to restore our great country as the beacon of the world, or do you want to go down in history as the person who caused this great country to suffer through another four years of Trump?

[1] This “Unprepared” ad was launched on 4/18/2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmieUrXwKCc

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Site Overview https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/home/ https://www.dontow.com/2020/06/home/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2020 04:05:00 +0000 http://dontow.com/wordpress/?p=366 The www.dontow.com is the website of Don M. Tow. It contains articles in three topical categories (or pages): Political/Social Commentary, Taiji, and Other Topics.  Currently, a new release of this website is published usually every three months.  The website also has a fourth category “Soccer” about the soccer book that I published in 2006.

Any article in a particular category can be accessed via the corresponding category on the menu bar at the top of the page.  Any article in a particular release can be accessed via the corresponding release on the right sidebar.

This website began in October 2006, and the website has been redesigned twice, once in October 2008, and the second time in November 2009.

We welcome comments from readers.  Readers can directly submit their comments at the end of any article.

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