Researchers at Fermilab are building a “holometer” so they can disprove everything you thought you knew about the universe. More specifically, they are trying to either prove or disprove the somewhat mind-bending notion that the third dimension doesn’t exist at all, and that the 3-D universe we think we live in is nothing more than a hologram. To do so, they are building themost precise clock ever created.
The universe-as-hologram theory is predicated on the idea that spacetime is not perfectly smooth, but becomes discrete and pixelated as you zoom in further and further, like a low-res digital image. This idea isn’t novel; recent experiments in black-hole physics have offered evidence that this may be the case, and prominent physicists have proposed similar ideas. Under this theory, the universe actually exists in two dimensions and the third is an illusion produced by the intertwining of time and depth. But the false third dimension can’t be perceived as such, because nothing travels faster than light, so instruments can’t find its limits.
This is theoretical physics at its finest, drowning in complex mathematics but short on hard data. So Fermilab particle astrophysicist Craig Hogan and his team are building a “holometer” to magnify spacetime and see if it is indeed as noisy as the math suggests it might be at higher resolution. In Fermilab’s largest laser lab, Hogan and company are putting together what they call a “holographic interferometer,” which – like a classic interferometer – will split laser beams and measure the difference in frequencies between the two identical beams.
But unlike conventional interferometers, the holometer will measure for noise or interference in spacetime itself. It’s actually composed of two interferometers – built one atop the other – that produce data on the amount of interference or “holographic noise.” Since they are measuring the same volume of spacetime, they should show the same amount of correlated jitter in the fabric of the universe. It will produce the first direct experimental insight into the fundamental nature of space and time, and there’s no telling what researchers delving into that data might find out about the holographic nature of the universe.
So enjoy the third dimension while you still can. Construction on the first instrument is already underway, and Hogan thinks they will begin collecting data on the very nature of spacetime itself by next year.
Build Your Own Spacetime-Measuring 'Holometer' at Home:Just kidding. Don't. Sam Waldman, MIT/Craig Hogan, Fermilab PAC
I am always surprised by the universality of nightclubs; the top shelf drinks they sell, the songs the DJs play, the style of clothes the cool kids wear, even the haircuts they all have. They usually look and dress the same regardless of race or ethnicity, just slightly different versions of people you know in other cities. Each town always has it’s own version of the Cobrasnake.
With the instantaneous spread of the cultural memes through the internet, it’s now like the underground is one massive scene with a different clique in each city. You no longer need to live in London to be able to listen to an Erol Alkan set. You can download it and then download of the all the individual tracks he played in the comfort of your dorm room and play them out at our local club the next night.
That being said it’s always a little surprising to see actually familiar faces in foreign countries. It was nice to see Andrew from MGMT, and Mike and Tyler from Classixx at hanging out at Le Baron. Our DJ gig was unannounced, and they just happened to be at the club. I had just seen both of them less than a week ago at the MGMT aftershow in Hollywood.
The DJ before us was playing 80s new wave hits. I opened up with Desdemona by John’s Childern and played it into Dominique Young Unique. I had no idea what a Tokyo audience would want to hear, but they seemed to be happy with every song I played which was a great feeling.
After a short set Thom and Nigel went on and DJed. The crowd went bananas. You could see people immediately began to twitter that Thom and Nigel were playing as soon as they stepped into the booth.
It’s always great to watch Nigel and Thom DJ together, they both are amazingly intuitive DJs. Thom always pushes the audience and Nigel pulls them back in again. Thom will play an Acid House track and then Nigel will follow will an Old School Hip Hop track. It is a joy to watch.
It’s also always great to watch the crowds when they DJ. There are always a few superfans that are trying secretly (or in most cases not so secretly) to take pictures with their cameras and cellphones. There are others that are shazam-ing every song. Some sit in front and stare like it’s an exhibit in a museum (Thom usually tells them to dance or get the fuck off the dance floor), and then there are those that lose themselves in joy of it all.
They are the ones that let go of awkwardness having one of the favorites musicians be so close. They are ones that actually dance and share in the communal moment between themselves and the DJ. There aren’t inching towards the DJ booth in hopes of starting up a conversation with Thom or Nigel, with an awkward request or pretending to not know who they are. They are content with experience. They are in the moment. They aren’t twittering about it. It’s these times that I am reminded why I love music and DJing.
Fuji Rocks July 31
We took a relaxing bus ride up to Fuji Rocks. It’s about 3 hours outside of Tokyo at a ski resort. The drive up was amazing. My favorite part of traveling in foreign countries is stopping at the gas stations and seeing what weird things they sell. green tea flavored Kit Kat bars, (my new obsession), Hello Kitty protective face masks, portable cigarette ashtrays. It’s the little things that make me happy.
The landscapes outside of Tokyo were beautiful. Usually on DJ tours I fly everywhere, so it was great to be able sit and actually see some of the rural Japan, even if it was on a bus going 60mph.
We arrived at Fuji Rocks around 4pm. As I walked into the backstage area, I ran into my friend Diva Zappa. She had flown out for her birthday. I love how festivals bring so many friends together. It’s always a bit like summer camp for adults who never grew up.
The space where Fuji Rocks is held is enormous. The stages are spread out in what seemed like miles from each other. We had to take a minibus to get to mainstage area (I much prefer the crazy golfcarts of Coachella). We went backstage and then walked around the crowd for a bit. It had rained the previous two days of the fest, and the fields were covered in deep think mud. Everyone wore rain boots, but seemed completely content.
As Vampire Weekend played we walked around the field. People had camped out. Occasionally someone would recognize Nigel and Joey and stop them to take photos. I documented our journey with a stop motion animation on my iphone. Most people shyly smiled and waived. It’s always a beautiful thing to see people singing along to every word of a foreign song. They may not speak English, but they most of the crowd knew every word of every song. I guess I’m the same way when I’m at Sigur Ros concert.
I hate watching shows from the side of stage, you can never hear anything, and you are always in someone’s way. I decided for the Atoms for Peace show to watch the show from the pit. I would take some pictures, and avoid the chaos of the crowd, and manage to stay out of the crews way all at the same time.
I had a new camera and hadn’t really tried to use it to do any live band photography. In the pit I was surrounded by around 50 professional photographers. I did my best to stay out of their way, and took some pictures and enjoyed the show.
Atoms For Peace are amazing live. To have Joey, Flea and Mauro playing along with Thom and Nigel is such amazing chemistry. It is the best rhythm section I’ve ever seen. I grow more and more in awe after every show I see. Each song feels like a masterwork of a artist at their prime. I did my best to try to capture some of that magic in my photos.
click for itunes lyrics your hand's upon a deadman's gun and you're looking down the sights your heart worn and the seams are torn and they've giving you a reason to fight and you're not going to take what they've got to give and you're not going to let them take your will to live cause they've taken enough and you've given them all you can give and luck won't save them tonight they've given you a reason to fight and all the storms you've been chasing about to rain down tonight and all the pain you've been facing about to come into the light
Editor’s Note: In September, 1994, Chris Holmes interviewed members of The Away Team cult. A few year’s later, they achieved international infamy in their mass suicide, under the name of Heaven’s Gate.
By Chris Holmes
In late July, posters labeled “UFOs, Space Aliens, and Their Final Fight For Earth’s Spoils” were plastered up all over Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, reading like a comic-book conspiracy plot tying together the end of planet, evil aliens, holographic classrooms and UFO-riding angels. The group behind the poster, a self-proclaimed UFO cult, goes by several names: “The Away Team,” “The Representatives of the Next Level,” “The Next Evolutionary Level Above Human” and “Total Overcomers Anonymous.” They have no phone number, no permanent address, and no overt interest in converting new members. They simply want to spread their message; they assume that those who bear “the chip of recognition” will find them and join their organization.
On a summer’s Monday night, “crew members” June, Matt, Oliver and Ross—they refuse to disclose their last names—come to radio station WHPK to share their message. Unlike the Amish or other religious groups whose outward appearance makes them clearly recognizable, “Away Team” members dress conservatively, as if to not stand out. All in their late thirties to early forties, they wear their hair short, and the men are clean-shaven with slightly longer than average sideburns; members sport tennis shoes, slacks, and button-down shirts, untucked but with the top button fastened in L.A.’s. Latin gangster style. They wear identical gold bands on the right-hand ring finger. Asked if the rings have any significance, they seem surprised, then explain that the rings signify devotion to their beliefs and, in a way, their marriage to each other.
Having joined the group in their teens, June, Matt, and Oliver have been Away Teamers for 18 years now. Despite their posters’ sensationalism, the cult is no fly-by-night organization, but rather an offshoot of a seventies organization named “The Two,” (after the two witnesses mentioned in Revelations 11). Founded by a former college music teacher and registered nurse who went under the names Bo and Peep—aka Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles—”The Two” garnered a lot of media attention in the early seventies after the Manson Family killings and the Patty Hearst kidnapping put all cults under close scrutiny. In the mid-seventies, Bo and Peep decided the end of the world lay close at hand. They convinced followers to leave their families, give up their worldly belongings, lead a life of abstinence, and move to a Montana ranch to prepare for the end-times, when angels in UFOs would be spirit the chosen up to heaven.
In 1976, after the misguided but highly publicized apocalypse prediction proved wrong, the group went underground. Leaders encouraged members to lead normal lives, while preparing themselves for the next announcement that the apocalypse was at hand. Members integrated into society working as computer technicians and bakers, bank tellers and salesman. Like Rome’s Christians, they met in secret at “monasteries” to study the arcana of UFOs and world religions. And so, for nearly two decades, they waited for the next announcement.
In January 1994, leaders announced the time had come. Away Teamers sold all worldly belongings, liquidated their bank accounts, cut all social ties and began traveling around the country looking for others with “the chip of recognition.” Clearly Ross had one of those chips. A newcomer to the organization, Ross claimed he had read a manifesto the group printed as an ad in USA Today while flying back from France on a business trip. He says it struck a chord with him. He decided to quit his job, and “walk out of the door” of his life to join the group. Ross still looks like a businessman on holiday, though he seems very excited to be included in the groups’ excursion to the radio station.
He keeps very quiet, continuously nodding his head in agreement to points made by the others, while June, Matt, and Oliver do most of the talking, explaining their apocalyptic message with metaphors from Star Trek and computer technology. They refuse to detail their tour itinerary, but Matt’s sunburn suggests the crew descended from sunnier parts. Careful not to give a specific date, they state that the end is very near, the unredeemed’s window of opportunity closing quickly.
Looking a little like Holly Hunter, with her short brown hair and small frame, June launches the point-by-point explanation of their beliefs: “There is a kingdom level above human which uses UFOs as its method of transportation. We call it an Evolutionary Level Above Human. It is synonymous with what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God. It existed before the human kingdom; before the planet existed, and in a very real sense, we are an experiment for this kingdom.”
Tall and thin, with a mostly bald pate and a vague resemblance to “Star Trek” character Jean-Luc Picard, Oliver kicks in the next step: “We refer to earth as a holographic classroom. I don’t know how many people out there watch Star Trek, but a lot of us do at times. On the show, when you go on the holodeck, it’s like a whole artificial reality that’s created for the crew’s purpose. Wharf goes there to fight battles, others go there for psychological reasons, but the bottom line is they all go there to learn lessons and then return to the ship better for the experience. We feel Earth is a “holographic classroom” created by ‘The Next Evolutionary Level Above Human’ to teach human souls how to graduate to the next level.” Unfortunately for those with incompletes and failures, the Away Team fliers explain that “the hologram is about to be rebooted—canceled and restarted—for its usefulness and serviceability as a classroom has come to an end.”
Graduation, explains June, involves hooking up with those already having made the grade. The cult’s founders, “Bo and Peep were picked and prepped by next-level bodies. It was like taking the brain of Einstein and sticking it into a dog. It took them three years to sort out the information. In order to get to the kingdom level above human you have to hook up with them. You have to walk out of the door of your life. You have to overcome things which you are addicted to.” His football player’s frame topped off by a shock of thick brown hair and ruddy complexion, Matt further explains these tenets, “We know that we are going to be occupying vehicles (bodies) that are androgynous. We need to program our souls to be compatible with that kind of activity. When you’re a crew member aboard your spaceship in the next level you can’t have your mind clouded with human sexuality.”
Bringing thing back to the real matters at hand, Oliver lays out the situation in harsh black-and-white: “The end is coming soon. The window of opportunity is open. This classroom has ended. Heaven is a physical place. UFOs from the kingdom-level above human will physically pick up our bodies and take them to that next level. The only way an individual can get to the next level is by following the formula.”
Maybe angels will come down from heaven blazing in flying saucers to take us to the promised land. Maybe Mother Earth has had her run. Maybe Gene Roddenberry understood all of this and encrypted it in the scripts of Star Trek. Without a definite date it’s hard to prove them wrong. In any case, the Away Team plans to keep spreading its message. Before leaving, they ask if doing “The Jenny Jones Show” seems like a good idea.