Shirvell finally off Assist. AG duty

But he’s not fired:

An assistant attorney general who has attracted national attention for a controversial blog that ridicules and denounces a University of Michigan student leader for his gay advocacy, religious beliefs and character has taken a personal leave following intense public scrutiny, a spokesman for Attorney General Mike Cox said today.

Cox spokesman John Sellek said, however, Andrew Shirvell will be the subject of a disciplinary hearing after he returns to work at an undetermined future date.

One imagines he bowed to public and private pressure, like Michigan’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm, like the following tweet published by Gov. Jennifer Granholm:

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Muck Fichigan

Andrew Shirvell, the borderline assistant attorney general of systemically harassing Chris Armstrong, a gay student councilmember at the University of Michigan, was defended by Attorney General Michael Cox. He is just as detached from basic decency and the universe of acceptable discourse as his employee. It’s more disgusting than watching Shirvell himself; it’s one thing to be a sick, sick man like him, and another thing entirely to defend his insanity.

And besides allowing poor Armstrong to suffer, Cox’s equivocating is doing violence to Shirvell himself. Cox is letting a clearly sick man humiliate himself on national television, denigrate his party and office, and preclude himself from employment within a realm of constructively critical discourse that he desperately needs to participate in.

Physicists entangle atoms

I got a question answered: Yes, entangled particles are in fact seperate and distinct entities.

Via Science News:

One of the weirdest outcomes of quantum mechanics is entanglement — a mysterious link in which what happens to one object seems to instantaneously affect its partner, even though the two may be separated by some distance. Pairs of entangled objects can serve as powerful messengers, since the information they share is revealed instantaneously, no matter how far apart the two objects are. But this strange link is notoriously delicate, falling apart when the outside environment impinges on either end.

In the new experiment, a team of researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, figured out how to produce entanglement in two isolated clouds of cesium atoms using a carefully calibrated prod.

The work extends previous attempts to entangle two groups of atoms, says Seth Lloyd, a quantum physicist at MIT who was not involved in the research. “I would call it evolutionary rather than revolutionary,” he says, “but the experimental demonstration is nicely done, and it is all in all a pretty piece of work.” 

In the laboratory, the researchers arranged two blobs of cesium atoms in separate glass cells. Next, the scientists shot a precisely tuned laser through both clouds of atoms. As the laser excited the cesium atoms, energy left in the form of photons — normally the kiss of death for entangled particles.

But in this case the photons’ departures, carefully calibrated to fill a void in the surrounding electromagnetic field, eventually caused a property of the two atom groups called spin to become entangled.

The two groups of cesium atoms were kept in this entangled state at room temperature for about 15 milliseconds, the researchers report in their paper. Other types of atoms, such as ytterbium, may be amenable to much longer entanglement times, the authors write.

Quantum physicist Christopher Monroe points out that the new study doesn’t allow much control over the individual state of each quantum system, something that would be necessary for quantum communication. “This general method of making entanglement through dissipation is a fairly new theoretical development, so the experiment is interesting,” says Monroe, of the University of Maryland in College Park. “That said, this type of entanglement is still not really useful for most quantum information applications, where you may need to manipulate the state you are creating at will.”

The pro-Wild/anti O’Brien prayer gathering

12:34 PM 5/17/2010:

I walked past the event at 12:09 PM so I could get a wide perspective and provide a count of attendees congregating before Gesu. I counted no less than 14 and no more than 17 at that time. Precision was thrown off by a group of two women passing by who stopped to pick up some literature distributed from a Manilla envelope from one of the demonstrators.

Believing the event would run until 12:30, I continued walking down Wisconsin to see if the Milwaukee Public Library was open. (It was! ) Then I looped around, hoping to get a sample of their literature, arriving back at Gesu at about 12:20 PM to find that the assembled group had already moved on, ten minutes ahead of schedule.

That’s not to say they disbursed; they could have gone inside Gesu to continue praying, or maybe started off on some sort of march to the Joan of Arc chapel or AMU. Or they could have walked towards their cars to gone home. All I’m  at epistemological liberty to say is that they weren’t there at 12:20 PM.

Update: The text of the literature:

Today’s gathering is about the power of presence. Words are powerful–silence is truly golden, especially when devoted to thoughtful reflection and prayer.

“For where two or come together in my name, there I am with them.”

Matthew 18:20

Please stand silently with us for 15 minutes in support of Father Wild, Marquette, and our university’s Catholic, Jesuit identity, through which we seek the greater glory of God.

The literature says the event was meant to be 15 minutes, but the original flier said half an hour.

MU philosophy instructor contextualizes Ashmore letter

Earlier today, I published a letter from emetrius philosophy professor Robert B. Ashmore to Fr. Wild that went viral and eventually made it to McAdam’s blog. I had lumped Ashmore’s opinions with those of another philosophy instructor, Javier A. Ibáñez-Noé, who characterized the appointment of Jodi O’Brien to the ARSC deanship as damaging to “traditional commitment to respect Catholic teaching” at MU. However, Matt Wion, a doctoral student and MU philosophy instructor commented on that post to distinguish Ibáñez-Noé and Ashmore’s views:

I do not know enough about Ibanez to speculate on his precise positions. I do, however, know Bob Ashmore relatively well. I’m quite sure the Dr. Ashmore does NOT support the rescinsinding of Jodi O’Brien’s job offer. I think he is more of th frame of mind that certain people in our department, Dr. Snow, and several of the PH. D. candidates are using this unjust episode to further their radical race and gender theory agenda.

I would like to emphasize that for many reasons I will NOT side publicly with Ashmore or Snow or against either. I will say, quite publicly, that I am in totatl agreement that Marquette was unjust in rescinding the job offer and morally wrong to do so. I will also say that I think much of the anger and protest is totally justified.

But both Ibanez and Ashmore write from their side of a deeply divided and even hostile Philosophy department. Some members of our faculty and many of our students are fiercly pushing the department into race and gender studies, and area they think should be at the forefront of philosophy. Other faculty members are deeply oppossed to this, for various reasons. Most notably they wish to keep the deparment focused on history of philosophy, and fear that it is being turned into a race and gender studies only-club.

In a private communication, Matt wrote that he meant to say that “‘Ashmore perceives Snow and others as peddling a radical “race and gender agenda’ but I forgot to write the “percieves. I am not claiming that he is necessarily right on that.”

I do not personally have any interest at all in the philosophy of race and gender. I do not study it, nor have any desire to do so. I do not, however, possess the expertise to assess its merits. Nor is it my place to have any say in these department struggles, nor take a side. I am not facutly here and it is not my place to have any input in how the department goes.

My purpose in writing this is to put Bob Asmore into context and to separate his concerns from those of McAdams and probably from those of Ibanez as well.

MUProtestMay6 going ahead with walk-out tactics

5:27 PM-The Listening Session will beginning momentarily. I’m not attending, because I’m uncomfortable with the tactics my associates will be implementing, viz. repeating by rote the same demands before walking out in small groups.

I had linked to my earlier post on tactical disagreements on a pr-O’Brien/anti-Wild group on Facebook, but that was deleted by a moderator. A student leader of the protest movement later explained she wasn’t trying to censor me, but wanted to keep the walk-out plan secret because she believed it was possible if the session’s organizers knew about it,

a.) the gesture’s effect would be blunted if it were not a surprise, and

b.) they might take measures to prevent its execution.

I obtained a copy of the statement and demands walk-outers will be reciting to Wild:

The time for listening has passed. The time for forgiveness and reconciliation has not yet come. There can be no forgiveness where there is no remorse, and there can be no reconciliation where there is no respect. On those grounds, with the firmest resolution, we make the following demands:

1.) We demand Fr. Wild’s immediate resignation. As the highest and final decision maker [,] he is ultimately at fault. His decision to rescind the offer to Dr. Jodi O’Brien has caused immeasurable damage to Marquette University’s standing as a safe, diverse, and open institution of higher learning.

He’s resigning anyway.

2.) We demand a series of public apologies from Fr. Wild. These apologies should be directed to Dr. Jodi O’Brien, the search committee he as overridden, the Marquette community, and the greater LGBT community. These apologies would be a concrete initial step toward the greater goal of reconciliation and healing from this disastrous decision.

No argument here.

3.) We demand the offer be re-extended to Dr. O’Brien. The rescinding of the offer was unjust. This act would be a crucial step toward rectifying this injustice.

I’m not sure what Marquette could possibly have to offer O’Brien at this point. They’ve already insulted her, already disrupted her life every way they could, and already made it clear her job security is is only as strong as the weight donors lean against it.

I can’t say how many students will be walking out. Each group was comprised of 3-5 members, and recieved one sheet each. The sheet I copied from just now was no. 15, so that’s anywhere between 40-70 students at least.

I will update as more information becomes available.

Update-6:05 PM-The first couple of groups have already left, to be met in the ballroom lobbies to the cheers and applause of a small (but growing) body of students, faculty, and their families. Some small children, presumably belonging to the faculty. Cameraman from indeterminiate network.

Israel, Palestine, and “Outspoken,” ctd.

Within a couple of hours of the first round of comments on Updated: Outspoken features anti-Zionist poet(s), the post was buried under seven more posts. Five of those I had written several days ago, and used WordPress’ scheduling software to delay their publication until the small hours of Monday morning. At the time, I didn’t know I’d be doing a post on Outspoken and discussing it at such length. I was not trying to bury the discussion. To prove this, I’m linking to the original post here so that it stays “above the fold,” so to speak, and to keep the conversation lively and accessible.