Scalar Energy

Quantum Science, Scalar Energy Pendant, Nikola Tesla & More

May 24, 2016
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WES, EMEC in data double

Wave Energy Scotland and European Marine Energy Centre are to work together to capture the data generated in Orkney through testing wave energy devices in real sea conditions.

Results from the study will support and inform the wave energy converter designs currently under development.

WES said a set of guidance documents will be produced which focus on sea experience in compliance, handling, installation and operations and maintenance of devices.

The findings would be invaluable to developers at the early stages of wave energy converter design and development and make it easier and quicker for developers to identify the services available to support their projects, it said.

“With over 10 years’ experience of testing wave energy converters and other marine energy technologies, EMEC and their partners have learned valuable lessons in deployments, offshore operations, HSE and logistics,” said WES director Tim Hurst.

“This study will help our programme participants to make informed decisions at earlier stages of their device development. Ultimately, the results should help avoid costly errors at the deployment stage.” 

Image: Orkney’s Fall of Warness (EMEC)

May 24, 2016
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Sailor Moon Newbie Recaps: Episodes 180 & 181

Screenshot_2016-02-02-13-22-31

After hanging out with our cast in entertaining if not exactly novel ways for the past few weeks, we may have finally hit on a new topic for the show to tackle: Xenophobia! And here I thought Sailor Moon had run out of ideas.

It’s no secret that Japan’s position as a fairly secluded and homogeneous(-ish) island nation has led to a long and complicated history with foreigners and foreign influence, from early acculturation with China, to an over 200-year-long period of almost total isolationism, to post-war pushes for globalization (read: westernization), to contemporary issues with immigration. Not to say that xenophobia is a uniquely Japanese problem because, um, have you read the news recently?; just that it definitely is an issue and one that’s been around for a long time.

So, given Sailor Moon‘s progressive stance with regards to its female and queer characters, perhaps it’s no surprise that they’d decide to use the Star Lights as a way to tackle a different marginalized group. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen aliens on the show, but it is the first time we’ve seen the series directly connect an alien presence with a “fear of the foreign other” prejudice.

harumi mission

And who else to bring it to us but our resident “I want to like you but you are SO FRUSTRATING SOMETIMES” duo, Haruka and Michiru! This is a surprising but ultimately clever decision, I think, given that HaruMi are lesbians and, while the Mooniverse itself seems more ignorant of than actively antagonistic towards LGB couples, we know that in real-world ’90s Japan they’d likely be targets of prejudice themselves. It points out that everyone can have blind spots and prejudices, not just the dominant class.

All of which means that as much head-desking as I did about HaruMi this week, I’m also excited to see Sailor Moon beginning to tackle something new and topical again. This Stars season may just hook me yet.

The Recaps

Episode 180 – A Night of Too Many Sailor Stars

Screenshot_2016-02-02-12-39-37

The Moonies want themselves some Three Lights concert tickets, but they’re having a bad case of the ’90s courtesy of these things called “land lines” and “busy signals.” (Hey kids, ever tried to buy tickets online and had the website just lag and lag and lag? It’s like that.) They’re SOL … until HaruMi saunter unreasonably coolly into the story with tickets for their best gal pals!

And why do they have those tickets anyway? Because Michiru is testing my ongoing theory that violins improve everything by joining the Three Lights in a joint concert! And my theory continues to hold true, as this is my favorite of their songs by far. Usagi misses the concert because what even ARE bus schedules?, conveniently preventing her from hearing the Three Lights singing out to their princess with all their might.

Seiya and Michiru notice each other’s “star energy” somethin’ fierce, so Seiya decides to investigate with his Super Flirting Powers. Haruka and Usagi bust in to the dressing room before much can come of it, and our resident too-cool-for-schoolers SHAKE FEROCIOUSLY.

So this is the mook what's been stealin' my act, hah...?

“So this is the mook what’s been stealin’ my act, hah …?”

Jealousy reaches max levels from multiple directions until Usagi assures Seiya that Haruka is “just a friend” of hers. They share flirty banter until she trips (with impressive flexibility) down some stairs and gives Famous Composer Albert Pon Garajon a concussion. This, like everything Usagi does, is deemed charming and adorable, which is irking me more this season than in the past probably because she’s in high school now and should be moving past the clueless kid routine.

As recommended by 9 out of 10 doctors, Albert wanders outside alone to walk off his concussion, whereupon Iron Mouse (feeling the pressure from her boss by now) snatches his star seed and turns him into Sailor Conductor. (He does not, much to my punny disappointment, attack with electricity, although he is quite… VIOLINt.) Usagi quickly transforms in time to…get pinned to a wall. Okay, who’s turn is it to bail the Moon out this time?

Yeah, well, Tuxedo Mask posed atop tall structures before it was cool, so THERE.

Yeah, well, Tuxedo Mask posed atop tall structures before it was cool, so THERE.

The Lights actively work together with Sailor Moon so she can cure Albert, and they’re so pumped by all this teamwork that they figure they may as well work together to take down their common enemy. Moon and Fighter are juuuust about to shake hands, when Sailors Uranus and Neptune storm on to the scene to World Shake-up the peace treaty.

Why, you ask? Because the Star Lights are ALIENS and therefore CANNOT BE TRUSTED and it’s THEIR DUTY to protect Usagi from THOSE DIRTY FURRINERS who’re TAKIN OUR JERBS.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a desk that needs my forehead imprinted into it.

headdesk - white house

.

The Star Lights claim they’re fine with it either way and vanish, leaving Usagi troubled and uncertain. Out of costume, she mentions her TOTALLY UNRELATED alien friendship quandary to Seiya, LIKE WHY WOULD ANYONE EVEN THINK USAGI’S IDENTICAL PROBLEM WAS RELATED TO SAILOR MOON’S. He shrugs and points out that he’s from a distant school and they’re friends, so maybe it’s possible after all.

It’s an uplifting note to end on and a reminder that Usagi, despite her occasionally painful lack of self-awareness, is an empathetic girl at heart who’s more interested in people’s actions than what planet they were born on. Hopefully she can get HaruMi to come around on this one before long, too.

Episode 181 – Dancing with the Sailor Stars

dance

This episode is super-fun and also absurd and also emotionally confusing! So strap yourselves in, because while our hormone-fueled Minako runs around futilely trying to spend snuggle-time with Taiki and/or Yaten, Usagi stumbles into a date-o with Seiya.

Er, sort of. He kinda just decides they’re going to hang out on Sunday and Usagi’s free so she figures “what the hey.” Ami’s decided not to stick her nose into it (but what about your Bro Overseas, Ami?! WHAT ABOUT YOUR BROVERSEAS?!), while our local “Adult Relationship,” HaruMi, point out that no one meets in the park unless it’s for a date. Usagi gets a little concerned, but she’s soon enjoying herself too much to really think about it.

I emptied an entire bottle of volumizer in my hair just for you, babe.

“I emptied an entire bottle of volumizer into my hair just for you, babe.”

As much as I like Mamoru at this point and don’t particularly wanna see Chibiusa time-paradoxed into oblivion … I gotta say, Usagi and Seiya are pretty fun together. They’re combative in a way that’s affectionate instead of the pure antagonism we got with UsaMoru in Season One, they’re on the same wavelength more frequently (the scene of them freaking out in the haunted mansion together was golden), and they’re closer in age so their interests/schedules are a little more in-line.

Between the ferris wheel and the dance party at The Bronze (interspersed with an uncomfortable if not all-too-real scene where Usagi worries that Seiya might try to seduce or even force himself on her), Usagi starts to realize this might just be a date after all, and that she might … kinda … be into it? Rut-roh. She’s saved from thinking too hard about it, though, when Iron Mouse decides it’s time to go after some real Star seeds for once.

While this scene was laden with too much real-life anxiety to be as amusing as I think they wanted it to be, the whistles are siren were nice bits of SFX to keep things from getting too dark.

The overload of whistles and sirens was a fantastic bit of sound direction here, by the by.

Speaking of Iron Mouse, her scenes are GREAT this week. I was watching this episode with it’s goofy sight gags, absurd teleporting phones, meta-jokes about lengthy superhero speeches, and magnificent music cues (the sudden shifts between Chopin’s “Funeral March” for Galaxia and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” for the Three Lights is old-school cartoon genius), and thinking two things:

  1. None of the regular episode directors are this boldly ridiculous. This has gotta be Sato or Igarashi (and yes, it was Sato).
  2. Why couldn’t Iron Mouse have been this much fun from the start?

By the time she fails to collect Seiya’s star seed and Galaxia revokes her bracelets (er, spoiler alert?), I was actually sad to see her go. A shame we couldn’t have gotten more of that anxious insubordination and general silliness for her entire run.

Screenshot_2016-02-02-13-16-55

I jumped ahead a little there, but yeah: Iron Mouse tries to steal Seiya’s star seed, he tells Usagi to flee, and while she’s transforming in the hallway he’s transforming right in front of Iron Mouse. Sailor Moon comes in and flips out about Seiya’s bear-pin lying on the ground, which gives Star Fighter paws because THERE’S ONLY ONE PERSON WHO COULD POSSIBLY KNOW THAT, GASP. Your blogger gets excited.

Iron Mouse is about to give away Seiya’s secret identity (your blogger’s excitement builds …!), but then Galaxia appears and straight-up murders her. Alas, poor zoot suit riot. In the immortal words of Team Rocket: I’ll always remember what a wonderful dresser you were.

Also faces. You did make some great faces.

Also faces. You did make some great faces.

Usagi tries to make nice with the Star Lights again but they’re all like, “protect your own damn planet,” which is good advice since they clearly suck at protecting planets themselves (ohhhh, sick burn! *self-five*) and saunter out. Later, she meets up with Seiya WHILE CARRYING HIS BEAR PIN

WHILE. CARRYING. HIS. BEAR. PIN.

and Seiya STILL decides she can’t POSSIBLY be Sailor Moon. You know kid, given your total inability to draw lines between two points, I’m amazed you were able to even find Earth, never mind that princess of yours.

This, That, and the Other

  • Usagi’s memory of Mamoru involves him sporting romance novel-levels of he-vage. ‘Cause if you’re gonna be nostalgic, you may as well sexy it up along the way.
  • The Sensei Next Door, Lingo Edition: Michiru refers to Haruka as her taisetsu na hito (大切な人), which the subs choose to translate as “dear friend.” A bit vaguer than needed, subs—it’s more like “beloved/treasured person,” and is a fairly common way to refer to a significant other. Hence why Seiya so immediately backs off.
  • The Sensei Next Door, School Edition: If you were confused about why everyone was in school on a Saturday, it’s because Japanese schools had/have classes on Saturdays. They dropped this practice for most of the ’00s, but some schools have re-implemented the 6-day week in recent years, so it varies nowadays.
  • Hark! A plot point! Despite resembling the princess we’ve seen in profile in past episodes, the Star Lights say Galaxia is their “true enemy” and the one who destroyed their home. Looking forward to more on this as it develops, for sure.

Dee is a nerd of all trades and a master of one. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and East Asian studies and an MFA in Creative Writing. To pay the bills, she works as a technical writer. To not pay the bills, she devours novels and comics, watches far too much anime, and cheers very loudly for the Kansas Jayhawks. You can hang out with her at The Josei Next Door, a friendly neighborhood anime blog for long-time fans and newbies alike, as well as on Tumblr and Twitter.

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May 24, 2016
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Confusion apparente pendant l’évacuation de l’hôpital de Fort McMurray

L’évacuation de l’hôpital Northern Lights, le 3 mai, à la suite du feu de forêt ravageant la région de Fort McMurray s’est faite dans une apparente situation de confusion.

Le personnel attendait un ordre officiel de Services de santé Alberta (AHS), mais a finalement pris la décision d’évacuer l’établissement de son propre chef.

À 14 h 34, cette journée-ci, un premier ordre d’évacuation a été donné par les services d’urgence de l’Alberta (Emergency Alert) pour un quartier de la ville. À 16 h 24, la province a publié un ordre d’évacuation pour le centre-ville de Fort McMurray, où se trouve l’hôpital.

À ce moment, les patients se trouvaient toujours dans l’établissement. Le personnel, bien qu’ayant entamé une évacuation « proactive », selon AHS, attendait une décision de la part de l’organisme.

La décision de quitter l’hôpital a finalement été prise à 16 h 46 par une demi-douzaine d’employés, dont Pamela Lund, une infirmière en chef, et les trois médecins qui se trouvaient en poste aux urgences. « On essayait d’attendre que les experts décident, mais au final, nous n’avions plus le choix », a-t-elle indiqué.

Au moment où le personnel a décidé de quitter les lieux, les flammes étaient visibles à moins de 500 mètres. L’arrivée des autobus devant transporter les patients et les employés était gênée par des ambulances obstruant l’entrée de l’hôpital.

« Le feu était vraiment proche de l’hôpital. On s’est dit “c’est le moment” et on a pris la décision au niveau de notre département », explique le docteur Paul Geoffrion, qui a participé à l’évacuation des patients de l’urgence et des soins intensifs. Il affirme avoir agi pour protéger ses patients.

Par courriel, le porte-parole d’AHS Kerry Williamson a indiqué que la direction de l’hôpital « avait commencé, de manière proactive, à évacuer l’hôpital avant que l’ordre d’évacuation obligatoire ne soit publié ».

« Les employés ont agi à leur discrétion, considérant qu’ils savaient que l’incendie approchait du bâtiment et que d’évacuer [certains patients] prendrait du temps. Cette décision [l’évacuation proactive] a été prise par [les responsables des mesures d’urgence à l’hôpital], avec l’appui du centre régional d’urgence d’AHS (section Nord) et de la direction générale d’AHS. Tous les protocoles ont été respectés », a fait valoir le porte-parole.

Services de santé Alberta souligne que les 105 patients de l’hôpital ont été évacués en moins de deux heures.

Avec les informations de Laurent Pirot et de Nicolas Pelletier

LIRE AUSSI:
» Les images satellites avant/après
» Les photos de la ville dévastée
» Un Albertain regarde sa maison brûler en direct sur son téléphone
» Une vidéo révèle l’angoissante fuite des résidants
» Ces cartes montrent toute l’ampleur du brasier

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May 24, 2016
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From Banking to Living: FIS Annual PACE Index Showcases Consumer Insights about Banking

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, FIS
(NYSE:FIS), a global leader in financial services technology, is
releasing its 2016
Performance Against Customer Expectations (PACE) Index
, an in-depth,
global research study on consumer expectations of financial institution
performance. It surveyed more than 10,000 banked consumers in 10
countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India,
Philippines, Poland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United
States.

Germany and the United States received the top two PACE Index scores.
Brazil made strong gains; while the United Kingdom showed a three point
drop from the global average compared to last year’s results.

Key Global Findings

  • The ability to understand and use banking products grew in importance
    worldwide, reflecting growing consumer demand for user-friendly
    banking products and services.
  • Consumers continue to expect more in terms of loyalty rewards than
    banks are providing.
  • Expectations for aspirational support – consumers’ primary financial
    institution helping guide them toward their financial goals –
    increased in every country, providing opportunities for financial
    institutions to grow relationships with customers.
  • More than 70% of respondents said they have no financial advisor –
    underscoring a prime opportunity for financial institutions to provide
    value to their customers.

What Millennials Said

  • Being digitally connected to their financial institution matters more
    than reliability and transparency to millennials.
  • Banked millennials are four times more likely to use a mobile personal
    financial management (PFM) app from their primary financial
    institution as from another source.
  • Slow loan processing is the single biggest pain point for this
    consumer group.
  • Seventy two percent of millennials have no form of financial advisor.
    Twenty eight percent are receptive to robo-advisors and another 22
    percent are open to online financial coaching.

“This year’s PACE Index shows that consumers worldwide generally turn to
their primary financial institutions first, but those institutions must
be prepared to serve their needs immediately,” said Anthony Jabbour,
chief operating officer, Banking Payments, FIS. “That’s particularly
true of millennials, who stood out in this survey for how deeply they
expect their banking services to mesh with their daily lives. The survey
shows that, if a financial institution wants to be a customer’s bank for
life, it must first become that customer’s bank for living – meeting all
the needs a customer may have in his or her daily life, so that customer
thinks of the bank first, always.”

“Two-thirds of PACE respondents who own a smartphone or tablet said they
have a positive relationship with at least one personal financial
control tool. And those numbers are even higher among millennials and
consumers in developing countries, where financial infrastructure may be
lacking,” said Bob Meara, senior analyst, Celent.

A Snapshot of United States Results

  • U.S. consumers still believe the foundational attributes of banking –
    Safety, Security, Fairness, Reliability and Transparency – are the
    most important. Scores of these attributes improved, if only slightly,
    indicating that banking providers have made modest progress aligning
    their performance with consumers’ expectation.
  • As many as one-in-three U.S. bank customers ranked their primary
    financial institution as the first place they would turn for major
    life events that require financial investment. However, that leaves at
    least twice as many customers who may consider an alternative
    resource, particularly when it comes to investing or retirement
    planning.
  • Last year, a significant gap existed between consumer expectations and
    bank performance for Recognition, rewarding consumers for their
    business. Unfortunately, in 2016 that gap continued to widen – by 2
    points.

Insights for U.S. Community Banks

  • Community bank customers continue to rank in-person service far more
    important than the overall U.S. ranking, and community bank delivery
    of in-person service outperforms their consumers’ expectations by a
    wide margin.
  • Last year, a moderate gap existed between consumer expectations and
    community bank performance for Advice, providing trusted advice to
    help consumers manage their money. In 2016, that gap widened
    significantly – by 5 points. Providing financial advice, in addition
    to helping consumers gain control over their finances, represents a
    prime opportunity for community banks to make inroads, especially with
    millennials.

“The PACE Index provides key insights into what consumers think about
banking. However, it also helps institutions map this feedback to how
they run their operations, connect with their customers to grow the
relationship – and ultimately – the institution,” said Jabbour.
“Institutions can’t grow sustainably until they can run their
operations predictably and connect consistently with customers.”

About the PACE Index

The PACE Index’s research method was comprised of 1,000 individual
customer surveys in each focus country. Surveys were conducted online,
with individuals aged 18-75 who have a checking or equivalent account
with a financial institution, and who have financial decision-making
authority within their household. Questions were designed to minimize
cross-cultural biases, where feasible; for scalar questions,
normalization procedures were used in the analysis to mitigate bias.
Surveys also were targeted to meet age and gender demographics for each
country.

The global and ten country reports, supported by country-specific
infographics, can be downloaded from http://closethegaps.fisglobal.com.

About
FIS

FIS is a global leader in financial services technology, with a focus on
retail and institutional banking, payments, asset and wealth management,
risk and compliance, consulting, and outsourcing solutions. Through the
depth and breadth of our solutions portfolio, global capabilities and
domain expertise, FIS serves more than 20,000 clients in over 130
countries. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., FIS employs more than
55,000 people worldwide and holds leadership positions in payment
processing, financial software and banking solutions. Providing
software, services and outsourcing of the technology that empowers the
financial world, FIS is a Fortune 500 company and is a member of
Standard Poor’s 500® Index. For more information about
FIS, visit www.fisglobal.com.

Follow FIS on Facebook (facebook.com/FIStoday)
and Twitter (@FISGlobal).

May 24, 2016
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Communicating covertly goes quantum

Coded messages can keep your secrets safe, but you also might prefer to conceal the fact that you’re communicating at all. Now, scientists are working to make even the whispers of top-secret communications completely undetectable by eavesdroppers. And the methods for sending such stealthy dispatches are being extended from ordinary “classical” messages to quantum ones.

The typical method for sending secret messages is encryption, which allows two parties to exchange coded information that a bystander can’t interpret. But if you want to send a message that no one can even tell you’re sending, you need something else: covert communication. What covertness gives you is a much more secure way of communicating,” says quantum information researcher Boulat Bash of Raytheon BBN Technologies in Cambridge, Mass.

Scientists have already demonstrated covert communication in the classical realm. But a paper posted April 19 on arXiv.org shows that covert communication can be expanded to the quantum world, opening up the possibility of covertly exchanging quantum bits, or qubits.

“It’s a pretty cool step,” says information theorist Matthieu Bloch of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The result suggests the possibility of combining covert communication with quantum communication procedures, such as quantum cryptography, an ultrasecure method of encryption.

To communicate covertly, messengers send information encoded in a sequence of photons —particles of light. Messengers send these photons through a channel, like a fiber-optic cable.  But they are mixed in with a sea of random photons that don’t encode a message, so eavesdroppers can’t tell if the photons they detect are part of a message or just the usual random fluctuations. The messengers agree ahead of time on the precise moments to send and receive their photons, so they can read the missive but an eavesdropper can’t.

Communication over a classical version of such a covert channel is undetectable, Bash and colleagues showed in a paper in Nature Communications in October 2015. Even the most powerful sleuth, equipped with a futuristic quantum computer, can’t determine whether two parties are communicating. “It’s secure against an adversary who is as powerful as nature can really become,” Bash says.

The new paper extends Bash’s method to the quantum domain, with calculations that show the procedure works even when photons’ properties may be linked through entanglement, or can be in multiple states at once. “There’s nothing about quantum communication that prevents us from doing it covertly,” says Juan Miguel Arrazola of the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, a coauthor of the new paper.

But, Bloch says, the new study considers only one type of quantum communication channel and relies on some assumptions. For instance, the researchers assume that the eavesdropper doesn’t tamper with the random jumble of photons. “We’re not quite to the point where we can claim that we know how to do covert quantum communication in the general sense,” he says.

Scientists are now hashing out the capabilities of such covert channels. To avoid tipping off a snoop that there’s a message hidden in the mishmash of photons, the messengers can’t send their communiqués as quickly as they otherwise would. This limits the capacity of the channel for covert communications. The next step is to determine whether the same limit holds for all covert quantum communication channels.

May 24, 2016
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IBM et la maitrise de l’ordinateur quantique

 

 

 

 Nous avions d’ailleurs pronostiqué que IBM, qui peine à maintenir son ancienne prééminence dans les calculateurs classiques, mettrait toute ses ressources dans la réalisation de gammes de calculateurs quantiques.

Naïvement, nous avions suggéré que l’Europe, pour ne pas parler de la France, qui dispose d’importantes connaissances dans ce domaine, devraient consacrer à la question quelques crédits de recherche-développement pour ne pas se laisser une nouvelle fois distancer par les Américains dans ce nouveau domaine de l’informatique.

Bien évidemment, les stratèges européens de la recherche n’avaient pas été effleurés par la même idée. Les articles publiés à ce sujet montraient qu’ils se focalisaient sur la difficulté du domaine et sur son manque d’intérêt, sauf dans quelques créneaux très étroits comme la cryptologie.

Or ce qui devait arriver arriva. Appliquant l’affirmation du Général Patton pendant la bataille de France (« Il ne faut pas se demander si une chose est faisable, il faut la faire ») IBM a si bien travaillé qu’il offre aujourd’hui au grand public l’une de ses machines quantiques en libre service. Ceci via une plate-forme Cloud baptisée IBM Quantum Experience. On trouvera les informations nécessaires sur le site http://www.research.ibm.com/quantum/

L’initiative s’adresse aux chercheurs et développeurs intéressés par cette technologie. Même si le service est accessible à tous, il requiert un minimum de connaissances dans le domaine de l’informatique quantique. Avec ce portail web, IBM propose aux internautes de tester un processeur quantique de 5 qbits (quantum bits).

Les naïfs se sont extasiés devant la générosité d’IBM, présenté comme un véritable mécène en ce domaine difficile. Mais il faut bien voir que la plate-forme de tests sera pour IBM un excellent outil pour acquérir gratuitement les compétences des utilisateurs, tant en ce qui concerne les questions posées que les solutions envisagées. Bien évidemment il mémorisera toutes les questions et demandes de solution des utilisateurs, sans en rien communiquer à l’extérieur.

A partir de cette mine d’informations, bien supérieure à celle que procure des recherches en laboratoire, IBM envisage de proposer (de vendre) des ordinateurs quantiques de 50 à 100 qbits dans les 10 ans. On peut cependant supposer que si la Darpa, l’agence de recherche du ministère américain de la défense demande à partager certaines de ces connaissances, elle pourra les obtenir à prix d’ami

Alors IBM sera dans 10 ans vraiment devenu le maitre du monde

 

 

 

May 24, 2016
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Viewpoint: An Arrested Implosion

Lincoln D. Carr, Department of Physics, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA

  • Benjamin L. Lev, Departments of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
  • Figure 1: A dipolar BEC of dysprosium (large oval) undergoes collapse due to attractive interatomic interactions. Green arrows depict BEC collapse, while dipoles and dipolar fields are shown in white. The Stuttgart group has shown [2, [3]] that collapse is halted by repulsive quantum fluctuations (blue squiggles). A crystalline arrangement of quantum droplets forms whose spacing is set by the dipolar interactions among the droplets.A dipolar BEC of dysprosium (large oval) undergoes collapse due to attractive interatomic interactions. Green arrows depict BEC collapse, while dipoles and dipolar fields are shown in white. The Stuttgart group has shown [2, [3]] that collapse is hal… Show more
    Figure 1: A dipolar BEC of dysprosium (large oval) undergoes collapse due to attractive interatomic interactions. Green arrows depict BEC collapse, while dipoles and dipolar fields are shown in white. The Stuttgart group has shown [2, [3]] that collapse is halted by repulsive quantum fluctuations (blue squiggles). A crystalline arrangement of quantum droplets forms whose spacing is set by the dipolar interactions among the droplets. [Credit: Benjamin L. Lev]

    1]. Tilman Pfau and colleagues from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, have shown that for BECs made of dysprosium, whose bosonic isotopes are among the most magnetic atoms in the periodic table, long-range dipole-dipole interactions between these neutral atoms create a totally new phenomenon: the arrested collapse of a quantum magnetic fluid, called a quantum ferrofluid [2, 3]. Such a ferrofluid relies crucially on the strong dipolar interactions in the dysprosium gas. This attractive dipolar interaction can be nearly balanced by the repulsive, short-range van der Waals “contact” interaction, halting the implosion and allowing quantum fluctuations to stabilize a new quantum state. Quantum droplets arise, each containing hundreds of atoms in a superfluid state. Dipolar interactions among the droplets induce a lattice-like ordering into the system, creating a mesoscopic superfluid crystal (Fig. 1).

    Many BEC experiments have been accurately described by a relatively simple semiclassical theory called mean-field theory [4]. For BECs, this theory takes the form of a nonlinear Schrödinger equation in which the nonlinear term is proportional to the atomic contact interaction times the local atomic density. Nonlinear Schrödinger equations describe a variety of nonlinear dynamics in BECs as well as many other physical systems. The nonlinearity comes from the density, which is given by the absolute value of the BEC wave function squared. Mean-field theory replaces the complicated quantum many-body wave function supported by an exponentially large Hilbert space with a simple semiclassical complex scalar wave function—the mean field. It also discards quantum fluctuations, correlations, and entanglement of the particles’ motional and spin degrees of freedom. Nevertheless, this simplified nonlinear equation leads to accurate descriptions of beautiful nonlinear quantum dynamics in BECs, from localized persistent structures like solitons, to crystalline lattices of vortices, to quantum turbulence. But how quantum is all this? If neither quantum fluctuations nor quantum entanglement—hallmarks of quantum many-body physics—play a significant role, and we can use a simple semiclassical mean-field description with high accuracy, can we really say a BEC is fully quantum? Just like the coherent light produced by a laser well above the lasing threshold, most properties of a BEC—a coherent matter wave—don’t require a fully quantum description, as long as the atoms are weakly interacting. While strong contact interactions can lead to the need for a more quantum description, such BECs become unstable to molecular formation, obviating our ability to make careful studies. So if one wanted to study the role of quantum fluctuations in the organization of ultracold gaseous matter, how could one coax a BEC to “step” beyond mean-field theory?

    One typical way is to place the BEC in a periodic arrangement of light called an optical lattice [5], forcing a lattice structure on the gas. Remarkably, the Stuttgart group has discovered a way to produce a spontaneous lattice structure in the standard harmonic trap without the use of an optical lattice [2, 3]. They have created a system in which two effects describable by mean-field theory balance each other out, producing a golden opportunity for quantum fluctuations to step into the act. By Bose-condensing dysprosium [6], an atom with a whopping magnetic moment of 10 Bohr magnetons, and using a mechanism known as a Feshbach resonance, which can weaken the atomic contact interaction, the researchers have created a situation in which the contact interaction cancels out the attractive dipolar interaction at the level of mean-field theory, leaving the beyond-mean-field quantum fluctuations to play a considerable part.

    Feshbach resonances, which can tune contact interactions over many orders of magnitude, appear when an external magnetic field induces a highly excited, bound diatomic molecular state, in this case, of Dy2, to come into resonance with scattered Dy atoms via the Zeeman effect. Such resonances have been key to the versatility of BEC-based quantum simulators and their ability to explore a wide variety of quantum phenomena, presenting a delightful playground in which to study quantum many-body physics. In the present experiments, the resulting Feshbach-tuned Dy BEC, rather than imploding, as mean-field theory would predict for a quantum ferrofluid, spontaneously formed a small crystalline structure of several BEC droplets. By opening the 3D harmonic trap, which confines the BEC, along one axis, the Stuttgart group coaxed these droplets into trains of miniature BECs that appear as robust elongated quantum droplets whose velocity is a measure of the interdroplet binding energy. The team could even allow these droplets to expand into each other. The resulting interference fringes in the atomic density are characteristic of mutual phase coherence among the droplets’ wave functions, just like fringes between interfering light sources are a signature of mutual phase coherence. This implies that the quantum fluctuations aren’t sufficiently strong to qualitatively disturb the BEC’s phase order. The mesoscopic coherent crystal is reminiscent of the superfluid lattices generated by optically driven BECs confined in optical resonators [7]. But unlike these coherent, checkerboard density waves, which arise from a broken discrete spatial symmetry, the broken symmetry here is continuous, presenting the possibility that phonon-like excitations may be observed in this nascent supersolid.

    ­How can we understand this exquisite quantum experiment? First, Falk Wächtler and Luis Santos from Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany, have demonstrated quite convincingly that a modified nonlinear dipolar Schrödinger equation reproduces the experimental data [8]. This new equation adds an extra term to the standard nonlinear dipolar Schrödinger equation that factors in the quantum fluctuations the atoms feel as an effective potential. Without this extra term, the theory cannot explain the formation of self-organized crystals; it predicts an unstable gas instead. In fact, models building on mean fields and incorporating both quantum and thermal fluctuations are also at the heart of microemulsion phases discussed in the context of the 2D electron gases one finds, for example, in clean silicon MOSFET transistors. Such phases are intermediate between a Fermi liquid and a Wigner crystal of interacting electrons, and they include both quantum bubble phases akin to the droplets observed by the Stuttgart group and quantum stripe phases similar to those observed in unconventional superconductors [9].

    Can we find this rich set of phases in Dy BECs or other even more strongly dipolar systems, such as Rydberg gases, for which droplet crystals are also predicted [10]? What might happen as we turn up the interactions via a Feshbach resonance to move beyond the extant theoretical approaches that rely on perturbative treatments of interactions? Would we observe melting of the droplet crystal driven by stronger quantum fluctuations? Could exotic quantum dynamics be observed after an interaction quench? If so, we might learn much about how quantum matter organizes to form new phases and whether or not our theories of quantum many-body physics provide a correct description in untested macroscopic and strongly interacting regimes. On the theory side, we can address such questions by taking advantage of the wealth of powerful finite-temperature quantum-fluctuation-based numerical methods that have appeared over the last two decades [11]. The Stuttgart group has opened our eyes to a whole new world of quantum possibility.

    This research is published in Physical Review Letters and Nature.

    References

    1. E. A. Donley, N. R. Claussen, S. L. Cornish, J. L. Roberts, E. A. Cornell, and C. E. Wieman, “Dynamics of Collapsing and Exploding Bose–Einstein Condensates,” Nature 412, 295 (2001); J. Thompson, “Researchers Have the Bosenova Blues,” Nature News (2001).
    2. I. Ferrier-Barbut, H. Kadau, M. Schmitt, M. Wenzel, and T. Pfau, “Observation of Quantum Droplets in a Strongly Dipolar Bose Gas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 215301 (2016).
    3. H. Kadau, M. Schmitt, M. Wenzel, C. Wink, T. Maier, I. Ferrier-Barbut, and T. Pfau, “Observing the Rosensweig instability of a quantum ferrofluid,” Nature 530, 194 (2016).
    4. Emergent Nonlinear Phenomena in Bose-Einstein Condensates: Theory and Experiment, edited by P. G. Kevrekidis, D. J. Frantzeskakis, and R. Carretero-Gonzalez (Springer, Berlin, 2008)[Amazon][WorldCat].
    5. I. Bloch, J. Dalibard, and W. Zwerger, “Many-Body Physics with Ultracold Gases,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 80, 885 (2008).
    6. M. Lu, N. Q. Burdick, S. Ho Youn, and B. L. Lev, “Strongly Dipolar Bose-Einstein Condensate of Dysprosium,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 190401 (2011).
    7. R. Landig, L. Hruby, N. Dogra, M. Landini, R. Mottl, T. Donner, and T. Esslinger, “Quantum Phases from Competing Short- and Long-Range Interactions in an Optical Lattice,” Nature 532, 476 (2016).
    8. F. Wächtler and L. Santos, “Quantum Filaments In Dipolar Bose-Einstein Condensates,” arXiv:1601.04501.
    9. B. Spivak and S. A. Kivelson, “Phases Intermediate Between a Two-Dimensional Electron Liquid and Wigner Crystal,” Phys. Rev. B 70, 155114 (2004).
    10. F. Cinti, P. Jain, M. Boninsegni, A. Micheli, P. Zoller, and G. Pupillo, “Supersolid Droplet Crystal in a Dipole-Blockaded Gas,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 135301 (2010).
    11. Quantum Gases: Finite Temperature And Non-Equilibrium Dynamics, Vol. 1, edited by N. P Proukakis, S. A Gardiner, M. Davis, and M. Szymanska (Imperial College Press, 2013)[Amazon][WorldCat].

    About the Authors

    Lincoln D. Carr received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, a National Science Foundation Distinguished International Fellow, a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and an Honors Faculty Fellow at the Colorado School of Mines, where he is a Professor of physics. His research brings together theoretical condensed-matter physics, atomic, molecular, and optical physics, computational physics, nonlinear dynamics, and applied mathematics, pushing the frontiers of complexity theory in the quantum world.http://inside.mines.edu/~lcarr

    Benjamin L. Lev is an Associate Professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1999 and his Ph.D. from Caltech. He was an NRC postdoc at JILA, and before joining the Stanford faculty as an Assistant Professor, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Benjamin’s research focuses on exploring the organizing principles of quantum matter through the development of techniques at the interface of ultracold atomic physics, quantum optics, and condensed-matter physics. http://levlab.stanford.edu/


    Observation of Quantum Droplets in a Strongly Dipolar Bose Gas

    Igor Ferrier-Barbut, Holger Kadau, Matthias Schmitt, Matthias Wenzel, and Tilman Pfau

    Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 215301 (2016)

    Published May 23, 2016

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    May 24, 2016
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    Uncharted 4 et Quantum Break relancent la guerre des exclusivités entre Playstation et Xbox


    Trois ans après le lancement de la PlayStation 4 et de la Xbox One, le marché des consoles New Gen arrive à maturité. La guerre entre Sony et Microsoft se joue à coup d’exclusivités, et chacun des constructeurs vient de fourbir une arme de gros calibre pour convaincre les joueurs de l’intérêt de son catalogue. Xbox a dégainé en premier, avec le jeu Quantum Break, sorti le 5 avril. PlayStation vient de rétorquer avec Uncharted 4, un titre initialement prévu en 2015, retardé de plusieurs mois pour être peaufiné.

    Pour ces projets, les constructeurs se sont appuyés sur des studios réputés. Quantum Break est développé par Remedy Entertainment, responsable d’au moins deux chefs d’œuvre de l’histoire du jeu vidéo. L’un majeur: le premier Max Payne, jeu d’action révolutionnaire de 2001 qui a quasiment inventé le concept du ralentissement des scènes de fusillade (l’effet bullet time). L’autre mineur: Alan Wake, titre sombre et splendide sorti en 2010, et offert en bonus pour les retardataires avec Quantum Break. En face, la série Uncharted (dont ce quatrième épisode est annoncé comme le dernier) est développée par Naughty Dog, un studio responsable de plusieurs titres ayant contribué à écrire l’histoire du medium comme Crash Bandicoot (1996), The Last of Us (2013), et les trois premiers Uncharted, saga étendard de PlayStation depuis 2007.

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    Quantum Break (c) Remedy Entertainment

    Dans toute bataille, il faut un vainqueur. Les deux jeux affichent une grosse ambition, et chacun à sa manière est réussi. Mais de toute évidence, Quantum Break s’oubliera assez vite tandis qu’Uncharted 4 marquera de son empreinte l’histoire du jeu vidéo, un peu pour ses qualités narratives et beaucoup pour sa réalisation exceptionnelle.

    L’ambition de Quantum Break était d’ajouter à un jeu vidéo classique une dimension transmédia. Jeu d’action et de tir dans la pure tradition de Max Payne, Quantum Break a été réalisé avec l’implication d’acteurs célèbres de films comme X-Men et Le Seigneur des Anneaux, et de séries comme The Wire ou Game of Thrones. Ces acteurs aux visages reconnaissables dans le jeu ont aussi tourné une série télévisée qui en approfondit l’histoire. Cette idée, excellente sur le papier, plombe le jeu. En effet, plutôt que de séparer les deux médias et de leur permettre de vivre en parallèle, il a été préféré de mêler les deux. Ainsi, à une première heure de jeu enthousiasmante, succède un épisode télévisé d’une demi-heure provoquant un ennui assez profond. Sans parler des problèmes de streaming rendant parfois la lecture saccadée et difficilement supportable, le joueur n’a pas d’autre choix que de poser sa manette et d’attendre la fin de l’épisode. Un enchaînement qui se reproduira à la fin de chacun des cinq chapitres. Dommage.

    Le jeu, qui profite par ailleurs de grandes qualités techniques et graphiques, souffre aussi d’un aspect très répétitif qui l’empêche de prétendre à exister aux côtés des grands titres du genre, aussi en raison d’une durée de vie trop courte de huit heures environ (hors épisodes TV). Le scénario basé sur les paradoxes temporels est réussi sans être tout à fait original. Il déçoit relativement de la part d’un studio comme Remedy qui avait bâti sa réputation sur la qualité de ses histoires. Le principal intérêt de Quantum Break est d’obliger le joueur à faire plusieurs choix qui vont orienter l’histoire dans des embranchements différents. Il sera donc possible de recommencer le jeu, et de faire des choix différents pour vivre une toute autre partie. Une idée intéressante mais pas très innovante depuis que des titres comme Life Is Strange, Until Dawn ou encore The Walking Dead, l’ont balisée avec plus de succès. Ici, le scénario change surtout à la marge.

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    Quantum Break (c) Remedy Entertainment

    En face, Uncharted 4 pulvérise la concurrence en proposant un jeu parfaitement écrit et d’une grande profondeur. Les deux premières heures de jeu sont les plus saisissantes, enchaînant les énormes scènes d’action et d’exploration, se jouant de la chronologie de l’histoire avec un découpage de la narration en épisodes qui manipulent le joueur comme les films hollywoodiens n’arrivent plus à le faire depuis quelques années. La chasse au trésor est cette fois inspirée par le flibustier Henry Every, et comme toujours depuis les débuts de la série l’histoire rappelle fortement Indiana Jones autant que Tomb Raider.

    Si Uncharted est un divertissement grand public multipliant les séquences spectaculaires, la promotion de ce quatrième épisode avait surtout été orientée par Naughty Dog sur son scénario et l’implication émotionnelle du joueur. Un positionnement malin quand on sait que les fans attendaient surtout de découvrir ses qualités visuelles. Cette promesse est tenue, amenant la série à une maturité nouvelle après un épisode 3 un peu fade.

    L’explorateur Nathan Drake est montré à différentes périodes de sa vie, de l’enfance à l’âge adulte, apparaissant à un certain moment usé, ayant renoncé à l’aventure pour profiter d’une vie de couple et d’un travail sédentaire transpirant l’ennui. Les séquences de dialogues intimes, la relation de Nathan avec son frère aîné, et certains développements qui ne seront pas abordés ici approfondissent la narration pour offrir le meilleur épisode de la série. Grâce à son scénario très soigné qui nous amène de l’Écosse à Madagascar en passant par l’Italie, Uncharted 4 se place au niveau des meilleurs films et séries télévisées actuels, sans avoir besoin de l’affirmer un peu artificiellement comme Quantum Break.

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    Uncharted 4 (c) Naughty Dog

    Surtout, les qualités graphiques du jeu sont exceptionnelles, définissant une nouvelle frontière dans le réalisme photographique, et permettant une utilisation très cinématographique de la lumière. Jamais dans l’histoire de la série les scènes d’escalade (emblématiques) n’avaient à ce point donné le vertige et l’on se surprend à frissonner au moment de trébucher au sommet d’une falaise. Mais les progrès les plus intéressants résident dans le travail effectué sur les visages des protagonistes pour retranscrire les émotions des acteurs à l’image, et notamment leurs regards.

    Lors d’une séquence du début du jeu, Nathan Drake assis sur son canapé propose à sa femme une partie de jeu vidéo pour nouer un moment de complicité. Elle allume la console (la première PlayStation) et lance une partie de Crash Bandicoot.

    C’est alors, qu’en tant que joueur, nous basculons dans la partie pour nous retrouver à jouer à ce titre de 1996 pendant quelques minutes, avant de revenir dans le salon de Nathan Drake. Une idée “méta” et poétique, qui entrechoque deux époques de l’histoire du studio Naughty Dog pour un résultat saisissant. Cette séquence rappelle que le jeu vidéo est un art de l’instant, qui évolue en même temps que la technique et la science, et dont l’évolution est toujours en mouvement. Sa promesse est la suivante: le meilleur reste à venir, à l’heure où les industries de la musique et du cinéma ne cessent de revisiter leur passé.

    2016-05-14-1463215136-3904464-sco_05_1462361346.jpg
    Uncharted 4 (c) Naughty Dog

    Uncharted 4 est plus qu’un beau jeu doté d’un bon gameplay. Ce qui le rend inoubliable, c’est la corrélation parfaite entre une technique parfaitement maîtrisée et une histoire merveilleusement racontée. Le seul intérêt de la technique est évidemment de savoir se faire oublier pour qu’il ne reste, une fois la manette posée, que le souvenir des émotions suscitées par le jeu. A ce titre, Uncharted 4 prétendra sans doute au titre de meilleur jeu de l’année 2016 à l’heure des bilans.

    On espère maintenant une réplique à la hauteur sur Xbox One, mais aussi de la part de Nintendo (le prochain Zelda ?). Car la compétition dans le jeu vidéo ne se joue pas qu’entre joueurs, mais aussi entre studios. Tant que durera cet esprit de compétition subsistera la promesse d’émotions de plus en plus profondes et d’expériences de plus en plus belles.

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    2016-05-14-1463214882-8239541-QuantumBreakXboxOne.jpg

    Lire aussi:

    • Réalité augmentée: la révolution du jeu vidéo est en marche

    • Retour sur “Life Is Strange”

    • Street Fighter 5, le nouvel épisode d’un aïeul du jeu vidéo

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    May 23, 2016
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    ‘Game of Thrones’: How ‘The Red Woman’ Reveal Changes Everything About Melisandre

    The night is dark and full of terrors, illuminated only by the inferno of sacrifice. The denizens of Dragonstone gather around to witness history in the making: Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) taking his first major strides on his journey toward becoming the rightful King of Westeros, pulling a legendary sword from the flames, all at the behest of the new wise woman in his life.

    In actuality, it’s the first step toward Stannis’ damnation. Perhaps even more importantly, though, it’s viewers’ first sighting of Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the red priestess best known for her endless confidence and devotion to the mythical Lord of Light. From her first scene in the season two premiere, “The North Remembers,” Melisandre stands out as one of the most alluring and seductive presences ever featured on Game of Thrones … and as of her most recent appearance at the end of the season six premiere, “The Red Woman,” she’s also one of the story’s most important figures.

    The road toward Melisandre’s oldest secret begins as far back as her first scene in the series, that fateful night on the fire-lit beach of Dragonstone. There, House Baratheon’s reliable servant Maester Cressen (Oliver Ford Davies) begs Stannis and all those present to renounce Melisandre’s heretical methods. In an instant, the Red Woman sizes the elderly maester up and slices him down.

    “You smell of fear,” she whispers. “Fear, and piss and old bones.”

    As kids often say: “It takes one to know one.” 

    Melisandre’s first scene in the series, calling out Cressen as an old fool, takes on all new meaning when paired with the season six premiere’s reveal that she herself is impossibly old. Her exact age is unknown, though showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss put it at “several centuries.” In a 2013 interview, Davies said Melisandre is “400 years old,” the same length of time since the Doom of Valyria — the legendary collapse of the advanced civilization that birthed House Targaryen. If true, it’s likely Melisandre has firsthand reasons to believe so strongly in R’hllor and the coming threat of winter.

    The season premiere’s reveal also outs Melisandre’s ruby necklace as a major source of her power; when she removes it, her true form is revealed. The power of Melisandre’s amulet is plainly demonstrated in her aforementioned debut appearance: Cressen attempts to kill Melisandre with poisoned wine, but instead, she sips the drink, and her glowing red ruby presumably destroys the toxins. 

    In the days since the episode, fans have cited a season four installment of Thrones, “Mockingbird,” as flying in the face of Melisandre’s powerful necklace. In the episode, Melisandre bathes in front of Stannis’ wife Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald), a thoroughly devout believer in the Lord of Light. Melisandre’s necklace is nowhere to be found, and yet, she remains young. Some see this as a continuity error. Others take it as proof that Melisandre’s power is derived outside of the amulet. Another theory still posits that Selyse can actually see Melisandre’s true form, even if the viewer cannot; reviewing the scene through that lends yields interesting results, as Selyse can barely look Melisandre in the eye without visible discomfort, and the sorceress herself speaks at length about the nature of illusions.

    “Most powders and potions are lies, deceptions to make men think they witnessed our lord’s power; once they step into the light, they’ll see the lie for what it was: a trick that led them to the truth,” she says at one point. Moments later, she tells Selyse: “You don’t need powders and potions. You don’t need lies. You are strong enough to look into the lord’s light and see his truth for yourself.”

    Whether or not Melisandre’s necklace controls her age, there’s now no argument that the Red Woman boasts unimaginable power — not that it should have been in doubt before, what with her birthing a shadow assassin back in season two’s fourth episode, “Garden of Bones.” Indeed, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) was witness to this event, hence his line in the season six premiere: “You haven’t seen her do what I’ve seen her do.”

    But perhaps even Melisandre isn’t fully aware of her own powers. In season three’s “The Climb,” she meets a fellow red priest, Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), who says he used to be a fraud, reciting prayers and performing fiery tricks for locals at carnivals — until the day he brought his dead friend Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) back to life.

    “I knelt beside his cold body and said the words, because I believed in them,” he tells Melisandre, visibly stunned by the reveal. “He was my friend, and he was dead, and they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the lord replied. Beric’s eyes opened, and I knew the truth: our god is the one true god.”

    By his own admission, Thoros was jaded and lost, a man of faith without much faith at all… only finding hope once all hope was lost. If it sounds like a familiar song, that’s because it is: Melisandre is presently undergoing her own crisis of faith. Her true age was only revealed to viewers because of her own overwhelming sense of loss.

    Melisandre’s current state beneath the heavy blanket of despair, her unfathomably extensive life experience, and her proven magical abilities all swirl together to make her one of the most complicated characters on Game of Thrones — and, potentially, its most important player at the moment, as the key to bringing Jon Snow (Kit Harington) out of the cold grip of death and into the light of life. Like Thoros, all she needs to do is say the magic words.

    Follow all of THR’s Game of Thrones coverage for more analysis, videos and interviews.

     

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