• This is a major milestone in the quantum space…
  • Holograms are no longer the realm of science fiction
  • The days of TSA agents are numbered

Dear Reader,

On average, most U.S. universities kick off classes around the third week of August. It’s a fantastic time of the year to enjoy the waning weeks of summer, the ever-so-slightly shortening days, and the cool evenings that gently remind us fall is in the very near future.

This year is quite different, though. As we noticed a few weeks ago, only a tiny percentage of schools had the courage and common sense to bring students back on campus this year, with the majority opting out for remote learning… AFTER, of course, collecting full tuition.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting data on students at campuses that did open. After all, with all of the fear and panic in the air, many school administrators are almost looking for an excuse to shut things down and send kids back home.

Thankfully, Dr. Andrew Bostom, a professor of medicine at Brown University and cardiovascular and epidemiology researcher, was kind enough to compile a list of COVID-19 cases across 17 university systems across the country. The data is current to September 4.

University Reported COVID-19 rtPCR positives,
Reported Hospitalizations

U of Alabama



U of Georgia 



U of Kentucky  



Ohio State U 



U of Dayton 



Illinois State U 



U of Iowa  



Missouri State U



U of Kansas  



Kansas State U 



Louisiana St U  



Penn State U  



U of Oklahoma  



U of Wisconsin



U of Minnesota



U of Miami  



U of S Carolina 



Totals (N)



rtPCR =  reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction

At face value, there have been a lot of cases… 11,018 COVID-19 cases found through extensive PCR testing at these 17 universities. But let’s note the far-right column. There have been zero hospitalizations. Zero.

That shouldn’t surprise us here at The Bleeding Edge. After all, we know well that the university population is at far greater risk of severe illness from influenza than they are from COVID-19.

But what did the Ohio health director do? He signed an order requiring that even students who test negative be quarantined for two weeks in isolation in a designated quarantine house. Oh, and only university officials can approve whether or not parents are allowed to visit their own children.

They’ve gone mad.

This draconian, almost detention-like treatment is even more absurd as we know that up to 90% of all PCR testing is producing false positives right now. Arizona is a case in point.

On September 3, the Arizona Athletics department experienced a single-day high for positive COVID-19 cases. Someone had the common sense to run the tests again to make sure they were correct. They were not.

Of the 13 original “positive” COVID-19 tests, only two came back positive the second time. The original tests that were run were 85% false positives.

The good news – zero hospitalizations and a large number of false positives – means that there is no reason to keep universities closed, muzzle kids with masks, or lock them into detention – I mean, quarantine – facilities.

The bad news? For some, COVID-19 has evolved into a psychological condition that results in completely irrational behavior that comes at a great cost to others.

I say this sincerely… There will be many who will experience long-term traumatic effects even after COVID-19 has long passed. It is heartbreaking knowing that the damage caused was all for nothing.

I don’t know who first coined the term, but we are absolutely witnessing a “casedemic” right now. And if we don’t call a spade a spade, we’re going to be living with this nonsense well into 2021.

Here’s wishing that we can all breathe freely together.

Now let’s turn to our insights for today…

Quantum development is heating up…

We are going to start out with another big milestone in the world of quantum computing today.

Researchers at Google recently used 10- and 12-qubit (quantum bit) systems to model the electronic energy of a fairly simple chemical compound in a process called a diazene molecule isomerization. We can think of this as a proof of concept that demonstrates how a quantum computer solves a complex problem.

Interestingly, the researchers paired the quantum computer with a classical computer to assist with the modeling. The classical computer served somewhat as quality control. It confirmed and validated the output coming from the quantum computer and adjusted the parameters accordingly to produce the best results.

This is something that will be standard as we start using quantum computers for more real-world applications.

As we know, quantum computers are not always 100% error free. In fact, this is one of the biggest challenges for today’s quantum computers. Instead, they provide answers that have a high probability of being correct.

That’s where the classical computer comes in. It analyzed the quantum computer’s answer and suggested new parameters to improve accuracy.

Some academic skeptics criticized Google’s research, saying that the compound modeled was so simple that a classical computer could do it. They missed the point entirely.

The approach taken is one of the ways in which we can calibrate a quantum computer and determine that the answers that it gives us are accurate. After all, if we are tasking a quantum computer to solve a problem that no classical computer can solve, how would we know the answer is right?

We do that by first using the quantum computer to solve problems that can already be solved on a classical computer. Once calibrated to the point where the answers are accurate, we can then feed the quantum computer more complex problems with confidence.  

This research was just a starting point. It proved that quantum computing can be used to solve complex problems and that classical computers can be used to essentially confirm the work. The next step is to move on to more complex compounds.

Eventually, we will apply quantum computing to modeling new compounds, which is something that classical computers have struggled to do efficiently. And that’s when we will see some incredible breakthroughs in the areas of material science, energy production, and pharmaceutical development.

A seemingly simple milestone is a telling sign to me. The fact that we are witnessing a pick-up in quantum developments is a clear sign to me that the technology is advancing quickly.

And this is all very new considering that we just passed the point of quantum supremacy last September. It has been just under a year since that happened.

The pace will be even quicker in the next 12 months.

Hologram technology is getting real…

Up to this point, holograms have been the domain of computer graphics and science fiction movies.

In the movies, holograms are projected into an empty space, simply appearing from nowhere. Here’s an example from Star Wars where the holographic image of a Jedi is projected into a chair:

A Sci-Fi Hologram

Source: The Energy Collective

While this is a fun depiction, it violates the laws of physics.

Holograms are produced by reflecting light off matter. Light can’t reflect off of nothing. Therefore, it’s not possible to project a hologram into an empty space, such as the above chair.

That’s why producing real holograms has been such a challenge.

Traditionally, we’ve been able to produce a kind of pseudo-hologram by reflecting light off a fabric material. When viewed from the right angle which is usually straight on, the holographic image produced looks real. But the image falls apart when viewed from the wrong angle.

However, an interesting breakthrough from Tokyo, my old hometown, caught my eye.

A team at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology published research around a synthetic material created primarily from gold. As it turns out, gold has unique characteristics for diffracting and reflecting light that make it perfect for producing holographic images.

Here’s a look at the hologram the team created from this material:

A New Kind of Hologram

Source: Kentaro Iwami

This looks just like what we saw in the original Star Wars – a high-quality moving image. Except this wasn’t produced by computer graphics. It’s real.

This hologram is produced using a helium neon laser, which is why everything is red. The next step is to develop full color for the holographic image.

Now it’s just a matter of improving the tech. And once it is ready, there are all kinds of fun applications to look forward to in entertainment, media, and education.

My personal favorite is holographic telepresence. Imagine being able to attend a meeting remotely but “in person” via your own holographic image, with no lag or delay in audio, and being able to see and interact with all other participants. Perhaps one day, I’ll even be able to “drop in” and deliver my daily Bleeding Edge “in person” for my readers.

We’re going to have a lot of fun with this technology, and it will most certainly happen in our lifetimes.

The beginning of the end of TSA agents…

As someone who travels frequently, I’m not a fan of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) process in airports. We have to wait in a long line while an agent checks everyone’s ID and then makes a mark on their boarding pass with a magic marker.

It’s a silly process that provides little security and requires us to interact with someone who comes into contact with a lot of people.

The good news is that this security process is about to become automated.

The TSA is now testing facial recognition scanners at the Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. In place of a TSA agent, these scanners analyze our ID and our face to confirm that we are the person depicted on the document.

And because these scanners are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), they consistently outperform humans in determining whether the face on the ID matches the face in front of them. Humans are much more likely to make a mistake.

To me, this is a long time coming. Think about how fast the security lines will move when we simplify identity checks.

And if travelers use biometric identity company Clear, which I talked about last month, they can bypass the full-body scanners as well. Those scanners subject our bodies to unnecessary and harmful radiation. For someone who only travels once a year, it’s not a big deal. But for someone like me, it really adds up and is not healthy.

The White House has called for facial recognition to be installed in the 20 busiest airports in the country if these tests at Ronald Reagan go well. That will make the security process far more efficient and pleasant.

And for those who have limited travel due to fear of COVID-19, reducing our contact with other people will be another bonus. It is ironic that the pandemic was the catalyst for putting this kind of technology to use.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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