Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Golden Ratio Discovered in Quantum

January 7, 2010
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Researchers have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. They have measured the signatures of a symmetry showing the same attributes as the golden ratio famous from art and architecture.

Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), in cooperation with colleagues from Oxford and Bristol Universities, as well as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. They have measured the signatures of a symmetry showing the same attributes as the golden ratio famous from art and architecture. 

The research team is publishing these findings in the Jan. 8, 2010 issue of the journal Science.

On the atomic scale particles do not behave as we know it in the macro-atomic world. New properties emerge which are the result of an effect known as the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. In order to study these nanoscale quantum effects the researchers have focused on the magnetic material cobalt niobate. It consists of linked magnetic atoms, which form chains just like a very thin bar magnet, but only one atom wide and are a useful model for describing ferromagnetism on the nanoscale in solid state matter.

When applying a magnetic field at right angles to an aligned spin the magnetic chain will transform into a new state called quantum critical, which can be thought of as a quantum version of a fractal pattern. Prof. Alan Tennant, the leader of the Berlin group, explains "The system reaches a quantum uncertain -- or a Schrödinger cat state. This is what we did in our experiments with cobalt niobate. We have tuned the system exactly in order to turn it quantum critical."

By tuning the system and artificially introducing more quantum uncertainty the researchers observed that the chain of atoms acts like a nanoscale guitar string. Dr. Radu Coldea from Oxford University, who is the principal author of the paper and drove the international project from its inception a decade ago until the present, explains: "Here the tension comes from the interaction between spins causing them to magnetically resonate. For these interactions we found a series (scale) of resonant notes: The first two notes show a perfect relationship with each other. Their frequencies (pitch) are in the ratio of 1.618…, which is the golden ratio famous from art and architecture." Radu Coldea is convinced that this is no coincidence. "It reflects a beautiful property of the quantum system -- a hidden symmetry. Actually quite a special one called E8 by mathematicians, and this is its first observation in a material," he explains.

The observed resonant states in cobalt niobate are a dramatic laboratory illustration of the way in which mathematical theories developed for particle physics may find application in nanoscale science and ultimately in future technology. Prof. Tennant remarks on the perfect harmony found in quantum uncertainty instead of disorder. "Such discoveries are leading physicists to speculate that the quantum, atomic scale world may have its own underlying order. Similar surprises may await researchers in other materials in the quantum critical state."

The researchers achieved these results by using a special probe -- neutron scattering. It allows physicists to see the actual atomic scale vibrations of a system. Dr. Elisa Wheeler, who has worked at both Oxford University and Berlin on the project, explains "using neutron scattering gives us unrivalled insight into how different the quantum world can be from the every day."

However, "the conflicting difficulties of a highly complex neutron experiment integrated with low temperature equipment and precision high field apparatus make this a very challenging undertaking indeed." In order to achieve success "in such challenging experiments under extreme conditions" the HZB in Berlin has brought together world leaders in this field. By combining the special expertise in Berlin whilst taking advantage of the pulsed neutrons at ISIS, near Oxford, permitted a perfect combination of measurements to be made.

Big Bang Theory Still Very Much in Question

Experts cast doubt on Big Bang bolstering discovery by Staff Writers Washington (AFP) June 14, 2014

Astrophysicists are casting doubt on what just recently was deemed a breakthrough in confirming how the universe was born: the observation of gravitational waves that apparently rippled through space right after the Big Bang.

If proven to be correctly identified, these waves -- predicted in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity -- would confirm the rapid and violent growth spurt of the universe in the first fraction of a second marking its existence, 13.8 billion years ago.

The apparent first direct evidence of such so-called cosmic inflation -- a theory that the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times in barely the blink of an eye -- was announced in March by experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The detection was made with the help of a telescope called BICEP2, stationed at the South Pole.
"Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today," John Kovac, leader of the BICEP2 collaboration at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said at the time.

The telescope targeted a specific area known as the "Southern Hole" outside the galaxy where there is little dust or extra galactic material to interfere with what humans could see.

By observing the cosmic microwave background, or a faint glow left over from the Big Bang, the scientists said small fluctuations gave them new clues about the conditions in the early universe.

The gravitational waves rippled through the universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang, and these images were captured by the telescope, they claimed.

If confirmed by other experts, some said the work could be a contender for the Nobel Prize.

- 'Serious flaws' -

But not everyone is convinced of the findings, with skepticism surfacing recently on blogs and scientific US journals such as Science and New Scientist.

Paul Steinhardt, director of Princeton University's Center for Theoretical Science, addressed the issue in the prestigious British journal Nature in early June.

"Serious flaws in the analysis have been revealed that transform the sure detection into no detection," Steinhardt wrote, citing an independent analysis of the BICEP2 findings.

That analysis was carried out by David Spergel, a theoretical astrophysicist who is also at Princeton.

Spergel queried whether what the BICEP2 telescope picked up really came from the first moments of the universe's existence.

"What I think, it is not certain whether polarized emissions come from galactic dust or from the early universe," he told AFP.

"We know that galactic dust emits polarized radiations, we see that in many areas of the sky, and what we pointed out in our paper is that pattern they have seen is just as consistent with the galactic dust radiations as with gravitational waves."

When using just one frequency, as these scientists did, it is impossible to distinguish between gravitational waves and galactic emissions, Spergel added.

The question will likely be settled in the coming months when another, competing group, working with the European Space Agency's Planck telescope, publishes its results.

That telescope observes a large part of the sky -- versus the BICEP2's two percent -- and carries out measurements in six frequencies, according to Spergel.

"They should revise their claim," he said of the BICEP2 team. "I think in retrospect, they should have been more careful about making a big announcement." 

He went on to say that, contrary to normal procedure, there was no external check of the data before it was made public.

Philipp Mertsch of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University said data from Planck and another team should be able to "shed more light on whether it is primordial gravitational waves or dust in the Milky Way."

"Let me stress, however, that what is leaving me (and many of my colleagues) unsatisfied with the state of affairs: If it is polarized dust emission, where is it coming from?" he said in an email.

Kovac, an associate professor of astronomy and physics at Harvard, declined to respond to requests for comment.

Another member of the team, Jamie Bock of the California Institute of Technology, also declined to be interviewed.

At the time of their announcement in March, the scientists said they spent three years analyzing their data to rule out any errors.

Fragility Yet Free of Errors - Quantum Computing

Quantum computation: Fragile yet error-free  
by Staff Writers Innsbruck, Austria (SPX) Jun 16, 2014
This 7-ion system applied for encoding one logical quantum bit can be used as a building block for much larger quantum systems. The bigger the lattice, the more robust it becomes. Image courtesy IQOQI/Harald Ritsch.
Even computers are error-prone. The slightest disturbances may alter saved information and falsify the results of calculations. To overcome these problems, computers use specific routines to continuously detect and correct errors. This also holds true for a future quantum computer, which will require procedures for error correction as well: "Quantum phenomena are extremely fragile and error-prone. Errors can spread rapidly and severely disturb the computer," says Thomas Monz, member of Rainer Blatt's research group at the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck.

"Together with Markus Muller and Miguel Angel Martin-Delgado from the Department for Theoretical Physics at the Complutense University in Madrid, the physicists in Innsbruck developed a new quantum error-correcting method and tested it experimentally.

"A quantum bit is extremely complex and cannot be simply copied. Moreover, errors in the microscopic quantum world are more manifold and harder to correct than in conventional computers," underlines Monz.
"To detect and correct general errors in a quantum computer, we need highly sophisticated so-called quantum error-correcting codes." The topological code used for this current experiment was proposed by Martin-Delgado's research group in Madrid. It arranges the qubits on a two-dimensional lattice, where they can interact with the neighboring particles.

A quantum bit encoded in seven ions
For the experiment at the University of Innsbruck the physicists confined seven calcium atoms in an ion trap, which allows them to cool these atoms to almost absolute zero temperature and precisely control them by laser beams. The researchers encoded the fragile quantum states of one logical qubit in entangled states of these particles.

The quantum error-correcting code provided the program for this process. "Encoding the logical qubit in the seven physical qubits was a real experimental challenge," relates Daniel Nigg, a member of Rainer Blatt's research group. The physicists achieved this in three steps, where in each step complex sequences of laser pulses were used to create entanglement between four neighboring qubits.

"For the first time we have been able to encode a single quantum bit by distributing its information over seven atoms in a controlled way," says an excited Markus Muller, who in 2011 moved from Innsbruck to the Complutense University in Madrid. "When we entangle atoms in this specific way, they provide enough information for subsequent error correction and possible computations."

Error-free operations In another step the physicists tested the code's capability to detect and correct different types of errors. "We have demonstrated that in this type of quantum system we are able to independently detect and correct every possible error for each particle," says Daniel Nigg. "To do this we only need information about the correlations between the particles and don't have to perform measurements of the single particles," explains Daniel Nigg's colleague Esteban Martinez.

In addition to reliably detecting single errors, the physicists were for the first time able to apply single or even repetitive operations on a logical encoded qubit. Once the obstacle of the complex encoding process is overcome, only simple single-qubit gate operations are necessary for each gate operation.

"With this quantum code we can implement basic quantum operations and simultaneously correct all possible errors," explains Thomas Monz this crucial milestone on the route towards a reliable and fault tolerant quantum computer.

Basis for future innovations This new approach developed by the Spanish and Austrian physicists constitutes a promising basis for future innovations. "This 7-ion system applied for encoding one logical quantum bit can be used as a building block for much larger quantum systems," says theoretical physicist Muller. "The bigger the lattice, the more robust it becomes.

The result might be a quantum computer that could perform any number of operations without being impeded by errors." The current experiment not only opens new routes for technological innovations: "Here, completely new questions come up, for example which methods can be used in the first place to characterise such large logical quantum bits," says Rainer Blatt with a view into the future.

"Moreover, we would also like to collaboratively develop the used quantum codes further to optimize them for even more extensive operations," adds Martin-Delgado.

Quantum Computations on a Topologically Encoded Qubit. Daniel Nigg, Markus Muller, Esteban A. Martinez, Philipp Schindler, Markus Hennrich, Thomas Monz, Miguel Angel Martin-Delgado, and Rainer Blatt. Science 2014 DOI: 10.1126/science.1253742 (arXiv:1403.5426)

Contexuality in Relation to Quantum Computing

Contextuality puts the 'magic' in quantum computing by Staff Writers Toronto, Canada (SPX) Jun 16, 2014
The paper shows that a quantum property called contextuality is the key.

A new theoretical advance explains where the power of quantum computation comes from, and will help researchers design and build better computers and algorithms. The strange properties of quantum mechanics give quantum computers the potential to perform some computations exponentially faster than conventional computers. But where the extra power comes from - and how best to take advantage of it - is in many ways still an open question.

A new paper in the journal Nature by CIFAR Fellow Joseph Emerson of the program in Quantum Information Science, along with colleagues at the Institute of Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, is a step towards solving the questions.

The paper shows that a quantum property called contextuality is the key. Contextuality refers to the fact that in quantum systems, a measurement will necessarily affect the thing being measured. For instance, if you want to measure the spin of a particle, it's wrong to think that there is a "real" spin just waiting to be revealed. Instead, the very act of measuring the spin helps determine what it will be.

"One way of thinking about contextuality is that inevitably measurements involve some kind of disturbance. I'm not just learning about some definite property the system had prior to the measurement. I can be learning about some property the system had, but only in a way that depends on how I did the measurement."

One of the leading approaches for quantum computing uses a technique called fault-tolerant stabilizer computation. It's a way of correcting errors that occur in quantum computers as the quantum states interact with the environment. By using a process called "magic-state distillation," quantum computers can be made to function dependably despite the noise introduced by the environment.

Emerson's paper shows that the only kinds of "magic states" that will yield quantum computational power are those that rely on contextuality.

"Ultimately this should be a tool for experimentalists, to set the bar for what they have to achieve if they want to build a quantum computer that is useful, perhaps as a litmus test for a quantum computer's viability," Emerson says.

Although the mathematical proof of the power of contextuality is limited for now to a particular kind of quantum computation, Emerson thinks that future work might show that it's a general feature of all quantum computation.

Emerson says that the result builds on earlier work from a collaboration with CIFAR Senior Fellow Daniel Gottesman (Perimeter Institute), which grew out of contact they had through the CIFAR program.

"The CIFAR quantum information network and CIFAR funding were both instrumental to developing this result, which was a collective effort from several members of my research group," Emerson says.

Weird Freakin Magic Ingredient for Quantum Computing

Researchers find weird magic ingredient for quantum computing
by Staff Writers Waterloo, Canada (SPX) Jun 16, 2014
This geometric figure illustrates the concept of magic states and their relation to contextuality. The triangular region contains quantum states that are not magic and do not exhibit contextuality. States outside the triangle do exhibit contextuality and may be useful as a resource in the magic-state model of quantum computing. Image courtesy University of Waterloo.

A form of quantum weirdness is a key ingredient for building quantum computers according to new research from a team at the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC). In a new study published in the journal Nature, researchers have shown that a weird aspect of quantum theory called contextuality is a necessary resource to achieve the so-called magic required for universal quantum computation.

One major hurdle in harnessing the power of a universal quantum computer is finding practical ways to control fragile quantum states. Working towards this goal, IQC researchers Joseph Emerson, Mark Howard and Joel Wallman have confirmed theoretically that contextuality is a necessary resource required for achieving the advantages of quantum computation.

"Before these results, we didn't necessarily know what resources were needed for a physical device to achieve the advantage of quantum information. Now we know one," said Mark Howard, a postdoctoral fellow at IQC and the lead author of the paper.

"As researchers work to build a universal quantum computer, understanding the minimum physical resources required is an important step to finding ways to harness the power of the quantum world."

Quantum devices are extremely difficult to build because they must operate in an environment that is noise-resistant. The term magic refers to a particular approach to building noise-resistant quantum computers known as magic-state distillation. So-called magic states act as a crucial, but difficult to achieve and maintain, extra ingredient that boosts the power of a quantum device to achieve the improved processing power of a universal quantum computer.

By identifying these magic states as contextual, researchers will be able to clarify the trade-offs involved in different approaches to building quantum devices. The results of the study may also help design new algorithms that exploit the special properties of these magic states more fully.

"These new results give us a deeper understanding of the nature of quantum computation. They also clarify the practical requirements for designing a realistic quantum computer," said Joseph Emerson, professor of Applied Mathematics and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research fellow.

"I expect the results will help both theorists and experimentalists find more efficient methods to overcome the limitations imposed by unavoidable sources of noise and other errors."

Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems.

In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation.

Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit - a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns.

Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory - there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It's because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit.

Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed - the full context of the experiment.

Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That's part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Fibonacci Number Table 216 GOLDEN RECTANGLE Compared to Rodin's Vortex Math Numbers

This is using the results of my number table where I calculate Fibonacci Sequence to all single digit numbers (1-9) with results reduced to single digit.

Chad Adams' Number Sequence
(All numbers in pattern fit perfectly to my 24x9 Table* and are in exact order to grid pattern - see below)

Rodin's Number Sequence

- Chad Adams

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Quantum Criticality and Superconductance

Quantum Criticality Observed in New Class of Materials 
by Staff Writers Houston
TX (SPX) Jun 05, 2014
An artist's depiction of a "quantum critical point,"
 the point at which a material undergoes a transition
from one phase to another at absolute zero.
The recent discovery of quantum critical points in a class
of iron superconductors could allow physicists
to develop a classification scheme for quantum criticality,
a strange electronic state that may be intimately
related to high-temperature superconductivity.
 Image courtesy Rice University.

Quantum criticality, the strange electronic state that may be intimately related to high-temperature superconductivity, is notoriously difficult to study. But a new discovery of "quantum critical points" could allow physicists to develop a classification scheme for quantum criticality - the first step toward a broader explanation.

Quantum criticality occurs in only a few composite crystalline materials and happens at absolute zero - the lowest possible temperature in the universe. The paucity of experimental observations of quantum criticality has left theorists wanting in their quest for evidence of possible causes.

The new finding of "quantum critical points" is in a class of iron superconductors known as "oxypnictides" (pronounced OXEE-nick-tydes). The research by physicists at Rice University, Princeton University, China's Zhejiang University and Hangzhou Normal University, France's Ecole Polytechnique and Sweden's Linkoping University appears in this month's issue of Nature Materials.

"One of the challenges of studying quantum criticality is trying to completely classify the quantum critical points that have been observed so far," said Rice physicist Qimiao Si, a co-author of the new study. "There are indications that there's more than one type, but do we stop at two? As theorists, we are not yet at the point where we can enumerate all of the possibilities.

"Another challenge is that there are still very few materials where we can say, with certainty, that a quantum critical point exists," Si said. "There's a very strong need, on these general grounds, for extending the materials basis of quantum criticality."

In 2001, Si and colleagues advanced a theory to explain how quantum critical points could give seemingly conventional metals unconventional properties. High-temperature superconductors are one such material, and another is "heavy fermion" metals, so-called because the electrons inside them can appear to be thousands of times more massive than normal.

Heavy fermion metals are prototype systems for quantum criticality. When these metals reach their quantum critical point, the electrons within them act in unison and the effects of even one electron moving through the system have widespread results throughout. This is very different from the electron interactions in a common wiring material like copper. It is these collective effects that have increasingly convinced physicists of a possible link between superconductivity and quantum criticality.

"The quantum critical point is the point at which a material undergoes a transition from one phase to another at absolute zero," said Si, Rice's Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Physics and Astronomy. "Unlike the classical phase transition of ice melting into water, which occurs when heat is provided to the system, the quantum phase transition results from quantum-mechanical forces. The effects are so powerful that they can be detected throughout the space inside the system and over a long time."

To observe quantum critical points in the lab, physicists cool their samples - be they heavy fermion metals or high-temperature superconductors - to extremely cold temperatures. Though it is impossible to chill anything to absolute zero, physicists can drive the phase transition temperatures to attainable low temperatures by applying pressure, magnetic fields or by "doping" the samples to slightly alter the spacing between atoms.

Si and colleagues have been at the forefront of studying quantum critical points for more than a decade. In 2003, they developed the first thermodynamic method for systematically measuring and classifying quantum critical points. In 2004 and again in 2007, they used tests on heavy fermion metals to show how the quantum critical phenomena violated the standard theory of metals - Landau's Fermi-liquid theory.

In 2008, following the groundbreaking discovery of iron-based pnictide superconductors in Japan and China, Si and colleagues advanced the first theory that explained how superconductivity develops out of a bad-metal normal state in terms of magnetic quantum fluctuations. Also that year, Si co-founded the International Collaborative Center on Quantum Matter (ICC-QM), a joint effort by Rice, Zhejiang University, the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Germany.

In 2009, Si and co-authors offered a theoretical framework to predict how the pnictides would behave at or near a quantum critical point. Several of these predictions were borne out in a series of studies the following year.

In the current Nature Materials study, Si and ICC-QM colleagues Zhu'an Xu, an experimentalist at Zhejiang, and Jianhui Dai, a theorist at Hangzhou, worked with Antoine Georges of Ecole Polytechnique, Nai Phuan Ong of Princeton and others to look for evidence of quantum critical points in an iron-based heavy fermion metallic compound made of cerium, nickel, arsenic and oxygen. The material is related to the family of iron-based pnictide superconductors.

"Heavy fermions are the canonical system for the in-depth study of quantum criticality," Si said. "We have considered heavy fermion physics in the iron pnictides before, but in those compounds the electrons of the iron elements are ordered in such a way that it makes it more difficult to precisely study quantum criticality.
"The compound that we studied here is the first one among the pnictide family that turned out to feature clear-cut heavy fermion physics. That was a pleasant surprise for me," Si said.

Through measurements of electrical transport properties in the presence of a magnetic field, the study provided evidence that the quantum critical point belongs to an unconventional type proposed in the 2001 work of Si and colleagues.

"Our work in this new heavy fermion pnictide suggests that the type of quantum critical point that has been theoretically advanced is robust," Si said. "This bodes well with the notion that quantum criticality can eventually be classified."

He said it is important to note that other homologues - similar iron-based materials - may now be studied to look for quantum critical points.

"Our results imply that the enormous materials basis for the oxypnictides, which has been so crucial to the search for high-temperature superconductivity, will also play a vital role in the effort to establish the universality classes of quantum criticality," Si said.

Additional co-authors include Yongkang Lou, Yuke Li, Chunmu Feng and Guanghan Cao, all of Zhejiang University; Leonid Pourovskii of both Ecole Polytechnique and Linkoping University; and S.E. Rowley of Princeton University.  The research was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China, the National Science Foundation of China, the NSF of Zhejiang Province, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China, the National Science Foundation, the Nano Electronics Research Corporation, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the China Scholarship Council and the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Infinite Seas

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

- Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Lucid Dream and Pinnacle of Light

September 23, 2007 Lucid Dream
There is the Space Shuttle beside a highway.  I know it is a fake, a conspiracy.  My brother Will and I are somehow privy to the knowledge of the shuttle replica.  I tell Will I don’t want to lie about this lie to the people, that they should know the truth, and that they can handle the truth.  I can’t figure out how to do such a thing, as the perpetrators of the hoax will just deny it.  Such a simple thing for them; to lie.
Thinking of them brings them and they order to have us follow them into a facility.  There are others, strangers, civilians like Will and I.  We are going to get evaluated or something. We enter a building. The light inside is dim and of a bluish hue.  It is a carpeted room, its length much longer than its width.  Along the lengths of each wall stand strange contraptions, machines.  They have a standing platform big enough for only one person to stand at a time.  A circular disk is about seven feet above the circular platform on each of the contraptions.  They are similar to a strange type of shower stall, but without walls or curtains. 
(I will come across another of one of these strange light machines in a place far from here, in the desert of my mind during a glimpse through caves of glass walls and strange beings and comatose minds)
They are leading us in, but I pause, say screw this, and turn around leaving the building and say I need to call my wife over my shoulder.
They are not happy with me.
I exit the building.  There is a bike rack where workers that ride to the facility keep their bikes.  I hop on one and race away, knowing that they are following.  A man catches up to me and asks what I am doing and why I am leaving.  Why would I do something stupid like this?  I refuse his play into his fake sincerity, and disregard anything he has to say to me.  I tell him this.  I am not frightened, and tell him this as well.  He continues to press me, over and over as if he is directly in my head.  I keep telling him that I will not believe whatever he has to say, so he might as well leave me alone because he is wasting his time.  I will not break to his will.
I arrive at a high concrete wall and climb over it quickly, distancing myself from the voice in my head.  Dropping to the other side, there is a highway.  A black van is driving towards me.  I get in without hesitation.  There are five other people in the back of the van with me, all of different ethnicities.  The van travels for a while.  Stops. We meet six black skinned men who believed they didn’t have souls or spirit, and that they had lost them.  They are strange looking, without emotion, as if drones.  I leave them at the side of the highway.  I realize that I am the one driving the black van.
I stop at some kind of fair or carnival or something.  There is a creek beside a walkway.  I become fully lucid, conscious, and aware at this moment that I am dreaming.  It feels like I am fuller, as if I was empty prior to becoming conscious in the dream. 
I tell the five people that traveled with me that we are all dreaming.  They do not understand.   I take them down to the creek where it pools and enter the icy water and motion them to follow me in.  The depth of the creek varies depending on the person.  Depth has nothing to do with the actual distance of surface water to creek bottom.  Things become emotional as some are able to keep their heads above water, some not. A few begin struggling and panicking, as if they had not learned to swim, and the water too deep for them to gain purchase.  I calm them, tell them that it is the struggling that is making the water so deep for them.  Finally, with patience and soothing talk, they are all able to keep their heads above water.  Soon, they have all gained purchase of the secure bottom, and all stand in waste deep water.
The black van pulls up and the back door opens.  The six black skinned men are there.  Their skin is deep midnight.  Once again, they show no emotion.  Their eyes are all black, mouths red.  One of them gets out and comes to me.  He tries sticking a spongy black rod about an inch and half thick into my central “eye”.  I gently stop him and tell the dark beings that they too have spirits.  They must because they exist within my dream.   He continues with the black rod.  I do not know it, but I will see him again in two months time.
A brief transition occurs, as if all the people dissipate.  I try to go into the sky while I am lucid.  I can’t.  I look around and walk to a flat spot on the ground close to the creek and its pool.  Spread my arms wide.  Vibrations start.  The vibrations are a beginning to transiting to another state of consciousness, but I don’t feel that I am going anywhere.  I think about what I am doing wrong, and remember a technique from meditating. I search for my third eye inside my mind.  It feels like a settling in place occurs throughout my being, and I pull myself inward.  Vibrations turn to rushing, a massive swirling wind.  I am moving extremely fast, my ‘eyes’ closed so as to keep myself focused.  I stay calm and ride it.  Faster, faster.  I feel like I am being violently torn apart, a renting of the mind. 
The violent wind stops, my feeling of movement ceases.  I open my ‘eyes’.
I am at another place/plane.  I am a point of consciousness.  There is no form to me, there is only awareness.  I find myself in what appears to be an ancient temple site, but not at all in ruins. No entropy.  I venture forth by a focus of my consciousness, not by any physical means.
There is no one around, but immediately I begin to hear a voice, loud and strong, but very monotone.  It is coming from the sky, to the left and up…up.  We converse for a while.  I cannot remember what he says, except the final statement that is also half question. “You will help us…?”  I know he knows that I will not refuse.  “Of course,” I say.
It is twilight.  There are stone columns.  Colors, sights, smells are bronze and twilight and green and wrought iron, of woods and growth and stillness.  There is a beige tall, thin structure thrusting into the sky; an obelisk that resides at the end of a stone pathway between the columns, spirals of wrought iron twining like vines amongst them.  I float down the path, between the white columns and twisting iron, towards the obelisk and look up.  At the top glows an extremely bright light that I can barely look at.  It is magnificent, so powerful it seems if I were to fully engage the light, I would be ripped apart.  Thankfully, at that moment the tower is blocking the most intense part of the light, a halo wrapping around the pyramid pinnacle at the top of the obelisk.
I head closer and make it to the bottom of the tower, and decide to rise up to transcend its pinnacle and venture into the light.