Friday, September 14, 2007

it makes so much sense, yet ...

The first sandstorm at Burning Man blew down our shade structure. It took us a couple hours to resurrect it, and we added two diagonal wires to support the top.

The following day, we experienced another sandstorm. Our group hid in the RV, worrying over our shade structure each time it flapped with the wind.

Melinda: [sitting by RV window] "Let's not look at the shade structure. I can't bear to see it getting tossed around."

Me: "Okay." [looking away]

Melinda: "Wait! [jerking head back] We have to look at it! The Uncertainty Principle says that it can't change state while it's being observed!"

Me: [instinctively snapping to look out the window]


zb42 said...

What a pair of bosons... Nothing more exciting than fermions engaging in quantum humour!

Anonymous said...

Melinda wasn't completely off base. There's a result in quantum mechanics called The Quantum Zeno Paradox that is precisely along those lines. (Although, instead of a shade structure, I think they discussed an atom with an excited electron.)

Of course, the rate at which measurements are necessary to keep a system in an unstable state become prohibitively frequent (multiple observations per planck time, or somesuch), so, y'know... you can't keep a shade structure up by looking at it.

John K. Lin said...

Wow, you two are both geeks :-)

Maybe you guys can guest star on:

I just saw the TV preview/trailer.