Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Intercourse

I walked for two hours last night and managed to pretty much get rid of the limp, although I remain a bit slow-moving lately and have to concentrate on not sliding my foot.

I find the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics terrifying, all the more because it's the most plausible of the batch.

I love the BWV232. Nearly all the problems people have with classical music result from not turning the volume up high enough.

I accept nearly all global warming claims, but nevertheless I just can't get worked up about it. Maybe it's time humanity got scorched off the planet, though I doubt a few degrees is going to do the job--the octopi (I don't understand what the point of my 7th grade English class was if Firefox's spell-checker is going to insist the plural is "octopuses") deserve a chance to squish-squish-squish-squish-squish-squish-squish-squish their way to the top of the food chain.

BARNETT: Justice Marshall famously said: "Commerce is something more than traffic--it is intercourse!" ... Don't say whatever you're going to say, Scott.

...

Scott:
I know, I do it all the time. So are you a Copenhagen interpretation or Many Worlds interpretation type of girl?

Hanah:
what?

Scott:
Do you think that the observer fixes the wave function with his observation, or that all possible configurations implied by quantum mechanics obtain in separate universes?


Hanah:

uh...

Scott:
Let's put it like this. You've got a cat, and the cat's in a box, and the box has a bomb in it full of poison gas that will detonate depending on the position of an electron at time t. Now if quantum mechanics is right, and it seems it is, we don't know if the electron is in the necessary position or not to trigger the bomb--all we can say is that it has a probability of being there. So let's say there's a 50% chance of the electron being there or not, and triggering the bomb (and killing the cat). So, if at time t, the cat is still in a box, there is a 50% chance it's alive and a 50% chance it's dead. But it is not definitely one or another, because the electron is not definitely in the desired position or not! It is only probabilistically there or not there.
So what happens when we open the box?

Hanah:
I have to go now.

Scott:

In some other universe, you don't have to go now.

2 comments:

Jay Goodman Tamboli said...

There may have been a universe in which she didn't have to go before she said she had to go, but as soon as she told you she had to do that collapsed them, right?

I wonder if employers would accept a probability distribution function as my GPA if I don't look at my grades.

Scott said...

I believe, once we start talking about multiple universes, we're outisde the Copenhagen interpretation and in the Many Worlds Interpretation. Collapse of the wave function only occurs in the former.

So Hanah, under the Copenhagen interpretation, had a probability of having to go or not having to go, and as soon as she said she had to go, then I, observing, caused the wave function to collapse into the definite measurement of her actually having to go.

But the MWI holds that there was no collapse. Rather the universe decohered and split into two universes, one where Hanah told me that she had to go, and another where she told me she didn't have to go. Both possibilities of the wave function obtain, but in decoherent universes.

Employers would probably be willing to accept a probability distribution of your GPA if you're willing to accept a probability distribution of your salary.