Saturday, March 17, 2007


SCOTT: There was hail everywhere yesterday. Taxis were stopped all over the city... because of all the hailing.

MOM: What?

SCOTT: Nothing.


SCOTT: The Vikings used ice for money.

JAY: No, they didn't.

SCOTT: I really thought I could get you to believe that one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wittgensteinian Paradoxes

Got up at 6, put in an 8 hour workday and still had time to go to campus, practice piano (some tricky little Brahms exercises), and finish reading for class tomorrow. My right hip still hurts when I walk (and don't walk, for that matter)--I told Dad I'd be happy with the whole experience if I managed to get a handicap parking sticker out of it.

This weather is phenomenal. You know, when global warming bakes this planet, I predict two significant effects. 1. More sweating, which in turn will result in people losing more weight. 2. Skimpier clothing. These effects, if robust, should of course fall into the utilitarian calculus.

[1:39:56 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says: Maybe I should change the function of Photoshop pictures of Babalu in a box with acid, one dead and one alive. When you reload the page, you get each with 50% probability.

[1:40:57 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says: Or I could Photoshop versions of the current photos, except all of the cats are dead.

[1:45:54 PM] Scott says:
You could set up two catinabox sites., which is governed by observation and 50% of the time displays dead cats, or which shows all cats alive and dead simultaneously.

[1:46:20 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says: Except that one of those is false.

[1:46:36 PM] Scott says:
One of the interpretations?

[1:46:40 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says: Yup.

[1:47:25 PM] Scott says: Perhaps, or perhaps one of the many worlds obtained in the many world interpretation includes a universe where the Copenhagen interpretation is true and observation does cause collapse.

[1:47:35 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says: Or doesn't.

[1:47:46 PM] Scott says:
And doesn't.


[22:00] [FanOfTheSitcom227]: i think i've also solved the mystery of the instaboners

[22:00] Remy Boncouer:
No way! Wittgenstein said that was fundamentally unsolvable!

Works Cited

Those who think that they have had religious experiences of their own have to judge for themselves the quality of that experience. But the great majority of the adherents to the world's religions are relying not on religious experience of their own but on revelations that were supposedly experienced by others. It might be thought that this is not so different from the theoretical physicist relying on the experiments of other, but there is an important distinction. The insights of thousands of individual physicists have converged to a satisfying (though incomplete) common understanding of physical reality. In contrast, the statements about God or anything else that have been derived from religious revelation point in radically different directions. After thousands of years of theological analysis, we are no closer now to a common understanding of the lessons of religious revelation.

Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


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.


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


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?



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?

I have to go now.


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

Monday, March 12, 2007


Some of you may be interested in this. I found it looking for a score of the Bach B-minor Mass (so tempted to be pedantic and call it the H-moll Messe, but watch as I resist the urge mightily). It's a collection of classical music scores that have fallen into the public domain.

The closer to present the composer lived, the patchier the collection--though there remains a refreshing amount of Prokofiev.

Anyway, I'm going to go for a lurch.

Slope on a Loglog Graph

VOLOKH: So what's an example of an elastic good?

SCOTT: Rubber bands?

VOLOKH: Ha. Rubber bands, he says.