Tag Archives: light

More Than You Wanted to Know About Light

oh150627 Double whoa.



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Top 5 Things That Are Really Hard to Anthropomorphize

Today’s cartoon is a repeat from May 2010.  To make up for it I’ve spent three and a half minutes making another silly list.

Top 5 Things That Are Really Hard to Anthropomorphize:

5.  Dark Matter (too theoritical)

4.  Uvula (fun to say, not fun to see walk and talk and do the hokey-pokey)

3.  Greenland (Why?)

2.  Light (Is it a particle or a wave? Make up your mind).

1.  Mitt Romney (just impossible)


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The Quantum Theory of Cartooning

I’m almost certain today’s cartoon makes sense.

It could be a clever commentary on the pitfalls of personal reflection.  It might also be that Hammy lacks an understanding of the physics of light.  Or, it’s just a bunch of random nonsense.

According to The Quantum Theory of Cartooning all three explanations are possible at the same time.  They are all potentially true.  It’s not until you actually decide on one that it becomes absolutely true.

Be kind.

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Quantum Effects at a Squirrely Distance

Over the Hedge

It wasn’t a cat in Schrodinger’s box it was a wacky squirrel.

Schrodinger’s Cat is a thought experiment that demonstrates the absurdity of quantum superposition when applied to everyday objects.   Superposition describes all the possible states of a system (such as all the possible positions of a subatomic particle).  Quantum theory says that superposition collapses into a definite state only at the moment of quantum observation.

The experiment involves placing a cat and a small bit of radioactive material in a closed box.   If the radioactive material releases a single particle a geiger counter detects it, triggering a hammer that shatters a vial of hydrocyanic acid, killing the cat.   If the radioactive material does not release a particle the cat is alive.  Superposition states that the cat is BOTH dead and alive (or entangled) until the moment of observation.   Common sense states this is ridiculous.  The cat is either dead or alive, but not both at the same time.

Except that we know that shooting a series of single photons through a double-slit barrier at a detection screen results in a banded interference pattern.   This clearly suggests that a single photon must be interfereing with itself.   That can only happen if the photon goes through both slits at the same time.   How can a single photon be in two places at once?  It can only do that if it is a wave.  But if the photon is a wave, how is it we can detect it arriving at a single spot on the detection screen as though it were a particle.   Somehow in the journey through the slits the the photon acts as  both particle and wave (in quantum superpoisiton) and only resolves its state as a  particle when it’s detected.

The only thing I can deduce from this is that we all somehow inhabit a world that exits in all possible states until the moment we observe it.  Eyes closed: anything’s possible.  Eyes open: one possibility.   But why do we all seem to perceive the same outcome?  Or do we?

I’m telling you, it’s Hammy in the box.   And he’s doing the hokey pokey with that subatomic particle.  And you know how I know for sure?


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Lucy in the Sky with Photons

Over the Hedge

I saw a video online the other day where scientists using mirrors focused sunlight to melt steel.  Kind of like when we were cruel, heartless five year olds and we vaporized ants with a magnifying glass.   Don’t lie, you know you did.   Anyway, sunlight is strong stuff.   Too much and it burns through metal.   Too little, and it’s grey and dark and we’re all living in Norway.   We crave the sun like a drug, but like a drug, if we fly too close, our wings melt and we do a swan dive off the garage into an empty pool.  Ouch.  

Ooo!  Ooo!  Here’s a stumper:  Does a marijuana plant get high on sunlight?   And, if so, are we in turn, smoking the sun?   I KNOW!  WHOA!   

Don’t Bogart that star, dude!

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