Tag: heisenberg

Heisenberg, Physics, and Relationships (and more)

Found another really funny webcomic at www.basicinstructions.net.  The general premise is that each strip is a "How to" do something that usually results in snarky and comical dialog as the individual(s) follow the instructions.

They range in subject matter from things like "How to Remember the Name of that Song…You Know, That One" to "How to Explain Sex to Your Child".  Pretty much every single one of them (and there are a decent number in the archives) made me laugh, but the following two were just geeky enough for me to want to share:

First, following close behind one of my recent posts about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle as it relates to know-it-alls being right, wrong, or "Ross-right", the infamous Heisenberg rears his head again:


And for one of Scott Meyer's regular style comics, here's a set of great physics joke that I only wish I could have made:

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QotD: I Was Wrong

    How often are you wrong?  Do you find it difficult to admit it when you are? 

    Submitted by emily ann.

I see a disturbing trend here on Vox.  All of my neighbors who have answered this question have claimed that they are never wrong.  Not that I would ever doubt their veracity, but there's got to be an issue where some of them disagree on something.  Let's take something simple like the water-glass-half-full-half-empty issue.  Someone could say it's half-full.  Someone else could say it's half-empty.  (Most politicians would say the water's at the halfway point, but that's another conversation entirely).

Now let's assume both those people claim that they're never wrong.  What happens then?  Do the laws of nature force one of them to die before they can make this observation about the water glass, thus saving the universe from certain paradox (much in the way some believe it will do if anyone does attempt to build an operational time machine)?   Or does one of them get proven wrong?  Or are both right in some sort of quantum-physics manner as yet to be explained in equation format by today's scientists?

Here's where I come in.  For a couple of years now, my wife has coined a term for me.  I am right a LOT of the time.  In fact, I am wrong so infrequently that I will sometimes get a mite perturbed at being found to be wrong, and have been known to try to twist the question/answer so as to avoid this (I'll share the story of "fried chicken" vs. "chicken that is fried" some other time).  But that aside, I am also, a lot of the time, "Ross right".

"Ross right" is a state of being, much like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, where I am right, absolutely, positively, 100% and unequivocally right, without a doubt in my mind right….right up until the point where I'm proven wrong.  The change in the state of rightness doesn't occur until someone opens the box and irrefutable proof of my wrongness is observed.  Until then, my mind is SO sure I'm right that I would (usually) wager anything on the outcome.  (OK, so it's not EXACTLY like the Uncertainty Principle, but props to me for working that into a post, right?)

Anyway, if you incorporate "Ross right" into my example above, suddenly both observers can be "Ross right" and willing to battle to the death over the state of the water glass.  Since they're both 100% sure they're right, nature doesn't have to wipe one of them out to avoid the paradox.  And if you get tired of their inane prattling on about how right they actually are, you can always just point out that the water ACTUALLY only takes up 46.5% of the glass' total volume, at which point both of them will suddenly be proved wrong and they'll both leave in a huff, in opposite directions.  Give them at least a week to cool off, and they'll go back to being "Ross right" the next time you talk to them :-)

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