Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WILATU #7 - quantum mechanics

I have chosen quantum mechanics as my first post because there is some big news in the field. They may have uncovered the elusive Higgs boson. So what does that have to do with George Clooney? I am not sure, but Wikipedia seems to think that the Higgs boson is the basis for Solaris. A boson is a type of particle and the Higgs is the only one left in the Standard Model that has not been proven. I have been trying to unbderstand it, and the best I can come up with is that it is essentially the difference between mass and energy. And that is why I love quantum physics - everything is a total mind-fuck! You have to deconstruct everything you know about how shit works to even begin to understand it.

Example: there are particles existing in two places at the same time. You can never see them because as soon as you look they revert to a single state. So it is like a bad cartoon joke. Every time you turn your head, they unsettle back into multiple states of existence. You turn to look - one stable particle. Here is the kicker - this is all on paper. You cannot "look" at these things because they are smaller than light waves. So quantum mechanics requires a cosmic "observer." And it isn't us, we don't count -not even George Clooney. So this hard, dry science kinda-sorta proves that there is a God. Again, some great mind-fuckery.

The other great thing is if they prove that they have found this particle, the Europeans are screwed. The EU spent billions of dollars building a huge supercollider strictly for the purpose of uncovering the Higgs. Remember, this is the last particle that needs to be found. They can't use the collider for anything else. Just a monumental waste of Euros. (WILATU #17 - schadenfreude.)

By the way, if you decide you want to watch Solaris, I recommend also seeing the original Russian version. Though Clooneyless, it is a far superior film. It is also a little easier to understand what is supposed to be going on. In researching this post I found there is a book on which both movies are based and I will now have to track down. But again, no Clooney.

However, we here at WILATU know what Steven Soderburg and every woman in America knows: people want more Clooney. So here is one more pic.

10 comments:

red said...

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Never expected to enjoy a post about quantum physics so much. What I love most about Clooney is that he's able to marry Gable's raw sexuality with Grant's suave class. (All three, of course, can be quite funny by turns.) On any list of what _I_ like about the Universe, I would have to include Clooney.

I'm going to return to the post now and spend a little more time drooling.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

OK, the Athiest chimes in:

I don't buy the whole "Observer Effect" argument. To me, all Heisenberg necessarily proved (with his uncertainty principle) is that humans cannot possibly know both the quantum state AND motion of a given particle -- it's simply an elegant way of saying we humans are limited in our ability to understand the physical universe. But we *know* those particles are there, so I find it logical to assume that, just because we cannot see AND track these sub-lightwave-sized particles doesn't negate their existence. That's distinct from using the same argument about God (that we can or should believe without seeing) because, as I said, we can in fact prove the existence of these particles through scientific application. I mean, there's absolutely no question that we can apply scientific theories to bring about real-world results (e.g., the atom bomb). But, one cannot simply pray for an explosion and watch it happen.

The guy who wrote that Observer Effect page also penned a critique of Darwin and claims to be a spiritual and esoteric teacher, so one could argue that his writings and explanations are somewhat predisposed toward the mystical realm. Personally, I've read too much Sagan, I guess, to give him credence.

The whole thing's a complete mind-fuck, as you stressed -- and I'm therefore skeptical of many things on both sides: the purely mystical as well as a good deal of the scientific theoretical. (I've written on my frustrations about this before. That bit about the particles existing in two places at once, which I first encountered via Bell's Theorem, pretty much blew my mind.)

I should add, btw, that my fascination (ages ago) with the philosophical implications of all of this stuff have resurfaced lately while reading Ayn Rand. I'm currently planning once again to research some issues related to free will vs. determinism that may fit in well with this discussion.

The fact that you brought George Clooney into the discussion, though, is pure WILATU Magic.

pezda said...

Pretty much just like God, quantum mechanics is a bit much for my feeble homo sapien sapien brain to grasp so I don't even try.

pezda said...

Oh, I forgot to add; Mmm George Clooney is just dreamy!

pezda said...

This is just my two bits from the pseudo-agnostic (because even agnosticism is taking some stand, which I don't feel qualified to do).

pezda said...

Of course, if I had to take a stand, I'd pick Clooney over Brad Pitt any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Evil Genius said...

Red,

I know you always found my interest in the philosophical...Red? Red? Nevermind.

BSUWG,

I just pulled that link out of a Google search. I am sure most of the people interested in the Observer Effect have slanted views. But this is only in the Standard Model, which requires the Higgs to be valid. There could be various other explanations that could totally nullify the whole argument. This includes most String Theories.

I went back and read your post. I want to kiss you on the lips! But I am holding back on the limit of human knowledge until I get to WILATU #31 - singularities.

Pezda,

I must say that while searching for the appropriate photo, I did get a little turned on. That is a damned handsome man.

-EG

GETkristiLOVE said...

Solaris, not to be confused with Sun Microsystem's operating system... because although it too is Clooneyless, it's a far superior operating system to the Windows' version.

I have to say that, btw.

Big Orange said...

you want some REAL mind-fuckery? THEOLOGY is where it is, bub! Talk about Orwellian!!

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out if Schrodinger's Cat is alive or dead or both.

Evil Genius said...

GkL,

Anything is superior to Windows.

Big Orange,

If you figure out which state the cat is in, you have more or less grasped the Holy Trinity. You can thank me later.

-EG