Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

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Simultas
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Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Simultas » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:15 pm UTC

So, my question is this:

Of all the misuses, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Quantum Mechanics that you've seen in your life, which were your favorites?

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:50 pm UTC

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:53 pm UTC

Simultas wrote:So, my question is this:

Of all the misuses, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Quantum Mechanics that you've seen in your life, which were your favorites?

Anything that talks about quantum mechanics in actin/myosin fibers in neurons accounting for consciousness.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Shivahn » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:30 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Simultas wrote:So, my question is this:

Of all the misuses, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Quantum Mechanics that you've seen in your life, which were your favorites?

Anything that talks about quantum mechanics in actin/myosin fibers in neurons accounting for consciousness.

Pretty much anything involving consciousness is golden.

The "Consciousness affects the universe on a deep level, since wavefunction collapse doesn't occur until an observer person looks at the camera's feed" variety is a good one.

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby krogoth » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:45 pm UTC

HungryHobo's first link, that atomic configuration on the crystal picture shows 8 covalent bonds on one atom...

Edit: then I started reading and I think I lost a few IQ points
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Dopefish » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:19 am UTC

Scroedinger hates cats was a mildly amusing interpretation of a certain thought experiment, but most uses just make me cry on the inside.

Deepak Chopra's stuff in particular sticks in my memory, in particular one video where he finds himself talking to an actual theoretical physicist in the audience. (link to vid.)

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Frenetic Pony » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:58 pm UTC

Could my answer be "almost all of it?" including the copenhagen interpretation for not accounting for the EPR paradox (among other things) :D

But, to get more specific: http://dilbert.com/2012-04-17/

Not technically a misuse since it's a purposeful joke, but it's still funny.

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby ImagingGeek » Tue May 01, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

Anything by Deepak Chopra

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Bears! » Tue May 01, 2012 4:13 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:Scroedinger hates cats was a mildly amusing interpretation of a certain thought experiment, but most uses just make me cry on the inside.

Deepak Chopra's stuff in particular sticks in my memory, in particular one video where he finds himself talking to an actual theoretical physicist in the audience. (link to vid.)


That video was excruciating. Ugghh.. Why couldn't he just stop talking?
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby TestTubeGames » Wed May 02, 2012 2:47 am UTC

Simultas wrote:Of all the misuses, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Quantum Mechanics that you've seen in your life, which were your favorites?


I agree wholeheartedly with everyone above... so I'll take this in a slightly different direction (by interpreting the question in a positive light... emphasis on 'favorite'):

The Infinite Improbability Drive in the Hitchhiker's series. Based on a comical usage of the wavefunction - where your ship's wavefunction will collapse far, far away... and in an infinitely improbably situation. Amazing.

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Ankit1010 » Wed May 02, 2012 6:01 am UTC

I love how every news article on quantum computation ever starts with explaining how entanglement is magical and then goes on to say how n qubits encode 2^n bits of information, so we can solve all our problems ever with 100-200 qubits. Some of them also mention how quantum computers can prime factor numbers asymptotically faster than classical ones, hence they must be epically fast in running all algorithms ever.

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Technical Ben » Wed May 02, 2012 9:48 am UTC

I read a bit of a short story posted by an author online. It was about a quantum computer made in a lab. It had a single qubit. With this they not only simulated our universe in real time, but every possible universe in the multiverse and while factoring primes. :lol:
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby HungryHobo » Wed May 02, 2012 10:10 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:I read a bit of a short story posted by an author online. It was about a quantum computer made in a lab. It had a single qubit. With this they not only simulated our universe in real time, but every possible universe in the multiverse and while factoring primes. :lol:

That wouldn't happen to be this would it?:

"I don't know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility"
http://qntm.org/responsibility

because that doesn't refer to a qbit anywhere, just a

ultra-medium-density selectably-foaming non-elasticised quantum waveform frequency rate range collapse selectors and the single tormented tau neutrino caught in the middle of it all


morealess as a gobeldegook excuse for the pretext of a computer which can do infinite computations etc in finite time.

Fun story otherwise.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby WarDaft » Tue May 08, 2012 4:00 am UTC

It's a fun story yes, but it doesn't matter the level of science, there's quite literally an upper bound on the amount of information you can have in a volume before a black hole spontaneously forms.

So it doesn't matter the technobabble, you can't have an infinitely fast computer in this reality. And changing that requires actually changing quite a few fundamental aspects of physics... which would change a lot of other things and-


..so yeah.



But yeah, I'm going to have to go with any usage of the word 'observer' that is used to mean more than the most basic of particle interactions. (Obviously there are tiny exceptions to this, but that just proves the rule, right? ... ... Right?)
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby HungryHobo » Tue May 08, 2012 8:13 am UTC

the choice to refer to an "observer" rather than just an interaction or interfering outside object : worst decision ever

Can't count how many times I've come across things based on the misconception that an "observer" has to be conscious or anything more than a spec of dust.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Shivahn » Tue May 08, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

We need to change the language.

From now on they shall be interlopers.

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Laserdan » Wed May 09, 2012 11:45 am UTC

"Sobriety is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs."

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby nbauers » Thu May 17, 2012 8:32 am UTC

Have you found this to be true? My sources are XKCD and Wikipedia.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Technical Ben » Thu May 17, 2012 10:21 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Spoiler:
Technical Ben wrote:I read a bit of a short story posted by an author online. It was about a quantum computer made in a lab. It had a single qubit. With this they not only simulated our universe in real time, but every possible universe in the multiverse and while factoring primes. :lol:

That wouldn't happen to be this would it?:

"I don't know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility"
http://qntm.org/responsibility

because that doesn't refer to a qbit anywhere, just a

ultra-medium-density selectably-foaming non-elasticised quantum waveform frequency rate range collapse selectors and the single tormented tau neutrino caught in the middle of it all


morealess as a gobeldegook excuse for the pretext of a computer which can do infinite computations etc in finite time.

Fun story otherwise.


They still mention a single particle. As far as I know, that would be close to a single qubit. The idea of the story seemed to be, that because it was infinitely fast, they could simulate any computer (64bit, 128 bit etc) or even the universe on a single bit. I don't agree with the concept, but it seemed to be the "handwave" the story was presenting. :P
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 17, 2012 10:05 pm UTC

Laserdan wrote:One word*:

What tнē #$*! D̄ө ωΣ (k)πow!?

I had to watch this for a really idiotic class I took in undergrad on Leadership, because the teacher was in love with the notion of cosmic interconn- I already want to punch something in the dick.

I was the lone scientist in a room of musicians and basket weavers, and most of them were snickering at the film. I was losing my mind.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 18, 2012 8:15 am UTC

So this is kind of relevant.

A friend of my gran's found out I'm going to uni to study physics next year. She's very new-age-y but probably too set in her ways to be persuaded otherwise by any amount of evidence. Anyway, she sent me the following letter recommending some books and films for me to read.

Dear esoanem

Of course, in 1956 no one knew about quantum physics - I loved reading about particle physics & where did they go when they couldn't be "seen" anymore.

Here is a list of books & DVDs that I have found interesting - I'm sure you have seen some of them - the films.

As it describes in the film "what the bleep do we know" the native Americans could not see Columbus' ships because they had no knowledge that they existed. The shaman saw ripples in the water but did not see the ships until he looked & looked & asked himself about the ripples; then he saw the ships - and because the people trusted the shaman - they then saw the ships. So what don't we see today because we have no knowledge of what to look for?

The enclosed films & books are all about reality - what is reality? Impossibility becoming reality!

Books:
As you believe - the creating cosmos
Consciousness & quantum behaviour
The field
The holographic Universe
The user illusion
Dancing in the shadow of the moon

Movies:
The thirteenth floor
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Matrix = 3[sic] movies
National Treasure
The Game
Field of Dreams
What the bleep do we know?
The Truman show
and others I'm sure you have seen!

I'm sure you are very busy preparing for college. So do not worry if none of this appeals to you! I don't mind!


Obviously I need to send her some reply but I cannot with a clear conscience acknowledge half of the she suggests as science. That said, I don't want to be a douchebag and ram evidence down her throat trying to force her to realise how stupid this is because it probably wouldn't work anyway. So I was wondering what you guys thought I should say in my response.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby HungryHobo » Fri May 18, 2012 9:52 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Obviously I need to send her some reply but I cannot with a clear conscience acknowledge half of the she suggests as science. That said, I don't want to be a douchebag and ram evidence down her throat trying to force her to realise how stupid this is because it probably wouldn't work anyway. So I was wondering what you guys thought I should say in my response.



I find i easier to pick at a single point rather than waving and trying to convince people that everthing they believe is rubbish.

the one common to most of the pseudoscience is the confusion between an observer (human, conscious etc) and an observer(quantum, anything made of matter and large enough to interfere with itself) and you may be able to send back a gentle "hmm, some of those seem to make the mistake of confusing XYZ with ZYX .... actuall it's like this: explanation"

Euck, I went to check if wikipedia had a decent explanation of how quantum observers don't have to be conscious but it turns out the article on the matter is as bad as anything in this thread.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_(quantum_physics)
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby ElWanderer » Fri May 18, 2012 12:06 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Obviously I need to send her some reply but I cannot with a clear conscience acknowledge half of the she suggests as science. That said, I don't want to be a douchebag and ram evidence down her throat trying to force her to realise how stupid this is because it probably wouldn't work anyway. So I was wondering what you guys thought I should say in my response.

Ouch, that was painful reading. However, as they're just suggesting books and films you might be interested in and end with "So do not worry if none of this appeals to you! I don't mind!" I don't think you need respond with much more than a simple thank you.

Looking at the books on Amazon was fun:
As you believe - the creating cosmos - these seem to be two separate books by the same author as the one below. Amazon doesn't have a product description for any of them, though piecing together the clues from the reviwers suggests As You Believe is a self-psychic-healing book.
Consciousness & quantum behaviour - the strapline for the book seems to be "The Theory of Laminated Spacetime Re-Examined"! *imagines running the universe through an enormous laminator*
The field - "A book which gives scientific proof of the paranormal. Psychic activity, remote viewing, the power of prayer and homeopathy are all discussed in this book which The Ecologist called ‘one of the most thought-provoking reads of the year’, and which has already gained a almost cult following." Ahem
The holographic Universe - proper cuckoo - what if reality was a projection from another dimension... we can explain ghosts!
The user illusion - seems on a fairly solid footing, about how much of the work the brain does is unconscious
Dancing in the shadows of the moon - the description on Amazon has left me bewildered as to what this is about. click through if you dare:
Spoiler:
Amazon wrote:In her first books, Behaving as if the God in ALl Life Mattered, Machaelle Small Wright wrote:

"If we allowed all the knowledge from our soul level to fully flow and be totally accessible to our concious self . . . before we disciplined ourselves on how to respond to such as flow on the physcial level, we would shatter. Blindly expressing limitless through limitation would be more pressure than our body could bear."

In Behaving, Machaelle scratched the surface on a whole new reality. Now, in Dancing, she opens the door and invites us in.

Out to discredit the "ozzie and Harriet" School of Spirituality, Machaelle gives us extensive groundwork, supported by an actual account of her own expansion experience. She tells of her introduction to the White Brotherhood--that evolved group of souls who assist humans in their evolutionary development--in a story told through journal entries for those early years of her nature work. Reading Dancing, you feel like a bird on Machaelle's shoulder . . . watching the expansion unfold.

I'm intrigued to learn what implications National Treasure and The Truman Show have for aspiring physicists... I guess you could respond in kind and ask what they thought of Tron: Legacy.

As to the "natives unable to see ships" story, Wikipedia links to this as a criticism of it: http://www.forteantimes.com/strangedays ... dness.html
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby eSOANEM » Fri May 18, 2012 3:38 pm UTC

ElWanderer wrote:Ouch, that was painful reading. However, as they're just suggesting books and films you might be interested in and end with "So do not worry if none of this appeals to you! I don't mind!" I don't think you need respond with much more than a simple thank you.


I think that's probably for the best. At least with the films I can talk about them positively even if they don't really have much relation to physics. Thanks.
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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby Timefly » Fri May 18, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:So what don't we see today because we have no knowledge of what to look for?


I know what she writes is bullcrap, but this is quite a profound question.

Also, finish off the letter to her by saying, "While not agreeing with X/Y/Z, I did watch the Matrix and greatly enjoyed it. Thank you for your recommendation."

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Re: Hilarious Misuses of Quantum Mechanics

Postby TestTubeGames » Sat May 19, 2012 5:26 am UTC

ElWanderer wrote:The holographic Universe - proper cuckoo - what if reality was a projection from another dimension... we can explain ghosts!


Back as a curious high school student, I picked that book up at a thrift store (first red flag). I guess I didn't look closely enough, and it seemed legitimate at the time. In fact, the whole first section of the book got me really engaged. Holograms... projections... surfaces of black holes. Interesting stuff. Then, all of the sudden, about a third of the way through the book, it started talking about a guy in India who eats air and can make sand from his hands (second and third red flags).

I think that was the sharpest 180 I've ever had between trusting an author, and not trusting an author.


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