1861: "Quantum"

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby freezeblade » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:23 pm UTC

peterdavidcarter wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:
peterdavidcarter wrote:Great sass is communicated before it is understood.
I had to Google that one. It turns out to be T.S. Eliot who said, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." He also described a cat that is "always on the wrong side of every door," which sounds very quantum mechanicky to me.


Was the MaCavity, the Mystery Cat, or was that a different one?


Nah, it was the cat who walks though walls, Pixel.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby DanAxtell » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:24 pm UTC

peterdavidcarter wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:
peterdavidcarter wrote:Great sass is communicated before it is understood.
I had to Google that one. It turns out to be T.S. Eliot who said, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." He also described a cat that is "always on the wrong side of every door," which sounds very quantum mechanicky to me.
Was the MaCavity, the Mystery Cat, or was that a different one?
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby kalira » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:37 pm UTC

That would be The Rum Tum Tugger. :)

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby peterdavidcarter » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:44 pm UTC

peterdavidcarter wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:
peterdavidcarter wrote:Great sass is communicated before it is understood.
I had to Google that one. It turns out to be T.S. Eliot who said, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." He also described a cat that is "always on the wrong side of every door," which sounds very quantum mechanicky to me.


Was that MaCavity, the Mystery Cat, or was that a different one?

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby peterdavidcarter » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:49 pm UTC

DanAxtell wrote:
peterdavidcarter wrote:Great sass is communicated before it is understood.
I had to Google that one. It turns out to be T.S. Eliot who said, "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." He also described a cat that is "always on the wrong side of every door," which sounds very quantum mechanicky to me.


Was that MaCavity, the Mystery Cat, or was that a different one?

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Solra Bizna » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:31 pm UTC

DanAxtell wrote:When I hear someone make an analogy using Heisenberg, I conclude two things:
  1. That person has never taken a course in quantum mechanics. Otherwise, they would know that such an arcane subject cannot provide a helpful analogy in ordinary conversation.
(snip)


As someone who has attempted to use HUP analogies in ordinary* conversation, reading this made me instantly understand why it didn't work and why I shouldn't do it anymore.

I haven't taken a quantum mechanics course, but HUP is one area of quantum weirdness I'm comfortable.

*"Ordinary" is relative; most of my friends are super-nerds, including one actual Doctor whose day job is experimental quantum physics.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Caswin » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:44 pm UTC

"A movie star..."
"A pro quarterback..."

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby kevsgrove » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:05 am UTC

DanAxtell wrote:I found comfort and validation when I saw “Quantum Mechanics” in the Danger Zone. My chemistry classes touched on quantum mechanics and I grasped none of it. I never came close to understanding the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

When I hear someone make an analogy using Heisenberg, I conclude two things:
  1. That person has never taken a course in quantum mechanics. Otherwise, they would know that such an arcane subject cannot provide a helpful analogy in ordinary conversation.
  2. They’re probably conflating the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle with the Hawthorne Effect, the other “H” thing about measuring that dates from the 1920s. The Hawthorne Effect is now more precisely called the Observer Effect, which is sometimes used to help describe the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle—but never vice versa.

I have actually had a non-Pi reason to say, “How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.”


HUP is one of the few things in quantum mechanics that can be understood without understanding the math behind it. If you don't mind, I'll try to give a qualitative explanation without any math.

As we try to gain understanding of tiny particles and systems, we discover that the world is "fuzzy". Not that it isn't well-defined, but that the definitions are probabilistic. There are several pairs of qualities that have an upper bound on what is actually KNOWABLE about the pair. That is, the more known about position, the less can be known about the momentum (and vice versa).

Other pairs I believe are energy & time, angular momentum & direction, and I can't remember what else.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:40 am UTC

Yeah, HUP is almost always described in "accessible" texts as that tradeoff of the precise definition of a particle's momentum vs. position, sometimes and sometimes not with the oversimplification that that's the only information we can know rather than the only information there is, and then I'm vaguely aware that it applies to other pairs of attributes. I feel like the intersection of people who are aware of HUP, but also likely to confuse it with the observer effect, is fairly small.

For that matter, I hate when the term "Hawthorne effect" is used to mean the quantum observer effect, because the latter is a very specific thing with its own name that only metaphorically falls under the former, with misleading connotations.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby FOARP » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:37 am UTC

Hmm... in my experience most of the people who understand the maths of quantum physics don't really understand the philosophical consequences, and vice-versa. One lecturer I had would literally just walk into the lecture theatre, start writing on the chalk-board, finish and walk out virtually without saying anything or answering any questions (the guy was also a colossal asshole to students who visited his office to ask for advice). I'm still not quite sure how I scrapped a pass-mark on the re-sit for that exam (first time round I got 12%) and I remember literally nothing of the maths I learned there now.

EDIT: a big shout out to the physics profs and lecturers who treated their undergraduate students like human beings, and who taught me the stuff that DID stick in my mind (mostly stuff around the philosophical implications) and which I DO still remember now, 16 years after I graduated. Profs Dave Wark and Malcolm Boshier especially.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:48 am UTC

So... You remember everything about your lecturer, but absolutely nothing of what he taught?

8-)

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby herbstschweigen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:55 am UTC

pscottdv wrote:The first thing I thought when I saw the comic was, "It takes *way* more years of mathematics to understand magnets than it does quantum mechanics!".


IMHO it takes way more and difficult math to understand general relativity than quantum mechanics. I loved astronomy as a kid. I studied physics and have a diploma (roughly equivalent to master's degree). But when deciding what courses to take, I discovered that Cosmology and General Relativity are really super weird stuff. All I remember is lecturers mumbling "gee mu nu gee mu nu" for hours.

Today I work as a software developer and have nothing to do with physics anymore. But I still like to look at the stars.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby FOARP » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:00 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:So... You remember everything about your lecturer, but absolutely nothing of what he taught?

8-)

(IGMCat)


Pretty much. Turns out that at least my brain categorises "Guy was a total asshole who would refuse to help students having a hard time with the exam questions he set and therefore risked them not graduating" as more worthy of begin remembered than how to solve wave-function equations. Which is warped, I know, but I did pass, so I must have known it at some point (or maybe I was just regurgitating memorised equations and methodology and then somehow still messing up getting to the solution...), but nothing remains now.

I've spoken to other physicists who also never bothered trying to truly learn the actual mathematics behind it, but instead just look up the relevant equations the same way IT people look up work-arounds for software problems, or who use software tools to provide the answer. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Why didn't it stick in my mind when I remember more about stuff like relativity and cosmology? I guess I wasn't able to link the maths to a physical phenomenon and so there was no mental 'hook' on which to hang it.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby herbstschweigen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:06 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Yeah, HUP is almost always described in "accessible" texts as that tradeoff of the precise definition of a particle's momentum vs. position, sometimes and sometimes not with the oversimplification that that's the only information we can know rather than the only information there is, and then I'm vaguely aware that it applies to other pairs of attributes.


The best analogy for HUP in the classical world is the relation between frequency and time, IMHO. To measure the frequency, of some sound for example, you need to count oscillations over a period of time. The more precise you want to know the frequency, the longer you have to count, thus losing time accuracy. You cannot tell the frequency of a sound at a single moment in time. As every particle in quantum mechanics is described as a wave function, the analogy of this relation to HUP is quite self-evident.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby doogly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:14 pm UTC

And mathematically it is not just an analogy, it is exactly the same. It is Fourier Transforms. They are the best things since sliced bread.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:23 pm UTC

Really, though, is sliced bread better than Fourier transforms?
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:28 pm UTC

How thinly sliced is it?

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:55 pm UTC

Anyway, sliced bread was introduced in 1928. Joseph Fourier did his stuff over a century earlier. So if anything, sliced bread was the best thing since Fourier Transforms.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby doogly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:36 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Anyway, sliced bread was introduced in 1928. Joseph Fourier did his stuff over a century earlier. So if anything, sliced bread was the best thing since Fourier Transforms.

Joe Fourier also didn't invent Fourier Transforms, he just invented doing them slowly. The Fast Fourier Transform was invented first, by Gauss. Obviously.

Sliced bread is not as good, but only because Gauss didn't apply himself to the problem, at least not in record. I have a sense of longing and foreboding that there is some superior bread which we could be now eating, if only Gauss had deemed his thoughts on the subject to be worth publishing.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby DanAxtell » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:03 pm UTC

I've enjoyed this thread and I thank those who elucidated the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
My big take-away is that both the Sliced Bread Machine patents and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle are from 1927.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:03 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:Speaking as one of the people who immediately knew what ICP was, this is an excellent example of why I hate this habit the Internet has gotten into of shortening every single goddamn proper name to its initials, regardless of who they're in the presence of. Google is useful for a lot of things, but guessing which thing a set of three seemingly random letters stands for with no further context is not one of them. And if I have to resort to Google just to decode your writing in the first place, you are probably not doing a bang-up job of communicating.


So you don't like TLAs [three-letter-acronyms] , huh? Then you really won't like FLTs [four-letter TLA] .

Next you'll tell us you don't know what PEBCAK, BOFH, SCUBA, IANAL, and LASER mean either :twisted:

I do know all of those except Brotherhood Of Foppish Hairdos. The thing about common Internet initialisms like LOL, SMH, OP, and IMHO is that they are common. Everyone encounters them all the time, so they can't help but learn them soon enough, like any other word. But there are millions of books, movies, TV shows, TV episodes, bands, albums, songs, video games, popular YouTube series, podcasts, and whatever else, and nobody is going to have all their names memorized. At most you might encounter a handful referred to by their initials frequently enough to remember what they stand for. That's why I knew who ICP was, and can tell at a glance what TLK is, and... I dunno, maybe there are others and maybe there aren't.

And even then, there's a limit. Like, I happen to be active on a forum for a popular TV series. Eventually, people took to abbreviating the names of the episodes. At that point there were only 60-some episodes out, and I had memorized most of them, at least to the point where if you asked me "What's the one where so-and-so?" I'd be able to answer. But I was still straining to remember which one people were referring to when they said "PYHD" or "SAYS" or "GIYC". Eventually I had to start consulting a list.

doogly wrote:
orthogon wrote:Anyway, sliced bread was introduced in 1928. Joseph Fourier did his stuff over a century earlier. So if anything, sliced bread was the best thing since Fourier Transforms.

Joe Fourier also didn't invent Fourier Transforms, he just invented doing them slowly. The Fast Fourier Transform was invented first, by Gauss. Obviously.

Imagine if he had gone on to become its namesake. Decoding a JPEG image could be called degaussing.
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:59 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:The thing about common Internet initialisms like LOL, SMH, OP, and IMHO is that they are common. Everyone encounters them all the time, so they can't help but learn them soon enough, like any other word.
For the record (and relating to the next text, which I snipped) I had to look up SMH (had to go to the third search engine result, which was Urban Dictionary) to find out what it meant.

It might be a generational thing. I 'learnt' my TLAs, ETLAs, VETLAs, etc, back two or three decades ago. 1337 5p34k, before there was even SMS and thus TXTSPK. Not so much LOL (and lolcats) as ROFL (and ROFLcopter). And I also find "ur" (your/you're, not that anybody knows which of the longer versions to use!) as deplorably modern, unlike my set of bastardisations of the language. I see "ur" (or "2" for to/too) as bad as "could of", and far worse than anything I inflicted. And now there's "kek(ekekek…)", etc.

There isn't even an obvious continuity. Web 2.0 arose from the expectations of the early SMS generartion (prior to Internet ubiquity), like Twitter's limits based on SMS packet-lengths, and didn't retain quite so much of the pre-Eternal September culture.

(IYSWIM, IMNSHO, BICBW. HTH, HAND.)

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Keyman » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:59 pm UTC

@Soupsoon -
Two things:
1) ...as bad as "could of"... AAARRRGH...my eyes!!
2) Did I just see a shark hanging from a balloon float across your avatar??
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:38 pm UTC

1) Indeed
2) Indeed

;)

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Archgeek » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:41 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:It might be a generational thing. I 'learnt' my TLAs, ETLAs, VETLAs, etc, back two or three decades ago. 1337 5p34k, before there was even SMS and thus TXTSPK. Not so much LOL (and lolcats) as ROFL (and ROFLcopter). And I also find "ur" (your/you're, not that anybody knows which of the longer versions to use!) as deplorably modern, unlike my set of bastardisations of the language. I see "ur" (or "2" for to/too) as bad as "could of", and far worse than anything I inflicted. And now there's "kek(ekekek…)", etc.

There isn't even an obvious continuity. Web 2.0 arose from the expectations of the early SMS generartion (prior to Internet ubiquity), like Twitter's limits based on SMS packet-lengths, and didn't retain quite so much of the pre-Eternal September culture.

(IYSWIM, IMNSHO, BICBW. HTH, HAND.)


Could well be. I'm from around July 2000 myself, and learned some weird intermediate stuff like POTS and PANS for connection type, 1337, and various odd forum-parlance. Numbers 4 words was yet relegated to middleschool benches, and TXTSPK wasn't even a thing. 'u' and 'ur' are disgusting and make me irrationally angry (worse yet my own father uses them), and "could of" is just dumb -- people are really saying could've, but dunkuses has long misheard it. I like compounds like couldn't've, myself. "kek"'s oddly not all that bad -- it hails from the silly rotation cihper used between world of warcraft factions, such that an opposing agent saying "LOL" in open chat was rendered as "KEK".

Oooh, I gottta guess at those: "I Yet See What I Might", "In My Not So Humble Opinion" (not a guess, I know that one), "Beware Internal Combustion, Bring Water", "Hog to Ham", "Here And Now, Dave".
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:49 pm UTC

Archgeek wrote:Oooh, I gottta guess at those: "I Yet See What I Might", "In My Not So Humble Opinion" (not a guess, I know that one), "Beware Internal Combustion, Bring Water", "Hog to Ham", "Here And Now, Dave".

If You See What I Mean, <yep for the next, but not to be confused with the "...(Not So) Honest..." variation!)>, But I Could <sometimes including: Very Well> Be Wrong.
<Then signing off with> Hope That Helps, Have A Nice Day <...or, alternately...> Honour To Hastur, His Ascendance Nears Daily.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Flumble » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:49 am UTC

Since we have gathered so much abbreviation knowledge in here, what does the AYY stand for in ayy lmao? :mrgreen:


I'm still happy to see "lol" floating around the blogosphere, because the letters form a word for "fun" in dutch.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby pscottdv » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:50 am UTC

herbstschweigen wrote:
pscottdv wrote:The first thing I thought when I saw the comic was, "It takes *way* more years of mathematics to understand magnets than it does quantum mechanics!".


IMHO it takes way more and difficult math to understand general relativity than quantum mechanics.


Sure, but Randall gets the order right if not the scale.

herbstschweigen wrote:
I loved astronomy as a kid. I studied physics and have a diploma (roughly equivalent to master's degree). But when deciding what courses to take, I discovered that Cosmology and General Relativity are really super weird stuff. All I remember is lecturers mumbling "gee mu nu gee mu nu" for hours.

Today I work as a software developer and have nothing to do with physics anymore. But I still like to look at the stars.


We might be the same person.

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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:59 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Archgeek wrote:Oooh, I gottta guess at those: "I Yet See What I Might", "In My Not So Humble Opinion" (not a guess, I know that one), "Beware Internal Combustion, Bring Water", "Hog to Ham", "Here And Now, Dave".

If You See What I Mean, <yep for the next, but not to be confused with the "...(Not So) Honest..." variation!)>, But I Could <sometimes including: Very Well> Be Wrong.
<Then signing off with> Hope That Helps, Have A Nice Day <...or, alternately...> Honour To Hastur, His Ascendance Nears Daily.


Just wanted to warn the unwashed masses that HAND is typically used in a deeply sarcastic manner. It's about as polite as signing off with "FOAD"
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Re: 1861: "Quantum"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:58 pm UTC

(Ah, now, but when I used to use it it was merely a mildly ironical but affectionate impression of the stereotypical sacharine-sweet-toned shopkeeping 'Merkin (<- again, used affectionately!) that I was clearly not. If it's shifted tone (as IRL, where the soul-destroying culture of public-facing servitude and like as not more than their fair share of asshole customers (not quite relevent) to spit the phrase at through barely concealed gritted teeth), while I continue to use it more flippantly... Well, I hope I've never actually caused unintended offence by my more traditionalist attitude to the phrase.)


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