Friday, June 28, 2002

The Real World

The Past as Undetermined as the Future?
I can't get past the idea that cats are irredeemably stupid and useless, so imagining Pavlov and Schrodinger switched test subjects and we've got a dog instead of a cat in the box with the uranium, the detector, the hammer, and the vial -- why is the experiment not considered observed until the scientist does the observing? Surely we can say the dog observes whether the hammer breaks the vial and he is poisoned, right? Why isn't the result of the experiment considered determined then? Or, take it further: in the article, Wheeler says it's not a consciousness that needs to do the observing, that inanimate objects serve as well (the mica that interacts with particles emitted by radium from the earth's core). He is arguing that once a particle like a photon interacts with the real world, then it's path (or, past) is determined. We don't need Schrodinger's dog, we can say that once the detector is activated by the particle, the result is determined. Maybe I'm getting bogged down in trying to define what he means by 'the real world', as if particles somehow exist in an unreal world that co-exists and somehow interacts with a real world. I can't help but wonder if all of quantum theory arises from limitation in our understanding, our ability to measure, that isn't a product of reality being absolutely incomprehensible or unmeasurable, only incomprehensible and unmeasurable by us right now and perhaps forever. There's also something that bothers me about the particle vs. wave light-through-slit experiment. That it plays out the way it does makes me think we influence the result (not by observing, but by interfering) or that we simply have two wrong or incomplete theories of light. [link via GITM]

Thursday, June 27, 2002

The Pledge

Republicans, To Arms!

Here we go again, political discussion begins descent into pointless name-calling over another ludicrous issue: the Plege of Allegiance. Could anything matter less? Don't the people who think this is important remember being in school, rolling their eyes and chanting along without paying the slightest attention to what was being said, and when finally taking notice, feeling resentful that they were thought so little of by adults who felt the need to practice crude brainwashing techniques on them?

Bait is for the weak.

Anyone wanna go noodlin'? We can send our photos to these guys when we get back. (This is actually something I would've gone out and tried as a kid. Older and wiser, I don't think it's worth the risk of losing a finger to gar attack.) [more at Salon and The Tennessean and BullyMag ...]

Monday, June 24, 2002

Cianci

Buddy thinks 26 out of 27 ain't bad.

He's not stepping down. He's about to announce his candidacy for re-election. Free Buddy t-shirts line Thayer St. shop windows.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

You May Not Want to Know

How close is your house or apt. to a rail line used for hauling nuclear waste? Find out. (via adampsyche)

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Those Amazing Hubleys

Another indie film on the festival circuit, also soon to be on PBS (I think, no times scheduled), worth noting (for Yo La Tengo fans, at least) -- Independent Spirits: The Faith and John Hubley Story.

Thursday, June 6, 2002

I Don't Feel Safer

Bush proposes Dept. of Homeland Security. Yesterday, the bureaucracy was bad. Today it's good and we need more. Which is it? Does this mean the FBI and CIA will be reorganized and downsized?

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Monday, June 3, 2002

Shell Game

Molly Ivins reminds populists to keep an eye on the shell with the pea under it. [Follow up: Molly, in an article at commondreams.org recommended this interview with Bill Black from the Texas Observer as a way to place the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal in context with the fraud perpetrated during the S&L scandal. Black was an investigator during the S&L mess and is now a criminologist. He discusses how CEOs and financial industry players find themselves in a situation ripe for fraud and how they justify it. Intriguing reading in support of regulated capitalism.]
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