Counterfactual Physics Blogging

OK, let’s say you want to explain something really difficult, like counterfactual computation with quantum interrogation, but you don’t want to actually sit down and do all that typing (let’s say you have a big stack of lab reports to grade, or something). There’s a way to pull this off.

What you do is, you put yourself in a superposition of states in which you explain and don’t explain this phenomenon, and then don’t touch your blogging software (that would constitute an observation, and collapse your wavefunction) for a day or two. When you come back, you’ll find that an explanation has already been posted. With puppies, even.

The Internet is a weird and wonderful thing.

(Update 2/28/06: Scott Aaronson weighs in as well, with a good classical analogue.)

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Raun
    February 27, 2006

    I liked the explanation that went:

    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    Wait 2 minutes
    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    Wait 2 minutes
    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    Wait 2 minutes
    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    Wait 2 minutes
    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    Wait 2 minutes
    John Boy: Jason, you asleep?
    Jason: No.
    {repeat}

  2. #2 Brian Postow
    February 27, 2006

    Am I the only one who thinks that this is sort of like the Monty-Hall problem? in that in the Monty-Hall problem, Monty collapses the wave vector somewhat by knowing which of the remaining doors has the goat, and showing us that one.

    I may be babbling incoherently here.

  3. #3 Kate Nepveu
    February 27, 2006

    Psst–Scott, did you mean this explanation?

  4. #4 wheatdogg
    February 27, 2006

    I wish I could use this technique when I have to grade lab reports …

  5. #5 Chad Orzel
    February 27, 2006

    wheatdogg: I wish I could use this technique when I have to grade lab reports …

    Amen, brother. Amen.

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