Copyright © 2007 Robert G. Ferrell

Quantum Vadis?

Just when it appears the rudiments of reclined plains and counterfrugal force are finally within my grasp after four decades of head-scratching, physicists suddenly creep out of the shadows and announce that rogue universes are routinely coming and going like flies at a picnic. Now, I have difficulty keeping track of big ticket items under the best of circumstances. The prospect of having to remember which universe I'm from or where I left it parked is frankly a daunting one, and I can't see it ending well.

At the crux of this dilemma is whether or not science is correct about the itinerant nature of the spare-tire condominium. If you query scientific journal editors on the veracity of the cryptic hogwash they put out in those slick rags, they'll tell you, "all submissions are peer-reviewed." I submit that no one, not even the author's mother, ever actually reads one of these puppies all the way through. In fact, I'll bet most "peer reviews" go something like this:

"Hey Hortense, what do we think about this paper by Dr. Charla Tanne: 'Quantum Behavior in the Rinse Cycle?'"

"Sez here it was ‘funded by Grant #8675309 from the Foundation for Incomprehensible Basic Research.'"

"We've got a grant application pending with them. Better give it a thumbs up."

"Shouldn't we at least read it first?"

"Fine. Give it here. Blah, blah, blah, data, blah, blah, conclusions, blah. Looks good to me. Absolute genius. Write it up."

I must confess to being a wee bit skeptical about the whole subject of quantum physics. It strikes me as a practical joke that got out of hand. I submit for your consideration a recent paper about a quantum computer that sometimes spits out the right answer when it isn't even turned on. If you or I made a claim like that we'd likely end up indicted and/or in public office, but merely because scientists said it, it's all hunky-dory. Einstein, or maybe it was Heisenberg (I can't be certain), postulated that quantum particles can exist in two different states simultaneously, but you never know which because the very act of observation makes them burst into tears and lock themselves in the bathroom. Pure comedic gold, that is.

Sep 9, 1910

Today over a few drams of absinthe at happy hour told the boys in the lab I had worked out that there are subatomic particles which can be on both sides of the room at once. Ha ha, I kill me. Oy, that Marie Curie is a severe hottie.

Science is, after all, forever changing its mind about everything from the likelihood of expiring from the carcinogen du jour to the proper taxonomic placement of the rhubarb-taunting fungus, so what is accepted as dogma this week may well be relegated to the realm of quaint beliefs of our forefathers by the time the next issue of Physics Fabricated hits the stands. Me, I'm going to take a big thermos of coffee and a dozen glazed and wait it out in the cellar.

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