Posts Tagged ‘lies’

Quantum Fields Forever

January 18, 2010

“Dad, can I go outside and play football?”
“Have you cleaned up your room yet?”
“Yes, dad.”
“Clothes AND toys?”
“Yes.”
“But properly this time, I hope.”
“Yes, dad.”
“No more silly excuses?”
“No, dad.”
“No more second law of thermodynamics?”
“No, dad.”
“Good. We’ve already proven that your room doesn’t constitute an isolated system, and even when you’re grounded, we give you more than enough low-entropy food to act as a local Maxwell’s-demon.”
“Yes, dad.”
“Alright, I’m going to check.”
“Okay.”
“So what are all those things doing on the floor then, young sir? There are hundreds of them.”
“They’re nothing.”
“I beg your pardon? I can clearly see they are Lego bricks ”
“They’re just inevitable fluctuations in the emptiness of the room. They’re virtual.”
“So basically you’ve done nothing all afternoon, you haven’t packed any of your toys.”
“No, dad, I spent all that time renormalising. There would’ve been an infinite number of them in the room without it.”

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Dark Matters

August 22, 2009

“Dad, can I go out and play football?”
“Have you done your homework yet?”
“Sure.”
“Then bring it to me, I want to check.”
“Erm, alright. Here it is.”
“Is that it?”
“Yes.”
“A couple of inkblots on a scrap of paper?”
“And a letter ‘a’. The rest is invisible, you know.”
“Invisible?”
“No, as a matter of fact it’s completely undetectable by any means of physical observation. But you can infer its existence indirectly by subtracting the mass of ink used up in the blots and the letter ‘a’ from the amount missing from the pen.”
“It’s still just a scrap of paper though, where’s the rest of your exercise book?”
“That’s invisible too.”
“Is it? Without a doubt there is an indirect way to prove its existence.”
“Of course not, don’t be childish. I merely postulated it.”

And that’s why it isn’t a good idea to teach kids cosmology.