Superpurrsition

Diesel Sweeties by Richard Stevens 3 (CC BY-NC 2.5)
Diesel Sweeties by Richard Stevens 3 (CC BY-NC 2.5)

There are comics that are card-carrying “science comics” that teach science (egBoxplot by Maki Naro) and express truths about the experience of being a scientist (egPiled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham). There are those that are super-nerdy all the time, like xkcd by Randall Munroe.

Then there are the comics that occasionally brush up against the scientific world – dropping a punchline that hints at larger concepts, drawing in those who understand and inviting inquiry from those who don’t. This strip from Diesel Sweeties by Richard Stevens 3 is part of that tradition.

Observing Science Caturday at Berkeley

Yesterday, our friends at the Berkeley Science Review published “Behind the Science: Infinite Russian Cats: Part 3 of Several” by Daniel Freeman, which appears, at first, to be nothing more than an infinite series of subtitles. It turns out, however, to be an insightful post that explains the central challenges that the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment addressed, illustrated with a Science Caturday joke that may already be in Brian Malow‘s set. It also does an excellent job of explaining the fundamental weirdness of quantum mechanics:

What’s interesting, though, is that Quantum Mechanics is correct, and matter absolutely can be interpreted as existing in simultaneous states, up until being “looked” at—this formalism allows us to calculate all kinds of absurdly precise quantities about atoms and molecules.  Reconciling whywe don’t ever see alive-dead cats (that is, macroscopic objects made of trillions of atoms simultaneously in more than one state) with the notion that reality does really follow these rules (that is, microscopic objects being describable as existing in simultaneous states) is actually incredibly nontrivial. Continue reading “Observing Science Caturday at Berkeley”

Quanta Sutra

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has spent more than 42 seconds on the Internet that there is a small, but erudite niche of love/sex humor based on particle physics and quantum mechanics. I like to refer to this branch of comedy collectively as the Quanta Sutra. I’m telling you this, because I recently found the following effort, at the expense of physics students, by Zach Weiner of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.


Continue reading “Quanta Sutra”

Santa, You Elegant Bastard

Wind-Up Car with DOOM! Recognition

Santa and his Elves are often portrayed as the last bastion of the classic toy. You know, the solid wood thing with no parts that move on their own, no Allen wrenches for assembly, and makes Dad’s back hurt as he hauls it trans-Atlantically back home after celebrating the holidays with family back in the States because solid wood is heavy. The kind of toy that is powered not by batteries but by imagination[1]. Continue reading “Santa, You Elegant Bastard”