i've got another riddle for you
I've heard of Schrondinger's Cat, but I'm not sure I could have recalled exactly what it was had you not explained it.

To your more general question, I think that both of your hypotheses are correct. Geek culture absolutely is that cut off from the mainstream. And mainstream society is that cut off from scientific thought and inquiry. The latter is less relevant in this instance, though, as a knowledge of Schrodinger's Cat is not a result of scientific thinking, but rather a knowledge of a specific famous thought experiment. A person could have a very scientific mind, as I do, and still not get your joke, as I wouldn't have.
--Max Fri Oct 29 09:43:13 2004
It's not scientific thinking, but...part of scientific cultural literacy, I'd say.

I feel that science is, ideally speaking, the cultural embodiment of rational, curious, skeptical thought. If by having a "scientific mind" you mean featuring those traits, I agree, one could be completely ignorant of the western scientific culture but still share that outlook. On the other hand, I think people with that outlook in our society are more likely to have read up on this stuff.

I mean, Douglas Adams even riffs on it in one of of his Dirk Gently novels, and he was a pretty mainstream write despite the deep feeling geeks had for him and vice versa.

The thing too about Schrodinger's Cat is that it's such an evocative image...once someone has explained it to you you're not likely to forget it. It's not like we're talking the Michelson-Morley Experiment...and the only reason I really remember that is because of seeing an exhibit on it in Cleveland where it took place.
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 10:01:56 2004
I think the problem was that you confused Shrodinger's Cat with the tree that falls in the woods when nobody is there to hear it. I had trouble mapping Schrodinger to the joke.
--Nick B Fri Oct 29 12:04:02 2004
Feh, the mapping seems intuitive to *me*...

Admittedly my thoughtways are more tangental than most folks'. Plus it wasn't that good of a joke.

Huh, I hadn't noticed the similarity between the tree fall idea and Schrodinger's Cat...I guess you could think of a case where the tree exists in a fallen and an unfallen state at the same time...
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 12:15:06 2004
I'm not sure how I could bring it up as a joke, but it reminds me of the montage in "Real Genius," where the protagonist is dutifully attending every class and taking notes, and as time passes he notes that more and more students are just dropping off tape recorders to record the professor, until one day he arrives and there are no students besides him and no professor, just a lecture hall full of tape recorders and a large reel-to-reel at the front, playing back a recorded lecture.
--LAN3 Fri Oct 29 12:51:09 2004
Yeah, that's a great image.

'Course I'm geek enough to think "huh...they must be losing fidelity with the recording of the recording over the soundwaves, maybe the prof could just hand out direct copies of the master...
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 12:54:26 2004
As for the Bush-flipped-off-a-camera-ten-years-ago thing, I've gotta say that it's a lot more human than, say, that John-Edwards-does-his-hair-for-15-mminutes video. (Not that Bush doesn't flip people off to this day, or anything.)

Fortunately, someone mixed them together, with some Blues Brothers music. It won't be a mystery whom the mixer favors, though:
http://www.dailyrecycler.com/blog/2004/10/choice.html
--LAN3 Fri Oct 29 12:54:51 2004
I've heard about Schrodinger's Cat, but that could be because I just love physics, and am currently studying quantum mechanics.

And quite frankly, quantum mechanics boggles my mind. There are only two other people in the class and we make jokes to each other in our other classes, and nobody else gets them. Which of course, makes them even funnier.
--Candi Fri Oct 29 13:28:49 2004
LAN3:
Besides being partisan, which is fine, that video was lame, replaying the same snippets over and over so it fit the length of the song. And only a small # of the text overlays were from reality, the rest were extrapolations from the "image" the people might be known for. Also, I am lightly amused by its implication that Bush is only fit for comaparison to the Dem VP option, not Kerry himself.

Candi:
What's that quote? Oh yeah:
"Anyone who isn't shocked by quantum physics doesn't understand quantum physics." -- Neils Bohr

Personally, I know just enough about it to get get myself into trouble in conversations with people who actually know about it. Like that guy at Veronika's wedding, the one where I got "can't remember parts" drunk for the only time in my life...hmmm.
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 14:31:34 2004
Well, I didn't think that it was implied that Bush was only fit for comparison with Edwards as much as, well, "we works with what we gots," since there's no comparable video out there of Kerry or Cheney floating around the meme backbone.

However, the loop of Bush carelessly pushing his hair-- actually almost checking that it wasn't sticking straight up and little more, contrasted amusingly with the interminable Edwards video-- something I couldn't watch 2 weeks ago when it made the rounds. Edwards undoubtedly had the misfortune of being captured at what was probably the fussiest moment of his week, and Bush got caught in the act of levity among friendly folks. Neither's particularly classy, but the Bush video didn't make me like him at less.
--LAN3 Fri Oct 29 14:44:33 2004
Yeah, but I suspect Bush and most other major figures have their preening moments, but I don't think the Dem candidates are dumb enough to flip off a camera.
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 14:46:12 2004
What that tells me, well, what that does is reinforces my belief that the Dem candidates are more ludicrously image-conscious and snobby than good ol' boy W. Certainly Bush's handlers have done a better job of humanizing their man than Kerry's people. This just reinforces the point. Bush can make a gag. Kerry's too serious. 

By the way, the "The Mirror," the UK paper, headlined it "Dubya Going Digital on TV," heh.
--LAN3 Fri Oct 29 16:27:48 2004
Had seen references to the cat and it being a QM thing, in the cyber world. Never knew what it was about till I read your link. Iím a more curious than average non-geek but never sought out the catís meaning on my own because Iíve never needed to know. No one I know personally would ever make reference to it or indeed even heard of it.
--xoxoxo Bruce Fri Oct 29 17:37:07 2004
Yeah, Bush always looks so unkempt these days.
--Kirk Fri Oct 29 18:13:20 2004
Campaign-approved, daughter-endorsed Bush Bloopers:
http://www.georgewbush.com/OurDad/
(not quite 3 minutes long)

Karl Rove *and* the twins instructed me to send that to 5 people, so I'm fulfilling my obligation as an unpaid GOP shill/minion.
--LAN3 Fri Oct 29 19:02:13 2004
Long before I decided that I needed a cat, I'd decided that his/her name would be "Schroedinger."
Then I realised that "Kill Kill" was far cooler. And that she could have nicknames that weren't reduced to only "Dingy."
--Bill the Splut Sat Oct 30 01:21:55 2004
How about "Schro"?

For some reason that reminds me, I wanted to get a trainable bird and teach it to say "nevermore".

Or "here kitty kitty".

i even had a scheme to use this little sound-sampling keyboard (Casio SK8) to do it.
--Kirk Sat Oct 30 07:36:56 2004

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