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October 27, 2008 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Quantum of culture. Terminology from quantum theory shows up frequently in art, films, poetry and sculpture. Robert P. Crease gauges the impact of quantum mechanics on popular culture. [Via]
posted by homunculus (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

that's my quantum of silence. /rimshot
posted by mrballistic at 3:00 PM on October 27, 2008

Quantum Beer Theory
posted by homunculus at 3:00 PM on October 27, 2008

Yeah but "quantum leap" still pisses me off.

"You mean a teeny tiny improvement?"
posted by rokusan at 3:06 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think wave/particle duality explains how the GOP can be composed of working class social conservatives and rich socialism-is-bad-but-give-me-700-billion-dollars wankers.
posted by SaintCynr at 3:15 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Usually it signifies that someone is about to talk a bunch of handwaving bollocks.
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

posted by cowbellemoo at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2008

You forgot the "ohboy" tag...
posted by vorfeed at 3:37 PM on October 27, 2008

I really wish that those physicists had found a different name than "observer" for things which can cause a wave function to collapse. Decades of pseudoscience and claptrap have been based on the false claim assumption that "observers" had to be intelligent.
posted by Class Goat at 3:41 PM on October 27, 2008

My professor sometimes mentions the "Student Zeno effect", whereby a student never makes any progress if his supervisor constantly chases him up to see how things are going.
posted by springload at 4:21 PM on October 27, 2008

The quantum beer hypothesis seems to ignore the contributions of yeast and water; maybe a more appropriate metaphor is the beer-sipping invariant:

Malt + Hops + Yeast - Water = 0,

but I guess that would make all beers equivalent.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 4:51 PM on October 27, 2008

To my (not especially informed) ears, The Big Bang Theory manages to work in some good physics jokes.
posted by drezdn at 5:40 PM on October 27, 2008

Somewhere (Rudolf Arnheim?) I recall reading that the typical influence of science on art is a piece of a nautical map glued onto a collaged painting. That sounds about right.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:30 PM on October 27, 2008

Eep! Having made a dance film called 'Superposition', I read this with no small measure of fear. Oddly enough, I did consider 'Handwaving Bollocks' as a title, but dismissed it as false advertising—to paraphrase Chekhov, if genitalia appear in the title, they'd better appear in the play.
posted by sixswitch at 6:22 AM on October 28, 2008

that 'eep' should sound like the old Mac sound effect 'Wild Eep'
posted by sixswitch at 6:22 AM on October 28, 2008

Yeah but "quantum leap" still pisses me off.

"You mean a teeny tiny improvement?"

No, it means a change with no discernible transition between states.

Growing up, noticing how characters on TV would use science and math jargon made me less self-conscious about being a nerd. It was more in who said it and how they said it. When something with double initials (Z.Z.) becomes Z-squared, it's pretty hard to pretend "math sucks." Stuff was (is?) always being raised "to the [blank] power" and so on.
posted by Eideteker at 7:04 AM on October 28, 2008

paging user #23638
posted by Eideteker at 7:06 AM on October 28, 2008

While the sheep poetry is rather cool, it has nothing to do with Quantum Theory.

Here's a test that I've considered using (I've yet to find a counterexample, although I'm curious if anyone here has one) which judges whether or not someone has any idea about which they speak:

Do they describe it as Quantum Physics? If yes, they're full of shit.

I've never heard of any physicists using that phrase. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by vernondalhart at 8:20 AM on October 28, 2008

Quantum Classifications of Men I Know:

posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My wife is a high school math teacher, and she cringes whenever she sees things like those Eideteker noted. For instance, there was a billboard with the (Monogamy)100 slogan/advert. "Monogamy is not numeric," she complained, "it's a noun! A concept! Monogamy time monogamy is STILL MONOGAMY!"

And then there's the latest James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, and the precluding story that was first published in 1960. e2 has a good spoiler summary - in short, the Quantum of Solace is the smallest unit of human compassion that two people can have. No idea how that played out in the movie, but it sounds like it was just an edgy title for the next action-packed Bond adventure.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on October 28, 2008

Quantum physics will undoubtedly influence one particular popular artist's next release.
posted by Rykey at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2008

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