Lately I’ve been playing a little game of What’s the Wavelength? The question is certainly a bit evocative. Wavelength could refer to many things: a favorite radio station or, metaphorically extended, a favorite anything. It might even evoke an old news meme, although the supposed question posed that time was about frequency (which is just the inverse of wavelength).
Wavelength might even apply to one’s political, social, sexual, musical, or whatever, alignment, but in this case I mean it literally and physically. Under quantum mechanics — our best description of small-scale physical reality — everything manifests as a wave. That means everything has a wavelength — the de Broglie wavelength.
I’ve been curious about it for a couple of reasons.
The Wednesday Wow posts have been a bit off the beam recently. Four weeks ago we were wowed (but not in a good way) by an incited insurrection by an incompetent imbecile. Two weeks ago we were wowed (in a great way) by the inclusive Inauguration of the incoming Individual.
With all that more or less behind us, I have time to be wowed by interesting (and depressing) information about the insidious infection infesting the country and the world. I mention both because I became intrigued by difference between them.
It all started when I noticed the COVID-19 graphic on CNN.
Today the sun simultaneously set and rose. We had our own democratic version of: “The King is dead! Long live the King!” (An old phrase apt given the deposed would-be kinglet.)
I imagine many of us will go to sleep happier tonight than we have in years.
I’ve been in a state of anticipation over the state of Georgia. I wondered if I might possibly wake up to a Democratic Senate this morning. As of last night, the Blues were trailing slightly behind. This morning I find they’ve called for Raphael Warnock (“Ding Dong, the witch is dead”), and it’s looking good for Jon Ossoff.
Today is also the day Congress meets, presided over by the VP, to officially count the electoral votes. It’s the last hurdle in an election badly polluted by bald lies and Constitutional sedition. The corruption and filth of the GOP is far beyond the pale.
Hell of a Wednesday. We could probably use a distraction…
It’s been a few minutes since the last Wednesday Wow post, and I’ve got two recent videos that definitely made me go “Wow!”
I have a third that is cute and interesting as well as a fourth that’s kind of math-y but lighthearted and certainly relevant (and which will introduce you to Benford’s Law if you haven’t heard of it).
The first video involves a tragic disaster that occurred on the first of this month down in Puerto Rico when the Arecibo radio astronomy telescope collapsed.
It’s been a while since the last Wednesday Wow. Life got strange the last several months; every day had some sort of real life wow. (Not that we’re out of these weird woods by any stretch.) It made ephemera like this fall by the wayside.
But we must soldier on, one foot in front of the other. Speaking of which, on this morning’s walk, at 6:30 (AM, of course), it was 59° (Fahrenheit, of course). We had a heat advisory Saturday — temps in the high 90s with equally high dew points.
That’s one beauty (and insanity) of Minnesota: the weather!
There’s an old saying (attributed to Stanislavski) that, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” (One might argue that writers do sometimes create small roles, but that’s another blog post and not really what Stranislavski was getting at. He meant actors must take any role seriously, no matter its size.)
What I have today approaches the smallest possible actor in the smallest possible role. Despite this being seven years old, I think it still holds the title of “World’s Smallest Movie” — at least until we can make one starring nucleons or quarks. (I especially like the electron banding; that’s quantum mechanics in action.)
For a Wednesday Wow, a movie starring a single atom.
Back when I posted about Delores, the Westworld robot, I mentioned a question that once came up in a science fiction fan forum: What’s the collective noun for robots? A mechanation of robots? A clank of robots? I suggested an Asimov of robots, but maybe the best suggestion was an uprising of robots.
An uprising of robots could refer to the scary Terminator scenario, but could also be taken as just meaning the rising up of (non-killer, useful) robots. That latter interpretation being not just factual, but quite operative already.
So for this Wednesday Wow, an uprising of robots…
Wow. April First, but it’s no joke how much — and how quickly — life changed. March 2020 changed the world. Now we’ll see if we survive it.
Spirits seem high around here. On my morning walk, in the park I saw that someone had used colored chalk to write good thoughts on the asphalt path: “Stay Positive!” “Nature!” “Yay! Vit. D.” “Family Time” “Exercise!” (Maybe others will join in. I think I have some colored chalk…)
It’s hard to top the real life wows, but I do have a few interesting items that might at least offer something of a distraction.
When possible, I try to find a theme for the Wednesday Wow posts. Last time, for instance, the theme was aviation and fireworks (two things you wouldn’t normally think went together, but in one case they delightfully did).
The problem is that I’m jaded and have seen a lot, so I can be hard to impress. Not lots of things raise to my highest rating, Wow! Fortunately, I’m not so far gone I can’t still see a world filled with wonder, some of which drops my jaw.
The theme, such as it is, concerns measurements, especially tiny and precise ones. Like, for instance, Planck Length tiny.