Bill Klem Quote

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 28 03:18:19 UTC 2011

We used to identify such arguments as "the hand-wave equation".


On Fri, May 27, 2011 at 6:11 PM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:

> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > If you think I'm kidding...
> > Heisenberg published his Uncertainty Principle in 1927.
> > Schroedinger revealed his cruel cat experiment in 1935.
> >
> > That means that the three-umpire version possibly antedates both - or
> > (perhaps more likely) may have been intended to to comment on both.
> >
> > Anyway, that's how I want to look at.
> JL: There is a simple analogy to quantum mechanical wave function
> collapse according to some versions of the Copenhagen interpretation.
> Initially, the pitched sphere traveling toward the catcher is in a
> superposition of states. It is neither/both a "strike" and a "ball".
> The umpire pronounces his "measurement" and the wave function
> collapses. After the collapse it is possible to correctly label the
> pitch a "ball" or a "strike". Before the wave function collapse the
> pitch is neither/both a "ball" and a "strike".
> In other words: "They ain't nothin' until I call 'em" as Charlie Moran
> may have said on or before 1947. This analogy is oversimplified and
> sloppy, but the fraction of the population that understands the
> epistemological implications of quantum mechanics is vanishingly
> small. Also members of this group are the most likely to understand
> that the analogy is supposed to be humorous.

The American Dialect Society -

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