Stone Observation

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Damp, smelly, dark.  Six by eight feet. Dingy, rusty bunk bed. If they could afford to protect the last of our civilization with an expensive electromagnetic force field, then they could at least give us higher quality prison cells.  They won’t allow me go outside or even see the guard who gives us our daily stale bread.  I’m being punished for their mistake.  They wanted to create something to clean up their mess of Pwave, which has been sucking the life out of Earth for twenty years.  Instead, they created me with an ability to turn whoever looks at me into stone. Ugh scientists.
“Medusa! The tortuous buzz in my ears is back!” cries my friend, Perce, as she covers her ears and curls into a tight ball.
“Perce, dear, just concentrate on my voice. It’s ok. It’s ok”, I say soothingly as I rub her back and hug her until she relaxes.
“Ok”, sighs Perce, “I’m fine. I just wonder when these dreadful Pwave attacks will stop. Why must I be cursed with two disabilities?”
She doesn’t deserve this pain. She may be blind, but she’s the only one who sees who I am. Those same scientists think her uncanny ability to hear Pwave is schizophrenia. And so she joined this jail for “misfits”.  We are the only friends we have, so we vowed that if we ever leave this horrible place, we would live our lives apart from the rest of humanity.
“Ok shut up everyone! Time for bed”, yells the rude guard knocking on our iron door.
Arguing with the guard is useless, so we climb into the shaky old bunk bed and I close my eyes.  
My ears are ringing and it’s white everywhere, until I focus on a man dressed in blue scrubs. He tentatively meets my gaze and immediately turns into stone.  Everyone runs out of the room. A blindfold is roughly wrapped around my head and is tied so tightly that I feel a little lightheaded.
“It’s a disaster! Her ability can’t be terminated”, I hear a gruff voice behind me say, “We need to come up with something else to locate and destroy Pwave in wave form”.
“It’s creating this weird checkerboard of destruction over the unprotected land. Some areas seem to be safe because of wave interference,” chimes in another voice.
“I don’t know how long this electromagnetic force field can hold it off much longer. Because if it gathers enough energy from Earth…” says the gruff voice.
“…it’ll tunnel through the field”, says the other voice gravely.   
“Medusa!” screams Perce breaking my sleep, “I hear noises and crashing!”
“It’s ok…Concentrate on my voice”, I yawn sleepily.
“No, no! It’s not just that,” yells Perce as something crashes into the bunk bed.  As soon as I see where the rock has fallen, more rocks begin to crumble from the ceiling. It’s shaking like an earthquake and it sounds like people are being tortured outside.
“It’s here! Pwave has broken through the field. My ears are gonna explode. Get me out of here!” Perce cries frantically over the rumbling. I throw myself out of bed and pull Perce to her feet, holding her close.  Suddenly, the wall cracks open.  I back up, guiding Perce away from falling bricks. The dust clears, revealing our path to escape.
Outside is chaos. Not only are my eyes, which have not seen light for years, super sensitive, but there’s people scrambling, buildings crumbling, fires burning, hell on earth.  I am blindly running in a random direction, pulling Perce along.
“Please stop!” says Perce suddenly, “The buzz went away when we were back there. Turn back until I tell you the sensation is gone”. We head back about 100 yards when Perce says “stop”.  She sinks down onto the ground with a sigh of relief. At first, I wonder why Perce doesn’t hear Pwave here. But then I remember some scientist mentioned that the Pwave’s waves cancel out in certain areas so that it can’t ever be there. We are safe, but the chaos continues around us.
“At least now we don’t have to deal with anyone”, says Perce.  Yet, this feels wrong. I spot a woman struggling to protect her children as Pwave slowly drains energy from her.
“Perce, there’s a woman suffering with children. I know we made a vow, but I don’t think we should turn our back on humanity at a time like this.  Should I call her over?” I ask almost pleadingly.
“I can’t see. So you be my eyes and make the right choice for us”, says Perce wisely. Covering my eyes with one hand, I call the woman over.
Soon, we have fifty people in the safe spot with us.  But that’s not enough because we need to destroy Pwave.  My mind flashes.
“Pwave is powerless in particle form”, says a familiar gruff voice in my memories.
Yes, the power of observation. I tell Perce my plan.  No one had thought that my destructive power could be useful. Staying close behind her, I guide her outside the safe spot until the sensation returns to her.
“It’s coming! It’s close, it’s…” her voice trails off as she faints.  But where? I am the only soul left in its range, so I run towards the buildings still standing.  Pwave is attracted to energy, maybe I can catch it tunneling.  One side of a building crumbles and I immediately stare at it.  Too late. Pwave is already somewhere else by the time a building crumbles.  I observe the last building standing and concentrate, willing Pwave to tunnel through. Suddenly, Pwave collapses into a harmless stone particle, mid-tunnel. The building remains unscathed. I run back, refreshed and relieved, to meet Perce. Perce rises, wipes her eyes, blinks in wonder, and gasps in delight.  She turns to smile at me, and turns into stone.
 

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Quantum Theories

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

V is for ... Virtual particles

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O is for ... Objective reality

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D is for ... Dice

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Q is for ... Qubit

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R is for ... Randomness

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P is for ... Probability

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D is for ... Decoherence

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T is for ... Teleportation

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H is for ... Hidden Variables

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L is for ... Light

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Z is for ... Zero-point energy

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G is for ... Gravity

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B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

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C is for ... Computing

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Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

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P is for ... Planck's Constant

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N is for ... Nonlocality

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H is for ... Hawking Radiation

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K is for ... Kaon

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I is for ... Interferometer

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W is for ... Wavefunction

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R is for ... Radioactivity

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L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

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A is for ... Alice and Bob

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M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

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S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

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X is for ... X-ray

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A is for ... Act of observation

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J is for ... Josephson Junction

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I is for ... Information

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U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

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Q is for ... Quantum biology

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G is for ... Gluon

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F is for ... Free Will

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B is for ... Bell's Theorem

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U is for ... Universe

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T is for ... Tunnelling

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C is for ... Cryptography

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A is for ... Atom

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W is for ... Wave-particle duality

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S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

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S is for ... Superposition

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E is for ... Entanglement

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