Life In and Outside the Box: Fluffocrates Story

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“What does it mean to be somewhere? To be something?”
      I wouldn’t expect your puny human mind to understand the complexity of the story I’m about to tell. I only ask you not to dare to try and question my supreme authority and honesty. I’ve gone from well kept prisoner, to a god, to a celebrated ruler of the greatest civilization on earth, to what I am now a … a humble philosocat.
     Let me digress and start from the beginning. I had once been in the care of a family by the name of Schrodinger. I was their prized possession; I was the queen of the house. One day young Erwin, being the mindless oaf that I saw him to be, placed me inside of a box. I tried to escape but not wanting to damage my freshly bathed fur I decided a nap was a better plan of action. Though I still consider his actions treason, in hindsight I should thank him.
      When I awoke light had crept in through a hole in a box. I meowed hoping to be saved but to no avail. I clawed my way out of the box and was greeted by tens of thousands of human servants. Oh! How they cheered! I had returned to the throne I knew I was always meant for. They renamed me Ubasti and gave me command over their armies. I bathed in luxury, united the entirety of my new kingdom and was worshipped and adored by all. One night my human puppet ruler fell ill. His subjects snatched me from my golden throne, midway through my afternoon bath, threw me in another box and sealed it tight. “How dare you! You know who I am! I’LL RULE OVER YOUR ENTIRE WRETCHED SPECIES WHEN I GET OUT!” With nothing more to say I finished my bath and took a disgruntled nap.
     I awoke to the sound of bongo’s and synchronized meows. The top of the box was lifted by many furry paws and fresh autumn air seeped into my lungs. “Welcome back our highness!” I jumped from the box to see an entire court of impressive followers. There were Saber-toothed knights, Minx ninjas, sphinx monks and Scottish Fold jesters. “You’ve been napping for sometime our lord. We’ve done all the prophecy told us hoping for you to come back into the world. You are now the supreme ruler of earth.” They all meowed a heavenly hymn in my honor. I could have died in that moment and been happy… Though that would only leave me with 8 or so more lives (no need to speak of the one time as a kitten I chased my tail and fell from the second story into a trash bin).
              We had eradicated most of the human race leaving only a select few to do our bidding. These jobs mainly consisted of producing catnip, training our best athletes with laser pointers, living displays at our animal houses, and of course they retained their historical job of litter box cleaners. I was supreme ruler, as if that was even questionable, and many moons passed under my ever watchful eyes. The world was for once devoid of war, famine and fast food.
     One fine spring day my human athletic trainer, a brutish man by the family name of Caesar, tricked me into another box using his laser pointer. No doubt he stabbed me in the back, the great cat queen herself, to use as leverage to free some of your wretched kind. He locked me in and refused to listen to any of my god-like decrees. Now, if I had learned anything by this time it was that once you’re inside a box just about anything can happen. So I napped.
     Rain slowly dripped onto my nose as a doorbell rang. Gravity softened its grip as something picked up my box. The top opened and the face of a content looking man greeted me. He didn’t seem to mind being owned by a cat. Why would he, especially by one as great as myself. He changed my name once more to “Hugh;” I thought naming me, especially a lady cat, after himself was a rather pompous move to say the least. There I lived with the Everett’s until young Mark tried to stuff me into another box. I clawed my attacker and darted off into the night vowing to never be stuffed into one of those wretched things again. If I am ever captured and forced into one of those things again I leave this letter behind as a memoir so that my story may be told. Remember to always fear the box and Cat-speed to whoever finds this letter.
         With lots of purrs,
                           Fluffocrates The Great

About the Author: 
Joshua Nieubuurt is an English teacher currently basking up the sun rays in beautiful Okinawa, Japan. He loves long scantly-clad walks on the beach and hand crafted brews.

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Quantum Theories

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

L is for ... Light

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

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H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

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

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

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

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

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!

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

Q is for ... Qubit

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