Blog Archives

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 262 (or a Halloween thought experiment, “Schrodinger’s Costume”)


When discussing a possible Halloween costume to wear to a party, you suggest creating an outfit inspired by the 1935 thought experiment known as “Schrodinger’s cat” devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger.

The original experiment postulated a quantum theory called superposition by placing a cat in a chamber made of steel along with a vial of deadly hydrocyanic acid, which may break open through the use of a hammer apparatus If even one atom of the acid is decayed during the experiment’s time frame.

Since opening the chamber would be the only way to tell if the vial was broken, there would be a paradoxical period of time prior to making that observation in which the cat is both dead and alive.

Thus, your costume, which you call Schrodinger’s Costume, calls for you to not RSVP to the party. Instead, you arrange for a large man-sized box with air holes to be delivered to the party. The contents of the box aren’t visible from the outside. On the outside of the box is a note, which reads:

“This is ‘Schrodinger’s Costume.’ (Your Name) may have decided to attend your party by being in this box. Do not open to verify attendance until after the party. Until then, (Your Name) is both attending and absent from your party. Enjoy the paradox and Happy Halloween!”

In an alternate universe: Event 19 (or “Less carbonite required”)


In an alternate universe, the actor Peter Dinklage (best known as “The Half Man,” Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones) was born decades earlier, allowing him to beat out Harrison Ford for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV.

Not only does Dinklage successfully pull off the role due to genuine “leading man” qualities, but his physical stature lends itself to combat-related scenes in which he rides Chewbacca piggyback style, while shooting his blaster.  This also occurs in Empire Strikes Back in the scenes with a dissembled C-3PO strapped to the Wookiees’s back in Cloud City, on the planet Bespin.

Harrison Ford still became a household name in the Indiana Jones films, though the fourth film in that franchise was never made.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 243 (or Intergalactic gladiatorial arenas and personal dream sequences)


You recently had a dream that you accidentally traveled through an Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge (also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge or “wormhole”) connecting two points in space-time.

Upon arriving at the wormhole’s other end, you find yourself held captive by a group of aliens from the Predator film franchise, who force you to fight in an intergalactic gladiatorial arena alongside fellow captives Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Chicago-area wizard and private detective Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden from The Dresden Files novels.

Throughout the remainder of the dream, you embark on a journey of survival with these characters in which you repeatedly attempt to get a letter of recommendation from Data endorsing your application to Starfleet Academy, as well as secure a wizard’s apprenticeship with Dresden.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 205 (or Sagan’s sayings)


During a graduate school course in which Carl Sagan is discussed as part of the coursework, you gleefully anticipate a possible opportunity to mention your favorite Carl Sagan quote:

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 149 (or “Sliders” was doing it all wrong… )


When you watched the former FOX/Scifi Channel (before the SYFY renaming) showSliders, starring Jerry O’Connell, for the first time in years, you kept criticizing the show aloud.  However, these weren’t criticisms of the show’s production.  Instead, you criticized the lack of scientific record keeping that took place as the small group of people randomly traveled to parallel universes.

Even though the “timing device” that opened portals for them was set on random, you couldn’t believe that the two group members who were quantum physicists never bothered to keep a notebook with any unique identifying numbers, etc., that the timer generated on each trip to another Earth, in order to attempt some kind of cataloging system that labeled the various universes for further study or just later reference.  Also, the characters would often spend time trying to find out the specific history of the universe they were visiting, but you never noticed them retaining any of the notes or documentation they found.  Its not like they couldn’t carry the information in a backpack.

Who wouldn’t want a Jimi Hendrix album recorded live in the 1990s, for example?

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 148 (or “Slacker” science)


You recently watched Richard Linklater’s 1991 film Slacker for the first time.  During an opening monologue given by Linklater himself, as he plays a person who is riding in a cab, you actually say aloud, “Wow… that must be what I sound like to most people!”

Why?  Well, you realize during the scene that you’ve talked about the very subject on which he speaks, including having made many of the same postulations, in previous conversations over the years.  You spend the rest of the film trying to decide if this is good or bad, but never seem to reach a definitive conclusion.
This is the exact scene in question:

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 89


Your first instinct when trying to offer condolescences to someone suffering a personal loss is to point out the following:

“If you stop to think about it, the person you miss is actually alive, well, and prospering by your side… it’s just occuring in an alternate universe.”

You decide against verbalizing that sentiment as few people have, historically, taken such a statement with the warm intent in which it would be offered.

 

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 88


You attempt to cheer someone up by quoting a line attributed to author, Philip K. Dick:

“If you find this world bad, you should see some of the others.”

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 87


Your oldest friend posts a message on a social media site concerning the prevention of their credit card’s fraudulent use in Ecuador by some unknown brigand, thanks to successful identity theft protection monitoring by their credit card company.  This message states how relieved they are, at this outcome.

Rather than simply reply with a short, trite comment saying some form of reassurance or congratulations on a potential crisis being averted, you decide to post a lengthy response in which you postulate a theory that the mysterious person who attempted to use their card, might actually be their future-self, who has traveled back in time to the present in order to save an Ecuadorian woman who is the future mother to a messianic offspring responsible for saving the human race.

You then accuse your friend of actually hindering the successful completion of their future-self’s mission by allowing the credit card company to intercede. Finally, you do offer them congratulations on being the possible father of the yet-to-be-conceived child, and then reassure them that they can alter the timeline to correct this error in judgment when their present-self later becomes the time traveler.  You conclude by mentioning the role of temporal paradoxes and multiverse theory in how this correction might be accomplished.

Having completely minimized the seriousness of your friend’s original message, and successfully injected unrequested humor into the situation, you submit your post.  You then wait for your friend’s amused and yet annoyed/ flabbergasted response.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 81


The main reason you watch the Syfy original series Haven is to catch Stephen King multiverse Easter eggs (hidden references), secretly hoping for as many Dark Tower references as possible. You also think the shows’ chosen depiction of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in his brief appearance was rather lame and disappointing.

In an alternate universe: Event 6


In an alternate universe, politicians in the United States are elected through competition in a specialized academic decathlon, followed by a Medievil-style melee complete with swords.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 78


You have gotten into multiple arguments over the years regarding Star Wars, in which you have stressed the disregard for the laws of physics evident in the technology depicted in the films, as well as argued that the films should be considered “science fantasy” rather than “science fiction.”

In an alternate universe: Event 5


In an alternate universe, the first man who ever rose up to declare, “God has decreed that I should become your ruler and be called a king,” was considered by most people to be out of his mind. Therefore, the idea of kings and divine right never caught on.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 71


An ex-girlfriend bought you a Star Trek T-shirt as a birthday present that was made to resemble Captain Kirk’s uniform from the original series. She then proceeded to tell you, “Ya know, now that I see you in that shirt, it occurs to me that gold isn’t a very flattering color on you.”

Your relationship ended one month later…

In an alternate universe: Event 4


In an alternate universe, all of the Transformers films were written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

In an alternate universe: Event 3


In an alternate universe, the Twilight Saga ends with a team of vampire slayers destroying everyone. In yet another universe, the first book disappeared into obscurity, spawning no sequels.

In an alternate universe: Event 2


In an alternate universe, the majority of people running for political office actually know what they are doing, and seek office to help the public, instead of the opposite being true.

In an alternate universe: Event 1


This is the first of a new series of posts on this, our blog, in which we will put forth possible events that might exist in an alternate universe. Behold!

In an alternate universe, the Harry Potter series ends with an army of wizards from America descending on the scene, defeating Voldemort, and saving the day.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 62


When you are unable to get a certain novel from Amazon.com, you have the book shipped from Great Britain, via Amazon UK.

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 61


You’ve had the following thought at least once: “Comic Con might be a great place to meet women.”