Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pre-Senior Moments

What is the official commencement date for senior moments? Is it when AARP starts sniffing up your Naturalizers? As a 50-something, I call myself middle-aged… so why aren’t they “midlife moments?” Or are those exclusively resolved for the jerks who run off with their buxom secretaries in a newly-bought red sportster?

I suppose this euphemism is reserved for memory glitches, like when I started the bread machine, commended myself on getting the setting right, then glanced over and noticed the bucket of batter was still on the counter. Or like just now, when I couldn’t manage to backspace and correct a typo without really stopping and focusing. Inflation has eaten into everything, and half a mind isn’t at all what it used to be.

In solidarity with the nation, I’ve lost my grip. Only this is literal - today I sent the toner catridge flying across the bathroom as I juggled the hypodermic filled with ink (yes, I’m a printing junkie) and tried to keep the open bottle of black indelible from re-painting my sink counter. Gravity and I have never been all that friendly, but now that it’s making a real boob of me, I’ve been searching through physics articles online for ways to fight back. But I always get distracted. Take this one:

One example of entanglement is the famous ‘EPR pairs’ (after Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen) If two electrons with complementary spin (if one is spin up, the other is spin down, and vice versa) are "paired" (both in superposition of both spin up and spin down) are separated by being sent along different wires, miles apart from each other, they each remain in superposition. However when one superpositioned electron is measured by a detector at its destination and reduces/collapses to a particular spin, (say spin up), its entangled twin miles away instantaneously reduces/collapses to the complement (spin down). The nonlocal effect has been verified with electron spin pairs, polarized photons and other quantum systems but remains unexplained.... Entire clouds of millions of atoms have been entangled. Non-local entanglement—referred to as ‘quanglement’ by Penrose—remains a fundamental mystery.

The only mystery to me is how they pick those twinned electrons out of a crowd - I mean, first those buggers are small and second they are fast! (or if you believe quantum, non-existent)... so how do they track this entanglement? How do you “tag” an electron? Does it even have an ear? Or do they dye them blue?

Anyway, sitting at the computer reading about particles so small that they make my retirement fund look big at least keeps me from dropping stuff. And I'm gonna re-read that paragraph a couple more times... I might be able to use it to explain why the ink went splat in the bathroom!