Monday, September 27, 2010

The Largest Quantum Object - The Toilet?

Science News, in its September 25 issue, runs a piece on suggestions that gravity is a matter of entropy and information. I had a hard time getting this one. It seems to be a matter of looking at space as bounded by holographic screens that establish boundaries that create gradients leading to movement we call gravity. A black hole's event horizon can also be considered as such a hologram, containing on its curved, flat surface, all information about the black hole's interior entropy. I can follow the illustration of how a two-dimensional surface – a mirror – can contain all the information needed to record the three-dimension surface it reflects. But even if I understood how all this creates gravity, it would still leave the question of why the universe obeys the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics.

Anyway, what I really want to ask now is why toilets seem to work best when one lifts the top of the tank off? Improper flushing is a common problem with these wondrous contrivances. Sometimes handles get stuck or maybe the mechanism operates with insufficient oomph. When that happens, it seems that simply lifting the tank lid to see what is going wrong pretty much guarantees it will work properly (and that you will not see what the problem may be). Could it be that when the lid is closed, the toilet is a quantum object and the tank containing the water like Schrödinger's cat-box? When the lid is opened, the wave-function collapses and the object settles into the functioning state? This would make the toilet the largest quantum object know to physics. (It might also argue for transparent tanks.) Could this also somehow be related to black holes?

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