There is a quantum principle that says you can’t know the velocity and the location of a subatomic particle at the same time. You can know one attribute or another but not both simultaneously.
And they (as in smart theoretical physics dudes) swear it’s not a technological issue. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is an immutable quantum attribute. Smarter people and better equipment will make no difference.
Although I learned about it in school and have since read it’s description countless times, I couldn’t swear that what I’m about to say is actually true of it. But, I believe that the reason the principle is immutable is that particles of that size are necessarily affected by observation. They are so small and “influential” for lack of a better word that to “see” them is to necessarily change them.
That’s what everyone (as in the Republican right) is screaming about Nate Silver and his election probability data, which suggests that President Obama has an approximately 85% chance of winning the election. Nate Silver is a statistician with a background in gaming sports lines based on high falutin’ math principles like adding and long-dividing and stuff. His critics say that to make such a lopsided observation about Obama’s chances of winning is to necessarily influence people to vote or stay home somehow.
Considering the vast industry which has formed just around the political “prediction” business it is a strange accusation for any side to scream that Silver, having assigned a roughly 85% probability of an Obama win even as many important states are essentially a coin flip, has somehow unduly “affected” the possible outcome.
Like observing a gluon. To prognosticate is to dictate, apparently, the cry goes.
But, I suspect it’s more about one side not liking that their “guess” is getting less traction than the other guys “guess.”
Luckily, in two days the conjecture will all be through.
Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Sundance.
Today’s blong here:Permanent Indeterminate