CLOSE
 Unemployed Philosophers Guild / iStock
Unemployed Philosophers Guild / iStock

You Won't Know if Schrödinger's Cat Is Alive or Dead Until You Use These Mugs

 Unemployed Philosophers Guild / iStock
Unemployed Philosophers Guild / iStock

Schrödinger's Cat is probably one of the most famous thought experiments of all time. Erwin Schrödingercreated the scenario as a means to explain quantum mechanics, but as it turns out, the analogy also works great as a mug. The Unemployed Philosophers Guild is now making matching, heat-sensitive mugs showing identical boxes. Either a living cat or a dead cat will appear when you pour hot liquid in, but you have no way of knowing for sure until you do.

The mugs mirror the scenario that Schrödinger created to point out flaws in the Copenhagen Interpretation. To get super basic, quantum mechanics is concerned with observing things way too small for the human eye to see. In order to observe them, the objects have to be altered in some way, so it's impossible to say what they were doing before being observed. The Copenhagen Interpretation says that an object can exist in all possible configurations until it's observed, when it collapses into just one.

Schrödinger's Cat takes this theory and brings it to a hypothetical, macro-scale. When we think of a cat being simultaneously alive and dead simply because we haven't checked, we see how absurd the idea is.

The analogy comes to life on the two matching mugs, which make the thought experiment a bit more literal. Grab them on ThinkGeek for your own studies, and don't forget that heat sensitive mugs can't go in the microwave or dishwasher.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Cahoots Malone
arrow
fun
Revisit Your Favorite '90s Screensaver With This Free Game
Cahoots Malone
Cahoots Malone

In the '90s, a significant amount of computing power was devoted to generating endless brick mazes on Windows 95. The screensaver has since become iconic, and now nostalgic Microsoft fans can relive it in a whole new way. As Motherboard reports, the animation has been re-imagined into a video game called Screensaver Subterfuge.

Instead of watching passively as your computer weaves through the maze, you’re leading the journey this time around. You play as a kid hacker who’s been charged with retrieving sensitive data hidden in the screensaver of Windows 95 before devious infomancers can get to it first. The gameplay is pretty simple: Use the arrow keys to navigate the halls and press Q and click the mouse to change their design. Finding a giant smiley face takes you to level two, and finding the briefcase icon ends the game. There are also lots of giant rats in this version of the screensaver.

Screensaver Subterfuge was designed by Cahoots Malone as part of the PROCJAM 2017 generative software showcase. You can download it for free for Windows, macOS, and Linux from his website, or if playing a game sounds like too much work, you can always watch videos of the old screensaver on a loop.

[h/t Motherboard]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
MGM
arrow
Pop Culture
The Princess Ride: Here's What a Princess Bride Theme Park Attraction Might Look Like
MGM
MGM

Do you fight the urge to say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya” when introducing yourself? Have you spent the past 30 years mispronouncing the word “marriage”? If so, you may be a diehard fan of The Princess Bride. The cult film (and the book on which it’s based) has inspired board games, merchandise, and countless pop culture references. Now, two theme park designers from Universal have conceived the inconceivable. As Nerdist reports, Jon Plsek and Olivia West have designed the plans for a hypothetical attraction called “The Princess Ride.

Their idea follows the classic river boat ride structure and adds highlights from the movie around each corner. After watching Buttercup and Wesley’s love story unfold, riders are taken past the Cliffs of Insanity, through the Fire Swamp, and into the Pit of Despair. The climax unfolds at Prince Humperdinck’s castle and leads up to the two protagonists riding off into the sunset. The last thing the passengers see is Miracle Max and Valerie waving goodbye saying, “Hope ya had fun stormin’ the castle!”

The ride’s designers make a living turning stories into thrilling attractions. Plsek works as a concept artist for Universal Creative, the group behind Universal’s theme parks, and West works there as a concept writer. While The Princess Ride was just a fun side project for the pair, it isn’t hard to imagine their ride bringing Princess Bride fans to the parks in real life.

For more of Jon Plesk’s concept rides inspired by classics like Dr. Strangelove (1964) and National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), check out his website.

[h/t Nerdist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios