Friday, April 18, 2008

Birds Are Actually Quantum Birds! Run!

In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.

Or if you're observing a quantum event taking place on your own retina, your magical brainwaves make the reaction go so slow that it tells you where you are on Earth.

The wierd part is, I'm not making up the second one.

How birds use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate has puzzled researchers for decades. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has pointed to the possibility that a weak magnetic field can influence the outcome of a certain type of chemical reaction involving the recombination of pairs of ions in bird retinas. The trouble is that the ion recombination is known to happen too quickly for the Earth's weak magnetic field to have any effect. Now it looks as if the quantum Zeno effect explains all, says one researcher (abstract). This is the watched-pot-never-boils effect in which the act of observing a quantum system maintains it for longer than expected. That's extraordinary news because it means a quantum sensor is determining the macroscopic behavior of living birds.

Now this is really, really cool to me.

And also terrifying, because pigeons have a better grasp of quantum mathematics than humans.

Scary, n'est pas?

Also... giggle.


Throkky The Wonder Gardener said...

this post broke my brain.

Kyle said...

Just so long as they dont start getting trapped in the past needing to make right other peoples wrongs to eventualy return to thier normal lives, they can be as quantum as they want.

Marblehead Johnson said...

nly flightless birds need to make that kind of leap...

kyle said...

spaceship flying penguin ftw