967: Prairie

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Prairie
Colorado is working to develop coherent amber waves, which would allow them to finally destroy Kansas and Nebraska with a devastating but majestic grain laser.
Title text: Colorado is working to develop coherent amber waves, which would allow them to finally destroy Kansas and Nebraska with a devastating but majestic grain laser.

[edit] Explanation

This comic refers to the song America the Beautiful, which contains the line "amber waves of grain," which refers to the plentiful wheat fields in the Midwestern US. The waves, in this context, are being likened to the waves in the ocean, as the wind can make the wheat move in such a way as to resemble those.

In quantum mechanics the wave-particle duality explains that particles can act like both particles and waves depending on the context. Using a comedic adaptation of quantum theory, Megan states that the waves of grain become particles of grain when observed, which, in a way, is true. It's not a perfect analogy, however, because each grain is a separate entity while an external force, the wind, is what produces the wave motion.

The title text builds on the quantum mechanics principle that a laser is a coherent wave. This leads of the absurd notion that one could harness waves in grain fields for use as a laser weapon, which would be used by one state to destroy two neighbors. There is a long running joke in the Rocky Mountain West of completely obliterating nearby states, and in particular Nebraska. The use of the word "majestic" to describe the laser is a reference to another line in "America the Beautiful" — "for purple mountain majesties" — which does in fact allude to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

[edit] Transcript

[Megan and Cueball stand in a field of wheat. The figures are drawn in the typical black and white stick figure style, but the field is immensely detailed, with the grain coloured a rich amber and stroked such that individual stalks can be picked out, with a few dark bands providing contrast. In the distance a low mountain range is visible and in the sky a few scattered fluffy white clouds float low over the horizon.]
Megan: Well, when we observe them, they become amber particles of grain.
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Discussion

Except it's not a perfect analogy because each grain is a separate entity, and it's an external force, the wind, that produces the wave motion. Davidy²²[talk] 08:24, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

It actually works out better than you think, because a laser requires an external energy source to pump it. Colorado is also shaped like a laser cavity. 173.245.48.125 06:36, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Purple Mountains Majesties
The song America the Beautiful was written by Katharine Lee Bates, originally in the form of a poem entitled "Pikes Peak", which is a 14,000+ foot peak in Colorado Springs. I changed the phrasing of the article from "which may in fact allude to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado" to "which does in fact allude to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado." There is no question of whether the song refers to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.--108.162.215.55 20:36, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
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