967: Prairie

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 10:08, 5 December 2013 by 173.245.54.91 (Talk)

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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.

Explanation

This comic refers to the song America the Beautiful, which contains the line "...amber waves of grain...". 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, the waves at the field of grain behave like particles of grain when observed, which, in a way, they do. If you look closely enough.

In order to create a laser, as mentioned in the title text, the movement of the grain has to be interpreted as a wave motion.

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)
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