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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Transistors to Quantum Computer Playlist:

How To Make a Quantum Bit

Can You Solve This?

How do you investigate hypotheses? Do you seek to confirm your theory - looking for white swans? Or do you try to find black swans? I was startled at how hard it was for people to investigate number sets that didn't follow their hypotheses, even when their method wasn't getting them anywhere.

In the video I say "when people came to Australia..." by which I meant, "when Europeans who believed all swans were white came to Australia..." I did not mean any offence to Indigenous Australians who were already in Australia at that time. Please accept my apologies for the poor phrasing if you were offended by it.

This video was inspired by The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb and filmed by my mum. Thanks mum!

Partly my motivation came from responses to my Facebook videos - social media marketers saying 'Facebook ads have worked for me so there can't be fake likes.' Just because you have only seen white swans, doesn't mean there are no black ones. And in fact marketers are only looking for white swans. They think it was invalid of me to make the fake Virtual Cat page: 'well of course if it's a low quality page you're going to get low quality likes.' But my point is this is black swan bait, something they would never make because their theory is confident in the exclusive existence of white swans.

Anti-Gravity Wheel?

Huge thanks to A/Prof Emeritus Rod Cross, Helen Georgiou for filming, Alex Yeung, and Chris Stewart, the University of Sydney Mechanical Engineering shop, Duncan and co. Ralph and the School of Physics.

In this video I attempt to lift a 19kg (42 lbs) wheel over my head one-handed while it's spinning at a few thousand RPM. This replicates an earlier experiment by Professor Eric Laithwaite. He claimed the wheel was 'light as a feather' and could not be explained by Newton's Laws. I wanted to find out for myself what I really felt like.

Can Silence Actually Drive You Crazy?

Many stories have circulated claiming the longest anyone has stayed in an ultra-quiet anechoic chamber is 45 minutes, the reason being any longer would drive you insane. To me this sounded like unsubstantiated rubbish, like the claim the Great Wall is the only manmade structure visible from space. So I put my own psyche on the line, subjecting myself to over an hour of the most intense quiet on Earth. No, this was not THE quietest room on Earth (-9dB) but it is one of the quietest, and the truth is once you put a person inside, they are by far the loudest thing in there so the sound rating of the room is irrelevant.

I was not surprised to find that I could stay in there for as long as I liked and feel perfectly fine. What was surprising is that my heartbeat was audible. You can hear it on the sound recording. Now I wasn't consciously aware of the sound of my heart while in the room, but I was more aware of the feeling of it beating.

Huge thank you to everyone at BYU: Duane Merrell, Spencer Perry, Cameron Vongsawad, Jazz Myers, Ann Clawson, and Robert Willes.