Quantum Claus

Damien Broderick (damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au)
Mon, 28 Dec 1998 10:37:55 +0000

Belatedly (but perhaps still timely in some other relativistic Frame of Reference), I thought people might like to learn about a remarkable new Santa theory posted on another list by Carol Ryles, who wrote:

SANTA CLAUS: A Quantum Perspective.

Santa knows better than to consult engineers. He is after all, the ‘stuff of dreams’ so he knows how to use the ‘dreams of stuff’ to his own advantage.

Think of Santa as a kind of thought experiment – like Schrödinger’s cat or Schrödinger’s dog (I would have liked to have seen the puppies), or even . . . Schrödinger’s catalyst. (Put your guns away now – I haven’t finished).

Think of Santa’s sleigh as a sealed box. Inside is every possible toy, all superimposed. The box is controlled by a navigation device, directed towards each of the [many hundreds of millions of] possible homes. The outcome of course, is
controlled by radioactive decay.

Unless someone observes (unlikely at the North Pole), Santa’s box (sleigh) will only have to reach one household, while all the other superimposed boxes with their superposed contents will reach the others. It has to work . . . provided no child looks – which they won’t because they’re either asleep or pretending to be.

Now, Christmas morning gets tricky. According to Schrödinger (and common sense) only one box and one present can exist once observed. But Santa figured a way around that one long before Kip Thorne started worrying about “Quantum non-demolition.” Except Santa’s version works in reverse (Quantum demolition?). I know it’s not quite what the theorists had in mind, but Santa’s a lot older than even the oldest of them. He knows more . . . How else do you think he can exist in all those department stores at the same time?

I was driven to comment:

At 06:11 PM 12/23/98 +0800, the suitably-seasonally-named Carol wrote:

>Think of Santa’s sleigh as a sealed box. Inside is every possible toy, all
>superimposed. The box is controlled by a navigation device, directed
>towards each of the 188 million possible homes. The outcome of course, is
>controlled by radioactive decay.

This is an astounding discovery. It finally explains why the grey aliens have been so concerned since the 1950s about all the nuclear testing on Earth. I never really believed that this would unsettle the Cosmic Balance, but I now realise that the prevalence of radioactive fallout in our skies must have screwed up Santa's wave function big time. All across the universe, sad little alien and hybrid children weep to see their empty stockings, now that every present intended for the entire cosmos arrives here on Earth amid a blizzard of falling radionuclides. (I suppose you've noticed the vastly increased number of toys in recent years? Mere coincidence? I think not.)

Damien Broderick