Last week, researchers from Google, Princeton, Stanford, and every other physics department used Google’s quantum computer to create a trillion different realities folding onto each other like thin sheets of metal forming a single blade: “The Time Knife.” Just kidding, it’s an equally baffling new phase of matter called a “time crystal.” Want to read the actual paper, brain genius? Here you go:
The best coverage is Natalie Wolchover’s only semi-incomprehensible article in Quanta Magazine which really leans into the “this might actually just be poetry?” aspect of quantum physics. TheNextWeb covered it enthusiastically but less coherently. Yahoo! aggregated both, but that didn’t go well either. And Futurism’s Dan Robitzski also did a short blog post that at least manages not to say anything like:
They can be in a state of having eaten the whole cake, and then cycle right back to a state of still having the cake…
It seems that everyone who tried to write about the time crystal lost their mind immediately. Now it is my turn to write about the time crystal. So what is a time crystal? From Quanta:
A time crystal is both stable and ever-changing, with special moments that come at periodic intervals in time.
So it’s like… puberty? No, I need more.
The time crystal is a new category of phases of matter… It has order and perfect stability despite being in an excited and evolving state.
It’s a quantum object that nature itself probably never creates, given its complex combination of delicate ingredients. Imaginations conjured the recipe, stirred by nature’s most baffling laws.
We are getting nowhere here.
Ok, listen: remember Weebles? “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”1 Now imagine the anti-Weeble. It doesn’t wobble, it only falls down. This is your quantum particle. Now put a series of anti-Weebles in a row, some of them are standing up, others fallen down, then blast them with a microwave laser. We’re kind of drifting away from the utility of a 1970’s childrens-toy-based analogy here but imagine that for some reason the laser makes them flip from up to down or vice versa, without the anti-Weebles absorbing any of the energy from the laser. That’s it, that’s the time crystal. The anti-Weebles just flip back and forth regularly, without gaining or losing any energy. The whole system is “at rest,” in a form that happens to include change over time.
If that still isn’t clear, the only other way I can explain it is: a time crystal is a group of quantum particles pooping back and forth, forever. ))💎((
This is very exciting! Is it very exciting? “It’s unclear whether a Floquet time crystal might have practical use,” writes Wolchover. Ah. Well. Nevertheless.
Today in Things New York Should Get Rid Of: a 165 page report found that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo “harassed multiple women… by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making inappropriate comments.” In response, Cuomo presented a slideshow and 85 page report proving that he regularly engages in unwanted groping, kisses, and hugging. “Gawker,” a new website that used to be an old website but is actually a different old website, found a confusing Tony Bennett related angle on all this, rather than posting anything that lands.
Also, after a tragic fourth suicide, New York’s most cynical mall sculpture The Vessel may be closed permanently, writes designboom. Justin Davidson argued in Curbed that, like Cuomo, the sculpture has failed and it’s time to dismantle it.
Kyle on Bored Ape avatars and NFT clubs. Today in Matts: “The Hottest New Trend Is Famous Matts Using Homophobic Slurs.” Punters flock to Felixstowe (probably pronounced “FLOCK-ston”) in hopes of knifing the Ever Given. Amazon will charge $55 to listen to you poop, but it will pay you $10 (in store credit) for your palm print biometrics. Go ahead, what do you have to lose other than a fundamental fact of your one and only human body that cannot be changed ever, short of amputation? “Some areas of South Tahoe closed due to chipmunks with plague.” ISIS is flooding pro-Trump social network GETTR with the wrong kind of terrorist propaganda. Also Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote about PatriotTakes and the new #resistance grifters re-platforming far-right content to squeeze more dark money out of the Lincoln Project left.
Today in Yeets: Fleets.
Today’s Song: Caroline Polachek, “Bunny is a Rider” (via Vivian Lee in the Friday open thread)
~ty made the tabs I just took ‘em out the oven~