Useless (youngwilliam) wrote,

Spooky Action at a Distance

So I heard about the quantum entanglement thing on NPR and through Scientific American around the same time.

Basically, when you split apart a particle, you get pairs of sub-particles who share seemingly random qualities (and they're deemed "entangled" with each other). As the article above quickly cites, "it's like a pair of dice that always turn up the same number", although that's not the clearest example -- they don't mean that the pair of dice always come up 3s, but instead that if one gets a 1, the other also gets a 1. If one gets a 4, the other gets a 4. It's basically like there's one 4th dimensional die that's poking through into our world at two points.

I'm down with that. It's much like the whole superstring affair. But what I'm lost on is how it'd help with information transmission. Take the die example? If it were such that if you tricked one die to land with the 5 side up and its entangled partner also turned up a 5, -that- I could see doing it. But instead it seems that it's a matter of we've no clue what number(s) will turn up, so I'm not rightly sure is how it'd help share any information from afar, other than the info-bit of "What side did it turn up?"

Another way of expressing it is, imagine you have a Russian Roulette style revolver. The six rounds in it are each of a different type of bullet (one silver, one lead, one gold, etc..). You've tricked it out so each round is cut in half down the center and the barrel has a Y-fork, and each half goes out either barrel. You give it a good spin and shoot off a random round. Obviously, if the one you pay attention to ends up being the gold bullet-type, its partner will also be gold. Keen! But you've no clue which bullet-type will end up being sent out, so you can't really send any information from afar other than "What random kind of bullet did I just shoot?"
Tags: q&a
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