Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

After finding out that I am a mathematician, the customs officer at O'Hare airport asked me "Is today the end of the world?"

We then discussed the end of the world and quantum mechanics for a couple of minutes before he let me go.

Surely my non-philosopher friends in the humanities don't get asked things like this?

My answer to the original question was "I don't know." And that's when quantum mechanics came in, because the customs officer's answer to that was the alternate-worlds picture and that the world might have ended in one of those.

By the way, the other possible answer to this whole business is "Yes, and I feel fine." (It's time I had some time alone.)

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