Li'l Al:  "The operation has to be done at FTL so that we don’t get caught and spend a pento in a local Minkovsky space-time.
    Have you checked the walls of this banking institution, Steve?"

    Baby Face:  "Not personally, no. I'm not an experimentalist. I just do theory."

    Li'l Al:  "Oh. I thought you had a background in engineering too."

    Baby Face:  "Well, I did a couple of labs back in my freshmen years, but I'm a bit rusty now. No. Just numbers. I was never one
    to get my hands dirty anyways. However, that is largely irrelevant to our discussion. I have calculated that in order to support
    the building, and if we include a fudge-factor of three for security, the walls would have to be two meters wide. That's within a
    95% confidence interval. Those are some thick walls!"

    Li'l Al:  "Really? Well I'm not gonna argue with THE authority in Math today. If it's good enough for you, you can be sure that
    your peers will not challenge it."

    Butch: "Yeah that’s fine and dandy, but let’s get back to the non-trivial subject at hand. How are we going to get through them

    Li'l Al: "Oh, come on Butch! Where have you been since Complementarity? You make it sound like an impossible task.
    Mathematical Physics certainly puts many options at our disposal. I think that we should quantum-tunnel through the
    seemingly impossible barrier first one way then the other. Why, we could be in and out like a soliton, without making waves.
    Can you imagine the look on the faces of those non-specialist coppers? They would wonder how someone could clean the
    bank without breaking in."  (The group chuckles.)  

    Bugsy: "That wouldn’t be so bad, except that there is no theoretical way to prevent all those phonons from dispersing. I can
    already imagine some nosy old lady snitching on us because of the racket. Nah! I prefer the wormhole alternative. I think it’s
    simple, symmetric, and..."

    Li'l Al: "Please review that idea for the team, Bugs, so that we’re all on the same wavelength."

    Bugsy: "Sure! Nothing fancy, really. Just your ordinary wormhole stuff from your sophomore years. We locate a black hole
    entrance, jump through its event horizon, and disappear into the parallel universe that has the specific alternate history
    where the bank has a billion dollars in the vault. We don’t want to spend all that energy and end up with a  null hypothesis.
    The whole operation can be done in imaginary time, say, in minus 10 minutes. We could be eating breakfast this morning
    with a billion dollars at the table. We could do the whole operation before we hold this meeting."

    Baby face: "It’s an attractive proposal, Bugs, but remember why we rejected the wormhole option?  We can't guarantee that
    we can get back to this particular alternate history. That’s why I have been more inclined to go with the warp-space  teleporter.  
    Now there you have a fool-proof, c++ mechanism to stay within this universe."

    Butch: "Too bulky! I really think it unnecessary to alert the pigs to our portable accelerator. We can do it more inconspicuously
    by going about it at FTL.

    Li'l Al: "FTL? You're not serious, are you, Butch? FTL violates causality. Certainly we are not quite at DOE yet!  Tachyons have
    no experimental basis. They are still in their theoretical phase. It could backfire on us. Besides, it has already been settled.
    Special Relativity forbids FTL. That's a non-starter right there."

    Butch: "You know, Al! It pisses me off that you do not even attempt to keep up with the literature! You’re light years behind.
    The principle is NOT that nothing can travel FTL. The principle is that information cannot travel FTL! Phase velocity is a fact
    of nature! It has already been confirmed that phase velocity travels faster than light. So you're spinning your quarks, Al,
    talking about stuff you don't understand. You're walking on a tangent, confusing yourself with group velocity!"

    Bugsy: "Well, Butch, you seem to be behind on news too! I'm sorry to tell you that Group velocity has also been confirmed
    to travel FTL."

    Butch: "That's bullshit! The problem with you is that..."

    Baby Face: "Okay guys! That's enough! Let's get back on track. I insist that the teleporter is our best option because we are
    not limited by speed. It can get us in and out at the speed of thought. You think, and you're there! It leaves FTL biting the dust!
    We could even enhance the speed by taking advantage of inflation. We contract the space in front and expand the space in
    the rear of the teleporter and..."

    Bugsy: "I don't mean to cut you short, Steve, but... can I offer another proposal that we haven't kicked around yet?"

    Baby Face: "Sure! Why not? I guess no one gives a damn about my Alcubierre driven teleporter, so I might as well chuck the
    idea in the basket!"

    Bugsy: "Well, I was thinking that we can do the job by applying the Casimir Effect. We place two metal plates on opposite
    sides of the bank and siphon the money out of the vault using negative energy."  

    Butch: "Yeah! Unfortunately, you'll be sucking the walls of the bank together with the dough! What if some dark matter or
    dark energy gets in your way? If you're going to rob a bank in such a primitive manner, you might as well go with tunneling.
    We convert the burlap bags into waves and have them seep to the other side of the wall."

    Li'l Al: "Nah! For that matter an even better option is annihilation. We just bang the loot bags together at the right energy,
    make 'em disappear, and then reverse the process to bring them back at our hideout."

    Butch: "It pisses me off, Al, that you don’t even make an effort to keep up with the literature. Then we go round and round in
    circles like a Flatlander on a finite, but unbounded sphere. Don't you know that annihilation does not convert the bags into
    nothin'. It converts them into energy. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to get them back!"

    Li'l Al: "The one who needs straightening out is you! It has been already experimentally determined that if you take negative
    energy and positive energy you end up with zero energy! You're the one who is still one step away from graduating!"

    Baby Face: "Okay guys knock it off! Perhaps the best option, now that I think of it, is to infinitely curve the space around the
    bank with a non-rotating black hole. They won't see us coming because the light will curve around them."

    Bugsy: "You've gotta be kiddin' me, Baby Face! Haven't you heard that the people at WMAP have already established that
    space is no longer curved. Get it through your thick skull: Space is flat! The cops will be seeing us like I see you this very

    Baby Face: "Hey. Watch your pions, Kip! You gotta lotta color, but no charm. You don’t even have a Nobel. So don’t come
    pushing me around as if you had some authority around here. You can predict all you want, but in the end we'll just have
    to test your hypothesis."
Water cooler theorists

    Where do the mathematical physicists get all these supernatural and irrational  physical interpretations
    for the phenomena they observe? Is it something they smoked?

    I say it has to do with the entire education system. The freshmen that enter sacred monasteries like
    Harvard and Cambridge are privileged mommy’s boys who never had to work in their lives. They have
    no street-smartness, no capacity to distinguish between reality and fantasy. The blue bloods doing
    ‘research’ and theoretics in universities around the world never had to tackle and solve a real problem.
    They never have to produce the goose that lays the golden eggs.  They don’t have to report to a boss
    that writes a yearly review and grades them on the basis of merits. And then you find them at the chats
    and forums talking authoritatively about absolute nonsense. Can you even imagine a government, a
    business, or a Mafia run by theoretical physicists? Such a hypothetical organization would border on
    surrealism. Just try to imagine a gang of mathematicians planning a bank heist. Now, honestly. Would
    they ever really get around to doing the job?
The Scene:

A dark, humid basement at the Physics Department in California Institute of Technology (CalTech).

Four of the world's foremost relativists –

Guth (a.k.a. Li'l Al),
Hawking (a.k.a.  Baby Face),
Penrose (a.k.a. Butch),
Thorne (a.k.a. Bugsy)

– are planning a heist at the local
First National Bank.
Sherlock Bill
on the trail of
Mathematical Physics


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    Last modified 02/01/08

        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008
Why God Doesn't Exist
Of course, the jail is empty!

What did you expect?

Did you really expect these relativists
to ever get around to robbing the

They're still in that dark, humid
basement of theirs, brainstorming yet
more fantastic explanations for the
simple phenomena of Nature!

    Li'l Al: "Look guys. Why don't we just travel to the past and rob the bank in 1960 and kill the guards' grandfathers? That
    way when we come back there won't be anyone to see us do it."

    Butch: "If it were that easy, I would prefer to go back and kill your grandfather. Don't you know that we can't travel to the
    past! We can only travel to the future. What type of time tunnels did you study at that relativity think tank of yours anyways?"

    Bugsy: "I'm beginning to think that we may just need to rely on string theory to do this job. It's just too risky the way we're
    going about it, you know, with now obsolete Classical Quantum Mechanics and relativity. We can be entangled by any
    variable, and that's not very comforting. I suggest that it would be best if we take a one Planck-length long string and
    shorten it a bit until it fits through the key hole. Then we feed it some energy and allow it to form a closed string. We repeat
    this amply verified process until we weave a chain mail  canvas. We can use this method to either pull one bill or one bag
    at a time, or have the entire vault slide into our hands through this hammock."

    Li'l Al: "Well, hold it, Bugs! We might as well forget the strings altogether and just play around with string dimensions. Why
    don't we enter through the 11th or 26th dimension? Since it's curled so infinitesimally small, no one will notice our presence."

    Baby Face: "Yeah, the trouble is that the loot may be squashed in the process. Ask yourself.. what if the dimension of width
    should happen to shrink on us instead of the 11th? Then what? What would happen to the dollar bills in the bag? That's a
    big risk! We do all the work for nothin'!"

    Butch: "Gentlemen? Have we considered the wonders of EPR? I was just thinking that maybe we could induce reverse
    spin on the atoms comprising the vault with a remote electromagnet. We can then pull the entire box through the window
    like a corkscrew."

    Bugsy: "Roger, we already looked at that option, remember? We rejected that hypothesis on the basis that there are hidden
    variables we cannot control."

    Li'l Al: "You're crazy, Bugs! It's already been established that there are no hidden variables during EPR. EPR is a product of
    many worlds. I personally believe that the signals arrive from the future!"

    Baby Face: "Hold it people! I think I got it! All the while we're brainstorming all of these proven methods and we had the
    solution in front of our noses. Why didn't I think of it earlier? Why we can just apply Uncertainty and get away with murder.
    It is a fact that the vault does not simultaneously have a precise momentum and position. Right? The more we know about
    one, the less we know about the other. So all we have to do is attain a perfect measurement of momentum. Then, for sure
    no one will have any idea where the vault is. We can make it disappear before their very eyes simply by taking a

    Butch: "It certainly is thought-provoking. However, we would have no idea where the vault is either. Naaaah! I suggest that
    we try it in a more practical way. We enter the bank as regular customers and Bugs generates an interference pattern on the
    vault and makes it disappear from view. While the officials are looking for the vault, we cover one of the windows like we
    would block a slit in the slit experiment and..."