In the nick of time (finally)
Eventually, I’m gonna have to stop making my timing of the blog post the title, but I’m content with it this time.
Today’s post is rather brief. It comes from a text message a colleague, investigative journalist-extraordinaire Rick Pfeiffer, received at around 6 p.m. today. It seems the Amherst police were called to the north campus of Erie Community College today about a suspicious package received in the mail.
The box was taped shut. They had the New York State police bomb squad on the scene and they x-rayed the package to check for any explosives. But what they found wasn’t very explosive. It was actually quite furry.
A live cat was inside the package. It’s quite disturbing. I haven’t gotten any word about the cat’s condition, though it seemed to be fully functioning. But the best part about the story actually is the humor that can be taken from it once you separate yourself from the obvious animal cruelty involved.
There once was a man named Erwin Schrodinger who poisoned a cat. Well, no, that’s not actually how it happened, folks, if you’re familiar with the Schrodinger’s Cat experiment.
In 1935, the Austrian scientist devised an answer to a paradox in quantum mechanics where one could think of two possible outcomes of a question at the same time. He illustrated it by imagining a cat placed in a box with a poison set to release at an unknown, random time. The two were sealed in the box.
Now because the poison couldn’t be determined to have released or not, the entire time the cat is in the box, it could be thought of as both dead and alive. It isn’t until you open the box, Schrodinger said, that you figure it out and get a true answer.
But it’s maybe a little telling that my mind immediately went to Schrodinger’s Cat when I heard about the boxed-up kitty. I was hoping the physics department wasn’t the unhappy recipient of a horrible, horrible joke. Or the initiators of one.
Bottom line: Don’t put cats in boxes, seal them up and ship them to a local college. It’s really cruel, even if it’s for science.