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Schrödinger Lager

Maybe - maybe not.
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The packaging is an entirely conventional aluminium ring-pull can.

The product is a premium craft lager of the highest achievable quality.

The package labelling reads: "Schrödinger Lager. Possibly the best lager in the world ... or maybe not."

Cans are randomly filled with either premium lager, or soda water.

The only way to find out which one you've got is to open the can; the wave function collapses, the state is fixed. Either a dull tasteless beverage, or a refreshingly clean-tasting beer.

Whichever it is, you made it that way - after all, you opened the can ...

(There is a tiny plastic effigy of a drowned cat at the bottom of the can)

8th of 7, Dec 09 2016


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Annotation:







       Lager and soda water have very slightly different densities, mostly because of the alcohol in the lager being less dense than water. You can verify that the cans are filled to the same level by tapping the cans and measuring the pitch of the noise produced, or by measuring the movement of the can's centre of gravity as you tip it. This, combined with an accurate measurement of the weight of the can will tell you whether it contains lager or soda water.
hippo, Dec 09 2016
  

       Every effort will be made to ensure that the different fillings are indistinguishable by any commonly available physical test.   

       Use of neutron scattering, X-ray diffraction or NMR will be regarded as cheating.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2016
  

       //Use of neutron scattering, X-ray diffraction or NMR will be regarded as cheating.//   

       In that case, the can will have to be heavily shielded in such a way that stray neutrons or, indeed gamma photons do not (in fact, cannot) pass through it.   

       Of course, all these problems can be bypassed simply by keeping the can a small distance away. Given that information cannot travel at much faster than c (and no faster than c over any significant distance), it follows that no method whatsoeveratall can tell you what the can contains at this moment in time. Hence, even if the can is transparent, looking at it will only collapse the history of the can, not its up-to-the-picosecond state.   

       That's one aspect of Schrödinger's cat that isn't often discussed - the present cat is always in a state of superposition; opening the box only collapses the cat's history.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2016
  

       [MaxwellBuchanan], history can restrict possible futures. If you have sufficiently collapsed the waveform representing the can's content, such that you know the liquid at one unopened point was soda water, it is extremely unlikely that that history can have lager in its future.
Vernon, Dec 09 2016
  

       There is a sense in which all cats are Schrodinger's cats, all the time. If light travels at roughly 3x10^8 m/s and your cat is about 2 metres away, then your knowledge of your cat is always at least 6.67x10-9 seconds old. Anything could have happened to your cat in the last 6.67x10-9 seconds and you wouldn't know - it could have died, it could have changed into a bicycle - you have no way of knowing. However, waiting for 6.67x10-9 seconds will collapse this miasma of uncertainty and give you absolute certainty of what state your cat was in 6.67x10-9 seconds ago.
hippo, Dec 09 2016
  

       //extremely unlikely// but not impossible. Hence uncertainty. Hence the need to continually have a can of lager in your hand, and to keep tasting it.
pocmloc, Dec 09 2016
  

       Uh, [hippo], I wish I'd made that point.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2016
  

       You will, Max, you will... :-)
(with apologies to O. Wilde)
hippo, Dec 09 2016
  

       //history can restrict possible futures...// The same is true of most of the arts and humanities, in my experience.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2016
  

       //absolute certainty//   

       No. In fact it's far more likely that you would perceive your cat as being in some other state than it is for your cat to actually change state, for sufficiently unlikely changes.
Voice, Dec 09 2016
  

       //waiting for 6.67x10-9 seconds will collapse this miasma of uncertainty and give you absolute certainty of what state your cat was in 6.67x10-9 seconds ago// Unless there is a closer device, triggered at the same time, that operates an information duplicating apparatus - ie a mirror.
xenzag, Dec 09 2016
  

       // proper ale //   

       Putting Real Ale into bottles or cans is an offence against Natural Law. It's just wrong.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2016
  

       Since you don't qualify that statement, [Ian], I assume it is generally true?
pocmloc, Dec 09 2016
  

       Hmm, could work financially (assuming that soda water is cheaper than lager) as the price per can would be cheaper than the more predictable brands. It would neatly add gambling to alcoholism.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 09 2016
  

       If the effigy of the drowned cat is a different density for each, that might be used to balance out the mass discrepancy. Of course then you need to make sure that both will sink at the same rate by subtly altering the shape to have more or less resistance when falling through these two liquids with different viscosities.
scad mientist, Dec 09 2016
  

       Regarding "extremely unlikely" and "not impossible", I knew what I was doing when I wrote that earlier anno. For example, someone could empty the can of soda water into a vat that's getting used to brew lager. But as for spontaneous conversion from soda water to lager, that would be an event in the class of Acts Of God --again extremely unlikely, but not impossible (assuming various beliefs about such are correct).
Vernon, Dec 09 2016
  

       <Scrutinizes New Testament for indication of JC converting water into beer>   

       <Wonders if [JHC] can pull off the same trick>   

       <Contemplates benefits of getting religion>
8th of 7, Dec 09 2016
  

       /This, combined with an accurate measurement of the weight of the can will tell you whether it contains lager or soda water./   

       I wonder if you could fool hippos tests by adjusting the carbonation pressure of one of the beverages.
bungston, Dec 09 2016
  

       Hmm, I considered a simpler version of this idea when we had a canned drink vending machine in the lunchroom at work. Back before OH&S rules conquered all, I allowed the machine to be stocked with a row of beer along with the usual colas. I thought of randomly stocking the soft drink slots with the occasional beer as sort of a 'lucky dip'.   

       This was the 'good old days, before I was forced to ban all alcohol from our premises - modern liability laws being what they are.
AusCan531, Dec 09 2016
  


 

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