Home: Toilet: Seat: Up or Down
Schrödinger's Toilet Seat   (+56, -4)  [vote for, against]
No more "Who left the seat up?/"Who left the seat down?" arguments.

(One of the nice things about the HalfBakery is that I can put an idea title like "Schrodinger's Toilet Seat" up and it's almost unnecessary to explain. But anyway, here goes...)

This idea can be baked at home.

1 cardboard box, large enough to cover the raised toilet seat
1 piece of toast
Blu-Tack (or similar reusable adhesive)

First calibrate your toaster so that you can produce a piece of toast which, as it cools, dries and becomes more brittle, will after time T spent supporting a raised toilet seat have a 50% probability of having broken. Then (after using the toilet) prop the raised toilet seat into an almost vertical position with your toast such that when the toast fails it will fall down to the horizontal position. If the toast has difficulty propping the toilet seat because of the smooth porcelain surface, use the Blu-Tack. Cover the propped seat with the cardboard box and leave.

Then after time T, the position of the seat is indeterminate - there is coherent superposition of quantum states - the toilet seat is both up and down until the box is removed.
-- hippo, Jun 19 2001

manual non-toast version [hob, May 16 2009]

Prior art? http://www.halfbake...20Toothpaste_20Tube
This was mentioned once, but Absterge loses his rights for not thinking the idea through as hippo has done. [Monkfish, Jun 19 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Interesting, but unlike the quantum effect at the particle level, it isn't the act of measurement which "forces" the toilet seat into one state or another - after time T the state is in fact already determined, it is just your knowledge of it that is indeterminate, which is not quite the same thing.
However, this is probably a moot point because either way, you don't determine which state the object is in by the act of measurment, you just force it to 'asume' one state or the other. So either way, you still have a 50:50 chance of it being in the wrong state, so does it actually get you anywhere?
However, love the idea, so an inderminately cooked pastry for your good self...
-- goff, Jun 19 2001

Why the box?
-- thumbwax, Jun 19 2001

You need the box because otherwise the cat may (or may not) fall into the toilet while attempting to use the seat as a step to the sink so she can drink out of the tap; this is accomplished in my household by leaving the seat down whenever the toilet is not in use. Schrodinger may have had another use for the box.
-- angel, Jun 19 2001

Th epoint of the box in Schrodingers Cat experiment is that looking inside is what determines the state of the cat (alive or dead). With the box closed, the cat (if it is a quantum dead cat) can in fact be in an indetermined state (alive and dead) until the box is opened. This is the premise for hippos toilet seat, but see my earlier annotation as to why it differs a bit from the quantum reality.
-- goff, Jun 19 2001

"Oh for heaven's sake! You left the toilet seat unpropped-up with toast and uncovered with the box -- AGAIN -- ! How many times do I have to plead with you? What will it take for you to finally discover the SIMPLE HUMAN DECENCY to consider my feelings? Do I EVER leave it unpropped and unboxed? Is it too DIFFICULT for you to simply calibrate the toaster, make the toast, prop the seat (don't forget the Blu-Tack, if needed), and mount the box? What could possibly be simpler? But NOOO. You simply can't be bothered. You just don't care about how I feel at all. You never have. You don't LOVE ME!"

-- beauxeault, Jun 19 2001

and this *actually happens* in my house. Aside from the fact that my bathroom isn't big enough to swing a cat, that is.
What happens if you use non-standard bread? And in some bathrooms time T may be very different from others. If I use toasted Pumpernickel and have diarrhœa, the seat has a way over 50% probability of being still elevated. Which adds to my heightened sh*tting problems.
-- lewisgirl, Jun 19 2001, last modified Jun 20 2001

sorry to put on the pedant hat lewisgirl, but "this actually happens" in your bathroom? Are you caliming that you prop the toilet seat up with toast and cover it with a box? Or are you simply referring to arguing about loo seat ettiquette (which happens in every house in the land)?
-- goff, Jun 19 2001

(wonders if [lewisgirl] should be [loo-isgirl])

How about gluon instead of Blu-Tack? I'd have to be a muon to try this at home. [hippo] gets my biscuit for such a quark-y idea.
-- phoenix, Jun 19 2001

One problem: if and when the toast fails, the seat will come crashing down with a loud bang, and you will then know the state of the seat without having to remove the box. You need a special airtight, soundproof enclosure to address this fault.
-- PotatoStew, Jun 19 2001

I thought of that but forgot to put it in the idea - you have a small pad, like a rolled-up towel or something, which you put on the edge of the toilet to muffle the falling lid noise.
-- hippo, Jun 19 2001

"God does not play craps with my toilet seat!" I regret that I have but one pastry to give.
-- Dog Ed, Jun 19 2001, last modified Jun 20 2001

//I can put an idea title like "Schrodinger's Toilet Seat" up //

...and/or down.
-- DrBob, Jun 19 2001

Is it really necessary to lift the box at time T for the superimposition effect to work? Where's a quantum physicist when you really need one? My guess is that superimposition begins the moment you put down the (soundproofed) box, it's just the probability of assuming one shape or another that changes over time. Anyway, a great idea which will soon take over bathrooms everywhere.
-- pwo, Jun 19 2001

Make the seat magnetic and build a random electromagnet that switches on and off based on quantum particles into your sound proof box.
-- RobertKidney, Jun 19 2001

That sounds like the 'de luxe' model...
Like [goff] I too am intruiged that this might already be standard practice in [lewisgirl]'s house.
-- hippo, Jun 20 2001

I meant the argument, not the toast and box arrangement. We have a game of over-reacting to the little things. Like leaving hall lights on (who came home pissed at 3.30am? eh? who?) and leaving the internet plugged into the phone line when Jezza's waiting for his girlie to phone. We usually collapse into giggles though. That, and our genuine Schrodinger's Sofa. More on that another time...
-- lewisgirl, Jun 20 2001

Surely all you need is the box? If you can't see the toilet seat then you can't tell whether it is up or down and if She always leaves it down and He always leaves it up and each uses the toilet the same number of times then there is still a 50:50 chance of it being in either state.
-- gravelpit, Jun 20 2001

[gravelpit] For most practical purposes you are correct. However, philosophically you cannot say in your example that the lid is in a superposed up/down state as the knowledge about the true state of the lid exists external to the system (i.e. in the mind of whoever last used the loo). Also, I have reservations about your assumption that men use the loo as much as women...

(...and I'd like to apologise to Halfbakers eerywhere if my posting of this idea had anything to do with the current rash of ideas of the form Schrodinger's X (e.g. cup/ penalty shoot out/duke of york/ etc.))
-- hippo, Jul 10 2001

Why not just make a quantum toilet seat that is both up AND down at the same time, leading to comfort for both genders and a happy male peeing/pooping duality.
-- MuddDog, Jul 10 2001

I'm voting both for and against this idea, indeterminately.

Really, total croissant for the very notion of combining toilet seats, toast, and Schrodinger. How all of that merges into one thought I don't believe I'll venture to ask.
-- RayfordSteele, Apr 15 2002

methinks a new category is in order:
home: Schrodinger's ...
-- andrew1, May 12 2005

//if She always leaves it down and He always leaves it up//

If he always leaves it up, I'd rather not know how "he" takes a crap.

For the illumination of Unabubba, I should explain The Ghost Poop effect. It manages to slip silently straight down into the drain of the toilet. Sometimes, if you get low to the ground, and look down from that angle, you can see a bit poking out... Or, you could cowboy up, and sit on the throne backwards to eliminate ghost poo altogether... well, except for farts. I will warn you that the ghost poo elimination stance leads to some pretty serious skid marks, especially in the event of a "Bridge building" session.
-- ye_river_xiv, Oct 08 2006

Just for having this idea I give you a bun. Such a great art idea.
-- baslisks, Oct 09 2006

//1 cardboard box, large enough to cover the raised toilet seat 1 piece of toast Blu-Tack (or similar reusable adhesive)//
and was expecting a quantum explanation on how to catch a housemate leaving the seat up/down using a box and some toast...
-- sprogga, Jan 17 2007

Yet more excellent work, [hob] - Thanks.
-- hippo, May 17 2009

-- po, May 17 2009

// First calibrate your toaster // [marked-for-tagline]
-- BunsenHoneydew, May 17 2009

'You left the seat up, again!' -- 'Possibly'
-- loonquawl, May 18 2009

Fabulous illustration, [hob]
-- Dub, May 18 2009

My toilet seat is always in between quantum states, well until somebody opens the bathroom door.
-- quantum_flux, Aug 14 2009

Ah.. truly a passage of manhood.

Picture the scene. It's Winter, the front lawn is covered in crisp, white snow, like a delicate crystaline blanket. There stands [UnaBubba] at the porch, with his son, the apple of his eye, his heir apparent. With one arm around the young man he looks out across the whitescape, punctuated by the yellow letters in the snow: "UnaBubba woz 'ere".
"Someday my son, all this will be yours."
-- Jinbish, Aug 14 2009

Yeah, I know mate. It's just not the same when it's on the lawn, is it?
-- Jinbish, Aug 14 2009

Bloody hell. I dunno what you must've been drinking but I bet it was potent!
-- Jinbish, Aug 14 2009

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