The Angry Corrie 17: Feb-Mar 1994
Quantum Midge Dynamics
Heard of OMD, OVD and QED? Well, here's QMD - and no, despite your Ed's recent mediacity, it doesn't mean Queen Margaret Drive...
LONG AGO IT WAS ASSUMED that when Newton laid down his laws of motion he had found a general description of the physical state. We now know that this was not the case and better models have been proposed and applied in various branches of the physical sciences. We believe, and intend to show, that up to now, another important application has been missed.
Consider the midge. Have you ever noticed how they manage to squeeze out from between your fingers when you try to splat them? Have you ever wondered how they always manage to penetrate an apparently sealed midge-proof tent or why you still get bitten even when wearing one of those head-nets? The answers lie in Quantum Midge Dynamics.
Like the apple hitting Newton on the head, the theory was first discovered in the field, when it was noted how much a swarm of midges engulfing a person's head resembled an electron cloud circulating the atomic nucleus. The exact orbits followed by electrons around atoms can be calculated using quantum theory. Could this be usefully applied to midges (or should we say, the midgeon)? And if so, what other useful results might we obtain? Can we explain some of the aforementioned phenomena - and most important of all, is there an anti-midgeon?
We first posit the existence of two forces. An attractive force, ie the Human Flesh Field, which attracts the midgeon towards skin in the same manner as gravity keeps us fixed upon the surface of the Earth. To stop the midgeon cloud collapsing we also need to introduce quantum effects in the form of what we call the Human Wave Function. Therefore, a first practical application of the theory is that the greater the wave, the further away from the skin the orbit of the midges. This has been verified in experimental trials. Those hill walkers with a lap- or hill-top computer may now suppose that by applying Schr"dinger's Equation, the orbits of the midgeon cloud may be predicted to a degree of accuracy and those most successful may even be able to derive a new party trick where the midge is picked out from its particular point in space by a pair of chopsticks just like in Karate Kid.
Unfortunately, the story is not so bright. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle tells us that if you can measure the position exactly, you can have no idea of the velocity and vice-versa. From this it is easily seen how they always manage to slip away just when you thought you had them.
Although being unable to guarantee the death of a midge, we may use our theory to determine the Maximum Probability of Splatting (MPS). It is obvious that the MPS cannot be improved upon, even by the popular SMC (Smoking Midge Coils). Also, by extrapolation from the Schr"dinger's Cat Thought Experiment, we can see that it is impossible to predict whether there is a midge in your sleeping bag before you get in it, or if there is, whether it is alive or dead. The original experiment consisted of a cat in a box with a vial of poison that may be released upon activation of a quantum trigger.
What about the so-called midge-proof tent? We suspect that although the tent is impenetrable to the classical Newtonian midge, the midgeon will have less problem entering. This phenomenon - known as quantum tunnelling - allows the midgeon particle to break through apparently insurmountable energy barriers, ie the tent wall. Although the same may apply to head-nets, we believe something slightly different is occurring here. A midge head-net necessarily must have holes in to allow the wearer to see/breathe. It appears that these holes have similar width to the wavelength of the midgeon wave function, so instead of preventing entry, the midgeons hit the net diffracting to produce an interference pattern. At the peaks of the pattern we find what we previously thought to be bites but are actually the result of the high energy radiation bombarding the skin.
As of yet we have not managed to isolate an anti-midgeon although we are convinced of their existence by the apparent disappearance of midges under certain conditions by mutual midgeon/anti-midgeon annihilation. We believe anti-midgeons are created by sunshine, wind and to a lesser extent rain. Unfortunately, we have not yet had a still sunny day which would create the ideal conditions for the discovery and capture of such a particle. We do, however, continue our research under laboratory conditions and are looking into other potential, more tappable, sources. It is written in the history books that the early Greek philosophers thought the four elements from which the world was composed were air, water, fire and earth. We suspect they may have been misinterpreted and that they were in fact well ahead of their time in discovering how to rid themselves of midgeons or the Greek equivalent. The reader will notice the first three's correspondence to wind, rain and sun. We are now experimenting with throwing lumps of mud and heather around to see if that has the same effect. With the latter, we find it most effective if the wave function is partially restricted. A short length of rope usually does the trick.
Some of the more mysterious properties of the midge have then been explained and we hope to have contributed to the general understanding of the midge particle. Perhaps soon we may even develop an anti-midgeon spray? Two threads of research still need to be cleared up however, and we leave them as potential questions to other researchers in the field. Firstly, is midge fusion possible and if so do we have a future energy source for Scotland? Secondly, in physics there is an ultra-high energy electron - so what does the ultra-high energy midgeon look like? Could this be a clegg?