Backchat from Woody Allen in The New Yorker summer edition

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Tue Jul 29 14:20:46 MDT 2003

hmmmmmm. i may have to start seeing his movies again.

i wonder if Allen hangs out with fellow New Yorker and physicist
Michio Kaku.

les schaffer

i had meetings all morning, so J's post freshened me up:

>  "What I do know about physics is that, to a man standing on the
>  shore, time passes quicker than to a man on a boat

   Dr. Hackenbush (taking a pulse): Either he's dead or my watch has
   stopped.  A Day at the Races (1937 Marx brothers movie)

> - especially if the man on the boat is with his wife. The latest
> miracle in physics is string theory, which has been heralded as a
> T.O.E., or "Theory of Everything". (...)

   It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this
   century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the
   only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is
   unquestionably correct.  Michio Kaku

> And so I approached Miss Kelly's gravitational field, and could feel
> my strings vibrating. (...) "I am sorry", she said, "I was about to
> order some coffee and Danish, but now I can't seem to remember the
> Schroedinger equation.  Isn't that silly ? It just slipped my mind."
> "Evolution of probability waves", I said.

    I find black holes to be so confusing that I don't know if they
    are a problem or a solution.  -- Woody Allen

> "And if you're ordering, I'll love an English muffin with muons and
> tea." "My pleasure", she said, smiling coquettishly, and curling up
> into a Calabi-Yau shape. I could feel my coupling constant invade
> her weak field, as I pressed my lips to het wet
> neutrinos. Apparently I achieved some kind of fission, because the
> next thing I knew I was picking myself up off the floor, with a
> mouse on my eye the size of a supernova. I guess physics can explain
> everything except the softer sex, although I told my wife I got the
> shiner, because the universe was contracting, not expanding, and I
> just wasn't paying enough attention."

    Mrs Felix: Why don't you do your homework?
  Allen Felix: The Universe is expanding.  Everything will fall apart,
               and we'll all die.  What's the point?
    Mrs Felix: We live in Brooklyn.  Brooklyn is not expanding!
               Go do your homework.

               (from Annie Hall by Woody Allen, incidentally, Allen is
               correct that local frames like Brooklyn do not expand)

on logic and epistemology (Allen screws up his existential

    All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, all men are
    Socrates.  Woody Allen


    Man would have nothing to demand of God had he learned to forecast
    the weather correctly.  M.V. Lomonosov

    You cannot depend on your eyes when your dialectics is out of
    focus.  (imagination ==> dialectics, apologies to Mark Twain)

more epsitemology:

    The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but
    to set a limit to infinite error.  Bertolt Brecht

for Jurriaan:

    A statistician is someone who can draw a straight line from an
    unwarrented assumption to a foregone conclusion.  Yale Hirsh

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