0811: "Starlight"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:50 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:When I look at my girlfriend's face while we are standing outside under a broad spectrum of photons:

  • Radio wavelengths and microwaves have much broader wavefunctions than the wavefunction of her skin, so those photons pass through her body unnoticed; she is radiotransparent. That's okay, though; my eyes can't see radio wavelengths.
  • Her skin forms destructive interference with the wavefunctions of most high-energy green and blue photons, absorbing it by electron excitation. This energy is diffused as heat, which is why she feels warmer by standing in the sun.
  • Her skin forms constructive interference with most other photons in the visible spectrum, scattering them under diffuse reflection. These photons reach my eyes; this is the color I see. She is flushed, and the blood rushing to her face absorbs a little bit of the yellow light that would otherwise be reflected, giving her a slightly more pink color in her cheeks.
  • A few of the green photons in the 525 nm range are absorbed (destructive interference and excitation) by the sodium atoms in her skin. These atoms build up the energy and release it as lower-wavelength photon (in the golden yellow wavelength range) fluorescence; this makes her skin appear to glow in the sunlight.
  • The thin coating of tears lubricating the surface of her eyes forms constructive interference with almost all photons in the visible spectrum; because of hydrogen bonding, the wavefunctions scatter light evenly under specular reflection, allowing me to see myself and the entire landscape behind me in her eyes.
  • Her skin is a little darker than mine, so the melanin in her skin forms constructive interference with ultraviolet photons, reflecting them away from her body diffusely. My skin will not fare so well; it forms destructive interference with ultraviolet light, absorbing it by excitation and heat transfer, and giving me a sunburn if I stay out in the sun all day.

Of course, I don't mention any of these things to her at the time, because when I look at her, I'm thinking about chemistry, not physics.

This is the most XKCD-like post I have ever seen on these forums. You should find a way to convert it into comic form.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:This is the most XKCD-like post I have ever seen on these forums. You should find a way to convert it into comic form.


I'll take that as the highest compliment possible -- thanks.

Now they say the light's the fastest thing
Across the universe it speeds
But it won't move quickly for me

Unless it travels from the sky
And off of you into my eyes
Then I just can't wait patiently
Last edited by davidstarlingm on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:This is the most XKCD-like post I have ever seen on these forums. You should find a way to convert it into comic form.


Without a scanner, I could only do this with my iphone's camera, but it should still be legible.

http://twitpic.com/320bzq/full

JoshuaR
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:39 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby JoshuaR » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:43 am UTC

That is indeed the most xkcd-like thing I've read or seen not created by Randall Munroe.

Perhaps it can be added as a guest comic or something.

User avatar
Dthen
Still hasn't told us what comes after D
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:35 pm UTC
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby Dthen » Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:00 am UTC

Oh, is that thing meant to be a mirror?
I had no idea.
Dthen wrote:I AM NOT A CAT.

Singulaire
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:05 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby Singulaire » Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:25 am UTC

Reading the formula with the wavefunction is the best part of that thing. For whatever reason, Psi-skin sounds hilarious to me.
Also, I guess that would be pretty romantic, but I'm to emotionally stunted to tell. Can anyone verify this?

JoshuaR
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:39 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby JoshuaR » Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

Verify that you are emotionally stunted or that it is romantic? ;)

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby davidstarlingm » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:00 am UTC

JoshuaR wrote:Verify that you are emotionally stunted or that it is romantic? ;)


I suppose that successfully verifying its romanticness would verify his emotionally-stunted-ness by implication, no?

It would be super-cool if Randall posted this as a guest comic. I can ink it and scan it if necessary. But he hardly ever does guest comics, and never for a nobody like me.

Singulaire
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:05 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby Singulaire » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:45 am UTC

Verify that the comic is romantic. I already know I'm emotionally stunted.

david: try informing Randall of your exploit, maybe he'll blog about it or something.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby davidstarlingm » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:57 pm UTC

Singulaire wrote:Verify that the comic is romantic. I already know I'm emotionally stunted.

david: try informing Randall of your exploit, maybe he'll blog about it or something.


I emailed him. I suppose that press@xkcd.com is the best address to use?

webgiant
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:36 pm UTC

Re: 0811: "Starlight"

Postby webgiant » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:51 am UTC

BlazeOrangeDeer wrote:
Sam Knight wrote:I don't get this comic at all.. Why the mirror?

He wants the photons to be able to travel back home. He probably should have used three mirrors at right angles (corner retro-reflector) so they would actually reflect straight back at their source ;)

So what he's really doing is sharing the death of stars billions of light years away with star systems also billions of light years away which would have never seen the deaths of those stars from our angle?


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: acunning40, mscha and 39 guests