Big Brother is Watching Your Electrons

CCTV cameras proliferate. The surveillance state grows. And now, they're even taking picture of our electrons. Big Brother is relentless. When will it end?! 

The first photo of an atom, including a couple of different electron cloud poses for the camera:

What we need is an army of Little Brothers (Nano Brothers?) to fight back and protect sub-atomic privacy. Let's buy a bunch of tiny, tiny Flip cams and give them to the electrons! We should probably also rig up the equivalent of police dashboard cams on field-emission electron microscopes.

In the meantime, I'm pretty sure that atom is mooning us.

Science of electrons and the photography method here.

Lots of Reason on privacy here. Me on the upsides/inevitability of life in the surveillance state here

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  • Neu Mejican||

    Worst attempt to inject politics where it doesn't belong I have seen in a long while. Kudos for the hackery.

  • kilroy||

    KMW, that was just stupid.

  • New Albionian||

    Worst attempt to inject politics where it doesn't belong I have seen in a long while.

    Do you seriously believe that was an actual attempt to inject politics into the imaging of carbon atoms? You're either a humorless idiot or a disingenuous tool (or both). The real hackery is your comment. Lighten up or get a life (or both).

  • DSama||

    I found this post amusing, but also almost entirely incoherent. I hope you meant it as a joke. If so, basically the kind of small fail we are all subject to (I mean, a lot of my jokes fall flat, though I don't usually get paid to post my failed efforts on the web.) If not- may God have mercy on your soul, or lack thereof.

  • DSama||

    But I guess I should add that if I _were_ paid to post humour on the web some not negligible amount of it would be this lame, probably. I mean- I'd like to think it wouldn't but.. let's be honest here.

  • ||

    I took this more as one of Reason's occasional "ooh, look -- cool techno!" kind of things.

    At the risk of revealing my ardent Reason fanboydom, have you ever seen the old Muppet Show, and the two old guys up in the balcony, and... then kind of gotten an uncomfortable feeling of familiarity?

  • hammeredHead||

    Nice work. It does look like the uncertainty principle is true as the electron cloud does not form a distinct edge. The wave form of the atom prevents its exact position from being known.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Some how I feel as if my physics manhood has been defamed and I must stand up for the honor of scattering techniques.

  • Spartacus||

    That's pretty amazing, that the microscope can resolve the differences in energy between the s and p orbitals. Do the two p electrons in carbon occupy different p orbitals, or are they in the same orbital with different spin numbers? Been too long since p-chem...

  • DSama||

    Yeah ChrisH, I have. That's why I posted my second comment, actually. I mean- this post is lame. But If I were in this person's shoes I'd probably be posting lamer stuff.

    Actually I would be posting stuff that only a schizophrenic who had been linked up with my brainwaves in the laboratory of a mad scientist could follow. So, while I like to criticize, I'm not sure my criticisms should be taken all that personally.

  • ||

    I thoroughly enjoyed it - especially the mouse-over.

  • ||

    Uggh.

  • Suki||

    STOP! Do we have to get a "first photo of an atom" story every decade? My DAD showed me a cool picture from IBM, showing IBM spelled out with atoms that were pushed around with a scanning, tunneling electron microscope, that he saved from when HE was in college and I think he is younger than Ron Bailey!

    Here, I Googled it.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Suki,

    Different technologies. The dodge is always to claim that this one is somehow more direct than the previous ways. And it is not stupid as such, just depending on a closely stated reasoning. None of which comes across in Science Reporting.

    I mean, look at hammerHead's comment. We've had clear, direct experimental demonstrations of the Heisenberg Principle at work in atomic system for more than fifty years (using scattering methods, yeah, go team scattering). But hammerHead responds to the visceralness of these images.

  • hmm||

    The second image is obscene!!

    Or I have a dirty mind.

    Either way it still looks like smurf boobs pushed up against a window.

  • Suki||

    Different technologies. The dodge is always to claim that this one is somehow more direct than the previous ways. And it is not stupid as such, just depending on a closely stated reasoning. None of which comes across in Science Reporting.

    I mean, look at hammerHead's comment. We've had clear, direct experimental demonstrations of the Heisenberg Principle at work in atomic system for more than fifty years (using scattering methods, yeah, go team scattering). But hammerHead responds to the visceralness of these images.


    Bah! I will pay attention when we see something quarky.

  • Suki||

    Or even Neutrony.

  • Suki||

    Heisenberg Principle: "Officer, I don't know how fast I was going but I know where I was."

  • ||

    Rorschach images have more detail.

  • Suki||

    The second image is obscene!!

    I finally see the cuffs and collar. Was agreeing with you but now it is pretty.

  • DSama||

    Sukisan: you've missed the best argumet here:

    Sukisan: So Officer, you know how fast I was going?

    Officer: certainly, Miss

    Sukisan:Oh, well I didn't realize that you stopped me for that- I thought you wanted to sell me a ticket to the policeman's ball.

    Officer: Policemen don't have balls ma'am.

    Beat

    Officer gets on his bike and drives away in shame.

    Sukisan's voiceover: Physics in action. Keep studying science kids!

  • Suki||

    DSama,

    Thank you! A physics joke just for me :)

    Suki likes.

  • Suki||

    Now, if it could just be a hot chick cop reenacting that Danika Patrick commercial . . .

  • DSma||

    Hmm- having danica patrick be ashamed of not having balls might be more of an abuse of the uncertainty principle than even I am capable of.

  • ed||

    CCTV cameras proliferate. The surveillance state grows. And now, they're even taking picture of our electrons. Big Brother is relentless. When will it end?!

    What the

  • Suki||

    Hmm- having danica patrick be ashamed of not having balls might be more of an abuse of the uncertainty principle than even I am capable of.

    She wasn't the cop in the commercials, silly man.

  • DSama||

    *CCTV cameras proliferate. The surveillance state grows. And now, they're even taking picture of our electrons. Big Brother is relentless. When will it end?!

    What the"

    Well I guess we have an answer. Usually takes longer than that, but hey, don't look a gift gorse in the mouth.

  • Suki||

    I am beginning to appreciate the spin and flavor of this story.

  • N Bohr||

    what the....

    That doesn't look like a little solar system!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    what the....

    That doesn't look like a little solar system!



    Thread winner.

    Wish I'd thought of it.

  • Suki||

    Nicholas, you can be such a Bohr.

  • ed||

    don't look a gift gorse in the mouth.


    Waiter: How do you want your gorse?

    Gunslinger: Blue.

  • Dsama||

    いい味ではないか? Danica Patrick って。。Lezzieですか? びっくりしましたよ。。 こんなかわいい子って。。

  • Suki||


    いい味ではないか? Danica Patrick って。。Lezzieですか? びっくりしましたよ。。 こんなかわいい子って。。



    Do not taste good? What is Danica Patrick. . Lezzie you? I was surprised. . What this cute girl. .

    I am not Japanese and neither is the book character of this name. Maybe if you knew that the translation would work better ;)

  • DSama||

    Context is everything when it comes to translation:

    "But I guess you like that sort of thing. Is Danica Patrick really a Lesbian? I'm a bit surprised- she always seemed like such a sweet girl."

  • Dsama||

    Not that lesbians _can't_ be sweet girls, or anything...

  • Suki||

    DSama,

    If this conversation were before the appearance of my beloved boyfriend I would still be rooting for Ms. Patrick to be bi. Lesbians can be sweet too! They are not all like Gloria Steinem and Nancy Pelosi. Tammy Bruce is a good example.

  • Suki||

    LOL, shakes fist at Dsama.

  • Suki||

    Dsama,

    Clink the link in my handle. You made the blog.

  • Papa Smurf||

    Either way it still looks like smurf boobs pushed up against a window.

    I was thinking the very same thing.

  • DSama||

    sukiさんの彼氏は日本人ですか?

    どうして日本語が分かりますか? 彼氏のためですか?

    君のBlogなんて。。うれしいですよ;) 永久の栄養ではありませんか? とにかく。。。ありがとうございます。。

  • Suki||

    DSama,

    Beloved boyfriend shall not be named on the interwebs. I do not know who the Japanese Suki is, I am from other Asian lineage and you can check the profile at my link for the lineage of the character Suki. I do not speak any of the Asian languages either.

    Would you like me to forward the nutrition question to BB so he can totally pound your ass?

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Meanwhile, here's something more important. Plus, it's hilarious.

    For all their money and organizing capabilities, those behind the TeaParties don't have - and can't even rent - the intellectual firepower to take on things like these MostWatcheddVidss at Youtube right now: link, link, and link.

    The first one has a quarter of a million views, ten times this one from Reason (also in Youtube's current list).

  • Suki||

    Shut the fuck up Lonewaco!

  • hmm||

    Meanwhile, here's something more important. Plus, it's hilarious.

    First, nothing is more important than anything that looks like boobs. Ever. Even if they only look like smurf boobs.

    Second, you just now discovered that youtube videos generally display the worst of whatever they are trying to display? I guess better late than never.

  • Suki||

    First, nothing is more important than anything that looks like boobs. Ever. Even if they only look like smurf boobs.

    Aw! Thank you! Is it okay if mine are beige, not blue?

  • DSあま||

    "Would you like me to forward the nutrition question to BB so he can totally pound your ass?"

    Ok, now we're having fun ;). How we went from my gentle teasing of you to me getting my ass pounded I'll never know, but... I'm game if you are. I love getting my ass pounded ;). Oh, and I'm also about as strapped as is possible under the laws of the state I live in- this state has pretty liberal laws in this regard.

  • hmm||

    Asking if x color boobs are okay in y color is like asking if you'd like your million dollars in 100s or 50s.

  • hmm||

    I love getting my ass pounded...

    Well at least you are on a libertarian site. The majority of libertarians aren't homophobic so you should feel comfortable here.

  • hmm||

    x boobs...


    one too many "color" in there

  • Suki||

    Ok, now we're having fun ;). How we went from my gentle teasing of you to me getting my ass pounded I'll never know, but... I'm game if you are. I love getting my ass pounded ;). Oh, and I'm also about as strapped as is possible under the laws of the state I live in- this state has pretty liberal laws in this regard.

    I wasn't talking the glory hole way like SugarFree, Epi and Warty.

  • hmm||

    X boobs should be a comic about mutant boobs.

  • Suki||

    hmm,

    LOL

  • ||

    LoneBlockhead, you really need to find some way--any way--of tying your incoherent rambling to the post. It would make you seem a little less obsessive, creepy, and totally fucking insane.

    And Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, Katherine was making a joke. You know, that reason can't post anything without taking a shot at the government? This isn't hard stuff.

  • Suki||

    X boobs should be a comic about mutant boobs.

    Don't be such a gen-mod-ist! What about people born that way with super boobs*?

    *I do not have those.

  • ||

    I wasn't talking the glory hole way like SugarFree, Epi and Warty.

    Look, what we do in our free time is our business. And the business of the people who pay for access to our website.

  • Suki||

    Epi,

    Look, what we do in our free time is our business. And the business of the people who pay for access to our website.

    Relax, it was not a commentary on your activity, it was clarification for mister crusin' to get his brain case violated rather than the torpedo hatch he was hoping for.

  • DSama||

    "I wasn't talking the glory hole way like SugarFree, Epi and Warty."

    Well, that's nice. But here's the point- you should be very careful about directly threatening people. If you want someone to "pound my ass"- well I could send you my home address without much fear, actually. But I wouldn't do that, because the last thing I want is to hurt anyone.

  • Kolohe||

    somewhat better than the typical friday funny.

  • Suki||

    DSama,

    You went from nice and engaging to ass in one post. Good thing you don't do this in meatspace or you would probably be typing from a longterm care hospital bed.

  • don||

    It's shocking to realize the electron orbitals instantly divided into left and right as soon a the camera was on.

    Maybe political divisions into left and right can be explained by some subtle quantum effect.

  • Suki||

    It's shocking to realize the electron orbitals instantly divided into left and right as soon a the camera was on.

    I am sort of with you. They really are divided but don't show it unless someone is watching.

    They are quite quarky.

  • DSama||

    What? OK, let's recap. I was nice and flirty with you for a long time. Then you made an absurd threat..

    Of course if your boyfriend showed up at my door I would shoot him in the left eye and call a hearse and a cleaning service.

    Anyway, what's your problem? I was nice to you until you started to talk about having people "pound my ass." Frankly I don't mind that threat, as it's empty, but you can't act like a victim after making that kind of threat.

  • Suki||

    My bad, you are a total ass so you would be getting all of your being pounded, not just your "ass".

  • DSama||

    I see- and you justify your own speech- how?

  • DSama||

    I think you might have mistaken the fact that you have a pussy for a license to be a moron.

  • DSama||

    Meh- as much as I think this bitch out to shut up..
    I'd like Egyptian women to have something to say oin their future.

  • DSama||

    Well I'm sio tting outside her house now,

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Nice thread, but

    if your boyfriend showed up...I would shoot him in the...eye

    Dsama=Donnie Darko!?

  • Neu Mejican||

    New Albionian | September 16, 2009, 6:30pm | #
    Worst attempt to inject politics where it doesn't belong I have seen in a long while.

    Do you seriously believe that was an actual attempt to inject politics into the imaging of carbon atoms? You're either a humorless idiot or a disingenuous tool (or both). The real hackery is your comment. Lighten up or get a life (or both).


    Wait...I'm the one who needs to lighten up?

  • BakedPenguin||

    The idea of a picture of an atom is really interesting. Leucippus, it only took 2600 years, but you totally own Heraclitus now. Too bad this thread went downhill so fast.

    Still, I'm not the person to raise it, so:

    Either way it still looks like smurf boobs pushed up against a window.


    close... (language NSFW)

  • edna||

    Do the two p electrons in carbon occupy different p orbitals, or are they in the same orbital with different spin numbers?

    in an isolated carbon atom, different. look up "hund's rule." i still flinch when i hear the word "aufbau."

    sorry this isn't about ass-pounding or smurf boobs.

  • ed||

    Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, Katherine was making a joke

    Is that what it was? But she's never funny. Ever.

  • Tomcat1066||

    "What about people born that way with super boobs*?"

    All boobs are super.

  • Spartacus||

    Thanks, edna. I eventually decided that had to be the case, otherwise the p orbitals--which only differ in spatial orientation--would have different energies, which would violate basic assumptions about the isotropy of space.

  • Parmenides||

    The idea of a picture of an atom is really interesting. Leucippus, it only took 2600 years, but you totally own Heraclitus now. Too bad this thread went downhill so fast.

    I'm still not buying it. You want me to believe that there is actually nothing in between those atoms? And don't try that crap about electrons being "smeared" or that Heisenberg junk. You have only proven that electrons are apeiron and not actual substances.

  • ||

    The idea of a picture of an atom is really interesting. Leucippus, it only took 2600 years, but you totally own Heraclitus now.

    You still can't step into the same river twice, so whatev. And what happens when you split your precious atom? Fire. Exactly what I said was the basis of everything.

  • ||

    I think it would be more like atta-brother.

    Which sounds a little to much like attaboy to be satisfactory.

    AngstromBrother?

  • jersey||

    let's be honest here

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