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Various Froupiness

The Quantum Video Store
Posted to %afda by Wikkit on 2nd January 2001

MEow wrote:

>-So kristen's in an indeterminate state in a box and you can't tell if she's
>-Jane Fonda or not without opening the box first? Poor girl...

Speaking of indeterminate states, my brain started working last night, which was nice as it hadn't done that for a while. Anyway, we'd watched Clerks at our new years party thing, and it gave me an idea. Tell me if you think it's genius, or, more likely, dumb:

Movie rental places don't make any money off the movies that just sit on the shelves. So, I suggest they only have the movies that they need to rent out. Some people might suggest time travel, so that they can find out what movies they'll need for a specific week, but that's just silly. I suggest they use the ideas of quantum physics so that they'll only have the right movies. It's actually very simple.

First, the store finds out how many movies, on average, they rent out in a week. Then they send this bit of data to my company, which then inputs it into a computer which then randomly picks that many movies and packs them into a box. That box is then delivered to the store.

Then, when someone wants to rent a movie, they go through the buisness of looking at all the empty boxes on the walls, finding the one they want. They then go up to the counter, and tell the clerk they want movie n.

Then all he/she has to do is reach into the box and pull out a movie. Since no one knows what the movie will be, the laws of quantum physics says that it isn't any movie until they find out what movie it is. Thus, that movie/anymovie will be the right movie.

So they save money, as they don't have to store all those movies, and they'll always have the exact right movies. They'd never have to worry about a movie being rented out already again. Then, at the end of the week when all the movies have been picked out and returned, the company comes and gets the movies, and delivers another box. Rinse, repeat, recycle.

So what do you think?

Posted by pieceoftheuniverse later the same day

Sorry, but it won't work.

The problem here is the "randomly picks" part. There's no such thing as random, to a computer. You can make a pseudo-random algorithm that will tell the computer when to pick something and have a rotating shelf with movies on it going at infrequent speeds, but even a fool who can only hack in Pascal is going to be able to figure out when to hit the last key so that the movies he/she/it likes will drop into the box.

Another thing is that the computer's going to know which movies were chosen, on some kind of sub-coded level (that's the AI equivalent of subconscious, only slightly less so). The reason the whole Schro's cat thing works is because there's a randomness -after- the box is sealed. That's why there's a quantum singularity over every single package in the post office just before it's torn open. Was there sufficient styrofoam popcorn? Was the object fragile? Was it wrapped in paper? Was it insured? Those kinds of things help create the quantum field.

So what you need is a series of boxes, all unlabeled except for destination. Inside these boxes you pack every movie there is/was/whatever, and don't include a shipping manifest. Send off to your movie palace, where an employee will open the box, therefore collapsing the quantum field. Just before the collapse, though, there will be two unknown factors:
  - the movies in the box
  - the amount of damage done to the tapes (or DVDs, depending)

The rental place will then, by Murphy's Law, have a huge number of videos featuring none other than Doug McClure, and not much else.


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