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back to article German scientists link two labs with ‘universal quantum network’

German researchers have demonstrated a technique that allows them to create entanglement between atoms in different places, using photons to put the atoms into an entangled state. Quantum effects have already crept into the cryptography world, in which entangled pairs of photons are used for key exchange. However, in the new …

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Holmes

How is it possible that we're -doing- this shit, and yet big chunks of people don't even believe in carbon dating?

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Trollface

Because

Those same chunks of people are too scared by the upcoming apocalypse to care! If you google "Doomsday Preppers" you'll find a whole season of people(idiots) preparing for impossible apocolyses, with the rare sane one.

But back to the article, awesome!

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Terminator

Indeed.

And if you think about it, how long will it be before those of us who are happy to use science to change how we think about reality and how we live our lives are so different from regular humans that we could be classed as a different - "higher" species.

The connotations of such concepts are quite interesting.

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FFS

get over yourselves...

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indeed on the occasion I am required to mix with the common folk I am well reminded of their foolishness. They will never learn and I quietly chuckle under my breath as I observe their silly comings and goings.

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Pint

Re: Because

So I take it you don't maintain a zombie preparedness kit? Guess I know who's going to be one of the zombies that needs killing when the apocalypse comes...

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Higher species FFS!

You're a different species when you can't breed with the rest of us. Come to think of it, with that attitude you already might be.

The difference between your elite and your non-elite is very slightly genetic and overwhelmingly environmental. That is to say that if you had been placed in the circumstances of those you're looking down on - childhood nutrition, early learning, parental, school and peer expectations etc. you'd 98% chance BE one of those people you currently look down on. Think about that next time you want to consider yourself a separate "species". Speciation isn't the issue - education and opportunity is.

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Joke

Maybe because

people who do not believe in carbon dating are outdated?

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Re: Higher species FFS! @h4rm0ny

I don't think the OP was thinking about the greater mass of humanity. I think he was referring to those who have had the same opportunities and education, and still think that the world is 6000 years old, evolution doesn't happen, and the universe revolves around the Earth. To me, they *are* a different species - I wouldn't breed with one!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Higher species FFS! @h4rm0ny

Yes, I was referring to people who had the same opportunity. Rick Santorum comes to mind: How do you get a degree, much less an advanced degree, without acknowledging at least two of the major tenets of physics and biology - particularly when a huge number of processes in practical usage rely objectively on their truth? What internal mindset do you have to have to deny that principles used in your television even exist? Do you think that the scientists and engineers are, en masse, executing a devious plot? I suppose if you're Rick Santorum you figure they're agents of Satan...

I dunno. It just defies explanation. I mean, quantum entanglement, people - this was pie-in-the-sky shit 25 years ago; people were debating whether quantum mechanics was even valid on any level not so long before that, and here we are actually *using it*. I mean... how awesome would it be to point to kids and say, hey, look at what we're doing here - to be proud of humanity's accomplishments? The '50s and '60s were a horrible time for many things, but at least then there was a belief in the power of science and knowledge.

Maybe we just need to start up a cold war with China, or something.

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Re: Higher species FFS! @h4rm0ny

To be fair Santorum has proven himself to be both racist enough to use racial slurs in public (unless you believe he meant something else when he called Obama a 'nig...uh') and so homophobic that he'd start chucking gays into jail or rehab camps if he could. Both of those veiws in a politician require a certain intellectual deficiency in my opinion. I don't care how you were raised. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that those attitudes are going to get you fired sooner or later in his line of work (or, you know, not elected to begin with).

And please, no cold wars. Paranoia and flirtations with nuclear war are not going to help any situation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe because

No, we prefer booth-babe dating :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Higher species FFS! @h4rm0ny

"Paranoia and flirtations with nuclear war are not going to help any situation."

Well, let's be honest: they're solid gold to defense contractors and filmmakers, at the very least.

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Pint

Re: Higher species FFS!

Being conservative does not mean you are stupid. There has been actual science done on this, you know. It does mean that your brain works in different ways. (There are even genes that have been linked to conservative thought patterns, etc.)

Give this a read: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/201241195538365112.html

It's a great review of a great book on the topic. It looks at exactly how conservatives and progressives think differently. It also emphasise that one is not “smarter” than the other. The raw intellectual capacity of individuals can and does exist on both sides of the spectrum. It is simply that this capacity uses different filters to perceive the world and make judgements about the importance of issues and data.

If you have any interest in the topic beyond griping on the internet and/or a massive persecution complex, both the article and the book it references are 100% worth your time to read.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Higher species FFS!

"Being conservative does not mean you are stupid."

Who said anything about conservatism? What kind of conservatism are you even referring to? I see no reason why a die-hard fiscal conservative can't believe in science. And a social conservative can acknowledge science easily enough as well.

Denying facts which are as solid and obvious as the chemistry used to make rubber, or the processes used to convert oil into gasoline, or the underlying principles used in LCD TVs or fiber optic cable, requires either an inability to understand and reason on a basic level (stupidity) or a willful refusal to acknowledge the objectively, provably, and has-been-proven-even-by-the-clothes-you're-wearing-right-now-FFS true principles of physics.

It seems clear that people like, say, Rick Santorum, possess the raw intellect required to grasp these facts; there are therefore only a few options:

1) It's an act; he's playing to the cameras. Mr. Santorum, however, seems quite genuine, and what's more, if his goal was to crassly maximize his chance of election, he wouldn't take such utterly asinine positions (eg: encouraging kids to go to college is elitism and liberal indoctrination)

2) He works very hard to avoid any contact with anything involving lower levels of technology of physics. La, la, la, I can't hear you.

3) He's built a huge teetering house of rationalizations, one on top of another, that justify the positions he believes he must have to be a moral person. You start out saying that God put fossils there to test faith, then you say that God made them look old... his whole belief system, family life, etc - everything hinges on this. He's smart enough that he can build this huge house of cards around himself, and every one he adds makes it that much more important that he keep adding more.

So you get someone who's intelligent, but who's willfully avoiding the truth by making rationalizations that go the first 80% of the way to believability and letting the necessity of their success to his life handle the other 20%.

Hell, we all do this to some extent. But if you start out as a kid with parents powerful enough to ingrain beliefs in you before your smarts kick in, and if you have smarts enough to take the easy way out and trick yourself into continuing... well, there you go. The irony is that - and I'm speculating - less intelligent people may be more apt to fold and throw away their old belief systems; they just can't come up with enough new rationalizations to explain away everything they're seeing.

None of this has to do with where you are on the policy spectrum. The fact that I posted something that just complained about people not acknowledging science and you immediately said, "But not all conservatives are dumb" is quite interesting, though.

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Unhappy

Re: Higher species FFS!

As a general rule, "socially conservative" has a very strong statistical correlation to various (indeed in many cases nearly ALL) flavours of science denialism. Santorum just happens to be a great poster boy and a good subject. He is certainly smart enough to understand the science (in terms of ra6w processing power,) however he seems to honestly and truly believe something else.

If you take the time to dive into the science of why some people don’t believe science, you start to understand why. The article I linked to is a good introduction. Here’s another good one: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Now, you are correct, “conservative” doesn’t automatically correlate to science denialism. But very frequently this is the case. What’s more, the trend is increasing, as the polarisation between “right and left” rapidly degenerates into “science versus god.” The gap is getting bigger…and the Al Jazeera article actually has a good dose of “why progressives are having a piss poor time explaining things to conservatives.”

So yes, when you talk about someone like Santorum in combination with science denial and/or stupidity, the first thing that leaps to mind is this sort of research. Maybe it is because my province is in the middle of an election. Maybe it is because the Alberta version of the Tea Party (the Wild Rose party, also a popular flavour of tea,) is poised to win a majority.

They want to completely dismantle our health care system, turning it into a tiered for-profit, American style system. (Over my rotting corpse!) They want to defund and privatise education. They want to slash environmental and arts funding down to zero, and they plan to defund and privatise public transportation as much as is possible. Lower taxes for the rich, fewer tax breaks for the poor. Far fewer royalty taxes on resources extraction companies. Nonexistent environmental fines for non-compliant entities. 66666666It gets worse, but this isn’t really a fiscal conservatism argument.

The issue here is social conservatives. And yes, the correlation here is damned near 100% on the “batshit nuts social conservatives” and “science deniers.” How am I gauging social conservatism? Let’s look at some of the most popular issues raised by Wild Rose supporters:

- Force immigrants to adapt to “Albertan values.” (WTF are “Albertan values?” How are they different from values in any other province? And half your damned party came from Ontario, Newfoundland and America to begin with…)

- Impose “conscience rights;” doctors should be allowed to refuse contraceptives, refuse to do abortions, refuse to treat gays, blacks, etc. Marriage commissioners should be allowed to refuse to marry gays, interracial couples, etc. (Really? Getting on that time machine and pedaling hard for the past, eh?)

- Dissolve the Alberta Human Rights commission and replace it with a ridiculous bureaucratic process that by all estimates will be functionally impenetrable and completely incapable of resolving issues.

- Allow “citizen referendums” as a means of bypassing the legislature and avoiding politically difficult topics. (Want to force all gays to receive psychiatric treatment? Don’t bring up a bill, get someone to create a “citizen referendum.” Then if there is public blowback, it doesn’t hurt the party…but liberties can still be removed by special interest groups.)

I could go on. For days. But you get the point, I’m sure.

Now this group of people is also the most adamantly anti-science you could imagine. More so in many ways than the American Tea Party. It’s terrifying.

So when people start talking Santorum and science, yes…the research comes to mind. The whole shooting match is far – far – too close to home.

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I'm a qubit confused.

If you make use of the quantum entanglement of two atoms (which are stored in different places) to instantaneously convey information from one place to another, don't you destroy the entanglement? (Or is that only for entangled photons?)

Have the experimenters demonstrated instantaneous state change transfer from one entangled atom to the other?

The entanglement can (it seems) be created/restored by exchanging a photon, but this is limited by the speed of the photon.

So, the best you could do is to 'prime' a set of entangled repeaters and then use them up for a one time instantaneous message, then have to wait until they were re-primed by 'slow' photon exchange.

I may have misunderstood this; have I?

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Go

Re: I'm a qubit confused.

I am also not sure this is completely true, but if you could "prepare" billions of atoms and then use each for "instant" transmission, that would be of great usefulness.

The "terror of space" (think Mars<-->Earth) would be overcome.

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Go

Re: I'm a qubit confused.

Don't be confused. Entanglement simply means that properties in one object are directly tied to properties in another. You measure a property in one object, you know something about the property in the other.

Notice, you now can measure something "at a distance", but you didn't transmit information. If you modify the state of your local particle, you'll need to wait for photon exchange to re-establish entanglement, hence all information flow is slower than light.

Currently established rules of physics say that <it>there is no information transfer faster than light</it>. If that rule is broken, you'll read about it in the daily news (see: neutrons slightly faster than light?!) -- and for all we know, it'll destroy causality and you were never born.

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Joke

Re: I'm a qubit confused.

Can we target that 'you were never born' bit, because that would be pretty darn useful.

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Boffin

FTL?

Isn't it true that effects passed to one entangled quantum particle will instantaneously affect its partner over great distances faster than light? So called "spooky action at a distance"?

Might this not be a means of communicating faster than light?

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Pint

Re: FTL?

If you believe the sci-fi, yes it is. I think Orson Scott Card and others covered this. Quantum entangled transcievers, instantaneous communication. It's a matter of developing it to where they can stay entangled. Maybe once they hit entanglement all they need is a sync pulse in one and out the other now and then and they'll stay good, even if locked in unconnected rooms?

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Re: FTL?

@Unicornpiss: Essentially, yes. This is what the article is about. Actually, I'm not sure that "... effects passed to one entangled quantum particle will instantaneously affect its partner ...". It may not be as simple as 'push one atom to the left and the other atom moves to the left as well'.

@DryBones: It's not science fiction. It's science fact; was predicted by Einstein's theories and has been demonstrated in various laboratories for quite a few years.

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Boffin

Re: FTL?

"Might this not be a means of communicating faster than light?"

It's complicated, because you have to take into account your frame of reference and how you define "faster than light".

Quantum Mechanics says that the remote state changes happen at the same time, but relativity puts a spanner in the works as to what you actually mean by time. From a photon's perspective, for example, it makes the entire journey - which may be 60 metres or 15 billion light years - in no time whatsoever. From its point of view space-time is so folded that every point it passes through is the same point, like the 3D world of its journey stapled together into something with no depth. And yet, from your point of view the photon takes as long as it takes to get there, courtesy of your very different frame of reference (i.e. you are moving very much slower).

So it's a matter of perspective. No *useful* information that you can use can be transmitted at what you consider to be faster than the speed of light, according to the theory.

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Re: FTL?

As far as I remember the greatest obstacle of the FTL communications is the uncertainty principle.

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Re: FTL?

Briefly: something that appears to be information-like gets transmitted faster than light; but, whatever it is, it is of no use to you at all - until you have the chance to correlate it with some ordinary information sent to you in an ordinary (light-speed-limited) way.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, the article got the "spooky" bit wrong.

>"Hence the experiment achieves the genuinely spooky: a read-write operation across two laboratories connected by around 60 meters of fibre, in which the receiving atom becomes entangled with the transmitter, even though there’s been no direct interaction between them."

That's not right. First off, there's nothing spooky about two particles interacting not directly but via the exchange of a force-carrying particle (in this case a photon), that's in fact how all the forces seem to work (with the possible exception of gravity, but that's not settled yet). The "genuinely spooky" bit comes later, long after you've entangled the two atoms by means of a photon; it happens when you subsequently *measure* the state of one of those two atoms, and the state of the other one changes to be complementary to your measurement *instantaneously and FTL*.

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Wow.

A whole new medium to deliver pr0n !

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My God!

With near instantaneous communication we could stream Retina Pr0n, in 4D with Teledildonics!

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I am also confused

Echoing frank ly, but suffering more. Once the two atoms have been entangled what exactly do they get for their money for the 100 microseconds that the effect lasts?

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Coat

Re: I am also confused

What do they get?

Bragging rights...

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Re: I am also confused

Each "knows" what the other is doing, instantaneously. Confusion is to be expected. No-one understands quantum tunnelling but everyone Reg reader faithfully trusts data read from a CD/DVD disc to be accurate. What I'm saying is, you're meant to be confused, just like me. That's the magic.

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Re: I am also confused

If you have enough bandwidth you can transmit a suprising amount of data in 100 microseconds. With a single atom you'll probably be doing good to have enough bandwidth for two or three bits, but if this works the way I think it does (which it very well may not) the bandwidth will be proportional to the number of atoms you're using. So if you pack it a million atoms (which is not a very big number for atoms) you would get enough bandwith to transmit roughly around a terrabyte per second*, assuming 1 bit per atom per 100 microsecond entanglement.

Of course that depends on the very large assumptions that:

a) My understanding of what they're doing is 100% correct,

b) every single qubit could be transmitted and read perfectly every single time (indicating that they have somehow taken the uncertainty principal out of the equation), and

C) the entanglement can be reestablished instantly every 100 microseconds.

</ol>

*Rough estimate based on the fact that it would be around 10,000,000,000,000 bits per second....I can't be bothered to actually do the math right at the moment.

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Facepalm

So...

given all the hoo-ha recently about supposedly FTL neutrinos and the LHC not being FTL after all, and now this, possibly indicating that information can possibly be transmitted FTL anyway - was Einstein right or not? Make up your bloody minds, people!

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Headmaster

Re: So...

Erm, that was about neutrinos. Which are particles that Einstein said couldn't go faster than light (and it appears that, after all the 'hoo-ha', they can't).

This is about quantum entanglement, which provides "spooky action at a distance" (as I think Einstein described it). Which will possibly enable FTL communication.

No need for anyone to "make up their mind". Just people doing awesome science.

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So what is it?

I'm confused. How is this demonstrating spooky entanglement when they're connected by optical fibre?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what is it?

They only need the fibre to set up the entanglemen. Theoretically, they could then wait for days or years and still use the atoms for communication. That's my understanding.

Currently, they can use the atoms for 100us, which is short - or long, depending on your perception. 100us is definitely much longer than almost all processes in an atom. So you could call this a "long time".

Certainly other researchers and engineers will try to improve that time and maybe they will achieve hours or days in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what is it?

I've never seen one before - no one has - but I'm guessing it's a white hole.

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So no immediate need to upgrade my wifi, then?

Honestly, these guys deal with stuff at such a weird level, I can't help wondering if they ever get flashbacks and start gazing at their cheese-and-pickle sarnie and seeing it fizzing with quantum events, like Matrix-style Neo-vision. If so, do you think it affects the taste?

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Boffin

Einstein thought so, too

Einstein isn't responsible. He was not enthused by quantum mechanical implications, viz. his snarky term 'spooky action'.

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Has science gone too far? Remember when science used to make sense? Apples falling on newtons head and mixing chemicals in test tubes to make explosions.

Now it's all about things going faster than light...except they didn't..or something... and this nonsense about tangling atoms together. I think it all started to go downhill with Einstein when he started just making up weird ideas. Just throwing out balls. Then Stephen Hawking went mental and started talking about the universe expanding and made time weird. That's my 2 cents.

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Are you blaming the Universe for being too weird, or humanity for looking at it too closely?

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Coat

>>>>Are you blaming the Universe for being too weird, or humanity for looking at it too closely?

Why not both?

There are some things that are not meant to be meddled with by man. As someone usually says, just before the mad scientist creates the hideous monster (that'll probably have eaten him by the third act).

On the other hand quantum physics is just so odd, that if the scientists weren't studying that, you'd have to worry what else they might be getting up to. So maybe it's best to keep them busy, right where we can see them (until they invent that invisibility cloak of course).

[We've got the lab coat. Why no mad scientist icon?]

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Anonymous Coward

>"Has science gone too far?"

That's a very subjective question. What science has done is exceeded *your* ability to understand it. Whether that is too far or not depends on who is answering the question - you or someone else. You are suffering from what Daniel Dennett calls "The Philosophers' Syndrome" - mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity. There is no logical reason why the universe should have to be no more complicated than your personal ability to understand it, or indeed anyone's.

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Anonymous Coward

"There are some things that are not meant to be meddled with by man."

PAR2 comes to mind.

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Happy

Re: Has science gone too far?

I think you'll find that it was Hubble who systematised the theory regarding the expansion of the universe, before Hawking was born.

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Headmaster

sandwich

Will the cheese-and-pickle sarnie taste better if you look at it or will it taste better if you close your eyes and don't look at it? Quantum taste effects?

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Happy

Re: sandwich

Surely this will depend on which cheese and pickle sandwich at a distance your own cheese and pickle sandwich is entangled with.

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Holmes

WILMAAA!

"Hence the experiment achieves the genuinely spooky: a read-write operation across two laboratories connected by around 60 meters of fibre, in which the receiving atom becomes entangled with the transmitter, even though there’s been no direct interaction between them."

I do not understand... hold on, yes I do!

"German scientists link two labs with ‘universal quantum network’"

should actually read

"German scientists 1) copy quantum information from one atom to another and also 2) link two atoms into a single quantum system, both by exchange of photons via interconnecting fiber"

This is extremely nice engineering. This is not particularly "spooky".

Yes, I know that the "spooky" comes from having to deal with a probability calculus using complex numbers instead of reals. Nature is like that. Deal with it.

This is not particularly spooky.

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Re: WILMAAA!

As far as I understand it from reading the article, the spooky part is the fact that hitting a remote atom with the "data" (photon) emitted from another atom at a distance causes the remote atom to change to the same state as the 'sending' atom was in. That means that you can 'send' data from one location to another, as long as you can "read" the state of the receiving atom without destroying the data a la Heisenberg Uncertainty principle.

Is that about right? Anyone?

I think the spooky part is that hitting an atom with a polarised photon from another atom across a fibre optic cable causes the remote atom to change its state to the same as the sending one. I don't care where you're from, that's spooky enough for me to be getting on with.

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