COLUMNS

TABLE D' HOTE: Randomly quantum

Wade McIntyre
Wade McIntyre

Get your facts straight, then distort them as you please.   Mark Twain

This column explores quantum physics in a newspaper column.  A column is easily defined as something written by someone for other people to read. The quantumness of a column is harder to determine.

 The randomness of quantum physics is much greater than any seemingly random occurrences in our world which exists outside the atomic world. Crazy little particles in the quantum world behave like particles should, but also want to move around in waves, creating unpredictable results.

The definition of quantum is the smallest quantity that can exist independently. Anything smaller does not exist as itself.

In this column, facts do not tell a story. The reader must put the facts in some sense of order and determine what, if anything, is being said.

In the movie “Quantum of  Solace,” James Bond falls in love with a woman after telling her that she has broken down all his armor, that what is left of him is hers. When the woman is murdered, and the quantum of solace bond of human commonality between the pair is destroyed, 007 must move forward broken-hearted, uncertain and vulnerable.

 “Quantum of Solace” has little to do with randomness, or this column.

And, now, the facts and nothing but the facts:

• Fortune magazine named Enron the year’s best managed and most innovative company in 2000. 

• Many years before the failed Clinton Administration health care reform efforts and today’s health care reform debate, Congress in 1965 established Medicare after a proposed universal health care system was blocked by the American Medical Association.

• West Point in 1976 endured the largest cheating scandal in the military school’s history. Today, four graduates of that class (none of whom were implicated in the scandal) are generals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• About one out of every five newspaper journalists has lost their job since 2001.

• Every assasin’s bullet fired by John Hinckley as he attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan missed the President. One bullet bounced off the President's bullet-proof limousine and struck Reagan in his chest.

• Reacting to a Congressional order, West Point began accepting female cadets within weeks after the class of 1976 graduated.

• More than 221,000 U.S. retail stores have gone out of business since January 2008.

• Television is the  No. 1 source of news for Americans. The Internet ranks second. About 80 percent of all news is reported originally in newspapers, but papers rank third as a source of news.

• The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will not air a 60-second television public service announcement on  youth suicide prevention featuring former NFL quarterback Steve McNair. Police said McNair's 20-year old girlfriend shot him to death, then killed herself in what was termed a murder/suicide in early July.

• Earlier this year, an investigative news story written by a reporter who was laid off by the Phoenix, Az. East Valley Tribune six months earlier won the paper a Pulitzer Prize.