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Warehouse D
Tree Falling In The Forest
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Seeking Objectivity In Testing And Experimentation

By James Donahue

There is an old adage that probably applies itself to this story. It is a question, really: If a tree falls in the woods when nobody is near, does it make a sound?

There is a dilemma programmed into much of the testing and experimentation done in this world by humans. That is the effect the tester has on the subject if the tester stands back to observe the outcome.

For many laboratory experiments one might not think this could be much of a problem. Yet in the new world of microscopic or nanno-technology, sometimes the presence of body heat, the toxins in our breath, or the sound of our heartbeat might have enough impact on the balance of an experiment that the results cannot be trusted.

Experimentation with the power of mental thought also has been found to have an effect on events. Thus the scientist seeking to prove a theory may influence the outcome of an experiment because he has a preconceived opinion as to what will occur.

So can we experiment and discover the results without being present? Perhaps, if we utilize camera, sound and other sensory equipment to capture the information we seek without standing nearby. For this, we can be observers in another room, or even in another town. Yet we all know it is not the same as being there.

But there is other testing and experimentation that can be, and usually always is heavily influenced by the presence of the testing agent.

--School and college exams, for example, as they are being watched over by an instructor and perhaps an aide who are making sure nobody is cheating.

--Blood pressure exams conducted by an attractive (or unusually ugly) nurse in either a doctor's office or hospital room. This can have an especially strong impact on the results of diastolic and systolic readings for men since blood pressure testing usually involves close physical contact.

--Driving examinations conducted by state employees for first-time drivers license applicants and older people applying for license renewal. If you think the driver involved in tests like this aren't sweating bullets, and probably doing everything wrong as they put the test car through its paces, think again. Even the best of drivers can go to pieces under this kind of pressure.

--Answering a battery of questions fired by lawyers as a witness in a court case, is yet another place where getting truth is somewhat questionable. There is nothing more intimidating than sitting in that witness box, with lawyers, a judge, police officers, defendants and plaintiffs, a battery of jurors, news reporters and a gallery of people from the general public watching every move, listening to every word. It is amazing how blank your mind can go under this kind of extreme social heat.

These are but a few of the ways in which authority within our society attempts to "test" the people under their watchful eye, making sure that they are qualified to receive the diploma, the license, or perhaps the punishment that they deserve. But the question here is whether these tests are a fair assessment of what these people really know, and how they can actually perform. Could they do better if they are not tested under the watchful eye of authority?

Within the scientific community it is generally believed that anybody performing a legitimate experiment must be present to observe the results of a system in motion. But is it possible for them to do this without influencing the results?

You may be surprised to learn that German physicist Werner Heisenberg discovered in 1927 that is is impossible to measure position and momentum at the same time within the subatomic realm. This is because the mere observance requires the use of a light, and the mere wavelengths of that light have an influence on the natural movement of electrons and other subatomic particles.

And thus you find a real dilemma among scientists now working in the exciting new field of nannotechnology. Perhaps the things these scientists think they know about these very tiny chips, electrical impulses and even nannobacterial life forms is pure bunk. If they need light attached to those powerful electronic microscopes just to look into that strange little world, they just might be changing everything that is really going on.

We knew this story was not going anywhere when we started it. We just thought it would be fun to play with your mind a little and perhaps make you question your reality.