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August is traditionally the silly season and this year, before it settled down to more serious news, I was delighted to read that Paul Daniels had been hospitalised after Sooty had thrown a pizza at him. I was not delighted Paul Daniels had been hospitalised, of course but the idea of a little yellow bear throwing a pizza struck me as hilarious and most people I have told this story to also find it hilarious. Until of course they remember Sooty is a puppet and the pizza was actually thrown from someone's hand.
An article about puppets in today's Metro, about Handspring Puppet Company, is worth a read, the challenge is to make the puppet seem alive. I read somewhere, and thought it was in this article but I can't find it there, that whereas an actor's role is to get the audience to suspend their disbelief, the challenge to the puppeteer is to get the audience to suspend its belief this is in fact a puppet.
This week's New Scientist's cover story Quantum Minds suggests that the human mind might be described by the same maths as quantum theory. Note this is not the same as using quantum theory to explain human minds. It does seem logical that the same maths might explain both, as the maths enables the mind to grasp quantum behaviour in the first place.
I think puppets might help. One characteristic of quantum mechanics is super-position. This is where we are asked to understand the behaviour of a particle as both a particle and a wave, two mutually contradictory things.
This is exactly what we all do with puppets. If you don't believe me, watch this video about the puppets used in the stage play of Michael Morpurgo's 'The War Horse'. We can see its a puppet and yet we're able to perceive it as if it is a real horse.