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Fixation on death aside, this is lovely —Soge, accidentally describing my entire life


Professor Bill Neigh is stuck watching the Equestria games with his family when he notices a past project of his, Spike, unable to breathe fire. He can't help but think his meddling with hammerspace physics and magical theory may have been responsible for this.

Written for Equestria Daily's Writer's training ground #19

Thanks to spazturtle for some calculations.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 37 )

Hammer space... You mean what Pinkie uses?


Yep, hammerspace is the cartoon logic that items will seemingly appear out of nowhere as needed. Predominantly used by Pinkie Pie in the show. But Spike and Rarity sometimes do it too. :moustache:

4355322 oh yeah, like with spikes quills!

And soon, Spike becomes more of a brain twister to Twilight than Pinkie Pie


And Rainbow Dash, but only with sunglasses

Wait, where's Hen Ham, the Chicken Debater for the Creator?

Bill Neigh the Science Guy?:trixieshiftright:

I like stories about physics and mathematics. I wrote a blogpost about the physics of UnicornTeleportation.

Comment posted by salmoncolor deleted May 8th, 2014

4356333 ah, so it's in the ponymon card game. I still wonder if it's the one from the tv show

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Great story. I hadn't heard of the term "hammerspace" before, but i knew the phenomenon. Glad i finally have a name for it. I also especially liked the ending.

I also found two language mistakes:
"Why did he think he could sing at the medal ceremony?"
"He wondered if it were possible to die of embarrassment." It should either be "if it was possible" or "if it would be possible"

It's a pun on Bill Nye's name, yes.


Fixed! Thanks for pointing that out.
I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

4358282 aaaah. :twilightsmile: NOW this data is proceeding

Oooh, interesting! I do so enjoy overanalyzing the inner workings of cartoon logic, physics and the likes. Thumbs up! :pinkiehappy:

Pinkie Pie might make for an interesting case-study. :twilightsmile:

You'd think if using hammerspace involved not noticing, people would just evolve to not notice. When was the last time you noticed your blind spot?

I get really annoyed when people misinterpret quantum physics. That is not what "observe" means. It just means that something ends up in a different state than it would have otherwise. It could be the neurons in someone's brain corresponding to their memory. It could be whether a detector turns on. It could be a pattern of photons leaving into space.

twenty thousand times as much fire as his own body mass.

How massive is fire?

If I had to guess, I'd say the density is comparable to air, and the density of Spike is comparable to water. So the fire would have around twenty million times the volume. It would be roughly five hundred times the linear size of Spike. I don't think it was that much fire.

Finally got around to reading this. Hehe, I loved it. I actually want to make a Bill Neigh costume, but sadly nopony here in Alabama would recognize it, and I'll be missing Halloween at BYU again :applecry:

But this was a fantastic little read, hehe. You know the mind of a professor all too well, heh. At least mine. :twilightblush:


So, let me get this straight; what does collapse quantum states, or cause decoherence to occur?


You bring up some good points.....:twilightblush:

I'm so glad you liked it! :pinkiehappy:

Is that picture from the New Math PMV? I read the fic in Tom Lehrer's voice. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't picture it as Bill Nye.


Decoherence is what you call it when you have a set of disjoint universes that you don't have to worry about interfering. For example, in the double slit experiment, if a photon moves through the left vs right slit, it can still end up at the same spot at the end, so the two possibilities haven't decohered. If you get them entangled with a sensor that says "left" if it went through the left slit and "right" if it went through the right slit, then the two universes are never going to merge back into one and interfere with each other.

It's not an all-or-nothing thing. There's always some chance of the universes meeting back together. But when you're dealing with something on a macro scale, the effect is smaller than a mouse sneezing on pluto.

Waveform collapse is an all-or-nothing thing, and it's only ever happened after the system decohered to the point that you'd never notice, assuming it's a thing that actually happens.


So, as I think I've seen you explain it before, in the twin-slit experiment, the photon has some chance of striking the back wall and of traveling through either slit. However, because both universes are identical, the one where it takes the left slit or the right slit, the universes don't decohere. But if you take a measurement, or have some kind of device whereon the information is recorded which slit it went through, then it going through the left slit or the right slit would leave some information in the universe that would make the universe different from the one where it took the other slit, and thus, that causes decoherence, right?

You see, that's beautifully intuitive and logical. Copenhagen interpretation, though... Just doesn't make sense at all to me.

I'm a little annoyed by the fact that I'll probably be taught the Copenhagen interpretation at some point. That thing is so messy and nonsensical that I almost feel it isn't worth my time... I mean you say, "only ever happened after the system devohered to the point that you'd never notice," but what does "never notice" even mean? I mean, quantum tunneling, getting an interference pattern in the two slit experiment, these things are definitely "noticing," but not by Copenhagen's definition.

Also, may I note something I love about drawing 3-d objects on a chalkboard?

See your cover pic for an illustration of what I'm talking about...

When you draw, say, a cube, on a chalkboard, you're really making a 2-d representation (the flat surface of the chalkboard) of a 3-d object (a 3d cube). So, a chalkboard only really has "X" and "Y" as Professor Neigh illustrated. However, we choose a combination of these two directions for "Z," and imagine that direction is going "into" the chalkboard. (Z+ should be the other direction, btw. We use the right-hand rule for standard coordinate systems: hand makes X, curling fingers makes Y, thumb makes Z).

Now, when we do this, we're not actually using the third dimension, we're just choosing an arbitrary angle of X and Y and saying "pretend this chalkboard has depth..." Now, the fun thing about this, is we can do this as much as we like and add another dimension. Thus, we can draw 2d projections of n-dimensional objects on a chalkboard! I love drawing tesseracts that way :twilightsmile:

Yeah, I wrote him a little too old to be Bill Nye, so that's understandable.

I've never thought of drawing a tesseract on a chalkboard before. Interesting. :rainbowhuh:

Oh, also, just "doing it" without thinking about it being key, makes me think of a pseudo-philosophical thought I've had on metaphysics.

The best way to describe that thought, is this;

When I read that, "you just did it" after Spike produced the tissue, then couldn't do it because he was aware of it, it made me think of an ancient Chinese parable where some forest animal, amazed by the millipede's walking, asks it; "How do you walk with so many legs?" And it says; "Easy, I just..." But then, because it starts to overthink how it walks, it can't do it anymore.

So... How do you use Hammerspace? The same way you raise your arm. You just... Do.

5153695 My brain hurts trying to understand what you guys (or girls) are saying.

This was fun!:moustache:

That is an interesting Chinese story, I like it. :moustache:

I'm so glad you liked it! :twilightsmile:

I know that I should be doing something else (like studying for my midterm), but I decided to finally read this instead. It was a fun little story, and I quite enjoyed it. I saw the ending coming a mile away though. :twilightsmile:


Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! :twilightsmile:

Are you aware of this similar and equally lovely story?:

Hammerspace by Alaborn


Yep! And it's in my favorites!
I distinctly remember that I Googled "Hammerspace fimfiction" to see if this idea had been done already. It took all my power not to read that story until I had this one good and done.

I would absolutely LOVE to see more stories with this Expert of the Not-Understandible! And his family seems to be a good source of even more great stories!

More Prof. Bill then?

Later .... Peace ....


I'm glad you liked the story! I haven't thought about Professor Neigh for a while, but I'll keep my mind open to more ideas if I think of anything.

I'd like to upvote this, but that would mean losing the answer to life, the universe, and hammerspace.


It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. :trollestia:

6865681 A sacrifice you're willing to accept. Come now, man, you're a wordsmith!

These things... happen. :twilightblush:

This was just bizarre. Have a like.

Dragon’s aren’t magically hatched with the ability to send letters to Princess Celestia, you know. The princess tasked me with enabling a dragon that could send and receive letters.

That's an oddly specific request I must say.

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