The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Quantum mechanics shows up in editorial cartoons about as often as James K. Polk, which is why it's especially gratifying to see such a nuanced application of it in today's episode of This Modern World. Even the super-elastic boundaries of fair use (as they're applied to blogs, anyway) won't permit me to reprint the whole cartoon, so go check it out for yourself here. No really, it's great. I'll still be here when you come back. There's only one minor nit I must pick, and I'm doing it solely out of admiration for the chutzpah it takes to try and turn the Schrodinger's Cat paradox into an apt commentary on current events: According to the latest thinking on quantum mechanics, helpfully outlined in this fascinating article from New Scientist (paywall), different observers recording properties of the same quantum object will get the same results, on account of an effect they call Quantum Darwinism. In other words, regardless of the indeterminate status of the office of the Vice President (is it part of the legislative branch? the executive?) no matter which observer (either the Senate or the archivists) attempts to ascertain its true nature, they should both get the same result. The fact that Cheney's cloud of improbability does not collapse down to one state or the other could mean only one thing: Cheney in fact violates the laws of quantum mechanics!