Saturday with Sach: A Question Worth Exploring

It's Saturday again already? Wow...this science stuff has me losing track of time. Quantum Physics is hard - more on that in a minute - but first thing's first; the question.


A little while ago (relative to me writing this), Markus "Notch" Persson put forth a strangely self-fulfilling question:

As you will soon see, I gave this way too much thought.

Loaded questions have a funny way of guiding us in our thinking. If someone were to ask, "Do you hate it when creepers barge in and blow up your house, which you spent hours working on?", most of us would nod in agreement. Now, what if we took that question, and changed up the wording a little bit? "Don't you hate it when you forget to put down enough torches for lighting, and a monster spawns in your house?" is a very different choice of words for what is essentially the same situation. You still have a creeper-sized hole in the ground where your house used to be, but the tone is completely different. The first question aggressively blames the creeper, and the second one places mild fault on the builder instead. So, I suppose there is some benefit in being able to identify loaded questions to avoid entire articles being extracted from a simple yes or no after all.

Of course, we're not done here. Let's do some science, courtesy of MinecraftTeachr, Dan200, E-Line Media, the California Institute of Technology, and last but not least, some avid supporters at Google!

No, I'm not putting a link for Google here. We all know where it is already.


If you haven't heard recently, Google is seriously considering the current generation of Minecraft players for tomorrow's quantum computer scientists. "How is that even possible," I ask myself, noticing no one else in the room? It goes a little something like this:

SCIENCE. This stuff isn't for the faint of heart, so skip to the next section if you aren't ready to have your MIND BLOWN. I'm not even kidding here.

qCraft is, in short, a mod that brings the principles of quantum physics to the world of Minecraft. One example might include a block that changes what type of block it is, depending on whether you're looking at it or not, whether you're looking at it from a specific angle, or based on seemingly random and arbitrary criteria you have zero control over. MinecraftTeachr gives us a pretty good summary of the mod:

We’ve done our best to create something that we hope will be fun to experiment, build and play with while also introducing players to the fascinating and (in the context of the macro-world we inhabit) counter intuitive way that quantum entities interact.

qCraft is not a simulation of quantum physics ... but it does provide ‘analogies’ that attempt to show how quantum behaviors are different from everyday experience.

In addition to individual players, we hope that parents and educators who want to introduce quantum physics concepts to curious kids will find it useful.

Honestly, all the stuff this mod does cannot possibly be summarized here. If you like exploring new and largely untapped areas of quantum physics, this mod will keep you busy for months, if not more. I've had a chance to mess around in it a bit for the last few days (mostly making really cruel creeper-filled traps that activate when my friends looked at them), and it seems like I trip over new discoveries with increasing frequency, often when I'm not looking for them. (Yes yes, I know...bad joke.)

If you want to know more about the mod, you can check out qCraft on their site, and play it yourself. It can be played either stand-alone, through the FTB Unleashed modpack, through Tekkit, or through Hexxit. Keep in mind, if you want to play it as a stand-alone mod, you will need Forge 1.5.2 installed.

Good luck, and don't break the universe!


It seems like no two people can agree on this; we all love Minecraft, but we don't all love it for the same reasons. Some of us play it heavily modded, treating the game like a foundation for other mediums. Others use it to create vast works of art - architectural, pixelated, and otherwise - and still others dive into the game exactly as Survival gives it to us, with all the First Nights and creeper ambushes that come with that. Even in this respect, not everyone agrees on whether the game is best played alone, with a small group of friends, or with a massive group of players.

There ultimately is no "right" way to play the game, and that is part of the beauty of it. I know how I like to play Minecraft, but what about you? What are your favorite game modes? Do you play alone, or with friends? Vanilla, or modded? Maybe you play in a completely unexpected way that no one considered, coming up with challenges and entertainment that no one else has thought up yet?

Let's hear about how you play the game!


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