The Quantum Physics Of USB Plugs

USB Superposition

It just happened again. I reached down next to the desk to plug the external hard drive into the computer, and sure enough, I had the USB plug facing the wrong way. I turned it around, and strangely, it still wouldn’t plug in. I turned it so I could look at the connector on the end. It seemed to be facing the right way, so I tried again, and VOILÀ! It worked. It seems like this happens at least once a day, doesn’t it? Experts estimate that as a result, the average American spends 38 hours of their life plugging things into USB ports. That’s 38 hours you could have spent hugging your grandkids, kissing your significant other, or doing whatever it was you were going to do with that USB device. So what exactly is going on here? It turns out it’s all about quantum physics. There’s a wiki page about USB ports, and it explains it this way:

“Quantum physics governs the orientation of a USB plug. Typically the user tries to insert the plug, which won’t go in. The user then inverts the plug, which still won’t go in. He then inspects the plug to determine which way in it goes and then inserts it. It goes in. This is because the USB is in an indeterminate quantum state until directly observed. Prior to being observed, its state is between the two quantum states, known as wrong way up and wrong way down.”

Of course the same page claims that In 1987, experimental ants spontaneously built USB ports when left alone in a small box with nothing but copper wire and a copy of Seven and the Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran, so its information may be a bit suspect. We’ll let you ponder that as you stare at this perpetually humping USB-powered dog while you decide whether or not to buy one on Amazon:

Chinatera USB Humping Dog Longer Lasting Edition Great Fun

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