Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The physical volume to space filling discrepancy

In optics, an object like a particle has an actual physical diameter and corresponding volume, and an optical diameter which may be vastly different from the actual physical dimensions. The optical diameter of a particle is decided mainly by the particle's absorption and scattering cross sections, meaning that a dense, electron rich particle will be filling up more space when viewed by optical means than what it's physical dimensions would otherwise dictate. Basically, this is one of the properties which make plasmonics cool.

Interestingly, there are some similarities with how much space a person apparently occupies in a crowded room. Essentially, the amount of space a minute motherfu*ker can take up can often vastly exceed the physical dimensions of said skinny twerp. What we're talking about here is an alternative explanation of the well-known small dude syndrome (SDS), wherein the ratio of apparent space filling and physical volume is primarily decided by the cross-section, or density, of the sum of ego and sociopathic tendencies. Think of it as 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. When the SDS-afflicted hobbit is silent - something which rarely occurs - physical symptoms may include ILS (Invisible Lat Syndrome, or the carrying of invisible suitcases) for the gym-going version of this small fraction of a person. Upon speaking, symptoms of SDS often manifest themselves as breaking into other people's conversations via bypassing of common courtesy in order to ask any trivial and/or inane question the small, but dense douchebag may have worked out for the occasion. During meetings or presentations, SDS can manifest itself by asking questions which have little to do with the presented material only to ignore the answer and go off on a tangent of arrogance and ignorance in equal measures. I conclude my post with the following visual aid:

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