Thursday, July 10, 2008

More moths

Various people have written to me to confirm just how useless was my mathematical model of moth-bathroom behaviour, posted a couple of days ago here.

- Moths apparently only fly at 3-4 m/s, not 10 m/s.

- Moths in a darkened room with a window open are likely to detect the opening (faint illumination, fresh air?) and fly straight to it, not zoom around at random.

I would add that in my experience, moths rarely fly continuously, so 370 flights without resting seems unlikely.

After I left the bathroom, having observed the final position of the moth, it was then unobserved. It seems likely that its wave function rapidly diffused in all directions until most of it leaked out of the window.

So the right answer was that the moth was mostly there for a while, then mostly not there until finally it was hardly there at all.