Do you ever have dreams that feature something just so wrong that it wakes you ranting out of a sound sleep? I sometimes do. In fact I had a dream like that last night.
It was a very detailed dream in which an elderly German gentleman was trying to convince me to buy and market a fluggenmuffler. What is a fluggenmuffler? In my dream it was a device that that performed some sort of factor of 100 conversion. I.e. if you put 100 lbs. of junk in one end, only one lb. came out the other. If you put 1 lb. in the other end, 100 lbs. came out the original end. An amazing device that would solve world hunger and pollution in one fell swoop. After all you could put 1 grape in the front and out would come a 100. Sort of like the loaves and fishes in the bible. But you could also put 100 tons of industrial emissions in the other end and have only 1 ton come out the other. The ideal purification device. Just feed the pollution stream through it a few hundred times and your pollution issue is no more.
So what did I wake up ranting about? Well, the device neither heated nor cooled the local environment and drew no power. My poor physicists mind was immediately up in arms about the apparent violations of the laws of thermodynamics. So I woke up ranting that no fluggenmuffler can violate the laws of physics like that. Once I was awake enough to realize it had been a dream, I was busy looking around to make sure no one had heard me ranting in the night. Fortunately Molly slept right through my awakening and ranting. Since only the dog and I were in the house, my rant remained a secret.
Shortly thereafter I fell back to sleep, only to awaken with the same rant from the continuation of the same dream. I can't tell you how vivid the dream was. I finally fell asleep for the rest of the night, but, in a rarity for me, I could remember the dream in detail when I woke up this morning.
The embarrassing thing is that most people wouldn't even think of comparing the parameters of a dream to the possibilities of reality. I guess that is what happens to us physicists when our dreams intersect with the laws of the known universe - the known universe always raises a fuss.
So what wakes you ranting at the wrongness of it all?