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No Ontological Inertia / Real Life

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  • Small children (below 8 months) don't have cognitive functions for object permanence and have to acquire them. So if they can't see something anymore, the object — at least for them, which makes this at least partly Truth in Television — fades away as if it never existed in the first place.
    "Peek-a-Boo!"
    I see you
    • Apparently, most animals have this same problem.
  • During the next stage, children understand the significance of objects and people disappearing, but don't quite understand that they can return. Cue the baby crying while Mom is away.
    • There follows an interesting stage where they try to work out where unseen objects are. Before this stage, Baby can watch you put a cushion over his toy and he won't think to lift it up- the toy no longer exists because he can't see it. Later, he will lift up the cushion to get it again. If you then move the toy and he sees you cover it with a different cushion... he'll look under the first cushion first, because that's where it was when it was invisible before.
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  • Those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depending on the severity thereof, often find themselves lapsing into this mindset long past infancy. They have to make absolutely sure that something comforting they saw really exists, and they didn't imagine it - or that something that frightens them really doesn't exist, and they did imagine it. (It gets worse when Your Mind Makes It Real kicks in, which it sometimes does.)
  • Quantum-mechanics is the other way around. Particles are thought not to have certain characteristics until they are measured. It's not that we don't know what, say, its spin is until we measure it — a particle has no fixed spin until after we measured it. Though it should be noted that it's the physical interaction with the measuring equipment that does it, and would presumably still happen if nobody paid attention.
    • All possibilities being equal, though, said particles essentially exist in all possible ways they possibly can until observed.
  • Many examples of modern technology (and all young animals) cease to function (sometimes followed by a violent end to their existence) if they are abandoned for even short periods of time.
    • A lot of technology that relies on a rechargable battery will need recharging even if you don't use it for a few days. The Sony PSP is particularly notorious for this.
    • More worrying are items that rely on an internal battery. Sometimes these batteries die after many years and there are no batteries around to replace them. Nintendo's Famicom Disk System is like this (in addition to having a no longer manufactured drive belt), but the good news is that many of the games have been emulated in recent years and Nintendo hasn't forgotten about them.
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    • Certain DRM schemes (that rely on communication with an authorization server) have a side effect of effectively making it impossible to legally use protected software after its maker goes out of business. Of course, with the maker no longer in business, there is no one to prosecute illegal use either.
  • To a certain extent, human vision and memories. Experiments have shown that the brain will actively alter what we think we see (and have seen previously) in order to make sense of the world. For instance, if somebody is slowly altering a picture or the letters on a page or simply ducking behind a counter, most people will insist that the changed version is what they saw to begin with and only realize the difference once they see the before and after shots. This has been taken to the extreme, with experiments having completely different people switch places and the test subject never even noticing.
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  • In classical physics, gravitational and magnetic forces behave like this. As soon as the object producing the force stops existing, the force is gone. So if the Sun disappeared, all the planets would fly off on tangential paths before we saw the light stop. Testing this in real life would be hard because there's no way to make an object suddenly stop existing. In modern physics however, information cannot travel faster than the speed of light, so it would take some time for the sun's disappearance to be felt at a distance.
  • In a way, this happened with the Mongol armies. Mongol tradition stated that if the khan died, everyone had to drop what they were doing and go home to mourn the khan and bury him. Thus, whoever they happened to be attacking at the time would suddenly find the Mongols leaving or gone. Western Europe got VERY lucky when the rather young khan died of a heart attack, saving it from being overrun like most of Eastern Europe - and possibly becoming a Buddhist or Islamic region instead of a Christian one.
    • Actually Batu-khan, who led the Mongol invasion of Europe, just wanted to influence the election of the new ruler rather than follow any tradition. Anyway, it's just one of the possible explanations for the Mongol withdrawal from Eastern Europe.
  • One of the odder side effects of how Linux handles process hierarchy is that if you launch a program from a terminal window — even one that runs in its own window — you need to keep the terminal open or the other program will also quit right in the middle of whatever it happens to be doing. A rather nasty shock to anyone who's using it for the first time and is used to Windows' method of treating the DOS prompt as little more than a piece of the interface.
  • Autocratic states led by the force of personality of a single leader can have this sort of impact on their societies. When all social mores, political relations and economic order is built around the will of the leader, the loss of that leader can have catastrophic consequences for the society. At best, there will be a brief (if tense) Succession Crisis (as has been the case with most some monarchies, the Chinese and the North Koreans) and at worst, the entire state will die with its leader (as was the case with Saddam and Gaddafi).
  • In 2016 astronomers made a routine check on a massive star expected to explode as a supernova in the very near future and found that it was simply gone. It almost certainly did not explode, as the blast would have clearly been visible to observatories around the Earth for weeks. One hypothesis is that extremely massive stars have such extreme gravity that a collapsing core simply consumes the entire star before it can explode. Resulting in the star simply winking out of existance. (Though leaving behind a black hole.)
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