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Chip
2001-Nov-04, 05:39 PM
Los Angeles Times science writer K. C. Cole has written that "nothing" is the most elusive entity in the universe. Whenever science comes closer to defining an absolute void "something new is discovered in its place." How something (perhaps everything) can come from "nothing" seems to be one of the central motivating questions behind a host of concepts; including string theory, quintessence, dark matter, vacuum energy, multiple dimensions, accelerated expansion, and surely more. Any ideas and thoughts?

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-04, 07:44 PM
Why is there air? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Historically, the question "Why is there something rather than nothing" has been more in the realm of Philosophy or Theology than science. However, a number of other issues have migrated from the first two to the last; so maybe this conundrum will eventually yield to empirical investigation.

I'm not too optimistic, though. Science isn't all that good at those "why" questions. Not as good as with "How", "What", "Where", "When", or "How much" questions, anyway.

Ben Benoy
2001-Nov-05, 01:38 AM
Why is there air? To fill balls with. Duh.

Anyway, I don't know that I would say that string theory, dark matter, et al. are really there to try to explain "why" there is something instead of not. I thought that they were models of "how" the things that do exist work the way they do. Unless you have something pretty convincing, I'm going to keep on believing that. Especially about dark matter, which I thought was just matter we hadn't detected, but that ought to be there.

Er.. I think that's all. Far be it from me to just ramble on and on about nothing in particular after I finish my point. Er... doh!

Ben Benoy

Mr. X
2001-Nov-05, 03:08 AM
What is nothing?


Nothing is the absence of anything. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Then there's also this. Enjoy! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

Main Entry: noth·ing
Pronunciation: 'n&-thi[ng]
Function: pronoun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English nAn thing, nAthing, from nAn no + thing thing -- more at NONE
Date: before 12th century
1 : not any thing : no thing <leaves nothing to the imagination>
2 : no part
3 : one of no interest, value, or consequence <they mean nothing to me>

Chip
2001-Nov-05, 06:33 AM
On 2001-11-04 22:08, Mr. X wrote:
[quote]
What is nothing?
Nothing is the absence of anything.


Ah, but that's the problem. When science tries to define, detect, measure, or observe the space where there is total void, such as in the huge empty "bubbles" between galaxy clusters they always detect something. (Though very tenuous.) The fabric of space itself has a kind of texture on the large scale, and when they look on the tiniest subatomic scale, there seems to be something akin to a vibration behind the cold, empty vacuum. (I am not being scientific with these descriptions.) There is a lot of emptiness out there, away from the stars and gas, between the galaxies. But, there is always some kind of background radiation, curvature, or occasional cosmic ray. There seems to be no absolute nothingness. I find that interesting. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-05, 08:49 AM
I think that *Nothing*, like many other concepts, is a mathematical construct that can only be approximated in the "real world". /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-05, 12:31 PM
On 2001-11-05 03:49, Kaptain K wrote:
I think that *Nothing*, like many other concepts, is a mathematical construct that can only be approximated in the "real world". /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Joking or not, this seems to me to be the most appropriate answer!
Same with always walking half the previous walked distance towards a wall and eventually hitting the wall, when mathematically you shouldn't.

I guess nothing of our universe is as perfect as the mathematics that define them. That is why it sucks (gravitationally, of course). /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Nov-05, 01:09 PM
On 2001-11-05 07:31, Mr. X wrote:
Same with always walking half the previous walked distance towards a wall and eventually hitting the wall, when mathematically you shouldn't.

Hey, no one jokes about mathematics*. It is not true that "mathematically you shouldn't." The mathematics works out the smae as in the real world, for the most part-- mathematically, you also hit the wall. As I say in another thread about the twin paradox (or is it the rockets and rope paradox?), a paradox usually only arises because we analyze something from a different point of view, and forget something in our analysis, making the results incompatible and seemingly paradoxical.

In this particular paradox, each time you walk halfway to the wall does not take the same amount of time, each time gets shorter in proportion to the distance. The paradox arises only when we imagine, or assume, that each of the infinite number of halfway steps take a fixed amount of time--which would then have it require an infinite amount of time to hit the wall. Clearly, that assumption is our problem, not the mathematics.

*OK, OK, everybody does. Sheesh. (Why didn't the guy mathematician get along with his girlfriend? He could've handled base two, but couldn't get past base one.)

James
2001-Nov-05, 01:35 PM
*OK, OK, everybody does. Sheesh. (Why didn't the guy mathematician get along with his girlfriend? He could've handled base two, but couldn't get past base one.)


*Groan* That was bad.

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-05, 01:38 PM
(Why didn't the guy mathematician get along with his girlfriend? He could've handled base two, but couldn't get past base one.)


At which point, the girlfriend gave up on him. Hell, even she knew that base one was useless! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-05, 01:43 PM
On 2001-11-05 07:31, Mr. X wrote:


On 2001-11-05 03:49, Kaptain K wrote:
I think that *Nothing*, like many other concepts, is a mathematical construct that can only be approximated in the "real world". /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Joking or not, this seems to me to be the most appropriate answer!


I'd agree with that assessment. There's a whole lot of nothing out there (and in there, too, at the subatomic level) -- but it's mighty dirty nothing.

Now, there's a concept: "a large amount of nothing."

Oh, by the way, wouldn't it be fair to say that there's really no place in the universe that truly contains nothing? Aren't there electromagnetic fields everywhere? Isn't gravity acting on everything all the time? Just because gravity is intangible doesn't make it 'nothing'. Just a thought...

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Nov-05, 02:08 PM
On 2001-11-05 08:43, Donnie B. wrote:
Oh, by the way, wouldn't it be fair to say that there's really no place in the universe that truly contains nothing? Aren't there electromagnetic fields everywhere? Isn't gravity acting on everything all the time? Just because gravity is intangible doesn't make it 'nothing'. Just a thought...

With general relativity, gravity is the shape of spacetime. In other words, it's another fictitious force, like coriolis or centrifugal.

(Why was the mathematician suspicious of his therapy group? Because one of them wasn't a commuter, so things just didn't add up.)

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-05, 02:10 PM
Oh, by the way, wouldn't it be fair to say that there's really no place in the universe that truly contains nothing? Aren't there electromagnetic fields everywhere? Isn't gravity acting on everything all the time? Just because gravity is intangible doesn't make it 'nothing'. Just a thought...

And don't forget virtual particles that appear from and disappear into the "quantum foam" in Planck time and "zero point energy".

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-05, 02:23 PM
On 2001-11-05 09:08, GrapesOfWrath wrote:


On 2001-11-05 08:43, Donnie B. wrote:
Oh, by the way, wouldn't it be fair to say that there's really no place in the universe that truly contains nothing? Aren't there electromagnetic fields everywhere? Isn't gravity acting on everything all the time? Just because gravity is intangible doesn't make it 'nothing'. Just a thought...

With general relativity, gravity is the shape of spacetime. In other words, it's another fictitious force, like coriolis or centrifugal.


All right, if you choose to use that formulation (but isn't there such a thing as a graviton? Well, never mind...)

Even so, every point in the universe is being affected by gravity; that is, even a place where there's "nothing" has a gravitational "shape".

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-05, 02:26 PM
On 2001-11-05 09:10, Kaptain K wrote:

Oh, by the way, wouldn't it be fair to say that there's really no place in the universe that truly contains nothing? Aren't there electromagnetic fields everywhere? Isn't gravity acting on everything all the time? Just because gravity is intangible doesn't make it 'nothing'. Just a thought...

And don't forget virtual particles that appear from and disappear into the "quantum foam" in Planck time and "zero point energy".



I was assuming that these were what K.C.Cole was referring to in the OP. Guess I should have remembered the old adage about assuming... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mnemonia
2001-Nov-05, 04:21 PM
On 2001-11-04 22:08, Mr. X wrote:


What is nothing?


Nothing is the absence of anything. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


And that would make it something ("the absence of anything".)

Nothing can not "be" anything, nor can it "not be" anything. You can not compare nothings, nor can you assign it properties. Nothing simply does not exist in those terms.

What you should say is that space is empty (for the most part.) Space has shape and can be filled with something. Nothing would have no shape and no volume if it were real.

So yes it is more of a philosophical view than scientific, becuase science can not describe the unreal.

(I hope that made sense to somebody.)

Wiley
2001-Nov-05, 07:47 PM
On 2001-11-05 11:21, Mnemonia wrote:


On 2001-11-04 22:08, Mr. X wrote:


What is nothing?


Nothing is the absence of anything. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


And that would make it something ("the absence of anything".)

Nothing can not "be" anything, nor can it "not be" anything. You can not compare nothings, nor can you assign it properties. Nothing simply does not exist in those terms.

What you should say is that space is empty (for the most part.) Space has shape and can be filled with something. Nothing would have no shape and no volume if it were real.

So yes it is more of a philosophical view than scientific, becuase science can not describe the unreal.

(I hope that made sense to somebody.)


Couldn't we do a variation of this theme?

Define "anything" as any set that contains at least one element. Then let's define "everything" as the set comprising all "anything"s. And "nothing" would the complement of this set "everything".

Of course, the empty set would not be in "everything" as its not "anything" - the empty set is defined as the set with no elements. However the empty set is a subset of "everything" by the theorem: the empty set is a subset of every set. This implies that the empty set is not "everything" but is a subset of "everything". Uh-oh, contradiction.

Wiley - whapped in the head by Bert Russell once again

Mr. X
2001-Nov-05, 08:51 PM
On 2001-11-05 08:09, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Hey, no one jokes about mathematics*. It is not true that "mathematically you shouldn't." The mathematics works out the same as in the real world, for the most part-- mathematically, you also hit the wall. As I say in another thread about the twin paradox (or is it the rockets and rope paradox?), a paradox usually only arises because we analyze something from a different point of view, and forget something in our analysis, making the results incompatible and seemingly paradoxical.

In this particular paradox, each time you walk halfway to the wall does not take the same amount of time, each time gets shorter in proportion to the distance. The paradox arises only when we imagine, or assume, that each of the infinite number of halfway steps take a fixed amount of time--which would then have it require an infinite amount of time to hit the wall. Clearly, that assumption is our problem, not the mathematics.


I think you misunderstand the nature of the problem. Time was an afterthought in that. The main part is the distance. Going half the previous distance to a mathematical point many times consecutively never gets you to that point. Which point is the first point after a point? None. There is never a first point. There is always the possibility of "inserting", if you wish, another point in between. As for the "real" world I don't know, since I don't live there. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

And what is teratology? That's written in your profile, but I don't understand what it is. Is it real?

Wiley
2001-Nov-05, 09:23 PM
On 2001-11-05 15:51, Mr. X wrote:


On 2001-11-05 08:09, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Hey, no one jokes about mathematics*. It is not true that "mathematically you shouldn't." The mathematics works out the same as in the real world, for the most part-- mathematically, you also hit the wall. As I say in another thread about the twin paradox (or is it the rockets and rope paradox?), a paradox usually only arises because we analyze something from a different point of view, and forget something in our analysis, making the results incompatible and seemingly paradoxical.

In this particular paradox, each time you walk halfway to the wall does not take the same amount of time, each time gets shorter in proportion to the distance. The paradox arises only when we imagine, or assume, that each of the infinite number of halfway steps take a fixed amount of time--which would then have it require an infinite amount of time to hit the wall. Clearly, that assumption is our problem, not the mathematics.


I think you misunderstand the nature of the problem. Time was an afterthought in that. The main part is the distance. Going half the previous distance to a mathematical point many times consecutively never gets you to that point. Which point is the first point after a point? None. There is never a first point. There is always the possibility of "inserting", if you wish, another point in between. As for the "real" world I don't know, since I don't live there. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

And what is teratology? That's written in your profile, but I don't understand what it is. Is it real?


The mathematician in me wants to answer Zeno with position is function of time, x(t). And we can create an inverse function t(x) which is a function of position. So if we look at the limit of x at it approaches a point x0, we can also look at the limit of t(x) as x approaches x0. Unless you have a golden watch, Zeno's paradox is not really a paradox.

Of course, the pragmatist in me wants to answer I'm gonna take this Louisville Slugger and whomp the side of your head. If you are correct, the bat will never reach your head. This is known as proof by contradiction, or put your money where your mouth was. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-05, 09:53 PM
I'm gonna take this Louisville Slugger and whomp the side of your head. If you are correct, the bat will never reach your head.


Um, don't do that, please. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

You're right at some point, since you inadvertantly brought something to my attention. That would be a geometric series , i.e. 1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+... with (I call it "r") abs(r)<1 and hence converges (to 2). [Edit] (The series would start at n=1, not 0, hence it would converge to 1, not 2. Or if you prefer to start it at 0 feel free to do so) [Edit]

However, it still leaves the fact that if you geometrically always take the point halfway between one and another you can never reach that point. Just like you can't ever get to zero by dividing.

But I'm still not conviced. There's something missing. If you use the limit as you said, the exact value you want is excluded, you're only working very close to the point. Agreed you get increasingly close but never reach it. The point isn't there but studying the limit we never care whether it's there or not.

I think I could do the same with my argument on the series. Take any number of terms you want and add them up, you could never reach 2, because that would mean that there is a last term to the series (there isn't) and that you could eventually go over the 2. <u>Then there is the matter of an infinity of terms which adds up to a round sum.</u> ***Note at the bottom***

So to reach the point wouldn't you need to add up an inifnity of halves of the preceding distance?

[Edit] Just discovered who that guy Zeno was, sorry for looking like an idiot, and...

Okay, okay, found something:


Similarly, it takes an infinite number of time intervals for Achilles to catch the tortoise, but the sum of these time intervals is a finite amount of time.


Hence my assumption is right that it takes an infinite number of halves to add up.

However, I see now why some were talking about time. But how come can it take a finite amount of time to go an infinite number of intervals? Would that be that because the infinite number of intervals would take an infinitely small time to go over, hence it would become the limit of something that would be "undetermined" (excuse my english), a 0*infinity. And since it isn't a real zero but a tendency zero we can't assume it would equal 0, but from what I can see you have been trying to tell me, it would go towards 0 after further investigation, or towards a finite amount of time, C.Q.F.D.! (Well, not really because I didn't actually do it, and I guessed, but what the hey.).
[Edit]

Keep in mind I'm talking about "imaginary realm" only, so the the baseball bat will be quite unecessary (Phew!). /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

[Edit] Also, I have brought to my own attention (yay!) that what "I" just "solved" isn't really the problem I was talking about in the beginning! It got twisted around with that Zeno guy and small nuances, but it's as good as the other one! See you around! [Edit]

Help me Ben Benoy! Save us please!
[No need anymore!]

[Edit] I also managed (with the help of others, including Wiley, no less /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif ) to steer this whole astronomy topic in an entire other mathematics related talk, which is no small feat /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif, yet was probably more interesting. You may now go back to the other, more boring, talk /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif [Edit]

**NOTE**


Then there is the matter of an infinity of terms which adds up to a round sum.

But of course! The infinite number of halves of the previous to be added are infinite and are therefore equal to sum towards which the series converges! Therefore the infinite amount of halves add up to a finite distance that can therefore be crossed by a moving body with a finite speed in a finite amount of time! (Unless someone wants to add some relativity trick I am unaware of!) Requiring of course that the speed be in the appropriate direction, yada yada yada...

Well I guess this makes C.Q.F.D. x2. I'd hate to be Zeno right now! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif
**End of note**

[Edit]Shove it, Zeno![Edit]

Edited many a times for specifications, new finds and of course typos and the whole text in bold because of a missing tag!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-05 19:20 ]</font>

BADad
2001-Nov-06, 01:53 AM
To Mr. X's question about Grapes of Wrath occupation: I haven't heard the term "teratology" in years. There was this really scary book called "The Cadaver of Gideon Wick", Alexander Laing, 1934, that discussed the study of monstrosities - unusual forms of embryos or babies. Does Grapes of Wrath really do this?

JF
2001-Nov-06, 03:01 AM
On 2001-11-04 22:08, Mr. X wrote:


What is nothing?


Nothing is the absence of anything. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Then there's also this. Enjoy! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif
Incorrect. Nothing is the absence of everything. -JF

Main Entry: noth·ing
Pronunciation: 'n&-thi[ng]
Function: pronoun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English nAn thing, nAthing, from nAn no + thing thing -- more at NONE
Date: before 12th century
1 : not any thing : no thing <leaves nothing to the imagination>
2 : no part
3 : one of no interest, value, or consequence <they mean nothing to me>

Chip
2001-Nov-06, 04:40 AM
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know of research that has attempted to determine theoretically how thin the vacuum of space can get? There seems to be a considerable amount of matter spread out ever more thinly within and far beyond a given galaxy. However, I read once years ago a proposed figure for the very tenuousness of space far between galaxies. It was something like "one atom per cubic centimeter." (I'm giving this as an example of how the measurement was presented. It wasn't actually that figure, and I don't know how the actual figure was arrived at, even if theoretical.)

Chip

David Hall
2001-Nov-06, 11:42 AM
I'm about as far from being a mathematician as can be <font size=-1>(this is a warning that I really don't know what I'm talking about here)</font>, but I've been thinking about it and I have an observation to make about the paradox of the infinite halves. Please tell me if I get anywhere close to having a legitimate point here. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Doesn't the paradox require a continuous rate of movement? I.E, the action has to be something that can be infinitely divided up to begin with. In such a case, I can see a mathematical paradox. But in most real-life situations, movement is not continuous, but is broken up into discrete units. Take, for example, footsteps.

As long as you are approaching the wall, you would have a constant velocity of x centimeters per unit of time, the distance and time it takes to make one stride. There is no way to break that down into halves. One step per second is one step per second. You can't say that the man suddenly is taking only half a step. In the end, there would always be a final point in which the distance to the wall is less than the length of one pace, and therefore the wall would be reached in that one final step, no matter what kind of halving goes on mathematically.

I think it's likely that all physical movement has to follow this discrete-interval type of movement, if only down to the Planck length. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif In which case, the paradox becomes impossible in physical terms.

Ok, That's my thought. Now everybody is welcome to come piling onto me and show me what a real moron I am. What am I doing wrong here? Don't hold back. I'm ready for a whuppin. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Chip
2001-Nov-06, 04:48 PM
On 2001-11-05 23:40, I wrote: /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know of research that has attempted to determine theoretically how thin the vacuum of space can get? There seems to be a considerable amount of matter spread out ever more thinly within and far beyond a given galaxy. However, I read once years ago a proposed figure for the very tenuousness of space far between galaxies. It was something like "one atom per cubic centimeter." (I'm giving this as an example of how the measurement was presented. It wasn't actually that figure, and I don't know how the actual figure was arrived at, even if theoretical.)

Chip



Well, I found this info on "ScienceNet:"

"In the air we breathe, there are about 25 billion billion molecules of gas per cubic centimetre. Scientist can create partial vacuums that have ten thousand molecules per cubic centimetre.
It is not an absolute vacuum in outer space. The density of interstellar matter is extremely low. It averages roughly just 1 atom or molecule per cubic centimetre. Matter of this low density is far more tenuous than the best vacuum that we can make in laboratories here on Earth. While much of the mass of the galaxy is concentrated in stars, a significant fraction of this mass resides in the vast regions of interstellar space. Observations show that most of this material is hydrogen either in atomic form or combined as H2 molecules. It has been found that the average density of H atoms in all forms in the interstellar medium near the Sun is 2 x 10-24g cm-3 and the average density of material in stars is 1.8 x 10-23g cm-3.

Giant molecular clouds of hydrogen are associated with star formation. Although they are dense at about 106 particles per cubic centimetre, they are about 10 trillion times less dense than air. Nevertheless, the extinction in these clouds is so great that we cannot see through them at visual wavelengths."

Quoted from ScienceNet:
http://www.sci-ctr.edu.sg/ScienceNet/cat_space/cat_sol00706.html

Singularities, black holes, nothing, two slits - one photon, thinking too much about this stuff, I'm going to end up talking to myself! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-06, 06:33 PM
By the way, when I say "But of course" this isn't a usual expression for me, so whatever it got you thinking about me is most likely false! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Most likely. Bear in mind that I am somewhat strange and that weird stuff might turn out to be accurate. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif



I haven't heard the term "teratology" in years. There was this really scary book called "The Cadaver of Gideon Wick", Alexander Laing, 1934, that discussed the study of monstrosities - unusual forms of embryos or babies. Does Grapes of Wrath really do this?

Cool! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif Or maybe it should be this: /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif minus the smile!

Is it real? Does he study abominations?

BADad, could you tell me more about this book? I saw cadaver, then I saw medical student, teratology, how could it NOT be good?

BADad, I also found this on the 'net:


somewhat of a mystery, with maybe a touch of horror, and the final plot twist was an unusual take on the evil twin (the evil twin was growing out of Gideon's chest but no one knew until Gideon was dead).

Is that the one?

[Edit]Apparently it still exists (Teratology).www.teratology.org. "Interesting" to say the least.[Edit]

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-06 17:15 ]</font>

Mr. X
2001-Nov-06, 06:47 PM
And, sorry Dave, I can't whup since my english skills aren't quite equivalent to yours, and you may go around me 5 times in your fancy language while I'm still trying to understand the first thing you said.

If you could dumb it down with the terms and the syntax it would really help me!

Wiley
2001-Nov-06, 10:17 PM
On 2001-11-06 06:42, David Hall wrote:
I'm about as far from being a mathematician as can be <font size=-1>(this is a warning that I really don't know what I'm talking about here)</font>, but I've been thinking about it and I have an observation to make about the paradox of the infinite halves. Please tell me if I get anywhere close to having a legitimate point here. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Doesn't the paradox require a continuous rate of movement? I.E, the action has to be something that can be infinitely divided up to begin with. In such a case, I can see a mathematical paradox. But in most real-life situations, movement is not continuous, but is broken up into discrete units. Take, for example, footsteps.

As long as you are approaching the wall, you would have a constant velocity of x centimeters per unit of time, the distance and time it takes to make one stride. There is no way to break that down into halves. One step per second is one step per second. You can't say that the man suddenly is taking only half a step. In the end, there would always be a final point in which the distance to the wall is less than the length of one pace, and therefore the wall would be reached in that one final step, no matter what kind of halving goes on mathematically.

I think it's likely that all physical movement has to follow this discrete-interval type of movement, if only down to the Planck length. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif In which case, the paradox becomes impossible in physical terms.

Ok, That's my thought. Now everybody is welcome to come piling onto me and show me what a real moron I am. What am I doing wrong here? Don't hold back. I'm ready for a whuppin. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif



(Wiley puts pine tar on his Louisville Slugger /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif)

There is no mathematical paradox for either the continuous or the discrete case. There appears to be a paradox because Zeno forgets that we are dealing with a two dimensional problem: space and time. Zeno takes the limit with respect to position but neglects the corresponding limit with respect time; hence, he becomes confused.

Graph the function x = v t. Take the limit as x approaches 1. Let x = 1/2,3/4, and 7/8, the corresponding values of time are t = 1/(2v), 3/(4v), and 7/(8v). As x approaches 1, t approaches 1/v. Coming back to the baseball bat example, as the bat approaches a point in space, it also approaches a point in time. As the bat approaches the position of impact with Mr. X's head /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif, it also approaches the time of impact. We never go beyond this time.

As for the discrete case, if there is a minimum time step or spatial step, we can not take a limit. An infinite sequence will only approach a finite value if the the sequence tends towards zero. Even if the smallest spatial step is the Plank length, we can not take a limit and Zeno's paradox is meaningless. Your footsteps analogy is sound.

Mr. X
2001-Nov-06, 10:42 PM
Argh, my way is better! Admit it Wiley! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif
I won't rest until you admit it! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif Even if I didn't do anything! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-06, 11:49 PM
Since Wiley isn't being very supportive of my wild claims, I'll just shut up! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

David Hall
2001-Nov-07, 11:15 AM
Wiley, thanks very much for the insightful and thorough answer. It was very educating and interesting.

One question though. Am I mistaken or did you just say I was right?!? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

(Dave shakes his head and mumbles the line from 2001 in his signature over and over.) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Lusion
2001-Nov-07, 04:17 PM
On 2001-11-07 06:15, David Hall wrote:
Wiley, thanks very much for the insightful and thorough answer. It was very educating and interesting.

One question though. Am I mistaken or did you just say I was right?!? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

(Dave shakes his head and mumbles the line from 2001 in his signature over and over.) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


I don't think he said that. You mentioned that you could see a mathematical paradox, but that it wasn't real because real movements aren't continuous. Wiley was specifically addressing that.

He's right. Mathematically speaking, all you're saying is, "here is an infinite series, where each point in the series gets closer to k, but no point in this series is k". Mathematically speaking, that's nice. But it's not a paradox.

There is a physical ramification of this as well. If, mathematically speaking, there's no a priori reason why this messes up your space, then physically speaking, there's no a priori reason why space can't have this topology.

Wiley
2001-Nov-07, 04:18 PM
On 2001-11-06 18:49, Mr. X wrote:
Since Wiley isn't being very supportive of my wild claims, I'll just shut up! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


I still trying to decipher your claims. After that I may support them. If you're lucky. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Wiley
2001-Nov-07, 04:32 PM
On 2001-11-07 06:15, David Hall wrote:
Wiley, thanks very much for the insightful and thorough answer. It was very educating and interesting.

One question though. Am I mistaken or did you just say I was right?!? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

(Dave shakes his head and mumbles the line from 2001 in his signature over and over.) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif



I didn't say you were right, I said your analogy was sound. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Seriously, you're definitely on the right track. You recogonize there are two dimensions involved, space and time, which is the first and most important step in unravelling the paradox. Putting in terms of limits is just mathematical formalism.

And for the discrete case, you are right. If there is a minimum non-zero step size, Zeno's whole subdivision scheme fails.

Mr. X
2001-Nov-07, 04:37 PM
On 2001-11-07 11:18, Wiley wrote:
I still trying to decipher your claims. After that I may support them. If you're lucky. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


Oops! I knew it! Everyone always says I am talking gibberish and don't understand what I am talking about and keep nodding until I am done! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I hate being misunderstood! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif

Chip
2001-Nov-07, 06:56 PM
So the recent direction of this thread implies that infinity within a seeming paradox of the finite, and a completely empty vacuum are either equivalent entities, or similar entities, and are also mathematical postulates that don't actually exist in nature.

Mr. X
2001-Nov-07, 08:50 PM
Uh...
I don't know if I can draw anymore conclusions than:
The series of E(x/2*(1/2)^n) when n=0..infinity converges towards x where x would be the distance chosen. Taking an infinite number of steps as we would do in real life would equate to taking an infinite number of terms in the series.
Since abs(r)<1, since r=1/2 the series converge, and thanks to the handy dandy theorem on the convergence of geometric series we conclude the infinite series converges (as I previously said) towards x, the distance we had to go over. Hence the distance is finite and can therefore be crossed by an object with a finite speed warranting of course certain conditions ever so annoying and tedious to write that I will forego them here. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Wiley Coyote here suggested something else. I forget what it is. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif I just hope I can get Wiley's seal of approval on my wild claims!

I would also suggest that this is very feasible with time, as only a handful of things have to be changed and it yields the exact same converging series only different /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif but the same conclusion can be made. I mean different meaning, you know, what it means. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Note: E is summation, i.e. capital sigma.
Note2: My english is a little inelegant! Feel free to correct deficient syntax or incorrect use of words! Thank you!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-07 21:55 ]</font>

ljbrs
2001-Nov-08, 01:10 AM
Perhaps there has always been something and nothing, being the lack of existence, is an impossibility. I do not think that the lack of the existence of something can ever be proved, so I do not worry myself over such revolving-door questions and never put myself onto such a meaningless treadmill. You can prove that something exists. It is impossible to prove that nothing exists. So, do not sweat it...

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-08, 01:19 AM
On 2001-11-07 20:10, ljbrs wrote:
Perhaps there has always been something and nothing, being the lack of existence, is an impossibility. I do not think that the lack of the existence of something can ever be proved, so I do not worry myself over such revolving-door questions and never put myself onto such a meaningless treadmill. You can prove that something exists. It is impossible to prove that nothing exists. So, do not sweat it...

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


That's a pretty strong point, methinks! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

ToSeek
2001-Nov-08, 02:39 PM
On 2001-11-07 20:10, ljbrs wrote:
Perhaps there has always been something and nothing, being the lack of existence, is an impossibility. I do not think that the lack of the existence of something can ever be proved, so I do not worry myself over such revolving-door questions and never put myself onto such a meaningless treadmill. You can prove that something exists. It is impossible to prove that nothing exists. So, do not sweat it...

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif


my brain hurts

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-08, 04:22 PM
Well reason thought can do that to you. jbrs is very good at well reasoned thought. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

David Simmons
2001-Nov-08, 06:35 PM
Are we talking about two different "nothings" here?

There is the mathematical and logical "nothing" which is just zero or the null set. Both of these are needed. The zero, for example, makes the number line continuous. Logically, the null set is just NOT ALL.

Both of these are "nothing" by definition.

The other "nothing" is the physical one which is not necessary and is really, really hard to prove. And as ljbrs says, we can't do anything about that so not to worry.

I'm already ducking for cover!



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Simmons on 2001-11-08 13:36 ]</font>

Chip
2001-Nov-08, 08:45 PM
On 2001-11-08 13:35, David Simmons wrote:
Are we talking about two different "nothings" here?

There is the mathematical and logical "nothing" which is just zero or the null set. Both of these are needed. The zero, for example, makes the number line continuous. Logically, the null set is just NOT ALL.

Both of these are "nothing" by definition.

The other "nothing" is the physical one which is not necessary and is really, really hard to prove. And as ljbrs says, we can't do anything about that so not to worry.

I'm already ducking for cover!
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Simmons on 2001-11-08 13:36 ]</font>


Good points.

I'm thinking of an interesting analogy in music notation. (My field of artistic "mathematics.")

In music we have sharps, flats, and the natural sign, (among many other symbols.) The natural is sometimes referred to as the symbol that restores a note (or the key) to its former state. But this is not quite right. What the natural sign does is this: If a note is already sharp, followed by natural, the natural actually "flats" the sharp note. If the note is flat, followed by a natural, the natural "sharps" the note. So symbolically, the natural becomes a segregate sharp or flat.
Perhaps "nothing" in nature is akin to a natural sign. It becomes something else, without actually existing in and of itself.

And now, for an aspirin. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-08, 09:01 PM
Ok, so who poked who in the what with a sharp what in the natural what now? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-08, 09:15 PM
I know from where Wiley could start jumping up and down and hitting me upside the head with his baseball bat. Doh. Unfair, so unfair!

First I don't win an xbox then this!

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif **Starts crying** /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-08 16:27 ]</font>

David Hall
2001-Nov-09, 03:54 AM
On 2001-11-07 11:32, Wiley wrote:

I didn't say you were right, I said your analogy was sound. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Seriously, you're definitely on the right track. You recogonize there are two dimensions involved, space and time, which is the first and most important step in unravelling the paradox. Putting in terms of limits is just mathematical formalism.

And for the discrete case, you are right. If there is a minimum non-zero step size, Zeno's whole subdivision scheme fails.


Thanks Wiley (and Lusion, too). But to come clean, actually I realized what you really said. I was just being a little facetious there. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif I'm just happy that I can even follow something of such a mathematical thread. (Couldn't follow any of the figures though. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif)

I even understand the reason there's no paradox in the continuous state. I suppose in my first post I should have said that I could see where a paradox "could" be seen, not that I could see one. Sorry.

Usually I'm pretty good at understanding basic concepts, but I'm not so good at the details, especially mathematical ones. From now on I'll leave it up to you brainy types to continue the discussions. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

Lusion
2001-Nov-09, 04:10 AM
On 2001-11-08 13:35, David Simmons wrote:
Are we talking about two different "nothings" here?
...
The other "nothing" is the physical one which is not necessary and is really, really hard to prove. And as ljbrs says, we can't do anything about that so not to worry.


There is no "physical nothing". "Nothing" does not exist in some real, concrete sense. This doesn't have to be proven or disproven, for "nothingness" is not a thing such that it can possibly exist in a concrete sense. It's a lack of a thing. To treat "nothingness" as if it were really something, and therefore could possibly exist in some sense, is to commit a reification.

Now, vacuums are a different story--but, then again, vacuums aren't "nothing"--they're locations in space without matter in them, which is something. Maybe there are vacuums in space, when you grab a small enough piece of it--and maybe there aren't--and, just perhaps, it could be meaningless (eg, it could depend on exactly what you mean by matter). But there is no "nothingness" anywhere.

J-Man
2001-Nov-09, 04:19 AM
You guys should find this interesting...

http://www.mathpages.com/rr/s3-07/3-07.htm

Mr. X
2001-Nov-09, 04:34 AM
I'll have to go through that in its entirety (uh, spelling and is that even a word?) if I want to outsmart Wiley! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

(Actually we're after the same point, but I'm attempting to come off better /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif)

David Simmons
2001-Nov-09, 04:54 AM
On 2001-11-08 23:10, Lusion wrote:

There is no "physical nothing". "Nothing" does not exist in some real, concrete sense. This doesn't have to be proven or disproven, for "nothingness" is not a thing such that it can possibly exist in a concrete sense. It's a lack of a thing. To treat "nothingness" as if it were really something, and therefore could possibly exist in some sense, is to commit a reification.



Right. I used a poor choice of words in writing about a "physical nothing." I meant a space with nothing in it.

As for vacuums. I think that the ideal vacuum doesn't exist. But, I've been wrong before.

NubiWan
2001-Nov-09, 07:02 AM
What a 'nothing' topic, or so me first thought. But as i suffered though the thread, started getting a 'glimpse' for a distinction.

There is a point in our universe, where nothing exists. But it does have a position in time and space, coordinates and nothing (SIC!) more.

What has always warped me noodle, is trying to think about the "edge" of the universe. More precisely, our 'bubble of a universe,' and the medium that defines such an edge. Without resorting to extra dimensions, started imaging the 'emptyness' of our universe at its 'edge,' adjacent to the 'emptyness' of this medium containing our universe...

Sorry, can't take it any further, it was an interesting sensation, a tickle. Doubt there any validity to it, but it was fun. Thanks.

Chip
2001-Nov-09, 03:23 PM
On 2001-11-09 02:02, NubiWan wrote:
What a 'nothing' topic, or so me first thought. But as i suffered though the thread, started getting a 'glimpse' for a distinction.

There is a point in our universe, where nothing exists. But it does have a position in time and space, coordinates and nothing (SIC!) more.

What has always warped me noodle, is trying to think about the "edge" of the universe. More precisely, our 'bubble of a universe,' and the medium that defines such an edge. Without resorting to extra dimensions, started imaging the 'emptiness' of our universe at its 'edge,' adjacent to the 'emptiness' of this medium containing our universe...

Sorry, can't take it any further, it was an interesting sensation, a tickle. Doubt there any validity to it, but it was fun. Thanks.


The standard theory holds that there is no "edge", but rather that the observable universe is an expanding finite yet unbounded manifold. Space itself is expanding and the objects therein, such as galaxies, are all moving away from each other rather than from a central point. Beyond the observable, the universe could be infinite. (Nature is not obligated to follow our preconceived notions but also does leave tantalizing consistencies to follow in physics and astronomy.)

If the universe where like a conventional explosion with an edge and a central point from which matter, including us were expanding, this would be observable, but it is not observed.

Astronomer Ned Wright has an explanation here: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/infpoint.html

And he has interesting FAQs here: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html

The BA has an article in this website about Universal Expansion: http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/accel2.html

I think in this thread and elsewhere I’ve read (not much else), the definition of “nothing” is very broad and includes philosophy as was pointed out by a previous poster. I was thinking much more confined within the observable universe. Along the lines of how much of a vacuum can there be? There might be something indirectly detectible which functions in the universe as a transitory entity that effects other things without being directly observed or even existing per say. (Now we’re out of the mainstream, so I guess it was OK to post the question here.) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Mnemonia
2001-Nov-09, 03:44 PM
On 2001-11-09 02:02, NubiWan wrote:
There is a point in our universe, where nothing exists. But it does have a position in time and space, coordinates and nothing (SIC!) more.


If it has attributes like position/coordinates then it is not nothing. You even called it "a point", which is clearly something, no matter how vague.

There is no such thing as a physical nothingness anywhere in the Universe.

NubiWan
2001-Nov-09, 06:20 PM
As I understand it from a cosmological stance, there are three definitions of "universe":

1. the visible - that which we can observe
2. the universe - all that exists in this particular spacetime "bubble" that we find ourselves within, created with the BB
3. the Universe - all that is

The 'observable' universe is the same as the 'visible' one. It expands only with our ability to extend our "sight" or detection. We now *know* that the fabric of space is and will continue, to expand, accelerating actually. Barring technological advances, the 'observable universe' will be thinning out, over time less stars and galaxies will be 'visible' to us. Some theories suggest that an infinite number of these "bubble universes" were, and perhaps still are being, created. However we don't have and may never have, methods to actually know this, the very laws of physics may be 'different' within others of these bubble universes. To save wear and tear on me little noodle, have confined my universe to our bubble.

So there is a center most certainly, to our observable universe, the point where those observations are made. And the distinction that occured to me while reading thought this thread was;

There is a point within our universe, but at its "edge," where nothing exists, having nothing but a position in time and space, mere coordinates. Adjacent to a point within the 'emptyness' of this medium containing our universe, this point would not have any such coordinates.

A flight of fancy, of course, but found it entertaining. You said there is no "edge" to the universe, so how do you explain or measure, its "expansion?"



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NubiWan on 2001-11-09 13:24 ]</font>

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-09, 07:20 PM
There is no edge to the surface of a balloon as you inflate it, yet it expands.

NubiWan
2001-Nov-09, 07:47 PM
Well there most certainly is an edge to an expanding balloon, the skin of the balloon itself.

Donnie B.
2001-Nov-09, 08:48 PM
I referred to the surface of the balloon, which is a 2-dimensional manifold in 3-space.

The balloon's surface has no edge: you can move over the surface forever without reaching a limit.

In this model universe, any 1- or 2-dimensional object on the surface of the balloon will see all other such objects receding as the balloon expands. The more distant the object is, the faster it moves away. (Of course, in this model, the light by which s/he sees those distant objects is also constrained to the surface of the balloon.)

Since you're seeing this from the godlike perspective of a higher dimension (3-space), you can see that the balloon is really a 3-dimensional object, and you wonder why the poor critters on the balloon don't just go "up" or "down" and escape their surface. But that's cheating. They're restricted to their 2-dimensional universe, just as we are to our 3-dimensional one.

Of course, myriad science fiction stories depend on the notion that one day we might find hyperdimensional shortcuts through our universe, the equivalent of a balloon-critter going "through the balloon" to reach another point on the surface. So far, however, that's just fiction.

I hope this is clear; if not, maybe I (or someone else) can think of some other analogy. And that's all it is... AFAIK, there are no itty-bitty 2-dimensional life forms inhabiting the surface of our balloon.

And keep away from my universe with that pin!
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

NubiWan
2001-Nov-10, 04:40 PM
Ahh.., see what you are saying, DonnieB, and it demonstrates the limitations of analogies. That one does simplify the concept, of how all galaxies would appear to be receding, no matter which 'dot' you occupied. {fidgets with his mom's old shinny hat-pin} The reality is of course, much more complex. Our 'bubble' is expanding, bubbles don't have to be perfectly globular, rarely are in fact. And the "dots" of galaxies, would be destributed within its volume, not just on its surface.
Other than "open," not really certain of our universe's geometry. (Anyone?) The one consistent feature, on a cosmic as well as sub-atomic scale, the universe is about 99%(?) nothing.

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-10, 05:54 PM
NubiWan,

You are still mixing analogies. While it is true that the "dots" are distributed throughout the interior of the "bubble", the bubble is a portion of a three dimensional "surface" curved through higher dimensions.

Mr. X
2001-Nov-10, 07:31 PM
Um, Wiley?

Have you had some time to go over my wild claims? Can I get a Wiley seal of approval? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

I checked with aperson with vastly superior mathematical knowledge than me and he feels it's okay.

How do you stand?

David Simmons
2001-Nov-10, 11:10 PM
On 2001-11-10 11:40, NubiWan wrote:
Ahh.., see what you are saying, DonnieB, and it demonstrates the limitations of analogies. That one does simplify the concept, of how all galaxies would appear to be receding, no matter which 'dot' you occupied. ... And the "dots" of galaxies, would be destributed within its volume, not just on its surface[Emphasis added].



The essential point of this analogy is not that the universe is like the surface of an expanding balloon. The point, rather, is that if you are at any point on or in an expanding entity, all the other points on or in that entity will be moving away from you. And the further they are from you the faster they will move away.

This particular analogy caused one poster to lose all sense of persepective, not too long ago, and start raving and ranting about the perfidious establishment scientists trying to tell people the falsehood that the universe is an expanding balloon. He claimed, on the other hand, that it is a skyrocket exploding and sending sparks in all directions.

And things went downhill from there.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Simmons on 2001-11-10 18:12 ]</font>

Mr. X
2001-Nov-11, 02:40 AM
This particular analogy caused <u>one poster to lose all sense of persepective, not too long ago, and start raving and ranting about the perfidious establishment scientists trying to tell people the falsehood that the universe is an expanding balloon.<u> He claimed, on the other hand, that it is a skyrocket exploding and sending sparks in all directions.


Huh? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif Am I missing something here? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-10 21:44 ]</font>

David Simmons
2001-Nov-11, 04:31 AM
On 2001-11-10 21:40, Mr. X wrote:

Huh? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif Am I missing something here? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif



I guess you had to be there.

Trish
2001-Nov-11, 12:08 PM
Oh yeah, that's where you were trying to explain the expanding universe to my kid.

Wasn't that JW that did that?

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-11, 12:45 PM
Yep. That was JW, the math-impaired armchair astrophysist. Fortunately, (for the rest of us) he overstepped the boundaries once too often and got himself permanently banned. If you missed JW, consider yourself lucky. He seemed to feel he had to respond to every post on the board, often with a paranoid air of persecution.

David Hall
2001-Nov-11, 01:51 PM
Actually, I got the feeling JW was generally a pretty decent guy. He was just one of the most stubborn and hard-headed people I've ever seen. He had this idea that the standard relativity model was wrong, and that the balloon analogy was a literal description, and just wouldn't back down in any way (in spite of an acknowledged lack of mathematical ability).

I don't generally get involved in physics threads though, so I guess I can't really understand how annoying he really was. I suppose going head-to-head with him was like banging yourself against a brick wall.

Here's JW in a nutshell:
http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame63.html

Mr. X
2001-Nov-11, 02:16 PM
Okay. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

At least he wouldn't injure his head if he fell.



KaptainK
He seemed to feel he had to respond to every post on the board...


You talking to me? [De Niro style] /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Great site by the way. Had one good time reading all those typical profiles. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-11 10:07 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-11, 03:52 PM
You talking to me? [De Niro style]
Nope. More like "SAMU".See this one:

http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame21.html

David Simmons
2001-Nov-11, 05:01 PM
On 2001-11-11 08:51, David Hall wrote:
Actually, I got the feeling JW was generally a pretty decent guy.



Possibly. But I'm confident a "pretty decent guy" wouldn't support his position by claiming that the "experts" are intent on maintaining their plush positions by misleading people.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David Simmons on 2001-11-11 12:01 ]</font>

Mr. X
2001-Nov-11, 08:00 PM
Maybe he was more along the lines of him:

http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame78.html

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Nov-12, 02:21 PM
On 2001-11-11 12:01, David Simmons wrote:
Possibly. But I'm confident a "pretty decent guy" wouldn't support his position by claiming that the "experts" are intent on maintaining their plush positions by misleading people.

I thought pretty decent guys did that all the time. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Wiley
2001-Nov-12, 04:13 PM
On 2001-11-10 14:31, Mr. X wrote:
Um, Wiley?

Have you had some time to go over my wild claims? Can I get a Wiley seal of approval? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

I checked with aperson with vastly superior mathematical knowledge than me and he feels it's okay.

How do you stand?


Senor X,

You are correct that a finite length can be represented by an infinite summation of smaller lengths. However for Zeno's arrow, I think its important to account for time, since time is as important to motion as position. If the arrow required the same amount of time to cover each summand length, then the arrow would never go anywhere. Fortunately, this is not the case. The finite time of flight can be represented by an infinite sum of smaller time intervals, and these smaller intervals are directly proportional to the summand lengths (assuming constant velocity).

As to how I stand, well I have two smart *** answers. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

1.) Lopsided, ever since I lost my heel in a horrible sandwich making accident. I don't wanna talk about it.

2.) Usually out in my field.

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Mnemonia
2001-Nov-12, 04:29 PM
On 2001-11-10 11:40, NubiWan wrote:
The one consistent feature, on a cosmic as well as sub-atomic scale, the universe is about 99%(?) nothing.


ARGH!

I'd really like to know how you fill anything up with nothing. It's like adding zero to any number and expecting to get a larger result.

So.. the universe is not 99% nothing, it is 99% empty. Empty and nothing are not the same. (Empty lends itself to an attribute of area or volume, nothing does not lend itself to any attributes whatsoever.)

Now, I know what you meant by "nothing", but one of the ongoing themes of this thread is not to confuse the semantic meaning of nothing with its true scientific meaning.

Wiley
2001-Nov-12, 05:16 PM
I want to correct a common mistake with reference to my name.

The eponymous coyote is Wild E. Coyote, Wild E. not Wiley. I am not currently nor have I ever been affiliated with Warner Brothers in anyway.

Thanks,

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Nov-12, 06:41 PM
On 2001-11-12 12:16, Wiley wrote:
I want to correct a common mistake with reference to my name.

The eponymous coyote is Wild E. Coyote, Wild E. not Wiley. I am not currently nor have I ever been affiliated with Warner Brothers in anyway.

I know I'm going to regret this, but isn't it "Wile E. (http://www.chuckjones.com/)" not "Wild E. (http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/dreamcast/review/R12677.html)"? What were you thinking? "Yoshemitsu Sam" indeed.

Kaptain K
2001-Nov-12, 06:57 PM
Close! His full name (with title) is Wile E. Coyote Super Genius. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

Wiley
2001-Nov-12, 07:06 PM
On 2001-11-12 13:41, GrapesOfWrath wrote:

I know I'm going to regret this, but isn't it "Wile E. (http://www.chuckjones.com/)" not "Wild E. (http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/dreamcast/review/R12677.html)"? What were you thinking? "Yoshemitsu Sam" indeed.



Doh! And I suppose I can't argue with the official Chuck Jones website. Damn! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I thought Wile E. was a "supra genus" not a "super genius". But its been fifteen plus years since I saw that particular cartoon.

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Nov-12, 07:11 PM
That site says that "Chuck Jones created the highest-profile obsessive in American film history" Clearly he hasn't visited the BABB. O wait, you mean you all are not toons, like me?

Mr. X
2001-Nov-13, 12:21 AM
As to how I stand, well I have two smart *** answers.

1.) Lopsided, ever since I lost my heel in a horrible sandwich making accident. I don't wanna talk about it.

2.) Usually out in my field.


Hey! It's not fun to laugh me! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Lusion
2001-Nov-13, 01:34 AM
On 2001-11-12 11:13, Wiley wrote:
...
You are correct that a finite length can be represented by an infinite summation of smaller lengths. However for Zeno's arrow, I think its important to account for time, since time is as important to motion as position.
...


I don't think this is even necessary. All you need to account for is the number line.

The distance from 0 to 1 is finite. But there are an infinite number of points between 0 and 1. You can come up with a method to enumerate them, such that you'd constantly approach 1, and yet would never reach it. Or, you could enumerate them in another way, such that you'd dance around forever, and would never hit "1/2". Neither are particularly surprising. All Zeno's paradox is, is picking out such a points of the first flavor.

The only reason it feels like a paradox is because it's ordered to always progress, so you have a sense that you're getting closer to a finite goal. But it's also ordered in such a way as to never reach the goal. Intuitively, you tend to think that if you approach a finite goal, you'll eventually reach it. This violates the intuition, but it doesn't violate math, or reality. It's quite simple, really. It's a Euclidean axiom--between any two points on a line, there is another point. Pick one as your tail end and repeat ad infinitum.

Now, I understand that if you add time as a dimension, you can use calculus to approach things and prove that it's finite. That's all good--but you don't need to add a second dimension at all to do the exact same thing (in fact, if you add time in, aren't you basically doing the same thing to both dimensions?)

The Rat
2001-Nov-13, 02:44 AM
I just found this thread, and being economical with my time (lazy) I haven't read all the replies, so excuse me if I'm repeating anything.

I contend that perhaps we don't have the capacity to comprehend 'nothing'. We are 'something', and fill the immediate space around our senses. We always have since we were born. Even if we were able to somehow travel to a point in the universe where no light has reached since the Big Bang, 'we', that is, our body and our mind, would still be there, negating the 'nothing'.

And I'm getting a headache...

Mr. X
2001-Nov-13, 09:23 PM
Lusion,

I did something and thought what you said about ye olde Euclidian axiom before, you might want to look at older posts by me.

Maybe you can back me up since Wile E. Coyote hates me so much! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Not to mention pokes fun at my poor mastery of the english language! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-13 17:15 ]</font>

Bob
2001-Nov-13, 11:09 PM
An engineer and a mathematician at a party saw a beautiiful woman on the other side of the room. Just as they were going to join her, God spoke and said "At the end of each minute, you may move only half the remaining distance between you and the other side!" A lightning bolt outside showed that God meant business.
The engineer immediately crossed half the distance, waited a minute, crossed another quarter, waited a minute, and so on. The mathematician called out, "Why bother? You'll never reach her!" The engineer replied, "Yes, but pretty soon I'll be close enough!"

Wiley
2001-Nov-13, 11:23 PM
On 2001-11-13 16:23, Mr. X wrote:
Lusion,

I did something and thought what you said about ye olde Euclidian axiom before, you might want to look at older posts by me.

Maybe you can back me up since Wile E. Coyote hates me so much! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Not to mention pokes fun at my poor mastery of the english language! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-13 17:15 ]</font>


I don't hate you; I'm just jealous of your post count. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-14, 01:26 AM
On 2001-11-13 18:23, Wiley wrote:
I don't hate you; I'm just jealous of your post count. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


Who isn't!?! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

Mr. X
2001-Nov-14, 03:08 AM
On 2001-11-11 10:52, Kaptain K wrote:

You talking to me? [De Niro style]
Nope. More like "SAMU".


/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif <s><u><font size=4 color=red>LOL!</u></font></s> /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

I'm censoring myself since I don't want to get in trouble.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr. X on 2001-11-13 22:11 ]</font>

NubiWan
2001-Nov-29, 10:54 PM
Well, for one, hate to see this topic end in such a way. It really is an interesting inquiry. The ol' BABB just doesn't seem to be the same, since its upgrade. Anyway, ran accross what me tinks is a pretty good summary of the topic, don't thank me, its nothing really;

Quantum ether (http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/quantum/quantum.jsp?id=23154400)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NubiWan on 2001-11-29 17:55 ]</font>

Chip
2001-Dec-02, 08:44 AM
On 2001-11-29 17:54, NubiWan wrote:
Well, for one, hate to see this topic end in such a way. It really is an interesting inquiry. The ol' BABB just doesn't seem to be the same, since its upgrade. Anyway, ran accross what me tinks is a pretty good summary of the topic, don't thank me, its nothing really;

Quantum ether (http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/quantum/quantum.jsp?id=23154400)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NubiWan on 2001-11-29 17:55 ]</font>


Interesting post Nubiwan.
(I'm glad somebody thought there was something to my question about nothing!)

Chip

"Why haven't I've seen this all along?!" - Dr. Morbius from Forbidden Planet

NubiWan
2001-Dec-26, 04:35 AM
Mnemonis


If it has attributes like position/coordinates then it is not nothing. You even called it "a point", which is clearly something, no matter how vague.
---------------*
ARGH!

I'd really like to know how you fill anything up with nothing. It's like adding zero to any number and expecting to get a larger result.

So.. the universe is not 99% nothing, it is 99% empty. Empty and nothing are not the same. (Empty lends itself to an attribute of area or volume, nothing does not lend itself to any attributes whatsoever.)

Now, I know what you meant by "nothing", but one of the ongoing themes of this thread is not to confuse the semantic meaning of nothing with its true scientific meaning.


*LOL* As i know of your meaning as well, but to define terms, what, then, is your "true scientific meaning of nothing? "Empty?" So you perceive the universe as an unfilled vessel, then? Could counter, that the universe is actually filled near to capacity with a near perfect vacuum. The residue scum of ordinary matter, which you, me, earth, and all the other wonders, are made of, and we reside within, needs only to be skimmed off, and the universe 'topped off' with a bit more vacuum, for the universe to attain true 'perfection.' By the by, points and coordinates are abstracts, they don't actually exist in physical reality, you know. 'Position,' well, that is relative, isn't it? And what was the name of this thread, again?

Kaptain K


You are still mixing analogies. While it is true that the "dots" are distributed throughout the interior of the "bubble", the bubble is a portion of a three dimensional "surface" curved through higher dimensions.


Aside from the dimension of time, which does exist within our 'bubble,' and its expansion is measured with, then what would these "higher dimensions" be, exactly? Do confess a pitiful ignorance of the term, "manifold," used here. And what the heck, do carburetors have to do with the cosmos, anyway? Perhaps someone would endulge me?

On to the reason to revisit this ol' dead horse. Have read, that within the BB theory, there is no actual center of the universe, in the usual meaning of the term, (not the observable one, the next bigger one). Imprecisely used the term 'globular' in an earlier post, when 'spherical' would have been better. And asked if anyone here, was informed as to the universe's actual geometry, other than "open," no one directly responded. Have since bumped into something called, "cosmic topology." While this isn't exactly on topic, the subject was raised here.., if only by me. Thus far, it is eliminating possibilities rather than nailing the actual shape of the universe. Although spherical remains the front runner. Should our universe, our bubble, actually be shown to be a sphere, wouldn't that imply an actual center?

Anyway, a recent interesting model has surfaced, the topological lens effet, relating to the observable universe. Thought some might find some interest in it. Just consider this little lump of coal, me x-mas present to yas..., its nothing actually. *Ho ho ho!*

An optical illusion on a cosmic scale (http://www.obspm.fr/actual/nouvelle/dec01/luminet.en.shtml)




@#$$! link!
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NubiWan on 2001-12-25 23:42 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NubiWan on 2001-12-25 23:45 ]</font>

soupdragon2
2004-May-17, 05:01 PM
Space as a vacuum?

Much of the relatively new science focusing on the fourth state of matter tends to contradict the idea of space as a vacuum. Also, it seems that ever-present plasma maybe constantly conducting, er, rather large electrical currents 'all over the shop'?

Nothingness.

"In the Universe as a whole, the conserved constants (electric charge, angular momentum, mass-energy) add up to/cancel out to exactly 0. There isn't any net electric charge or angular momentum. The world's positive mass-energy is exactly cancelled out by its negative gravitational potential energy. (Provocatively, cryptically, elliptically, "nothing" exists)"

Zero is just a number or, in some philosophical circles, a mere 'State of Affairs'.

I can't remember where I found the above quote. Sorry.

Spaceman Spiff
2004-May-17, 08:12 PM
I haven't had the chance to read all 4 pages of this in detail, so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this very interesting book on the topic of "nothing" by astronomer Sten Odenwald, the guy who brings us the Astronomy Cafe (http://www.astronomycafe.net/):

Patterns in the Void: Why Nothing is Important (http://www.astronomycafe.net/vacuum/vacprime.html) :o

You can read some of the teasers linked off the bottom of the page, but better is to read the book.

Also, Victor Stenger (professor emeritus of physics) has a site discussing nothing (http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/nothing.html) at all.