Life, the universe, and everything

Discussion in 'Archive' started by maca2kx, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Hoomfie

    Hoomfie Rookie

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    maybe in mathematics, a point can be described as a zero-dimensional "object" because it represents a position on an Argand, or Cartesian plane. But consider the physical world -- it cannot exist, a zero-dimensional point -- because to exist implies having a dimension of some sort (I mean, consider in mathematics you can have raise a number to a negative power, and express it in a + bi form, but there is no naturally occurring number which actually represents this. So you can have non-existant things in maths which never happen in the real world...) Is zero-dimensions singularity? Speaking of singularity, where does the matter and light that enters a black hole go to?

    One last thing... I actually do understand what you are saying, tank. A two dimensional being in "flatland" would have a single line take up their field of vision, and this line comprises of the many different objects it can see, but depth, as you say, is rendered obsolete because everything looks equally close -- just another segment of the line. That's how I interpret what you are saying. :?
     
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  2. thetank

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    Hoomfie, by god, you speak-a my language!

    And Doc, a point in mathematics can be defined by its coordinates, and therefore exists in a given space, but its existence can only be proven to us because it has a relationship to another point, which can be interpreted as a line, or other representation. Is that what you meant? So evidence of the existence of a point is dependent on evidence of the existence of another point.

    Which brings me back to inner peace: Everything is connected...
     
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  3. DocMoc

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    I guess I was saying that a point is simply JUST a mathematical construct. Whether or not its an existing object in reality is outside the metaphysical reaches of my mind.

    Here's something to ponder:

    In electrostatics, we really can only do the math involved if charges are point particles, spheres with mass that have no radius. But the equations say that if the radius is zero, then there is infinite electric potential which is impossible. So the only way we can solve the math is by assuming something that allows for an impossibility!
    I guess "pretty close" is good enough.
     
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  4. thetank

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    Ugh, electrostatics. I prefer electromagnetism. Electromagnetism in weapons, to be precise. I kind of want to build a small rail gun based on existing designs.

    Doc, were you referring to Coulomb's Law, and the paradox that arises from the attempted division by zero (that you get when radius equivalent to zero is a factor of the multiplication that calculates the denominator)?

    Um, what else is there to talk about?

    The meaning of life? I kind of want to hear opinions on what it might be. Not the biological purpose for existence though. We know what that is.

    As far as I am aware (allowing for the possibility that the meaning of life is different, and indeterminable for each person, based on actions taken, and personality, attitude etc.), it's all about memory. Without memory, is there any reason to believe in an afterlife? You've got eternity to do whatever you want, but what's the point if you don't have memory of your earthly experiences to draw on?

    And even if, like me, you don't believe in an afterlife, there has to have been a reason we developed as we did. Australopithecus afarensis was capable of surviving, so why did we continue to evolve? There had to be some driving reason behind it, perhaps to further our intelligence to the point where we can understand the reasons for our existence?

    Either that, or we were all intended to be maintenance engineers on the great computer that is our planet Earth.
     
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  5. TheNesMan

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    He wasn't referring to Coulombs law. And in reference to physics and how they solve problems; it's all bollocks. Every other question has you assuming that the string is massless, frictionless or some obscure object is a perfect sphere.
     
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  6. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    Physics does tend to produce more problems than answers. Makes it a subject for idealists, doesn't it?

    And I get chastised for choosing Chemistry. At least my science is relatively precise.
     
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  7. TheNesMan

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    Yeah but physics is fundamental and a lot more intuitive.
     
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  8. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    I suppose. Not too sure about the intuitiveness, but I'll concede that it's fundamental.
     
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  9. TheNesMan

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    The intuitiveness of physics is what differentiates it from the other sciences (i.e chemistry and biology). The fundamental laws of motion and other physical laws make intuitive sense. It's rather easy to understand why objects act in certain ways when acted on by certain forces because it's all around us. I can push a block and observe it's motion. I can throw a baseball upwards and observe the effect of gravity. It's only when you dig into quantum mechanics that physics ceases to become something that is fairly easy to visualize and comprehend. Now with Chemistry, it's quite difficult for a lot of people to understand because while it may be happening around us all the time, it's at the atomic level. We can't observe chemistry like we can physics. That was the reason I always preferred physics to chemistry in high school. However, after experiencing engineering physics, I much prefer the simplicity of Chemistry, albeit I can't always see it =p.
     
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  10. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    Okay. That's what you meant. I like Chemistry because it has, in my opinion, less physical restrictions imposed on it, if you know what I mean. You can't create energy from nothing, or matter, but with Chemistry, you can make something useful, or necessary, from something that otherwise wouldn't be any use. It's the science of creation, to me, at least.
     
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  11. DocMoc

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    Chemistry is the science of creation of profit. Isn't the only motivation to create new things is to put make the green back stack less slack? Industry has thrived on chemicals, pharmaceuticals use biochem to engineer all kinds of things to cure the common cold. There's a great speech in Jurassic Park where Malcom talks about how science driven by profit has no respect for its creation and has no care for the consequences that may ensue. That doesn't just go for chemistry, I mean, take the tsar bomb http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba.

    But I agree with you on the less restrictions part. Maybe it's the restrictions of physics that I like so much. For every problem there IS a solution and it can be solved. Chemistry, to me, just seemed like a large lump of knowledge and facts that didn't lead anywhere.
     
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  12. TheNesMan

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    Yes but physics makes amazingly unrealistic assumptions to arrive at their solutions. I've gotten tired of hearing these key words "infinitesimal, massless, frictionless, infinite, perfectly round".
     
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  13. DocMoc

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    ^ that bugged me for along time but after doing years of math I found that in math, assumptions are okay! Mainly because the only things we can solve exactly are the hydrogen atom and the harmonic oscillator. Everything else, to come even CLOSE, we need to make assumptions.
    Making assumptions doesn't loose any physics even though it may not exist in reality. Understanding the simpler, basic problem is the first step to extending it to the actual solution of the problem (where we can get computers to the calculations) I mean, who wants to compute CRAZY integrals for reality when we can say this goes to infinity and that goes to zero to solve it MUCH easier!
     
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  14. thetank

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    Interesting points guys. I'm not in Chemistry to make money though. If I solve the energy crisis we appear to be approaching, all I'd need would be enough money to survive, and provide for any children or family I may have one day. The rest of it would probably go back into the University that gave me such an opportunity. Start a scholarship program to help people like me do great things, something like that.

    Chemistry may be the science of creation of profit, but if a selfless man became a chemist, I doubt it would change him.

    And I just find studying Chemistry to be rather freeing. Being able to look at something, and know precisely how it was made, and what from, appeals to me.
     
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  15. Hoomfie

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    It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I'm bored. So I'm gonna post in this quasi-philosophical thread, because I just need a bit more conversation than "Top 5 (insert platform) Games" kinda stuff.

    I was thinking about time travel the other day, because some show on TV was talking about it -- they mentioned the Grandfather paradox and why it can be used as an argument against traveling into the past. Then I had this thought:

    What if when someone travels into the past, they actually enter a different dimension, so whatever happens in that particular past alters a completely different future to the one they traveled from?

    For example Jim-Bob lives in Dimension A, in the present. He builds a time-machine. He travels to his past to meet his long deceased Great Great Great Grandfather. In transit, he enters Dimension B. He meets his G.G.G. Grandfather, and promptly proceeds to murder him. If he were in Dimension A, he would cease to exist because his GGG Grandfather couldn't procreate. Coz he's dead. Anyway, luckily for Jim-Bob, he is now in Dimension B, so he continues to live in this alternate past like nothing had happened.

    Anyway, probably pointless to think about considering I won't be around to see time travel, but what are your thoughts on time travel and its validity as a physical possibility?
     
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  16. trust_no_one

    trust_no_one Rookie

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    Words like that you don't apply the rule to. They are simply "I" and "a".

    Time stops everything from happening at once.
    -John Wheeler

    Time certainly exists, no matter what you call it. Time is what differentiates between the sun and a supernova.

    Isn't the third dimension depth, therefore rendering a two dimensional world like, say, Mario on the NES? You have both vertical and horizontal movement, but no depth to either of them. Let's say you're Mario. Your vision would be, for the sake of argument assuming we could quantify our perception of vision to a two dimensional situation, a vertical line in front of you. You can jump up and down, and move foreward and back (your field of vision would have to be along one of the axis; Mario cannot stand in his world and look at you, playing the game.

    I think this has been mostly said, the line is all you can see, but not because everything is the same distance because of lack of depth, there is still a horizontal and vertical axis, but you can't perceive what that line is, in terms of what we'd define as seeing that line is. It is a line, made up of colors of the objects in front of you, be they Bowser, blocks, coins, or mushrooms, but you don't know what they are because they are simply different lengths and colors of the same line.

    (Actually, there shouldn't even be a line, because that would suggest some measure of depth (a thickness to the line) which is impossible.)

    Think of a sheet of paper. That's about as close as we can get to a two dimensional object existing in a three dimensional world. It has a clear height and length, but it's depth is near non-existent. But there is still depth. For there to be no depth, the sheet would have to disappear when rotated 90 degrees on either axis. Surely that is not possible, because the paper cannot disappear, not exist, on that plane, but exist on the other two.

    Kinda sorta make sense?

    A point only "exists" on paper in our three dimensional world. There cannot be a single point hanging freely, suspended in midair. That would mean from any angle it can be viewed, from any axis, meaning it has to "exist" in all of the axis, dimensions, to be seen. We cannot "see" a two dimensional object exist in our three dimensional world (other than theoretically on paper) just as a two dimensional being cannot "see" a three dimensional object.

    The fourth dimension we are quite aware of, are we not? Time. A fourth dimensional being can "see" through time, past, present and future (maybe). That's my understanding anyway. I think I may be a bit foggy on that though, my knowledge on other dimensions is...sparse, lol.


    Time travel is certainly possible; look at Fry in Futurama. Now, if you wanted to get into going back through time, that's a whole other story. For the time travel we are capable of today (I call it "cold time travel" as it would require us to br frozen to 0 zero degrees Kelvin, and then thawed at some point in the future) theoretically we could travel thousands, millions of years into the future, provided there is a world to be thawed in, and someone to unthaw you. To the one being frozen, the travel through time is instantaneous.

    My view on being able to go backward or foreward in time is not so much built on appearing in another dimension separate from our own; they all co-exist. If, in fact, they exist at all.

    Imagine a single point. From there, a near infinite path of lines extending out to a near infinite number of points. Ahead of those near infinite number of points, another set. From the first set a line goes out to near every point ahead of it. And so on. Nearly every point is connected to the near-infinite point behind and in front of it.

    The very first point, the single point, would be your measure of time. The instant you came into your existence (that point is only a one of the near infinite that are on everyone else's measure of time), a near infinite number of things can happen. And for every point thereafter, another near infinite number of things can happen, be they decisions you consciously make, or something you have no control over (a meteor hitting you, being hit by a car, whatever).

    I say near infinite because there are only a finite of things that can possibly happen at a given point, not infinite.

    And so your measure goes on, with every point being able to connect to nearly any other point thought your history. I say nearly because, if at one point you kill your father, you cannot go on in time to have dinner with him the next day.

    This model is also used when I describe free will vs. destiny. We have the free will to choose between a near infinite number of possibilities. It's sort of a both free will and destiny. Where you are now, you have a distinct path in your past that lead up to it from the decisions you made. But that was not the only way things could have turned out, they could have turned out near infinitely different, but you chose to get to this point you are at now.

    So, when you go back in time, you're theoretically just "existing" in an already designated point in history that you haven't experienced. But, since there is no single line from this instance right now to, say, ten years ago, that does not intersect other points or lines (impossible if time travel is instantaneous), we would have to introduce a third dimension to this model, a depth, to accommodate for time travel and a connection between any two points circumventing everything else in it's path; time (which, as mentioned way, way, way above, is what stops everything from happening at once).

    However the model would already have to be three dimensional. Right now we are at Point A in your little history. Let's say you go back in time to Point B and kill your great grandfather. Surely there is no way that Point B can continue it's natural, linear progression through time and get to Point A. Therefore from Point B a whole other series of possibilities would spring into existence, creating a three dimensional model, where you can get to Point C, where "you" would be today if you went back and killed your great grandfather.

    How's that? Wow, 1:40AM by the time I post this. :shock:

    EDIT: After fixing, adding, and removing some stuff from my post...

    It "goes" nowhere. It stays in the hole (actually a sphere). It's matter that's so dense that light cannot escape. Take our sun. If you were to take it and crush it into a ball mere miles in diameter, you'd have a black hole. It's what can happen to stars that die (deplete their energy). I'd have to find either A Brief History Of Time or The Universe In A Nutshell (both by Stephen Hawking, and great reads in my opinion) to explain better, but after a star depletes it's fuel it's burning, it cools and with that loss of energy it begins to collapse under it's own weight. As that happens, it can trigger new reactions from new fuel sources (all that star to supernova to red giant, blue giant, whatever) until that too is depleted, it again begins to collapse under it's weight until it becomes incredibly dense. All that matter is still there, but just incredibly dense. More matter and light fall into the black holes gravitational field and cannot escape. It has massive gravitational pull. That's about all it is.

    2.02AM. Ha.
     
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  17. thetank

    thetank Rookie

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    TNO, that's exactly what I was trying to say.

    As for time travel, look at Back to the Future. It creates alternate timelines according to changing events, but your existence in any timeline is still determined by any particular event, say, the birth of your parents.

    There's a movie called Paycheck, which implies that while time travel is not yet possible, time-viewing is. Refractive lenses redirecting light rays around the curvature of the entire Universe, or something like that.
     
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  18. trust_no_one

    trust_no_one Rookie

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    I was going to mention Back To The Future in my model, but it doesn't quite coincide with it because, again, if you killed your parents you'd cease to exist and therefore create a paradox. In mine, there would be no paradox, you'd still live, but not as a result of being born of your parents (in that timeline you're now in). It's hard to imagine because of it being a massive, 3-D web of stuff, but...it's there lol.
     
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  19. Hoomfie

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    Precisely what I was thinking, only more comprehensive and cogent. :D
     
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  20. thetank

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    The paradox you mean would be: If you were never born, you wouldn't be alive to time-travel, so you would be born, etc.?

    I prefer the theory that time-travel is governed by self-fulfilling circumstances. Like in Harr Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in that many events that occur were actually effected by characters in the future, and affected their past selves.

    Ugh, I'm a paragraph away from an incurable headache, so I'm going to stop here for a moment.
     
    #60

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