[2012-Nov-07] Centimeter of Sand

Blame Quintushalls for this.

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[2012-Nov-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Killminusnine » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:24 pm

I'm really loving the Borges joke in this one. I think I've sensed some "Book of Sand" or "Library of Babel" stuff in Zach's comics before. As an avid Jorge Luis Borges fan, I'm happy to see jokes likes this in the comic.
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Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby stinky613 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:41 pm

Since I'm not a nerd--not even a little bit--I felt absolutely compelled to write some Ruby functions to encode text to centimeters.

https://github.com/stinky613/centimeter-encoding
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Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby prozaic » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:25 pm

Even better, when you consider some sort mathematical universe hypothesis (Tegmark), the centimeter also contains a description of every possible universe, which some argue is sufficient ontological basis for the existence of those universes: all universes are equally real (relative to themselves, of course), simply by virtue of the fact that their description exists.

Of course it's also not that interesting because it's all quite masturbatory.
prozaic
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Killminusnine » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:45 pm

I'd say on the contrary it is pretty interesting that all possible universes exist. It has pretty meaningful consequences as a hypothesis for modal logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and there's a (somewhat long and technical but very good) book defending this position ("modal realism"). It's called On the Plurality of Worlds and it's written by David K Lewis. Masturbatory isn't how I'd describe his philosophy.

Now as for the comic, seriously, it's a great comic commentary on short stories "The Library of Babel" and "The Book of Sand" by Jorge Luis Borges (I expect Zach intended this, but I could be wrong). Hugely recommended reads, these stories.
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Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:04 pm

Plank length?
Guest
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby ulkgb » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:59 am

Up is down turned 90° or 180°?
I don't get it...
ulkgb
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby mrpeachy » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:10 am

I like the comic except for one thing... ponies are awesome
mrpeachy
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Mike » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:08 am

You fools, 2 + 2 = 5.

Planck length?


From wikipedia's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_length#Physical_significance]Planck length[/url] entry:

"If large extra dimensions exist, the measured strength of gravity may be much smaller than its true (small-scale) value. In this case the Planck length would have no fundamental physical significance, and quantum gravitational effects would appear at other scales."

Since according to centimeter theory all theoretical possible universes exist, then large extra dimensions must exist in at least one of them. Therefore, the Planck length cannot be assumed to be a valid limiter.
Mike
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Killminusnine » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:33 am

Whether Planck length is a limitation is really a matter of how we interpret these constants, even without the large dimension qualification. Is it incoherent to talk of shorter lengths or is it just unmeasurable and epistemically unavailable because of certain limitations?
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Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby NapoleonIV » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:56 am

Space is not infinitely divisible. A finite measure of space cannot contain an infinite number of points. Zeno's paradox.
NapoleonIV
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby someone » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:26 pm

That strip made me remember my RFC idea of the "HTTP over PI" protocol.
someone
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby simbilou » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:34 pm

Cool, a portable Babel library. I was affraid that my Kindle would never have had enough memory to store it.
simbilou
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby Lens » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:18 pm

NapoleonIV wrote:Space is not infinitely divisible. A finite measure of space cannot contain an infinite number of points. Zeno's paradox.


I think you misunderstood the Zone's paradox, a finite measure can and does contain an infinite number of points but as most of them are infinitesimally small they converge in a finite measure, that's why despite of having an infinite number of "halves" between one point to another the measure is a finite number. In fact the Zeno's paradox is the easiest way to understand how an infinite sum can give a finite number as a result, at least it was for me.
Lens
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby anus mcgee » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:40 pm

I think we're all forgetting the big picture here: this comic isn't funny at all.
anus mcgee
 

Re: [2012-November-07] Centimeter of Sand

Postby prozaic » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:45 am

Killminusnine wrote:I'd say on the contrary it is pretty interesting that all possible universes exist. It has pretty meaningful consequences as a hypothesis for modal logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and there's a (somewhat long and technical but very good) book defending this position ("modal realism"). It's called On the Plurality of Worlds and it's written by David K Lewis. Masturbatory isn't how I'd describe his philosophy.


I mean that it is masturbatory in the sense that all metaphysical theories are. I would go as far as to say it (mathematical universe/modal realism) is obviously true: our universe is "merely" a description of itself, there is no "quintessence of reality" suffused throughout. There is no other way of looking at it that is (to my mind at least) coherent and internally consistent.

The problem is that, like all metaphysical theory it generates no testable predictions. It does make for some great fiction, see my favorite scifi novel: Permutation City by Greg Egan.

anus mcgee wrote:I think we're all forgetting the big picture here: this comic isn't funny at all.


Well, I appreciate Zach's attempts to provide some intellectualism in his comics. But you're right, sometimes it feels like he wanted to do a strip about something he thought was cool and then forced a joke in post facto.
prozaic
 

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