- Contemporary messages sorted: [ by date ] [ by thread ] [ by subject ] [ by author ] [ by messages with attachments ]

From: Brent Meeker <meekerdb.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003 15:15:57 -0700

----- Original Message -----

From: "Eric Hawthorne" <egh.domain.name.hidden>

To: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Cc: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 2:50 PM

Subject: Re: Ideal lamps

*> "Perhaps you've heard of Thompson's Lamp. This is an IDEAL lamp,
*

capable of

*> INFINITE switching SPEED and using electricity that travels at
*

INFINITE SPEED."

*>
*

*> Is it pedantic of me to point out that this is an IDEAL lamp, i.e.
*

one which only

*> exists as an idea, and one which, because of its transcendence of
*

the speed of

*> light, can never exist in our universe?
*

*>
*

*> Therefore, there are probably many fanciful or mathematical answers
*

which work within

*> one ideal, abstract, mathematical model of the situation or another.
*

These models

*> must all be incorrect models of known reality however.
*

*>
*

*> I'm with Hal. The question doesn't mean anything about the real
*

world.

*>
*

*> This just means I'm too lazy to try to figure it out, but sometimes
*

that's the

*> right answer.
*

*>
*

*> Eric
*

I don't know why anyone thought the speed of light had anything to do

with this problem. The lamp can be at a single point and so can its

switch. Since nothing has to travel between switching events the

speed of light is not relevant. By present theories the shortest

meaningful time interval is on the order of the Planck time ~10^-43

sec which depends on the gravitational constant and Planck's constant

as well as the speed of light.

I agree with Hal that, being an ideal problem, it doesn't necessarily

have an answer. You can more clearly pose the problem as Tompson's

function, which is one on intervals (0.5^2n, 0.5^2n+1] and zero on

(0.5^2n+1, 0.5^2n+2] - so, as someone else noted, the problem is the

same as asking whether infinity is odd or even. However, not having

an answer isn't the same as being self-contradictory. It's the

opposite. It means you can choose to add an axiom to your ideal

system that defines the answer. I don't know if anyone has ever

bothered, but I suppose you could add as an axiom of arithemetic that

infinity is even (or odd). So long as this didn't produce any

contradictions, one axiom is as good as another.

Brent Meeker

There are 10 kinds of people. Those who think in binary and those who

don't.

Received on Sat Oct 25 2003 - 18:16:42 PDT

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003 15:15:57 -0700

----- Original Message -----

From: "Eric Hawthorne" <egh.domain.name.hidden>

To: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Cc: <everything-list.domain.name.hidden>

Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 2:50 PM

Subject: Re: Ideal lamps

capable of

INFINITE SPEED."

one which only

the speed of

which work within

These models

world.

that's the

I don't know why anyone thought the speed of light had anything to do

with this problem. The lamp can be at a single point and so can its

switch. Since nothing has to travel between switching events the

speed of light is not relevant. By present theories the shortest

meaningful time interval is on the order of the Planck time ~10^-43

sec which depends on the gravitational constant and Planck's constant

as well as the speed of light.

I agree with Hal that, being an ideal problem, it doesn't necessarily

have an answer. You can more clearly pose the problem as Tompson's

function, which is one on intervals (0.5^2n, 0.5^2n+1] and zero on

(0.5^2n+1, 0.5^2n+2] - so, as someone else noted, the problem is the

same as asking whether infinity is odd or even. However, not having

an answer isn't the same as being self-contradictory. It's the

opposite. It means you can choose to add an axiom to your ideal

system that defines the answer. I don't know if anyone has ever

bothered, but I suppose you could add as an axiom of arithemetic that

infinity is even (or odd). So long as this didn't produce any

contradictions, one axiom is as good as another.

Brent Meeker

There are 10 kinds of people. Those who think in binary and those who

don't.

Received on Sat Oct 25 2003 - 18:16:42 PDT

*
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0
: Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:08 PST
*