Gem from GK Chesterton

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."

From The Everlasting Man

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Crayon Physics Paradox Photo Phinish

Newton's Ocean prodded me into some additional thoughts in his comments about the Crayon Physics Paradox post. He could be correct that I might be trying to force a square peg (math) into a round hole here (non-math). I'm still holding out hope for a math person to look at my distinctly non-math graph and say something like, "It's quite simple, the answer lies in an equation where you take the the sum of the limit of virtual reality as it approaches real reality..." I have a fancy for imposing math on non-math. Not a good quality for a guy whose worst grade in college was in calculus.* But then again, perhaps the CPP is just psychology.

However, I still see a bit of life in this near-dead horse, so I'm giving it another beating with my club:

Imagine a foot race between two contestants, each on opposing sides of a field with a Finish Line in the middle. On the one side is a completely primitive human with no technology (or only crude technology at best like sticks and rocks). On the other end of the field is the first Texas Instruments calculator, clunky, huge, and only capable of simple math. When the starter pistol sounds each opponent races towards each other, vying to cross the finish line first, but also at risk of colliding with the opponent who is running head on. As they race head-onwards, each one becomes more and more like the other. The human assumes mechanical, electrical and technological properties. The calculator assumes human properties and becomes more "life like". As they get closer and closer to the finish line it becomes more difficult to distinguish the two. The one who reaches the finish line first wins(?) but also, as soon as he/it crosses the line, he/it becomes indistinguishable from the opponent, for all practical purposes.

The endorsment deals and broadcasting rights for this event would be huge! Stay tuned folks, don't touch that dial.

The Fine Print
*I deserve some slack, however. The teacher was on foreign exchange from China and his command of English was worse than my command of Chinese.

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually a great deal more concerned about genetically enhancing or optimizing people, not because I find that inherently evil, but because people (as a rule) are still ignorant enough to feel that they need to be superior to someone else. So, I see two directions, either the "enhanced" people become the norm and regular people are marginalized or (and I find this more likely though I'm not sure why), enhanced people are deliberately marked or otherwise made distinctive so they can be treated as slaves or other secondary person. Both concepts disgust me, but not because of antipathy toward the enhancees.

    And, yes, I was in complete sympathy with Frankenstein's "monster" (though I didn't feel the author was).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.