Month: January 2016

Yes and No

Remember when I promised to give some stupid thoughts?

Well, I gave you the thoughts on dolphins, but that’s not stupid enough, so here I come with stupider thoughts.

Toddlers know very specific words, like “car”, “house”, “mom” and “dad”. They can talk about trees, balls, beds and shoes.

And they know “Yes” and “No”.

This might be one of the things only I find interesting and everybody else thinks “they’re obvious, duh!”. However, since it’s not them who are writing, it’s me, I can say whatever I want.

The thing is, “yes” and “no” are nothing! There is not such a thing as a yes, and I can’t have two nos on my left hand and three on my right.

“No” means “that does not correspond with reality”. And toddlers can say it! And understand the concept!

‘Hey, Timmy, do you want some ice cream?’
‘That sentence does correspond with reality. Gimme ice cream’

Cool.

But that’s not all. “No” can also mean “That does not correspond with my reality”, that is, “I don’t want that”.

 

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3n+1

Take a number. Any number. Done?

Okay, now, we’re gonna do the following thing: if it’s even, we divide it by two. If it’s not, we multiply it by three and add one. Then, we repeat the process again and again.

10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1…

11, 34, 17, 52, 26, 13, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1…

Notice something? They all end in 4, 2, 1! In a loop!

Cool, huh?

Maybe not “real world” cool, but it’s certainly math cool.

The thing is, we don’t know whether it happens for every number or only with the ones we’ve tried so far.

Here is a calculator for this conjecture (which, by the way, is called Collatz Conjecture, guess why)

We think it always finishes in the same loop of three numbers: 1, 2, 4, 1, 2, 4… One way to prove it, then, would be finding a new loop.

But, if there is another loop, it would have to be at least one million steps long. So good luck trying to find it.

 

Experiments with Dolphins

Dolphins are clever. Like, really damn clever. Sure, they don’t have hands as we do, because hands are not useful underwater, and they didn’t discover fire, because, guess what? There is no fire under the sea.

But they have language. They can coordinate, and work in team developing strategies, and understand what tamers tell them and the syntax they use, and even recognize themselves in a mirror and measure the degree of certainty they have, according to this lovely video and this lovely explanation.

Naturally, this has made me wonder many things. Obviously, they have no science (no hands, remember?), but, do dolphins have a philosophy?

We’ll need to understand their language to know it. And I don’t think they have written a Rosetta stone for us (Because no hands), so we’ll have to figure it out. And to do so, we’ll have to see whether they have many languages or it’s just a code of clics that comes with their genes, like our facial expressions.

Jesus, maybe some scientists have been studying French dolphins and others, Chinese! There’s no way we get to speak Dolphin if each one studies a different language!

Imagine discussing about life and epistemology with a dolphin.

Can we play chess with an octopus? How can we teach them to play?

Hm…

I googled it, and there are no chess-playing octopuses. However, Kasparov had something called “The Octopus Knight”. I’ll check it later.

Dolphins, right.

I want to debate with a dolphin. Please, marine biologists, make that possible. It’s your job, after all.

Annoying Stuff

We’re all gonna die.

Okay, that’s not a good way to start a cheerful blog like mine. So here’s a funny thing I found to cheer you up.

photo-full

I think it’s a children’s book, but I’m not sure.

Where was I?

Oh, right.

Death.

We’re gonna die, and there’s so much we’re gonna miss, and so much stuff we won’t live to see. Like whether the prime numbers follow a pattern. Or why the weird 3n+1 problem happens. Or how future historians will call our time (obviously we won’t be the “Contemporary” when we’re in the past, and we won’t be “The Space Era” either, because future people will be even better at that).

We won’t know what happens to our children, or grandchildren, or grand grand children, or even our loved ones.

We won’t know whether the Humankind goes out in space and makes colonies or dies with the sun.

But it’s not only knowledge here. Imagine dying because of cancer the day before a cure is found. My ghost would be pissed if that happened, and I can’t even imagine how pissed my people would be.

The only way out of this is, of course, living enough to see it happen, or make it happen ourselves.

That’s all. There’s no conclusion. It’s just a thought.