1206: "Einstein"

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1206: "Einstein"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed May 01, 2013 4:13 am UTC

Image
http://www.xkcd.com/1206/
Alt Text: "Einstein was WRONG when he said that provisional patent #39561 represented a novel gravel-sorting technique and should be approved by the Patent Office."
Maybe, but a good sandwich should be prepared lovingly at home. Anything else just isn't the same.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed May 01, 2013 4:14 am UTC

Yes, Einstein was SUPER picky about his sandwiches and quantum mechanics.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby xokocodo » Wed May 01, 2013 4:30 am UTC

I am disappointed that the patent Randall mentioned in alt-text is from the wrong time period.
According to the US Patent Database site patent #39561 is from 1863.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby cellardoor » Wed May 01, 2013 4:32 am UTC

xokocodo wrote:I am disappointed that the patent Randall mentioned in alt-text is from the wrong time period.
According to the US Patent Database site patent #39561 is from 1863.


Einstein was a Swiss patent clerk.

Google:
"einstein patent 39561 institute of intellectual property"

I'm still wondering whether it was actually a 'provisional' application.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Technolink » Wed May 01, 2013 4:53 am UTC

xokocodo wrote:I am disappointed that the patent Randall mentioned in alt-text is from the wrong time period.
According to the US Patent Database site patent #39561 is from 1863.


Swiss Patent my friend (I can't post links yet, but the patent is in German anyways).

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ezterry » Wed May 01, 2013 4:55 am UTC

xokocodo wrote:US Patent Database

It might help to remember Einstein didn't work for the US patent office.. but rather the Swiss patent office.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby pscottdv » Wed May 01, 2013 5:01 am UTC

xokocodo wrote:I am disappointed that the patent Randall mentioned in alt-text is from the wrong time period.
According to the US Patent Database site patent #39561 is from 1863.


Einstein didn't work for the US patent office. He worked for the Swiss Patent office.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Fire Brns » Wed May 01, 2013 5:21 am UTC

xokocodo wrote:I am disappointed that the patent Randall mentioned in alt-text is from the wrong time period.
According to the US Patent Database site patent #39561 is from 1863.

What was the patent for?
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed May 01, 2013 5:27 am UTC

Patent #39561

https://www.ige.ch/fileadmin/user_uploa ... 109401.pdf


I'll leave someone else to translate that....

But in any case, it' a Kiessortiermaschine, or a Gravel Sorting Machine. According to the Swiss Patent Office, they believe this is one of several patents they think Einstein looked at.

You know, I wonder what the Swiss Patent Office thinks about the fact that half their traffic is for Einstein.

________

Anyways, this depends.

What town is he in?

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed May 01, 2013 6:42 am UTC

Anyone else getting a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal vibe from this one? I dunno, other than being about a famous scientist it almost feels more like that comic than XKCD.

What's that old saying about scientists claiming something is impossible? Oh yes:

Arthur C. Clarke wrote:When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Though I suspect Clarke didn't have sandwiches in mind when he wrote that. Probably.

Quicksilver wrote:Maybe, but a good sandwich should be prepared lovingly at home. Anything else just isn't the same.

And even if it is, it feels like I'm throwing money away. It's one thing to learn how to make a good burger, but practically anyone can slap together a decent grilled-cheese or a reuben or whatever. And don't even get me started on places like Arby's that literally just sell lunchmeat on a bun. Ooh, lotta effort involved there. That would take me almost a whole minute to do at home, if you count the time spent getting the ingredients out and putting away the leftovers. And you can even take it to work and not have to worry about it getting cold before lunch.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ijuin » Wed May 01, 2013 7:01 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Maybe, but a good sandwich should be prepared lovingly at home. Anything else just isn't the same.

Ah, but properly proving Einstein wrong would involve proving that it was possible to find a good sandwich in that town in 1947. Thus, any people who did not make sandwiches until after that date would not constitute valid examples unless they did so in deliberate imitation of the methods of earlier sandwich-makers. Merely demonstrating that good sandwiches were available after 1947 is not sufficient.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby PsiSquared » Wed May 01, 2013 7:13 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Ah, but properly proving Einstein wrong would involve proving that it was possible to find a good sandwich in that town in 1947. Thus, any people who did not make sandwiches until after that date would not constitute valid examples unless they did so in deliberate imitation of the methods of earlier sandwich-makers. Merely demonstrating that good sandwiches were available after 1947 is not sufficient.


You just gave me a brilliant idea.

I've decided that I will build a time machine, go back to 1947 and find a good sandwich in that town (thus proving Einstein wrong... TWICE!)

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby orthogon » Wed May 01, 2013 8:28 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:... And don't even get me started on places like Arby's that literally just sell lunchmeat on a bun. Ooh, lotta effort involved there. That would take me almost a whole minute to do at home, if you count the time spent getting the ingredients out and putting away the leftovers...

Sounds like it might be worth spending a couple of hours building some kind of ingredient dispenser...
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Uzh » Wed May 01, 2013 11:40 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:Maybe, but a good sandwich should be prepared lovingly at home. Anything else just isn't the same.

Ah, but properly proving Einstein wrong would involve proving that it was possible to find a good sandwich in that town in 1947. Thus, any people who did not make sandwiches until after that date would not constitute valid examples unless they did so in deliberate imitation of the methods of earlier sandwich-makers. Merely demonstrating that good sandwiches were available after 1947 is not sufficient.


No.

Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.

If he's inspecific in his quotes it's not my fault.

We can prove it. It depends on the definition of "good sandwich".

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby orthogon » Wed May 01, 2013 12:00 pm UTC

Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.

If he's inspecific in his quotes it's not my fault.

Before we get carried away building time machines etc., do we have any evidence that the great man ever actually said such a thing?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Istaro » Wed May 01, 2013 12:07 pm UTC

Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.


But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date of the utterance?

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby gd1 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:08 pm UTC

See, the problem is also that it's subjective on what is a good sandwich?

I prefer peppered turkey, swiss cheese, and... pickles in between two slices of whole wheat bread but that's not necessarily the definition of a good sandwich.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Wnderer » Wed May 01, 2013 12:17 pm UTC

Istaro wrote:
Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.


But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date of the utterance?


0200-Bill-Clinton-Slick-Willy-depends-what-meaning-of-is-t-shirt-logo-366x366.jpg
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby elej » Wed May 01, 2013 12:21 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:See, the problem is also that it's subjective on what is a good sandwich?

I prefer peppered turkey, swiss cheese, and... pickles in between two slices of whole wheat bread but that's not necessarily the definition of a good sandwich.


that sounds so good, it's 10pm where i am and I'm going to go make myself a sandwich that will pale in comparison to the one you just described.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby orthogon » Wed May 01, 2013 1:02 pm UTC

Istaro wrote:
Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.


But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date of the utterance?


Not necessarily. He might have been using the gnomic present. (If he said it at all, which I seriously doubt - see above.)
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby pkcommando » Wed May 01, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:See, the problem is also that it's subjective on what is a good sandwich?

I prefer peppered turkey, swiss cheese, and... pickles in between two slices of whole wheat bread but that's not necessarily the definition of a good sandwich.

And whether you allow subs to be considered a subset of sandwiches or if they're an entire category of their own.

And to those who make such distinctions, the Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi) only causes confusion. Tasty tasty confusion.

And then of course you have the whole wraps situation.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby firemedic » Wed May 01, 2013 1:47 pm UTC

From the top 100 Google search hits for "Einstein patent 39561":

1 direct link to xkcd
94 indirect links to xkcd
1 link to Einstein's Wikipedia page
1 link to Wikipedia page for the Einstein Refrigerator
1 link to the German Pirate Party (Piratenpartei Deutchsland)
1 link to the Swiss Patent office and the offending patent
1 link to the University of Oxford's Museum for the History of Science's French Compendium holding

Conclusion: Xkcd is 95% more relevant (according to Google) than Einstein is when it comes to his patent career.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby VectorZero » Wed May 01, 2013 2:26 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Istaro wrote:
Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.
But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date of the utterance?
Not necessarily. He might have been using the gnomic present. (If he said it at all, which I seriously doubt - see above.)
The reality of the gnomic present is that a once proud (if small) warrior race has been reduced (sorry) to a mere lawn ornament.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby hamjudo » Wed May 01, 2013 3:17 pm UTC

It should be pretty easy to prove Einstein wrong. He wrote a lot of stuff, including personal letters. A very high percentage of what he wrote has been saved. A lot of what he wrote, wasn't in his native language. It was all written before whiteout, spell check and grammar checkers.

If we start searching, I bet we can find where he made a typo with a real typewriter, or possibly even used the wrong "their".

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Wed May 01, 2013 3:21 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:The reality of the gnomic present is that a once proud (if small) warrior race has been reduced (sorry) to a mere lawn ornament.


And here I was thinking that the reality of the gnomic present was that a once really nice desktop environment has been turned into iPad-wannabe.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Fire Brns » Wed May 01, 2013 3:47 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:See, the problem is also that it's subjective on what is a good sandwich?

I prefer peppered turkey, swiss cheese, and... pickles in between two slices of whole wheat bread but that's not necessarily the definition of a good sandwich.

This is exactly the problem. I hate turkey. My sandwich would be a honey ham, Genoa salami, and pepper jack cheese (plus a bunch of toppings).
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Whizbang » Wed May 01, 2013 4:57 pm UTC

There is only one way to make a truly good sandwich, and it as follows:

Spoiler:
'Mostly Harmless' by Douglas Adams wrote:There is an art to the business of making sandwiches which
it is given to few ever to find the time to explore in depth.
It is a simple task, but the opportunities for satisfaction are
many and profound: choosing the right bread for instance. The
Sandwich Maker had spent many months in daily consultation
and experiment with Grarp the baker and eventually they had
between them created a loaf of exactly the consistency that was
dense enough to slice thinly and neatly, while still being light,
moist and having that fine nutty flavour which best enhanced
the savour of roast Perfectly Normal Beast flesh.

There was also the geometry of the slice to be refined: the
precise relationships between the width and height of the slice
and also its thickness which would give the proper sense of bulk
and weight to the finished sandwich: here again, lightness was
a virtue, but so too were firmness, generosity and that promise
of succulence and savour that is the hallmark of a truly intense
sandwich experience.

The proper tools, of course, were crucial, and many were
the days that the Sandwich Maker, when not engaged with the
Baker at his oven, would spend with Strinder the Tool Maker,
weighing and balancing knives, taking them to the forge and
back again. Suppleness, strength, keenness of edge, length and
balance were all enthusiastically debated, theories put forward,
tested, refined, and many was the evening when the Sandwich
Maker and the Tool Maker could be seen silhouetted against
the light of the setting sun and the Tool Maker's forge making
slow sweeping movements through the air trying one knife after
another, comparing the weight of this one with the balance of
another, the suppleness of a third and the handle binding of a
fourth.

Three knives altogether were required. First there was the
knife for the slicing of the bread: a firm, authoritative blade
which imposed a clear and defining will on a loaf. Then there
was the butter-spreading knife, which was a whippy little number
but still with a firm backbone to it. Early versions had been a little
too whippy, but now the combination of flexibility with a core of
strength was exactly right to achieve the maximum smoothness
and grace of spread.

The chief amongst the knives, of course, was the carving
knife. This was the knife that would not merely impose its will
on the medium through which it moved, as did the bread knife;
it must work with it, be guided by the grain of the meat, to
achieve slices of the most exquisite consistency and translucency,
that would slide away in filmy folds from the main hunk of meat.
The Sandwich Maker would then flip each sheet with a smooth
flick of the wrist on to the beautifully proportioned lower bread
slice, trim it with four deft strokes and then at last perform the
magic that the children of the village so longed to gather round
and watch with rapt attention and wonder. With just four more
dexterous flips of the knife he would assemble the trimmings
into a perfectly fitting jigsaw of pieces on top of the primary
slice. For every sandwich the size and shape of the trimmings
were different, but the Sandwich Maker would always effortlessly
and without hesitation assemble them into a pattern which fitted
perfectly. A second layer of meat and a second layer of trimmings,
and the main act of creation would be accomplished.

The Sandwich Maker would pass what he had made to his
assistant who would then add a few slices of newcumber and
fladish and a touch of splagberry sauce, and then apply the
topmost layer of bread and cut the sandwich with a fourth
and altogether plainer knife. It was not that these were not also
skilful operations, but they were lesser skills to be performed by
a dedicated apprentice who would one day, when the Sandwich
Maker finally laid down his tools, take over from him. It was
an exalted position and that apprentice, Drimple, was the envy
of his fellows. There were those in the village who were happy
chopping wood, those who were content carrying water, but to
be the Sandwich Maker was very heaven.

And so the Sandwich Maker sang as he worked.

He was using the last of the year's salted meat. It was a little
past its best now, but still the rich savour of Perfectly Normal
Beast meat was something unsurpassed in any of the Sandwich
Maker's previous experience. Next week it was anticipated that
the Perfectly Normal Beasts would appear again for their regular migration, whereupon the whole village would once again be
plunged into frenetic action: hunting the Beasts, killing perhaps
six, maybe even seven dozen of the thousands that thundered
past. Then the Beasts must be rapidly butchered and cleaned,
with most of the meat salted to keep it through the winter months
until the return migration in the spring, which would replenish
their supplies.

The very best of the meat would be roasted straight away
for the feast that marked the Autumn Passage. The celebrations
would last for three days of sheer exuberance, dancing and stories
that Old Thrashbarg would tell of how the hunt had gone, stories
that he would have been busy sitting making up in his hut while
the rest of the village was out doing the actual hunting.

And then the very, very best of the meat would be saved
from the feast and delivered cold to the Sandwich Maker. And
the Sandwich Maker would exercise on it the skills that he
had brought to them from the gods, and make the exquisite
Sandwiches of the Third Season, of which the whole village would
partake before beginning, the next day, to prepare themselves for
the rigours of the coming winter.

Today he was just making ordinary sandwiches, if such delicacies, so lovingly crafted, could ever be called ordinary. Today
his assistant was away so the Sandwich Maker was applying his
own garnish, which he was happy to do. He was happy with just
about everything in fact.

He sliced, he sang. He flipped each slice of meat neatly on to
a slice of bread, trimmed it and assembled all the trimmings into
their jigsaw. A little salad, a little sauce, another slice of bread,
another sandwich, another verse of Yellow Submarine.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby JimsMaher » Wed May 01, 2013 5:00 pm UTC

Hyper-literalism!

Blast it, blasted hyper-vigilance making mockery of a method of implicitly understood colloquialisms. Ah, the irony of using formal structure to make a joke of casual statements.

Free Implicature! End this abusive enterprise towards our oft used friend.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby mscha » Wed May 01, 2013 6:08 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:There is only one way to make a truly good sandwich, and it as follows:
Spoiler:

Code: Select all

% sudo make me a sandwich


FTFY.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Whizbang » Wed May 01, 2013 6:40 pm UTC

mscha wrote:
Whizbang wrote:There is only one way to make a truly good sandwich, and it as follows:
Spoiler:

Code: Select all

% sudo make me a sandwich


FTFY.


Spoiler:
Image

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby da Doctah » Wed May 01, 2013 11:57 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:I prefer peppered turkey, swiss cheese, and... pickles in between two slices of whole wheat bread but that's not necessarily the definition of a good sandwich.
I was willing to go along with your substitution of swiss for havarti, but you lost me when you crammed pickles in there instead of cranberry sauce.

(Everybody knows cranberry sauce goes with turkey, right?)

Anyway, I've proven Einstein wrong time and time again. Granted, it was Jerry Einstein, my dry cleaner, and he's not all that bright to begin with....

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Thu May 02, 2013 1:44 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:
Spoiler:
Image


Sudo stop making me a sandwich?

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu May 02, 2013 6:03 am UTC

I think it's

Code: Select all

sudo sandwiched --stop
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby orthogon » Thu May 02, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

Somewhere, steve waterman is sitting on his hands trying to resist the urge...
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Thu May 02, 2013 1:35 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Somewhere, steve waterman is sitting on his hands trying to resist the urge...


Awww... that thread looks so short and innocent next to the madness that is Time.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby mcdigman » Thu May 02, 2013 5:10 pm UTC

Istaro wrote:
Uzh wrote:Einstein's quote is "It's impossible to find a good sandwich in this town." Not "...today" or "...these days" or anything.


But isn't the "it's" in "it's impossible" a contraction for "it is", as in present tense, as in at the time and date of the utterance?


As Einstein himself said "us physicists believe that the separation of past, present, and future is an illusion, although a convincing one." For him to have said "it is impossible," he would have meant that it is impossible in any reference frame - any observer looking at the town, no matter where they were in the time-space continuum nor at what velocity they were moving relative to the town, would see it as impossible to find a sandwich in the town.

Of course, this statement neglects the principle of uncertainty. Even if a good sandwich were trapped in an infinitely deep well, perhaps a black hole, somewhere outside the city, the sandwich has a nonzero probability of being found outside the well, inside the town. So, in order for it to be impossible to find a good sandwich in that town, we must conclude that it is impossible for a good sandwich to exist anywhere in the universe.

So in fact, in order to prove Einstein wrong in this context, we would not even have to demonstrate the existence of a good sandwich inside the limits of the town, but simply demonstrate that it is possible for a good sandwich to exist anywhere - if you can make one in your kitchen, you have proved Einstein wrong.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ucim » Thu May 02, 2013 5:18 pm UTC

mcdigman wrote:So in fact [because of QM], in order to prove Einstein wrong in this context, we would not even have to demonstrate the existence of a good sandwich inside the limits of the town, but simply demonstrate that it is possible for a good sandwich to exist anywhere - if you can make one in your kitchen, you have proved Einstein wrong.
Well, in order to demonstrate that any given sandwich were a good sandwich, one would have to eat it. But then, it is no longer a sandwich.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 02, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

But it was a sandwich before you ate it, so you have proven that good sandwiches sometimes exist in some places, even if that particular one no longer exists here and now. All observations are fundamentally destructive anyway.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby mcdigman » Thu May 02, 2013 6:51 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
mcdigman wrote:So in fact [because of QM], in order to prove Einstein wrong in this context, we would not even have to demonstrate the existence of a good sandwich inside the limits of the town, but simply demonstrate that it is possible for a good sandwich to exist anywhere - if you can make one in your kitchen, you have proved Einstein wrong.
Well, in order to demonstrate that any given sandwich were a good sandwich, one would have to eat it. But then, it is no longer a sandwich.

Jose


Well, all your saying is that the digestion operator isn't commutative, such that applying the digestion operator to the sandwich destroys its current state, and we can no longer apply the position operator to find out where the sandwich was. This does not preclude us from verifying the existence of a good sandwich, it just places a finite lower bound on the combined uncertainty of taste and location.

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Klear
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Thu May 02, 2013 7:37 pm UTC

Suppose it is possible to create a perfect illusion of a sandwich, by any means (hypnosis for instance). Can we be really sure that any sandwich we ever taste is a real sandwich and not just an illusion? Is it possible to prove the existence of any sandwich, let alone a good one?


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