What-If 0107: "Letter to Mom"

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speising
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Re: What-If 107: "Letter to Mom"

Postby speising » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:56 am UTC

Korbl wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:The actual question in the What If is about a specific handwritten letter that exists (or will exist at a specified time) in the questioners place in Chicago, and needs to be got from there to his mother in New Jersey.


the question wrote:What’s the fastest way to get a hand-written letter from my place in Chicago to my mother in New Jersey?


Nope, just "a letter." Writing the letter, scanning it, and emailing it is viable, as are elabourate telecontrolled autopen or biomechanical hookups.

Now, maybe mom would not have as much emotional attachment to a scanned image of a handwritten letter (because human brains are weird and silly), but even then, a telecontrolled autopen would work.

that does not get a letter from Chicago to NJ, it creates a letter in NJ. scanning etc. gets an image of a letter to NJ, not the letter itself.

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Flumble
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Re: What-If 107: "Letter to Mom"

Postby Flumble » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:34 am UTC

What's your definition of "hand-written letter", Korbl?
In my world, that's the physical object, not the information it contains.

To get a physical object from Chicago to New Jersey as fast as possible, you need horses, cars, rockets or
Flumble wrote:Another way to quickly deliver the letter, is not to increase velocity, but reduce the distance. Detonate some (nuclear) explosives far beneath the surface, attach a great number of rockets beneath the city and you can move New Jersey near Chicago within the hour.

Yet another way is reducing the perceived time. Just detach the Earth from Chicago and New Jersey and move the planet around at 99.99999% the speed of light, while the pony express delivers the letter. After reattaching the Earth, the letter is delivered within 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can introduce a (cluster of) black hole(s) to achieve this dilation.

or better yet:
keithl wrote:The earth orbits the sun at 30 km/s. An object falling from the Oort cloud in a retrograde parabola moves at 45km/s near earth's orbit. A long dense object could travel through the atmosphere at 75 km/s. We will need two of these.

The great circle distance from Chicago to Hackensack is 1140 km. A straight trajectory from one to the other would pass 25 km beneath Rome, Ohio. We don't want to dig a vacuum tunnel, it might encourage Mom to visit too often.

The letter is written at the top of the Sears Tower, and placed in a kevlar vacuum container on a collapsing shock mounted flat platform inside a capsule. The first boloid is aimed to pass through the tower, smack the container, which crushes around the letter capsule. The capsule bounces towards a glancing deflection off the second boloid passing over Rome. The remants of the capsule bounce towards a tall building in Hackensack where Mom is held hostage by suicidal postal workers.

Elapsed time for delivery, 16 seconds. If the letter is asking Mom for money, it may not accomplish the intended result.

Korbl
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Re: What-If 107: "Letter to Mom"

Postby Korbl » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:06 am UTC

Flumble wrote:What's your definition of "hand-written letter", Korbl?
In my world, that's the physical object, not the information it contains.

My definition of a "hand-written letter" is a letter written by hand rather than typed. An image of a letter would still be hand-written, because it's a facsimile of a letter written by hand.

Mikeski
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Re: What-If 107: "Letter to Mom"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:54 am UTC

Korbl wrote:
Flumble wrote:What's your definition of "hand-written letter", Korbl?
In my world, that's the physical object, not the information it contains.

My definition of a "hand-written letter" is a letter written by hand rather than typed. An image of a letter would still be hand-written, because it's a facsimile of a letter written by hand.

Is a photograph of hand-rolled sushi considered "a photgraph" or "hand-rolled sushi", then? I'd say it was a photograph. And thus the fax of a handwritten letter would be "a fax" and not "a handwritten letter".

Korbl
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Re: What-If 107: "Letter to Mom"

Postby Korbl » Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:11 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:
Korbl wrote:
Flumble wrote:What's your definition of "hand-written letter", Korbl?
In my world, that's the physical object, not the information it contains.

My definition of a "hand-written letter" is a letter written by hand rather than typed. An image of a letter would still be hand-written, because it's a facsimile of a letter written by hand.

Is a photograph of hand-rolled sushi considered "a photgraph" or "hand-rolled sushi", then? I'd say it was a photograph. And thus the fax of a handwritten letter would be "a fax" and not "a handwritten letter".

A hand written letter is purely composed of ink (or graphite) and paper. So, sure, a scan of a hand-written letter may not be a hand-written letter exactly (though it is close, it is a letter, it was written by hand, it was just then also scanned and turned into data). If you printed it out, your would have something akin to the shadow on the cave wall of a handwritten letter. And thus, very, very close.

A photo of a handmade sushi roll is not as close, unless you make photo paper from rice and ink from seaweed and fish.


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