1206: "Einstein"

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jacksonliam91
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby jacksonliam91 » Thu May 02, 2013 9:02 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I think it's

Code: Select all

sudo sandwiched --stop

Isn't it

Code: Select all

sudo service sandwich stop
now?

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 02, 2013 9:50 pm UTC

Klear wrote: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?

If we adopt such extreme doubt that if we can't be certain of a belief we reject it by default, then we will end up rejecting everything to the absurd point of solipsism and nihilism about more than just sandwiches, because anything might be an illusion of some sort (we can't be certain that it's not, so by this standard we must reject the belief that it's not).

Since that kind of doubt is self-defeating (can we be certain that we should adopt it? can we prove conclusively that we should? if not, then by its own standards, we should not adopt it), we must reject it, and instead apply the same standard to doubts as we do to any other suspicion: starting from whatever we initially believe, only modify our beliefs (either adding new ones or rejecting ones we already hold) if presented with good reasons to do so.

So, do we have any reason to suspect that the supposed perfect sandwich we've found is an illusion? If not, then it seeming real is good enough reason to run with the tentative assumption that it is real, until there is reason to think otherwise.

And thus to tentatively conclude that some good sandwiches exist somewhere sometimes.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby mcdigman » Thu May 02, 2013 10:09 pm UTC

Klear wrote: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?


Well, insofar as we cannot prove the existence of anything physical, including ourselves, no. If, however, we start from the assumption that reality exists, then if we have an imaginary good sandwich which is indistinguishable from a real good sandwich, we can treat our sense of taste as finding the absolute value of the sandwich, which is simply "good sandwich" with no regard for whether it was imaginary or real originally.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Thu May 02, 2013 10:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Klear wrote: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?

If we adopt such extreme doubt that if we can't be certain of a belief we reject it by default, then we will end up rejecting everything to the absurd point of solipsism and nihilism about more than just sandwiches, because anything might be an illusion of some sort (we can't be certain that it's not, so by this standard we must reject the belief that it's not).


No no no no no.... just sandwiches. Of course everything else exists.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ucim » Thu May 02, 2013 11:25 pm UTC

I will concede that one could prove that good sandwiches existed, but I am not sold on the idea of the provability that good sandwiches (still) exist.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 02, 2013 11:39 pm UTC

Sure, but mcdigman's post you were initially replying to was about how the mere proof that good sandwiches can exist is enough to demonstrate that it is possible to get a good sandwich. I admit I don't quite follow that line of argument, but "by eating the sandwich you destroy it" doesn't seem to defeat it: eating a good sandwich it still proves that good sandwiches can exist.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ucim » Fri May 03, 2013 12:27 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Sure, but mcdigman's post you were initially replying to was about how the mere proof that good sandwiches can exist is enough to demonstrate that it is possible to get a good sandwich. I admit I don't quite follow that line of argument, but "by eating the sandwich you destroy it" doesn't seem to defeat it: eating a good sandwich it still proves that good sandwiches can exist.
By golly, I think you're right.

Mind you, by the uncertainty principle I can't be sure. I'll just have to keep eating sandwiches. Sudo! Come back here!

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri May 03, 2013 3:40 am UTC

jacksonliam91 wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:I think it's

Code: Select all

sudo sandwiched --stop

Isn't it

Code: Select all

sudo service sandwich stop
now?

Huh. Yeah, that's the syntax, and it's not even new; that's apparently how root-level daemons have worked in Debian and derivatives since before I started using Ubuntu. Somehow, I doubt there are another 9,999 folks as lucky as me today. = )
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby bmonk » Fri May 03, 2013 5:32 pm UTC

Klear wrote: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?


But, if it is impossible by any means to detect the illusion--even, say, by the nutritional value we get when we eat it--that that sandwich effectively exists. Conversely, if we can detect the illusion, then we can show (in principle) the difference between a real and a non-real sandwich.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 03, 2013 8:40 pm UTC

When we talk about a sandwich, do we mean the physical, objective reality of a sandwich (which may or may not exist) or the perceptual, subjective experience of a sandwich (which will not, in general, match up with anyone else's subjective sandwich)?

My contention would have to be that, in general, when we talk about the real world, we're actually talking about our subjective experience of the real world, and only about an external reality to the extent our perceptions align with what's really out there.

If it passes the "duck test" then I'm happy calling it a sandwich and not worrying about any deeper truth...

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 03, 2013 8:57 pm UTC

I think that was bmonk's point: that we have fundamentally no way of differentiating between something which, to all subjective observations, is a sandwich, but "really" isn't in some deeper ontological sense, and something which "really" is a sandwich in that latter sense. "Real" isn't a meaningful predicate in this context, because if it meant anything, then that thing it means would be a way for us to tell the illusory sandwich from the real sandwich, but by stipulation we cannot tell them apart.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ucim » Fri May 03, 2013 9:40 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:When we talk about a sandwich, do we mean the physical, objective reality of a sandwich (which may or may not exist) or the perceptual, subjective experience of a sandwich (which will not, in general, match up with anyone else's subjective sandwich)?
I would say we are talking about the real thing, albeit based on our subjective sense. If I give you a (real) sandwich, I am not transferring my subjective sense to you, but rather, am enabling you to create a subjective sense of your own, while moving mine into my own subjective past.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Fri May 03, 2013 11:44 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:If it passes the "duck test" then I'm happy calling it a sandwich and not worrying about any deeper truth...


Agreed: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a sandwich.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat May 04, 2013 12:20 am UTC

ucim wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:When we talk about a sandwich, do we mean the physical, objective reality of a sandwich (which may or may not exist) or the perceptual, subjective experience of a sandwich (which will not, in general, match up with anyone else's subjective sandwich)?
I would say we are talking about the real thing, albeit based on our subjective sense. If I give you a (real) sandwich, I am not transferring my subjective sense to you, but rather, am enabling you to create a subjective sense of your own, while moving mine into my own subjective past.

Jose


But what if we're living in a computer simulation and by "giving me a sandwich" what you're actually doing is rearranging data in such a way that I perceive myself as having a sandwich? Does that still count as "real"?

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat May 04, 2013 1:08 am UTC

If you're in a completely comprehensive computer simulation such that all physical processes are replicated within it down to the tiniest detail, then it pretty much is a real sandwich. The informational content of a real sandwich and the virtual sandwich is identical, and it would take at least as much energy, space, and time to process that information in a simulation as it would take to store the real sandwich, so at worst you have a real sandwich which is weirdly distributed across some unnecessary infrastructure.

If it's not replicated exactly, then you can tell it's not a real sandwich and the simulation isn't perfect.

TL;DR: the limit of good simulation is reality, and something perfectly simulated in every detail is real. (Much as the most perfect map of a territory in every tiny detail is merely a real replica of the territory).
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby ucim » Sat May 04, 2013 4:00 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:But what if we're living in a computer simulation and by "giving me a sandwich" what you're actually doing is rearranging data in such a way that I perceive myself as having a sandwich? Does that still count as "real"?
Yes. Even if the "sandwich" is just data, I am not rearranging your internal representation of reality. I am rearranging data elsewhere, and allowing you to use that data as input so that you (or whatever functions make up "you") rearrange your own internal representation of reality by perceiving the external changes I made.

If, on the other hand, I were (in a "real" world or a computer simulation) to actually rearrange your brain to perceive a sandwich that wasn't there, then I didn't really give you a sandwich. I just fooled you.

The distinction between "real" and "illusory" is not based on whether or not we are in a simulation. It is based on whether or not I am directly altering your mind-bits, or indirectly presenting you with something that causes your mind bits to be altered.

A more interesting question would be "what if I gave you a turtle, and managed to convince you that it was in fact a sandwich?". This is somewhat related to the question "what if I gave you a bad sandwich and somehow convinced you it was a good one?".

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Sat May 04, 2013 11:25 am UTC

ucim wrote:A more interesting question would be "what if I gave you a turtle, and managed to convince you that it was in fact a sandwich?". This is somewhat related to the question "what if I gave you a bad sandwich and somehow convinced you it was a good one?".

Jose


Or if you lowered somebody's expectations of what constitutes a good sandwich...

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Uzh » Sat May 04, 2013 3:48 pm UTC

mcdigman 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?


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.


And furthermore: By stating that there is no good sandwich Einstein implies that he knows, what a good Sandwich is. He must have eaten one before. So it's a contradictio in adiectio. He proved himself wrong. Thank you, quantum mechanics.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby madaco » Sat May 04, 2013 5:40 pm UTC

wasn't he just saying that there were none in that town?
he could have just eaten the sandwich elsewhere, and then came there, and have found a shocking lack of good sandwiches.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Uzh » Sat May 04, 2013 7:48 pm UTC

madaco wrote:wasn't he just saying that there were none in that town?
he could have just eaten the sandwich elsewhere, and then came there, and have found a shocking lack of good sandwiches.


Good point.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat May 04, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

Right, but the gag in the thread was that thanks to quantum tunneling, there's an infinitesimal probability that a good sandwich anywhere could suddenly appear in said town.

Of course, it's also still more probable that a good sandwich could be transported into town, by some individual's intention, by more conventional means.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Fire Brns » Sat May 04, 2013 11:14 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:If it passes the "duck test" then I'm happy calling it a sandwich and not worrying about any deeper truth...


Agreed: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a sandwich.
A delicious duck sandwich.

Pfhorrest wrote:If you're in a completely comprehensive computer simulation such that all physical processes are replicated within it down to the tiniest detail, then it pretty much is a real sandwich. The informational content of a real sandwich and the virtual sandwich is identical, and it would take at least as much energy, space, and time to process that information in a simulation as it would take to store the real sandwich, so at worst you have a real sandwich which is weirdly distributed across some unnecessary infrastructure.

If it's not replicated exactly, then you can tell it's not a real sandwich and the simulation isn't perfect.

TL;DR: the limit of good simulation is reality, and something perfectly simulated in every detail is real. (Much as the most perfect map of a territory in every tiny detail is merely a real replica of the territory).
But what if one's observations are restricted to within the simulation and as such he or she would not be able to tell a simulation sandwich from reality because he or she doesn't know what a reality sandwich tastes like?
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun May 05, 2013 3:45 am UTC

Fire Brns wrote:But what if one's observations are restricted to within the simulation and as such he or she would not be able to tell a simulation sandwich from reality because he or she doesn't know what a reality sandwich tastes like?

If considering the possibility of one's entire experience being confined within a simulation, we have to ask how we know that we, who we presume to be in reality now, are in fact not in a simulation, which comes back to the earlier point I made about not favoring doubts over other suspicions. Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it? (Equivalently, is there reason to reject the apparent truth that were are not in a simulation, other than that we can't be absolutely certain that we're not?)
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Fire Brns » Sun May 05, 2013 4:04 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:But what if one's observations are restricted to within the simulation and as such he or she would not be able to tell a simulation sandwich from reality because he or she doesn't know what a reality sandwich tastes like?

If considering the possibility of one's entire experience being confined within a simulation, we have to ask how we know that we, who we presume to be in reality now, are in fact not in a simulation, which comes back to the earlier point I made about not favoring doubts over other suspicions. Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it? (Equivalently, is there reason to reject the apparent truth that were are not in a simulation, other than that we can't be absolutely certain that we're not?)

I meant just sandwich wise. If the sandwich is a simulation sandwich sub par to a real sandwich but the person tasting the simulation sandwich doesn't know it's a simulation or a simulation sandwich then does it count?
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby styrofoam » Mon May 06, 2013 2:28 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it?


Yes. I think we're in a simulation because simulation make re-address spatial numerology entry part works.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 06, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it?


If it's possible to create simulations which are indistinguishable from real from within, then the principle of mediocrity suggests that we're in such an inner nested reality rather than the root one simply because there are so many more sims than root-reality people...

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon May 06, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it?


If it's possible to create simulations which are indistinguishable from real from within, then the principle of mediocrity suggests that we're in such an inner nested reality rather than the root one simply because there are so many more sims than root-reality people...

That presumes that a simulation is "bigger on the inside" as it were (a simulated galaxy takes up less than an entire real galaxy's worth of information/mass/energy/space/time/etc), which brings us back to the earlier point that if the simulation is informationally "smaller" than the real thing then it is necessarily missing details and so not a perfect simulation (and can in principle be distinguished from reality, from the inside), and if it is informationally equivalent it will take up at least as real much mass/energy/space/time (plus more to support the simulation infrastructure) as the real thing.

So say for the sake of simplicity that Earth is the only populated planet in the universe. To perfectly simulate the Earth and everyone on it in every last detail so that people inside could never tell it apart from the real thing, and have exactly half of the people in the universe be simulated, we would need at least an Earth-equivalent amount of mass/energy/space/time to store and process that simulation. So if there were more perfectly-simulated universe than real universe, that would require that the majority of the real universe be dedicated to running such simulations, which seems less probable on the surface than the alternative.

Of course it's possible that the universe as we know it is a gross simplification of the complexity of the higher-level universes within which we are simulations within simulations etc. Actually, that kind of answers a problem raised with Max Tegmark's "Ultimate Ensemble" multiverse concept, whereby every mathematical structure that can possibly exist does exist in an ontologically real sense: there is a universe corresponding to every possible mathematical structure. The problem raised with that is that our universe appears to be mathematically quite simple compared to the "average" you would expect just picking from arbitrary mathematical structures: by the principle of mediocrity, you'd expect our universe to match one of the more numerous more-complex structures than the rare nice simple ones it seems to.

But any universe wherein intelligent life like us (capable of thinking about math like this) could exist is one in which simulations of other mathematical structures can exist (such as in our thoughts about them), so the principle of mediocrity you appeal to here would suggest that we are more likely to be in a simulation within a simulation within a simulation within such a universe, which for the reasons I outline at the start of this post would have to be simpler than their parent universes. So combine these two applications of the principle of mediocrity, and most universes are going to be simpler simulations within more complex universes. Kind of overloading the term "universe" there, but I think you follow me: there are more complex mathematical structures than simple ones, so by the principle of mediocrity we'd expect us to find our universe more mathematically complex, but there are more (necessarily simpler) simulated structures within more complex ones than there are "root-level" structures, so by the principle of mediocrity we'd expect to find ourselves in a simple simulation within a more complex universe.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 06, 2013 11:37 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Is there reason to think we are in a simulation, other than there mere possibility of it?


If it's possible to create simulations which are indistinguishable from real from within, then the principle of mediocrity suggests that we're in such an inner nested reality rather than the root one simply because there are so many more sims than root-reality people...

That presumes that a simulation is "bigger on the inside" as it were (a simulated galaxy takes up less than an entire real galaxy's worth of information/mass/energy/space/time/etc), which brings us back to the earlier point that if the simulation is informationally "smaller" than the real thing then it is necessarily missing details and so not a perfect simulation (and can in principle be distinguished from reality, from the inside), and if it is informationally equivalent it will take up at least as real much mass/energy/space/time (plus more to support the simulation infrastructure) as the real thing.


Quantum uncertainty seems awfully like the sort of fudge that a computer simulation would use to get around the finite precision of stored data. Anyway, as quines show, it's possible to include a complete description of an object within a proper subset of that object - there's no requirement for the universe to be informationally dense.

A "smaller" embedded universe need not be distinguishable from reality from the inside if it has no access to information about the outer universe(s) - the way it works is just the way it works - it only gives away that you're missing something if you know how it's "supposed" to work

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby jpvlsmv » Wed May 08, 2013 12:59 pm UTC

mcdigman wrote:
As Einstein himself said "us physicists believe that the separation of past, present, and future is an illusion, although a convincing one."


Shouldn't it be "We physicists"?

Woohoo, next up, I'll prove Hawking wrong about rolling friction! Or maybe I'll just go ahead and prove that black is white, since all we need for that is to assume that a sandwich exists (which logically implies that it does not exist)1

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Klear » Wed May 08, 2013 1:57 pm UTC

jpvlsmv wrote:(...) Or maybe I'll just go ahead and prove that black is white (...)


...and get yourself killed on the next zebra crossing

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby Red Hal » Wed May 08, 2013 4:41 pm UTC

Well played.
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Fri May 10, 2013 5:07 pm UTC

Forget sandwiches. I'm going to keep trying to prove that Einstein was wrong about insanity.

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby bmonk » Fri May 10, 2013 9:47 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:Forget sandwiches. I'm going to keep trying to prove that Einstein was wrong about insanity.

Many people thing Einstein was wrong about God playing dice with the universe. Or maybe just wrong about God.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

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mathmannix
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby mathmannix » Tue May 14, 2013 1:51 pm UTC

jpvlsmv wrote:
black is white



Black can be changed to white in seven easy steps:
Spoiler:
0. BLACK
1. CLACK
2. CLICK
3. CHICK
4. CHICS
5. CHITS
6. WHITS
7. WHITE

- OR -

0. BLACK
1. CLACK
2. CLICK
3. CLINK
4. CHINK (or CLINE)
5. CHINE
6. WHINE
7. WHITE

(Edited because I was apparently on clack or something...)
Last edited by mathmannix on Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:54 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

rmsgrey
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue May 14, 2013 5:37 pm UTC

WRICK to WRITE is an unusual step...

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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Tue May 14, 2013 5:43 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:WRICK to WRITE is an unusual step...

Yes, it is. You can't even say, "but what if we're going by phonemes rather than letters?" Two phonemes changed, as well.

jpvlsmv
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Re: 1206: "Einstein"

Postby jpvlsmv » Tue May 14, 2013 7:48 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:WRICK to WRITE is an unusual step...

Yes, it is. You can't even say, "but what if we're going by phonemes rather than letters?" Two phonemes changed, as well.

Not to mention the CLICK -> CHICK -> CRICK transition which doesn't require the middle step at all.


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