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RE: Re: I Have Always Heard That Matter Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed

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Posted by Kerry Millen on September 29, 2000 10:56:42 UTC

Interestingly, your query contains repercussions of Zeno`s paradox. Zeno, and others of his faith, concluded that nothing was in motion (hard core philosophers, forgive me for skipping by many of the details) because if an object was moving, it would eventually reach its destination. But, if the destination is approached by halving the distance to it each time, the destination is but a pipe dream. This same idea can be applied in fractal systems. Mathematically, it is possible for an eight by eleven sheet of paper (any size for that matter) to contain a two dimensional object with an infinite perimeter. Combining these two ideas, one could that the east coast has an infinite length. Here`s why. Flying in an airplane from Maine to Florida along the coast will give an estimate of its length. Driving from Maine to Florida (as close to the coast as possible) will yield a much different result. Now suppose you walk the coast (okay, I`m getting more and more hypothetical as I go) ten feet from the water. Again, a much different and larger value for the length of the east coast. Finally, imagine moving closer and closer to the water line by half the distance--the east coast becomes infinite in length. One man argued that this reasoning was flawed because I would enter the water. It wasn`t until I explained to him I wasn`t trying to enter the water. I don`t want to enter the water. If I wanted to enter the water, I would simply take one side step in the appropriate direction and be done with it. Then the understanding came. Sorry if I side stepped your question--these things interest me.

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