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Universal Constants

From: Brian Bell <Brian.Bell@a...>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 23:36:58 -0700
Subject: Universal Constants

With the tread of FT Background including a discussion about time, I
though that I would throw out the following for discussion.

Hypothesis: There is no universal measurement.
Every measurement is relative, that is is defined in comparison to
something else. Examples:
  Weight/Mass. This can be based on the atomic weight of a hydrogen
molecule. But could be based on the mass of an electron or quark just as
well. And if measurements are based on this small of a unit, it makes it
VERY unwieldy to work with large masses such as that of an armored
  Time: Time on earth is based on planetary rotation and orbit. If your
species developed on another planet the time would be different. Time
based on change of energy states does not work because the time it takes
is dependent on the amount of external energy. Time based on decay of a
particle will vary depending on what particle you choose.
  Energy: Energy units are based on performing a specific task. That is,
a calorie is an amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature a
specific amount of water 1 degree at a specific altitude. As you can see
there are many factors involved. If you base it on electron energy
states, Oscar's Razor comes into play. (Oscar's Razor states that you
cannot tell both the energy state and position of an electron. This is
because the act of observing an electron changes its state). Again,
scaling up from subatomic to newtonian level presents a problem. *It may
be Oscam's Razor. My brain is fading now.
  Distance/Size: Distance is dependent on what you measure against. This
is why we developed standard measurements. But they are based on whim or
other factors such as time and heat.

Corollary: Since there are no universal measurements, there is no basis
for communication. You say math is a constant? Math is good for
describing facts, but unless you have a consensus on the measurements,
it is less useful for describing theory. And how do you describe
democracy, freedom, ownership and other such concepts mathematically?
Brian Bell

The Full Thrust Ship Registry

Cygnus Eclipsers' Science Fiction Games Page

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