0254 - On paradoxes - 2022.08.15



I could spend this comment file explaining Hobbes and Zeno and Fermi, but you all know where Wikipedia is. Instead, I think I'll just talk about the time that I was a panelist at the Order of the Octopus 2021 SETI conference.

Yeah, I got invited to talk to astrophysicists at a thing. I even got paid for it! I logged into the special website and turned on my webcam and was on a panel alongside actual hard sci-fi authours who did research and who knew what they were talking about and I improvised some BS about Dr. Seuss and Jaws like the rank amateur that I am and no one called me out for being wildly unqualified. It was pretty rad.

Anyway, if you were ever wondering what the people who bump up against Fermi's Paradox professionally are like, they're very smart and they're very friendly and they're very thorough and they're not superstitious and they know a lot about stars and they're very passionate about looking for radio signals and - as of 2021, at least - they don't actually have an official Plan for what to do when they find one.

Also, my team beat ass at trivia at the end of the night, so that was nice.


0254 - 2167/07/06/18:56 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room
LC: So the minotaur was half-human, half-cattle. They were either a person - in which case, they were a murderer that needed to be imprisoned - or it was an animal - in which case it was a threat that needed to be put down. Is that the debate? Why is that called a "ship"?
Zoa: No, the ship is something else. The ship is a ship. Or it's two ships. Or not a ship.
LC: "Ship" as in boat.
Zoa: Yes.
CP: You r-replace the p-planks one by one, and use the old p-planks to make a new ship, right?
Zoa: The "new ship" bit is Thomas Hobbes, that's much later in the class. But yeah, the thought experiment is all about whether or not you can remove or replace individual components of a thing and still consider the thing to be the same thing.
Doc: Even leaving cybernetic enhancement aside, it's still a question that's asked about human identity today, since your cells (including neurons) are constantly dying and being replaced.
LC: So... what's the answer?
Zoa: It's not supposed to have an answer. That's why it's called a paradox, because you can't answer it.
CP: That's not r-right, you can solve p-paradoxes. Zeno's Paradox w-was solved when they invented calculus.
LC: Calculus explains why there aren't any aliens?
Zoa: That's not Zeno's Paradox, that's Fermi's Paradox.
LC: There's a fur-you?
Zoa: I wish, furry sexbots are very on trend right now.
CP: I admit, I was b-bracing myself for a "pair of Docs" pun, I d-didn't see "Xeno" and "Fur Me" coming.
Doc: Mezzer Caldavera is nothing if not difficult to predict.