What if we could change the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts?

• Seriouslylol
In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of changing the size of an object, such as a stick or a sum of money, in small increments to see if it is perceived differently by the receiver. This idea is compared to the principles of quantum mechanics and the role of probabilities in determining outcomes. The conversation also touches on the role of gender in proposing theories and the potential impact of factors like position and momentum on decision making.
Seriouslylol
Basically I thought of this theory and it may exist using different metaphors or what not. But I can't really determine any answer to it, this is pretty much it.

Let's just say for the purpose of making this scenario easier, we have a time machine that can travel back through time.

Say there is a person who will accept a stick of a certain length, and you are the one that gives him the stick. Now, let's say you alter the length of the stick and then go back in time and give him the stick, and you keep doing this changing the size of the stick (also, let's say the circumstances in which he receives the stick are the same) until you get to the point where let's say in his mind he accepts 0.5 length, and you give him 0.49999999999999999... length. Would he accept it? As to the human eye it would appear to be the exact same length as the 0.5 he had in mind. Is there a point where you can change the length in very small amounts, unnoticeable to the human eye, in which the receiver of the stick would accept it?

That's just an idea but what is everyone's thoughts?

Last edited by a moderator:
the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics is abstract and its implications are often non-intuitive. the centerpiece of this mathematical system is the wavefunction. The wavefunction is a mathematical function of time and space that can provide information about the position and momentum of a particle, but only as probabilities, as dictated by the constraints imposed by the uncertainty principle.

Last edited by a moderator:
The stick is a boring scenario since no one can figure out why the guy wants a stick of a certain length.

More interesting is to split a sum of money between two people. Person A gets to do the dividing. Person B gets to decide whether the division is acceptable or not. If the division is not acceptable, both people get nothing. There is no second chance for division - it's up to person A to guess at a division to be acceptable to both parties on his first attempt.

If you analyze it, it's very similar to the stick, since rejecting the stick means no stick. There's either some functional criteria that you haven't given us or we're left to figure out why having no stick would be better than having a 3 foot stick, etc.

The money scenario provides more information about humans, as well. Logically, person B should accept any non-zero amount since rejecting the proposal would get him less. In practice, a person would rather get nothing than accept an offer they see as grossly unfair.

For any given person B, you should reach a proposal where there's a 50/50 chance of him accepting it. But this wouldn't be your optimal solution since maximizing the average value person A gets should be the goal of person A. A 50/50 chance means the average value is half of whatever person A proposes. If he could reach a near 100% chance of acceptance for a value that gave him more than half the 50/50 value, the 100% chance offer would be the better offer to give.

In other words, probability is more interesting if it's optimized to provide the best results.

Last edited:
waldorf said:
the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics is abstract and its implications are often non-intuitive. the centerpiece of this mathematical system is the wavefunction. The wavefunction is a mathematical function of time and space that can provide information about the position and momentum of a particle, but only as probabilities, as dictated by the constraints imposed by the uncertainty principle.

you get it now?

And you're saying the guy couldn't care less about the size of his stick? That the position and momentum of his stick is more important?

That's a possibility. What's the probability of a male proposing that theory as compared to the probability of a female proposing that theory?

Last edited:
BobG said:
And you're saying the guy couldn't care less about the size of his stick? That the position and momentum of his stick is more important?

That's a possibility. What's the probability of a male proposing that theory as compared to the probability of a female proposing that theory?

position and momentum determine how the person responds to the question thus impacting his answer. the guy cares about the size of the stick, but is unable to make a legitimate decision based on the actual size of the stick at that level.

i don't see the point of your male/female idea. the probability of that can be quantified, whereas the mans choice cannot.

BobG said:
And you're saying the guy couldn't care less about the size of his stick? That the position and momentum of his stick is more important?

That's a possibility. What's the probability of a male proposing that theory as compared to the probability of a female proposing that theory?

That theory was not only proposed, but commemorated in song, by Maria Muldaur in 1974.

Math Is Hard said:

That theory was not only proposed, but commemorated in song, by Maria Muldaur in 1974.

She sung it, but it was written by Lois Mann. So chalk one up for the males.

1. How would changing the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts affect its overall length?

Changing the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts would result in a gradual change in its overall length. This means that over a period of time, the stick would either become longer or shorter, depending on the direction of the change.

2. Is it possible to change the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts?

Yes, it is possible to change the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts. This can be achieved by using methods such as stretching or compressing the stick, or by adding or removing material from the stick in small increments.

3. What would be the practical applications of being able to change the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts?

One potential application would be in the field of nanotechnology, where precise control over the size and shape of materials is crucial. Being able to change the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts could also have practical applications in construction or engineering, where small adjustments to the length of materials may be necessary.

4. Are there any limitations to how much the length of a stick can be changed in small, unnoticeable amounts?

There may be limitations based on the material properties of the stick. For example, a stick made of a brittle material may not be able to withstand frequent changes in length without breaking. Additionally, the precision of the tools used to change the length may also limit how small and unnoticeable the increments can be.

5. How would changing the length of a stick in small, unnoticeable amounts impact its strength?

The impact on the strength of the stick would depend on the direction of the length change. If the stick is being stretched, it may become weaker over time. On the other hand, if the stick is being compressed, it may become stronger. However, if the changes in length are very small and gradual, the overall impact on the stick's strength may be minimal.

• General Discussion
Replies
12
Views
920
• Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
2
Views
2K
• General Discussion
Replies
14
Views
897
• Biology and Medical
Replies
8
Views
1K
• General Discussion
Replies
12
Views
1K
• General Discussion
Replies
10
Views
2K
• General Discussion
Replies
13
Views
1K
• Special and General Relativity
Replies
144
Views
6K
• General Discussion
Replies
4
Views
650