Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Nanuk's Paradox

During my high school career, I was an attention whore.

It didn't much matter whether I slaked my thirst for the spotlight by debating everything the teacher had to say - "I'm sure the Prussian army numbered 45,000, sir, not 30,000" - or attracted the gaze of my fellow classmates through the standard bra-strap snaps, stink bombs, SBD farts, sheep eyeball tricks, ear pings, etc. I just had to be centre stage at all times.

One night when I was fifteen, I learned from a television show that, through logic, any and all motion was not possible. Instantly seizing upon the ramifications of this paradox for shining the classroom spotlight brightly on yours truly, I immediately vowed to bring this conundrum to the attention of my fellow pupils and teacher the next day.

Never being one to wait, I decided to unleash my logic bomb on my first class - science - which was taught by our football coach. Now Coach was not at his finest first thing in the morning. It usually took him until after lunch at the tavern to balance the chemical equations in his blood brought about by his drinking from the previous night. So, after I contrived to knock over a couple of beakers, he curtly said "Take them out to the garbage bins".

"I can't do that, sir".


"It's impossible", I replied, barely being able to contain my glee at the chance to demonstrate my intellectual prowess for the class.

Since he didn't ask why I couldn't take two broken beakers out through the doors to the garbage bins, and only stared at me blankly, I decided to forge ahead anyways.

"You see, sir, let's say it would take me two minutes to walk over to the bins. Now in order to accomplish this I would first have to walk half way there. And to walk half way there, I would logically have to first walk a quarter of the way there."

I paused, he continued to stare blankly, but undaunted I pressed on.

"And to walk a quarter of the way to the office, I'd have to walk an eighth of the way there, and a sixteenth, and a thirty-second, and a sixty-fourth and so on and so on and so on.

"So, you see it is quite impossible for me to walk through an infinite number of points in a finite length of time. Therefore, it is truly impossible for me to take these out to the garbage".

I learned very quickly, however, that it was evidently quite possible for a blackboard brush to fly 35 feet and hit me square in the forehead in less than half a second. Apparently Coach did not live by the laws of physics as those governing my universe.


Blogger Fuff said...

Ha ha! How quickly one learns.

9:30 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff: most true! especially when empirical evidence flies in the "face" of theory. ;-)

10:52 AM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

My Nanuk! You should NEVER believe all that is said in StarTrek....*teehee*

12:32 PM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...


And your response to Fuff was great, too! Totally brilliant, sir!

2:01 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

The brush was apparently unaware of the laws of motion.

Here's one for you though - if the brush had headlights, and hit the on switch just before hitting the speed of light and impacting your skull, would the lights come on before your went out?

2:50 PM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

PK, I think that question is irrelevant.

Why? Because regardless of whether the brush had headlights or not, Nanuk would still see lights, lots of 'em, before he went out. ;-)

4:30 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Dayam; and here I am trying to teach my son the value of the "girl vote" in primary school politicsl; means nothing, really does it...

5:20 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

er politics, even... sorry

5:20 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

merlinprincesse: Never trust a Ferengi, I always say, . . . or is that a Ferrari?

TPK: your comment reminds me of that old joke (which I'm sure you've heard but which I'll repeat for the benefit of those who haven't): What's the last thing to go through an insect's mind as it hits a windshield travelling at 60 mph? (Answer below.)

T&B,etc: I hope I'm not dating myself, but the degree of informal corporal punishment inflicted "off the books" when I went to high school would land a lot of my teachers in court nowadays. I saw lights on a number of occasions, for sure.

anna: Unfortunately, I had to default on my electoral deposits precisely because of the "girl vote".

ANSWER: Its asshole.

5:31 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

It sucks being from an alternate universe with different laws of physics, doesn't it?

6:32 PM  
Blogger Belle said...

Hahahah! Serves you right!

7:12 AM  
Blogger Jozee said...

Yep, brush throwing would land old coach in jail theses days.

9:30 AM  

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