24. Thomson’s Lamp

“Stories are data with a soul.”
Brené Brown

1. Although it rained heavily for most of the morning, not one drop of water fell in the afternoon. That allowed the three speakers who turned up: the forthright Mr B, the earnest Ray, and the indignant Helmut , to hold just one meeting together for the first hour or so. It was a vibrant meeting and many people contributed, including regulars Ben the Whisperer and Uncle Pete.

Then Mr B and Helmut held their own successful meetings. At 5.20pm they packed up and went home.

It was a good day.

The speakers talked about many things, but because Ray was present, the topic of religion received a fair going over. Your fairminded scribe presents two memes representing both sides of the discussion.

The top one is from the postsecret website.

2. One topic was a fun one involving tricks of infinity.

Thomson’s Lamp: A one-minute experiment. Switch it on. After 30 seconds switch it off. After 15 seconds switch it on. After 7.5 seconds switch it off. And so on. When the minute has elapsed, will the lamp be on or off?

– A building has an infinite number of storeys above it. If each storey is half the height of the one directly below it, the structure can only be two storeys high. But how can it have a roof?

– Adolf Grunbaum’s Pi machine will print the entire number Pi on one line of a page. How? Each integer is printed in half the time it takes to print the preceding one, and is half the width of the one before it.
Mr Bashful intends to commission Mirko into making a working model.

– For eternity, Bill is in a red room and Ann is in a blue room. Once a year, just for a day, they swap rooms before returning to their own room. Question: who spends more time in the red room?
(Answer: they both spend the same amount of time in the red room.)

– Why is 0.999 . . .   the same as 1?
Answer: 1/3 = 0.333 . . .     3 X 0.333 . . . = 0.999 . . .    3 X 1/3 = one. Therefore, 0.999 . . . = 1.

Uncle Pete generously offered to tutor Mr B on the nature of infinity. What next?! Will Mirko be offering to teach basic arithmetic to Warren Buffett? Will Mr B be schooling Gene Simmons on how to meet women?

3. This week’s creature in our Unusual Creature Series is the Sarcastic fringehead, a fish found in the Pacific Ocean but not on dinner plates. This particular specimen has made sarcastic comments about our Facebook page.