20 Questions Tuesday: 215 - Nothing

So this week I had some difficulties coming up with a topic, so I went with an old tried and true topic… “nothing.”  It truly is one of my favorite topics.  I have 31 previous posts on my previous Blogger blogging platform.  This one is an oldy but a goody.  My first post on Nothing from the daily blog written 29 July 2009:

Nature abhors a vacuum and so do I.

One of the things I hate about vacuums is the difficulty in truly describing them. The dictionary gives the definition of “a space that is entirely devoid of matter,” but that gets into some tricky definitions of “entirely devoid” and “matter” especially when you start looking at light as both a particle and a wave.

In essence when one is describing a vacuum (the physics kind not the Electrolux kind) one is ostensibly describing an area of nothing. We all know how tricky describing nothing can be.

“A space that is entirely devoid of matter?”

Firslty, “a space”
How do you define the space? Is there a boundary where on one side there is something and on the other there isn’t? What is the interface of that boundary look like. Where do the molecules of something intermingle on the edges of the nothing… and if they are intermingling, doesn’t that mélange of something and nothing create a soup of kinda something?

Secondly, “entirely devoid”
“Entirely” means “wholly” or “completely” and “devoid” means “empty” or “missing.” So let’s parse this out a bit as well. “Wholly empty” is an odd set of terms. There is an idea that emptiness could be broken down into pieces otherwise the terms “entirely,” “wholly,” and “completely” are unnecessary. Why would one need to give that modifier if “nothing” is not divisible? The definitional nuances associated with “devoid,” “empty,” and “missing” could take days to talk about.

Thirdly, “matter”
I don’t want to get into the higher dimensionality of some of the sub-atomic/quantum physics particles to really talk about the make up of matter, but iffens y’all want me to go all quantum on this bitch, I will ask Dr B Dawg to lay down some slick physics lines, since his doctorate is in the Physics, yo. Anyone? Anyone?… Good, I didn’t think anyone wanted that. Let’s just agree to say that “matter” is not a simple matter.

As you can see, merely looking at a vacuum definitionally causes one to abhor it just like nature.

To recap:
I bet some of you are wishing the Yeti would email me antagonizing emails again
I do not control the Yeti and I have chosen the vacuum to be my favored enemy now
I get +1 to all dice rolls against a vacuum
I will whip something up for Digital Thursday tomorrow
I am starting this recap with too many “I” statements
I did it again, Crap!
Listening to Obey the Groove by No More Kings

This week thanks go to Brett Wood, Ralph Harbison, Chris Ring, Dr JHP, Guido, Grapes, and Some Other Guy.  On to the questions:

1.  Did man invent the concept of nothing or does nothing exist without man?
Nothing has always existed, man has just done a rather shoddy job codifying it.

2. Something and nothing seem to be the equivalent of Yin and Yang and binary code any correlations?
Ah, the binary conundrum.  In many ways yes, but there is more to nature than bivariate categories, and I suspect that there is something in between nothing and something, the equivalent of Yes AND No.

3. Can you really get something for nothing?
Let’s say you have a set A with no members, a null set , so to speak, one of the essential building blocks of mathematics and logic.  Now, let’s create a mathematical set B that is made up of the set A and only the set A.  Set B has 1 member to it, so the number of members in Set B is 1.  QED Bitches! Let Set A = {ø} and Set B = {A}, the number of members in Set B = 1.

4.  Is creating something from nothing essentially magic?
Nope, it is set theory, and nothing more.

5. Any thoughts on matter being essentially composed of 99% of nothing?
I find it hard to believe that is the case, but the relative distance and space between the nucleus and the electron shells of atoms is pretty large, so even though it is counterintuitive, it does somewhat make sense.

6.  If freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, and nothing is what Bobby left her, why does she not sound free of Bobby?
Because even when there is nothing there is something.  Instead of thinking that the opposite of everything is nothing and the opposite of nothing is everything, think of the opposite of nothing as everything that doesn’t exist.  She is longing for Bobby McGee, not because of the something she had, but for the everything she did not have… put that in your pipe and smoke it… (this is actually one of my issues with set theory, but that is an answer for another day)

7.  If zero wasn’t invented until somewhere between 500 BC and 900 AD, did that mean people before that time never ran out of anything?  They never had a concept of “none?”
The symbol for 0 was not created until the time you mention, but nothing was a concept prior to that.  The issue is that mathematics was really grounded in reality at the time.  It was basically for accounting purposes.  When accounts were paid in full they were basically destroyed.

8.  What really happens if you divide by zero?  Or divide into 0?  Or if you divide 0 BY 0?
A: You cannot divide by 0.  B: Your answer is always 0 when you divide into it.  C: in the case of 0/0, A takes precedence over B.

9.  Is 0/0 = 1?

10.  What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich don’t need it, And if you eat it, you’ll die?
Simple… nothing

I will answer astutely with

12.  As I recall you studied some more than elementary mathematics in college. What are some ways to represent nothing?
0, , __, ø, nothing, nada, de rien, naught, none, zip, zilch, bupkis, zero, nein, { }, {ø}, etc…

13.  How big of a gap is there between something and nothing?
Both infinite and infinitesimal

14.   If a woman says nothing is wrong how much trouble is a man in?
Words cannot convey that amount adequately.

Again, I believe the answer is “Why Not”

16.  Seinfeld.  Discuss.
There is nothing to see there.

17.  Why do you reckon we cannot divide by zero?
I think eventually we will be able to, but that branch of math is currently closed to us.  We simply cannot wrap our tiny lizard brains around the concept as of yet.

18.  After Chuck Norris has roundhouse kicked you to the face, do you think you go somewhere, or do you think that you simply cease to exist?
Even the great Chuck Norris cannot break the law of the Conservation of Mass.  I believe when 72 year old Chuck Norris does his roundhouse kick, I will fall down, but I will not be kicked through a wall, over trucks, through trees, etc… As badass as Chuck is, he is 72 and endorsed Huckabee, which didn’t really “win.”  Therefore Chuck is not infallible, and his roundhouse is not all powerful.

19.  This will sound stupid (hopefully) but one of my favorite poems is “Nothing” by John Cooper Clarke. Do you have a favorite literary work that is about nothing?
Signifying Nothing” by Brian Rotman.  Other than that, the antagonist in The Never Ending Story.

20.  What can you say about nothing?
Anything you want.

To recap:
I started school again this week
I forgot how much reading was associated with Grad School
I have assignments due Thursday night and Sunday night
I re-ran Week 7, Day 2 of my 8 week couch to 5k program
It was necessary
Today I need to run Week 7, Day 3 today…
And then I think I will stretch out Week 8 to 2 weeks long
Running is hard
It was not always that way
But it turns out that I am old now
Stupid age… making my bones and feet hurt and shit
I am tired and I need some sleep
Stupid work and school getting in the way of sleep
I got a side-contract for some illustration work
That should help pay for tuition
So, So tired
I guess my High School had its 20 year reunion this past weekend
I did not go
Listening to WTF with Marc Maron
Have a great weekend everyone