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Zeno-effect: quick observations stops time, space and decay?

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avatarUdut, Kenneth -- on Jul. 18 2008, from Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.

One of the dumbest ideas around.

The "Zeno effect" is based on the philosopher Zeno, who put forth the paradox:

" In the arrow paradox, Zeno states that for motion to be occurring, an object must change the position which it occupies. He gives an example of an arrow in flight. He states that in any one instant of time, for the arrow to be moving it must either move to where it is, or it must move to where it is not. It cannot move to where it is not, because this is a single instant, and it cannot move to where it is because it is already there. In other words, in any instant of time there is no motion occurring, because an instant is a snapshot. Therefore, if it cannot move in a single instant it cannot move in any instant, making any motion impossible. This paradox is also known as the fletcher's paradox—a fletcher being a maker of arrows.

Whereas the first two paradoxes presented divide space, this paradox starts by dividing time - and not into segments, but into points.[7] [from wikipedia] "

Interesting but dumb in today's world. [even in the world of the 19th century!]

Take a series of successive photographs very quickly. Show them all in a series. You have what looks like motion.

But you're fooled. It's an optical illusion of film. A series of fixed pictures put together looks like motion.

Now is reality a series of fixed pictures and no motion actually occurs?

No, I think motion does occur. I just see it as another example of catching the baseball. You catch the baseball here, then here, then here, then here. If you let go of the baseball in each of the locations where you caught it, you have to let go of the baseball in a paricular order in order to simulate what motion looks like.

But by catching the ball, you've stopped motion. To recreate it mathematically, the order in which you recreate the baseball moving it in a particular order, otherwise you recreate a reality that didn't exist in the first place. Switch the numbers around and the baseball goes backwards but only in an illusionary recreation of what motion seems like -- just like a film.

The act of observation - measuring - DOES "ruin the moment", sort of like asking the composer in the middle of composing a piece, "Hey, what's your next note going to be?" Once you've interrupped the composer, you've made it hard for him to get back on track. But give enough time, and he can. [I know because when I am "in the zone" and playing new stuff on the piano, any interruption at all ruins the 'NOW', then 'FLOW']

By choosing to use particle calculations to measure a quantum state, you're stopping its motion in mid-stream and asking, "Okay, if you were a fixed object, where would you be fixed?" You stike it with a photon (that's "shining a light on it" - literally) - and the quanta freezes so to speak - you've hit it over the head to ask it a few questions and it takes time to recover.

Now does that mean that observation by humans changes reality? No. It just means that it's a crappy way to measure reality by taking a wave-particle and measuring it like a particle. Well, of COURSE it will give you a particle-style answer.

And if you measure it like a wave, of course it will not show you its "particle ways" because that's NOT what you were measuring.

If you come up with a way to measure waves and particular simultaneously, THEN you'll do alright and be able to measure a quanta's location and movement.

Bah, it's starting to make sense but some of this stuff is quite irritating.


Simplify3 on Jul. 18 2008 edit · delete
" modern physics has concluded (along with Zeno) that the classical image of space and time was fundamentally wrong, and in fact motion would not be possible in a universe constructed according to the classical model. We now recognize that position and momentum are incompatible variables, in the sense that an exact determination of either one of them leaves the other completely undetermined. According to quantum mechanics, the eigenvalues of spatial position are incompatible with the eigenvalues of momentum so, just as Zeno’s arguments suggest, it really is inconceivable for an object to have a definite position and momentum (motion) simultaneously. "

Okay, that's cool. See, that explains the problem in quantum physics. It's not that observation "changes" things. It just means that we are NOT YET CAPABLE of measuring a subatomic objects "POSITION" AND "DIRECTION" at the same time.

It's inconceivable for an object to have a definite position and motion simultaneously...

So... "Where are you?" and "Where are you going?" are separate questions. if you could answer them at the same time in a subatomic mathematical way, then you've solved the riddle of quantum states, no?

Kenneth Udut again.
Simplify3 on Jul. 18 2008 edit · delete
Ah ha. Gotcha wondering?

Einstein figure it out, at least for big things, how to measure time and space simultaneously.
" The theory of special relativity answers Zeno's concern over the lack of an instantaneous difference between a moving and a non-moving arrow by positing a fundamental re-structuring the basic way in which space and time fit together, such that there really is an instantaneous difference between a moving and a non-moving object, insofar as it makes sense to speak of "an instant" of a physical system with mutually moving elements. Objects in relative motion have different planes of simultaneity, with all the familiar relativistic consequences, so not only does a moving object look different to the world, but the world looks different to a moving object "

If only people were paying attention to Zeno, they'd have figured Special Relativity a thousand years ago.
Simplify3 on Jul. 18 2008 edit · delete
" Some people, including Peter Lynds, have proposed alternative solutions to Zeno's paradoxes. Lynds posits that the paradoxes arise because people have wrongly assumed that an object in motion has a determined relative position at any instant in time, thus rendering the body's motion static at that instant and enabling the impossible situation of the paradoxes to be derived. Lynds asserts that the correct resolution of the paradox lies in the realisation of the absence of an instant in time underlying a body's motion, and that regardless of how small the time interval, it is still always moving and its position constantly changing, so can never be determined at a time. Consequently, a body cannot be thought of as having a determined position at a particular instant in time while in motion, nor be fractionally dissected as such, as is assumed in the paradoxes (and their historically accepted solutions). "

Oh, I like that idea far better than the stinky calculus solution.

But, wow, Peter Lynds isn't any different than me. Not a PhD, just a guy who did a little thinking.

I don't think it means that time doesn't exist though. It just means that you either measure motion with an object in space by taking a snapshot, which gives you a location at that instant, or you look at overall motion by comparing what happened inbetween the time that an object was at rest, then motion, then rest again without chopping up the motion into little bits and pieces using slices of time.

You can watch a butterfly flutter its wings or you can pin it to a board. If you pin it to a board, you can pick it apart (akin to slices of time) but it can't fly anymore because it's dead. You can shoot xrays at it to see its innards but then that'll eventually kill it too. [ie - change its properties]. It says something about our observatoin methods as being very coarse and destructive, not that nature can't be observed at all. We're like the archaeologists of the early 20th century, using cranes and backhoes to excavate. Now they use paintbrushes to clean away dirt more carefully so less gets destroyed.
Simplify3 on Jul. 18 2008 edit · delete
" Actually, you cant know the exact position and velocity of an object at the same time. In quantum physics this is especially relevant because, for example, to see something a photon must bounce off it. but a photon to a quantum particle carries a lot of energy so when it hits that particle it moves it as it is deflected. So you see the photon as it was at the moment of collision yet the thing you are trying to measure has already moved because of that photon. "

Zeno-effect: quick observations stops time, space and decay? One of the dumbest ideas around.