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Old 2020-12-21, 09:56   #1
Nick
 
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Default Universal machines

Emerson M. Pugh quoted by James Heinrich (in the Colab thread):
"If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't."

There are plenty of humorous examples of this idea, for example a cartoon in which a vacuum cleaner starts sucking up not just dust and dirt
but everything around it, no matter how big, and eventually it sucks itself up and disappears completely.

There was a charity clip of Doctor Who in which the TARDIS (bigger inside than out) lands inside itself, trapping all the occupants.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51JtuEa_OPc

But there are serious versions too. The invention of the internal combustion engine gave us an engine that could lift its own weight,
which made flying possible.

And the C compiler is, of course, written in C.
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Old 2020-12-21, 12:13   #2
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
But there are serious versions too. The invention of the internal combustion engine gave us an engine that could lift its own weight,
which made flying possible.

And the C compiler is, of course, written in C.
3D printers can print 3-D printers.

Robots can build robots.

Self-hosted LISP interpreters and BCPL compilers long predate C compilers. The former dates from 1962!
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Old 2020-12-21, 12:17   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
But there are serious versions too. The invention of the internal combustion engine gave us an engine that could lift its own weight, which made flying possible.
I would put forward that IC engines did not make flying machines possible. There are human powered flying machines, both fixed wing and rotor craft. There are many other animals that can lift their own weight. And there have been steam powered aircraft.

Last fiddled with by Uncwilly on 2020-12-21 at 12:17
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Old 2020-12-21, 12:25   #4
M344587487
 
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I don't know how I feel about the quote, it seems to ignore the concept of a build up of external knowledge. Unless we blow ourselves up first there will come a point where we do understand the intricacies of the human brain and many other things we currently don't.



The Ouroboros is a classic idea of recursion. If you had to pick one word to best describe life as we know it, recursion might be it.
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Old 2020-12-21, 12:38   #5
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Biological organisms can make other biological organisms. It's no big deal for nature, it has been doing it for billions of years.
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Old 2020-12-21, 13:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
<snip>
There are plenty of humorous examples of this idea, for example a cartoon in which a vacuum cleaner starts sucking up not just dust and dirt but everything around it, no matter how big, and eventually it sucks itself up and disappears completely.
I remember a cartoon (by Charles Addams IIRC) showing a cleaning woman emptying the bag of a vacuum cleaner. Among its contents were the flowers that had been sucked clean out of the carpet pattern.

There was another commercial (I forget what for) that ended with the sound of a vacuum cleaner, then the sound of a cat screeching and suddenly being silenced.

The movie Yellow Submarine has a creature now referred to as the Suckophant, which vacuums up everything around it. I heard a story that one member of a group of drug-addled high schoolers who had gone to see the movie was "tripping" on LSD, and when the Suckophant sucked itself up and disappeared, "freaked out."

There is a symbol called the ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail. Norse mythology has the Midgard Serpent, which surrounds the earth and has its tail in its mouth.

It seems paradoxical to me that, on the one hand Albert Einstein never accepted quantum mechanics: In a 1926 letter to Max Born, he wrote, 'The theory says a lot, but does not bring us any closer to the secrets of the "old one". I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.'

On the other hand, he probably did as much as anyone to gain widespread acceptance for quantum mechanics. His 1905 paper on the previously-unexplained photoelectric effect, which earned him his Nobel Prize, was based on the premise that Max Plank's quantization of blackbody radiation actually applied to all electromagnetic radiation.
Quote:
<snip>
But there are serious versions too. The invention of the internal combustion engine gave us an engine that could lift its own weight, which made flying possible.
Lord Kelvin is quoted here as follows:
Another example of his hubris is provided by his 1895 statement "heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" (Australian Institute of Physics), followed by his 1896 statement, "I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning...I would not care to be a member of the Aeronautical Society."
Clearly this was meant in the limited context of what was then possible with the then-current state of technology. After all, many insects and birds, even some mammals (e.g. bats), qualify as "heavier than air flying machines" that were well known to exist in his day. Kelvin failed to imagine the innovations in engine technology that first made human-built heavier-than-air flying machines possible, or, much later, materials that were lightweight and strong enough to enable flight powered by human muscles alone.

Last fiddled with by Dr Sardonicus on 2020-12-21 at 13:06 Reason: gifnix sopty
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Old 2020-12-21, 13:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
Biological organisms can make other biological organisms. It's no big deal for nature, it has been doing it for billions of years.
Not yet from scratch.
Let me know when you create a single living cell without taking existing generic material.

Last fiddled with by a1call on 2020-12-21 at 13:33
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