July 9, 2010

Dinosaur Satellite Time Travel Eye Beam Gedankenexperiment Comics

Dinosaur Comics today:

I emailed the author, Ryan North:

Subject: Gedankenexperimental design flaw!

“I imagine Earth seen from space, spots lighting up wherever people are looking, darkening briefly as they blink”

Problem is: If Earth is “seen from space,” someone is seeing it. The observer’s eye beams are illuminating their entire visible surface of the planet; thus, there are no eye-beam-less dark spots! T-Rex seems to be positing a hypothetical observerless observation. Oh, IF ONLY!

But wait! What if it’s a satellite capturing video? Clearly, a video camera encodes images even if no human is simultaneously observing the same scene. Therefore, when a human eventually watches the video (either much later, after recording and storage, or only momentarily delayed by direct broadcast), their eye beams must propagate through the video playback device and through the intervening storage, reception, transmission, and sensing devices, DISCONTINUOUSLY IN TIME AND SPACE, to faithfully emanate from the camera lens as the satellite took the video! Eye beams are not only infinitely fast; they travel nonlinearly in space and backward in time!


Less than a minute later, I got his response:

Oh yeah, I considered that! I figured the person from space was one person WITHOUT eyebeams, but your satellite with TV cameras works too! Assuming that crazy eyebeams in space through time is impossible, which, come on, is probably NOT the case.

I repeat: I love Dinosaur Comics.

Leave a comment: