0994: "Advent Calendar"

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Jared the Great
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0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Jared the Great » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:43 am UTC

Image
Title Text: "I think you could get up to about 11:59:57 before you'd have trouble swallowing the chocolates fast enough. At that point, you'd need some kind of a liquify-and-chug apparatus to get up over the 11:59:59 barrier. Anyway, Merry Christmas!"

I think I'd just sort of choke to death.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby dan131m » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:49 am UTC

Surely I can't be the only one who thought the title text would be along the lines of, "But everyone knows that you'll somehow finish by December 8 anyway."

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Red Hal
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Red Hal » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:53 am UTC

I hate this particular paradox of Zeno's, chiefly because it's quoted by people who do it purely for the sake of argument. However, I like this comic. To be true to the paradox, however, the chocolates should be decreasing in volume so the series is still convergent.
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tups
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby tups » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:55 am UTC

Gave me a chuckle anyway .... google Zeno's paradoxes and Zeno of Elea if you have been momentarily distracted during your classics education and thus currently have no idea what this is about.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:57 am UTC

One of Zeno's less well-known paradoxes is how he anticipated Advent around 500 years before the birth of Christ.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby orangustang » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:58 am UTC

You would end up eating an infinite amount of chocolate right before xmas, unless the pieces decreased in size at a convergent rate.

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Red Hal
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Red Hal » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:59 am UTC

Well-played rhomboidal.
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StClair
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby StClair » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:01 am UTC

Before I read the caption, I thought it was just going to be a joke about how children perceive time with regard to highly-anticipated events.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby pbnjstowell » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:05 am UTC

Does it have to be chocolate?

The liquify-and-drink problem would be easy to solve if it was eggnog.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby The Moomin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:44 am UTC

There should have been an extra panel showing an advent calendar-toilet cycle.

Then the word poo somewhere on the chart at random.










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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Keiji » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:49 am UTC

http://www.xkcd.com/986/ ?

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RyanfaeScotland
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby RyanfaeScotland » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:02 am UTC

I didn't understand the comment but I understood the Merry Christmas at the end!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

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Carl T
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Carl T » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:14 am UTC

I wonder how this would work with a LEGO advent calendar.

In any case it doesn't work very well in this part of the world, where Xmas/Yule is primarily celebrated on the 24th (from, say, lunchtime until late).

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby LordHorst » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:16 am UTC

Woha, I'm so glad that I can open my presents on Christmas Eve already! And I only have to wait for about 14 hours... where's my liquify-and-chug apparatus?

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby adho » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:32 am UTC

Heheh. This made me giggle. A simple reference.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Plasma Man » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:09 am UTC

Very clever, I like it. It's not just the time it takes to eat the chocolate that would slow you down, though - there's also the time needed to open the fiddly little doors.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby alun009 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:25 am UTC

Plasma Man wrote:Very clever, I like it. It's not just the time it takes to eat the chocolate that would slow you down, though - there's also the time needed to open the fiddly little doors.


Yes. That is the Achilles' heel of this idea.

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Red Hal
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Red Hal » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:11 am UTC

Ah, but are the christmas tree lights on or off at midnight?
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Gye » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:13 am UTC

I had to Google "Advent Calendar". I've never seen one here in Canada.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby mdw » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:13 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:Very clever, I like it. It's not just the time it takes to eat the chocolate that would slow you down, though - there's also the time needed to open the fiddly little doors.


I find the hardest bit is actually finding the right door, because they're not usually in any very useful order. Hmm. With an infinite number of them, I suspect that'll actually be quite tricky...

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby radtea » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:44 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:To be true to the paradox, however, the chocolates should be decreasing in volume so the series is still convergent.


Actually it would have to be non-convergent: that's the whole point of Zeno's Inability to do Math (which is what I suggest we call this "Paradox" in future). He imagines a convergent series that doesn't converge and then thinks there's something wrong with reality rather than his imagination.

Remarkably there are still people who think there's anything interesting about this, but I've seen people who are unable to distinguish between "an infinite number of chocolates" and "an infinite amount of chocolate"--which is kind of what Randall is saying in the alt-text.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby thp » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

Laughing out loud funny! even more so when I read the alt text.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby The L » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:08 pm UTC

@radtea: It wasn't that Zeno couldn't do math, just that the ancient Greeks hadn't come up with the mathematical concepts known today as calculus. (Archimedes wasn't born yet, so his work on limits wouldn't have been available, and it didn't have much to say about convergent vs. divergent infinite series, either.)

To me, the interesting thing here is that, while the harmonic sequence converges, the series diverges. So the question is: are you eating a finite amount of candy, or an infinite amount? Sure, the number of chocolates is infinite, but the amount isn't clearly specified. (See also the difference between filling Gabriel's Horn with paint, and actually painting the interior.)

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby javahead » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:25 pm UTC

I first read it as Zenu, and couldn't get the scientology joke even though scientology is, in and of itself, a joke.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

The L wrote:@radtea: It wasn't that Zeno couldn't do math, just that the ancient Greeks hadn't come up with the mathematical concepts known today as calculus. (Archimedes wasn't born yet, so his work on limits wouldn't have been available, and it didn't have much to say about convergent vs. divergent infinite series, either.)


Well, radtea's problem is with people clinging onto it, not with Zeno himself. It's only interesting today as a problem that Zeno couldn't solve, but we can. So it's Zeno's inability, whether or not it was his fault, that's being showcased. = )

I'd say it's useful to illustrate exactly the mistake it develops from, though.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby kirkjerk » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

I just wanted to mention I made my second Java advent calendar for this year:

http://kirkjerk.com/java/advent2011/

It (was) a little toy or game every day in December... but it was inclusive. Today's is the aluminum pole from Festivus as a feat of strength! (waggle the mouse to lift it)
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby JustDoug » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:18 pm UTC

I'll see your Zeno...

All I wanna know is: how can you be certain that there's chocolate behind every little door until you look?

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Shoryl » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:27 pm UTC

The solution to the liquify-and-chug issue is simple - Hot Chocolate.

Okay, so it has to be prepared in advance, but....

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Red Hal
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Red Hal » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:48 pm UTC

JustDoug wrote:I'll see your Zeno...

All I wanna know is: how can you be certain that there's chocolate behind every little door until you look?
Because there's a goat behind the other one ...
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby richP » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:I hate this particular paradox of Zeno's, chiefly because it's quoted by people who do it purely for the sake of argument. However, I like this comic. To be true to the paradox, however, the chocolates should be decreasing in volume so the series is still convergent.


BHG approach: Offer to swing a baseball bat at their head at high speed. Their superior logic will tell them that they are completely safe from harm, the bat will never reach their squishy little skull, since first it must get halfway there, etc.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby icthulu » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:I hate this particular paradox of Zeno's, chiefly because it's quoted by people who do it purely for the sake of argument. However, I like this comic. To be true to the paradox, however, the chocolates should be decreasing in volume so the series is still convergent.


I am very much in the camp of Zeno's detractors that his paradox's really were not inspired nor actual paradox's, but more an abused thought process.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby zwolf4444 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

I don't get it. Can someone explain this for the ignorant? I even tried googling, but I was just confused.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby maxhat » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:54 pm UTC

If you round everything to the second than it would be posible to turn this into an actual calendar. There would be 7 chocolates in the last min, and 5 chocolates in the last 10sec. See the jpg for the prototype.
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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby brenok » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

zwolf4444 wrote:I don't get it. Can someone explain this for the ignorant? I even tried googling, but I was just confused.


First, the Zeno's Paradox.

It says that something, in the original example a turtle, can never reach a place, because it will first get to the middle of the way, and then 3/4; 7/8; 15/16; and beyond.

Randall unite that with a "Advent calendar", which is a countdown, but, according to Zeno's Paradox, never ends.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby dmm » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

Gye wrote:I had to Google "Advent Calendar". I've never seen one here in Canada.

That's strange, because advent calendars are stereotypically Anglican. Aren't there any Anglicans left in Canada?

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Ehsanit » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:15 pm UTC

maxhat wrote:If you round everything to the second than it would be posible to turn this into an actual calendar. There would be 7 chocolates in the last min, and 5 chocolates in the last 10sec. See the jpg for the prototype.

Good, except that advent is only 4 weeks long.
And that's the point of the paradox, you can't just arbitrarily round it off.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby dmm » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Sorry, Gye. Just looked at Wikipedia. Apparently advent calendars started with Lutherans. But one of the leading producers of them nowadays is Cadbury. The first one I ever saw was a Cadbury one from British relatives, who were Anglican. So I just went: Cadbury==British==Anglican --> advent calendars.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Gregarious Raconteur » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:33 pm UTC

richP wrote:BHG approach: Offer to swing a baseball bat at their head at high speed. Their superior logic will tell them that they are completely safe from harm, the bat will never reach their squishy little skull, since first it must get halfway there, etc.


I like the idea, but their squishy little skull has to be moving for it to work.

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby solobutterfly » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

because I am not familiar with this Zeno fellow, I choose to see this as some kind of reference to 24 (the television show) and heard the familiar ticking and dramatic music. Jack Bauer has to save Santa from the terrorists, or else Christmas will be blown up!

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Re: 0994: "Advent Calendar"

Postby Whys » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:41 pm UTC

The paradox can also be applied to the Big Bang. You can forever move closer to the point of origin, but never actually reach it, for time has no beginning.


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