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View Full Version : OT: What is the length of a piece of string?

Billy T
25-02-2004, 12:37 PM
Hi Team

To celebrate reaching 2500 posts, I have decided to post a serious question that has haunted deep thinkers and theologians for generations.:p

There is an answer of course, or there would be no point in posing the question, so go to it.

This is not an entirely pointless post, as the answer is very precise and once known you can then use it to win free drinks in pubs etc. by betting that you can give the answer to the perennial question. Either that or get your head knocked off when you actually tell them the answer and they realise you are right.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D
Must......get.....a......life! Too......much
time.........spent.........on........PF1. :|

Graham L
25-02-2004, 12:45 PM
The simplest approximation is 1 foot/nanosecond. If the string is wet, the dielectric constant of water has a significant effect.

TonyF
25-02-2004, 12:53 PM
Twice the distance from the midpoint to either end...

Chilling_Silently
25-02-2004, 01:01 PM
<geeky>
Where can I download myself a copy of this "string"... String of what? Binary?
</geeky>

;-)

Chill.

Greg S
25-02-2004, 01:18 PM
Graham, Tony and Chill... gotta love your responses! :^O

Anyway, courtesy of Google's "define" I give you my answer:

Take a piece of string, and cut it in half. You now have two pieces of string, each half the length of the original. Now, cut one of the halves in half again. Cut one of the remainders into half, and this again, etc. The fact is, that no matter how many times you cut the string into half, you will never achieve a state where the length of the segment reaches zero.

So, eventually, you will have cut the string in half an infinite number of times, and hence you will have an infinite number of pieces of string which will all have a length above zero.

Obviously, any value above zero multiplied by infinity equals infinity, and hence through logical deduction we have proved that any piece of string is infinitely long.

Graham L
25-02-2004, 01:35 PM
Unfortunately, that definition is faulty.

it's just "n*(length/n)" ... which is equal to length whatever value n has.

Infinity is not that magic. Infinite series tend not to tend towards "infinity".:D There's almost always a limit.

Greg S
25-02-2004, 01:39 PM
> There's almost always a limit.

My damned maths lecturer used to say that too, but I haveta disagree - by definition of the word itself there is no limit

Graham L
25-02-2004, 01:50 PM
Your saintly maths teacher is right.;-) If you divide by a number and then multiply by it,you end up with the original value. (Of course, that's mathematicaly, not computationaly --- numerical methods are very important when you want to get correct answers from computers)

An infinite number of infinitesimals doesn't add up to infinity. You made the infinitesimal using the "same" infinity you are using to multiply by.

mark c
25-02-2004, 02:03 PM
I reckon TonyF has got it, twice as long as half it :D

Course you could cut it into thirds.

Greg S
25-02-2004, 02:16 PM
>by definition of the word itself there is no limit

I'm in beyond my depth here, but all I was doing was trying to define the word. According to Oxford:

infinite /'infinit/ adj. & n. 1 boundless, endless

Anyway, I'm ok with my BBCode skills :D

PoWa
25-02-2004, 02:57 PM
> What is the length of a piece of string?

As long as you make it.

Terry Porritt
25-02-2004, 03:55 PM
Of course a lot will depend on how the length is measured and how the measurement is defined. Or as in the words of my mate, the late Professor Joad of the BBC Brains Trust, " it all depends on what you mean by length..."

It could be measured by comparison with a secondary standard such as a measuring tape, or even by a relatavistic primary standard such as sending a ray of light from one end of the string to the other where it can be reflected back again with a mirror. Hence by measuring the transit time the length can be determined.

Things start to get complicated if the string is moving with respect to the observer carrying out the measurement, because we then need to synchronise clocks in both frames of reference.
If the frames of reference are moving quite fast with respect to each other, then the string will appear to get shorter to the observer who regards himself as stationary.

Then again, for those of you who remember going by train out of Snow Hill station, Birmingham, there was this piece of tin nailed to the tunnel wall which was hit by the train as it went past, making this boing, boing, boing noise.
There were shadowy workers carrying oil lamps in the tunnel whose job it was to bend back the piece of tin ready for the next train to hit again.

I well remember the noise it made, straight up.

Oh well back to the loony bin :D

Greg S
25-02-2004, 04:12 PM
Fair answer. But frankly, I'd ask Spock

godfather
25-02-2004, 05:05 PM
The length is not infinite.

As the largest known piece of string is 2,137 kM in length, it would be reasonable to make an assumption that any piece of string must be >0 and <2138 kM in length, depending on the humidity and temperature and the co-efficient of the string.

I think the answer is 42 (base 13)

Chilling_Silently
25-02-2004, 06:33 PM
> I think the answer is 42 (base 13)

I should have known.... ;-)

BTW - Congrats on hitting the big numbers Billy :-)

Chill.

kiki
25-02-2004, 07:46 PM
For the correct answer you need to re-read the question properly.

> What is the length of a piece of string?

Notice that it is not asking the length of any or every piece of string, so therefore there must be a specific string the question is talking about.

So the answer can only be found by actually measuring the piece of string in question, by whatever method you choose to measure it.

gerrypics
25-02-2004, 08:32 PM
"Put simply" It is either long enough or it is to short

exLL
25-02-2004, 09:12 PM
I've changed my settings to thread mode but that didn't help me. :(

Maybe it's just a bit bigger than a snippet. I suppose it really depends on the cut off point.

Congratulations on the 2500 postings Billy, lots of serious stuff and lots of laughs to go with it too. :D :D

Cheers,
ExLL :)

gerrypics
25-02-2004, 09:28 PM
I guess the answer is a bit like what does "F.B.H." stand for. In the building trade we would say that "F.B.H." means "Fairly Big Hammer", But some people insist we mean something slightly more descriptive.

beetle
25-02-2004, 10:04 PM
I am struggling to see the point in this post, and i no i have had some pathetic posts in my time here, but the length of string????

BT ?????

and i thought there was enough post padders around with out all of us adding to the stupid post. ( note this is not aimed at any one, just the frame of mind set i guess.....struggling with all concepts lately, patheticness one of them...).

a peice of string is usually as long as the length you cut it, may it be long or short. but generally the peice you pick up is never long enough for the intended purpose you had hope to use it for. there is no right or wrong answer i feel, the proverbial peice of string is never ending really, the question itself is never ending and one slot this in the back of the mind for a rainy day mind bender to keep the brain active.

So How long is a peice of string? is as good as how do you get green grass to become white milk?????

waffle over,

beetle

mark.p
25-02-2004, 10:04 PM
Why can't one measure the strings shortness? Why is it the length is always measured?

gerrypics
25-02-2004, 10:16 PM
Hey Beetle, Its just a bit of fun.
How long is a piece of string.

Billy T
25-02-2004, 10:21 PM
Okay folks:

Loved the logic, learned some new ideas, baffled beetle (sorry beetle, it was just a touch of whimsy to celebrate 2500 different ways to waste time when I should be working) and created a mild stir of interest in string lovers everywhere.

Drum roll.............................................. .....

And the winner is................................................ ..

TonyF (second on the list) for the undeniable, millimetre perfect, incontrovertable answer: Exactly twice the distance from the middle to one end. You are a man after my own heart Tony.:D

Runner up....................

Mark P for speaking out on behalf of the longitudinally challenged everywhere.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :)
And I've won a few bets with that one ]:)

beetle
25-02-2004, 10:32 PM
well at the moment ive had about as much fun as i can cope with ..... sorry..

i can see your point BT but am wondering why we bother with things like this when around the country things are turning to crap ( no pun intended).

great post count .

yeah ok, i hear ya, poor old beetle has got the wrong end of stick again.... i dont care.

i have a question for you.... What is the meaning of LIFE????
cos it sux.

since ya didnt get my green as grass to milk one..... sigh.

sorry for the rant,
things not so rosy round here at mo,

beetle

PoWa
25-02-2004, 10:33 PM
> and i thought there was enough post padders around with out all of us adding to the stupid post.

LOL beetle :^O :^O

stu140103
25-02-2004, 10:56 PM
Congratulations on the 2500 postings Billy T :), well done :D

Poor bug, do you have too much dust down there :D ( me trying to be funny here ;) )

Susan B
25-02-2004, 11:03 PM
Nice one Billy, congratulations. :-)

A thoroughly entertaining and enlightening thread though the laughs have hurt my sort throat a bit. :p

BTW, general consensus is to keep the Friday ritual going, please. ;-)

Beetle: Cheer up. Tell Mummy all about it tomorrow? :p :D

beetle
25-02-2004, 11:13 PM
Ok so ive missed something here?

BT had you canned your WFTWE? postings?

and yes Mummy, after school, maybe if i live that long..... and are you sick? sore throat?????

dont know anything about printers? or word progs do you????? :p

just sinking in the abyss of 100 meters of very dusty carpet, having the end of my house wall ripped off for renovations and no bathroom does not help life.
and having a child have his finger jammed in the door, which is now quite black is heartwrenching.....

and my hay fever is or was shocking, recovering well, but the temperament took a beating lately, due to things beyond my control....

give me a few days and ill be back on top of the heap like normal...

:p

beetle

R2x1
26-02-2004, 01:39 AM
> So How long is a peice of string? is as good as how
> do you get green grass to become white milk?????

And I had foolishly assumed for too many years that a British Standard String had a length in cubits, exactly 1 pi'th of it's circumference in Farads/K.

And now I find it's not. It was bad enough getting my grandmother's string stock converted to metric.

The grass problem is easier, to an "n" hectare green wire-enclosed bit, add "x" variably coloured methane generators, subtract the red meat-flavoured bits and the gooey brown bits, and you have the white liquid bit. Note this only applies with certain methane generators. If in doubt, re-install the OS

drcspy
26-02-2004, 07:08 AM
and just to confuse this issue a little more...................

if the length of string was so arranged as to form a circle..... ?.......what length would it then be.........'what's the length of a circle' ?

MrBeef
26-02-2004, 07:53 AM
Pi times D

The circumference is the same as the length of the string

Neil McC
26-02-2004, 08:19 AM
Nice to see you back Susan B.
:-)

mark c
26-02-2004, 08:41 AM
Yay for TonyF and me! :D

mark.p
26-02-2004, 08:47 AM
> Okay folks:
>
> Loved the logic, learned some new ideas, baffled
> beetle (sorry beetle, it was just a touch of whimsy
> to celebrate 2500 different ways to waste time when I
> should be working) and created a mild stir of
> interest in string lovers everywhere.
>
> Drum
> roll.............................................. ....
>
>
>
> And the winner
> is................................................ ..
>
> TonyF (second on the list) for the undeniable,
> millimetre perfect, incontrovertable answer: Exactly
> twice the distance from the middle to one end. You
> are a man after my own heart Tony.:D
>
> Runner up....................
>
> Mark P for speaking out on behalf of the
> longitudinally challenged everywhere.
>
> Cheers
>
> Billy 8-{) :)
> And I've won a few bets with that one
> ]:)
>
>

Shucks Thanks

drcspy
26-02-2004, 01:01 PM
no...........MrBeef I reckon a circle has NO length...........it DOES have a diameter/circumfrence etc but length ?.........hmm......

Susan B
26-02-2004, 01:07 PM
> Nice to see you back Susan B.
> :-)

Thank you Neil, it is nice to be back. :-)

And I have a sore throat, not "sort" throat. Shouldn't have been up posting so late at night. :8} :p

Greg S
26-02-2004, 01:07 PM
> Nice to see you back Susan B.
> :-)

ditto

Winston001
27-02-2004, 11:12 AM
Of course Billy overlooks Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle which says that the act itself of observing the string will affect it's properties.

And if the string is with Shrodingers cat in its box then we have a real problem : is the string there or not? Does it exist in another universe? How can it be measured?

At least the relativistic problem is neatly solved by Tony's solution: the length of a fast moving string yields two results in terms of the remote observer and the string itself, but both are equally valid.

And then there is Superstring which gets into quantum physics and unfortunately Tonys answer is of no help. :(

TonyF
27-02-2004, 11:41 AM
>
> At least the relativistic problem is neatly solved by
> Tony's solution: the length of a fast moving string
> yields two results in terms of the remote observer
> and the string itself, but both are equally valid.
>
> And then there is Superstring which gets into quantum
> physics and unfortunately Tonys answer is of no help.

Not so, my friend. If you place yourself at the centre of the string, which ever way you look the string halflength is the same. The Superstring folk are all in a twist right now trying to work inflation into the eq so that they can deal with the "flatness problem". But then, what is the length of this thread ??

Chris Randal
27-02-2004, 01:06 PM
"But then, what is the length of this thread ??"

Infinite

godfather
27-02-2004, 01:47 PM
The perceived length of the string has a corellation to the perceived value of the string in today's materialistic society.

In Auckland, the string has a value associated with its use on Earl Grey teabags and upmarket Coffee bags used in the Cafe Latte scene.

In Invertarctica the string has more funamental uses, such as holding up Lawyer's trousers and for tying around their fingers to remind them they have a Court appointment. And for tying the cat to the top of the fence to stop the wind blowing the poor animal off...

Accordingly Auckland string is longer as it has a much greater perceived value.

PoWa
27-02-2004, 02:18 PM
Enough of those disparaging comments against southlanders thanks GF. For trousers we use leather belts, PDA's and laptops connected with woosh for appointments, and we generally let our cats come inside if it gets windy.

Winston001
27-02-2004, 04:56 PM
. The Superstring folk
&gt; are all in a twist right now trying to work inflation
&gt; into the eq so that they can deal with the "flatness
&gt; problem". But then, what is the length of this

Well it depends on whether the Universe is open or closed. The string created at Planck Time may be of infinite width but no length. How does your observer get to the middle then? ]:)

And GF, having recently had the privilege of visiting Southland you will know that our cats are very robust and need no help staying on our fences. Indeed getting a piece of string strong enough to satisfy their playful whimsys is difficult.

You can keep your Auckland string - its probably all that is keeping the place together. :D

Billy T
27-02-2004, 09:25 PM
My word :O

What a most interesting and erudite discussion of the properties of a length of string.

Perhaps somebody might like to proffer their opinion as to the length of this most worthwhile piece of string from the perspective of a viewer at the event horizon of a black hole.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :D
Such dissertation must take into account the
famous dictum: "A black hole has no hair"

stu140103
27-02-2004, 09:33 PM
> > Nice to see you back Susan B.
> > :-)
>
> ditto

Double ditto :)

and Congratulations to Greg S for getting to host the aardvark forums :)

R2x1
27-02-2004, 11:48 PM
> Perhaps somebody might like to proffer their opinion
> as to the length of this most worthwhile piece of
> string from the perspective of a viewer at the event
> horizon of a black hole.
>
> Cheers
>
> Billy 8-{) :D
> Such dissertation must take into account the
> famous dictum: "A black hole has no hair"

The famous oracle, Prof. Lucid, (loose id, NOT loo kid) observed
that all black holes cease to be black at night, and indeed,
become colourless. However, our doughty observer reported that
"All visible strings have linked to become recursive at the
occurence of the horizontal event, and since they are now
never - ending, must be infinitely long. " This relatively answers
post No. 1 for singular occurences. Perhaps.

R2x1
28-02-2004, 12:32 AM
> Of course Billy overlooks Heisenberg's Uncertainty
> Principle which says that the act itself of observing
> the string will affect it's properties.
>
> And if the string is with Shrodingers cat in its box
> then we have a real problem : is the string there or
> not? Does it exist in another universe? How can it be
> measured?
>
> At least the relativistic problem is neatly solved by
> Tony's solution: the length of a fast moving string
> yields two results in terms of the remote observer
> and the string itself, but both are equally valid.
>
> And then there is Superstring which gets into quantum
> physics and unfortunately Tonys answer is of no help.
> :(
>
>

Additionally, Heisenberg's Certainty Principle states
that the act of posting observers tends to skew the
cost of the experiment toward infinity.

Big John
28-02-2004, 02:16 AM
> Not so, my friend. If you place yourself at the
> centre of the string, which ever way you look the
> string halflength is the same. The Superstring folk
> are all in a twist right now trying to work inflation
> into the eq so that they can deal with the "flatness
> problem". But then, what is the length of this

Ah yes but how do you place yourself in the centre without measuring it to find out where the centre is. and no you cannot just simply fold it it half because you can never get the ends exactly right so you can never ever be exactly in the centre.

R2x1
28-02-2004, 02:21 AM
Simple - Use Einstein's 3rd. theory of relativity.

R2

Winston001
28-02-2004, 09:54 PM
Yes Yes!!!!. A complete tread hijack into astrophysics! I knew I could do it.

(does triumphant stagger around the living room before disbelieving spouse and assorted cats)

I'm just a bit worried about the string at a naked singularity. It may take many weeks for me to fall through the event horizon but the string has gone on ahead according to Professor Lucid and is now infinite. What about the end R2 is holding on to?

Huh. So much for Billy's "no hairs". No strings attached perhaps? ;)

TonyF
28-02-2004, 10:50 PM
Down Winston ! "Naked" and "no hairs" in the one post..............

R2x1
29-02-2004, 02:24 AM
Surely not hijacked, merely circumlocuting in the
and other revolutionary strings are not digressing ;-
string has always been a round.

Have you looked lately - space around us is hairless
Are we approaching black holiness ?

R2

R2x1
29-02-2004, 02:31 AM
We could'nt already be on the inward spiral,
or time dilation would put PF1's clock 20 min
ahead of us out here at the rim.

Billy T
29-02-2004, 10:03 AM
Close, but no cigar Winston.:D

The theory behind the dictum "A Black Hole has no hair" is an essential factor in determining the perceived length of a piece of string at the event horizon of a Black Hole.

Consider this conundrum from the perspective of a very long but finite length of string passing through the event horizon.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :)
I have tried, and managed to get part-way down
the string but then my brain expl%*#oded and now I
have big&*%ger pro)*@#blems to sol#@&*^!ve.

beetle
09-09-2007, 06:29 PM
well ................i was looking for something in search and found this thread............ forgot all about it.:p

was still trying to find the answer of green grass.........turns into white milk.......anyone? :p

sorry mods......... it was just to good to not bump again.

i promise not to bump any more oldies.... given up using search today.

beetle:p

Shortcircuit
09-09-2007, 06:34 PM
well ................i was looking for something in search and found this thread............ forgot all about it.:p

was still trying to find the answer of green grass.........turns into white milk.......anyone? :p

sorry mods......... it was just to good to not bump again.

i promise not to bump any more oldies.... given up using search today.

beetle:p

Hmmm.... the grass is always greener on the udder side :thumbs:

Sweep
09-09-2007, 06:43 PM
well ................i was looking for something in search and found this thread............ forgot all about it.:p

was still trying to find the answer of green grass.........turns into white milk.......anyone? :p

sorry mods......... it was just to good to not bump again.

i promise not to bump any more oldies.... given up using search today.

beetle:p

Was that the Maori boy question?

Why does the red cow give white milk when its always eating green grass?

At the moment there does not appear to be a lot of grass. Cows are eating Maize and other silage.

Why is milk from a woman white in colour considering what some women eat?
:2cents:

As to the peice of string
It appears to me to be twice as long as half its length.

If the string gets to Warp 5 it is unlikely you will see it.

Laura
09-09-2007, 08:45 PM
We could'nt already be on the inward spiral,
or time dilation would put PF1's clock 20 min
ahead of us out here at the rim.

It was a fun thread.

And would you believe - some of it still hits a nerve three and a half years later..?

Shortcircuit
09-09-2007, 09:02 PM
It was a fun thread.

And would you believe - some of it still hits a nerve three and a half years later..?

Yes, I just went back and reread the whole thing... life was so much simpler then.

My burning question is: To hell with the string disappearing like a snake down a drainpipe, where did all those people go?

BobM
10-09-2007, 11:21 PM
Was that the Maori boy question?

Why does the red cow give white milk when its always eating green grass?

At the moment there does not appear to be a lot of grass. Cows are eating Maize and other silage.

Why is milk from a woman white in colour considering what some women eat?
:2cents:

As to the peice of string
It appears to me to be twice as long as half its length.

If the string gets to Warp 5 it is unlikely you will see it.
Who sang that song, Sweep? (Maori boy question). One of us must be old !!!!

R2x1
10-09-2007, 11:52 PM
We are all older, but the PF1 clock is not going as fast as the rest of us. Unless it lapped us in an avatistic fit.