Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Archive for September, 2009


Posted by Michael Dickens on September 29, 2009

WARNING: Offensive language ahead! That is, if you’re offended by a completely logical name that makes eloquent usage of the English language.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Computer Science, Math, Programming | 2 Comments »


Posted by Michael Dickens on September 27, 2009

Yep. You know what else are lives? These:

Posted in Abortion, Ethics | Leave a Comment »

Jokes are funnier when you don’t get them.

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 27, 2009

A while ago I heard the joke, “My karma ran over my dogma.” At the time I did not know what “dogma” meant. I thought it was a made-up word. But I still thought that the joke was pretty funny. When I learned that dogma is actually a word, it became less funny. It’s more like “My karma ran over my bikema.” “Bikema” is just a made-up word. See? It’s funnier that way!

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments »

A Rose for Emily Trailer

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 25, 2009

Posted in Fun | 6 Comments »

To Whom Am I Ultimately Grateful?

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 24, 2009

I was just reading this blog post, which asked me an interesting question.

We often reference and feel the succor that God offers us in times of grief and pain, but I can honestly say that I’m as grateful for my belief in God when I’m experiencing extreme joy as when crippled by pain. And I mean really grateful, because if I didn’t have a God to whom I could send up my gratitude that is so far beyond my ability to comprehend or grasp, I’m not sure I’d know what to do with the intensity of that emotion. It feels like I would just explode.

When I’m that grateful, I tell people about it. But I like your strategy here. If I’m alone with no one to express my gratitude to, I can create an imaginary friend and then tell him about how grateful I am. Sounds great! But unlike this fellow, I realize that my friend is only imaginary.

Posted in Atheism and Religion | 4 Comments »

Moral Responsibility and Free Will

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 24, 2009

What if we truly do not have free will? What does that mean? Does it mean that we are not responsible for our actions, since we are not in control of them?

There is flawed logic here already. We are still in control of our actions, even though we do not have free will. We make a rational decision to put one foot in front of the other. It is entirely a matter of choice. But not free choice.

The question of moral responsibility comes back to the roots of responsibility. My own definition of responsibility is this:

The entity that is responsible for some outcome is the one who was most aware that the outcome would occur and the one who was most able to change the outcome.

This definition in no way relies upon free will. In this sense, moral responsibility lies upon the most active agent and not just upon agents with free will. Therefore, moral responsibility can be applied to all rational agents, not just those that happen to have free will.

Posted in Free Will, Philosophy | 1 Comment »

Division by Zero: The Truth

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 21, 2009

There are many misconceptions about division by zero. These misconceptions will be reviewed, and there will be discussion as to what division by zero truly means.

Myth: one over zero equals infinity.

It is true that the limit as n approaches zero of one over n is indeed infinity. But a limit and an actual calculation are not the same thing. You cannot divide a number by a number and get a non-number (infinity is not a number).

Myth: Division by zero causes a computer to crash.

Nope. All it will do is cause a program to continue running forever. And that’s just a really unsophisticated program. Here’s some Ruby code for a division algorithm:

  quotient = 0
  val = 1.0
  20.times {
    while x > y
      x -= y
      quotient += val
    y /= 10
    val /= 10

This will effectively divide x by y. But if y = 0, it will continue running indefinitely. It won’t crash. Most real programs, though, won’t let you divide by zero. They either return an error, or return Not A Number.

Why can’t we divide by zero?

Let’s think of this geometrically.

How do you divide three by five? Like this: You have three pizzas and five people. How many pizzas does each person get? Well, three fifths. What if you have zero pizzas and five people? Each person gets zero pizzas: 0 divided by 5 equals 0. But what if you have five pizzas and zero people? How many pizzas does each person get? You could say zero, because no one gets any pizza. Or you could say infinity, since even a tiny fraction of a person would get all the pizza, and zero is like the tiniest fraction of all. But neither of these is really correct.

Here is a mathematical example of why you cannot divide by zero.
x = 1 / 0
Using simple algebra, we can multiply both sides by 0.
x * 0 = 1
We know that anything multiplied by zero equals zero. So we can simplify this.
0 = 1
Oh wait. That doesn’t work, does it. When we try to divide by zero, math breaks.

Or take a look at this:
omg division by zero

Plus, everyone knows that when you divide by zero you get over 9000.

What if you try to make division by zero actually work? Well, first, stop trying. You can’t. But secondly, and more importantly, if division by zero results in an actual number, then you will break calculus. Oops. In order to calculate a derivative, division by zero has to be undefined. So go ahead and try to legitimately divide by zero. But don’t blame me when calculus breaks and then we can’t launch missiles and stuff. And then the commies win.

For example, you want to take the derivative of y = x squared, instead of getting a nice pretty y = 2x, you get a completely crazy graph that makes no sense. Not good.

And that’s why you can’t divide by zero, kids.

Posted in Math | 4 Comments »

What were you thinking?

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 19, 2009

If you search “My dog ate” in Google, Google Suggest has some interesting results:

My dog ate a condom

What kind of kinky stuff were you doing, exactly?!

Let’s look at some other Google Suggests.

I ate … a toothpick.

Why? Just why?

I am … extremely terrified of Chinese people.

I married … a monster from outer space / a witch / a communist.

Help, I … need money.

I love the internet.

Posted in Humor | 3 Comments »

Meme Party 2

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 17, 2009

First read part 1.

1. OVER 9000 AN HEROS!!!!!
2. ???
3. Yo Meme Party, I’m really happy for you and ima let you finish, but Wikipedia had one of the best meme compilations of all time!

Posted in Humor | 1 Comment »

Oooh, shiny!

Posted by Michael Dickens on September 16, 2009

Firefox has a smart web browser. If I type a word into the URL box, it looks it up on (my favorite dictionary!) If I type in some other phrase, it looks it up on Wikipedia. And if the Wikipedia page doesn’t exist, it Google searches it. Smart.

Posted in Computer Science | Leave a Comment »

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