Archive for 2012-04-01

7 paradoxes we bet you can’t solve

Unsolved mystery - Paradoxes are rather loosely defined, but can be said to be a true statement that defies intuition. Some have solutions, some don’t. Here are 7 paradoxes we bet you can’t solve.

1. Free will

Image source - Wikipedia
If God is omnipotent and knows what we will do before he created us, how can we have free will?
ANSWER: This paradox is explained by God being outside of time–he knows the future just like he knows the past and the present. Just as the past does not interfere with our free will, neither does the future.

2. Crocodile Dilemma

Image source - Wikipedia
A crocodile steals a son from his father, and promises to return the child if the father can correctly guess what the crocodile will do. What happens if the father guesses that the child will not be returned to him?
ANSWER: There is no solution. If the crocodile keeps the child, he violates his rule, as the father predicted correctly. If the crocodile returns the child, he still violates his rule as the father’s prediction was wrong.

3. Grandfather paradox

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A man goes back in time, and kills his grandfather before the grandmother can meet his grandmother. This means that one of the man’s parents will not have been born, and the man in turn, will not have been born. This would mean that he could not have traveled back in time after all, which means the grandfather would still be alive, and the traveler would have been conceived allowing him to travel back in time and kill his grandfather.
ANSWER: The moment the time traveler changes something in the past, a parallel universe splits. This is supported by quantum mechanics.

4. Paradox of the heap

Image source - Wikipedia
There are 1,000,000 grains of sand in a heap. If we remove one grain, it is still a heap. If we remove another grain, if it still a heap. If we continue removing one grain at a time, when we’re left with one grain, is that still a heap?
ANSWER: Set a fixed boundary. If we said 10,000 grains of sand made a heap, then anything below it would not be a heap. Yet, it seems unreasonable to distinguish between 9,999 and 10,001 grains of sand. The solution can therefore be altered to say there is a fixed boundary, but they are not necessarily knowable.

5. Omnipotence paradox

Image source - Wikipedia
Can God create something so heavy He cannot lift it? If he can create something so heavy he can’t lift, then his lack of strength means he is not omnipotent. If he can’t create something so heavy he can’t lift, than he is not omnipotent.
ANSWER: The most common response is that as God is omnipotent, “can not lift” does not make sense. Other answers include the question being a contradiction, like a “square circle”.

6. Epimenides paradox

Image source - Wikipedia
Epimenides, in a poem wrote: “The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!” However, Epimenides himself was a Cretan. If Epimenides is a Cretan and a liar, then his statement, “The Cretans, always liars” is a lie. This means all Cretans are truthful, then Epimenides’ statement is the truth. The paradox will infinitely regress.
ANSWER: If Epimenides knew of at least one Cretan (other than himself) who is not a liar, his statement is a lie (because he asserts all) even though it correctly describes the speaker as a liar.

7. Unstoppable force paradox

Image source -
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? If the force moves the object, then it is not unmovable. If the force doesn’t, the force is not unstoppable.
ANSWER: This situation can never happen, as if there is an unstoppable force, there couldn’t be an unmovable object and vice versa. More interestingly, there can never be an unmovable object. An unmovable object would have to have infinite inertia, and therefore infinite mass. Infinite mass cannot exist in our finite universe, therefore an unmovable object cannot exist.

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10 Unsolved Mysteries of Outer Space !!!

Unsolved mystery - At some point in our lives we will all share the same thought: is there more out there than we are aware of? And what if everything we knew – our whole universe – was just a speck of dust in comparison to the endless possibilities that remain untouched in outer space? The thoughts are mind-boggling and always lead to more questions: can we really believe that we are alone in this universe? Are the government’s withholding information from us? Are there other realms? Will we ever discover the answers to these mysteries? Here are ten unsolved mysteries and conspiracy theories from outer space.

1. Multiverse (Parallel Universes)

Image source - astroweb
Multiverse, or meta-universe, is the hypothetical notion of several univeres in space including our own. The term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. The idea is that the multi universes work together to make everything we know exist: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. Many scientists dismiss this idea as mere speculation. Humans are unlikely to ever discover whether this is true as they only way to find out would be to travel through the multiple universes.

2. Portals Connecting Universes

Image source - visionsmagazineonline
A study has been conducted into this theory, which began by focusing on quantum teleportation. This is deemed to be successful in relocating the ‘quantum state’ of smaller objects across spatial distances but did not succeed in replicating the original object which was destroyed in the process. This means that the new object at the destination has the ‘quantum state’ or essence of the ‘original object’ but is reconstituted with a new set of atoms, molecules, etc. Q-Teleportation (as it is known) has been successful on smaller objects according to the study.

3. Earth and Mars were once One Entity

Image source - treehugger
The colonisation of Mars by humans is a rumour as well as a case of serious study. Why so? Because the surface conditions and availability of water on Mars make it arguably the most hospitable planet in the solar system other than Earth. Conspiracy theorists over the years have long debated that life exists on the planet and that NASA are covering up the truth. A lot of photos have also called into question civilization on Mars, such as the face on Mars, Pyramids on Mars, and even a recent picture of what appears to be an ape like figure sitting on a rock on Mars! While most scientists lambast these pictures as hoaxes others claim that Mars was once attached to Earth and life forms remained on Mars when the two planets seperated.

4. Dark Energy

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Dark energy is believed to be the biggest mystery of our universe. In physical cosmology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. By the law of gravity, large objects, like galaxy clusters, should attract each other, and their gravitational pull should pull in other objects. This however, is not the case, and the fact is most galaxy clusters are moving farther apart. The best explanation for this is dark energy. It is believed that 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe is made up of dark energy. The exact nature of dark energy is speculation but what is known is that it does not interact with any other forces apart from gravity.

5. Dark Matter

Image source - symmetrymagazine
Albert Einstein’s equation E = MC^2 is perhaps the best known equation of the century. When this is applied to space though to determine how much matter the universe should have, only 4% of matter is found! So where is the rest of it you ask? In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is a theoretical form of matter that is undetectable by its emitted radiation, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. Dark matter and dark energy are therefore believed to account for the majority of the mass in the observable universe.

6. Extraterrestrial Life

Image source - telegraph
There are many theories behind extraterrestrial life. One such theory is that it may have emerged, independently, from different places in the universe, while an alternative suggestion is panspermia or exogenesis, which means life began in one location and then spread to other habitable planets. Extraterrestrial life has a number of meanings as well; from simple forms of bacteria to sapient beings more advanced than humans. Two of the most original sightings of UFOs came from the 60s; one from an astronaught, Major Gordon Cooper, whose sighting of a solid, glowing, greenish object ahead of him was picked up by the tracking station back on Earth and the second sighting coming from a NASA pilot, Joseph Walker, who filmed five or six UFOs during his record breaking fifty-mile-high flight in April, 1962. NASA never comment though, preferring to brush such occasions under the rug which only adds fuel to the mystery.

7. Sounds from Outer Space

Image source - eknori
Sound waves were detected by Cassini’s radio wave and plasma science instrument (RPWS) on December 8, 2000, at a distance of about 23 million kilometers (14 million miles) from Jupiter. The eerie sounds that were picked up are likely to have derived from an interaction of the magnetic field that surrounds Jupiter and the solar wind of particles speeding away from the Sun. There is speculation that the sounds could be those of exploding stars but this is highly unlikely as dark matter is too dense for sound waves to travel through. Another logical explanation that uncovers the truth or keeps it hidden?

8. Ruins on the Moon

Image source - cleveland.indymedia
Sergeant Karl Wolfe has explained how he came to bear witness of unidentified shapes which resemble towers and even half-a-mile in size structures on the moon. Whilst in a private area of the Langley Air Force Base a colleague showed him pictures of the moon which revealed a mysterious base as well as the mysterious structures. Before they were to be released to the public though they were to be airbrushed out. Watch the video of Karl Wolfe below to listen to his explanation and see the images that were smudged out by NASA.

9. Super Earth

Image source - crystalinks
Since the turn of the century hundreds of new solar planets have been discovered orbiting distant stars, much like our own sun. Some of these planets are described as Earth-like, such as Gliese 581d, a planet believed to have liquid water on its surface. Because of its mass, which is 7 and 14 times that of Earth’s, it has been categorised as a Super Earth. In late April 2009, new observations by the original discovery team concluded that the planet is within the habitable zone and therefore life could exist. Another theory though says Gliese 581 d is probably too massive to be made only of rocky material, but it is speculated that it is an icy planet that is migrating closer to a dying star making it of no benefit to humans.

10. Simulacrum in Eagle Nebula M16 and SSC2005-23A Nebula

Image source - gamyhan
Yes its full name is a mouthful and would take a week to pronounce in its entirety so we’ll refer to it as Eagle Nebula as everyone does! The Eagle Nebula is a cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, which was discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. It was given its name because its shape is resemblant to that of an eagle. When this close-up image of the Eagle Nebula star-forming gas and dust pillars was shown to the world on CNN on Thursday November 2 1995 (taken by the Hubble Space Telescope), the phone lines went crazy with hundreds of people claiming to see a face in the star cloud. Scientist have not been able to explain this phenomena. Can you see it?

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