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Explaining Left and Right to an Alien...

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misericords
892427.  Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:28 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps more surprisingly, I'm also reading that some fishes are asymmetrical insofar as their eyes are both on the same side of the head. The halibut, plaice, and sole have both eyes on the right, while the turbot has both eyes on the left. But it seems that you are essentially right, and there are no chordate animals which are not basically symmetrical.


Thanks Suze, I'd forgotten about flat fish - I shouldn't have, they're tasty ;-)

Not sure if that comment is skating on thin fish...

 
AlmondFacialBar
892428.  Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:53 am Reply with quote

misericords wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps more surprisingly, I'm also reading that some fishes are asymmetrical insofar as their eyes are both on the same side of the head. The halibut, plaice, and sole have both eyes on the right, while the turbot has both eyes on the left. But it seems that you are essentially right, and there are no chordate animals which are not basically symmetrical.


Thanks Suze, I'd forgotten about flat fish - I shouldn't have, they're tasty ;-)

Not sure if that comment is skating on thin fish...


Anyways, besides being tasty they're also still bilateral one way or the other. Flatfish larvae look like any other teleost fish, it's only when they grow up and adapt to life on the sea bottom that their skulls start distorting so both eyes end up on the same side. Mmmmmm... Plaice Finkenwerder...

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
needham
911674.  Fri May 25, 2012 1:16 pm Reply with quote

you can explain left and right ny using a clock for example anti clockwise is left clockwise is right or using the numbers 9 is left and 3 is right


:)

 
misericords
911807.  Sat May 26, 2012 10:39 am Reply with quote

needham wrote:
you can explain left and right ny using a clock for example anti clockwise is left clockwise is right or using the numbers 9 is left and 3 is right


:)


But only if they know what a clock is, we're having to do this without being able to send pictures - If you had a picture it would be very easy, but if you're just describing things it's somewhat harder. Let's assume they know what an analogue clock is, do we know which way round their clocks go - to them, clockwise might be what we think of as anticlockwise.

 
nelch
924370.  Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:23 am Reply with quote

Im not sure if someone has done anything similar before, but this is how i would try.
As a keen surfer, i often check weather charts to see when the next swell is coming in, and this often includes pressure systems. An interesting fact of which is that low pressure systems rotate anti clockwise(left), while high pressure systems rotate clockwise (right).
This is reversed in the southern hemisphere, but only if you consider it from the usual perspective we have of earth (Britain and the US etc on top, Australia et al on the bottom), if you flip the perspectivethen the low pressure, anti-clockwise systems etc holds true.
So you have to link this to magnatism, in the way the aliens view it, as what they call north or south wont matter, just as long as they are looking in the way the magnet points.
Asuming the way pressure systems and magnets work on earth, are the same as those on other planets, its quite easy to explain left and right from there i would imagine.

 
Starfish13
924388.  Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:49 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm reading that the sponges (Porifera) are asymmetrical, although I'm not entirely sure what makes them animals rather than plants in any case.


They are heterotrophs not autotrophs (i.e. unable to fix carbon), multi-cellular, and their cells do not have a cell wall (a tough coating on the outside of the cell membrane, which in plants contains cellulose and in fungi, chitin, for structure and protection etc.).

Quote:
Perhaps more surprisingly, I'm also reading that some fishes are asymmetrical insofar as their eyes are both on the same side of the head. The halibut, plaice, and sole have both eyes on the right, while the turbot has both eyes on the left. But it seems that you are essentially right, and there are no chordate animals which are not basically symmetrical.


Not a chordate I know, but gastropod molluscs (snails etc) are asymmetrical, as a result of the torsion process they undergo in their larval stage. The process is essentially the twisting of the visceral mass, and different to the spiral coiling of the shell in many spacies. As part of the process there is a differentiation of the tissue growth in the left and right sides of the body, such as the reduction or absence of the external breathing organ on one side.

Most shells of gastropod molluscs are spirally-coiled, and thus asymmetric.

 
Jenny
924575.  Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:28 am Reply with quote

Welcome, nelch :-)

 
Kingroyboy
932413.  Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:38 am Reply with quote

Considering constant communication is open, there is no language barrier, and the speed of say light for example is constant where they are it's quite simple yet time consuming. The speed of whatever combined with the passage of time during communication gives a set of linear measurement. From that a prism with all 6 edges being of differing length can be constructed by labelling each point, which will always be the same shape nomatter the difference of time/space measurement for they are proportionately equal. Within that shape can be constructed any 3 dimentional image using points along the prism's labelled edges and the created measurement system. There you go alacazam peanut butter sandwiches you can explain to those silly aliens left form right, map out a star chart for them so they can visit for tea and buiscuts, and ask them how oh how did they achieve interstellar travel in the first place. :)

 
'yorz
932415.  Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:54 am Reply with quote

Can you make a quick visual sketch of whatever you want me to envision, KRB? Mind's already frazzled from trying to imagine, and it's not even 09.00 in the morn.

 
Kingroyboy
932697.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:31 am Reply with quote

Depends, am I talking to an alien now? :)

 
'yorz
932698.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:08 am Reply with quote

Would that matter?

 
Kingroyboy
932732.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:45 am Reply with quote

We're not allowed to use pictures lol, that's the whole point of the conundrum.

 
Kingroyboy
932735.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:18 am Reply with quote

By the way did Steven Fry say on the show that it was impossible or just something to think about? I forget. Because if he said impossible I'd feel REALLY good about myself, I mean he has a brilliant mind ( with an adorable personality and a highly evolved attitude towards the world ).
While the answer is most likely to be "something to think about" please don't tell me, I'd like to enjoy the fantasy that I had a useful thought for a little longer, it feels all nice and fuzzy...

 
Kingroyboy
932793.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:45 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Thatís the point. You canít, semantically there is no explanation for left or right without reference to a physical world that someone can identify. You canít, you canít explain it just by language. That is really the point of the question.

Oh bugger, I thought it was just no pictures, didn't know we couldn't make any reference to the physical world...my bad

 
Kingroyboy
932796.  Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:12 am Reply with quote

Sorry I'm being a pest now, but how to explain a spacial/relation concept without referring at all to space and dimension is just a silly question, like how do you explain using only a cricket ball on a string that you've spent too much time thinking of answers to silly impossible questions rather than doing the dishes, pacifying your partner that demands you do the dishes instead of staring into the space which you can't talk about, how exactly you plan to do the dishes, and that you really would like to just lie down without thinking much about anything in particular after doing the dishes, to, oh let's say an ant. From Romania. With only three legs.

 

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