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Explaining Left and Right to an Alien...

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mckeonj
938295.  Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:46 am Reply with quote

.....turning around what?
Oh, yes, I remember, "wheels within wheels" and all that.

 
Posital
938364.  Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:29 pm Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
oh, BTW if an excess of left-handed turning galaxies is shown to exist thru the universe, that would imply that the whole universe has an angular momentum and must be turning.
Angular momentum doesn't quite add up like that - unless it's around the same axis. Consider two tops bashing into each other...

 
gruff5
938482.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:35 am Reply with quote

Yes, you're right, since our universe, as currently conceived, doesn't have a centre (so, no axis) it can't rotate in that way.

I don't know what Kurt Godel had in mind - perhaps ideas about the universe weren't sufficiently developed in his day?

The New Sci article did say that an excess of turning galaxies would add up to a turning or angular momentum (I forget the exact phrasing) for the universe as a whole, though.

 
jgharston
1063728.  Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:39 pm Reply with quote

Watching this episode just now on Dave, I'm sure I saw an Open University episode in the 1980s showing that you *could* explain left and right to an alien as there are certain fundamental subatomic properties that are asymetrical. (I'm sure I remember it had an animated stereotypical alien with antenna and a trumpet-shaped nose.)

 
Efros
1063729.  Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:43 pm Reply with quote

Well there is up and down spin electrons I suppose that could be made into left and right spin.

 
gruff5
1063793.  Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:33 pm Reply with quote

Not "up" and "down" in the way we understand it, though. And not spin in the normal sense, either!

 
Pyriform
1063921.  Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:39 am Reply with quote

jgharston wrote:
Watching this episode just now on Dave, I'm sure I saw an Open University episode in the 1980s showing that you *could* explain left and right to an alien as there are certain fundamental subatomic properties that are asymetrical. (I'm sure I remember it had an animated stereotypical alien with antenna and a trumpet-shaped nose.)

Yes, I saw what I assume was the same programme (and I think I have mentioned it on these boards). It featured a scenario where we were communicating with aliens and explained the difference between left and right by the decay of K0 mesons (IIRC). There then followed a space walk, where an astronaut met the alien, which held out its left hand to shake hands, and when they touched the astronaut there was an explosion, because the aliens came from an anti-matter star system, and had been studying the decay of anti-K0 mesons.

 
Gladfly
1096795.  Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:59 pm Reply with quote

ok so im assuming these aliens have at least three digits (an outer digit being opposable), for grasping and whatnot. i also assume these aliens have an idea of the behavior of magnetic fields/motors/conduction (they build themselves a radio).

wouldn't you be able to walk them through Fleming's Right Hand Rule for Motors?

 
gruff5
1097099.  Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:46 pm Reply with quote

I think the RHR was mentioned before as a solution, but it didn't help for some reason (something to do with the directional symmetry of the arrows in the rule).

 
Humming Bird
1108652.  Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:28 am Reply with quote

One possible solution would be to send an argand diagram.
Using the +ve x,+ve y quadrant for upper right, the +ve x,-ve y quadrant for lower right. For a left wise definition the +ve y, -ve x quadrant for upper left and -ve x, -ve y quadrant for lower left.

Just a thought.

 
'yorz
1108656.  Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:42 am Reply with quote

whoosh

 
Humming Bird
1108884.  Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:03 pm Reply with quote

I just had another idea about how to explain left and right to an alien.
We could send the instructions to build a Rubikís cube (bear with me here).
Instead of coloured faces each face colour would be represented by symbols (since we may not know the light sensitivity range of the alienís ocular organs).
Once complete we inform the alien that our side is the symbol for white and theirs is the yellow symbol side.
We then explain that the blue symbol side is to be set radial further from their planets core than the green symbol side and the same is true for us i.e. blue = top Green = bottom.
We now state that this remains true always.
Now we advise that our right is on the red symbol side and our left is on the orange symbol side. Their left and right is then a mirror of ours and ours is a mirror of theirs.
Additionally front is specified as each participantís home side i.e. white for us yellow for them. Back is then the respective other participants home side.
The cube then becomes a datum from which the description of spatial directions can be based but, not navigational instructions since the observers physical orientation can invert the constant blue Ė green points of reference. For example they could be upside down compared to us. To overcome this, a suitable celestial object such as a pulsar visible to both parties could be used as an external orientation reference indicator.
So there it is a Pulsar and a Rubikís cube. (Bobís your uncle)

 
Alfred E Neuman
1108895.  Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:18 am Reply with quote

How will you instruct them to build the cube?

 
PDR
1108908.  Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:33 am Reply with quote

In broken Chinese english obviously - just like all other assembly instructions.

PDR

 
Humming Bird
1109033.  Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:40 am Reply with quote

In 'IKEA picto-step'might be worth a try; even if its just so we can laugh at their frustration :)

 

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