Author Topic: EP290: Tom the Universe  (Read 13964 times)

Max e^{i pi}

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2011, 02:17:27 AM »
I did enjoy this story, despite the narrator missing the negation of the exponents as noted upthread.  The end left me wondering, though- if Tom was simultaneously extant throughout the entire space-time continuum of his universe, why could he not have simply averted the second asteroid earlier?  I got the impression that he was constantly fiddling with things at earlier points in the Tomverse timeline to make things just so, in order to recreate the universe he came from (meteoroids notwithstanding).  But then again, perhaps Tom wasn't bright enough for this to occur to him, no matter his protestations to having the computational power needed to recreate and simulate Universe Prime.

Time for him still flows for him in one direction (for some reason). All the manipulations he did he was doing in "real time".
At least, I think he was. Because that's the only explanation for why he didn't stop the meteorites.
On the other hand, he constantly talks about working on things for billions and billions of years. The universe is only ~14 billion years old (according to one theory. I seem to recall a recent paper bringing evidence that the universe is even older than that, but we're still talking less than 30 billion) so he must have been doing something wonky with time.
I dunno, that didn't bother me. Neither did the missing decimal point in the seconds. I caught on to that immediately and simply crossed it off as a typo.
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matweller

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2011, 08:04:55 AM »
I dunno, that didn't bother me. Neither did the missing decimal point in the seconds. I caught on to that immediately and simply crossed it off as a typo.

No, the author typed it right, I just flubbed it. My only defense is that I am about 15 years past my last need to use scientific notation (although I do remember the PIN to my kids' daycare because it's reminiscent of Avogadro's number), and that scientific notation looks a lot different in paragraph form than it does in an equation (like sometimes you will see fractions like 'three and a half" expressed as 3-1/2, not because of subtraction but because without superscript 3 1/2 can sometimes look as much like 'thirty one divided by two' as it does the intended fraction).

All that aside, I just wanted to say 'sorry.' I do try to be accurate with such things when reading them for an audience since I know how important it is to some people.

Max e^{i pi}

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2011, 08:22:56 AM »
I dunno, that didn't bother me. Neither did the missing decimal point in the seconds. I caught on to that immediately and simply crossed it off as a typo.

No, the author typed it right, I just flubbed it. My only defense is that I am about 15 years past my last need to use scientific notation (although I do remember the PIN to my kids' daycare because it's reminiscent of Avogadro's number), and that scientific notation looks a lot different in paragraph form than it does in an equation (like sometimes you will see fractions like 'three and a half" expressed as 3-1/2, not because of subtraction but because without superscript 3 1/2 can sometimes look as much like 'thirty one divided by two' as it does the intended fraction).

All that aside, I just wanted to say 'sorry.' I do try to be accurate with such things when reading them for an audience since I know how important it is to some people.

So... what does one call the audio version of a typo? Because that's clearly what this was. Perfectly understandable.
Otherwise the reading was great.
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Swamp

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2011, 09:36:10 AM »
I dunno, that didn't bother me. Neither did the missing decimal point in the seconds. I caught on to that immediately and simply crossed it off as a typo.

No, the author typed it right, I just flubbed it. My only defense is that I am about 15 years past my last need to use scientific notation (although I do remember the PIN to my kids' daycare because it's reminiscent of Avogadro's number), and that scientific notation looks a lot different in paragraph form than it does in an equation (like sometimes you will see fractions like 'three and a half" expressed as 3-1/2, not because of subtraction but because without superscript 3 1/2 can sometimes look as much like 'thirty one divided by two' as it does the intended fraction).

All that aside, I just wanted to say 'sorry.' I do try to be accurate with such things when reading them for an audience since I know how important it is to some people.

So... what does one call the audio version of a typo? Because that's clearly what this was. Perfectly understandable.
Otherwise the reading was great.

The technical term is "flub", I believe.
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Wilson Fowlie

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2011, 05:36:42 PM »
So... what does one call the audio version of a typo?
The technical term is "flub", I believe.

Why can't it be a 'talk-o'? :)
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matweller

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2011, 07:44:52 AM »
Because then it sounds like you're trying to invoke an extradimensional being... "mi him en tow! Tak!"

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2011, 08:21:43 AM »
So... what does one call the audio version of a typo?
The technical term is "flub", I believe.

Why can't it be a 'talk-o'? :)

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Swamp

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2011, 10:17:05 AM »
So... what does one call the audio version of a typo?
The technical term is "flub", I believe.

Why can't it be a 'talk-o'? :)

Talk-o Behl?

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ElectricPaladin

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2011, 12:41:46 PM »
Conceptually, this story amused me. In terms of plot and character, I found it a little annoying. The main character was so hung up on his ONE TRUE (cheating bitch) LOVE. Oh my Tod, the endless angst of his pitiful existence. If he could get over committing omnicide in a hundred years, how the heck did he manage to not get over her?
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Devoted135

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2011, 02:52:42 PM »
I thought this was a fun story, and a nice change of pace for the week. Lots of little things to nitpick, but others have pretty much covered it, so I will just say that given the confines of Tom's power (i.e. to compute difficult things quickly, not to forsee all possibilities and plan for them), it made sense to me that he was as flawed as he was. I mean, I can look up anything I want on google, but that doesn't make me better at solving interpersonal challenges. :P

Also, I thought yesterday's xkcd was strangely appropriate: http://www.xkcd.com/895/

statisticus

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2011, 06:46:32 AM »

Time for him still flows for him in one direction (for some reason). All the manipulations he did he was doing in "real time".
At least, I think he was. Because that's the only explanation for why he didn't stop the meteorites.
On the other hand, he constantly talks about working on things for billions and billions of years. The universe is only ~14 billion years old (according to one theory. I seem to recall a recent paper bringing evidence that the universe is even older than that, but we're still talking less than 30 billion) so he must have been doing something wonky with time.
I dunno, that didn't bother me. Neither did the missing decimal point in the seconds. I caught on to that immediately and simply crossed it off as a typo.

While I enjoyed this story, and all the "science-y stuff" that others have referred to, this is one of the inconsistencies that bugged me about this story.  It takes him a billion years to move a rock, but in just 14 or so billion years he can reproduce the entire Earth down to the last detail.  Riiight. 

The other glaring inconsistency is the basic premise.  Consciousness, we are told, is made possible by singularities in the brains of all sentient creatures.  BUT, if you hit those singularities with tachyons, they expand into a new universe which will destroy this one.  Somehow, Tom is the first to make that mistake, even though (a) the technology required is only a little further advanced beyond our current (2011) level, and (b) the universe is filled with uncounted multitudes of other sentient species, any of whom might make the same cosmic blunder.

Fortunately for me, I'm a dab hand at the suspension of disbelief ...
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Loz

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2011, 08:35:08 AM »
For me the story was amusing enough to get a pass over some of the inconsistencies in the story, and I suppose we should just be thankful Tom wasn't an emo, although Robert Smith's translation to sainthood would be well deserved.

iamafish

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2011, 08:27:34 AM »
it's sci-fi like this that make me thankful i'm a historian. I can just sit back and say 'ok' to all that science and enjoy the story without worrying about whether any of it makes sense. That being said, i'm certain a meteoroid would do more damage than that if it hit the earth, i mean, it's going pretty damn quick, right? Also wouldn't one that small burn up in the athmosphere anyw- no. shut up. Characters, plot, themes. Ignore the science.

I actually really enjoyed this story. I thought tom's emotional insanity was amusing and well explored. I liked how he was suddenly able to simulate entire universes and work out complex maths, but still couldn't manage to work out basic morality, or forgive some simple mistake for which he could clearly see she was very sorry, for several billion years. I was hoping for a slightly less depressing/unambiguous ending. I'd have liked for Mary's brain to  have expanded into a universe of it's own, offering at least some hint light at the end of the tunnel.

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2011, 11:26:14 AM »
That being said, i'm certain a meteoroid would do more damage than that if it hit the earth, i mean, it's going pretty damn quick, right? Also wouldn't one that small burn up in the atmosphere anyw- no. shut up. Characters, plot, themes. Ignore the science.

The original meteoroid was larger, it became smaller as it disintegrated through the atmosphere.  And the damage done was about right depending on the composition of the object, angle of impact, and speed. There are plenty of examples of meteorites hitting objects and people, the most famous being the Peekskill Meteorite car.
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iamafish

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2011, 05:40:00 PM »


looks like i've learned my thing for the day. Time for bed!

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2011, 08:04:35 PM »
Loved the story! A jealous, emotional being with godlike powers resonated with me particularly, with my judeo Christian education.

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2011, 10:12:03 AM »
While I enjoyed this story, and all the "science-y stuff" that others have referred to, this is one of the inconsistencies that bugged me about this story.  It takes him a billion years to move a rock, but in just 14 or so billion years he can reproduce the entire Earth down to the last detail.  Riiight.

Well, the way I see it, it was relatively easy to form the rules of the universe, since there was nothing there too fight against. But once he had them in place he had the whole universe to push against just to move the rock. And as he said, "I am the weakest of the five cosmic forces." So that didn't bother me at all.
What I didn't understand was why he didn't make the first meteorite destroy the tachyon machine instead, that way he could delay his use of it long enough for Mary, cheating slut that she was, to distract him with that 50 year marriage and three kids he talked about. I mean, really, just because He knew about what had happened doesn't mean he had to take away the only chance his lesser version had of happiness. Thats the only thing I didn't like about the whole story. I liked the science and it even blew my mind when he discovered the branes-inside-brains theory. It was all great. But why did HE have to stop (him) from a life with the girl both Toms wanted so bad?

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2011, 11:13:51 AM »
What I didn't understand was why he didn't make the first meteorite destroy the tachyon machine instead, that way he could delay his use of it long enough for Mary, cheating slut that she was, to distract him with that 50 year marriage and three kids he talked about. I mean, really, just because He knew about what had happened doesn't mean he had to take away the only chance his lesser version had of happiness. Thats the only thing I didn't like about the whole story. I liked the science and it even blew my mind when he discovered the branes-inside-brains theory. It was all great. But why did HE have to stop (him) from a life with the girl both Toms wanted so bad?

Because by the time he'd aimed the asteroids, he hadn't gotten past the emotional level of suicidal despair and revenge.  It wasn't until after that point that he ran the simulation and discovered that Mary would have felt guilty and never cheated again, and that they could have had a happy life together.  At that point he put all his energy on changing the course of her meteor.  Presumably he didn't have the energy to change both...

CryptoMe

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2011, 10:15:37 PM »
Also, if Tom has the power to move tachyons at will because they're so insubstantial, and he had the entire universe's computing power, couldn't he just have been slightly more careful with the direction he was throwing the tachyons so they didn't get into Joey's head?

Actually, if he had the power to move tachyons, why didn't he just divert the ones from the tachyon machine, so that his brain singularity wouldn't expand and destroy the universe mark 2?

Anyway, as many people said, lots of inconsistencies. Regardless, I found this fun!
And I didn't see Tom's final annihilation as dark, since it gave him an end to his pain.

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Re: EP290: Tom the Universe
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2011, 02:12:58 PM »
I guess I saw the ending coming a mile away, but found the story as a whole still amusing. What I am disturbed about is everyone calling Mary a cheating slut, bitch, etc. Ummm...you know...she didn't cheat on her own. Jerry did it too. Why are you all piling on just her?

She did something stupid (and granted, putting back on the purity ring did stink of falsity, but still...), Jerry took himself out of the picture, and she was generally sorry. To be really honest, Tom was enough of a dick that frankly, I was hoping she leave him. Jerry seemed to be much nicer anyway...
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