Random Early Morning Idea

There’s no such thing as “flat.”  We call things flat because they appear to have no depth, but everything has depth, otherwise it couldn’t physically exist.  Everything, no matter how seemingly “flat,” has three dimensions.

Consider a sheet of paper.  Flat, right?  Nope.  It’s depth might be microscopic, but it’s there.  How can we tell that something has depth?  Easy: something has to be separating the front side from the back side.  If there are two sides, there must be something between them, some point at which one ends and the other begins.  Therefore, a piece of paper does have some tangible thickness in its edge.

So if anything that has two sides must be three dimensional, conceivably, any truly flat object–any truly two dimensional object–would have to be transparent from behind.  No depth means no back side allowed.

8 comments on “Random Early Morning Idea

  1. I could be wrong but I always thought “flat” had more to do with the objects surface, rather than it’s depth. And why are you thinking of such things at 5:20am?

  2. Heather, if it helps explain anything, I’m on some pretty strong antibiotics prescriptions right now.

    I also want everybody to know that while writing a post that includes the words “two dimensional,” “flat,” and “no depth,” I was sorely temped to make one of my Paris Hilton jokes. For once, I took the high road.

  3. You know, as long as my “to read” list is, sometimes a timely endorsement can push a title up to the top. I just put Flatland on my hold list at the library, and I’ll gladly report back here as soon as I’m done. Thanks!

    This silly little post has now already generated more of a response in just a few hours than most of my serious, ambitious posts do, ever. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  4. This silly little post has now already generated more of a response in just a few hours than most of my serious, ambitious posts do, ever. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    I read most of your posts, even if I don’t comment often, for what it is worth :)

  5. Flatland is amazing. The sequel Sphereland by Dionys Burger isn’t as charming (the story in both is dumb, but somehow it seems more innocently inoffensive in Flatland) and gives you more opportunities to visualize geometry in one more dimension.

    I read you regularly, too, but seldom comment. I link to you from time to time, and you’re on the very short and selective blogroll at Keepa. Your education and arts posts are my favorites. I don’t know any other bloggers who cover the topics you do, and very few who write as well.

  6. Ardis, I take it you got the check I sent. : )

    As my quote in the heading indicates, I like the idea of a wide variety of things being lumped together–I always have. One of the working titles for this blog as I started was “Universe City.” I realize that some readers must be turned off when they come for education or politics or humor or religion, and then see a majority of stuff that has nothing to do with their interest, but my hope is that people will see something new in addition to their niche topic and develop the kind of love I have for everything from The Simpsons to classical music, to finding historical parallels for current events, to trying foreign food, to studying the scriptures, to finding better ways to teach, to romance with my wife, to word games and cartoons and news and more.

    “Gently Hew Stone: Come for the souvlaki, stay for the calm cerebral numbing incident to sensory overload.”

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