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Measuring Computation in Kurts

Date: 16-Jun-2014/21:23:50-4:00

Tags: , ,

Characters: doctor, me, guy

I was in some kind of red-tinted sandy rocky place with a drop-off...resembling the Grand Canyon. There were some people arguing, and after the argument the people had parted. A dark-skinned man with black facial hair seemingly decided he was going to use his horse to drive the other people's horse off the side of the drop-off. His attempt resulted in him going off the drop-off as well. Looking over the edge, I saw the horse he'd driven off seemed to land gracefully and gallop off, while he and his horse fell over.
Not wanting to stick around and be involved, I decided I'd follow off to where the other people had gone. I navigated over some rocks and wound up mingling with a group of people. There was some brief conversation I don't recall, and then a black man in a doctor's outfit came out and started yelling at everybody.
doctor: (angrily) "All right, all of you. Sit your asses down. You!"
He pointed at me in particular. I sat and looked at him.
doctor: "This is not what I want to be doing with my time, treating criminals. And if you have money then there's $120 plan where I can give you some extra help. But if you don't have money--which most of you do not--we're just going to give you the basics and make it quick."
He had some kind of laminated handout explaining various health services you could get for $120. Becoming lucid, I was curious if I had a wallet and if so what amount of money I had. I found a $50 and a $20 bill in a black wallet.
The doctor approached me with a syringe in his hand that he wanted to stick in my foot. I stopped him.
me: "I'm not sure who you think I am, but I'm not a criminal, and I'm not from here. I am from another place. I'm an engineer; I know some science...Heisenberg uncertainty principle, stuff like that. Most of my knowledge is about computers."
He sat down next to me.
doctor: "Really, then? Well where you are from have they solved this one yet? Imagine you have two machines, different architectures...but both have done calculation measuring to one Kurt of effective computation. Is there anything one architecture could have accomplished that the other could not?"
me: "I'm not familiar with the idea of measuring computation in "Kurts". Is that Kurt as in...Kurt Godel?"
doctor: (excitedly) "Yes, you know him?"
me: "Well I know of him as a mathematician. His main claim to fame is, um, let's see...it's like you can't make a mathematical system that doesn't have some kind of hole in it. Incompleteness. But what you're describing sounds a little like Universal Computation Equivalence; we believe that if a computer's operations meet a certain minimum standard then it can do anything another architecture could. Have you heard of Turing Machines?"
He seemed to get up and walked over into a nearby store, and I thought he was going to get some more people to talk to me. But he didn't come back. I went to follow him and couldn't locate him.
Looking around the store I saw that it was filled wall to wall with Garbage Pail Kids; in stacks on tables and wallpapering the walls. I remarked to someone standing nearby:
me: (laughing) "Well, somehow I've wound up in the parallel universe where Garbage Pail Kids have achieved an enduring popularity."
Leaving that store I navigated around the structure I was in. It seemed to have several basketball courts, and stairways going up and down...yet it was mostly empty. Having passed by a couple of people seemingly shooting hoops by themselves, I decided to try and retrace my path to get back to the Garbage Pail Kids store where everyone had been.
On my way up the stairs I ran into the guy I had spoken to earlier who was descending the stairs.
guy: "So have you figured out if we are alone?"
me: "Well, I saw a few people on the basketball court. Pretty empty down here."
guy: "No, I mean this place you're from. Have you figured out if we're alone, like as in "alone in the universe", or are there alien races?"
me: "That question seems to contain your answer. If I'm here, and there, then what more do you need for there to be 'something else out there'? Do things from interdimensional contact or many-worlds-quantum-interpretations not count? Has to be from 'outer space'?"
guy: "Hmmm. I guess."
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The accounts written here are as true as I can manage. While the words are my own, they are not independent creative works of fiction —in any intentional way. Thus I do not consider the material to be protected by anything, other than that you'd have to be crazy to want to try and use it for genuine purposes (much less disingenuous ones!) But who's to say?