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CHAT Achilles & the tortoise (was: Two questions about Esperanto)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 5:19
On Monday, July 12, 2004, at 02:10 , John Cowan wrote:

> Ray Brown scripsit: > >> I agree on both accounts. But, Andreas, never fear! Hell will have frozen >> over, the Greeks will have found their Calends and Achilles will have >> caught up with that pesky tortoise before these things come to pass ;) > > As Lewis Carroll himself tortoise, Achilles in fact catches the beast > in 11 1/9 meters (or whatever ancient Greek measure of length you prefer) > .
They used 'feet' (podes); 6 feet = 1 fathom (orgyia). 100 ft = 1 plethron; 100 fathoms _or_ 6 plethra = 1 stade (stadion) I have no doubt that the length of feet varied in different cities :) Do I assume 11 1/9 metres is correct if the tortoise had a 10 metre headstart? The usual distance given here is 100 yards, but as the ancient Greeks didn't measure in yards (or metres), neither can be correct. I suspect Zeno put the tortoise one stade ahead (more like 200 yards); the running tracks at Delphi, Olympia etc were one stade long (hence our 'stadium' <-- stadion). But, whatever the distance, Lewis Carroll cheated - he used common sense. My Achilles is bound by Zeno's paradox and is busily dividing up the distance (11 1/9 metres or whatever) indefinitely. But even if Achilles realizes this is stupid & decides to chuck it all in and overtake the darned tortoise, there are two other conditions given above. The three conditions are ANDed together and, as we all know, all three need to be true. Hell still has to freeze over & the Greeks still have to find their Calends ;) Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


John Cowan <cowan@...>