**Moderator:** Flannel Jesus

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Michio Kaku says, at around 3:30 in the video, that he gives his phd students the problem of calculating the probability that they will vanish and wind-up on the planet Mars.

So, can anyone here do that?

What's the probability that anyone here can do that?

Solving it is trivial, but the point is to illustrate that it is possible and the probability is calculable. Since I'm not expecting serious solutions (and wouldn't know how to grade them anyway), random comments are encouraged.

- Serendipper
- Philosopher
**Posts:**1494**Joined:**Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Some possibilities are not worth investing in.

- Urwrongx1000
- Philosopher
**Posts:**1266**Joined:**Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:10 pm

I actually doubt that is calulatable. I mean, 'on mars' would mean on the surface' - not under the surface. Adn also not somewhere on the elliptic of Mars rather than where Mars is right now. Then since from some QM perspective certain statisitically small things can happen, we need to take into account all the possibilities of appearing anywhere in the universe - and we don't know the size of the universe yet. Then there are the possibilities that only portions of you would appear there - your head appears there, unhappily for you, but not your body. Or 65% of your body. Or one atom is missing. These would also be possible or 'possible'. I think this leaves us with just two many possibilities to break down, not even taking into account things like 'what is the percentage possibility that an alien intelligence does this to you?' And then, do we rule out the possibility of what would be called supernatural intervention? Does who one is a person affect the statistics on that question's answer? And so on.

And then how do we weigh in, statisctically, the possibility that 1) we are overestimating our ability to estimate in ways that are not conscious 2) there are factors we are not smart enough to weigh in.

And then how do we weigh in, statisctically, the possibility that 1) we are overestimating our ability to estimate in ways that are not conscious 2) there are factors we are not smart enough to weigh in.

- Karpel Tunnel
- Philosopher
**Posts:**1105**Joined:**Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm

Ultimately, probability is wrong. It can be very wrong. It can be very misleading. It’s possible that the least probable things happen. It’s possible that the most probable things do not happen.

If a person does not desire to disappear and end up on Mars, then instead of calculating the probability that that will occur, it would be better to calculate the probability that a desire he has will be fulfilled. That would be more worthwhile.

Perhaps if Michio Kaku gave more appealing problems, more people would be motivated to work in his field of study. Maybe get sex, power, or money involved.

If a person does not desire to disappear and end up on Mars, then instead of calculating the probability that that will occur, it would be better to calculate the probability that a desire he has will be fulfilled. That would be more worthwhile.

Perhaps if Michio Kaku gave more appealing problems, more people would be motivated to work in his field of study. Maybe get sex, power, or money involved.

Paul E. Mokrzecki

- browser32
**Posts:**218**Joined:**Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:25 am**Location:**Hadley, Massachusetts, United States

browser32 wrote:Ultimately, probability is wrong. It can be very wrong. It can be very misleading. It’s possible that the least probable things happen. It’s possible that the most probable things do not happen.

If a person does not desire to disappear and end up on Mars, then instead of calculating the probability that that will occur, it would be better to calculate the probability that a desire he has will be fulfilled. That would be more worthwhile.

Perhaps if Michio Kaku gave more appealing problems, more people would be motivated to work in his field of study. Maybe get sex, power, or money involved.

Perhaps suggest it to him and see what his reply will be.

- Serendipper
- Philosopher
**Posts:**1494**Joined:**Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I actually doubt that is calulatable. I mean, 'on mars' would mean on the surface' - not under the surface. Adn also not somewhere on the elliptic of Mars rather than where Mars is right now. Then since from some QM perspective certain statisitically small things can happen, we need to take into account all the possibilities of appearing anywhere in the universe - and we don't know the size of the universe yet. Then there are the possibilities that only portions of you would appear there - your head appears there, unhappily for you, but not your body. Or 65% of your body. Or one atom is missing. These would also be possible or 'possible'. I think this leaves us with just two many possibilities to break down, not even taking into account things like 'what is the percentage possibility that an alien intelligence does this to you?' And then, do we rule out the possibility of what would be called supernatural intervention? Does who one is a person affect the statistics on that question's answer? And so on.

And then how do we weigh in, statisctically, the possibility that 1) we are overestimating our ability to estimate in ways that are not conscious 2) there are factors we are not smart enough to weigh in.

Good points! What are the odds that any spontaneous transference would choose Mars as the landing place rather than any other spot in the universe? That alone makes it too complicated to solve.

Then to complicate matters, we'd be required to know how many particles are contained in "you" and the odds that every single one of them would translocate to the same location. What if half went to the sun?

I'm sure there are quantum tunnelings happening all the time, but we only are devoid of one quantum particle and probably regain another particle from somewhere else.

This is really just to show that things aren't as real, tangible, as we think they are. It's possible you could spontaneously fall through the floor if every particle decided to tunnel at the same time, but the odds are infinitesimally small.

It's also possible for heat to flow from the cold to the hot, but exceedingly unlikely. That's mainly to demonstrate that there are no laws as such. Nothing is written in stone; nothing is dictated as from some authority of nature, but rather, things just happen as a function of a probability.

- Serendipper
- Philosopher
**Posts:**1494**Joined:**Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

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