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Reza Ghiabi

Organizer @ TEDxTehran, TEDxTehran


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"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. " Is it really right?

So I posted this quote as my google statues and my friend had an Idea:
"Unless you don't have a reliable standard to compare that clock with, it is useless to consider this fact that the clock might be right 2 times. Clock is a measurement instrument with which you measure something else, so if you wan't to verify it you need another clock which works 100% correct"
What do you think? Shouldn't we consider that maybe others can be right sometimes? How can we define this "standard" that my friend mentioned?

Topics: philosophy

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  • Jul 6 2013: we don't need another clock to compare the time with, because time is one of the quantities that's defined rather than maintained. similarly, you don't need one thermometer to check another, because a degree is defined as a measure of the triple point of water.

    also i'd argue that the clock can't really be 'right' since it isn't working; it's correct twice a day by luck not by correct function.
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      Jul 6 2013: Thanks Ben but I'm not really sure about the first paragraph. Because sometimes we do need a source to see if the other systems are working correctly or not. That's why they have cesium clocks, etc., so they can compare other devices to them.
      Regarding the second paragraph, is it really luck? Because we can't predict luck but we can definitely predict that when the stopped clock is going to be right. For instance if the hands of the clock shows 8 o'clock and right now the time is 4 o'clock, we can says in exactly 4 hours the stopped clock would be right!
      On the other hand if we assume that it is luck, does it make a difference? Cause at exactly 8 o'clock we can't tell the difference between the stopped clock and other working ones.
      What I'm trying to say is, at certain times or situations even a broken or stopped system can take us to the results and therefore at that moment the system is not broken and working well.
      • Jul 8 2013: re the first paragraph no that's not true, we don't need a clock to get time. the atomic clocks too become out when the earth's rotation shifts, usually as a result for an earthquake very slightly altering the shape of the earth and the time it takes to complete 1 rotation.

        re the second paragraph i see what you mean and it's not completely luck is it. i was thinking along the lines of if say you throw a stick on the ground then twice a day it will be pointing in the same direction as the sun but we couldn't say it was useful for keeping time. it "works" but not really.

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