Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How Many Elephants Are In This Room?

Had a really fun conversation with Josh (9y) this morning.

He's wearing a shirt that says " i^2 I keep it real " and we got to talking about why i is an imaginary number.

Then he asked me what 1 minus 2 was. I said negative 1. He said, no, negative 2, because there's no such thing as zero. We talked about that for a while and I asked him, "Okay, how many elephants are in this room right now?"

He looked for a minute as if I'd stumped him and forced him to say zero, but then said, "Well how can we know if some dead elephant skin cells haven't floated into this room? Or if the atoms making the things in here weren't once the atoms of an elephant?"

We briefly touched on the questions of what it means to be anything, how many parts of an elephant would need to be in the room before you considered one elephant to be there, and other philosophical things of that nature.

I love having these conversations with him. I especially love that he's willing and able to think about things in a totally unconventional way, and that he's alright with entertaining ideas even if they're a little out there.

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