Things I’ve Learned on Quora

Almost a month ago Quora became somewhat of an obsession. I wrote of Quora with the giddy, naive and glowingly childish enthusiasm of an optimistic fool. First glance promised instant gratification delivered via an untapped source of critical thinkers. Oh man – not so fast notes.

It isn’t Quora’s fault – allowing myself to dabble in places fraught with the perils of unbending logic was an obvious exercise in futility. As with anything we reap what we sow – 3 1/2 weeks, and 100,000 views later – some things I learned on Quora….

First – I’m only human, I like stats, views, and upvotes. Hardly a surprising admission although one that never matters in my wordpress world. Allowing my “knee jerk” rantings to froth corners of better judgement was captivating. WordPress epitomized polite reason – Dr. Jekyll to Quora’s Mr. Hyde. Jeckyll knew better, Mr. Hyde threw caution to the wind.

A week or so in, I posed a question asking why Americans considered freedom of speech license to speak hate. Yikes – I’m either stupid, delusional, or hopelessly Canadian. I knew the answer, fully grasped America’s perspective, understood the fundamental stance of free speech in America, yet couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t understand it would bring 40,000 views, complete with a litany of arguably the most venomous personal attacks imaginable. Bottom line – 99.9% of respondents reacted without an iota of comprehension other cultures might see distribution of hateful propaganda as harmful.

Answering questions proved satisfactory. My answers to why Petra was a wonder of the ancient world, and contribution to a question on the most astounding “tricks” by armies or nations at war kept me out of trouble for a while. This was a place reserved for positive exchange of ideas – a place void of accusations, yet I wasn’t content to behave myself.

I knew better than to respond to preposterous religious stupidity, or ask those same people why they thought Atheists lacked morals or committed more crimes. Several weeks of hating myself for spouting sarcastic jabs finally ended with a self imposed intervention – it’s out of my system, along with sincere vows to be a better person.

A few minutes ago I asked (with in mind) how someone would explain the 4th dimension. That was 15 minutes ago and with nearly 500 views, 6 followers, and 3 answers on the record – I’m back to seeing Quora as it was intended. For anyone curious, the first few “answers”…..

Jens Adler NielsenJens Adler Nielsen, PhD in solid state physicsSuggest Bio

We have 3 spatial dimensions, typically revert to as height, width and depth.The 4th dimension is time.Basically in order to meet somebody you need 4 coordinates or you will miss each other.On earth, these 4 coordinates are typically longitude, latitude, floor and date, but it could be another set of coordinates, however there will always be at least 4 and if there are more, you can reduce them to 4. Hence the universe is 4-dimensional.

Brenton MilneBrenton Milne, electrical engineer

If you want to visualize it, you can try imagining a fourth dimension as colour or brightness, like how you might present four dimensional data in a graph.Think of a point in 3D with x,y,z coordinates, now give it a brightness as the fourth dimension. Extend this to straight lines (interpolate x,y,z,brightness between two points). Imagine how other primitives work, like continuous curvy lines etc.Note that one you try to imagine solids you will find that there are multiple values of the fourth dimension present at each x,y,z location. For solids the movie analogy in the other answers may be more helpful (and more reflective of our universe where our fourth dimension is time)





8 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned on Quora

  1. Ah, yes. I made the mistake once of posting online that religion and science could coexist. I endured hate emails from angry atheists (that I can only assume were unemployed since the emailing was incessant) for days. I get it.

  2. Pingback: Grappling with shadows in the fourth dimension – Genetic Fractals

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