Am I infinitely tall?
July 28, 2010 6:44 AM Subscribe
The British coast has infinite length. Doesn't everything?
posted by devnull to education (40 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I was watching a BBC documentary about the coast of Britain. They showed that the length of the rule you use to measure the coast changed the measured length of the coast.
For example, measuring with a 2 m rule would give a coast length which is a lot shorter than if you measured with a 50 cm rule, since the shorter rule could get into many of the nooks and crannies and follow the coast line much more accurately.
In summarising, they brought in fractal mathematics, and explained that they could always choose a shorter rule, and this essentially meant that the length of the British coast is infinite.
Which got me thinking. Presumably I am also infinitely tall, since you could always choose a more accurate way of measuring my height.
What am I missing here? What is the difference between the two cases?