Anyone who crochets and uses multicolored yarn knows about initial conditions.
In my photograph, the coaster on the left is the first one I made. The one in the middle is the second. They both have a relatively small amount of white in the bottom right hand corner. Then there is the third one in process. Ton of white in the bottom of it.
I did not make anything else with this particular yarn in between the second and third coasters. Each one began with the same number of chains. I used the same size crochet hook for each coaster. So what gives? It’s a matter of where in the pattern of dyes that the coaster was begun. Initial conditions.
It also, to me, points up the essential problem with statistics. Seeing how the first two coasters turned out, one could assume that the third one would turn out similarly. Just like finding out your orange cat is not a male, but is actually a female. Something like 80% of all orange cats are males. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that 80% of the time any orange cat you encounter will be male. I have a tendency to turn on my skeptical circuit when people start using statistics as proof of anything.
So, back to my starting point, consider boiling a pot of water. You could define the amount you are going to boil (say one quart). You could stipulate its beginning temperature (say 67 degrees Fahrenheit). And you could set the amount of heat that you will be applying (you’ve set your electric cooking element on “Hi”) and from there you should be able to determine the amount of time it will require to bring that water to a rolling boil (assuming you’ve defined just what a “rolling boil” is).
But … have you taken into account the elevation at which you are attempting to boil your water? Have you considered the size and shape of the vessel in which you are boiling your water? The number of variables that must be taken into account can be staggering.
Physicists look at initial conditions this way: An initial condition is a starting value of a variable that affects the evolution of a dynamic system. For example, the movement of an object will depend on where it has been set into motion relative to its position at that time. And you might think that sums it up fairly well. But how well have you defined the starting position of the object?
Pretty much everything in life is a dynamic system.
Initial conditions play a role in every aspect of our lives, but it’s not something we think about on a daily basis. Maybe we should.
Or maybe I’m just way too obsessive about some things.
And that’s my thought for the day.
Courtesy of A-Z Quotes