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Foiling Fate

Fooling fortune with random retarder
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I think I'm not alone in feeling, after a couple of accidents or near accidents, that fate may have it in for me certain days. After being hit by a car or slipping on ice, one might become a little suspicious and more careful on a day when one's luck may have run out. When the person right after you wins the slot machine jackpot, or only you get checked by customs, or a tree limb falls too close for comfort, you might feel a need to dupe destiny, if possible.

This simple yet effective device, the random retarder, might just do that. A small box with a button on top houses a digital timer with a random outcome between say 0 and 60 seconds. Every morning, one should press the button and then do nothing, staying still without constructive thinking, until it rings. Thus, one starts doing everything the same that day but a little later.

If life were predetermined, I wouldn't think a random retarder would make a difference, being part of the plan, but the market of unlucky believers should be huge.

FarmerJohn, Nov 22 2002

Miss Cleo http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/11/ars.htm
As a TV psychic, you'd think she'd have seen this coming [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       One can leave a hearing aid off for this very porpoise - won't hear ring...
thumbwax, Nov 22 2002
  

       "He would have escaped unscathed had he not been waiting for that damn box to ring..."
st3f, Nov 22 2002
  

       This is on a par with taking your own bomb onto an airplane, or having a bullet with your name on it.
angel, Nov 22 2002
  

       Great, if only for the "there's one born every minute" element. Imagine the late night tv commercials for this thing, complete with blandly attractive host and hostess, testimonials from people who narrowly avoided death or injury (or found money or met their husband), some academic spouting jargon to enhance the thing's credibility, etc.   

       {Waugs]: Did you find how the hotcakes market is doing? I think this thing could do at least as well.
snarfyguy, Nov 22 2002
  

       Everything that can happen/ did happen/ will happen/ is happening simultaniously.
There is both fate and free will, because all posibilities are infinite,
You could press the button, delaying your days activities and win the lottery. While an alternate "you" does the same and gets hit by a bus.
You never know.
  

       I agree with st3f: fate would take that gizmo into account (if you believe in fate as an active force).
herilane, Nov 22 2002
  

       //Imagine the late night tv commercials//
I think we could get "Miss Cleo" to do the endorsement, I hear she is suddenly unemployed. (See link).
krelnik, Nov 22 2002
  

       Wouldn't you risk being sued by people who used the device then *still* got not-quite-fatally injured?   

       Following on from this, there might be societal consequences. Perhaps it would encourage people to take more risks, considering themselves to be protected by this machine.
Loris, Nov 22 2002
  

       Ah, you just put a disclaimer in the small print. Or an incredily fast speaker on the tv commercial: "This product is not guaranteed to alter your fate or fortune or fundamentally change the cosmos to reflect any awareness of you at all. All results are purely subjective."
snarfyguy, Nov 22 2002
  

       I believe in fate, not that it is controlled or that there is a big plan, but that all events will occur in only one way. From the start of time, if that was the big bang, there was a long train of events from galaxy formation to human actions that would be repeated exactly upon a new identical start. We think we are free agents, but our decisions are based on nature and nurture, the brains we’ve developed loaded with learning and memories, reacting with our environment. A second time, choosing under the same circumstances, we would make the same decisions and act identically in time. With enough knowledge, data and calculating power one could predict future free-will actions.
FarmerJohn, Nov 22 2002
  

       "big enough spreadsheet" ...or spreadsheets, "plural", of the same magnitude, all connected by "strings", at least in theory.   

       (In reality, my comment isn't meant to discount but expand on the analogy.)   

       The analogies of some of the previous posters hold true in theoretical physics and describes a point of view I share also. [FarmerJohn] If your device could "read" the mean "signature phase" of the past X amount of time, determined by the inquirer, perhaps it could then postulate several desirable "phase signatures" to be assimilated by the inquirer during a meditative period. Something along the lines of "biofeedback" but with different technology applied of course.   

       I see Fate as the existence of probability for any "outcome" to any circumstance in any dimension. (obviously here, I'm describing relative events not yet realized as a goemetry of fractals) Free Will, "signature phase?", as the willingness, or lack of, to internally accommodate a "probability" or a "trend of probabilities of the former" which then determines the actualization of said "trends in possibilities" in a given dimension.
_Mowgli_, Nov 22 2002
  

       As often as not, this would have the branch hit you instead of missing! But you'd get rich. . .
my-nep, Nov 05 2003
  

       So... if you used two of these devices when you woke up you'd have to choose which one to use?
weedy, Nov 05 2003
  

       I'd have bunned this sooner but my random retarder was malfunctioning (or was it?).
oxen crossing, Jan 26 2004
  

       Life's a lot more fun if you disregard fate.   

       Of course, without it, you can't blame anything or anyone when you screw up.
WordUp, Apr 25 2004
  

       So you press a button and wait. Like at a street crossing, where there’s a button on a pole that probably isn’t connected to anything, but it makes you feel better anyway, because you’re doing something. You press it, and wait. You press it again, several times, and wait some more. Traffic is heavy. Someone else comes up and you say, “I’ve already pressed it,” but they press it too, just to be sure.

Yes...I think I like it. That way, if there’s no button on the pole, you could take this thing out of your pocket and press it.

Some years ago, when I designed textile equipment, I would always put in a management button on the control screen. It would say something like: optimize. In one plant, the area manager would come by every day and push it. He was religious about it. Then he would leave and wouldn’t be seen again until the next morning. If I had FJ’s smarts, I would have given the manager a remote, with a single button, with the legend: optimize. He’d press it, and a red light would come on for a random time.

Yes, I like it, and so I press the vote-for button next to the idea. It doesn't really do anything either, but FJ sees it, and he is content.

ldischler, Apr 25 2004
  

       If anyone knows a good site about quantum mechanics could they mail it to me please. I've grasped some of the basics, but I'm sure you're all aware that it has many challenging and interesting facets.
weedy, Nov 11 2004
  

       I oversleep by a random amount every morning. Every car misses me for the rest of the day. [+]
wagster, Nov 11 2004
  

       Yes: to get up.
wagster, Nov 12 2004
  
      
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