#### BELIEVE   ME   NOT!    - -     A   SKEPTIC's   GUIDE

... guesses.3.1
This seems to be holding up progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, where people trying to teach computers to understand "natural language" (human speech) are stymied by the impossibility of reaching a unique logical interpretation of a typical sentence. Methinks they are trying too hard.
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
... times.3.2
This is only the latest in a long sequence of redefinitions of the meter. Today's version reflects our recognition of the speed of light as a universal constant. (Here is a trick question for you: if the speed of light were different in one time and place from another, how could we tell?)
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
... IV.3.3
This is a recurring problem in science fiction novels: will our descendents on other planets use a "local" definition of years, [months,] days, hours and minutes or try to stick with an Earth calendar despite the fact that it would mean the local sun would come up at a different time every day? Worse yet, how will a far-flung Galactic Empire reckon dates, especially considering the conditions imposed by Relativity? [The Star Trek solution is, of course, to ignore the laws of physics entirely.]
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
... light.3.4
Inasmuch as a ns is a roughly "person-sized" distance unit, it could actually be used rather effectively in place of feet and meters, which would get rid of at least one arbitrary unit. Oh well.
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
... characters3.5
The wider availability of nice typesetting languages like LATEX, in which this manuscript is being prepared, offers us the opportunity to add new symbols like , and , but this won't change the qualitative situation.
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
... lot.3.6
(You will want to refer to these occasionally when trying to guess what I am trying to say with formulae. Don't worry if some are incomprehensible initially; for completeness, the list includes lots of "advanced" stuff.)
```.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
```
Jess H. Brewer
1998-09-04