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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

An Argument I Won

So I bought a cigar the other day and said to my friend, "This thing will smoke all year."

My friend says, "That's a little bit of an overstatement."

"Not really."

"Not really?" she says, incredulous.

Then I started thinking about it. How much of an overstatement was it?

So the cigar ended up smoking for say about an hour, so the way I see it, I was off by a factor of 8,760. An error on the fourth order of magnitude is a pretty egregious error.

But then let's examine what the question really is about, here. She says it's a "little bit" of an overstatement, a statement to which I disagreed. So the question is whether my estimation of the cigar's smoking time was accurate to the yardstick of some mysterious "bit" in its small variety.

I can quantify my statement with perfect accuracy, as I have just demonstrated. This "bit" here, however, is rather vague.

"How much is a bit?" I ask.

"I don't know," she says.

Since she could not quantify her statement in any way and yet still avers an assumption of some quantity, it was clear that what she was saying was nonsense.

I win.

Comments on An Argument I Won
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Thursday, June 16, 2005 2:56:00 PM
it's negotiable whether or not you were the victor, but to the "loser" went the spoils ;)
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Friday, June 17, 2005 12:21:00 AM
This sort of information should be banned from the internet. Nobody cares. This is a real stretch for content.

Sigh.

-Lee
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Friday, June 17, 2005 10:43:00 AM
You are truly a horrendous person. I am now dumber for having read this post.
May God have mercy on your soul.
  Comment from Blogger Red Bull at Friday, June 17, 2005 3:22:00 PM
It's amazing that there seems to be such a lack of appreciation for the finer points of semantics nowadays.
  Comment from Anonymous Karl Rove at Friday, June 17, 2005 5:51:00 PM
Dear Mr. Bull

We are very impressed by your verbiage. You are just the sort of man we like to have on our side. Give me a call.

Karl Rove

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.