Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know
November 25, 2017 12:26 AM   Subscribe

 
One. Source: my MS in math with a concentration in topology/knot theory.
posted by augustimagination at 12:31 AM on November 25 [59 favorites]


The conflict in the conversation is actually really interesting, because the one hole person is (entirely understandably) struggling to fully justify a significant proposition about the world in the face of reasonable objections. It's lighthearted, but it's also a good condensed example of why philosophy can be fun and interesting.

The crux of the video, for me, is that, while the guy arguing for one hole is offering what I think is ultimately the "correct" (or at least most formally accurate) description, he sometimes gets the worst of the argument. In particular, this highlights how counterintuitive topologically accurate statements can be - the only answer about the vase, consistent with "a tube has one hole" is that a vase has no holes. Which is problematic in light of the fact that we regularly refer to all sorts of things as having holes without them being toruses. A hole in the ground, from a topological perspective, isn't a hole at all. Which highlights the importance of defining your terms, including to yourself.

Not really sure why Digg has described them as "bros" though. Seems a bit disparaging when they've gone to the effort of making a fun video.
posted by howfar at 12:58 AM on November 25 [34 favorites]


I was convinced by the 'if you put a hole in the side of a straw, how many holes is that?' angle. It's obviously three, because all holes are created equal, so removing one leaves two. Or, topologically, if you morph a stretchy straw so that it is ball shaped with two holes in it, everyone would agree that it's got two holes.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:01 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


One for the generic philosophy answer, I think.

It depends what you mean by [‘hole’].
posted by Segundus at 1:12 AM on November 25 [13 favorites]


I love this. Before I started watching the video, I was like “What? How could this be anything but two!??” Then I immediately switched.

Now I’m trying to decide what happens if you slice a bagel, toast one side and put it back together, is that still one hole or two? Because I could describe both sides of the hole(s) differently than I did before I sliced it. But the hole itself (the empty space) is still the same.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:14 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


One hole, two hole entrances.
posted by tickingclock at 1:34 AM on November 25 [28 favorites]


Video is great and a legitimately interesting question for a young student of topology/philosophy. Topologically a vase has no holes and a straw has one. A vase is topologically equivalent to a plate and a doughnut is topologically equivalent to a coffee cup which is also equivalent to a straw. Equivalence basically means one shape can be bent/stretched/deformed into another shape without making any tears or cuts.
posted by forgettable at 1:38 AM on November 25 [12 favorites]


A vase is topologically equivalent to a plate and a doughnut is topologically equivalent to a coffee cup which is also equivalent to a straw.

Your coffee cup has a hole in it?
posted by eye of newt at 1:42 AM on November 25 [14 favorites]


eye of newt,

The handle is the hole. The liquid storing part is topological misdirection :)

Perhaps you were thinking of a starbucks-style disposable cup (sadly, that may be the default now). I should have said coffee mug I suppose.
posted by forgettable at 1:43 AM on November 25 [27 favorites]


How many holes would a zero-length straw have?

How many holes would a Polo mint have if it was ten times as thick?

How many holes would there be if we joined together the two ends of a straw?

How many holes does the digestive tract have? Are we just a chunk of flesh wrapped around a long hole?

How many holes would we have if we put a hole on the side of a black hole?
posted by spheniscus at 1:44 AM on November 25 [5 favorites]


This seems to be a question of the english language rather than philosophy or maths.
posted by deadwax at 1:47 AM on November 25 [15 favorites]


Argle and Bargle reborn.
posted by painquale at 1:49 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


I love this but I also can't get through more than 20 seconds of the video without getting disoriented and slightly nauseous because of the constant cutting (which I assume is a limitation of it being a series of snapchat videos?) just let them finish a goddamn sentence for once!
posted by btfreek at 2:04 AM on November 25


I think the argument for two holes is sealed when the one guy says, "If you add a hole...." When referring to the bottom of the vase. END OF STORY.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:11 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


A vase, like a contact lens or a bowl, has a single depression, a concavity, but no hole.

A straw, like a doughnut or teacup, has one hole.

Imagine making one out of soft clay and then deforming it until it looks like the other.

To make a bowl into a vase, deepen the bowl and pinch the neck. Do not add a hole.

To make a bowl into a doughnut, you have to punch a single hole through the clay.

To make a doughnut into a straw, you already have the only hole it needs. Just pinch and stretch until the doughnut is very long and skinny compared to a doughnut.

To make a doughnut into a teacup, you already have the ring (the doughnut with a hole in it) to serve as the handle. Now pinch one side of the ring to make part of the ring into a cup. Done. More realistically, you would need to squeeze and redistribute some of that clay to make the handle smaller and the cup bigger, but you already have a very big handle on a very small cup. And the handle has the only hole in the cup.
posted by pracowity at 2:17 AM on November 25 [11 favorites]


I believe this was real. My housemates in college argued for an entire afternoon about if lasagna remained lasagna if it was not cot into squares. And what about before you cut it? Is it in some indeterminate state?
posted by thelonius at 2:21 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?
posted by logicpunk at 2:22 AM on November 25 [31 favorites]


Does the answer depend on whether you think that a straw is a 2D manifold in 3D space or a solid 3D object?
posted by ikalliom at 2:26 AM on November 25 [4 favorites]


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?
Asking the important questions!

btw there is a literature about holes. Wanna study philosophy? You can either do this kind of thing, or Žižek-y stuff. Mouth or anus.

link is PDF
posted by thelonius at 2:30 AM on November 25 [8 favorites]


ikalliom,
those two forms are not equivalent topologically speaking but they both have a single hole.
posted by forgettable at 2:33 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


This seems to be a question of the english language rather than philosophy or maths.

Not even a question really. Words have different meanings in different contexts. Calling a strawberry a fruit is fine, writing an botanical academic paper calling a strawberry a fruit not so much.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:35 AM on November 25 [12 favorites]


There's colloquial holes and there's topological holes. Colloquially we would all agree that if you take a beach ball and stick it with a pin in two random spots that you have a beach ball with two holes. But of course it's topologically the same as a straw, which has one topological hole.
posted by lastobelus at 2:47 AM on November 25 [10 favorites]


Zero.
posted by Artw at 3:04 AM on November 25 [6 favorites]


Tunnel.
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:22 AM on November 25


Zero.

Sure, that works. How many holes does a sheet of copy paper have? None. How many holes does a sheet of copy paper rolled into a tube have? None. The sheet of paper is the same but can now be used as a straw.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:35 AM on November 25 [12 favorites]


Calling a strawberry a fruit is fine, writing an botanical academic paper calling a strawberry a fruit not so much.

Isn't it a fruit? Wiki calls it "an aggregate accessory fruit". Did you mean berry? It isn't technically a berry.
posted by Dysk at 3:37 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


Yes.
posted by Fizz at 3:54 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


This seems to be a question of the english language rather than philosophy or maths.

Well, the issue is much the same in other languages (though in some there may tend to be a more operative distinction between hole/opening, buco/apertura, Loch/Öffnung, etc.) so yes, it is a language issue, but then that is precisely where philosophy operates, to tease out the traps. The vase was a nice move (though inconclusive, since while interrogating various real-world cases, neither were stopping to check the details of their respective definition of “hole”) and the one-holer almost stumbled on the “other hole” that he had to say wouldn’t make the total of the vase’s holes more than one.
posted by progosk at 4:09 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


I was convinced by the 'if you put a hole in the side of a straw, how many holes is that?' angle. It's obviously three, because all holes are created equal, so removing one leaves two.

I think it's two holes because it reduces to two donuts (like a figure 8 made of clay/dough). You can show the 3 pseudoholes with your fingers, is how I'm trying it.
posted by polymodus at 4:13 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


This seems to be a question of the english language rather than philosophy or maths.

Yes! It's only confusing because we're using the same word for the interior of an object and the openings on the outside. If you punch a new opening in the side of a straw it now has three openings but it still only has one interior.

... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?

Oh dear. I hope you haven't been spending your days neglecting your oral hygiene while you were diligently brushing, flossing and gargling Listerine with your butt.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:27 AM on November 25 [13 favorites]


a doughnut is topologically equivalent to a coffee cup which is also equivalent to a straw. Equivalence basically means one shape can be bent/stretched/deformed into another shape without making any tears or cuts.

Apparently one subtlety is whether a straw should be treated as having infinitely thin walls or not. It's either a cylinder or a torus but the two are not equivalent (reason being, a ball is not a disc, because removing a
single interior point from a ball makes it become a sphere whereas removing an interior point from a disc makes it a circle, and circles are not spheres).
posted by polymodus at 4:28 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


Many many billions, if you consider inter atomic spacing.

Now I’m trying to decide what happens if you slice a bagel, toast one side and put it back together, is that still one hole or two?

Now you're considering "connectedness" this way math madness lies.
posted by sammyo at 4:36 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?

Back in my college days of experimenting too freely with psychedelics, I had a friend who realized that, once you look at it from a certain angle, we're really just kind of these bizarre seaworm creatures wearing bags of saltwater around so we can walk on dry land. Yeah, in a way, we're just weird worm creatures with a mouth and anus and the rest of our bodies are kind of analogous to naturally evolved scuba gear for surviving and getting around on the land. But yeah, sure, we kind of are just one big tube with a mouth at one end and an anus on the other, from a certain POV. We're much weirder creatures than we usually like to think about as we go about our daily business...
posted by saulgoodman at 4:50 AM on November 25 [32 favorites]


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?

I remember a network news show at the dawn of the age of laparoscopy that ran a scope all the way through some volunteer. So yes we are basically a complex tube people.
posted by sammyo at 5:01 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Be your inner torus. (doughnut shape)
posted by sammyo at 5:02 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


The reason I've basically given up on Philosophy as something worthwhile is what has already been mentioned above: that most philosophical quandaries ultimately devolve into simple semantic issues that wouldn't BE quandaries in many other languages.

I perhaps throw the baby out with the bath water with that attitude, there are plenty of good reasons to think deeply and hypothetically about things (and god knows I do!) but if your paradox can be be boiled down to "gee, isn't it funny we have this one word that means different things!" then maybe it's not really a deep issue.
posted by Kelrichen at 5:42 AM on November 25 [6 favorites]


(I should add, I don't mean to disparage the post, thinking about thinking IS worthwhile, and if it's entertaining at the same time, all the better!)
posted by Kelrichen at 5:51 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


none - the hole is not in your straw, it is in your mind
posted by pyramid termite at 6:11 AM on November 25 [7 favorites]


we kind of are just one big tube with a mouth at one end and an anus on the other

Alan Watts wrote about this in his 1966 The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Go here, search for "tube")
posted by achrise at 6:27 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


The real hole was the one we carried in our hearts all along.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:28 AM on November 25 [28 favorites]


Too bad that's gonna bankrupt us, if we can even get a referral to a cardiologist.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:34 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


For advanced students there is the squirrel and the tree.
posted by No Robots at 6:50 AM on November 25 [5 favorites]


most philosophical quandaries ultimately devolve into simple semantic issues that wouldn't BE quandaries in many other languages.

I swear I won’t tell Ludwig W about this thought of yours, but, erm, citation needed, pls, thx.
posted by progosk at 7:17 AM on November 25 [7 favorites]


Do topologists have a version of Godwin's Law for The Human Centipede?
posted by mubba at 7:29 AM on November 25 [4 favorites]


The question of language is revealed when you substitute the nouns in the question with nonsense.

How many gertles does a flinker have?

To answer this you need definitions, and same goes for the original question posed.

Once you’ve done that it’s answerable, and the answer depends on your definitions.

In conclusion, straws are a land of contrasts.
posted by chavenet at 7:33 AM on November 25 [7 favorites]


Now we know how many holes it takes to consternate y'all.

It's time to turn you on...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 7:56 AM on November 25 [4 favorites]


"How many holes does the digestive tract have? Are we just a chunk of flesh wrapped around a long hole?"

Basically you are a worm (as distinct from, say, a jellyfish, which eats and shits out of the same hole), who has developed an enormously complicated method of shoving food into its digestive tract. But yeah, you're just a bunch of weird flesh-appendages wrapped around an alimentary canal.

It's actually pretty cool -- in everything from flatworms on up to humans (but not jellyfish and other radially symmetric animals that eat and poop out the same hole), there's a process in reproduction called gastrulation, where a blastocyst separates into three "germ layers" of cells (ecto-, meso-, and endoderms), and the three layers wrap themselves around an indentation that turns into a tube that turns into your gut, from the mouth to the anus, whether you're a flatworm or a human being. The difference between a flatworm and a human being is nothing but what you build around the alimentary canal to help it get food. When you're about 17 days pregnant, you've got yourself the basic building blocks of either a flatworm or a human, a little tube with three layers of cell (inner layer to become digestive system (wrapped around the tube) and breathing apparatus; middle layer to become structural stuff like skeleton and muscles and blood; outer layer to become skin and nervous system). A flatworm's basically like, "Eh, good enough, food in, poop out, I'll just refine this a bit and be done," and a human's like, "HOLD MY BEER."

But yes, you're basically a food tube, with some super-complex elaboration to make you better at food-tubing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:00 AM on November 25 [41 favorites]


It depends what you mean by [‘hole’].

One of the huge problems with philosophy. Also one of its main strengths.

Science doesn't argue (much) over definitions. It is endemic to argue about classification ("are strawberries fruits?"), but classes generally have strongish definitions. To a topologist, the question of the straw is trivial. But that means science is all surface too. It carries, deliberately, no subtexts or richness of meanings.
posted by bonehead at 8:04 AM on November 25


A straw is a tunnel. There are no holes in 3 dimensions. I’m making shit up. I am smart believe me.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:06 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


In high school, I did a senior honors project on topology which consisted of me reading a book, realizing it had questions to answer in it, looking in the back of the book for the answers, and answering the questions in a paper, as if I had not looked up the answers.

This lazy cheating finagle resulted in me knowing an odd amount about topology to this day, so I confidently answered "one" to the question about straws.

I cannot unforget this knowledge. I think it's a punishment.
posted by Peach at 8:15 AM on November 25


I remember a network news show at the dawn of the age of laparoscopy that ran a scope all the way through some volunteer.

oh god I hope they started at the top
posted by biogeo at 8:34 AM on November 25 [10 favorites]


But yes, you're basically a food tube,

this sounds like a straw man argument to me
posted by pyramid termite at 8:57 AM on November 25 [73 favorites]


One, two, or in a few still-reasonable cases a different number, depending on your current definition of "hole", which you are free to change at any time depending on context and common usage.

What's the point of this again?
posted by kyrademon at 9:07 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


We're actually like a hollow sphere that got dented in on one side until it made a tube (kinda like the sheet of paper rolled into a straw). The inside of the tube is our alimentary canal, the inside of the sphere is where all the organs form, the outside of the sphere is skin, and the seam where the tube seals up along its side runs from your nostrils (including that dent above your lip) all the way to your butt and forms in the first day after your egg is fertilized. It's your first feature.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:00 AM on November 25 [6 favorites]


No matter how good your philosopy, it will never give you the hole truth.
posted by Devonian at 10:13 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


Are bubbles holes, like those in Swiss cheese and sourdough bread?
posted by shoesietart at 10:39 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Some holes are ex-bubbles.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:12 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Christ, what a toroid
posted by etherist at 12:23 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]


One-hole guy's approach should have been a flat sheet of paper with a hole in it, then incrementally make the sheet thicker and ask two-hole guy when it becomes two holes. He definitely shot himself in the foot with the vase analogy.
posted by ctmf at 12:36 PM on November 25 [4 favorites]


I'm just curious how that question even came up.
posted by ctmf at 12:38 PM on November 25


Be your inner torus. (doughnut shape)

but what if i am sagittarius
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:50 PM on November 25 [4 favorites]


Be your inner torus. (doughnut shape)

You are what you eat!
posted by erniepan at 1:14 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Is this an invagination or an evagination?
posted by benzenedream at 1:26 PM on November 25


I can buy the argument that a drinking straw has no holes in it on the basis of it being a rolled-up sheet with no holes in it.

How about a pair of pants?

How about a pair of pants for a centaur?
posted by Foosnark at 1:54 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]


"How about a pair of pants?"

There is nothing like sewing clothing to make topological musings practical. It's nothing but turning flat sheets into 3D objects with a variety of complex curves and holes, some of which you need to open and close, others of which you have to flip around in complex ways to get them where they need to go. It's something between a tavern puzzle and a topological equation.

You can certainly make pants by rolling up a flat sheet and putting a hole in the side, so straw with a hole in the side!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:08 PM on November 25 [7 favorites]


Christ, what a toroid

Given the intestinal course of this thread, the original also serves
posted by chavenet at 2:43 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Yes! It's only confusing because we're using the same word for the interior of an object and the openings on the outside. If you punch a new opening in the side of a straw it now has three openings but it still only has one interior.

That goes towards explaining how, in English, the notion of "straws" and "holes" seem most frequently determined by the need for object definition and expectation of functionality or purpose.

A straw, like a pipe, hose, or tube is referenced as complete object where the use is to move liquids, gases, or solids through its length. People speak of the object, like a straw, as something determined by its physical component, its material status, since that determined the expected function of the object. A working straw, in that sense, has no holes because the physical material is solid. A straw with a hole lacks function as "hole" in that sense is a perforation of the physical material.

There is no confusion when someone says my garden hose has a hole in it so I had to get another as "hose" is referencing the utility the physical object "hose" provides, while "hole" references damage or some violation of an expected, um, "wholeness" of the object. The same is more or less true for things like pants. Saying my pants have a hole in them is to suggest the surface material has been somehow damaged, not that I have a space to put my legs through.

Hole, in this way, fits a conceptual category of change in expected physical properties. A pothole in the road, or digging a hole means change to the normal or expected material surface of a place or thing. The object, a street or yard, is changed from its normal or expected state to something imperfect. Hole references incompleteness, damage, or alteration to an object, physical or even conceptual, like a hole in one's argument.

Interestingly, there are also some lingering uses of "hole" that express some similar notion of physical incompleteness, but which have been modified to normal expectation. Donuts and Lifesavers, for example, have "holes" suggesting the idea that a pastry or mint carries an expectation of completeness that the hole violates, but in an accepted form, so much so that they sell the "holes" separately as their own complete physical objects.

So, it isn't just sophistry to say a straw has no holes since the object is defined primarily through its physical component. If the intended use or function of the straw differs from the norm, however, then the use of "hole" can be used to refer to the openings in the straw, such as is someone were to bend a straw in half and tell someone to place something in either hole. The straw is no longer a "straw" in the expected sense, but an object used for its open space the physical material surrounds.

A straw, unlike, say, a plank, can have two "holes" in special circumstances due to its flexibility and shape. Mostly, even in unusual conditions, people would refer to the empty space as "the hole", just as with a plank, since there is no need or use in speaking of more than one as we can or will only access the space from one side of the object. It's only when there can be more than one choice involved, where there is some significance in the distinction, that the one hole would become two, and even then other terms like saying an or either "opening" might be preferred given our strong attachment to seeing a straw as complete material object.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:47 PM on November 25 [15 favorites]


This is a tasty plate of beans.
posted by Foosnark at 6:18 PM on November 25 [4 favorites]


Take a 1m3 cube of steel. Drill a hole through the center of one face to the opposite face. This is a straw, it has only one hole, albeit with a square rather than a cylindrical casing. Call this the x-axis. Now drill a hole through the center of the top face to the bottom. Call this the y-axis. Drill a hole through the center of one of the remaining faces to its opposite. Call this the z-axis.

Now we see that each face has a hole. But does the cube have one, three, or six holes? Can you turn it into a coffee mug?

------------------------------------------------

Metafilter: Philosophical Geometry is fun!
posted by Ignorantsavage at 7:41 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


It's all Menger Sponges with you lot.
posted by Artw at 7:54 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]


Why consult a philosopher on a matter of basic anatomy?

There are two holes. Anyone who tells you otherwise is talking out their ass.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:14 PM on November 25 [8 favorites]


Basically you are a worm (as distinct from, say, a jellyfish, which eats and shits out of the same hole), who has developed an enormously complicated method of shoving food into its digestive tract.

Food goes in the pie hole and exits through the butt hole. Two holes.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:32 PM on November 25 [3 favorites]


Raised, but not answered, in this teaser trailer for Donut County, a game that you can't play yet, even if you like holes.
posted by aubilenon at 11:21 PM on November 25


Food goes in the pie hole and exits through the butt hole. Two holes.

But if you were shot and the bullet went clean through, you wouldn't call 911 and say, "I have two holes in me!"
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:33 PM on November 25


I'm going to make the bold claim (bold because I haven't scoured any transcripts or anything) that nobody calls 911 and tells them how many holes are in their body. Because it's unclear. Does that count include nostrils? Earholes? Et-cetera-holes?
posted by aubilenon at 12:25 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Well, the issue is much the same in other languages (though in some there may tend to be a more operative distinction between hole/opening, buco/apertura, Loch/Öffnung, etc.)

Having beanplated a bit more about this, although the dispute in the video is certainly entirely reproducible in other languages, it could be less likely to arise so spontaneously in some: for example, the actual common Italian for the hole in the vase would be it's bocca (mouth), you wouldn't really call it a buco; in fact, a hole that goes through something, such as a straw, would normally be called a foro, not a buco (yes, yes, bucatini notwithstanding). Buco is typically the interruption of the surface of a container (with the feminine form buca reserved for holes dug in the ground, so necessarily finite); foro strongly implies through-piercing, to the point that a half-drilled pearl has a mezzo-foro. So colloquial use would likely safeguard you from tripping into the logical/semantic trap: the straw has one foro (yes, with two bocche); whereas the vase has one bocca, and if you make a buco in its underside, then that would mean it too is forato da parte a parte.

posted by progosk at 12:30 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Forget merely being a tube worm, you're not even you—you're just a hole in the not-you. Except not even a hole, really.
posted by XMLicious at 1:56 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


nobody calls 911 and tells them how many holes are in their body.

If a single shot went clean through your torso I don't think it's so unlikely you'd tell the 911 operator, "I have a huge bullet hole in me!" I think it's much less likely you'd say, "I have two bullet holes, one in front and one in back!" (And if the operator asked how many holes were in you, I think it's really unlikely you'd say, "Well, that depends. Are we counting nostrils and earholes?")
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:29 AM on November 26


But the coronor would write their report and note the entry hole and exit hole.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:25 AM on November 26


Depends on the method of constructing the straw. I prefer to start with an infinitely thin sheet of straw material, and make a hole in it. (Time permitting, I may trim away the excess material around the hole to ensure a thin-walled straw.) I repeat this process an infinite number of times to ensure I have enough material to stack up into the required straw length. Finally, I cement the result together with some waterproof binding material.

Et voilà, a straw with an infinite number of holes.
posted by oheso at 5:38 AM on November 26 [2 favorites]


But the coronor would write their report and note the entry hole and exit hole.

The coroner would note the entry wound and the exit wound.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:05 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Dig a hole.

Does the hole go all the way through? No?

A hole is an opening.

Two holes.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:13 AM on November 26


Are the wounds not holes? Bullet holes?

There's a subreddit that's 'whats the smallest hill you're willing to die on' and this may be it.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:52 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


For advanced students there is the squirrel and the tree.
posted by No Robots at 6:50 AM on November 25


Huh, this one seems easy to prove for one side—imagine the man, as he goes round the tree, is unfurling a chain link fence. When he completes a circuit around the tree, is the fence around the squirrel? It unarguably is. Which way the squirrel faced during this process is immaterial. #fightme
posted by ejs at 12:08 PM on November 26


When he completes a circuit around the tree, is the fence around the squirrel?
Shows what you know about squirrels.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:13 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


Surely the actual "hole" infills with fragments and goo quite quickly?
posted by Artw at 12:15 PM on November 26


Sys Rq: Dig a hole.
Does the hole go all the way through? No?
A hole is an opening.
Two holes.


But that would mean if you punched a hole into a piece of paper with a hole punch, and the hole punch malfunctioned so the little paper bit didn't flutter to the floor, the resulting outline of a hole is still a hole.

Now I feel like an a-hole.
posted by emelenjr at 12:24 PM on November 26


If it was two holes, you'd have to label them to eliminate confusion. The A hole and the B hole. But an A-hole and a B-hole are the same thing. QED. One hole.
posted by ctmf at 1:49 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


There's a subreddit that's 'whats the smallest hill you're willing to die on' and this may be it.
I think a hole by definition is always going to be the smallest hill to die on.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:11 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


the hole punch malfunctioned so the little paper bit didn't flutter to the floor, the resulting outline of a hole is still a hole.

Can we get a judge's ruling here? I believe this is not a hole but a chad of the hanging variety.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:00 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


There is no straw.
posted by Artw at 6:01 PM on November 26


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?

Kissing is just pressing your lips to the sweet end of sixty-six feet of intestines.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:00 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]



btw there is a literature about holes. Wanna study philosophy? You can either do this kind of thing, or Žižek-y stuff.


lol
posted by OmieWise at 8:41 AM on November 27


Are we just a chunk of flesh wrapped around a long hole?"

I know I'm not topologically torroidal. Am I the only one here who has nostrils?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:16 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


Tear ducts, too!
posted by NMcCoy at 1:51 AM on November 28


lol
prove me wrong
posted by thelonius at 2:42 AM on November 28


Hawking's A Brief History of Time has an unforgettable image of a two-dimensional dog, its two halves divided by a digestive tract and unable to ever be connected, liable to drift apart forever
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: Am I the only one here who has nostrils?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


*extremely Jean-Luc Picard voice*

THERE! IS! ONE! HOLE!
posted by duffell at 4:19 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


I found my six and eight year olds playing with a wrapping paper tube and I asked them how many holes it had and then sat back and enjoyed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:36 PM on November 28 [10 favorites]


YOU ARE WELCOME
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:41 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Hawking's A Brief History of Time has an unforgettable image of a two-dimensional dog, its two halves divided by a digestive tract and unable to ever be connected, liable to drift apart forever

This sent me on a brief flight of fancy as to how one would put together a two-dimensional organism with an alimentary tract. I'm thinking maybe two halves coupled together with a fractal-like curve that can zip them together, and locally unzip to allow the passage of food via peristalsis. That way you've always got surfaces of contact holding the creature together just behind the oral and anal openings.
posted by biogeo at 9:50 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


It's not very complicated; the english word hole covers a multitude of meanings, including a tunnel, a indentation, and the intersection of one of those with a plane or quasi-plane. To a topologist, only one of those is a hole, but I'm not required to use their technical terms. So the answer is another question: are you asking about tubes, pits, or pores?
posted by tavella at 12:24 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


(And therefore the answer can be anything from 0 to 4, depending on the subset of definitions desired and the state of the straw.)
posted by tavella at 12:25 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


... I love you guys.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:02 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


let me be the nth person to say this is a semantic debate and not really a philosophical debate. The issue is not how many holes a straw has but what the definition of a hole is.

That said, how many holes are there in a Banach–Tarski decomposition of a straw?
posted by GuyZero at 9:35 AM on December 1


"How many holes does the digestive tract have? Are we just a chunk of flesh wrapped around a long hole?"


LMAO
posted by complaina at 9:57 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]


But if you laughed your ass off then you'd have to laugh your mouth off too.
posted by GuyZero at 10:46 AM on December 1 [2 favorites]


... so... are a mouth and an anus the same hole?

Yes, two ends of the same hole through the animal body, where the function of the hole is to let food pass through your digestive system.

That the one end of the hole is appealing and the other is not (to all right-thinking people, anyway) is a part of the function. You wouldn't want human waste to be appealing.
posted by pracowity at 1:54 AM on December 16


If I choose to see the straw as a 3 dimensional object embedded in 3-space, I see it as having one hole.

If I choose to see it as a 2 dimensional object embedded in 3-space, I think it has two holes.
posted by jamjam at 12:36 PM on December 16


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