The Last Question

  • Veritas
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06 Apr 2007 00:44 #536 by Veritas
The Last Question was created by Veritas
http://JohnPhelan.com/thelastquestion.pdf

This kept me up at night. It's a short story by Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992).

Asimov himself said:

This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.


Even if you do not have the background in science to be familiar with all of the concepts presented here, the ending shocked :ohmy: me more than any other book I've read. Don't read the end of the story first!

It's a short short-story ... I'd imagine you can read it in less than twenty minutes.

I'd like to hear what y'all think of it and if it should be included in the D.D. program.

Enjoy!

Br. John

http://JohnPhelan.com/thelastquestion.pdf :dry:

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  • Twsoundsoff
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07 Apr 2007 01:14 #582 by Twsoundsoff
Replied by Twsoundsoff on topic The Last Question
I'll admit at first I wondered what Isaac Asimov had to offer this community in a scifi setting. However, This work was wonderful. I think it most assuredly has a place on the roster for study. The scientific principles are very basic, mostly having to do with the second law of Thermodynamics. It also poses a wonderful question. In its conclusion how is it able to use the first law of thermodynamics to begin a new cycle? I don't want to give the end away, but those who are familiar with the laws of thermodynamics the first law states that energy can be changed from form to form (as in mechanical to thermal and vice versa) but cannot be created. The second law states that all energy moves toward a state of entropy or complete dispersion. So one wonders how was it that the cosmic AC worked within these confines? This is a great little piece and once read by everyone I would love to see a discussion regarding the workings of the piece as well as its ramifications on how we view The Force, other religions, and our everyday world. Good stuff!

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  • Sy Odynaga
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07 Apr 2007 22:38 #592 by Sy Odynaga
Replied by Sy Odynaga on topic The Last Question
A wonderful story. very taoist. \"Legends never end spin the wheel of tao again\"

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  • HesinRaca
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15 Apr 2007 20:12 #819 by HesinRaca
Replied by HesinRaca on topic The Last Question
I'm going to respond on the assumption that newcommers to the psot will start with the story and not skip ahead. THus, here follows a \"spoiler warning\" ahead.


>>



I find the concept amazingly original. Everyone theorizes the history of the universe back to the big bang, the furthers before that I've seen has always been the concept of a spinning, reacting ball of antimater, matter, and energy and that as antimater and matter colide they create energy and as energy collides with itself it creates antimatter and matter. At some point this was interupted and by some strange occurance the resultant was matter, that after all the chaos the final product of the equation was matter and that matter, with some trace activities of antimatter and matter and energy propogating across the universe, created all that we know. This may have been unfluenced by an omniscient being, who knowms. The idea that this story spans so far before that, that an entire universe could exhist before our big bang and the entities of that universe make up that which is our God is a terribly fascinating idea. It ties greatly into a lot of different religions. It excites me to think on these theories...

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  • Twsoundsoff
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15 Apr 2007 20:26 #820 by Twsoundsoff
Replied by Twsoundsoff on topic The Last Question
My biggest question when finished reading was. How did the computer over come the first and second laws of thermodynamics. How did it Figure out how to \"create\" energy? I did not really overcome the second law after further review, because entropy had happened already. so what it actually seems to have done is re-created energy and matter, not reversed entropy. which would allow the second law to stand and continue in the same causality loop. wonderful stuff

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  • GuyFawkes
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16 Apr 2007 19:47 #883 by GuyFawkes
Replied by GuyFawkes on topic The Last Question
Golly, Br. John. While I have read the story by Asimov, I happebn to know that it has been published, and is copyrighted, and therefore the publisher (and Asimov's literary executor) would probably be REALLY interested to know that you have posted a .PDF without so much as mentioning the copyright and/or publisher.

Isn't that illegal????


Like, in a Federal sense? Ya know, copyright infringment.

Ta.

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  • Twsoundsoff
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16 Apr 2007 19:51 #884 by Twsoundsoff
Replied by Twsoundsoff on topic The Last Question
I will allow brother John to respond accordingly but Unless i am mistaken it is available here under the fair use doctrine of the copyright laws and is available solely for the non-profit educational use of our registered members.

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  • GuyFawkes
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16 Apr 2007 19:57 #885 by GuyFawkes
Replied by GuyFawkes on topic The Last Question
I daresay that you have either misconstrued the fair use doctrine, or are trying to simply twist the reading of same.

In either event, by failing to place the copyright notice, which is REQUIRED even when used under the fair use doctrine, makes the whole thing suspect.

Also, the fair use doctrine applies to libraries and EDUCATIONAL (read schools and universities) establishments. As the Temple is a RELIGIOUS organisation, there is differing requiremets, and that requires LICENSING.

I'm only saying this for the good of the temple, and mean no disrespect.

Ta.

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  • GuyFawkes
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16 Apr 2007 19:59 #886 by GuyFawkes
Replied by GuyFawkes on topic The Last Question
BTW, here IS this thingy from the, uhm United States Copyright Office:
[code:1]
One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the Copyright Act (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

1.

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2.

the nature of the copyrighted work;
3.

amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.

FL-102, Revised July 2006

Home | Contact Us | Legal Notices | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Library of Congress

U.S. Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
(202) 707-3000


[/code:1]

If you read this carefully, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Ta.

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  • Twsoundsoff
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16 Apr 2007 20:02 #887 by Twsoundsoff
Replied by Twsoundsoff on topic The Last Question
First let me formally welcome you to the order. Second I will allow Br. John reply to that in detail as he is our legal expert. Third Your screenname is somewhat suspect as to what your motivations are. Fourth May the force be With you.

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