Nonnothing values of zero

If the red house has blue shutters and the green house has red shutters, what's this section for?
User avatar
Has More Than 5K Posts
Posts: 5586
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:57 pm
Location: Tarrytown, NY, USA

Nonnothing values of zero

Post by Monster » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:24 pm

This isn't so much a brainteaser as a minor thought exercise.

What measurements that have a value of 0 are not nothing?

For example, 0 grams is nothing. 0 miles is nothing. 0 people is nothing.

0 degrees Celsius is something. The bit value 0 going through a circuit is something.

0 degrees Celsius is a definite nonnothing measurement of heat. (Contrast to 0 Kelvins which is indeed a "nothing" measurement of heat.) In the case of the bit value 0, when I learned about circuitry in my computer science course 10+ years ago, our teacher said it's a small quantity of volts. The bit value 1 is a slightly greater quantity of volts.

Maybe the number 0 on my telephone is another nonnothing value of 0. Except it's not a measurement of anything so I don't know if I can count it.
Listening twice as much as you speak is a sign of wisdom.

Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: Nonnothing values of zero

Post by tenthie » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:56 am

o fahrenheit is another..but then that would be counted in when u mentioned temperarture...and what about 0 m/s... it could be that the velocity is 0m/s but that wont mean the speed is....but is that a proper measure???? ok..m confused..... :roll:

User avatar
Martin Brock
Has More Than 6K Posts
Posts: 6036
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:36 pm
Location: Athens, GA

Re: Nonnothing values of zero

Post by Martin Brock » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:01 pm

0 degrees Celsius is nothing more than the freezing point of water and nothing less.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:01 am

Re: Nonnothing values of zero

Post by toro » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:47 am

You should re-think this:

0 grams rest mass (I assume is what you are referring to) is the rest-mass energy of a photon as well as a gluon (though this last point is debatable with regards to the topic). Atoms are a specific composite system which by definition cannot have 0 rest mass. This doesn't mean zero mass is defined as nothing.

0 miles is not 'nothing'. It is the width of a point in space. This is defined as the position you currently occupy (classically).

0 people is not nothing, it's no one. This is something: a place where no people live.

0 Kelvin is not nothing, it's the ground state energy of a quantum system.

Regarding your zero and one in computing, that's simply system-defined. "0" is not a measure, "0" is an encoding of a measurement outcome. This outcome could be defined however the builder chose - "0" could be defined as V < 1.73359 V and "1"as V > 1.73359 V if one wished. Further, "K" and "L" would be just as valid as "0" and "1".

If your question is "what is a system with a measured value of zero that has a non-zero value?" the question is contradictory.
it could be that the velocity is 0m/s but that wont mean the speed is
The speed would have to be, as speed is simply a measure of the magnitude of velocity.

New Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 11:08 am

Re: Nonnothing values of zero

Post by IBelieve » Sun May 05, 2013 4:53 am

Relative quantities like velocity and time can never be said to have an absolute value since they depend on the frame of reference.