At 10:58 PM 6/3/2005, you wrote:
R. Miller writes (quoting Lee Corbin):

If someone can teleport me back and forth from work to home, I'll
be happy to go along even if 1 atom in every thousand cells of mine
doesn't get copied.

Exposure to a nuclear detonation at 4000 yds typically kills about 1 in a million cells. When that happens, you die. I would suggest that is a bad metaphor.

Losing one atom in every thousand cells is not the same as losing the cell itself. Cells are a constant work in progress. Bits fall off, transcription errors occur in the process of making proteins, radiation or noxious chemicals damage subcellular components, and so on. The machinery of the cell is constantly at work repairing all this damage. It is like a building project where the builders only just manage to keep up with the wreckers. Eventually, errors accumulate or the blueprints are corrupted and the cell dies. Taking the organism as a whole, the effect of all this activity is like the ship of Theseus: over time, even though it looks like the same organism, almost all the matter in it has been replaced.

That's correct, of course. I'm finishing up a book on nuclear fallout, and most of my selves were obviously immersed in radiation issues rather than simple mathematics. Sorry.


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