Bruce Sterling on Thu, 19 Sep 2002 03:24:52 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Fwd: Austrian Team Splits 'Ding-An-Sich'

*Another victory for European particle physics -- bruces

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  From: "futurefeedforward" <>
  Date: Tue Sep 17, 2002  06:19:35 PM US/Central
  Subject: Austrian Team Splits 'Ding-An-Sich'
  September 18, 2014
  Austrian Team Splits 'Ding-An-Sich'
  VIENNAˇWriting in this month's issue of the journal
  Science, a team of researchers at the Vienna University of
  Technology report a breakthrough discovery in the field of
  noumenal physics.  Working in a state-of-the-art lab
  equipped with a specialized chamber capable of
  compressing objects to 1/1,000,000th of their normal size
  through the use of high-energy, self-contained 'gravity
  pits,' the team managed to uncover, and then split, a never
  before isolated entity known as a 'ding-an-sich' or a
  "The importance of this discovery cannot be overstated,"
  notes Uli Werner-Werner, Executive Editor of the Journal
  of Noumenal Physics.  "It goes to the heart of one of the basic
  hypotheses of noumenal physics, namely that objects
  consist of something in addition to their constituent,
  perceptible parts; a sort of 'thingness' that makes an
  object what it is."
  Tracing its roots to the work of Prussian-born philosopher
  Immanuel Kant, noumenal physics rejects traditional
  interest in the fundamental building-blocks of matter in
  favor of a theory of 'things' and 'superthings.'  "We're
  through with splitting quarks and knitting fuzzy fields,"
  explains Werner-Werner.  "That's an Achilles and the hare
  approach that can only take us so far.  What we're doing is
  taking a step back and asking bigger questions."
  Postulating the existence of a ding-an-sich behind every
  ordinary object and just out of the reach of human
  understanding grounded in "sense perception and its
  extension through the techniques and technologies of
  traditional experimental science," the Austrian team,
  lead by Professor Hanni Chiang, sought to confirm the
  existence of such 'things,' but faced a seemingly
  insoluble quandary:  how do you confirm the existence of
  something that is, by definition, imperceptible, even
  through the use of perfect instruments with infinite
  sensitivity and resolution.
  "It's not a trivial problem," explains Professor Chiang.
  "Our first approach was to compress objects beyond the
  threshold of perceptibility, to just take this chair and
  make it so teeny tiny that all of its perceptible properties
  would be stripped away, just leaving the Ding, but we hit a
  wall with that.  We burned through our budget, a good budget,
  something like [$2.3 billion U.S.], and we were still
  likely millions of orders of magnitude from our goal."
  Last June, however, with the addition of Professor Eric
  Lougha of the University of California at Berkeley, the
  team's research took a new direction.  "Eric helped us turn
  the problem on its head," recalls Chiang.  "Rather than
  making the object imperceptible, we realized we could just
  make ourselves insensate. [Eric] introduced us to a
  special derivative of a small, Central American,
  high-altitude cactus, and, within days, every member of
  the team had seen the ding-an-sich."
  During subsequent tests, the team successfully split the
  ding-an-sich of a laboratory stool, creating two complete
  but distinct 'things' underpinning the stool.  "It just
  looks like an ordinary stool," explains Chiang.  "But there
  are actually two Dings there.  Essentially, it's two stools
  with all of the properties of one stool.  It may sound very
  through-the-looking-glass, but there you have it."
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