X-Message-Number: 28617
From: "Chris Manning" <>
References: <>
Subject: likelihood of dying
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 02:37:17 +1100

----- Original Message ----- > Message #28613
> From: 
> Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2006 09:51:04 EST
> Subject: infinity, chemistry
> Chris Manning writes that death is inevitable in infinite time. Not that
> this is important, but it's not strictly correct. If the chance of death 
> in a
> given time frame declines fast enough, the chance of eventual death can be 
> less
> than unity.

You are obviously talking about convergent geometric progressions. Yes, if 
your likelihood of dying in any particular year decreases in a particular 
way then your overall likelihood of dying can be less than unity.

For example, suppose your likelihood of dying in

2007 = 1/10
2008 = 1/90
2009 = 1/810
2010 = 1/7290 etc.

where each fraction is 1/9 x the previous one, then your likelihood of dying 
at any time in 2007 or later = (1/10)/(1 - 1/9) = 8/90 or about 1/11.

I suppose what this means in practice is that you would have to be 
continually making your life safer and eliminating anything that might 
threaten it, by getting better at predicting earthquakes, deflecting 
bolides, maybe growing your own food, etc.

>Also, we could eventually be individually   distributed over
> large volumes. Also, the Second Law does not guarantee  eventual oblivion, 
> for
> reasons I won't detail here unless requested.

I hereby request you to detail them! 

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