## Most recent change of CoveringTheReals

Edit made on December 03, 2013 by ColinWright at 12:54:39

Deleted text in red / Inserted text in green

WM
HEADERS_END
Here's an interesting paradox.

We know that the rational numbers are countably infinite.
That means we can list them in order: EQN:r_1,{\quad}r_2,{\quad}r_3, /etc./

So cover
the first with an umbrella of size 1/2,
the second with an umbrella of size 1/4,
the ~second with an umbrella of size 1/4,
the third with an umbrella of size 1/8,
the fourth with an umbrella of size 1/16,
and so on ...

The umbrellas are open.

Clearly all the rationals are covered.

Even more, consider some rational. Its umbrella is of
rational size, so its endpoints are also rationals, and
hence also covered. Thus the umbrellas all overlap,
and so all the real numbers must be covered and kept dry.

Or not.

You see, the umbrellas are, in total, of length 1. They
overlap, so the total amount of number line covered is
strictly less than 1.

So the number line is, in fact, entirely wet.

How does that work ??!!