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You see me all day
I'm sharp

I show you your way
But you show me what to show you

I exist, but not in your dimension
I'm made up of down

My older language is by rotation
But now through light
(though in the end it comes down to the same shocking tale)

I usually look a certain way
But I change at certain times
Into myself, my thin sibling, into time,
and into ambiguity
or something with which you grasp

What am I?

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1  
(inconspicuous Red Alert 2 voice): "time is running out, time, time is running out" Nope not a clock :) – nine9 Feb 18 at 14:03
    
wild guess maybe it will help someone, it might be a celestial core of some kind... – RiddlerNewComer Feb 18 at 14:07
4  
The first thing I thought when I read the title in the HNQ was, "duh, a down comforter or pillow!" but of course, things are never such simple – cat Feb 18 at 17:03
    
Other than "made up of down", it could be glasses, or any other material who is used to amplify/clarify sight – Oak Feb 19 at 1:19
1  
@nine9 youtu.be/IGvlw7qBoJQ?t=2m – Bob Feb 19 at 8:36
up vote 52 down vote accepted

You are:

A mouse pointer.

You see me all day

We use computers a lot!

I'm sharp

It's a pointer!

I show you your way But you show me what to show you

Indicates where your cursor is, but you control it.

I exist, but not in your dimension I'm made up of down

It's made of light, but also the absence of light... only exists virtually and is visible only in the context of the light from surrounding pixels.

My older language is by rotation But now through light (though in the end it comes down to the same shocking tale)

Trackerballs used rotation, old mouse balls were also rotation based, but optical mice are now more common, although trackpads which also control pointers don't really fit this. But the rotation similarities don't stop there... Electron guns in CRTs 'cycled' through the scan lines. LCDs used polarization (a kind of rotation). Now it's usually LEDs. All these methods use electricity (shocking).

I usually look a certain way

Pointer

But I change at certain times Into myself, my thin sibling, into time,

A pointer, the text-select 'I' icon, the waiting/clock/hourglass/spinner symbol

and into ambiguity or something with which you grasp

A question mark, the grabber hand.

What am I?

Mousy cursor pointer type thing.

share|improve this answer
3  
Rotation vs. light probably refers to older-style mice using a ball, while newer ones use lasers. – GentlePurpleRain Feb 18 at 16:14
2  
Haha, yes you're right... I've used a trackpad for so long I forgot mice existed (although I still call it a mouse pointer!) and I certainly forgot all about taking the ball out and removing the hardened grime from the nylon rollers, and blowing the other gubbins out before replacing the ball.. ahh, good times! Edited in some additional notes re. this, thanks :) – jhabbott Feb 18 at 16:30
2  
For "I exist, but not in your dimension I'm made up of down"--could this instead be a reference to mouse pointers existing on a 2D plane, and increasing Y-values (going "up") corresponding to "downward" movement? – Milo Price Feb 18 at 17:01
2  
A mouse pointer is an arrow. Arrows can be made using feathers. Feathers can be down. – joeytwiddle Feb 18 at 17:17
3  
This answer makes the most sense, except for the "I'm made up of down" part... I'm thinking there must be a typo in that line of the riddle. – pabrams Feb 18 at 21:48

You are:

An Up (or Down) Quark.

You see me all day:

The little buggers are everywhere, in all matter. [citation needed]

I'm sharp:

Quarks are a tiny, like the edge of an absurdly sharp blade. Some people would consider Quarks to be smart, as they are explained and though about by Physicists (ie: sharp people).

I show you your way
But you show me what to show you:

According to certain interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, the state of a quantum particle (ie: a Quark) is decided by whether it is observed or not. If it is unobserved, then it is in a state of Superposition, once it is observed its State Collapses.

I exist, but not in your dimension:

Quarks are subatomic matter, they are tiny. Relatively speaking, humans are huge. Dimension here refers to size.

I'm made up of down:

Hence Up or Down Quark (probably Up).

My older language is by rotation:

Quarks are imagined to 'spin' but this notion is misguided.

But now through light:

I can't explain this. It might have something to do with Quarks color charge.

(though in the end it comes down to the same shocking tale):

Quantum Mechanics is sometimes considered bizarre and shocking.

I usually look a certain way But I change at certain times

Again with Quantum State.

Into myself, my thin sibling, into time, and into ambiguity or something with which you grasp

Changing states upon observation. 'Grasp' as in strong interaction.

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1  
I'm just going to point out that I am not a Physicist and my knowledge of this sort of thing is flaky. If you are a Physicist (or you know more about physics) and I made you cringe, then I sincerely apologize. – Amziraro Feb 18 at 15:54
16  
Physicist here; I cringed. – user1717828 Feb 18 at 17:34
3  
This is the first thing I thought of too when I saw the title, but the rest of the riddle quickly steered me away from that conclusion. =P – Mike Kellogg Feb 18 at 18:41

You see me all day

We look for direction constantly

I'm sharp

Made up of points

I show you your way

Uses magnetism to provide a constant bearing

But you show me what to show you

By aligning the dial and the viewport

I exist, but not in your dimension

Getting fuzzy here

I'm made up of down

Technically magnets point the opposite direction. The end painted red is magnetized the opposite of north, which is why it is attracted to north.

My older language is by rotation

Compasses once rotated

But now through light

on your phone!

(though in the end it comes down to the same shocking tale)

electromagnetism

I usually look a certain way

The way we're used to

But I change at certain times

Magnetic north moves, and sometimes the magnetic field flips 180º

Into myself, my thin sibling, into time,

North to South, South to North

and into ambiguity

What is it anyway?

or something with which you grasp

Grasping for guidance

What am I?

A Magnetic Compass

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The Sun. The Sun is always visible during the day. The Sun warps spacetime, and we are always falling towards it, falling down. It shows the way by its position in the sky, by the shadows it casts on a sundial (ok, reaching with that one). The sun looks the same until it sets, rises, or is eclipsed by the moon.

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You see me all day
I'm sharp

mobile phone

I show you your way
But you show me what to show you

GPS feature on mobile

I exist, but not in your dimension
I'm made up of down

Electronic

My older language is by rotation
But now through light

Older landline (rotations), newer mobile phones (LED touch screen)

(though in the end it comes down to the same shocking tale)

I usually look a certain way
But I change at certain times
Into myself, my thin sibling, into time,
and into ambiguity
or something with which you grasp

newer thin mobiles

What am I?

A MOBILE PHONE!!

share|improve this answer
1  
This was my thought. I'm still not sure how the "I'm made up of down" line fits though, either for this answer or jhabbot's answer. The best I could come up with is that electrons are negative, which is usually represented as down on a vertical axis. Not that the entire thing is electrons, but electrons are important here. I thought "into myself (then) my thin sibling" was a flip-type, "into time" is a clock, "ambiguity" is the multitude of applications it can be used for, "something you grasp", as opposed to sitting on a desk. – MichaelS Feb 19 at 0:35
    
Thanks. I can add more things to my answer, but don't know how to hide lines and wait for the mouse over to show. – Vijay Feb 20 at 14:15

protected by Community Feb 20 at 15:18

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