The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A signpost up ahead... You are entering "The Twilight Zone"

I'm fairly stupid, in a relative sense. And relativity is what this is about. Einstein and relativity. Einstein looms large over modern technology and space travel. I came across a couple of articles that intrigued me. Well, the headlines intrigued me. Headlines are supposed to do that. Intrigue us, that is. This one grabbed my attention:

NASA's Gravity Probe B Confirms Two Einstein Space-Time Theories

Read more:

When I say I am "fairly stupid", I mean much of the article makes little sense to me. The article is talking about the effect of earth (or any large object in space) on the space-time surrounding it. Also called the "geodetic effect." So, basically, I am dumbfounded because I don't know what that means.

We know that the earth's rotation has an effect on the shape of the earth. It causes the slight "bulge" of the equator. How do we know that? Through math, through experimentation, and through logic. To be fair, we don't really know that or understand the math involved. We, the general public, believe it to be true because we are told it is true by people who are supposed to know this stuff and who, presumably, understand the math involved. And your teachers and the scientists they rely on have never been wrong, have they?

I am one of those people who believe that everything is a matter of scale. Therefore, if an object the size of earth can have an effect on the time-space surrounding it then all objects have some (not yet measurable) effect around them. That means you and I, reader. We are constantly affecting the space-time around us. Oh, certainly by an infinitesimal amount but affect it we must. If we cannot measure the effect, it does not mean it doesn't exist. We couldn't make those measurements that we can now back when Einstein formulated his theories. Had he not formulated his theories, we might not have even known enough to try to measure it.

The mind (mine, that is) boggles.

I still can't understand time at the north (or south) pole. is it faster, relative to the equator? Or is it slower, relative to the equator. Add space to the mix and I am completely lost.


MArk Cowell said...

I'm still trying to figure out the moon and the tides and why I don't lose weight when the moon is directly overhead.

Douglas4517 said...

It's dangerous to delve into these things too deeply. You might fall off the
face of the earth.


TheLogistician said...

Not the type of stuff which matters to most citizens (although it does to us) on a day-to-day basis, although nice to know. When we need to know, we can always look it up on Wikipedia.

By the way, it is generally considered "inappropriate" in the blogosphere to provide a link to one's blog; however, we once used one of Einstein's theories to explain differences in perception. If you pardon our rudeness, and click here, you'll find a practical application of the theory.

Douglas4517 said...

I never knew what mattered to "most citizens." I sometimes got confused over
what matters to me.