Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

First up. What is up with Blogger's "new look" in the Dashboard thing? That button is trying to tell me that it's actually a piece of text.

Seriously, what is that? (Also, Blogger take note-"Blogger's" was taken to be a misspelled word by your own spellchecker!)

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to gripe a little bit about something that's always bugged me: The Theory of Relativity.

It's not the basic premise (the effects of time dilation, relative reference frames, etc.) that bug me. It's the whole there is no ultimate frame of reference (heretofore referred to as "ultimate relativity") assumption.

It's just plain wrong. How, you may ask, do I know differently from an army of brilliant physicists who have been working in this field for about a hundred historical years, give or take?

Because the things that relativity predict and explain, such as time dilation, would be negated by ultimate relativity.

Let me present a little example. The observer is sitting still, while someone else is traveling at speeds sufficient to create a measurable time dilation effect. But according to ultimate relativity, the observer is in a frame of reference which is likewise, from the point of view of the other observer, also traveling at sufficient speed to create a measurable time dilation effect.

If ultimate relativity was true, that whole time dilation thing used as a plot device and as a tool by science fiction writers becomes a rather stupid exercise in futility.

Dignitary Guy: We are welcoming back our astronauts who travelled at nearly the speed of light in order to avoid aging on their 200 year round trip! Of course, everyone they ever knew is dead because of the time they were gone. Ha ha ha!

Crowd: (polite laughter)

Dignitary Guy: So let's open that creaky old rocket up, shall we?

(out falls a skeleton in a spacesuit)

Dignitary Guy: Well, this is awkward.

Since the observable effects of time dilation and other weird relativity crud exist, I would presume the following: Relativity actually needs an ultimate frame of reference.

This is not a farfetched or difficult idea in the slightest. According to something I recently read in a Scientific American "special report" that I received as a result of subscribing, the theory may need that modification in the next five to ten years anyway.

And don't think this means that physicists are idiots, either. The "great Greek thinkers" were always coming up with all sorts of really stupid assumptions for their ridiculous "paradoxes," and people are still talking about how great they are. (For instance, there's this one about how, even if Achilles were to run ten times faster than a tortoise, if the tortoise got a head start, Achilles would literally never be able to catch the tortoise. Seriously, what the heck? Talk about your time dilation. [Actually, that was the flaw in the paradox-the paradox kept dividing the time period measured into smaller and smaller bits, and seemed to forget that time doesn't actually flow that way.])

Finally, if you like comic books, Batman, or all of the above, read this. Read it now.

For a guy whose internets modus operandi is more usually stuff like this, this, this, or this, Chris Sims can occasionally be much more verbose and intelligent than he usually comes across as being. (Not to say that he comes across as "stupid" or anything the rest of the time-just kinda ADD and crazy.)

Argh, Blogger, your other buttons are doing that stupid thing too!

1 comment:

Golden Dragon Girl said...

XD Skeleton skit. X3333

I like the Joker essay too. :D