12 November 2009

Who needs science fiction

When you have reality? Universe, you never cease to amaze me. Ever.

I follow a blog called Physics and Physicists (for obvious reasons) and I normally enjoy what ZapperZ has to say. I say normally because I have a difference of viewpoint on the occasion of this post. It seems that there are some inaccuracies in an article in the Telegraph called "The 10 weirdest Physics facts" and he chooses not to nitpick because "it won't matter for those who don't understand physics", even though it seems he encourages his readers to pick out the aforementioned inaccuracies. That said, this is just the kind of article in which high school student would become immersed.

Sure, the content of anything should NOT be sacrificed just because it is delivered in an interesting manner. However, we're talking about extremely abstract concepts that might not be completely understood by the general public, especially by a humanities graduate that writes articles for the Telegraph. Okay, I haven't made my point very well; hopefully, that has more to do with the residual effects of my dental visit today and not the early stages of dementia. *puts soapbox away and gets back to the strange Universe*

The strangest theory of physics (from the article mentioned above) states: "The fundamental description of the universe does not account for a past, present or future." Basically, that means there is no absolute reality. (please save all arguments about absolutes for your religion class) Reality is different for each observer and is based on their velocity and their location. If you were moving significantly faster than I was, your clock would still tick the seconds as normal, for you. But from my vantage point, it would keep time much slower than my own, identical clock. This, of course, means you would age much slower than I would, since your reality is that time is moving at that pace. This could also be true if you were much closer to the center of the Earth, a.k.a it's "gravity well". Next time you use the GPS navigation system, remember: someone had to calculate how far away the satellite for navigation would be from the gravity well (causing its clock to run faster) and how fast it is moving (causing its clock to run slower). And this needs to be synced with a clock on the Earth in the receiver unit in your car. Someone is really smart. Really smart.

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