Relativity in Four Letters or Less
August 30, 2007 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm halfway through, but that seems really well-written. It reminds me of the decisive restraint one has to show when writing for the Simple English Wikipedia.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:58 AM on August 30, 2007

I have a very weak grasp of physics. As I understand it, the core idea in relativity is that time is not absolute, it is literally the "fourth dimension" of our perception of spacetime. This means one's perception of time is affected by one's motion through space. The classic example is astronauts who approach lightspeed... a journey of one year aboard a ship going 99% of lightspeed would actually last dozens of years from the point of view of the people back on earth. The astronauts would return home still young and with recent memories, but everyone else would be old and the astronaut's recent memories would be part of everyone else's distant past.
posted by autodidact at 7:06 AM on August 30, 2007

The core idea isn't really that time is not absolute. It's that the speed of light is always the same. Einstein was an absolute genius for taking that one really simple idea and running with it, wherever it happened to lead. Including the conclusion that time couldn't be absolute any more.
posted by edd at 7:40 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is an old meme that I've seen all over the net. It's fun, and I like it, but some bits are not so good.

To make fun of one part: they tell us that, in Izzy's eyes, we have no one true "at rest". They say: "This is why Izzy came to say: Yes, we have no one true "at rest", and when you move, some may say you do move and some may say you don't, and that is okay -- but not so with a pull! A pull is a pull, damn it." This is not true. Izzy took his data to tell him more than it did. The test that Izzy did with his pail did, yes, show that "pull" is the same for all, but Izzy took this to mean that the idea of pure rest was true. We now know this is a jump Izzy did not need to make.
posted by painquale at 7:46 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think this is a wonderful tribute to the expressive power of English. Try to explain anything in words of four or fewer letters in Italian!
posted by ubiquity at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2007

And this makes Italian less expressive how?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2007

I want to see an explanation in only words of 4 letters and more.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2007

I quite like it. It actually filled a gap for me, about where Einstein started.
posted by Goofyy at 8:41 AM on August 30, 2007

Well the Germans could do it in one word probably!

So English loses there.

And in Japanese you could take the German word, write it in katakana, shorten it to a cute abbreviation and probably incorporate it into a haiku
posted by gomichild at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I couldn't bear to read it, too much filler.

How about four words or less?


Energy is matter, lol.
posted by xorry at 10:23 AM on August 30, 2007

It's a double post, but that was a while ago.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:45 PM on August 30, 2007

Nifty. I like.
posted by sotonohito at 5:10 PM on August 30, 2007

That is the slickest Godel's proof I've ever read. Thanks!
posted by RussHy at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2007

How about four words or less?

C is constant, period.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:27 PM on August 30, 2007

Trust me, it's relative.
posted by pompomtom at 11:05 PM on August 30, 2007

Anyone else find that oddly like reading Riddley Walker?
posted by primer_dimer at 2:32 AM on August 31, 2007

I find it hard to read. I'm not sure why but perhaps it's because my brain's reading sub-system depends on recognizing the shape of words and the words all look too much alike for reliable recognition. If I squish the browser to make the page into a narrow column it helps.
posted by bz at 8:13 AM on August 31, 2007

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