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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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physics likes to be abused
children of dune - leto 1
If this day slows down much longer, I'm petitioning for the Theory of Relativity to be downgraded to a hypothesis, lowercase; specifically, time dilation, unless there is a claim that the gravity in this room is strong enough to bend time backward which--actually wouldn't be a surprise, but I am saying the relative to me clock and the clock I am observing locally are both going slower and I think both suck.

I'm updating my understanding of special relativity by way of wikipedia. Do not judge me. Everything I know about physics I learned from Rodney McKay and Star Trek. Also, I have to do this pretty much every six months or I start losing arguments with Child and I just cannot face losing another dark matter discussion because I can't get wikipedia to load fast enough. I already had to concede time travel when I couldn't google fast enough to find the infinite energy requirements even if there are quarks that could be moving backward in timespace.

You know, every time I come back to physics, since I first learned gravity and murphy (both important laws and why isn't murphy's law taught as a science? It should be. I'm adding it here in protest), I'm always thrown by the fact that the first time it was explained to me, I was too young to quite get it (and to be fair, the person that explained it probably did not grasp it all that well either) and asked, "but what if the observer was lying about their local clock?"

I know! But it's still in my head. And so every time--every time--I get past the math and the concept of relative and absolute, time dilation, and everything, I always have this vision of my sister being Observer #2 and to piss me off totes lying about the speed of her clock and boom, I have to start at the first paragraph again or go think hard about why I shouldn't slash quarks, because physics is asking for slash, but I don't know if I really want to go there.

I mean--work with me here--my entire basis of understanding the building blocks of the universe, my basic comprehension of the way that matter and energy interact, why, the very fabric of reality as I understand it can be completely fucked up because my sister once lied about stealing my Barbie and now I will never believe Observer B about their local clock. She stole my Barbie. Observer B is a goddamn liar and scalped her. And lied about the clock.

Think about that one.

Yeah, they really need to give me something to do soon. I just found Lorentz transformation and this won't end well for anyone. I see modeling done in multiple colors and I have a weakness for that.

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It's the morning after the night before and Adam has decided that he's going to plead temporary insanity. Or possibly acid. Definitely acid.

"Seriously, I can't believe you guys did this again," Kris says from the foot of the bed. He's got a camera, and he's carefully taking a picture. From the angle, Adam's pretty sure Kris just photographed his ass. Although he supposes that you can't really see it, what with Anna's hand there and all.

Anna jerks at the sound of a voice and her finger twitches and Adam muffles his yelp into the pillow. Anna lifts her head, bleary-eyed and blinking hard, hair sticking straight up off her forehead and pillow lines in her cheek.

"Fucking *men*," she snarls, yanks her hand away--Adam yelps some more and tries not to get turned on again, because seriously, three fucking times last night.

Acid. It had to be acid. Adam tries to remember the last time he took some. 2002? He's got a headache and he's hungover. He never gets hungover. This is what comes of sleeping with girls, he thinks bleakly.

Kris is laughing too hard to breathe, actually snorting through his nose as he snickers, and the camera just goes "click click click".

Adam closes his eyes and waits for death to claim him.

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" I have to start at the first paragraph again or go think hard about why I shouldn't slash quarks, because physics is asking for slash, but I don't know if I really want to go there."

When I was in high-school chemistry (10th grade), the friend I made in that class and I wrote a story about bonding atoms. We thought it was the height of humor and taste.

I do NOT need to learn any more cosmology or astrophysics and what are you on? Can I get some?

They gave me thirty minutes of actual work today. It was this or try modeling Lorentz with yarn and pencils at my desk, and considering my reaction to unsolvable graphing problems, no one wants that.

Actually, according to Stephen Hawking's Theory of EVerything, Murphy's Law IS an actual, scientific law. Based on the second law of thermodynamics. I'm really, really upset that I know this.
And the Wiki thing is totally not just you. ONE lousy boring afternoon, and I spent the next few days fighting an urge to get a shirt with 'quantum mechanics killed my cat' printed on it. Actually. I still kinda want that shirt.

I currently have a giant, weirdly non-sexual crush on Professor Brian Cox, he of Large Hadron Collider and dodgy pop anthem fame, and am working my way slowly through this book on relativity he's just cowritten, and for much the same reason, too (to be able to answer my kidlet's questions). It's just ace - takes you by the hand and leads you through the whole damn thing. I am surprised that I am enjoying it, but I really am.

Oh, my god, I never ever want a student like you in my class. Observer B is lying is not an excuse! Your lab partner may be your biggest source of error, but Observer B always tells the truth (and so does Observer A, for pete's sake)!


I would love to show this to my fellow science teachers, but RL and LJ must never, ever meet in my world. That's a law, right there.

What if they were nearsighted? What if the clock broke? What if the clock was a lie?

See, the math is like, impossible for me to completely follow, but at least I can see the sense of it. The second it's turned into an exercise requiring another human being, this goes Psychology 101 on me and my Barbie is scalped. Just. *hands* There you have it. There is something about framing it with observer effect that breaks my train of thought. It's like the Doppler Effect--I understand it, and I agree with it, and it's an experiment you can conduct in real life, but I still get stuck thinking, what if his hearing aid wasn't working? What if he's not watching? Why do people need to be involved? People lie! House says so!

Sure, it doesn't make sense, but hey, I loved that Barbie.

my Barbie is scalped

This screams for a t-shirt...

Um...I think I love you.

Me and hard sciences would have problems, I think. *grins*

Oh god. I barely survived this at in my third year at Uni. This (General and Special Relativity) was 20 lectures of hell, and that's despite liking one of the lecturers, loving the other and both of them being very competent. I knew way much less of this than I should and the only reason I survived the exam (more than a year later! at the end of my 4th year!) was because I was very lucky in the exam question that came up.

Lorentz transformations were a special hell. *skims the wiki article* The initial section lulls you into a false sense of security - I read it and thought to myself, huh, maybe this will make sense now that you're not being forced to learn it. Then I scanned down the page, and no, it's just as utterly horrific as I remember...

Which sucks. Because I wanted so much to love it and understand it. University / Physics & Astronomy degree did not quite live up to my expectations. Or my ability to learn and understand did not not quite liev up to my expectations. One, or t'other, or both.

Relativity was a Special Hell.

for you and Jenn: The Einstein Theory of Relativity: A Trip to the Fourth Dimension, by Lillian Lieber. This should have been your textbook, except it probably wasn't back in print yet and the teachers might have looked down on the cartoons. But for real, I taught myself special relativity, general relativity, and *tensors* with this book.

For Jenn: you probably want to get a copy, work through it yourself, *then* give it to TK. Or work through it together, if you're willing to risk him getting ahead of you. But you really will understand this stuff when you're done.

PHYSICS IS MY FAVORITEST SCIENCE EVER. My thing with relativity and many other physics concepts is actually not wondering if an observer is lying, but more my inability to comprehend the fact that this is actually how earth and space logic WORKS. Which is so strange because usually I get things right away, because I'm a very logical sort of human being. But then like, the twin paradox? That took me 9,000 hours of study to be able to just GET IT. And while I get in on a scientific level and can do the appropriate calculations for physics class, a part of me still doesn't understand why. D:

Aaaah, Lorentz transformations, I remember them well. Looking at those matrices I'm still impressed that the maths is the least confusing thing about special rel. Also, my lecturer used to use Star Trek stories to illustrate the impossibility of travelling faster than light, so there already kind of is physics fanfic... er... though not slash, that I was aware of.

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