Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Science's way of flip-flopping

"Relativity is just science's way of flip-flopping. Space or time, mass or energy? Which is it, pick a side [...] And I'm sorry, E equals m c squared? C does not stand for the speed of light, c is for cookie."

[via Ryan]

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Tyrone Colbert is a four-time Emmy Award-winning American comedian, satirist, actor, and writer. He has recently been declared the Greatest Living American by Google, and is about to tell you in great length how to be American.

I makes me really happy to see that scientific ignorance is no longer en vogue. I just want to fill you in with the details that Colbert skipped in his brief introduction. First, as everybody knows the relevant factor between the cookie that he talked about and the entertainment is the media

And then there is the evident TV relation that makes the American nation so outstanding

Taken together we find

I am confident, the US will make good use of their chocolate cookie science.

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  1. lol Bee,
    the universe had to create a moon to soak up all the energy and mass
    that impacted on the Moon and created the moon's craters.

    Then the universe gave birth to the US government, which builds high powered nuclear weapons to create similar 'craters' on Earth.

    Funny thing though - if six plus billion people on earth were obliterated - it would not make one iota of difference to the universe.

    Now I could feel insignificant, but in the cosmic scale of things I AM.

  2. sure :-) occasionally, I come to the conclusion that reality is a hoax and there is no universe other than the one I think there is - prove me you are real ;-) I recall a physics homework of the kind: if all Chinese and Indians would jump at the same time, could they kick earth out of its orbit? Here as in many regards, I find the insignificance of our existence actually reassuring.

    anyway, the scary thing about nuclear weapons is how much power they focus in the hands of only a small number of people. The significance of their existence is in no relation to the significance of their potential influence on the history of mankind. too much power too narrowly focused can easily result in collapse.



  3. Bee, Man's almost insane obsession with Power - in all its forms
    Financial power, Political power, Creative power, Sexual power and most of all Destructive Power.

    All forms of Energy!

    And then it seems the search for longevity - seems we and all life forms literally eat ourselves to death. And some of course starve to death.

    PS - What happens to a blackhole (with or without a singularity) if it eats too much ...

    and what if there is nothing left for it to eat? - when and if it has eaten all there IS (or WAS).

    laters ...

  4. yeah. it's interesting that the English word 'power' has been incorporated into the Germany language. It is so frequently used that I doubt all of the kids are aware it actually is an English word.

    ps: there is of course a German translation one could use, but it would depend on the context (Macht, Kraft, Stärke) and just sounds, well, uncool (that being another word incorporated in the German language) ;-)

    pps: if the hole has eaten everything that's pretty much the most boring endstate of the universe I can think of. it would still emit radiation though and attempt to come into equilibrium with it. but the larger the black hole, the smaller its temperature, so you can essentially forget about that if it has the mass of all matter in the universe.

  5. Hi all,

    ...Black Hole if it eats too much..?

    If rotating, I think it will take shape like a knackwurst :-)

    It can grow so large, that the edge of the horizon rotates at a speed nearing "c".

    This can not happen, so the hole will grow bigger by elongation around the axis of rotation, thus taking the shape of a saussage!

    How abt naming them supermassive rotating "black knackwurst" . I think...



  6. Hi Klaus,

    this directly brings us to the question what is the angular momentum of the universe? btw, you might be interested to hear that in addition to the Knackwurst, there are also black cigars and pancakes, see e.g.

    Black Pancake

    Sorry ;-) I mean

    Black Pancake (scientific version)



  7. but the larger the black hole, the smaller its temperature, so you can essentially forget about that if it has the mass of all matter in the universe.

    Bee, that's a big 'essentially'
    Could it be there's a point where the action reverses itself

    without a singularity - it sucks everything thru (into another bubble, dimension or sister universe, until it reaches the point where it sends it all back - not unlike cooling or heating an air filled ballon)

    with a singularity at its centre, there reaches a point where the singularity accretes so much mass it becomes too voluminous - and creates a mini bigbang - the blackhole decreasing in size withthe reduction in density of the singularity.

    And the Universe being so vast, has plenty of room for both of these actions to be occurring, and at the same time in different points of Time in the Universe or Space
    Cambridge Relativity - Black holes

  8. I thought it was hilarious (thanks! I really like Colbert and I check the ComedyCentral site often), but I know someone, who is an Australian, who didn't get the humor. He was wondering if this is a generational gap problem or a cultural difference (I would say both). For one thing, It seems that he missed the Sesame Street Cookie Monster reference.

  9. Very funny. By the way the ice-hockey players from your not too famous Vaterland have defeated the 2005 champions and 2006 vice-champions and the winners of the basic group - simply the best team in the world - 2:0. How's that possible? Congrats anyway.

  10. Interesting, I didn't notice, thanks for letting me know. Maybe it's because Germans have a special relation to the puck


    Puck draws near and wheels about,
    In mazy circles dancing!
    Hundreds swell his joyous shout,
    Behind him still advancing.

    J.W.Goethe, Faust



  11. Well, yes, as a silly joke says, Goethe was the 2nd most important Czech after Hitler.

    If you have such a special relation, have you solved Germany puck? It's just like Rubik's cube. You keep on clicking for 10 minutes on the page and nothing happens.

  12. :-)

    hmm, I am afraid my relation to Puck is restricted to dancing with the witches on Walpurgis Night. I've casted my spells for this year, lets see what happens.

    I never had the patience for Rubic's cube. There are puzzles I find more interesting... Let me guess, you were one of the guys who could solve that damned thing within 1 minute (I learned how to take it apart and put it back together in less time ;-) ).


  13. Hi Bee,

    ...this directly brings us to the question what is the angular momentum of the universe? ...

    I think, that if you took a poll amongst your readres the most frequent answer would be:
    The AM is zero, when all momenta summed up given magnitude and angle relative to each other. You could also ask; given a "big crunch" what would be the AM of the big crunch / new BigBang singularity?
    (you dont need to support the Big Crunch theory, just use it as an example)

    Or one could employ an antropic inspired approach:
    would there be life on Terra if the overall AM of the universe was anything else but zero?

    btw: If the universe rotates, would it HAVE TO obey the speedlimit "c" at its outer edges? then again, there seems to be no edges!

    The room "outside" is not even nothingness...




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