Daily GUIDE-ance:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Light is Eternal?

Enough with the posts about illness.

I tend to insomnia. In a small way. I usually wake up 3 times a night, including the one in the morning that sticks. If I encourage these wakings up, by say, getting out of bed, and going for a run or reading or some such, it usually means I am doomed for the next couple nights to wake up at that same time with a body that's all like: "I'm up! Time for Harry Dresden!" Or cake, pizza, a run, whatever it was that I did the night before. If I give in, then the next night I am doubly hosed and unable to sleep... a self enforcing behavior.. The defense is to Not get out of bed, but just lay there, in the darkness, until I finally crash out of sheer boredom.

But they only way I can lay still is if the mind has something to fiddle with in the wee. Usually I fall asleep by giving the mind something to fiddle with. When I was a kid (I've been doing this forever, but only just lately noticed it. One advantage of getting old-(36 now)- you get to know yourself) When I was a kid, 9x out of 10 I imagined Star Wars stuff. I was a jedi, facing down D.V. or some such.

Lately its been... a variety of things. The one I wanted to mention here is relativity.

I'm no relativity expert, I am a casual dabbler. One of my mythical beasts that I casually hunt from time to time is an attempt to understand Einstein's relativity. I don't get it, I'm not smart about it, but I'd like to be.

One of the ramifications of it is, of course, time dilation. This is the bit about how if you travel at speeds close to light speed time slows down for you, so that a journey that appears to every one else to take you 100 years to complete only takes you like 4 years or some such. The Twin paradox, perhaps you have heard of? One twin stays on earth and ages while the other takes a space voyage and comes home a year older, and finds his brother an old old man. It's also how come superman was a baby when he got here from Krypton. (which is pretty much the only sci fi I can think of that doesn't just blow relativity off)

The Lorentz factor is this : As I understand it, this formula tells you how much time is going to shrink for you based on how fast you are going.
tB is the time the trip appears to take to everyone not on the trip. tA is the time it takes from the point of view of the one who takes it. v is the velocity of the trip, and c is the speed of light.
The other night I was thinking in my sleep about this junk and the following thought occurred to me:

From our point of view, we see the stars, not as they are now but as they were hundreds of years ago, or thousands, or dozens, or 8 minutes ago if you are talking about The Sun, because that's how long light takes to make the trip to us.-

-Thats from Our point of view. But from the point of view of the light... from the point of view of the light how long does it take?
If I am reading this right... from the point of view of the light the trip takes Zero time. Just as long to go from Alpha Centuri to here as from your computer screen to your eyeball. No time at all. If you are a beam of light, everywhere you have ever been, everything you have ever bounced off of... it all happened at once. Light does not experience time. Light is eternal. Go figure.

End Thought.

At least that's the way I understand the Lorentz thing. Maybe I have it all wrong. I wish I had a relativity expert that I could bounce questions like this off of, but I don't. Seems like I remember reading that Einstein said that there were only about a half a dozen people besides himself who ever really understood relativity anyway. Maybe someday I will take a class in modern physics just to get my skull blow open.

Started Harry Dresden III today! I have a couple candidate best lines from it already and I am only 15% into it.


timpani76 said...

Yeah, but light doesn't age and doesn't have mass like we do right? Isn't the "m" in E=MC2 mass? And, light would not have to travel in a space ship, so it's "body" would be exposed to the space it was traveling through at the same time it was moving.

Eyepoke said...

I dont get it. What are you saying?

timpani76 said...

How can light be eternal when it has no mass to age anyway?

Brad Carter said...

Isn't that WHY light is eternal?

Eyepoke said...

Hmm. well if you are saying that light is inanimate and doesn't actually experience anything at all anyway, I guess that's true, but the point is if you could imagine that light did experience stuff, and had thoughts and all about it, like : "Geesh why did I have to get reflected off that guy? He's a fat homely loser. I would much rather have been reflected off that hot chic over there" ... you know.. just Imagining-

-then light experiences everything all at once. From its perpesctive, it bounces off the hot chic and the fat guy and the jug of milk, and the moon, and swamp gas from venus, all in the same instant as that beam of light was born from the sun. No more than in the same instant- all at exactly the same time. Because of relativistic time dialation. Which I just think is wild. Toke on that!

(so a fat guy and a hot chic sharing a jug of milk in the moonlight...with Venusian swamp gas. hmmm. what would Freud say?)

timpani76 said...

I can't believe thinking about stuff like this helps you sleep ;)

Hoba Chi said...

"I can't believe thinking about stuff like this helps you sleep ;)"
He overloads his brain and causes a knockout. :)

Eyepoke said...

I think its more like I keep myself from getting so bored that I get out of bed and start fiddling around, long enough to fall asleep.

Eyepoke said...

I guess the thing that really gets me thinking about this is that it means that if you really did have a spaceship that achieved Warp 1, there wouldn't be any conversations on it like:

"Well, Jim, Here we are, traveling at Warp 1"

"I don't like it, Bones, it's too... Slow. Scotty, acclerate to Warp 2!"

Because once you have started travelling at Warp 1, from your point of view, you are already Instantly there at where ever it is that you were heading. There's literaly no time to say any of that stuff. Wierd.

Sammi said...

Not commenting on your blog, just giving an update. School started the middle of August, just took a while to update my blog. Good to hear from you!

Renae said...

Call me a small minded moron, but who's to say that those genius people are right? Have they ever traveled at light speed? No. How the ruddy heck do they know? They don't. That's why it's only a theory. Maybe I'm just too stupid to get it, but ... well I don't. I don't think time is a bendable thing. The freaking light from the sun would age 8 minutes. If it takes 8 minutes for the light to get here, it's 8 minutes older. How can that be instantaneous? And I think that rot about the guy traveling at light speed to find out that everyone else is old is dumb. Einstein was a TOTAL MORON!! He probably smoked too much of his hair when he came up with that, and here you are YEARS later losing sleep over it. Who's the bigger fool? (I'm mostly kidding. I don't really think Einstein was a moron. I don't get the whole light - time thing, and I think it's probably crap.)

Renae said...

...not that I've ever given it more than about a minute of my time to think about.

Eyepoke said...

Time dialation is not just a theory, it has been demonstrated.


Not that current scientific thoery is always right of course, the history of science is nothing but the continual overturning of old thoeries. But just because something seems unintuitive doesn't mean its wrong. Science is actually right about alot of hard to believe stuff.

Renae said...

Okay, so maybe I'm the moron. That's freaking crazy. How in the world did Einstein come up with that crazy schtuff?

Funnily enough, it's 4 am right now and I am sitting here reading about the theory of relativity and time dialation. How weird is that? To be honest, I don't exactly understand a lot of what I'm reading. Oh well. It's a crazy world out there.

Eyepoke said...

yeah wierd! goto sleep. I definately don't understand most of it either.

Anonymous said...