OT: Speed of light [was Re: Why not a Python compiler?]

Robert Bossy Robert.Bossy at jouy.inra.fr
Mon Feb 11 17:48:14 CET 2008

Grant Edwards wrote:
> On 2008-02-11, Steve Holden <steve at holdenweb.com> wrote:
>> Well the history of physics for at least two hundred years has
>> been a migration away from the intuitive.
> Starting at least as far back as Newtonian mechanics.  I once
> read a very interesting article about some experiments that
> showed that even simple newtonian physics is counter-intuitive.
> Two of the experiments I remember vividly. One of them showed
> that the human brain expects objects constrained to travel in a
> curved path will continue to travel in a curved path when
> released.  The other showed that the human brain expects that
> when an object is dropped it will land on a spot immediately
> below the drop point -- regardless of whether or not the ojbect
> was in motion horizontally when released.
> After repeated attempts at the tasks set for them in the
> experiments, the subjects would learn strategies that would
> work in a Newtonian world, but the initial intuitive reactions
> were very non-Newtonian (regardless of how educated they were
> in physics).
I'm pretty sure we can still hear educated people say that free fall 
speed depends on the weight of the object without realizing it's a 
double mistake.


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