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

Grant Edwards grante at visi.com
Mon Feb 11 17:05:27 CET 2008

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).

> In strict linguistic terms the word "subatomic" is a fine
> oxymoron. I suspect it's really "turtles all the way down".

Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow! Yes, but will I
                                  at               see the EASTER BUNNY in
                               visi.com            skintight leather at an
                                                   IRON MAIDEN concert?

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