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MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted:Ok, so while I was lying in bed trying to sleep, my mind began to wander. I often think about space, the universe, traveling around in space, and the like. Tonight, however, something popped in my head and I cant stop thinking about it. It made me get out of bed and onto the internet in seach of some sort of help.

Please read the following with a grain of salt for it may be utterly stupid as I am going to ramble about stuff I know nothing about since I am sleep deprived.

The law goes like this: Speed = Distance/Time. Now, correct me if Im wrong but isn't distance completely man made? For instance, if a human could be shrunk down to an ant's size with a ruler in his hand, the ruler would still be 1 foot long to that man. In the same sense, if the tiny man had a tiny car, he got into the car and drove 60 MPH next to a normal sized human it would seem slow. This would imply, to me, that distance is relative to size, in turn, making speed relative.

I dont really know where Im going with it after this but I cant help but think it has some bearing on bigger things like light speed and the universe. Light speed, of course, is a constant because light will always travel at the same rate. But imagine now that a human was blown up to the size of, say, our solar system. Light speed would now seem slow because our bodies span across light years. If the man took a step, he would be traveling faster than the speed of light.

Now I really dont know what Im getting at so could anyone give me some feedback on what Ive said so far? Is this all garbage and has no real application (which is what Im starting to believe the more I think about it)?

PS - At around this point when I was thinking in bed, I thought about the possibilities of building an enormous space craft, using the logic above, to travel faster than light speed. It raised the point that making something such a size would require more material than we have on this (or any) planet. You would need MULTIPLE planets to make up a transport (or living being) of that size... What if the solar systems (or the whole universe for that matter) WERE such beings traveling at speeds across distances beyond our comprehension! Just something else to think about wink


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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mrFlibble
Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK
Member Since: 1st Mar 2003
Total posts: 455
Posted:the more mass an object has, the more energy is required to increase its velocity. so if you built a ludicrously huge spaceship, and only put rockets on it, it would move pretty slowly.
plus the faster an object moves, the heavier it gets (at relativistic speeds)


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:yes, but... if you built a huge spaceship with no engines and occasionally sneezed out of the back of it, it would eventually accelerate to the speed of light.

assuming a perfect vacuum and no inconveniently placed planets


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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mrFlibble
Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK
Member Since: 1st Mar 2003
Total posts: 455
Posted:i have to disagree im afraid smile ubbidea
you'd only accelerate up to a point and then stay at the same speed


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oli
not with cactus
Location: bristol/ southern eastern devo...
Member Since: 24th Jul 2003
Total posts: 2052
Posted:i think the problem lies in building a spaceship that big....


Me train running low on soul coal
They push+pull tactics are driving me loco
They shouldn't do that no no no

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Rovo
Rovo

(the person actually known as Chris Bailey)
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Member Since: 30th Jul 2003
Total posts: 544
Posted:Well i read a book on the joining of quantum mechanics and general relativity. For anyone that doesn't know these are the two major theories of physics quantum mechanics dealing with the extremely microscopic world and general relativity dealing mainly with the extremely macroscopic stars planets and other celestial bodies and the like. Anyway these two theories do not go hand in hand and the book was talking about coming up with a theory that encompasses all the characteristics of both theories.


Well reading i learned some cool facts did you know that whenever your in motion time slows down a tiny unnoticable bit and you also shrink slightly. This is not noticable to us but if you could go a large fraction of the speed of light time would slow down and you would defniatly shrink.


Also i read if you could descend down to the event horizon of a black hole right before you reached its event horizon where everything is sucked in and destroyed and you stayed there for 10 days and could immediatly go back to earth hundreds of years would have passed on earth. I read thi book some time ago but everything i said is about right juss the figures might be a lil off For some reason the idea of thi totally blew my mind


Peace, Love, Circles

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zwitterion
zwitterion

member
Location: Iowa
Member Since: 17th Jul 2003
Total posts: 52
Posted:60 mph is 60 mph regardless of how big the car going it is... or did i misunderstand?

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mrFlibble
Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK
Member Since: 1st Mar 2003
Total posts: 455
Posted:i'll award a prize to the first person to unify quantum theory and relativity.


plus the Nobel committee might give you an award or something too. but my prize will be better - some poi of your choice biggrin


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Rovo
Rovo

(the person actually known as Chris Bailey)
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Member Since: 30th Jul 2003
Total posts: 544
Posted:in that book i read these poeple propsed this universal string theory where the smallest unit of matter was a sub-microscopic vibrating string and it solved the problems of unifying both theories but it just seemed odd...

Peace, Love, Circles

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Spicymoose
Spicymoose

member
Location: Rockford, IL
Member Since: 4th Aug 2003
Total posts: 28
Posted:Distance isn't man made. "Distance" is a word used to describe something that has always been there. What is relative is the way an individual may interpret a specified method of measuring distance. For example, if one person tells another that the sun is one AU (astronomical unit) from the earth and the other person says, "no, the sun is two AUs from the earth" then one of the two people does not understand what the length of an Astronomical Unit is because, obviously, the sun is going to be in the same position in relationship to the earth no matter how you choose to represent that idea.

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:I highly recommend Stephen Hawking's A Theory of Everything. It is delightfully written, easy to understand (most of the time), and it is...

thought-provoking.

weavesmiley


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:And I think people misunderstand the theory of relativity as it relates to the cosmic speed limit, c. Suppose you pick, any object, regardless of its velocity relative to you. You may never be moving at the speed of light or faster with regards to that object.



Suppose it takes a certain number of joules to change an object's velocity by 1 m/s. To change it by 2 m/s takes ever so slightly more than twice that energy. As you approach the speed of light, expending twice the energy gets you diminishing returns. If it took you x joules (or bajigajoules biggrin) to get up to 0.999c, spending 2x bajigajoules will make you go 0.9999999999c.



Now here's where it gets bizarre. Suppose I am an observer standing on a planet and I am watching the U.S.S. Enterprise go away from me at 0.99999c in one direction and the Milennium Falcon go away from me at 0.99999c in the exact opposite direction. You might think that Han Solo on the Falcon would see Enterprise moving away from him at almost twice the speed of light. But he actually wouldn't. He'd see Enterprise moving away at, say 0.9999999c. And Jean-Luc Picard on Enterprise would likewise see the earth moving away at 0.99999c and Falcon moving away at 0.9999999c. Strange, huh?



As a consequence of all this, I would be strung up by my thumbs for mixing my sci-fi series. biggrin ubblol


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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mrFlibble
Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK
Member Since: 1st Mar 2003
Total posts: 455
Posted:yep you're right about the way speed adds up in the way you illustrated there biggrin

anyway the enterpise creates a bubble of warped spacetime around itself, and within that bubble the ship remains at rest, but the bubble itself moves through the surroundnig space faster than light. coz there's no reason a bit of space can't move through space faster than light umm hence Warp drive biggrin


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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:I agree with the post a bit further up...if you shrink someone and their car down to a tiny size, and they then accelarate to 60m/h on their speedometer, they AREN'T doing 60 miles per hour!

They are doing whatever fraction of the earlier size in miles/hour.

As for 'seeing' things behind you when travelling near the speed of light, that's a whole other area of quarkiness...

The real question is, would it be a red-shift or a blue shift coming off the Falcon?


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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Red-shif, Charles. It's moving away from you.

The reason that you start to see things in front of you when you go really fast is actually quite simple. Suppose you are next to a star. The light waves from the star will hit you from the side. Now, if you are moving really quickly, the light waves will still be hitting you from the side, but you have to factor in your own velocity, which changes the apparent direction of the light wave from 3 o' clock to, say, 1 o' clock.

If that doesn't make any sense to you, it's just the same way that if you drive at 60 mph through a rain that is falling straight down, it appears to be flying at you at an angle, rather than falling straight down.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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TheBovrilMonkey
TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England
Member Since: 3rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 2629
Posted:What I'd really like to know is why Han Solo measures the speed of the Falcon in units of distance tongue

But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

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