Monday, August 12, 2013

Time and Relativity, Relatively Speaking

     Usually I let my subconscious mind just ruminate on the topic and then when I sit down at the keyboard, the words come out. Perhaps my accidently missing a week threw a proverbial monkey wrench into the process. But I am somewhat forcing the words out.  I have a background in the sciences. Although I am retired I still read science stuff a lot. As I understand it, we live in four dimensions; the fourth of which is time. As you accelerate through the first three, you change the flow of the fourth. So, theoretically, the more I walk the longer my life will be, as long as I walk in one direction, really fast? Perhaps my life might be extended as long as a couple of micro-milliseconds?  A micro-millisecond is a decimal point followed by lots of zeroes and a 1. It takes a few gazillion of these to time the striking of a match to light the candles on my birthday cake.

     It takes 1.28 seconds for a signal to go from the Earth to the moon. The moonlight that we enjoy most nights is 1.28 seconds old.  Sunlight has been traveling 93 million miles.  If the sun were to snuff out, we wouldn’t know if for about 8 minutes. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. So you do not see me as I am but as I was a brief instant ago. Why am I babbling on about this? This is all part of Einstein’s theory of Relativity.  (There, I got to my point!) Einstein. Einstein defined relatively thusly: “When you are courting a pretty girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”  It’s relatively simple. Time contracts when you’re holding the hand of a pretty girl. As unbelievably brilliant as Einstein was, he had a knack for making things seem obvious. Relativity strikes us all. As I age, time seems to go faster. On my mothers side of the family I am the only child of the youngest of my mother’s immediate family. I am now the eldest surviving member of the family

     On my father’s side of the family, again I am the only child of the youngest of my fathers’ immediate family. I just lost a cousin yesterday; I do have two older cousins.  But the years are creeping up.  I jokingly tell people that I am at the in-between years. I am too old to be middle aged but I am too young to be called elderly. But am I?  Mirriam-Webster defines elderly as  being rather old; especially: being past middle age.n  I guess as I look around the room we are all elderly?  However as I am a grandchild of immigrants and concentration camp survivors we are all quite youthful. There I go again using an adjective to modify age. We all benefit from living in better times that did the generation or two before us.

       There’s a great Yiddish expression that summarizes this rambling discussion. We are all “Alter Kocher’s.” 

I do not think that the phrase needs translation?

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