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2. ## Highly Advanced General Relativity for the Layman 101

Short answer: Both you and the people on Earth observe that the light reached Saturn first. But the people on Earth observe that the light took less time to reach Saturn after you shined it. Long answer: Let's say that the distance between Earth and Saturn is d (in the Earth frame) and that at the halfway point on your journey to Saturn, you shine a light at Saturn. The distance that light travels is d/2, and so it takes d/(2c) seconds for the light to go from you to Saturn in the Earth frame. But in your frame, the distance between Earth and Saturn is not d, but rather d*Sqrt(1 - (v^2)/(c^2)) (because of length contraction), which turns out to be d*0.0141421 when your velocity is 99.99% of c. The halfway point of your journey is at half this distance, so you shine the light at d*0.00707105. That means that the light arrives at Saturn after d/(0.00707105*c) seconds in your frame (because of time dilation). d/(2c) < d/(0.00707105*c) but d > d*0.0141421 So in the Earth frame, the light traveled a longer distance, but it took less time to get there. Whereas in your frame, it traveled a shorter distance, but it also took a longer time to get there. Thus, light never goes "two or three times your speed" to reach Saturn. Light always travels at c, it is never ever slower or faster across inertial frames. Instead, space and time contract and dilate.
3. ## Highly Advanced General Relativity for the Layman 101

When talking about motion, it's always a good idea to ask what the observer is supposed to be moving relative to. Every observer is always at rest in his own inertial frame. If you say that an observer is moving with some velocity v, then you must specify the frame he is moving relative to as well. Also, there are no such things as inertial observers that move with velocity c with respect to any other inertial frame. As I've said before, such an observer would not be able to read the clocks in his own frame, which is a serious problem. We can, however, talk about an observer that is moving with a velocity close to c with respect to a second observer. In that case, both observers would measure any light moving away from them at exactly c.

It does.

6. ## The astounding athletic power of quadcopters

I, for one, welcome our new quadcopter overlords.
7. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

Did you even read that wikipedia article?
8. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

What about France, Germany, Spain or Japan? It's not at all necessary to be a subject of Great Britain in order to become a democracy. The US and India did not become democracies because of Great Britain but rather in spite of it. I don't recall Washington or Ghandi ever saying anything like "Hey isn't GB so wonderful and democratic? We should be more like them." Why would anybody want to pay \$10 a year of tax in order to be able to vote when the most they can get from the government is about \$10 before losing the right to vote?
9. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

Why is that? --Brant Do you think it could be otherwise? If we had a government that was unaccountable to the people, do you think it would waste its resources protecting their rights, or would it rather exploit them to pay off the thugs that keep it in power? That sounds like a false dichotomy. No one is suggesting a completely unaccountable government. George III never suggested a completely unaccountable government either, but that doesn't change the fact that the less accountable the government, the more tyrannical it becomes (particularly to the people who aren't represented). "No taxation without representation!" anyone? Jesus Christ dude! Do you seriously believe that India and the US owe their freedom to the British Freakin' Empire? Do you know anything about its abuses of its colonies and citizens in the 18th and 19th centuries? Suppose that that government eliminated taxes for everyone below a certain income level. Would those people then be able to vote?
10. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

Why is that? --Brant Do you think it could be otherwise? If we had a government that was unaccountable to the people, do you think it would waste its resources protecting their rights, or would it rather exploit them to pay off the thugs that keep it in power? I think that democracy is a logical precondition for freedom. Unlimited, majoritarian democracy? You might try studying the role of the House of Lords in English history. It wasn't until the House of Lords lost most of its power that Socialism really took root in the UK. Darrell No, not unlimited majoritarian democracy, a representative republic with universal suffrage will do just nicely. (Although, I think an unlimited majoritarian democracy would gradually transform into a representative republic) Do you know anything about what GB was like before the House of Lords lost most of its power?
11. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

You do realize that people were only allowed to vote for the communist party in the USSR, right? I was talking about how the USSR came into being, not what happened afterwards. Darrell Might that be because its a perfect illustration of what happens when you're only allowed to vote one way? So because they might vote themselves "higher payouts", we ought to pre-emptively disenfranchise them? Which is more fundamental, freedom or democracy? Darrell I think that democracy is a logical precondition for freedom.
12. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

Tony, Although I would prefer to treat people as individuals, there may be no practical alternative to basing certain decisions on statistical analysis. One area in which it is almost universally agreed that people should be treated as members of groups is age-of-consent laws. Although one would ideally judge the sexual maturity of individuals, there is no practical way to do so from a legal standpoint, so we have statutory rape --- if a person above a certain age has sex with someone below that age and their ages are far enough apart, the older person is considered to be guilty of rape, regardless of whether the younger person consented or not and regardless of whether the younger person was capable of consent or not. Another place where statistical analysis might play a role is immigration. It is a statistical fact that most immigrants vote for Democrats and for socialistic policies, so allowing immigration to occur too rapidly undermines individual rights. Restricting immigration might be unfair to people that want to enjoy the fruits of liberty in this country, but there is no practical way to protect the rights of the individuals already living here while allowing a large number of people to move here and become citizens. Darrell It is also a statistical fact that people who vote for Democrats vote for Democrats 100% of the time. Why don't we just make it so that people who vote in a way that we don't like lose the right to vote? Allowing people to vote however they want might mean they vote in a way that we think is threatening to individual rights. Also, we should imprison anybody who disagrees with our politics in public. After all, if they are allowed to spew their anti-individualist propaganda, people might be convinced to vote for socialistic policies and would thereby become a threat to individual rights. Surely, there is no more 'practical' way to protect individual rights other than having the state do everything it can to protect individual rights from individuals. Spoken like a true Democrat. Let's here it for majoritarian rule. Just remember, the majority got its way in Russian during the Bolshevik revolution. It may be funny to poke fun at any anti-democratic suggestions, but the consequences are anything but funny. Darrell You do realize that people were only allowed to vote for the communist party in the USSR, right?
13. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

You mean thieves and drug dealers? -- but generally speaking, the Federal government and all 50 states are in a death spiral of declining tax revenue, deficit spending, increasing entitlement liabilities, and unpayable debt. It is inevitable that interest rates must rise; it cannot stay at ZIRP + QE indefinitely. When rates rise, it's game over. Less than half of all households pay income taxes. Unless we restrict who votes, this country is going to go down in flames. And since that won't happen (we can't even require voter ID), the Republic is doomed. We voted ourselves out of business with Hope and Change. Let's do a little thought experiment. Suppose that I was the only one who was allowed to vote. Do you think that I would elect politicians who promised me a billion dollars in cash every year, or that I would elect politicians who promised to create a sensible fiscal policy with low taxes instead? (Hint: it's the one where I get more money)
14. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

That's not the issue. If a person has no income other than government handouts, they should have no vote in picking my pocket. So if a person does have a source of income other than government handouts and receives government handouts, then they should be allowed to vote on picking your pocket?
15. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

I understand that people sometimes vote in a way that you don't agree with. But you didn't answer the question. Is it acceptable to disenfranchise someone because they might vote for policies that violate the individual rights of others? EDIT: And don't call me "dear".
16. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

So because they might vote themselves "higher payouts", we ought to pre-emptively disenfranchise them?
17. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

It would be nice to disenfranchise welfare recipients and government employees (school teachers, bureaucrats, cops, firefighters). Why?
18. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

Tony, Although I would prefer to treat people as individuals, there may be no practical alternative to basing certain decisions on statistical analysis. One area in which it is almost universally agreed that people should be treated as members of groups is age-of-consent laws. Although one would ideally judge the sexual maturity of individuals, there is no practical way to do so from a legal standpoint, so we have statutory rape --- if a person above a certain age has sex with someone below that age and their ages are far enough apart, the older person is considered to be guilty of rape, regardless of whether the younger person consented or not and regardless of whether the younger person was capable of consent or not. Another place where statistical analysis might play a role is immigration. It is a statistical fact that most immigrants vote for Democrats and for socialistic policies, so allowing immigration to occur too rapidly undermines individual rights. Restricting immigration might be unfair to people that want to enjoy the fruits of liberty in this country, but there is no practical way to protect the rights of the individuals already living here while allowing a large number of people to move here and become citizens. Darrell It is also a statistical fact that people who vote for Democrats vote for Democrats 100% of the time. Why don't we just make it so that people who vote in a way that we don't like lose the right to vote? Allowing people to vote however they want might mean they vote in a way that we think is threatening to individual rights. Also, we should imprison anybody who disagrees with our politics in public. After all, if they are allowed to spew their anti-individualist propaganda, people might be convinced to vote for socialistic policies and would thereby become a threat to individual rights. Surely, there is no more 'practical' way to protect individual rights other than having the state do everything it can to protect individual rights from individuals.
19. ## Family Values Still Threaten GOP

But legalizing gay marriage is not about forcing religious institutions to perform marriage ceremonies that contradict their religious beliefs. The real problem they have with gay marriage is that, if they don't grant them, then they are not an equal opportunity organization, and will therefore lose their tax-exempt status.
20. ## The Pope v. Libertarianism

Undensify me, then? What exactly was your point? It was a joke, as I explained in my first reply, one that implicitly referred to at least two replies to papal doctrines written by Ayn Rand. If the reference escaped you, that's probably because you are unfamiliar with those major articles by Rand. Instead, you assumed that I am stupid enough to believe that no one other than Rand, including myself, could write an adequate response to the "arguments" of Francis, when in fact an intelligent high school student could easily demolish them. So you posted your condescending comment instead of thinking this through. Ghs It's true, I am unfamiliar with those articles. What are they, exactly? I think you've assumed far too much about what I've assumed. My point was exactly the opposite. Anybody could make a strong case against Francis' position, hence why we don't need Ayn Rand. What bothers me, though, is that no one who wasn't already familiar with the two articles you mentioned would get the reference. Hence, yes, those people would "get it", but they are precisely the people who would be least interested in (re)reading them. While anybody who wasn't already familiar with them would get the impression that only Ayn Rand would be capable of refuting them (or at least that her opinion on the matter is the only authoritative one), making Francis' arguments seem far more important than they really are.
21. ## The Pope v. Libertarianism

Undensify me, then? What exactly was your point?
22. ## The Pope v. Libertarianism

No one needs Ayn Rand. We are not her children, and she is not our mother. Thanks for the tip. I could never have figured that out on my own. You don't seem familiar with the essays that Rand wrote criticizing the pope (one was on birth control and abortion), so you didn't get the point of my remark. Nor, so far as I can tell, do you have a sense of humor. Ghs What I'm trying to say is, is there anything Ayn Rand could do or say about the article you linked to, that you couldn't just as well?
23. ## The Pope v. Libertarianism

No one needs Ayn Rand. We are not her children, and she is not our mother.
24. ## Net Neutrality Explained with John Oliver

Hahahaha! I love this guy's show. Hopefully it will get good enough ratings to stay on HBO.
25. ## Highly Advanced General Relativity for the Layman 101

but didnt Eisnteins thought experiment begin with him moving AT the speed of light while looking at himself in the mirror?? We arent asking whenther IF IT IS possible, but rather, IF IT WAS possible what would we observe. In special relativity, it is impossible to even consider what would happen if an observer moved at the speed of light, because that would contradict the first postulate. If by "an observer traveling at the speed of light" we mean an inertial observer for which all light is at rest (in a given direction), then it would be impossible for him to measure time in places that are behind him, because the light from those clocks would never reach him. He therefore cannot be an inertial observer. I think Einstein's thought experiment that you're talking about was about the ether theory. In that theory, the first postulate of special relativity did not hold, so one could sensibly ask what would happen if one traveled at the speed of light. However, since such a theory assumes an absolute time, they would still arrive at the same time on Neptune in all frames, anyway. Since they are traveling at the same speed and in the same direction, when each racer looks at the other, he observes that the other guy is not moving at all.