Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wondering about the speed of light.

I have a problem!!  Sometimes my simple mind can just not wrap itself around some, what seem to me, conundrums.  Some things just don't fit neatly into a slot in my brain.  Then, I just can't stop thinking about it and it keeps bothering me because I just can't explain it in logical terms.

OK, I guess I may have you a little confused about what I am thinking.  Maybe that is because I am a little confused.  Here is my problem.

Einstein said that nothing can travel faster than light.  The speed of light is the speed limit of the universe.  The distance of things that are really far away are expressed in "light years".  A light year is the distance that light travels in a year and should always be a finite number.  Nothing travels faster than light.  (If something did travel faster than light we probably couldn't detect it anyway.)

Now, here is my problem.  Since a lot of us have RVs, let me use one as an example.  Let's say you were sitting beside the road one night and you see a motor-home coming down the road.  You can see inside that motor and there is a kid in it shining a flashlight towards the front of the motor-home.  Now, if this kid were throwing a ball in the same direction, the speed of the ball would be the sum of the speed of the RV and the speed that the ball was thrown.  That seems logical to me, right?  Then if that is correct, the same thing should work if he were shining the flashlight towards the front.  The speed of the beam of light leaving the flashlight should be added to the speed of the RV, just like the ball.  Do you all agree with that?

Well, we would both be wrong.  If we could measure the speed of the flashlight beam from inside the RV and from outside the moving RV, it would measure the same!!  Now that blows my mind, but Einsteins universal speed limit has prevailed.  Now, please, someone explain this to me before my head explodes.  Then both of us will have a great day, you hear?

15 comments:

  1. Why, oh why, do I come here. Just this morning I was trying to make the pharmacist realize I wanted a FLU SHOT, not a PNEUMONIA shot. I got confused. He made me confused. Then YOU start.

    If you turn a flashlight ON, then throw it, will it travel faster than a flashlight that is off?

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    1. No, but at least at night you will be able to find the one with the light on. Of course, maybe it does, if it flies backwards and the light beam is pushing it (grin)

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  2. I don't know... maybe it's a "guy" thing. If I can't figure it out using my fingers (and sometimes toes) I just go to the fridge and grab another snack or something. And the light in the fridge better come on - not out there in the universe playing around!

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    1. I bought me one of those lights that has straps that go over your head and the light sits on your forhead and the beam is always in the direction your head is pointing. . . . even if I turn my head real fast!! Imagine that? It is for an emegency, like when the light bulb burns out in the refrigerator and I want a snack.

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  3. Hold on a sec while I do a calculation, naught goes into naught........shoot, DD, better put your hat on and pull it down tight cause don't believe there's an answer coming. Now if you wanted to discuss how much ground a groundhog could hog, well I could cipher that.

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    1. No jimkabob, naught is multiplied my naught not divided.

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    2. I know what Einstein said about the speed limit of the universe and that all astrophysicists agree with him, but then maybe Einstein and all of us just don't have complete information. New theories and facts are constantly being developed, and 20 years from now someone may discover another answer. Many new things about the universe are being learned all the time, but this has sped up in just the last few years and we can't say we know everything about it.

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  4. Skipping today,,,too much for me. hahahaha,,,tiring day going to San Antonio...

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    1. Rest up so you don't have to skip tomorrow. Have a good trip.

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  5. Sorry Dizzy...way over my head :(

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    1. Is that because you are not very tall?

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  6. The short answer: The speed of light is independent of the motion of the source or the motion of the observe.

    I'm sure there is a long involved answer that the physicists have developed.

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    1. You are right about the speed of light being independent of its source.

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  7. When I had to take THOSE tests ... pages of thises and thats? when it came to anything that resembled ciphering... I was in the same class as Jethro...

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    1. Carolyn (Jethro), some things are just hard to explain.

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