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Understanding Relativity For Old People
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Understanding Relativity for Old People

My father was a great student, a perpetual student who spent many an hour in evenings in the classrooms of the University of Utah. He earned so many credits over the years on his own program that the University awarded him a special degree.

He usually was memorizing lessons when he shaved in the morning in the kitchen in front of a mirror he had hung on the wall. He boiled his toothbrush every morning and while his tooth brush boiled and boiled sometimes he sang Rock of Ages or That Old Rugged Cross or Onward Christian Soldiers.

Like his brother and father and others in our family except me, he had a good singing voice as do my children, my wife and most of our grandchildren, a musical family. I usually hear one or more of my family sing in church on Sundays.

Dad studied a number of subjects, choosing what he liked. He earned most of his credits in public speaking, important to his political career. He was a good speaker but he always made me nervous when I listened to him. The old cowboy had too much energy for me.

He studied Russian for about ten years, saying that after the war ended (we were in WWII) the Soviet Union would open up to Christian missionaries. Well it was long after and dad died in 1988 at age 88 and never fulfilled his dream. Some family members say, “He is doing missionary work in the Spirit World in Russian.”

I still know some Russian words as he practiced his Russian on me.

In 1910 when Halley’s comet passed over Utah, my dad was a very excited 10-year-old. So if anything astronomical came our way, we were out there watching for it. He showed us how to smoke glass, a very UNSAFE way to watch an eclipse. Don’t look at an eclipse through smoked glass. Dad got to see the Halley’s comet again in 1986. It is the very same comet that doomed England in 1066 and is shown on the Bayeux Tapestry.

The comet was not popular in the past because it was said to bring doom. One pope, Calixtus III, excommunicated it for being too naughty. It still came back on its regular schedule and will be here again in 2061. I can hardly wait. I will only be 129-years-old so I suppose that will mean another heart surgery or three.

Well, teaching in Russian didn’t work out for Dad either.

Being old, I have a fading memory from age and two heart surgeries. So what is this article about anyway? Oh, yes. It’s about understanding relativity for old people.

A Bern Switzerland patent clerk named Albert Einstein at the turn of the last century wrote about Relativity, first Special Relativity and then General Relativity. Some people think that Einstein was not human. He didn’t think human and no human could possibly understand him. The statement sounds reasonable but most scientist know at least the rudiments of the theory.

I know for a fact that Einstein was from the Planet Zigdinglo in G-5588887.

The next 457 pages will explain Relativity to you. Just Kidding!

My purpose is to tell you what you already know if you are an older person.

Einstein said that as you approach the speed of light, time slows down. The guy on the speeding spaceship does not know this. All looks the same to him but if he returns from his space journey, he will be about the same age as at the time of his departure. All his friends and closest family will be dead and buried and if he sired children before he left, he could have thousands of very great grandchildren.

But we old people know the following: The older you are, the faster time flies.

My father homesteaded with his father’s family at Ten Mile Pass near Soda Springs, Idaho at the time of WWI. He rode on horseback from ranch to ranch getting commitments from ranchers to supply grain to starving people in Europe. The first year, with only his father on the homestead on Ten Mile Pass (on the Oregon Trail), they got the scurvy so he knew what the people in Europe were going through. I think he was doing that for our church.

Why that seems like it was only yesterday.

Dosvedanya!

John

AAA Flagpoles


Street Talk

One of my fav. subjects John. I'm at present reading a thought provoking novel: "Timescape" by Gregory Benford, right up yor street!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Interesting. Thanks for an informative article. Great fun;) as I age... traveling... and not aging...

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Meredith  

Another fascinating read. More articles please, John!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I must have close to a thousand articles on the Internet. I use to write a lot more humor often SciFi mostly on EZA. I wrote some novels after I retired, 2 detectives and 2 westerns. The fun of that for me was to see what the story actually was. My first novel I wrote it and then tossed it in the garbage can as soon as I could see what the story really was. Then I rewrote it. That saves a lot of editing. But novel writing takes long periods of concentration so I quit. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be writing them. This morning I was working on a landscape. Pat fell so my son and daughter-in-law came over and I asked her to take a look at my painting. She was an art major and has a wonderful eye. I had my neighbor build me a studio a couple of years ago and I would like to spend more time in it especially painting more birds and mammals.. Also, my grand children are asking for paintings, the girls want flowers, the boys western scapes, so that takes some time. As pat's problems increase, I need to spend more attention to her so I'm not sure how many more articles I will write. But then, I wrote three yesterday. Carson told me to write one a day but I would rather write in bunches. I take two or three titles and save them as drafts to preserve the title if it is available, then I can take my time getting them out. Tnx, Gal! John

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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