RE: expansion of the universe

From: mike99 (
Date: Sat Apr 19 2003 - 12:50:59 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Bertrand Russell used to say that one problem with special relativity was
> the other man's cigar appeared to last longer than one's own. I put
> "thinks" in quotation marks, because sometimes people suppose that there
> is some sort of error involved, or that it's subjective. No, the
> processes really do slow down, there is no "thinks" about it, nor
> is there anything subjective about it. There are just different
> frames of reference, which isn't really the same thing. ...

The mutual cigar envy situation Russell described only applies while the
smokers are moving away from one another at relativistic speed. As soon one
cigar smoker changes direction (which is a change in velocity) and moves
back toward the other, then the second smoker, who is stationary relative to
the first one, is seen to speed up enormously. This is where time dilation
for the moving smoker becomes effective. By the time the moving smoker has
arrived at the location of the stationary smoker, the latter's cigar has
died...and so, mostly likely, has the stationary smoker.

Michael LaTorra

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