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Old 6th January 2013, 04:01 AM   #1
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Tick Tock, the monad Clock

There is a battle going on in relativity between the relative and the actual: Clocks are at the centre of this battle: atomic clocks, ion clocks, mantelpiece clocks, and there is now a newcomer: monad clocks. Only the last of these helps decide the battle between real and relative.

Stephen Hawking describes in Time Machine how "something extraordinary happens" when an object, like a train, travels close to the speed of light, "time starts flowing slowly on board relative to the rest of the world, just like near the black hole, only more so. Everything on the train is in slow motion."

This comes as no news for relativity officionado's. But Hawking makes a mistake in that quote that illustrates the relative/actual confusion or divide. There are, in fact, two mistakes: the first is his idea that "everything on the train is in slow motion". This is just plain wrong. Everything on the train is unchanged, no matter how fast it is travelling. The second mistake is that he makes an appeal both to a "relative" time and an actual or absolute time. He confuses the two when he says "everything on the train is in slow motion".

The reality status of a "relative" time has never been addressed, to my knowledge. The term is used to "explain" the "slowing down of time" but whether time is actually slowed down or not is never tackled. Actuality, it must be said, is thrown out of the window but invited back in when needed. A sad state of affairs. Something needs to be done:

tic...toc...the monad clock

The battle of Time is a battle between relative and actual. Which is real? How can there be a real "relative" time? Enter the monad clock. We can abandon the relative/actual distinction by looking at the example of the monad clock.

The monad clock is a thought experiment, a theoretically possible scenario. The clock rests alone. There are no other objects; the universe is void, except for this clock. The ticking of such a clock is peculiar. All ticks are the same, yet distinct. There is nothing in this universe that can show whether one tick comes before or after any other tick, or whether or not there is a gap between tick and tock. The ticks are, in a strongly empirical, practical and real sense, timeless.

Now if we use THIS clock, rather than Hawking's mantel-piece, atomic or ion clock to measure the passage of time for a monad clock, call it clock A, travelling at near light speed we find no change whatsoever in the appearance of ticks and tocks. They are still unplaced with neither a gap nor no gap betwixt.

If, now, we bring in a second monad clock, call it clock B, that is travelling more slowly we find that ticks can now be distinguished in one vital way. We still cannot say whether there is a gap between ticks for either of the clocks, but we can determine whether one clock is giving more sets of ticks than another clock.

For clock A that is travelling faster, there are fewer sets of ticks for every given number of ticks of the slower clock B.

This addresses the battle between real and relative: we cannot say that the ticks of monad clock A are arriving more slowly than the ticks of monad clock B. This is because there is nothing to establish the existence or non-existence of a gap between the ticks given out by either of the clocks. All we can say is that there are more sets of ticks for one clock than the other.

So, the distinction, the battle, between the real and the actual in relativity is based on a dialectic of the gap. The tick and the tock are real, but the gap is relative, adjusting itself with motion. The gap intrudes between ticks and tocks. It is taken to be a real thing that shrinks and grows with motion, while the ticks and tocks themselves, inexplicably, remain unchanged. By abandoning the dialectic of the gap, the real/relative or actual/relative distinction, the battle itself, is over.

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Old 6th January 2013, 06:42 AM   #2
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Imagination is a wonderful thing, what does this have to do with relativity?
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Imagination is a wonderful thing, what does this have to do with relativity?
What's the matter with you? Can't you read? It's right there in Dr Boy's post:

Quote:
By abandoning the dialectic of the gap, the real/relative or actual/relative distinction, the battle itself, is over.
The fight is over. All physicists can now go home to their wives and children and finish any Christmas leftovers left.

, and

Oh. Sorry. I misread "dialectic" as "dielectric".
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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How is the nonsense in this thread different from the nonsense in your 'time' and 'space' threads?
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:31 AM   #5
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Translation: "I don't know the difference between a Lorentz transformation and a Studebaker, so I will make up some new terms because Hawking is a cripple and I win!"
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Old 6th January 2013, 07:43 AM   #6
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So, we have this monad clock in a universe devoid of anything else, and somehow this solitary object, all alone in the cosmos, is moving at nearly the speed of light? Relative to what?

But never mind that, how can there be two of these things, each all alone in the cosmos?


Jonesboy, you have outdone yourself.
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Old 6th January 2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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Neither an unusual nor positive occurence.
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Old 6th January 2013, 09:28 AM   #8
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Wow, just wow, Hawking tries to make things simple for people who don't understand relativity, and you can't even parse that

Quote:
Stephen Hawking describes in Time Machine how "something extraordinary happens" when an object, like a train, travels close to the speed of light, "time starts flowing slowly on board relative to the rest of the world, just like near the black hole, only more so. Everything on the train is in slow motion."

This comes as no news for relativity officionado's. But Hawking makes a mistake in that quote that illustrates the relative/actual confusion or divide. There are, in fact, two mistakes: the first is his idea that "everything on the train is in slow motion". This is just plain wrong. Everything on the train is unchanged, no matter how fast it is travelling.
Bzzzt! Wrong. In the previous sentence, he clearly says that 'time starts flowing slowly on board relative to the rest of the world'. Did you really want him to put a second 'relative to the rest of the world' in the second sentence? Seriously?

Quote:
The second mistake is that he makes an appeal both to a "relative" time and an actual or absolute time. He confuses the two when he says "everything on the train is in slow motion".
I don't see anywhere that he has mentioned 'actual' or 'absolute' time. He's only compared two reference frames. The earth, and the train.

Also, you've made a rookie mistake here, rather than arguing against the actual theory of relativity, you're arguing against one individuals interpretation in one single article. And worse, its a watered down simplified interpretation for lay people. Nice.
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Old 6th January 2013, 09:30 AM   #9
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And of course the biggest most glaring piece missing from JonesBoy's posts is showing where current theory is wrong, where it differs from experimental data.
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
So, we have this monad clock in a universe devoid of anything else, and somehow this solitary object, all alone in the cosmos, is moving at nearly the speed of light? Relative to what?

But never mind that, how can there be two of these things, each all alone in the cosmos?


Jonesboy, you have outdone yourself.
It's a thought experiment - we can imagine the idea of a solitary clock, or two clocks travelling through space. But where there is no space, we either say that there are no relatavistic effects or allow the amended scenario and say that there are relatavistic effects for one or two solitary clocks travelling through space.

Of course, where there is one clock in space travelling close to the speed of light then there are no relativity effects, no matter how fast the clock is travelling.
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
And of course the biggest most glaring piece missing from JonesBoy's posts is showing where current theory is wrong, where it differs from experimental data.
My whole post was about the conflict between the real and the relative, or the actual or absolute and the relative, a conflict that plagued even Hawking. Is time dilation real or relative? How can we have a "relative" effect? THis ambiguity or confusion is shown by Hawking in his mistake that I pointed out. I like a good read.
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
you can't even parse that.
The moderators seem unusually nice today.
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Of course, where there is one clock in space travelling close to the speed of light then there are no relativity effects, no matter how fast the clock is travelling.

You seem to be missing a fundamental point on this. If in the entire universe the sole object therein is the lone time piece, it is totally meaningless to say it is moving.

Your thought experiment is meaningless.
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:58 AM   #14
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Can we please have a fantasy physics forum?
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Old 6th January 2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
You seem to be missing a fundamental point on this. If in the entire universe the sole object therein is the lone time piece, it is totally meaningless to say it is moving.

Your thought experiment is meaningless.
It may be meaningless for refuting Einsteinian relativity, but it does tell us something about our perception of time as a primitive concept.
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Old 6th January 2013, 11:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
My whole post was about the conflict between the real and the relative, or the actual or absolute and the relative, a conflict that plagued even Hawking. Is time dilation real or relative? How can we have a "relative" effect? THis ambiguity or confusion is shown by Hawking in his mistake that I pointed out. I like a good read.
I'm not sure where you are getting any of this. You are only serving world salad, you asking "is time dilation real or relative". First, of course it's real, its been proven so experimentally time and time again, but then you ask, is it "relative". It's a non-sense question, you need to state relative to some thing. Relative to what?
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Old 6th January 2013, 11:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
You seem to be missing a fundamental point on this. If in the entire universe the sole object therein is the lone time piece, it is totally meaningless to say it is moving.

Your thought experiment is meaningless.
Yes. So - is movement real or not in a world of many clocks? Don't say it is "relative". Either it exists or it does not. So far, you and me are saying that movement does not exist. This means, I submit, abandoning space and time.
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Old 6th January 2013, 11:20 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
I'm not sure where you are getting any of this. You are only serving world salad, you asking "is time dilation real or relative". First, of course it's real, its been proven so experimentally time and time again, but then you ask, is it "relative". It's a non-sense question, you need to state relative to some thing. Relative to what?

How can time dilation be "real" if, no matter how fast we are travelling, we observe no relativistic effect on ourselves?
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Old 6th January 2013, 11:22 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Yes. So - is movement real or not in a world of many clocks?
I have quite a few clocks in my house and I move around my house so movement is real.

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Old 6th January 2013, 11:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
How can time dilation be "real" if, no matter how fast we are travelling, we observe no relativistic effect on ourselves?
Umm, you understand that time dilation and all that is what we observe of the "other guy," right?
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Yes. So - is movement real or not in a world of many clocks? Don't say it is "relative". Either it exists or it does not. So far, you and me are saying that movement does not exist. This means, I submit, abandoning space and time.

In a universe of only one object, how far away is it?
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:27 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
tic...toc...the monad clock
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monad_%...gory_theory%29:
Quote:
a monad, or triple is an (endo-)functor, together with two natural transformations.
Could you help me explain what the functor and the two natural transformations are on your clock? I'm aware of Jean-Yves Girard's research on mustard watches, but I haven't heard of any advances since in the research into links between timepieces and foundation of mathematics.
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:39 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
In a universe of only one object, how far away is it?
Better still, is it rotating?
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:42 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Better still, is it rotating?
And if it was a hand, is it a left or a right hand?
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:57 PM   #25
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[quote=Jonesboy;8896375]If, now, we bring in a second monad clock, call it clock B, that is travelling more slowly we find that ticks can now be distinguished in one vital way. We still cannot say whether there is a gap between ticks for either of the clocks, but we can determine whether one clock is giving more sets of ticks than another clock.[quote]

But that last sentence contradicts what you said earlier....
Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
There is nothing in this universe that can show whether one tick comes before or after any other tick, or whether or not there is a gap between tick and tock. The ticks are, in a strongly empirical, practical and real sense, timeless.
If you can't tell the order in which the ticks are made, with no way to tell which tick came before which, then you can't tell which clock is giving off more sets of ticks than the other.

If you can tell, then the clocks can be used for determining a relative difference in the passage of time, just like any other clock.

Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
For clock A that is travelling faster, there are fewer sets of ticks for every given number of ticks of the slower clock B.
Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
All we can say is that there are more sets of ticks for one clock than the other.
In other words, time is passing more slowly for clock A than clock B, just like relativity predicts for normal clocks.

Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
How can time dilation be "real" if, no matter how fast we are travelling, we observe no relativistic effect on ourselves?
Because our observations are dilated due to relativistic effects. If time is passing 10% slower than on earth because we are moving a significant fraction of the speed of light, our observation of passing time is also 10% slower, and consequently it appears as if that time is moving at it's normal rate for us. It's only when we get back to earth and discover that our clocks have fallen behind that we discover that time was passing more slowly for us.

Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Yes. So - is movement real or not in a world of many clocks? Don't say it is "relative". Either it exists or it does not. So far, you and me are saying that movement does not exist. This means, I submit, abandoning space and time.
Movement relative to another object is real. Movement in the absence of any basis for comparison (ie, when no other objects exist) is meaningless.

Relative movement is real. Absolute movement is not.
(Or at least, is effectively not real. Whether or not it is genuinely not real is a question for philosophy, not science.)
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Old 6th January 2013, 12:57 PM   #26
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The OP requires that you ignore what Steven Hawking actually wrote/said, but rather reinterpret it to satisfy some point yet to be made.

We now have an answer to a problem that doesn't exist.
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Old 6th January 2013, 02:29 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
...Stephen Hawking describes in Time Machine how "something extraordinary happens" when an object, like a train, travels close to the speed of light, "time starts flowing slowly on board relative to the rest of the world, just like near the black hole, only more so. Everything on the train is in slow motion."

This comes as no news for relativity officionado's. But Hawking makes a mistake in that quote that illustrates the relative/actual confusion or divide. There are, in fact, two mistakes: the first is his idea that "everything on the train is in slow motion". This is just plain wrong...
He made a mistake, but that wasn't it. Everything on the train is indeed in slow motion. That's because the maximum rate of motion is c, and if the train is going very fast, the rate of local motion on the train is noticeably reduced. See the Simple inference of time dilation due to relative velocity on wikipedia. Imagine I'm on the train, holding a parallel-mirror light clock on my lap. It's in a glass box, with a bit of smoke so you can see the light beam. Imagine that you look at me through a telescope as the train sweeps by, panning as you go to keep me in view. You see the light beam going back and forth slowly. The mistake he made was saying time starts flowing slowly on board. Time doesn't literally flow. That's just a figure of speech. I was just talking about this on another thread, it's worth repeating:

A clock doesn't actually measure the flow of time. It isn't some magic chronological gas meter. Instead there's something moving in there, regularly. The inner mechanism of a clock isn't called a movement for nothing. The clock counts the regular cyclic motion and gives you some form of cumulative display that you call the time. That's what a clock does. There is no time flowing inside it, so it isn't literally measuring the flow of time. Whilst we can see the space between our upheld hands and see the motion when we waggle them, and whilst we can derive the time dimension from motion, we have absolutely no scientific evidence to support the fairy tale that time flows like a river. Or the fairy tale that you are continuously travelling forward through time at one second per second. You don't travel through time at all. Any travelling you do is through space. And when you say what time it took, all you're doing is referring to something else moving in space, such as some regular cyclic motion in a clock that is counted and converted into some kind of cumulative display. Like the 22:30 in the corner of my screen. That's all there is to it, it's that simple.

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Old 6th January 2013, 02:46 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
He made a mistake, but that wasn't it. Everything on the train is indeed in slow motion. That's because the maximum rate of motion is c, and if the train is going very fast, the rate of local motion on the train is noticeably reduced. See the on wikipedia. Simple inference of time dilation due to relative velocity. Imagine I'm on the train, holding a parallel-mirror light clock on my lap. It's in a glass box, with a bit of smoke so you can see the light beam. Imagine that you look at me through a telescope as the train sweeps by, panning as you go to keep me in view. You see the light beam going back and forth slowly. The mistake he made was saying time starts flowing slowly on board. Time doesn't literally flow. That's just a figure of speech. I was just talking about this on another thread, it's worth repeating:

A clock doesn't actually measure the flow of time. It isn't some magic chronological gas meter. Instead there's something moving in there, regularly. The inner mechanism of a clock isn't called a movement for nothing. The clock counts the regular cyclic motion and gives you some form of cumulative display that you call the time. That's what a clock does. There is no time flowing inside it, so it isn't literally measuring the flow of time. Whilst we can see the space between our upheld hands and see the motion when we waggle them, and whilst we can derive the time dimension from motion, we have absolutely no scientific evidence to support the fairy tale that time flows like a river. Or the fairy tale that you are continuously travelling forward through time at one second per second. You don't travel through time at all. Any travelling you do is through space. And when you say what time it took, all you're doing is referring to something else moving in space, such as some regular cyclic motion in a clock that is counted and converted into some kind of cumulative display. Like the 22:30 in the corner of my screen. That's all there is to it, it's that simple.
You've acknowledged that "flow of time" is not literal, but a figure of speech. How, therefore does using that figure of speech make the Steven Hawking metaphor wrong?
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Old 6th January 2013, 03:16 PM   #29
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Oh, yay! Farsight is here to explain the true nature of the universe to us.

Again!
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Old 6th January 2013, 03:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
You've acknowledged that "flow of time" is not literal, but a figure of speech. How, therefore does using that figure of speech make the Steven Hawking metaphor wrong?
He doesn't think it's a metaphor. See How to Build a Time Machine. Here's a few excerpts:

"Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to travelling into the future..."

"The problem doesn't lie with the clocks. They run fast because time itself runs faster in space than it does down below. And the reason for this extraordinary effect is the mass of the Earth. Einstein realised that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time..."

"Fortunately there is another way to travel in time. And this represents our last and best hope of building a real time machine. You just have to travel very, very fast".


The guy doesn't understand time at all. Time dilation isn't travelling in time. If you travel fast on some round trip, your macroscopic motion through space reduces the rate of local motion affecting your clocks, you, and everything around you. You age less, you live less. But I can watch you all the way through my telescope, and you don't end up living in the middle of next week.
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Old 6th January 2013, 04:19 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
He doesn't think it's a metaphor. See How to Build a Time Machine. Here's a few excerpts:

"Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to travelling into the future..."

"The problem doesn't lie with the clocks. They run fast because time itself runs faster in space than it does down below. And the reason for this extraordinary effect is the mass of the Earth. Einstein realised that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time..."

"Fortunately there is another way to travel in time. And this represents our last and best hope of building a real time machine. You just have to travel very, very fast".


The guy doesn't understand time at all. Time dilation isn't travelling in time. If you travel fast on some round trip, your macroscopic motion through space reduces the rate of local motion affecting your clocks, you, and everything around you. You age less, you live less. But I can watch you all the way through my telescope, and you don't end up living in the middle of next week.
Again, I don't see a problem with this.

Rather than relying upon your snippets, here's the full article, so that all can see the the point being made, rather than your interpretations buttressed by quote mining:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/mosl...e-machine.html
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Old 6th January 2013, 04:46 PM   #32
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I already linked to the full article. See the bit that's underlined? Compare what he said to what I said. And if you've got a question about what I said, ask me about it. Like I said, Hawking doesn't understand time at all. But people lap up everything he says because they kowtow to authority and he's a "high priest" of physics. Only he isn't, he's a mathematician. He was the Lucasian professor of mathematics for thirty years. In truth he's a "celebrity physicist", and his work is entirely hypothetical and unproven. Really. Check it out. A lot of genuine physicists resent the guy, but they bite their tongue because he's in a wheelchair. Besides, he's such a media darling that any criticism won't be in your newspapers any time soon. Straight up.
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Old 6th January 2013, 05:03 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
I already linked to the full article. See the bit that's underlined? Compare what he said to what I said. And if you've got a question about what I said, ask me about it. Like I said, Hawking doesn't understand time at all. But people lap up everything he says because they kowtow to authority and he's a "high priest" of physics. Only he isn't, he's a mathematician. He was the Lucasian professor of mathematics for thirty years. In truth he's a "celebrity physicist", and his work is entirely hypothetical and unproven. Really. Check it out. A lot of genuine physicists resent the guy, but they bite their tongue because he's in a wheelchair. Besides, he's such a media darling that any criticism won't be in your newspapers any time soon. Straight up.

These are, of course, accusations you can support with evidence, right? As for the article, its seems audience appropriate. Your assessment Hawking doesn't understand time at all is entirely baseless.
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Old 7th January 2013, 10:39 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
How can time dilation be "real" if, no matter how fast we are travelling, we observe no relativistic effect on ourselves?
Its really simple, time and space are a combined concept, but by viewing them as separate concepts, our view of paths through it look different depending on our relative motion. Kind of like if two racecars started out in slightly different directions. Each would think they are 'winning' the race if they draw the line of progress perpendicular to their direction of travel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minkowski_space

If you disagree, all you have to do is provide experimental data that differs from theory.
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:12 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by jsfisher View Post
Umm, you understand that time dilation and all that is what we observe of the "other guy," right?
Cripes yes. sO - my question IS - is time dilation real or not!?
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:15 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Cripes yes. sO - my question IS - is time dilation real or not!?
Yes. Anything else you would like to know?
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:18 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
I don't see anywhere that he has mentioned 'actual' or 'absolute' time. He's only compared two reference frames. The earth, and the train.
Thanks for clearing that up. I was worried that Hawking had actually used those words in that context. It isn't the kind of thing you'd expect to hear from any physicist, much less him.
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:20 AM   #38
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... wow. This isn't right. This isn't even wrong. This is calculating the square root of rhubarb and somehow coming up with potato.
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:25 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Cripes yes. sO - my question IS - is time dilation real or not!?
Do you have any reason to believe it isn't?

Most undergraduate physics classes have done the muon experiment at one time or another; that one experiment is enough to show that time dilation is very real.
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Old 8th January 2013, 11:30 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monad_%...gory_theory%29:


Could you help me explain what the functor and the two natural transformations are on your clock? I'm aware of Jean-Yves Girard's research on mustard watches, but I haven't heard of any advances since in the research into links between timepieces and foundation of mathematics.
1. Wikipedia maths and physics articles are almost always not encyclopaedic articles but ellipses or extracts taken from standard text-books.
2. Mathematicians and physicists will take an ordinary-language term to dress up or reference a set of mathematical maneouvures. They believe that this is legitimate practice, but as you can see, you and others are confused by it.
3. Liebniz describes the first popular use of the term monad. Change in a monad is the intelligible, constantly, and continuously unfolding being of a thing, from itself, to itself (int.encyc.phil). Or as Liebniz puts it, - the monad has no windows through which something can enter or leave. That is, the monad is an incommensurable.
Thus its(mathematical, Liebnizean) changing or folding properties and Liebnizean incommensurability would describe my monad clock which also generates or unfolds ticks and is alone or which comes to the same thing, is incommensurable.
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