EINSTEIN'S OWN WORDS: Still hazy after all these years!

MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016

Part 4—The case of the hundred-year fail:
Not to boast, but we constitute the target audience for Albert Einstein's brief book.

The book appeared in 1916; it was aimed at general readers. In his preface, Einstein explained who the book was for. One hundred years later, we meet his basic criteria:

"The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics. The book presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader."
We're interested in relativity. That said, we're not "conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics."

Regarding patience and will, we've spent decades reading a steady succession of Einstein-made-easy books. We've watched a succession of PBS broadcasts, programs which have often taken the form of a multipart series.

Since last November, we've also spent a lot of time trying to puzzle out Einstein's brief book, especially the part of the book which inspired one part of the latest PBS broadcast. We refer to Nova's hour-long program, Inside Einstein's Mind, which appeared last November.

We've tried to puzzle out Einstein's brief book, and we've failed. The reason for this is fairly simple. One hundred years later, after all this time, the relevant part of the book remains largely incoherent, just as it ever was.

We refer to Chapters 8 and 9 of Einstein's brief book, the two short chapters which formed the basis for Nova's silly account of special relativity. Last Thursday, we took you through Einstein's brief Chapter 8, which seemed to establish a few very simple points.

In Chapter 9, Nova's fast-moving train appears, as do its two lightning strikes. In the process, Einstein's attempt at explaining his work turns incoherent. In our view, Einstein's work becomes as clear as mud.

Here's the remarkable part of our story: One hundred years later, our leading professors and journalists still haven't noticed this problem! Meanwhile, Nova gave the task of explaining this material to a writer whose previous program was called The Wonder of Dogs.

Everybody understands the way this industry works. Our professors and journalists pretend that they can explain Einstein's work; we pretend that we understand the various things they tell us. This silly behavior lies at the heart of our society's sprawling "culture of incoherence," a wide-ranging set of behaviors which create the gong-show pseudo-discussions found in most parts of our world.

Is it possible that Albert Einstein failed as a popular writer? Is it possible that Einstein himself couldn't make Einstein easy?

It's possible, and in this case, it actually happened! One hundred years later, the Novas and the Isaacsons haven't yet noticed or acknowledged this fact. Instead, major professors blurb Isaacson's book, saying how wonderfully clear it is. In return, he blurbs their books and appears in the Nova broadcast!

When it came to explaining that fast-moving train and those lightning strikes, Issacson's book was as clear as mud. But then again, so was Einstein's own book, which he checked for clarity by reading its text to his niece, who was 16 years old.

She found it baffling, Isaacson says. But she didn't want to tell her famous uncle.

Isaacson treats this as a humorous story, which of course it is. It doesn't enter his standardized head that this comical method may have helped produce a muddled text.

After all this prolegomena, let's turn to the text-in-itself:

Einstein's Chapter 9 is brief; it's also clear as mud. When we say it's brief, we mean really brief. It contains seven paragraphs and one graphic. The chapter runs roughly 900 words.

For Einstein's whole book, just click here.

In the first paragraph of this chapter, Einstein introduces the fast-moving train which Nova described in last November's broadcast. ("We suppose a very long train travelling along the rails with the constant velocity v and in the direction indicated in Fig. 1," Einstein writes.)

In our view, Einstein is already lost in the weeds before this first paragraph is done. But he goes on to pose a basic question in paragraph 2.

We highlight that question below. Already, we'd have to say that Einstein's work is puzzling, perhaps as clear as mud. Please note: In the standard translation, Einstein speaks about a railway embankment, not a railway platform:
EINSTEIN: As a natural consequence, however, the following question arises:

Are two events (e.g. the two strokes of lightning A and B) which are simultaneous with reference to the railway embankment also simultaneous relatively to the train? We shall show directly that the answer must be in the negative.
Let's do a quick review:

In Chapter 8, Einstein discussed a pair of lightning strikes; we knew that they were equidistant from the midpoint of the railway platform. When light from the strikes reached that midpoint at the same time, we agreed that it made sense to conclude that the strikes were simultaneous.

Now, Einstein is making a puzzling statement. He says those lightning strikes aren't simultaneous for someone on the fast-moving train which is rapidly moving past the railway station!

Specifically, he is referring to someone in the middle car of the fast-moving train, as you can see from his text. But how weird! The two lightning strikes are simultaneous for someone standing on the platform. But they aren't simultaneous for someone on the train!

At this point, Arsenio Hall should appear to say, "Things that make you go oooh." Instead, let's note what Einstein is and isn't saying.

Einstein doesn't say this:

He doesn't say that the two lightning strikes may not appear to be simultaneous to the observer on the train. He doesn't say that the strikes may not seem simultaneous.

Seeming to speak in an absolute sense, he seems to says that the two strikes "aren't" simultaneous to or for or with reference to that observer. Certainly, that's the way his words were taken on Nova's program last fall.

(A reader may complain that we're ignoring Einstein's actual language, which is a bit more technical. That's part of the problem. This chapter is larded with technical language, language which needs explaining. The general reader may choose to recite that technical language, but he won't understand what he's saying.)

At any rate, this is Einstein's paragraph 3, along with the start of paragraph 4. For "embankment," read "railway platform." To review his graphic, click here, see Chapter 9:
EINSTEIN (continuing directly): When we say that the lightning strokes A and B are simultaneous with respect to the embankment, we mean: the rays of light emitted at the places A and B, where the lightning occurs, meet each other at the mid-point M of the length A ~ B of the embankment. But the events A and B also correspond to positions A and B on the train. Let M' be the mid-point of the distance A ~ B on the travelling train. Just when the flashes of lightning occur, this point M' naturally coincides with the point M, but it moves towards the right in the diagram with the velocity v of the train. If an observer sitting in the position M' in the train did not possess this velocity, then he would remain permanently at M, and the light rays emitted by the flashes of lightning A and B would reach him simultaneously, i.e. they would meet just where he is situated. Now in reality (considered with reference to the railway embankment) he is hastening towards the beam of light coming from B, whilst he is riding on ahead of the beam of light coming from A. Hence the observer will see the beam of light emitted from B earlier than he will see that emitted from A. Observers who take the railway train as their reference-body must therefore come to the conclusion that the lightning flash B took place earlier than the lightning flash A. We thus arrive at the important result:

Events which are simultaneous with reference to the embankment are not simultaneous with respect to the train, and vice versa (relativity of simultaneity).
We're Einstein's target audience. One hundred years later, we don't understand why he said those things. Neither does anyone else who watched last November's Nova program.

Please understand: we're not saying there's no possible explanation for Einstein's century-old remarks. We're not saying that relativity is "wrong" in some sense.

We're saying that, one hundred years later, attempts at explaining or elucidating this material remain as clear as mud. Einstein's initial attempt was unclear. From that day to this, our professors and journalists have failed to make his work more clear.

Some of what Einstein says or seems to say in that passage is obvious. Let's review what that is:

Consider an observer in the middle car of that fast-moving train. Obviously, light from the two lightning strikes will not reach that observer at the same time.

As Einstein explains in paragraph 3, this observer has "hastened towards" one lightning strike and has hastened away from the other. For this reason, "the observer will see the beam of light emitted from" the one lightning strike "earlier than he will see [the light] emitted from" the other strike.

That much is perfectly obvious. Of course, the same thing will be true for an observer who is standing motionless at the far end of the railway platform. He too "will see the beam of light emitted from" the one lightning strike "earlier than he will see [the light] emitted from" the other strike.

Meanwhile, an observer in the caboose of the train will have the same experience as the observer who is standing at the midpoint of the railway platform. The light from the two lightning strikes will reach the (fast-moving) caboose at the same time, as will be the case for the (motionless) observer at the midpoint of the platform.

For that reason, it's unclear why Einstein goes on to say what follows. One hundred years later, we can't explain what he means:
EINSTEIN: Now before the advent of the theory of relativity it had always tacitly been assumed in physics that the statement of time had an absolute significance, i.e. that it is independent of the state of motion of the body of reference. But we have just seen that this assumption is incompatible with the most natural definition of simultaneity; if we discard this assumption, then the conflict between the law of the propagation of light in vacuo and the principle of relativity (developed in Section VII) disappears.
Why does Einstein refer to "the state of motion" of the observers? Why does he focus on their "state of motion," rather than on their propinquity to the lightning strikes, which seems more directly relevant here?

We can't answer that question. Presumably, an observer in the caboose has the same "state of motion" as an observer at the midpoint of the train. And yet, the strikes will appear to be simultaneous to the one observer, but won't appear to be simultaneous to the other.

By the same token, a person standing at the far end of the platform will experience the two lightning strikes in the same way as the observer in the middle car of the train. For each observer, the strikes will not appear to be simultaneous, even though their "states of motion" differ.

We're Einstein's target audience. One hundred years later, we throw our lot in with his teen-aged niece. We don't understand what he wrote in this chapter; we don't know how to explain it. We don't understand the point he was making. In our view, Chapter 9 doesn't make clear sense.

In our view, Einstein did a lousy job in this attempt to explain this matter for the general reader. We don't find that hugely surprising. The more striking point is this:

One hundred years later, no one has been willing to say that Einstein did a lousy job when he tried to write for us rubes! Beyond that, no one has been able to clarify the point of that very brief chapter.

Back in 2007, Isaacson's explanation of this material was about as clear as mud. Last November, we had an instant reaction to Nova's broadcast: when we watched the relevant part of the program, we thought that Nova had provided one of the most obvious non-explanation explanations we had ever seen.

Last November, Nova's explanation actually was clear as mud. In fairness, that may be what you'd expect from a writer whose previous work includes the mini-series documentary, Easter Eggs Live.

On the merits, Nova's presentation was a joke. That said, it was a familiar joke.

For the past one hundred years, a string of ranking journalists and ranking professors have pretended to make Einstein easy. We've all engaged in a certain transaction:

They have pretended to explain the material; we consumers have agreed to pretend that we understood what they said. It's a bit like the famous old joke from the Soviet Union, in which the worker describes the economic system:

They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.

Gigantic swaths of our public discourse are phony, fake, fraudulent, faux. The phoniness of our public discourse can be seen in a wide array of areas, covering a wide array of topics. They pretend to explain all sorts of things. We agree to pretend that they've done so.

That said, this "culture of incoherence" is especially rich in the case of our Einstein-made-easy books and TV shows. What's most amazing is this:

One hundred years later, our major professors and journalists still lack the skills with which they might explain this giant's work. In some cases, they may also lack the honesty which would let them acknowledge this problem.

We're often struck by the state of these peoples' skills. How have they managed to remain so unskilled?

When our award-winning series continues, we'll start to describe one hundred years of intellectual sloth. Our elites are lazy, indifferent, inept.

In the case of Einstein, it doesn't much matter. In other areas, we pay a very large price for this professional sloth.

Starting next week: The later Wittgenstein

40 comments:

  1. A professor cannot explain Einstein's theory of relativity to a layman so the professor is lacking in skill, lazy and dishonest?

    This assumes it is possible to explain that theory to a layman. I see no evidence that is true. Not everything can be explained to the willing layman. Many things require more education to understand fully. The problem is not the ineptitude of our elites -- it is the unrealistic expectation that anything can be learned by anyone with the right explanation. That just isn't true.

    I am sick of this discussion. Somerby would like to bash some professors. He should do so by finding examples of their malfeasance in the present, in the context of their own fields of expertise.

    It isn't the job of today's professors to educate the general public about esoteric things. It isn't their job to comment on the state of the world. It isn't their job to educate anyone beyond their enrolled students, in the courses they have chosen to attend.

    I agree that professors should not be given extra stature when they venture outside their fields to comment on current events in 1000-word essays in various media, or on Nova or 60 minutes or Dateline. Professors do this at their own risk, as private citizens, not as oracles of truth. When they say silly things, it doesn't make them less knowledgeable in their fields of expertise. It makes them human and fools for setting themselves up for ridicule.

    If Somerby wants to understand Einstein, he should take some physics and math courses. He shouldn't gripe because the world won't serve him little spoonfuls of predigested knowledge that are worth anything beyond momentary entertainment.

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    1. "He shouldn't gripe because the world won't serve him little spoonfuls of predigested knowledge"

      For a person who can type so much, you understand so little!

      The gripe isn't that the explanations are difficult, but that we pretend that they're not difficult.

      The pretense to explaining, the pretense to understanding -- these are the gripes.

      Quite plainly, throughout this series, Somerby doesn't "want to understand Einstein" -- he wants to understand why we fake so much understanding about Einstein.

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    2. You use the word "fake." What is your evidence that people are actually faking instead of thinking they do understand (even when they don't)?

      Books and shows about Einstein have tiny audiences. It seems possible or even likely that the people interested in this stuff to begin with might have the ability (and will) to actually understand more than Somerby does. Some undergrads did get physics degrees at the 2000+ universities that churn out graduates each year. There is probably a reason why Somerby was not a math or physics major at Harvard. But clearly his diploma came with a guarantee that he would understand everything he encountered after graduation, or money back.

      The people who are NOT pretending the explanations aren't difficult are those NOT watching the show, not looking up Einstein's yellow-paged book and skipping this discussion.

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    3. Yes, 12:20, but what is Bob's evidence that all these people are pretending to understand?

      Because HE can't understand it, so nobody can. Not even people who devoted their lives to this field. They are just conning the rubes.

      And that includes, and especially includes, that huge faker Hawking who conned millions of people into buying a book Somerby the true intellect couldn't undertand.

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    4. There is evidence everywhere that our "experts" know little of their subject. Our bridges are crumbling, we build nuclear power plants on fault lines, we spoil our nest with a big fat smile on our faces stuffing ourselves full of chemically treated meat while driving cars coughing out carcinogens, etc.

      Do you have experience with physics professors? Most them do not know their material very well, do not teach it well. Many of our physicists and mathematicians skirted research and went headlong into finances, where they did excel at developing complex derivatives of which no one could assess the risk to ill effect.

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  2. On Sunday, Dowd called Hillary a Hawk (more warlike than the gentle Donald Trump) and stated as fact that Trump was against the Iraq war back in the day. She depicted the steely Clinton enjoying a beer with McCain and Petraeus, as if this were the precursor to war. Here is Dowd spouting the conservative line that Hillary is the beloved of the neocons, just like Bernie has been doing, just like the Republicans. If you buy that Trump is a true pacifist, you are probably dumb enough to think Bernie can win the nomination. And Somerby wants to talk about Wittgenstein!

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    1. Pappy's Corn SqueezinsMay 2, 2016 at 12:29 PM

      Clearly Anonymous @ 11:44 wants to whine about mistreatment of Hillary 24/7.

      Be patient little whiner. Since this one involves Dowd (who Bob hated back when Rachel Maddow was shoveling dung in backyards instead of on broadcasts) and Bob's most recent favorite lie concerning Trump, he'll get around to it long before he gets to Wittgenstein.

      Lightning is more likely to appear to strike thrice simultaneously and in the same place to multiply located observers than Somerby is to blog about Wittgenstein prior to slamming the Dowd comment.

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    2. As if all the other candidates don't whine about their "mistreatment." As if Hillary were being treated equally by the press compared to other candidates. As if what the press says doesn't matter during an election.

      If I had the ability to do more than whine, I would. Whining is a tactic used by the powerless -- that's why it is a term of contempt. The point of electing Hillary is to give women (and other powerless people) a bigger voice so that they can do more than whine.

      In the meantime, please explain why the term whiner is not being applied to Bernie's supporters, or Cruz's when they engage in the same behavior.

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    3. MyTee Mytee PleasinMay 2, 2016 at 12:41 PM

      Please get back on the reservation.

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    4. I will note, as a Hillary supporter, that after 25 years of brutal pounding by the right-wing noise machine, she is poised to not only win her party's nomination, but become the nation's first woman president by a landslide.

      This tells me that while what the "media" reports and writes does matter, it doesn't always matter nearly as much as we think it does.

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    5. The "media" has no conscience, no empathy. We can debate why this happened, but first we need to bring them to heel.

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    6. What does this have to do with Maddow's placenta?

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    7. Well, luck bringing the "media" these days to heel, because it's a lot different today than you or Somerby thinks it is.

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  3. Bob, I'm going to make a suggestion.

    Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Cosmos" and then get back to us on the concept of relativity.

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    1. I'm going to guess this all dates back to his childhood when he had lots of trouble understanding Mr. Wizard.

      So I doubt that either Tyson or Bill Nye, the Science Guy is going to help.

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  4. COMMENT 9

    Brief

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    1. THREE-PEAT...SOMERSAULTING SOMERBY STYLE

      Einstein's Chapter 9 is brief; it's also clear as mud. When we say it's brief, we mean really brief.

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  5. Why is it relevant that the woman sees the forward forward lightning stroke before the rear lightning stroke? Because she's at the midpoint of the line connecting the two events.

    Why is it irrelevant that guys standing elsewhere in the embankment/platform see one lightning stroke before the other? Because they're not at the midpoint of the line connecting the two events.

    The strokes don't merely seem simultaneous but actually are simultaneous for the man in the middle of the platform/embankment. They don't merely seem not simultaneous for the woman but actually are not simultaneous.

    Simultaneity depends on the observer's state of motion. That is true, and it can be understood, but it cannot be made easy.

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    1. she is not at the midpoint

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    2. She is in the middle of the train. Lightning strikes at the front of the train and then at the back of the train. So, yes, she is at the midpoint.

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    3. no, lightning strikes on the sides of the platform, which is not moving relative to the plane of the strikes. the train is moving relative to the plane of the strikes, it moves toward the front strike so that when the woman sees it she is closer to it than the midpoint of the strikes. you are confused about what Einstein is saying, it is kind of like you are asking "which one is pink?". speed of light is constant regardless of motion, in your premise the speed of light is affected by motion. Einstein clearly says that M' sees the front strike first because M' has moved away from the midpoint and towards the front strike. In fact he clearly says that if M' stopped at M then M' would see the strikes as simultaneous, but that M' moves toward the front strike and so sees it first.

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    4. Take as givens that, according to the Man on the platform, the train is moving at 0.9 times the speed of light and that, according to the Woman in the middle of the middle car of the train, the train's length is 372,000 miles long (keeping in mind that 372,000=2 X 186,000).

      How long will it take the light from a lightning strike next to the train's engine to reach the Woman, according to the Woman?

      Now take as a given that the light from the strike next to the train's caboose reaches the Woman after the light from the strike next to the engine reaches her. Is it then possible that two video recordings, one of the display of a first clock aboard the engine and the bolt strike next to the engine and another of a display of a synchronized second clock aboard the caboose and the bolt strike next to the caboose, will show that the bolt strikes were simultaneous?

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    5. The speed of light is the same in the train's frame of reference as in the platform's. There is no "plane of the strikes".

      As seen from the platform, the two lightning strokes hit the track simultaneously, one at the front of the train, the other at the rear, but the train is moving toward the forward stroke, therefore the moving observer on the train sees it before she sees the rear stroke.

      As seen from the train, the forward stroke hits the track at the front of the train, and then the rear stroke hits the track at the back of the train. Therefore the observer sitting in the middle of the train sees the forward stroke before the rear stroke.

      She notes that the observer in the middle of the platform is moving toward the rear stroke just fast enough to see it at the same time he sees the forward stroke.

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  6. When Arsenio was a Ringside announcer:


    "In one corner, wearing trunks with a waistband cinched tightly below his wrinkled old nipples, the scourge of lazy of Lesbian Lady Commentators, the King of the Classroom, the Killer of the Comedy Venue, the voice of misused rubes everywhere, BALTIMORE'S BLOGGING BOOOOOB SOMERBY!

    And in the other corner...Spanning a whole century of the phony, fake, fraudulent, and faux. They might be giant, they might be genius, or they may direct dogs(Wuff, Wuff, Wuff!) and examine easter eggs...introducing the Lazy, the Indifferent, the Inept, the ELIIIIIIITE INCOHERENTS!

    LET'S GET READY TO GO OOOOOOOHHHHHH!

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  7. Poor Bob keeps missing the point. The lightning strikes were equidistant from both observers at the instant they occurred. That's why his counter-example of the person in the front or back of the train isn't relevant.

    And, it seems that Bob doesn't understand that frame of reference of the moving train is just as valid as a frame of reference standing on the station.

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    1. Not quite. Observed from the train, the lightning strokes occurred at two different instants, the forward stroke first, then the rear stroke. For the lady in the middle of the train, the places where the strokes occurred were equidistant.

      For different folks on the train, the strokes were at different distances as well as different instants. For different folks on the embankment or platform, the strokes were simultaneous but at different distances.

      Einstein's definition of simultaneous strokes is that their flashes meet at the midpoint of the line connecting them. For observers on the platform, this definition is satisfied. For passengers on the train, it's not.

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    2. ... his counter-example of the person in the front or back of the train isn't relevant.

      It's also not possible. In both frames of reference the light from the two strikes will reach the man at the same time. If light from the strike next to the engine reached the lady in the caboose at the same moment the strike next to the caboose occurred then light from the strike next to the engine would have all ready reached the man but light from the strike next to the caboose would not yet have started towards the man.

      Events which occur at the same place (like when the light from the two strikes reach the man) will appear simultaneous to anyone in any frame of reference. It is events which occur at different places but are simultaneous according to someone in a particular frame of reference that are not simultaneous to according to someone in a different frame of reference.

      Somerby's problem with Einstein is that Somerby expects to be able to have these concepts explained in a narrative fashion. That Hogben math book has a passage where the author instructs the reader about how to approach his own work:

      [QUOTE] Although care has been taken to see that all the logical, or, as we ought to say, the grammatical, rules are put in continuous sequence, you must not expect that you will necessarily follow every step in the argument the first time you read it. An eminent Scottish mathematician gave a very sound piece of advice for lack of which many people have been discouraged unnecessarily. "Every mathematical book that is worth anything," said Chrystal, "must be read backwards and forward... [or consider] the advice of the French mathematician [d'Alembert, 'Push on and faith will catch up to you.'" [END QUOTE]

      For 99%+ of the population, if they're not going to refer to outside sources, they're not going to begin to understand Chapters 8 and 9 without reading Chapter 10 and beyond (and, as impCaesarAvg suggested, trying to work with the equations).

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    3. ok, no offense, but neither you cmike nor imp understand the thought experiment.

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    4. No offense, but Mike and I do indeed understand Einstein's thought experiment.

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    5. at 10:52 PM,

      What do you think we're confused about?

      Delete
  8. The train has finally limped into the station, and the slowest boy on that train has stumbled off it in confusion to announce that it's Einstein who's "lost in the weeds." What's got him so confused? Perhaps it's the fact that Einstein's book uses the word embankment and Nova uses platform. What's odd about all this is how much the slowest boy on the train claims to understand:

    He seems to understand the operational definition of simultaneity: if light rays from two events reach at the same time, the midpoint of the line connecting them, then the two events are simultaneous. From the thought experiment, the two events are two lightening strikes at either end of a platform on which stands a man at a point exactly the same distance from each end of the platform.

    He seems to understand that the appearance of precedence is no guarantee of actual precedence. If you're closer to one event than another, the light from the former will reach you first, but you can't determine from that fact alone that the first event happened before the second.

    He seems to understand that the woman on the train will see the light from the strike at the front of her car before she sees the light from the rear.

    He seems to understand that it's "weird" that the lightning strikes that the man on the platform determines are simultaneous are strikes that the woman on the train determines aren't. And it is strange: it violates an assumption that even Isaac Newton made -- that it is possible to determine simultaneity for all observers, moving and stationary.

    What he can't seem to get is that the woman must use the same operational definition of simultaneity as the man. She must stand at the midpoint of the train car so that the light from rear window of the car and the light from the front window travel the same distance. What somebody sees from one end of the platform or from one end of the train car is irrelevant. These out-of-position people can't determine simultaneity. Only the two at the midpoints can do that, and they can't agree.

    The slowest boy on the train tells us he's Einstein's target audience as he cries in despair: Why does Einstein refer to "the state of motion" of the observers? Why does he focus on their "state of motion," rather than on their propinquity to the lightning strikes, which seems more directly relevant here?

    Einstein refers to the motion of the observers because he's investigating the laws of nature with respect to moving observers. Their "propinquity" to the lightning strikes is irrelevant except inasmuch as each must be equidistant from the point of the strikes to determine their simultaneity.

    Sorry, but willful ignoramuses were not Einstein's audience.

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    1. An observer not at the midpoint could determine simultaneity by making a calculation. The necessary information for the observer would be how far he or she was from each of the two strike points, when the light from each strike arrived at their position, and the velocity of light. The observer can only use the mirror method as described by Einstein if they're at the midpoint but there are methods for an observer not at the midpoint to use to make that determination.

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    2. CMike, that's amazing! How is it possible that you understand this when TDH assures me that no one can? OK, enough snark. You're absolutely right: a little v=d/t and any observer (on the platform) can confirm what the man in the middle concludes. I even think I made that point in a previous rant.

      I said at one point that out-of-position observers can't conclude precedence from the order of their observations alone (i.e., they have to do some math as well) and I neglected to carry that into my paragraph that concludes Only the two at the endpoints....

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    3. no deadrat. you are making the distance the light travels be from the window to the person in the middle of the train car; however, that is not the correct distance. The distance is from where the strike occurs. The person on the train has shortened that distance, thus seeing the forward strike first. You assume willful ignorance on the person on the train that they are unaware that they are moving.

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    4. In the train's own frame of reference, it is NOT moving: the platform or embankment is moving.

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  9. Ordinary mortals like David, Mike, rat, and me can follow Einstein's argument. It wasn't obvious the first time we read it, but after a little study, we got it.

    Albert Einstein did not cause our present political problems.

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  10. Are you having a hard time searching for a way to get your ex partner back, look no further, this was how i got mine back you can get yours today. My husband and I have been through every top reason for divorce; financial struggles, bankruptcy, stressful jobs, becoming parents when we weren’t ready (neither one of us would give our kids back just the amount of stress is overwhelming) we fought ALL the time over anything and everything. I threatened divorce all the time. One day after a fight I said I was done and filling. He told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore. After a day or two of cooling off I realized that divorce is not what I wanted. No, our marriage was not healthy but we had so much going against us an neither one of us were trying. I begged for him to forgive me and that I didn’t mean it. He told me he loved me but wasn’t in love with me anymore. Those words hurt and I believed him.One day i was online for tutor, as i was browsing i saw a review about a spell caster who could solve my problem, i have heard about spell casting, and magic, i said i should give it a try i contacted the spell caster his name is Dr Ewan of {covenantsolutiontemple@gmail.com}, i contacted him and he told me not to worry that all he had to do for me is a love spell, he did it and told me that i should give my husband 48 hours and that he would realize him self, i waited anxiously and one the second day of casting the spell, he came to me and told me he was sorry for the wrong he did to me, he has agreed to send me to school and we are happy. Thank you Dr Ewan you are the best. If you have any marital problem, winning of lottery and many other problems you can contact him on his email, {COVENANTSOLUTIONTEMPLE@GMAIL.COM} or call his mobile number +2347052958531, he is a good and kind man. Thanks. ELIZABETH STRONG LONDON UK

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  11. My life became devastated when my husband sent me packing, after 8 years that we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to make my husband take me back. One day at work, i was absent minded not knowing that my boss was calling me, so he sat and asked me what its was all about i told him and he smiled and said that it was not a problem. I never understand what he meant by it wasn't a problem getting my husband back, he said he used a spell to get his wife back when she left him for another man and now they are together till date and at first i was shocked hearing such thing from my boss. He gave me an email address of the great spell caster who helped him get his wife back, i never believed this would work but i had no choice that to get in contact with the spell caster which i did, and he requested for my information and that of my husband to enable him cast the spell and i sent him the details, but after two days, my mom called me that my husband came pleading that he wants me back, i never believed it because it was just like a dream and i had to rush down to my mothers place and to my greatest surprise, my husband was kneeling before me pleading for forgiveness that he wants me and the kid back home, then i gave Happy a call regarding sudden change of my husband and he made it clear to me that my husband will love me till the end of the world, that he will never leave my sight. Now me and my husband is back together again and has started doing pleasant things he hasn't done before, he makes me happy and do what he is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind, kindly contact Happy for help and you can reach him via email: happylovespell2@gmail.com

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  12. Hi everyone!
    I'm so excited my husband is back after a break up !
    My husband broke up with me last week, i was so frustrated and i could not know what next to do again, i love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with another woman and this makes him broke up with me so that he can be able to get marry to the other lady and this lady i think use witchcraft on my husband to make him hate me and my kids and this was so critical and uncalled-for,I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to get back my man until i went to NY to see a friend and who was having the same problem with me but she latter got her Husband back and i asked her how she was able to get her husband back and she told me that their was a powerful spell caster in Africa name Dr.Unity that he help with love spell in getting back lost lover back, and i decided to contacted the same Dr.Unity and he told me what is needed to be done for me to have my man back and i did it although i doubted it but i did it and the Dr told me that i will get the result after 48hours, and he told me that my husband was going to call me by 9pm in my time and i still doubted his word, to my surprise my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much, Oh My God! i was so happy, and today i am happy with my man again and we are joyfully living together as one good family and i thank the powerful spell caster Dr.Unity of Unityspelltemple@gmail.com , he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that good spell casters still exist and Dr.Unity is one of the good spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are there and your lover is turning you down, or you have your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore contact the powerful spell caster Dr.Unity on his email: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com .if you have any problem contact Dr.Unity,I guarantee you that he will help you.Thank you so much Dr Unity.

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  13. Hello, I'm here to introduce someone to you all, his name is Dr.Ekpen Temple a spell caster that help me restored my broken relationship, I saw an article on the Internet someone talking about him how he help her in her relationship, today I'm a beneficial of that article, so that is why I'm also talking about how he has helped me so that someone out there that is facing the same challenge can also contact him for help. Here is DR EKPEN TEMPLE contact info: ekpentemple@gmail.com or on Whatsapp number +2347050270218.

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