1233: "Relativity"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Euler
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:01 am UTC

1233: "Relativity"

Postby Euler » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:26 am UTC

Image

Title text: It's commonly believed that Lorentz contraction makes objects appear flatter along the direction of travel. However, this ignores light travel times. In fact, a fast-moving butt would appear rotated toward the observer but not substantially distorted. Shakira was right.

I don't understand.
Last edited by Euler on Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:29 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Image
"Six by nine. Forty two."
"That's it. That's all there is."
"I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe"

User avatar
rhomboidal
Posts: 801
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:25 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:28 am UTC

Ok, I'm pretty sure punning across languages violates general relativity.

User avatar
Quicksilver
Posts: 437
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:21 am UTC

Re: 1233: Relativity

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:29 am UTC

Would a perfect vacuum make his bum look big?

Caesar
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:34 am UTC
Location: Germany

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Caesar » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:32 am UTC

I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.

Cal Engime
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:41 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Cal Engime » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:36 am UTC

Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.
Einstein is famous for his Gedankenexperimente. Randall is punning on badunkadunk, an African-American slang term for "junk in the trunk," or that which is possessed by a callipygian woman.

Eutychus
Posts: 448
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:01 am UTC
Location: France

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Eutychus » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:19 am UTC

See also the latest What-if. Maybe Randall just came across the word recently.
Be very careful about rectilinear assumptions. Raptors could be hiding there - ucim

hetas
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 5:17 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby hetas » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:20 am UTC

From yesterdays What-If:
20 meters per second is about how fast an average person with a good arm could throw a bouncy ball. Therefore, to determine the result of an impact, we can make use of what Einstein called a gedankenexperiment, or "thought experiment"

User avatar
Djehutynakht
Posts: 1546
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:37 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:24 am UTC

Really, who knows what Einstein thought up. There must have been thousands of amazingly weird ideas he never told us about.

...it bothers me. I must know.

sackerson
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:47 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby sackerson » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:50 am UTC

At the speed of light, wouldn't Einstein be able to see everyone else's butt (if they were facing him)?

User avatar
pelrigg
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:08 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby pelrigg » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:59 am UTC

On the other other hand; Shakira's butt when rotated toward the viewer does look pretty awesome. (Just saying.) 8-)
Knight Temporal of the One True Comic {bestowed by BlitzGirl: NP 1315}

We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations of equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things.

User avatar
Znirk
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:47 am UTC
Location: ZZ9 plural Z α

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Znirk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:25 am UTC

So what is it she was right about?

Afrael
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:23 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Afrael » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:26 am UTC

Cal Engime wrote:
Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.
Einstein is famous for his Gedankenexperimente. Randall is punning on badunkadunk, an African-American slang term for "junk in the trunk," or that which is possessed by a callipygian woman.


Okay, but then it would still have to be Gedankendunk. Unfortunately, the rules for building German compound words are not found easily. So the only source I have right now is the fact that all the derived words at the German wictionary (scroll down to Wortbildungen) and the English one both feature the n.

User avatar
Angelastic
Posts: 700
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:36 am UTC
Location: .at (let's see what's through here!)
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Angelastic » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:30 am UTC

Cal Engime wrote:
Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.
Einstein is famous for his Gedankenexperimente. Randall is punning on badunkadunk, an African-American slang term for "junk in the trunk," or that which is possessed by a callipygian woman.

Thanks; I'm not German and I hadn't heard of badunkadunk. Now, can someone explain the Shakira reference? Does she have a song that states her butt is always pointing at you? Searching the web for Shakira's butt isn't particularly enlightening. :)

Hehe... it could be like that song 'Right Here Waiting':

Whereever you go,
whatever you do,
my butt is always pointing at you.
Knight Temporal, and Archdeacon of buttermongery and ham and cheese sandwiches. Nobody sells butter except through me.
Image Smiley by yappobiscuits. Avatar by GLR, buffygirl, BlitzGirl & mscha, with cari.j.elliot's idea.
Haiku Detector
starts a trend to make way for
my robot army.

chrullrich
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 9:56 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby chrullrich » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:59 am UTC

Hips Don't Lie: youtube:MuL8PFWokxU

Sandor
Posts: 180
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:25 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Sandor » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:16 am UTC

I'm pretty sure Einstein would have thought "If I were traveling near the speed of light...", not "at the speed of light" as that would be impossible.

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 3102
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:11 am UTC

This description of Terrell rotation is quite good, i.e. I nearly understood it.

If you follow it on a couple of pages, it explains how the rotation is only an approximation for small or distant objects, and that the full effect is an apparent curvature of the axes. This explains what Nelly was singing about when she said "Girl, I think my butt can bend". (I'm sure that's what she says).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

User avatar
rivulatus
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:14 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby rivulatus » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:14 am UTC

We all know Einstein had a great ass no matter what speed he is traveling at.

User avatar
J L
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:03 am UTC
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby J L » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:29 am UTC

Afrael wrote:
Cal Engime wrote:
Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.
Einstein is famous for his Gedankenexperimente. Randall is punning on badunkadunk, an African-American slang term for "junk in the trunk," or that which is possessed by a callipygian woman.


Okay, but then it would still have to be Gedankendunk. Unfortunately, the rules for building German compound words are not found easily. So the only source I have right now is the fact that all the derived words at the German wictionary (scroll down to Wortbildungen) and the English one both feature the n.


You're right about the "n", but since this whole pun doesn't make much sense in the first place, and the German "a" is pretty close to the "u" here ... Maybe "Gedankadank" would have been even better. I had to look this one up on explainxkcd, too, to get the joke.

On another note, too bad Steve isn't here anymore.

User avatar
Znirk
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:47 am UTC
Location: ZZ9 plural Z α

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Znirk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:02 pm UTC

rivulatus wrote:We all know Einstein had a great ass no matter what speed he is traveling at.

Certainly at all speeds which he ever did travel at. However, at relativistic speeds the Law of Conservation of Ass becomes a little more complicated.

Barstro
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Barstro » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:48 pm UTC

I have a feeling that yesterday's What-If existed just so Randall could make today's pun. Much the same way I think a particular episode of The Simpsons existed just so they could get Skinner's Ball Sack past the censors.

gladiolas
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:41 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby gladiolas » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:05 pm UTC

Speaking of awesomeness, somebody has written on the topic of the "Helen" as a unit of beauty sufficient to launch 1000 Greek warships and to burn one Greek city.

http://www.goines.net/Writing/HELEN_of_TROY.html

As for the spelling of Randall's nonce word, isn't it sufficient to say that languages aren't logical?

:D :roll:

richP
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby richP » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:27 pm UTC

Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.


Randall should have added at least one superfluous umlaut to Gedankedank to make the joke clear.

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Klear » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:28 pm UTC

gladiolas wrote:Speaking of awesomeness, somebody has written on the topic of the "Helen" as a unit of beauty sufficient to launch 1000 Greek warships and to burn one Greek city.

http://www.goines.net/Writing/HELEN_of_TROY.html

As for the spelling of Randall's nonce word, isn't it sufficient to say that languages aren't logical?

:D :roll:


That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

User avatar
J L
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:03 am UTC
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby J L » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:21 pm UTC

Umlaute are never superfluous, and that Helen piece just made up for a very dull day without laughs :)

User avatar
yellow103
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby yellow103 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

So thats what he said on his deathbed, shame no one understood it.

origimbo
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:16 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby origimbo » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:09 pm UTC

Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?

JonathanA
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:08 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby JonathanA » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:10 pm UTC

That led to Einstien's lesser-known badonkenexperiment. :)

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Klear » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:36 pm UTC

origimbo wrote:
Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?


Probably, but launching a single ship doesn't sound too impressive to me.

Raineer
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 8:42 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Raineer » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:44 pm UTC

I thought of Gedankendank the first time I heard the word in Physics 3, but I had no idea how to fit it into a joke.

Randall, you complete me.

User avatar
FrobozzWizard
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:02 pm UTC

Of course, if you cross Einstein with Trace Adkins, you get a "Honky-tonk Gedankedank".

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26823
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:11 pm UTC

richP wrote:
Caesar wrote:I'm german and I have no idea what Randall meant with "Gedankedank". "Gedanke" means "thought". "Dank" means "gratitude". So "thoughtgratitude"? Maybe he meant "Gedankengang" (train of thought)? But that still wouldn't be funny, so I'm probably missing something important.


Randall should have added at least one superfluous umlaut to Gedankedank to make the joke clear.

To people familiar with both words making up the pun, the joke was already clear enough. To everyone else, I'm not sure how an umlaut would have helped.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5478
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:58 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
origimbo wrote:
Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?


Probably, but launching a single ship doesn't sound too impressive to me.

Perhaps, but it makes sense that the base unit should be one on a familiar scale. An ordinarily beautiful woman might be enough to launch a single ship. It's only rare and extraordinary beauty that could launch a thousand ships. Same reason the SI unit of mass isn't the megagram (or the gram for that matter); we deal much more regularly in kilogram scale masses than megagram (or gram) scale ones. (Which has made me wonder why "gram" wasn't defined as 1000 times its current scale in the first place, so we would have an unprefixed word for our base unit. Was there already a "gram" in use which was close to the mass of 1 mL of water or something?).
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

lgw
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:52 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby lgw » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:50 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Was there already a "gram" in use which was close to the mass of 1 mL of water or something?).


A gram is between a grain (1/15th gram) and a dram (~1.7 grams).
"In no set of physics laws do you get two cats." - doogly

User avatar
thevicente
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:19 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby thevicente » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:18 pm UTC

Einstein's butt.

So it has come to this.

rmsgrey
Posts: 3655
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:16 pm UTC

thevicente wrote:Einstein's butt.

So it has come to this.


Sounds like the macguffin for an episode of a bad sci-fi show - someone plans to clone Einstein using epithelial cells from an old cigar butt...

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Klear » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:14 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Klear wrote:
origimbo wrote:
Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?


Probably, but launching a single ship doesn't sound too impressive to me.

Perhaps, but it makes sense that the base unit should be one on a familiar scale. An ordinarily beautiful woman might be enough to launch a single ship. It's only rare and extraordinary beauty that could launch a thousand ships. Same reason the SI unit of mass isn't the megagram (or the gram for that matter); we deal much more regularly in kilogram scale masses than megagram (or gram) scale ones. (Which has made me wonder why "gram" wasn't defined as 1000 times its current scale in the first place, so we would have an unprefixed word for our base unit. Was there already a "gram" in use which was close to the mass of 1 mL of water or something?).


Agreed. The SI unit should be a millihelen. I find it preferable to use other than the SI unit in this context though. (even though I'd say a millihelen is at least 30% funnier than just helen)

Cal Engime
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:41 am UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby Cal Engime » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:47 am UTC

Klear wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
Klear wrote:
origimbo wrote:
Klear wrote:That's my favourite unit... I especially like the notion of negative Helen - ugliness that will launch 1000 ships in the opposite direction.

Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?


Probably, but launching a single ship doesn't sound too impressive to me.

Perhaps, but it makes sense that the base unit should be one on a familiar scale. An ordinarily beautiful woman might be enough to launch a single ship. It's only rare and extraordinary beauty that could launch a thousand ships. Same reason the SI unit of mass isn't the megagram (or the gram for that matter); we deal much more regularly in kilogram scale masses than megagram (or gram) scale ones. (Which has made me wonder why "gram" wasn't defined as 1000 times its current scale in the first place, so we would have an unprefixed word for our base unit. Was there already a "gram" in use which was close to the mass of 1 mL of water or something?).


Agreed. The SI unit should be a millihelen. I find it preferable to use other than the SI unit in this context though. (even though I'd say a millihelen is at least 30% funnier than just helen)

What does that difference come out to in centichaplins?

ps.02
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:02 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby ps.02 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:38 am UTC

So the way I c it, Einstein couldn't be talking about going at the speed of light in a vacuum, because he of all people would believe that's not even possible. He must be talking about the speed of light in the room he's in. Or...something.

I mean, this comic is still a FAIL, but at least the completely nonsensical part of the thought can be explained away. Kinda.

Klear wrote:
origimbo wrote:Isn't the SI unit the millihelen though?

Probably, but launching a single ship doesn't sound too impressive to me.

I dunno. I'm not sure anyone I know could inspire the launching of one ship. So a millihelen seems impressive enough to me. Maybe Robin Wright Penn had 12 millihelens in Forrest Gump.

As for inspiring 1/1000 of a city to be sacked, that part may be a bit more within reach. How many 1000ths of Los Angeles did Rodney King inspire the sacking of?

User avatar
steve waterman
Posts: 1610
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby steve waterman » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

J L wrote:On another note, too bad Steve isn't here anymore.

Actually, I just recently posted into the Science section...regarding my first/recent You Tube post.
http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=103140

EDIT - hmmm, here is the actual url for the posting on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7d1FhvWUGM
"While statistics and measurements can be misleading, mathematics itself, is not subjective."
"Be careful of what you believe, you are likely to make it the truth."
steve

User avatar
bmonk
Posts: 662
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:14 pm UTC
Location: Schitzoed in the OTT between the 2100s and the late 900s. Hoping for singularity.

Re: 1233: "Relativity"

Postby bmonk » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

ps.02 wrote:So the way I c it, Einstein couldn't be talking about going at the speed of light in a vacuum, because he of all people would believe that's not even possible. He must be talking about the speed of light in the room he's in. Or...something.


What? Einstein did not do a thought experiment about going the speed of light (in a vacuum)?

That's the whole reason it's a thought experiment--because it can't be a real experiment, now can it?
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BytEfLUSh, Wowfunhappy and 112 guests