Relatively Useful Relativity Tips (for you and your relatives)

You know what’s my problem with Einstein’s theory of relativity? Not that it’s inaccurate (like I would know) or inelegant (like I would care), but that it’s god damn useless. OK, sorry, I admit it, there are about ten guys from NASA that must use the Lorentz factor every once in a while, but what about the rest of us 6,599,999,990? Are we not worthy of enjoying uncle Albert’s heritage? I say no more! This ends now! I give you… drum rolls… (snare drum X 16, bass drum, crash cymbal). My tip list!

Tip #1: Make a very fast drive-by-style pass with your car if you wanna catch David Blaine slipping a card up his sleeve. Time on another reference frame (David Blain) will always look slower, depending on the relative speeds between the two frames (Blain and you). This phenomenon is called Time Dilation. Note that you may need to sell your Toyota and buy a faster car. For example, you’ll need to travel at 86.6% of the speed of light in order to delay time by half. So, this tip (as all the others), is theoretically true and magnificently useless.

Tip #2: Accelerating and decelerating your car may be bad for the brake system and fuel consumption, but it will make you look younger. Well, at least younger than everybody else your age. The acceleration will cause your time (everything - your wristwatch, your heart rate, your metabolism…) to move slower than the regular time on the ground. Note that you will not feel like you are living in slow motion (but will probably feel like you wanna puke from all the accelerations and decelerations).

Tip #3: The Twin Paradox. If you’re considering start dating one of the Olsen twins and wonder how she’ll look when she’s old, take her with you on a fast shuttle ride to Alpha Centauri. When you are both back on Earth, look at her sister. If you’re not happy with how her sister looks (this is how your date will look in a few years), take them both to another fast shuttle ride to Alpha Centauri, and just leave them there.

Tip #4: Objects can not travel faster than the speed of light, but allowed to move at any speed below that value. Use this when your kid tells you he came as soon as you called him.

Tip #5: Two events happening in two different locations that occur simultaneously to one observer may occur at different times to another observer. Watching your daughter on her synchronized swimming lesson from a moving airplane can make you wonder where your money went.

Tip #6: Lorentz contraction. Objects appear shorter from another relative speed reference frame. If you wanna be a porn star, don’t move while you’re auditioning.

Tip #7: The lower you go, the stronger the G-force, and gravity slows down time. Choose a low chair for long boring office meetings. To you, they will appear shorter.

Tip #8: Equivalence of mass and energy. If you’re making a home-made super bomb and C4 is hard to get, try using ultra-fat people.

Tip #9: A black hole is an object with gravitational field so powerful that even light cannot escape its pull. Sounds too good to be true, but placing your mother-in-law behind an event horizon might actually work.

Tip #10: As an object's velocity increases, its mass appears to increase. If your wife’s on a moving spaceship, shouting at you “Is this dress making me look fat?” - screw the physics, shout back “No dear, you look exactly like you did on the day we first met!” (to be honest, although her mass will increase, her waistline will shrink due to the Lorentz contraction effect, so she will actually look thinner, but that will kill my joke).

So, there you have it. As promised… theoretically true and magnificently useless. Oops, my bad, sorry again, you ten guys from NASA can still use this list when appropriate, okay?

p.s. Remember your mistakes so the next time you’ll know you made them all over again. (credit not mine)


Mojoey said...

Welcome to the Atheist Blogroll

Uri Kalish said...

Thanks dude!

onn.benzvi said...

probably the same response that DaVinci got when he dreamed of flying objects...the big E. is way ahead of his can't really appreciate the wonders of C when most of your drive time is either stuck in traffic or waiting for the light to turn red on some run down 96 red Ford Fiesta...anyways, i really appreciate the blog; keep them coming; btw, can the public submit requests for topics

Uri Kalish said...

Hi Onn.b.1, it's been a while. Still cruising town with that poor red excuse for a car of yours?

Ahead of its time - that what people would say about my blog one day.

Off course the public can submit requests for topics, I'm here to serve!

onn.benzvi said...

i request that you post your thoughts about the effect of the moon on the female menstural cycle (ultimately, when they have a period and when they are ovulating).

"Recent scientific research has shown that whilst sunlight stimulates your body clock to produce its sleep / wake rhythm it is the moon which controls the function of the menstrual / fertility cycle."

another issue that i have been pondering is this: the moon has a strong effect on water; we see this with the movement of tides around the world. we know that the human body is mostly water. we can deduce that the moon must have an effect on the human body as well - right?

btw - i no longer drive the fiesta. i just bought a brand new 2007 vespa 250 GTS

Uri Kalish said...

Hi dude,

I’ve located this statement at and I’ve got some issues with this site:

* The site is not your regular non-for-profit scientific site, but it has an agenda – it sells these “conception action packs” for $39.00 each.

* The author, Nadia MacLeod, does not practice conventional medicine; she is a natural fertility counselor and her book is for sell.

* There is no link to this “recent scientific research” that should prove this hypothesis, only a statement claiming the existence of such recent research.

* It states that pregnancy runs for ten lunar months, clearly hinting for the perfection of the number ten, while we all know the only reason humans use 10-based numbering system is the coincidental evolutionary development that gave us ten fingers.

* The article mixes conventional acceptable science like the roles of FSH, LH and melatonin in the human body, with some dubious science like the effect of the moon.

* The fact that in the days of the cold war, the communist party set up a fully staffed research center means nothing. Let’s not forget the same was done to research mind-reading in order to find out what the Americans are thinking on the other side of the iron curtain.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I don’t buy it, but this gave me an idea for my next post on complementary and alternative medicine.

BTW, the Sun’s effect on the tides is weaker that the Moon’s because we are seeing the accumulative effect on a very large number of water molecules in the sea and the important factor here is the gradient of the pulling force. The human body, unlike the oceans, can be considered as a point in space, so the Sun still has a much stronger force on it than the moon (about 179 stronger).

p.s. Congratulations on your new Vespa.

Daniel Thompson said...

Something that irritates me about relativity is the way people misapply it to mean that everything is relative, when one of the most stunning aspects of relativity is the observation that the speed of light is a constant regardless of the motion of the observer.

I appreciated your post. I often think of how I can use relativity to produce virtually unmeasurable changes in my life.

Uri Kalish said...

Hi Daniel,

Yes, you are correct, the speed of light is indeed constant regardless of the observer's motion. Weird but true.

I’ve also heard people explain relativity this way: If you’re driving in a car doing 60 MPH and another car is coming from the opposite direction doing 60 MPH, then the other car is doing 120 MPH relatively to your car. The funny thing about this explanation is that according to Einstein this is actually wrong, and the relative speed of the other car is less than 120 MPH.

I guess the name comes from the observation that there is no fixed position in space that can act as an absolute reference point. Since there is no preferred reference frame, everything can only be described in relative terms (relative to other reference frames).

p.s. I love your video archive blog.

Thanks for visiting,

Daniel Thompson said...

It's all very interesting. I thought I read once that Einstein didn't like the term relativity because of possible confusion it can cause. I couldn't find this, but I did find that it was Planck that coined the term because of how it uses Galileo's principle of relativity.

Thanks for visiting and linking to my video blog!

Uri Kalish said...


Bee said...

Hi Uri,

nice! :-) How about that: if you head on to a red light fast enough, the light will appear green (before getting blue and eventually vanishing in the ultraviolet). Try explaining that to the officer if you get a ticket. Best,


Uri Kalish said...

Hi Bee,

Yeah, trying to explain the Doppler Effect to an officer can be quite challenging.

Thanks for visiting,