## A measure of slowness?

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Pfhorrest
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### A measure of slowness?

Thinking of thermodynamic beta and its relationship to temperature got me to thinking: is there any way to construct a measure of "slowness", such that things moving at the speed of light have zero of it, and things moving slower than light have arbitrarily much of it? Would such a unit help to make some intuitive sense of relativity as seen from that different perspective (e.g. there is no such thing as absolute rest because that would be infinite slowness), the way that thermodynamic beta helps make sense of some thermodynamic concepts (e.g. nothing can reach absolute zero because that would be infinite thermodynamic beta)?
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
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cyanyoshi
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

You could always take the inverse of rapidity to get a kind of slowness measure, but I'm not sure what benefit there would be to doing that. Rapidity already gives a way to describe speed that may make more intuitive sense, so that may be worth reading some more about that if you're interested.

I haven't looked into the physics of it, but a universe with 3 dimensions of time and 1 dimension of space seems to have tachyons from what I can tell, so the speed of light would be a lower speed limit. If that's the case, then slowness could be much more useful.

Pfhorrest
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

Thanks! Rapidity is a very interesting concept all on its own.

The math is a little dense for me, but your mention of a tachyon-only universe makes me wonder what negative rapidity would be? Specifically I'm curious if it might, like temperature, be the case that small negative values of it are actually extremely fast (the way small negative temperatures are extremely hot), and more and more negative values get closer and closer to the speed of light, just like larger and larger positive values do. (In which case the inverse function would, like thermodynamic beta, maybe be a nicer to deal with; zero is the constant speed of light, and values above or below it are arbitrarily faster or slower than that).

(In all of this, I'm basically wondering if there's a way of denoting movement such that the speed of light is "normal", and it's any other speed that needs to be called out as possessing some unusual quantity).

That chart you linked also intrigues me, could you point me at where it's from?
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)

cyanyoshi
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

That chart comes from the paper "On the dimensionality of spacetime": http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/dimensions.html. Basically if we had a different number of space and time dimensions, our laws of physics would need to be radically different to support life.

Internetmeme
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

cyanyoshi wrote:That chart comes from the paper "On the dimensionality of spacetime": http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/dimensions.html. Basically if we had a different number of space and time dimensions, our laws of physics would need to be radically different to support life.

Can I just point out how beautiful that website is? So lightweight and simple, with that tacky Web 1.0 charm that's nowadays gone by the wayside in favor of flashy, gluttonous abuses of bandwidth.
Spoiler:

pogrmman
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

Internetmeme wrote:
cyanyoshi wrote:That chart comes from the paper "On the dimensionality of spacetime": http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/dimensions.html. Basically if we had a different number of space and time dimensions, our laws of physics would need to be radically different to support life.

Can I just point out how beautiful that website is? So lightweight and simple, with that tacky Web 1.0 charm that's nowadays gone by the wayside in favor of flashy, gluttonous abuses of bandwidth.

I love simple, light websites. Sure, they can be touched up by a bit of JS or whatever (just a little bit!), but they shouldn’t be those slow-loading hogs that are so common. It shouldn’t take a long time to open, say, a news site.

jewish_scientist
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### Re: A measure of slowness?

In defense of news websites, their entire business model has collapsed, so selling huge amounts of ad space is the only chance they have to stay in business.