Sunday, August 08, 2010

Physics Abuse So Bad, It Is Hysterically Funny

When I was in my undergraduate years at UW-Madison, there was this show late at night that telecast really, really bad movie. I mean, we're talking about monster movies so bad, some time those that need to be voice-over, the dialog not only didn't match the mouth, it some time didn't even match the gender of the actor! The tag line for the TV show was "The moves are so bad, they're good!"

This is the case here. I've always criticized those pseudoscience advocates who invoked physics as justification or evidence that the garbage they are pushing is valid. Inevitably, they bastardized what little physics they thought they understood, especially their superficial understanding of QM. Now, this time, the bastardization comes in from a different angle. Here, physics is being used in a rather hilarious fashion either as an explanation, or as an analogy, to issues on ..... get this .... RELATIONSHIPS! I kid you not.

There are just things that simply don't make any sense. For example:

When I graduated high school, I had speed. I was going somewhere, just not sure which direction. By and large my relationships were similar, going somewhere but concentrated on self. In college, I like to think I got a little direction vector going in both my professional life and my personal life. I was learning about angular momentum but I just didn’t realize it. Instead of revolving around my own center of mass, I began to revolve around another.

So just what is this angular momentum? Momentum has a specific physics definition involving an equation I’d like to gloss over. We can usefully think of it as energy in a direction. A vector direction. The angular part comes in when this energy in a direction is going around and around another object. Even if it travels at a constant speed it’s always accelerating since the direction vector is always changing.

It's time to nitpick. I don't need to have something going "around and around" to have an angular momentum. All I have to show is that L = r x p (where L is the angular momentum, r is the vector position of the object, and p is the momentum of the object {"x" is the vector cross product}) is not zero. This means that something moving with a constant velocity can have an angular momentum ABOUT A POSITION THAT ISN'T ALONG THE LINE OF MOTION. Such object isn't going "around and around" at all. Any undergraduate intro physics student would know this.

An example is the moon going around the earth. The moon has acceleration (both speed and direction), and it has the magic property of changing its vector of motion second by second as it curls around the earth. Because of the big difference in mass, the moon “feels” the earth more than the earth “feels” the moon, but both do feel each other. That’s angular momentum without an equation.

The moon feels the earth more than the earth feels the moon? Presumably, "feels" here corresponds to "force", then this person is violating Newton's 3rd law. Again, any intro physics student would have seen the force on the moon, due to the earth, is equal to the force on the earth, due to the moon.

Still, this is where it starts to get utterly nonsensical and becomes laughably funny.

I think in some relationships, both people may share the same velocity vector. Rushing through life in the same general direction. They are going parallel. But if they don’t start revolving around each other they never get to feel the angular momentum of each other. These relationships often fail since neither partner gets to feel the other’s angular force.

Do you feel my angular momentum right now? But oh, it gets better!

Another example of a relationship has one person unconditionally revolving around the other while the other simply continues in a straight line. Particularly damaging for the revolving partner, he or she never gets to feel the others angular force. These relationships often end in failure too.

Those poor atoms, they are such failures. Imagine these atoms, moving in all different directions, while those electrons revolving around their "partner", the nucleus. Those selfish nucleus never get to feel the electrons' angular force. Their relationships are heading towards probable failures!

After this, this writer completely lost me. Or maybe, he actually was completely lost in his elementary geometry class.

We have to do one quick math review. Remember in geometry and algebra we use Cartesian coordinates X, Y and Z. These were named after RenĂ© Descartes, who is credited with inventing them in the 17th century. (he also founded analytic geometry, and is credited with the quote “Cogito ergo sum” — I think, therefore I am.) You might recall the X, Y and Z axis used to chart or plot equations in math class. Make a picture in your mind.

Lets pretend the woman has the X axis (appropriate chromosomally) and the man has the Y axis (also appropriate chromosomally). What happens when each revolves around the other? A new, magic force vector is produced, and it comes out their Z axis! If you want to see one of the Z axis products, observe closely the next little baby you see (ask permission). They are magic.

But you don’t have to be married or have a child to share your angular momentum. Examples of the Z vector force are the products of any loving relationship that involves shared angular momentum. The foundation and volunteer folks are familiar with these feelings. The hospice workers I know are chuck full of angular momentum. That’s how they can do such a difficult job. Magic.

Besides the fact that the x, y, and z axes are all mutually orthogonal to each other and thus, have no components/effect on the other axes, I was almost rolling on my floor at how bad this was! The best part is that if you do something in x, and your partner does something in y, one would expect that the resultant is a vector in the x-y plane. But no, you would be wrong! In this convoluted geometry, you produce an "off spring" in the z-axis!!! How much fun is that??!!!

OK, I need to get out of the house and find a hobby. I'm having way too much fun with nonsense like this.....



weiqinik said...

To try to make at least a little bit of sense out of the last paragraph, I think what he wants to allude to is the fact that the angular momentum of an object moving in the x-y plane points in the z-direction. Of course that is not what he is saying (which I agree doesn't make any sense whatsoever), but if you accept the author's premise that relationship magic is best represented by angular momentum, I guess that would be a sensible point to make.

robert nguyen said...

It's rather intimidating than risible. I don't know what the author's purpose writing this article. To counsel a first year physics student in a relationship, maybe?

Faiz said...

This is really funny. Some people do like to put 'science' elements on their works just to make it much more 'logic' or credible,but then it only makes it something much more ridiculous than what they intend to.For this case, if the author didn't put those 'physics' stuff and that nonsensical z-axis as the offspring,the article would look better.