RSS Feed
Sep 18

Shoo fly

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 in Jobs, Quickie, Something to think about

Had another of those mad conversations today with Mr. P, who is great fun to work with because he always thinks sideways, not to mention the fact that he’s a musical genius so when he’s not talking, he’s singing something interesting.

Mr. P: “So.. like, what’s the craic with flies, the way they can see everything all sped up?  You try swatting them but you can’t, because you’re moving really slowly to them – how does that work?”

Me: “Ummm… *thinkage* well, time is relative.”

Mr. P: “What?”

Me: “No?”

Mr. P: “No.” (Looks confused)

Me:  “Well, it’s like… time is a man-made invention, right?  We created it to suit us, based on the sun and the planet’s rotation and stuff.  Flies don’t know this so they have their own rules for time, based on their needs.”  I racked my brain for a few seconds for an example of space-time relativity, and came up blank.  “I just don’t know how these two time ratios can co-incide with each other.  I haven’t a shaggin’ clue, really.”

We both fell quiet and continued flicking spider webs.

Mr. P:  “Say… why don’t you post it on your blog?”

Me: “Good thinking, batman.  Tell you what.  I’ll throw it on tonight and see what happens, then I’ll let you know tomorrow.  Okay?”

Mr. P: “Sooouuund.”

So I did.  And I will. 

Any ideas?


Bring on the comments

  1. how about this?
    Because they have lots of i’s

  2. Doc says:

    back in m y university days i once took a course on ‘Art and Quantum Mechanics’, mostly a) as a way of presenting my misunderstanding of Pollack to susceptable undergraduates in a way they might take a rougish, and b) to convince the prof – who gave the lecture series in his own studio – to allow our local Go club to use is space on Tuesday nights for free: I was more successful in one endeavor than the other. However, as a result I accidentally leaned a few things…

    The rules of quantum mechanics can be applied to situations where there does not exist an obvious way of considering an external perfectly classical clock. par example, given the lack of an external time, you could try to use a variable internal clock to the system under study as a clock. Such a variable could not play the role of `t’ in a Schrödinger equation, since one expects it to be on a similar footing as the other variables in the problem and therefore needs be subject to quantum fluctuations. There have been proposals in the past to build a quantum mechanics using an internal variable as a clock. Such a proposal might be called proposals `relational time’ …

    Ahh, fuckall. Here, go buy and read this book: it will explain everything.

  3. kellypea says:

    Great blog — I’m trying to remember how I ended up here. I hate that. I’ll probably remember it in the middle of the night. Read several of your posts — glad you found your cat. Ours disappeared for a couple of weeks, too, and then some neighbors found him under their covered patio furniture, unable to get out. He was pretty skinny and ratty looking, but alive and happy to be back with us.

    Oh, and I can seriously swat flies. Lots and lots of them…we recently had a disgusting fly problem. I’m a pro…

  4. Grannymar says:

    I’m lost! Floating on on a wave of green muffins.

  5. Maybe it’s to do with nerve impulses from the eye to the brain. These things are generally standard rates but the simpler system that flies possess may mean they see things “faster”.

    But, time is time, it doesn’t matter who or what you are, the fly swatter still travels at the same speed. SO it must be to do with faster nerve impulses or reactions. I think.

    Not sure, but I’m working in a department that experiments on flies. Maybe I should ask someone!

  6. Foreigner says:

    The flies might just as well be the only touching point between parallel universes. Thus your perfectly sensible explanation about different perception of time would probably be correct.

    That’s of course assuming that parallel universe (the other one) has either no concept of time or just particularily observant flies.

  7. K8 says:

    There’s always the reverse anomaly which is the old man.

    How can one old man enter a pub when it opens of a Sunday morning, stay ALL day nursing one pint and staring at nothing, then leave at closing time?!?!

    What’s happened to HIS perception of time?!?

    Sore brain.

  8. Doc says:

    Cmoe now, K8: I won’t have you talking about my adopted son that way. He is perfectly aware of the time…he’s just cheap.

  9. Brianf says:

    Time is NOT an invention of man! Man only quantified it. We built a clock to track it. Clocks have nothing to do with the fact that some flies see the swatter coming and some don’t and some flies don’t care.

  10. Medbh says:

    That sounds like a weed influenced conversation, hmm?

Leave a Reply

Gravityscan Badge