Mostly Just a Cool Science Project, Except…

Posted on December 5, 2013 9:00 pm

Every nerd wants one of these (I know *I* do)

Best part – probably the “moon orbits the earth orbiting the sun” demo at 4:20 (may need to go full screen to see the sub-orbits)

[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #914,706)

And it really IS just fun and games, until 9:28, when the prof tosses out a VERY casual remark, “Is General Relativity in the state standards? No”.

His remark following that remark chilled my soul a little bit.

And also made me hate public education in general just a tiny bit more than I already do.

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10 Responses to “Mostly Just a Cool Science Project, Except…”

  1. 4of7 says:

    “Is General Relativity in the state standards? No”.

    But I’d be willing to bet that “Man-Caused Global Warming” is.

  2. zzyzx says:

    He reminds me of me. ~ Professor John I.Q. Neidelbaum Frink, Jr

  3. Jimmy says:

    His explanation regarding the direction of orbits in the solar system is wrong. The primordial gas that formed this system had it’s own angular momentum resulting in an accretion disk made increasingly planer due to friction while maintaining some of the original angular momentum. The sun and its planets and moons all share that history.

    Also, the membrane analogy for gravity is not only wrong, it’s basically useless and leads to a false sense of understanding.

  4. NoMoBama says:

    But I’d be willing to bet that “Man-Caused Global Warming Climate Change” is.
    It’s hard to keep up with all the latest propaganda.

    The truth never changes…..I wonder who said that?

  5. jw says:

    @3 jimmy

    at the risk of starting a scientific holy war, i don’t believe that his orbit explanation is inconsistent with yours. dealing in numbers that will dwarf avagadro’s, we have a lot of particles with varing angular momentums which will give the summation that is the accretion disc to which you refer. but, if i understand him, the final orbital direction is determined by the minute differences when all the particles are summed and those not pulled into the sun are coalesced. therefore, i see no conflict between you and him.

    regarding the membrane analogy, i have seen it in many science books, both for the lay public and science students (beginning and advanced). besides, you get to roll balls around on a stretchy thing.

    now i think i need a cookie

  6. Jimmy says:

    @5: jw -

    BTW, Regarding collisions, one of my astronomical pet peeves is the prevalent belief that objects in our asteroid belt are original formations – everything from dirty ice balls to heavy iron rocks. Everywhere I look, this theory pervades science and ignores the complete impossibility of microgravity compacting such objects to begin with. A lot of so called astronomers would do well to go back and start over with basic mechanics. Ditto with ‘cosmologists’ – most of whom are cranks.

  7. jw says:

    @6 Jimmy,

    but i can still roll balls on a stretchy thing, right?

  8. Fly says:

    Professor: “So, a day, almost a day on General Relativity. But since I don’t understand it myself, that’s, that’s plenty.”

    Audience: “Hahahaha! Let’s teach things we don’t understand and call it the crowning achievement of science. We’re cool. Cutting edge, even.”

    [I'm really not this snarky in real life, honest! I have tremendous sympathy for all the many teachers who teach things they don't understand and all their students who don't want to learn it.]

  9. Jimmy says:

    Absolutely!, jw, to the extent that it approximates the hyperbolic mathematics of gravitational fields, it’s perfect hyperbole! :-)

  10. AT says:


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