Photos of the Month May 2020

June 1, 2020

An object falling to earth, for example, is being continuously accelerated by the force of gravity. It has no fixed velocity for any finite interval of time, even one as brief as a thousandth of a second; every "instant" its speed is changing.
Jim Holt, "When Einstein Walked with Gödel"
This raises an interesting question for me: are there any places where we really notice gravity is an acceleration, really feel that it's not just a constant speed applied once an object topples from its support?

I suppose the way a thrown object arcs is one, and we can trace that with our eyes.

Sometimes it seems unsurprising that flat-earthers exist. There are a lot of physical phenomenon that our monkey brains use the crudest approximations for. (Also, I think of my despair that I don't know of a good kitchen sink science demonstration that would clearly show how matter is divided into atoms...)

I worry that the way our senses can be fooled - that we need to be taught round earths and atoms and accelerating gravity (tempered by air resistance and terminal velocities!) bodes poorly for our intuition in other matters, such as morality.

I guess one could argue morality is different, maybe its definition arises from our collective intuitive feelings? I don't find that view very satisfying, it seems like the old parable of building on shifting sands.
(Earlier I had a further thought that everything is a simplification. Like in theory you can't TRULY describe the arc of a ball without describing every atom in it (for a moment I toyed with the idea of a comic or movie villain whose power was access to a computation source powered by... I dunno, like the multiverse or something-- enough of an overwhelming multiplicity that the villain COULD run simulations of every atom, and through this power of simulation, complete in both scale and detail, conquer the real world.)