Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A History of Ridiculous Ideas: Zak's Egocentric Universe


People often tease me because I always seem to come up with ridiculous theories to explain all sorts of random stuff (like why guys are jerks and girls are stupid). However, this tendency is not new. Ever since I was a little kid, I would always think of crazy ways to explain the world, or come up with ideas that seemed quite logical at the time, only to be quite absurd. This is one of those ideas...

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When I was very young, I remember driving into town with my parents. I would always look out the window, staring at the telephone poles that we would drive by. I knew that we were in the car, but it seemed odd that it was the telephone poles that appeared to be moving. So I came to the conclusion that in fact, they WERE moving. The car was stationary, and the telephone poles were moving by us.

So I told my parents this, and they disagreed. They tried to explain that while it looks like the telephone poles are moving, the fact of the matter was that the car was moving past the poles, and it just looked like they were moving.

I understood what they were saying. But I realized that they weren’t getting the BIG picture. Yes, to them and their na├»ve view of things, it did seem that the poles were stationary, and we were moving by them. However, they failed to understand that what was really going on, was that the cars wheels were moving, but the car was staying stationary. How was this possible? Well, the Earth was actually rolling underneath of the car. Sort of like a person on a treadmill—they are moving their legs, but it is the treadmill surface that is actually moving.

However, this posed a problem. If cars were actually stationary, and the Earth was moving underneath them, then what would happen if my brother and stood back to back, and drove cars in the opposite direction? The earth would basically just rip apart! Obviously this wasn’t the case, so how could it be resolved?

Of course, the solution was that this trick only worked for me. Wherever I went, the Earth rotated beneath me. So while my parents thought that the telephone poles were moving past us, in fact, the entire Earth was moving beneath me, and I (and everyone in the car) were completely stationary.

2 comments:

  1. keep headin west and its kinda true. Of course then you and the car are probably just going backwards slower than the Earth is.

    I didn't realize I had a place to keep up with Zak thoughts until today.

    ReplyDelete