Scottie News gets ready for its fifth birthday

This May, the Scottish Terrier and Dog News will turn five years old.

In preparation for the big day, we’ll be bringing you some of our favourite posts from the archives starting with this weekend-themed video featuring the late, great and very well-trained Sadie.

Speaking of the upcoming weekend, enjoy some March madness with your Scottish Terrier. And, if you like some intellectual stimulation along with your basketball, tell us whether that Einstein quote is authentic. Scottie News suspects it might not be entirely accurate.

What else? Please get your Scottie News premium subscription if you haven’t already. And if you’re supposed to get snow this weekend, like we are here in Toronto, bundle up. Spring will be back very soon.

Three Scottish Terriers in the snow

 

3 thoughts on “Scottie News gets ready for its fifth birthday

  1. The Einstein quote is about his theory of relativity. He said that the faster you go, the shorter an observer standing still would see you. The reduction of length happens in the direction you are traveling. Yes, the quote is correct. Here’s the long answer.

    Imagine you are holding a ruler and looking at its shadow. You’re holding it in a plane parallel to the wall, and the shadow and ruler are the same length, which is one foot. Let’s choose right and left as the “x-axis” and up and down as the “y-axis”.

    You’re holding the ruler parallel to the x-axis. The shadow of the ruler is now one foot along the x-axis, and just a point on the y-axis. If you rotate the ruler 45 degrees (still in the plane parallel to the wall), now the distance of the shadow along the x- and the y-axis is about 0.7. So, when rotated, the distance the ruler “projects” along x and y changes. But it doesn’t just change randomly, it changes in a way that’s related to the overall length of the ruler, specifically, according to the Pythagorean theorem: x^2 + y^2 = 1 foot.

    We are used to thinking about all three spatial dimensions being related in this way. In all three dimensions, no matter how it’s oriented in space, if you take it’s projection along x, y, and z, and sum the squares, you’ll get 1 foot. The ruler’s length is “invariant” with regard to its rotation or position in space.

    Einstein’s insight with relativity is that this is *not* actually the case. In fact, Einstein figured out that the ruler’s overall length is actually affected by its velocity relative to the observer!

    So, now imagine the ruler in empty space, floating around. If you are hovering next to it, and the ruler is not moving relative to you, you will observe its length to be one foot. However, at the very same moment you make your observation, if I come whizzing past you and the ruler at a constant velocity, I’ll observe the ruler as being shorter than the 1 foot long ruler I’m holding. (Actually, I’ll see compression of your ruler only if it is not perpendicular to my direction of motion–if it’s perpendicular, then I’ll still measure it to be one foot.)

    So what happened to that extra distance? How can *your* ruler be squeezed by *my* motion? And furthermore, how can it appear squeezed only to me, but not to you? Even more confusingly, from *your* perspective, it’s *my* ruler that’s squeezed and yours is 1 foot, same as its ever been!

    Let’s go back to the wall and the shadow. You’re holding your ruler it’s in the plane parallel to the wall and at 45 degrees to the x-axis (and so is the shadow on the wall). Now, if you rotate it slightly *out of plane* so that it’s no longer in the plane parallel to the wall, the overall length of the shadow is no longer 1 foot, it’s shorter. This is because there’s now some component unaccounted for in the z direction, perpendicular to the wall.

    The ruler shadow on the wall is a useful analogy because you can imagine you’re a 2D shadow person looking at the ruler shadow with no comprehension of the z dimension perpendicular to the wall. If you’re a 2D shadow person, you’ve lived on the wall all your life and have no idea that there’s a world off your wall. To you, forward, backward, up, and down are the only directions that exist…”out” and “in” would not be comprehensible to you. In fact, you’d have no comprehension of the actual ruler itself, you would only be able to comprehend the ruler’s shadow. So, when I, from my 3D view, rotate the ruler into the z dimension, to you, the shadow appears compressed.

    Back into space…when I’m whizzing past you and the ruler, Einstein says that your ruler is slightly “rotated”, but in not in x, y, or z. Rather, it’s rotated slightly in the fourth dimension of time. It turns out that if two things are moving relative to each other, those objects appear to each other as having a small component rotated in the unseen time dimension. The amount of rotation is proportional to the relative velocity.

    Now consider that z-dimension. Before the rotation out of wall’s plane, the ruler had no component of distance perpendicular to the wall, but after, it has a slight distance in the z dimension. This is where the analogy breaks down a little bit, but not completely. The main point is this: the distance of the ruler’s projection in z changed.

    So, from the 3D perspective trying to understand the 4D world of space-time the ruler is rotating into this unseen fourth dimension (the “time” dimension), what affect will that have? The answer: time will have slowed down. So, now if we imagine that our rulers have a little digital clock embedded in them (I got one of these once at a trade show and though, wow! A relativity measuring device!), the ruler I zip past will tick seconds slower than mine. Just like when I rotate my ruler in front of the wall, the shadow not only compresses, but there’s now distance in z, when I “rotate” the ruler in space-time (by having a velocity relative to it), it has distance in that unseen dimension that manifests as slower seconds ticking by.

    My Scotties use the theory of relativity to cause havoc all the time. It’s usually a FLASH of a doggie out of the corner of my eye, followed by a CRASH and somebody usually screaming, OH NO what did you DO?

    1. Whew! Thanks for this Ken. I a waiting for a moment of pure concentration to read and attempt to understand it. Maybe tomorrow morning after my first coffee.

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