Random Thoughts (21)

  1. For writers, it must be saddening to see how ill-informed some people buy books.
  2. There seems to be a little bit of corruption in Montenegro.
  3. When I returned to university to study history at age 42, some were wondering what the point of studying in mid-life would be. Miguel Castillo is 80 years old and is studying history in Spain. He decided to do so after surviving a heart attack because he wanted to use the remaining time in his life more actively than the average pensioner.Miguel Castillo.jpg
  4. This year, Mr Castillo will go to Verona for an Erasmus semester. Luckily for him – and for me – Erasmus has no age limit.
  5. My biggest problem with Erasmus is actually that I am spoiled for choice with all the countries and universities participating.
  6. The Revolutions Podcast is quite informative, but sadly, I have a very low tolerance towards mispronunciations, especially if every name, place and concept is pronounced as if it was located in Texas. The names of South-American revolutionaries were really not “Bowlivar” or “Sucray”.
  7. no reincarnation
  8. Due to the lack of a twin study, I will never be able to discount the possibility that I am smart because I ate a lot of ‘Smarties’ in my childhood.
  9. The theory of relativity is relatively irrelevant.
  10. Who knew that camels also work in the snow?Kamel Schnee.jpg
  11. As an ophidiophobic hiker, I think countries should only be allowed to join the EU once they have eliminated all snakes.
  12. My short story about millionaire translators was quite well received in Montenegro. I was surprised because it was rather long (2350 words) and about a quirky subject.
  13. That made me think about publishing fewer short posts (and relegating more of them into these Random Thoughts) to focus on longer and hopefully better articles.
  14. This is the perfect week for studying: wetter kotor
  15. Chancellor Merkel in a speech: “It’s time to stop mosering around.”
    My name has become a verb in German, meaning “to constantly criticize”. Many readers will understand why.
  16. Where have I heard Donald Trump’s claim about his “very good brain” before?

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About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Books, Education, History, Language, Montenegro, US election 2016 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Random Thoughts (21)

  1. Kelly MacKay says:

    well done. I love #9 and #10

  2. Dante says:

    Point 7. The ‘reform Buddhists’ don’t really have goals different from ‘normal’ Buddhist goals. Buddhist do ‘believe in’ reincarnation but not as a hope or comfort in the face of death which they want to escape but they do want to escape reincarnation by being enlightenment and going Nirwana after their last death.
    Point 9: I totally disagree. Relativity tells us what physical properties really behave like when things move with respect to one another, and when gravity is working.
    It always works, unlike our everyday Newtonian physics which is just an approximation being valid at low relative speeds and gravitational ‘voltages’ (differences of the gravitational potential).

    • Any serious discussion of #9 is completely beyond the limits of my comprehension.

    • Dante says:

      Because I can’t reply to your answer directly, I have to do it this way.

      …is completely beyond the limits of my comprehension.

      I don’t believe that, unless you decided not to understand what the matter is – what would be sad.
      As long as someone does not fight possible understanding tooth and nail, I should be able to make him or her understand at least the basics of what Relativity is all about and, perhaps, the concept of spacetime.

    • I am usually curious about understanding everything, but when it comes to anything in space and time with distances that are impossible to imagine for me, I just can’t follow anymore. I could try to follow theoretically and say “yes, yes”, but I wouldn’t really grasp or comprehend it. It would be like someone who can recount when World Wars I and II started and ended but who doesn’t really know why and couldn’t produce a connected narrative about it. Or someone who has read the Civil Code and memorizes everything, but who can’t really explain the reasons behind the laws. This deeper understanding eludes me as soon as objects or concepts become too small (even cells or atoms) or too big (space or even ancient history).
      Of course I could memorize (for a while) and recount such concepts in biology, chemistry and physics class, but I always felt like a fraud because I didn’t really understand them. And I guess other people feel like that in history class or at law school.
      I also have a problem with three-dimensional thinking or imagination. Anything beyond calculating the volume of a regular cube escapes me if I don’t have a model to touch and look at from all sides. That’s why I couldn’t become a submarine captain or a pilot. :-(

    • Dante says:

      …when it comes to anything in space and time with distances that are impossible to imagine for me, I just can’t follow anymore.

      Distances in outer space are really astonishing, I admit. I also can’t imagine them directly, and hardly anyone can.
      The trick is not to let large numbers put the wind up to yourself and think logarithmically, reducing potentiation to multiplication and multiplication to addition. Any scaling factor of e.g. 10 being a step, you just do 9 steps to scale something up or down by a billion and 12 steps to make the Sun a pinhead and the distance between the Sun and α Centauri to a 2 to 3 hours bike trip.
      Instead of trying to imagine the scales, just count the steps. You can go both directions, as Peter von der Osten-Sacken did in his 1971 book ‘Der Bau des Universums’ which I have and on which his 2000 book ‘Der Bau der Welt’ might be based on.

    • Dante says:

      Additionally, the vast extents in space and time are not really relevant for understanding theories like Special Relativity.
      The key to understand what it’s all about is something we call laws.

      At one hand, I am not very happy with the term ‘natural laws’ which are actually fundamental relations between physical quantities and not some commandments or prohibitions to pick on us.
      At the other hand, it’s the terms of laws and rules which provide a key of understanding such theories.
      Not all laws have the same rank. There is some kind of constitution whos ‘articles are called principles or first principles.

      One of them is the Principle of Relativity first discovered by Galilei which is the very foundation of Einstein’s Relativity.
      It says that the (‘subordinate’) laws of physics do not depend on what state of motion an observer supposes himself or herself to have.

      So, if A is regarded at rest and B is moving at velocity |v› (with direction), you can assume B at rest and A moving with –|v› (same speed, opposite direction) with equal rights.

      This is why you can drink a coffee in train at speed 60m/s (216km/h) if the track is straight and even, and this is why geocentrism could last that long. We are traveling by space ship called earth at about roughly 30000m/s (which is just the speed relative to our solar system which In total is moving as well) without noticing it.

    • The irrelevance of the observer’s location is something I understand.

      The rest is just mind-blowing. I know we are moving that fast, but I can’t really grasp it.

      Anyway, I think now we can sit back and wait for the first flat-earther to come along and comment. :-)

    • Dante says:

      The irrelevance of the observer’s location is something I understand.

      Not only his location but also a constant velocity.
      Note that this has nothing to do with activity or passivity:
      You can imagine the Earth as a huge treadmill where you have to ceaselessly run with |v› to be ‘at rest’ whereas a bystander who is at rest with respect to Earth is passively dragged with it at velocity –|v›.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is this now Dante‘s blog?

  4. Dany Sobeida says:

    Opino que para el señor Castillo es irrelevante la edad para continuar estudiando. Aplausos para él y también para Andreas por retornar a la universidad a sus 42 años. Me pregunto que me gustaría estudiar si decido retornar a la universidad, tal vez economía, ecología, antropología o letras.

  5. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

    Quite enjoyed the random thoughts. I feel like I should do one myself. Your short story about the translators was brilliant! Do write more

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