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Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 12:44:03 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Professor Jerry lines 'em up

--- Michael Andre-Driussi  wrote:
> Professor Jerry wrote:
> >When I thought about it, I thought that my reasons for
> >not mentioning my Ph. D. were better than my reasons for revealing it,
> >so I probably should have stayed "in the closet".
> I strongly disagree: not mentioning it upfront was what made it a
> back-alley ambush of a housewife by an academician.  In the animal
> kingdom
> this is predatory camouflage.

Clearly you're more upset about this than I gathered from your previous
post.  I'm sorry.  I had no intention of hurting anyone, certainly not
you, someone whose posts I'm often grateful for, and I feel bad that
that was the result of what I did.

However, I'm not entirely clear on why you feel so strongly about this.
Is it because if you'd known I'd studied physics, you wouldn't have
assumed I was responding to you from a Newtonian point of view?  I'd
appreciate clarification if you're interested in providing it.  In
any case, from my point of view there was nothing predatory about it.
I wasn't thinking, "Aha, I've trapped Mantis into making a statement
that I can correct!"--or enjoying the "ambush" in any other way.

Finally, I don't know whether this is important to you, but I won't do
this again in my other mailing-list and Usenet discussions.

> I think it is clear that I was addressing a person who seemed to be
> exhibiting Newtonian thought.  Without the "Ph.D. in Physics" context,
> the
> tagging of "Urth time" and "Whorl time" looked non-Einsteinian, and
> rather
> Newtonian: the poster's unwritten, perhaps even unexamined assumption
> (like
> blattid's non-Einsteinian initial and secondary estimates of the
> distance
> between Urth and Breen systems) might well be something as simple and
> clean
> as "Whorl years are 3 Urth years long," since after all, this will
> establish how 333 years can equal 1000 years.

I'm afraid I didn't even think, "What mistake does he believe I'm
making?"  I can see, though, that if you did want to use "Urth time"
and "Whorl time" in that table, you might need to explain those terms
so people wouldn't make that mistake.

> The point of my response was
> to gesture at the wonder of time dilation as an Einsteinian reality (the
> counterintuitive gulf between the universes of Newton and Einstein) and
> to state the fact that I did not coin the terms.

Indeed, I've seen "subjective" and "objective time" before in sf, and
if you were to tell me they've been used in popularizations as well,
I wouldn't be surprised.

> Professor Jerry wrote:
> >By the way, we covered S. R. in my Conceptual Physics class today,
> >and I used rough approximations to your numbers as an example, with a
> >plug for TBotLS.  Thanks!
> You are not welcome.  I will strive to avoid similar alleys and people
> in
> the future.  And you should do your own calculations to avoid the taint
> of
> pseudoscience and other academician nasties.

If that's how you want it, I won't use your numbers any more.

Jerry Friedman

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