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Einstein Pedometer App Measures Relative Time Gain 148

cylonlover writes "Among other things, Einstein's theory of special relativity says that as an object's velocity increases, time as experienced by the object will slow down when compared to another object traveling at a lower velocity. This means that a 'relatively' short round trip on a space ship traveling at close to the speed of light would see you arrive home having aged less than those back on Earth. While the greater the velocities involved, the greater the effect, the theory applies to all relative movement. Now there's an iPhone app that will let you know just how many extra nanoseconds you've gained by getting moving as opposed to sitting on your rear end."


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Einstein Pedometer App Measures Relative Time Gain

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  • by digiplant ( 581943 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @11:46AM (#35782194)
    Think of it this way: Two guys have a deadline in an hour. Guy #1 sits at his desk and does nothing. Guy #2 zips around at a high velocity and returns to meet guy #1. Both guys check their watch, guy #1 notes an hour has past, while guy #2 notes that half an hour has past. Although guy #2 has aged less, he actually had less time to work to meet the deadline. In the spirit of the original post, guy #2 has lost time instead of gained it.
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <deviladv@g m a i l . com> on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:04PM (#35782474) Homepage

    The time one lives on this planet is relative to measurements made by other people and by other devices. Your watch on your own wrist is probably the most accurate personal time you can get, but you have to adjust it based on other clocks around you to remain in sync with the rest of the world. Even more so, computers and phones now regularly ping a clock server to get an updated time automatically, and that server is somewhere else, being stationary. Time on the Earth is measured in terms of the velocity of the planet's orbit and rotation, but not in terms of your personal velocity relative to the sun or earth itself. The earth rotates and orbits at a specific velocity. If you move, your velocity relative the sun is different than the planet itself.

    However, by moving, based on the theory of relativity, you are gaining a fraction of a fraction of a second by moving faster than the world around you. The clock is a philosophical exercise exploring relativity, and it's not like you'll gain 200 relative years by constantly walking or running anywhere, but it's fun to observe relativity in action. The "gain vs loss" here is that 1 second for you is still 1 second, but if you were say running, 1 second for you is, for example, 1.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds for everyone you pass that are standing still. So you gain that fraction of a second relative to the world around you, and thus travel into the future a little faster than others.

  • 22 more nanoseconds (Score:5, Informative)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:30PM (#35782790)

    There is at least one hobbyist [] that has measured it by taking a surplus rubidium oscillator up mt. Rainier. "It was the best extra 22 nanoseconds I've ever spent with the kids,"

To err is human, to moo bovine.