matter of scale &

a quibblous query:

I am sure most have heard the pretty momentous news about the detection of gravity waves. WOW! I only wanted to comment on the matter of scale involved.  I have posted here before that I think humans’ ability to escape our biological limitations of scale in our perceptual world, e.g., visible wavelengths in electromagnetic spectrum and roughly 20-20,000 Hz for sound waves, and the limitations of our temporal lifeline is one of our supreme achievements.  Consider these new results.  Two black holes collided a billion light years away, quite an astronomically large distance in space-time, setting off gravity waves, waves expanding and contracting space-time, that we eventually detect a billion years later and we detected these by measuring a physical change in a light beam’s length as small as a human hair relative to the distance of our nearest star.  The magnitude of the scale from largest to smallest here is momentous and deserves our respectful attention.  The scientists involved from Einstein on deserve much credit, and the ones involved in the current study announced their results only after they confirmed that the probability of error here is about 1 in 3.5 million.  We now can hear the gravitational wind as it waves through us.

And my quibble is with some of the reporting.  One news outlet headlined their report saying these results “vindicated” Einstein.  Vindicated?  Remember Einstein’s remarkable genius was to tell us what the numbers said as he daydreamed on a street car going to his day job (and of course following up on that visionary moment with thoughtful mathematical formulations).  From my perspective the use of gravitational lensing, confirming the constancy of the speed of light and the pace of mechanical time varying in relation to the strength of gravity along with many other discoveries over the past 100 years have confirmed his theory, and any vindication came and went one day in August at Hiroshima.  Travel on.

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