Sunday, June 17, 2007


Take note: a great blogging gadol, the inimitable Shtreimel, has been hacked, his blog defiled, his email stolen. The Hassid (--and The Heretic) lost its Shtreimel, and it is not pretty -- but x-rated. For the time being, you can reach him at

He's back!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


(A repost from something I've written elsewhere)

יומו של הקב"ה אלף שנים שנא' כי אלף שנים בעיניך כיום אתמול
A day to God is a thousand years, as is said: "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by"

So I read the above and think (yeah, yeah, I shouldn't do that, I know): exactly at what speed is God traveling to achieve this kind of time dilation? And given that, how big a distance did God manage to travel so far?

For simplicity's sake, let's assume for now that God is traveling at constant velocity. (I think -- but may be mistaken -- that we can achieve a more dramatic effect if we have God maintaining constant acceleration. But I'm not sure even a deity can sustain that indefinitely.) Also, let's discount the possibility that God is permanently parked right next to a black hole (although that would explain a lot).

For starters, I'm trying to get a Lorentz transformation calculator working. But I'm woefully ignorant on how exactly I should deal with velocity figures. My calculator doesn't understand v. ;-) So, anyone else ever wondered about this question? (Thought so.)

Why I need to know God's speed, you ask? Well, first of all, as Orthoprax knows, we need to know these things. "If the issue is important to [us], then practically we cannot let it remain undecided." But mostly, I'd really like to know if I can beat Her in a race to the End.

Update 1:
Since nobody offered to help, I was forced to think about it some more. We need to express v in terms of the speed of light, of course! Duh, what a stupid question.

Since a mean Hebrew year has 365.2468 days, we need a time dilation factor of 365,246.8.

So, to simplify {1day / sqrt(1- v^2 / c^2) } into {1/ sqrt(1- 0.999999999996251^2)} (we take c=1 to simplify the calculation) gets us pretty close. That means God is traveling at (approximately) 299,792,457.998876 meters per second, or 670,616,629.381881 m.p.h., right?

Hmmm, I think I may need a new minivan if I hope to beat that!

Update 2:
All this further means, of course, that to find the speed necessary for any time dilation factor f (in this case 365,246.8), all we need to do is {sqrt(1- (1/f)^2)c} (simple, huh?), which, with c expressed in meters per second of 299,792,458, gives us the correct answer of 299,792,457.998876! (And also yields a more accurate figure for v: 0.999999999996252)

Was it that difficult to say {sqrt(1- (1/f)^2)c} instead of letting me figure it all out with pen and paper??? Gee, thanks! ;-) So now, how about we add acceleration into the mix? Anyone?

P.S. To those who inquired (or wondered but didn't inquire): the picture on the previous post is not of a real person, but rather of a larger-than-life sculpture by the incredibly talented artist Ron Mueck. Click here for a gallery of his work. (Warning: some images may be offensive to some. Proceed with caution.)