Re: answers I'd like from an SI

From: Norman Noman (
Date: Mon Nov 12 2007 - 13:51:21 MST

On Nov 12, 2007 2:24 PM, Jeff L Jones <> wrote:
> On Nov 11, 2007 10:07 PM, Norman Noman <> wrote:
> > It
> > should be able to explain general relativity to an eight year old so
> > well that their intuitive understanding of the skewing of reference
> > frames is better than stephen hawking's.
> I seriously doubt this is possible. Regardless of what input goes
> into an 8-year old's senses, and regardless of how patient you are or
> how good of an explainer you are, they have a lot of prerequisite
> stuff to learn--years of it, in fact--that is going to take time to
> sink in. Their own neural firing rates only happen at a certain rate.
> If you're a really good explainer, maybe you can speed up someone's
> learning curve by a factor of 2 or 3, but not by a factor of 100 which
> is more like what it would take to get your average 8 year old (or
> even an exceptionally bright 8-year-old) to understand GR better than
> an expert who has spent his entire life learning it and working in the
> field, before they turned 9. Regarding your qualification "better
> *intuitive* understanding" I think you gain intuition for a subject
> the best by spending years working on it.

I think you guys really underestimate the potential power of
information and the potential malleability of the human mind.

Imagine an enormous ziggurat, where every floor is half the size of
the floor below. On the bottom floor, a googleplex of monkeys on
typewriters type out every possible page of text. On the second floor,
half a googleplex of comittees in meeting rooms evaluate two pages
each and send the one which is a better explanation of general
relativity up to the floor above. (In most cases both pages will be
complete gibberish but bear with me). This is repeated for the third
floor, the fourth floor, etc, until finally at the Xth floor, where
2^X = a googleplex, we have the final page.

Personally I would be afraid to even read the thing. It'd probably
explain general relativity so well that you'd lose your sanity in the

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