Science Questions

What's the fastest thing in the universe?

Mon, 11th Jan 2016

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Question

Bhavesh asked:

What's the fastest thing in the universe?

Answer

Chris Smith put this question to physicist Stuart Higgins...

Chris -  Well, I would say a photon is the fastest object in space as it's going at the speed of light.  Would you concur Stuart?

Stuart - I would indeed. A photon, the speed of light is the fundamental speed limit in the universe.

Make a comment

fast -> swift.  Glue and seatbelts are fast, not liht.

Snell's law overrides Lorentz's law which overrides Schwarzschild's law.  Scharnhorst effect overrides Chčrčncov effect which overrides Einstein effect.  Hubble flow overrides Hubble radius which overrides Minkowski time.  Pressurňn overrides polaritňn which overrides fňtňn. alysdexia, Sun, 17th Jan 2016

The obvious answer is of course light. I notice that the answer accepted was a Photon.
I have to disagree with that answer because a photon is the name given to the particle part of the duality of light and as such never does any traveling at any speed whatsoever. Light or Electromagnetic Radiation does all it's traveling as a wave and not as a particle.

So much for the obvious answer!
Now let's consider this from a different angle. Light travels through space at the maximum possible speed through space. That speed is not fast enough to travel through space out of a Black Hole. The current of space traveling into a Black Hole (Gravity), is at least as fast as light can propagate in the opposite direction. Possibly faster. We don't and can not at this stage know.
So the fastest thing in the Universe could be equally shared between Light, and the flow of spacetime into a Black Hole.

Or it could just be the flow of Spacetime into a Black Hole.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1005325026177460&id=595088680534432 arthur.manousakis, Sun, 17th Jan 2016

Liht doesn't travel (< travail < trepale); one travels on foot or by oar.  Immassive quanta are waves.  Speed has nothing to do with fastness.  Black holes don't exist but break special relativity, conservation of momentum, and optics. alysdexia, Sun, 17th Jan 2016

The tachyon, a theoretical particle that always travels faster than c. Ethos_, Mon, 18th Jan 2016

It doesn't travel!  And it's hýpothetic, not theorčtic, and swifter, not faster. alysdexia, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

Is that not just semantics? chris, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

Thanks Chris. There seems to be quite a bit of strange semantics and word definitions in here which are not justified by english usage. Colin2B, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

Thanks Chris. There seems to be quite a bit of strange semantics and word definitions in here which are not justified by english usage.

English has been dead for 1000 years sith the Norman Conquest.  Everyone talks in "Einglish" now.  Loanwords are not English.  I get my semantics from dictionary etýma; that is, I spend a huge amount of time in dictionaries and see what words originally meant and see how the plebs over time abused them.  Only the coiner should say what a word means, not malliterate generations later.  Language should be treated like mathematics, namely bijectively for nouns so there can be no contradiction or mis-understanding. alysdexia, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

Yes, I also find etymology fascinating, but languages like the users evolve.
I assume you are aware that the word pedant derives from the Greek paidagogos meaning a slave who walked boys to school, it evolved to pedagogue and hence to pedant meaning a school teacher. However, if you try to use the original meaning today you have to accept that you will be misunderstood.
I read that if we removed all the non human cells from a body it would almost disappear, I suspect if you removed all the loan words from English at the time of the Normans it would probably disappear as well. The evolution has been going on for a long long time.

Anyway, off topic so I'll leave it at that.

Colin2B, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

You can certainly claim that to be just semantics, but I try to "talk about/answer" what is actually stated, not what I may assume a question or statement may have been trying to state. There is no clarity in communication if the meaning of what is said is ambiguous and open to individual interpretation.
arthur.manousakis, Thu, 21st Jan 2016

Some countries prescribe language.

I'm not aware of that at all: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pedant#Etymology.

Wrong—I understand that will is the optative auxiliary, in other words "like to", whereas shall is the future auxiliary.  I don't use either of those words (pedant or pedagog) anyway.

Proof? alysdexia, Sat, 23rd Jan 2016

It doesn't travel!  And it's hýpothetic, not theorčtic, and swifter, not faster.
While I'll concede to the hypothetical definition, Webster's defines swift as: "moving with great speed; fast." And traveling as: "to move, pass, or be transmitted".

Let's not stumble over vague technicalities. If it's "swifter", and being transmitted, it's traveling very fast.

Ethos_, Sat, 23rd Jan 2016

And fail miserably

I first came across it while researching in the British Library, but I'm certain Partridge mentions it.

I follow Fowler and Partridge. Partridge recommends shall for first person future and will for second and third person, and that this only be departed from for a very specific reason. Modification is usually around Old English senses, shall=obligation, necessity or permission; will=resolve or willingness. Sometimes shall is considered stronger than will, or will used to express commands or future certainty.
Despite this, if you read through manuscripts in the BL you will find that usage of shall and will is commonly reversed and often the differences are regional. Unfortunately, when English was codified in the 1800s much was based on the whims of the editors rather than research into historical usage, this leads to the foolish arguments where people of Elisabeth II reign vehemently defend the use of different from, whereas those of Elisabeth I would say they are wrong and it should be different than. The predating usage was exported, while that in the UK changed.

This is not an English usage forum so I suggest we take Ethos's advice and keep the subject matter to science rather than trying to correct peoples English usage.

Colin2B, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

Assuming that the purpose of language is to communicate, not obfuscate or show off one's (or Google's) irrelevant knowledge of etymology, the International Standards Organisation uses

"shall" to indicate a mandatory requirement

"will" to indicate an expected outcome.

Thus "the breakdown potential shall exceed 50,000 volts: a test showing no breakdown at 60,000 volts will be considered sufficient".

English being a bastard language, colloquialisms and idioms can be amusing or fatal. A classic case was the sign "do not cross while the lights are flashing" at unmanned level crossings. "While" means "until" in Yorkshire, and like everything else in God's Own County, almost certainly has an impeccable pedigree. But it caused several accidents until "while" was replaced by "if".

So whilst the rest of us make the journey from A to B by travelling on a train, alysdexia spends his waking hours (journee) by working (travaillant) on it. Wow! A really pedantic ticket inspector! alancalverd, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

So whilst the rest of us make the journey from A to B by travelling on a train, alysdexia spends his waking hours (journee) by working (travaillant) on it. Wow! A really pedantic ticket inspector!

Both the Concise Oxford and Chambers - the only ones within arms reach at the moment - contain examples of non-human and inanimate objects travelling. There is specific mention of waves travelling in the context of EMR. Colin2B, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

It doesn't travel!  And it's hýpothetic, not theorčtic, and swifter, not faster.
While I'll concede to the hypothetical definition, Webster's defines swift as: "moving with great speed; fast." And traveling as: "to move, pass, or be transmitted".

Let's not stumble over vague technicalities. If it's "swifter", and being transmitted, it's traveling very fast.

Only etýma matter.  Only humans travel.  Only stillness is fast.

And fail miserably

How?

I first came across it while researching in the British Library, but I'm certain Partridge mentions it.

I follow Fowler and Partridge. Partridge recommends shall for first person future and will for second and third person, and that this only be departed from for a very specific reason.

That makes no sense and has no comparison.

obligation: ouht; necessity: need; permission: may; resolve: must; willingness: will.

All usage is irrelevant if it doesn't consider the coiner's.  As these verbs are a string of continental reflexes during thousands of years, where English proper began after Ormulum's spelling reform about 1000, and Englisc when the Angles got to England about 450, it doesn't matter what the modern halfwits believe words mean (ad populum fallacy).  If they want their own meanings they can make their own words.

Etýma are never irrelevant.  The expected outcome should be "should", of course.  Otherwise the test has a will?

Then what does "until" mean in Yorkshire?

So whilst the rest of us make the journey from A to B by travelling on a train, alysdexia spends his waking hours (journee) by working (travaillant) on it. Wow! A really pedantic ticket inspector!

Trains don't travel either, unless you mean ye travel on a train that doesn't travel, and alysdexia has no his you sexist malliterate dolt.  By the way, I write whiles.

So whilst the rest of us make the journey from A to B by travelling on a train, alysdexia spends his waking hours (journee) by working (travaillant) on it. Wow! A really pedantic ticket inspector!

Both the Concise Oxford and Chambers - the only ones within arms reach at the moment - contain examples of non-human and inanimate objects travelling. There is specific mention of waves travelling in the context of EMR.

Dictionaries aren't prescriptive.  They draw on modern quotations, not etýmologhy.  If you can find sýnkronic quotations where travail or tripalium or trepale applies to nonanimals, I will withdraw my objection. alysdexia, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

Wrong—I understand that will is the optative auxiliary, in other words "like to", whereas shall is the future auxiliary.

No, the "will" is entirely correct. Colin was making a prediction, not a prescription. alancalverd, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

Wrong—I understand that will is the optative auxiliary, in other words "like to", whereas shall is the future auxiliary.

No, the "will" is entirely correct. Colin was making a prediction, not a prescription.

prediction: shall or should; prescription: be to (prospective, where to is equivalent to the Latin supine -tu alysdexia, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

As we have established that you are not discussing any of the accepted forms of English your objection is irrelevant and futile. You may define and use any rules you find acceptable for your own english, but these are not applicable to English where etymology does not dictate usage and there are standard references for spelling, meanings and preferred usage.
Thank you for an amusing diversion but your views are beginning be to English as The Box's are to Maths.
As they say, I'm out.
Colin2B, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

Wrong—I understand that will is the optative auxiliary, in other words "like to", whereas shall is the future auxiliary.

No, the "will" is entirely correct. Colin was making a prediction, not a prescription.

prediction: shall or should; prescription: be to (prospective, where to is equivalent to the Latin supine -tu

I take it that English is not your native language. You are excused. I hope you can find a suitable word for communicating with doctors (teachers) and pharmacists (purgers), but I would advise you to use the one they understand. alancalverd, Sun, 24th Jan 2016

As we have established that you are not discussing any of the accepted forms of English your objection is irrelevant and futile. You may define and use any rules you find acceptable for your own english, but these are not applicable to English where etymology does not dictate usage and there are standard references for spelling, meanings and preferred usage.
Thank you for an amusing diversion but your views are beginning be to English as The Box's are to Maths.
As they say, I'm out.

accepted by you; that doesn't make my objection irrelevant.  Coiners define rules; if standard usage or style guides disagree with the coiners the former are wrong.  If I said a word were English that does not make it so, nor if I said a pre-existent word meant something new.  Anyone cannot personally determine these conditions.  I see English oppositely to how Thebox sees arithmčtic; moreover your ad-populum abuse-of-language or abuse-of-notation fallacies match how Thebox sees arithmčtic.

English is no one's native language.  But I can teach one what English words mean, which one often finds new if not cognitively dissonant.  (Vegans eat meat?!)

To answer OP, the fastest thing is the bond between quarkonia in a quark star. alysdexia, Sat, 30th Jan 2016

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