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Showing posts from September, 2016

How Should Thatcherites Remember the '80s?

Every now and again, when I talk to people about the '80s I'm told that it was a time of unhinged selfishness, that somehow or other we learned the price of everything but the value of nothing. I can just remember that infamous line from Billy Elliot; 'Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher. We all celebrate today because its one day closer to your death'. If it reflected the general mood of the time, one might wonder how it is she won, not one but three elections.

In an era when a woman couldn't be Prime Minister and a working class radical would never lead the Conservative party, Thatcher was both and her launch into power was almost accidental owing in part to Manchester liberals and the Winter of Discontent. Yet I'm convinced her election victory in '79 was the only one that ever truly mattered. Simply consider the calamity of what preceded it, the 1970s was a decade of double-digit inflation, power cuts, mass strikes, price and income controls, and the three…

Lightcone Structure of Spacetime

I want to start talking about some of the more philosophical aspects about physics but it won't be possible without going over important stuff. For this post I want to explain the lightcones that physicists use in relativistic physics. If you're already familiar with the concept of natural units you can go ahead and skip to the part labeled "lightcone structure of spacetime" and my feelings won't be hurt. But it may also help to watch Sabine Hossenfelder's video first. These are highly important to pin down in order to understand any branch of theoretical physics and what I discuss here is no exception. 
Lightcone Structure of Spacetime
In mathematics and physics the metric of spacetime allows us to calculate the shortest distance between two points, the famous metric equation for Euclidean geometry and space is is the Pythagorean theorem for a flat two dimensional triangle

The theorem can be extended in three dimensions by adding a third dimension of space f…