9 October 2005
The thing you have to know about my husband, Glen, is that he's a geek. He works with computers. He wrote something like twelve thousand lines of code for his Master's thesis project. He does math for fun in his spare time. (Yes! For fun!) So the other night he was trying to explain a hypothetical situation to me, wherein there are two smallish, portable, inter-dimensional teleport thingies that are somehow connected to each other, so that whatever you put into one portal instantly pops out of the other portal, no matter how far apart they are. He was wondering what would happen if you took one of the portals with you while skydiving, leaving the other one on the ground, and then, while you were skydiving (stay with me, here) put yourself through the portal that was with you. My immediate response was, "You are falling through the air at 60 miles an hour. You will hit the ground and go splat." Not so, he argued. Because the portal that you have with you has a relative velocity of zero (relative to you, because you're holding it, and it's moving at the same speed as you) you would simply step out of the other portal with a velocity of zero. He probably spent ten or fifteen minutes setting up this elaborate hypothetical, and when he had with great effort explained it sufficiently to get me to agree that yes, you would proably be able to step out of the other portal without splattering yourself all over the ground, he said, "So my question is, what happens to the kinetic energy?"
I love this man.