Re: [OFFTOPIC] Re: linux kernel hackers discover new theory of relativity!

H. Peter Anvin (
4 Dec 1998 08:51:02 GMT

Followup to: <>
By author: Jonas Munsin <>
In newsgroup:
> On Thu, Dec 03, 1998 at 10:16:54AM -0500, Christophe Dupre wrote:
> > Babylon 5 is closer to the reality of physics - the spinning
> > station creates artificial gravity, but only for people standing
> > on the inside walls of the cylinder. Those who are near of
> > rotation axis are in zero-gravity. This is not gravity guys, it's
> > centrifugal force, the same that pushes you against your car's
> > window when you take a sharp turn.
> No it's not. Your "centrifugal force" is something you invent when you (quite
> wrongly) treat an accelerating reference frame as an inertial one. I strongly
> suggest you go look up centripetal and centrifugal force in any first-year
> university book on physics (University Physics - Benson, page 105 in the
> revisited edition is one place to start) before continuing this arguement.

Well, general relativity lets you treat any frame as reference. If
you use station as reference, the acceleration of (large amounts of!)
mass outside the station generates a gravity field inside.

Newtonian mechanics distinguish between gravity and inertia, general
relativity sees them as the same thing from different reference


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