E=mc squared

+½mv² to a decent approximation, as long as you aren’t moving too quickly.

As a chap with an interest in science I’ve known this for a while, though I have recently significantly deepened my knowledge reading a book entitled “Why does E=mc²?” by two Lancashire physicists (only one of whom has a blooming career on TV, so far…).  This book is quite splendidly lucid in its explanations and has convinced me that whilst we may need to conserve wildlife and its habitat, we can leave angular momentum to conserve itself with a clear conscience. (Yes, there is now a poorly thought-out book review strand to this blog).

E, is you will know, refers to energy (I will leave you to look up the mc-squared, but I don’t think it is a rap (or similar kiddie’s music) artist – or at least not only that) which is a pretty fundamental concept in physics, but one  about which a couple of brand names I have seen recently appear to display a significant ignorance.

Cycling past an Esso garage over the weekend I noticed it was advertising “Energy fuels” (I also rather smugly noted how much I wasn’t having to pay for these fuels on my one fish powered velocipede – which rather puts the lie to fish not needing a bicycle, at least one Fish relies upon it). I would have been much more excited if they had managed to develop a non-energy fuel or maybe, an energy-free fuel or zero calorie fuel for those with an overweight vehicle.  Mr Collins (of dictionary rather than “and Herring” fame) suggests that a fuel is “a source of energy” (I am paraphrasing a little here for the sake of brevity – yes, I do know what the word means despite much of this blog standing as a hostile witness). So, their new “brand” is at best a tautology (those formative years listening to Many a Slip were not wasted) but more likely arrant nonsense.  Perhaps United Utilities could start marketing Wet Water next (to distinguish it from all the dry water you get these days)?

I am reminded of a character in a sci-fi novel I once read who regularly passed “The Boutique Shop”, and who rarely resisted the urge to then enter and ask to buy a shop to the bemusement of its (presumably non-Francophone) staff.

I also recently saw (but did not listen to) a televisual sales pitch for some form of cosmetic unguent going by the name of “Sublime Energy”.  Now, it certainly does take energy to sublime a solid direct to a gas – but this would more sensibly be called sublimation energy, and I’m really not sure I want to apply anything to my face which would cause it to move directly to a gaseous state without passing Go (or the liquid state).   Sublime can also mean “of a high moral, aesthetic or spiritual value”, but once again it is hard to see how one can apply this adjective to either energy or some guck to smear on your phizog.

This latter product was being sold by a company called Roc – which I seem to recall is a giant mythical bird, reputedly capable of carrying an elephant off in its talons.  I suppose elephants are quite grey and wrinkled, and so perhaps we are supposed to imagine that a giant imaginary bird will fly off with our wrinkles if we use their products? It is certainly a diverting image for an anti-ageing product (and I do wonder why they didn’t use it in their ad, as it would certainly offer striking visuals) and as a methodology, it is probably at least as likely to work as anything sold to that end on the shelves of chemists and department stores today.

I think I’ll stick with my plan of growing old disgracefully!

2 thoughts on “E=mc squared

  1. matathew says:

    Such is the power of this blog to influence the masses that I have today received my copy of the aforementioned book, by SuperSaver delivery. I thought at first that the name of the publisher, Da Capo, was something to do with explaining complex subjects starting at the beginning — but it seems that the name originated in 1964 when they were a publisher of music books. Anyway, in the absence of any further blogs being uploaded, I have 242 pages that need reading.

  2. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    I shall have to be more careful with what I write in future, now that it seems I have this power. As I believe Stan Lee wrote, “With great power comes great responsibility” – though the fact that he placed the words in the mouth of Peter Parker (not the ex-chairman of British Rail) in a comic might somewhat mitigate their influence on my future behaviour.

    Given this power over the book-buying public – or at least one member thereof – should I be starting the GofaDM Book Club? I could be the new (thinner, paler, poorer) Oprah Winfrey or (younger, singular) Richard and Judy.

    Curiously, I discovered only this morning that work is underway on a follow-up by our Lancastrian heroes on the subject of Quantum Theory. I have no idea if this will also be issued through the offices of Da Capo – which I must admit I had assumed otherwise published works on organised crime of an Italian origin (rather than your more innocent – and accurate – musical thoughts).

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