Living the Relativistic Life

Over the summer I started running a not so insignificant amount: 6 miles in the morning on the weekdays and 10 to 15 miles on the weekends (insert commenter telling me why this is wrong.) So, one or two or more hours out running around beautiful Seattle (My favorite route is Queen Anne to Fremont to Ballard Locks, around Magnolia and back up Queen Anne.) Which brings us to the subject of time. During my runs it seems that my watch, which runs using mechanical energy, decided that it had a new setting: relativistic mode. In other words I'd go out and run for two hours, and when I got back my watch would be ten minutes behind the clock at my home. At first I thought, cool! I get to experience time dilation in person! And then I thought: boy I'm fast. And then finally: I'm always late.

Damn you relativity!

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Can you figure out how much of this is gravitational, how much is kinematic, and if there is a Sagnac contribution?

There's a clever series of books by George Gamow, the Mr. Tompkins series. Basically, they're about if various physical constants were directly noticeable as you pretend. But he got one thing wrong: the Lorentz contraction isn't what you actually see due to compensation by other, optical effects. (Isn't that ironic?) I like the part in one book, IIRC, an antelope was converted into a herd by running through a row of trees (as diffraction grating!) Let's hope that George would have known better than to pretend decoherence would get them back together again in one piece. (I'm hoping my frequent mentions of that will become humorous instead of annoying, but in any case it is a pitiful scandal of abrogation of intellectual responsibility.)