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Mark vehicle speeds as duodecimal fractions of c

To emphasise our tininess and slowness
 (+7) [vote for, against]

Several proposals here:

i) Road vehicle speedometers to show the speed as a duodecimal fraction of c. Most digits in this would simply be painted on due to the inability of most cars to travel even a tiny fraction of that speed. Standard form not used.

ii) Speed limit signs to be similarly labelled and consequently quite wide to express the distance precisely. Warning signs the same. In order to simplify this, speed limits should be changed somewhat to move them in line with fairly round numbers.

iii) Odometers to measure distance travelled in light seconds, again with appropriate digits after the point down to about a light-microsecond. This would actually stand a chance to go above one in a few vehicles. Distances on road signs to be expressed the same way.

This would emphasise how small and slow we are compared to the ultimate speed limit and size of the Universe and provide a universal standard for expressing speed and distance without controversy regarding metric and imperial units.

In duodecimal partly because everything should be in duodecimal, partly because it lends itself well to fractions and partly because it enables speed limits to be set more closely without confusing the driver.

 — nineteenthly, Aug 11 2010

[link]

//should be in duodecimal, partly because it lends itself well to fractions//
It does?
 — coprocephalous, Aug 11 2010

Oh yes. Twelve divisions between zero and one including eight which recur in the decimal system along with the ability to express the same fraction as in decimal using fewer places.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 11 2010

 Given the tenets of Special and General Relativity, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, it will be impossible to determine the true "speed" of the vehicle with respect to C.

Extremely HalfBaked. [+]
 — 8th of 7, Aug 11 2010

What 8/7 said - is this speed measured by the moving car or a hypothetical stationary observer?
 — hippo, Aug 11 2010

 // Given the tenets of Special and General Relativity, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, it will be impossible to determine the true "speed" of the vehicle with respect to C. //

Yes, that was in my mind when i posted this. However, you realise that means that miles per hour, miles in themselves, kilometres per hour, knots, nautical miles and all the rest are therefore at fault because of the length contraction? It's my system which is accurate: the others are at fault because they depend on Newtonian physics.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 11 2010

[hippo], there is no " moving car", nor "stationary observer". Both are "impossible" concepts within the framework of Relativity (the clue's in the name).
 — 8th of 7, Aug 11 2010

True, I should have just said "car" and "observer".
 — hippo, Aug 11 2010

 [neutral] I like the idea of speed as a fraction of c, but it certainly seems a waste of space and ink, to print all those zeros.

 How about using scientific notation? Thus, 60mph becomes 3.2 x 12^-7 c. Well, actually you'd write it as "3.2 x 10^-7 c," because in base twelve, the number twelve is written as "10".

Hippo, the least problematic answer to your question is that since we want to provide information to the driver in such a way that it doesn't appear to be incorrect from his point of view, the *vehicle* must be the "stationary" observer, and the road is what is observed to be moving.
 — goldbb, Aug 11 2010

 I did think about standard form, but the thing is, it doesn't give one as concrete an idea of one's minuteness as lots of leading zeros.

I also think the vehicle's meters should take special relativity effects into consideration and display them, so the distance to one's destination varies according to the speed one's doing. However, that would only show up a long way along the display, so that's another argument against standard form.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 12 2010

 Roadsigns might be difficult. "Oh, is that 12^-7? I thought it was 12^-6?

I've always wondered, why is translational inertia relative but rotational inertia seemingly absolute?
 — RayfordSteele, Aug 12 2010

Interesting question which suggests using gyroscopes in a mad form of FTL. You can go as far as you like, provided it's in a circle smaller than the size of an atom or something.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 12 2010

 Is dodecimal more apt for a 12-based system? (Dodecagon, dodecahedron, etc.) Duodecimal made me think of 100; maybe what [coprocephalous] was alluding to.

The cool thing about this idea, is that you would also know your increase in mass, and your decrease in longitudinal length, relative to your direction of travel.
 — Wily Peyote, Aug 12 2010

speed relative to what?
 — WcW, Aug 13 2010

 Well, if you wanted to be all Newtonian about it, what you could do is take the direction of the planet's rotation, orbit, the Sun's proper motion and the movement towards the Great Attractor into consideration, and the road signs could be updated constantly to take these things into account, but that would be scientifically naive.

I've also just realised there needs to be a HUD on the windscreen superimposing images of road signs which display the distance to destinations taking into account one's velocity.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 14 2010

"No, officer, I wasn't speeding. In fact I was stationary and it was the road that was moving."
 — Ling, Aug 14 2010

Clearly needs revision of traffic laws and maybe also the driving test, as in "a road vehicle is a device used to move the landscape around with rollers", and setting a maximum speed for those rollers, possibly in Hertz or some kind of function of their radius perpendicular to the axis of rotation.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 14 2010

And the vestibular system is a sensory organ allowing discernment of landscape velocity. Falling; the earth elevator.
 — WcW, Aug 14 2010

That would also imply everything really is moving away from us.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 14 2010

I still think meters per second is the way to go.
 — sstvp, Aug 14 2010

Why use invented units when physical constants are available?
 — nineteenthly, Aug 14 2010

 // physical constants //

 You have no way of determining if what you think of as a "constant" has the same value throughout the Universe. You haven't even worked out where all the Dark Matter is yet.

(Hint: West of England, East of Ireland, rains a lot ... )
 — 8th of 7, Aug 14 2010

I would say that was baryonic, but then i would because i believe all dark matter is baryonic. WIMPs are just pathological science.
 — nineteenthly, Aug 14 2010

Even if c isn't really constant, it's close enough to one for practical purposes.
 — goldbb, Aug 15 2010

Even if c is varying all over the place now we would be unable to detect it.
 — neelandan, Aug 15 2010

if my vehicle weighs a lot can I go faster?
 — Voice, Aug 15 2010

[Voice] You don't need to. If your vehicle masses enough, your destination comes to *you*
 — mouseposture, Aug 15 2010

[Voice], it's the other way round, except without the word "weighs".
 — nineteenthly, Aug 15 2010

 // for practical purposes //

Practical ? Think where you are, fellow !
 — 8th of 7, Aug 15 2010

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