1. Oko
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    Oko Member

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    Newton's Third Law

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Oko, May 31, 2012.

    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    My teacher is trying to apply this rule to complex situations, and it isn't really making full sense to me. He says that 'wasting time' reading the newspaper leads to the opposite reaction of not learning.

    ?

    He seems to be explaining it pretty poorly. I personally believe that Newton's Third Law cannot be applied to any complex situations. I think it can only be applied to base physics.

    Kicking a ball is one of countless situations that could have Newton's law applied to it (Really, when you do anything physical, it comes into play). But when you get creatures and intelligence involved, it no longer theoretically applies to their advanced situations. They still have to follow the rules of physics, of course; but you cannot compare Newton's law to behaviour, in my opinion.

    Bah, I'm all over the place here. I am really curious about life examples of Newton's law. I'm probably wrong, it's just that I feel that anything above the base level will have a crazy amount of seemingly random modifiers that will disprove the rule. PLEASE no physics examples.
     
  2. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Speaking from everything I've learned about Newton's laws (which means I might be dead wrong), your teacher is either:

    1. Using Newton's Third Law as an analogy to explain the 'wasting time' with newspapers.

    2. Crazy.

    As far as I know, Newton's Third Law applies only to the physics between force, energy and mass.

     
  3. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    He's probably just referring to causality by saying that 'wasting time' reading the newspaper leads to the opposite reaction of not learning. is saying that when you read news paper even if you consider it a waste of time you're actually learning something.

    that's just cause and effect. your teacher is weird, and is trying to apply newtons third law to everything but is doing it poorly. what he should have said is everything you do, causes something else. that's it.
     
  4. Skodt
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    Skodt Member

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    Its the law of motion. Hence only used with motion. Your teacher is thinking of cause and effect. Cause- reading the newspaper. Effect- lack of knowledge. Although that really seems a stretch as well.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In any closed system, with no forces entering or leaving, the net effect on anything outside that system is zero, and the net effect on everything inside that system is zero.

    That's another way of expressing Newton's third law in a physical sense, with physical forces, but it also is a good analogy of most non-physical systems as well.

    For example, it applies well for plots as well. A plot consists of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. The actor is analogous to a mass, the goal or objective represents a displacement, the progress toward or away from the goal work, and the motivation and the opposition are forces. If all the motivations and oppositions superimposed on an actor relative to a goal balance exactly, there is no change on the system (set of superimposed plots), and the character makes no progress toward, or regression away from, the goal.

    Many non-physical systems follow similar behavioral laws.
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're teacher is a clown.

    First off, "wasting time" is not an action, and neither is "not learning." So what he's actually saying is "inaction = inaction." Great.
    As far as I know newton's law applies to forces. Ask your teacher to list all known forces. Then ask him for a derivation of the third law. Then ask him how that derivation applies to his "complex" examples. Then ask him if you can teach the class together.
     
  7. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    That's "your."

    What the teacher means to say is that the action of reading the newspaper, which is a waste of time (you might say the action of wasting time), leads to the result that you do not learn what you would if you used your time in an efficient manner. Also, although you may be able to list many types of forces, it doesn't get you anywhere. The teacher would tell you, "There are gravitational, normal, friction, spring, tensile, electromagnetic forces; contact forces and action at a distance forces; there are conservative and nonconservative forces." (I mean, I may be missing some.) He will then explain the Third Law all over again, because he will assume you weren't listening in class. And you will be no further than you were. It is an analogy. If you push an object, the object pushes you back with just as much force. If you waste time, you will learn that much less. Although the relation of push to push and time-wasting to not learning is the same, that is not to say that time-wasting or not learning are forces.
     
  8. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're sentence makes no sense.

    Wasting time is not an action. Nothing is an happening. The relation of push to push and time wasting to not learning are not equal, either. In case 1, the force A puts on B is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the force B puts on A. How does that relate to the teacher's very wishy washy example of cause and effect?

    Newton's third law is not cause and effect. The two opposing forces happen simultaneously.

    Is not learning equal in magnitude to wasting time? Maybe, maybe not. Prove it. You can't measure it.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes metaphor is a poor fit.

    Other times metaphor is simply lost on the observer.

    I do believe the newspaper example is a stretch, but then again, I'm only seeing a second hand account from someone who may have missed part of the teacher's reasoning. On the face of it, I don't reading a newspaper is necessarily a waste of time, or a lost learning opportunity. However, I also don't know what part of the newspaper, or what newspaper.

    123456789, please dial back your tone a bit. It's bordering on hostility.
     
  10. Oko
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    Oko Member

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    Interesting points. I will forget about the technicalities and who is right or wrong when it comes the applications of the specific saying. I will instead focus on taking something away from it: Every action has a reaction. When you omit 'opposite' and 'equal', it can then be applied to real life with ease.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  11. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Ask him to see a mathematical where time spent reading a newspaper equals time lost of 'learning'.

    He might be trying to get you to think outside of the box. I've had a math teacher who on the first day of class, wrote a really fancy math equation on the board with symbols that were relevant in the year 1752, than tried to explain it to us...

    ... Obviously five people dropped out in the first month.
     

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