public misconceptions

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mercutio_stencil
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby mercutio_stencil » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:21 pm UTC

Whelan wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Posi wrote:A product sold on its expiration date should be consumable by a typical family without spoilage.
Here, at least (USA), some things have a sell-by date and others have a use-by date. I think the former is most useful for supermarkets to know when they have to take something down, but the latter is much better for shoppers who have a good idea of how long it's likely to take them to finish something off.

As far as I know we have three in the UK, Best before dates; whichare aguidline as to when they should be eaten, Sell by dates which are when the shop should have sold them by, and Use by which is the hard limit. You usually only find one of them on any given product though.


It should be noted that even the 'use by' date isn't an indicator that the product will harm you, it's just old enough that the quality will have declined. Companies are careful about these things. Orange juice past the 'use by' date will have substantially lower vitamin c levels, but it's still unlikely to have anything nasty growing in it

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Mr. Mack » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:What really irks me is people who denigrate high fructose corn syrup, and advocate replacing it with a 'natural sweetener' like honey. Do they not realize the two are 95% identical? That doesn't mean they're both healthy, but in moderation, neither will cause issue.
I've never heard anyone suggest honey before. But I have heard people describe something as healthier because it used plain table sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Of course, I never correct anyone who thinks that.

Honey I could sort of understand why someone might think it's a good idea. Because honey is perceived as sweeter, you only have to use half as much, so you do get some calorie savings. But honey is way too expensive and it's flavor isn't always appropriate and it's kind of a pain to work with and the calories aren't that much lower and blah blah blah.

Still, honey isn't as bad of an idea as agave nectar as a sweetener. At least buying honey doesn't drive up the price of tequila.

mercutio_stencil wrote:It should be noted that even the 'use by' date isn't an indicator that the product will harm you, it's just old enough that the quality will have declined.
I've heard that eggs can last up to a month after the expiration date. I know that I've had some that reached two weeks and still passed the cold water test.
I usually judge this sort of thing on an individual basis. Basically, anything that doesn't stink is still edible. Not a perfect system, but it works well enough.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Mr_Rose » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:
Whelan wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Posi wrote:A product sold on its expiration date should be consumable by a typical family without spoilage.
Here, at least (USA), some things have a sell-by date and others have a use-by date. I think the former is most useful for supermarkets to know when they have to take something down, but the latter is much better for shoppers who have a good idea of how long it's likely to take them to finish something off.

As far as I know we have three in the UK, Best before dates; whichare aguidline as to when they should be eaten, Sell by dates which are when the shop should have sold them by, and Use by which is the hard limit. You usually only find one of them on any given product though.


It should be noted that even the 'use by' date isn't an indicator that the product will harm you, it's just old enough that the quality will have declined. Companies are careful about these things. Orange juice past the 'use by' date will have substantially lower vitamin c levels, but it's still unlikely to have anything nasty growing in it

The flavour will also have begun to change by that point as well. Depending on the variety of orange used (which is seasonally variable), this effect can be more or less noticeable and, helpfully, they never bother to tell you the variety (or varieties) used in supermarket own-brand stuff; only premium brands go that far. You can make a pretty good guess by researching the country of origin's citrus output, but it's still annoying to have to do.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Meteorswarm » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:03 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Meteorswarm wrote:"Luddite" standards help prevent that by forcing food to be fresh, since it would have spoiled without the help of science.

Except, luddite ideas often also include things like buying "fresh" food is better than buying frozen food, nutritionally. Even though freezing vegetables very soon after picking them means most of the nutrients remain right up until you prepare it for dinner, whereas leaving it sit in transit and in the store for even a few days means many of the useful chemicals we want have broken down by the time it makes it into your dinner preparations.


Of course. Naturally, there are other chemicals that will be broken down by freezing that will remain even when shipped. Everything in moderation.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:06 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:I've heard that eggs can last up to a month after the expiration date. I know that I've had some that reached two weeks and still passed the cold water test.

My eggs get a pack date as required by my state's labeling laws, and on the label it says "Best within 30 days of date on end of carton" because freshness is a big marketing point for me. But eggs stored properly can last a really long time. This isn't a perfect experiment (MORE replications plz) but they did eat eggs seven months old, and no, it wasn't this guy. (some of the finest food writing ever.)

And to turn this rig around and get back on topic, that leads to the misconception that most foodborne illness is "the 24 hour flu." There ain't no 24 hour flu, you ate something bad. It wasn't the mayonnaise.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby mercutio_stencil » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:08 am UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:
mercutio_stencil wrote:What really irks me is people who denigrate high fructose corn syrup, and advocate replacing it with a 'natural sweetener' like honey. Do they not realize the two are 95% identical? That doesn't mean they're both healthy, but in moderation, neither will cause issue.
I've never heard anyone suggest honey before. But I have heard people describe something as healthier because it used plain table sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Of course, I never correct anyone who thinks that.

Honey I could sort of understand why someone might think it's a good idea. Because honey is perceived as sweeter, you only have to use half as much, so you do get some calorie savings. But honey is way too expensive and it's flavor isn't always appropriate and it's kind of a pain to work with and the calories aren't that much lower and blah blah blah.


Your absolutely right about honey being less caloric per unit sweetness, thing is, it's the fructose that does it. Honey is around 50% glucose, with the other half being fructose. Just about the same composition as high fructose corn syrup. The two are pretty damn near identical; at least if you ignore the minor flavour components.

The high level of fructose also gives it some very appealing qualities; it's more hygroscopic than sucrose and so holds on to water better. This can make a moister, richer product. Not to mention, fructose can inhibit the formation of sucrose crystals. This is important for certain confectioneries, cause nothing sucks quite so much as a crunchy gummy bear. As I recall, it's also much more water soluble (related to its hygroscopic nature) and has less of an effect on viscosity than sucrose.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use fructose as an ingredient in foodstuffs. It's not a cost cutting measure perpetrated by evil corporations trying to swindle the public out of every dime, rather it's put in by a scientist trying to provide a high quality product that satisfies public desires.

I've taken to calling it 'high fructose flower syrup' in some circles, just to irk them.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Mr_Rose » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:37 pm UTC

How odd; I was under the impression that most of the objections to HFCS were to do with growing corn for making it instead of for food, and on land that can't easily sustain corn crops, increasing the need for artificial fertilisers and such. Basic environmental stuff really; not that it's "unhealthy" or other gibberish.
Also that some companies do use it as a straight-up "it's cheaper than pure sugar" replacement because it's cheaper and not because it is in any way better for the product.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Laeraren » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

The direction of electrons in electrical diagrams.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby morvita » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

Laeraren wrote:The direction of electrons in electrical diagrams.

Care to elaborate? What is it about the directions of electrons in these diagrams that bugs you?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Xanthir » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:26 pm UTC

Current flow is defined to point in one direction; electrons actually move in the opposite direction. We're stuck with a definition of current that talks about *positive* charges moving, because it was solidified back before people were *quite* sure of what the charge carrier was in electricity.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby dg61 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:45 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:Current flow is defined to point in one direction; electrons actually move in the opposite direction. We're stuck with a definition of current that talks about *positive* charges moving, because it was solidified back before people were *quite* sure of what the charge carrier was in electricity.

That's not really a public misconception; I'd be astonished if most people were familiar enough with electrical engineering to know about conventional current.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby duckshirt » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:37 pm UTC

-Old things people used to tell us as kids, such as cracking knuckles causes arthritis, reading in dim light causes bad eyesight, etc
-Direction of toilets flushing doesn't change because of your hemisphere
-Water doesn't conduct electricity (very well, at least by itself)
-Probably a whole bunch of computer-related ones that I don't even want to start listing
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cobramaster » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:38 pm UTC

CSI
nuff said
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby morvita » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:Current flow is defined to point in one direction; electrons actually move in the opposite direction. We're stuck with a definition of current that talks about *positive* charges moving, because it was solidified back before people were *quite* sure of what the charge carrier was in electricity.

I do know about the differences between current and electron flow in electrical circuits, however that's not a public misconception so much as a historically defined term that is inaccurate, so I thought you were talking about something else.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Meteorswarm » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:56 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:-Water doesn't conduct electricity (very well, at least by itself)


While trivially true, once water is exposed to anything that will dissolve ionically in it, it conducts quite well. This includes carbon dioxide, which dissolves to form carbonic acid, and dissociates to form charge carriers. There is enough carbon dioxide in air to cause this to happen, so it's not really a misconception since it's practically impossible to get insulating water.

Although I can't remember where I heard this, so it's possible I'm misinformed.

Edit: Yup, I'm wrong.
Last edited by Meteorswarm on Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:04 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Mr_Rose » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:45 pm UTC

Here's a good one (or two): Cats can't be trained and de-clawing is humane (one is frequently used as an excuse for the other).
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Shivahn » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

I am a big fan of calling it "partial digit amputation" because, well, that's accurate.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cobramaster » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:45 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
duckshirt wrote:-Water doesn't conduct electricity (very well, at least by itself)


While trivially true, once water is exposed to anything that will dissolve ionically in it, it conducts quite well. This includes carbon dioxide, which dissolves to form carbonic acid, and dissociates to form charge carriers. There is enough carbon dioxide in air to cause this to happen, so it's not really a misconception since it's practically impossible to get insulating water.

Although I can't remember where I heard this, so it's possible I'm misinformed.


We test our De-Ionizers in the labs by seeing if the water will carry a charge and 9 times out of 10 the water insulates it.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby lulzfish » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:10 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:This includes carbon dioxide, which dissolves to form carbonic acid, and dissociates to form charge carriers. There is enough carbon dioxide in air to cause this to happen, so it's not really a misconception since it's practically impossible to get insulating water.

Although I can't remember where I heard this, so it's possible I'm misinformed.

I wonder where you heard that, since water is supposed to be 7 pH, you would have to force a lot of CO2 into water to make it acidic, like they do to make soda. You can't make soda by exposing water to CO2 at normal pressures and temperatures.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Hit3k » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:33 am UTC

People who assume things only exist at a high school level.
Them: "So what do you study at university?"
Me: "Physics and applied maths"
Them: "I did those in high school!"
I can't find the Brown Sharpie comic that relates to this though :(

Another thing that is more of a pet peeve than anything is:
Them: "So what do you study at university?"
Me: "Physics and applied maths."
Them: "Why?"
biggest. annoyance. ever.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby krogoth » Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:20 am UTC

possibly a personal misconception but the idea the e-m waves are good in your bed(no idea how magnets could really help), but bad from power lines or other electrical devices, though i suppose frequency could have something to do with it, they never explain why its bad, just that it is.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Meteorswarm » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:03 am UTC

Cobramaster wrote:We test our De-Ionizers in the labs by seeing if the water will carry a charge and 9 times out of 10 the water insulates it.


Well, I'm wrong then. I've been lied to!
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:21 pm UTC

Bzzt.

Works like a charm. I tried to find the pages that discuss the field strengths from my textbook in google books, but no luck. You can put your hand in the water and feel just a little tingle, but you can also get enough of a shock to die, depending on the rig. Most fatalities are from bad grounds sparking and igniting fuel fumes in the bilges, or people falling over backwards into deep water with a rig strapped to their back.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:35 pm UTC

I've known people to electrocute themselves in water. So are we getting on the "water does not conduct electricity but it's dissolved ions do?"*



*not sure if that is the technically accurate description. Don't have time to google/wiki foo it.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Well I've known people who got struck by lightning, too, and that doesn't mean air is a good conductor. Sure, it happens more with water because water is a better conductor, but if it's pure it's still not a very good conductor.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cobramaster » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Pure water with no ions in it at all, which is very hard to get outside of the chem lab, does not conduct electricity. The 1 time out of ten it does, the glassware was probably dirty, lending ions. Only liquids that are of a metallic or ionic nature conduct electricity. For example, sugar water made with DI water does not conduct electricity, since sugar is non ionic.

But back to the High Fructose corn syrup thing. The belief that fructose is evil perpetrated all the way to my Biochem professor, who claimed that its more unhealthy than regular sugar or honey, even though last time I checked the chemistry they were almost identical on composition, if not having a higher fructose concentration (depending on the application High fructose corn syrup is 42-55% Fructose where as Sucrose is a fructose and a glucose joined and honey is 50% of each plus some protein and pollen).
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Roĝer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:17 pm UTC

Commas are your friend, not your mortal enemy.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

Cobramaster wrote:Pure water with no ions in it at all, which is very hard to get outside of the chem lab, does not conduct electricity.

From random googling: Pure water has a very high resistivity, but it is finite. The value is 2.5x105 ohm meters at 20C and 1 atm pressure. (Vince Calder) From Wikipedia: Theoretical maximum electrical resistivity for water is approximately 182 kΩ·m at 25 °C.

The stuff auto-ionizes. Are you arguing that once that happens, it's not really "water" anymore?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cobramaster » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:44 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:
Cobramaster wrote:Pure water with no ions in it at all, which is very hard to get outside of the chem lab, does not conduct electricity.

From random googling: Pure water has a very high resistivity, but it is finite. The value is 2.5x105 ohm meters at 20C and 1 atm pressure. (Vince Calder) From Wikipedia: Theoretical maximum electrical resistivity for water is approximately 182 kΩ·m at 25 °C.

The stuff auto-ionizes. Are you arguing that once that happens, it's not really "water" anymore?

I was talking H20 though yes that is why water has a slight conductivity. But everything has a limit to its insulating abilities pump enough voltage trough something and the current will flow.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Omegaton » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Bzzt.

Works like a charm. I tried to find the pages that discuss the field strengths from my textbook in google books, but no luck. You can put your hand in the water and feel just a little tingle, but you can also get enough of a shock to die, depending on the rig. Most fatalities are from bad grounds sparking and igniting fuel fumes in the bilges, or people falling over backwards into deep water with a rig strapped to their back.

Water in the field usually isn't pure, though, there are often many sources of geological and biological inputs into any aquatic habitat. Electrofishers clearly work, but they don't work equally well in all water depending on the water's conductivity.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:28 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Well I've known people who got struck by lightning, too, and that doesn't mean air is a good conductor. Sure, it happens more with water because water is a better conductor, but if it's pure it's still not a very good conductor.


The difference between "good" and "good enough to kill you" is all most people need to know. ;)

I'm not going to use it to route power in my house. But I'm also not going to risk using my pond pump without an RCD.

[edit] I suppose when you say to most people "water" they think "drinking water". If you said "Does H2O conduct electricity" then you can pull them up for getting it wrong.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby tastelikecoke » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

We once compared water conductivity and the conductivity of Gatorade. They say gatorade has lots of electrolytes which are basically dissolved ions, Gatorade only has a 10k ohm advantage over water.

1) Math is all about solving sudoku.
2) Cloning is unethical because your playing God (something as cheap as making more of you isn't even close to what other scientists did to make luminescent mice)

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cynical Idealist » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:20 pm UTC

tastelikecoke wrote:We once compared water conductivity and the conductivity of Gatorade. They say gatorade has lots of electrolytes which are basically dissolved ions, Gatorade only has a 10k ohm advantage over water.

How pure was the water you were using?
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Whelan » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

tastelikecoke wrote:We once compared water conductivity and the conductivity of Gatorade. They say gatorade has lots of electrolytes which are basically dissolved ions, Gatorade only has a 10k ohm advantage over water.

1) Math is all about solving sudoku.
2) Cloning is unethical because your playing God (something as cheap as making more of you isn't even close to what other scientists did to make luminescent mice)

Who needs reading in dim light when you have electricity?

I read that as Clothing in unethical, which confused me no end.
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cithoge » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:42 pm UTC

Whelan wrote:I read that as Clothing in unethical, which confused me no end.


But, technically, when we started wearing clothing we removed the evolutionary advantage of those who would otherwise have survived the cold better than us - and so radically influenced the development of our species... surely that, if anything, is playing God? Anything we did after that (from cloning, to luminescent mice) is just continuing down a path our ancestors started us on thousands of years ago...
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Re: public misconceptions

Postby lulzfish » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:47 pm UTC

Cithoge wrote:
Whelan wrote:I read that as Clothing in unethical, which confused me no end.

But, technically, when we started wearing clothing we removed the evolutionary advantage of those who would otherwise have survived the cold better than us - and so radically influenced the development of our species... surely that, if anything, is playing God? Anything we did after that (from cloning, to luminescent mice) is just continuing down a path our ancestors started us on thousands of years ago...

Exactly. Playing God is a good, old-fashioned American tradition. And you wouldn't want to ruin tradition. Unless you hate America. And that would make you a Communist.

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby achan1058 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:50 pm UTC

tastelikecoke wrote:1) Math is all about solving sudoku.
Actually, most people don't even see to that point......

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Re: public misconceptions

Postby Cobramaster » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:29 am UTC

lulzfish wrote:
Cithoge wrote:
Whelan wrote:I read that as Clothing in unethical, which confused me no end.

But, technically, when we started wearing clothing we removed the evolutionary advantage of those who would otherwise have survived the cold better than us - and so radically influenced the development of our species... surely that, if anything, is playing God? Anything we did after that (from cloning, to luminescent mice) is just continuing down a path our ancestors started us on thousands of years ago...

Exactly. Playing God is a good, old-fashioned American tradition. And you wouldn't want to ruin tradition. Unless you hate America. And that would make you a Communist.

Greatest post ever.
SlyReaper wrote:Did you never notice the etymological link between "tyrannosaur" and "tyrant"? 1% of the dinosaurs had 99% of the prey. Occupy Pangaea.

Muvlon
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:47 am UTC

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Muvlon » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:00 am UTC

Most people actually believe that E=mc² is the Theory of Relativity.

Posi
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:08 am UTC

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Posi » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 am UTC

Muvlon wrote:Most people actually believe that E=mc² is the Theory of Relativity.

And only two people actually understand it.


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