Feb. 25, 2021

Episode 3 - The one where we ask Gravity, Force or Farce And call Einstein a Psycho

Mass slows down time, and slowed time gives the illusion of gravity, plus we invert the béchamel sauce, help out The Clash but expose Billy Rae's Cyrus's Achy Breaky heart as not being a real medical condition after all.

Our Brainy lecture looks at Einstein's General Relativity and shows that mass slows down time, and it is slowed time gives us the illusion of gravity. We make a decidedly next level Béchamel source by inverting it. Yes, even our sauces seem to defy the arrow of time in this podcast. We finally resolve the Clash's dilemma as to whether they should stay or go. We also help out the Government by starting to rename towns and things that are no longer new but keep referring to themselves as such. We put Billy Rae Cyrus's Achy Breaky Heart under the microscope.


Episode 3


Welcome to Frenzied and Sustained. If you are here because you are looking for yet another podcast that stitches together, relativity and the fundamental nature of our universe with a mocking examination of song lyrics whilst providing the recipes to divine sauces and a historical perspective on hats, you may just be in the right place.


In this week’s podcast for a post stupid society we ask the question Gravity, Force or farce? In our songs under the microscope we discover that Billy Rae Cyrus in Achy breaky Heart perhaps is not in any position to dictate how the news of his failed relationship is conveyed to his respective organs. Our hat of the week will score 30 points if used as the first move in the game of scrabble, and our sauce of the week is an inverted béchamel.


In literally the last section we reclassify place names that can no longer be regarded as new and we remind you to pay your carroons if you are driving into central London on a weekday.


You are listening to frenzied and sustained and I  am Ian Spector and this is a 



Brainy Lecture


Einstein says that the happiest time of his life was thinking about a man falling off a building as he would not feel the effect of gravity. What   a PSYCHO.



Newton explained gravity as a force that all objects have and pulls in accordance to its mass. Thus the earth pulls harder than the moon, and this seems to make sense, we weigh more on earth as we do on the moon. Newton saw space as a fixed three dimensional framework and time as a separated and constantly moving effect. Of course this might just have been his excuse for stealing an apple. Perhaps Newton was the Jean Valjean of gravity.


Einstein said that gravity was not a force at all but that matter curved space and time around it.


Now here is where the models of warped spacetime can make matters more confusing. They show a grid like a spider’s web with the earth in the middle causing a big indentation in it. But we are not talking about mass distorting three dimensional space, but rather four dimensional space time. So just like two people standing on the north pole who decide to take different lines of longitude to walk to the south pole even though they are both walking due south their paths will diverge until they reach the equator and converge until the bump into each other at the south pole. In a two dimensional space they are walking in a straight line but on a higher dimensional model they are following a curved path. Thus a satellite circling the earth looks to be in a circular orbit, it is actually following a straight line in spacetime. 


And you can always tell if you are following a straight line in spacetime as you will feel weightless. You will feel neither weight or a force on your side, just floating. Einstein created the principle of equivalence. This said that there can exist no test that will tell you whether in fact you are floating in space or free falling. So if you are in a lift and the cable snapped the floating sensation that you will feel is not similar to being in outer space, it is the same as being in outer space.  Einstein called this state of floating ‘being in an inertial frame’.



If you hold an accelerometer in your hand whilst you are standing still on earth it registers 1. Not zero. It is reading a constant acceleration of 9.8m/s squared. Yet we are not even moving, let alone accelerating. If we jump off a building the accelerometer will read zero. (Presumably this would also give Einstein his Best Day Ever). So this shows that gravity is not intrinsically linked to a gravitational field caused by the earth. The earth is still there, you would still be within its influence but your accelerometer is reading zero. 


But the models of the earth on a spider’s web, or an elephant on a trampoline do not provide a good reason why we feel weight when we are not moving, why are we said to be accelerating at 9.8m/s2. 


Because we are not at a standstill. We are travelling through spacetime. In fact we are really clipping along through spacetime. Special relativity says that anything with mass cannot travel at the speed of light. General Relativity is really saying that everything is travelling though spacetime at the speed of light. Now note that the concept of spacetime is both spacey and timey. The sum will always add up to c, or the speed of light. So a photon, with no mass has all velocity through space so it has not time. Let’s just stop and let that sink in. Anything traveling at the speed of light through space is not travelling through time at all. So a photon that reaches our retinas today from the cosmic microwave background radiation 13.7 billion light years away thinks it only just left. To the photon, it is the same to travel for a billion years or the blip it takes to jump from atom to atom. It also means that a photon can never change or evolve. We might see it travel great distances and last for ages, but for Phil the photon there is no time.


So the model is a zero sum game. The more you travel through space the less you travel through time. And the less you travel through time, the more you travel through space. So at one end of the scale, an object not at motion through space is travelling a full speed of light through spacetime. At the other end of the scale if you are travelling at the speed of light through space you are not travelling at all through time. Five minutes ago you believed that nothing could travel at the speed of light, now it turns out everything in the universe is doing it. The speed of light is actually the speed of causality. 


So to be in Einstein’s happy place, just floating through space, we should be allowed to just follow the flow of spacetime, just bobbing along freely in its stream. If we float passed planets our spacetime might be deformed but as long as we go with the flow we do not feel ourselves change direction as our spacetime speed is constant.


Now if our feet make contact with something stopping our flow through spacetime we will feel that as an acceleration. Remember that turning a corner is an acceleration. In four dimensional spacetime we are constantly being pulled around a corner and gravity as we know it is a kind of centripetal force accelerating us. 


Remember our rambling friends who walked from pole to pole? The direct path on a two dimensional map that becomes an arc on a curved surface is called a great circle or geodesic. This is the same at the fourth dimension, we feel that we are going in a straight line in three dimensional space but in fact we could be describing a curve in four dimensional space. As long as we are left alone to follow our geodesic through spacetime we will be in our inertial frame, totally floating.


Einstein explained this to his son, Eduardo,  by telling him to imagine a blind beetle walking along a stick. The beetle has no sense of up and down it is just following its stick, and not matter how twisted it feels like it is walking in a straight line, but it does feel a varying sense of weight. It certainly has no concept of leaving the stick, or that a dimension around the stick exists. And that is how we are living our lives through curved spacetime. If our spacetime leads us round a planet we will not feel centrifugal force from spinning round that planet as we are still going along our geodesic.


So if there is no force of gravity what can that teach us. First of all if I look at my GCSE physics book I see a person standing on the ground with an arrow pointing down with a G representing the force of gravity and an arrow pointing up as the normal force, counteracting gravity. But we have just got rid of gravity so we just have the normal force pushing up, so we know if we apply a constant force to something it will accelerate in the direction of the force (assuming that no other forces are acting). And if we were to hold an accelerometer to measure this acceleration it will read 1, i.e. 9.8m/s2. We are accelerating at the rate of gravity. So in a very real sense, we do not land on the earth, the earth has come up to meet us and is accelerating us.


Let’s see how our new perspective of curved spacetime helps us with other problems. Let’s consider the rock and the feather. As Einstein’s equivalency principle says there is no difference between someone standing on earth or accelerating at 9.8m/s2 in a spaceship in outer space. If you are looking at the spaceship from outside you will see everything inside just floating but when it lit its motors you will see the spaceship move but everything else just stays motionless, oblivious to the floor of the spacecraft moving towards it. Now if you watch the rock and the feather inside the spaceship, they also to not move until the floor of the spacecraft comes up to meet them and then the floor will start exerting an acceleration on them. This is what we are feeling on earth. We would be happily floating were it not for our spaceship (the earth) from arriving and start accelerating us. 


One other mystery of the universe that may not seem strange is the fact that inertia and mass are identical. And scientists keep measuring the two effects to greater and greater accuracy and they are still identical. But now that we are children of Einstein’s equivalency principle  it makes perfect sense that the effort to push a car at 9.8 m/s 2 is the same effort as to lift the car. It is the same because the two activities are the same.


Just as a side note. Knowledge seems to have a half life. Things that Newton thought he had resolved and was certain for all time slowly became disproven as Einstein and others tried to explain why the observations did not quite match up with the theory. So Newton could nt quite explain the slightly odd orbit of Mercury using his laws of motion so he and others thought that there must be another planet, they called Vulcan, orbiting closer to the sun that they had not yet detected. they spent many years in fact searching for it. Einstein’s General Relativity more accurately described the motion in terms of warped spacetime and Vulcan was not needed. Now we observe that rotating galaxies would not exert enough space time distortion to keep all the fast moving gubbins at the edge of the galaxy together. There was not enough mass. So, they invented more mass. Lots of it and called it dark matter. Who knows if a better theory will come along and better describe spacetime and mass without a need for dark matter. The scientific community do feel pretty confident of dark matter.


We do not that General Relativity does not work well with super heavy objects such as black holes. When scientists talk of a singularity in a black hole what they are saying in code is that they are observing something that breaks their maths. Their model throws its hands up and says “I am all out of ideas”.


We have absolutely no idea how gravity works at the really smaller quantum levels. We really do not know. The other thing that is a bit dodgy about gravity, or the perceived effect of matter bending spacetime, the artist formerly known as gravity, is how darned feeble it is. Why is it so much weaker than the real forces. If I put my Mont Blanc pen on the surface of a planet weighing 6 times 10 to the 24 kg there is  force on it only of .34 or a newton or 35g. Electromagnetism is 10 to the 36 times stronger and the strong nuclear force is 10 to the 38 stronger than gravity. Do you want to be able to picture that. The diameter of the “smallest atom” , Hydrogen, is about 10 to the -10 meters. The diameter of the entire universe is about 10 to the 26th meters. So, the difference between the diameter of the smallest atom and the entire Universe is about 10 to the 36th power. So  that means if you measured the gravitational attraction between the electron and proton in a Hydrogen atom it is about the same amount of force as the electromagnetic attraction of an electron and a proton at opposite sides of the Universe. Gravity is really weak.


So the conclusion we must come to isn’t so much that gravity slows  time. A better question might be to ask why does slowed time cause gravity.


And that may not be that hard to understand. Any object that is within the distortion of time will feel that distortion in some kind of proportion to the distance from it. So if George Clooney in Gravity was circling the earth with his feet pointing at the earth his feet would be experiencing time slower than his head. He head would then try and move faster relative to his feet due to the gradient in this effect. This would tilt the angle of this force towards earth. Eventually his orbit would lead him onto the planet surface. What feels like gravity puling him is just different parts of his body experiencing time at different rates. 


So curved space alone cannot explain the full force of acceleration we feel, we need the much more potent curvature of time. So the reason the Sandra Bullock’s oscar for best actress in gravity does not float off into space is because its base is experiencing time slower than the statue’s taciturn head.


Songs under the Microscope 


This week we turn our withering gaze to Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart.


Now Billy Ray makes an enemy right from the first line. 

“You can tell the world you never was my girl”. WAS my girl. Would “were” my girl spoil the profoundly sensitive message Billy Ray. And it is not that I am demanding something hard by requesting the subjunctive form of the verb to be, in the second person both the perfect and the subjunctive is were, The second person is never was. You were too dumb for her to stay with.


Basically, Billy Rae is negotiating with his girlfriend or wife the parts of his body that she can tell that they are (or more likely they is) finished. He then shows off his profound knowledge of human anatomy by listing his lips, feet, arms, ma, friends, aunt louise, brother cliff, and dog but don’t tell his achy breaky heart “because he might blow up and kill this man”. So, his heart is a man. Billy Rae Cyrus’s heart has male genitalia. I do not want to say the word on this family friendly podcast, but his condition rhymes with Lockhart. Or the Latin Cardiopenilogy.


According to Mark Freeman, the song sounds like this: ``You can tell my lips, or you can tell my hips, that you're going to dump me if you can; But don't tell my liver, it never would forgive her, it might blow up and circumcise this man!'' Or more accurately, circumcise his heart.


So in Billy Rae’s view of biology, even though he knows that it is over, his oh so sensitive heart has not yet got the message as if it did it might blow up and kill him.


Now talking about biology. My research department was doing some background on Billy Rae and noted that his first child was born in April 1992 and his second was born in November 1992. Now this had us scrambling for our medical text books to see how someone could have two children seven months apart. It turns out that super sensitive Cyrus managed to impregnate two separate women within 8 weeks of one another. I think that we may be getting closer to why Kristin Luckey (or not so Luckey as it turned out) threw him out. 


I am curious by the lines “you can tell your ma that I moved to Arkansas” and “ tell your Aunt Louise, tell anything you please”. Why the distinction. Why not be truthful and say that Billy Rae Cyrus could not keep his heart in his trousers.


So I just can’t bring myself to pity Billy Rae Cyrus, nor do I accept he is in much of a position to dictate what Kristin Luckey tells her relatives. Or his organs.


But, there are silver linings of course. The second impregnantee was Tish Finley, and the resultant issue from that issue was the world’s favourite twerking superstar, Miley Cyrus. And I for one am enormously grateful for that. Just don’t tell his spleen where I was been.


And that is a narrative arc.


What follows is a public service announcement.


In 1992 Mick Jones and the Clash had a dilemma, should they stay or should they go. By their analysis of their decision, if they stayed there would be trouble. If they left it would be double. Now with advances in mathematical techniques that were not available to them in 1992 we calculate that the amount of trouble for going, Tg = 2 times Trouble of Staying, Ts. Therefore, you should stay and be subjected to half the amount of trouble. 



Hat of the week


The Fez. 


The fez used to be common headwear in Mediterranean countries and originated in Morocco from the town of the same name. It was a popular accessory used by Ottoman elites and soldiers that became a symbol of a common Ottoman identity in the 19th century


In 1828 the commander fo the Ottoman fleet, Pasha, made his men wear the Fez. Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II saw this new attire of the marines in a ceremony, and ordered all soldiers and public officers to wear the fez in 1828, introducing a law requiring the wearing of a fez. Poems were written about the fez, saying that it made a man more handsome. And let us not forget the huge musical hit by Ottoman artist Rıfat Bey "Pek Yakıştı Eğri Fes" (A Crooked Fez Fits You Well). 


High-quality and expensive fezzes were imported from Austria. When Austria annexed Bosnia in 1908, Austrian goods were boycotted for a short while, but then domestic production fell short of meeting demand and people began to wear Albanian-style conical hats.


Fezzes varied in shape, colour, tassel and ways of wearing, and were available in different styles. For instance, Sultan Mahmud preferred the long and straight fez which was called "Mahmudi,"" and Sultan Abdülhamid wore a long tapered fez called "Hamidi." Sultan Abdülaziz wore a short fez called "Azizi, not to confused with Francis of Assisi, the Italian catholic mystic and saint who rarely wore a hat at all, although he did sport a most excellent hoodie in the fresco near the entrance to the Benedictine abbey of Sbiaco from 1229.


Some people wore it up to their eyebrows while some wear it toward the back of their heads. However, the most acceptable way to wear a fez is to tilt it toward one ear.


The colour of the fez indicated the political view and profession of the person wearing it. Those who wore a red fez were mocked, saying that "A kite will come and pick it, thinking that it's fresh meat”. Crazy humour.


If the fez was not of high quality, the person who wore it made a fool of himself; when it rained, the red color would run down their forehead and neck turning them into rednecks.


The fez is made from broadcloth and the flat surface on top had a hole through which 2 centimetres of broadcloth was placed, and a tassel was connected to this surface. The tassel would be made from black or blue silk. In 1845, a law on tassel entered into force and the weight of public officers' fez tassel was set in law. The way the tassel would swing had a characteristic grace and a meaning. 


The appropriate length of the fez tassel was long enough to fall to the back of the neck.  Wearing a fez without a tassel was rude.


A fez requires regular maintenance - it should be often brushed and shaped. The Greek craftsmen who mould the fezzes were in much demand. First, the tassel was removed and the fez was put on a hot brass mold.


 Then the craftsmen sprayed water before putting it on a mould again. Five minutes later, the second mould was lifted up from its handles and the smoking fez was worn on the head. The greek craftsmen, usually sprayed the water from their mouths. You were always advised to get the shaping done before lunch as otherwise your fez ended up pebbledashed with bits of pitta-bread and olives.


In 1925  Atatürk's  passed the Hat Law forbidding the  fez and making it compulsory for men to wear brimmed hats.  Wearing a fez was considered a crime. However, the tradition of wearing a fez was maintained in other countries like Syria, Iraq and Egypt. 


In 2015, the article requiring the use of hats was repealed, however the law abolishing the wearing of the fez is still valid.


Sauce of the week.


Inverted Bechamel


The normal way to make the thick unctuous sauce is by heating equal amounts of butter and flour in a pan to form the roux, then slowly adding your cold milk. You can then add some flavourings to the sauce but it usually still tastes a little like wallpaper paste. I discovered this technique from the French Cooking Academy.  They make the roux but leave it to cool. Separately they steep all sorts of flavourings in the milk then add that to the cold roux. This has 1000 times the flavour and I have never gone back to the old method.




250 ml /1 cup  of full cream milk (Whole milk)

20 grams / 1 tablespoon of butter

20 grams  /3 tablespoon of flour


For the flavouring:

salt and pepper

a pinch of grated nutmeg

4 to 5 small dry morels mushrooms ( soak them in warm water first for 1 hour)

2 tablespoon of Morels liquor ( the water in which the morels soaked in)

1 bay leave

30 grams of onion ( in one piece)


but you could add, fish, smoked salmon, meat, curry, paprika, anything you like.



Make the roux and let it cool down

warm up milk add flavourings then simmer for 15 minutes, or loads more, let stand for minutes or hours.

pour milk over cold roux





As you know I was totally against advertising on this podcast but then I saw how much they were offering and I was all in. In fact, the more dubious the product the better they pay, so this week we are proud to recommend 


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So don’t hesitate rush out today and grab our old green tinged chicken and a nine-pack of Andrex and be beach ready be Tuesday.


Literally the last section


I went to Newcastle to review the new castle for this podcast, but imagine my disappointment when I got there to find the castle had some peeling paint and some of the mortar was loose. I asked the guide when the castle was actually built and he said 1080.  Their ‘new’ castle is almost a thousand years old. Are they being deceitful or ironic. Thus I visited some other places to see if this were a new conspiracy. Instead of a newly planted forest in the New Forest I found a forest significantly advanced in years, probably due to its having been planted in 1079 by William The Conqueror (also called William 1st, William the Bastard and William the Tosser). Similarly Newbury was established in 1090, the chapel in New Chapel was built in the 1600s, Newlyn, 1279 and the New Quay in Newquay was not built until the early 1600s.


So I referred to 2006 European Parliament directive concerning misleading and comparative advertising. 


Article 3

In determining whether advertising is misleading, account shall be taken of all its features, and in particular of any information it contains concerning:


the characteristics of goods or services, such as their availability, nature, execution, composition, method and date of manufacture or provision, fitness for purpose, uses, quantity, specification, geographical or commercial origin or the results to be expected from their use, or the results and material features of tests or checks carried out on the goods or services;


So clearly things cannot carry on the way they have been. To help with the rebranding we have updated some names for you to introduce immediately as we wait for the signs to be repainted.


If you want to see a large north eastern city please get the train from Kings Cross to Castle

Fancy a day at the races, let me recommend Bury Racecourse in Berkshire

Bookies won’t take your money in Bury, try Market racecourse in Suffolk

Why not take in the Royal Docks in London with a visit to ‘um’

Or cut down gate street to get to the Barbican

Fancy seeing the Devon market town of Ton Abbot

Or want some laws relating to objects moving at a constant velocity, check out Ton’s Laws of Motion

Maybe you want to check on what is happening in the world so you turn on BBC1 at 10pm and watch the evening s

New Delhi, stop it, you are not

Treat yourself to some 1930s public works programmes with Roosevelt’s Deal

Keep informed with weekly events and satire in the Yorker Magazine

Looking for a place away from covid with great rugby, discover another world in Zealand

Enjoy some 1970s wave music 

Stop your banister collapsing by installing some ell posts

Take in a huge dog, try the foundland

Looking for a semi- aquatic salamander, you want the common t, or great crested t, or maybe you should leave it until you sober up as one should never buy pets when one is as pissed as a t


Finally, as part of our attempt to bring words back from the dead I present to you the word carroon. When Ken Livingstone introduced the daily fee for driving into London he called it the Congestion Charge. Unbeknownst to him, there was a much better word just waiting to be picked. The carroon. A Carroon is a rent for the privilege of driving a cart or car in London. It was literally a licence from the Lord Mayor of London to drive in London. So please this week, don’t pay your tolls for driving on exclusive lanes or into cities, pay your carroon instead. 





Next week


And that is the end of Literally the Last Section, it is also the end of this week’s podcast.

In next week’s Frenzied And Sustained our brainy lecture ponders on the nature of time, our song under the spotlight was suggested by Edward Snowden, Every Step You Take whilst literally the last section delves into JK Rowlings Hogwarts, and we will be starting with a much needed health and safety assessment.


Please leave a review, send me in suggestions and subscribe. The contact page is on www.frenziedandsustained.com 



We did not win the war on ignorance today, but we did leave it a poor review on its youtube channel. Annonymously.