Gravity Unplugged – The Special Theory of Relativity

In this blog, attached are three stanzas of a long, multi-stanza poem of mine as one of a series on classical physics subjects. It is titled “Gravity Unplugged” and is essentially a tutorial on the classical Newtonian formulation of gravity.

Newton pendulumThese three stanzas begin an explanation of the Special Theory of Relativity, essential to the understanding of classical gravity formulated by Newton, hundreds of years ago, the theory of which turned classical physics upside down and launched us on the understanding of science in our modern world.

Gravity Unplugged
by John Maling

Newton abolished absolute space
When he saw that events in a moving frame
Obeyed the same laws as when those events
Occurred in places of stationary fame.

In today’s speed-of-sound world,
Playing catch on a smooth airline flight
Is no different than fielding a ball
At the family’s old (and beloved) homesite.

Einstein did away with absolute time,
By using constant-speed light to show
That the time interval between events
Depends upon the following “know:”

Any questions, so far? More to come!

To be continued

#Teaching, #Learning and Revisiting the Oral Tradition

Here is an effective technique for introducing verbal dialog into the teaching-learning experience – taking it to a level beyond what might be considered standard or “normal” in today’s educational practices.

Teaching-Learning-and-Revisiting-the-Oral-Tradition-by-John-MalingThe importance of verbal-monologue in higher learning is again and again proven by the continuing academic tradition of the oral exam and oral defense of thesis. History gives strong support for the role of the oral tradition in teaching and learning, The oral tradition in passing knowledge from generation to generation reaches back into the dim past of human history, before language was written, before texts and manuscripts even existed. The great cultures and civilizations of the ancient world mastered the written word, but the vast majority of the peoples of those times were illiterate and depended upon the verbal-oral tradition for communication and preservation of ideas.

I have survived several oral examinations in subjects necessary in the earning of a Ph.D. in physics, and as a teacher of science, physics and engineering, and chairman of a science and engineering department, oral presentation was a professional necessity and tradition. Nothing fixes knowledge of a subject better than the threat a three to five day regimen of lectures on that subject to dozens of students, month after month and year after year. But those students were in the main engaged in a relatively passive form on learning – listening, taking notes and for some occasional questions of the lecturer. Dialog between professor-teacher and student can be difficult. I have witnessed a forceful and, in my opinion, counterproductive refusals by one of my faculty to entertain questions until the end of his lecture.

Share your thoughts below. What experiences have you had in the classroom with verbal dialogue and discussions?

Writing Outside of Your Computer

Writing Outside of Your Computer

Writing outside of your computer …

meaning that you do it with your hand via a favorite pencil or pen … and the heart leads. pencil write

There’s much to be said for stepping away from electronics. Connect your brain with the flow and rhythm of your hand, your arm. Let your imagination guide you.  It’s easy to glare at a computer screen. And get stuck. Get unstuck; kickstart your creative juices by doing this exercise: write with pen or pencil.

Consider starting your writing with the beginning of a sentence or a phrase that you glance at when you open a book–any book–and just see what ends up on the page in front of you. Then tweak it … whether you can use it or toss it doesn’t matter. You are warmed up.

Many a writing coach, a muse, will encourage you to step away from your routine of writing and do it differently. The result just may bring a spring into what follows.


John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the authu.or of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is and email

When, and When Not, to Use Abbreviations in Writing

Authors are always looking for shortcuts and quick tips. Here’s two that you can use immediately:abreviations

1    Always spell out the name of a state or countries; don’t use abbreviations. E.g., CO should be Colorado; Can should be Canada, Eur should be Europe, SC should be South Carolina. (An exception would be DC for District of Columbia.)

Ditto with companies and associations. You may know what they stand for, but your reader may not.

2     Mix your sentences lengths up. Long sentences are, well, long. The reader gets lost and either starts over oparagraph4

starts readabilityskipping. Don’t get caught up in paragraph perpetuity. Today’s reader needs visual breaks. Think short paragraphs in your writing. You want the reader to feel comfortable as he or she reads your amazing copy.


John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is and email

Who’s In Charge Here Anyway? Part III

Click here to read Part I

Click here to read Part II

As shared in my previous post, I wrote a fourteen-verse poem about the collective indifference our species has for our natural world. In Part I, you had the opportunity to read the poem in full. For future posts, I will continue to take 2-3 verses of my poem at a time to share my thoughts and viewpoints being expressed in that part of the poem.

Let’s continue with the third and fourth verses:

sewage from the sewer pollutes a lakeHow fortunate that the river’s there,
Disposal now requires no care.
Just run a pipe down from the sewer;
The more the people, the fish the fewer.

And so what if they’re fish in there.
All they do is swim and stare.
And do they share our concern’s import?
They’re not really the caring sort.

Maling’s Missives:

Earth moving is now an art form, technologically speaking. Move or remove a mountain; dam or change the course of a river; reroute a rail line or widen a highway. No problem. Any Right of Way can be handled. Eminent Domain solves any and all problems. Progress and profit are key — the really important concepts for a growing culture, civilization and society.

Your Missives:
What do you feel are important concepts for a growing culture, civilization and society?

Outline your thoughts in a comment below.


John2005John Maling is an Editor and Indexer. He’s the author of the multi-award winning book, Have Your Ever Held a Mountain? His website is and email