Moments of inertia

Submitted by net-art on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 12:25

Launch Moments of inertia

Moments of inertia are ways of describing an object's resistance to change. To take a simple example, we can compute how much force it would take an already spinning wheel to change direction, depending on where and in what manner we apply pressure. Looked at from a certain way, this value is analogous to an object's mass; the higher its value, the more effort required to effect change upon it. In this piece, I'm looking at the problem of calculating moments of inertia metaphorically. Rather than examining a plane and discovering how much effort it would take to spin it, or looking at a cylinder and figuring out how to reverse its direction, imagine if we could discuss this phenomenon as a social one. How much effort does it take to change your life's direction? How do you calculate the inertia of your relationships or your career? How do you determine the effort required to move across the country to be with someone you love, or move three barstools down to talk to someone you find attractive? What is the resistance value of making eye contact, or of saying you're sorry? Even in a society that prides itself on mobility, we all have our moments of inertia.