Okay, Tuesday’s boxcar problem has gotten pretty interesting. I thought I knew the answer, but the comments on Wednesday’s followup post have sowed major seeds of doubt. There are a lot of excellent comments there.
I am thankful that I acknowledged in advance (at the bottom of Wednesday’s post) that I’m less sure of this one than I am of many others. I’d cheerfully bet $1000 (subject to agreement on a suitable referee) that I’m right about this relativity puzzle. (My answer is here.) And as far this old chestnut goes, my answer is here and I hereby cheerfully renew my offer to bet up to $15,000 on the outcome of a computer simulation. (Or any other amount, as long as it’s over $1000, to make this worthwhile.) Email me if you’re interested.
(This is on my mind because I’ve just had a very unpleasant encounter with a troll in another venue, who, like other trolls, is happy to bluster but runs away when you offer to put money on the line.)
For the first time ever, I am turning off comments on this post, because I don’t want to dilute yesterday’s interesting discussion by allowing it to take place half over there and half over here. Go there to participate. Many thanks to the commenters who have forced me to think harder about this, and thanks to anyone else who can help resolve the controversy.