"Parvus error magnum in finis", small error big in the end, for a circular principle that things come back around, even when wrong, and it
fits heliocentrism and Big G and little g(9.8).
Galileo first discovered and charted his way into abstract little "g"(9.8) by rolling metal balls down ramps. He conducted hours
and hours of painstaking research, rolling balls down inclined planes to study acceleration and establish that, according
to him, objects with different weights accelerate equally under the influence of gravity. Even when the fact is that they do not, he would maintain that they do, because the differences
in acceleration discovered at times, according to his terms in the lab, were conveniently small, so small and only so slight for comparison in view of the greater differences in weight.
In defense of the principle of uniform acceleration, due to "the
force of gravity", exercised universally over all objects, he said, “So far as I know, no one has yet pointed out that the distance travelled in equal intervals of time, by a body
falling from rest, stand to one another in the same ratio as the odd number beginning with 1."(1) One of these
to one of those, and what a measure of proportionality that would be for counting all things.
The golden mean or whatever fraction for a ratio divided by one is always the golden mean or whatever fraction, as the golden mean or
whatever fraction multiplied by one is what it is for another universal. An ingenious way perhaps if stupid of saying that in natural units the "force of gravity", as a physical construct
in nature, may also be set equal to one, for constancy in details amongst things, when inserted parenthetically into an equation to represent rate by distance of fall.
The wonderful cape of gravitation, the universal
basis of heliocentric fiction, however, is not actually any active force at all, other than what would be present by some form of impetus and development of momentum. And division or multiplication by one, leaving everything as it is, is not saying very much for the theory of gravity or Galileo, since the heavier weights still fall and roll faster. Even if the differences in some cases can be marked down as comparitively slight, for Galileo's
argument, yet the heavier they come, the harder they fall. Tickled with a feather or hit with a hammer, let the toes and nose of more honest science be the guide.
To express his principle of perpetual horizontal motion, he said, “I mentally conceive of some movable projected on a horizontal plane, all impediments being put
aside" ...[and] "that the equable motion on this plane would be perpetual if the plane were of infinite extent"(2).
The image was a key component of the way he developed a foundation for gravity, little g(9.8), and the world of heliocentrism.
If it may seem odd that this has anything to do with whether the Sun orbits the Earth, or the Earth
orbits the Sun, it still would become an important talking point to Galileo, and would almost provide a way to fit the infinite into a place that it might othewise not go.
The crafty discussion he made of his experiments with metal balls and ramps was to construct in the mind an image of
equivalence so hypnotic that people could be convinced to believe that rest is the same quality as motion, and motion is the same quality as rest. By hypnotic effects and induction, they could at least confuse the two; and these stories of Galileo would later form the seed of Newton's own counter-intuitive
and erroneous first and third "laws" of motion.
Imagine then that a metal ball or marble is let go to roll down one ramp, across a table, and then up a second ramp. To begin the picture of equivalence, imagine that, if the two ramps are identical, the ball will reach virtually the same
height in the second ramp as that from the first where it started. In the same way, if a marble is let go
to roll down the inside of a large bowl, it will roll through the bottom and then up the other side virtually level with its starting height. To put an image of equivalence of motion in
the mind, the metal ball and the marble are seen as coming close to the same height when they finish as when they started. However,
the truth is that the marble and metal ball do not really finish at the same height as that from which they
Never mind the little part, even if it is not only friction, since Galileo had a more crucial observation. Use another receiving ramp that is less steep and longer than the first second one. Once again, the image of equivalence is that the ball let go ends up at virtually the equivalent
height from where it started, though this time it had to roll farther to get there. Do the experiment again with
another receiving ramp that is less inclined and longer than the second third one, that is tilted up only slightly, and the ball will eventually reach its starting height, said Galileo,
but it will have to roll and roll more to get there on the other side. The lower the angle of the receiving ramp the longer the ball will roll to reach the same height from where it started,
and for the sake of equivalence it should be imagined that the ball invariably will roll that far.
Now suppose that the receiving ramp was perfectly flat, not tilted at
all. Then, in that case, said Galileo, the metal ball and the marble would roll on and on, horizontally forever,
if not for friction. But the flatest ramp that is the last image in the series is really a form of mildly hypnotic suggestion. It is a thought experiment, not a real one, to introduce a new law of nature: that any object moving horizontally will continue moving horizontally forever, at the same speed, unless
something happens to interfere, like "friction". Newton's first law of motion is a generalization of the
principle. However, it is not scientific or logical. It only is a thought experiment that presents a subtle
and mildly hypnotic form of suggestion.
Ignore experience and the gift of common sense, therefore, and what can actually be seen of the inclined planes and marbles.
Rather listen to Galileo intone about infinity, and more important than the limiting details there, in the ramps, that actually can be verified, there is a greater and idealized "truth",
an abstract and mathematical world of the mind, where marbles and metal balls can roll on and on in horizontal
planes forever. To the mind under the influence of Galileo, things may be reversed, and there could be a plane beyond measure, in "absolute space", where, contrary to Aristotle, purely natural and horizontal motion is perpetual.
Constant horizontal motion, even outside the curve of a circle, was important to Galileo and the development of heliocentrism for a few reasons:
a) it provided a theoretical basis for gravity, even as a lateral force in perpetuity; and gravity needed to be a constant and powerful lateral force also, to imagine that the Earth could be orbiting the Sun.
b) it provided a theoretical basis for relativity and heliocentric "invariance"(undetectable "unaccelerated" motion)
and equivalence in various relatively "inertial" frames of reference, et cetera.
c) it contradicted Aristotle's common sense logic and scientific observation that things loosed across the Earth tend also to come to rest on the Earth, as the Earth is always at rest before them: and that
like goes to like, simile gaudet simili, as likeness will increase, and "that like is known as well as perceived by like"(3).
Aristotle would have noticed that the rolling
metal balls and marbles did not really finish, even on the first roll, exactly as high as where they had started,
and that they all also exhausted themselves over little time and came to a state of typical and completely authentic
Galileo would howl at Aristotle's stupidity and insult him for naivete, then invoke Lenin and the central bank of the communist party of Italy, and say that he was missing the point of his revolutionary new science, that by gravity "distance is proportional to times squared."
In some cases maybe, but everything like that is proportional to multiplying or dividing by 1, as well as it goes with one of these to one of those, among hower many things on and on. Aristotle
would have to respond that distance is equivalent to rate by time, of course. However, the rate of acceleration is not affected by "gravitation", as much as bricks are not feathers, and gravity and acceleration are not equivalent, but always concede to divide
or multiply by one, to figure the constant force of Galileo's "gravity" in natural units, in lab experiments of limited contrivance, to be safe.
It is doubtful Galileo would appreciate Aristotle for common sense criticism or paleolithic wisecracks in the avant garde
laboratory. Ptolemaic "Syntaxis Mathematica" conservatives would have to go. There was trouble and time to develop a proper liberal background for little g(9.8), and one day perhaps
dogs would be able to fly to the Moon too, like Kepler or Lady Gaga. If spaghetti could fly like bat wings
that far, like 252,000 or 253,000 miles away, where one can land on the Moon at apogee, he should be able to land on it at perigee, of course, and vice versa.
flying to the Moon in dreams, or like Kepler with demons, which was an old-fashioned way, he would need to consolidate new breakthrough insights about the cosmos, including a feeling that
time, not space or energy, is the essential variable that governs the world. Putting time first would open a better
abstract plane for interpretations of gravity, and putting time first would be the best way to sustain his experiments with motion.
So when Galileo was working in the lab with inclined planes and rolling metal balls, it was not an ordinary level of geometry or terrestial affairs. "As above, so below" astrologers, mystics,
and occultists have said. When he was taking notes, Galileo would be fiddling with the cosmos and metaphysics as much as the infinite.
In the beginning, the set-up was bare-bones: a wooden ramp with a thin groove down the middle, a bag of metal balls and marbles, and a series of movable catgut strings. The strings lay at the bottom within the groove and all pulled tight at a right angle to the downward roll of the balls across the surface ofthe ramp. When a ball crossed a string, it would make an audible click.
After kicking Aristotle and Ptolemy out of the lab, Galileo could hear a ball cross each string in turn ...
because of "gravity"! It was little "g" at work, like one of the little people nobody can see. Painstakingly, as a fool would be wise, he would roll the balls again and again down the
ramp, trying to position the strings so that the travel time between each pair was equivalent. To support
his theories, the strings needed to be arranged so that the time interval it took a ball to descend, rolling from section to section, was as equal as equivalent for the clicks.
He had five strings, A,B,C,D, and E, positioned at different lengths of separation along the surface
of the ramp, where he finally fixed it so well that a ball let go from the top would move to string A in the
same time that it would move to string B ... and so on to C, D, and E at the bottom. Out of this comparison he was able to build a math table and equation that would form the basis of little g(9.8), and his smashing theory of uniform gravity in free fall acceleration, to explain why the Earth orbits the Sun.
Measuring the distance between strings in little increments yielded results in two columns and five rows
Time(in seconds) Distance(in inches)
Start to A 1 1
A to B 1 3
C 1 5
C to D
D to E
In Galileo's opinion, a game of marbles, according to an elevation of limited contrivance in
a lab, could be expressed as a function of time and the force of gravity alone. Since there were five divisions in the ramp for a total of 25 inches, (1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9), and the pivotal roll was five seconds, he could say that a ball rolling down one of these ramps at gravity's command traveled
precisely t^2 inches, as t is time.
In terms of the ramp, "in 1 second, a ball rolled 1^2 inches, in 2 seconds 2^2 inches, in 5 seconds 5^2 inches and so on."-4 What was equivocally equivalently important in the exercise was that the math table, the law, and its equation did not say anything further about radius
or weight, or anything of the what and how in the elemental conditions employed, or how the situation related accurately in specifics to the law of universal proportion.
Time(in seconds) Distance(in inches)
Start to A
Start to B
Start to C
Start to D
Start to E
Therefore, Galileo thought that itwould be
fine to extrapolate from this business that all objects around the Earth, regardless of their weight and actual heavy density, fall at exactly the same rate. So according to Galileo, roll
a cannonball and a BB down a ramp side-by-side, and they would descend rolling alongside each other at uniform
rates of acceleration ... "ad infinitum" too, due to gravity. So on and so on, alwaysthemore nevertheless, yet force in motion and rate of acceleration are not separable terms, since they always go together, since more force will mean more acceleration. All
other things being equal, down the same or similar ramps, a bowling ball with greater radius and weight will pass a BB, if there is enough time and space given for the difference in force to develop.
But not to Galileo: for any given ramp the same gravitational law of equivalence between all objects would always prevail, and the distance the ball traveled would
be proportional only to the time squared and the "force of gravity". All that counted in the design was the height above the ground from where the ball would be released. With the right ball and the right ramp, Galileo could say that due to gravity alone a weight always falls as it
rolls, a distance proprotional to seconds of time squared and as a function of universal gravitation.
course, in time, space, and energy there is always some proportion, but natural proportionality of things and Galileo's best contrived ramp do not prove there is an interstitial "force
of gravity" innate to matter that causes motion. The manipulated interpretation was outcome engineered. Put a gnarly rock on the ramp, for example, and it will not follow the rule. It
would not fit the structure of gravitation hidden in the trick.
If not as much as setting the ramp on fire would be an example, and with charcoal lighter or lighter fluid, a rock with a funny roll or stuck on the ramp would act like another anti-gravity device, because it lacks a smooth
and uniform surface for rolling like a metal ball. As much as it does not roll away, it would tend to nullify the set-up force-field equation for gravity in the game.
from dropping rocks, cannon balls, melons, and garbage from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this was how the distance formula for free fall acceleration and little g(9.8) was developed. Roll
marbles but drop rocks, of course, and from this it is said that all objects with greater density and weight than air supposedly
fall according to one precise rule of uniform acceleration, written in English units as d = 16t^2, where d stands for distance
and t stands for time (and d = 1/2gt^2, where g is 9.8 meters equivalent).
Due to the putative interstitial force of gravity, it is said that acceleration of an object
in free fall is independent of weight, and that in one second, any rock falls a distance of 16 x 1 feet. In two
seconds, a distanceof 16 x 4 feet, or 64 feet, in three seconds, 16 x 9 feet, or 144 feet, et cetera by the seconds squared.
Similar to ramp and marble, the universal table for any abstraction of rock or cannon ball goes:
Start to A
Start to B 2
Start to C 3 144
Start to D 4 256
to E 5 400
Start to A 1
A to B 1
B to C 1
C to D 1
D to E 1
However, even without interference from feathers, cat toys, or atmospheric friction, according to Galileo's formula the rate of acceleration is not really so uniform more than
proportional. In his own math, falling is not constant other than to fall and accelerate exponentially. The rate of increase in the real world is not independent of density and weight either, and it does not go on and on ad infinitum. Every freely falling weight eventually reaches a maximum acceleration in an environment, and none accelerate infinitely, even in a so called vacuum.
Even with Newton's calculus, a finite weight cannot accelerate infinitely,
as absolute infinity can never be fathomed by parts and not by the segments of any curve or pattern of exponents. The putative intersitial
"force of gravity" is not accelerating any weights anyway, since gravity is not even a lateral or vertical force. In every case, there is impetus, momentum, and accommodation to cause motion and acceleration.
Anvils of styrofoam, foot-long matches, ping pong balls, and ramps all covered in velcro, and other anti-gravity devices, demonstrate that what is really at work in these disingenuous experiments of Galileo are motions and forces that are all predicated in quale quid ... not in undetectable
occult action-at-a-distance like "gravitation".
What makes a bb and cannon ball roll side by side down a ramp, for a little while,
is in the limited details of coincidence. Funny concurrence too, yet motion and force overall become a matter of the factors involved, like radius and weight, as well as density and material, and the quality of smoothness of the ball and the surface used for free rolling movement, etc. Something marginal not gravitational is at play among many things,
to affect and constitute the results; and specific weight clearly does, in fact, contribute to the development of force and acceleration in free falling objects.
For instance, not because
of Galileo's gravity, people do not play volley ball with volley balls made of lead or plutonium, but because they are too heavy for sporting material and do not bounce.