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Name: Tyler
Location: Mountain View, California, United States

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the scaled interest principle

Here's an idea that I've seen in action throughout my life, although I've never seen it explicitly put into words:
Events of interest tend to happen more quickly at smaller scales, and slower on large scales.
Interpreting relativity as putting a speed limit on the flow of information, gives a natural justification of the principle in the physical world. The idea jumps out when you consider the (admittedly imperfect) analogy between atoms and solar systems.

We can also see it in other ways. Small companies usually react more quickly than big ones. Flies move more quickly, and die more quickly, than elephants or whales. Smaller computer programs often run faster than large ones. Things happen faster in dense cities than in a sparse countryside. An idea of little interest fades faster than a popular meme. A simple system is easier to work with than a complex one.


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