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FTMHorn t1_itzljrd wrote

What about text messages? Speed of the internet? Speed of the phone lines?

Are there even measurements for it?


j0hnp0s t1_itzry4n wrote

Speed of the original language, plus latency of the medium of transmission


Annowhat t1_itzncdi wrote

Those would be slower than light I think, they would still be very fast, but not as fast as light.


NuclearCreations t1_itzuxwm wrote

They are electromagnetic waves, they travel at the speed of light.


Logicrazy12 t1_itzxs4y wrote

The waves sure but the devices don't.


JAM3SBND t1_iu001ej wrote

Not to mention a visual distance is shorter than electronic distance.

Me to you
My fingers to phone to satellite to your phone to your eyes


Logicrazy12 t1_iu00c9z wrote

It also take time to compress, decompress, and convert the files being sent to each device.


Muroid t1_itzzcye wrote

Electricity travels through wires at a high percentage of the speed of light, but not at the speed of light.

Same applies to light in fiber optic cables, actually.


OpenGiraffe t1_iu00sq9 wrote

The light in fiber optic cables travel at the speed of light, don't they?

Only, not the characteristic speed of light in vacuum, c≈300 000 km/s. You have to take the refractive index into account. But it's still the speed of light, through that specific medium (fiber optic cable in this case).


Muroid t1_iu01r1h wrote

The speed of light almost always refers to c. It would technically be correct to refer to any speed that light travels at as “the speed of light” but given the common name of c, that is almost never what people mean or understand by the phrase “speed of light” unless it’s been very clearly specified.

The speed of light through air is very, very close to c. The speed of light through fiber optics isn’t. Still a high percentage of c so very fast, but not a value that you’d ever mistake for c. With air it’s practically a rounding error away.


primeprover t1_itzvlhy wrote

There will be some latency, but then they will travel at a very similar speed to the speed of light. That said the latency could be longer than the travel time. I remember reading a story once where someone had an issue sending emails further than 500 miles. Turns out there was a very fast timeout that was long enough for light to travel around 500 miles. Found it:


lethe25 t1_itznd80 wrote

Yes. Light


CatchMeWritinQWERTY t1_itzuzr4 wrote

Parts of the journey are at light speed but the average speed is definitely slower because blah blah blah (pretend I am saying stuff about telecom)


lethe25 t1_itzw616 wrote

Ah yes transistors and signal loss and packet loss blah blah (I understand a good chunk of the complexities here but not well enough to sufficiently explain them)


JerpJerps t1_itzy02d wrote

Damn, making me realize what a huge thing video calling must have been for deaf people


voluotuousaardvark t1_iu07406 wrote

Are you counting the time it takes to write the text message?


FTMHorn t1_iu0dps3 wrote

No. Also, I'm pretty sure it's been answered thankyou


nave47 t1_itzlcfl wrote

My love language, pizza, tends to travel nearer the speed of traffic than the speed of sound or light.


Hipty t1_itzljzv wrote

There are a few other visual communication methods, although I don’t suppose they count as languages. -Semaphore (flags) -Morse Code (ship-to-ship with lights)


ecky--ptang-zooboing t1_itzmazm wrote

So if a fully functioning human stood on the moon and waved and yelled to his friend on Earth, you would see him wave and yell almost instantly, but you can only hear his shout a few seconds later. How mildly weird would that be 🤔


kajxqeirscl t1_itzo4qg wrote

actually it'd be a couple of days for sound and ~1.2 seconds for light, the moon is far.


yoosernamesarehard t1_itzp76a wrote

You’d never hear the sound even if they were “relatively” close to each other, like right next to each other. Sound works by vibrating molecules, primarily air since it’s everywhere. Sound also travels through solid objects which is why you can hear vibrations of objects. So it works by vibrating molecules. In space, there are no cohesive molecules. The sun is a sustained nuclear reaction and if we were able to hear it, we would be deafened by it. But we don’t hear it because there’s nothing for the sound waves to vibrate through. With space between earth and the moon, any sound that originates from one celestial body to another ceases to exist once it enters into space because there is nothing there for sound to travel to.


NiuMeee t1_itzungv wrote

It's just a hypothetical bro.


Memestrats4life t1_itzyi3w wrote

It was just a hypothetical- until we started adding real calculations in; then you have to account for the fact that it's all meaningless


Muroid t1_itzzmox wrote

You can hypothetically measure the time it would take sound to travel through air a distance equivalent to the distance from the Earth to the moon even if it would not be possible for sound to actually travel from the real moon to the real Earth.


Memestrats4life t1_itzzq8t wrote

Or you can hypothetically be correct and save time


YookCat t1_iu09dnh wrote

I don’t think you understand the point of hypotheticals. They’re not meant to be taken literal. It’s more of a wisdom check as opposed to an intelligence check, honestly.

It wouldn’t save time to just say the sound can’t make it, either. Even if we were doing things your way… that proceeds to leave the original premise of the hypothetical unsolved, meaning we would need to make an entirely new hypothetical to demonstrate the sound/light speed difference. If we take everything literally, it takes us more time.

Additionally, just in case you think hypotheticals are useless entirely and we should just say the facts, helping people “visualize” things is a part of the point. Examples, demonstrations, and so on are ways of teaching things, which is similar to what this hypothetical was attempting to achieve.


Memestrats4life t1_iu09x0q wrote

I see that- and do enjoy your wisdom/intelligence point- but think that dedicating time to finding exact mathematical answers to them while disregarding the most major aspect of those calculations is pointless


kajxqeirscl t1_iu0yqvy wrote

well no shit, we're just saying if sound was able to travle through vacuum at the same speed it does through air. You didn't have to write an essay.


A11ce t1_itzslev wrote

You forgot that sound needs a medium, can be a gas, liquid or solid object, but it needs one.

Also if you want to experience what you described just watch a storm one day, you see the lightning first and the sound gets to you later depending on how far away you are.


RedPhysGun77 t1_itzozdd wrote

  1. It would take light a bit over a second to travel from Moon to Earth, while sound would travel the same distance in 5 minutes (same distance in Earth's atmosphere)

  2. Sound actually travels rather slow, only 340 meters per second. Look up videos of people firing at steel targets at ranges over 150 meters: you would see the target move from impact, and after a split second hear the sound.


andros310797 t1_itzuv5t wrote

>1) While sound would travel the same distance in 5 minutes (same distance in Earth's atmosphere)

more like 311 hours


RedPhysGun77 t1_itzw2so wrote

That's exactly why I failed mathematical analysis, thanks


_somename_ OP t1_itzw72y wrote

Da fuk

It's really hard to think about something original hum?


HardPawns t1_itzitup wrote

In writing every language travels at the speed of light, it’s not like it’s limited to speaking and sign language.


S-Vagus t1_itzs87k wrote

The limitation is not on the absorption of the information as light hitting the eyes is inevitable, unpacking the information is an exercise left up to the reader because otherwise why would I have ever written these words in partciular... let alone any other.


Solidus27 t1_itzk20c wrote

This is an incredibly confused statement. What about written text?


-TheDerpinator- t1_itztjmd wrote

That would be even slower as you would have to write it down before it reaches the other with the speed of light.


gkight t1_itzxz3i wrote

But it also takes time to move your hands to use sign language, so then it doesn't travel at the speed of light either


rcfox t1_itzzq07 wrote

You guys are conflating latency with throughput.


gkight t1_iu08np2 wrote

I'm just saying that if you're going to say that sign language travels at the speed of light then so does text, or hyroglyphics or whatever.

Writing down the text takes time, in exactly the same way as moving your hands to the correct position in sign language. But then the transfer of the information, once formulated, is at the speed of light.

So either they both travel at the speed if light or neither does, depending how you want to think about it. Either way the OP statement is false.


RyanH090 t1_itzy909 wrote

As I read somewhere else, if you account latency speed (i.e. brain processing speed), these 2 measures will become negligible.


NAND_110_101_011_001 t1_itzsuts wrote

Considering "language" is an abstract concept, I don't think there is such a thing as a "speed of language". If anything, language is merely information; thus, it travels at whatever the speed of its encoding medium, up to C.


4inalfantasy t1_itzogjb wrote

Well, seems like we are close to getting out of this solar system then....


Showerthoughts_Mod t1_itzfdbf wrote

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Remember, /r/Showerthoughts is for showerthoughts, not "thoughts had in the shower!"

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Rule-breaking posts may result in bans.


KazeArqaz t1_itzs0rv wrote

That nice, but when its behind your eyeballs, what's the point of speed?


SteamKore t1_itzu2js wrote

So because of the limitations of humanity, even sign language cannot travel at the speed of light, even though we see the sign there is just the briefest of delays as synapses fire in the brain allowing for the recognition and comprehension of the language which is fast, like stupid fast, but slower than the speed of light, only because the human eye and brain slow it down.


President_Calhoun t1_itzw9rm wrote

We should be trying to contact other planetary civilizations with sign language.


9v6XbQnR t1_itzx159 wrote

Its a fun thought!

Information density matters. How many words can each language speak per second? How many words can be accurately received per second.


themattboard t1_itzyk6r wrote

> Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the exception of bad news (which follows its own special laws)

--Douglas Adams