pillole di informazione sull'export di ortofrutta, di Thomas Drahorad
Relativity explained to fruit traders.
Giovanni is an Italian pear grower and he is facing a major problem this year. Being Italian he cannot use ethoxyquin anymore to prevent scald on his pears, unlike his Spanish and overseas colleagues who are still allowed to use it.
He tried many alternatives, but his fruit is not storing as well as last year.
So he starts thinking outside the pear box and calls his friend Luca for help. Luca is a physician: a different angle may bring new solutions.
Luca. “So Giovanni what is your problem?”
Giovanni. “My pears do not store as long as before and I am in trouble: the quality deteriorates and the value falls”
L. “Where do you store them?”
G. “In a state-of-the-art coldstore near Modena”
L. “And how do you get them to your customer?”
G. “Usually by truck but we are developing also a nice container traffic to overseas markets”.
L. “Interesting. We can definitely improve your process! You just have to combine in a more efficient way your storing and delivery process.
L. “Just store your pears while transporting them at a speed very close to the speed of light and you will kill two birds with one stone. First of all you will greatly improve your delivery terms: once you get your order it will take you just 3 thousands of a second to get them from Modena to Frankfurt. But, most important, you will store them for four or six months and when you deliver them they will be as fresh as in day one.”
G. “You are joking! How can this be?”
L. “Einstein realized more than a century ago that the faster you move, the slower the time goes by for you. You take two boxes of pears grown in the same orchard, same tree, same branch and store one in your coldstore and the other one in a container travelling nearly at the speed of light. After four months you get the order and you deliver the two boxes to your customer the same day. Although they are “twin boxes” your customer will cleary see that one box is old and one box is fresh. You did not store this latter box at controlled temperature, you did not use any anti-scald, nor you sprayed any special molecule; they just are as fresh as when they were harvested.”
G. “If this is true it looks a bit expensive.” says Giovanni.
L. “You are right but there would be a positive impact on the environment since you will take away a lot of lorries from the European roads and reduce the overall traffic to virtually zero!”
G. “I am not sure: pears would still have to travel from Modena to Frankfurt somehow. And if you store them in transit you will have millions of tons of Italian pears travelling around the world at the same time. Sorry it would not work”
L. “Another counterintuitive effect of travelling at the speed of light is that the fast container will greatly contract for any observer based in Modena or in Frankfurt, so that it would be nearly invisible.”
G. “Wait a moment, I do not want any bruising or mechanical damage on my pears!”
L. “Do not worry, the pears will travel safely and also the driver will not notice any change during his journey to destination. It is just how the packers, importers and consumers will see your pears travelling”.
G. “Maybe this could improve also my distribution and start selling my pears to market where only the Dutch pears arrived so far”
L. “Yes, you will be able to deliver to Luanda in Angola in just 30 thousands of seconds!”
G. “But will the Angola consumers have enough money to pay for my nice Abate pears?
L. “You can drastically reduce the transport costs by converting mass into energy: you will be able to deliver your pears to thousands of new consumers with just a few slices of your pears”
L. “Yes, everybody knows the formula E=mc2. It simply means that you can convert mass (that is the weight of your pear) into energy (fuel for example) by an enormous factor, which is, again, the speed of light.”
G. “Will my pear have to explode in a nuclear reactor?”
L. “Not necessarily, but you got exactly how efficient the process can be in turning mass into energy”
THIS MAKES ME HAPPY
G. “Now I realize that Einstein’s physics can really help my pear business, I just need to change my perspective!”
L. “On the other hand Einstein realized over a century ago that good fruit had an impact on his life, when he said “”A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?””
G. “He was thinking of a pear!”
L. “Are you sure?”