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Medium: Paradox

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Release Message: A ladder fits inside a garage which would normally be too small to contain it.

Description: The ladder paradox (or barn-pole paradox) is a thought experiment in special relativity. It involves a ladder, parallel to the ground, traveling horizontally and therefore undergoing a Lorentz length contraction. As a result, the ladder fits inside a garage which would normally be too small to contain it. On the other hand, from the point of view of an observer moving with the ladder, it is the garage that is moving, so it is the garage which will be contracted to an even smaller size, thus being unable to contain the ladder. This apparent paradox results from the mistaken assumption of absolute simultaneity. The ladder fits into the garage only if both of its ends are simultaneously inside the garage. In relativity, simultaneity is relative to each observer, and so the question of whether the ladder fits inside the garage is relative to each observer, and the paradox is resolved.