Ed Lake's web page
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If you want my opinion ......
you've come to the right place.
 
Welcome to Ed Lake's web site!
 
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I also have an interactive blog open for discussions
at this link: http://oldguynewissues.blogspot.com/
(And I have two science-related Facebook discussion groups, HERE and HERE.)

My latest comments are near the bottom of this page.
You can go directly to them by clicking HERE.

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A Crime Unlike Any Other book
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Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Ed the famous
                  detective
Click HERE to go to my web site about the anthrax attacks of 2001.
Click HERE to go to my interactive blog where the anthrax attacks of 2001 are discussed.
Click HERE to read my scientific paper titled "The Reality of Time Dilation".
Click HERE to read my scientific paper titled "What is Time?"


My interests are writing, books, movies, science, psychology, conspiracy theorists,
p
hotography, photographic analysis, TV, travel, mysteries, jazz, blues, and ...

just trying to figure things out.


Astronomy example picture big sleep
time article
A major interest: Fact Finding
                                  I have a fascination with Time and Time Dilation.                                Another interest: Movies Click on the above image to view a larger version.

My Latest Comments


Comments for Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, thru Sunday, Jan. 27, 2018:

January 22, 2018 - In a response to the comment I wrote yesterday, I received an email this morning reminding me that my cable box remote control can probably be programmed to also be my TV remote control.  That way I can use one remote control for both.   I knew that.  My cable box remote control is supposed to be a "Universal remote control," which can supposedly be used to operate my TV, my cable box, and certain functions of my BluRay player.  But, is it easier to pick up one remote control and push two or three buttons than to pick up one remote control, push a button, then pick up a second remote and push another button?   Researching the question, I found the cartoon below, which shows having multiple remote controls to be a problem.
too many remote controls

Then I found the cartoon below, which seems to show having multiple remote controls to be an easily met challenge.
too many remote controls

My feeling is that I am too busy trying to understand the universe, and I don't really have the time to try to understand a universal remote control.  A universal remote control solves a problem that I don't have.

Right now, I have a much bigger problem in trying to figure out why so many people misunderstand the First and Second postulates in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.  How can I convince them they are wrong if they cannot discuss the subject except in mathematical terms?  I cannot convince them using mathematics.  The problem doesn't have to do with mathematics, it has to do with LOGIC.  Their misunderstanding is NOT LOGICAL.  Neither is their argument that mathematics IS logic.

Back when I was working on this problem in order to write my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate, I collected dozens and dozens of papers and books on the subject.  I tried to organize them in a file in web page format that I never put on the Internet.  Since then, I've collected dozens and dozens of additional papers and books that aren't included in the web page.  Looking through some of them, I see all sorts of misunderstandings.  For example, on page 15 of Wolfgang Rindler's Essential Relativity: Special, General and Cosmological, it says this:
So the only function of the second postulate is to fix the invariant velocity.
And on page 61 it says this:
We have seen how Einstein’s second postulate (the invariance of the speed of light) seems to violate common sense and certainly violates Newtonian kinematics.
The Second Postulate isn't about the "invariance" of the speed of light!  It is about how the speed of the emitter does not affect the speed of light (because there is a maximum speed at which light can travel).  And it makes perfect sense, common or not!  Here, for the umpteenth time, is what Einstein wrote (translated into English):
We will raise this conjecture (the purport of which will hereafter be called the “Principle of Relativity”) to the status of a postulate, and also introduce another postulate, which is only apparently irreconcilable with the former, namely, that light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body.
That is so simple and clear.  How can physicist after physicist, author after author, turn that into something it does NOT say??!!!  And when you argue with them, they claim it may be what Einstein wrote, but it's not what Einstein meant. So, it becomes an opinion versus opinion argument about whether or not Einstein meant what he wrote, or did he mean to write what the mathematicians believe he meant?  Opinion versus opinion arguments are a total waste of time.

Sigh.  This is totally fascinating to me, but how do I convince people that Einstein meant what he wrote and what he wrote makes perfect sense, while the beliefs of the mathematicians do NOT make sense?  I tried that with my paper about the Second Postulate, but maybe I can argue it in some different way.  

I'm going to dig through all those papers and books to see if I can find a pattern to them or something that will undeniably show who is right and who is wrong.


January 21, 2018 - In the past few days, I've learned two lessons about what Carl Sagan meant by "common sense" in his book "The Demon-Haunted World." (See my January 18 comment.)  The first lesson I learned at the gym.  The second I learned in a discussion on my interactive blog

I've mentioned in previous comments on this web site the problems I've noticed with the TVs at my gym.  At my gym, there are 11 TVs, 6 mounted high on the wall in front of the rows of Exercycles and treadmills, and 5 more hanging from the ceiling about midway between the wall and the last row of treadmills.  They show six different networks.  Since November 3, all 11 TVs have been using the wrong screen size.  (I mentioned this in my December 31 comment.)   All the TVs show black bars at the top and bottom of the picture.  Like so:

tv with black bars on top and bottom

Everything these days is transmitted for today's 16x9 TV screens.  So, "normal" TV shows should fill the entire TV screen, like so:

16:9 TV image
You should only see black bars on the top and bottom if you viewing a CinemaScope movie or if you have an old TV with a narrower screen.  Like so:
Cinemascope black bars
Those black bars should NOT be there for normal stuff on CNN, NBC, ABC, etc.  The TV screens at the gym are 16x9 screens just like the one I have at home, and I don't have the black bars on my screen at home when I view CNN or the other networks.
 
I hadn't mentioned it to the gym management because I didn't want to make a pest of myself.  I had previously complained about them turning off CNN and NBC, and they had to call Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) to come in to turn CNN back on.  (They never did turn NBC back on.)  And they seemed to claim that they had to call Spectrum for all problems with the TVs. 

Then on Friday of last week, as I sat down on the Exercycle in front of the TV showing CNN, I noticed that 4 of the 6 TVs on the wall were dark.  None of the TV screens had been dark 20 minutes earlier when I was on the treadmill.  The one showing CNN wasn't dark, so it was not a problem for me, and I didn't tell anyone.  Then, about ten minutes into my 20 minutes on the Exercycle, the young woman who was tending the reception desk by the door came into the room carrying a remote control, and she turned on each of the 4 TVs that had been off.

BOING!  They had a remote control for the TVs!!  They did not have to call Spectrum.  Of course!!  I then realized that they probably only had to call Spectrum to change channels.  The controls for the channels provided by Spectrum were inside the wall somewhere, but the remote control for the TVs was available to the gym personnel.  I have two remote controls for my TV at home, too.  I have the remote control for the cable box, and I have a remote control for the TV.  The remote control for the cable box changes channels, the remote control for the TV turns the TV on and off, it adjusts the sound - and it also adjusts the picture shape and size

Since the young woman was right in front of me, I waved her over and pointed to the TVs to tell her that the screen size was wrong on all the TVs.  She just smiled pleasantly and told me that that was something they'd have to call Spectrum about.  I didn't want to argue with her, so I just let her go about her business.

When I was finished on the Exercycle, I wondered about the TVs hanging from the ceiling behind me.  I walked back to look at them, and sure enough, three of those TVs were still off.  Simple LOGIC had made me think that if most of the TVs on the wall had somehow been turned off, then some of the TVs hanging from the ceiling had also probably been turned off.  Or was it "common sense"? 

Then, when I'd finished my workout, showered, dressed and was on my way out the door, I stopped by the front desk and asked if I could look at the remote control for the TVs.  The young woman obediently handed it to me.  It was very different from the TV remote I have at home.  The one I have at home has a "WIDE" button that adjusts the screen size.  The one at the gym had no such button, but it did have a big button labeled "MODE" that isn't on my remote control.  Would that be the button to adjust the screen size?  I didn't know, and I didn't want to ask if I could experiment with it.  At that moment, one of the men from the gym came to the desk to get something from a drawer, and the young woman told the man that I thought that the screen images were all the wrong size.  The guy smiled condescendingly and said that they'd call Spectrum about it.  And he left.  So, did I.  But, before I did, I informed the young woman that three of TVs hanging from the ceiling were still off.  Her jaw dropped open, probably because she hadn't thought to check them.

It was a lesson in "common sense" as the term was used by Carl Sagan.  Their "common sense" was telling them that no one else was complaining about the screen size, so I must be mistaken.  Their "common sense" was telling them that the screen size was some technical matter that was handled by Spectrum, and Spectrum certainly must know what they are doing, so I must be mistaken.  My "common sense" (i.e., LOGIC) was telling me that CNN and the other networks do not transmit two different sized images.  I knew that I was using the right size image on my TV at home, the gym had the same shaped TV screens, so the gym must be using the wrong size image.

When I got home, I tried to find the instruction manual for their TV remote control on the Internet, but I couldn't find any that has a big "MODE" button.  So, I need to identify the model of the TV and/or the model of remote control they use at the gym to research it further.  Meanwhile, I'll just keep my mouth shut.

And that brings us to the other lesson in "common sense" that I learned on my interactive blog.

The guy I'm arguing with on my blog (he uses the "Anonymous" option for identification), thinks it is "common sense" that if dozens of college textbooks claim that all observers will measure light to be arriving at the same speed, regardless of their own motion, then that must be true.  And, if I disagree, I have to be wrong.  And my paper on the subject must also be wrong, regardless of all the experiments I list which show that I am correct.  It is just "common sense" that all those physics books cannot be wrong.

Plus, "Anonymous" believes that if Einstein disagreed with the mathematicians about their "all observers theory," Einstein's biographers would certainly have mentioned it.   That's just common sense. 

I have a hardcover copy of "Einstein: The Life and Times" by Ronald W. Clark on a bookshelf against the far wall behind my computer right now.  It has no mention of the Second Postulate problem, and it doesn't even have the word "postulate" in the index.  I explained to "Anonymous" that a biographer writes about what he has researched, and the "all observers" argument was probably something he didn't want to put into a popular biography, even if he was aware of it or understood it.  And I provided references to Einstein's lectures and letters where Einstein mentioned his problems with mathematicians.

The problem, as I am now beginning to understand it, is that I'm battling against "common sense."  And using logic to show that "common sense" is wrong on the subject of "the mathematicians' all observers theory" just makes no sense to those who use "common sense" to determine what is right and what is wrong.  And it doesn't matter how many experiments I provide which undeniably confirm that the "mathematicians' all observers theory" is wrong.  If it is one person against many others who are obviously intelligent, "common sense" says the many others who are obviously intelligent are right.  So, the only thing that will change the minds of people who are using "common sense" is to provide a lot of information showing that many other people agree with me.  Showing that I agree with what Einstein himself has written isn't enough.  Other people have to have found the same thing.  "Common sense" says that if one group of intelligent people disagrees with another group of intelligent people, then something can and should be done to resolve the conflict, because both groups cannot be right.  
         
I'm going to have to identify others who agree with me.  I've found a few documents which support Einstein's interpretation of his own Second Postulate against the mathematicians' interpretation.  I've even exchanged emails with some of them, but they seem reluctant to battle "the establishment" which these days seems to be controlled by the editors who run arXiv.org.  That means I have to find papers and books that got published without first going through arXiv.org.

And I'm going to find some way to locate the instruction book for the remote control used for the TVs at my gym.  I just found this on the Internet:

TV screen sizes

The middle column is for the TV's I and my gym have.  It is for today's 16:9 TVs.  The column on the right is for old 4:3 TVs.  The column on the left is for newer widescreen 21:9 TVs.  The TVs at the gym must be set for 21:9 images used on new 21:9 TVs, so the images look like the center image on the top row. 

And this reminds me of the last time I visited my sister and her husband.  They had problems getting rid of the dark lines and couldn't understand why there should be ANY dark lines on their TV.  So, when they got dark lines on the sides like the center column bottom row because it was an old TV show, they tried to adjust the TV to get rid of them.  The same with CinemaScope movies, which have dark lines at the top and bottom, but are NOT squeezed as is the case with the TVs at my gym.

I never before realized how complicated this is.  I wonder how many people voted for Trump because they figured "Make America Great Again" meant going back to when all TVs were the same size, and things weren't so complicated.


Comments for Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, thru Sunday, Jan. 20, 2018:

January 19, 2018 - Yesterday afternoon, someone who read the comment I wrote yesterday morning about Carl Sagan's use of the term "common sense" posted a comment to my interactive blog.  Here's part of what "Anonymous" wrote:
Tell me, Mister Lake, what does your research tell you about what Einstein was saying from 1905 to the year of his death in 1955 (He was a Prof. in Zurich, Prague, Berlin and then Princeton)? Did he say that ALL the other academic professors of physics over that half century had misinterpreted his ideas and were teaching their students, undergrads and grads, "nonsense"? If not, why not?
I responded by telling "Anonymous" that for the last 50 years of his life, Einstein endlessly complained about the way the mathematicians were misinterpreting his theories.  And he wrote books and papers further clarifying his theories. 

"Anonymous's" question, however, prompted me to do some more research.  I recalled reading one college physics text book which agreed with Einstein against the mathematicians, but I couldn't immediately find the notes I made about it.  Instead, I found an interesting article by someone named Steven Wykstra where Wykstra argues much of what I've been arguing about Einstein's Second Postulate.  The article (or letter) is titled "On Einstein's Second Postulate" and is from
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, 1 September 1976.  It seems to be a 3-page article, but I've only managed to access the first page.  That first page begins with this:
In a recent note Kenneth Schaffner has argued that Einstein shifts from one form of the second postulate (or 'light postulate') to another in the course of his 1905 paper.  The second postulate formulated by Einstein in his introductory section (hereafter "the second postulate-1"), Schaffner takes to be the "I.L.V. hypothesis", according to which the velocity of light is independent of motion of the light source.  That which Einstein gives as his second postulate in his second section (hereafter "the second postulate-2"), Schaffner claims is the stronger "C.L.V. hypothesis", which asserts that the speed of light is a constant which is independent not only of the motion of the light source, but also of the state of motion of the observer's frame of reference.  In an earlier article to which Schaffner refers, Adolf Gründbaum has similarly interpreted the second postulate to be the C.L.V. hypothesis.

I believe this exegisis [i.e., "interpetation'] of the second postulate-2 to be mistaken for the following reasons.
Wykstra then goes into his reasons for rejecting Schaffner's version, which are the same reasons I have.  Judging from that page, this is an argument that has been going on for awhile.  And I've also had a college professor tell me that Einstein's phrasing in the "introductory" part of his 1905 paper conflicts with Einstein's phrasing in the "second section," and it has been a constant source of argument for decades.  But, I can't get anyone to point out exactly where the "second section" conflicts with what's in the introductory" section.  They always tell me it's obvious and I should find it myself, or take some college courses to help me understand the obvious.  I suspect it is in the form of a mathematical equation.

This morning, I'd hoped "Anonymous" would have more to say, but he seems to have gone away.  However, he helped me realize that I need to keep better track of the arguments, and I specially need to keep better track of the arguments by people who agree with me.  It will help when people think I'm the only person arguing that what most colleges teach about the Second Postulate is nonsense.

January 18, 2018 - I keep thinking about this paragraph from Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World" which bothered me greatly when I first read it:
No physicist started out impatient with commonsense notions, eager to replace them with some mathematical abstraction that could be understood only by rarefied theoretical physics. Instead, they began, as we all do, with comfortable, standard, commonsense notions. The trouble is that Nature does not comply. If we no longer insist on our notions of how Nature ought to behave, but instead stand before Nature with an open and receptive mind, we find that common sense often doesn’t work. Why not? Because our notions, both hereditary and learned, of how Nature works were forged in the millions of years our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. In this case common sense is a faithless guide because no hunter-gatherer’s life ever depended on understanding time-variable electric and magnetic fields. There were no evolutionary penalties for ignorance of Maxwell’s equations. In our time it’s different.
Sagan used the term "common sense" in a very different way than the way I use it.  I use it to mean something that is logical.  Sagan seems to use it to describe something that is believed.  Unfortunately, I've never questioned anyone who used the term "common sense" to find out exactly what they meant by it.  But, I did encounter a lot of people on discussion forums who argued that there are a lot of things in physics that do not agree with common sense.  And when asked to provide examples, they always provided examples that were illogical to me but logical to them, the prime example being that light travels at c for all observers.  They use it the way it is used in college text books.  Here's an example from page 11 of Space, Time and Einstein: An Introduction, by J. B. Kennedy:
At the start, with the police car at a standstill at the side of the road, the speeding car zips away at 150 kilometres per hour. As the police car reaches 30 kilometres per hour, the speeding car travels only 120 kilometres per hour faster. As they accelerate, the relative speed of the fugitive drops down further and further, and finally dwindles to zero as the police catch up and race alongside flashing their lights. This is common sense. If the speeding car goes at 150 kilometres per hour and the police are chasing at 130 kilometres per hour, then their relative speed is 20 kilometres per hour.

But light is not commonsensical. Light races away from any
standing or moving body at the same speed. The speed of light relative to any moving body is a constant.
And here's how "common sense" is used on page 12 in the 6th edition of the college text book Modern Physics, by Paul A. Tipler and Ralph A. Llewellyn:
Although each postulate seems quite reasonable, many of the implications of the two together are surprising and seem to contradict common sense. One important implication of these postulates is that every observer measures the same value for the speed of light independent of the relative motion of the source and observer.
When you provide many experimental results which show that light travels at c + or - v for someone who is moving toward or away from the source of light (as I do in my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate), they just start calling you names and declaring that you are stupid.  They cannot argue the logic, and they simply claim the experiments were flawed.  To me, they are simply misreading what Einstein wrote about his two "postulates" in his 1905 paper on Special Relativity.  And they are repeating what they memorized in school, without really understanding anything.

Here's the only time I use the term "common sense" in my paper about Einstein's Second Postulate:
Einstein says nothing about what others may observe or measure for the speed of light, since their movements do not actually affect the speed of the light they observe. However, an observer approaching the source of light will measure the light to arrive at c + v, where v is his velocity, and if the observer is moving away from the source of the light, he will measure the light to arrive at c – v. That is totally in tune with common sense. How could an observer affect the speed of light he didn’t create? That would make no sense.
I did a Google search for common sense vs logic, and found that a lot of people want to know the difference.  And, there seems to be a standard reply:
Logic is used to reach a conclusion using the most accurate route available to us mankind. Common sense however is not always accurate and can sometimes be based on assumptions, social acceptance and no facts. logical thinking is a process which should involve no facts based on emotion.
That doesn't say what "common sense" is.  It just says it is not always accurate.  Neither is logic, even though it is "the most accurate route available."  Is "common sense" sometimes based on "assumptions, social acceptance and no facts," or would that be better described as beliefs that are devoid of common sense?

I'd never really thought about scientists and physicists possibly having a different definition of "common sense" than I have.  Now I can see I'll have to be careful about using that term.

January 16, 2018 - At about 10:15 this morning, I finished reading another library book on my Kindle: "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan.  (I have read many other books by Carl Sagan, and I have several on a bookshelf behind me, but this one I don't recall every hearing of before I spotted it on the list of available science-related Kindle books at the library.)

The Demon-Haunted World

While it was an extremely interesting book, it was also very frustrating at times, because Sagan repeatedly wrote at great length about things that are of little or no interest to me (witchcraft trials, alien abductions, religious visions, etc).  And then he'd switch to some scientific subject of great interest. 

I highlighted a lot of passages, enough to turn into a 24-page .DOCX file when copied from the MyClippings.txt file in the Kindle.  Here are two passages that can be used as examples of what the book was all about:
Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science. Science thrives on errors, cutting them away one by one. False conclusions are drawn all the time, but they are drawn tentatively. Hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved. A succession of alternative hypotheses is confronted by experiment and observation. Science gropes and staggers toward improved understanding. Proprietary feelings are of course offended when a scientific hypothesis is disproved, but such disproofs are recognized as central to the scientific enterprise.
and
Pseudoscience is just the opposite. Hypotheses are often framed precisely so they are invulnerable to any experiment that offers a prospect of disproof, so even in principle they cannot be invalidated. Practitioners are defensive and wary. Skeptical scrutiny is opposed. When the pseudoscientific hypothesis fails to catch fire with scientists, conspiracies to suppress it are deduced.
Ah, yes.  That's something I've seen many times in my arguments with True Believers of many kinds.  I also highlighted this passage:
In 1993, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished.
That's the only mention of Flat Earthers in the book.  But what it says about people who believe in alien abductions and religious visions can be applied equally well to Flat Earther beliefs.  Here's another quote from the book:
Only 9 percent of Americans accept the central finding of modern biology that human beings (and all the other species) have slowly evolved by natural processes from a succession of more ancient beings with no divine intervention needed along the way.
The book is absolutely fascinating in parts, one really great example being when it used as an example of "scientific thinking" the things that Native American and aboriginal trackers did (as seen in countless movies): determining how fast an animal or person was moving and how long ago he passed by, based upon the foot or hoof prints left behind in the dirt.  That was a science that someone figured out centuries ago and passed on from generation to generation. 

It's also fascinating when Sagan describes our system of government and how it was developed by a scientist, Thomas Jefferson.  It's based not only upon the consensus of the people, instead of upon the wishes of some dictator, it's also based upon doing experiments.  This passage is from one of the final chapters in the book (unfortunately, passages highlighted on a Kindle aren't identified by page number but by some cryptic "location" number and time):
It is a fact of life on our beleaguered little planet that widespread torture, famine, and governmental criminal irresponsibility are much more likely to be found in tyrannical than in democratic governments. Why? Because the rulers of the former are much less likely to be thrown out of office for their misdeeds than the rulers of the latter. This is error-correcting machinery in politics. The methods of science—with all its imperfections—can be used to improve social, political, and economic systems, and this is, I think, true no matter what criterion of improvement is adopted. How is this possible if science is based on experiment? Humans are not electrons or laboratory rats. But every act of Congress, every Supreme Court decision, every Presidential National Security Directive, every change in the Prime Rate is an experiment. Every shift in economic policy, every increase or decrease in funding for Head Start, every toughening of criminal sentences is an experiment.
It's a 457-page book in print form. It seemed a lot longer, due to all the material that was of little or no interest.  Normally, I would just read from my Kindle during breakfast and lunch, but I wanted to finish this book, so yesterday and this morning I spent hours on my couch reading.  My Kindle is now set to start on a new and shorter book that I hope will not contain so much unwanted material.

January 14, 2018 (C)  - I keep waking up each morning thinking about writing a scientific paper titled "The Logic of Light," but then I get distracted into other things.  I've already started working on the paper about 8 or 10 times.  Each time I start by approaching the subject from a different angle.  Then I realize there are things I need to explain before I can write about what I'm currently writing about.

Now I'm thinking I need to begin by explaining and defining "the problem."  The problem, once again, is that colleges and universities around the world are teaching nonsense.  They are teaching students that two waves of light energy can cancel each other out via a process they call "Destructive Interference."  But there are two major problems with that:

1. "Destructive interference" implies that the light energy is destroyed, and the law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be destroyed.

2. When attempting to justify the absurdity of problem #1, physic teachers explain that "destructive interference" does not really destroy energy, because the energy is somehow transferred to another wave via "constructive interference."  But, the facts say light is NOT a wave.  It is a particle.

Interestingly, this is clearly a MAJOR controversy.  I'm definitely not the first to identify the problem.  A Google search for "destructive interference" and energy conservation finds dozens of articles where the question is being asked and the answers always seem to be variations of gibberish.  One guess is that the kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy.  Another guess is that the destruction of energy in one wave becomes the construction of energy in another wave.  A third source argues basically the same as the previous argument, but does it with mathematics.  A fourth explanation basically has the teacher saying he doesn't know, but he thinks it has something to do with the source of the light. A fifth source has a combination of all of the above.  A sixth source seems to suggest that the equipment doing the experiment plays a role in the destruction and somehow preserves the energyA video on the subject seems to suggest that it's all magic, the energy from the destroyed wave is magically transferred to the heightened wave.

Having defined the problem, my paper would then have to clarify that light is NOT a wave, it is a particle that moves in a wave-like pattern.  I can cite many experiments which make that clear, plus I can cite and quote Richard Feynman making it very clear.   And, of course, no one knows how the energy of a particle can be transferred to another particle when all the particles in the experiment are known to always have the same amount of energy.

The next part of the paper would then have to define what is actually happening,  based upon experimental results and logic.  I can visualize it, but the problem is to put it down in words.  The words have to make the answer very clear, so clear that no one can intelligently challenge the logic or the answer.  (There will certainly be countless people who will simply not accept it, and will just call me an idiot.)

The biggest problem I have is that physicists performing the "double-slit experiment" never seem to address some key questions:  First, what happens to all the light that enters the experiment but does not get "destroyed" via "destructive interference" and also does not end up as bright lines on the wall? 

If the answer is that all the non-destroyed light does end up as bright lines on the wall, the second question then becomes: How did all the light get to the wall if there are obstacles in the way (like closed slits and the wall that contains the two slits)? 

The single-photon double-slit experiments seem to indicate that the same amount of light hits the wall when one slit is open and when two slits are open.  How did all the light photons get through the remaining slit?  Imagining the light as a wave instead of as a photon doesn't answer the question.

My paper has to try to answer that question.  And, I'm not totally certain I have the answer ... yet.

January 14, 2018 (B) - I had to go to the grocery store this afternoon, and since the store is right across a narrow street from my local Barnes & Noble book store, I decided to once again see if they had Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury in stock.  There was nothing in the windows and nothing on any shelves or tables at the front of the store.  (They did have a small table covered with other books about Trump, that wasn't there on my previous visit.)  So, I asked the clerk behind the Customer Service counter when they expected to receive copies.  He replied that they've receive several small shipments, but they sell out almost immediately.  We were both amused by the phenomenon.

Additionally, on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Friday night, they mentioned that Amazon has another book titled "Fire and Fury: The Allied  Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945" that is selling extremely well because people are buying it thinking that it is the "Fire and Fury" that everyone is talking about. 

And, when I checked Amazon's web site to look for that WWII book, I found that Amazon has a new "book" on sale that is titled "Fire & Fury?: Profiles of Intelligence: Michael Wolff - A Biographical Look into the Mind of a Fake News Punk," and it was supposedly authored by I. M. Stu Pido.  It was published 4 days ago, on January 10, by
Citizens Revealing Ethicless & Apathetic Media (PAC) (C.R.E.A.M. PAC).  ("PAC" stands for "Political Action Committee".)
 
scam book

The description of the "book" provided by the "author" doesn't say much, but it contains this information about C.R.E.A.M. PAC:

Citizens Revealing Ethicless & Apathetic Media (PAC) is a political organization formed for the purpose of addressing the social, civic, legal, political and constitutional consequences of the media that provides for the citizens of the United States. Our focus is to evaluate reporting that we feel is ethicless and apathetic. Five general initiatives are utilized to accomplish this goal: 1) Identification, 2) Reporting, 3) Education, 4) Issue Advocacy and 5) Representation.
It also says this about the "book" that is supposed to consist of 254 pages:
Our lawyers require that we advise you that this book is almost blank and contains precisely 5294 words.    
I'm not sure what the purpose of the book is, but using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, you can see that the entire book appears to be page after page that contains only this:

This page intentionally left blank due to lack of evidence
on the subject matter. 

Copyrighted Material 
FIRE & FURY?


That's 18 words.  Divide 18 into 5294 and you get 294, so they must have counted all the words on the copyrights page and the phony table of contents.

I can imagine some people are buying the $24.99 paperback just to have it as a "conversation piece."  However, I cannot imagine why anyone would buy the Kindle version they sell for $9.99.

Needless to say, I find this all very interesting. 

January 14, 2018 (A)
- Yesterday afternoon, while running errands, I finished listening to CD #17 in the 17-CD set of the audio book version of "The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley" by Eric Weiner.

Geography of Genius

It was an absolutely terrific book to listen to while driving.  I'm not sure if I found it in the travel section or in the science section of my library's web site.  It fits well in both. The author travels to eight different locations around the world to study and talk about the "geniuses" who lived there.  The only "complaint" I might have is that there were many occasions when I wished I had a printed version of the book in front of me so that I could highlight some interesting passage that was just read to me.  There's a lot in the book that is worth remembering and quoting.  I searched the Internet and found a free .epub version of the book, which doesn't allow highlighting, but, when I returned home, if I remembered what passage I wanted to highlight, I could find it in the .epub version and copy and past from it into a .DOCX files of "notes."

Here's the first passage I made a note of:
Some use genius to describe a very smart person—someone with a high IQ—but that is overly narrow, and misleading. Plenty of people with extremely high IQs have accomplished little, and conversely, plenty of people of “average” intelligence have done great things. No, I am speaking of genius in the creative sense—as the highest form of creativity.
And here's another:
Francis Galton may have gotten much wrong, but his definition of genius, though typically sexist, points to something important: “A genius is a man to whom the world deliberately acknowledges itself largely indebted.” Admittance to the club of genius is not up to the genius but to his peers, and society. It is a public verdict, not a private assertion. One theory of genius—let’s call it the Fashionista Theory of Genius—states this unequivocally. Admission to the club of genius depends entirely on the whims, the fashion, of the day. “Creativity cannot be separated from its recognition,” says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the main advocate of this theory. Put more bluntly, someone is only a genius if we say so.
So, the book isn't about people who were super smart, it's about people who were very creative ("creative geniuses"), who were recognized for being creative, and who changed the world via their creations.  The book is also about where these creative geniuses lived, and how where they lived seems to have affected their creativity.  The author makes a good case for certain locations at certain times being very conducive to creative thinking.  Specifically the author visits eight places: Athens, Greece (Plato & Aristotle); Hanzhou, China (Su Tungpo); Florence, Italy (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo); Edinburgh, Scotland (David Hume); Calcutta, India (Rabindranath Tagore); Vienna, Austria (Mozart, Freud and Einstein); and "Silicon Valley" (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg), which is the area around Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, California. 

At the end of the book the author sums up what qualities it seems a geographical location must have in order to spawn geniuses.  He calls them the "Three Ds"; disorder, diversity, and discernment. Disorder is necessary to shake up the status quo, to create a break in the air.  Diversity, of both peoples and viewpoints, is needed to produce not only more dots for the genius to connect to solve a problem, but also different kinds of dots.  And discernment is basically the ability to tell a good idea from a bad idea.

I don't keep a whole book's worth of CDs in my car.  I keep only the CD I'm listening to in the player, and behind the visor I keep the next CD in line.  I finished "The Geography of Genius" while at a stop light as I was outbound on the way to run errands.  So, I ejected it. The CD I took from behind the visor, the next book in my listening queue, is a humor book, I'll Mature when I'm Dead, by Dave Barry.  It's an audio book I had once put at the bottom of the queue, but, as I was about to finish Geography of Genius, I moved it to the top.  Maybe I did it just to create disorder or to have a little diversity, or perhaps I decided I wasn't in the mood for another serious book.   The other two books I've burned onto CDs are relatively serious: My Week with Marilyn, by Colin Clark (8 CDs) and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari (17 CDs).   I'll Mature when I'm Dead is only 4 CDs.  So, if I made a mistake, it will be a short mistake.


Comments for Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, thru Sunday, Jan. 13, 2018:

January 13, 2018
- When I tried to open the .epub version of Fire and Fury via Adobe Digital Editions this morning, I was informed that the loan had expired and the book cannot be opened.  And no other program can open it, either.  That's kind of what I expected would happen, but it's the first time I'd ever borrowed an .epub book from my library, so I wasn't sure.  No great loss.  I have a Kindle version, which I'm certain won't be deleted.  Plus, I have "screen grabs" of about 200 highlighted pages which I saved because I figured that the .epub file might get deleted.  Strangely, while they wouldn't let me access the book on my own computer, the file was still there.  I had to delete it to recover the disk space.

January 12, 2018
- Hmm.  This morning I had to shut down everything to let Windows do a software update on my big laptop computer.  When they were finished, I opened my .epub version of Fire and Fury and found that all the highlighting I had done was gone.  Coincidentally, my loan from the library has also expired, so I'm waiting to see if the .epub file will also be somehow automatically deleted. 

Hmm.  I was just notified that I can now borrow a KINDLE version of Fire and Fury from my library.  I did so.  It's now in my Kindle, where I know they will not delete it.  And because borrowing that Kindle book meant I could add another book to my "hold" list, I put "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win" by Luke Harding on the list.  I'm #20 in line waiting to read one of the 2 copies the library has purchased.   

Meanwhile, using Adobe Digital Editions software and the .epub version, I did a word search through Fire and Fury for the word "pubic."  I'd watched the TBS TV show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" last night, and Samantha mentioned that there were some misspellings in Fire and Fury.  She provided this example from page 287:
Bannon, with mounting ferocity and pubic venom, could abide them less and less every day.
Hmm.  I just copied and pasted that!  So, something has changed.  I can't highlight, all the highlighting I had done has disappeared, but now I can copy and paste, which I couldn't do while I was reading the book. 

It seems to me that Samantha Bee could also have used this misspelling of the same word from page 130, which I've copied and pasted below:
Bannon was making his first official pubic appearance of the Trump presidency
Hmm. Two odd Freudian misspellings of the same word.  (I did a search for "pubic" on my Kindle version and found the same two occurrences.  A search for "public" found it was used 17 times.) The only typo I'd made a note of while reading the book was this one which I've copied and pasted from page 11:
In early August, less than a month after Ailes had been ousted from Fox News, Trump asked his old friend to take over the management of his calamitous campaign. Ailes, knowing Trump’s disinclination to take advice, or even listen to it, turned him down. This was the job Bannon a week later.
Apparently the sentence in red should be "This was the job Bannon took [or "assumed" or "accepted" or "began"] a week later.

You can probably find a typo in almost any book.  We humans are simply prone to errors, and in the process of writing a book there will inevitably be mistakes.  I asked two people to proof-read A Crime Unlike Any Other for me.  Both found typos, but interestingly, they found different typos.  And, of course, I  found some they didn't find.  Michael Wolff can probably correct the typos for the second edition of his book.  But, there will almost certainly still be a few left.  


January 11, 2018
- I'd almost forgotten about the still-unsolved Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 mystery.  It's another mystery that attracted a lot of conspiracy theorists, and it thus became of interest to me, causing me to track all events related to the mystery for the past 4 years.  It's now summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, which means there is good weather in the Southern Indian Ocean. And, it appears there is going to be a new search for the missing plane.  It was mentioned on the NBC nightly news last night, so I researched it this morning.

According to USA Today, the Malaysian government is now - in effect - offering "up to" a 70 million dollar reward for finding the aircraft.  Unlike previous efforts where Malaysia helped pay for people to do the searching, the new policy is that they will pay only if the plane is found, and only if it is found within 3 months.  USA Today phrases it this way:

the government of Malaysia ... will pay up to $70 million if the company [doing the searching] can find the wreckage of the plane or its two flight recorders within 3 months.
and
Payment is based on a sliding scale, starting at $20 million if the items are found earlier within a 2,000-square-mile section of the main search area.
The Huffington Post says something similar:
U.S.-based Ocean Infinity announced Wednesday that the Malaysian government had accepted its “no-find, no-fee” contract, with a reward of up to $70 million if wreckage from MH370 is located within 90 days.
I had to go through a half dozen sites before I found a clear explanation of the deal on The Washington Post's web site:
If the mission is successful within three months, payment will be made based on the size of the area searched. [Transport Minister] Liow said the government will pay Ocean Infinity $20 million for 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square mile) of a successful search, $30 million for 15,000 square kilometers (5,790 sq. miles), $50 million for 25,000 square kilometers (9653 sq. miles) and $70 million if the plane or recorders are found beyond the identified area.

Ocean Infinity Chief Executive Oliver Plunkett said the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban last week, is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by Jan. 17 to begin the hunt.

He said eight autonomous underwater vehicles, which are drones fitted with high-tech cameras, sonars and sensors, will be dispatched to map the seabed at a faster pace. Plunkett said the underwater drones can cover 1,200 square kilometers (463 sq. miles) a day and complete the 25,000 square kilometers within a month.
So, I've got something else to think about as I try to get back to work on my scientific paper about the logic of light.

January 10, 2018 (D) - I don't go to the gym on Wednesdays, but I still usually have to run errands.  This afternoon, I had to take back two videos I'd rented from Redbox.  The store where I'd rented them was across a narrow street from my local Barnes & Noble book store.  Curious about Fire and Fury, and wanting to see and thumb through a printed copy, I walked over to the store.

There were no copies on display in the windows.  I thought that was odd.  But, then I looked around inside and there weren't any copies anywhere inside the store either.  Another man came in and started looking around, too.  I guessed he was looking for the same thing I was looking for, so I asked him.  Yes, he was looking for Fire and Fury.  He suspected they were sold out.  But, I figured if they were sold out there would be an empty space where the books had been on display.  There wasn't.  I told the guy that I'd ask the clerk behind the counter.

I was informed that they hadn't yet received any copies, but the clerk was willing to reserve a copy for me when it did come in.  Hmm.  Interesting.  I told the other customer, "I guess the publisher didn't expect such demand and didn't print enough copies."  And we walked out together.  Neither of us had expected that finding.  I wonder how many others had visited the store expecting to find copies on sale.

Added Note: After putting the above comment on my site, I was sent an email with a link to a New York Post news article titled "Barnes and Noble misses out on bombshell Trump tell-all."  The NYP article says,

None of the chain’s 632 stores across the country had the red-hot book when they opened their doors Friday morning — a situation the company blamed on the weather and the publisher, Henry Holt & Co., which moved up the publication date to Friday from Jan. 9.

The retailer, whose shares had already stumbled out of the gate on Friday, falling 15 percent on disappointing holiday sales results, had no choice but to turn away disappointed customers.

So, at least one of "Life's little mysteries" has been solved.    

January 10, 2018 (C)
- This morning I started looking through some of the passages I had highlighted and/or underlined in Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury.  I was looking for one of the passages which I clearly remembered as describing the three factions fighting for Donald Trump's attention in the White House.  I found the passages after lunch.  They're all on page 123, 124 and into page 125.  There's too much to retype and show on this web site, but here is a key bit from it:

From their separate corners each man pursued his own strategy. Bannon did all he could to roll over Priebus and Kushner in an effort to prosecute the war for Trumpism/Bannonism as quickly as possible. Priebus, already complaining about “political neophytes and the boss’s relatives," subcontracted his agenda out to Ryan and the Hill. And Kushner, on one of the steepest learning curves in the history of politics (not that everyone in the White House wasn’t on a steep curve, but Kushner’s was perhaps the steepest), and often exhibiting a painful naïveté as he aspired to be one of the world’s savviest players, was advocating doing nothing fast and everything in moderation. Each had coteries opposed to the other:  Bannonites pursued their goal of breaking everything fast, Priebus’s RNC faction focused on the opportunities for the Republican agenda, Kushner and his wife did their best to make their unpredictable relative look temperate and rational.

And in the middle was Trump.
One problem I have with the idea of impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office, or with him resigning, is that he would be replaced by Mike Pence.  For me, that poses a question: Would the country be better off being led by an incompetent know-nothing or by someone who is downright evil?  Pence isn't mentioned very often in Wolff's book, but I highlighted this passage from page 129:
Although many saw him [Pence] as a vice president who might well assume the presidency someday, he was also perceived as the weakest vice president in decades and, in organizational terms, an empty suit who was useless in the daily effort to help restrain the president and stabilize the West Wing.
Here are two paragraphs I highlighted from page 188 that are about Trump.  I then did a "screen grab" of the page and drew a red line around the two paragraphs:
The unique problem here was partly how to get information to someone who did not (or could not or would not) read, and who at best listened only selectively. But the other part of the problem was how best to qualify the information that he liked to get. Hope Hicks, after more than a year at this side, had honed her instincts for the kind of information - the clips - that would please him. Bannon, in his intense and confiding voice, could insinuate himself into the president’s mind. Kellyanne Conway brought him the latest outrages against him. There were his after-dinner call - the billionaire chorus. And then cable, itself programmed to reach him -to court him or enrage him.

The information he did not get was formal information. The data. The details. The options. The analysis. He didn’t do PowerPoint. For anything that smacked of a classroom or of being lectured to - “professor“ was one of his bad words, and he was proud of never going to class, never buying a textbook, never taking a note - he got up and left the room.
Here's a passage I highlighted on page 197, then I took a "screen grab" of the page and underlined the last 5 words twice in red:
Mainstream media's self-righteousness and contempt for Trump helped provide a tsunami of clicks for right-wing media.  But an often raging, self-pitying, tormented President had not gotten this memo, or had failed to comprehend it.  He was looking for media love everywhere.  In this, Trump quie profoundly seemed unable to distinguish between his political advantage and his personal needs - he thought emotionally, not strategically.
Those words seem to confirm what I wrote about Trump here and on my blog back on March 23, 2017: "Trump thinks emotionally, NOT logically."

I highlighted all of page 284, and then I also took a "screen grab" of the page and underlined three sentences in red.  The first is from the middle of the page:
The president continued to stew about The Devil's Bargain, the book by Joshua Green that gave Bannon credit for the election.
I found the mention of The Devil's Bargain to be interesting.  I have The Devil's Bargain on my reserve list at the library.  It's been on the list since December 16.  The library says I am #17 on the waiting list for the 3 copies they have.  (They have 53 copies of Fire and Fury.)

The second underlined quote is from near the bottom of the page.  Here's the entire paragraph with the two underlined sentences:
But overriding the management of the harrowing West Wing dysfunction, [General] Kelly’s success - or even relevance, as he was informed by almost anyone who was in a position to offer him an opinion - depended on his rising to the central challenge of his job, which was how to manage Trump. Or, actually, how to live with not managing him. His desires, needs, and impulses had to exist - necessarily had to exist - outside the organizational structure. Trump was the one variable that, in management terms, simply could not be controlled. He was like a recalcitrant two-year-old. If you tried to control him it would only have the opposite effect. In this, then, the manager had to most firmly manage his own expectations.
Wolff often writes very convoluted sentences.  That paragraph begins with one such sentence.

January 10, 2018 (B) - While I was reading "Fire and Fury," I had set my DVR to record some TV talk shows on which the author, Michael Wolff, was scheduled to be interviewed. 

I recorded "Meet The Press" on Sunday morning and watched it after supper on Sunday evening.  I was absolutely "riveted" by it, my jaw hanging open as I hung on every word. 

I recorded "Morning Joe" on Monday morning and watched it after supper on Monday evening.  It was okay, but Joe Scarborough kept interrupting and talking too much. 

I recorded "The Late Show with Steven Colbert" on Monday night and watched it after supper on Tuesday night.  It was okay, but the sound kept going out every so often, and the picture would sometimes scramble briefly.  I think about 25% of the interview was just silence and moving lips.  That made me wonder about the cause.  Liam Neeson was Stephen's first guest, and there were no sound problems during that interview (which was longer that the Wolff interview).  Nor were there any problems during the rest of the show.  The problems only happened while Michael Wolff was being interviewed.  Was it because every TV on my cable system was being tuned in to watch that interview, somehow reducing the cable signal strength?  Or was someone at the cable office doing something? 

I was thinking of trying to watch it again via "On Demand" when it becomes available in a day or so (presumably).  Then, this morning, I realized it's probably on YouTube.  Yup, Here it is:



No sound problems, so the problem I had was entirely local.  And it seems to me that Colbert was a little uncertain about how he should react to the book.  It seems he was expecting a scientific analysis, "How the Trump White House Operates," with at least a half dozen footnotes and references on every page, but what the book turned out to be is an adventure story, "Life Among the Warring Tribes of the Trump White House."  

January 10, 2018 (A)
- Hmmm.  One of the things I have on my "things to do list" when I turn on my computer each morning is to check the morning news.  One of the sources I check is the Huffington Post.  This morning, the Huffington Post had a video news story about Lifetime Fitness gyms turning off all TV cable news shows.  I didn't know how to show that video here, so I checked to see if there was a YouTube video on the same subject.  There is.  It's a clip from a CBS news show:



Both videos name other places which have also decided to turn off cable news shows because they generate too many arguments and/or generate too much stress for people.  While I don't know how to provide the Huffington Post video here, I can show a "screen grab" I took of one frame of the video:

lifetime fitness reaction

I gather it is a Tweet or a comment from some other social media site.  But, I'm hoping that my gym is where the guy will now be going, and that my gym will continue to show CNN cable news.

And that reminds me of a passage on page 93 of Wolff's book.  The passage is about a planned meeting to take place during dinner:
The dinner was called for the bar at the Hay-Adams hotel, but Arthur Schwartz, a Bannonite PR man, got into an altercation with the Hay-Adams bartender about switching the television from CNN to FOX, where his client, Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman of one of the president's business councils, was shortly to appear.
The bartender evidently refused to change the channel, since the book then says,
Schwartz, in high dudgeon, announced that he was checking out of the Hay-Adams and moving to the Trump Hotel.  He also insisted that the dinner be moved two blocks away to Joe's, an outpost of Miami's Joe's Stone Crab.
I found that interesting, but it also reminds me of the famous Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."  It might be very "interesting" to watch the government being run by a band of idiots, but it is also very scary.

January 9, 2018
- At almost exactly noon today, just before eating lunch, I finished reading the .epub edition of  "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff. 

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

It's an absolutely fascinating book.  What made it so fascinating to me was that it seemed to put all the pieces together.  Like almost everyone else, I've been watching the news about the Trump White House for the past year, and what the book did or me was to put a lot of things into an understandable context.  While reading, it was like I kept saying to myself, "Ah!  That's what that that was all about." And "Ah!  So, that is why that happened."  And "Okay, yes, it makes sense now."

Of course, the book didn't answer all of my questions.  I'm still not clear on why Trump ran for President.  The book makes it clear that no one expected Trump would win - least of all Trump himself.  So, why did he run?  On page 18 there's a suggestion that Trump wanted to be "the most famous man in the world."  He wouldn't have to win to do that.  He'd just have to lose by a small amount.  On page 37 it suggests at one time he was thinking of being Chris Christie's vice president if Christie got the nomination.  I couldn't find any indication he thought of it as a way of making money.  It seems he most likely did it because he was bored, and his TV show The Apprentice was running out of steam and losing its audience.

There are quite a few statements of what Trump's "problem" is.  It says on page 119:
Trump didn't read.  He didn't even skim.  If it was in print, it might as well not exist.  Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate.  (There was some argument about this, because he could read headlines and articles about himself, or at least headlines on articles about himself, and the gossip squibs on the New York Post's Page Six.)  Some thought him dyslexic; certainly his comprehension was limited.  Others concluded that he didn't read because he didn't have to, and that in fact was one of his key attributes as a populist.  He was post-literate -- total television.

But not only didn't he read, he didn't listen.  He preferred to be the person talking.  And he trusted his own expertise - no matter how paltry or irrelevant - more than anyone else's.  What's more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of attention.
It says on page 55, "You could tell him whatever you wanted, but he knew what he knew, and if what you said contradicted what he knew, he simply didn't believe you." 

On the other hand, if the subject is something he knows nothing about and doesn't care about, it says on page 76 that he tends to believe whoever was the last person to talk to him.  And, if it is a subject he truly doesn't care about, he'll just walk out on you.  Over and over the book suggests Trump is like a child with a short attention span and a constant need to be comforted and to be the center of attention.   

The book also makes it very clear why the Trump White House is like a bunch of clowns hitting each other with rubber baseball bats.  There are three factions trying to get Trump's attention and to control the White House: (1)  His family, which he seems to listen to most often, and thus are behind the biggest mistakes, (2) Steve Bannon, who has his own ultra-right-wing agenda, and (3) White House staffers who are trying to keep things from falling apart. 

I'm running out of time while writing this.  I should be quoting a lot more from the book, but there seems to be no way to copy and paste from the .epub file.  And just finding the passages I want to quote is not as easy as I thought it would be, because I highlighted so much of the book - probably close to half of it. 

Anyway, I highly recommend the book.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even if it was a total pain in the ass to read it on my big laptop, while working the mouse to highlight passages, and often doing "screen grabs" of pages I wanted to store safely away in case Adobe Digital Editions deletes my .epub file when my library loan time is over.  Plus, and most annoying of all, the computer screen would go dark for about 5 or 6 seconds whenever I highlighted anything, and also when I moved to the next page.  I think it was because Adobe Digital Editions had to save the entire book in order to save the highlighting.   

I might write more about it if I realize there were important things I forgot to mention. 

January 7, 2018
- This morning, after eating breakfast, I paused in my reading of "Fire and Fury" on my big laptop.  I was on page 104 as I took the laptop into my office to begin my Sunday morning on-line routine, which includes the writing of this "Sunday comment."

When I checked my emails, I found that another book I had "On Hold" at my local library system was available to download.  It was the audio version of "You Can't Spell America Without Me," by Alec Baldwin.  So, I downloaded the 5 MP3 files, which I'll use to burn 5 CDs when I get some free time.  At the moment, I have only two books on loan from the library.

Library books on loan

For some reason, even though I have borrowed "Fire and Fury," my library still shows that I am also waiting to borrow a copy.  It says I am #1 in line to borrow one of the 53 copies they purchased.  Here's part of my  "On Hold" list:  

Books I have on hold

I'm hoping it isn't just a glitch and that I'm in line to borrow a Kindle copy.  Reading the .epub version on my big laptop is a pain.  Highlighting passages doesn't always work smoothly, and you cannot copy and paste from the .epub version I have.  So, if I want to comment on and quote something I read in the book, I have to retype the passage or go through some other tedious procedure.  (I've probably highlighted something on at least 90 of the 104 pages I've read so far.  That's more highlighting than I've never done to any other book I've ever read.)
 
For example, here's an interesting passage from page 89 (or so):
[Kellyanne] Conway thought that the president, in addition to being aware of the hostility in New York, was making a conscious effort to be “part of this great house.” (But, acknowledging the difficulties inherent in his change of circumstances and of adapting to presidential lifestyle, she added, “How often will he go to Camp David?“ the Spartan, woodsy presidential retreat in Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. "How ’bout never”)

At the White House, he retreated to his own bedroom - the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms (although Melania was spending scant time so far in the White House).  In the first days he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room. He reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: “If my shirt is on the floor, it’s because I want it on the floor." Then he imposed a set of new rules: nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s - nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed.
I thought that was really interesting stuff about Trump's psyche.  I'll write a full review of the book when I finish it, but one point I want to make now is that I don't know for certain what page that passage is on.  The .epub version seems to have problems with page numbers, probably because the .epub page size does not correspond to the book page size.

So, while writing this comment I thought I'd use Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to find the exact page number.  But, it turned out they only have some pages from the very beginning of the book, absolutely no page numbers, and nothing after the first couple pages of chapter 1.

Most interestingly, however, I noticed they already have 1,012 customer reviews for the book, and they all seem to be from "verified purchase" customers.  The book has only been out for two days.  Moreover, the first review (by "Smooth Sluggo") shows that 12,015 people found his review to be "helpful."  Wow!  

The first bunch of reviews seem to be all by people who bought the book mainly to thumb their noses at Trump for trying to stop the book from being released.  The book appears to be #1 in sales in all of Amazon's categories.

I don't know exactly how I lucked out to get a copy from my library on the very first day of release, but I'm going to stop here with writing this comment and get back to reading it. 


Comments for Monday, January 1, 2018, thru Saturday, January 6, 2018:

January 5, 2018
- I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to all the news stories about Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" if it wasn't for one item which said the book claimed: "Donald Trump Didn't Want to be President."

Donald Trump Didn't Want to be
                              President

The drawing above is used in a New York Magazine article about the book.  It supposedly shows Trump looking horrified at being elected.  The article contains the following quote from the book:

Bannon, who became chief executive of Trump’s team in mid-August, called it “the broke-dick campaign.” Almost immediately, he saw that it was hampered by an even deeper structural flaw: The candidate who billed himself as a billionaire — ten times over — refused to invest his own money in it. Bannon told Kushner that, after the first debate in September, they would need another $50 million to cover them until Election Day.

“No way we’ll get 50 million unless we can guarantee him victory,” said a clear-eyed Kushner.

“Twenty-five million?” prodded Bannon.

“If we can say victory is more than likely.”

In the end, the best Trump would do is to loan the campaign $10 million, provided he got it back as soon as they could raise other money.
It's been bothering me that for the past 7 months Trump has been out doing "fund raising" speeches for his 2020 re-election campaign.  One news story about one fundraiser three months ago says,
The private party, held at an undisclosed location, will cost attendees $2,700 a ticket and an extra $35,000 to take a photo with Trump.
Another news story from last June is headlined "Trump rakes in $10 million at first re-election fundraiser." 

My question is:
What happens to the money Donald Trump is raising if he decides not to run, or if he is impeached or resigns before 2020? 

And what happened to all the money that was collected during his 2016 campaign that wasn't spent?  Who pocketed it? 

Maybe I'm missing something, but it looks to me like Donald Trump could be perpetrating one of History's greatest swindles right in front of everyone.  And it now looks like that could have been his motive for running for President in the first place.  When he lost, he could just pocket the left-over campaign donations and walk away.

It can't be as simple as that, can it?  How do they keep track of donations?  DO they keep track of donations?  CAN they keep track of donations?

It's not something I can or want to investigate personally, but I definitely want to read Wolff's book.  So, even though the book wasn't officially published until today, I wanted to get my name on the waiting list at my library, and yesterday I spent some time figuring out how to do that. 

The library has a "hold" category where you can put your name on a "waiting list" for a book they have, and the library will automatically check out the Kindle, or ebook or audio version of the book to you when a copy becomes available.  You can have only 10 books on that list.  I already have 10 books on the list.  Plus, "Fire and Fury" isn't out yet, so there was no way to use the "waiting list" to reserve a copy.  So, I tried the "Wish List."  I learned I can put as many as 2,000 books on my "wish list," and they'll notify me when each one becomes available.  But, again, the "wish list" is only for books the library already has available.  

A little research found another category: the "Recommendation" list.  You can recommend that the library purchase a copy of a book, and if the library does buy a copy, they will send you an email advising you that it is available.  Yesterday, I recommended they buy "Fire and Fury."

I didn't receive any email, but, this morning I checked my Recommendations and found an .epub version was available for me to borrow.  So, I borrowed it using my big laptop.  Then I had to figure out how to read it.  At first, I didn't actually download the book, I only downloaded an .acsm trigger file that Adobe Digital Editions has to open and turn into an .epub book that I can read.  I didn't want to read the book on my big laptop, I wanted to read it on my small laptop.  But, there were a lot of rules I'd never seen before.  To make a long story short, I didn't want to spend the time to figure out how all the rules worked, so I downloaded the  321-page .epub book into my big laptop.  And now it's time to start reading it.  It's been borrowed for 7 days.  Will it still be in my big laptop after 7 days?  I dunno.  I don't think so.  However, if they somehow delete it, and if I want to, I can always borrow another copy for my Kindle, where I can read it and refer to it at my leisure, since I know from experience that they do not delete anything I put on my Kindle.  Until then, I probably won't be doing much work on anything else.  I'll just be reading "Fire and Fury." 

Added note:  This afternoon I received an email from the library informing me that, "We recently purchased a title you recommended: Fire and Fury.  You've been placed on the title's waiting list, and you'll be notified when it's available for you."  I was reading page 37 when the notification arrived.  So, I'm not the only one who doesn't know exactly how the .epub borrowing process works.


January 3, 2018(B)
- Hmm.  I must have used Amazon.com to look for some book about Flat Earth theories, because yesterday Amazon sent me an email with a list of other books about Flat Earth theories they have in stock.  I wasn't about to spend any money on such a book, but a little research found that some of them are available for free if you know where to look.

"Terra Firma: The Earth Not a Planet, Proved from Scripture, Reason and Fact," by David Wardlaw Scott is available in pdf format for free.  It's a 288 page book originally published in 1901.  In the very first chapter the author rants about how gravity is nonsense.  He states on page 5:
The truth is that Gravitation, Attraction, Cohesion are only scientific names invented to cover men's ignorance of God's works in nature, pretending to explain facts, when, in reality, they explain nothing at all.
And he states on page 8,
Gravitation is only a subterfuge, employed by Newton in his attempt to prove that the Earth revolves round the Sun, and the quicker it is relegated to the tomb of all the Capulets, the better will it be for all classes of society.
Prior to that, starting on page 1, he provides some reasoning behind his beliefs:
I remember being taught when a boy, that the Earth was a great ball, revolving at a very rapid rate around the Sun, and, when I expressed to my teacher my fears that the waters of the oceans would tumble off, I was told that they were prevented from doing so by Newton's great law of Gravitation, which kept everything in its proper place.  I presume that my countenance must have shown some signs of incredulity, for my teacher immediately added—I can show you a direct proof of this; a man can whirl around his head a pail filled with water without its being spilt, and so, in like manner, can the oceans be carried round the Sun without losing a drop.  As this illustration was evidently intended to settle the matter, I then said no more upon the subject.

Had such been proposed to me afterwards as a man, I would have answered somewhat as follows — Sir, I beg to say that the illustration you have given of a man whirling a pail of water round his head, and the oceans revolving round the Sun, does not in any degree confirm your argument, because the water in the two cases is placed under entirely different circumstances, but, to be of any value, the conditions in each case must be the same, which here they are not. The pail is a hollow vessel which holds the water inside it, whereas, according to your teaching, the Earth is a ball, with a continuous curvature outside, which, in agreement with the laws of nature, could not retain any water; besides, as the Scriptures plainly tell us — 2 Pet. Hi. 5, the water is not contained in the Earth, but the Earth in the water. 
I found that very interesting, and it made me wonder if bad teachers and bad examples are responsible for most other Flat Earth theorists.  As he explains his beliefs, almost anyone can see where he is totally misunderstanding things.

"The Flat Earth Conspiracy" by Eric Dubay is a 252 page book published in 2014 that is also available for free.  And so is "One Hundred Proofs the Earth is Not a Globe" by William Carpenter, a 42 page "book" published in 1885.  I haven't had time to peruse either of them, but I downloaded and saved copies for when and if I can find the time.

January 3, 2018(A) - Instead of working on my scientific paper about the Logic of Light, I spent most of this morning on Facebook, starting a thread about a really fantastic video that was on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site back on December 3.  Click HERE to view it.  It's a 3 minute 45 second video which shows the moon rising over a group of onlookers.  In that short time, the moon goes from behind the horizon to being over the heads of the onlookers, and the video is not edited, nor is it a time-lapse video.  Check it out.  Here's a screen grab from the 1 minute 42 second mark:

moonrise 1   
And here's a screen grab from the 3 minute mark:

moonrise 2

It's an interesting example of how your point of view can change what you see.

January 2, 2018(C) - When I got on the treadmill at the gym this afternoon, I saw that the TV that is set to CNN was once again working properly.  It had been off since last Thursday.  So, there is someone besides me who notices these things!  The second TV that shows CNN was also working again, confirming that neither TV was broken.  This time, the problem was fixed in less than a week.  The remaining problem is: I don't know if someone complained or if the manager noticed it himself and had it fixed.  But, it goes on the "Positive" side of this year's ledger of negative and positive happenings.   

January 2, 2018(B) - Not everything is on the positive side of the ledger this new year.  When I checked my web site logs yesterday, I saw that early on New Year's Eve morning, starting at 02:15:49 a.m. and ending at 02:17:37 a.m., there were about 40 attempts to post WordPress information to my web site.  They were all blocked by my host's software, but it was a somewhat different kind of attack than I've ever seen before, because nearly every one of the post attempts was from a different IP address.  The addresses checked out to be from all over the world, everywhere from Sihanoukville, Cambodia (the first time anyone has accessed my site from Cambodia) to Elephant & Castle, England (which appears to be a "tube stop" and a shopping center in London).  Most post attempts, however, were from cities in Asia, particularly China.

The post attempts didn't do any harm, so I just logged them and made no attempt to block them.  They appear to be from hacked computers which use WordPress software, and by some accounts there are about 90,000 such hacked computers around the world. 

This morning, I checked my logs to see what happened yesterday, and I found about 40 more post attempts between 19:16:55 p.m. and 19:18:00 p.m.  This time, however, there were some repeats and some post attempts from different IP addresses in the same area, Elephant & Castle, England, being one example.  The lines below in bold are from December 31st, all others are from January 1st:

94.177.249.69         Elephant & Castle, England
94.177.250.144        Elephant & Castle, England
94.177.252.206        Elephant & Castle, England
94.177.254.86         Elephant & Castle, England
Xi'an, China, being another example:
111.20.46.85         Xi’an, China
111.20.46.87         Xi’an, China
111.20.46.112        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.115        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.116        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.119        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.120        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.125        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.129        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.130        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.135        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.136        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.143        Xi’an, China
111.20.46.152        Xi’an, China
My records show no other visits from anyone in the 94.177 IP range in the past 3 years, so, I blocked all further visits from that range.  The same for 111.20.46. 
 
But, I have to wonder what is going on.  I don't think it is any kind of attack upon me personally.  I suspect a lot of other web sites are seeing the same kind of post attempts.  The problem is: I don't know what is going on.  And there doesn't seem to be any serious attempt to correct the problem.  Most of the activity on my web site logs comes from hacked computers using WordPress software!  On some days it seems like as much as 90 percent of the log entries for my site relate to the problem.  That has to be a major problem for the Internet in general.  But who can you talk to about it?  The Internet has no central authority.

A Google search for hack computers using wordpress finds a lot of articles about hacking WordPress web sites.  But, what's missing is that those hacked web sites appear to attempt to hack other web sites, like a virus.  And, somehow, they think my site uses WordPress software.  Or, they just picked my site at random and there are millions of sites like mine that are getting these post attempts.

It seems to me that this has got to be a major problem.  But, it also seems that it is just another problem that is too complicated for most people to understand, so nothing is going to be done about it until the entire Internet (or some large part of it) just collapses from all the unsustainable activity resulting from hacking.

Or maybe this isn't as big a problem as it seems to me.  Time will tell.


Added note: While I was working out at the gym this afternoon, I realized that I really needed to know more about WordPress.  So, I looked it up.  I learned that it is web-site creation software.  It's free.  And about 26% of all web sites on the Internet use it.  I learned that

WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.

You’re in good company if you use WordPress to publish on the web. Many famous blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies and celebrities are using WordPress.

For example, famous blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch are both on WordPress. News outlets like The New York Times’ blogs and CNN’s on-air personality blogs all use WordPress, too.

Another web site HERE provides a lot more information.  

I use different free software for the same purpose, software that is not nearly so widely used.  However, I imagine that many of my web site host's customers use WordPress software.

So, the hackers are trying to hack web sites that were created using WordPress software.  That explains a lot of things, and it seems to make the problem less serious for me.  And it's another "positive" item for this year's ledger of positive and negative happenings.  All I had to do to move it from the negative side to the positive side was to research it.  Live and learn.

January 2, 2018(A) - A couple days ago, I posted this photo of astronaut Bruce McCandless as part of a comment I wrote here.

floating free in space

After posting the comment here, I wrote a different comment which included a link to a Flat Earther news story, and posted it with the same picture to the "Science, Philosophy, and Psychology Discussion" Facebook group.  It's a "closed group," so you won't be able to see anything on it without becoming a member.  My post took about a day to get past the moderator, so it didn't show up until yesterday.

My post got a good reaction.  5 "loved" it, 5 others were "wowed" by it, and 80 people "liked" it.  But, of course, there was one who argued that it was a fake, since you cannot see any stars behind McCandless.  That's the same argument that conspiracy theorists have about photos taken on the moon.  Before I could respond, the moderator of the group responded by saying,

cameras work using the available light. in sunlight there is so much light that to prevent overexposure the time of exposure is short and the aperture will be small. however to get stars in the background, because they are small and dim you need a longer exposure and a wider aperture setting. the cameras are not set up to capture the light of the stars. so you will either get foreground shots of the station and people or you will get stars. it is due to the exposure. now if you knew anything about taking photographs of stars you might know that. also if it were going to be faked as you are implying they would have put the stars in.
So, all I could do this morning was try to make things more clear by posting this:
I concur with [the moderator]. It's the way cameras work. There are no stars in the photo because you need a longer exposure to see the stars, and a longer exposure would mean either that the earth and the astronaut would be overexposed, or that they would be blurred due to movement while the lens was open.

Conspiracy theorists argue the same thing about photos taken by astronauts on the moon. The stars cannot be seen because you would need a longer exposure to see them. And the rest of the photo would be overexposed.

It takes a lot of photons for a very tiny, dim object to be seen. You can collect more photons with a bigger the lens or a longer exposure.

If you could see stars in the photo, that would indicate that the picture is faked.
So far, there's been no counterargument from the guy who thinks the picture is a fake.  So, the year is starting off right.  It could be further improved if the guy would say, "Ah!  I hadn't thought about that.  Thanks."

One person also mentioned that the horizon wasn't curved in the picture.  But, it is.  It just isn't curved as much as a Flat Earther would claim it must be for the earth to be round.  When that was pointed out, there were no further arguments.

January 1, 2018
- I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!


Comments for Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, thru Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017:

December 31, 2017
- Boy, I'll be glad when this year is over!!  I was awakened this morning at around 3:30 a.m. by the fire alarm going off in the hallway outside of my apartment.  I had to put some clothes on and go out into the hallway to check things.  There was no indication of any fire.  No smoke, no cooking smells.  I could see one of the smoke detectors in the upstairs hallway had a red light on, indicating that it was the one that triggered the alarm.  I then had to call the fire department to get them to turn off the alarm.  I also had to wait around to let the firemen and two police officers into the building to check things over.  It was the third fire alarm in the past 8 days.  The other two were in daylight hours.

Then at around 5 a.m. this morning, the alarm went off again.  Again I called the fire department.  Again I got dressed to let them in. And at 6:40 a.m., the alarm went off again.  I called the fire department, but I guess I convinced them that it was a false alarm of some kind, since all they did was send around a police patrol car to turn off the alarm.  I didn't even have to let him in.  It seems they turn off the alarm somewhere outside, probably where the electric meters are located.

At 7:45, while I was shaving, the alarm went off for the 4th time this morning.  Again I called the fire department.  They sent a truck, I let them in, and apparently they called the apartment house management to advise them of the problem.  As of this moment, 10:55 a.m., there have been no more alarms. 

This morning's four false alarms made me realize that the daytime alarm on Wednesday and the daytime one last Sunday were probably false alarms, too.  Even though I neither saw nor smelled any smoke those times, I just assumed that those alarms where triggered by someone cooking and burning something on the stove, then opening the hall door to let out the smoke, which sets off the main alarm.  Five of the six times I was the one to call the fire department, although I can't be certain that someone else didn't call, too.  The one last Wednesday occurred while the apartment office was open, and they would hear the alarm, so I let them do the calling.  Only once did someone else open their hallway door to see what was going on.  

I guess the other tenants just leave it to me to take care of.  I don't mind, since even if one of them had called the fire department, I'd call them, too, just to be certain someone did. 

But it makes me think of the situation at the gym.  Once again someone has turned off CNN on the TVs.   The gym has 11 TVs mounted on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.  Both TVs that show CNN were working on Wednesday, but on Thursday they were both turned off.  I mentioned it to the manager the last time it happened (see my comments for October 26 and November 3).  It took them over a week, but they eventually turned CNN back on again.  The manager told me that the TV was broken, but obviously that wasn't true, since it was only the TVs showing CNN that were off, and I knew there was a campaign underway to turn off or change channels on TVs in gyms and airports and waiting rooms which show CNN.  (Donald Trump doesn't like CNN, so neither do his supporters.)

So, what should I do?  Should I ask the manager to turn CNN on again?  What if he is the one who turned off CNN?  If he didn't do it, who did it?  The night manager?  It's my understanding that the controls for the TVs are inside the wall somewhere.  Who would have access to them there? 

And if that isn't nutty enough, when Spectrum (Time Warner Cable) turned CNN back on again on November 3, they adjusted all 11 TVs so that they now show the wrong screen size.  All 11 TVs are now set to a "letterbox" setting, which would be fine for CinemaScope movies, but for regular TV it means the images are squished and there is a dark bar at the top and bottom (and CinemaScope movies are also squished, with even wider dark bars).  Why am I the only one who notices this?  Or am I the only one who cares and wants to see it corrected? 

Which, of course, makes me think of Flat Earthers.  I don't care if Flat Earthers believe the earth is flat, or if they are just arguing that the earth is flat in order to have something they can use to attack "the government" and all "authorities."  But, it bothers me that almost no one seems to care.  A couple days ago, I put a page about some Flat Earther beliefs on my interactive blog, but, as far as I can tell, no one has even bothered to look at it.  They visit other pages, but not that page.

Sigh.  And, of course, there are the scientific subjects I address in my papers, specifically the solid evidence that top colleges and universities are teaching absolute nonsense about how the speed of light is measured by outside observers.  No one seems to care.  Try as I might, I cannot even get anyone to intelligently discuss the subject.  I can tell by checking the site statistics that a few people are reading the papers, but I've never had anyone contact me about them.  And my attempts to discuss the issues on a Google forum just result in people launching insults and attacking me personally, instead of any kind of intelligent discussion.        
I keep thinking that Trump supporters seem to be angry with the system, so they elected Trump to fix things.  But Trump is part of the problem, not the cure.  He knows nothing about how things work, and when he tries to fix things, he just makes them worse.

I can only hope that in 2018 people will start paying attention to what is going on and will start discussing how the problems can be solved, instead of just sitting behind closed doors and expecting someone else to fix it all.  But I know it is just an idle hope and there is almost no chance of any improvement actually taking place.

I also hope that I'm not the only person on earth who thinks the image NASA has on their Astronomy Picture of the Day web site this morning is a great one.

Floating free in space

It was taken in 1984, and shows astonaut Bruce McCandless floating free outside of the space shuttle Challenger.  McCandless died last week at age 80.  Flat Earthers will undoubtedly argue that the picture is a fake and that McCandless never existed.  But, somehow that helps me to enjoy the picture even more.

December 29, 2017
- *^&#$*@&#!!!  I awoke this morning thinking about the scientific paper debunking "destructive interference" that I've been working on, and I got what might be some good ideas of how to attack the problem.  But then, as I continued to lay in bed waiting for it to be time to get up, I started to think once again about the crazy arguments from Flat Earth believers.  The two examples of their beliefs that I mentioned in yesterday's comment were chosen at random, and this morning I regretted not mentioning one of my favorites: the Flat Earther beliefs about airline flights. 

Here is #46 from
Eric Dubay's book "200 Proofs Earth is Not a Spinning Ball":
46) On a ball-Earth Cape Town, South Africa to Buenos Aries, Argentina should be a straight shot over the Atlantic following the same line of latitude across, but instead every flight goes to connecting locations in the Northern hemisphere first, stopping over anywhere from London to Turkey to Dubai. Once again these make absolutely no sense on the globe but are completely understandable options when mapped on a flat Earth.
And #47:
47) On a ball-Earth Johannesburg, South Africa to Sao Paolo, Brazil should be a quick straight shot along the 25th Southern latitude, but instead nearly every flight makes a re-fueling stop at the 50th degree North latitude in London first! The only reason such a ridiculous stop-over works in reality is because the Earth is flat.
And #48:
48) On a ball-Earth Santiago, Chile to Johannesburg, South Africa should be an easy flight all taking place below the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern hemisphere, yet every listed flight makes a curious re-fueling stop in Senegal near the Tropic of Cancer in the North hemisphere first! When mapped on a flat Earth the reason why is clear to see, however, Senegal is actually directly in a straight-line path half-way between the two.
Below is the map most commonly used by Flat Earthers (note that there's a ring of ice (an "ice wall") all around the edge to keep people (and the oceans) from falling off the flat earth):

Flat Earth Map

The map above appears to be based upon the projection map below from 1892, which is not a "flat earth" map, but just a "projection" of the earth's surface with the North Pole in the center:

Map of Earth - north pole view

Below is one image the Flat Earthers use.  Note that the routes are chosen so that they would cross Antarctica, and they ignore shorter, actual airline routes that go to and from the places depicted but do not require flying over Antarctica.  Plus, the route from San Paolo, Brazil, to Perth, Australia, shown on the map below as passing closest to the South Pole would be a 9,240 mile flight, and the maximum range of a Boeing 747-400 is 8,380 miles.

Air flights in southern hemisphere

Yesterday, I used Google Maps to check if there were any non-stop flights from New Zealand to Chile.  I found that there is one non-stop flight per week from Auckland to Santiago.  However, I also found there are five non-stop flights per week from Sydney, Australia, to Santiago, Chile. 

This morning, I decided to plot an around-the-world trip from Sydney to Sydney via flights that the Flat Earthers say "do not exist."  (All the costs mentioned below are for round trip non-stop tickets.) 

1.  Sydney to Santiago takes 12 hours 20 minutes and costs $3,304.
2.  Santiago to San Paulo, Brazil takes 4 hours 10 minutes and costs $591.
3.  San Paulo to Johannesburg, South Africa: 10 hours 25 minutes.  Cost: $2,603.
4.  Johannesburg to Sydney takes 14 hours and costs $2,818.

Plotting the route on the Flat Earth map looks like this:

Flat Earth trip  
So, according to Flat Earthers, to get from Sydney to Santiago, you'd have to fly over Los Angeles.  And to get from Johannesburg to Sydney, you'd have to fly over Saudi Arabia and China.  And the people who regularly fly those routes evidently never notice that they have to travel much greater distances to get from place to place, and they have to fly distances that are far beyond the range of any commercial aircraft.  Do the Flat Earthers believe that the passengers are all hypnotized before departure so that they won't notice how long the trip actually takes and how they had to land in Los Angeles to refuel? 

When viewed on a projection map where the South Pole is at the center, the route looks very different.  It looks like this:

Trip around the south pole

It's interesting that the Johannesburg to Sydney route shown above does not cross much of Australia.  When you look at it on a globe, it's pretty much the same as above.  But, on Google Maps, the route cuts directly across Australia because they use a "flat earth" projection map like the one below:

world map 

If someone would pay the $9,316 round trip fare for me (plus $1,681 to go from Milwaukee to San Paulo, Brazil, and back to Milwaukee again), I'd certainly be happy to make the trip(s) to see where the hypnotizing takes place.   I'd even be willing to do it one way from San Paulo to San Paulo to save costs.

One positive thing I have to say about Flat Earthers is that it is very interesting to examine their beliefs and to compare their nonsense to known reality. 

But, I'm going to have to try to stop thinking about their beliefs so that I can get back to work on disproving the "destructive interference" nonsense that is taught in colleges and universities around the globe (or around the flat earth).


December 28, 2017
- I'm still trying to work on a scientific paper about the logic of light, but I'm not making much progress.  It's probably mostly because I haven't yet found the right way to explain the subject.  But, I also keep getting distracted by other things, like the increasingly popular screwball theory that the Earth is really flat, not a globe.

This morning I found that Eric Dubay's 35-page book "200 Proofs Earth is Not a Spinning Ball" is available for free.  So, I browsed through it.  One of the more interesting "proofs" is #15:
15) If the Earth were truly a sphere 25,000 miles in circumference, airplane pilots would have to constantly correct their altitudes downwards so as to not fly straight off into “outer space;” a pilot wishing to simply maintain their altitude at a typical cruising speed of 500 mph, would have to constantly dip their nose downwards and descend 2,777 feet (over half a mile) every minute! Otherwise, without compensation, in one hour’s time the pilot would find themselves 31.5 miles higher than expected.
How many adults on this planet, besides Eric Dubay, do not know how altimeters work?  Does he think that airline pilots are all part of "a global conspiracy" (pun intended), or does he think that they do not understand how altimeters work?  If you use an altimeter to keep 35,000 feet above the ground, it doesn't make any difference if the earth is round or flat.   So, why would an airline pilot need to make constant altitude corrections?

The book also contains a lot of arguments about how, if the world was a globe, you wouldn't be able to see as far as it is known you can see, because things would be beyond the horizon.  A lot of it is false arguments about various light houses.  An example is "Proof" #91:
91) The lighthouse at Port Said, Egypt, at an elevation of only 60 feet has been seen an astonishing 58 miles away, where, according to modern astronomy it should be 2,182 feet below the line of sight!
Port Said Lighthouse

Dubay provides no source for his claim that the lighthouse "has been seen an astonishing 58 miles away.  The counter argument is that the 58-mile number is a statement about how much light is produced by the lighthouse, not how far away you can see the light from some boat.  The lighthouse emits enough light for a human to see the light from a distance of 58 miles (but you'd have to be in an airplane to see it).  Plus, according to Wikipedia, the lighthouse is 56 meters high, which is 184 feet.  So, Dubay doesn't even bother to get his facts straight. 

Researching further, I found that claims have been made about how far you can see the Port Said Lighthouse since at least the 1880's.  Here's part of an article from 1889:

Article about Port Said Lighthouse
 
That made me wonder how far you should be able to see from atop Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) if the world was flat.  Shouldn't you be able to see the entirety of Lake Michigan?  The Willis Tower web site, however, says you can only see 40 to 50 miles (due the the curvature of the earth).

There's no point in telling a True Believer or conspiracy theorist that he made a mistake.  They'll just get angry, call you names, and attack you personally.  But, examining their arguments can be educational.  It makes you look at things in ways you never looked at them before. 

December 26, 2017
- I found I had some free time on my hands yesterday, so I listened to the entire 80 minute MP3 audio-book version of "Dave Barry's Greatest Hits."

Dave Barry's Greatest Hits

Dave Barry was a syndicated humor columnist for the Miami Herald, and the book is a collection of his columns.  It wasn't until this morning that I realized that what I'd listened to was an abridged version of the book.  Looking at the index of the Kindle edition via Amazon's "Look Inside" edition, while skimming through the audio version, I can see the audio version skips over most columns.

But, that's fine with me.  I probably wouldn't have been able to get through the entire book in audio form.  The humor is almost certainly best enjoyed by reading it, not by listening to someone else read it.  A few days ago, I borrowed and created a 4-CD set (4 hours, 16 minutes) for his book "I'll Mature When I'm Dead."  I'm going to put it at the bottom of my listening backlog.

I'm not saying I didn't like the book, or that I don't like Dave Barry's humor.  I'm just saying that it seems to be humor that is best read, not heard.   Here's a brief sample from the first column/chapter in all versions of the book, a column titled "Why Humor is Funny":
Ever since prehistoric times, wise men have tried to understand what exactly makes people laugh.  That's why they were called wise men.  All the other prehistoric people were out puncturing each other with spears, and the wise men were back in the cave saying: "How about: Here's my wife, please take her now.  No.  How about: Would you like to take something?  My wife is available.  No. How about ..."
I chuckled more while reading that brief section than I did while listening to the entire 80-minute abridged version of the book.  Reading that, I can visualize some cavemen gag writers sitting around dreaming up and arguing about one-liner jokes they are creating for a caveman version of Henny Youngman. When reading, you can easily pause to think about it.  You can't do that as easily while listening to an audio book.

I've got another Dave Barry book waiting to be read on my Kindle.  It's titled "Dave Barry in Cyberspace."  I've moved it up in the queue.  
      
Live and learn.

December 24, 2017
- Hmm.  It's Christmas Eve morning.  And, as I type these words, it's snowing outside.  Ho ho ho. 

This morning, NASA provided me with an interesting early Christmas present.  Their Astronomy Picture of the Day web site has this image of the SpaceX rocket launch plume over California from two days ago:

SpaceX rocket launch plume

The actual picture is about ten times the width and height of what I show above.  You can view the full-size picture by right-clicking on the image and doing a "view image," or by going to the link I posted above the picture.  You can also watch a 1½ hour YouTube video about the launch by clicking HERE

The video was shot "live," so the first 12 minutes is mostly just waiting for it to be launch time.  But there are also segments where aspects of the satellite system are explained.  Unlike most satellites everyone is familiar with, these satellites travel in a North to South orbit, instead of West to East.  That's why they were launched from Vandenberg AFB in California.  From there the rockets can head straight south over water, so, if something goes wrong, the debris won't fall on any populated real estate.  The separation of the second stage from the first stage rocket occurs at 2 minutes and 44 seconds after launch.  That's what the image above shows.  About an hour later, the rocket actually deploys TEN satellites, one at a time, during a period of about 15 minutes.  The launch of the 9th satellite at around the 1 hour 25 minute mark in the video is the most interesting, since the satellite is sitting right in front of the camera during the entire sequence.

The second stage separation was on the news last night, and it seemed like half the people who took videos and pictures of it thought it was the end of the world, or, at minimum, an alien invasion.  Of course, I'm not sure what I'd have thought if I'd been driving down some California highway and saw it as it happened.  No doubt it would have sent cold shivers up my spine.  But, I'd like to think that I'd have pulled over to the side of the road so I could just watch it as I tried to figure out some earth-based explanation for it.  And, I'd be aware that Vandenberg AFB was not far away, located right where the smoke trail came from.

It, of course, reminds me of the research I did last week into the Flat Earther movement.  I have to wonder what they think about it.  They probably believe it is all just a show for the masses, to make us think some private company is really putting satellites into orbit, when, in the Flat Earther reality, what we ignoramuses think of as expensive satellite communications is actually done with ordinary, cheap ground-based antennas, so that the evil people who control the government and everything else can pocket the monetary difference.
 
Last week, while I was working out at the gym, I happened to mention to the guy on the machine next to me that a convention of "Flat Earthers" had been held in October in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a sell-out crowd of about 400 people attended.  I thought the guy would be amused by it, as I was, but, instead, he asked me how did I know they weren't right.  As we talked, it became clear to me that he felt such things were just a matter of opinion, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.  The phrase he used was "You have to respect their view."  My response was, "No, I don't."  I explained that you can see where they are wrong as they explain things.  But, that made absolutely no impression on him. 

I didn't press the matter, since in past discussions I learned that he had a very quick temper and gets very angry if you disagree with him.   

Yesterday, I was going to look at some videos made by Flat Earthers and found a YouTube video about the convention.  Here it is:



It's tempting to create some kind of web page where I could go through each one of their claims and show that simple experiments will prove them to be nonsense. But others are already doing that.  And I need to focus on how photons work.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
   
 

Comments for Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, thru Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017:

December 20, 2017
- I don't really have anything to write about this morning, but I feel I should write something anyway.  If I don't, the regulars who read this web site might think I've died.

I'm still spending a lot of time researching the double-slit experiment, looking for a version of the experiment which would answer the questions I have.  But, I haven't been able find any such version.  Most experiments just demonstrate what is taught in college physics courses, teaching that light has properties of both waves and particles.  I'm trying to figure out what the properties of a photon are.  How can a photon act like a wave sometimes and act like a particle at other times?  I can imagine how some of it happens, but I need to find experiments which would help me confirm what I envision.  And all videos and articles and books seem to skip over that aspect.

I'm also studying what Thomas Young wrote about his first experiment, which didn't involve any slits.  He put a card edgewise into a beam of light coming from a pinhole.  Like so:
Thomas Young's card experiment

And he observed that there were narrow lines of white light in the shadow the card cast upon a wall. He called the lines "fringes."  Plus there were "fringes" in the light on either side of the shadow, and those were different colors.  Here's what he wrote:

Besides the fringes of colours on each side of the shadow, the shadow itself was divided by similar parallel fringes, of smaller dimensions, differing in number, according to the distance at which the shadow was observed, but leaving the middle of the shadow always white

Then he says he blocked the light that was going around one side of the card by placing a "screen" into that part of the beam.  He wrote:

For, a little screen being placed a few inches from the card, so as to receive either edge of the shadow on its margin, all the fringes which had before been observed in the shadow on the wall immediately disappeared, although the light inflected on the other side was allowed to retain its course, and although this light must have undergone any modification that the proximity of the other edge of the slip of card might have been capable of occasioning.  

Presumably, that means that the screen was moved to where its shadow lined up perfectly with one edge of the shadow of the card.  So, in theory, he was not blocking the light that caused the "fringes."  But, the "fringes" all disappeared anyway.  Not just "fringes" from one side, but from both sides.  Including the color "fringes."

He then says,

When the interposed screen was more remote from the narrow card, it was necessary to plunge it more deeply into the shadow, in order to extinguish the parallel lines; for here the light, diffracted from the edge of the object, had entered further into the shadow, in its way towards the fringes.

Which means, if the screen was moved farther away from the card, and if you wanted to block all the fringes, you have to move the screen deeper into the shadow of the card. 

I've been trying to find illustrations of this, since "a picture is equal to a thousand words."  And I don't want to be misunderstanding a single word.  The only illustration I could find is clearly wrong.  Here it is:

Thomas Young's card experiment 

The illustration is wrong, because the mirror is supposed to be outside the room where it can capture the light from the sun and direct the light to the pinhole at the right angle to cause light from the pinhole to pass on both sides of the card.  It's also wrong because, obviously, the light from the pinhole cannot create such a large pattern on the screen in the corner.  What you would get is a tiny spot of light with the shadow of the card in the center of the spot.  And Thomas Young then took a magnifying glass and examined the shadow of the card to see that there were white lines ("fringes") inside the shadow.

I can't find any illustrations that show what I want to see.  So, I'll have to create the illustrations myself, based upon my interpretation of what Young wrote.

The lab experiments done these days do not really involve any shadow of an object in a beam of light, they involve a fine point of coherent (single-colored) light from a laser being divided by a wire, which results in multiple spots on the wall.  So, all you see is darkness and the pattern that the light going around the wire makes.  Like this example with green laser light:

diffraction pattern

Meanwhile, greatly confusing the issue (but perhaps providing more "clues"), I found images of shadows of objects where the "fringes" seem to be in the light, not in the shadow.  These seem to be the "fringes" that Thomas Young saw in his experiment that were different colors.  Laser light is used, however, so the light fringes shows only a single color with lighter and darker lines. Here's an example of diffraction fringes around the shadow of the handles of a pair of scissors in what appears to be blue laser light:

diffraction fringes around a pair of
                              sissors

Why aren't there any fringes inside the shadow?  Why do the "fringes" of light in this example seem to bend away from the obstacle, while in other experiments they seem to bend around the obstacle.  Why are these "fringes" like the ones in Young's experiment that were in color?  If Young saw white fringes inside the shadow, wouldn't those have to be a combination of wavelengths?  There is no white light in the visible spectrum.  White light appears when red, green and blue light are combined.  And if you have a combination of wavelengths creating a white line, then "destructive interference" must be NONSENSE.  All the light must be going to the white lines, and no light goes to the dark lines.  Of course, that was already shown on this web page when it was made clear that "destructive interference" requires the destruction of energy, which would violate the Law of Conservation of Energy.  Hmm.

I wrote last week that I wasn't going to do any more "thinking in writing" in these comments, but that's clearly what I was doing while writing this comment.  I guess it was either that or to write nothing at all.

December 17, 2017
- Yesterday, a True Believer with an unshakable theory about who committed the anthrax letter attacks of 2001 seemed very upset that I was mentioned "in the first sentence" of Scott Decker's forthcoming book "Recounting the Anthrax Attacks."  The book, of course, identifies Dr. Bruce Ivins as the anthrax killer, which makes the True Believer also very upset with Scott Decker, since the True Believer truly believes - and has truly believed for sixteen years - that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.  And no facts or evidence can ever change what a True Believer believes. 

Scott's book won't be out until April 7, 2018, so I had to try to figure out how the True Believer knew what is in the book.  The obvious first place for me to look was Amazon's "Look Inside" feature.  But it didn't show the first sentence in the book, which, as it turns out, is on page ix in the Acknowledgements section. 
Google doesn't have any sample pages at all.  Neither does Target's web site or allbookstores.com or booksamillion.com or indiebound.orgBarnes & Noble doesn't even have a picture of the cover.  But, when I checked the publisher's web site, I was allowed to temporarily look at the Acknowledgements section.  But that ability was no longer available to me when I tried it again later.  Fortunately, I had done a screen capture of page ix on the first try.  It turned out that I'm actually not mentioned until the second sentence.  Here's what it says (I added the info about the book in the upper left corner):

Scott Decker's
                                      Acknowledgement page 
I'm at the top of a long list.  The acknowledgements go on for the rest of page ix, through all of page x, and part of page xi

Via Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, I was able to check to see if I am also mentioned in the Index.  I am.  The Index lists 5 other places in the book where I'm mentioned, all of them in footnotes.

Index entries for me

I was able to access and check 4 of the 5 footnotes where I'm mentioned.  They mostly mention my anthraxinvestigation.com web site and documents Scott found there.  Here's one example ("231n12" = page 231, footnote #12):

example footnote 

However, at least two footnotes reference my book A Crime Unlike Any Other.  That made me wonder if I was also mentioned in the Bibliography section, so I checked for my name there, too.  Yup, I'm listed three times.

Mentions in the bibliography

So, now I have to wait and see if Scott's book sells well, and if it does, we'll see if it generates any sales for my books.

Of course, I'm very pleased that Scott acknowledged me that way.  It certainly made my day today, since it also gave me something to write about in this Sunday comment other than the lack of logic in "destructive interference" and in the wave theory of light
.








Other interests:

fake picture of snow on
                    the pyramids
 Click HERE for an analysis of this fake photo.

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