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!

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.

Click HERE to go to the site archives.

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

Ed the famous
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 go to my Facebook group about Time and Time Dilation. Click HERE to go to my notes about scientific topics discussed on this web site.

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

just trying to figure things out.

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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, December 16, 2018, thru Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018:

December 18, 2018 - I've been working on my scientific paper about photons and the Double Slit experiment, and it has become abundantly clear that I need to focus on what a photon looks like, and how it works, before I can even begin to look at how photons work within the Double Slit experiment.  Nearly all the available information about the Double Slit experiment is about waves.  But light is definitely not a wave.  So, I need to understand how a photon works before I can understand how photons work within the Double Slit experiment.

Yesterday I decided that this illustration of a photon is basically illogical, even though I've used it in comments here many times:


It's off balance.  Plus, the photon essentially ceases to exist at the two ends and in the middle.  If viewed head on, the photon would be changing shape, beginning with just a dot, then forming a backward L, then becoming a dot again, and then forming an upside down L before becoming a dot again and repeating the whole process over again.  And all of its energy would first be on one side of the center, then it would shift to the other side of the center.  Nothing else in Nature works that way.  Movements in Nature tend to be symmetrical.  For every action in one direction there is an equal action in the opposite direction.  

It then occurred to me that the photon would become symmetrical if the two fields didn't pulse at the same time.  If the electric field had its peak when the magnetic field had its trough, the photon should become symmetrical.  I used the above illustration to simply and quickly create a new version showing that idea:

Symmetrical photon

But it is still not symmetrical!  When viewed head-on, the fields would never shrink down to a dot, but you would still have a backward L turning into and upside down L.  It also suggests that the photon may actually consist of two photons, an electrical photon oscillating up and down (following the red line) while the magnetic photon oscillates from side to side (following the blue line).  But that would also throw it off balance.  To remain symmetrical, it must have a center that oscillates vertically and then horizontally. 

That illustration cannot be created so quickly.  It requires that the blue and yellow waves be on both sides of the center line at the same time.  I'd have to copy the second blue part over to join the first blue part and then I'd have to copy the first blue part over to become the other half of the second blue part.  The same with the yellow parts.  So, it becomes something like a section of chain.  Here's my first feeble attempt:

Re-revised photon

The problem is: Doesn't the image now show TWO wavelengths?  Or FOUR, two for the electrical field and two for the magnetic field?  It changes the whole idea of what an electromagnetic wave consists of.  In the first two images you had to go down and then up, or from one side to the other side, to complete one wave.  But if you go up while also going down, then the whole concept of a "wave" changes.  It is nothing like a sound wave or a water wave.  That doesn't mean it is wrong, it just means it requires a lot of explanation and convincing.

Here is what the photon it looks like when viewed head-on:
Animated photon viewed head-on
Another problem with creating such an image while writing a comment here is that I'm not working on my paper, and I'm not creating the black and white image I would need in the paper.  I've used up the whole morning writing this comment, instead of working on the paper.  But, I think the above image is good enough to show what the idea is.  It certainly gives me something to think about.

I'm just knocking around ideas.  There could be some basic flaw that I'm missing, but right now I need to figure out how to create a black and white image like the third image above, where the magnetic and electric fields alternately oscillate both ways from the center line.  It could take a lot of time.  And I want to make sure the idea is solid before I spend any more time on illustrating it. 

December 16, 2018
- I'm still trying to logically determine what a photon looks like and how it works.  As part of the process of doing that, I am also doing a lot of research.  For the past few days, I've been trying to clarify the issues scientists have with the Double Slit experiment.   I've been working on a scientific paper about that subject off and on for almost a year and a half.  The first version I have in my files is dated July 5, 2017.  I don't know if I will ever complete it, but organizing the paper should help me to organize my thoughts on the subject, particularly since every step seems to require a lot of research. 

Thomas Young is widely considered to be the first to perform the Double Slit experiment, but it seems there is no real evidence that he ever actually did such an experiment.  According to page 123 of Young's biography "The Last Man Who Knew Everything,"
there is no question that the double-slit experiment does demonstrate the interference of light, as countless others have subsequently shown. But did Young actually perform it? Or was it only a ‘thought’ experiment, like Einstein’s notion of trying to catch up with a light ray? At least one current historian of science, John Worrall, thinks the latter was the case: Young’s double-slit experiment was an intuition of the truth, not a real experiment.Worrall bases his view on the following undoubted facts: Young does not explicitly state that he did the experiment; Young provides no numerical data; Young says nothing about the light source he used and the other experimental conditions; and Young never again refers to the experiment.
So, of course, I had to research that.

Young describes the Double Slit experiment on page 464 and 465 of his book "A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts ..., Volume 1."  It is part of "Lecture XXXIX."  And he is clearly relating light to how waves of sound and water work.  The illustration he uses ("Plate XX. Fig. 267") is the same illustration he used earlier when talking about water waves in "Lecture XXIII," which is titled "On the Theory of Hydraulics." 
Thomas Young's illustration of his Double
                          Slit Exp. 
It really bugs me that many many text books refer to the Double Slit experiment as being performed by Thomas Young, but there is absolutely no evidence that he ever actually did such an experiment.  His actual experiments involved
placing a thin card edgewise into a beam of light (from a hole in window shade, not a slit) and noting that the card did not produce a solid dark shadow on the wall, but instead produced multiple shadows in the form of dark lines separated by lines of color.  And there was always a white line in the center of the shadow where one would ordinarily expect the darkest part of the shadow to be. Young used those card experiments to develop his wave theory of light.

It also bugs me that in Richard Feynman's discussion of this topic in his book "Feynman Lectures on Physics - Volume 3" Prof. Feynman seems to accept that there is no way to determine exactly how light works.  He says at the very beginning of the book, in Section 1,
Because atomic behavior is so unlike ordinary experience, it is very difficult to get used to, and it appears peculiar and mysterious to everyone—both to the novice and to the experienced physicist. Even the experts do not understand it the way they would like to, and it is perfectly reasonable that they should not, because all of direct, human experience and of human intuition applies to large objects. We know how large objects will act, but things on a small scale just do not act that way. So we have to learn about them in a sort of abstract or imaginative fashion and not by connection with our direct experience.
Why not learn by experiment????  There is nothing "abstract" or "imaginative fashion" about scientific experiments. 

Prof. Feynman then goes on to say,
In this chapter we shall tackle immediately the basic element of the mysterious behavior in its most strange form. We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery. We cannot make the mystery go away by “explaining” how it works. We will just tell you how it works. In telling you how it works we will have told you about the basic peculiarities of all quantum mechanics.
Arrrgh!!!  Yes, we CAN make a mystery go away by "explaining" how it works.  However, his explanation is a quantum mechanics explanation.  And that leaves things unexplained, since it assumes that the quantum mechanical mathematics are correct.

As I see it, instead of simply switching over from science to quantum mechanics to get "answers" which work mathematically, we need to stick with science.  And that means we need to define exactly how a photon works.  Prof. Feynman then describes bullets as being like the particles we know as electrons and photons.  A photon is nothing like a bullet!  It seems that countless physicists cannot get past the notion that energy must consist either of particles or of waves.   And the definition of a "particle" is that it is a tiny object of a fixed shape and size, like a microscopic grain of sand.  It sometimes seems like that is a false assumption that physicists are required to accept as true.

To me, photons are nothing like particles, and they are nothing like waves.  They just exhibit some properties of both when an experiment is designed to test for such properties.

Instead of writing about all this here, I should be writing about it in a scientific paper.  And I could be mistaken about nearly everything.  But, when I visualize a photon, I do not visualize it as either a particle or as a wave.  It is something that exists ONLY when traveling at the speed of light.  When stationary, it is not called a "photon."  It is called "energy."  It causes an electron in an atom to jump to a higher energy state (or orbit), which the atom cannot sustain, so the electron drops back to its original energy state (or orbit) and the atom emits the energy as a "photon" traveling at the speed of light.

How photons are created  

So, a "stationary photon" would be magnetic energy moving up and down from orbit to orbit while its electrical energy moves side to side.  It is essentially two dimensional.  And when the photon is ejected, it becomes three dimensional, with the third dimension being travel distance or time, i.e., the time it takes to oscillate once up and down and side to side while traveling at 266,792,458 meters per local second.  Like so:


That is not a wave, nor is it a particle.  It appears like a wave when moving at the speed of light, and it has the properties of a particle in that it consists of a specific "quantum" of energy instead of a "stream" of energy.  It hits your eye as a particle of electrical energy oscillating at a specific frequency.  And, if you receive enough such particles in a short period of time, your eye and brain will interpret the photons to be a spot of colored light.

But, I'm just rambling.  What I really need to understand it what happens between the "Single slit" and the "Double slit" in the Double Slit experiment:

Double Slit Experiment
We have a good idea of what happens to the photons that travel directly from the Single slit to one or the other of the Double slits.  Thomas Young's actual card experiments show that the photons will have their trajectories altered, with the degree of alteration depending upon how the photon happens to be oscillating at the instant it passes through the slit (or past the edge of the card) and how close the photon gets to the edge of the slit (or card).  But what happens to the photons that hit the barrier between the slits?  Does the barrier material absorb the light and convert it to heat?  Or does the barrier consist of atoms that absorb the photons and then emit new photons.  If the latter, what happens to those new photons?

Groan.  I should be researching how people build the double slit experimental equipment.  What materials do they use?   Why isn't that an important piece of information provided in every demonstration of the Double Slit experiment?

Comments for Sunday, December 9, 2018, thru Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018:

December 13, 2018 - I awoke this morning realizing that my subconscious was pointing out some problems with my thinking about photons.  There were things about photons that suddenly didn't make sense, but those things had either never occurred to me before, or I hadn't considered all their implications.

First of all, this image of a photon that I've use several times in the past is definitely misleading:


It's misleading because when such a photon is viewed head on, it would look something like this:
That shape is possible, but it is misleading.  When you think about polarized light, there is no + shape, there is only a | shape.  It seems polarized light just (or mostly) involves the electric fields.  In the image below, the polarizing filter is evidently only allowing photons which have electric fields that oscillate up and down to pass through.  All others are either absorbed or deflected away.

Polarized light

Using a filter to polarize light doesn't appear to involve the magnetic field at all.  Or the magnetic field is much much less affected by the polarizing filter than the electric field.  Or it is affected in a very different way.

Thinking about that, it makes a lot of sense.  When talking about things the size of an electron, electric fields tend to be stronger than magnetic or gravitational fields.  They do not seem to vary as significantly in intensity as you move away from source the way gravitational and magnetic energy does.  I'm way out of my areas of expertise on this, but that is the way things seem to me at the moment.

The thing that really stuck in my mind as I was waking up this morning was how this seems to relate to the Double Slit Experiment.  When you view the Double Slit experiment from above, the slits become holes and things look like this:
Double Slit Experiment
It appears that the slits must be polarizing the light.  And the magnetic fields on the photons must be passing close enough to the magnetic fields around the atoms that constitute the slit material to affect the trajectory of the photons.  There's a lot more to the idea, and I clearly need to start putting together some illustrations of my own, instead of borrowing them from other sites. 

I spent all morning working a scientific paper about it, but I'm a long long way from being done.  I need to break the Double Slit experiment down into steps.  What happens to the photons when they hit the single slit in the first barrier?   How are the photons affected by the fields surrounding the atoms in the barrier?  What happens when the photons exit the single slit?  What is their trajectory?  What happens when some of those somewhat-polarized photons pass through the two slits in the next barrier?  And what are the trajectories of the photons when they leave the slits and head for the viewing screen?  How would things change if the double slit barrier is moved a bit further away or a bit closer to the single slit barrier? 

Hopefully, I'll be able to illustrate the questions and the answers.  If I can't, then I should be able to find a flaw in this reasoning.  Until then, it's going to be what I'm mostly thinking about.       

December 11. 2018
- Last Friday, I've started taking my MP3 player to the gym again, so that I can listen to audio books while spending 30 minutes on a treadmill and 20 minutes on an Exercycle.  I gave up on doing that a couple years ago when listening to audio books while exercising became less productive than just thinking about scientific problems.  I'm still thinking about scientific problems, but it's a different kind of thinking.  It's more like pounding my head against a wall.  If I cannot figure out what a photon looks like and how it works, it seems I cannot go any further.  So, basically, I am waiting for an inspiration.  And "inspiration" usually comes from the subconscious.  So, while my subconscious mind is doing whatever it does, I can use my conscious mind to listen to audio books. 

Of course, that means I am concurrently absorbing the contents of three non-fiction books.  I am listening to a comedian's very funny audio book autobiography on my MP3 player while exercising at the gym (and sometimes while just laying on my couch), I am listening to a history audio book about the space program on my CD player while driving here and there around town, and I am reading a third Trump-related current affairs book on my Kindle during breakfast and lunch.  And when not doing all that, I am often at my computer trying to decide which book I should read or hear next.  Occasionally, I also ponder the idea of just sitting down and reading a paperback or hardcover novel that I have on my bookshelves.  It's been many months since I last read a novel. 

Once in a while, I also ponder the idea of reading one of my own science-fiction novels.  I finished writing the second one back on February 27, 2015, and I never really got started on the third.  So, the manuscripts are just sitting there on my desk.  The idea back then was that, in today's world, it is next to impossible to find a publisher for a novel if you haven't already had one published.  The market is flooded with popular authors who pump out a new book every year or even more often.  So, I thought it might be easier to find a publisher if I could offer them a 3-book series.  But I only have two books.  Sigh.   

I think I'm going to end this comment here and just listen to the book on my MP3 player until it is time to read the book on my Kindle during lunch, and then I'll listen to the book on my CD player while driving to the gym.

December 9, 2018
- I'm not sure if it's happening because it is getting close to Christmas, or if it is just a new trend, but I seem to be getting more scam emails and scam phone calls than I ever did in the past. 

I've been saving the scam phone call messages that they leave on my answering machine.  I've been thinking I might someday make MP3 versions of them and putting them on this web site to show people what the scams are like. (The one where the IRS threatens to send the police to arrest me in 24 hours if I don't immediately pay my tax bill is my favorite.)  The basic elements that tell me they are phone scams are that (1) they want money immediately, (2) they are threats, and (3) they are recorded messages that do not mention my name or the name of the person they are calling.  So, they are recorded threats to whoever answers the phone.  They usually also set payment deadlines a day or two in the future, which always pass without anything happening.  They may be targeting the elderly, since I read in the papers that such scams con thousands of people out of billions of dollars every year.

Last week I also received three interesting email scams.  I have about 100 filters to block such emails, but these somehow got through.  The first one was received on the 5th.  The entire content of the email is below (with my highlighting in red):


I am a spyware software developer. Your account has been hacked by me in the summer of 2018.

I understand that it is hard to believe, but here is my evidence (I sent you this email from your account).

The hacking was carried out using a hardware vulnerability through which you went online (Cisco router, vulnerability CVE-2018-0296).

I went around the security system in the router, installed an exploit there. When you went online, my exploit downloaded my malicious code (rootkit) to your device. This is driver software, I constantly updated it, so your antivirus is silent all time.

Since then I have been following you (I can connect to your device via the VNC protocol). That is, I can see absolutely everything that you do, view and download your files and any data to yourself. I also have access to the camera on your device, and I periodically take photos and videos with you.

At the moment, I have harvested a solid dirt... on you... I saved all your email and chats from your messangers. I also saved the entire history of the sites you visit.

I note that it is useless to change the passwords. My malware update passwords from your accounts every times.

I know what you like hard funs (adult sites). Oh, yes .. I'm know your secret life, which you are hiding from everyone. Oh my God, what are your like... I saw THIS ... Oh, you dirty naughty person ... :)

I took photos and videos of your most passionate funs with adult content, and synchronized them in real time with the image of your camera. Believe it turned out very high quality!

So, to the business! I'm sure you don't want to show these files and visiting history to all your contacts.

Transfer $905 to my Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet: 1Lmk4eUXcmtVU6YQvaPJ4yihu4fEcKtkby Just copy and paste the wallet number when transferring. If you do not know how to do this - ask Google.

My system automatically recognizes the translation. As soon as the specified amount is received, all your data will be destroyed from my server, and the rootkit will be automatically removed from your system. Do not worry, I really will delete everything, since I am 'working' with many people who have fallen into your position. You will only have to inform your provider about the vulnerabilities in the router so that other hackers will not use it.

Since opening this letter you have 48 hours. If funds not will be received, after the specified time has elapsed, the disk of your device will be formatted, and from my server will automatically send email and sms to all your contacts with compromising material.

I advise you to remain prudent and not engage in nonsense (all files on my server).

Good luck!

Interestingly, last week someone who regularly reads this web site sent me a copy of a scam email he had received that involves this same type of blackmail scam.  It was a totally different message but it was about the same thing and included the same kind of threat, only his email was from a Yahoo email account in France.  Until then, I had never seen such a scam.  Now I have actually gotten one.

The email address used by the scammer who sent the above email is in the shaded box below.  Note, that he did indeed use my email address to send me the email threat. 

Email scam #1

However, I have the capability of looking at the source code for the email, i.e., the email message content before it is formatted to look like an email on my computer screen.  Part of that source code is above.  (I didn't include the part that shows my email address as the "From" address because it is much further down and would involve showing all the stuff in between.)

Note that it is actually from someone with a yahoo.jp email address in Japan.  And the sender's IP address (underlined in red) belongs to a web site in Kemerovo, Russia.

Another scam email that I received two days later, on the 7th, is shown below. 

email scam #1

The "from" address at boulanger.com is for a French web site.  It seems to be a legitimate web site, but I'm not certain what they sell.  The links in the text of the email go to guooogle.com web pages.  However, I cannot find such a web site by using Google.  I didn't try clicking on any of the links, of course.  

I don't have any "Google Ads" account, so it isn't much of a threat to me.

The third scam email I received last week is a real puzzle.  The body of the email definitely looks like a scam, but how did I receive it?  It isn't addressed to me!  The "To", "From" and "Cc" addresses all belong to the public school system in North Dakota.  Plus, why is it dated January 27, 2018?  Where has it been?

Email scam #2
I looked at the source code for the email, and it seems to show it was sent from an IP address ( that belongs to a Microsoft outlook.com location in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Here is that part of the source code:
Received-SPF: Pass (protection.outlook.com: domain of k12.nd.us designates as permitted sender) receiver=protection.outlook.com;
 client-ip=; helo=NAM03-CO1-obe.outbound.protection.outlook.com;
It's quite possible that I received it via my outlook.com email address, instead of via my newsguy.com email address.  But it's a mystery why I received it at all.  There is nothing anywhere in the email (including in the source code) that refers to any email account of mine.

If it wasn't for the bad English in the text (my "Full Names"? and why capitalize "Reply"?), I would assume it was some kind of glitch somewhere at Microsoft.  But, if it is a glitch, it is a glitch that makes me a bit worried about the whole idea of using the Internet for financial transactions.  A little research, moreover, shows that it is a well known scam.  Click HERE to read about it. 

If people can send me emails with phony return addresses and incorrect mailing dates, they could imitate the actual credit card companies I do business with. I always pay my credit card balances via the U.S. mails.  Maybe that makes me a bit "old fashioned" and "not part of today's on-line community," but so what?  It also means that it is a lot easier for me to detect and avoid a scam.


Comments for Saturday, December 1, 2018, thru Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018:

December 6, 2018 - Yesterday, after doing my morning chores, I basically just sat around reading for the rest of the day.  I read the last half and finished the Kindle book I borrowed from my local library, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," by Omarosa Manigault Newman. 


It was a very readable book, and fairly enjoyable.  It's like an adventure story, and once you get going it's hard to stop.  Omarosa Newman is a minister and was active in social causes before she became a contestant on Trump's reality TV show, The Apprentice in 2003  She remained as an assistant on the show for awhile.  Later, she became part of Trump's campaign to become President.  Then, after Trump was elected, she became an "AP," an Assistant to the President.  Early in the book she wrote, 
The Donald Trump of 2018 is not the same man he was in 2003. When I met him, many of our beliefs were aligned. He identified with Democrats and supported commonsense gun control, like banning assault weapons; legalizing marijuana; universal health care; and even a tax hike on the wealthy. He thought Hillary Clinton was a “great” senator and donated money to her campaigns and at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.   
I've never seen The Apprentice, but I have 17 pages of notes from Omarosa's  book, and this quote says something about how the show worked:
I had many famous lines to come out of the first season. For instance, I was the first person to say on a reality TV show the now-famous phrase “I’m not here to make friends.” My objective was to methodically eliminate each contestant, one by one, so why would I want an emotional attachment to any of them? How could you lobby Trump to fire your “friend” on national TV with millions of people watching?
The book is about how she slowly changed from being an admirer of Trump's, to distrusting him and everything he stands for.
Trumpworld is a cult of personality focused solely on Donald J. Trump. And Donald, like a cult leader, can spot susceptibility in people in an instant. They were fascinated by fame, power, Trump’s charisma, and would do anything to be close to Trump and win his favor. 
For years she was part of that cult and a believer.
The longer I stayed involved, the deeper my loyalty was to Donald Trump and the bigger my blind spot became. As I’ve said, he chooses people who are very loyal, who subscribe to the fame and charisma that is Donald Trump’s magnetism. And I was one of those people.
But, she also says,
In politics, your foe becomes your friend in the blink of an eye.
She explains Hilary Clinton's loss in the 2016 election in a way that I also see as the explanation for Clinton's loss:
In fact, I lay some of the blame for Hillary’s low turnout on those assurances from the media that her victory was a sure thing. Voter behavior indicates that if voters believe their candidate has it in the bag, they will not, for example, take off work to go vote and lose a day’s wages, believing their vote isn’t needed. The press actually demotivated her base. If they’d reported the truth, that the race was very close, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have turned out for her.
When Omarosa was working in the White House as Assistant to the President, she gives this description of Trump's use of Twitter:
We had an entire daily memo devoted to “Trump Tweets Alerts,” just to handle talkers on his favorite platform of all. FDR used the radio to reach the public. JFK used television. DJT uses Twitter. He’s addicted to it because he’s a narcissist, and he revels in his many million followers. The likes and retweets feed his ego. It’s the ultimate power tool for him because he controls his content. It’s not censored or even spellchecked. No one can tell him what to write or say. He can tweet about anything in the world, and does, with a rawness that is decidedly not presidential. He loved the idea that any tweet could set off a firestorm and that they allowed him to get his message directly to his base.
She also provides a lot of fascinating details about what it is like working in the White House, and she says a lot of things that agree with what I've been thinking for years, but never related them to Trump.  For example, she says,
The world has yet to learn about the extent of Donald Trump’s Diet Coke habit. He always had one in his hand, as far back as I’ve known him. He’s up to eight cans a day, at least. Eight cans a day, for the last fifteen years, is 43,800 cans of Diet Coke, poured into his system.
I've always wondered about Diet Coke addiction.  When I was running a small company, I had an employee who seemed to be a Diet Coke addict.  I definitely thought she was addicted to the caffeine in Diet Coke.  And I've seen others who seem to be in the same situation, but you cannot convince them that they are probably addicts.  Omarosa writes this about trying to warn Trump,
I researched it, and found a brand-new study by a team of neurologists from Boston University that linked Diet Coke consumption with dementia and increased risk of stroke. Dementia. Not being able to remember anything, confusion, loss of vocabulary and ability to process information. Stroke. Those awkward shaking hands, struggling to bring a bottle of water to his mouth . . . I printed out the study and put it in his stack. He never read it.
I could go on and on, but one particular comment really hit home.  It is something I have said on this website a few times, and it is something Omarosa said on the TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" after she left the White House:
“As bad as you think Trump is, you should be worried about Pence. So everyone wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider it. We would be begging for the days of Trump back if Pence became president.”
That same warning appears in the book "The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence."  I have it in my Kindle, but there are a lot of other books I think I want to read first.   

December 4, 2018
- I've been in a very interesting discussion with a guy who joined my Facebook group "Time and Time Dilation" a couple months ago.  His first name is Gary. He has some strange misunderstandings about time and time dilation, but unlike the folks on UseNet newsgroups, he seems to understand that there are things he doesn't understand.  So, it's a discussion, not an argument.

And it's a good example of why I love discussing science.  When I explain things to people, I learn things I never thought about before.  This morning there was such a situation.  Gary set up a situation where there was a mirror exactly one light year from Earth, and it somehow remains at that distance regardless of how the Earth moves.  So, if he emits a flash of light toward that mirror, it will take the light one light year to get to the mirror and one light year to get back.  So, he'll see the return flash after waiting exactly 2 light years.  So far so good.

The problem comes with sending me to that mirror at 99.995% of the speed of light, which would mean that one year for me as I travel would be 100 years for Gary back on Earth.  Gary posed this question:
Now, you board a spacecraft with the mission of collecting our mirror. You travel at 99.995% c magically collecting our mirror a little over a year later and begin the journey home arriving 2years and a month later. From my perspective. How is it that you and light are so different that I experience two years waiting for the light to return but 200 years waiting for you to return? That makes no sense. 
His misunderstanding seemed simple to clear up.  So, I tried to do so.  I responded:
You have a mirror that is one light year from Earth, which means that light emitted on Earth will take one year to get to the mirror and one year to get back. That part is okay.

However, you then have me traveling at 99.995% of the speed of light to that mirror, which means I would get there in about 3.65 DAYS, according to my clocks and my time. According to YOUR time, it would be 1 year PLUS 3.65 days. Then it would take me another 3.65 days of my time to get back, but again one year plus 3.65 days according to YOUR time. Contrary to your example, I would age just 7.3 days while making that round trip. (Every 100 days for you would be 1 day for me.) So, when I return I will be only 7.3 days older than when I left, and you would be 2 years and 7.3 days older.

I am the person traveling, so I am the one who experiences time dilation. Time slows down for me. My traveling has absolutely no effect on you.

You wrote: "How is it that you and light are so different that I experience two years waiting for the light to return but 200 years waiting for you to return? That makes no sense."

It makes "no sense" because it wouldn't happen that way. In reality, you would wait 2 years for the light to return and 2 years and 7. 3 days for me to return. I traveled just a tiny bit slower than light traveled.
I had to study that response for a long time before clocking on ENTER to post it.  I'm still not sure it is entirely correct.  If we ignore such things as acceleration to reach an extremely high speed and just assume that I can instantly begin traveling at 99.995% of the speed of light to reach the mirror and then instantly begin my return trip, does the amount of time I age equal the difference in travel time between me and light?  It took light 2 years (Earth time) to make the round trip, and it took me two years and 7.3 days (Earth time).  So, I aged only 7.3 days? 

The math works.  At the speed of light, time stops.  So light experienced no time making the round trip.  I went slower, so I experienced some passing of time.  And the amount of time I experienced is what you get when you use Einstein's equation via an on-line calculator HERE.  99.995% of the speed of light is 299777.47 kilometers per second.  When I plug 299777.47 into the calculator, it tells me that 1 second for me at that speed will be 100 seconds for a stationary observer.  And that means that 7.3 days for me at that speed will be 2 years and 7.3 days for a stationary observer.

Of course, no one on Earth is truly stationary, but the point is that the amount of time I experience is the difference between zero time experienced by light traveling at 299,792.458 kilometers per second me traveling at 299,777.47 kilometers per second.  Zero versus 7.3 days.   I've always looked at it from the view of what the stationary observers sees:  2 years (plus 7.3 days) for the twin who stays at home versus 7.3 days for the twin who does the traveling.  Seeing things from a different angle, by using the speed of light as zero, seems to make things much more clear.  It certainly says as Einstein said, it makes the imaginary aether "superfluous."  We do not need the aether to be zero in time dilation calculations, we have the speed of light as zero.

In addition, it seems to validate my rejection of spacetime.  If a photon of light leaves for that mirror in space a light year away at the same time and from the same spot where I leave, and if light travels at 299,792.458 kps while I travel at 299,777.47 kps, the light will obviously make the round trip slightly faster than I do.  So, where does "curved space" fit in the situation?  I traveled the same path that the light traveled, just a bit slower.  So, how could anyone argue that I traveled a shorter path through "curved" spacetime than someone who stayed at home on Earth?  I traveled the same path that the light photon traveled, and the person who stayed at home didn't go anywhere near where I went.  

December 3, 2018 - This morning, right on schedule, I received another order from a company that sells my books.  Since I cannot fill the order without joining a program that will cost me $99 a year, I simply filed the order away.  It's the 8th order I've received since October 15th.

Meanwhile, I did a little research about the fellow who emailed me yesterday to inform me of his article that is available on the Vida Institute web site.  It is a strange web site, evidently created by someone named John David Best.  It only contains 10 articles and 8 theories, most of them written by Mr. Best.

For some reason, I wondered if the guy who emailed me had put his papers on other, more popular web sites.  So, first I looked up his name on Google Scholar.  No hits.  Then I did a straight Google search for his name.  He has a Facebook page and is on some web sites, but the link that really caught my attention was the fact that he is mentioned on page 1133 of "The Worldwide List of Alternative Theories and Critics" By Jean de Climont.  I'd never heard of that book, and if it had over 1133 pages, I wondered if I was mentioned in it. 

I did a search for my name, and I am in it!!     I am mentioned on page 1225 of the 2419 page book.
My name mentioned in a book
I'm not sure if I should be proud or offended.  Looking at the reviews for the book, I see most are from people who are proud to be mentioned in the book, but a couple are from people who feel insulted.  I did a search through the book looking for the names of a couple conspiracy theorists, and they were not mentioned.  

Evidently, I've been in the book since the 2016 edition, and "Origin: CLI" means that the author found my name mentioned somewhere, probably at the vixra.org link.  So, I guess I have no reason to be proud or offended.  I just feel it is strange to find myself mentioned in a book I never heard of.  

A little additional research finds the entire book is on-line HERE, and I'm unable to find any place that actually sells the book in paper or ebook form.

December 2, 2018
- There are just too many interesting things going on in the world!  It's difficult to focus!  It's a "problem," but it's a problem that I am glad I have.  It only bothers me when it conflicts with something I need to do.

For the past few days I kept wanting to write a comment for this web site, but I kept getting distracted.  And I couldn't write a comment about what was distracting me, since I didn't know how to make it interesting.

It wasn't particularly interesting to dig through patents for radar guns to see if any of the patents describe the physics of how a radar gun works.  None did.  The patents were just about new kinds of circuitry or added gadgets, and they described the guns as emitting "waves" which were "reflected" off of the target.  We know that light consists of "photons" that are absorbed by atoms in the target and then emitted as new "photons."  So, there are no "waves" and nothing gets "reflected."        

Then I started researching polarized light.  I decided to look at some videos that show how polarized lenses work.  They confirmed something I already knew: Light photons oscillate up and down or side to side, and they also oscillate in every direction in between.  So, when light passes through a polarized lens, the lens doesn't just allow though light that oscillates up and down at exactly 360 and 180 degrees as shown in the illustration below.

polarized light

Photons are very small compared to the size of the slits in the filter, so the filter also allows light photons through that oscillate at angles to either side of 360 and 180 degrees.  Such a range is shown by the red lines in the image below, but in reality it would also be all the angles in between the red lines and angles shown.
Angles for oscillating polarized light
This means that when you line up two lenses that have vertical polarity, you can rotate one of the two lenses and the light getting through will get dimmer and dimmer, until no light gets through at all.  When I was in the Air Force I once had the opportunity to try on some glasses that did exactly that.  There was a little knob between the lenses and above the nose hole that you could turn to dim the amount of light that got through.  

So, what does this mean?  It means that if you were only able to see photons that move straight up and down, you wouldn't be able to watch 3D movies because the light would be too dim.  Not enough photons would be able to get through.  Plus, if you tilted your head to one side at the slightest angle, you wouldn't be able to see the movie at all.

While I was thinking about this, someone posted two comments to my Facebook page about Time and Time Dilation.  I saw the comments while doing my morning routine today.  It was the first time anyone had posted a comment to me on my forum in months.  And the subject was how photons work.  So, I was all set to write answers, which I did.  And then, later in the morning while I was writing this comment, someone else posted a question about all observers measuring light to travel at c, regardless of their motion toward or away from the source.  He asked where that theory came from.  Good question.  It certainly didn't come from Einstein.  I have a paper on that subject.  I'll respond as soon as I finish this comment.

Maybe something will be asked or said that will help me focus on some specific scientific issue instead of just blundering around looking to better understand how photons work and what they look like.  I created that forum to discuss science, but it's been years since I had an actual scientific discussion there.

Hmm.  When I finished writing and posting the above comment, I then checked my newsguy.com email in-box.  I found a message waiting there about a web site where scientific subjects are discussed - a site I had never heard of before.  It's called Vida Institute.  The guy who wrote the email has a paper there about "Timeflow Theory."  I'm not sure how I will respond, but it definitely makes me wonder what generated all this activity, first to my Facebook page and then via an email.  I can only guess that there has been some word of mouth going on about my scientific papers.  I'll try to find out.   

Comments for Sunday, November 25, 2018, thru Friday, Nov. 30, 2018:

November 27, 2018 - That image of 5 planets in alignment from the NASA web site that I used in yesterday's comment has been on my mind.  I kept trying to visualize exactly what was happening.  I'd never thought about the planets being organized like a Ferris wheel which is viewed edge-on from the Earth, with the Earth being located near the center of the wheel.  I finally had to sit down and create an illustration of where the planets would be in their orbits in order for them to be aligned as seen in the image NASA used.

Planetary alignment - August 2016

So, it's somewhat of an optical illusion.  Mars and Saturn are nowhere near each other in reality, of course, and neither are Mercury and Jupiter.  Plus, while they are all moving in the same direction around the Sun, they move at different very rates, and in the situation shown in the NASA image, Venus is moving downward while Mercury is moving toward the Earth and the rest of the planets are moving upward.

I don't know if it will interest anyone else, but I had to create the illustration to clarify my thoughts.  Additionally, while studying what NASA wrote about the image, I happened to notice what they used on their web site to illustrate or explain the term "imaged together."  Here it is:

cat sleeping atop a dog
I guess that does represent "imaged together," and finding that picture somewhat justifies the time I spent on this comment.

November 26, 2018
- It's Monday and, as expected, there was another order in my email inbox this morning from a company that sells my books.  And, as with all their earlier orders, I'm just going to ignore it.  The only alternative seems to be to pay them $99 a year to join a program so they will stop sending me such orders.  Interestingly, they sold a paperback copy of "A Crime Unlike Any Other" yesterday.  It's the first sale I've had in over a month.  It was a "print on demand" book, which means they print a copy when someone orders a copy, so there is no reason to send me any order so they can restock.

Meanwhile, I went through a little demonstration of how the Right Brain works after I browsed through the latest paper by the Egyptian author I mentioned in yesterday's comment.  The paper contains a version of this image on page 17:

Fake picture of planets over
The paper said the three planets aligned above the pyramids were Mercury, Venus and Saturn.  The event was supposed to have happened on December 3, 2012.  And the author seemed to use the image as proof of his theory that planetary orbits are square, not elliptical. 

I'd never seen the picture before, and I couldn't believe it was real. I collect images related to astronomy, and I certainly didn't have that one.  Besides, when I thought about it for a few seconds, how could Mercury be in the image without it being sunset or sunrise?  Mercury is too close to the sun to be seen in darkness as shown in the image.

So, of course, I researched it.  The picture is a fake.  Mercury, Venus and Saturn did line up on December 3, 2012, but any such alignment seen from earth would have been seen as a vertical alignment, not nearly horizontal.  Plus, the image appeared on the Internet months before Dec. 3, 2012.  It was created by a blogger to illustrate what he imagined the alignment might look like.  The image was then passed around the Internet and appeared on hundreds of blogs as being real.  A Nature magazine blog article HERE explains the situation in detail.  It says,
There will be an event on 3rd December, 2012 and it will probably be quite special. However, according to Plait, the photoshopped image here has more than a few problems. To start with, the angle the photo is taken from is wrong. The picture is taken from the southwest facing the pyramids. However, in order to see the planet alignment, you must be northwest of the pyramids. From the angle the picture is taken from, the planets would be behind the viewer. 
Of course, other web sites argued that the picture was a fake.  As I stated above, I felt it was a fake as soon as I saw it.  It just didn't fit with the other images my right brain has stored.  And my left brain said it was not logical, since Mercury couldn't be far enough from the sun for the sky to be that dark.  But, by using mathematics, the Egyptian author confirmed it fit exactly with his beliefs. 

After writing the above comment, I wondered if there were any real pictures of the event.  So, I did some more research and found the image below, which is not the event in question, but from August 16, 2016. 

five visible planets

Evidently, according to astronomy.com, the five planets could also have been seen almost any night last month.  And they will be seen again in July 2020.  So, I'm not sure what the fuss was all about back in 2012.

November 25, 2018
- The other day, academia.edu sent me an email advising me of a scientific paper that they somehow assumed would be of interest to me.  The paper was titled "Solar Planet Motion Trajectory Is A Square And Not An Ellipse," authored by Gerges Francis Twadrous.

The paper is written in horribly bad English by an Egyptian who says he works as a translator.  The paper also says the author was a student at the People's Friendship University in Moscow, Russia, from 2010 to 2013, but the paper was written on November 9, 2018, in Cairo, Egypt. 

I'm not sure why I bothered to look at it, but it was probably because the title suggested that planetary orbits are square, not elliptical.  It makes this claim:
I provide here a clear claim …. let's summarize it in following:
1- The solar planet motion trajectory is a square and not an ellipse,
2- We see the planet motion trajectory as ellipse (kepler 1st law is correct)
3- The moon orbit geometrical structure prevents us to see the solar planet motion real trajectory (the square) and covers it by an imaginary trajectory (the ellipse)
So, he actually does claim that planetary orbits are square!  How does he prove his claim?  With complex mathematics, of course. 

Then another interesting part of the paper caught my attention:
This paper supports my claim against Nobel Prize Board Decision in physics 2018
The claim is written in my previous Paper
Kepler 3rd Law Explanation (a Claim Against Nobel Prize Board Decision in Physics 2018
Does it say what it seems to say?  Yes.  It seems the author sent a copy of his first paper about square orbits (dated October 4, 2018) to the Nobel Prize committee and asked for the prize.  In that paper, the author argued that if Newton's laws of motion were true, then Jupiter would have to be located where Mercury is currently located. 

For some unknown reason, the Nobel Prize committee turned him down.  So, he began protesting.  He wrote a second paper, dated October 6, 2018, which stated:
Nobel Prize Board faces the responsibility of Physics development support.
That's why I still claim against the decision because we need help to overcome the wrong concepts and repair the science, seeking to perform a progress in the solar group geometry understating…
Evidently, he heard nothing further from the Nobel committee, so he wrote the third paper, which is the one academia.edu wrote me about.

A little research finds that the author has actually written 68 papers, beginning with a 100-page paper written in September 2015 that has been downloaded by 1,013 different viewers.  (My most popular paper has been downloaded by 373 different viewers.)  In spite of the very bad English used in Mr.
Twadrous' paper, it has never been revised.  And it appears he never revised any of his papers. 

In a paper dated last Wednesday, he provides some very interesting information about himself.  It's a paper that says he's been trying for 24 years to get a degree in physics, and he hasn't succeeded.  So his paper requests:
I write my story with hope someone will try to make the physics 1st degree graduation process more easy!
I wonder who he expects will do that.  Regardless of whether someone will do it or not, the author is still writing papers.  He wrote a 32-page paper yesterday.  It is titled "The Moon Geometry," and it uses mathematics to prove something or other.  It also has a section about his "methodology" which says,
2- Methodology
I use the same method in all my researches, The Planet Data Analysis…
Let's explain the idea here again
In Pythagoras triangle we found that a
2+ b2 = c2, this rule we can conclude from the triangle data if its dimensions are 3, 4 and 5… so the data may show the geometrical rules….similar to that, I use the solar planets data analysis to conclude the main geometrical rules which explain the solar planets origin and motion…
I'm not sure why I spent so much time (probably about an hour) looking through the papers written by Gerges Francis Twadrous, but he seems to exemplify the idea that mathematics can be used to prove anything you want to prove.  All you need to do is ignore observations and experiments which show you are wrong.  However, Mr. Twadrous does go one step further.  He begins all of his papers with this:

Through the Mother of God mediation
I do this research

So, it appears he not only has an unshakable belief in the infallibility of his mathematics, he is on a Holy mission to explain the universe to the rest of us. (That probably also explains why he never saw any need to revise any of his papers.)

And all I am doing is trying to make sense of things so that I understand them.     

Comments for Sunday, November 18, 2018, thru Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018:

November 23, 2018 - At about the 25% point on my Kindle, I gave up on reading "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell.  It simply wasn't worth my time.  The author is preaching misleading nonsense, as far as I am concerned. 

When I decide I that I do not want to continue reading a book, I usually just move on to the next book in the queue without writing any comment on this web site.  However, "Blink" deserves a comment, since it not only seems wrong, but it seems it should be fairly easy to explain where it is wrong.  And writing out an explanation might help me think through the problems I have with the book.  I call it "thinking in writing."

"Blink" begins with the story of how, in September of 1983, an art dealer named Becchina tried to sell a statue to the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.  The statue was a "kouros," which means it was a Greek sculpture of a young male standing with his left leg forward and his arms at his sides.  About 200 such statues have been found, but most are badly damaged, since they were mostly carved during the 6th century BC.  Becchina's statue was in excellent condition, and he was asking just under $10 million for it.  Various experts hired by the Getty museum examined the stature for over a year and concluded it was genuine, so the museum agreed to buy it. 

Then one of the Getty museum's own experts, Frederico Zeri, looked at it and said it didn't look right.  There was something about it that was wrong.  But he wasn't sure what it was.  So, a new investigation began.  Gradually, Zeri began to realize the statue looked too "fresh."  Other "kouros" from that era were darker in color from having been buried for centuries or millennia.  The investigation also found that the documents detailing where the statue was found and who had owned it before Becchina bought it turned out to be fake.  Plus the statue seemed to have been carved by the same person who carved a known fake kouros.

The "moral" to this story, according to "Blink" seems to be that "gut feeling" can sometimes be better than detailed examination and actual evidence.  While true, the key word is "sometimes."  Plus, it took more detailed examinations and more actual evidence to confirm that "gut feeling."

Essentially, Zeri's "gut feeling" was his right brain telling him that the statue was somehow different from other statues he has seen like it, but his right brain didn't know what the difference was.  The right brain basically just stores and compares images.  The left brain has to go to work examine those images logically to find out exactly what is different, and whether or not that difference is important.

"Blink" claims that "gut feeling" is from the "unconscious mind," and logic is from the "conscious mind."  To me, that is an over-simplification, if not totally wrong.  The right brain's observations are "conscious" observations.  They are just tied to emotions instead of to logic.  Distrust is an emotion.  And if something doesn't look right, that spawns distrust.  The left brain then has to use logic to make sense of things and determine if the distrust is deserved or not.  The "unconscious mind" is the left brain working to figure things out while you are doing things that do not require much thought - like sleeping.  My unconscious mind sometimes figures things out while I am sleeping, and when I awake I realize what has been bothering me about some problem or issue.  Then my conscious mind takes over the handling of the problem.

"Blink" seems to advocate making your "snap judgments" be more accurate, instead of simply not trusting "snap judgments."  Here is one passage I highlighted from the book:
The part of our brain that leaps to conclusions like this is called the adaptive unconscious, and the study of this kind of decision making is one of the most important new fields in psychology. The adaptive unconscious is not to be confused with the unconscious described by Sigmund Freud, which was a dark and murky place filled with desires and memories and fantasies that were too disturbing for us to think about consciously. This new notion of the adaptive unconscious is thought of, instead, as a kind of giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of the data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings. When you walk out into the street and suddenly realize that a truck is bearing down on you, do you have time to think through all your options? Of course not. The only way that human beings could ever have survived as a species for as long as we have is that we’ve developed another kind of decision-making apparatus that’s capable of making very quick judgments based on very little information.
As I see it, the only way to improve the accuracy of your "adaptive unconscious" is to gain experience.  There are no short cuts.  The key is what you do with the experience information.  Do you process it logically, or do you just record and remember the emotions that came with the experience?  If you were frightened by a clown when you were a child, you can remain afraid of clowns for the rest of your life, or you can logically conclude that it is just some silly man behind silly makeup and neither the man nor the makeup should frighten you.

"Blink" seems to advocate refining your fear of clowns.  Determine which clowns should be feared and which should not, and which way to run when a bad clown shows up, so that when the bad kind show up you can react and run away more quickly.  The author calls it "thin slicing," making better decisions with less information.  Wha?!  I would say that is much more difficult than making better decisions with better information.  Learn via logic which kind of information is better and more important, because making critical decisions with insufficient information is always risky and should be avoided - if possible.  If you collect the right information you can make better decisions more quickly.  It is a matter of quality versus quantity.  You can process less information, because it is higher quality and better organized information.

While it can be somewhat interesting, I think "Blink" is mostly a waste of precious reading time.      

November 22, 2018
- I wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2018
- This morning someone sent me a link to a New York Times article from a couple days ago titled "Does the Universe Still Need Einstein?"  The article begins by saying Einstein "has been dying a second death, if one believes a new spate of articles and papers bemoaning the state of contemporary physics."  And it provides a link to a June 4, 2018, article from Quanta Magazine titled "There Are No Laws of Physics. There’s Only the Landscape."  The article begins with this:
Scientists seek a single description of reality. But modern physics allows for many different descriptions, many equivalent to one another, connected through a vast landscape of mathematical possibility.
It then says,
Albert Einstein famously believed that, given some general principles, there is essentially a unique way to construct a consistent, functioning universe. In Einstein’s view, if we probed the essence of physics deeply enough, there would be one and only one way in which all the components — matter, radiation, forces, space and time — would fit together to make reality work, just as the gears, springs, dials and wheels of a mechanical clock uniquely combine to keep time.

The current Standard Model of particle physics is indeed a tightly constructed mechanism with only a handful of ingredients. Yet instead of being unique, the universe seems to be one of an infinitude of possible worlds. We have no clue why this particular combination of particles and forces underlies nature’s structure.
The author of the article, Robbert Dijkgraaf, views things from the point of view used by mathematicians:
The game changer that led to this switch of perspective has been string theory. At this moment it is the only viable candidate for a theory of nature able to describe all particles and forces, including gravity, while obeying the strict logical rules of quantum mechanics and relativity. The good news is that string theory has no free parameters. It has no dials that can be turned. It doesn’t make sense to ask which string theory describes our universe, because there is only one. The absence of any additional features leads to a radical consequence. All numbers in nature should be determined by physics itself. They are no “constants of nature,” only variables that are fixed by equations (perhaps intractably complicated ones).
And it goes on and on.  You cannot prove String Theory to be wrong, because you cannot prove the negative, so String Theory must be right. Yada yada yada, concluding with this:
Thinking of physics in terms of elementary building blocks appears to be wrong, or at least of limited reach. Perhaps there is a radical new framework uniting the fundamental laws of nature that disregards all the familiar concepts. The mathematical intricacies and consistencies of string theory are a strong motivation for this dramatic point of view.
But there are also 62 comments following the article.  The second one in the list says what I would have said,
Please name one thing that string theory has predicted that has been verified. "All the theoretical work that's been done since the 1970s has not produced a single successful prediction." See "Why Some Scientists Say Physics has Gone Off The Rails" for a counterview. 
So, the New York Times article just uses a provocative title and opening to show that there is a lot of disagreement between scientists (particularly physicists). The article concludes with variations on this idea:
If scientists want any gift for the holidays, it’s some new physics that would break the stalemate of these “standard models” and provide new clues to our existence.     
It seems to me that physicists aren't looking for clues.  They are looking for a new theory.  If they were looking for clues, they would be looking for ways to explain how a photon works instead of just saying that light sometimes acts like a particle and sometimes acts like a wave. And they would be looking for ways to explain how and why time ticks at a different rate atop a mountain than at the bottom of the mountain.  And how and why time ticks slower for a moving object.  Instead, they just argue, "It doesn't!" "It does!" "It doesn't!" "It does!"  It doesn't!" "It does!" "It doesn't!" "It does!" "It doesn't!" "It does!" "It doesn't!" 

If experimental facts and evidence say that time ticks slower at the bottom of a mountain than at the top, that should end the matter.  And if some mathematician argues without proof that it isn't so, then that mathematician should not be considered to be a scientist, he should be viewed only as "a mathematician with beliefs."  He can become a scientist again when he supplies experimental evidence undeniably confirming his beliefs.

Feynman quote about experiments  

November 20, 2018
- This morning I received an email notifying me that a book I had put on reserve at my local library was available for downloading into my Kindle.  The book is "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell.  Without thinking, I downloaded it.  I think (via thinking) that it has been on my reserve list since June.

Looking through reviews of the book (which I apparently didn't think to do before reserving it), I found a lot of somewhat negative reviews, even though it was a "#1 bestseller."  It appears to take the opposite point of view from what I've been arguing.  I've been arguing for logical thinking, and the book "Blink" appears to argue for "trusting snap judgements."  It is very clear that Donald Trump does a lot of "snap judgements," and his thinking is largely crazy.  (I cannot believe Trump would be so moronic as to criticize the admiral in charge of killing Osama bin Laden for not doing it sooner!)    

I read Malcolm Gladwell's earlier bestselling book "The Tipping Point" back in December of 2015, and looking at what I wrote about it back then, it seems the book was about people like Trump who have the ability to get a lot of people to follow them.  Only the book didn't mention that morons and fascists can also gather a lot of followers.  The book seems to have assumed that only "good" thinkers would gather a lot of followers. 

Looking at the passages I underlined in "The Tipping Point," I have less than two pages worth.   Here is one passage I underlined:
Sesame Street was built about a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them. This may seem obvious, but it isn’t. Many critics of television, to this day, argue that what’s dangerous about TV is that it is addictive, that children and even adults watch it like zombies.
Kids don’t watch when they are stimulated and look away when they are bored. They watch when they understand and look away when they are confused.  
And it is a lot easier to understand emotions than logic.  So, this reasoning can also be applied to adults:  If Trump talks about disliking people that his audience dislikes, the audience understands and pays attention.  If someone tries to explain to that same audience that their "dislikes" are illogical or hurtful, the audience gets confused and turns off the TV.
I'm not sure if it will be worth my time to read "Blink," but if I think about it logically, I might learn something from it, and learning is usually worth the time expended.   

November 19, 2018
- There was another email in my inbox this morning telling me:
You have a NEW order awaiting your confirmation. 
It was from one of the companies that sells my books.  The previous such email was received on Nov. 12, one week ago.  Except for the order number, email #31 is identical to email #30, and says,
We require you to confirm your orders in 24 hours. Please confirm the number of copies you will be able to ship and the estimated delivery date. If you cannot ship within the next 2-3 weeks, confirm the order with a "0" quantity, and wait for a new order. If your order is not confirmed in a timely fashion, it will be auto-cancelled.
And, of course, I cannot simply respond via an email.  I need to go to their web site, sign into my account, and enter information in the appropriate box in order to respond.  But, I cannot establish an account with them without first providing two phone numbers, one of which must be a mobile phone with the capability to run apps and to scan barcodes on products.  And doing that will allow them to bill me $99 per year for the privilege of having an account with them. 

So, I'm just going to continue to ignore their emails.  It's not a "scam."  It's a "hustle" to get me to set up an account.  And the reason they do not respond to emails is because they are one of the largest companies in the world, which means they would have to hire hundreds (maybe thousands) of people to answer all the emails they'd get.  So, the only way to contact them is to follow their established automated procedures - which begin by setting up an account.  If you don't, you'll just end up getting an email from them every week reminding you that they have an order for some of your books.

It really is like some science fiction story about dealing with mindless robots.

By the way, here is what a real email scam looks like:

email scam #1
All you need to do to fall for this scam is to believe that you can scam them by going along and by sending a response to a Chinese bank with a Japanese Yahoo email address.

November 18, 2018
- The question "What is a photon?" still bothers me, and I've been thinking about how to answer that question.  I've also been reading papers on the subject.  So, here it is Sunday morning, and I haven't prepared a comment, which means that I'm going to write this one from scratch.  It might as well be on the subject of: What is a Photon?

One thing I noticed is that the scientific papers do not use logic to find an answer.  They tend to argue that there is no way to answer the question.  One paper says,
Some say that a photon is a bundle of energy. This statement is not meaningful enough to be wrong. In physics, energy is one property of a system among many others. Photons have energy as they have spin and momentum and cannot be energy any more than they can be spin or momentum. In the late 1800’s some thinkers declared that all matter is made of one philosophical stuff that they identified with energy, without much empirical basis. The theory is dead but its words linger on.
That's an argument over words.  It's the kind of argument I would get into when discussing things on UseNet physics forums.  Instead of discussing science, they'd argue over word definitions.

I don't have any problem with identifying a photon as "a bundle of energy."  We know that a photon consists of energy, and we know that it is a "bundle" that moves from its source (emitter) to some atom somewhere where it is either absorbed temporarily or permanently.  We also know a photon is definitely NOT a continuous wave, nor is it a wave in some mythical aether.  It seems the only real question is:  What is the shape of that "bundle"?  Or to phrase it another way: What does a photon look like?  I find it difficult to discuss an object if I cannot visualize it.  And, if it is a "bundle" it is also an "object," even if it has no mass.

Here's the image I typically use when that question is asked:

a photon

According to that image, when viewed head-on the photon is + shaped.  It has an electric field pulsating vertically and a magnetic field pulsating horizontally.  Yet light photons can be polarized

When light is emitted from a lamp, the electric field in some photons oscillates up and down, some electric fields oscillate from side to side, and others oscillate at virtually every angle in between.  But you can put a polarizing filter in the path of the light that will allow only photons with electric fields that are oscillating up and down to get through.

polarizing light

That is the principle behind 3-D movies.  You use polarized lenses to view two images at the same time, one image where the photons oscillate up and down is viewed by the right eye, another image where the photons oscillate from side to side is viewed by the left eye.  (This is different from the 3-D images that use red and blue filters.)

3D glasses

Evidently, the filter only affects the electric field.  The magnetic field is not affected by the polarizing filter.  The magnetic field is still there, it still oscillates at right angles to the electric field, but the filter does not block it or alter it. 

The point is: This means that a photon is not just a point or particle that moves up and down in a wave pattern (which would give it height), a photon has length.  If any part of the photon - the front, the back or some part of the middle - hits the bars of the filter, the photon is stopped.  It is absorbed by an atom in the filter and probably emitted in some random direction away from the filter and back toward the source.  It's like a coin fitting into a slot.  It won't go through the slot unless it is aligned with the slot. 

That still doesn't allow me to visualize a photon.  In fact, it makes me want to visualize a photon as being ring-shaped (or coin-shaped or orbit-shaped), a spinning ring with its "wavelength" being one complete rotation.  That would explain how a photon would be absorbed by a single atom in the filter if the photon hits at the wrong angle.  The problem I have is visualizing a photon that is shaped like a spear that oscillates up and down while trying to pass through a slit that runs sideways.  I keep seeing the spear get partway through and then having the middle of the spear hit the side of the slit, which causes whole spear to be absorbed by an atom in the side of the slit.  It is certainly possible, but it's difficult to visualize.

And that brings me back to microwave ovens.  If microwave photons were coin shaped, they would be about 1.3 inches in diameter (assuming the wavelength is the circumference of the "coin") and certainly wouldn't fit through the tiny round holes in the screen that covers the door of the microwave. 
Instead, the photons bounce around, going from an atom in one wall to another atom in another wall inside the microwave until they hit a food item containing the oxygen and hydrogen atoms which form water molecules.  Those atoms absorb the microwave photons and turn the photons into heat energy.  Meanwhile, "coins" that are 400 to 650 nanometers in circumference (the wavelength of visible light) easily pass through the screen  holes that are about 2,540,000 nanometers in diameter (about 1/10th of an inch) and allow you to see what is happening to your pop tart inside the microwave. 

And it's now nearly lunch time.  That means I have to end this comment here.  I don't know if what I wrote makes any sense to anyone else, but it gives me something to think more about.

Comments for Sunday, November 11, 2018, thru Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018:

November 16, 2018 - While I'm still not working on anything, at least I'm not laying around listening to audio books, and I am thinking about scientific subjects.  One subject that keeps bothering me is that if you have three different types of atomic clocks working with three different types of atoms - cesium, rubidium and strontium - they will tick at three different rates:
      6,834,682,611 ticks per second for rubidium
      9,192,631,770 ticks per second for cesium
430,000,000,000,000 ticks per second for strontium
However, the time shown by the clocks will not drift.  They will all tick off each second in unison.  That says that time almost certainly relates to particle spin.  Otherwise, one clock would gradually start to accumulate more seconds than the other clock.  But they don't.  They all tick at a steady but different rate

Moreover, if you use the clocks to measure altitude or velocity, they will measure the same differences if they are in the same locations. If the rubidium clock ticks 10 more ticks per second when it is raised to the top of a mountain, the strontium clock won't tick 10 more ticks per second, it will tick hundreds of thousands more ticks per second.  It will tick faster by the same percentage as the rubidium clock.  So every different type of atom in my body is spinning at a different rate.  And all the carbon atoms in my head are spinning faster than all the carbon atoms in my feet due to gravitational time dilation, but each type of atom (i.e., carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium, phosphorous, etc.) is measuring the same rate of time as the atom next to it, regardless of what kind of atom it is. 

I keep feeling there is something going on that explains time and time dilation in a way that would be clear and undeniable - if I just understood it well enough.

I also spent some time today going through web sites which identify "the biggest mysteries in science."  There are lots of them - examples: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE - but no two of them list exactly the same mysteries, and none asks "What is Time?" although several ask why time flows in only one direction.  I wouldn't call that a "mystery," I'd see the "mystery" as being why anyone would wonder why time flows only in one direction.  It's got to be another one of those questions that make sense only to a mathematician who believes that motion is reciprocal.        

November 15, 2018
- Yesterday, I finished listening to another audio book on my MP3 player: "Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History," by Katy Tur.

Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Katy Tur is a reporter for NBC and MSNBC and was assigned to follow Trump around when he first announced that he was going to run for President.  Initially, she was the only reporter assigned to him full time.  But that gradually changed as it became more and more clear that Trump was actually serious. Then Katy Tur and reporters from other news organizations flew (via commercial airlines) to each place where Trump was going to give a speech and they were all in the "press box" watching him and the crowds he drew.  Then the media companies hired a private plane to haul the reporters around when that became cheaper than buying individual tickets.  Of course, the reporters would also periodically interview Trump, and they probably got to know him better than anyone outside of his personal team.  Katy Tur also seemed to get into personal feuds with Trump whenever he didn't like some question she asked.  Trump would point to her during his speeches and call out her name.  That also resulted in her fearing for her life when Trump's followers started yelling at her and even spitting on her.

I started listening to the audio book out of curiosity, and then ended up laying on my couch and listening to it for hours (7 hours 42 minutes total spread out over two days).  It was a very enjoyable and interesting book, and in audio form it is like having an interesting reporter tell you an amazing adventure story.  When I was about 2 hours into the book, she said something that I wanted to transcribe.  But before doing that, I checked my local library to see if they had a Kindle copy available. They did!  So, I downloaded it into my Kindle, zipped through it through to the place I wanted to transcribe and just underlined it.  That put it into the "My Clippings" file on the Kindle.  I ended up with about 7 pages of "clippings."  Here's one sample:
I’ve learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can’t always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the pussy, denigrate the judicial system, demonize immigrants, fight with the pope, doubt the democratic process, advocate torture and war crimes, tout the size of his junk in a presidential debate, trash the media, and indirectly endanger my life.   
And another:
Some politicians have a gift for language. Trump is not one of those politicians. His sentences call to mind an aerial shot of a burning, derailed freight train. The syntax is mangled. The grammar is gone. “Donald Trump isn’t a simpleton, he just talks like one,” reads a Politico article from last August. “If you were to market Donald Trump’s vocabulary as a toy, it would resemble a small box of Lincoln Logs.” Every fourth word seems to be very, great, beautiful, or tremendous. He loves the word winning. In fact we’re going to have so much of it, Trump says we’ll get sick of it. His insults are even simpler. Our leaders are “dumb,” “stupid,” or “weak.” Our deals are “terrible.” His critics are “losers” and “haters.” The press is “scum.” Women he doesn’t find attractive are “disgusting.”
There's not much in those two samples that is news.  And the same with the other "clippings."  The ones that are "news" are too long to quote, require too much explanation, or may be of interest to no one but me.  An example is the occasion when Trump provided food for the reporters which included Trump wine, Trump steaks, Trump bottled water, plus copies of Trump magazine to read.  But none of it was actually Trump brand products.  They were all from companies that produce such products with your name on it for a fee.

I don't plan to sit around listening to any more audio books about Trump on my MP3 player, but I might change my mind.  The book in which 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts assess Trump looks interesting.  I have it in audio book form, but it is not available at my library in Kindle format.  That seems like a book in which I'd want to do a lot of highlighting.

I also feel that I know all that I want to know about Trump and the people who support him.  Watching him on the news as he constantly lies and makes enemies of long time friends of America is distressing enough.  I'm not going to write a book about him or his followers.  So, there's not much point in researching him.  Yet, he is fascinating.  That means I might change my mind tomorrow and start reading or listening to yet another book about him.  

November 13, 2018
- Yesterday, I finished reading an extremely interesting book titled "How The Right Lost Its Mind," by Charles J. Sykes: 

How the Right Lost Its Mind

I wasn't expecting to finish it until later this week, but it ended when my Kindle showed that I was 66% done.  The rest of the book is references and indexes. 

When I accessed the "My Clippings" files in the Kindle and copied all the passages I had underlined into a WORD file, the file was 31 pages long.

The author of the book, Charles Sykes, is a conservative and once had a right wing radio talk show in Milwaukee.  But he is also very anti-Trump.  So, his book has a lot of details about why he disagrees with all the "conservatives" who support Trump.  It's fascinating stuff, since I had no idea there were so many conservative radio talk shows, conservative web sites, conservative pod-casts, and other conservative media outlets out there.  I'd heard of Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, of course, but it's been many years since I looked at anything on the Drudge Report.  Yet, the book says,
If you want to understand the nature of the Right’s alternative reality, or its vulnerability to “fake news,” you need to start with Jones and Drudge. The Drudge Report consistently ranks as one of the top five media publishers in the country, often drawing more than a billion page views a month.  Media critic John Ziegler describes Matt Drudge as effectively the “assignment editor” for much of talk radio, many right-leaning websites, and a significant portion of the Fox News channel. “If Drudge wants a certain narrative to gain traction in conservative circles, he has more power to make that happen than anyone else,” he writes. The gravitational pull of the Drudge Report is so powerful, Ziegler notes, “that when it becomes clear what narrative Matt is favoring, a literal ‘market’ is created for stories which fit that storyline so that they might be linked on the Drudge Report.” Conservative media types were also reluctant to cross Drudge. “If … you can’t get your content linked on Drudge,” explains Ziegler, “or appear on Fox News, your career is, at best, stunted and, at worst, over.”
The book also describes Trumps many battles with conservatives: 
Charles Krauthammer was a dummy/loser/clown; George Will was “dopey”; Bill Kristol had “lost all respect”; Rich Lowry was the “worst”; and so on. Trump’s targets were unusual because they were not politicians or officeholders. But all of them were heirs to the conservative intellectual tradition and a culture that had once placed a value on thoughtfulness, experience, intelligence, and a coherent philosophy of man and his relationship to the state. What we were seeing was, in effect, a repudiation of the conservative mind.            
But gradually, the extremists took over the conservative agenda.  It became "us against them" and a form of tribalism.  Conservatives weren't "pro-Trump," they were anti-anti-Trump.  They were against those who were against Trump.  Another quote from the book:
The New York Times’s James Poniewozik notes that politics today” is attitudinal, not ideological. The reason to be for someone is who is against them. What matters more than policy is your side’s winning, and what matters more than your side’s winning is the other side’s losing.”
As the Right doubles down on anti-anti-Trumpism it will find itself goaded into defending and rationalizing ever more outrageous conduct, just as long as it annoys the Left.
There is probably no better example of that than the Christian Right supporting Trump, a known adulterer and moral scumbag.  Pat Robertson is a prime example.  However, the book also says:
There were powerful voices from within the church opposing Trump, including the magazine Christianity Today, which published a scathing editorial comparing support for Trump to “idolatry.” He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.  
I could go on and on.  Tribalism is the one aspect of pro-Trump voters that I'm most familiar with.  I have relatives who voted for Trump because their neighbors voted for Trump.  And when their neighbors changed their minds and no longer supported Trump, my relatives went along with that, too.  It seemed to have nothing to do with policies and right or wrong, it was just about supporting your tribe.  Us against them.  They seemed to have no idea why it was "us against them," they just wanted to remain part of "us."

November 12, 2018
- This morning, someone sent me an email mentioning an essay article by Isaac Asimov titled "A Cult of Ignorance."  A little research finds that it is from the January 21, 1980 issue of Newsweek.  Here's what seems to be the most frequently quoted passage from the essay:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way throughout political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
That passage I highlighted in red should have been Trump's motto.  It seems to be what he constantly argues. 

Asimov's essay is primarily a lament over the lack of reading skills exhibited by the American public (and probably by the general public everywhere).  It caused me to turn around in my chair once again to look at the bookshelves behind me.  I recalled and found a book from 1980 titled "The Right Brain" by Thomas R. Blakeslee.  I have a hardcover copy that contains underlined and circled passages on about half the pages.  Here's a key passage from page 6 about some "split-brain experiments" done in the 1960s:
They found that each half of the brain has its own separate train of conscious thought and its own memories.  Even more important, they found that the two sides of the brain think in fundamentally different ways: While the left brain tends to think in words, the right brain thinks directly in sensory images. 

The two halves of the brain thus have a kind of partnership in which the left brain handles language and logical thinking, while the right brain does things that are difficult to put into words.  By thinking images instead of words, the right brain can recognize a face in a crowd or put together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, which would totally baffle the left brain.
Ah!  That probably fits very well with the concept of "Thinking, Fast and Slow," where "thinking fast" means you see something that signifies danger and you automatically run away from it, or you see something that signifies pleasure, and your mouth starts to water.  "Thinking slow" means you see or hear something that seems strange or illogical, and you try to make sense of it.

One of the things that seems totally illogical is that anyone would believe anything Donald Trump says.  He's a conspiracy theorist who does not like to read and who evidently cannot think logically.  He clearly believes that any facts you can cite to support a finding he disagrees with can be directly challenged by "alternative facts" that he can simply dream up.  His ignorance is just as good as any knowledge you may have obtained by reading and doing research.

I could probably go on and on, but I want to get back to reading "How The Right Lost Its Mind."  

Meanwhile, this morning I received another email (#30) from one of the companies that sells my books.  The subject of the email is one I've seen a half dozen times before:
You have a NEW order awaiting your confirmation
And, of course, I need to sign into my account in order to respond to their email.  But, I cannot establish an account with them without first providing two phone numbers, one of which must be a mobile phone with the capability to run apps and to scan barcodes on products.  And doing that will allow them to bill me $99 per year for the privilege of having an account with them.  So, I'm just going to continue to ignore their emails.

November 11, 2018
- This is another one of those Sunday mornings when I'm supposed to write a comment for this web site, but I have absolutely nothing prepared.  I tried to start working on today's comment yesterday afternoon, but I just stared at the computer screen and wrote nothing. I wanted to write something about science, but I'm stuck on the problem that no one seems to know what a photon looks like or how it works.  To me that seems like an interesting problem that definitely needs to be solved, but to everyone else it seems to be an accepted situation.

I looked up "What is a Photon?" via Google Scholar and found lots of articles addressing that question, but most seemed to argue aspects of the question that are of no interest to me.  However, I also found a half dozen articles all in one place that seem to address the question logically.  One article begins with this:
Light is an obvious feature of everyday life, and yet light’s true nature has eluded us for centuries. Near the end of his life Albert Einstein wrote, “All the fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no closer to the answer to the question: What are light quanta? Of course today every rascal thinks he knows the answer, but he is deluding himself.” We are today in the same state of “learned ignorance” with respect to light as was Einstein.
And it ends with this:  
To my mind, Einstein was right to caution us concerning light. Our understanding of it has increased enormously in the 100 years since Planck, but I suspect light will continue to confound us, while simultaneously luring us to inquire ceaselessly into its nature.
Another article seems to indicate that the problem was solved by accepting that photons seemingly have conflicting properties:
The conflicting views of the particle or wave essence of light were reconciled by the establishment of the quantum theory, with its introduction of the idea that all excitations simultaneously have both particle-like and wave-like properties.
Another article begins with this:
From the point of view of experience, “What is a photon?” is not the best first question. We never experience a photon as it “is.” For example, we never see a photon in the sense that we see an apple, by scattering diffuse light off it and forming an image of it on our retina. What we experience is what photons do. A better first question is “What do photons do?” After we answer this we can define what photons are, if we still wish to, by what they do.
But the article never gets around to actually defining what photons are.  That is probably because what photons do seems inconsistent.  I'm still stuck on conceptualizing how a microwave oven works.  How can a microwave photon be absorbed and then re-emitted by a single atom in the metal wall of the oven and yet be stopped by a screen that covers the window in the door of the oven.  The openings in the screen are far larger than individual atoms.  I do not think it is "illogical," I think there is something I do not yet understand that would make it "logical." 

Then I gave up and went into the living room to read a book on my Kindle.  I had temporarily given up on reading "Age of Anger" when I was only 10% completed, since it seemed to ramble and never get to the point.  I switched over to reading "How The Right Lost Its Mind."  I'm about 33% done with that book, slowed a bit by all the underlining I've been doing.  It's a terrific book, even though I think the author may have been viewing things from not quite the correct angle.  But he does make a good point when he shows that American politics has been going crazy for a long time.

And it makes the point that social media is making things worse.  No matter how idiotic your beliefs may be, there is someone out there who will agree with you and cite made-up "facts" to confirm it.  But, I'll go more into what is said in "How the Right Lost Its Mind" when I finish reading it.
All I need to do to confirm that things are becoming more and more complicated and confused is turn around in my chair and look at the bookshelves behind me.  One of the books on the shelves is "The Closing of the American Mind," by Allan Bloom, published in 1987.  My copy of the book has underlined and circled passages on about half the pages, often many of them on a single page.

Strangely, the book seems to argue that "the closing of the American mind" means that people (particularly college students) believe that "truth is relative."  It says on page 25,
The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it.    
And on page 26 it says,
The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.
So, many students have supposedly closed their minds to the idea that anyone is more correct than anyone else.  That may be well and good when talking about tastes in food and music, but science isn't about opinions, it is about facts.  It isn't just a matter of opinion that the earth is a spinning globe moving through space in an orbit around the sun.  Solid scientific facts can demonstrate it. The Flat Earthers do not argue that it is just a matter of opinion, they argue that the earth is flat and that their facts confirm that.  But, their "facts" are not facts.  Simple experiments will show that their "facts" are really just mistaken beliefs.    

What the book "How the Right Lost Its Mind" explains in detail is how in today's Internet-powered world you can find support for virtually any screwball belief you can dream up, particularly if the belief is a challenge to authority.  Trump's argument that Barack Obama was a Muslim burn in Kenya is still accepted by many people.  Obama's birth certificate is simply dismissed as a forgery.  If you argue with the True Believers who hold that theory, they will just smile at you and chuckle over how dumb you are to believe a forged document.  They have "alternative facts" (i.e., unsubstantiated claims) to counter any facts you may have.

It all brings me back to the problem of people thinking emotionally instead of logically.  Many people believe the "facts" they like and that support what they believe, making them feel superior to the non-believers.  Instead of looking for correct answers, they are mindlessly competitive.

I am sometimes just amazed that we aren't killing each other more often than we are.  I'm seeing articles suggesting that we might be headed for another Civil War, but other articles show that today is very different from the 1850s.

It all reminds me of the curse the Chinese supposedly sometimes use: "May you live in interesting times."

Other interests:

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

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