Ed Lake's web page

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
(And I have two science-related Facebook discussion groups, HERE and HERE.)

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Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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

just trying to figure things out.

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.

 Comments for Sunday, February 17, 2019, thru Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019: February 20, 2019 - This afternoon, while driving around doing chores, I finished listening to CD #4 of the 4 CD audio book set for "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli.   While it was generally worthwhile, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend the book.  Too much of it is philosophy instead of science.  But Rovelli does make some good scientific points.  For example, he says this on page 43: For millennia before clocks, our only regular way of measuring time had been the alternation of day and night. The rhythm of day followed by night also regulates the lives of plants and animals. Diurnal rhythms are ubiquitous in the natural world. They are essential to life, and it seems to me probable that they played a key role in the very origin of life on Earth, since an oscillation is required to set a mechanism in motion. Living organisms are full of clocks of various kinds—molecular, neuronal, chemical, hormonal—each of them more or less in tune with the others. There are chemical mechanisms that keep to a twenty-four-hour rhythm even in the biochemistry of single cells. Later on the same page, Rovelli says,   Aristotle is the first we are aware of to have asked himself the question “What is time?,” and he came to the following conclusion: time is the measurement of change. Things change continually. We call “time” the measurement, the counting of this change. and So if nothing changes, if nothing moves, does time therefore cease to pass? Aristotle believed that it did. If nothing changes, time does not pass — because time is our way of situating ourselves in relation to the changing of things: the placing of ourselves in relation to the counting of days. Time is the measure of change: if nothing changes, there is no time. I agree with that, although I wouldn't phrase things that way.  Its a philosophical view, not a scientific view where (in my view) time is simply particle spin.  Change and other effects of particle spin are measurements of time, not time itself. Quantum Mechanics, of course, looks at time differently.  It quantizes time.  It requires that time consist of multiples of a specific unit ("quanta").  On page 54, Rovelli writes this about how time is viewed in Quantum Mechanics: The time measured by a clock is “quantified,” that is to say, it acquires only certain values and not others. It is as if time were granular rather than continuous. and The “quantization” of time implies that almost all values of time t do not exist. If we could measure the duration of an interval with the most precise clock imaginable, we should find that the time measured takes only certain discrete, special values. It is not possible to think of duration as continuous. We must think of it as discontinuous: not as something that flows uniformly but as something that in a certain sense jumps, kangaroo-like, from one value to another. In other words, a minimum interval of time exists. Below this, the notion of time does not exist—even in its most basic meaning. It's difficult for me to make any sense of that, and Rovelli doesn't try to.  He just describes it as another way for a philosopher to view time. The books provides a lot to think about, particularly about how entropy relates to time, but the net result of spending 4 hours and 23 minutes listening to the book while two weeks went by is more akin to confusion than enlightenment. February 18, 2019 - I my February 16 comment I mentioned that I had accessed some podcasts for the first time.  It was the first time I found podcasts that didn't require joining something and paying a fee.  The podcasts were on a web site titled Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, and there are currently 348 podcasts available. I began by listening to episode #348 in which the host of the show, David Barr Kirtley, interviews astrophysicist and science fiction writer Gregory Benford.  While the whole interview was enjoyable and worthwhile, I found something very interesting near the end, at about the 1 hour, 2 minutes and 40 seconds mark.  At that point Benford says, I'm always trying to use my unconscious as much as possible in order to avoid extra labor. I think one of the great [mumble] about people is whether they've learned to use their unconscious to solve problems.  I use it every day. I review all the things I'm working on just before I go to sleep, and when I wake up in the morning I do not open my eyes, I lie there and recall what I was working on.  And about one time in three there is an idea there - for free - and it almost always works!  And it's been produced by your unconscious, which has still been working while you were asleep. That's exactly what I do!  I've mentioned it in comments I've written here many times.  Recently, I've been thinking about photons just before going to sleep, hoping that my unconscious mind will figure out something while I'm asleep.  I think it needs more information.  So, I'm going to have to do more research. In the Interview, Benford also mentions discussing the unconscious mind with another scientist, and together they wondered:   We evolved with an unconscious.  Why?  Why did we evolve with an unconscious mind? They had no answer to that.  Maybe they need to think about it just before going to sleep.  Or maybe I do. After finishing Episode #348, I started on Episode #347.  In it, David Barr Kirtley interviews three different science fiction writers about a science fiction anthology TV series titled "Dimension 404."  The series is on Hulu, and I'm not a subscriber, so I've never seen it.  I don't even know how to access Hulu. But, very little of the show was about "Dimension 404."  Mostly it was about other things.  They talked past TV anthology series such as "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," "One Step Beyond" and "Amazing Stories."  And there is also a series titled "Black Mirror" on Netflix, which I've also never seen.  They also talked about a book called "The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos," which I had never heard of before. I was probably ten minutes into the show when I had to grab a pen and a piece of paper so I could start making notes.  I didn't know Jeff Bezos had a company called "Blue Origin" which is involved with space exploration.  I may have read about it or heard about it before, but it never registered the way it did while I was listening to that podcast.   I listened to all or parts of about 6 other episodes, working backward through the list, and while they weren't all as interesting as the first two I'd heard, they sometimes caused me to grab that paper and pen again to make notes.  In one episode they mentioned other podcasts, such as Hardcore History, and shows by Joe Rogan.  I downloaded samples of those to check out.  I think I've just sampled a tiny tiny fraction of all the podcasts that are available.  Just prowling around this morning, I found that Science magazine has a web site of podcasts.  I downloaded a couple samples to check out when I find the time.  Meanwhile, someone sent me a link to a talk by an American doctor who was asked to fly to India in 1989 to treat Mother Teresa, who appeared to be dying.  I could only listen to it on my computer, but I'd like to save it as an MP3 file.  It's fascinating and funny, while at the same time being very serious and bizarre. It appears that I'm going to be listening to a lot of podcasts in the future.  I might even start taking my MP3 player with me again when I go to the gym. February 17, 2019 - Sometimes when I'm researching how photons and light waves work, I just feel like just giving up.  Things make no sense. Last week I researched the size of various atoms.  The books and articles and web sites all seem to generally agree on these sizes for various atoms: Barium (Ba) has a radius of 0.253 nanometers (253 picometers) Strontium (Sr) has a radius of 0.215 nanometers (215 picometers) Calcium (Ca) has a radius of 0.197 nanometers (197 picometers) Sodium (Na) has a radius of 0.190 nanometers (190 picometers) Lithium (Li) has a radius of 0.167 nanometers (167 picometers) Silver (Ag) has a radius of 0.165 nanometers (165 picometers) Copper (Cu) has a radius of 0.145 nanometers (145 picometers) And they also seem to generally agree that wavelengths have these sizes: And they all seem to agree that light is created this way: So, a photon hits an atom and is absorbed, which causes the outermost electron in the atom to jump to a higher, unstable energy level. The electron then falls back to its original energy level and the atom releases the extra energy in the form of a new light photon.  According to an on-line source: During the fall from high energy to normal energy, the electron emits a photon -- a packet of energy -- with very specific characteristics. The photon has a frequency, or color, that exactly matches the distance the electron falls. You can see this phenomenon quite clearly in gas-discharge lamps. Fluorescent lamps, neon signs and sodium-vapor lamps are common examples of this kind of electric lighting, which passes an electric current through a gas to make the gas emit light. The colors of gas-discharge lamps vary widely depending on the identity of the gas and the construction of the lamp. A frequency that matches a distance?  What does that mean?   You can also cause light to be emitted by applying heat to an atom.  Heat will cause the electron to jump to a higher level and then back down again to emit a photon.  The type of atom being heated will determine the color of the light that is emitted.  According to an on-line source, Sodium Na produces yellow color, Copper Cu gives blue. Barium Ba emits green and Strontium salts and lithium salts produce: Lithium carbonate, Li2CO3 emits red Strontium carbonate, SrCO3 emits bright red. Okay, so a sodium atom that is 0.38 nanometers in diameter will emit a yellow light wave that has a length of 580 nanometers - or a photon that is 290 nanometers in diameter.  And if that wave or photon hits a silver atom that has a diameter of 0.33 nm, it will be fully absorbed, and the silver atom will then emit a totally new 290 nm photon or new wave that is 580 nanometers long. How does an atom that is 0.33 nanometers in diameter absorb a light photon that is 879 times larger than the atom?   Or how does an atom absorb a wave that is 1,758 times the size of the atom?  Someone on Quora.com asked the question "How big is a photon?" and the general consensus seems to be that there is no answer to that question.  The answer that received twice as many "up votes" than everyone else put together was from a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia who wrote: I’m pretty sure there is no possible answer to that question. A photon is a wave — usually a wave packet, which limits and fuzzily defines its net “length”, but it can occupy any number of different volumes and still be the same quantum. What is the size or volume of a shout? How can such a basic question have no possible answer?  Is it because no one is looking for an answer?  Because no one cares? While trying to find an answer (because I care) I found a link to a book that says this on pages 21 and 22: Physicists had known for nearly three decades that something was wrong, that a change was desperately needed to understand what was happening in the world of the very small—the world of atoms. But they were working blind. Atoms are simply too small to see through any normal microscope, no matter the magnification. The wavelength of visible light is thousands of times larger than the size of an individual atom. That's exactly what I just wrote.  Going back to the start of the book, I found this on pages 5 and 6: Despite the fact that every physicist agrees that quantum physics works, a bitter debate has raged over its meaning for the past ninety years, since the theory was first developed. And one position in that debate—held by the majority of physicists and purportedly by Bohr—has continually denied the very terms of the debate itself. These physicists claim that it is somehow inappropriate or unscientific to ask what is going on in the quantum realm, despite the phenomenal success of the theory. To them, the theory needs no interpretation, because the things that the theory describes aren’t truly real. Indeed, the strangeness of quantum phenomena has led some prominent physicists to state flatly that there is no alternative, that quantum physics proves that small objects simply do not exist in the same objectively real way as the objects in our everyday lives do. Therefore, they claim, it is impossible to talk about reality in quantum physics. There is not, nor could there be, any story of the world that goes along with the theory. The book (published in 2018) is "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker.  The book goes on to say, The popularity of this attitude to quantum physics is surprising. Physics is about the world around us. It aims to understand the fundamental constituents of the universe and how they behave. Many physicists are driven to enter the field out of a desire to understand the most basic properties of nature, to see how the puzzle fits together. Yet, when it comes to quantum physics, the majority of physicists are perfectly willing to abandon this quest and instead merely “shut up and calculate,” in the words of physicist David Mermin.  and, This is an astonishing state of affairs, and hardly anyone outside of physics knows about it. But why should anyone else care? After all, quantum physics certainly works. For that matter, why should physicists care? Their mathematics makes accurate predictions; isn’t that enough?  No, it is not enough.  I could quote endlessly from the book, even though I've only read the first 22 pages so far.  The point seems to be that Quantum Mechanics is not about the real world, it is about calculating probabilities.  And the book doesn't seem to provide any answers, it seems to just describe the reason no one is even looking for answers: Physicists are fully satisfied with calculating probabilities.  As long as they can calculate probabilities and get good results, no one cares what is actually going on at the atomic level. When looking at the book on Amazon's web site, they displayed another book published in June of 2018 that looks interesting and similar: "Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray Hardcover" by Sabine Hossenfelder.  I mentioned that book in my June 2, 2018 comment, when it first came out.  And that book led me to another book published in 2018: "Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different" by Philip Ball.  It has this famous Richard Feynman quote on page 6: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” And then it goes on to explain what Prof. Feynman meant: In case we didn’t get the point, Feynman drove it home in his artful Everyman style. ‘I was born not understanding quantum mechanics,’ he exclaimed merrily, ‘[and] I still don’t understand quantum mechanics!’ Here was the man who had just been anointed one of the foremost experts on the topic, declaring his ignorance of it. The book goes on to say, Feynman’s much-quoted words help to seal the reputation of quantum mechanics as one of the most obscure and difficult subjects in all of science. Quantum mechanics has become symbolic of ‘impenetrable science’, in the same way that the name of Albert Einstein (who played a key role in its inception) acts as shorthand for scientific genius. Feynman clearly didn’t mean that he couldn’t do quantum theory. He meant that this was all he could do. He could work through the math just fine – he invented some of it, after all. That wasn’t the problem. Sure, there’s no point in pretending that the math is easy, and if you never got on with numbers then a career in quantum mechanics isn’t for you. But neither, in that case, would be a career in fluid mechanics, population dynamics, or economics, which are equally inscrutable to the numerically challenged. No, the equations aren’t why quantum mechanics is perceived to be so hard. It’s the ideas. We just can’t get our heads around them. Neither could Richard Feynman. His failure, Feynman admitted, was to understand what the math was saying. It provided numbers: predictions of quantities that could be tested against experiments, and which invariably survived those tests. But Feynman couldn’t figure out what these numbers and equations were really about: what they said about the ‘real world’. The existence of these three books, all published in 2018, tells me that others are bothered by the problem.  And they aren't afraid of writing about it.  So, I'm not alone.  But it sometimes seems like I'm the only one who is trying to make sense of it all.  They write about the problem, not about attempts to solve the problem. No one is saying that it is impossible for an atom to absorb and emit a photon that is a thousand times larger than the atom.  It is just not something that happens in the visible universe.  Or does it?

Comments for Friday, February 1, 2019, thru Saturday, February 2, 2019:

February 2, 2019 - I had to stop at a grocery store this afternoon to pick up some supplies, and while I was unloading my basket onto the conveyor belt I realized there was an argument going on between the elderly black man in front of me and the big beefy white guy in front of him.  The elderly black guy was chuckling, so it wasn't a heated argument.  But the two men didn't seem to know each other, so you couldn't call it a "friendly argument."  The white guy was ranting about building a wall along the border with Mexico, and how it would stop all the drugs that were illegally coming into this country.  The black guy was just shaking his head, chuckling, and saying it was a waste of money.

It looked like it was safe for me to agree with the black guy when they both glanced at me, so I did so.  A wall isn't going to stop drug smugglers.  Drug smugglers dig tunnels under walls when there is a wall to get past.  Mostly, though, they smuggle drugs in by boat, by plane and by hiding them inside trucks and other vehicles that pass through the customs check points.

I didn't get a chance to argue that point before the white guy picked up his groceries and left.  But, I wish I had been there to see how the argument started.  It had to have been started by the white guy.  What kind of person would start a political argument in a line at a grocery store?  I imagine it is the same kind of guy who would yell at the TVs at the gym, like the guy I saw do that at my gym last week.  It's the type of guy who is accustomed to getting his way by force

How do you argue with someone who gets his way by force, instead of by logic and reasoning?  The white guy in the grocery line and the guy at the gym were obviously driven by hate of some kind.  There is no way to reason with people who are driven by hate and who use force to get their way.  Luckily we can still out-vote them.

February 1, 2019
- Yesterday, I was browsing through a couple papers related to the article
titled "Physicists Have Built a Machine That Actually Breaks Two Rules of Light" that I mentioned in my January 30 comment.  Somewhere, while doing research, I saw mention of a book titled "Fundamentals of Photonics."  Hmm.  The word "photonics" is defined this way:
Photonics is the physical science of light (photon) generation, detection, and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and sensing.
So, photonics is about photons!  I've been searching for information about how photons work!  It seems that instead of looking for articles about photons, I should have been looking for articles about photonics!  When I searched for the book "Fundamentals of Photonics," I found two books with that title.

The first one, by B.E.A. Saleh and M.C. Teich, is the one mentioned in the source I found.  It says this on page vi of the Forward:
The theories of light are presented at progressively increasing levels of difficulty.  Thus light is described first as rays, then scalar waves, then electromagnetic waves, and, finally, photons.
The photon theory of light is the most difficult!?!?   As I see it, looking at light purely as photons would greatly simplify everything.

1. Ray Optics
2. Wave Optics
3. Beam Optics
4. Fourier Optics
5. Electromagnetic Optics
6. Polarization and Crystal Optics
7. Guided Wave Optics
8. Fiber Optics
9. Resonator Optics
10. Statistical Optics
11. Photon Optics
12. Photons and Atoms
13. Laser Amplifiers
14. Lasers
15. Photons in Semiconductors
16. Semiconductor Photon Sources
17. Semiconductor Photon Detectors
18. Electro-optics
19. Nonlinear Optics
20. Acousto-optics
21. Photonic Switching and Computing
22. Fiber-Optic Communications
Chapter 11 begins on page 386 with this:
Light consists of particles called photons.  A photon has zero rest mass and carries electromagnetic energy and momentum.  It also carries an intrinsic angular momentum (or spin) that governs its polarization properties.  The photon travels at the speed of light in a vacuum (c0); its speed is retarded in matter.  Photons also have a wavelike character that determines their localization properties in space and the rules by which they interfere and diffract.
If light photons spin, how can 3D movies work?  In theaters, TWO projectors produce a double image on the screen.  The 3D glasses let you see one image though your left eye and the second image through your right eye.  If the photons coming from the screen were spinning, how could they be oriented correctly when they reach your eyes?

And I think the idea that photons interact and interfere with each other is nonsense because photons have no "wavelike character."  So, it seems the author of the book is going to force photons to behave like waves because waves are understood and photons are not.

But, it looks like the book has a few chapters that are definitely worth studying.

The second book, edited by Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri, consists of "10 modules written by experts in the photonics field" and has this on page 6:
Scientists have observed that light energy can behave like a wave as it moves through space, or it can behave like a discrete particle with a discrete amount of energy (quantum) that can be absorbed and emitted. As we study and use light, both models are helpful.

Concept of a photon

The particle-like nature of light is modeled with photons. A photon has no mass and no charge. It is a carrier of electromagnetic energy and interacts with other discrete particles (e.g., electrons, atoms, and molecules).
A beam of light is modeled as a stream of photons, each carrying a well-defined energy that is dependent upon the wavelength of the light.
Groan!  I'm trying to find a source that describes light as photons without any mention of waves or beams.  Any source that uses two different models for light is a source that does not understand light.  As I see it, light consists of photons - PERIOD - and photons have a disk shape, which physicists mistakenly think makes it "wavelike."

The second book might contain something worthwhile, but I'll definitely be focusing on chapters 11 and 12 of the first book.  And it looks like the definition of the word "photonics" needs to be changed to:

Photonics is the physical science of light generation, detection, and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and sensing, in which photon models are used when the particle properties of light can be accurately modeled using mathematics, and wave models of light are used when the wavelike properties of light can be accurately modeled using mathematics.  No one has any idea how light really works.
I was thinking of adding an additional sentence: "It's like the blind leading the blind."  But, I decided that would be a bit much.

Comments for Sunday, January 13, 2019, thru Saturday, January 19, 2019:

January 19, 2019
- Yesterday evening, using my MP3 player, I listened to the remaining tracks of the audio book version of "Callahan's Secret," which is the final volume in "The Callahan Chronicals," three collections of short stories by Spider Robinson.

While I enjoyed listening to the audio book, I don't know if I can recommend it.  Spider Robinson's short stories are mostly rambling philosophical discussions which take place in a bar on Long Island in the 1970's.  It's a friendly bar inhabited by humans and aliens.  The discussions are generally enjoyable and loaded with puns.  However, a lot of the discussions mention things that happened in previous stories.  So, you need to read or listen to them in the order they were written (which I did).  I don't plan to listen to any more of Robinson's short stories, but I might listen to the audio book version of a time-travel novel he wrote based upon an idea by Robert Heinlein.  I have it on reserve at my local library.

January 18, 2019
- Yesterday morning, after I finished writing my comment about the phone conversation I had with a TV producer about the anthrax attacks of 2001, I sat down on my couch and read from my Kindle for awhile.  I wanted to stop thinking about the anthrax case and get back to thinking about science.  Later, during lunch, I finished reading "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" by Stephen Hawking.

It was a very enjoyable and interested read.  I was tempted to wait until Sunday to write about it, but I can write something now and write more on Sunday.

I'll comment on the science in my Sunday comment.  Today I'll comment on other things in the book.
It's a science book, of course, but, interestingly, Hawking also mentions Donald Trump four times.  Three mentions are worth repeating.  On page 146, Hawking writes about the "Doomsday Clock" which supposedly tells us how close humanity is to destroying itself and bringing and the end of the world, and he says,
It is now closer to Doomsday than at any time since then, save in the early 1950s at the start of the Cold War. The clock and its movements are, of course, entirely symbolic but I feel compelled to point out that such an alarming warning from other scientists, prompted at least in part by the election of Donald Trump, must be taken seriously.
Later, on page 175, Hawking writes about how long it takes "information" or light to travel from place to place, and he says,
Forty years on, our most intrepid explorer, Voyager, has just made it to interstellar space. Its speed, eleven miles a second, means it would take about 70,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. This constellation is 4.37 light years away, twenty-five trillion miles. If there are beings alive on Alpha Centauri today, they remain blissfully ignorant of the rise of Donald Trump.
And, lastly, on page 202 he says this about today's students learning about science:
Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time. With Brexit and Trump now exerting new forces in relation to immigration and the development of education, we are witnessing a global revolt against experts, which includes scientists.
That fits with what I wrote yesterday about people who make decisions based upon facts and evidence (like most scientists) versus people who only care about opinions and beliefs (like Trump).   If you are being driven by your emotions to impeach Donald Trump, consider the facts and evidence.  You might change your mind.

January 17, 2019 - Yesterday, I talked on the phone for about 25 minutes with the TV producer who sent me an email on January 9 about possibly doing an interview about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  Before the phone call, I combed my hair and put on a nice shirt in case he might also want to also talk via Skype.  That didn't happen.  It was just a phone call.  It was about a possible 4-part TV series that he was thinking of pitching to various networks.  If some network likes the idea, the network would then pay to have it produced - probably for the fall season.  Filming (and Skyping) would take place this summer.

It occurred to me that if someone wanted to do a different kind of TV show about the anthrax attacks, they could do a show about how some people look at facts and evidence, while others are only concerned with opinions and beliefs.  That was how I got interested in the case.  I was looking at the facts and evidence (and putting them onto my web site about the case), because I had gotten into endless arguments with people who only had opinions and beliefs.

And now we have a President who is only interested in his own opinions and beliefs, and who has no interest in (or understanding of) facts and evidence.  He was elected by people who were evidently thinking emotionally, not logically.  I'd definitely like to see a documentary TV series titled "The Dangers of Thinking Emotionally Instead of Logically."  One danger: You might blame an innocent person for a crime he didn't commit (like those who pointed at Steven Hatfill in the anthrax case).  Another danger: You might elect a President who is totally unfit for the office.

“When I think I’m right, nothing bothers me.” - Donald Trump

January 16, 2019 - Yesterday evening, I did something I think I've only done once before in my life (and that was the previous evening): I listened to parts of an audio book instead of doing what I "normally" do in the evening, like watching TV.  Using my MP3 player, I listened to a couple short stories from Spider Robinson's book "The Callahan Chronicles."  I thought the book contained three complete volumes of Robinson's sci-fi stories.  But suddenly and unexpectedly I finished the second volume, titled "Time Travelers Strictly Cash."  It contained only 4 stories.  That was much shorter than the first volume.  Too much shorter.

This morning did some research and I compared the indexes of "The Callahan Chronicles" and "Time Travelers Strictly Cash."  I found that "Chronicles" only contains four of the twelve stories that are in "Cash."  And I saw the index for "Chronicles" has these as the entries for the 3 volumes/parts:
PART I: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon                                        1
PART II: From Time Travelers Strictly Cash                          153
PART III: Callahan's Secret                                                    227
So, the book has the complete volumes for two books and just four out of twelve stories from one book.  Does that mean I can say I read "Time Travelers Strictly Cash"?  No.  But, I can still show the cover:

The four stories were enjoyable, but, if I could do things over again, I would have listened to the 12 stories instead of just the 4.  However, my library doesn't have the audio book or Kindle or paper version of "Time Travelers Strictly  Cash," so I'm just going to mark it down as one of Life's minor disappointments.

January 15, 2019
- I don't know if that TV interview about the anthrax attacks of 2001 that I mentioned in my January 9 comment will happen or not, but I'll probably know by Thursday.  It won't be like any other TV interview I've ever done.  Previous interviews were done by camera crews and an interviewer who came to my home, or by me going to their studio.  If this one happens, it will be done via Skype.

I've never used Skype.  It's in my laptop because my laptop uses Windows 10 which contains Skype, but I always turn off Skype whenever I start or restart my computer.  For the past couple days I'd been researching Skype and puttering around with the laptop camera.  I took the picture below using my regular camera.

Normally, I use the large screen in back and turn off the laptop's screen.  It is better for my eyes and neck if I look straight ahead at a screen instead of looking down at the laptop screen. When I just use the large screen, the laptop screen is pushed all the way back as far as it will go to get it out of the way, which means the camera is pointed upward and you can only see the very top of my head.

Here's a shot of me taking a photo of the two screens using my regular camera:

I found it interesting how the laptop camera finds faces in the image and puts white or blue boxes around them.  You can see a white box around Audrey Hepburn's face and a blue box around my face.  It seems the laptop camera is all set up to do facial recognition.

It occurred to me that there might be a copyrights problem with showing Audrey Hepburn's image on a TV program.  So, after I took the photo above I switched that poster with a poster of the cover of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other."  The last time someone asked me to do a TV interview, it was going to be done with a TV camera crew, and they would be shooting toward the wall with the window, so I switched the Audrey Hepburn poster that was on that wall with the book poster to get my book cover in the TV interview, and I never switched them back - until today.  (The Audrey Hepburn picture came with the frame.  I was going to put a photo of the cover of another one of my books into the frame, but I just never got around to doing that.)

So, even if the TV interview doesn't happen for some reason, I've learned a lot about Skype and my computer's camera.  I also know that others with expertise about the anthrax attacks have been disinclined to do TV interviews via Skype.  They told me it was because they would have no control over what would end up in the program.  But you never have that kind of control anyway, when doing TV interviews.  Plus, it is easier to turn off Skype than to throw a whole crew of people out of your home if you don't like the questions they ask.  I think their refusal may also be because they never used Skype and just didn't feel like learning how to use it.  Any day you learn something new is a good day.

January 14, 2019 (C)
- This morning, at around 7 a.m. as I lay in bed waiting for it to be 7:25 and time for me to get up, a bunch of ideas suddenly came together.

I was thinking about the time dilation situation I mentioned in my January 3 comment.  It's the situation where you have a mirror one light year away from Earth and you send a pulse of light to it.  It takes a year for the light pulse to get to the mirror and another year for the pulse to return to Earth.  According to Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, if you travel at 99.995% of the speed of light to that mirror and back, instead of taking you 365 days get there, it will appear to take just 3.65 days, and another 3.65 days to get back.  When you return, you will have aged 7.3 days, but everyone on Earth will have aged 2 years and 7.3 days.

I been thinking for the past 10 days that I should incorporate that example into one of my papers, but I wasn't sure which one to add it to.  Then, this morning, I thought maybe I should turn it into a new and separate paper titled "The Ultimate Twin Paradox."

As I thought about it, I wondered what the space traveler would see if he looked back at the Earth.  Would he see the Earth spinning once every .24 hours?  No, that would require light to travel instantly.  Looking back while on his way to the mirror the traveler would see the Earth hardly spinning at all because he would be almost outrunning the photons traveling from the Earth.  On the way back, the photons would be arriving at almost twice the speed of light, and he'd see the Earth spinning almost a hundred times a day.

Then it hit me: On the way back to Earth, the photons traveling at the speed of light would be reaching the traveler at c+v, where v is the traveler's speed.  It is also what my paper "An Analysis of Einstein's Second Postulate to his Theory of Relativity" is all about.  But what I hadn't been thinking about was how the photons would appear to the traveler at that speed.  While traveling away from the Earth, the photons would appear red shifted - in the harmless infrared range.  However, when going toward the Earth, the photons would appear extremely blue shifted. If a photon of yellow light is normally 600 nano-meters long, when you hit that photon while traveling toward it at 99.995% percent of the speed of light, the photon will appear 6 nano-meters long. That puts it in the X-ray range.  Its energy combines with your kinetic energy just as is done when a photon from a radar gun hits a photon in the front end of an approaching car.  If you look at the Earth while traveling toward it at 99.995% of the speed of light, it would be like looking into an X-ray machine.  Will the front end of your space craft be receiving light photons from Earth and emitting X-rays back toward Earth?  What happens to a space craft that is bombarded with so many X-rays?

Another question: If a photon is coin shaped, a normal yellow light photon will have a diameter of 600 nano-meters and a normal X-ray photon would have a diameter of 6 nano-meters.   But, if you hit a yellow light photon while traveling at 99.995% of the speed of light, it's length might appear to be 6 nano-meters, but it will still have a height of 600 nano-meters.  So, it could be 100 times more powerful than a normal X-ray photon.

There might be something in this that I'm not understanding or don't know about, and it all might all be nonsense, but at the moment it seems right.  I definitely need to start writing it down and thinking it through.  It seems to have all kinds of implications I have never seen in any scientific paper.  And it really requires some understanding of: What is a photon?

January 14, 2019 (B)
- This morning I received another email order from one of the companies that sells my books.  It's the first such order I've received from them since December 3.  The email is an exact duplicate of the one they sent on December 3 except for the order number.  And, except for the order number, that email was an exact duplicate of the emails they sent me on October 15th, 22nd and 29th, plus November 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.

As usual, there is no way for me to respond without joining a program they offer that will cost me \$99 per year.  I cannot even ask which book they are ordering.

I think I need to visit Callahan's Place and tell the guys there about my problem:  Robots are already taking over parts of the Earth.

January 14, 2019 (A)
- Yesterday afternoon, I finished listening to an audio book version of Spider Robinson's collection of short stories titled "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon."

Technically, I'm listening to "The Callahan Chronicles," which combines three volumes of Robinson's short stories into one.  I finished the first volume and started on the second.

It was a truly enjoyable listening experience, since the person reading the book was able to mimic different voices for the different people (and aliens) in Callahan's Place, a fictional bar on Long Island in New York state.  All the stories are told by patrons of Callahan's Place during the 1970s.  The patrons are all friendly and talkative, even the aliens.  The philosophy is "shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased." Anyone who gets belligerent when drunk is not allowed in the place.  And they all love puns.  Tuesday is "Punday" at Callahan's, a day when everyone tries to out-pun everyone else.  Here's a sample:
This one night in particular had used up an awful lot of alcohol, and one hell of a lot of spiritual fortitude. The topic was one of those naturals that can be milked for hours: “electricity.” It was about one-fifteen that the trouble started.

By this point in a harrowing evening, the competition was down to the Doc, Noah Gonzalez and me. I was feeling decidedly pun-chy.

“I have a feeling this is going to be a good round Fermi,” the Doc mused, and sent a few ounces of Scotch past an angelic smile.

“You’ve galvanized us all once again, Doc,” said Noah immediately.

“Socket to me,” I agreed enthusiastically.
The stories are about things like time travel, telekinesis, mind reading, living for thousands of years, and alien visitors.  There are no visits to other worlds, unless it is someone at Callahan's telling the rest of gang about such a visit.  It is a fast paced book, since most of it is dialog.  I really enjoyed listening to the audio book version and highly recommend it.  I don't know if reading it would be as enjoyable.  I may try reading one of the short stories just to find out.

January 13, 2019
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I'm not currently working on any scientific papers because I think I need some kind of new idea to get me motivated.  The easiest way for me to get a new idea, of course, is to work on a paper about some unsolved problem.  So, I need to work on a paper to get an idea and I need an idea to motivate me to work on a paper.  Meanwhile, I'm doing nothing - except enjoying reading and listening to some very good books and arguing with people about other things.

One of the audio books I'm listening to has a chapter about how gravity works, and by coincidence on the same day I listened to that chapter someone posted an interesting question to the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group.  The question was in the form of an illustration:

About 50 percent of the people responding said the answer was zero.  About 30 percent said the answer was 200 N (Newtons).  The remaining 20 percent said the answer was 100 N.  Most people didn't explain their reasoning.  The first person to claim the answer was zero and give his reasoning was obviously a mathematician, since he stated:
The two forces are in opposite direction.which gives the total force,f,as f1-f2=200-200=0N
The first person to claim the answer was 200 N and give his reasoning explained:
200 N cause the weight on the right further pulls the scale apart.
The first two people who claimed the answer was 100 N and who also provided explanations wrote:
Sridhar Ambati Its 100..u can imagine a situation where spring blance is hung vertically with 100N weight. the rigid support which is attached to the hook will offer 100N reaction force. But spring balnce will show only 100N
Mohamed Ahmed 100 N, one mass acts as a support and the scale only reads the weight of the other one. This situation is similar to mass hanging vertically from a spring attached to a scale hanging on the wall.
I agreed that 100 N is the right answer, but I thought a longer and clearer explanation was needed, so I wrote:
The answer is 100 N, but the problem is describing WHY it is 100 N.

It is 100 N because gravity is being measured, and you cannot measure gravity unless you have something to measure gravity against.

If the scale was nailed to the table, only the weight on the left side would be measured. It is the one pulling on the hook that measures weight.

In the illustration, the weight on the right takes the place of the nail. It holds the scale in place while the scale weighs the weight on the left.

If you added a gram to the weight on the left, the gram would pull the scale over to rest against the pulley, and the scale would measure 100 N and 1 gram. Add a gram to the weight on the right, and the scale would still show 1 N plus 1 gram, but you would be able to position the scale back in the center of the table again.

The only way the scale would measure 200 N is if the scale was nailed to the underside of the table and both weights were hanging from the hook.

The only way the scale would measure zero is if it had hooks on both ends and zero was in the center of the scale.
I immediately started getting people "liking" my post.  But I felt I needed to explain further.  I also felt that the illustrated question needed to have some scale readings.  So, I created this version of the question:

And I wrote,
The question still is: Why would the scale register zero or 200 N?
That got an immediate response that I put the zero on the wrong end of the scale.  And then someone else complained that I should use more numbers and not put 100 N in the middle, because that would make some people think equal weights would give the middle number.

They were both right.  So, I created this version of the illustrated question:

And I wrote this:

Here's a new version of the illustration. The question is: What will the scale show? zero, 100 N or 200 N?

The question is NOT how much weight is the table holding up. That would be 200 N plus the weight of the scale, ropes and pulleys.

The question is NOT whether the weight on the left side is equal to the weight on the right side. Obviously it is.

The scale will show 100 N.

The scale would show 200 N if the scale was nailed to the table and both weights were hanging from the hook on the scale. But that isn't what the illustration shows.

The scale CANNOT show zero, since it is obviously holding up some weight.

The scale shows 100 N because the 100 N on the right side is keeping the 100 N on the left side from falling to the floor and taking the scale with it.

It takes 100 N of lift to keep 100 N from falling. The scale just measures the lift required to overcome gravity and keep the weight from falling.
My explanation didn't stop the debate.  They are still arguing.  There were at least 37 posts overnight, and most of them are just posting answers without explanations.  And one person is posting a video over and over, at least ten times so far.  Here's the video:

The video shows the experiment being performed in a classroom, and it shows the answer would be 100 N.  (In the video, the teacher uses 10 N weights.) (You can view part 1 of the lesson HERE and part 2 HERE.)

I also see one responder in the thread complaining that the answers should just be a number without any explanation, because no one has time to read long explanations.  His comment is in response to a multiple part, long winded answer that doesn't say whether the answer is zero, 100 N or 200 N.

In response to my answer and final illustration, I had a conversation with someone named "James Quick" that went like this:

QUICK: I have a problem trying to figure out why so many people are having a problem with basic physics I mean BASIC !
LAKE: That's a psychology question. My answer would be that some people think logically with the left side of their brain while others think visually and emotionally with the right side of their brain. The weights in the illustration LOOK equal, so they seem to balance each other out. The two weights are both pulling on the scale, so they LOOK like the scale should weigh them both.

You need to know how gravity works and how it is measured to understand the logic of the problem. To measure gravity you need to pull AGAINST something. The left weight is pulling against the scale which is held in place by the right weight.
QUICK: That being said, this is a physics group right?
LAKE: Right, it's a physics group. But people who are interested in physics do not always think logically. Many physics students are taught to think mathematically. They claim that mathematics IS logic or that logic can be replaced by mathematics. If you try to get them to explain something, they can only explain with mathematical equations. They only understand math. What is actually PHYSICALLY happening is of absolutely no interest to them.

The illustration looks like a mathematical equation with equal weights on both sides. So, mathematically, the answer should be zero.
QUICK: So if you're a physicist you have to abandon all logic?
LAKE: They don't think that way. They just think about the math and don't think about the logic. They also believe that "cause and effect" is no longer part of physics. Physics is just math. Period. If you argue logic with them, they just think you are stupid because you aren't phrasing things in mathematical terms.
Quick responded to that last post by just indicating that he "liked" my answer.  That was the end of the discussion except for a post by someone who I assume is a mathematician, since he wrote:
Mahima Romanoff: Remember there questions come with important info like--"weight of strings, pulleys, and spring is 0". The whole concept of these type of questions is the equilibrium. The only way this will work is if the pointer scale null is in the middle of the scale. Suppose the distance between 0 and 100N is 'x' and distance from middle of scale to weights is 'y' then , the left side length is y+x while the right side length is 'y'. Whoa.

Your math is blowing my mind.
After that, the thread is just more arguing between other people, plus a lot of people just giving their answers in the form of a number.  As of this moment, there are 167 posts and 126 individuals have indicated that they like, love or are amazed by the thread.  I just added my name as someone loving the thread.

I think I might create a version of it for my Facebook group on Time and Time Dilation.  It would be off topic, but it's my group, so I can break the rules if I have a good reason.  I might also start a thread about "What is a Photon?"  Maybe someone will give me an idea that will get me going on writing about that subject again.

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