Ed Lake's web page
clipper cover
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
Available to read on Kindle.  Click HERE for details.

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.

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

My Latest Comments

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

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.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

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.
Warning about impeaching Donald Trump.
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:

Time Travelers Strictly Cash

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.   

Me at my compter using the computer

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:

Taking a picture of a picture of

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."

Calahan'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
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:
Physics problem about gravityAbout 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:
Gravity test version 2
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:
gravity question -
                                            version 3

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.

Comments for Sunday, January 6, 2019, thru Saturday, January 12, 2019:

January 9, 2019 - I think I may make a belated New Years resolution to stop mentioning photons on this web page until I actually have something to write about.  I've tried about 15 times to get started on a scientific paper about how photons work, but I never get beyond the first couple pages before I realize that I didn't start in the right place, and I need to explain something else before I write what I started writing about.

Last week, someone mentioned to me a science-fiction book about time dilation, and, when I gave up on the latest try at my photon paper, I researched the sci-fi book.  It's called "Variable Star" by Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson (actually, 99.999% of it was written by Robinson, but Heinlein gets top billing because he had the original idea and his name sells more books).  It looks interesting, but as I browsed through the first part of it I became more interested what it said about Spider Robinson and the books Robinson wrote by himself.  Of particular interest was a book titled "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon."  I checked my local library and, by pure happenstance, they had a book titled "The Callahan Chronicles" available in audio book form.  It contains three books by Spider Robinson, the first of which is "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon."  So, I borrowed that book and started listening to it on my MP3 player.

It turns out it is a book of short stories.  I listened to "The Guy with the Eyes," which is the first story Robinson ever had published (in 1973) and the first one in the book.  It's a very different sci-fi story, all of it taking place in a bar called "Callahan's Place" on Long Island, probably around 1973.  The sci-fi element comes out as part of the discussions between patrons of the bar.  The next short story in the book was "The Time-Traveler."  It also takes place entirely within Callahan's Place.  There isn't really any science fiction in it at all.  It's about someone who comes into the bar after having been locked up in a Central American prison for ten years with no access to news from the outside. When he was locked up in 1963, it was an entirely different world.  There was no war in Viet Nam, no one was even thinking about traveling to the moon, the Kennedy brothers were alive and well, no one was taking LSD, etc., etc., plus the guy's wife was still alive.  It's a fascinating story of how much the world can change in ten years.  It is as if the guy had time traveled 10 years into the future.

It made me wonder about how Donald Trump's hate mongering is changing the world.  It seems you won't have to wait ten years to see all the differences he is making.   None for the better. 

Each short story took about an hour.  I'm tempted to listen to many more.  The audio book consists of 18 MP3 files, and I've only listened to the first two.           

Meanwhile, someone just contacted me about possibly doing a TV appearance to talk about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  That also breaks my train of thought.  The on-camera interview may never happen, but then again it might.  Time will tell. 

January 7, 2019
- I awoke this morning thinking I was going to start working on a paper about light, a paper tentatively titled "The Logic of Light," where I would step through what is known about photons and how the pieces of what we know seem to fit together.  But then, while eating breakfast, I decided the book I was reading on my Kindle wasn't worth my time, and I switched over to start reading another book - a book I borrowed from the library yesterday.

The book I stopped reading was a psychology book John Cleese mentioned in his autobiography.  I found the book just too tedious, filled with paragraphs that go on for more than a page and just say the same things over and over.  To make matters worse, the first 7% of the book is all about reactions to the first edition of the book.  Who wants to read about reactions before reading what was being reacted to?  Plus, the book wasn't about what I thought it was going to be about.  I thought it was going to be about different ways of thinking (logically versus emotionally), but instead its about different types of intelligence (i.e., skills).   

So, I stopped reading it and started reading a science book about how automation is affecting society that I borrowed from the library a week ago, because it seemed interesting and it had been a New York Times bestseller.  Then, when I signed onto my computer after breakfast, I found another library book I'd place on hold awhile ago had been automatically borrowed.  It's another psychology book, and another book that made it to the New York Times' best seller list.  It's about how habits we acquire can be very beneficial.  I probably thought it would be an interesting read because I deliberately develop habits that are beneficial for me, such going to the gym four times a week, going to bed at the same time every night, eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, etc. 

So, do I want to stop reading the automation book and start on the habits book, or should I read something else entirely?

I recently stopped listening to the audio version of a comedian's autobiography that I had burned onto CDs and tried twice to get through.  I stopped the first time after CD #2, and the second time in the middle of CD #4.  It's just 7 CDs long, but I just don't like it.  It isn't funny enough and too much of it is about things that are of absolutely no interest to me.  So, I switched over to a science book that I had at the top of my priority list for audio CDs.  I created the priority list when I realized I regretted burning CDs for the comedian's autobiography.  

But I never created a priority list for the books on my Kindle.  I've got 38 books on my Kindle that I want to read.  I have books about science, travel, humor, writing, moving making, psychology, politics and history, plus some biographies.  Plus, I've got another 20 books that I had started to read at some point in time but then shifted over to some other book for some forgotten reason.  Many of those still seem interesting.

So, instead of working on my paper about "The Logic of Light," I just spent the last 3 hours writing this comment about books.

I think it's because there are still things about photons that I need to understand before I can start writing about them. 
Why do exactly half of the photons get stopped by a polarizing lens while the other half of the photons go through the lens?  There has to be some logical explanation for that.  And the best way for me to figure out the logic is to start writing about it.  But where do I start?  And why aren't there already many books and papers addressing that question?  It seems a question every physicist interested in optics should have already asked and answered.  But, instead, they just write about light consisting of waves, not photons, and they don't seem to care about details that involve photons.  


January 6, 2019
I think I'm done with browsing through old radio shows to see what I might want to listen to when I've got nothing else to do (usually in late afternoon).  So, once again I am waking up in the morning thinking about science mysteries, specifically what a photon looks like and how it works.

The main problem seems to be that there is too much information and even more misinformation to sort through.  And when I find something that seems like it might be worth studying, it quickly becomes clear that the book or paper doesn't always view the problem from the right angle.  Or it is just plain wrong.

I have some basic questions.  For example: Isn't it clear and obvious that photons are crisscrossing paths all the time, but they never collide?  Photons that were emitted by stars billions of years ago travel trillions of miles to reach the Hubble telescope, and they do so without ever changing course and without ever colliding with other photons coming from other directions.  Why don't photons collide with other photons?

Doing some research, I found a source where it is asked why laser beams do not interfere with one another,
No, there will not be an interference pattern. You can find interference patterns at the point where two lasers meet. After the laser beams crossed, you will not observe any effects of the crossing since there are no elemental photon-photon interactions.
That says something about photons.  They do not collide with one another, but there will supposedly appear to be an "interference pattern" at the point where the laser beams cross.  How can you have an "interference pattern" at the point where the beams cross each other, but have absolutely no sign of there having been "interference" along the way when the beams reach their destination?  It seems they somehow went around each other without altering their trajectory.  How is that possible?

Further research finds that others have asked that same question.  It says this on page 3 of the 1990 edition of the book "Polarized Light in Optics and Spectroscopy" by Kliger, Lewis and Randall: 
The corpuscular theory of light was attacked in the mid-1700s by people like Euler and Young. They proposed instead a vibration theory of light. There were several arguments put forward to attack the corpuscular theory. Principally, these were that (1) the mass of the particles composing the light rays would have to be exceedingly small; (2) when two light beams intersected they do not affect each other; and (3) one did not observe "wastage" of light. By wastage it was meant, for example, that one can observe sharp images of stars. If rays of light from the stars were made up of particles, however, they should, over the large distances traveled, impinge on many other particles. This should smear out the image of the star and make stars appear fuzzy.
And this on page 5:
The introduction of the concept of photons produced a dilemma for a theory of light. It appeared that to interpret some experiments one needed a wave theory of light, whereas to interpret other experiments a quantum, or "particle," theory was needed. The solution to this dilemma came from DeBroglie. He pointed out that each of these experiments does not directly demonstrate a property of light per se but demonstrates how light interacts with the experimental apparatus. Thus, light exhibits both wave properties and particle properties, depending on what it interacts with. This view of the wave-particle duality of photons is the view of light most commonly held today.
Hmm.  That's a new view of things.  A photon does not collide with another photon, but it will interact with experimental equipment and thus appear to interact with another photon!

The book then describes a 1985 experiment carried out by Philippe Grangier, Gerard Roger, and Alain Aspect of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Optics in Orsay, France.  They sent individual photons through a beam splitter, and 50% of the photons went straight while 50% went off at a 90-degree angle, which is the way you would expect particles to behave when hitting a beam splitter.  Then they used Mach-Zehnder interferometer to see if the two beams of photons would interfere with one another if they were brought back together again.  They did, just the way you would expect waves to behave.

So, the photons did not interfere with one another except when put into a device designed to show wave interference.  In other words, the photons did NOT interact with each other, they merely interacted with the experimental device.

The beam splitter part of that experiment brought polarization back to mind.  Why do exactly half of the photons get stopped by a polarizing lens while the other half of the photons go through the lens?  The experiments with 45 degree angle polarized lenses (as described in my December 24 comment) indicate that the photons that are 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 degrees off of vertical do not get stopped, but they evidently do not pass through the lens unaltered.  They must get reoriented in some way, because 50% of those photons will pass through a polarized lens that is angled at 45 degrees.  

But why are light photons so evenly divided between vertical and horizontal?  That doesn't seem natural.  There should be some randomness to it.  Or is there some other aspect to a photon that causes 50% to do one thing while 50% do something else?

I think I need to do what I began doing in last Sunday's comment.  I need to create a list of
things we know about photons.  Last Sunday's examples:
1. We definitely know that light is not a wave like a sound wave.

2. We definitely know light is not a solid particle, like a grain of dust.

3. We know light only exists when moving at "the speed of light."

4. We definitely know light can be polarized at specific angles.

5. We definitely know light partly consists of electrical energy.

6. We definitely know light partly consists of magnetic energy.

7. We know light has a "wavelength" that varies as it is absorbed.

8. We think light has a height that is the same as its wavelength.
And there are a lot more. 

This seems like a good place to mention the science book I'm currently listening to in my car as I drive from place to place.  The book says this on page 8:
Science isn’t just about collecting facts; it’s a logical process for working things out. The point of science is that everyone can look at the data and come to a reasoned conclusion. At first, those conclusions may differ, but then you go and collect more data that helps you decide between one description of the world and another, and eventually the conclusions converge. This is what separates science from other disciplines – a scientific hypothesis must make specific testable predictions. That means that if you have an idea about how you think something works, the next thing to do is to work out what the consequences of your idea would be. In particular, you have to look hard for consequences that you can check for, and especially for consequences that you can prove wrong. If your hypothesis passes every test we can think of, we cautiously agree that this is probably a good model for the way the world works. Science is always trying to prove itself wrong, because that’s the quickest route to finding out what’s actually going on.

You don’t have to be a qualified scientist to experiment with the world. Knowing some basic physical principles will set you on the right track to work a lot of things out for yourself. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be an organized process – the jigsaw pieces almost slot themselves into place.  
That seems to be the situation right now in my study of how photons work.  I've got a few pieces that don't seem to fit.  But if I find more pieces, they may actually "slot themselves into place."

Comments for Tuesday, January 1, 2019, thru Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019:

January 3, 2019 - The new year is starting slow.  I just can't get to working on a new paper about light photons.  I keep getting side-tracked.  Yesterday, someone posted a silly argument on the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group.  The comment began this way:
Travelling at FTL it would take 4.2yrs to reach the nearest star Proxima Centauri. Can we devise a Scale of Travel to gauge the distance travelled to reach a point in the cosmos in a life time.
"FTL" is supposed to be an abbreviation for "Faster Than Light," yet the comment says it would take 4.2 years to reach Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light years from Earth.  If you are traveling faster than the speed of light, how can you discuss anything without saying how much faster? 

A couple people responded with comments about "warp speeds" on Star Trek, which didn't help clarify anything.  So, I wrote this:

According to Einstein, the faster you travel, the slower time passes for you, until you reach the speed of light. At the speed of light TIME STOPS. You cannot travel faster than the speed of light.

Proxima Centauri is 4.243 light years from Earth. So, if you could travel at the speed of light to Proxima Centauri and back, you could do it in no time at all. You wouldn't even know you did it, since your brain would not have time to register a single thought. So, what would be the point? Meanwhile, of course, all the people on Earth would have lived their lives and aged 8.486 years (8 years, 5 months and 27 days) while you were gone.

If you traveled at 99.995% of the speed of light, however, you could experience the trip. It would take you 15.5 days to get there and another 15.5 days to get back. So, you would have had a month to enjoy the trip and observe the sights. When you return, you will have aged just 31 days during the trip.

Meanwhile, everyone on Earth would have been waiting for you for 8 years, 6 months and 28 days.
That got me into a discussion with someone else, a discussion that didn't go anywhere.  Meanwhile, the original poster clarified his question somewhat:
FTL means faster which can be by a factor of 10^2 x lightspeed or a few feet per second more the lightspeed. We're trying to figure out the scale of travel, either x? or 10^? to better grasp the system
So, it is evidently a mathematical question?  I couldn't make any sense of it, and I just dropped out of the discussion.

Meanwhile, I was also wasting time by listening to samples of old radio programs.  I downloaded a bunch of them onto my MP3 player.  And I found that the best way to play them is via a portable speaker that makes it sound like it's actually playing on a radio.  You get the bass sounds, instead of just the higher pitched sounds.  There are hundreds of different radio series available, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s.  I was fascinated by something called "Star Terk 2," which is evidently a British comedy radio show from 1987 and 1989.  There are only 12 episodes available, and each begins with an often hilarious parody of "Star Trek" before turning into a totally different comedy show that has nothing to do with Star Trek or science fiction.  I ended up listening to it for hours, but mostly just the first parts.  The second part of the show is mostly comedy sketches, and Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock keep trying to stop that part of the show from taking control.  But the sketch show always takes over.  

This morning I tried doing research into polarized light, but I couldn't find anything that captured my interest, so I ended up browsing through more radio shows, particularly detective shows.  There are 743 episodes of "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" available, and I'm tempted to download a hundred or so into my MP3 player.  But there are also 118 episodes of "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" and 83 episodes of "The Adventures of Sam Spade Detective."  And 200 episodes of "Broadway is My Beat."  Each requires about 30 minutes of listening time.   

I need some kind of inspiration to get me started on some science project that will truly grab my interest for awhile.  I won't get that inspiration from listening to old detective shows.  I could try some old science fiction shows.  There are hundreds of those available, too.  I remember listening to "Dimension X" when I was a kid.  And I think I also listened to "X Minus One."  I haven't sampled any of those shows.  When I think about doing so, I immediately start realizing that it probably isn't the best way to spend my time.

Part of the problem may be that I also check Google News several times a day to see if President Trump has just done something really disastrously stupid.


January 1, 2019
- I wish everyone a very happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Comments for Sunday, December 30, 2018, thru Monday, Dec. 31, 2018:

December 31, 2018 - Yesterday afternoon, after spending all morning writing my Sunday comment about photons, I decided I needed to think about something else for awhile.  So, I sat down and finished reading a library book on my Kindle that I've been reading during breakfast and lunch for almost a month.  The book is "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win" by Luke Harding.


Needless to say, it is another book which shows Donald Trump to be a lying, cheating, moronic creep.  While it was an interesting book, it was also a difficult and tedious read for me, because it contains an endless stream of Russian names that I found very difficult to keep track of.  Yanukovych, Kovzhun, Tymoshenko, Zelnickova, Agalarov, Rybolovlev, Trutnev, Uralkali, Kryuchkov and many many more.

The book is largely based upon information from the "Steele Dossier," which Wikipedia describes this way:
The Steele dossier is a private intelligence report comprising memos written between June and December 2016 by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6), for the private investigative firm Fusion GPS. The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump. It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign. The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017. 
The book is also an interesting look into money laundering and endless ways to bribe people.  If someone pays you $90 million for a property that is worth only $40 million, who is going to say that the $50 million was a bribe?  And if you borrowed the $40 million to buy the property you just sold for $90 million, you can pay back the loan and deposit the $50 million as profits from a legitimate business deal.  The book says,
For four decades Trump’s property empire effectively functioned as a laundromat for Moscow money. Funds from the former Soviet Union poured into condominiums and Trump apartments. Even as Trump was campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, his associates were chasing Kremlin permission—and cash—for the candidate’s elusive Moscow tower. A Reuters investigation found that at least sixty-three individuals with Russian passports or addresses bought $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded towers in Florida. The true figure was probably higher. Nearly one-third of all units were sold to limited liability companies, whose buyers were unidentified. Trump Tower even offered a refuge for Russian gangsters.
The book also says this about Trump's finances:
Trump was once so cash-desperate that this supposed billionaire marketed steaks, vodka, and a fraudulent university. He accepted fifty thousand dollars an episode to host a TV series, demanding one million dollars to renew his contract—and settled for sixty thousand dollars. Then, suddenly in 2006, Trump had access to so much liquidity that he could pay all cash for golf courses and other properties. Where did this money come from? Perhaps Robert Mueller will answer that question. Until then, the American people will be kept in the dark about the most salient of all Trump questions, “What does the president owe and to whom does he owe it?”
The book makes a good case for indicting Trump and or his son and son-in-law for collusion.  After all, Trump made no secret of the fact that he wanted Russia to find dirt on Hilary Clinton so that Trump would win the election:
First, there was Trump’s own curious behavior on the campaign trail. Faced with claims that Russia was hacking Democratic emails, and leaking them to damage his rival, Hillary Clinton, Trump publicly urged Moscow to keep going. At a July 2016 press conference in Florida, he said this: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.” As a Clinton aide pointed out, this was a straightforward appeal to a foreign power to commit espionage against a political opponent.
Then, of course, there are all the people to whom Trump gave important roles in the U.S. government who previously had longtime dealings with Russia:
Trump’s pick for secretary of state? Rex Tillerson, a figure known and trusted in Moscow, and recipient of the Order of Friendship. National security adviser? Michael Flynn, Putin’s dinner companion and a beneficiary of undeclared Russian fees. Campaign manager? Paul Manafort, longtime confidant to ex-Soviet oligarchs. Foreign policy adviser? Carter Page, an alleged Moscow asset who gave documents to Putin’s spies. Commerce secretary? Wilbur Ross, an entrepreneur with Russia-connected investments. Personal lawyer? Michael Cohen, who sent emails to Putin’s press secretary. Business partner? Felix Sater, son of a Russian American mafia boss. And other personalities, too. It was almost as if Putin had played a role in naming Trump’s cabinet. 
I could go on and on.  I have 21 pages of notes (passages that I underlined in my Kindle) that make Trump look like a mob boss, and there is almost nothing that makes him look presidential.  Instead of helping people, Trump and his team are constantly blaming victims for being victimized.  And when he's not doing that, he is hate mongering in speeches to the people who still follow him and support him.  He took over a country that was running fairly smoothly, and he seems determined to trash almost everything.  The book says,
Donald Trump was dealt the easiest hand of any president since Calvin Coolidge in 1923. Barack Obama inherited the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression; Ronald Reagan, the second worst. Bill Clinton stepped into the job of rebuilding a new world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Jimmy Carter faced an energy crisis; Gerald Ford, Watergate and Vietnam . . . I could go on. Even the presidents who inherited prosperous economies—Herbert Hoover, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush—were all smacked by global crises within months of entering office: the Crash of 1929, German unification, the 9/11 attacks. Only Trump inherited an already growing economy, a low pace of combat operations, and a world that stayed mostly quiet through his first year in office.
He never can and never will speak for the whole nation, as George W. Bush did after 9/11, as Barack Obama could do during the worst throes of the economic crisis of 2009. In any genuine emergency the nation may face in the next few years, it will be effectively leaderless. Donald Trump is at most the president of the largest faction within white America, and oftentimes not even that.
And, yet, it is not a good idea to impeach Trump, because, as I've said many times before, if Trump is impeached and removed from office for treason or because of his incompetence, he'll be replaced by Mike Pence, who is just plain evil.   

December 30, 2018
- While doing research to try to learn more about photons and how they work, I came across a quote from Albert Einstein in a collection of articles about "What is a Photon?"  Below is a quote from the introduction to that collection with Einstein's quote in red and bold:
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.
It doesn't bother me that people still do not understand what light is, but it really bothers me that they do not seem to care.  They are evidently satisfied with the idea that it is a "mystery," and they are content to view light as waves when it suits their purposes, and to view light as particles when that suits their purposes.

That is crazy.  Obviously light is neither a wave nor a particle.   I've been arguing that light is a "photon."  That meant the only question then was: What is a photon?  The answer won't be found in looking at what we do not know, but it might be found by making a list of things we do know about photons.  For example:
1. We definitely know that light is not a wave like a sound wave.

2. We definitely know light is not a solid particle, like a grain of dust.

3. We know light only exists when moving at "the speed of light."

4. We definitely know light can be polarized at specific angles.

5. We definitely know light partly consists of electrical energy.

6. We definitely know light partly consists of magnetic energy.

7. We know light has a "wavelength" that is measured as it is absorbed.

8. We think light has a height that is the same as its wavelength.
There are probably more things we know about photons, but items #4 and #8 above are the ones that currently interest me the most.  And it seems that #8 does not belong on the list.  It is a belief, not something that is known.  And it seems to require photons to be disk shaped.

I can visualize light photons in the visible light range being disk shaped.  I can even imagine microwave photons being disk shaped, even though such "disks" would be about 4½ inches in diameter.  It seems they would need to be disk shaped if they are blocked by the screen over a microwave oven door.  If they were the size of the atoms that created them, the photons would pass through the screen.  If they were ray-shaped or wave shaped, they should also get through the screen. 
Last week I spent a lot of time trying to determine the size and shape of photons that would have to be even larger than microwaves - specifically TV signal photons.  TV signals caught my attention because TV transmitters appear to be vertical rods transmitting photons that are evidently polarized vertically:

TV transmission antenna #1 TV transmitter antenna #2
TV transmission antennas #3 TV transmitter antennas #4

And it seemed that TV receiver antennas are designed to catch the photons, not to let them pass.  That is why TV receiving antennas are oriented horizontally.

TV antenna #1 TV antenna #2
TV antenna #3 TV antenna #4

The problem is: a typical TV photon has a wavelength of 200 Megahertz (Mhz).  If the photon is disk-shaped, that means it also has a height equal to its wavelength.  And 200 Mhz equals 1.5 meters or just under 5 feet.  That means that if I want to visualize a TV photon hitting the antenna, I would visualize it looking something like this:

A TV photon hitting a TV antenna

Nope.  I can create an illustration that depicts such a thing, but my brain cannot accept it.  Nor can it accept a version where the disk is polarized horizontally and hits a horizontal bar of the antenna. 

Another problem is that there appears to be no place else in the entire world where a TV photon hitting an antenna is described this way.   Below is the way radio and TV signals are typically illustrated:

TV and radio signals between antennas

While both the transmitting antenna and the receiving antenna in the illustration above are shown as straight poles, you evidently have to imagine that the receiving antenna is actually a "dipole" which is a T-shaped antenna, and you are viewing it from the side.  The web site where I found the above image also says this:

Dipoles are very directional: they pick up incoming radio waves traveling at right angles to them. That's why a TV antenna has to be properly mounted on your home, and facing the correct way, if you're going to get a clear picture. The telescopic antenna on an FM radio is less obviously directional, especially if the signal is strong: if you have it pointed straight upward, it will capture good signals from virtually any direction. The ferrite AM antenna inside a radio is much more directional. Listening to AM, you'll find you need to swivel your radio around until it picks up a really strong signal. (Once you've found the best signal, try turning your radio through exactly 90 degrees and notice how the signal often falls off almost to nothing.)
What the web site does not explain (but another does) is that the horizontal bar on a T-shaped "dipole" antenna actually consists of two unconnected bars, the left bar and the right bar.  And when you pump electricity into those two bars, the electricity has to to get from one bar to the other through the air via an electromagnetic field.  And it is that electromagnetic field that helps to capture the photons. 

The web page also says this about dipoles:

In the case of TVs, you get much more gain from a complex outdoor antenna (one with, say, 10–12 dipoles in a parallel "array") than from a simple dipole.
That is undoubtedly why all four of the illustrations I provided of TV receiving antennas show many dipoles.

One fact that really bothered me is that I remembered reading that there were radio antennas in northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan with a total length of 84 miles (134 kilometers) that transmitted in the extremely low radio frequencies of 76 Hertz or 45 Hertz.  76 Hertz means the wavelength is 2451 miles (3945 kilometers) and 45 Hertz means the wavelength is 4140 miles (6662 kilometers).  During the Cold War, the antennas were used by the US Navy to send one way messages to submerged submarines.   

Sorry, but I cannot visualize a disk shaped photon that is 4140 miles in diameter.

What I'm seeing is that visible light photons are atom to atom transmissions.  But when you get into microwave, radio and TV wavelengths, you are no longer talking about photons.  Whatever is going on at those wavelengths, I need a LOT more information before I could even begin to figure it out. 

So, I seem to have a choice of either giving up on figuring out how photons work and what they look like, or I can just focus on visible light photons, which seem to be atom to atom transmissions, and forget about radio and TV signals which definitely to NOT appear to be atom to atom transmissions.  So, while they all involve electromagnetic emissions and reception (or absorption), radio and TV signals (and probably microwaves) evidently have nothing to do with photons.

electromagnetic spectrum

Somewhere I remember reading that if the problem seems too big to solve, you need to break it down into smaller problems and find the small problems that you can solve.  Solving those small problems might provide the understanding to enable you to move on to the bigger problems.

I think I may have made some progress by just realizing that the big problem can be broken down into smaller problems.

Comments for Sunday, December 23, 2018, thru Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018:

December 27, 2018 - While driving home from the gym this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #14 of the 14-CD audio book set of "Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon" by Craig Nelson. 

Rocket Men by Craig Nelson

It was an excellent book, and easy to listen to in 10 and 15 minute chunks as I drove from place to place.  It isn't just about the first trip to the moon, it's also about all the struggles, problems and flights that came before Apollo 11.  And it also goes into some detail about what happened after Apollo 11 and after we stopped going to the moon.  Once we made it to the moon and beat the Russians, the public lost interest in the space program.  And the men who went to the moon found themselves out of work and largely unable to find new work. No one wanted to risk them them getting hurt or killed.  They were also government employees, which means they didn't make a lot of money by going to the moon.  It was like they were given a ticker tape parade down Broadway, and then dropped off on some street corner while everyone else when back to their normal routine.

There were lots of details I would have highlighted if I had read the book instead of listening to it.  Strangely enough, I have another book titled "Rocket Men."  It's about Apollo 8, and it's on my Kindle.  And I also have a book titled "Apollo 8" on my Kindle.  And I have "Failure is Not an Option," by Gene Kranz on my Kindle.  But none of those are high on the priority list.  When I removed CD #14 of "Rocket Men" from my CD player, I then inserted a CD for another comedian's autobiography.  Following that, if I follow my current priority list, I'll be listening to two science books, then a biography of Elon Musk, another science book, and then a book about writing science fiction.  52 CDs.  Months of listening time.      

December 26, 2018 (B)
- I'm still thinking about the shape of a photon, and I now see that part of my December 24 post was misleading.  I included an image of a CD-disk shaped photon being propelled between two soccer ball size atoms, which cause the photon to become vertically oriented.  That is somewhat misleading, since the facts indicate that I should have used a wall of atoms (or two walls of atoms) instead of just two atoms.  Here are the only images I can find on the Internet showing a "wall" of atoms:

wall of atoms

The photon doesn't pass between two atoms.  It passes between two walls of atoms which form a slit.  And the slit will be something like a trench with sloping sides formed by atomic forces.  When the disk-shaped photon approaches the slit, if it is parallel to the slit it will simply pass through the slit.  If, it is less than 45 degrees off of parallel, the photon will be deflected off the sides of the "trench," reoriented to be parallel, and will pass through the slit.  If the photon is more than 45 degrees off of parallel, it will collide with an atom in the wall and will be absorbed.  It will be turned to heat or re-emitted as a new photon in some random direction.  Here's an illustration I found that shows the idea:
deflected and polarized light
The deflection and reorientation of photons is what causes glare off of a lake or pond.  If you have polarized sun glasses, the glasses will only let the photons that are vertically oriented pass through to your eyes.  Glare photons are almost always horizontal or parallel to the surface that is causing the glare.  That is why polarized sunglasses eliminate horizontally oriented photons.  I demonstrated that the other day when I put on my sunglasses and viewed my computer screen.  The polarized lenses eliminated about 50% of all the light coming through the lenses, but when I turned my head sideways, the computer screen became darker and darker, until it went totally dark when my head was at a 90 degree angle to the screen.  It is an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) flat screen, which means it emits vertically polarized light.  The same with my flat screen Sony TV in my living room.  It, too, goes totally dark if I view it through polarized lenses and turn my head 90 degrees off of vertical.   There are plenty of Youtube videos which illustrate this.

Of course, if you have a 3D TV, half of its LCD crystals are oriented vertically and half are oriented horizontally, so you need 3D glasses to view the 3D images. 

I'm also finding sources that suggest that the height of a photon is the same as its wavelength, which is the same as saying the photon is as tall as it is long.  It certainly isn't square, which means it is coin or disk shaped.

And all that seems to mean that light becomes polarized (or somewhat polarized) when Thomas Young's card experiment is performed by putting a card edgewise into a beam of light:

Thomas Young's card experiment

And that suggests that polarization is a key part of the Double-Slit experiment.  But, I'm going to have to do more research to verify that.  Or to disprove it.

The problem is: Virtually all sources use waves instead of photons when talking about light, even though light definitely does NOT consist of waves.  And when light is polarized to be horizontal waves, the sources say nothing about whether it is the electric field that is polarized horizontally or is it the magnetic field?  Presumably, it is the electric field. Does that mean it is the magnetic field which does the deflecting? 

Groan.  I still seem to have more questions than answers.

December 26, 2018 (A)
- FWIW, I just finished reading "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - Presents - The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library."
Trump Twitter Library
I borrowed it from my library to read on my Kindle, but I ended up reading the browser version on my computer when I noticed that it has a lot of color pictures, and my Kindle only shows them black and white.  Reading the book took less than two hours.  It is basically just a collection of President Trump's moronic tweets with some added comments to categorize them.  There are also a lot of full-page illustrations, most of which just occupy space - like chapter headings presented as plaques and framed single tweets.  Just imagine a copy of this Tweet placed in a fancy wooden frame as a photograph occupying an entire page:
Trump Tweet about Obama
Somehow, the book is also a New York Times bestseller.  I wouldn't say the book was a waste of time, but it's definitely "a curiosity piece."

December 25, 2018 - I'm wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018
- I awoke at 3 a.m. this morning, evidently because my subconscious had realized or discovered something.  It realized that I've been viewing polarization from the wrong angle (pun intended).  I've been arguing that this image of non-polarized light becoming polarized is essentially wrong because only light oscillating vertically is getting through.

polarized light

In previous comments here, I argued that, in reality, light at other angles is also getting through.  Light that is vertically aligned gets through, of course, but light that is up to 45 degrees off of vertical also gets through.  I used this image to show some of the angled light that gets through:
Angles of light waves 
When I awoke at 3 a.m., my subconscious was telling me that only light that is roughly oriented on the zero to 180 axis exits the filter.  But that doesn't mean that all the other angles are eliminated.  It means that light that enters the filter at the 20 to 200 angle gets reoriented to 0 to 180.  So does light that is oriented at the 350 to 170 angle.  What happens is that the orientation angle of the light photon is changed if the light is no more than 45 degrees off of vertical.  That also seems to explain why approximately 50 percent of the non-polarized light gets through the filter.  Only light that is oriented more than 45 degrees off vertical gets destroyed or deflected.

Fortunately, I was able to fall back asleep after thinking about that for awhile.

Then at about 6 a.m., my subconscious again woke me up, this time to deliver an even more interesting idea.  It had decided that polarization isn't like passing light through a picket fence.  It is like throwing a phonograph record or CD between two soccer balls.

photon passing between two atoms 
Maybe it was the image of an iodine molecule that I used in yesterday's comment that generated the idea, but it makes sense.  Light is passing between atoms and molecules, not between straight parallel lines or picket slats.  And atoms are roughly spherical in shape.

So, what happens is that the CD-photon slides nicely between the balls when the CD-photon is vertical.  But, if the CD-photon is slightly off-vertical, the spherical shape of the balls (and atomic forces) will push the CD-photon into a vertical orientation. 

I imagine that speed could also be an important factor.  If the CD-photon is more than 45 degrees off vertical, there isn't enough time to correct the angle, so the CD-photon bounces off the balls or shatters.   So, about 50 percent of the light gets through and it is all polarized vertically.

And if that vertically polarized light then hits a two balls filter that is oriented so that only horizontal light can pass, all the photons will be destroyed or absorbed re-emitted in some random direction. Virtually no light will pass the second filter.

This also explains another experiment that I read about.  If you place a filter that is angled at 45 degrees in front of the vertically polarized light, it becomes a flip of a coin as to whether a given photon will pass through or not.  In theory, half the photons will pass through and half will be destroyed or absorbed and re-emitted randomly.  So, 50% of the light from the source got through the vertical filter, and maybe half of that (25% of the original light) gets through the 45 degree angle filter.  That light is now polarized at 45 degrees, and when it hits a horizontal filter, it becomes another flip of the coin as to whether or not a given light photon will pass through.  In theory, 12.5% of the original light will make it through all three filters, even though zero percent will make it through 2 filters.

Here's an image from a web site that describes it as a mystery:

light through a 45 degree filter
And here is a video I just found which says pretty much exactly what I just wrote, except that it's all explained with mathematics.

The idea of ball shaped filters could be wrong, but, at the moment, it really looks right to me, and it seems to answer many questions I had about how photons work.  It doesn't tell me the height of a photon, and it doesn't tell me which field (electric or magnetic) is the CD shape, or why the other field doesn't seem to play any role, but it's something worth pondering until I find more information and the "two-ball polarization filter theory" can be confirmed or disproved. 

December 23, 2018
- I'm still trying to visualize what a photon looks like and how it works.  But I'm also constantly getting sidetracked into other problems and mysteries.  How come I'm suddenly no longer being notified when someone posts a comment to Facebook groups I created or the ones to which I am a member?  Which of the audio books I have downloaded from the library should I burn onto CDs?  I've only got about 1 CD left in the audio book I'm currently listening to while driving.  And the only other book I have already burned onto CDs consists of only 5 CDs.  And what should I do with all those radio shows I want to listen to?  When will I have time to listen to them?  And I also keep wondering if President Trump is being blackmailed by Putin.  Why else would Trump do exactly what Putin wants and pull out of Syria?  Why else would Trump undermine our friends and help Putin? 

And where can I find what I need to know about photons? 
Yesterday morning, I realized that the animated gifs I created last week to show what photons might look like when they are approaching head-on were almost certainly totally wrong.  Here is one of those animated gifs:
photons impacting head on
It now seems a near certainty that photons do not oscillate.  Instead, photons might be coin shaped, coming at you edgewise.  When that happens, you will first encounter a point of light that is the leading edge of the coin.  As the photon enters your eye or a measuring device, the point will increase in height, reach a maximum, and then drop off to a point again before disappearing.  The photon is perceived as a wave changing sizes, but it doesn't actually change shape.  It is just how it is encountered

I could probably create an animated gif to show what I mean, but it would take a lot of time to do that.   Showing one photon begin as a dot, then increase in height and then drop down to nothing again can't be shown with an animated gif that repeats the same steps over and over.  I'd have to create one that had a photon appearing at one point and then when it is about half its full size another photon starts appearing somewhere else in the illustration, and then another, and another, with photons appearing, growing, and disappearing at different points all over the screen.  It would require maybe a hundred illustrations (or frames) before the gif starts to repeat.  I could do it, but it would take a LOT of time.  

Instead, I've been spending a LOT of time trying to understand how polarized lenses work.  I found this information about how polarized lenses are made:

How polarized lenses are created

But what is that explanation actually saying?  Polarized lenses
are typically illustrated as being like openings in a picket fence.

how polarized lenses work

And an iodine molecule is supposedly shaped like this:

Iodine molecule

So, is a polarized lens like a picket fence made from iodine molecules laid end to end?  Okay.  Could be.  But how wide is the space between the slats in the picket fence?  I need to know that information if I want to determine the height or width of a photon. 

Another puzzle: For some reason, the iodine molecule slats that constitute a polarized lens seem to cut out almost exactly 1/2 of the available light.  Why?

Polarized versus not-polarized lenses

You would think that if the light photons coming at you at every angle, and if the photons are polarized by going through the slats in a picket fence, you'd get different amounts of light passing through depending upon how wide the space is between the pickets.
polarized light
But that is evidently not the case.  Your eyes will get 1/2 the available light if you orient the filter vertically, and you get 1/2 if you orient the filter horizontally.  It seems there isn't any way to make the openings between the slats narrower. 

There's an interesting video which has a guy explaining why 50% of the light is filtered away.  But, it seems to be a mathematical answer, not a logical answer.  I've watched it several times and I cannot decipher what he is saying.

As almost everyone knows, you can reduce the amount of light getting through the filter to your eyes by using a second filter.  If you overlay a vertical filter atop a horizontal filter, virtually zero light gets through.  

This Youtube video illustrates that phenomenon at about the 4-minute mark: 

If I can't make the filter openings narrower or wider, I cannot determine the size of a photon via that method.  Instead, I have another mystery:  Why can't I make a polarizing filter with narrower openings?    

A couple days ago, when I still believed that photons oscillate, I wondered how many times a photon of red light would theoretically oscillate while passing through a pinhole in a playing card.  So, I did some calculations.

The wavelength of red light is said to be 680 nanometers.  A typical playing card is 0.2921 millimeters thick (0.0115 inches), or 292100 nanometers. So, during the course of passing through a hole in a playing card, a red light photon would in theory fully oscillate about 430 times.

Now, as I see it, if I placed 430 red light photons end to end, they would cover the distance from one side of a playing card to the other.  That gives me the length of that kind of photon.  A photon is one wavelength in length.  Duh.

And we know a photon has a height, since it can only go through the polarizing filter if its height can fit through.  And, supposedly, it's height is the height of its electrical field, while it's width is the width of its magnetic field.

So, when viewed as passing through a vertical filter, the electrical field will pass through successfully if it is vertical or anywhere up to 45 degrees off of vertical.  Or is it the magnetic field that controls things?  Will the photon pass if the magnetic field is vertical or up to 45 degrees off of vertical?  Either way, it suggests that the polarizing filter has its electrical or magnetic field oriented in such a way that it will capture and absorb the photon if the photon is tilted more than 45 degrees.

That doesn't quite make sense.  Probably because I cannot illustrate the idea, and therefore I cannot visualize it.  I need to do more research.  Groan.   

Comments for Sunday, December 16, 2018, thru Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018:

December 20, 2018 - Yesterday afternoon, I decided I didn't want to take my MP3 player to the gym with me anymore.  Since I am once again involved in writing a scientific paper, my time on the treadmill and Exercycle is better spent by just thinking.  Plus, when I'm involved with writing a paper, I'm likely to just start thinking about the paper and not pay attention to what is being said on the MP3 player.  So, since I only had about an hour and a half left in the 13 hour 39 minute audio book, I just sat down in any easy chair in my living room and listened to the last part of "So, Anyway..." which is John Cleese's autobiography.

So, Anyway - by John Cleese

It was a very funny and enjoyable book, mostly, only occasionally going off into areas of no interest to me.  John Cleese reads the audio book, and his talking style is very much like the style he used in all of the Monty Python sketches and movies.  It's funny to listen to as he emphasizes words in unusual and very British ways.  Cleese (whose name was originally Cheese, before his father had it officially changed) is a graduate of Cambridge University and started his working life as a school teacher.  He got into performing more or less accidentally, and spent many years doing radio before getting into TV and movies.  The book more or less ends when the Monty Python troupe does their first comedy sketch. The book is - believe it or not - very much about psychology.  What makes people laugh?  How do you get people's attention.  How do you hold their attention?  How do you work with other comedians?  Etc. 

When Cleese was a school teacher he used psychology to control his students.  In his book he describes some of the practices he used, starting on page 85:
"Never tell a boy, 'Stop talking,' because he will always claim he wasn't.  You must say, 'Don't talk.'  Then, when he denies that he was talking, you can say, 'I didn't say you were, I said 'Don't!'  That leaves him with nowhere to go."
and another:
"When you ask a question, always formulate it in full before you give the name of the boy who is to answer it, because if you start with his name, everyone else will immediately stop paying attention."  
and another:
"If you catch a whiff of impending insurrection, use sarcasm.  They just can't handle it.  It's wonderful.  It's like shooting fish in a barrel, or making fun of Donald Trump.  It's so easy, it's embarrassing.   But don't overuse it: keep it for ... that special occasion."
That's the only mention of Trump in the book.  The book was published in September of 2015, about the time that Trump became the GOP candidate for President, but I was surprised to hear Trump mentioned at all. 

More interesting to me was how Cleese describes using the left brain to create audible jokes, which require logic to understand, and the right brain to create visual jokes, which are all about doing unexpected things.  And some comedians are left brain comedians and others are right brain comedians.  One member of the Python team was Terry Gilliam, who did the illustrations, and his sense of humor was almost entirely visual, while Cleese's sense of humor was almost entirely about language.  

In the book, John Cleese mentions a radio show he listened to, and which he thought was absolutely terrific.  It was called "The Goon Show," which featured Peter Sellers.  I wondered what it was like, so I searched for it on the Internet.  I found copies of episodes on sale for $20 or $30, which as a lot more than I was willing to pay to quench my curiosity.  Then I stumbled upon RadioEchoes.com.  Holy crap!!!  They have all 206 episodes of "The Goon Show" available for free, to listen to or to download as MP3 files!  And countless other radio shows!  They have 368 episodes of "Dragnet"!  And 118 episodes of "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe"!  673 episodes of "The Lux Radio Theater"! 786 episodes of "The Jack Benny Program"!  And 1,217 episodes of "Superman." And on and on and on.

Cleese also brought to my attention a 1983 book titled "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner, which Cleese mentions on page 77 as being a great influence on his thinking.  I just downloaded a .mobi copy of it into my Kindle, so it is on my reading list - maybe next on the list.

Listening to "So, Anyway" was definitely time well spent.          

December 19, 2018
- Grumble grumble.  I spent all day yesterday working on a comment for this website, instead of working on my paper about photons.  I spent all morning writing a comment and creating a couple illustrations, and then while at the gym in the afternoon after lunch I realized I should have also created an animated gif file to illustrate how a symmetrical photon would oscillate.  When I returned home, I spent most of the afternoon creating the animated gif and then added it to that morning's comment. 

Then yesterday evening, while watching TV, I realized I should have also created an animated gif for the asymmetrical photon as it is commonly illustrated. i.e., for the photon that I frequently show on this web site as looking like this:


When viewed head on, that photon would look like this as an animated gif:
Standard photon when viewed
And, as I wrote yesterday, that is something that doesn't seem "natural," meaning it isn't something that is normally seen in Nature.  Nothing in Nature can travel in a straight line while parts of it swing off first to one side and then to the other side.

So, this morning I created the above animated gif and added it to yesterday's comment.

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.  Like this:
Standard idea of a photon when
                                viewed head-on
As you can see, 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:
Symmetrical photon when viewed
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.


Other interests:

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

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