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My Latest Comments


Comments for Sunday, November 17, 2019, thru Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019:

November 18, 2019 - For the past 24 hours, since writing yesterday's comment, I've been mulling over "Fictitious Forces," specifically "centrifugal force."  I certainly wouldn't call it that.  I thought for awhile that "illusions" might be a better term, but that doesn't really fit either, and mathematicians really hate the word "illusion."  They argue that if you can see it, it's real, it cannot be an "illusion."  I would argue that if you can feel the force, it can't be an "illusion."

The "illusion" is which way the force is being experienced.  If you are in a rotating space station like that shown in the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey," the "artificial gravity" you feel and experience is not working like real gravity.

2001 A Space Odyssey space
                                      station

You aren't being pulled down by gravity, or pushed down by centrifugal force, you are being pushed upward by the floor and centripetal force.  To understand what's happening, you first have to understand Issac Newton's First Law of Motion:
Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.
Newton's first law wants you to go in a straight line when you move, but you are going in circles in a spinning space station.  The "external force" preventing you from moving in a straight line is exerted by the floor.  You want to go straight, but the floor keeps forcing you upward as you move.  The upward-moving floor forces you to move in a circle instead of in a straight line.  So, the floor is creating the "illusion" of gravity.  It feels the same as if gravity was pulling you downward, but in reality the floor is pushing you upward.  The "illusion" is the direction of the force.  The speed at which the space station spins is also a factor.  If the station wasn't spinning, you would experience the kind of inertia that astronauts do on the International Space Station, and you would float around.  

I can visualize starting out by floating, and then they fire rockets to get the space station to start spinning.  Initially, that force pushes you up against a wall.  The rockets continue until the constant changing of direction causes the centripetal force to be a greater force pushing against you that that exerted by the rockets moving the wall.  So, you are being pushed slightly against a wall, but the floor is pushing more strongly to move you upward.  Then, when the centripetal force equals 1G or whatever is most comfortable, the rockets turn off and you are no longer being pushed against the wall, you are only being pushed upward by the floor keeping you from moving in a straight line.  It's just like being on earth, except that you are walking on the inside of a rotating ring, instead of on the top of the ground.

I think a space station is a better way to describe centripetal force than a merry-go-round.  With a merry-go-round you have gravity pulling you toward the ground in addition to the forces you experience on a space station.  People may be more familiar with a merry-go-round, but a space station makes things simpler - and everyone is familiar with space stations that do not rotate. 

A lab centrifuge starts out with the tubes hanging downward, due to gravity.  Then, as the centrifuge speed up, the tubes lift until they are pointed straight outward, and the heaviest substances sink to the bottom because they are the heaviest and therefore they feel that change in direction more acutely.  They are the substances that most want to go in a straight line. 

It's interesting, but it's nothing worth spending any more time on.  I've got much more important scientific issues to think about.   

November 17, 2019
- The arguments I was having on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum were becoming a waste of time, so I ended my participation yesterday afternoon, telling the others that I'd return when I had completed writing a scientific paper about "Inertial and Non-Inertial Systems."  Of course, when I turned on my computer this morning and checked that forum, I found that one of the participants was still arguing the same things, and a couple others were still just hurling insults at me.

The final disagreement was over what constitutes an "inertial system."  The people on that forum appear to be in general agreement with this definition as provided by "Paparios" in his latest post:

An inertial frame of reference in classical physics and special relativity possesses the property that in this frame of reference a body with ZERO NET FORCE acting upon it does not accelerate; that is, such a body is at rest or moving at a constant velocity.
I don't particularly like that definition, but it fits both what I consider to be an "inertial system" and what they consider it be an inertial system.  I consider an "inertial system" to be a system that is moving purely by inertia with no outside forces acting upon it.  The word "inertia" is generally defined the same way I define it:
a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force
As I see it, that only happens in outer space, where a ship or any kind of object can coast at a constant speed (i.e., uniform motion) forever.   Some force set the object in motion, like firing rockets or like a supernova, and the object will then continue in "uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force."

That is NOT, however, how the mathematician-physicists see things.  In my final discussion with another poster (who may be Michael Moroney using a different login ID to get around the fact that he is on my "Do Not Reply list"), the disagreement was made clear.  We were talking about whether a truck moving at a constant speed on a road on earth is a "inertial system."  I said it wasn't:
Me:  It takes FORCE to move a truck.

Him:  It takes net force to change a truck's speed, but it takes zero net force for a truck to remain in uniform motion.  This is grade school physics.

Me:  It takes MORE FORCE to move a truck faster.

Him:  It takes no net force at all for a truck to move at any speed.  A truck will continue to move at its current speed, regardless of that speed, as long as zero net force is applied to it.  You're just getting confused because you are (amazingly) unacquainted with the basics of high school physics.  When objects encounter other objects, such as air, they exert mutual forces on each other.  The force provided by an engine through the drive shaft and wheels is equal and opposite to the forces exerted by other objects.  Net force is required to change the speed of an object, but not to maintain any speed.  The physics inside a sealed container depends only on the net force applied, i.e., the acceleration.

Me:  Friction does not negate the force.  Friction just determines how much force must be applied for the truck to reach a given speed.

Him:  Friction is a force, just like other forces.  The total net force on a uniformly moving object is zero.  It doesn't matter what combination of individual forces are applied, as long as they add up to zero.
The problem is that their definition of an "inertial system" ignores the fact that Einstein showed that acceleration is equivalent to gravity.  A moving truck traveling at a constant speed on earth cannot be an "inertial system" because it is constantly subjected to the force of gravity.  And gravity is equal to acceleration, so any object on earth is in an "accelerating system" whether or not it is moving.

And that is why a Type-1 radar gun can measure its own speed inside a moving truck.  The truck is NOT in a true "inertial system."

Yesterday, I started work on my paper about inertial systems by doing some research.  I wanted to see if textbooks actually say that a moving vehicle that moves at a constant speed under power is an "inertial system" where things work the same way as an "inertial system" in space.  How can they if one system experiences gravity and the other doesn't?  

I have 59 college physics textbooks in my digital collection in my computer.  But, that includes different editions of the same book, which brings the number down to about 47.  Then I have 425 science/physics books, some of which may also be textbooks.  I just didn't identify them as such.  Is "Understanding Physics: Light, Magnetism and Electricity" by Issac Asimov considered to be a "textbook," or is it just a book about physics?

I browsed through the spreadsheet where I keep track of my digital books and picked the 9th edition of "College Physics" by Raymond A. Serway & Chris Vuille as a place to start.  (The 10th edition seems to be a total rewrite.)   I did a search for the word "inertial."  I found this paragraph about Einstein's postulates on page 888:
The first postulate asserts that all the laws of physics are the same in all reference frames moving with constant velocity relative to each other. This postulate is a sweeping generalization of the principle of Galilean relativity, which refers only to the laws of mechanics. From an experimental point of view, Einstein’s principle of relativity means that any kind of experiment—mechanical, thermal, optical, or electrical—performed in a laboratory at rest must give the same result when performed in a laboratory moving at a constant speed past the first one. Hence, no preferred inertial reference frame exists, and it is impossible to detect absolute motion.
It looks to me like that explanation is geared to fit the absurd belief that "it is impossible to detect absolute motion," which is what Type-1 radar guns can do (and so can all other types of radar guns, but they do not clearly show it).

Looking back through earlier uses of the word "inertial" in the textbook, I found this on page 214:
Fictitious Forces in physics?

Fictitious Forces???  Centrifugal force is fictitious???  I didn't recall ever reading that before.  I immediately recalled the space station in "2001 a Space Odyssey" where people were walking on the inside of a rotating station where artificial gravity was produce by centrifugal force.

2001 A Space Odyssey space station

And also the situation where one of the astronauts was jogging in the rotating part of their space ship.

2001 A space odyssey centrfuge
                              jogging track
  
Those centrifuges were producing artificial gravity.  There's nothing "fictitious" about artificial gravity!  The absence of a centripetal force to offset the centrifugal force doesn't make the centrifugal force "fictitious" as the textbook says.  I did a Google search for the term "inertial systems" and found a Wikipedia page titled "Inertial Frame of Reference" and it uses the term "fictitious force" 22 times!  And they even have an web page article titled "Fictitious Force."  

Then I remembered the anthrax attacks of 2001.  So, we're supposed to believe that microbiologists use a "fictional force" when they use centrifuges to separate anthrax spores from growth and nutrient debris?  Really?

Groan!  The situation is worse than I thought!  And that makes me think that the paper I had begun writing about "Radar Gun Relativity Experiments" is more important than a paper about "Inertial and Non-Inertial Systems," and I really really need to find some way to get experiments done with a Type-1 radar gun.


Comments for Sunday, November 10, 2019, thru Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019:

November 15, 2019 - Another groan!, but also a Wow!  My subconscious awoke me again this morning with a new realization.  This time it woke me at 3:30 a.m., but I managed to get some sleep after my conscious mind finished thinking things through.  Suddenly I feel I need to write another new paper, before I write the new paper about my radar gun experiments.  The new new paper will probably be titled "Inertial and Non-Inertial Systems."

I recall reading a college textbook that stated that there are two types of systems, inertial systems and accelerating systems, in which Relativity experiments can be performed.  I remember arguing with someone that the train in Einstein's thought experiments was neither an inertial system nor an accelerating system.  It wasn't "inertial" because it was moving under power, an engine was pulling the car in which the experiments were being performed, and it wasn't "accelerating" because the engine was pulling the train at a constant speed.

The arguments I got from the mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum was that a train that is under power and is moving at a constant speed is "inertial."  And they believe that Einstein's FIRST Postulate says that all experiments work the same way in all inertial systems.  They specifically argue that the length of a second cannot be different in one inertial system versus another because that would violate Einstein's First Postulate: "the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good."  

It wouldn't, of course.  A variable length of a second will produce different results in different "inertial systems" and "frames of reference," but no law of electrodynamics and optics would be broken, and all equations of mechanics would still hold good.   1+1=2 is just as valid as 1+3=4.

What I woke up thinking about this morning was gravity.  Suppose you have a true inertial system in a space ship coasting through space at 100,000 mph and a second system which mathematicians consider to also be "inertial," a train moving across a desert at a constant speed of 60 mph.  Virtually every experiment performed in those two "inertial" systems will produce different results.  The simplest experiment to perform to confirm that is dropping a ball to the floor from a height of 6 feet.  In the space ship, when you release the ball, the ball will remain where it is.  It will NOT fall.  There is no gravity to pull it downward.   On the train, the ball will fall to the floor.  The ball is affected by a significantly different amount of gravity on the train.  The results of those two experiments couldn't be more different, yet according to mathematicians they are both performed in an "inertial system" and cannot produce different results without violating Einstein's FIRST Postulate.

As I now see it, an "inertial system" can only exist in space, and there are several  different "non-inertial systems" in which us Earthlings can perform experiments, including an "accelerating system," which all will produce different results. 

I just need to find the time to write it all down in the form of a scientific paper.    


November 14, 2019
- Groan!  At about 4:30 this morning, my subconscious mind woke up my conscious mind to ask a question:  If radar guns emit waves that look like this:

radar gun wave theory

what would happen if you tried to measure the speed of the whirling blades of a floor fan through the wire grid that surrounds the moving parts of the fan?

My floor fan used in radar gun tests
 
It's not a problem with photons.  Photons are extremely small, they travel at the speed of light to a blade, and before the blade can change position, atoms in the fan blade almost instantly emit NEW photons back to the gun.  The difference in the oscillation rates of the photon's energy fields sent-versus-received determine the speed of the blade.  Since even different parts of the tips of the blades move a different speeds, the gun measures the fastest speed.  Photons that hit the metal wire grid measure the grid to be stationary.

How would that work with waves?  First you have the problem of the wire grid.  If microwaves were like the waves shown above (or like water waves), the waves are going to break into a kazillion tiny waves like the double slit experiment with hundreds of slits.  The double slit experiment:

Double slit experiment

And then the kazillion small waves hit different parts of the rotating fan blades.  And, according to wave theory, when the waves somehow make it back to the radar gun, the gun has to measure the distance BETWEEN the return waves to compare it to the distance BETWEEN the emitted waves.

It's easy to see how my subconscious mind found this to be puzzling.  I just wish it would have let me fall back to sleep again.  When I got up, I asked the folks on the sci.physics.relativity forum how waves work with my fan experiments.  So far, no answers. 

I also did some more experiments, measuring the speed of the tips of the rotating blades when the fan is running at low, medium and high speeds.  The reading at low speed is about 20 mph, at medium it is about 32 mph, and at high speed it is about 43 mph.  Again, that is easy to understand when discussing photons, but it seems almost unimaginable when discussing waves. 

November 13, 2019
- Yesterday, I did my first indoor experiments with my radar gun.  But, before I get into that, I want to describe another kind of "experiment." It involves how I ordered the adapter that allows me to use my TS-3 radar gun indoors.  As stated in yesterday's comment, I ordered it from Amazon where it costs $13.99.  However, Amazon charges shipping fees for all orders under $25. Plus, I had $11.33 worth of accrued points for using my Discover card when buying other things elsewhere, like gas for my car.  So, the adapter would actually cost me only $2.66 plus shipping.  I didn't know what the shipping costs would be, but I tend to want to avoid them if I can.

So, I took the opportunity to buy some DVD movies that I'd been hunting for, movies I'd seen a few years ago, and I hoped would eventually go on sale somewhere for around $5 so I could buy a copy for my movie collection.  I ordered 4 movies from Amazon, one of which cost more than $5 and put the total order cost over the $25 minimum and gave me free shipping.  I was advised that there would be two packages from two different shipping points, one package containing the adapter and one DVD, the other package containing 3 DVDs.  

Then came the "experiment."  Amazon advised me that I had a choice of delivering the packages to my apartment building or to a pickup point at the "Meineke Car Care Center" about a block away.  The weather was bad and it was forecasted to get worse, which made me worry about the postman leaving the packages outside if I wasn't at home at the time of delivery.  So, on an impulse I told them to ship it to the Meineke muffler shop.  Then, that afternoon as I headed for the gym, I stopped by the muffler shop to see how the delivery would work.  I expected to pick up the packages inside somewhere, but it turned out that there is a rack of lockers against an outside wall, and that was where the packages would be delivered.  I had never seen an Amazon locker before, or if I did, I didn't realize what it was.  I was curious as to how it worked.

Amazon pickup locker
 
The packages arrived while I was at the gym on Monday.  I got the notifications via emails and drove over to the muffler shop.  The notifications included 6 digit codes you have to enter to open a locker.  The packages were inside the lockers, safe and dry.  Easy peasy.  The locker "experiment" was successful. 

And yesterday I did my first indoor experiments with my TS-3 radar gun.  I set up a pedestal floor fan outside the closet where it had been stored for the winter, and, from the side of the fan, I pointed the radar gun at the rotating blades. 

Me doing radar guns tests with my
                                floor fan

As expected, the gun showed the speed of the rotating blades.  If I held the gun perfectly steady while pointed at the tips of the rotating blades as the fan was operating at its highest speed, the gun would show a max speed of 43 mph when the blades were rotating away from the gun.  When the gun is pointed at about the midway point between the tip and the base of the blades it shows about 20 to 25 mph.  When pointed at the base of the blades, the speed was between 11 and  15 mph, but, of course, at that point the tips of the blades would be moving past the gun vertically, so there would be a cosine effect.  And the beam was wide enough to get speeds that were not zero.  Yawn. 

It was all as expected.  Nothing unusual.  I did the experiment several times to be certain.  The most interesting result was that the highest speed when the blades were rotating away from the gun was 43 mph, and the highest speed could measure for when the blades were moving toward the gun was about 30 mph.  I attributed that to the fact that when the blades were moving away from the gun, the gun "saw" a lot of the flat part of the blades, while when the blades were moving toward the gun the gun was just seeing the edge of the blades. I went around to the other side of the fan and repeated the experiment.  Yes, the highest speeds were measured when the blades were moving toward the gun and the gun could "see" the flat side of the fan blades. 

Then, when I was about ready to shut down the experiment, it suddenly occurred to me that I needed to do experiments when the gun was in TEST mode.  So, I again pointed the gun at the rotating tips of the fan blades and pressed the TEST button.  The gun showed "60 mph," the "internal calibration speed" it is supposed to show.  But I had expected the fan to act like a tuning fork.  It didn't.  The gun acted as if the fan wasn't there.  It just showed "60 mph" when I pressed the TEST button while holding the trigger.  And when I took my finger off the test button the gun showed nothing until I released the trigger and pulled it again.  Then it would read the fan blade speeds.

Hmm.  So it evidently needs an actual tuning fork to do the tuning fork test.  And, when you look at tuning fork tests on YouTube videos, NONE of them ever show a test result that isn't exactly what the tuning fork is supposed to produce.  It was like the test is to get an exact match on speed - or nothing at all. 

According to the web site HERE, the TS-3 is supplied with a 35 mph tuning fork. I didn't get a tuning fork with my used radar gun.

Then I was done with experiments for the day.  That evening I watched one of the DVD movies I had bought, and, when it was bed time, I went to sleep.  Then, at about 6:45 a.m. this morning, as I lay in bed, thinking about radar experiments while waiting for it to be time to get up, a terrific idea suddenly occurred to me.  I needed to do another experiment.  Unfortunately, it was another experiment that I had no way of doing without help and without the expenditure of more money than I am willing to spend.  It would involve performing the same tests I had just performed, but doing it inside a moving truck

However, I think I need to describe the experiment in a scientific paper, not here.  I also need to think it through very carefully.       


November 12, 2019
- Groan!  I'm really feeling overwhelmed.  I'm getting so much information that needs to be sorted out, that I can't easily keep track of it all.  And it takes a lot of time to think things through.  Yesterday was a case in point.  On the sci.physics.relativity forum, Paparios advised me of a YouTube Video HERE which shows a guy who seems to be a lawyer explaining how tuning forks work with a dual Type-2M radar gun which when in a patrol car has one gun pointed forward and a second gun pointed behind the patrol car.  I probably watched the demonstration five times, but I could get nothing useful from it.  There is a much better tuning fork video HERE.  The problem is that both videos use a Type-2M radar system, which isn't what I have.  All my questions relate to how Type-2S radar guns work as compared to Type-1 guns.

Also yesterday, someone sent me an email about the differences between a "cheap" radar gun like my TS-3, which costs $500 when new, and a Stalker II SDR, which costs $1,600 when new.   I don't consider $500 to be cheap, since I could buy a new Bushnell Velocity for less than $100. But his point was that  there are other differences in radar guns besides the fact that Type-1's do one measurement and  Type-2's do two measurements.  I knew that, and I knew the Stalker II SDR can measure target direction, which the TS-3 and Bushnell Velocity cannot do.  But those other functions have nothing to do with the experiments I want to perform.

Then someone else sent me an email with a link to a copradar.com web page that has some interesting things on it.  The page is titled "Radar Gun Test and Calibration."  One type of radar gun test says:
Set radar to Receive Only mode and scan for interference at operation site.
Receive only?  My radar gun doesn't seem to have that capability, and I had to wonder what such a capability would enable me to do.

That web page also has a test that says,

The Range Control is actually the receiver sensitivity setting. Long range, most sensitive, may make the radar susceptible to local interference. 
Hmm.  I hadn't been paying much attention to what the two knobs on my radar gun do, other than that they seem to control the signal strength and the sounds the gun makes to indicate different speeds.

TS-3 radar gun controls

The "VOLUME" knob on the lower left seemed to control the sound volume to indicate different measured speeds.  The "SENS" knob on the lower right seemed to do the same thing by controlling the strength of the transmitted signal.  But it is the "TEST" button in the middle that makes me most curious.  Unfortunately, it is 8 degrees outside right now, and that makes it a problem to do road tests with the window open or the heater turned off.  It was snowing for the past few days, which is also a problem when doing tests.  So, I didn't do any.

But I did do one thing worthy of note: last Thursday I ordered a power adapter from Amazon for $13.99.  The adapter should allow me to use the radar gun in my apartment to measure fan speeds.  And it should allow me to experiment with the TEST button and the VOLUME and SENS knobs.   The adapter arrived yesterday afternoon.  Now I just need to find the time to use it to do various experiments.  I spent at least two hours writing this comment this morning, and there are a bunch of posts to the sci.physics.relativity forum that I would like to respond to.  Plus, my computer seems to be running very slow, which means I need to reboot it.  And in about a half hour it will be lunch time, and then it will be time for me to head to the gym.   

There just aren't enough hours in a day!

November 10, 2019
- I spent much of the past week arguing on the Google UseNet sci.physics.relativity discussion forum.  But I also took some time to go back and modify my post for November 4 to show that the cosine experiments I did with my radar gun were not as clear-cut as described.  And I now know they were mostly just me misunderstanding what I was doing with a radar gun that I didn't really know how to operate.
  What I was trying to do is still valid, but the TS-3 radar gun (and probably most other Type-2S guns) evidently do not give a reading unless it can perform TWO measurements: (1) the speed of the gun (which it measures internally) and (2) the speed of an external target.  When pointed in the air, there are usually no solid external targets in range - except for power lines, birds, and spots on my windshield, which means it usually cannot do measurement #2.  Therefore, it displays nothing.

I just noticed that I never gave a detailed description on this web site of the differences between the three types of radar guns.  Here they are as described in the paper about my radar gun experiments that I am writing:

Type-1 radar guns do just one measurement.  They emit photons to the target and receive photons back from the target.  The gun then measures the difference in the oscillation frequencies of the emitted and received photons and computes the speed of the target.  Type-1 radar guns are considered to be “stationary only” guns, evidently because they produce controversial results when moving.

Type-2M radar guns do two measurements: (1) They measure the speed of a target and (2) they measure the speed of the gun.  They were designed and built to be used while moving.  When traveling at 60 miles per hour toward an approaching target that is traveling at 70 miles per hour, the gun will show a “patrol speed” of 60 mph and a “target speed” of 70 mph.

Type-2S radar guns also do those same two measurements.  However, Type-2S radar guns are intended to be used only while stationary.  When traveling at 60 miles per hour toward an approaching target that is traveling at 70 miles per hour, the gun will show a “relative” speed of 130 mph.  The gun has no ability to show two speeds.  If you use such a gun while moving, you need to logically figure out for yourself what speed the gun is displaying.   

The paper also says this about Type-1 radar guns:

Type-1 radars seem to be relatively few in number.  I was able to tentatively identify only one Type-1 radar gun, the fairly popular Stalker II SDR manufactured by Applied Concepts, Inc., in Richardson, Texas.  However, there could be others.  The Stalker II SDR’s list price is $1,600.

The "controversial" results Type-1 guns give while moving are that, according to people I've talked with who are familiar with  the gun, it shows no speed when pointed at the road ahead while moving, and it shows 60 mph when in a car going 60 mph while the gun is pointed at the back of a truck that is also going 60 mph.  That is "controversial" because mathematician-physicists claim it is "impossible."

Since I cannot afford the Stalker II SDR, I need to devise an experiment which will demonstrate that the TS-3 and most or all other Type-2S guns (and probably all Type-2M guns) measure their own speed internally.   

A TS-3 radar gun  
 
If a radar gun can measure that it is traveling at 60 mph by bouncing photons off of the semi-transparent radome that covers the front of the gun, then a radar gun that does only one measurement (i.e., a "Type-1" gun) can measure its own speed and the speed of a box truck while inside the back of a box truck.  Both are considered equally "impossible" by mathematicians.

In addition, the general belief is that radar guns measure speeds by sending out waves, not photons.  And that erroneous belief is fostered and promoted by countless web sites, books, and papers which describe light as waves, even though one of the top physicists of all time, Richard Feyman, stated:
“I want to emphasize that light comes in this form—particles. It is very important to know that light behaves like particles, especially for those of you who have gone to school, where you were probably told something about light behaving like waves. I’m telling you the way it does behave—like particles."
Albert Einstein, of course, won a Nobel Prize for explaining how light consists of particles, not waves, and that is how and why the photoelectric effect works.

So, any experiment which conclusively demonstrates that radar guns emit photons and cannot possibly emit waves would also be worthwhile.  I just need to figure out how to devise such an experiment. 

Looking for ideas, I began posting to sci.physics.relativity once again.  And I continued reading what the mathematicians there were arguing.

In one post, one of the mathematicians on my "Do Not Reply" list, Michael Moroney, provided his opinion about how tuning forks work:

[A tuning fork] "vibrates which means the speeds of the tines are constantly changing at the frequency of the fork in a sinusoidal fashion. In addition, the max magnitude of the vibration depend on how hard the fork is struck.
Huh?  What is the purpose of a tuning fork if the sound it makes due to its vibrations "constantly changes" and are dependent upon "how hard the fork is struck"?  The sole purpose of a tuning fork is to consistently give a specific tone for many seconds regardless of how hard it is struck, just as long as it was struck hard enough to produce the tone.  (Moroney also bragged once again about how he beat a speeding ticket by arguing with the police officer that holding a vibrating tuning fork stationary in front of a radar gun will not give a valid reading because the tuning fork itself is not moving, it is stationary.)

Interestingly, there is a lot of debate among mathematicians as to whether a radar gun that is pointed at a tuning fork is measuring the speed at which the tines vibrate or is it "listening" to the frequency of the sound the fork makes? 
That generated some arguments about how a radar gun listens to sounds, and that caused someone to bring up the subject of air conditioning and heater fans within the dashboard of a car producing false readings on a radar gun. 
The operator's manual for the GHD and Scout radar guns says this on page 25:
"7.4 Fan Interference
Fan interference is the most common form of interference that you
are likely to experience. It is caused when the radar measures the
speed of the vehicle blower fan. Changing the fan speed causes a
proportional change in the display speed. To correct this, relocate the
radar gun so it does not display spurious speeds or turn off the fan
motor."
I'm going to have to do some experiments to see exactly how and when and why the fan inside a dashboard causes "interference."

That also poses a question about the "TEST" button on my radar gun.  The TS-3 instruction manual says this on page 3:
3. Perform the internal test sequence by pressing the TEST button.
The unit should display 60 mph.  You will also hear an audio tone
if the volume is turned up because a 60 mph signal is being sent
through the circuitry to perform the unit's internal check.  On
release of the TEST button, 8.8.8. should be displayed to verify
display operation.

4.  Perform system check with certified tuning fork by striking the
fork until is rings then place it about 2 inches in front of the lens.
Pull the trigger and the unit will read the speed inscribed on the
fork.
Hmm.  Will the gun show "60 mph" if I press the TEST button while the gun is pointed straight ahead while moving at 30 mph?  I haven't tried that.  I definitely will.  

Meanwhile, as I'm writing this I'm wondering what would be proved if I put a vibrating tuning fork in front of a radar gun while in a moving car.   The gun would have to read the tuning fork as the "target" speed.  And it would almost certainly add together that speed with the gun's speed to display the combined speed.  If I then raise the gun to point it skyward and to get the cosine effect, as long as the tuning fork is in front of the gun, the target speed should be the tuning fork's speed, but the gun's speed should be the Cosine Effect speed.  Shouldn't it? Hmm.  If you and I were on an airplane and were playing catch by throwing a ball from Seat 24A to 24D, perpendicular to the aircraft's direction of travel, there is an "effect," since the ball is not traveling in  a straight line though space, but it's not the Cosine Effect. 
Hmm.  I have to think about that.  Plus,  I don't have a tuning fork.  There was no tuning fork in the package with the used TS-3 gun I bought on EBay.  And I don't know how to do that moving experiment by myself.  I'd need a second person to hold the tuning fork in front of the gun.  Hmm.  That's definitely something worth thinking about.


Comments for Sunday, November 3, 2019, thru Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019:

November 8, 2019 - I did some more experiments with my TS-3 radar gun yesterday, and those experiments told me that I need to be more careful in what I write here, on the sci.physics.relativity forum, and most especially in any scientific papers.  The experiments showed that when I do Cosine Effect readings while pointing the radar gun upward, the readings are very sporadic, and they should be continuous.   I thought the problem was because I didn't know exactly how the gun works:  If I held down the trigger continuously while pointing the gun upward, it would usually give no reading.  If I squeezed the trigger repeatedly, I would sometimes give a reading that matched what I expected.  However, when I pointed the gun at oncoming traffic, I would always get continuous readings.

Now it appears that the gun requires two readings.  It needs both a reading for the speed of the gun (which it performs internally), and it needs a reading for the speed of an outside target, before it will show anything.  So, when pointed in the air, it will still be able to measure the speed of the gun, but unless there is some object to bounce photons off of (like a telephone wire, or a bird, or rain drops, or a dirty windshield), there is no target, so the gun gives no reading.

That still means that when the gun is pointed at the road ahead while moving, the gun shows its own speed of 40 mph, not "the speed of the ground."  It is just that photons bouncing off of the ground gives a target reading of zero which the gun needs to subtract from the 40 mph speed of the gun.  The gun does not work without having some photons return from some object outside of the gun.

So, I need to find the right kind of experiment which will show that the gun does TWO readings, and one of them is the speed of the gun.  I don't think it will be hard to do, but I'm limited by having a radar gun that requires being connected to a cigarette lighter as a power source.  I may have to buy a Bushnell Velocity in order to do the right kind of experiments.  I need to think about it.

November 6, 2019
- The arguments about my radar gun experiments are still raging hot and heavy, but today I'll only comment on the audio book I just finished.  Yesterday, as I was driving out of the parking lot of the shopping center where my gym is located, I finished CD #12 of the 12 CD (11 hour 12 minute) set for the book "Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon" by Jeffrey Kluger.
 
Apollo 8

It was an extremely interesting book, filled with fascinating details, not just about the first flight by humans to the moon, but also about all the preparatory missions that went before it, including horrific details about the fire on Apollo 1.

In some ways the book is mostly about Frank Borman, who was the lead astronaut on Apollo 8.  I gather that the author did extensive interviews with Borman, including one that is recorded at the end of the audio book.  There are also a lot of recordings of critical events mentioned in the book, such as what was said and heard when Apollo 8 took off, also when they fired their rockets to leave earth orbit and head to the moon, then when they fired retro rockets to go into orbit around the moon, then when they fired their rockets to leave their moon orbit and head home again, and lastly when the parachutes opened and they were able to descend safely to earth again.

Today, people mostly remember Apollo 11, which took place in July 1969, and landed the first humans on the moon.  Apollo 8 took place in December 1968, and is mostly remembered for the Christmas Eve message Borman, James Lovell and William Anders read to people back on Earth.  A recording of that message is also played at the end of the audio book. 

I can highly recommend "Apollo 8."   And, in case you are wondering, yes, I was listening to "Apollo 8" while I was also doing my radar gun experiments.


November 5, 2019
- Although my plan was to wait until I had completed my paper about my radar gun experiments before posting anything more to the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum, this morning I felt I needed to know what the mathematicians there think about the experiments before I finish the paper.  So, at 9:47 a.m., I started a thread titled "Experiments with my radar gun."

The first response was from Paparios at 10:21 a.m.  It was just nonsensical arguments.  Then at 11:19 a.m. Tom Roberts posted a comment.  It was filled with more screwball arguments, like how can you point a radar gun upward when you are inside a car?  There's a ceiling above you, he argued.  Of course, most cars have windshields that are at about a 45 degree angle for streamlining.  All I had to do was put the gun against the windshield pointed upward.  But mostly what I did was put the radar gun in my left hand and stick my left hand out the side window.  How can anyone argue that that is impossible?

In the same post, Tom Roberts also argued:
The beam width of a TS3 is 12 degrees, so it sees MUCH MORE to the side than you look at when you point it.
What planet is he from????  My range of vision is close to 180 degrees!  A TS3 that emits a beam 12 degrees wide.  Using the calculator HERE, a 12 degree beam shining at a target 50 feet away will create a target area 11 feet wide.  100 feet away, the target area will be 21 feet wide.  And, of course, a typical car is only about 6 or 6½ feet wide.  So, less than 10 percent of the emitted photons will hit the target, and only a tiny fraction of those will be returned to the gun.

The arguments were on my mind when I went to the gym for my regular routine, and while I was on the treadmill I realized something very important that I need to add to my paper.  When I returned home, I posted this comment to the new thread:
I suddenly realized the primary difference between the Type-2M and the Type-2S radar guns.  It's obvious!

Type-2M radar guns perform TWO measurements and SHOW THEM BOTH.  The guns have ways to display "Patrol Speed" AND "Target Speed."  There's a video here about a Type-2M radar gun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlnYO_G_IxA

Type-2S radar guns also perform TWO measurements but, since the guns are intended to be used "stationary only," they just show ONE speed, which SHOULD BE the target speed.  If you use such a gun WHILE MOVING, you have to FIGURE OUT LOGICALLY for yourself what speed it is displaying.

Also, the fact that the Type-2S gun doesn't need all the hardware and
software required to show two speeds means it can be made for less cost.  That is undoubtedly one reason you can buy a Type-2S for around $100.
This is all fascinating stuff to me.   And it tells me I really need to find some way to borrow or rent a Type-1 radar gun.   

November 4, 2019
- I took my TS3 radar gun out to do some more experiments yesterday afternoon.  The main experiment wasn't anything special, I just parked my car in a parking lot next to a highway and pointed the TS3 at cars going away from the radar gun.  While being stationary, I had previously only measured the speeds of targets coming toward the radar gun. 

There was nothing surprising in the results.  The gun accurately measured the speeds of the receding targets.  When displaying a speed while stationary, the gun doesn't show if the target is coming or going.  However, when moving, the gun will compare the gun's speed to the target's speed.  It will add the numbers together when the target is approaching and subtract the target's speed from the gun's speed when the target is receding.  The Bushnell Velocity sports gun works the same way.

I also took the TS3 to a stretch of Highway 31 north of town where you can see for miles and the speed limit is 50 mph.  I did more experiments to demonstrate that the gun measures its own speed internally, it does not measure my car's speed by sending out "waves" that bounce off the ground.  I did "the cosine experiment" over and over, pointing the gun straight up, where it shows no speed, then bringing it down lower as it shows 20 mph, 30 mph, 40 mph and then 50 mph when the gun is pointed ahead but not toward the ground.  And it stays at 50 mph, which is my car's speed, as I lower the gun to where it is pointed at the road ahead.  So, there can be no doubt that the gun is measuring its own speed internally, it is NOT measuring its speed by bouncing photons off of the air - or the ground.

Added note (Nov. 9):  In my excitement, I was overstating my findings.  In reality, the cosine readings were sporadic, and not entirely consistent.  Later experiments showed that the radar gun will NOT work as described above.  The gun requires TWO measurements (gun speed and target speed) before it will give any kind of reading, and most of the time when the gun is pointed skyward it  will not be getting any kind of target speed reading.  It only gives readings when power lines or raindrops or a spot on the windshield are measured as targets.     

When I returned home I realized that a terrific demonstration would be to point the gun above oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, where the gun will just show the gun's speed (and my car's speed), and then to lower the gun to where it is pointed at the oncoming traffic.  It will suddenly show speeds in the range of 90 mph or so.  How would the mathematicians explain that?  They cannot possibly argue that the gun is bouncing waves off the ground when it is pointed above oncoming traffic in the other lane.  I'll do that experiment today or tomorrow, so that I can mention it in a paper about my first radar gun experiments. 

I also need to decide if I'll just write a paper to add to my collection on vixra.org, or if I should see if Science magazine or Nature magazine will be interested.  If they are not interested, that would be an interesting point to make in my paper.

Groan!  So much to do, and so few hours in a day.
 

November 3, 2019
- On Monday, October 28, I watched a YouTube video where a guy was doing demonstrations with a Bushnell Velocity radar gun.  I've seen many similar YouTube videos, but they were all several years old.  This video was relatively new and the guy on the video had just responded to someone's post.  So, I posted this message to the guy:
I'm thinking of buying one for a science experiment, but I'm wondering how it works while moving.

Have you ever used it in a moving vehicle, pointing it out at the ground or at highway signs ahead? The operator's manual says that it will show "the speed of the vehicle you are in." I'm wondering if it shows the speed of the vehicle you are in, or if it shows the speed of the gun.

So, what I would need to do is first point it out at the ground ahead and then lift it to point it at about a 30 degree angle toward empty sky. If it still shows the speed of the vehicle, it isn't showing the speed of the vehicle, it is actually showing the speed of the gun. I'd buy the gun if it shows the speed of the gun when pointed at the sky ahead. I wouldn't need it if it shows no speed when pointing at the sky ahead

The guy in the video responded:
I've used it in a vehicle clocking the speed of on coming traffic. From what I've experienced it wouldn't read anything if pointed at the sky as the radar waves would have nothing to bounce back from.
So, he never used it while moving.  And it didn't seem he would be likely to do an experiment for me.  He believed the Bushnell Velocity radar gun emits waves and would therefore operate according to common beliefs about waves.

I decided it was time for me to buy a radar gun.  I began by browsing the Internet looking for the cheapest Bushnell Velocity radar gun I could find.  The cheapest one cost $59.99 plus $4.98 shipping costs.   However, it was a Chinese company, and I couldn't figure out where it would ship from.  I assumed it wouldn't be shipped from China, but not knowing who was actually selling the gun made me uneasy.  I knew that Amazon charges $97.99, plus $5 tax for the same gun.  But I didn't want to pay that extra cost.

Then, somehow, I stumbled into Ebay.  And I found they had used Municipal Electronic's TS3 radar guns for sale at a price of $69 plus $12 shipping.

TS3 Radar gun

The ad said it was guaranteed to be in working order.  The TS3 was supposed to be a "basic" radar gun.  There was no price listed on Municipal Electronics' web site, but when I communicated with them via emails and phone calls they had offered to sell me a "reconditioned" TS3 for $300.  (Later I found that the list price is evidently $500.) 

I could definitely afford to pay $81 for a TS3 if there was any chance that it was truly a "basic" radar gun.  When I talked with people at Municipal Electronics about the TS3 back in August, they were somewhat vague.  They said the TS3 "should" meet my criteria for a "basic" radar gun.  I wanted something more definite than that before I'd pay $300 for a used but "refurbished" gun.  But, for $81 I was willing to take a chance, particularly since I could return it if I wasn't satisfied, and I would only be out my shipping costs for the return.

So, I ordered it.  It was the first time I'd ever purchased anything via Ebay. The expected delivery day was given as Tuesday, November 5.  On the afternoon of Thursday October 30, I was startled to hear my door buzzer sound.  I knew what it had to be.  I raced downstairs and there was the package from Ebay on my doorstep.  When I opened the package, the TS3 looked very worn and beat up, but that didn't really matter.  I was still pleased that it had arrived so quickly.

Me and my TS3 radar
                            gun

Within the hour, I was in my car experimenting with it.  It didn't come with any instructions, but it didn't look that complicated.  At the rear of the gun, the OFF ON switch at the top of the controls turns it on.  You can also turn on the audio signal by turning the "VOLUME" knob.  Just like most radios, it clicks when you turn it on, and from there on it increases the volume of the sound that represents, via changes in pitch, the speed of the target.

Controls for the TS3 radar gun

The first test I did was to take it to a nearby shopping center parking lot, where I parked my car near the street and did some readings by pointing the gun through the windshield at the oncoming traffic.  The gun worked perfectly, but taking pictures of the digital display turned out to be a problem.  I didn't look at the pictures until I returned home, and then I found that when I snapped the pictures, in most cases only one of the digits for a 2-digit speed would show up in the image, most likely because the digits were changing at the instant my camera shutter clicked.  But I did get one shot with both digits. 

First test of my TS3 radar gun 
In reality, both digits of the number 26 were as bright as the 6, but it seems the 2 was probably in the process of blinking on or off.

So far, so good. Then I took it on the road.  It is a "stationary only" gun, which means it is not intended for use while moving.  But my main experiments involve what happens when a "stationary only" radar gun is used while moving.

I don't have any pictures, since that would involve me driving with one hand manipulating the camera while my other hand is manipulating the radar gun, and no hands left to manipulate the steering wheel.

It was quickly very clear that the TS3 is NOT a "basic" radar gun.  When I was driving up Highway 11 at about 40 miles per hour, which is the speed limit, I pointed the gun at the oncoming traffic, and all the readings were around 80 miles per hour.  The gun was showing speeds ranging from about 75 mph to 83 mph.  It was adding together the speeds of oncoming cars and the speed of the gun.  That is exactly what a representative of another radar gun manufacturing company, Applied Concepts, Inc., told me that their GSD and Scout model "stationary only" radar guns would do.  That is why they state in their User Manuals that those guns do not "work" while moving.

Hmm.  It also seemed to mean that the TS3 somehow measures its own speed.  It added its own speed of 40 mph to the 40 mph speed of the oncoming cars to get 80 mph. And that meant I needed to verify that the gun was NOT measuring its own speed by bouncing imaginary waves off of the ground.

It was simple to do.  All I had to do was point the gun away from the ground, say upward at about 30 degrees.  I did so, and the gun showed a speed that exactly matched the speed shown on the speedometer of my car.  When I sped up or slowed down, the speed displayed by the radar gun matched my car's speed. 

Then came the ultimate test:  I measured the "cosine effect."  While traveling at about 40 mph, I pointed the gun straight up and pulled the trigger.  It showed NO measurable speed.  I then lowered the gun slowly and it started to show speeds beginning at 12 mph, then increasing to 20, then 30 and then 40 mph when the gun was pointed at about a 30 degree angle away from the ground.  The area was open and devoid of trees and telephone wires, so there was nothing that fantasy waves could be bouncing off of.  The gun was measuring its own speed by either bouncing photons off of the transparent radome that covers the front of the gun, or by some similar method that is also purely internal to the gun.

That is something the mathematicians also believe is totally impossible.

How a radar gun measures its own
                            speed.

It seems clear I need to put these experiments into a scientific paper.  Maybe it will cause someone to figure out and describe to the world exactly how a radar gun measures its own speed.  Then, every time someone describes a radar as measuring its own speed by bouncing waves off of the ground, it will be clear that that person is either lying or ignorant of how radar guns and light actually work. 

Added Note:  When I completed posting the above comment, I checked to see if anyone had posted anything new to a sci.physics.relativity thread where I'd been arguing about my new web page "A List of Variable Light Experiments."  Early this morning, before writing this morning's comment for this site, I had posted a comment there, telling them that I was done arguing in that thread, and that I'd bought a radar gun and would return to start a new thread about it when I finished writing a scientific paper about my own radar gun experiments.

To my stunned surprise, "Michael Moroney," who is on my "Do Not Reply" list because of his insults and personal attacks, had just posted a long comment in response to my telling them I'd bought a radar gun similar to the Bushnell Velocity.  Here is his comment in its entirety:
What a coincidence. I bought the Velocity myself a little while ago, just before the last time you ran away.

I have done a few experiments myself.

I was going to wait until I made a Youtube video but I thought it may be all for naught since you disappeared.  But a quick summary so far:

The Velocity records the highest speed seen while the trigger is held down.

When used as intended, stationary, it records speeds as expected.  When a car appearing to do about 50 is approaching, the stationary gun does display 50.

When used from a moving car: (not used as intended):

No other traffic around:

The gun displays my speed. This is as expected as the reflections from the road, trees, parked cars etc. is Doppler shifted to my road speed in the frame of the gun (which is moving at my road speed).


Oncoming traffic:
Oncoming traffic is displayed as moving at a high speed. If I am going 45 on a road with a speed limit of 45, oncoming traffic results in speeds around 90 or so.

Following traffic:

The gun almost always displays my road speed.  This is because the reflection from cars in front of me is that of the speed difference and that is always lower than the ground speed reflection, unless a real speeder passes me (hasn't happened yet).

Careful aim when passing a slow box truck sometimes displays a low speed.  This has happened twice, and only when (apparently) the ground reflection isn't strong enough.


Inside a moving box truck:

Not quite, but I did bring it onto a commuter rail train. (Fortunately at the end of the line so I moved into an empty car so passengers wouldn't be worried about this guy with a radar gun walking around).  The cars are metal with windows, including windows in doors between cars but enough metal for this purpose.

Front of car aiming to rear of train: No reading.
Rear of car aiming to front: No reading.
Aiming at ground out window: A speed consistent with the apparent speed of train. (also changed the angle to see cosine effect in action).

Summary: 100% consistent with what is expected from SR and Einstein's predictions, allowing for the fact the gun displays the highest speed, not necessarily the current speed. 

I had told Michael Moroney many times that the Bushnell was NOT a "basic" radar gun, but he kept arguing as if all radar guns work the same way.  What his experiment shows is that the Bushnell Velocity works exactly the same way as the Municipal Electronics TS3 that I just bought and tested.  However, I did the one test that Michael Moroney did not do:  I tested whether the gun would or would not show the gun's speed when pointed in the air, where it is not possible for imaginary waves to bounce off of anything.  There seems no doubt that his Bushnell Velocity will also show the speed of the gun (not the ground speed) when pointed into the air away from the ground.

The part of his post that I highlighted in purple is a test I have not yet fully tried.   What it says is that if I am behind a truck that is traveling at about the same speed I'm traveling, the gun will measure the negative speed (c-v) of the truck ahead as less than my (c+v) speed and will therefore show my speed as the highest speed.  If, however, I am close enough to the truck so that my radar gun's speed measurement is weaker than the truck's speed measurement, the gun will add the truck's (c-v) negative speed to my (c+v) positive speed and it will display the gun's minimum measurable speed.

Fascinating!
 

Comments for Friday, November 1, 2019, thru Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019:

November 1, 2019 - While impeaching a President doesn't necessarily mean that he will be removed from office, I still feel I need to show this poster again:
Pence could be worse than Trump

Comments for Sunday October 27, 2019, thru Thursday, October 31, 2019:

October 31, 2019 - A brief discussion I had on Facebook this morning caused me to finish a web page titled "A List of Variable Speed of Light Experiments" that I had started at least a month ago.  The new page can be accessed by using the link I just provided or by clicking on HERE in the box at the top of this web site which says:
Click HERE to go to my notes about scientific topics discussed on this web site.
And then you can click on item #3. A List of Variable Speed of Light Experiments

I'm not sure what there was in the comments I wrote on Facebook that suddenly made everything clear to me about those 8 experiments, but I had to immediately work on the page and make it available for use in any further discussions.

October 30, 2019
- I'm still very busy researching various details about different kinds of radar guns.  I'm hoping to have some experiment test results for a "basic" radar gun in the next couple weeks.  Meanwhile, this morning I found a YouTube video that actually caused my jaw to drop open in astonishment.  I'd been researching the Mattel Hot Wheels radar gun that was sold for awhile starting in 2006 and then discontinued about a year later.  In the video, a guy performs a test by rapidly moving the gun toward what looks like a bed sheet:

testing a radar gun by moving it
                                toward a target 

The gun gives a speed of 217, which must be divided by 64 to get miles per hour.  (Since the gun is generally used at close range, and to measure things that do not go very fast, the gun has a switch for regular speed or "Hot Wheels" speed, which is miles per hour multiplied by 64.)   According to the instructions for the Hot Wheels radar gun, it only works if the target is within 39 feet of the gun.

But what really astonished me is that the gun evidently has software and hardware that allows it to measure its own speed.  As I see it, that is the only way it can give a reading when the gun is moved toward a target.  The gun may be nothing more than a toy, but it is a very sophisticated toy.

Hot Wheels construction details
 
In addition to used guns, there are unused guns still in their original packaging available for sale on E-bay.  The prices range from around $40 to about $110, including shipping costs.  While I'm tempted to buy one, I cannot think of what use it would be.  If I wanted to compare it to a "basic" radar gun, I'd be better off using a Bushnell Velocity for comparison.  But I am still amazed that even a gun that is basically sold as a "toy" can include the ability to measure its own speed, which mathematicians will argue is totally impossible. 

October 28, 2019
- My sister knows that I am interested in science, so a little over a week ago she shared this image with me via Facebook:

Digging holes in the moon

In case you do not recognize it, that is the Earth in the sky in the background, and the picture was supposedly taken on the moon.  Obviously, it is a fake, but I couldn't find any originals for it when I did a Google search.  Hundreds of pictures were taken by astronauts while they were on the moon, but I have only a couple hundred in my collection.  I do not have any shots that match the rocks in the foreground, nor the mountains in the background as seen from that angle.   The Earth would not appear that bright or that large when photographed from the moon's surface. The shot of the Earth by itself was evidently taken from orbit around the moon.  The part of the Earth that is in shadow indicates the sun is directly overhead when viewed from the moon, while the shadows of the rocks in the foreground show the sun is at an angle off to the left.  Oh yes, and there are no dogs on the moon.

I was able to find this actual shot taken of the Earth as seen from the surface of the moon:

Earth from the surface of the moon

A few days later, my sister sent me this image:

The moon in a telescope

Researching it, I think it was taken in India.  It's totally real, of course, but it must have taken a lot of planning to capture the moon from the right angle and the right distance to make it appear like the moon is setting inside the dish of a radio telescope.   The version my sister sent me had a headline on it that said "NASA caught taking down the moon for repairs."

October 27, 2019
- While eating breakfast yesterday morning, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was "How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World " by Steven Johnson.

How We got To Now

The book is similar to Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy, which I finished reading on October 9, except that this book is more about how one invention or discovery enables other inventions and discoveries to happen.  The "six innovations" are listed as Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time and Light, but they might be better described as Making Glass, Refrigeration, Recording Sound, Bathing and Sewage Disposal, Measuring Time, and Creating Light.

I only highlighted and saved 6 pages of notes, but that isn't because the book had little worth quoting, it is because the ideas described in the book generally cannot be stated in a few words because they are about how one idea leads to another and another.  Human use of glass, for example, began as a gem or ornament, with the first sample of it being found in King Tut's tomb.  It was a piece of glass created by some unknown event which occurred about 26 million years ago in or over the Libyan desert.  It was some kind of event (probably a meteor strike) that caused temperatures on the ground to rise to well over 1,000 degrees, which resulted in melting many square miles of sand, which in turn created acres of glass globules.  Millions of years later, someone picked up a scarab beetle-shaped globule and fastened it in the center of a pendant worn by King Tut:

 King Tut's Libyan Desert Glass pendant 

Later, of course, glass was put to many other uses, from windows to fiber optics.  The book also describes how the printing press resulted in producing books at much lower prices, which resulted in a lot of people realizing they were farsighted, which caused a demand for reading glasses, which later led to microscopes.

Refrigeration began in the mid-1800s when a man named Frederick Tudor thought it would be a profitable idea to ship blocks of ice cut from a frozen lake in wintry New England to islands in the Caribbean, so people there could have something cold to help them ward off the oppressive heat. Tudor knew that ice would keep for a long time if it was kept out of the sun and insulated with sawdust.  He figured ice would be priceless in the heat of the tropics.  But, when his ship full of ice arrived in the Caribbean, no one knew what to do with it.  It took years for a popular demand to be created for ice.  The book says,
Sugarcane, coffee, tea, cotton—all these staples of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century commerce were dependent on the blistering heat of tropical and subtropical climates; the fossil fuels that now circle the planet in tankers and pipelines are simply solar energy that was captured and stored by plants millions of years ago. You could make a fortune in 1800 by taking things that grew only in high-energy environments and shipping them off to low-energy climates. But the ice trade—arguably for the only time in the history of global commerce—reversed that pattern.
Recorded and transmitted sound had a similar history of being ideas that didn't work quite the way their inventors figured they would work:
When Thomas Edison completed Scott’s original project and invented the phonograph in 1877, he imagined it would regularly be used as a means of sending audio letters through the postal system. Individuals would record their missives on the phonograph’s wax scrolls, and then pop them into the mail, to be played back days later.  Bell, in inventing the telephone, made what was effectively a mirror-image miscalculation: He envisioned one of the primary uses for the telephone to be as a medium for sharing live music. An orchestra or singer would sit on one end of the line, and listeners would sit back and enjoy the sound through the telephone speaker on the other. So, the two legendary inventors had it exactly reversed: people ended up using the phonograph to listen to music and using the telephone to communicate with friends.
When it comes to the innovations related to bathing, those innovations were met with great hostility:
In today’s world, we think of hygiene in fundamentally different ways. The concept of bathing, for instance, was alien to most nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans. You might naturally assume that taking a bath was a foreign concept simply because people didn’t have access to running water and indoor plumbing and showers the way most of us in the developed world do today. But, in fact, the story is much more complicated than that. In Europe, starting in the Middle Ages and running almost all the way to the twentieth century, the prevailing wisdom on hygiene maintained that submerging the body in water was a distinctly unhealthy, even dangerous thing. Clogging one’s pores with dirt and oil allegedly protected you from disease. “Bathing fills the head with vapors,” a French doctor advised in 1655. “It is the enemy of the nerves and ligaments, which it loosens, in such a way that many a man never suffers from gout except after bathing.”
Here's another interesting passage about bathing and keeping clean:
Elizabeth I bothered to take a bath only once a month, and she was a veritable clean freak compared to her peers. As a child, Louis XIII was not bathed once until he was seven years old. Sitting naked in a pool of water was simply not something civilized Europeans did; it belonged to the barbaric traditions of Middle Eastern bathhouses, not the aristocracy of Paris or London.
The subject of creating light is interesting because it cost a big part of one's income in the days of candlelight to make candles.  And it cost even more if you bought candles from a candle maker.   At first, most candles were made from animal fat, which meant they produced smoke, they stank, and they would soften and sag if you tried to hold one in your hand. (Try holding an unwrapped pound of lard in your hand for awhile.) But the big difference was in cost:
If you worked for an hour at the average wage of 1800, you could buy yourself ten minutes of artificial light. With kerosene in 1880, the same hour of work would give you three hours of reading at night. Today, you can buy three hundred days of artificial light with an hour of wages.
It was a very enjoyable book, and I can definitely recommend it.   It was published in 2014, around the same time Steven Johnson narrated a BBC and PBS TV series also titled "How We Got To Now."  I probably watched it, but it wasn't anywhere near as memorable as the book.  There's one more quote from the book that is worth repeating:
Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Yes, I am still working on ways to get my radar gun experiment performed, but it is an agonizingly slow process.      
 

Comments for Sunday October 20 2019, thru Saturday, October 26, 2019:

October 24, 2019 - About a year ago, I created a new page for this web site on which I listed all the time dilation experiments I could find that have been performed over the years.  That web page has come in handy when arguing with mathematicians who do not believe in time dilation.  It has been interesting to see how those mathematicians deny the reality shown in the experiments.  (If your experiment does not allow you to actually observe both clocks at the same time and see that one is running slower than the other, then mathematicians believe time dilation has not been demonstrated.)

For the past two weeks I've been working on a new variable speed of light web page on which I had planned to list all the various experiments which confirm that moving observers can measure the arriving speed of light as c+v or c-v, where v is the speed of the observer toward or away from the source of the light.  Those experiments include radar guns, pulsars, mirrors on the moon and eclipses of Jupiter's moon Io.

However, when I did research into some other experiments which also involved variable speeds for light, it appeared that they did not simply measure speeds at c+v or c-v, instead they also (or instead) measured light speeds as c versus c'.  In other words, the second group measured one speed of light against a different speed of light.  The speed of light is measured per second, and the differences in the speed of light are the result of differences in the length of a second due to velocity time dilation and/or gravitational time dilation at the point of emission.  An emitter that is moving very fast still emits light at c, but due to its speed, the speed of light per second is slightly different from the speed of light per second for a slower moving emitter. 

The problem is that none of these experiments result in anything as simple as comparing c+v to c.  Instead, the experiments produce "fringes" of different sizes.

sagnac effect fringes

And I would need to explain exactly what is going on.  Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to translate all the mathematical equations into simple explanations.  And I'm reading through scientific paper after scientific paper to see if I can find a simple way to explain things.

It took me all morning just to write this comment about what I'm trying to do.  And I cannot be absolutely certain it is entirely correct.  I've been tempted several times to just forget about writing a comment for today, or instead just write a comment about all the attempts that have been made by hackers in the past two days to POST unwanted stuff onto this web site.  Here's a screen capture of a slew of attempted POSTS that were made two days ago:

Some attempted POSTS to my web site 

The attempted POSTS are from all around the globe, but they were obviously coordinated to hit at about the same time, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm.  The IP numbers that begin with 185 are mostly from Amsterdam, Holland, but one is from Odessa in the Ukraine.   (I block all attempted accesses from IP addresses beginning with 185 because they all seem to belong to hackers.) 158.69.182.99 traces back to Beauharnois, Quebec, a place that seems loaded with hackers.  27.153.202.150 traces to Putian, China.   109.70.100.23 traces to Vienna, Austria.  104.192.84.71 traces to Los Altos, California.  Except for the ones from IPs beginning with 185, there is no other pattern than that they all seemed to have hit at the same general time.  I have no idea what is going on.  And I cannot find anyone else who seems to care.  It is evidently just a routine part of having a web site.

October 22, 2019
- Every morning, as part of my startup routine, I check the latest image on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.  Over the years I've downloaded and saved 1,717 images from the site, which is probably less than a third of total number of pictures I've viewed on the site.  This morning's Picture of the Day is the image below (you should be able to right click on it to view the full size image).

World's largest mirror

It's a "picture" taken of a man standing on "the world's largest mirror" in Bolivia. The accompanying explanation for the picture says:

Explanation: What's being reflected in the world's largest mirror? Stars, galaxies, and a planet. Many of these stars are confined to the grand arch that runs across the image, an arch that is the central plane of our home Milky Way Galaxy. Inside the arch is another galaxy -- the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Stars that are individually visible include Antares on the far left and Sirius on the far right. The planet Jupiter shines brightly just below Antares. The featured picture is composed of 15 vertical frames taken consecutively over ten minutes from the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia. Uyuni Salt Flat (Salar de Uyuni) is the largest salt flat on Earth and is so large and so extraordinarily flat that, after a rain, it can become the world's largest mirror -- spanning 130 kilometers. This expansive mirror was captured in early April reflecting each of the galaxies, stars, and planet mentioned above.
I highlighted in red the sentence that puzzles me.  Why did the photographer need to take "15 vertical frames" in order to get the image.  I assume it has something to do with the exposure times needed to capture enough light to register an image.  But I would think that you would need many "horizontal frames" to do that, since there is vastly more available light along the center of the picture than there is at the top or bottom.  I think of  "vertical frames" as being like a picket fence.  Instead, when you click on the link under "vertical frames," you get this image:

vertical cats

So, we have a stack of vertical cats, but each is in his or her horizontal frame.  Since there seems no way to figure out exactly what the individual frames look like, I just examined some of the links.  The one I highly recommend is the one under the words "this expansive mirror."  It's a 12 minute video showing a lot of fascinating and utterly spectacular details about that salt flats mirror, some so amazing that I can't understand why I never heard of the place before (or, if I have heard of it, how I could have forgotten).

October 20, 2019
- I'm going to try to stop writing about my proposed "basic" radar gun experiments until someone actually does such an experiment and reports on it.  I'm still trying to find a way to do the experiment myself without actually buying a radar gun, but it has been just one no reply after another.

What I read last week in the book
"What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" still nags at me.  Over and over in that book it describes mathematicians huddling together or walking together as they discuss some new variation on Quantum Physics.  Each time, at the center of the discussion is some new math guru (Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Hugh Everett, Max Born, Erwin Schrödinger, David Bohm, John Bell, John von Neumann, etc.) who the others seem to almost worship.  And never does any of them ever mention doing an experiment to confirm some idea.  It's all just oooos and ahhhhs as the guru speaks and the followers listen, with an occasional question by a follower and a gasp-causing answer by the guru.

Today we have a majority of mathematicians who follow the teachings of those gurus and who write the physics textbooks used in colleges and universities, and we also have a smaller second group of mathematicians who question what they read in those text books.  What the second group mostly questions are the nutty interpretations of Einstein's postulates created by the first group.  I keep coming across scientific papers arguing against the "invariable speed of light" postulate or theory peddled by the first group who falsely claim it was Einstein's idea.

The first group has concluded that Einstein said there is no ether (or aether), and therefore there is nothing fixed in Nature against which motion can be measured. So, they idiotically conclude that, if I am moving relative to you, you are also moving relative to me.  Neither of us can be a "preferred" frame of reference.  It is what they firmly believe, and it is what many or most textbooks say, even though it is totally illogical.

The second group says experiments show this to be wrong.  Therefore, they believe the ether must exist, even though Einstein said it was "superfluous".

I agree with the second group in that experiments show the first group to be wrong, but I disagree that it means the ether must exist.  My understanding of Einstein's theories is that the speed of light can be used instead of the ether as something against which all motion can be measured.  It is how radar guns work.

Yesterday, while researching something or other, I came across a paper from someone in that second group of mathematicians.  His name is Stephen J. G. Gift, and he's a professor at The University of the West Indies.  It turns out I have at least a dozen of his papers in my collection.  The new one I just added is titled "One-Way Speed of Light Relative to a Moving Observer."  Prof. Gift is a mathematician, so the paper is laden with math, but it does contain this sentence:
Following from this Equations (8) and (14) indicate that for an observer moving at a constant speed v relative to the ECI [Earth-Centered Inertial] frame, the speed of light from a source fixed in the ECI frame relative to that moving observer is c - v for the observer moving away from the source and c + v for the observer moving towards the source.
Gift arrived at that conclusion based upon calculations he did involving the Global Positioning System (GPS).  In the paper he names someone else who came to the same conclusion but in a different way: Eugene I. Shtyrkov has a paper titled "Observation of Ether Drift in Experiments with Geostationary Satellites."  

Another paper titled "The Invalidation of a Sacred Principle of Modern Physics," by Gift, has this abstract:
The principle underpinning modern physics, which states that the speed of light is constant and independent of the motion of the source and the observer, is shown to be invalid.
It is about measuring the speed of reflected light from Jupiter's moon Io when the Earth is moving toward Io at one time of year and moving away from Io around six months later.  The paper has these passages:
Based on classical velocity composition, when the Earth is at position A moving away from Jupiter, the speed of light relative to Earth is
(c – v) and not c as required by Einstein’s law of light propagation.

and
Similarly, when Earth is at position B moving toward Jupiter, the speed of light relative to Earth is (c + v) and not c as required by Einstein’s law of light propagation.
In another paper titled "Light Speed Invariance is a Remarkable Illusion," Prof. Gift cites a 1932 paper titled "Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time" by Roy J. Kennedy and Edward Thorndike.  The Kennedy-Thorndike paper also argues that light will arrive at an observer at c+v if the observer is moving toward the light source, and at c-v if the observer is moving away from the source.  Kennedy and Thorndike used an apparatus similar to that used in the Michelson-Morley experiment but come to an opposite conclusion due to the differences in the equipment.

I'm still bumbling through these papers, but they make it clear to me that I need to create a web page where I list all the experiments which confirm that a moving observer does NOT observe light arriving at c, in direct conflict with what many or most college textbooks say.   And, of course, it is in direct conflict with what all the mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity forum believe.

And maybe I need to write a paper titled "Relativity Relative to the Speed of Light" to explain how motion is measured relative to the variable speed of light.  I think I understand what Einstein was driving at, but I need to write things down to make absolutely certain.


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

October 17, 2019 - Yesterday afternoon I managed to finish reading "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker.

What Is Real?

I struggled to get through it because a lot of it is the same basic thing over and over and over and over and over: Someone develops a mathematical equation describing how large objects relate to objects on the sub-atomic scale, and then someone else develops another equation that does the same thing but in a different way, and then someone else does the same thing but in a different way.  And each mathematician is declared by the author to have done something amazing, while the mathematicians themselves disagree with one another.

I've got 39 pages of quoted passages from the book, far more than I've ever logged for any other book.  Mostly they are passages I wanted to save so that I would never have to hunt through the book for a quote.  I can just hunt through the saved quotes for a relevant quote.

On October 15, just after I started to read the book, I supplied a few relevant quotes in  my comment for that day.  Here's another from early in the book:
Yet despite all this weirdness, quantum physics is wildly successful at describing the world—much more so than simple old Newtonian physics (which was already pretty good). Without quantum physics, we wouldn’t have any understanding of why diamonds are so hard, what atoms are made of, or how to build electronics. So wave functions, with their numbers scattered across the universe, must somehow be related to the everyday stuff we see around us in the world, otherwise quantum physics wouldn’t be any good at making predictions. But this makes the measurement problem even more urgent—it means there’s something about the nature of reality that we don’t understand.

So how should we interpret this strange and wonderful theory? What story is quantum physics telling us about the world?

Rather than answering that question—which seems like it would be difficult—we could deny that it’s a legitimate question at all.
and another:
Physics is the science of the material world. And quantum theory purports to be the physics governing the most fundamental constituents of that world. Yet the Copenhagen interpretation says that it’s meaningless to ask about what’s actually going on in quantum physics. So what is real? Copenhagen’s reply is silence—and a look of stern disapproval for having the temerity to ask the question in the first place.

This is, at best, a profoundly unsatisfying answer. But this is also the standard answer. The physicists who pursued the question anyhow—physicists like Einstein, and later on, Bell and Bohm—did so in open defiance of Copenhagen. So the quest for reality is also the story of that rebellion, a rebellion as old as quantum physics itself.
Many of the arguments are about whether something is real if it cannot be seen.  Those arguments begin with Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach declaring that nothing is real if it cannot be seen.  That included atoms.  But then science progressed to the point were we could see atoms.  So, now we accept that atoms exist, but there are evidently still heated arguments going on about whether the world exists outside of what is directly visible.  Does the kitchen disappear when you go into the living room and close the door behind you?  Evidently a lot of mathematicians think so.  And what if there is someone else in the kitchen yelling at you through the door that the kitchen still exists?  The kitchen exists for them, but not for you.  And, of course, they do not exist, only the sound they make exists.  Where does the sound come from?  Don't ask.

A quote from page 14:
“The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them,” Heisenberg said, “is impossible.” How, then, does our world of stones and trees emerge from the world of atoms and molecules? “The transition from the ‘possible’ to the ‘actual’ takes place during the act of observation,” said Heisenberg. And what happens when we’re not looking? According to Heisenberg, that question can’t even be asked. 
The book goes into how college students are taught conflicting theories without any attempt to determine which theory is correct.  "Correct" has no meaning if the mathematical equations work. That belief can be seen in the endless arguments I've had with mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity forum.

Another quote from the book:
Richard Feynman pointed out that although there’s no experimental way to tell the difference between two mathematically equivalent theories (i.e., two different interpretations of the same math), subscribing to one theory or the other makes a huge difference in how you think about the world. That difference, in turn, affects the new ideas and new theories we develop.
I think the ideas and theories should come first, and if there is more than one way to mathematically define an idea, then the idea needs to be clarified via experiments.  Math is just a tool to help define experiments.   If you begin with math, that means that when you look for experiments to verify the math, you aren't even talking about reality.  You're doing as mathematicians have been doing for a hundred years: you are confirming your own beliefs via your own methods.  In that world, reality is not a topic for discussion.  No one cares about reality if the math works.

I'd hoped that the book would name a lot of people who have argued against the mathematicians' view of the world, but the book just says there are a lot of them, without naming them - except for Albert Einstein, of course.

And the book doesn't even go into the fact that most college physics courses these days do not even teach Einstein's theories.  They teach mathematicians' beliefs about what Einstein actually meant, beliefs that make Einstein agree with the mathematicians. 

We're doomed!

October 16, 2019
- Yesterday afternoon, I got tired of reading about physics and decided to listen to an audio book that I'd recently borrowed from the library.  The audio book was only 6  hours and 13 minutes in length, and I had just 30 minutes left when it was bed time.  So, I finished it this morning.  The book was a fantasy novel by Janet Evanovich titled "Wicked Appetite."

Wicked Appetite

It's the first book in another series of books by Evanovich, this series about a woman named Lizzie Tucker who is a pastry chef and man named Diesel who arrives in the town of Marblehead, Mass., on a mission to find some magical stones.  Both Lizzie and Diesel have unnatural or supernatural powers, like a witch and a warlock, although those terms are never used.  It's a very funny book and it was a good way to pass the time.  I also have the second book in the series, but I'll probably listen to one or more of Evanovich's detective novels before I get back into witchcraft again.   

October 15, 2019
- I'm getting nowhere in my attempts to borrow a "basic" radar gun and/or to observe someone else using the gun to demonstrate Einstein's theories.  Evidently, there is simply no incentive for anyone to help me.  There are no benefits, and there could be serious risk of getting caught up in something highly controversial.

So, while contemplating my predicament and how to get out of it (without spending $1,600 to buy a "basic" radar gun) I stumbled across another book about the problem with physics.  The book is about 288 pages long, and I'm only on page 120, so it's too early to write a review of it, but it is giving me an in-depth view of the conflict between supporters of Relativity and supporters of Quantum Physics that I knew little about before.  It really is an argument over what is real, and who cares?

Here's a quote from page 4 of the book:
The Einstein-Bohr debates have entered into the lore of physics itself, and the usual conclusion is that Bohr won, that Einstein’s and Schrödinger’s concerns were shown to be baseless, that there is no problem with reality in quantum physics because there is no need to think about reality in the first place.
And here's another quote from page 6:
Physics is about the world around us. It aims to understand the fundamental constituents of the universe and how they behave. Many physicists are driven to enter the field out of a desire to understand the most basic properties of nature, to see how the puzzle fits together. Yet, when it comes to quantum physics, the majority of physicists are perfectly willing to abandon this quest and instead merely “shut up and calculate,” in the words of physicist David Mermin.

More surprising still is that this majority view has, time and again, been shown not to work. Despite the popular view among physicists, Einstein clearly got the better of Bohr in their debates and convincingly showed there were deep problems that needed answering at the heart of quantum physics. Simply dismissing questions about reality as “unscientific,” as some of Schrödinger’s opponents did, is an untenable position based on outdated philosophy.
Unfortunately, after such thought-provoking quotes at the beginning of the book, the author then goes into a long, in-depth history of the problem.  And on page 120, I seem to be a long way from getting to some part where it might name some physicists who argue against the "majority view" today.  When I argued with the people on the sci.physics.relativity forum, their arguments were usually that I was the only person in the world who disagreed with them and their beliefs.  When I quoted from a NASA web page, they would either argue that the page was wrong, or that the author of the page was some low-level NASA flunky who didn't know what he was talking about.

The book I'm currently reading also explains how the nut-jobs won.  It says this on page 114:
the defenders of the Copenhagen interpretation presented a united front despite their private disagreements, while the rebellion, unable to agree on a single position, fizzled out.
That's also what got Donald Trump elected and what might get him elected for a second term: His supporters are firmly united and the other side is divided on what to argue.

October 13, 2019
- I've once again stopped posting to the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum.  When I argued that the mathematicians there almost certainly wouldn't accept the results of my radar gun experiment if the experiment showed them to be wrong, Paparios responded:
Be sure that not only me, but the whole physics community would accept the result of that experiment, after checking the conditions and statistical analysis of the results.
For sure, you are aware of how real experiments are performed and how to perform the experiment, are you not?
Ah!  So, that is how the mathematicians will argue that my radar gun experiment is invalid if it doesn't agree with their beliefs.  They will simply claim that the experiment wasn't performed according to their standards. 

I see no point in arguing with them further, at least until after I've done the experiment.  Then we will see if they claim the experiment was invalid because they disagree with "the conditions and statistical  analysis of the results."  But first, of course, I have to find a way to do the experiment without spending $1,600 to buy a radar gun.  And how will I do an experiment inside a truck without also renting a truck and finding someone to do the driving?  I've got some ideas, but they will take time to work out.

Meanwhile, at lunch yesterday I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  It was "Hidden In Plain Sight 3: The Secret of Time" by Andrew Thomas.

Hidden In Plain Sight 3

I've had the book in my Kindle for a long time, but I think I browsed it and found it wasn't going to be of any help to me, so I just moved on to other books.  Then, four days ago, when I finished reading another book on my Kindle I had to figure out which book to start reading the next day.  So, I browsed through the books in my Kindle, I built a priority list, and Hidden in Plain Sight 3 turned out to be at the top of the list.

The book is only 171 pages long (with lots of illustrations), so I was able to get through it in just four days.  Normally, I just read from my Kindle while eating breakfast and lunch, but when I saw that the percentage completed number kept changing by 1 or 2 or 3 percent every time I read from it, I started reading it at other times, too.   And I highlighted 23 pages of quotes from it.  Here's a quote from page 3, which is the first page of the book's Introduction:
    Einstein was greatly influenced by the philosopher-physicist Ernst Mach who was an advocate of logical positivism. According to logical positivism, physics should only make statements about phenomena which could be directly observed and measured. Using logical positivism as his guide, Einstein simply stated: "Time is what we measure with a clock".  According to Einstein, there was no place in physics for philosophical musings about the nature of time — all that was important was what could be measured.
    This statement of Einstein is particularly important because the theory of special relativity states that a clock which is moving will appear to run at a slower rate than a clock which is stationary. And, as Einstein stated that "Time is what we measure with a clock", this would appear to indicate that time itself runs slower for an observer who is moving relative to a secondary observer.

I didn't like the use of the word "appear" in that quote, but I agreed with the rest of it.  Then on page 7 the book starts to show how the author is going to get into a mathematician's point of view of everything:
In the more general sense, the more recent development of the so-called Copernican principle states that no particular point in the universe (not just the Earth) can hold a privileged position in the universe. This heralds a move away from an absolute system of science and cosmology to a science which realises that no observer holds a privileged position, and that the universe is built on relative measures. The repercussions of the Copernican principle are rippling through science to this day, perhaps having its greatest impact in the theory of relativity: if no observer holds a privileged position, then all motion must be described relatively. If you have read my previous two books you will know I have a firm conviction that the universe is built on fundamental principles — principles which are "obviously correct" and would have to be true in any conceivable universe. The Copernican principle is surely another of these fundamental principles: surely no point — and therefore no observer — holds a privileged position in any conceivable universe.
If there are no "privileged positions" in the universe, then all motion is relative, and a radar gun cannot measure the speed of a truck from inside the truck.  The walls of the truck are not moving relative to the radar gun.

But the walls are moving relative to the local speed of light.  The problem, as described to me by various mathematicians, is that the speed of light is not an object.  Therefore it cannot be used to measure speeds, even if that is exactly how a radar gun works.

The book is fascinating in some ways, since it provides a lot of information I've either never seen before or have forgotten.  Here an example from page 20 and 21:
Galileo's greatest contribution to the world of science was his scientific method. Before the scientific method was introduced, the proclamations of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle were accepted without question as representing the absolute truth about Nature. Galileo was one of the first scientists to challenge the wisdom of the ancients. Galileo's introduction of the scientific method allowed Nature to speak for itself. Aristotle was no experimenter, and he relied too much on his preconceptions. Famously, Aristotle once proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Because no one thought to check this proclamation of Aristotle, for a thousand years everyone believed that women have fewer teeth (women and men, of course, actually have the same number of teeth).
How can anyone believe that women have fewer teeth than men when such a thing is so easy to check?

On page 32, the author describes a photon as a form of "perpetual motion."  I hadn't thought about that before.  A photon oscillates continuously as it travels across the universe for billions of years.  It is a form of "perpetual motion," except that you cannot use it to power anything.  If the photon hits something, it is absorbed, and it is gone forever.  A new photon may be created, but it too cannot be used to continuously power some machine.  You can use its energy, but then the energy is gone.  A "perpetual motion" machine is generally viewed as a machine that runs forever while also providing energy for some useful task.

Starting on page 38 the book gets into a long description of Einstein's thought experiment involving simultaneous lightning bolts and a passing train, with "Bob" on the train and "Alice" on the embankment.  And I can see where the author starts to misinterpret that experiment.  It begins around page 42 with this:
The only conclusion which is left to us is that reality itself is different for both Alice and Bob! In Alice's version of reality, the lightning bolts hit the ground simultaneously. In Bob's version of reality, the lightning bolts did not hit the ground simultaneously. Reality is a relative concept for the two observers. This extraordinary outcome of the experiment is called relativity of simultaneity.
The author explains that Bob knows why he sees things differently from Alice, but the author still considers both observers to be viewing reality, even though it is abundantly clear that what Bob sees is an illusion.  This is exactly what I was arguing with the mathematicians on sci.physics.relativity about last week.  On page 43 the author declares:
If I am moving relative to you, then my reality is different to your reality.
The objective of a scientist is to determine what is real and what is an illusion.  It appears that mathematicians believe the only illusions in the universe are things which do not agree with their mathematical models.  If you see it, then it is real.

On page 115 there is a quote that totally agrees with the mathematicians:
If you remember, Galilean relativity states that the laws of motion are the same for all observers who are moving at a constant velocity. There is no experiment you could perform to determine if you were stationary or moving at constant velocity.
That is exactly what the radar gun experiment will do, so evidently Galilean Relativity is very different from Einstein's Relativity on this point.

I could go on and on, but the author then begins to view everything from a mathematician's point of view.  In effect, he builds mathematical models and declares what the mathematical models show is reality.  He describes in great detail how in a "block model of the universe" the past present and future are all real and happening at the same time, and the fact that we can only see what is happening now is just an illusion.  This is from near the end of the book:
In the discussion of the block universe in the previous chapter, it was described how all times are equally real and there is, therefore, no special "now" pointer which moves through time at a certain speed and determines the current moment. Even though we derived this result in a logical manner, there still lingers a considerable amount of resistance to this model. For example, Lee Smolin recently devoted an entire book, entitled Time Reborn, in an attempt to refute the block universe. The main reason I feel that many people have such a problem accepting the block universe model is not through any rational scientific basis, but because they instinctively feel a special "now" moment. This feeling is so utterly entrenched into our lives and psyche that it is an incredibly hard habit to break.
Yes indeed.  And scientists use experiments to resolve disagreements.  They call it "the scientific method," and it has a "rational scientific basis."  Moreover, if there is no possible experiment that can demonstrate a belief, then that belief is just a waste of time.   But mathematicians spend their entire lives discussing and arguing mathematical models of multiple universes and other beliefs and ideas which cannot possibly be confirmed by observation.  Therein lies the problem with arguing with mathematicians.  They see reality as different from the way science sees it.  To mathematicians, reality is what is described by a mathematical model.  Everything else is just an illusion.

While I found the book fascinating in many places, I can only recommend it if you want to learn why mathematicians believe the screwball things they believe.

    








Other interests:

fake picture of snow on
                    the pyramids
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