|Comments for Sunday, March 27,
2016, thru Thursday, March 31, 2016:
March 31, 2016 (B) - This afternoon I finished listening to another audio book on my MP3 player, "I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas," by Lewis Black.
It's only a little over 4 hours long, but there's a lot to it. Lewis Black's profane humor probably wouldn't suit most people, but I found he really hit home when he talked about a lot of things I'm familiar with: The difficulty of buying the right Christmas present, living alone and loving it, filling closets with junk, suffering from writer's block, the joy of spending Thanksgiving in the tropics, etc.
March 31, 2016 (A) - Ah! Someone on the Quantum Physics Facebook group asked a question about my hypothesis regarding "What is Time?", and I had to write a response. His question was in the form of an argument that the spin of a particle is just another clock, another way of measuring time, so it cannot BE time. My response was as follows:
I wrote a paper about HOW and why TIME slows down when an object moves a high velocities and/or approaches a large gravitational mass. WHAT is actually slowing down? It is the rate of particle spin. A "second" doesn't slow down. A second remains a second, i.e., one movement of the minute hand on a clock, which we have all agreed represents "one second."I suppose that he can argue that the fact that particles spin at different rates means that particles are still just clocks, a bunch of different clocks all ticking at different rates, but still just clocks. However, all those little different clocks are what cause all the other bigger, more visible clocks to run slower. So, particle spin is time. But, I'm still open to arguments on that. My objective is to clarify my understanding, not to foist my understanding on anyone else.
March 30, 2016 - It's getting harder and harder to come up with something to write about here. I spent all of yesterday arguing with three or four different "Science Truthers" on the Quantum Physics Facebook group. One of the people I was arguing with was Stephen J. Crothers. It's kind of interesting to argue with someone who is famous for being a "quack" who claims "There has been a deliberate suppression of scientific truth by the community of physicists and astronomers concerning the black hole and the big bang." He's a conspiracy theorist who very publicly states his belief that scientists are in a massive conspiracy to mislead the world!
Looking around the Internet, I find example after example of people proving his theories are just his screwball interpretations of things he clearly does not understand. I think I did the same thing yesterday. But, of course, it made no impression on him.
It would theoretically be much more educational to discuss or argue science with someone who really understands science better than I do. But, where can I find such people? When I joined the "Quantum Physics" Facebook group, I thought it would be a place where science buffs like me discuss things. Nope. It's a just another group created by ANTI-science activists who are not very different from Rational Scientific Methodists in how they think and argue against "the scientific establishment."
I really really REALLY need to get to work on my sci-fi novel!!!
March 28, 2016 - Nuts! I'd hoped to get a lot of reaction from my Facebook comment explaining how Quantum Mechanics Physicists will have a very difficult time defining a "minimum unit of time" (or a "quantum of time") because they'd also have to take into consideration the FACT that any object's "minimum unit of time" will SLOW DOWN due to Time Dilation when ever the object gains speed or gets near a massive source of gravity. So far, there's been no response of any kind to my comment.
I awoke this morning thinking I should create a cartoon showing a marriage counselor talking with a bickering couple. One of the couple would be labeled "Quantum Mechanics" and the other would be labeled "Relativity." There'd be dialog balloons over their heads showing Quantum Mechanics saying, "I like my mathematics chunky." And Relativity would be saying "I like my mathematics smooth." But, I couldn't find a good existing cartoon to provide a starting point, and I'm not much of a cartoonist to do the whole thing from scratch.
The more I understand about the conflict between Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Special and General Relativity (S&GR), the more it seems that they need an analyst to help resolve their differences. An analyst would theoretically examine the differences between QM math and S&GR math and propose some way to resolve the differences. However, the problem may only be resolvable by coming up with some third way of doing the math.
I'm an analyst, but I'm no mathematician. And I don't know how you can find an analyst who is also a mathematician who doesn't already subscribe to either QM math or to S&GR math. So, the analyst-mathematician would have to alter his own way of thinking about math.
Or maybe I'm talking through my hat and the problem isn't really a mathematical problem at all. But when I see a QM person trying to define a quantum of time, I see a surveyor trying to use his surveying knowledge to bake a cake. Whatever he comes up with, I'm not looking forward to tasting that cake.
There were a couple unrelated questions waiting for me this morning on Facebook. One was on Time Dilation, which I answered easily and confidently. The other was about the Cosmic Microwave Background and wasn't specifically addressed to me. So, I copied someone else's answer and pasted it as if it was my own, followed by a note explaining what I did. (Why come up with a totally new answer if someone has already provided a very eloquent and clear answer?)
I've got this really strong feeling that Time and Time Dilation may provide some way to bring Relativity and Quantum Mechanics together. I'm tempted to start a new Facebook group on that topic, but how would I get others to join the group? I strongly suspect that no readers of this web site care about such things.
I'm really going to have to buckle down and get back to work on my sci-fi novels. These distractions are fascinating, but they're getting me nowhere.
March 27, 2016 - I learned a lot about science last week. It was all the result of a new thread they allowed me to create on the "Quantum Physics" Facebook group. In my comment to start the thread, I pointed out that when Rational Science Methodist Dr. Stephen Crothers claims that the Cosmic Microwave Background ("CMB") "does not exist," he's not talking about a theory or an idea about something, he's talking about radiation that was "discovered." If something was "discovered" that you think does not exist, you need explain what you believe was actually discovered, if it isn't what others think it is. And you need to prove with extraordinary evidence what was supposedly discovered doesn't actually exist.
As soon as my comment was posted, one of the operators of the group posted a series of four links to comments where three different people argued that the CMB doesn't really exist but is just the result of bad science.
The first link was to a YouTube video of a talk by Dr. Steven Crothers at the Electric Universe conference in 2014. According to RationalWiki:
"Electric Universe" (EU) is an umbrella term that covers various pseudo-scientific cosmological ideas built around the claim that the formation and existence of various features of the universe can be better explained by electricity and magnetism than by gravity alone. As a rule, EU is usually touted as an aether-based theory with numerous references to tall tales from Mythology. However, the exact details and claims are ambiguous, lack mathematical formalism, and often vary from one delusional crank to the next.Dr. Crothers' 37-minute talk certainly seemed to fit that description. He begins by claiming that mainstream scientists say that there are 4 types of black hole UNIVERSES and 3 types of Big Bang UNIVERSES, and then Dr. Crothers complains that no one ever explains the difference!
Black hole universes? I'd never heard that term before, so I had to research it. I found an article HERE that says,
Our universe MAY [emphasis added] exist inside a black hole. This may sound strange, but it COULD actually be the best explanation of how the universe began, and what we observe today. It's a THEORY that has been explored over the past few decades by A SMALL GROUP of physicists including myself.And I noted that the headline for the article was
Every Black Hole Contains a New UniverseThe editor of the article evidently decided that leaving out the word "may" would result in getting more readers.
There certainly could be other such small groups with slightly different theories. But it's all highly speculative. There is nothing "accepted" about such theories, since there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of "black hole universes." It seems like a few scientists are just knocking around ideas. They are looking for some theory - apparently related to "quantum gravity" - to investigate and discuss. They are NOT saying they have actually found the explanation for anything.
Dr. Crothers seemed to be taking things he doesn't understand or disagrees with out of context and making up phony arguments about how certain things (like 4 types of black hole universes and 3 types of Big Bang Universes) cannot exist together, when no one is arguing or claiming such things exist together.
To make matters worse, Dr. Crothers was using sarcasm and ridicule to attack the current scientific establishment for accepting and promoting theories they are neither accepting or promoting.
At about the 12-minute mark I gave up on viewing the video and posted a comment describing my observations as of that point. Then I was told that I wasn't supposed to watch the entire video. I was supposed to start watching at the 23 minute 11 second mark. The topic at that point is how Dr. Crothers believes the Cosmic Microwave Background doesn't really exist and was the result of NASA building a spacecraft bass-ackwards so that it actually measured radiation from the Earth instead of from deepest space.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but, after I watched that part of the video it seemed clear that Dr. Crothers has no evidence other than some mumbo-jumbo about how he doesn't agree with the way NASA did things. He assumes they did things bass-ackwards, but has no evidence to prove it. He apparently wants NASA and the rest of the world to prove him wrong. Until they do so, he'll believe what he wants to believe.
The second and third links were to videos that are also about the Cosmic Microwave Background and the Big Bang Theory, only they were presentations by Dr. Pierre-Marie Robitaille, who once put a full page advertisement in The New York Times arguing against The Big Bang Theory. His motivation is unclear, but, according to the NYT, his timing suggests that he did it because he either believes in creationism or in "intelligent design." So, any purely scientific theory about the creation of the universe would be against his beliefs.
At times, particularly during the first few minutes of the first video, Dr. Robitaille seems to be an incredibly BAD public speaker. I watched as much of the two videos as I could stand and then just gave up. Clearly, he was just railing against the scientific explanation of the Big Bang for religious reasons.
The last and final link was to a self-published book by Bibhas De. Bibhas De seems to be from Bengal and appears to also be on a mission to stop people from believing any scientific theory of the creation of the universe. He believes it puts civilization in peril. I read some of what Amazon makes available from the book. Here's an example from page 6:
Here is an indictment of the Big Bang cosmologists for their TRANSGRESSIONS beyond the laxest boundries of scientific ethics: First they SCAMMED the world around Earth-based astronomical observations, and then they DEFRAUDED the world with space age technology in the high frontier. Then they were back doing the same thing with Earth-based operations.So, I put my thoughts about the book into a comment on the Quantum Physics Facebook forum, and then I was promptly told that I was going to be booted off of the forum if I didn't stop questioning the authorities they wanted my opinion about. I told them I'd just stop posting on the CMB topic. I hadn't wanted to post on that topic anyway. I just wanted to show that Dr. Crothers didn't understand the difference between a black hole and a singularity, but instead of admitting it, he would just change the subject. And he changed it to the CMB.
A few minutes later, I decided to tell them about my two "scientific papers" to see what their thoughts were on Time Dilation and What is Time? One leader of the group was very enthusiastic. But another just argued the I needed extraordinary proof to claim that Time Dilation exists. I provided the proof.
As of this morning, there have been no further comments. So, I tried to stir things up a bit by creating a new thread about my scientific papers. The moderators of the group quickly deleted the thread.
Then I noticed a new thread someone else had created yesterday on the subject of Time. It was about a scientific paper by Quantum Mechanics Physicists who are trying to define a discrete unit measurement of time. How can you have a discrete unit measurement of time if time can dilate? I posted a comment asking that question. Now I'm waiting for an answer -- or to see if my comment gets deleted or if I get booted out of the group.
I think it's a mind-boggling question to ask of Quantum Mechanics physicists who are in the process of developing a theory about a minimum or discrete measurement of time! I hope they see it the same way.
|Comments for Sunday, March 20,
2016, thru Saturday, March 26, 2016:
March 25, 2016 - While at the gym yesterday afternoon, I finished listening to all but the final 15 minutes of the audio book version of "Still Foolin' 'Em," by comedian Billy Crystal.
So, when I got home I plugged my MP3 player into a set of speakers and listened to those last 15 minutes while sitting on my couch eating a cup of yogurt.
It's an interesting and humorous autobiography with a lot of great laughs, but with just a little too much about baseball and dying relatives for my tastes. While at the gym today I'll start on another humor-filled audio book, this one by Lewis Black.
I really enjoy listening to a book being read to me while I'm on the treadmill and Exercycle at the gym, and also listening to a different book while driving to the gym and back. Even though I'm not actually reading the book, I'm still absorbing what the book contains. And, if I didn't have books on my MP3 player and books on CDs to play in my car, I would be missing all the fascinating stuff I'm learning. It's an effortless education, and far more enjoyable than just listening to music or the noise going on around me at the gym.
March 24, 2016 - I've been busy arguing on the Quantum Physics Facebook group. In one thread, Rational Scientific Methodist Dr. Steven Crothers argued repeatedly that the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) "does not exist." In its simplest form, his argument was as follows:
There is no CMB because Kirchhoff's Law of Thermal Emission is falseApparently, his argument was just a way of promoting a new scientific paper he'd help write that attacks Kirchhoff's Law. The paper doesn't contain the word "cosmic," nor the abbreviation "CMB." It says absolutely nothing about the Cosmic Microwave Background. Initially, I didn't understand what he was up to, so I argued something else he claimed: That black holes cannot exist because singularities cannot exist. I'd written an interactive blog entry on that subject months ago and created this cartoon to illustrate his illogical logic:
Then, this morning, I awoke realizing something. How can something that was DISCOVERED not exist? The CMB isn't a theory that can be disproved by some finding. It's something that was discovered. It was accidentally discovered
in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. The CMB radiation was acting as a source of excess noise in a radio receiver they were building.
And, according to a reliable source,
"Coincidentally, researchers at nearby Princeton University, led by Robert Dicke and including Dave Wilkinson of the WMAP science team, were devising an experiment to find the CMB. When they heard about the Bell Labs result they immediately realized that the CMB had been found. The result was a pair of papers in the Astrophysical Journal (vol. 142 of 1965): one by Penzias and Wilson detailing the observations, and one by Dicke, Peebles, Roll, and Wilkinson giving the cosmological interpretation. Penzias and Wilson shared the 1978 Nobel prize in physics for their discovery."To disprove a DISCOVERY you need to explain how what was discovered isn't what it seems to be. You can't just claim it doesn't exist. Whatever it is, IT DEFINITELY DOES EXIST.
I would have posted a comment to that effect this morning, but there are no more comments allowed on that particular thread. The outsider who started the thread got fed up with comments from the anti-establishment people and shut off the ability to post comments. Then he either left the group or was kicked out of it.
I really need to find a way to stay out of these arguments. But, they are so interesting and so educational, I find it very difficult to resist participating.
March 22, 2016 - Hmm. I wasted a big part of today arguing with anti-science Truthers on the Quantum Physics Facebook group. But, there's one guy in the group who is really interested in modern science and who doesn't like the Truthers any more than I do. He asked a question about "The Big Bounce" theory (which says the "Big Bang" expansion was preceded by a "Big Crunch" collapse of the previous universe), and while doing some research to provide a good answer, I found an article about "primordial standard clocks." Wha...? It's a term I'd never heard before. The article says:
These clocks take the form of heavy particles, which are an expected product of the "theory of everything" that will unite quantum mechanics and general relativity. - See more at: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2016-02#sthash.OeRvabFI.dpuf
These clocks take the form of heavy particles, which are an expected product of the "theory of everything" that will unite quantum mechanics and general relativity. They are named the "primordial standard clocks."Wow! That is eerily close to my hypothesis that Time is particle spin. And I remember writing somewhere that it could provide a way to connect Relativity to Quantum Mechanics. But, at the same time, there seem to be major differences. I don't fully understand what they're talking about, but I like the idea of particles acting as clocks. I just don't follow the idea that the particle "clocks" can "tick" with such force that they would leave detectable echoes in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. I think they are just talking about using a heavy particle with a steady, measurable spin or vibration AS a clock to measure time. I'll have to keep an eye open for other articles on the subject which might make more sense to me.
March 21, 2016 - For what it's worth, this afternoon I finished reading a science fiction novel titled "The Difference Engine."
It's probably one of the most unusual novels I've ever read. It's supposedly written by a computer and mostly takes place in 1855. The idea is that a steam powered computer ("difference engine") was invented in England and put into operation back then, and it changed the world. So, we have manners, morals and dress from 1855 England, but with steam powered vehicles and all sorts of automation that works with steam and levers and pulleys instead of electricity.
I found it very difficult to follow the "story" (if there really is one), but I felt a strange fascination with the descriptions of how things were viewed back then combined with what might have been if they had steam powered computers. And it is all written in the language of that time and place, which is probably the most fascinating part.
The book was mentioned in the science book I'm reading during breakfast and lunch, so I downloaded the library book into my Kindle to check it out. I kept thinking I should give up on it, but I just kept reading, finishing it in three days.
March 20, 2016 - Every time I see Donald Trump's antics on stage somewhere, I see similarities to Benito Mussolini. I'm not old enough to remember Mussolini when he was a popular political figure. I only remember him from books and old news reels. But, looking around the Internet, it's clear I'm not the only one who sees those similarities. This animated gif is from The New Yorker's web site:
Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show noted similarities, too. And New York Magazine. And many others (click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). The comparison below struck me as being particularly funny:
Looking around the Net, I also see a few places where Ted Cruz is compared to Adolph Hitler, but Trump gets more such comparisons. When I look at the two Republican leaders, I see Trump/Mussolini leading, while the GOP looks to get Cruz/Hitler nominated instead of a mentally unstable Trump/Mussolini. To me, it's a choice between a clown and a sociopath. Cruz scares me more than Trump, only because I think Trump is a clown, while Cruz strikes me as being evil.
I personally know a lot of Republicans, and I've listened to them talk. It sometimes makes me feel like I'm in 1930s Italy or Germany. There is their way of doing things, and there's the wrong way of doing things. Everything is just that "simple" to them. It isn't just politics, it's nearly everything. They cannot comprehend how someone can eat different foods than they eat. They cannot comprehend how someone can like different movies than they like. What do they mean when they say, "We want to make America great again"? What do the Republicans feel is wrong with America today? They feel there are too many foreigners. And there are too many Democrats sticking up for foreigners and lazy people. They feel the majority shouldn't rule if the majority doesn't agree with the people who know what is right and what is wrong.
On the positive side, it's interesting to see that the Republican party is working hard to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. And they hope to stop Ted Cruz, too. So, even the Republican establishment sees that they've got a choice between Mussolini, Hitler and finding some way to get someone else nominated.
Meanwhile, Trump and Cruz supporters appear to be people who would also have supported Mussolini and Hitler. Yes, there are still many such people around. Every day we're getting a good view of just how many.
Am I going a bit overboard? Probably. But, I had to get it off my chest.
Maybe my strong anti-Trump and anti-Cruz feelings are partly the result of arguing about science with anti-establishment Truthers for so long. The Truthers believe what they want to believe, and no facts or evidence can change their minds. Anyone who supports their beliefs is automatically right, even if what they say can be easily proven to be wrong. They don't believe in evidence. The Republicans who support Trump and Cruz seem to feel the same way.
I'd gotten out of arguments with anti-establishment Truthers and Rational Science Methodists for awhile, but yesterday they dragged me back in again.
Back on March 14, on the Quantum Physics Facebook group, someone asked a basic question about light and light speed. No one else was answering, so I answered. There was nothing controversial about the question or my answer. Then, yesterday, an anti-establishment Truther attacked my answer by twisting it to apply to the Big Bang Theory, which virtually all the anti-establishment Truthers disagree with. I explained that I was just talking about how light will be red-shifted if an object is moving way from you, and will be blue-shifted if the object is coming toward you. But, they want to argue, so they've forgotten about the original question and only talk about their attack upon the Big Bang Theory.
As soon as I finish this comment, I'm going to try to explain to them that their arguments make no sense, and that our disagreements need to be broken down to specific points, instead of just arguing beliefs and generalities, as they prefer.
But, I don't expect to get anywhere with them any more than I would expect to change the mind of a typical Republican. Facts and evidence mean nothing to them. It's only what they feel or believe is right and wrong that is important. And they have their pitch-forks and torches ready to march against anyone who disagrees with their beliefs.
Yes, this is another comment that I wrote this morning because I had nothing prepared. Grumble grumble.
|Comments for Sunday, March 13,
2016, thru Saturday, March 19, 2016:
March 17, 2016 - This morning, someone made me aware of a Youtube video that I found to contain an excellent description of Time Dilation. I don't want to lose track of it, so, I'll show it here.
I also stumbled across a Facebook group dedicated to the 4th Rational Physics Conference which was supposedly held in Acapulco on February 22. I used the word "supposedly" because I have yet to see any reports from it. The Facebook group page just adds to the mystery, since it was created before the conference and contains nothing dated after January 28.
I also found this sign to be very funny:
March 16, 2016 - Yesterday evening, I watched "The Big Short," a movie about the 2008 financial crisis. It depicts a banking world where no one really knows what's going on. And then, "Four denizens in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight."
It's a very scary movie depicting lots of people who believe total nonsense.
I also watched "Steve Jobs," which seemed to depict Steve Jobs as a total jerk. But movie reviewers seem to prefer the term "complex genius." Yet he was shown as being adored by millions of people who didn't really know him, but who apparently saw him as a man attacking "the establishment" (a.k.a. IBM).
Somehow, those two movies fit very well with something that occurred earlier in the day yesterday. "Anonymous" posted this brief message to my interactive blog thread on "Inactive Black Holes and Dark Matter":
Kipreos' work could revolutionize physics. No need for dark matter at all if his theory is right.At first, I just ignored the comment, since I didn't have any idea who "Kipreos" was or what his theory was, and I was busy arguing on Facebook and responding to a comment another (or more likely the same) "Anonymous" posted to my interactive blog thread on "What is Time?" The comment was:
The "Twin Paradox"is merely Einstein's SPECULATIONS. Lorentz was the greater genius and did NOT agree with Einstein's interpretations. It cannot be tested.I argued that Einstein's theory had been proven in many ways.
Later in the day I started to do a Google search for "Kipreos," but Google prompted me to search for "Kipreos dark energy" instead. The first link I clicked on was to an article from December 2014 on phys.org titled "Study finds possible alternative explanation for dark energy." It contained some bizarre quotes from Edward Kipreos, a professor at the University of Georgia who teaches molecular genetics. Example:
"Special relativity is supposed to be reciprocal, where both parties will experience the same time dilation, but all the examples that we have right now can be interpreted as directional time dilation," Kipreos said.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-12-alternative-explanation-dark-energy.html#jCp
"Special relativity is supposed to be reciprocal, where both parties will experience the same time dilation, but all the examples that we have right now can be interpreted as directional time dilation," Kipreos said.Huh?
I tried reading Professor Kipreos' paper, but it was virtually unreadable for me, since it constantly refers to other papers and theories and assumes the reader has read those papers and theories.
I also noticed that the phys.org article was followed by 261 comments, but it looked like about HALF of them were removed by the moderator. What was that all about?
Researching further, I found a January 2015 article titled "Don't Bet on the Failure of Relativity," where science writer Matthew Francis DEBUNKS Professor Kipreos' article and concludes with this:
PLOS ONE is a peer-reviewed journal, but in this case the peer review process failed. As a journal, PLOS takes pride in publishing some papers that are a little speculative in the interests of engaging researchers in post-publication discussion. This paper doesn’t fall into that category: it’s the kind of thing that a sophisticated undergraduate student of physics could see is completely wrong. There is no value in publishing such a thing. I don’t know who peer-reviewed it (and don’t need to), but I find it hard to believe any physicist read and approved of it.I also found an article by Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Astrophysics Brian Koberlein titled "Pay to Play" which also thoroughly DEBUNKS Edward Kipreos' article. And it says this:
Ah! It's another example of an "open access"
journal publishing total crap. Professor Koberlein
concludes his article with this:
Another article I found is titled "Dubious physics articles cast doubt on new publishers" and goes straight to the "open access" controversy while also totally DEBUNKING Professor Kipreos' article. It also contains some information that I also need to keep in mind when discussing Time Dilation:
In particular, his discussion of the GPS satellite relativistic effects is just wrong. The author references a good review article by Neil Ashby but seems not to have understood it. Figure 2 in Ashby's article illustrates clearly the complexity, showing that for close orbits (like the space shuttle) special relativistic time dilation dominates (clocks run slower on the shuttle) but at GPS and Geostationary distances, the difference in gravitational redshift dominates, so those clocks actually run faster than clocks at Earth's surface.I probably referred to both as "time dilation" many times while explaining that one causes time to pass slower (dilate) while the other causes time to pass faster. In the latter example, it is actually Earth Time that is "dilated" (passing slower).
When I started writing this comment, I was planning to connect Professor Kipreos' beliefs to an argument I had weeks ago on Facebook where someone kept insisting that Time Dilation must be measured between two moving objects even though Einstein's explanation contains a moving Clock A and a stationary Clock B. There may still be a connection, but I think the above analysis of Professor Kipreos' paper is enough commenting for today.
"Special relativity is supposed to be reciprocal, where both parties will experience the same time dilation, but all the examples that we have right now can be interpreted as directional time dilation," Kipreos said.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-12-alternative-explanation-dark-energy.html#jCp
March 15, 2016 - Hmm. I still do a Google news search for anthrax and 2001 every morning. For the first time in a long time, this morning a new article on the subject showed up. It's a very short article on Forbes magazine's web site which features a 20 minute video on the subject "How I Helped Solve The 2001 Anthrax Case." The presentation is done by Steven Salzberg, who worked for The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). It's an interesting video, even though I nearly had to put my ear to the speakers on my laptop to hear it at full volume. There's nothing controversial about it. He just shows how the attack anthrax was traced to flask RMR-1029 which was controlled by Bruce Ivins.
Yesterday, a science writer posted a message to my new Facebook group "Philosophy versus Science." It was a comment on my paper "What is Time?" He didn't find my analysis to be "persuasive," and he argued that Time may not be particle spin, as I hypothesized, but that Time may be caused by particle spin. He may be right, but either way it says that Time is related to particle spin and is not just a "concept." Concepts don't slow down when they near a gravitational mass or when they travel close to the speed of light.
This morning, the person who controls the "Quantum Physics" Facebook group decided he didn't like arguing with me, so he wrote:
This is retarded and you are wasting the time of this group. I am frankly ready to remove you if you don't start acting like an adult.So, rather than get booted out of yet another Facebook forum, I just stopped posting. I had to write this comment (the one you are reading) anyway. It was a same old same old argument. I tried to get him to explain his beliefs, and all he would do is state more beliefs and chant slogans. He asked me to point out some of his stated beliefs, and when I did so, he argued:
That's not a belief, Ed, it's my stance. Belief involves a theory to believe in.I didn't want to get into yet another argument over word definitions, so I just said "Bye bye." I'm still a member of the forum, but I think I'll avoid posting anything there until I see something that I cannot resist commenting upon. (Which happened about 30 minutes later, when I saw someone had started a new thread with an interesting question, and no one else was responding.)
March 14, 2016 - In an argument I was having on the Quantum Physics Facebook group, I tried to start a new discussion thread by using the 2012 New York Times article I mentioned in yesterday's comment. The operator of the group wouldn't allow me to do that. His explanation:
No go on your article. If you want to go ramming scientism down people's throat you'll need to do it in a different forum. There are many mainstream pro-scientism groups where you can do that. Maybe IFLS or something from the Discovery Channel.and
[You demonstrate] blind faith that the scientific establishment works on some kind of Popperian basis. It's what children used to be taught in school and what apologists like Neil deGrasse Tyson would have you believe. It is NOT how science actually works. Kuhn and Feyerabend both exploded this myth but you'd never have heard of them or Popper (even though you are parroting Popperian rationalism) because you don't do philosophy.So, I started a new Facebook group titled "Philosophy versus Science." I don't know if there will ever be any meaningful discussions on it (it currently has only 3 members), because most arguments are initiated by people who are anti-science and who just want to state their beliefs. If they are put in a position where they have to discuss a subject or explain what they mean, they usually run away. So, they're not likely to join a group where they'll be asked to discuss and explain.
March 13, 2016 - Groan! Once again it is a Sunday morning and I have absolutely nothing already written for this morning's comment. That means this entire comment had to be started from scratch, so it is likely to ramble.
I've been busy arguing with a scientist who feels that philosophy should be part of science. He even provided a link to a video that I presume is supposed to help make his point:
The video is the point of view of a teacher who teaches a course on "human nature." And he evidently teaches his students that our species (humans) get things wrong more than any other species! He acknowledges that humans have a lot more things to get wrong than chipmunks and polar bears, but his "message" seems to be that people are wrong far more often than they are right, therefore, you shouldn't even try to figure things out, because you are far more likely to be wrong than right.
All his "philosophy of science" argument seems to have done is help convince me that philosophy is not only useless for helping to teach science, it is probably counter productive. Combining philosophy with science is apparently a hot-button issue with a lot of scientists, and I can understand why. In some ways, teaching "scientific philosophy" in today's world seems to be promoting ignorance. They seem to be saying that because scientists are sometimes wrong in their findings, being ignorant is better than being wrong. Plus, there's no point in understanding anything if you can never expect to understand everything.
According to The New York Times, however, science versus philosophy is largely a debate over definitions of words. And it's an easily solvable problem. A 2012 article titled "Philosophy Is Not a Science" contains this paragraph:
The intellectual culture of scientism clouds our understanding of science itself. What’s more, it eclipses alternative ways of knowing — chiefly the philosophical — that can actually yield greater certainty than the scientific. While science and philosophy do at times overlap, they are fundamentally different approaches to understanding. So philosophers should not add to the conceptual confusion that subsumes all knowledge into science. Rather, we should underscore the fact that various disciplines we ordinarily treat as science are at least as — if not more —philosophical than scientific. Take for example mathematics, theoretical physics, psychology and economics. These are predominately rational conceptual disciplines. That is, they are not chiefly reliant on empirical observation. For unlike science, they may be conducted while sitting in an armchair with eyes closed.I had to look up the word "scientism." The definitions:
Scientism: (1) methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist; (2) an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)Then I had to check on the definition for "natural science":
Natural science: any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomenaAh! Si! Si! Comprendo! We need to clarify our definition of the word "science."
Human nature is definitely NOT one of the "natural sciences." So, scientists should stay out of the subject of human nature, and philosophers should stay out of the subject of astrophysics!
The argument I'm having with "Neil Creamer" is hard to follow because it is in the middle of a thread where other people are arguing other things. Plus, there seems to be another conflict that complicates things: the conflict between mathematicians and scientists. Mathematicians don't seem to care about logic or evidence, as long as the math works. But how do you separate mathematicians from physicists? I'd do it by asking if they believe there is a singularity at the center of a black hole. If they say yes, then they are mathematicians. If they say they don't think so, or they don't know, then they are physicists or scientists.
I'm also beginning to get fed up with all the labels that are being attached to people who voice a particular point of view, which is too often being called a "doctrine." It's done a lot in the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle, but it hasn't been bothering me. Now it is bothering me a bit, although I still think the book is excellent. Here are some of the "isms" mentioned in the book:
Empiricism: The misconception that we ‘derive’ all our knowledge from sensory experience.In a Facebook discussion about these "isms," I added another by stating that I prefer to be thought of as a pragmatist:
Pragmatism: a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories.Today, I'll have to rejoin the debate and try to convince people that the problem of philosophy versus science needs to be more carefully defined, since some "disciplines" we may casually consider to be "sciences" are really more philosophical than scientific.
Meanwhile, I had thought that the discussion I was having with an Indian student was over, but this morning I seem to have a furthering of the discussion initiated by the student's father. He expresses some interesting thoughts using some words that will have to be carefully defined: deterministic, probabilistic. He seems to know what he's talking about, so I'll have to see if he can help me clarify my thoughts about "What is Time?"
I'm going to do that now. So, that's the end of today's comment.
|Comments for Sunday, March 6, 2016,
thru Saturday, March 12, 2016:
March 10, 2016 - Last night, on the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, they talked about a telephone scam that "thousands have fallen for." I recently got three such calls. I hung up on the first two, but the third went to my "voice mail." That allowed me to write down the phone number: 312-458-5964. I tried doing a Google search for the number. It seems to be one in a series of numbers in the Chicago area reserved for untraceable cell phones.
It's amazing that anyone would fall for a call out of the blue where a recorded voice claims to be the IRS and that the phone call is a "Final Warning" or the IRS will be filing a lawsuit. But, maybe I'm a bit accustomed to such calls, since I receive a few every month where some man or woman with an Indian accent tells me they are calling from Microsoft to advise me that my computer is generating a large number of error messages which are being sent to Microsoft for analysis. Evidently, they want me to allow them to access my computer remotely to "fix the problem." Yeah, sure. Maybe I'll do that a few weeks after Hell freezes over.
Added note: I received another threatening IRS phone call while I was at the gym this afternoon. It was on my "voice mail," a.k.a. "answering machine" when I got home. The recorded voice seemed the same, but the phone number was different. This time it was from a New York City area code: 212-920-5150. And when I did a Google search I found several web sites with information about that number. Check HERE, HERE and HERE.
March 9, 2016 - I've been periodically looking for any information I could find about how the 4th Rational Physics Conference went in Acapulco on February 22. I wasn't finding anything. But, today I tried a search for "Bill Gaede" and "Acapulco" on YouTube.com and found this video of the conference organizer talking with an anarchist journalist shortly before the conference:
It's an interesting example of a pot calling a kettle "black." It shows two men with closed minds complaining that everyone who disagrees with them have closed minds. And both the interviewer and interviewee seem to be totally satisfied with not being able to understand physics. At the 16 minute mark the interviewer even talks about how he doesn't believe that anyone can take a picture of a galaxy trillions of miles away. He evidently thinks all the pictures taken by Hubble are faked, and that there is only one real picture taken of the Earth from space, a composite shot put together in the 1970s.
It's a fascinating video of blissfully ignorant people justifying their ignorance and their silly theories. It even begins with the interviewer talking about how much safer Acapulco is than Chicago, even though, in reality, Acapulco is #4 on the most dangerous cities in the world list, and Chicago isn't even in the top 50.
March 8, 2016 - Okay. I just finished reading "The Martian," by Andy Weir. I finished reading 70% of it yesterday, and read the final 27% this morning. (There's 3% of miscellaneous advertising stuff at the end of the Kindle version.)
Wow! What a terrific book! And it was truly funny in parts. There were times when I laughed out loud and my eyes watered. But it's also a fantastic book about physics and human ingenuity. It's great to see that it was a New York Times #1 bestseller, since that means that a lot of other people weren't frightened away by all the technical stuff. To me it was absolutely fascinating.
In some ways, the book reads like a movie script. It's got a lot of fast paced dialog, and it switches from the first person of the astronaut describing his predicament to third person about what was happening back on earth. And it even has a flashback when the accident that begins the movie is described in the middle of the book. So, it's easy to understand how it also made a great movie. I rented the DVD from Redbox and watched it on Feb. 9, a month ago. It's usually better to read the book first and then watch the movie afterward, but for me it probably worked out best to see the movie first. If you are interested in science and enjoy science fiction, I highly recommend "The Martian."
Interestingly, while at the gym this afternoon, I finished another book, "Monologue" What Makes America Laugh Before Bed" by Jon Macks, which I listened to on my MP3 player.
It was also a very enjoyable book. It's not comparable to "The Martian," of course, but it's a very interesting (and occasionally very funny) book describing what it's like to write for late night TV talk shows, particularly "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Jon Macks did that for 22 years. I can't imagine having a job that involves writing 100 jokes per day every week day, and then maybe one or two (occasionally none) will be used in that evening's show. The audio book is only about 4½ hours long, but it covers a lot of territory, since Mack not only wrote jokes for Leno, he also wrote jokes during his free time for politicians and other people in the public eye, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. $50 per joke used.
So, I finished two books in one day. I'm only on CD #2 of the 10-CD travel book I'm listening to while driving here and there, but it's possible that someday I'll finish THREE books on the same day. It will be interesting to talk about:
Me: I finished reading 3 books today.Let them figure that out.
March 7, 2016 - Hmm. Yesterday afternoon I did my state and federal income taxes. It was all done on-line for free in about an hour, after I spent maybe 2 hours getting organized and making sure I had everything ready. And, I was advised in a matter of hours that my forms were accepted. So, that's done.
When I awoke this morning I was all set to get to work on my sci-fi novel. But, when I turned on my computer I received an email message informing me that a book I had reserved at my library back in October was finally available. The book is "The Martian," by Andy Weir. I downloaded it into my Kindle, and now I need to decide if I should start reading it right away. If I start working on my own novel, I won't have time to read anyone else's novels for months. Groan!
March 6, 2016 - So, here I am once again on a Sunday morning without anything already written for my regular Sunday comment. One of these days, I may have to stop writing multiple comments during the week and just focus on one comment per week, a Sunday comment, perhaps writing it in the form of a short story of some kind. Or maybe not.
I've been arguing about "What is Time?" with a young college student from India who is currently studying physics a top college in California, and who repeatedly argues that "speculative notions" are the same as established fact, if they are what he believes. And my "speculative notions" about Time cannot be correct because they are not specifically supported by the speculative notions that he considers to be established facts. I'm also arguing about Time Dilation with some older men, one of whom is an engineer, but I don't have any information about the areas of expertise for the others. All the arguments involve me trying to explain Time Dilation to them in multiple ways in order to get them to understand, and they just recite dogma without any explanations. It seems the arguments and explanations I provided on Saturday have rendered them all speechless, since I see no new arguments this morning. But it might not last.
Meanwhile, the excellent library book I'm currently reading on my Kindle during breakfast and lunch each day is describing how people once believed that the earth was covered with "seeds" that could spontaneously generate animals and insects:
Spontaneous generation is the formation of organisms not as offspring of other organisms, but entirely from non-living precursors – for example, the generation of mice from a pile of rags in a dark corner. The theory that small animals are being spontaneously generated like that all the time (in addition to reproducing in the normal way) was part of unquestioned conventional wisdom for millennia, and was taken seriously until well into the nineteenth century.The book describes what we humans are doing differently today from what we were doing for thousands of years in the past. We look for better explanations instead of just accepting the explanations that were handed down to us over the generations. We investigate. We ask questions.
biologists need only have asked: how does the knowledge to construct a mouse get to those rags, and how is it then applied to transform the rags into a mouse?That part of the book probably struck a note with me because I recalled reading in the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant how he believed that the diseases affecting his soldiers in the field were somehow related to invisible gasses emitted by hay and grass they slept on at night.
Even though people back then were just as intelligent as we are today, they didn't have the accumulated knowledge and tools we have today. It just never occurred to people back then that there were ways to investigate and explain the causes of diseases and how mice and rats could suddenly appear in a pile of rags.
That, of course, struck another note with me because of all the arguments I had with Rational Semantic Methodists who believe that evidence is worthless, that investigations just result in conflicting opinions, and that the only true way to describe how the universe works is by defining key words and distorting the universe to make it fit those word definitions. And, of course, they also want everyone to ignore all the accumulated knowledge we've acquired, since it only generates arguments. The theory is: if everyone uses the same word definitions, then there can be no more arguments. But, first they have to endlessly argue over which word definitions are the only correct definitions.
In addition to reading about science, I frequently watch TV programs on the Science Channel and the Smithsonian Channel, usually in tiny segments when I am between doing other things (example: between the evening weather report and the evening national news, when they're just talking about sports). Last night I watched part of a program that was about a 300 mile long floating island of ROCKS that was first spotted by a plane and was then investigated by scientists and by the New Zealand Navy back in 2012.
The rocks are volcanic pumice, which contain air pockets that make them lighter than water. The "island" was created when an undersea volcano erupted and spewed out enough pumice to create an island of 7,500 to 10,000 square miles, with points that are two feet thick.
It's a truly fascinating world if you are interested in the explanations for things, and the evidence used to create the explanations. It must be a terrifying world for those who have no access to or interest in the accumulated knowledge we have to help us understand our situation in a merciless and uncaring universe.
|Comments for Tuesday, March 1,
2016, thru Saturday, March 5, 2016:
March 5, 2016 - I should probably wait until tomorrow to write about this, since I have absolutely nothing else in mind to write about for my regular Sunday comment, but I feel the urge to get it over with.
This afternoon, while driving around to do some shopping, I finished listening to another audio book. I finished CD #6 of the 6-CD version of "Full Circle" by Michael Palin.
It was a very interesting and enjoyable 6 hours and 4 minutes spread out over the course of several weeks of driving short distances. It's a highly abridged version of a much longer print edition describing Palin's adventures while filming a TV travel series for the BBC. Palin and a film crew began their trip in Alaska, then traveled to Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Viet Nam, The Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, California and then back to Alaska again. A trip of about 300 days.
The book on the Civil War navies I mentioned in my February 8 comment is still in the queue. While in the parking lot of a grocery store this afternoon, I pulled out the last CD for "Full Circle" and inserted the first CD of a 10-CD set about one American man's wanderings around modern day China - another travel book.
March 3, 2016 - Hmm. It isn't often that you see a headline about Time Dilation in the news media. But, it happened today. The headline:
It was in this morning's Huffington Post. It seems that Astrophysicist Niel deGrasse Tyson tweeted this message to astronaut Scott Kelly yesterday:
What Dr. Tyson tweeted was probably reasonably correct, but, unfortunately, the article screws things up when it goes on to say,
That explanation really puts my teeth on edge. Time dilation is NOT about an object moving relative to us, it's about an object moving relative to a stationary object - or to the speed of light. We on earth are NOT stationary. What Dr. Bennett described is, in effect, an optical illusion. You have to be talking about movement relative to a stationary object to be talking about real Time Dilation.
March 2, 2016 - For what it's worth, yesterday on my MP3 player I finished listening to "More Information Than You Require," an audio book by John Hodgman.
I certainly cannot recommend it. And I didn't quite listen to the whole thing. I gave up shortly after the start of part 10 (of 10 parts) when Hodgman started reading a list of 700 silly names for people (two examples: "#534, Mr. Sydney Crabwalker, a crab walker. #535, Mr. Milton Hardgizzard, a grinder."). Earlier in the book he read off a list of fictitious or satirized events for every day of a 366 day year. Like the rest of the book, there was occasional funny stuff, but everything in between was humor that made me groan instead of laugh.
While working out at the gym this afternoon, I'll start listening to a very different "humor" book about writing for late night TV talk shows.
March 1, 2016 - I've noticed that this video of one of John Oliver's HBO shows is available in many places on the Net. I hope everyone watches it. It is an excellent analysis of the likely Republican candidate for President in November's election. It's also one of the funniest TV shows I've seen in a long time.
Meanwhile, I awoke this morning wondering if my scientific paper answering the question "What is Time?" might provide the missing link between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. I realize that I am totally out of my depth on this, and what I'm thinking could be totally absurd, but I need someone to explain in layman's terms WHY it is absurd.
I tried doing some research into the conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics to see if I could find an explanation in layman's terms. What I found were descriptions of the conflict that might fall very nicely into my hypothesis. For example, I found an article from the British newspaper "The Guardian," that says:
Basically you can think of the division between the relativity and quantum systems as “smooth” versus “chunky”. In general relativity, events are continuous and deterministic, meaning that every cause matches up to a specific, local effect. In quantum mechanics, events produced by the interaction of subatomic particles happen in jumps (yes, quantum leaps), with probabilistic rather than definite outcomes. Quantum rules allow connections forbidden by classical physics. This was demonstrated in a much-discussed recent experiment in which Dutch researchers defied the local effect. They showed that two particles – in this case, electrons – could influence each other instantly, even though they were a mile apart. When you try to interpret smooth relativistic laws in a chunky quantum style, or vice versa, things go dreadfully wrong.It appears the conflict is about electrons and time. Does the conflict still exist if you view electrons as controlling time, i.e., as Time = Particle Spin? If time can stop because particle spin can stop, doesn't that mean it's possible to instantly communicate between point A and Point B?
In another article (click HERE) it says,
The clash between relativity and quantum mechanics happens when you try to analyze what gravity is doing over extremely short distances ...I don't understand that "clash" at all, since matter and space are different things. And, to me, it seems reasonable that space can always be divided into smaller pieces while matter can only be divided down to elementary particles. And an elementary particle cannot exert a gravitational pull upon itself. But, I probably just don't understand the problem.
Another article titled "Atoms of Space and Time" by Lee Smolin describes the conflict this way:
Quantum theory and Einstein’s theory of general relativity separately have each been fantastically well confirmed by experiment—but no experiment has explored the regime where both theories predict significant effects. The problem is that quantum effects are most prominent at small size scales, whereas general relativistic effects require large masses, so it takes extraordinary circumstances toThe conflict is because one theory is nonquantum and the other is a quantum theory? I don't understand why that is a problem.
The article also contains this comment:
Time flows not like a river but like the ticking of a clock, with “ticks” that are about as long as the Planck time:10–43 second. Or, more precisely, time in our universe flows by the ticking of innumerable clocks—in a sense, at every location in the spin foam where a quantum “move” takes place, a clock at that location has ticked once.That's almost exactly what I'm saying. The article even has an illustration of an hour glass with particles dropping from the top to the bottom and measuring off time. The caption for the drawing says, "TIME ADVANCES by discrete ticks of innumerable clocks." I couldn't have said it better myself. The article is about "Loop Quantum Gravity," which is an attempt to combine relativity and quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, I cannot understand more than maybe 20% of it, because I don't understand why physicists need to divide space into discrete pieces or quanta. It seems more like a requirement for mathematics than for space itself.
I realize I could be making a fool of myself by asking a question that countless physicists could easily answer and explain as being just the result of some kind of misunderstanding of quantum mechanics or relativity. But, right now, it looks like the answer to the question "What is Time?" is "It is particle spin." If that answer is wrong, I need some help to understand why it is wrong.