Archive for
April 2016

Comments for Sunday, April 24, 2016, thru Saturday, April 30, 2016:

April 24, 2016 - Last Sunday, after writing and uploading my Sunday comment, I began an overhaul of my scientific paper on "What is Time?"  I'd been thinking about making changes for a long time, so I had a lot of things I wanted to say already formed in my mind.  I completed the first overhaul the next day.  And then on Tuesday I refined what I'd written until I felt it was ready for publication.  I slept on it, then I published it on Wednesday morning.  I published it to, where they show both the latest and previous versions, and I also published it to, where they only show the latest version. 

I think the new version is a tremendous improvement over the previous version, but I'm still not totally satisfied.  I definitely need to sit down and create some better graphics.  Plus, there are probably better ways to explain the subject.  Unfortunately, it's very difficult to come up with better explanations when there is no one arguing with me or challenging my current explanation.

Both versions of the paper explain that Dilated Time is the normal form of Time. Standard (or un-dilated) Time is purely hypothetical, since it requires a stationary object in "absolute space" free from any external source of gravity.  There is no such thing, since everything in the universe is being affected by gravity, and the Big Bang put everything in motion.  However, the new version of the paper does a much better job of explaining why Dilated Time is the normal form of Time.

Here's the final paragraph from the new version (with part of the last sentence highlighted and in red):

What is Time?  Time is the spin of sub-atomic particles.  Each particle is a clock ticking off its own Time.  Groups of particles, which we call objects, experience Time as movement, growth aging and decay.  And we measure Time by noting events that regularly repeat.  However, since the slowing of particle spin results in the slowing of Time for that particle and that particle alone, Time and particle spin must be the same thing.

I'd really like to knock that idea around with someone.  But, since I'm not currently involved in any scientific arguments, and I do not really have anyone I can count on to argue science with me, I have to have imaginary arguments with myself.  Such an argument over that sentence above in red might go something like this:
     "Nonsense!" he declared.  "A particle is an object.  Time is not an object."
     "I never said Time was an object," I shot back.  "I said it was particle spin."
     "Same thing!"
     "How so?"
     "You're saying that Time is a spinning particle!"
     I sighed, and replied, "No, I'm saying that Time is the spin of the particle, not the particle itself -- if there is such a thing."
     He seemed confused as he asked, "Such a thing as what?"
     "A particle."
     "Are you saying that particles don't exist?"
     "No, I'm saying that we don't know what a sub-atomic particle looks like, because no one has ever actually seen one.  So, we don't even know how it spins.  It doesn't seem logical that is an actual speck of matter that is spinning like a top.  It seems more logical that it is some concentrated form of energy that spins in place, like a tiny, whirling donut.  We just call it a 'particle' because it is a discrete entity.  We can shoot individual particles at other objects consisting of atoms which are constructed of individual particles."
     "Then you are saying that Time is an object!" he declared again.  "You're saying that it's a rotating donut!"
     "No, I'm saying it's the rotation that is Time, not the donut."
     "That makes no sense!"      

     "Look at it this way: If the whirling donut stops whirling, Time stops, but the donut still exists.  It's just no longer a whirling donut."
     "What is it?"
     "It's a wave of energy.  The donut has been straightened out by velocity or gravity so it can no longer spin without exceeding the speed of light during part of its spin.  And it cannot exceed the speed of light, so it has been turned into a cruller that shoots through space like an arrow."      

If I had more time, I could probably add something about the straightening-out process that turns a "donut" into a "cruller," but I'm once again writing this comment on Sunday morning, and it's nearly 11 a.m., a half hour past my normal completion time.

By a strange coincidence, this morning I received an email notification from Google that a college student from India has suddenly decided to try to re-start an argument we had dropped early last month.  But, his argument is just a collection of personal attacks.  And it appears to be in the form of a "notification" instead of a post to his blog.  So, I'll probably just ignore it.  It seems that he deleted the argument we had on his blog.  I'm tired of arguing with people who delete arguments that do not go the way they want them to go.

Meanwhile, last week was an extraordinarily busy week for me.  Most of my activity related to things of no interest to anyone else -- like the fact that I hauled 53 plastic shopping bags full of books to Goodwill and the Salvation Army.  I needed the space in my library for other things I've accumulated.  The 53 bags of books represented maybe 35% of my library of hardcovers and paperbacks.

It may just be another way to avoid getting to work on my sci-fi novel, but it is also something I should have done a long time ago.

Comments for Sunday, April 17, 2016, thru Saturday, April 23, 2016:

April 17, 2016 - While I'm doing a lot of thinking about possible story lines for my third sci-fi novel, I haven't yet sat down to start writing it.  Instead, as usual, I'm finding numerous other things that I need to do more urgently.

For example, last Sunday's comment about a book I read which described today's China versus China in the past, plus the pictures I took of Japan and Thailand when I was there in the mid-1960s, made me wonder about how Japan looks today compared to how it looked when I was there. 

So, on Tuesday, I started touring Misawa, Japan, as it looked to Google's "Street View" camera in September 2015.  I soon discovered I couldn't find anything that looks the way it looked when I was there around fifty years earlier. 

Since nothing looked even remotely similar to what I remembered, it took me awhile to find a reference point to begin comparisons.  The only reference point I found that I could be certain was still in the same location was the main gate to Misawa Air Force Base.  Here's what the main gate looked like during the winter of 1963-64:

Misawa Air Base Main Gate
                  - circa 1963

And here is what it looked like when Google's camera car viewed it about seven months ago:

Misawa Air Base Main Gate
                  - Sept. 2015

Here's a picture I took after they put a sign over the main gate, probably in 1964:

Entrance to Misawa AFB
                  circa 1964

Below is the sign they use today.  It's made of stone or concrete and is in a grassy area, behind which is the visitor's parking lot:

Misawa AFB main gate in
                  September 2015

Everything is so unfamiliar and different, that I needed to make sure that it truly was the same area.  So, I adjusted Google's street view and took this picture of the entrance to a side street (on the left) about 100 feet from the main gate (on the right):

Misawa Main Gate and the
                  nearest side street in 2015

Yes, the main gate is definitely still in the same location.  I spent a lot of time in that side street from the time I arrived in in Misawa in mid-1963 until the time I left in mid-1965.  We didn't think of it as a "side street" back then.  We thought of it as an "alley," even though it was then called "Nakashio Koji," which translated to "the small street next to the Nakashio Department Store." 

Using Street View, I entered the former Nakashio Koji on Tuesday, moved forward about 50 or 60 feet and then turned left.  Here is that view today:

Nakashio Koji in Masawa
                  in 2015

There are still some bars and restaurants lining the alley/street.  But they are a lot sturdier and more "respectable" today than they were in the winter of 1963-64 when it was still unpaved and looked like the view below:

Nakashio Koji in Masawa
                  in 1963-64

After touring today's Nakashio Koji and finding absolutely nothing familiar, I again used the main gate as a reference point to locate the nearby intersection where the street leading to the main gate crossed Misawa's main drag.  Below is a shot I took of the Emperor's limousine driving down the main drag in 1964 or thereabouts (his plane had landed at the air base and he was on his way to visit something in the area):

Downtown Misawa, Japan -
                  circa 1964

And here's what that part of the main drag looks like today:

Misawa main street
                      circa Sept. 2015

They somehow doubled the width of the main drag, which means that every building on at least one side, if not on both sides, must have been removed.  And there isn't a single wooden structure in sight.  Nor any telephone poles and wires.  If it wasn't for all the Japanese signs, it could easily be a street in some new suburb in Arizona or California.

I searched the Internet looking for some pictures of the same street taken during the 50 years that separate the two photos above.  I couldn't find any.  How did they make such a drastic change?  Was it done all at once, or block by block, or building by building?  I was still thinking about that this morning when I did another search for pictures and found a site HERE which shows the changes made to Nakashio Koji (they call it "AP Alley," AP meaning Air Police) over the years between 1959 and 2009. 

Then I found this:

Misawa 1966 fire news

Ah!  There was a major fire in January 1966 which destroyed a big part of the main drag and part of Nakashio Koji.  There's a web site HERE which has 75 photographs related to the incident, including many taken during the fire:

Misawa 1966 fire

It's strange how I saw nothing about the fire all week, and then, while checking out the source of an interesting picture, I came upon report after report about the big fire of 1966, which fully explains how they were able to double the width of the main drag.  Virtually everything had to be rebuilt.

It also explains why most buildings there today seem to be built from concrete.  There was a much smaller fire in Nakashio Koji while I was there.  It destroyed a half dozen buildings.  But the buildings were quickly rebuilt, using wood once again.  

I was only mildly surprised to find that Google Street View's camera car had visited and recorded Misawa and Nakashio Koji.  About six months ago, I was very surprised to find that I could use Street View to tour Dalmellington, Scotland, where the Rational Science Methodists had held a conference in 2014.  Their web site gave me the address where the conference was held, and Street View provided many angles of the small pub they used as a meeting place. 

I think I first used Google Street View in September 2011 when I searched an area in Princeton, New Jersey, near the mailbox Bruce Ivins used to mail the anthrax letters.   I'd also used Street View extensively when I was writing the first two books in my sci-fi series.  It helped me to describe the streets and other locations in Washington and Chicago and their suburbs where the characters in the books traveled.  Street View is one of the more amazing things on the Internet today.


Touring Misawa, Japan, wasn't the only thing I did last week.  While working out at the gym on Monday, I finished listening to the audio-book version of "Mirth of a Nation" on my MP3 player.

mirth of a nation 

It's a collection of short humor articles, sprinkled with an abundance of satire.  Not every article is a gem, but some are pretty funny.  It's a very good book to listen to while exercising at the gym.   It doesn't require any concentration, and you don't have to remember where you left off when you start listening again.  And, if you hit an article that is kind of droll or dull, it will soon be over.

Comments for Sunday, April 10, 2016, thru Saturday, April 16, 2016:

April 10, 2016 - I've successfully completed the first week of my April Fool's Day resolution to write only one comment per week for this site.  I made the resolution as part of an attempt to help me focus on getting back to work on my sci-fi novels.  I've been suffering from writers' block for nearly a year.  And that just goes back to May of 2015 when I gave up on my first attempt at the 3rd novel in the 3-book series. 

To help me get back in the right frame of mind, on Tuesday I read the first half of book #1 in the series.  It definitely helped.  It got me back to thinking about the main characters and their general situation.  They've invented the greatest crime-solving tool ever invented.  The problem is: it can enable them to solve any ordinary crime so quickly and easily that the "story" for the book has to come from elsewhere. 

The story can't be a "whodunit," unless it's some complex whodunit like the anthrax mailings of 2001, where it took a long time to determine something as basic as the location of  "the scene of the crime."  In that case, the "scene of the crime" was a mailbox in New Jersey, a long way from where the killer lived and even further from where the victims died.  I've knocked around ideas for a story somewhat like the anthrax mailings, but the anthrax investigation is briefly mentioned the the first book, so the third book cannot be too similar to that case.  It would be a lot simpler if the "story" is more of a mystery than a whodunit: Who was the bad guy working for?  What was the bad guy really trying to do?   

Just writing this comment has caused me to start thinking about different story ideas.  Hopefully, I'll actually be able to get started on writing before very long.


Meanwhile, I've nearly stopped arguing on Facebook.  Getting booted out of the "Quantum Physics" group helped.  It was one of the two places on Facebook where I was still arguing just prior to April 1.  The other place was my own Facebook group about "Philosophy versus Science."  There I had a brief discussion about Time with someone who is actually interested in science.  Unfortunately, he wasn't interested in discussing Time Dilation, and he stopped arguing when we couldn't understand each others' view of "Time."  I couldn't understand what he meant when he argued that "particle spin presupposes the existence of Time, because spin presupposes a RATE of spin," and he couldn't understand what I meant when I argued that "Time doesn't presuppose anything if Time begins when things start spinning (or vibrating)."

Unfortunately, he wasn't in the mood to try to resolve our differences to see if a middle-ground could be found.  And it appeared he didn't want to discuss Time Dilation at all, for some reason.  So, the discussion quickly ended.

That left me to see if I could figure out the problem myself.  I tried visualizing a universe without Time.  No luck on that.  Time started when the universe started - at the Big Bang.  I can easily visualize that, but it would help if science was sufficiently advanced to determine exactly what a particle looks like.  I can imagine particles that are nothing but vibrating "strings" or rotating "objects" that spin like a dog chasing its tail, but I can't do anything with such visualizations, since it all comes back to Time Dilation and why Time moves at a different rate for me than it does for you.  The answer is clearly: particle spin.  But no one yet knows exactly what "particle spin" is, what it looks like, or how it "spins."

So, maybe I should just drop it until some idea occurs to me.

Interestingly, that way of thinking appears to be a theme in Adam Grant's book "Originals."  Last week, when I learned about the book via a "TED Talk," I immediately put it "on hold" at my local library.  But, then I took it off of hold because it seemed too general, too much about business and not specifically about science.  Then I put it back on hold again, because if I changed my mind a third time it would probably be better to have it already on hold than to start the wait from scratch.


On the subject of books, today I finished listening to the 10 CDs I burned for a truly fascinating travel book titled "China Road" by Rob Gifford. 

China Road by Rob

It's an absolutely awesome book, extremely well and eloquently read by Simon Vance, who has a slight British accent, which fits with National Public Radio reporter Rob Gifford's background.  Gifford describes China and the bus/car/hitchhiking trip he took from Shanghai on the East China Sea to the tiny town of Khorgas on the border with Kazakhstan, three thousand miles away.  Here's part of the description of the book they use on
Route 312 is the Chinese Route 66. It flows three thousand miles from east to west, passing through the factory towns of the coastal areas, through the rural heart of China, then up into the Gobi Desert, where it merges with the Old Silk Road. The highway witnesses every part of the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down.

In this utterly surprising and deeply personal book, acclaimed National Public Radio reporter Rob Gifford, a fluent Mandarin speaker, takes the dramatic journey along Route 312 from its start in the boomtown of Shanghai to its end on the border with Kazakhstan.
An American or Englishman hitchhiking across China is not something I would have expected to be possible in today's China, but Gifford frequently encountered American and European backpackers who were doing somewhat the same thing - except that the others weren't doing it alone.  Sometimes, when Gifford had specific stops to make that were off the main road, Route 312, which is a modern, busy highway, he'd hire a car and driver to take him to those places.  Other times, he took a bus. Twice while crossing the Gobi Desert, the buses in which Gifford was riding broke down.  Instead of waiting until a repair truck arrived, he just hitched rides with truckers who routinely travel the route.

The book contains a lot of mind-blowing comparisons of life in China today versus few decades ago, a century ago and one or two millennia ago.  There is so much that is totally different and so much that has remained almost unchanged.  

I suppose the book may have stuck a particular note with me because many years ago I spent time traveling alone by bus and train and on foot around Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong.  Below is a picture a fellow passenger took of me during a bus trip from Nakhon Phanom to That Phanom, Thailand:

me in Thailand

I wasn't exactly traveling "alone" on that trip.  The Thai chief air traffic control operator from the airport at Nakhon Phanom asked me if I would like to take a day trip with him while he visited the Phrathat Phanom Temple in That Phenom, and I said I'd like it very much.

I remember many trips I took totally alone in Japan, particularly one from Misawa on the Island of Honshu to Hakodate on the Island of Hokkaido, traveling by train and overnight ferry.  It was a two day trip and, to save the cost of a hotel room, I did it without sleeping.  At the time, I spoke Japanese fairly well, which helped a great deal.  I specifically recall that I needed a shave and got one from a Japanese barber in Hakodate.  He shaved me so close that it was at least several days before I needed to shave again.  The next time I took a long trip alone, from Misawa to Sendai, I did rent a hotel room rather than stay up all night.  Then there was the time I missed the last bus out of Towada Ko, up in the mountains beside a crater lake, and I had to stay overnight in a resort hotel.  And then there was the time I went out alone right after a major snowstorm and got off the train to take this picture of workers shoveling snow out of a train station not far from Aomori:

train station near
                  Aomori, Japan

That's my train in the picture.  I misheard the announcement about how long the train was going to stay in the station, and it left while I was taking the picture shown above.  So, I had to hop a bus which took me to a point about 3 blocks from the railroad station in Aomori.  After I took a lot of pictures around Aomori, I hopped a train back to Misawa.

But, I digress.  The point is, Rob Gifford's trip across China brought back a lot of memories for me.  His book also - and probably much more importantly - describes what life is like for modern-day "hundred name" Chinese, the ordinary Chinese who drive trucks, tend farms, do factory work and other menial labors while dealing with an incredibly corrupt communist government system.  It's very similar to modern day Russia in many ways, but with greater potential to explode into some kind of revolution.  I could go on and on, but I'll just sum things up by saying it was a book I really and truly enjoyed listening to over a couple weeks of driving from place to place on the streets of my hometown.

Comments for Sunday, April 3, 2016, thru Saturday, April 9, 2016:

April 3, 2016 - I keep thinking about what turned out to be my last visible post to the Quantum Physics Facebook group, particularly this part of my comment:
Time is particle spin. What we PERCEIVE as time are the EFFECTS of particle spin.

We PERCEIVE time as NON-cyclical processes, such as growth, aging and decay. We MEASURE time by cyclical processes, such as the rotation of the earth, the seasons, the phases of the moon, etc. But Time itself is particle spin. LOCAL particle spin determines how fast things grow, age and decay LOCALLY, and LOCAL particle spin   determines the rate of LOCAL cyclical processes, such as our heart beat, our sleep cycles, and the ticking of local clocks. Thus we will PERCEIVE different EFFECTS of Time and particle spin in different locations depending upon our lateral velocity and the gravitational strength at each location.
The words in red were not included in my Facebook comment.  I just added or changed them here to show what I would have added and changed this morning if I were still able to post there.  The two paragraphs above are a very good summary of my hypothesis.  I should probably add them to my paper on "What is Time?", but it looks like I would need to overhaul the entire paper to fit them in.  Plus, I need to think some more about the implications of the hypothesis.

It's also interesting to think about my situation compared to Halton Arp and his red shift hypothesis and Bill Gaede and this rope hypothesis.  You would think that I would be embraced by the anti-establishment community for presenting an idea that differs from "establishment" thinking.  Instead, they just argue against my hypothesis.  It seems the difference is that I'm not pointing out any error made by mainstream scientists.  I'm just looking at Time from a different angle. 

As far as I can tell, my hypothesis is totally compatible with both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, although it might conflict with some individual's view of those subjects.  Plus, I'm not declaring the hypothesis to be incontrovertible solid fact.  I'm just trying to understand "what is time," and I'm asking people to point out errors in my thinking - if they can.  I'm optimistic about the hypothesis.  I recently read something interesting about being optimistic when doing science:
There is a traditional optimistic story that runs as follows. Our hero is a prisoner who has been sentenced to death by a tyrannical king, but gains a reprieve by promising to teach the king’s favourite horse to talk within a year. That night, a fellow prisoner asks what possessed him to make such a bargain. He replies, ‘A lot can happen in a year. The horse might die. The king might die. I might die. Or the horse might talk!’ The prisoner understands that, while his immediate problems have to do with prison bars and the king and his horse, ultimately the evil he faces is caused by insufficient knowledge. That makes him an optimist. He knows that, if progress is to be made, some of the opportunities and some of the discoveries will be inconceivable in advance. Progress cannot take place at all unless someone is open to, and prepares for, those inconceivable possibilities. The prisoner may or may not discover a way of teaching the horse to talk. But he may discover something else. He may persuade the king to repeal the law that he had broken; he may learn a convincing conjuring trick in which the horse would seem to talk; he may escape; he may think of an achievable task that would please the king even more than making the horse talk. The list is infinite.

Even if every such possibility is unlikely, it takes only one of them to be realized for the whole problem to be solved. But if our prisoner is going to escape by creating a new idea, he cannot possibly know that idea today, and therefore he cannot let the assumption that it will never exist condition his planning.
The quote above is from "The Beginning of Infinity" by David Deutsch, which I've been reading during breakfast and lunch every day since late February.  And I'm only 46% done.

It's interesting that when I put together the words "time is particle spin" and do a Google search for that exact phrase, the only results are from my writings.  If I remove the quotation marks and do the same search, I get 56,700,000 results.  I also get zero results for the exact phrase "particle spin relation to time" and for the exact phrase "time relative to particle spin."  To me, it seems totally obvious that there is some kind of relationship between time and particle spin.  How can it be that the idea seems to have never been put down in writing before?

Comments for Friday, April 1, 2016, thru Saturday, April 2, 2016:

April 2, 2016 - Hmm.  I was just kicked off of the Quantum Physics Facebook group.  I was right in the middle of a heated argument with one of the group's leaders when suddenly I started getting this message on my screen:

message when booted off
                  of a Facebook group

I was not only booted off the group, I couldn't even view the group anymore.  I had to sign onto my old computer to view the group, and to check if there was any comment about me being booted off.  All I could find was the post in the center below:

not enough friends?

It didn't make much sense, since the message appeared to have been posted 6 hours earlier, yet it didn't seem to be there when I posted my message 1 hour earlier.  Plus, Gogomir Ivanov didn't appear to be one of the members who control things on the group.

It's also strange that he used the "fact" that I have only "7 friends" on Facebook as a reason for terminating me from the group.  I get dozens and dozens or "Friend Requests," but I ignore them all.  It seems kind of creepy to me to have a "friend" I never heard of, and it seems kind of childish to accept every person as a "friend" who asks to be my "friend." So, all I have as "friends" are relatives, one guy I know personally, and one guy I accepted as a "friend" shortly after I joined Facebook and before I started thinking about the idea of accepting total strangers as "friends."  I have NEVER sent anyone a "Friend Request." Maybe I'm not as "sociable" as "social media" requires.

At the time I was booted out of the "Quantum Physics" group I also was in the middle of an intelligent discussion which gave me an idea for a change to my paper on "What is Time?"  Here's what I wrote on that Facebook group:

Thoughts about particle

But, what is done is done.  Arguing on that group was taking up too much of my time anyway.  Getting booted off of it may help me get back to work on my sci-fi novel.   

April 1, 2016 - I'm thinking of making an "April Fools Day Resolution" to stop writing multiple comments during the week and to write just one comment per week, on Sunday.  It may or may not summarize the week.  It may take another form.  I just don't want it to take some form that would require me to spend all week writing it.  I need to spend more time thinking about my sci-fi novel.

Maybe I'll change my mind on Sunday.  Or maybe it will start on Sunday.

© 2016 by Ed Lake