Archive for ed-lake.com
April 2019

Comments for Sunday, April 14, 2019, thru Saturday, April 20, 2019:

April 18, 2019 - Hmm.  I wondered if the Muller report is available on-line for anyone to read.  Yup.  I found a copy and downloaded it into my computer.  It's searchable, too.  You can read it HERE or download a copy from the page at that link.  Here's a quote from the report:
According to notes written by Hunt , when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked ."504 The President became angry and lambasted the Attorney General for his decision to recuse from the investigation , stating, "How could you let this happen, Jeff?" 505 The President said the position of Attorney General was his most important appointment and that Sessions had " let [him] down ," contrasting him to Eric Holder and Robert Kennedy. 506 Sessions recalled that the President said to him, "you were supposed to protect me," or words to that effect. 507 The President returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency . It takes years and years and I won 't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me." 508
I also found this image of me standing in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris a long time ago:

Me in
                      front of Notre Dame in Paris - long ago

April 17, 2019 - I still have far too many things going on at once.  The biggest chunk of my time right now is being spent on arguing with the folks on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum.  The thread I started on April 10 now has 80 posts by 15 different authors.  About 10 of those authors are arguing with me about one topic or another, and sometimes multiple topics at once.  And the arguments are getting longer and longer.  I'd like to stop it and walk away, but some of the arguments are very thought-provoking. 

Meanwhile, I've also been busy checking out all the podcasts mentioned on a Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast about podcasts. And sometimes those podcasts mention other podcasts.  I checked out about 15 different sources for podcasts that seem like they might contain something of interest to me.  I didn't have time to listen to more than one or two complete shows, but I downloaded and saved dozens of them.  I saved a small sampling from each of the podcast sources that seemed like they might be of interest.  Now I just have to find the time to listen to them.

I've filed away 22 episodes of Big Picture Science, which is produced by the SETI institute, and I haven't had the time to fully listen to any of them.

One source that was new to me was You must remember this.  It is described this way:
This is the podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century. 
It's about scandals involving old-time movies stars like Maureen O'Hara, Marlene Dietrich and Claudette Colbert.  The podcasts may prove to be boring, but right now they have me very curious.  I saved 11 episodes.

On the other end of the time scale, there's a podcast about recent data security breaches called "Breach."  That one has me curious, too.  I saved 6 episodes, but they appear to be 3 parts each on 2 different topics.
 
And, of course, I have to write comments here from time to time, otherwise people might start to worry or think I've died.  I also have to prepare for a trip I'm going to be taking next week.  Whether or not I'll be posting anything while I'm on the trip has yet to be decided.


April 15, 2019
- Groan!  I definitely have too many things going on at once.  It doesn't help that yesterday I listened to a podcast about podcasts (episode #272 on The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy), and the podcast provided the names of at least a dozen other podcasts I had never heard of before. So, I'm going to have to check them out to see what they are all about.

Meanwhile, on the positive side (I think), yesterday I finished listening to the audio book version of "Dark Matter," a sci-fi novel by Blake Crouch.

Dark Matter by David Crouch

The unabridged audio version is 10 hours and 9 minutes long.  I started it on Friday, listening to about 3½ hours of it, then on Saturday I listened to another 4½ or 5 hours, and yesterday I listened to the rest.  It's a suspense novel, while also being a science-fiction novel.  The main character leads a relatively normal life teaching science in college in Chicago, and he has a wife and son.  Then suddenly he's kidnapped, he escapes, and his kidnapper is coming after him.  That may not seem like a sci-fi novel plot, but the key point is that when he was kidnapped he was taken into a different dimension (or a different universe).

I almost gave up on the book when it started getting into Quantum Mechanics and "MultiVerses" (multiple universes in multiple dimensions).  The main character has to find he way back to his own dimension.  He's in a dimension where he is an award winning physicist, but he's divorced from his wife, and his son was never born.  As he tries getting back to his own dimension (via a mysterious box in an abandoned power plant on the South Side of Chicago), he keeps encountering different versions of himself in different dimensions, and basically they all want to kill him in order to take over his life. 

The story does carry you along, and it was certainly well told with the narrator using different voices for different characters, but I don't believe in the premise of the book, which is that every major decision you make creates an alternate universe where you decided differently.   (It's the plot of a Gwyneth Paltrow movie from 1998 that I really like, "Sliding Doors," where missing a train puts poor Gwyneth into a parallel universe where her life is very different.)

So, while I didn't like the scientific premise for the book, it was still an enjoyable 10 hours and 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, I had to disappoint the guy who emailed me to ask my opinion of a scientific paper he had written.  It was just too technical for me, and it seemed to have a more complex model of photons than typical papers.  He uses a model where a photon is "concentrated energy traveling as a helical solenoid."  In other words, the photon is cork-screw shaped.  How do you polarize a corkscrew shaped photon?  I apologized and told him I couldn't help him.

Also meanwhile, a guy on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum who may have read my paper about Photons and Polarization wrote something about photons that really got me thinking.  He wrote:
Light as particles alone can’t explain why:
     1.  its speed is c in air
     2. why its speed is less than c in glass
     3. why its speed is regained to c as it re-emerges from glass.
Part 3 is the key part.  How can a light photon speed up when it exits a thick medium (like glass) and enters a thin medium (like air)?  A photon has no engine to help it accelerate.  Or does it?  Could its oscillating fields push it faster?  It's something I need to think about.

This morning I see a different scientist has answered the question by writing:
Speaking loosely: when the light ray is inside the medium, its myriad photons are constantly interacting with the myriad charged particles, and at each such interaction the "old" (incoming) photon is consumed and a "new" (outgoing) one is created.
That seems wrong to me.  It is the process where photons are consumed by atoms in a surface and a new photon is then emitted.  But the energy never goes further than the outermost electron, and the new photon is generally emitted in some random direction, except for silvered mirrors where the photon is emitted back in the direction from which it came.  In the situation quoted above, each atom would have to take in the photon from one direction and emit a new photon in the exact opposite direction.  That doesn't seem logical.  It would seem to mean that the energy would have to pass through the nucleus of every atom it encounters.  But, I'm going to have to think about it a bit before I write a response.

Busy busy busy.

April 14, 2019
- It seems the surge of readers of my newest paper "Photons and Polarization" is rapidly slowing down.  But, the "surge" was never very big.  In the past 6 days, only 34 people have viewed the copy I put on Vixra.org, and 78 people have viewed the copy I put on Academia.edu.  As far as I can tell, no one has made any comments on those web sites.  I mentioned the paper on the Time and Time Dilation Facebook group page, but there were no comments there, either.  Only 6 people viewed my post, and there is no way to tell if any of them even read the paper.  And I also mentioned the paper on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet Newsgroup, but the responses there were only personal attacks from people on my "Do Not Respond" list, a couple people who just basically said, "So what?" and some largely incoherent ramblings from people who seem to be struggling with the English language.  That latter group just seemed to be pushing their own papers and ideas.  Nevertheless, I responded to a couple posts from that latter group to see how they respond.

For example, yesterday I exchanged posts with a physics teacher in Chile who recommended that I find colleges nearby where scientists are giving talks, so that I can listen to them and ask questions.  As I was typing a response about how I don't have the time to hunt down the locations of such talks, particularly when it seems highly unlikely that the subject of the talks will be my very narrow fields of interest, I suddenly realized that I listen to science talks almost every day.  I listen to science podcasts.  So, I mentioned that in my response.  I'm now waiting to see how he responds.  This morning I see nothing from him.  I wonder if I made him aware of science podcasts for the first time.

I hadn't thought about mentioning podcasts on that UseNet forum before.  I haven't been on any UseNet forums since last September or so, and I think I first learned about science podcasts a couple months ago.  A search through my comments on this web site finds that I first used the word "podcast" in a December 2015 comment, when I argued with some 17-year old operator of a podcast about the "Rational Scientific Method."  Then on October 23, 2017, I again mentioned a podcast.  It was a podcast by the CDC (that is no longer on-line), and it contained information about one of the anthrax victims who hd survived.  At the time, I evidently had no idea how popular podcasts were becoming.  In one comment I even spelled it "pod-cast."  The term didn't really mean much back then.  Not what it means to me today.

In the comment I wrote yesterday on the sci.physics.relativity forum I mentioned a podcast that is one of my favorites.  It is Episode #325 of "The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy," a mind-boggling interview with
Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the excellent books "Sapiens" and "Homo Deus," both of which I read in early 2018.  In the podcast interview, Harari and the podcast host talk about the common fear of computers taking over the world, and the BIG difference between "consciousness" and "intelligence."  Professor Harari explains that problems related to artificial intelligence ("AI") are very different from how they are typically imagined.  It isn't that computers are going to suddenly become conscious and robots are going to take over the world so that no one can turn them off, the real problem is that people are going to let computers do more and more tasks involving intelligence, and humans are going to forget how to do those things.  People are going to depend upon computers more and more, until they reach the point that they cannot live without having computers constantly help them and make decisions for them.

They give an example of people using GPS to find their way from place to place.  Some people use GPS so often that, if GPS was to suddenly shut down, they wouldn't know how to get home.  They have lost all sense of direction and the need to recognize landmarks, which involves intelligence.  They just do as GPS tells them. 

Others use Google search so much that they lose their ability to do research without Google.  It's a really interesting podcast, and it made me realize that I need to keep a record of the good podcasts as I go through them in order.
 
Meanwhile, when I checked my email inbox this morning, I found an email from someone in Australia who read my "Photons and Polarization" paper.  I think it may be the first time anyone contacted me about a paper of mine via an email.  He complemented me on certain parts of the paper, and then he asked for my thoughts about a paper he plans to put on Vixra.org.  Groan!  It's a very technical paper, 28 pages of fine print with 30 illustrations, and his visualization of a photon is very different from mine.  So, it's going to take me awhile to study it and to give an opinion.  But, it should be educational.

Also this morning, I found two posts addressed to me on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum that are not from people on my "Do Not Respond" list, so I'm going to have to respond there, too.  I'll probably do those first, since they are relatively short posts and my responses can also be fairly short. 

Busy busy busy.


Comments for Sunday, April 7, 2019, thru Saturday, April 13, 2019:

April 11, 2019 - Hmm.  The number of unique readers of my paper on "Photons and Polarization" on vixra.org increased by 2 overnight, jumping from 15 to 17.  However, the number of readers of the academia.edu copy increased from 4 to 48.  I don't quite understand that, since I only mentioned the vixra.org link in my discussions on the sci.physics.relativity Usenet forum.  I think academia.edu must be promoting the paper somehow, probably in hopes of getting me to join their "Premium" version where you pay a monthly fee and get certain benefits.

As I was typing this comment, they sent me an email with a graph:

academia.edu statistics for my photon paper

Meanwhile, the discussions on the sci.physics.relativity forum are the standard stuff, i.e., attacks from mathematicians and rambling comments from people who have a hard time expressing themselves in English.

Also, I put together a crude animated gif of the oscillating fields of a photon, viewing the electric field from the side and and the magnetic field edge on.  Here's what it looks like:
oscillating photon fields
I was thinking of creating a "top view," a "front view" and a "traveling view," all in the same gif (but a lot smaller than the one above).  However, that looks like a lot of work, and I'm feeling like I want to move on to other things.

April 10, 2019(B)
- While running errands this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #14 in the 14-CD audio book set for "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."

Elon Musk

It was a very interesting book.  I never paid that much attention to billionaire Elon Musk before, even though I would see his name mentioned in the news when his company Space-X tested rockets and became the first private company to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).  It's quite possible that Space-X may soon start transporting astronauts to the ISS.  Musk was also an investor and big force behind Paypal and Tesla motors.  His vision of getting rid of gas-burning cars and replacing them with electric cars makes a lot of sense, but he'll have other billionaires fighting against him, billionaires who make their billions off of oil and gasoline.

The contrasts between billionaire Elon Musk and billionaire Donald Trump are also interesting.  Musk believes Global Warming is a big danger, he cares for his employees and for the environment, and he voted for Obama.  Trump would probably love bringing back coal-powered cars, he does not believe that Global Warming is real, he'll fire any employee who he feels is not sufficiently loyal and a supporter of Trump's agenda and beliefs, and he absolutely hates Obama.

The Tesla automobile seems like a millionaire's status symbol right now, but the book suggests that there are so many benefits to having an electric car versus a gas-guzzler, and electric cars are much much simpler than cars with internal combustion engines, so the price of electric cars will almost certainly go down and down.  The biggest obstacle right now seems to be the recharging-stations, which are few and far apart.  Musk has visions of cars pulling into a charging station where robots replace battery packs in a matter of a few minutes, and your car then has what it needs to keep it running for another 500 miles.  And, of course, the batteries would be recharged using solar panels and wind turbines, the technologies that Donald Trump just hates.

Musk's biggest dream seems to be to colonize Mars.  While that seems a long way off, Musk is working on it right now.   He sees it as the only way to keep the human race going after life on Earth becomes no longer viable.

There are probably a lot more interesting things in the book that I'm failing to mention, but there's just no easy way to make notes when you listen to an audio book while driving.  So, I'm just working from memory in this comment.

April 10, 2019(A)
- This morning, the vixra.org statistics for my new paper "Photons and Polarization" show that 13 people read the paper in the past 24 hours, raising the grand total for two days to 15.  The number of new readers on academia.edu increased by just 1 in the same time period, for a grand total of 4.  While the numbers aren't astonishing, 13 reads in one day for a single paper of mine is better than average, but less than the record of 23 which I hit twice for the same paper with "Simplifying Einstein's Thought Experiments" in May, 2018, when I had 23 reads on the 16th, 21 on the 17th and 23 again on the 18th.

This morning I mentioned my "Photons and Polarization" paper in a new post to the sci.physics.relativity Usenet forum.  I think it's the first time I've posted there since September of last year, yet when I posted the message this morning, there was another message by me right next to it.  Someone had responded to a message I posted in May 2017, putting his post at the top of the list after my new post.  I can't believe that it is just a coincidence, so I'm going to assume that it was someone who saw my new paper on vixra.or or academia.edu, researched me, and found that I had posted messages to the sci.physics.relativity forum in the past.  The person writing the post wants to collaborate with me.  I would think that if someone wants to collaborate with me, they'd send me an email.  Unfortunately, I'm not interested in collaborating with anyone on anything.  I'm just writing for my own edification.  

It could be interesting, however, to see what the reaction to my new paper is on the sci.physics.relativity forum.   That message I posted in May 2017 had 389 responses and 1,139 views. 

April 9, 2019
- Yesterday, I finished reading a book on my Kindle.  It was "Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House" by Cliff Sims.

Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims

I've got 33 pages of notes, i.e., passages I highlighted while reading.  I wouldn't say it was an enjoyable read, but it was definitely interesting.  Cliff Sims is a Trump supporter, so it's a look at how a Trump supporter thinks.  Sims is also a religious man, so it's a look at how a religious man can support someone like Trump who happily breaks nearly all the Commandments.  Here's how Sims justifies working for Trump:
I joined the campaign with no illusions about who Trump was—a deeply flawed man. But the balance of the Supreme Court was on the line, which mattered to me and so many others. In my view, this really was the Flight 93 Election: “charge the cockpit or you die.” 
The term "Flight 93 Election" comes up a few times early in the book.  It is a reference to United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.  When Muslim terrorists took over Fight 93 with the apparent plan to crash it into the White House, some of the  passengers attempted to take the plane back from the terrorists.  They knew they were going to die if they didn't, so they had to give it a try.  In the end, they all died in a farm field in Pennsylvania.  Sims saw the 2016 election as being similar.  If the Religious Right didn't take the White House, their religious beliefs would not be made the law of the land and they would be doomed to live under non-believers.

Here's a passage about Sims' background:
At the time, my faith was one of the reasons I struggled with Trump’s unexpected rise. The playboy past, the casinos, the profanity, a seeming lack of common decency—all of it was tough to swallow for a Southern boy with Baptist ministers for a father and grandfather.
Here's a quote about working conditions in the White House from early in the book:
The inner circle of Trump World was not always a pretty picture. Too often it was a portrait of venality, stubbornness, and selfishness. We leaked. We schemed. We backstabbed. Some of us told ourselves it was all done in the service of a higher calling—to protect the President, to deliver for the people. But usually it was for ourselves. Most of us came to Washington convinced of the justice of our cause and the righteousness of our principles, certain that our moral compasses were true. But proximity to power changes that. Donald Trump changes that.
Backstabbing is the way things are done in the Trump White House.  Cliff Sims eventually got booted out by jealous backstabbers who didn't like the fact that Sims had a closer relationship with Trump than they did.  Here's how Sims describes the results of a personality test he took:
My test results revealed that while I was by disposition a polite person, I was not by nature a kind one. I was quick to seek revenge and slow to offer forgiveness. I had a warrior spirit, but lacked a servant heart. I was too quick to pass judgment on the motives of my “enemies,” while granting myself moral superiority in the process.
That appears to be the general type of person Trump had around him.  They considered themselves to be "killers" out to get rid of their enemies.  Another quote:
Killer. This was the single highest compliment that Donald Trump—not the President, but the man—could pay another human being, and it had been for decades.
and another:
In 1980, a half decade before I was even born, Trump sat down with entertainment reporter Rona Barrett for his first-ever network television interview. “I think that the world is made up of people with either killer instincts or without killer instincts,” Trump told her. “The people that seem to emerge all the time—it doesn’t mean they’re the best … are the people that are competitive and driven and with a certain instinct to win.” In short, killers. And this was a mind-set that had been instilled in Trump since childhood.
And lastly, here's a quote from near the end of the book:
I do know that I am proud to have worked in the White House, to have served my country. I’m proud to have worked for the President of the United States. And in spite of the frustrations and misgivings laid out in this book, I’m proud that the president I served was Donald Trump. In a sense, my time in the White House could serve as a cautionary tale of the corrosive effects of power. I do believe that power can corrupt, that our moral compass becomes less trustworthy the closer it gets to the magnetic pole of absolute power. But the further removed I am from the West Wing, the more convinced I become that what power really does, more than corrupt, is reveal—it exposes our true colors, uncovers or magnifies the flaws that already existed.
So, while it certainly wasn't an enjoyable book to read, since it was written by someone who thinks he is morally superior to others who do not share his faith, and who was happy to work for a total hypocrite because it served his own agenda, it was interesting.  The only problem is that it makes you wonder how many others in America think like Cliff Sims.  Are they the majority?  If they are, then I shudder to think what the future will be like.

During breakfast this morning, I started reading a humor book about writing and creating comedy shows for television.  I think I'm done with reading books about Trump for awhile.  The ten unread books I have about him will just have to wait.

Meanwhile, the first day's vixra.org statistics show I got a whopping 2 reads on my new paper "Photons and Polarization."  On Academia.edu the paper got 3 reads.  I hope no one gets injured as they climb over one another to be among the first to read my paper. ;-)

April 8, 2019
- My paper "Photons and Polarization" is now on vixra.org at the top of the list in the Classical Physics category.  The email notification that was in my inbox this morning says that it was posted at 6:18 a.m., about 4 hours ago. So far, there have been no readers (except me), but I think they only update the "Unique-IP document downloads" information once per day, and I think that happens sometime in the afternoon. 

I just mentioned the paper on my Facebook page about Time and Time Dilation.

And I just added it to academia.edu.  I haven't been paying much attention to that site, and I probably should check to see if there are other papers I should post there.  I just need to find the time to focus on that task.

Meanwhile, yesterday I listened to a very interesting podcast from the Geek's Guide to The Galaxy.  It's episode #232 from December of 2016, and it is an interview with Shawn Otto, the author of the book "The War on Science."
The War on Science explores ways that citizens can fight back against a creeping tide of anti-science nonsense promulgated by everyone from postmodern academics to greedy oil companies to nature-loving hippies. An important step is to make journalists understand that science and opinion should not be given equal weight.
With all the science podcasts I have on my waiting list, I hadn't thought about any "war on science."  It seems like lots of people are interested in science.  But, of course, that doesn't mean there aren't also a lot of people who want to discredit science because it conflicts with their beliefs or their business goals.
 
Unfortunately, my local library doesn't have a copy of "The War On Science," otherwise I'd put it on my reading list.  But, I think it may explore some of the same topics as "Merchants of Doubt," which is already in my Kindle waiting for me to get to it.

April 7, 2019
- I think I'm going to upload Version 1 of my paper "Photons and Polarization" to Vixra.org later today.  The paper consists of just 13 pages with 18 illustrations, sometimes 3 on a page.  The paper probably needs work to get rid of some repetition of arguments, and the illustrations definitely can be improved upon, but I've already spent so much time on the paper that I don't have the will power to make further improvements right now.

As soon as Vixra.org advises me that the paper has been placed on their site and provides me with the link address, I'll first provide that information on this web site, and then I'll provide it on my Time and Time Dilation Facebook page.  Hopefully, that would be tomorrow morning.  Then I'll probably wait a day to see what reaction I get before I inform the belligerent and closed-minded scientists and trolls on the sci.physics.relativity newsgroup about it.  They'll probably go bonkers - or they might just totally ignore it.

In preparation for submitting the paper, I checked Vixra.org and was reminded that I have to pick a category for the paper.  They list 13 different submission categories, such as "High Energy Particle Physics," "Astrophysics," "Quantum Physics," "Quantum Gravity and String Theory" and "Climate Research." The proper category for my paper appears to be "Classical Physics." 

I then perused some of papers that had been recently submitted in that category and found one that seems to hit on one of the subjects that my paper addresses.  The paper is titled "About Energy of Photon," and it's by two "independent researchers" with no details as to where they are located, but their names suggest it's probably in the Middle East or India.  While there is bad English in the title and in the paper, the point of the paper clearly agrees with my paper 100%.  Here's the abstract for their paper:
There is a widespread view in contemporary physics that the electric field of an electromagnetic wave is in the phase with the magnetic field. This statement is incorrect. The article discloses in detail that the above statement leads to violating the law of energy conservation. The right statement is that electric and magnetic fields in the photon are shifted mutually by 90 degrees. In this case the electric field converts to the magnetic field and vice versa. The energy of the photon over time remains constant.     
It would have been nice if the paper explained why "there is a widespread view in contemporary physics that the electric field of an electromagnetic wave is in the phase with the magnetic field."  But it doesn't.  It just says it's wrong.  In my paper I also say it is wrong, and I explain that it is wrong because it is illogical. And I explain why it is illogical.  The "Energy of Photon" paper consists mostly of mathematical arguments.  I cannot decipher the mathematical reasoning used in the paper, but there's no doubt that their conclusion agrees with my paper - and so does most of their abstract.  My paper just covers a lot more territory and does a much better job of explaining things.

Interestingly, the paper seems to argue that the mathematics may work perfectly for the "widespread view," but it is still nonsense.  And the authors provide their own mathematics to justify their argument. 

While it's kind of disheartening to discover that others are saying the same things I am saying, on the positive side, their paper tells me that there are at least two other people in the world who agree with me about something.  Their paper also suggests that we may be the only people in the world who agree about how photons work.  We just arrived at our conclusions from different directions. 

I also noticed that the same authors have recently put a paper titled "About Arrow of Time" on Vixra.org.  It's also mostly about math, but it definitely has nothing to do with anything I've written.

Yesterday, my plan was to start work on a second paper about photons sometime next week.  It would be titled something like "Refraction, Diffraction and Photons," and would include material I had to strip out of the first paper, things like how photons work in Thomas Young's Double Slit Experiment.   

But this morning everything changed.  My subconscious had been very busy overnight and when I woke up it informed me that it was time to self-publish my two science fiction novels.  I wrote them in 2013 and 2014, but I wasn't able to find an agent to help sell them to publishers.  (Check my comments for April 24, 25 and 27, 2014).   It's kind of a surprise to me that it was so long ago.  I wrote the first one in late 2013.  (Check my comment for December 22, 2013. ) I wrote the sequel the next year.  My thinking in mid-2014 was that it would be easier to get an agent or a publisher interested if I had a 3-novel series completed.  Series novels are the current rage - particularly in science fiction.  But I could never think up a good idea for the 3rd novel.

The first step in the process of self-publishing will be to re-read the first book to make sure it's still as good as I thought it was back in 2013.  Then I'll have to refresh my memory about how self-publishing works.  The last time I did it was in 2012.  It's easier today than it was then, but what my subconscious was so excited about was that it's also a lot easier to promote a self-published book these days.  Social media and podcasts have changed everything.


Comments for Monday, April 1, 2019, thru Saturday, April 6, 2019:

April 3, 2019 (B) - Someone just sent me a link to an article titled "Court orders publisher OMICS to pay U.S. gov’t $50 million in suit alleging 'unfair and deceptive practices'.”  The article doesn't say much, but when I checked out OMICS, I found that they publish "open access" scientific articles, which means the author pays OMICS to publish the article in one of their journals, and readers get to read it for free.

That always seemed like a scam to me, but I encountered a lot of scientists who seem to consider "open access" journals to be a sound investment, particularly if their company is providing the money.  It allows the scientist to tell the world that his or her paper has been peer reviewed and published, which gives it some validity.  The judgement document for OMICS, however, says:
Consistently, Defendants have represented their peer review policies as “highly appreciated, accepted and adaptable” to the criteria set forth by agencies such as PubMed. (PX12 Att. L at 773).
In contradiction to these assertions, however, the FTC submits evidence indicating that Defendants’ peer review practices are a “sham.” (FTC’s MSJ 24:4–5). For example, in certain instances, consumers who submitted articles were approved for publication within just several days of submission. (SJX 26 Att. A at 20, 53, 69, 84, 86, 114). In others, consumers reported receiving no comments or proposed revisions from peer reviewers. (See id. at 37, 53, 73, 93, 114, 124). The consumers who did receive feedback from reviewers have noted that it was not substantive.
and
Based on documents received through discovery, the FTC asserts that out of 69,000 published articles, only 49% indicate that some form of review was conducted.
OMICS also runs "conferences" on various scientific topics, charging people to attend the conferences.  They promoted such conferences by saying they were organized by noted scientists.  But most of the time the "noted scientists" named in the advertising had nothing to do with the conferences.  Some even sued OMICS to have their names removed from the advertising.

A little additional research shows that The New York Times printed an article about OMICS's scams on December 29, 2016.  The article was titled "A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia."  And looking at the comments following the original article in the link I was sent, it appears that OMICS is based in India.  That is probably why the article says the government is going to get the money, instead of OMICS repaying the people it bilked.  If the government does get the money, then they can figure out how to distribute it.   

I've never paid to have any of my "scientific papers" published.  I do not have the "credentials" that the top scientific journals require before they will even read a paper, so  I just put my papers on Vixra.org and/or Academia.edu.  There is no charge, and there is no "peer review" before acceptance.  The only "peer review" information you generally get is statistics on how many different people have accessed the paper.  Some readers might post comments, but generally only those who disagree do so and they say nothing else of value.  But, at least the information is out there and it has my name on it.  So, if someone else says the same thing in a paper they wrote, I can prove that I had the idea first.

April  3, 2019 (A)
- My two blogs are still working this morning, so I'm not going to mention them again on this web site until the blogs either disappear or until the 1st of next month, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, yesterday I voted in local elections for the first time in as long as I can remember.  (I usually only vote in the Presidential and mid-term elections.)  I voted because there is a Trump-supporting judge running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and I just had to vote against him.  His TV ads put my teeth on edge, reminding me of the book by Ed Asner I recently read and how conservatives constantly argue that they want to uphold the Constitution, when in reality they are saying that they want to interpret the Constitution to fit their agenda and beliefs.

This morning I see that the race is too close to call, and they will probably have to do a recount.  But the Republican judge is declaring victory anyway, since he appears to be ahead.  I'm not sure what it means for national elections, but it clearly shows that liberals and moderates (like myself) very often do not bother to vote, while those driven by anger and hate want to make their feelings known.

By coincidence, last night I rented and watched a movie titled "Vice."  It's about Dick Cheney's rise to power.  But most interesting to me was the fact that the movie shows President George W. Bush to be an incompetent.  I've always viewed "W" to be the dumbest President we've ever had, even dumber than Trump, but this movie shows "W" as knowing he is not very smart and unsuited to be President, so he allows his Vice President, Dick Cheney, to run the country.  It's an extremely interesting movie, while at the same time being very depressing. After watching the movie, I have a slightly different view of Trump.  I now see Trump as being as dumb as George W. Bush while at the same time being as evil and as scheming as Dick Cheney. And I worry that there may be enough people who are driven by hate and anger in this country to elect Trump again in 2020.

April 2, 2019
- My two blogs were still there this morning.  But the March 20 email I received from Google said,

This is a reminder that on April 2, 2019 we’re shutting down consumer Google+ and will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted.
So, I guess the key word is "begin."  How long will it take them to get to my blogs?  I dunno.  I can't even find anything on my blogs that uses the term "Google+", so I could be misinterpreting everything.  Here is a snapshot of this morning's statistics for my "My Thoughts on the Changing World" blog:

Stats
                    for My Thoughts one the Changing World

Note that 13 pageviews in a day is about the maximum the blog gets these days, and Russia is the next biggest visitor after the United States.  Brazil seems to be third.  Compare the above to the stats for my Debating the Anthrax Attacks of 2001 blog I included in yesterday's comment.

Note, too, that the 2nd most popular Entry page is titled "Trump thinks emotionally, NOT logically."  I tried to start a discussion on that topic just over two years ago, on March 23, 2017.  No one responded.  For the past couple days I've been wondering if the people who do not have their kids vaccinated are primarily Trump supporters.  Such people are clearly thinking emotionally, not logically.  And some claim religious reasons for not having their kids vaccinated.  That probably also puts them in Trump's camp.  Or, I could be putting 2 and 2 together to get 397.  

The current measles outbreak is in the news almost every day.  Measles was virtually wiped out in the US about twenty years ago.  Two weeks ago, there was a great episode on Madam Secretary about the current outbreak.  And there are plenty of web sites which expressed concern years ago over people not having their kids vaccinated

Sometimes I wonder if there shouldn't be some kind of test to see who thinks emotionally and who thinks logically.  Everyone probably does both, but the people who primarily think emotionally could be a danger to everyone.  When there is a danger, you do not want to be surrounded by people who only think emotionally.  Such people also do not believe in Global Warming.  I wonder if we need to find ways to change their mode of thinking - or find ways to convince them emotionally that vaccination is best for everyone and Global Warming is real and a major problem that cannot be ignored. 

I'm tempted to create a blog entry about this.  But what would be the point if the blog is going to disappear at any moment?  Besides, there appear to be plenty of Facebook groups discussing it.  Unfortunately, most are run by people who think vaccines are dangerous and that the current measles outbreak is some kind of conspiracy to get people to accept having their children vaccinated.    


April 1, 2019
- Tomorrow I should find out if Google is going to delete my two blogs, Debating the Anthrax Attacks of 2001 and My Thoughts on the Changing World.  I haven't updated either one in a long time, and I've made full copies of both blogs, so I'm ready for it to happen.

Each morning, as part of my daily routine, I check the statistics for the two blogs to see how many people are visiting.  There haven't been very many lately - until a few days ago.  Below is a screen capture of part of what the statistics look like for my anthrax debate blog (there's nothing unusual on my Changing World blog statistics.)  

anthrax
                blog stats for April 1, 2019

Part of the warning Google is giving me is at the top.  (The full warning in shown in my March 21, 2019 comment.)  It's mostly gibberish to me, but I'm pretty sure it says they are going to delete the two blogs on April 2. 

More interesting to me this morning is the number of pageviews.  The graph in the upper left corner shows four large spikes in the number of pageviews.  If I put the cursor over a spike, it provides the time and number of views the spike represents.  The first small spike is for 10 a.m. on 3/26/19 and represents 82 views.  The second spike is for 11 a.m. on 3/27/19 and represents 331 views.  The third spike is for 7 p.m. on 3/28.19 and represents 364 views.  The fourth is for 10 p.m. on 3/29/19 and represents 402 views.  And the last tall spike is for 2 a.m. on 3/31/19 and represents 414 views. 

The stats on the upper left show that there were 442 pageviews on 3/31/19, so the spike represents well over 90 percent of the total views for the day.  There is no meaningful information about what page or pages they looked at, but in the lower right it shows 1,583 pageviews came from Google.com and the map shows that most of the pageviews came from the United States.  Could Google have made copies of the pages on the blog?  Is that what generated the spikes?  The blog has 124 separate pages, so what would 442 pageviews represent?  I dunno.  I'm not even totally certain that Google is going to delete the blogs tomorrow.  That is just how I decipher the gibberish in their messages added to the blog - and in the one email they sent me.

It's kind of scary to have a big corporation that uses its own terminology (or computer geek terminology) send warning messages that are virtually indecipherable.

Interestingly, this morning I received another order from a different giant corporation (the same one I mentioned in previous comments in January and December).  That corporation, too, cannot be contacted because they are so large that they cannot afford to staff enough people to deal with individual customers directly.  So, you have to deal with computers if you want to communicate with them.  And, if you have a response that does not fit one of their programmed questions, their computers cannot compute it.  And their computers will just repeat their request. The request is an order for something, presumably books (or a book).  But they do not say which book or how many books they want me to ship them.  You have to join a program in order to find out.  And the program costs $99 per year.   Since I won't do that, I'm evidently doomed to receive orders for books once a month for the rest of my life.









© 2019 by Ed Lake
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