|Comments for Sunday, May 26, 2019,
thru Friday, May 31, 2019:
May 30, 2019 - The two PBS shows I mentioned in my May 26 comment aired last night. I recorded both of them and watched them while recording. The NOVA episode turned out to be a repeat from 2015, but it was still very interesting. I think it was the first time I'd seen what Professor Sean Carroll looks like. As soon as he started talking I perked up, since I've listened to hours and hours of his podcasts. His voice was immediately recognizable. There were other people on the show whose names were also very recognizable, but for different reasons. Some are professors who I cite in my papers as being in error.
The second PBS show, which featured Professor Brian Greene, was more annoying than interesting. He did one distortion of Einstein's theory that I'd like to write more about, but I'd have to transcribe exactly what he said and relate that to Section X of my paper "Simplifying Einstein's Thought Experiments." I don't have the time to do that right now, and it seems pointless if there is no way I can provide a link to the show, so that the reader can watch it for himself.
Also, toward the end of the show Professor Greene talked about how all of Einstein's later papers (papers written after 1919 or so) contained errors. While that may be true, I do not recall anyone ever mentioning that before. If I had the time, I'd research those papers to find out what Einstein was trying to argue and what the errors were.
Right now I'm trying to figure out how to either perform the experiment described in Section IV of my paper about Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories or find some way to persuade others to perform the experiment.
I've found a web site where many different police radar guns are displayed. They range in price from $395 to $1,495. And I also found a web site where police radar guns are analyzed and categorized. The site seems to make it clear I need to find information about guns that do NOT have a "dual antenna" and do NOT have a "moving mode." What the first site also tells me is that none of these guns look like the back of a Bushnell Speedster sports radar gun. None has just one button on the back. So, the hand-held radar gun used in this screen-shot is most likely an old model Bushnell Speedster.
The radar gun above has a larger button than the Bushnell gun in the image below, plus the image below shows a very clear vertical gap between the left and right sides that does not show up on the above image no matter how much I enlarge it or clarify it.
Why police would have a Bushnell Speedster in their car is a mystery. It cannot be used in court. They used it in the video to show the speed of the police car, so it was likely pointed at the highway instead of the white car. Groan. I really really need to figure how how perform or have someone else perform my radar gun experiment.
May 28, 2019 - When I turned on my computer this morning, my inbox contained an email from a Japanese author who wanted permission to use a couple photographs I took in Misawa, Japan, in 1964 in a book he is translating from English to Japanese. The book is titled "62 Years on the Hill." I'd never heard of the book before, but it looks interesting. Too bad my library doesn't have a copy.
I gave the guy the permission he asked for. He evidently found the pictures on my blog page about "Google Street View Time Travel."
Yesterday, I got bogged down on digging through web pages looking for details about specific makes and models of radar guns. So, to clear my mind, I turned off my computer, sat down in a chair in the living room and listened to the audio book version of Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi novel "3001: The Final Odyssey."
The story begins with the finding of Frank Poole's body floating in space in the year 3001. Frank Poole is the astronaut who was killed by HAL the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey (the book and movie). His fellow astronaut, Dave Bowman, tried to recover Poole's body but then got locked out of the spaceship USSS Discovery by HAL. So, Poole's body was left to float away while Bowman tried to get back inside the spaceship.
Poole was basically frozen immediately after death, so in the year 3001 it is no trouble at all to bring him back to life. The remainder of the book is about Poole working to figure out what the black monoliths are that they found on Earth and in orbit around Jupiter in 2001. Everything gets satisfactorily resolved by the end of the book. I enjoyed listening to it. The book is filled with a lot of valid science, and it goes into some detail about how different 2001 was from 1001:
'Almost the whole of the technology we take for granted was invented near the very end of our Millennium - the steam engine, electricity, telephones, radio, television, cinema, aviation, electronics. And, during a single lifetime, nuclear energy and space travel - what would the greatest minds of the past have made of these? How long could an Archimedes or a Leonardo have retained his sanity, if suddenly dumped into our world?'But the difference between 2001 and 3001 is (according to the book) not that great. In 3001 the earth has a man-made ring around it at the location where Geo-stationary satellites are now located, and four 22,300 mile high elevators take people from the earth to the man-made ring called "Star City." But those are things we can already imagine. No space ships leave from Earth or land on Earth in 3001. Everything is hauled to "Star City" by elevator and you can go to the moon and other planets by space ship from there.
The unabridged audio book is just 6 hours and 49 minutes long. I listened to 6 hours and 30 minutes worth before going to bed. I listened to the last 15 minutes or so this morning. That would seem crazy - if the end of the novel was in the last 15 minutes. However, the novel actually ends at about the 6 hour and 15 minute mark. Then there is a brief Epilogue followed by a lengthy section of Acknowledgements, some of which are very interesting. Clarke writes about how things seem to move a lot slower today then we imagined they would back in the 1960s and 70s.
Today, of course, it seems ludicrous that we could have imagined giant space-stations, orbiting Hilton Hotels, and expeditions to Jupiter as early as 2001. It is now difficult to realize that back in the 1960s there were serious plans for permanent Moon bases and Mars landings - by 1990!The problem may be mostly politics and money. Those are still problems.
May 27, 2019 - Hmm. I've been hunting for information about how basic police radar guns work. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It seems that most operating manuals for police radar guns require a subscription to something before you can access them. However, I did find the User Manual for the GHD & Scout radar guns made by Decatur Electronics. It says this in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that begins on page 33:
Q. Will my radar work while my vehicle is moving?So, the gun doesn't "work" while moving. One can assume that means that the gun will give no reading, which means it is reading a speed of zero. However, things become less clear when you compare that answer to the answer for the Bushnell sports radar gun:
Question: If in a moving vehicle, can the Bushnell Speedster pick up the speed of another moving object?So, you can also interpret the Scout answer as stating the same thing as the Bushnell without the added info about "another moving object" and pointing the gun at the ground. The Scout answer just isn't specific enough to be useful. I'll keep hunting.
May 26, 2019 - Shortly after posting my revised paper about "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories" to vixra.org and academia.edu, I noticed that my local PBS station has two new programs about Einstein's theories airing on Wednesday evening. The first one, airing at 8 p.m. my time, is a NOVA episode titled "Inside Einstein's mind." The second one, airing at 9 p.m., is hosted by Prof. Brian Greene and is titled "Light Falls." I'm looking forward to watching both of them, even though Prof. Greene is the teacher who first made me aware that many schools are teaching total nonsense about Einstein's theories. About four years ago, I took a course Prof. Greene taught titled Space, Time & Einstein on his WorldScienceU.com web site. That is what got me interested in the conflicts between Einstein's theories and the interpretations of his theories argued by mathematicians and some college professors.
Now, after four years of extra-curricular studying and research into that subject, I think I've finally found a way to determine what is correct and what is incorrect. It is the same way that Richard Feynman recommended:
The problem is: I do not have the funds to do the experiment in a way that will produce undeniable results. I would not only need to obtain the right kind of radar gun, I would also need to have a way to perform the experiments, which means I would need to have a driver, a photographer, good video recording equipment, probably some lighting equipment, and both a car and some kind of box truck. All I would need to do when all those items are obtained is to point the radar gun and pull the trigger.
The box truck would be needed to show that someone in the back of the truck (inside the "box") could determine the speed of the truck by simply pointing the gun at the front wall (or back wall). And it might also be worthwhile to point the gun at the side wall to see how those results would be different.
Of course, it could all be done without me. All I need is to have the results made publicly available. I have some ideas about how I might be able to do that, but trying them will have to wait until after Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, yesterday I finished listening to the audio version of Alan Alda's 2017 book "If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating."
The book is only 6 hours and 15 minutes long. I'm not sure what put it at the top of my listening queue, but I'm glad it happened. It is a very interesting book, and much to my surprise, it also contains a lot about science - or more accurately, it has a lot about communicating scientific information to non-scientists. Alan Alda was the host of a PBS TV series "Scientific American Frontiers" which aired for 15 years, from 1990 until 2005. The book describes his first efforts to interview scientists and how clear it was that they weren't communicating. So, he dug into his show business experiences with "improv," where a situation is created and the actors have to react to and discuss the situation, and he changed his tactics:
After a while, I saw that I was having trouble talking with them whenever I thought I knew more than I really did about their work. I was boxing in the scientists with questions that were based on false assumptions. I took a bold step and stopped reading the scientists’ research papers before I met with them. I would come in armed only with curiosity and my own natural ignorance. I was learning the value of bringing my ignorance to the surface. The scientists could see exactly how much I already understood, and they could start there.That led to Alda setting up an organization to help communicate scientific ideas:
For the last twenty years, I’ve been trying to understand why communicating seems so hard—especially when we’re trying to communicate something weighty and complicated. I started with how scientists explain their work to the public: I helped found the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York, and we’ve spread what we learned to universities and medical schools across the country and overseas.and
In 2014, he [Alan Alda] was named a fellow of the American Physical Society for his work in helping scientists improve their communication skills. He is a member of the board of the World Science Festival and is a Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.While the book has a lot about inter-personal communications that does not involve scientific subjects, and it does get a bit repetitious toward the end, it is filled with fascinating information and good advice. On page 185 it has some mind-blowing information:
Ike Antkare is the name of a fake scientist created by the French researcher Cyril Labbé, who wanted to see if a mere golem like Antkare could make a name for himself on the Internet among real scientists.It is a very good book and I can highly recommend it. I recall a passage about how scientists bumble their way through scientific research projects. I won't quote it, but when I awoke this morning, I suddenly realized I have been going about things the wrong way in researching and writing my paper about Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories. I began by thinking there were just two types of radar guns, those meant to be used from stationary locations and those meant to be used from moving locations. Then I learned about the Bushnell Speedster 101911, which is meant to be used from stationary locations but works different from a basic police radar gun. Yet, for some reason I never thought to ask any police officer what make and model of basic radar gun they use. My paper doesn't name any specific make and model of basic police radar gun. Clearly that needs to be done, and I need to include that information in the next version of the paper.
And, I probably need to think about the communications advice provided in Alan Alda's book about how to engage the reader. I probably need to begin the paper with a description of the problem, not with babble about how all radar guns do not work the same way. Sigh. It is what happens when you do not pause in your work to take a step back to see how others will see it. Alda describes how people like stories, so you need to explain complicated subjects as if telling a story. Live and learn.
|Comments for Sunday, May 19, 2019,
thru Saturday, May 25, 2019:
May 24, 2019 - When I turned on my computer this morning, I had one new email. It was from vixra.org advising me that version 2 of my paper "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories" was now available on their web site at this link: http://vixra.org/pdf/1806.0027v2.pdf
I also awoke this morning wondering if I shouldn't have stated Einstein's Second Postulate somewhere in the paper, instead of just telling people to read more about it in my paper on the subject: An Analysis of Einstein’s Second Postulate to his Theory of Special Relativity.
After making the change, quoting Einstein's Second Postulate on page 3 of the paper, I decided the paper is better that way. However, I'm going to wait until next week to make the change on vixra.org. I may think of other improvements by then. Meanwhile, I submitted the improved paper to academia.edu. It is here:
Next I had to decide when to start arguing about it on the sci.physics.relativity Usenet discussion group. I decided to do it right away with the current vixra.org version. Here's the link: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/sci.physics.relativity/48_lDrdzTFs
May 23, 2019 - Hopefully I won't regret it, but I just submitted the revised version of my paper "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories" to vixra.org. I'm hoping they will put it on their web site tomorrow, instead of waiting until after the weekend and possibly until after the Memorial Day holiday.
I made some major changes this morning, and I did some major changes every day for the past week, yet the basic idea behind the paper is unchanged. I'm hoping I greatly simplified things while at the same time adding in information about how "basic" radar guns differ from "complex" radar guns.
The more I think about the paper, the more important it seems. It shows how to prove beyond any doubt that countless mathematicians are wrong in many of their beliefs about the speed of light and about light waves versus photons. I know I'm sticking my neck out because I haven't actually purchased a basic radar gun and performed the experiments to verify what I wrote in the paper, but I'm totally open to being proved wrong if I am wrong. I want to know if I am wrong, and if I am wrong, I want to know what it is that I misunderstood - as long as it isn't just a claim that I don't understand the mathematics. I need to know if a "basic" police radar gun works as described in my paper, or not.
I could hunt around for the right kind of radar gun, but even if I found one, bought it, and it works as I believe it works, no mathematician is going to believe me. I've got some ideas on how to get help to produce a video demonstrating what is stated in the paper, but I can't begin work on that until after the holiday weekend. Besides, I need the time to think about what I should try to do.
May 22, 2019 - I'm close to producing a "first draft" of the revised version of my paper "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories." I'm tempted to upload it to vixra.org as soon as I think its done, but I'm also wondering if I shouldn't hold on to it for a few more days to see if I can think of additional improvements, and to see if I can find more typos and errors. It already looks like the new version will be a thousand percent improvement over the old version.
Meanwhile, yesterday I finished listening to another science fiction audio book. The book was "Time's Eye" by Arthur C. Clarke.
The audio book consists of 10 MP3 files and is 11 hours and 38 minutes long. I probably should have done some research into the book before I started it, since it is basically just the first part of a trilogy. You do not learn until near the end that some entities called the "Firstborn" (which is also the title of the third and final book in the series) are apparently performing experiments with Earth. Here is what happens at the very beginning of the book (quoted from Amazon's page):
In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline. Instead, the world becomes a patchwork of eras, from prehistory to 2037, each with its own indigenous inhabitants.So, suddenly a new earth is created with Genghis Khan in the same timeline as Alexander the Great, some ape-like humans from pre-history, Russian and American astronauts and others from other eras. And they have to figure out what is going on (when they aren't killing one another).
I encountered a glitch of some kind while listening to the book. I was at about the 32 minute mark in part 7 when suddenly it switched to the beginning of part 10. It took me awhile to realized something had happened, but it seemed like Fate had intervened to save me some time (or maybe I had somehow mentally caused the MP3 player to skip ahead). I finished listening to part 10 and then went back to sample parts 8 and 9 to see if they had anything I wanted to hear. They didn't. So, I'm am finished with the book, whether or not I actually fully finished reading it. What I learned from the book is that I should move the other two books in the series to the bottom of my reading list, or remove them altogether. Listening to "Time's Eye" was not a waste of time, but the time could have been better spent.
May 21, 2019 - Yesterday, I started revising my paper on "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories" to explain that, even though the physics behind all radar guns are the same, different radar guns have different design features which can and do produce different results. That part wasn't difficult to explain, but then I found that the paper also describes how photons work, and it has illustrations that show photons as short, wavy lines. I tried to come up with a different way to show a spray of photons being emitted by a radar gun, but a spray of coin-shaped disks requires too much explaining. So, I'm not sure how to solve that problem.
Meanwhile, as I drove around town yesterday doing errands, I finished listening to CD #12 in the 12-CD set for the audio book version of "The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains" by Nicholas Carr.
Wow! What a terrific and fascinating book! Unfortunately, since I was listening to the audio book version, I had no capability to underline interesting passages and save them. The book is about how the Internet is changing the way our brains work, but it begins by explaining how other things in the past changed the way our brains work, like writing and printing, then radio and TV. Here's one passage from a print version of the book that I found interesting:
It’s hard for us to imagine today, but no spaces separated the words in early writing. In the books inked by scribes, words ran together without any break across every line on every page, in what’s now referred to as scriptura continua. The lack of word separation reflected language’s origins in speech. When we talk, we don’t insert pauses between each word—long stretches of syllables flow unbroken from our lips. It would never have crossed the minds of the first writers to put blank spaces between words. They were simply transcribing speech, writing what their ears told them to write.So, when they read something in the first few centuries AD, they had to decipher it to figure out where words began and ended. "Reading was like working out a puzzle," the book says. And that made our brains work different from how a brain works when spaces are there and the puzzle comes to us solved. They didn't start putting spaces between word until the Middle Ages, probably around 500 to 800 AD. Then, of course, came printing, which made books available to everyone and a person's thoughts could be shared by millions. And when audio recordings were invented, you could listen to the actually person share his thoughts - even if he was no longer alive.
Then came computers.
Text messaging now represents one of the most common uses of computers, particularly for the young. By the beginning of 2009, the average American cell phone user was sending or receiving nearly 400 texts a month, more than a fourfold increase from 2006. The average American teen was sending or receiving a mind-boggling 2,272 texts a month. Worldwide, well over two trillion text messages zip between mobile phones every year, far outstripping the number of voice calls.At about that point, I stopped being "average." I never send text messages via my phone. Nor do I receive any. I carry my cell phone only for emergencies.
And Nicholas Carr's concerns about the Internet changing our brains doesn't seem to apply to me, although it is still of concern. While I use the Internet for several hours every day, I clearly do not use the Internet the way most people do. And the book made me wonder about differences in other people that I'm noticing. Specifically, it made me wonder if it explains why I rarely find a new movie that I like these days. Up until early last year, I was renting 8 to 10 movies a month from RedBox. This year it is more like 1 or 2, and I haven't rented any movies in the past 30 days. Today's movies seem like a string of YouTube videos, with some kind of action every few minutes and endless special effects. There is no story to grab my attention, but there are endless "visuals" to grab other people's attention. When I was in Virginia I had an opportunity to watch Netflix, and it had an endless collection of movies I'd never heard of. Checking them out, they were mostly from other countries. But they followed the same pattern: fight action every few minutes and lots of special effects.
One movie I watched was only 11 minutes long! It was like watching a YouTube video of some people performing a mix of stunts and drama scenes. And the Academy Awards had Netflix's “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” among the contenders. It's evidently a collage of short "stories." I watched the first part, but my family had seen the rest of the movie and didn't want to re-watch the rest of it. After seeing the first part, neither did I. A news story I just found says Netflix is starting to make short TV shows, each just 12 to 15 minutes long.
Netflix isn't the Internet, but I see a pattern. As a result of how people use the Internet, it seems most people now have shorter attention spans (yet they can carry on dozens of text conversations simultaneously with dozens of different people). Netflix is just giving their customers what they want.
We're doomed! I tell you, we're doomed! Next year's Academy Award may go to a movie that just shows cats running around on a kitchen floor or some guy stumbling over a curb!
May 20, 2019 - I awoke this morning realizing that I need to revise my paper "Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories" to explain that different types of radar guns have different features which can produce different results. Based upon what I learned yesterday, I need to distinguish between a "basic radar gun" and "complex radar guns." And the difference is not explained by the illustration I used in my April 24 comment.
The "simple radar gun" shown above is a Bushnell radar gun, which is definitely not a basic radar gun. It converts analog information to digital, and it uses computer chip programs to manipulate results to "filter out bad information" and to provide "valid accurate information." In the process of doing that, it evidently eliminates "errors" that might result from the gun not being held motionless. And that means it does just the opposite of what a "basic" radar gun does when it measures the speed of the ground from a moving vehicle.
Interestingly, when I looked at my paper on Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories on vixra.org this morning, I noticed someone called "Mikko" had posted this message 10 days ago:
On the web page http://vixra.org/abs/1806.0027 the author tell's how he is now trying to learn what he in was in this article trying to teach. See, e.g., the comment with the date "May 6, 2019".That comment requires some deciphering. First, the link is to the article while the web page he's talking about is my web site ed-lake.com. My May 6 comment was about how I need to learn more about how tuning forks work.
In another comment Mikko wrote 10 months ago, he said,
The article quotes "A radar gun in a car traveling down the highway at 60 MPH will measure a tree to have a speed of 60 MPH." and claims that "that answer is in disagreement with fundamental physics". However, the quoted statement is true in the sense that anyone who has a radar gun (the abstract says they are inexpensive) can try and see that that indeed is what happens. If "fundamental physics" says otherwise then "fundamental physics" is wrong.So, Mikko probably has a radar gun like the Bushnell and has done the experiment, getting different results from what my paper says. I wish he had sent me an email instead of posting a comment on vixra.org. Then maybe I would have realized the difference between a "basic radar gun" and "complex radar guns" a lot sooner.
Meanwhile, yesterday I finished listening to the audio book version of Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi novel "2061: Odyssey Three."
It was a very enjoyable 7 hours and 1 minute, even though the book is a bit dated. The book was first published in December 1987, about three years before the creation of the Internet. So communications on earth and in orbit around the earth do not involve the Internet. In a dialog about 3/4ths of the way through the book someone says,
I hope you can fax this book to us in your next transmission - we're all anxious to read it.Remember when faxing was high-tech?
I'm not going to describe all the things that happen in the book, but 2061 is the year when Halley's comet is due back. A big part of the book involves landing on the comet and exploring its surface and interior. Another big part of the book is about events following what happened in 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two. Among other things, Jupiter has been turned into a second (but much smaller) sun, and the moons that orbit Jupiter now have their own sun to warm their surfaces. I could go on and on, but I'll just conclude by saying that I enjoyed the book, and as soon as the audio book version of 3001: The Final Odyssey becomes available from my local library, I'll be borrowing it. Right now I'm listening to Time's Eye by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. It is the first book in the A Time Odyssey series.
May 19, 2019 - I think I've watched at least a hundred different YouTube videos with demonstrations of how radar guns work. I couldn't find any solid answers to my questions in any of the videos. All I found was some new questions. I had gotten to the point where I was actually considering buying a Bushnell Speedster 101911 radar gun so that I can find the answers myself. I can pick one up at my local Walmart for $79.56 plus tax.
The basic question I had was: What will the radar gun measure if I point it at a highway sign while I'm in my car going at 60 mph? According to Einstein and a police officer I talked with a couple years ago, the gun will show "no reading," which means the highway sign's speed is zero (technically, less than 10 mph).
Would buying the Bushnell radar gun allow me to resolve the argument I had over the picture below (see my April 22 comment)?:
Is the hand-held gun measuring the speed of the white car, as I claim (in agreement with Einstein), or is it measuring the "relative speed" of the highway, as the mathematicians argue?
While doing research yesterday, a third possibility came up: It could be measuring the speed of the patrol car's windshield. According to one source:
Radar and laser guns don’t work well through tinted glass, which is why officers typically use them outside the vehicle or with the windows down.That poses more questions: What does "don't work well" mean? What speed does the radar gun show when it "don't work well"? (Supposedly, lidar (laser) guns do not work at all when there is a window in the way.)
Researching further, I learned more about how "mechanical interference" can be a problem with radar guns. One source says,
even the police car’s own heater or air conditioner fan can cause enough mechanical interference to cause a radar gun to register a stationary rock at 70 mph or a palm tree at 28 mph.And another source says,
Mechanical Interference is any moving object, other than the target vehicle, that can produce a false or incorrect radar reading. The most common sources are vibrating or rotating signs near the roadway; fan blades moving inside or outside the patrol car (air conditioner, heater, defroster or engine fan); another moving vehicle that reflects radar waves better than the target vehicle; and multiple targets in the main radar beam causing multiple reflections of nearly equal strength and making the display read, high, low, or completely blank.How do fan blades interfere with a radar gun? I found a couple videos where people demonstrate how an air-conditioner fan will interfere with a radar gun. Click HERE for one of them.
It seems to me that a rotating fan cannot interfere with a radar gun unless the gun is actually pointed at the fan and the fan is "visible" to the gun (i.e., there is nothing in the way). Even then the gun would have to be pointed at the fan from one side. If a radar gun points at the center of a rotating fan, nothing is moving toward the gun. So, what is the radar gun detecting? No one seems to know. In the videos they just guess that it is some kind of radio signal being generated by the fan. Or the sound of the fan somehow does something.
To me, the obvious answer is that the fan is blowing dust (or moisture) particles around. The faster the fan blows, the faster the particles move. And the radar gun simply detects the speed of those particles. Duh!
I think no one wants to talk about that possibility because it doesn't fit with the endlessly taught belief that the radar gun emits electromagnetic waves. How can a wave bounce off of a single dust particle in the midst of a cloud of particles? It is not a problem, however, if you think of radar guns as emitting photons. A photon can easily be reflected by an atom in a fast-moving dust particle.
If I did buy a radar gun, my first objective would be to find out if I am right or wrong in my understanding of how they work. It seems incredible that there isn't already a video somewhere on-line that clearly demonstrates what a basic police radar gun will display if it is moving while pointed at a stationary object - or at an object that is moving at the same speed and in the same direction as the gun.
This morning, as I was writing this comment, I had more questions: At what frequency does the Bushnell 101911 radar gun transmit? Can I buy a tuning fork for it? Searching around for answers, I found Bushnell's "Speed Gun FAQs" web page. It says,
Question: How does the Speedster work?So, it is a police band (K-Band) gun transmitting at 24.125 GHz. That's good. But then I noticed another question and answer:
Question: If in a moving vehicle, can the Bushnell Speedster pick up the speed of another moving object?Uh oh! That's what I was afraid of. My heart, jaw and stomach all dropped to the floor when I read that.
Then, after thinking for a moment, I had to ask another question: Could the Bushnell work differently from police radar guns? How could it? I looked through the FAQs and found another relevant question and answer:
Question: What is unique about the Speedster compared to other radar guns?HOW does it "filter out bad information"? What IS "bad information"? I searched further through the FAQs and found this:
Question: What technology does the Speedster consist of?It "filters out false and low level return signals"? Those are undoubtedly the signals that cause police radar guns to sometimes give incorrect readings. And a police radar definitely does NOT convert analog signals to digital signals. Searching further, I found a couple other curious questions and answers that should not be correct if the Bushnell gun works like a police radar gun:
Question: Can the Bushnell Speedster track arrow speed?A police radar gun would be able to track an arrow's speed and the speed of the tip or head of a swinging golf club. It picks out the fastest moving object within its range cone (the cone of photons that starts at the transmitter and widens out to about 30 feet in diameter a block away). A leaf on a tree that is flapping at high speed can give a police radar gun a false reading for a car passing near the tree. For probably that reason, the Bushnell speedster is evidently programmed to do things differently. Since it is used primarily for sports, could it be programmed to ignore the speed of the pitcher's arm and to somehow only measure the speed of the thrown ball (which may NOT be the fastest moving object in the range cone)?
One thing is absolutely certain: I'm not going to buy the Bushnell radar gun just to confirm that it doesn't work the same way as a police radar gun. And when trained on stationary objects from a moving vehicle, it produces a totally different result. But, how would I be able to prove that without also buying or gaining access to a police radar gun?
It's a good thing I found that Bushnell FAQ page. If I had first found a video demonstrating that a Bushnell gun in a car moving at 60 mph will show the ground to be moving at 60 mph, I'm not sure how I would have reacted. Do other sports radar guns work the same way? Who cares? They all cost more than the Bushnell. I'm done researching - at least until I can figure out how to get correct answers.
Right now, it seems that no one is aware of the dispute over how police radar guns work - except for a few people on the sci.physics.relativity newsgroup and people who read this web site. It seems that the mathematicians are content to believe what they want to believe, and everyone else is content to leave things that way in order to avoid arguing with the mathematicians. It's the way things have been done for over a hundred years. Who wants to be told that what has been believed for over a hundred years is total baloney? They probably won't accept it, and they'll just wait for some other expert to show that what has been accepted for over a hundred years in still totally correct.
How many "experts" would argue that goats do not climb trees? Would they be wrong if another expert said there is one type of tree that goats do climb? Is it something we should wonder and worry about? I think not.
Besides, we have Donald Trump giving us plenty of other things to worry about.
|Comments for Sunday, May 12, 2019,
thru Saturday, May 18, 2019:
May 17, 2019 - On February 26, I borrowed from my local library an audio book collection of five science fiction short stories by Philip K. Dick. I listened to the first one, but didn't particularly enjoy it, so I set the book aside. Then, yesterday, finding myself in need of something to do, I finished listening to the rest. The collection is titled "A World of Talent and other stories."
As an audio book, it is just 4 hours and 12 minutes long. Here is how "Good Reads" describes the five short stories in the book:
In "Small Town" a man creates a perfect scale model of his own town, as a means of escaping his unbearable reality. In "Human Is" the wife of a scientist notices that her husband has returned from a scientific expedition a changed man, but she's not complaining. In "Foster, You're Dead" a father's unwillingness to participate in his country's preparations for a war that never happens, leads to unexpected consequences for his family. In "The Hanging Stranger" a man is unable to convince his fellow townspeople that something terribly wrong is happening to them all. Finally, in "A World of Talent", society's reactions against those who have unusual talents have pushed the situation to the brink of interplanetary war.I wish I had read those descriptions before listening to the stories. Basically, I spent my time trying to figure out what is going on. If I had been reading the book, I would probably have given up. But, for some reason, the fact that I didn't fully understand what was going on didn't cause me to stop listening. So, what I did was waste time, which was evidently what I had decided to do when I started listening. But, I finished it, so I'm logging it as completed.
This morning I received an email that read (partly) as follows:
I'm not sure why they "invites" me, but I can guess. It looks interesting, but I'll probably skip it. I don't have a doctorate, and I don't understand the "theme."
Meanwhile, the problem with the TVs turning off at my gym twice a day seems to have been resolved (after nearly two years). I assume someone followed the instruction sheet I gave them. But I haven't seen the supervisor or any of the staff members I had talked with about it. So, they are either hiding from me, or they have moved to other locations or other shifts. It's another of life's mysteries.
May 16, 2019 - Yesterday evening, I finished listening to the audio book version of "Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" by Lawrence Bergreen.
I didn't realized it while I was I listening to it, but it is an abridged version of the hardcover edition. Ordinarily, I do not listen to or read abridged editions. I want the whole book or nothing at all. So, now I have to wonder if I would have enjoyed the full book as much as I enjoyed the short version.
I'm not sure how I decided to listen to it. I think I was looking for something else on my library's web site and the audio version of "Over the Edge of the World" appeared as being available. And because it was relatively short, I decided to borrow it. However it came about, I'm glad I listened to it. It's a very interesting piece of history. I had an atlas of the world at hand as I listened, checking it to see if I could find places on the southeast coast of Argentina where Ferdinand Magellan, his five ships and 270 men explored in hopes of finding a way past South America and into the waters of Indonesia, unaware that the Pacific Ocean lay between those two locations. One of Magellan's ship captains mutinied at that point and took his ship back to Spain. Later, when the remaining four ships had made it to the other side of the Pacific, another captain left the fleet and tried to find a passage through Asia to get to the Atlantic. He sailed all the way to Japan without finding such a passage.
Magellan, of course, didn't make it past the Philippines. While he was generally a very sensible person, he also did some very stupid things, and starting a fight with a local warlord was one of them. He didn't survive. Close to 90 percent of the 270 men who began the voyage didn't make it all the way around the globe, although some simply decided to remain in the islands of the South Pacific.
I think what interested me most was the level of detail the book provided. It appears that more than one person was keeping a detailed diary during the whole time. When a single ship, the Vittoria, finally made it back to Spain, the ship's logs showed a missing day, which was also totally unexpected. It was another lesson about living on a spinning globe.
I learned something else from the experience. I'd been choosing science books, humor books, travel books technology books, plus mysteries and science fiction, but I hadn't been looking at history books. This morning, when I browsed though what my library has in their history collection, I marked 8 audio books as being interesting enough for me to borrow when they become available. There are probably a lot more, but I only went half way through the list, and I just chose what seemed at this moment to be the most interesting.
If I can ever get back on track with my research into the physics of radar guns, I may not have time to listen to any of them.
May 14, 2019 - This morning I awoke thinking about tuning forks and the #1 dumbest idea in physics: the idea that all motion is reciprocal. That idea is stated at the top of page 124 in The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 3, and also frequently quoted from page 142 of the book Duration and Simultaneity by Henri Bergson. And of course, it was also stated repeatedly in the arguments I had on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum. When applied to tuning forks it means that there is no way to tell if the tuning fork is vibrating or if the tuning fork is motionless and the person observing and holding the tuning fork is vibrating. I can tell.
I also keep thinking I should write a paper about the screwball ideas people have about radar guns and tuning forks. Both subjects are incredibly simple when you understand what is happening, but mathematicians insist on complicating them to make arguments that are beyond absurd. I just need to find the right way to approach the subject.
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon, to get my mind off of radar guns and tuning forks, I finished listening to the audio book version of the second Fox & O'Hare novel by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, The Chase.
It took me 3 days to get through the 9-hour, 7-minute audio book. While the novel was amusing and enjoyable, it also seemed to be a hodge-podge of multiple crimes and multiple solutions. It starts out being about recovering an historic artifact - the bronze head of a rooster, one of the 12 symbols of the zodiac, worth about 20 million dollars - that was stolen by French and British troops from the Chinese Imperial Garden outside of Peking in 1860. When that artifact is recovered at about the mid-point in the novel, the story turns to being about recovering 3 Rembrandt paintings (worth about 100 million dollars each) stolen from a Montreal museum around the time the stolen bronze rooster head was being recovered. So, in a way, it is like 2 novels in one.
Like The Heist, which I finished on May 8, a lot of the humor in the book comes from the sexual tension between handsome con man and thief, Nick Fox, and beautiful FBI agent and former Navy Seal, Katy O'Hare, as they are forced to work together to solve the crimes. I have the later 3 novels in the series, but I think there are other audio books I want to hear before those become a priority.
May 13, 2019 - I'm not sure of exactly how long it took me to write yesterday's comment. I know I worked on it for probably around 3 hours on Saturday and another 3 hours on Sunday. Some of that time was spent trying to figure out how to illustrate the different speeds at which different parts of a tuning fork move. But then I figured that no matter what kind of illustration I produced, it wouldn't change anyone's mind if they believe what Kevin Brown believes:
Incidentally, people sometimes mistakenly think that the tuning fork calibration works by putting the fork arms in motion at the calibration speed. It should be obvious that this is not correct, first because the arms of a tuning fork move at a range of speeds, positive and negative, on each cycle, second because the speed of motion differs along the length of the arms, and third because the maximum speed of the arms depends not just on the frequency but on the amplitude, which depends on how the tuning fork is struck. It would generate a specific maximum speed of arm movement only if struck with precisely the right force, and even then it would begin to dampen out immediately, so it would actually produce a continuously varying maximum speed, which would be different at different positions on the arm, and with different orientations. Hence the arms of a tuning fork obviously do not move at a consistent reference speed.This morning, an idea occurred to me. I wondered if there were any slow motion videos of tuning forks on the Net. I found many, but two are particularly good. The first video shows a tuning fork that is fixed to a table being hit by a wooden ball-shaped striker. The fork vibrates for about 4 minutes in slow motion, which is probably just a few seconds in real time. But you can clearly see that the ends of the tines move fastest, and the farther you go down to the base you look the slower the tine moves. In other words, the tines wave back and forth, but the ends move farther in the same amount of time the bottom of the tine moves a shorter distance. And speed is distance divided by time. Here's that video:
The second video is more of the same, except that this time the tuning fork is being held by the demonstrator, and he moves the tuning fork around so you can view the vibrations of the tines from different angles.
It should be clear to anyone viewing these videos that if you point a radar gun at at a vibrating tuning fork that is turned sideways to the gun, every part of the tuning fork tine is going to be moving at a different speed than every other part. Kevin Brown was right about that. But, Brown is clearly wrong in arguing that the tuning fork
would generate a specific maximum speed of arm movement only if struck with precisely the right force, and even then it would begin to dampen out immediately, so it would actually produce a continuously varying maximum speedBoth videos clearly show the tuning fork vibrates at a constant speed for a long period of time (the time needed to put the fork in front of a radar gun and keep it there until a reading is completed), and amplitude has nothing to do with anything. Here's a screen capture from the second video showing which parts move fast, medium and slow:
Basic radar guns just measure and display the fastest speed in the target area, which would be the speed of the tip when it is mid-way between swings. That has nothing to do with sound waves or waves of any kind. It is just about what happens to photons when they hit various parts of the tuning fork at different times, and how the photons returning to the gun oscillate at different frequencies depending upon what part of the tuning fork they came from. Period.
May 12, 2019 (B) - Last week I had almost decided to give up on trying to prove anything about how radar guns are calibrated by using tuning forks. Then, in my May 6 comment I mentioned the "Radar Guns and Tuning Forks" section of Kevin Brown's web site mathpages.com. Here's a quote from that section that I didn't mention in my May 6 comment:
It’s important to note that the tuning fork is not sending a signal of 30 GHz + 4480 Hz, as would be the case for a genuine speed detection for 50 mph. The arm of the tuning fork is never moving at 50 mph (not even close). The tuning fork is only modulating the incident signal (which merely serves as a carrier wave), and this modulation has a frequency of 4480 Hz, which is equal to the beat frequency that would result from a Doppler-shifted signal reflected off an object approaching at 50 mph. In effect, the tuning fork is tricking the radar gun into thinking there is an object approaching at 50 mph, when in fact the tuning fork is just inducing a fluctuation in the antenna and receiver at the frequency of the beat that would be produced by an object approaching at 50 mph.After reading the part I highlighted in red above for the 3rd or 4th time, I decided it cannot be correct. So, I set about trying to figure out how fast the tine (or arm or prong) of the tuning fork is moving when the radar gun shows it is moving at 50 mph.
I visited a web site that does some of the calculations and displays them this way:
As you can see, I entered the Radar Frequency of 30 GHz, the Tuning Fork Tone of 4480 Hz, and then clicked on "Calculate or Re-Calculate." The displayed result, as shown above, was 50.07 mph.
So, the question then becomes: How fast is the tine moving when it gives a tone of 4480 Hz (and why does anyone care about the tone)? There can be no doubt that the tine is moving. Plus, we know that 1 Hz means 1 cycle per second. But, a "cycle" is not a measurement of speed or distance. In fact, when converted to distance, a cycle becomes a "round trip." That means that if a tine moves 1 millimeter, a "cycle" is 2 millimeters. The tine moves 1 mm in one direction and 1 mm in the other direction in one second. Therefore the complete cycle and total distance the tine travels in one second is theoretically 2 mm.
But there's another problem: Obviously, the tine does not move at a constant speed as it vibrates back and forth. It must come to a stop at the end of each move, and it must then gain speed again as it moves in the opposite direction. It only travels at its maximum speed around half way between starting and stopping. And we know the radar gun measures the tine's maximum speed, not its average speed, which is probably around 25 mph. (The radar gun does multiple readings to make sure it has the correct maximum speed.)
Kevin Brown's article also addresses this situation by saying,
Hence the arms of a tuning fork obviously do not move at a consistent reference speed. Moreover, to produce a maximum arm speed of 50 mph at the relevant frequency of (say) 4480 Hz would require the arm to swing a distance of 78 mm, whereas a typical tuning fork of this size has a maximum arm displacement of only about 0.02 mm. So, the speed of the arms of a tuning fork is orders of magnitude less than the speed of a moving automobile. For all these reasons, it is obvious that tuning forks do not (and could not) test radar guns by producing a moving surface at the calibration speed.I don't know where he got the 0.02 mm figure from, but the key point I'm trying to make is that the tine is moving at 50 mph for only a tiny fraction of a second and for only a small portion of each vibration. At the beginning and mid-point of each vibration the tine isn't moving at all. Its speed would be measured as zero. That would seem to say that the mathematics have nothing to do with reality, it is just a way of calculating a correct answer without any need to know what is actually going on. The formula v=cfd/2f0 means velocity is the speed of light per second multiplied by the fork tone per second divided by 2 times the radar frequency per second. What does that have to do with reality?
I found a web site which calculates speed for a given time and distance, and I plugged in 2 millimeters distance (actually 0.2 centimeters) in 1/8960th of a second (actually 0.00008960 seconds), and I got 49.93 mph:
I'm no mathematician, so I could certainly have done something wrong. I'm assuming that the tip of a tine on a 50 mph tuning fork can move 1 full millimeter, and I'm guessing that if the tip has a top speed of 50 mph, its average speed is ½ of that.
Researching further, I found an article about calibrating radar guns using tuning forks that was published in the Journal of Research of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The authors say,
The tuning forks used to calibrate DTR [Down The Road] radar are usually machined from a solid aluminum blank to provide an acoustic resonant frequency that gives a specific speed indication for a given f0 [radar frequency]. To calibrate the DTR radar, the tuning fork is struck and then placed in front of the transceiver. The vibrations of the tuning fork modulate the phase of a radar signal reflected from it. This modulation simulates the difference frequency that is determined by the radar processing unit from a Doppler shifted return from a moving vehicle. However, the tuning fork does not actually simulate a moving vehicle. This difference will be clarified with the following discussion.The "difference" that is "clarified" in the "following discussion" after the above paragraph in the article is mostly mathematical, so it is difficult for me to decipher, but it seems to say that the tuning fork does indeed "simulate a moving vehicle." And it does.
At one point in every vibration of a tine, the tine is moving toward the gun at 50 mph, and at another point in every vibration the tine is moving away from the gun at 50 mph. At all other points in every vibration, the tine is moving at a speed that is less than 50 mph. The gun measures all the other speeds, too, but it only displays the maximum speed, which is 50 mph. So, the tuning fork "simulates" a fast moving vehicle amid a mass of slower moving vehicles.
I translate the term "modulate the phase" to mean "alter the frequency", which means writing this: "The tuning fork imposes a phase modulation on the incident microwave signal" would have been more clear if it had been written as "The tuning fork causes a frequency change to the original microwave signal." That is also what a moving vehicle does when it is hit by the "microwave signal."
I can also see that, no matter how much I argue that a radar gun does simulate a moving vehicle, others can just quote the NIST as saying, "the tuning fork does not actually simulate a moving vehicle." And it won't do me any good to say that isn't true. The tuning fork does simulate a moving vehicle for the tiny fraction of a second when it the radar gun is measuring the tuning fork's top speed.
I keep thinking I need to put this all in a scientific paper. The paper would show the utter stupidity of viewing light (and radio signals) as waves when light (and radio signals) actually consist of photons.
When radio signals are viewed as waves, the radar gun is typically viewed as if it was emitting sound waves. The movement of the side of the tine on the tuning fork creates different sound waves when it compresses and decompresses the air next to the tine. So, you are shown sound waves that are far apart being emitted by the radar gun and sound waves that are close together being returned to the radar gun. If you view what is actually happening as consisting of radio waves, things are very different. The radar gun sends out radio waves of a specific frequency and the tuning fork returns waves of an incredibly wide range of frequencies. The tip of the fork is moving faster than the middle and bottom of the fork and every point in between, so the fork is returning waves of countless frequencies. In addition, the tip of the fork is virtually stationary at the start and midpoint of every vibration, and it only moves at its top speed at the midpoint between every swing. So, waves bouncing back from the tip of the tine also return at countless different frequencies. There is a vast difference between real sound waves from a tuning fork and imaginary returned electromagnetic "waves."
If you look at radar guns as emitting photons, things are vastly simpler. The gun emits a spray of billions of photons (all oscillating at a specific rate) toward the vibrating tuning fork, a tiny portion of which actually hit the fork. The photons that hit are absorbed by atoms in the fork and then new photons are emitted by those atoms. The new photons oscillate at different rates depending upon how fast the atom it hit was moving when hit. The speed of the moving atom is added to the oscillation rate of the photon. The gun selects the returned photons that are oscillating the fastest, verifies that there is more than just one such photon, and then converts the difference in the oscillation rates between the emitted photons and the fastest-oscillating returned photons to compute the maximum speed of vibrating tuning fork.
But how come no text book or manual or article (except mine) describes things that way?
May 12, 2019 (A) - This morning, someone posted a very interesting comment to the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group. Here's the first part of it:
Oxford University researchers have discovered the densest element yet known to science.
|Comments for Sunday, May 5, 2019,
thru Saturday, May 11, 2019:
May 10, 2019 - I'm continuing to research radar guns and how tuning forks are used to check their calibration, but it is hard to find anything that states anything that is not ambiguous. What I did find was a"scientific paper" that says,
The velocity of a wave is proportional to its frequency. Doppler effect shows that both the velocity and the frequency depend on the reference frame. The higher the detected frequency is, the faster the wave travels toward the detector. One example is the radar gun used by the traffic police. The reflected radio wave travels faster than the emitted radio wave. This results in frequency difference between two waves. This difference is used to calculate the velocity of a vehicle.I think that's the first paper I've ever encountered which argues that the speed of light changes to c+v when the radio waves return from the target vehicle. And, if I'm not mistaken, the first sentence says that high-frequency waves (like visible light) travel faster than low-frequency waves (like radio waves). That certainly isn't true, either. Of course, the paper uses mathematics to prove its theory.
The paper was found on vixra.org by searching for papers with "radar gun" in the abstract. It was the only one I found. My paper about "Radar Guns and Einstein’s Theories" is the only paper that contains "radar guns" in the abstract. Before searching through vixra.org, I tried arxiv.org and didn't find any papers with either "radar gun" or "radar guns" in the abstract. When I tried Google scholar, however, I found 1,870 matches on "radar guns" and 5,610 matches on "radar gun." And there around 75,000 which have "tuning fork" somewhere in the paper. I'm going to browse the ones that look interesting to see if they have something of value to say.
Meanwhile, none of the TVs at my gym turned off all week while I was there. I think my instructions on how the fix the problem may have been followed. I'll have to see what happens next week to be sure.
May 9, 2019 - Yesterday evening, at about 6:20 p.m., I finished listening to the audio book version of "The Heist," the first book in a series of "Fox & O'Hare" novels by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg:
I really enjoyed reading the first seven "Stephanie Plum" novels by Evanovich. I have another seven in paperback and hard covers on a book shelf in my front room, and more on my Kindle, but I didn't have and hadn't read any Fox & O'Hare novels. When all 5 of them suddenly became available in audio book form from my local library, I borrowed all 5. It took just two days to finish "The Heist," and it's the second-longest book in the series.
The central characters are beautiful Kate O'Hare, who is an FBI special agent, and handsome Nick Fox, who is a super-thief and con artist that O'Hare just arrested and got sentenced to 5 years in prison. The two are forced to work together when FBI headquarters orders O'Hare to work with Fox to recover a half-billion dollars stolen by an investment banker who has fled to a lush villa in Indonesia, which has no extradition agreement with the U.S. Since the FBI cannot touch the culprit legally, Fox and O'Hare have to con him into returning the money (actually they steal the money back). It's kind of a funny premise, and the book has a lot of humor and sexual tension between Fox and O'Hare. Plus it has pirates and a lot of travel information about Indonesia. While it certainly wasn't as good as any of the Stephanie Plum novels I've read, it was still enjoyable. The question now is: Should I listen to the second book in the series (which is also the longest at 9 hours and 7 minutes) or should I read the eighth book in the Stephanie Plum series? Or should I read something else?
Or should I work on resolving questions I have about radar guns, tuning forks and Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity? I dunno. I just do not understand why more people aren't asking the questions I'm asking. If it is because everyone else already knows the answers, why aren't documented experiments providing those answers readily available everywhere? It can't be because no one else in the world gives a damn. Or can it?
May 8, 2019 - Yesterday afternoon, at about 4:45 p.m., I finished listening to the audio book version of "Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth," by Albert Podell.
It was an extremely interesting book, and not at all what I expected. I think I was expecting a book where the author just describes walking around and seeing the sights in different countries and being amazed by their curious customs and unusual foods. But "Around the World in 50 Years" is far more of an adventure book. Albert Podell is a travel writer, and he had already visited all the "pleasant" tourist attractions, since he did that job for decades, before he decided to visit all the rest of the countries in the world. It actually took him over 50 years to make the 102 separate journeys, to travel nearly a million miles, to visit all 203 countries in the world (7 of which no longer exist). The book is mostly about going to the places where people who travel for fun would never go: central Africa, remote parts of Asia, and remote island nations in the South Pacific. According to Amazon's review:
He survived riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, jihadists, robbers, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He traveled through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and African field rats to dung beetles and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame encounters with crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs―and several beautiful women who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.A lot of the book involves travels to Islamic countries where civil wars have raged for decades, places like Chad, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Yemen. In some countries, like Yemen, he had to cross the border illegally, since there was no way for an American tourist to get into the country legally. He didn't travel alone, however. He traveled with body guards and usually a few friends, including some beautiful female friends. Most of the time in Africa, he traveled via private vehicles, only using "public transportation" when traveling by air. Bribes were common nearly everywhere, and more than once he paid as much as $4,000 to bribe someone to let him enter some place where Americans were forbidden to go.
In Asia, he visited Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, North Korea and Vietnam, among others. And he doesn't hide the fact that he visited some sex clubs in Bangkok where $150 paid for 2 hours of massages, bathing and sex with his choice from "60 lovely ladies, ages 18 to 28, [who] were seated on a three-tiered stage, all provocatively dressed, each with a big numbered button on her dress for identification."
In the South Pacific he visited countries like Brunei, East Timor, Kiribati, and the tiny island nation of Nauru, "a speck in the Pacific, 25 miles south of the Equator, little known and rarely visited, a sad story and a strange piece of work, the 185th nation on my quest.
"At 26 square miles, it is the third smallest nation, larger only than Monaco (0.7 square miles) and Vatican City (0.2 square miles). With fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, Nauru is ahead of only Vatican City (population 850), the smallest internationally recognized independent state by both area and inhabitants."What I got from the book is that a lot of the world is involved in civil wars and wars with neighboring countries. I thought I already knew that, but I clearly didn't realize just how many countries are very dangerous to visit, particularly those where Islamic extremists are numerous and active.
The last country he visited was Angola in southwest Africa, but then in 2014 he revisited Yemen and Equatorial Guiana legally just to make them official.
I listened to the audio version of the book over a period of 3 days. Since it is 13 hours long, that means I listened for an average of more than 4 hours per day.
After supper yesterday, I began listening to another audio book, a detective novel, which I half finished. Listening to audio books keeps me from thinking about radar guns, tuning forks and physics. Hopefully, I'll be viewing those subjects with a "fresh mind" when I get into them once again.
May 6, 2019 - While researching radar and lidar guns this morning, I found another quote from the same mathematician I quoted yesterday:
Incidentally, people sometimes mistakenly think that the tuning fork calibration works by putting the fork arms in motion at the calibration speed. It should be obvious that this is not correct, because the speed of the arms of a tuning fork depends not just on the frequency but on the amplitude, which depends on how hard we strike it. It would generate a specific speed of arm movement only if struck with precisely the right force, and even then it would begin to dampen out immediately, so it would actually produce a continuously varying maximum speed, making it not useful for calibration. Moreover, to produce an arm speed of 50 mph at the relevant frequency of (say) 4480 Hz would require the arm to swing a distance of 78 mm, whereas a typical tuning fork of this size has a maximum arm displacement of only about 0.02 mm. So, tuning forks do not test radar guns by producing a moving surface at the calibration speed. Needless to say, they also do not work by means of acoustic sound waves, since the radar receiver isn’t affected by acoustic waves. It just so happens that the Doppler shift for automobile speeds and radar waves is in the range of audible frequencies.A tuning fork vibrates at a given rate and produces a specific sound frequency, which is the purpose of a tuning fork. According to another source:
I'm going to have to do more research to make certain I understand how that works. Clearly it disagrees with the first quote.
Curious as to who the author of the first quote (and the quote I used yesterday) was, I accessed https://www.mathpages.com/ and found the author was someone named Kevin Brown, who has evidently self-published 16 books and a couple hundred "articles" about mathematics. However, there isn't any information at all on his web site about who Kevin Brown is. A Google search finds a site that says he is Dr. Kevin S. Brown who lives in Kent, Washington. But that is all it says. And it seems that other people have also been trying to find out more information about him. He seems to have spent a lot of time arguing on UseNet (and Google) science forums. So, I may actually have argued with him. He arguments are certainly virtually the same as the arguments some people on sci.physics.relativity have used.
Meanwhile, when I went to the gym this afternoon, nearly all of their TVs were working fine, and none did the automatic power saver shut off while I was there. One cable box seemed to be turned off, but I have no idea why. Is the problem with the power saver switch fixed? Time will tell. Did they use my instruction sheet to solve the problem? I may never find out.
May 5, 2019 - I think I'm slowly recovering from my trip to Virginia. Instead of thinking about things discussed while in Virginia, this morning I awoke thinking once again about radar guns ... and LIDAR guns. And I was also thinking about the quote I used on May 3:
Dijksterhuis’s work also shows that our unconscious thought processes don’t engage with a problem until we’ve clearly and consciously defined the problem. If we don’t have a particular intellectual goal in mind, Dijksterhuis writes, “unconscious thought does not occur.”I'm not sure if my conscious or unconscious mind came up with it, but I awoke this morning wondering about two things:
1. Can a radar gun send and receive signals at the same time?I think the answer to the both questions is "No." I recall reading that a radar gun sends a signal and then switches to receive mode to capture the return signal. And I recall reading that basic radar guns do not measure distances. LIDAR guns measure distances. Basic radar guns are "continuous wave" radar, which simply means that it is sending out radar photons for as long as you hold down the trigger. According to an on-line source:
As opposed to pulsed radar systems, continuous wave (CW) radar systems emit electromagnetic radiation at all times. Conventional CW radar cannot measure range [i.e., distance] because there is no basis for the measurement of the time delay. Recall that the basic radar system created pulses and used the time interval between transmission and reception to determine the target's range. If the energy is transmitted continuously then this will not be possible.That also seems to say it is sending and receiving at the same time. However, it could also mean that it is constantly switching between send and receive modes when you hold down the trigger. The key point is that you cannot measure distances that way. Using radar, you can only measure speed via the Doppler effect. The Doppler effect is measured by comparing the emitted photon "wavelength" to the returned photon "wavelength."
LIDAR doesn't compare wavelengths, it measures distances. Here's how one web site describes the way LIDAR guns work:
Lasers use light and we know the speed of light (roughly 186,000 miles per second). When we send a quick pulse of light out, it will travel from the lidar gun, to the target vehicle, and back. If we measure how much time it takes to get a reflection (time of flight), we can calculate how far the light had to travel. Because the laser beam had to make a round trip to the car and back, if we divide that number by two, we’ll get the distance between the lidar gun and the target vehicle. That’s step one.That same web page also says,
Laser guns typically take about 0.3 sec to get a lock on a vehicle and for an example laser gun that fires 200 pulses per second, this means it needs 60 return pulses to get a reading.That second quote is kind of misleading since it suggests that if the gun sends out 200 pulses and gets back only 60, there is no way to match the sent pulse to the received pulse. In reality, the gun sends out a pulse, waits for the pulse to return, then sends out another pulse, waits for that pulse to return, etc., 200 times per second. So, it knows that the pulse it got back was from the pulse it just emitted. If it doesn't get back a pulse in a specific amount of time, it tries again. Traveling at 186,000 miles per second, light can make thousands of round trips from a police LIDAR gun to a target a block away in one second.
Each round trip pulse measures the distance to the target. Knowing the time between pulses allows the gun to compute how far the target traveled between distance measurements, and thereby how fast the target was traveling.
One key argument I've had with mathematicians is about the Doppler effect. LIDAR guns do not use any Doppler effect. However, you can easily find a math-oriented web page that says LIDAR does use the Doppler effect.
There seems to be a widespread misconception (in some venues) that LIDAR speed guns do not use the Doppler effect to measure speed. This may be traced to a popular online source, which gives the following ‘explanation’ for how a LIDAR speed gun measures speed, contrasting it with how a radar gun measures speed:
This ‘explanation’ actually highlights two misconceptions. First, it is obviously wrong to suggest that LIDAR speed guns don’t rely on the Doppler effect to determine speeds.The page then sets about using math to prove that LIDAR does use the Doppler effect. Actually, it only proves that you can use math to prove whatever you want to prove. If you have a basic misunderstanding about something, you can still develop mathematical equations to confirm what you believe. That is what mathematicians did when they believed that the Sun and stars orbited around the Earth.
To add to the confusion, weather radars are commonly called "Doppler radars," but they do not use the Doppler effect. Weather radars measure the distance and direction to a rain drop. It should also be obvious that they cannot track a specific rain drop, especially since the rain drop is falling downward and the weather radar tracks lateral movement of weather systems. What weather radars do is take a "snapshot" of the current location of countless raindrops in the area, then it takes another " snapshot" a few minutes later, and then another, and then they put the "snapshots" together to create a time-lapse movie so we can see how the weather moves. There is no "Doppler effect" involved.
I think the physics of LIDAR versus radar can be used to solidly disprove some common screwball beliefs held by mathematicians. But, mathematicians will never believe the proof, since they will just develop a mathematical equation that proves whatever they want to prove. Generally speaking, math cannot be used to confirm theories. Observations and experiments confirm theories. Math is just a tool that is used to help figure out what kind of observations and experiments to perform. If the experiment doesn't work, then either the theory or the math is wrong - or the experiment was improperly constructed - or all three.
|Comments for Wednesday, May 1,
2019, thru Saturday, May 4, 2019:
May 4, 2019 - I recall the greeting "May the Force be with you" from the 1977 movie Star Wars, but I think I heard the term "May the 4th be with you" for the first time a couple days ago.
According to Wikipedia, however, the term has been used for at least 40 years.
Apocryphally, the reference was first used on May 4, 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. An online news article from the Danish public broadcaster says her political party, the Conservatives, placed a congratulatory advertisement in The London Evening News, saying "May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations."When I looked for an image to display with this comment, I found hundreds of them on the Internet. I do not want to be out of step with the times, so ...
May 3, 2019 - As I was driving home from the gym yesterday, I heard this from the audio book I'm currently listening to on my car's CD player:
As most of us know from experience, if we concentrate too intensively on a tough problem, we can get stuck in a mental rut. Our thinking narrows, and we struggle vainly to come up with new ideas. But if we let the problem sit unattended for a time—if we “sleep on it”—we often return to it with a fresh perspective and a burst of creativity. Research by Ap Dijksterhuis, a Dutch psychologist who heads the Unconscious Lab at Radboud University in Nijmegen, indicates that such breaks in our attention give our unconscious mind time to grapple with a problem, bringing to bear information and cognitive processes unavailable to conscious deliberation. We usually make better decisions, his experiments reveal, if we shift our attention away from a difficult mental challenge for a time. But Dijksterhuis’s work also shows that our unconscious thought processes don’t engage with a problem until we’ve clearly and consciously defined the problem. If we don’t have a particular intellectual goal in mind, Dijksterhuis writes, “unconscious thought does not occur.”The book is "The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains," and I'm currently on CD #7 in the 12-CD set. The above quote says what I've said many times on this web site. I go to bed thinking about a problem, while I'm asleep my "unconscious" (or "subconscious") continues to work on the problem, and when I wake up it sometimes presents a solution to me.
Unfortunately, right now I'm thinking about too many different problems, most of which would probably be of absolutely no interest to the people who read this web site. For example, for the past two years, four of the seven TVs on the wall in front of the treadmills and Exercycles in the "Cardio Room" have been automatically turning off at about 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. to save power, apparently because no one who works for the gym knows how to solve the problem.
In the image above, taken in January 2018, you can see 6 of the wall TVs and that 3 of them are off. There is one more that is off but out of view to the right. The 6 TVs hanging from the ceiling use the same cable boxes, except for one, which I think uses an 8th cable box.
The TVs turn off at about 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. because the cable boxes for those four TVs have their "power saver" options turned to "ON." That means that if the cable box has been turned on for 12 hours and no one has changed channels or anything else, the cable box assumes that everyone has gone to bed and it turns itself off in order to save power.
I've tried explaining to them many times that all they need to do is set the "power saver" timer in the cable boxes for those four TVs to "off." But it is like talking to a wall. They just do not seem able to understand. Or their brains are set to ignore suggestions from members.
Early last week, before I went on my trip, the shift supervisor even told me that it is impossible to use the remote control on one cable box at a time. He claimed tht, when they turn the TVs off and on, they must press the on-off buttons on the boxes, they do not use any remote control. I can make no sense of that, since the remotes work with light, not radio signals. And you can control where the light is pointed. Plus, I've seen the channels changed on the TVs. But I saw no point in arguing further.
Then, a couple days ago, on May 1, the four TVs again turned off at about 1:10 p.m. But this time it was different. When the gym staff tuned them back on, the four TVs all showed the same channel: It was Spectrum Channel 1, a local news channel set up by Spectrum. I recalled that when I had turned on my TV at home that morning, it had also been on Spectrum Channel 1. Evidently, Spectrum had changed things that morning so that when a cable box is turned on, it doesn't show the same channel that was being used when the box was turned off, it shows Spectrum Channel 1.
I explained the situation to the people at the gym. It means that when they turn off all the TVs and cable boxes when they shut down the entire gym on Sunday nights from about 5 p.m. to 1 a..m. Monday morning, ALL of their TVs will show Channel 1 when turned back on. The guy I talked with looked stunned, like it was an unsolvable problem for them.
When I got home it occurred to me that Spectrum must have a switch in their cable boxes to control what station you get when you turn the cable box on. And, yes they do. I don't know if it is new or if it has always been there, but I set the switch in my cable box to Channel 1351 (CNN Headline News) and, sure enough, when I turned my TV on the next morning, it was set to Channel 1351.
So, I prepared the instruction sheet below to show the people at the gym how to fix both problems:
I printed out 2 copies and took them with me to the gym yesterday afternoon. After I had swiped my card and checked in at the reception desk, I went into the Cardio room to see if the 4 TVs were still set to Channel 1. Two were, the other two were turned off.
None of the bosses seemed to be there, so I gave a copy of the instruction sheet to the guy tending the reception desk. No bosses showed up while I was doing my workout, and when I left I gave the second instruction sheet to the same guy. He seemed very interested and rushed off somewhere with it. I just left.
So, this afternoon I'll see if they just threw the instructions in the wastebasket, or if they still believe they cannot use their remote control on one cable box at a time, or if they are in the process of fixing the problems.
I guess the point in explaining all this is because it seems so much like the problems I have with mathematicians. The people at the gym seem to have closed minds, and nothing I say can change their minds. The same with the mathematicians. The only difference is that the people at the gym now have a very serious problem that clearly needs to be fixed. If they do not fix it, all seven TVs on the front wall and the 6 others hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the cardio room will all be set to Channel 1 forever. I do not think they'll let that happen. If they do not use my instruction sheet, they'll have to contact Spectrum or someone else to fix the problem.
I just wish there was such a crisis on the subject of how radar guns work. That way we'd all see who is right and who is wrong.
ADDED NOTE: When I got to the gym this afternoon, all the TVs were working fine and showed their normal TV channels. None showed Channel 1. However,
the only employee in the place seemed to be a young Asian woman behind the check-in counter, someone I've never talked with before. So, I have no idea if they used my instructions to fix the problem, or if they just called in some expert from Spectrum or from their head office. Did they fix the power-saver problem, too? I dunno. Time will tell. If the fixer did his fixing at 9 a.m. this morning and turned the TVs off and on at that time, the power-saver option won't turn the TVs off until 9 p.m. this evening.
May 1, 2019 - I'm still adapting to being home again after my trip. When I awoke this morning I briefly thought I was still in Virginia. The same thing happened last night while I was watching TV.
While in Virginia, in one of the quiet moments while not rushing around, I mentioned listening to podcasts, and learned that my sister had basically never heard of them. So, we listened to a few. Then I learned about Sudoku puzzles from her. They are something I had never heard of before (that I can recall). Here's an example.
Basically, the objective is to fill the above 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids that compose the grid (also called "boxes", "blocks", or "regions") contain all of the digits from 1 to 9. Like the example above, each puzzle already contains some of the numbers filled in. Here's the fully solved version of the puzzle above:
I wondered if it is a "logic puzzle" or a "visual puzzle." It appears to be both. I was amazed at how popular they are. And there are dozens of other number games and several different versions of Sudoku. All the games have Japanese names, so they evidently all originated in Japan.
Coincidentally, while I was driving around yesterday doing chores, I was listening to an audio book titled "The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains," and I heard this passage:
In 2001, young Japanese women began composing stories on their mobile phones, as strings of text messages, and uploading them to a Web site, Maho no i-rando, where other people read and commented on them. The stories expanded into serialized “cell phone novels,” and their popularity grew. Some of the novels found millions of readers online. Publishers took notice, and began to bring out the novels as printed books. By the end of the decade, cell phone novels had come to dominate the country’s best-seller lists. The three top-selling Japanese novels in 2007 were all originally written on mobile phones.That is something I cannot even visualize. Long ago, I lived in Japan for a couple years, and I learned to read, write and speak the language a bit. I just cannot imagine cell phone texting in a language that has three alphabets, much less writing a book that way. Japanese has a 48-character alphabet for foreign words (katakana), a 46-character alphabet for Japanese words (hiragana) and they use Chinese characters for names and places. The Chinese "alphabet" consists of thousands of characters. How can you write them on a cell phone? Below is the only image I could find that shows Japanese text on a cell phone.
Maybe some day I'll find the time to research it and learn out how it is done. But, before doing that I need to do a million other things, and researching radar guns is still at the top of the list.
Hmm. I just received an email from someone who said that he can no longer access my web site. When he tries, he gets this message:
Clearly, it is a problem at his end. He appears to be using a computer connection that is public or semi-public and somehow their Sophos security software thinks my site has something to do with alcohol and tobacco.
Also, even though Google sent me an email two months ago which seemed to say they were going to shut down my two blogs, Debating the Anthrax Attacks and My Thoughts on the Changing World, on April 1, the blogs are still working fine.
Life is just one endless series of puzzles.