|Comments for Sunday October 27,
2019, thru Thursday, October 31, 2019:
October 31, 2019 - A brief discussion I had on Facebook this morning caused me to finish a web page titled "A List of Variable Speed of Light Experiments" that I had started at least a month ago. The new page can be accessed by using the link I just provided or by clicking on HERE in the box at the top of this web site which says:
Click HERE to go to my notes about scientific topics discussed on this web site.And then you can click on item #3. A List of Variable Speed of Light Experiments.
I'm not sure what there was in the comments I wrote on Facebook that suddenly made everything clear to me about those 8 experiments, but I had to immediately work on the page and make it available for use in any further discussions.
October 30, 2019 - I'm still very busy researching various details about different kinds of radar guns. I'm hoping to have some experiment test results for a "basic" radar gun in the next couple weeks. Meanwhile, this morning I found a YouTube video that actually caused my jaw to drop open in astonishment. I'd been researching the Mattel Hot Wheels radar gun that was sold for awhile starting in 2006 and then discontinued about a year later. In the video, a guy performs a test by rapidly moving the gun toward what looks like a bed sheet:
The gun gives a speed of 217, which must be divided by 64 to get miles per hour. (Since the gun is generally used at close range, and to measure things that do not go very fast, the gun has a switch for regular speed or "Hot Wheels" speed, which is miles per hour multiplied by 64.) According to the instructions for the Hot Wheels radar gun, it only works if the target is within 39 feet of the gun.
But what really astonished me is that the gun evidently has software and hardware that allows it to measure its own speed. As I see it, that is the only way it can give a reading when the gun is moved toward a target. The gun may be nothing more than a toy, but it is a very sophisticated toy.
In addition to used guns, there are unused guns still in their original packaging available for sale on E-bay. The prices range from around $40 to about $110, including shipping costs. While I'm tempted to buy one, I cannot think of what use it would be. If I wanted to compare it to a "basic" radar gun, I'd be better off using a Bushnell Velocity for comparison. But I am still amazed that even a gun that is basically sold as a "toy" can include the ability to measure its own speed, which mathematicians will argue is totally impossible.
October 28, 2019 - My sister knows that I am interested in science, so a little over a week ago she shared this image with me via Facebook:
In case you do not recognize it, that is the Earth in the sky in the background, and the picture was supposedly taken on the moon. Obviously, it is a fake, but I couldn't find any originals for it when I did a Google search. Hundreds of pictures were taken by astronauts while they were on the moon, but I have only a couple hundred in my collection. I do not have any shots that match the rocks in the foreground, nor the mountains in the background as seen from that angle. The Earth would not appear that bright or that large when photographed from the moon's surface. The shot of the Earth by itself was evidently taken from orbit around the moon. The part of the Earth that is in shadow indicates the sun is directly overhead when viewed from the moon, while the shadows of the rocks in the foreground show the sun is at an angle off to the left. Oh yes, and there are no dogs on the moon.
I was able to find this actual shot taken of the Earth as seen from the surface of the moon:
A few days later, my sister sent me this image:
Researching it, I think it was taken in India. It's totally real, of course, but it must have taken a lot of planning to capture the moon from the right angle and the right distance to make it appear like the moon is setting inside the dish of a radio telescope. The version my sister sent me had a headline on it that said "NASA caught taking down the moon for repairs."
October 27, 2019 - While eating breakfast yesterday morning, I finished reading another book on my Kindle. The book was "How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World " by Steven Johnson.
The book is similar to Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy, which I finished reading on October 9, except that this book is more about how one invention or discovery enables other inventions and discoveries to happen. The "six innovations" are listed as Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time and Light, but they might be better described as Making Glass, Refrigeration, Recording Sound, Bathing and Sewage Disposal, Measuring Time, and Creating Light.
I only highlighted and saved 6 pages of notes, but that isn't because the book had little worth quoting, it is because the ideas described in the book generally cannot be stated in a few words because they are about how one idea leads to another and another. Human use of glass, for example, began as a gem or ornament, with the first sample of it being found in King Tut's tomb. It was a piece of glass created by some unknown event which occurred about 26 million years ago in or over the Libyan desert. It was some kind of event (probably a meteor strike) that caused temperatures on the ground to rise to well over 1,000 degrees, which resulted in melting many square miles of sand, which in turn created acres of glass globules. Millions of years later, someone picked up a scarab beetle-shaped globule and fastened it in the center of a pendant worn by King Tut:
Later, of course, glass was put to many other uses, from windows to fiber optics. The book also describes how the printing press resulted in producing books at much lower prices, which resulted in a lot of people realizing they were farsighted, which caused a demand for reading glasses, which later led to microscopes.
Refrigeration began in the mid-1800s when a man named Frederick Tudor thought it would be a profitable idea to ship blocks of ice cut from a frozen lake in wintry New England to islands in the Caribbean, so people there could have something cold to help them ward off the oppressive heat. Tudor knew that ice would keep for a long time if it was kept out of the sun and insulated with sawdust. He figured ice would be priceless in the heat of the tropics. But, when his ship full of ice arrived in the Caribbean, no one knew what to do with it. It took years for a popular demand to be created for ice. The book says,
Sugarcane, coffee, tea, cotton—all these staples of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century commerce were dependent on the blistering heat of tropical and subtropical climates; the fossil fuels that now circle the planet in tankers and pipelines are simply solar energy that was captured and stored by plants millions of years ago. You could make a fortune in 1800 by taking things that grew only in high-energy environments and shipping them off to low-energy climates. But the ice trade—arguably for the only time in the history of global commerce—reversed that pattern.Recorded and transmitted sound had a similar history of being ideas that didn't work quite the way their inventors figured they would work:
When Thomas Edison completed Scott’s original project and invented the phonograph in 1877, he imagined it would regularly be used as a means of sending audio letters through the postal system. Individuals would record their missives on the phonograph’s wax scrolls, and then pop them into the mail, to be played back days later. Bell, in inventing the telephone, made what was effectively a mirror-image miscalculation: He envisioned one of the primary uses for the telephone to be as a medium for sharing live music. An orchestra or singer would sit on one end of the line, and listeners would sit back and enjoy the sound through the telephone speaker on the other. So, the two legendary inventors had it exactly reversed: people ended up using the phonograph to listen to music and using the telephone to communicate with friends.When it comes to the innovations related to bathing, those innovations were met with great hostility:
In today’s world, we think of hygiene in fundamentally different ways. The concept of bathing, for instance, was alien to most nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans. You might naturally assume that taking a bath was a foreign concept simply because people didn’t have access to running water and indoor plumbing and showers the way most of us in the developed world do today. But, in fact, the story is much more complicated than that. In Europe, starting in the Middle Ages and running almost all the way to the twentieth century, the prevailing wisdom on hygiene maintained that submerging the body in water was a distinctly unhealthy, even dangerous thing. Clogging one’s pores with dirt and oil allegedly protected you from disease. “Bathing fills the head with vapors,” a French doctor advised in 1655. “It is the enemy of the nerves and ligaments, which it loosens, in such a way that many a man never suffers from gout except after bathing.”Here's another interesting passage about bathing and keeping clean:
Elizabeth I bothered to take a bath only once a month, and she was a veritable clean freak compared to her peers. As a child, Louis XIII was not bathed once until he was seven years old. Sitting naked in a pool of water was simply not something civilized Europeans did; it belonged to the barbaric traditions of Middle Eastern bathhouses, not the aristocracy of Paris or London.The subject of creating light is interesting because it cost a big part of one's income in the days of candlelight to make candles. And it cost even more if you bought candles from a candle maker. At first, most candles were made from animal fat, which meant they produced smoke, they stank, and they would soften and sag if you tried to hold one in your hand. (Try holding an unwrapped pound of lard in your hand for awhile.) But the big difference was in cost:
If you worked for an hour at the average wage of 1800, you could buy yourself ten minutes of artificial light. With kerosene in 1880, the same hour of work would give you three hours of reading at night. Today, you can buy three hundred days of artificial light with an hour of wages.It was a very enjoyable book, and I can definitely recommend it. It was published in 2014, around the same time Steven Johnson narrated a BBC and PBS TV series also titled "How We Got To Now." I probably watched it, but it wasn't anywhere near as memorable as the book. There's one more quote from the book that is worth repeating:
Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.Yes, I am still working on ways to get my radar gun experiment performed, but it is an agonizingly slow process.
|Comments for Sunday October 20
2019, thru Saturday, October 26, 2019:
October 24, 2019 - About a year ago, I created a new page for this web site on which I listed all the time dilation experiments I could find that have been performed over the years. That web page has come in handy when arguing with mathematicians who do not believe in time dilation. It has been interesting to see how those mathematicians deny the reality shown in the experiments. (If your experiment does not allow you to actually observe both clocks at the same time and see that one is running slower than the other, then mathematicians believe time dilation has not been demonstrated.)
For the past two weeks I've been working on a new variable speed of light web page on which I had planned to list all the various experiments which confirm that moving observers can measure the arriving speed of light as c+v or c-v, where v is the speed of the observer toward or away from the source of the light. Those experiments include radar guns, pulsars, mirrors on the moon and eclipses of Jupiter's moon Io.
However, when I did research into some other experiments which also involved variable speeds for light, it appeared that they did not simply measure speeds at c+v or c-v, instead they also (or instead) measured light speeds as c versus c'. In other words, the second group measured one speed of light against a different speed of light. The speed of light is measured per second, and the differences in the speed of light are the result of differences in the length of a second due to velocity time dilation and/or gravitational time dilation at the point of emission. An emitter that is moving very fast still emits light at c, but due to its speed, the speed of light per second is slightly different from the speed of light per second for a slower moving emitter.
The problem is that none of these experiments result in anything as simple as comparing c+v to c. Instead, the experiments produce "fringes" of different sizes.
And I would need to explain exactly what is going on. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to translate all the mathematical equations into simple explanations. And I'm reading through scientific paper after scientific paper to see if I can find a simple way to explain things.
It took me all morning just to write this comment about what I'm trying to do. And I cannot be absolutely certain it is entirely correct. I've been tempted several times to just forget about writing a comment for today, or instead just write a comment about all the attempts that have been made by hackers in the past two days to POST unwanted stuff onto this web site. Here's a screen capture of a slew of attempted POSTS that were made two days ago:
The attempted POSTS are from all around the globe, but they were obviously coordinated to hit at about the same time, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. The IP numbers that begin with 185 are mostly from Amsterdam, Holland, but one is from Odessa in the Ukraine. (I block all attempted accesses from IP addresses beginning with 185 because they all seem to belong to hackers.) 220.127.116.11 traces back to Beauharnois, Quebec, a place that seems loaded with hackers. 18.104.22.168 traces to Putian, China. 22.214.171.124 traces to Vienna, Austria. 126.96.36.199 traces to Los Altos, California. Except for the ones from IPs beginning with 185, there is no other pattern than that they all seemed to have hit at the same general time. I have no idea what is going on. And I cannot find anyone else who seems to care. It is evidently just a routine part of having a web site.
October 22, 2019 - Every morning, as part of my startup routine, I check the latest image on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site. Over the years I've downloaded and saved 1,717 images from the site, which is probably less than a third of total number of pictures I've viewed on the site. This morning's Picture of the Day is the image below (you should be able to right click on it to view the full size image).
It's a "picture" taken of a man standing on "the world's largest mirror" in Bolivia. The accompanying explanation for the picture says:
Explanation: What's being reflected in the world's largest mirror? Stars, galaxies, and a planet. Many of these stars are confined to the grand arch that runs across the image, an arch that is the central plane of our home Milky Way Galaxy. Inside the arch is another galaxy -- the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Stars that are individually visible include Antares on the far left and Sirius on the far right. The planet Jupiter shines brightly just below Antares. The featured picture is composed of 15 vertical frames taken consecutively over ten minutes from the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia. Uyuni Salt Flat (Salar de Uyuni) is the largest salt flat on Earth and is so large and so extraordinarily flat that, after a rain, it can become the world's largest mirror -- spanning 130 kilometers. This expansive mirror was captured in early April reflecting each of the galaxies, stars, and planet mentioned above.I highlighted in red the sentence that puzzles me. Why did the photographer need to take "15 vertical frames" in order to get the image. I assume it has something to do with the exposure times needed to capture enough light to register an image. But I would think that you would need many "horizontal frames" to do that, since there is vastly more available light along the center of the picture than there is at the top or bottom. I think of "vertical frames" as being like a picket fence. Instead, when you click on the link under "vertical frames," you get this image:
So, we have a stack of vertical cats, but each is in his or her horizontal frame. Since there seems no way to figure out exactly what the individual frames look like, I just examined some of the links. The one I highly recommend is the one under the words "this expansive mirror." It's a 12 minute video showing a lot of fascinating and utterly spectacular details about that salt flats mirror, some so amazing that I can't understand why I never heard of the place before (or, if I have heard of it, how I could have forgotten).
October 20, 2019 - I'm going to try to stop writing about my proposed "basic" radar gun experiments until someone actually does such an experiment and reports on it. I'm still trying to find a way to do the experiment myself without actually buying a radar gun, but it has been just one no reply after another.
What I read last week in the book "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" still nags at me. Over and over in that book it describes mathematicians huddling together or walking together as they discuss some new variation on Quantum Physics. Each time, at the center of the discussion is some new math guru (Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Hugh Everett, Max Born, Erwin Schrödinger, David Bohm, John Bell, John von Neumann, etc.) who the others seem to almost worship. And never does any of them ever mention doing an experiment to confirm some idea. It's all just oooos and ahhhhs as the guru speaks and the followers listen, with an occasional question by a follower and a gasp-causing answer by the guru.
Today we have a majority of mathematicians who follow the teachings of those gurus and who write the physics textbooks used in colleges and universities, and we also have a smaller second group of mathematicians who question what they read in those text books. What the second group mostly questions are the nutty interpretations of Einstein's postulates created by the first group. I keep coming across scientific papers arguing against the "invariable speed of light" postulate or theory peddled by the first group who falsely claim it was Einstein's idea.
The first group has concluded that Einstein said there is no ether (or aether), and therefore there is nothing fixed in Nature against which motion can be measured. So, they idiotically conclude that, if I am moving relative to you, you are also moving relative to me. Neither of us can be a "preferred" frame of reference. It is what they firmly believe, and it is what many or most textbooks say, even though it is totally illogical.
The second group says experiments show this to be wrong. Therefore, they believe the ether must exist, even though Einstein said it was "superfluous".
I agree with the second group in that experiments show the first group to be wrong, but I disagree that it means the ether must exist. My understanding of Einstein's theories is that the speed of light can be used instead of the ether as something against which all motion can be measured. It is how radar guns work.
Yesterday, while researching something or other, I came across a paper from someone in that second group of mathematicians. His name is Stephen J. G. Gift, and he's a professor at The University of the West Indies. It turns out I have at least a dozen of his papers in my collection. The new one I just added is titled "One-Way Speed of Light Relative to a Moving Observer." Prof. Gift is a mathematician, so the paper is laden with math, but it does contain this sentence:
Following from this Equations (8) and (14) indicate that for an observer moving at a constant speed v relative to the ECI [Earth-Centered Inertial] frame, the speed of light from a source fixed in the ECI frame relative to that moving observer is c - v for the observer moving away from the source and c + v for the observer moving towards the source.Gift arrived at that conclusion based upon calculations he did involving the Global Positioning System (GPS). In the paper he names someone else who came to the same conclusion but in a different way: Eugene I. Shtyrkov has a paper titled "Observation of Ether Drift in Experiments with Geostationary Satellites."
Another paper titled "The Invalidation of a Sacred Principle of Modern Physics," by Gift, has this abstract:
The principle underpinning modern physics, which states that the speed of light is constant and independent of the motion of the source and the observer, is shown to be invalid.It is about measuring the speed of reflected light from Jupiter's moon Io when the Earth is moving toward Io at one time of year and moving away from Io around six months later. The paper has these passages:
Based on classical velocity composition, when the Earth is at position A moving away from Jupiter, the speed of light relative to Earth isand
Similarly, when Earth is at position B moving toward Jupiter, the speed of light relative to Earth is (c + v) and not c as required by Einstein’s law of light propagation.In another paper titled "Light Speed Invariance is a Remarkable Illusion," Prof. Gift cites a 1932 paper titled "Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time" by Roy J. Kennedy and Edward Thorndike. The Kennedy-Thorndike paper also argues that light will arrive at an observer at c+v if the observer is moving toward the light source, and at c-v if the observer is moving away from the source. Kennedy and Thorndike used an apparatus similar to that used in the Michelson-Morley experiment but come to an opposite conclusion due to the differences in the equipment.
I'm still bumbling through these papers, but they make it clear to me that I need to create a web page where I list all the experiments which confirm that a moving observer does NOT observe light arriving at c, in direct conflict with what many or most college textbooks say. And, of course, it is in direct conflict with what all the mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity forum believe.
And maybe I need to write a paper titled "Relativity Relative to the Speed of Light" to explain how motion is measured relative to the variable speed of light. I think I understand what Einstein was driving at, but I need to write things down to make absolutely certain.
|Comments for Sunday October 13,
2019, thru Saturday, October 19, 2019:
October 17, 2019 - Yesterday afternoon I managed to finish reading "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker.
I struggled to get through it because a lot of it is the same basic thing over and over and over and over and over: Someone develops a mathematical equation describing how large objects relate to objects on the sub-atomic scale, and then someone else develops another equation that does the same thing but in a different way, and then someone else does the same thing but in a different way. And each mathematician is declared by the author to have done something amazing, while the mathematicians themselves disagree with one another.
I've got 39 pages of quoted passages from the book, far more than I've ever logged for any other book. Mostly they are passages I wanted to save so that I would never have to hunt through the book for a quote. I can just hunt through the saved quotes for a relevant quote.
On October 15, just after I started to read the book, I supplied a few relevant quotes in my comment for that day. Here's another from early in the book:
Yet despite all this weirdness, quantum physics is wildly successful at describing the world—much more so than simple old Newtonian physics (which was already pretty good). Without quantum physics, we wouldn’t have any understanding of why diamonds are so hard, what atoms are made of, or how to build electronics. So wave functions, with their numbers scattered across the universe, must somehow be related to the everyday stuff we see around us in the world, otherwise quantum physics wouldn’t be any good at making predictions. But this makes the measurement problem even more urgent—it means there’s something about the nature of reality that we don’t understand.and another:
Physics is the science of the material world. And quantum theory purports to be the physics governing the most fundamental constituents of that world. Yet the Copenhagen interpretation says that it’s meaningless to ask about what’s actually going on in quantum physics. So what is real? Copenhagen’s reply is silence—and a look of stern disapproval for having the temerity to ask the question in the first place.Many of the arguments are about whether something is real if it cannot be seen. Those arguments begin with Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach declaring that nothing is real if it cannot be seen. That included atoms. But then science progressed to the point were we could see atoms. So, now we accept that atoms exist, but there are evidently still heated arguments going on about whether the world exists outside of what is directly visible. Does the kitchen disappear when you go into the living room and close the door behind you? Evidently a lot of mathematicians think so. And what if there is someone else in the kitchen yelling at you through the door that the kitchen still exists? The kitchen exists for them, but not for you. And, of course, they do not exist, only the sound they make exists. Where does the sound come from? Don't ask.
A quote from page 14:
“The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them,” Heisenberg said, “is impossible.” How, then, does our world of stones and trees emerge from the world of atoms and molecules? “The transition from the ‘possible’ to the ‘actual’ takes place during the act of observation,” said Heisenberg. And what happens when we’re not looking? According to Heisenberg, that question can’t even be asked.The book goes into how college students are taught conflicting theories without any attempt to determine which theory is correct. "Correct" has no meaning if the mathematical equations work. That belief can be seen in the endless arguments I've had with mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity forum.
Another quote from the book:
Richard Feynman pointed out that although there’s no experimental way to tell the difference between two mathematically equivalent theories (i.e., two different interpretations of the same math), subscribing to one theory or the other makes a huge difference in how you think about the world. That difference, in turn, affects the new ideas and new theories we develop.I think the ideas and theories should come first, and if there is more than one way to mathematically define an idea, then the idea needs to be clarified via experiments. Math is just a tool to help define experiments. If you begin with math, that means that when you look for experiments to verify the math, you aren't even talking about reality. You're doing as mathematicians have been doing for a hundred years: you are confirming your own beliefs via your own methods. In that world, reality is not a topic for discussion. No one cares about reality if the math works.
I'd hoped that the book would name a lot of people who have argued against the mathematicians' view of the world, but the book just says there are a lot of them, without naming them - except for Albert Einstein, of course.
And the book doesn't even go into the fact that most college physics courses these days do not even teach Einstein's theories. They teach mathematicians' beliefs about what Einstein actually meant, beliefs that make Einstein agree with the mathematicians.
October 16, 2019 - Yesterday afternoon, I got tired of reading about physics and decided to listen to an audio book that I'd recently borrowed from the library. The audio book was only 6 hours and 13 minutes in length, and I had just 30 minutes left when it was bed time. So, I finished it this morning. The book was a fantasy novel by Janet Evanovich titled "Wicked Appetite."
It's the first book in another series of books by Evanovich, this series about a woman named Lizzie Tucker who is a pastry chef and man named Diesel who arrives in the town of Marblehead, Mass., on a mission to find some magical stones. Both Lizzie and Diesel have unnatural or supernatural powers, like a witch and a warlock, although those terms are never used. It's a very funny book and it was a good way to pass the time. I also have the second book in the series, but I'll probably listen to one or more of Evanovich's detective novels before I get back into witchcraft again.
October 15, 2019 - I'm getting nowhere in my attempts to borrow a "basic" radar gun and/or to observe someone else using the gun to demonstrate Einstein's theories. Evidently, there is simply no incentive for anyone to help me. There are no benefits, and there could be serious risk of getting caught up in something highly controversial.
So, while contemplating my predicament and how to get out of it (without spending $1,600 to buy a "basic" radar gun) I stumbled across another book about the problem with physics. The book is about 288 pages long, and I'm only on page 120, so it's too early to write a review of it, but it is giving me an in-depth view of the conflict between supporters of Relativity and supporters of Quantum Physics that I knew little about before. It really is an argument over what is real, and who cares?
Here's a quote from page 4 of the book:
The Einstein-Bohr debates have entered into the lore of physics itself, and the usual conclusion is that Bohr won, that Einstein’s and Schrödinger’s concerns were shown to be baseless, that there is no problem with reality in quantum physics because there is no need to think about reality in the first place.And here's another quote from page 6:
Physics is about the world around us. It aims to understand the fundamental constituents of the universe and how they behave. Many physicists are driven to enter the field out of a desire to understand the most basic properties of nature, to see how the puzzle fits together. Yet, when it comes to quantum physics, the majority of physicists are perfectly willing to abandon this quest and instead merely “shut up and calculate,” in the words of physicist David Mermin.Unfortunately, after such thought-provoking quotes at the beginning of the book, the author then goes into a long, in-depth history of the problem. And on page 120, I seem to be a long way from getting to some part where it might name some physicists who argue against the "majority view" today. When I argued with the people on the sci.physics.relativity forum, their arguments were usually that I was the only person in the world who disagreed with them and their beliefs. When I quoted from a NASA web page, they would either argue that the page was wrong, or that the author of the page was some low-level NASA flunky who didn't know what he was talking about.
The book I'm currently reading also explains how the nut-jobs won. It says this on page 114:
the defenders of the Copenhagen interpretation presented a united front despite their private disagreements, while the rebellion, unable to agree on a single position, fizzled out.That's also what got Donald Trump elected and what might get him elected for a second term: His supporters are firmly united and the other side is divided on what to argue.
October 13, 2019 - I've once again stopped posting to the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum. When I argued that the mathematicians there almost certainly wouldn't accept the results of my radar gun experiment if the experiment showed them to be wrong, Paparios responded:
Be sure that not only me, but the whole physics community would accept the result of that experiment, after checking the conditions and statistical analysis of the results.Ah! So, that is how the mathematicians will argue that my radar gun experiment is invalid if it doesn't agree with their beliefs. They will simply claim that the experiment wasn't performed according to their standards.
I see no point in arguing with them further, at least until after I've done the experiment. Then we will see if they claim the experiment was invalid because they disagree with "the conditions and statistical analysis of the results." But first, of course, I have to find a way to do the experiment without spending $1,600 to buy a radar gun. And how will I do an experiment inside a truck without also renting a truck and finding someone to do the driving? I've got some ideas, but they will take time to work out.
Meanwhile, at lunch yesterday I finished reading another book on my Kindle. It was "Hidden In Plain Sight 3: The Secret of Time" by Andrew Thomas.
I've had the book in my Kindle for a long time, but I think I browsed it and found it wasn't going to be of any help to me, so I just moved on to other books. Then, four days ago, when I finished reading another book on my Kindle I had to figure out which book to start reading the next day. So, I browsed through the books in my Kindle, I built a priority list, and Hidden in Plain Sight 3 turned out to be at the top of the list.
The book is only 171 pages long (with lots of illustrations), so I was able to get through it in just four days. Normally, I just read from my Kindle while eating breakfast and lunch, but when I saw that the percentage completed number kept changing by 1 or 2 or 3 percent every time I read from it, I started reading it at other times, too. And I highlighted 23 pages of quotes from it. Here's a quote from page 3, which is the first page of the book's Introduction:
Einstein was greatly influenced by the philosopher-physicist Ernst Mach who was an advocate of logical positivism. According to logical positivism, physics should only make statements about phenomena which could be directly observed and measured. Using logical positivism as his guide, Einstein simply stated: "Time is what we measure with a clock". According to Einstein, there was no place in physics for philosophical musings about the nature of time — all that was important was what could be measured.I didn't like the use of the word "appear" in that quote, but I agreed with the rest of it. Then on page 7 the book starts to show how the author is going to get into a mathematician's point of view of everything:
In the more general sense, the more recent development of the so-called Copernican principle states that no particular point in the universe (not just the Earth) can hold a privileged position in the universe. This heralds a move away from an absolute system of science and cosmology to a science which realises that no observer holds a privileged position, and that the universe is built on relative measures. The repercussions of the Copernican principle are rippling through science to this day, perhaps having its greatest impact in the theory of relativity: if no observer holds a privileged position, then all motion must be described relatively. If you have read my previous two books you will know I have a firm conviction that the universe is built on fundamental principles — principles which are "obviously correct" and would have to be true in any conceivable universe. The Copernican principle is surely another of these fundamental principles: surely no point — and therefore no observer — holds a privileged position in any conceivable universe.If there are no "privileged positions" in the universe, then all motion is relative, and a radar gun cannot measure the speed of a truck from inside the truck. The walls of the truck are not moving relative to the radar gun.
But the walls are moving relative to the local speed of light. The problem, as described to me by various mathematicians, is that the speed of light is not an object. Therefore it cannot be used to measure speeds, even if that is exactly how a radar gun works.
The book is fascinating in some ways, since it provides a lot of information I've either never seen before or have forgotten. Here an example from page 20 and 21:
Galileo's greatest contribution to the world of science was his scientific method. Before the scientific method was introduced, the proclamations of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle were accepted without question as representing the absolute truth about Nature. Galileo was one of the first scientists to challenge the wisdom of the ancients. Galileo's introduction of the scientific method allowed Nature to speak for itself. Aristotle was no experimenter, and he relied too much on his preconceptions. Famously, Aristotle once proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Because no one thought to check this proclamation of Aristotle, for a thousand years everyone believed that women have fewer teeth (women and men, of course, actually have the same number of teeth).How can anyone believe that women have fewer teeth than men when such a thing is so easy to check?
On page 32, the author describes a photon as a form of "perpetual motion." I hadn't thought about that before. A photon oscillates continuously as it travels across the universe for billions of years. It is a form of "perpetual motion," except that you cannot use it to power anything. If the photon hits something, it is absorbed, and it is gone forever. A new photon may be created, but it too cannot be used to continuously power some machine. You can use its energy, but then the energy is gone. A "perpetual motion" machine is generally viewed as a machine that runs forever while also providing energy for some useful task.
Starting on page 38 the book gets into a long description of Einstein's thought experiment involving simultaneous lightning bolts and a passing train, with "Bob" on the train and "Alice" on the embankment. And I can see where the author starts to misinterpret that experiment. It begins around page 42 with this:
The only conclusion which is left to us is that reality itself is different for both Alice and Bob! In Alice's version of reality, the lightning bolts hit the ground simultaneously. In Bob's version of reality, the lightning bolts did not hit the ground simultaneously. Reality is a relative concept for the two observers. This extraordinary outcome of the experiment is called relativity of simultaneity.The author explains that Bob knows why he sees things differently from Alice, but the author still considers both observers to be viewing reality, even though it is abundantly clear that what Bob sees is an illusion. This is exactly what I was arguing with the mathematicians on sci.physics.relativity about last week. On page 43 the author declares:
If I am moving relative to you, then my reality is different to your reality.The objective of a scientist is to determine what is real and what is an illusion. It appears that mathematicians believe the only illusions in the universe are things which do not agree with their mathematical models. If you see it, then it is real.
On page 115 there is a quote that totally agrees with the mathematicians:
If you remember, Galilean relativity states that the laws of motion are the same for all observers who are moving at a constant velocity. There is no experiment you could perform to determine if you were stationary or moving at constant velocity.That is exactly what the radar gun experiment will do, so evidently Galilean Relativity is very different from Einstein's Relativity on this point.
I could go on and on, but the author then begins to view everything from a mathematician's point of view. In effect, he builds mathematical models and declares what the mathematical models show is reality. He describes in great detail how in a "block model of the universe" the past present and future are all real and happening at the same time, and the fact that we can only see what is happening now is just an illusion. This is from near the end of the book:
In the discussion of the block universe in the previous chapter, it was described how all times are equally real and there is, therefore, no special "now" pointer which moves through time at a certain speed and determines the current moment. Even though we derived this result in a logical manner, there still lingers a considerable amount of resistance to this model. For example, Lee Smolin recently devoted an entire book, entitled Time Reborn, in an attempt to refute the block universe. The main reason I feel that many people have such a problem accepting the block universe model is not through any rational scientific basis, but because they instinctively feel a special "now" moment. This feeling is so utterly entrenched into our lives and psyche that it is an incredibly hard habit to break.Yes indeed. And scientists use experiments to resolve disagreements. They call it "the scientific method," and it has a "rational scientific basis." Moreover, if there is no possible experiment that can demonstrate a belief, then that belief is just a waste of time. But mathematicians spend their entire lives discussing and arguing mathematical models of multiple universes and other beliefs and ideas which cannot possibly be confirmed by observation. Therein lies the problem with arguing with mathematicians. They see reality as different from the way science sees it. To mathematicians, reality is what is described by a mathematical model. Everything else is just an illusion.
While I found the book fascinating in many places, I can only recommend it if you want to learn why mathematicians believe the screwball things they believe.
|Comments for Sunday October 6,
2019, thru Saturday, October 12, 2019:
October 10, 2019 - During lunch yesterday, I finished reading another library book on my Kindle. It was "Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy" by Tim Harford.
It's a very interesting and enjoyable book that shows how a simple invention can change the whole world, and when multiple inventions are combined, there is virtually no limit to how the world can be changed. The shipping container is a world-changing invention that doesn't seem like much of an invention, but it really did change the world. Refrigeration is another.
But the changes are not always for the better, and some are not even what people would ordinarily call an "invention." I've got 16 pages of notes from the book, including more than a page of quotes about the invention of the passport. An example:
For most of history, passports were neither so ubiquitous nor so routinely used. They were, essentially, a threat: a letter from a powerful person requesting anyone a traveler met to let the traveler pass unmolested—or else. The concept of passport as protection goes back to biblical times. And protection was a privilege, not a right: English gentlemen such as Gadsby who wanted a passport before venturing across the sea to France would need to unearth some personal social link to the relevant government minister.and
You could visit 1890s America without a passport, though it helped if you were white. In some South American countries, passport-free travel was a constitutional right. In China and Japan, foreigners needed passports only to venture inland.The Google search engine is another invention that you might not think of as an "invention." A quote from the book:
It’s hard to remember just how bad search technology was before Google. In 1998, for instance, if you typed “cars” into Lycos—then a leading search engine—you’d get a results page filled with porn websites. Why? Owners of porn websites inserted many mentions of popular search terms like “cars,” perhaps in tiny text or in white on a white background. The Lycos algorithm saw many mentions of “cars” and concluded that the page would be interesting to someone searching for cars. It’s a system that now seems almost laughably simplistic and easy to game. But at the time, nothing better was available.I remember those days. Searching for things on the Internet back then was a real chore and often a total waste of time.
Another interesting aspect to new inventions is that they do not always help save time. Some actually require more time and yet are very popular. The washing machine is such an invention:
The data are clear that the washing machine didn’t save a lot of time, because before the washing machine we didn’t wash clothes very often. When it took all day to wash and dry a few shirts, people would use replaceable collars and cuffs or dark outer layers to hide the grime on their clothes.I could go on and on. The inventions discussed in the book cover everything from the plow to the Limited Liability Corporation, from checks to concrete, from the S-bend in your toilet to the electric light. It's a fascinating book.
October 9, 2019 - Yesterday, Tom Roberts posted an interesting comment to the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum. He went all the way back to a comment I had posted on October 3rd to get material for his criticism:
On 10/3/19 4:03 PM, Ed Lake wrote:Beginning on Christmas Day of 2016, I've been saving the discussion threads on sci.physics.relativity in which I have been a participant. The comment above is part of the 60th discussion thread.
It's an interesting look into how Tom Roberts thinks. He claims:
When you say "the light will hit the wall at c-v", what you really mean is: as the light approaches the wall, the light is moving with speed c-v relative to the inertial frame in which the wall is at rest.So, is he claiming be able to read my mind, or is he just interpreting things to make them fit his beliefs? Obviously, it is the latter. He is claiming that I somehow said that "light is moving with speed c-v." I've probably told them all at least a hundred times that light always moves at c. But Tom Roberts evidently cannot understand that, because he believes that stationary "frames of reference" are real and not just a human invention for doing mathematics. Therefore, in his mind, if I am moving away from a light source at velocity v and I encounter the light as arriving at c-v, in my stationary frame of reference the light must actually be traveling at c-v, not at c.
That appears to be the central problem that is causing all of our disagreements. So, how do I explain to him that "stationary frames of reference" are not real, neither are "systems of coordinates," they are just human inventions for doing mathematics?
In a comment following the one posted by Tom Roberts, Paparios sees things the same way but he explains things in a different way. He wrote this about what I wrote on this web site yesterday:
You wrote the following today, referring to my comment that SR does considers that both the pòint of view of the train observer and the point of view of the embankment observer are equally valid :The passage I highlighted in red is of key importance. It is another way of saying that stationary frames of reference are real, and they're not just human inventions to assist in doing mathematics. He's saying that one stationary frame of reference is as real as another, therefore "In physics there are no 'illusions,'" there are only "observations."
I'm basically saying that science is about finding out what is real when there are conflicting observations that cannot both be real.
So, there can be no conciliation of our opposing views.
The universe works the way it works whether there are sentient observers watching it or not. When the boy on the plane tosses the ball straight up and down, that is what he sees in his mathematical "stationary frame of reference." His entire world is that airplane, and it sees the airplane as being stationary. If he looks out the window while tossing the ball, his "frame of reference" then includes the outside world, which appears to be moving past his "stationary" airplane at 500 mph.
According to mathematicians, what he is seeing is real. There is no illusion. The plane is actually stationary and the earth is moving.
So, how do they explain the fact that an hour earlier the boy was on the stationary earth and the plane was also on the stationary earth? Both the plane and the earth were in the same stationary "frame of reference." Then an hour later the boy and the plane are again in a "stationary frame of reference" where the plane is stationary but the earth is moving. What forces caused the earth to start moving? Do mathematicians actually believe that when the plane started accelerating down the runway before taking off it was actually causing the earth to start moving while the plane just stood still?
Hmm. I think I'll have to get back on that sci.physics.relativity thread and ask them that question.
October 8, 2019 - The blogger known as "Paparios" read what I wrote on this web site yesterday, and he once again wrote a long comment about it on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum. It's odd to exchange comments with him writing on that forum and me responding on this web site, but it solves some of the problems with arguing on that forum. I don't have to deal with a dozen other mathematicians hurling insults and constantly trying to change the subject. I can made corrections to typos. Plus, arguing this way allows me to spend a lot of time thinking about how to respond. I can even "sleep on it." I do my best thinking early in the morning, after waking up but before getting up.
Yesterday, Paparios wrote a long post that began with him describing the two lightning bolts thought experiment that Einstein wrote about in chapter 9 of his 1916 book Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Paparios concludes that part of his post with this:
Again, Einstein explanation is clear and not subjected to any interpretation. Then Einstein concludes writing:Hmm. Paparios somehow believes that is something new to discuss. In reality, I spent much of April 2018 writing about that thought experiment on this web site. And I discussed it at length on sci.physics.relativity at the same time. It was in a thread I started, titled "The #4 Dumbest Belief in Physics" which is:
#4. The speed of light is always measured to be the same by the emitter and by all outside observers, regardless of their own velocity.And, of course, the April 2018 thread contains many posts by Paparios.
I also explained Einstein's lightning bolt thought experiment at length in my paper on Simplifying Einstein's Thought Experiments, which I wrote in May and June of 2018.
Paparios also wrote about other things in his post yesterday. He mostly wrote about the "experiment" I dreamed up with the boy on the plane tossing a ball straight up and down. I said it was an "illusion," since the plane is moving a 500 mph and the ball is actually traveling in a long arc, not straight up and down. Paparios continues to disagree, arguing again that there is no illusion, what the boy sees (the ball going straight up and down) is real, and what an outside observer sees (the ball traveling in a long arc) is also real. And he relates it to the lightning bolts experiment, writing:
First, SR does considers that both the pòint of view of the train observer and the point of view of the embankment observer are equally valid, period.and
both the pòint of view of the train observer and the point of view of the embankment observer are equally valid, period.If two observations conflict, how can they be "equally valid"? That is illogical. But, of course, mathematicians do not believe in logic. Scientists believe in logic, and when they encounter conflicting observations, they make it their job to find out what the problem is. In this case, the problem is the dogmatic beliefs of mathematicians. Science says that the boy on the plane is seeing an illusion when he sees the ball go straight up and down. The ball cannot possibly be going straight up and down if it is on a plane traveling at 500 mph. Science also says that the man on the train is seeing an illusion when he sees the lightning bolts hit at different times. The man on the embankment is seeing reality when he sees the lightning bolts hitting simultaneously.
Einstein's theories say that the different views result from the speed of light traveling at c regardless of whether the light was emitted from a stationary source or a moving source (i.e., his Second Postulate). If an observer is stationary relative to the emitter, he will see light arrive at c. If the observer is moving relative to the source, he will see the light arrive at c+v or c-v, depending upon whether the observer is moving at velocity v toward or away from the emitter.
And if a stationary person on an embankment sees two lighting bolts hit the train tracks simultaneously ahead of and behind the train, but a person on the train sees a lightning bolt hit the tracks in front of the train first, and then another lightning bolt hit the tracks behind the train, what the person on the train saw was an illusion. Period.
Paparios then argues that both are real because
The same analysis is true with respect to me seating in my living room watching a TV show. It is of no interest to me or to anybody on Earth, that Earth is really going at 30 km/sec around the Sun or rotating at 1000 km/hr around the poles. My physics related to eating a sandwich is exactly the same physics of eating a sandwich inside an airplane.In other words, what I say is an "illusion" could be seen as "real" if viewed by some alien who happens to be moving the right way through space and time.
Einstein's first postulate says that "the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good." It doesn't say that "all frames of reference" represent reality. If you want to know what is "real," you need to open a window and see how test results in your frame of reference relate to results in other frames of reference. If the results are different, then you need to figure out why. One reason: the length of a second will be longer in the "frame of reference" that is moving faster, so the speed of light per second will be different. In that case, neither is an "illusion," but "reality" is different and we know why. Mathematicians, of course, do not believe time dilation is real, so they believe that one or both of the observers is seeing an "illusion."
This has also become an opinion versus opinion argument. We have different opinions as to what Einstein meant when he wrote his Second Postulate. I say he meant what he wrote, the mathematicians believe he meant what they believe.
That probably means that if I can get someone to do the radar gun experiment described in my paper Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories, or if I can do it myself, the mathematicians simply won't believe it. They won't believe it if a thousand people do the experiment. They'll find some way to hold onto their beliefs, and the world will have to wait until they all die off, before it will be generally accepted among different mathematicians that moving observers will see light traveling at a different velocity than what the emitters see.
October 7, 2019 - There was an email in my inbox this morning advising me that the new (and hopefully final) version of my paper Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories has been available on vixra.org since 7:59 PM last night at this link: http://vixra.org/pdf/1806.0027v6.pdf
I was somewhat surprised to see that they identified it as Version 6. I had deleted version 5, and I assumed the new version would be a new version 5. But, their way is probably better. If anyone saved a copy of the previous version 5 there's no chance of getting it mixed up with the latest version. When they go to the page where all eleven of my vixra papers are available, and then click on paper #7, Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories, they will see this:
They can then access the latest version and/or previous versions by clicking on the version number -- except for v5 which has no link. If they click on the blue "PDF" link, they will also get version 6.
As soon as I saw that version 6 was available on vixra.org, I immediately put it on academia.edu. Academia.edu works differently. It has no version numbers. Evidently, you are only supposed to have one version of a paper. I wasn't sure what would happen if I deleted the previous version, and I didn't want to delete the number of reads for that version, so I changed the name of the prior version (version 4 on vixra) to include the words "old version" and I identified the new version as "Final?". The link is: https://www.academia.edu/40547948/Radar_Guns_and_Einsteins_Theories_Final_
Meanwhile, checking the sci.physics.relativity forum this morning, I found that "Paparios" had read the comment I had written for this web site yesterday, and he had written this thoughts about it:
This clearly shows that Lake can't understand what he reads!!!I think Paparios runs all of his posts through a Spanish-English translator program, and that is probably why he uses "couch" to mean a "coach" car on a railroad train. I have no idea what he wrote that translated into "book worth sentences." Noteworthy?
I was going to go back and change what I wrote yesterday about "the man moving away from that wall," but Einstein explained the situation, and if you understand what Einstein wrote, then you should understand what I wrote. The man does not move away from the wall but the light has to catch up with him as if he was moving away from the wall.
I had expected that mathematicians would somehow see a difference between the illusion on the train and the illusion of the boy tossing a ball on an airplane, but Paparios clearly sees no difference. Somehow he believes that eating something on an airplane would be an illusion if what the boy does with the ball is an illusion. How does eating something relate to tossing a ball? The observer on the ground sees the ball travel in a long arc, not just up and down. Why would he see a person drinking a cup of coffee be anything other than a person drinking a cup of coffee?
That person on the ground sees the boy moving at the same horizontal speed as the tossed ball, but he also sees that the ball is moving up and down relative to the boy. So, the person on the ground sees how the illusion works. The boy on the plane does not.
The person on the plane drinks coffee just as if he was stationary. If he is dumb enough to believe that the airplane is actually standing still, then he would not realize that both he and the coffee are actually traveling a 500 mph. The person on the ground, however, sees that the man and the coffee are both traveling at 500 mph and that it is only an illusion for the man on the plane if he thinks he and the coffee are actually stationary.
But evidently Paparios (and other mathematicians) cannot understand that. He believes both viewpoints are equally real and neither is an illusion. But Relativity is all about how what one person sees inside his own "frame of reference" can be seen to be an illusion by someone who can see outside of his own "frame of reference." If you are on an airplane and you think you are stationary, all you have to do is look out the window (outside of your own "frame of reference") and you will see that you are NOT stationary. It is just an illusion that you are stationary. Even the boy should be able to understand that the ball is also moving with the plane, it is not really moving straight up and down. How can anyone not understand that?
When Paparios is flying on an airplane and he looks out the window, he evidently believes that he and the airplane are stationary and everything outside of the airplane is moving. He believes his view is just as real as the view from someone on the ground. How can anyone think that way?? Maybe Paparios will read this comment and provide an answer on sci.physics.relativity.
Meanwhile, I see it as a demonstration of the #1 dumbest belief in physics.
October 6, 2019 - I haven't posted any comments here for a few days, mostly because I've been busy arguing on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum. But I've also been busy thinking about what to do next. I'm getting nowhere in my attempts to use emails to get some local police department to let me examine and maybe watch a demonstration of a Stalker II SDR radar gun. Next I plan to try sending letters via the post office. If that doesn't work, I'm not sure what I'll try next.
However, later today I will upload a new Version-5 of my paper on Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories. The paper will name the radar guns that I think will work in the experiment described in the paper. That will open the door for others who can get access to the Stalker II SDR and the TS3 radar guns to perform the experiment that countless mathematicians have declared to be impossible.
When I discussed the situation on the sci.physics.relativity forum, I told them that I can't afford the $1,600 to buy a Stalker II SDR, and one of the mathematicians responded:
But it won't cost you anything! You say the company has assured you that the device will read 60 mph when pointed at the inside of an opaque truck driving down the road at 60 mph. All you have to do is tell them you will purchase the gun based on their assurance that it works that way. Tell them, straight out, that if you receive the device and it doesn't work as advertised (i.e., the way you say they say it works), you will be returning it for a full refund.What's stopping me is the fact that while managers at the manufacturing companies told me that their radar guns will definitely do as the experiment requires, I later talked with technicians at those same companies who were very upset and argued that what I wanted to do was totally impossible. The technicians didn't say that their guns couldn't do it, they just said the experiment is impossible because radar guns work with waves, not photons. And I got the impression that this led to arguments within the companies. I think the technicians travel around the world (one I talked with was at an airport in Iceland) to explain how their guns work with waves to measure the speed of vehicles. Any experiment that demonstrates that radar guns emit photons, not waves, might be a big problem for them.
Last week's discussions on sci.physics.relativity also clarified a couple other things for me. In one post, I quoted over two pages of material from The Evolution of Physics, the 1938 book Albert Einstein wrote with Leopold Infeld. The pages describe how different observers can see different things happening, such as when one observer turns on an overhead light on a moving train, and another observer on the embankment outside the train observes it. Here's the quote from pages 186, 187 and 188 (with my highlighting in bold and in red type) ("C.S." stands for "Co-ordinate System"):
Our new assumptions are:
Assumptions (1) and (2), i.e. the relativity theory, force us to give up this view. We have described two events happening at the same time in one C.S., but at different times in another C.S. Our task is to understand this consequence, to understand the meaning of the sentence: “Two events which are simultaneous in one C.S., may not be simultaneous in another C.S."That thought experiment shows that light will hit one wall of the train at c+v and the other wall at c-v. The person on the train won't see it, but the person outside the train will see it. On page 5 of my paper on Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories I use the image below to illustrate the situation for the man on the train.
When the man on the train turns on the overhead light, he doesn't notice that the rear wall lights up first because, while the light reached that wall faster than the front wall, the man is moving away from that wall, so light will take longer to reach him than light from the front wall. The result is that the man sees both walls light up simultaneously. But someone outside of the train will not be moving with the train, so he will see the rear wall light up before the front wall.
The key point is: What the man on the train sees is an illusion resulting from the fact that he is on a train and is moving with the train. It is similar to a boy on an airplane tossing a ball up and down. The boy sees the ball going straight up and down, while an observer on the ground would (theoretically) see the ball traveling in an arc covering thousands of feet as the plane moves through the air. The man on the ground sees what is actually happening, the boy on the plane sees an illusion.
When I told the people on the forum that one view is an illusion while the other is real, the response from Paparios was that the two observers are in "different frames of reference," so both views are equally valid. There is no "illusion," there are just two different frames of reference.
And therein lies the reason we can never agree. I am interested in what is really happening in reality. Paparios and the other mathematicians do not care about reality. They only care about mathematics, and mathematically both "frames of reference" are equally valid.
I also told them, "a radar gun will measure the speed of the walls because it can tell the difference between emitted light and received light, which a human
So, I once again stopped posting to the sci.physics.relativity forum. I've got a lot of more productive things to do.
|Comments for Tuesday October 1,
2019, thru Saturday, October 5, 2019:
October 2, 2019 - The message I posted to the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum has generated nothing but bogus claims and arguments over words, so I'm just going to stop posting there and focus on other things. In an attempt to get my mind on other things, yesterday evening I finished listening to another audio book. It was "A Closed and Common Orbit" by Becky Chambers.
It's a science fiction novel, of course, but it is also a psychology book. Just like the previous book in the series, which I reviewed on September 20, it is mostly dialog between various characters, and it doesn't have much of a plot. But that is okay, since the dialog is both funny and fascinating. In the previous book, the dialog was mostly about person to person interactions, how we deal with people who are different from us, but using aliens instead of humans of a different color or religion. In this book the topic is understanding ourselves.
The book begins where the previous book left off. It begins with an artificial life form, the computer that ran the space ship "Wayfarer" in the first book, being transferred into a human-like artificial body. The artificial being, named "Lovey" in both books, has to cope with being only able to see and hear only what is in her immediate vicinity. Previously, she had cameras all around the ship recording everything. Now she can only see what is in front of her. And she doesn't know what is happening outside of her field of vision. PLUS, since she is no longer on the space ship, she has to learn how to look and act like an actual human being, since she's an illegal sentient being. Fortunately, she has an alien buddy to help her adapt.
Meanwhile, the novel is also about a human clone with similar but different problems. The clone, Alice, was made to to be a worker in an interplanetary trash dump where she sorts out reusable trash from worthless stuff. She lived all of her life indoors in the sorting shop, so when she accidentally gets a glimpse of the outside world, suddenly she finds it difficult to think about anything else. Alice has an artificial life form as her buddy, but it is just an artificial face on a computer screen, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) intended for only answering questions about the scrap-sorting work they are doing. Together they try to figure out how to learn more about what is happening outside of their shop.
I enjoyed the book, but I'm glad there are no other books in the series. I think I should focus on detective novels for awhile. I need something with a plot, instead of just a long but fascinating discussion of ideas and human foibles.
October 1, 2019 - As I was driving home from running some errands yesterday afternoon, I finished listening to CD #8 in the 8 CD unabridged audio book version of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump" by Andrew G. McCabe.
Wow! What a terrific book! Amazon's review of the book begins with this:
On March 16, 2018, just twenty-six hours before his scheduled retirement from the organization he had served with distinction for more than two decades, Andrew G. McCabe was fired from his position as deputy director of the FBI. President Donald Trump celebrated on Twitter: "Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."Needless to say, McCabe is not a fan of Donald Trump. The book, however, is mostly a description of how the FBI operates. They investigate crimes and look for evidence that can be used in court. Donald Trump doesn't seem able to comprehend that. He wants an FBI that is his loyal servant and which will do what he wants, regardless of what the law says or what the evidence says. Here's a comment from near the end of the book:
Donald Trump would not know the men and women of the FBI if he ran over them with the presidential limo, and he has shown the citizens of this country that he does not know what democracy means. He demonstrates no understanding or appreciation of our form of government. He takes no action to protect it. Has any president done more to undermine democracy than this one? His “I hereby demand” tweet in May 2018, ordering Department of Justice investigations of the investigators who are investigating him—I can barely believe that I just wrote that phrase—is a clear example. His demand for documents identifying confidential informants does harm to the men and women of the FBI on a fundamental level. It undermines their ability to build the trust that allows law-enforcement investigations to take place, in ways that, I want to believe, he does not comprehend.Here's another quote from earlier in the book:
I am not aware of another president who has weighed in against ongoing criminal prosecutions in the overt, hostile, and unrelenting way that President Trump has. This is a breach of propriety and of historical norms. Presidents don’t weigh in on those things. They don’t try to tip the scales of justice for or against a particular defendant. In our system, intervention from the outside is not only considered inappropriate—it is inappropriate. It undermines the operation of a fair system of justice. It sows seeds of mistrust.The only positive thing about Donald Trump that I got from the book is that Trump is not quite as dumb as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The book describes McCabe's career in the FBI and how each FBI agent is trained to handle evidence and dangerous situations. McCabe was in the FBI on 9/11, during the Boston Marathon Bombing and while many other well known crimes took place. He describes at length the difficulties involved in stopping potential terrorists versus simply investigating and apprehending other kinds of criminals. McCabe also says that the Russian mob is basically run by Vladimir Putin and it is how Putin controls Russia. And the Russian mob has a lot of operators in the USA. McCabe's first assignment in the FBI involved investigating criminal activities by the Russian mob in New York City.
It's tempting to quote further from the book, but suffice to say that I enjoyed the book immensely, and I highly recommend it, even though it leaves you depressed and worrying about the fate of this country.