Archive for ed-lake.com
October 2019

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.

Fifty Inventions that shaped the modern
                      economy

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:
"Take a situation where I am on a moving train and I shine a flashlight at the forward wall of the train.  The mathematicians on this forum BELIEVE that the light will hit the forward wall at c, not at c-v, where v is the speed of the train."
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.

Your claim is, of course, directly in conflict with Einstein's second
postulate:

        2. Any ray of light moves in the “stationary” system of co-
        ordinates with the determined velocity c, whether the ray
        be emitted by a stationary or by a moving body.

        (Earlier the "stationary system of coordinates" was
         defined to be an ARBITRARY inertial frame, so this
         applies to EVERY inertial frame, including the one
         in which the wall is at rest.)

Your claim is also directly in conflict with his SUMMARY of that
postulate in his introduction:

        light is always propagated in empty space with a definite
        velocity c
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 :
"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".
The problem here is not one of logic but one of observing very real events (the lightning strokes). The observations clearly depend on where the different observers are located when the events occur. In the train embankment gedanken, one observer is stationary at point M on the embankment, while the train observer is stationary at point M' and moving with the train at speed v with respect to the embankment.

The reality of the events can not be disputed. What Einstein is discussing is how those events are observed and the analysis of Einstein leads to the conclusion that: Events which are simultaneous with reference to the embankment are not simultaneous with respect to the train, and vice versa (relativity of simultaneity).

Therefore, one observer may declare he saw lightning A before B, another may declare he saw lightning B before A and another may well declare both lightnings were simultaneous. 

Are all these observers nuts? For sure they are not since each of them is reporting what he actually saw. Notice that the actual events A and B may well not have been simultaneous, to begin with, but the observations of the events will be different for different observers.

Then you wrote the following:
"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".
First, Science says nothing of the sort. In physics there are no "illusions" but observations. The boy on the plane is actually seing what he sees (the ball going up and down).

Secondly, You are giving the ground observer (the guy seeing the plane passing by his location) the unwarranted privilege of be the only one allowed to see reality. What God gave the ground observer such privilege?
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:

"We thus arrive at the important result:Events which are simultaneous with reference to the embankment are not simultaneous with respect to the train, and vice versa (relativity of simultaneity). Every reference-body (co-ordinate system) has its own particular time; unless we are told the reference-body to which the statement of time refers, there is no meaning in a statement of the time of an event".

This should stop any discussion about c+v or c-v or which point of view is real or not.
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:

Versions of my first radar gun paper

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!!!
Notice his writing:

"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..."

That is, Lake insists that, somehow, the standing observer inside the train MOVES with respect to the couch walls!!!

Therefore, it is no surprise he concludes with the following book worth sentences:

"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."

You see, according to Lake, the food we ingest inside an airplane is an ILLUSION

This is too much fun.
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.

You can't lose.  If the gun works as you expect, you will be making millions of dollars (including the million dollar Nobel prize) as the man who over-threw all of science.  So the $1600 investment will be repaid a thousand-fold.  On the other hand, if the gun doesn't work as you expect, you get a full refund.

Either way, you can't lose.  So what's stopping you?
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:
(1) The velocity of light in vacuo is the same in all C.S. moving uniformly, relative to each other.
(2) All laws of nature are the same in all C.S. moving uniformly, relative to each other.

The relativity theory begins with these two assumptions.  From now on we shall not use the classical transformation because we know that it contradicts our assumptions.

It is essential here, as always in science, to rid ourselves of deep-rooted, often uncritically repeated, prejudices.  Since we have seen that changes in (1) and (2) lead to contradiction with experiment, we must have the courage to state their validity clearly and to attack the one possibly weak point, the way in which positions and velocities are transformed from one C.S. to another.  It is our intention to draw conclusions from (1) and (2), see where and how these assumptions contradict the classical transformation, and find the physical meaning of the results obtained.

Once more, the example of the moving room with outside and inside observers will be used. Again a light signal is emitted from the centre of the room and again we ask the two men what they expect to observe, assuming only our two principles and forgetting what was previously said concerning the medium through which the light travels. We quote their answers:

The inside observer: The light signal travelling from the centre of the room will reach the walls simultaneously, since all the walls are equally distant from the light source and the velocity of light is the same in all directions.

The outside observer: In my system, the velocity of light is exactly the same as in that of the observer moving with the room. It does not matter to me whether or not the light source moves in my C.S. since its motion does not influence the velocity of light. What I see is a light signal travelling with a standard speed, the same in all directions. One of the walls is trying to escape from and the opposite wall to approach the light signal. Therefore, the escaping wall will be met by the signal a little later than the approaching one. Although the difference will be very slight if the velocity of the room is small compared with that of light, the light signal will nevertheless not meet these two opposite walls, which are perpendicular to the direction of the motion, quite simultaneously.

Comparing the predictions of our two observers, we find a most astonishing result which flatly contradicts the apparently well-founded concepts of classical physics. Two events, i.e., the two light beams reaching the two walls, are simultaneous for the observer on the inside, but not for the observer on the outside. In classical physics, we had one clock, one time flow, for all observers in all C.S. Time, and therefore such words as “ simultaneously”, “ sooner”, “ later”, had an absolute meaning independent of any C.S. Two events happening at the same time in one C.S. happened necessarily simultaneously in all other C.S.
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.

Man on
                      train turning on light

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
observer cannot."

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.

A Closed and Common Orbit

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.

The Threat 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.









© 2019 by Ed Lake
RETURN