|Comments for Sunday, July 26, 2020,
thru Friday, July 31, 2020:
July 31, 2020 - This afternoon, while driving to the post office to mail some letters, I finished listening to CD #5 in the 5-CD set for the unabridged 5-hour 48-minute audio book version of "The Making of Donald Trump" by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston.
The book was published in 2016, the year Trump was elected President, so it has nothing about his presidency. It's only about what kind of family he grew up in, and all the lying, cheating, stealing and conniving that made so many people want to elect him President. Here's a passage from the Epilogue:
In doing as he chooses without regard to the rules that restrict the behavior of others, Trump has made himself a hero to some, a pariah to others. Whether one adores Trump or is aghast, his public conduct should prompt us all to think about what qualities we want in our political leaders and why there is so much opportunity for someone like Trump to garner tens of millions of votes. We should ask ourselves why so many Americans are excited at the prospect of someone whose public statements show utter disregard for the checks and balances that buttress our system of self-government — a system that has made America, flaws and all, a beacon to the world for more than two centuries.The book offered no real surprises. It just gives a lot of details about the endless line of lawsuits that have been filed against him, the kind of swindle his Trump University was, the schemes he used to avoid paying taxes, his racism, the women he encountered, and the criminals he associated with. The only scheme he was involved with that I don't recall ever hearing about before was this one:
In 1983, after shopping at Bulgari, the high-end jewelry store on Manhattan’s posh Fifth Avenue, Donald Trump had a $50,000 necklace mailed to him at an out-of-state address. On another day, he bought jewelry that cost $15,000. It, too, was mailed out of state, sent to the Connecticut home of his mentor and lawyer, the notorious Roy Cohn.It was a felony to do that sort of thing, but Trump got away with it. I assume that's another reason he has so many admirers.
July 29, 2020 - Last night I watched a movie that I'd recorded on my DVR from the TCM (Turner Classic Movies) channel. The movie was "Insignificance," from 1985. I couldn't recall ever hearing of the movie before, and I knew absolutely nothing about it, except that it was supposed to be about Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joe McCarthy (played by Tony Curtis). That was enough to make me curious. So, a week or so ago, I set my DVR, and I recorded it on Monday night.
The movie begins with Marilyn Monroe (played by Theresa Russell) doing the dress blowing scene from "The Seven Year Itch." The image below is from the actual movie with the real Marilyn Monroe.
The scene in "Insignificance" is seen mostly from the point of view of the movie crewmen under the grating using blowers to lift her skirt. The rest of the movie takes place over the next 12 hours or so, and Marilyn wears the same dress throughout the movie.
It was definitely an odd movie, but the reason I am mentioning it here is because at about the 32 minute mark, after leaving the movie set, Marilyn Monroe pays an unannounced visit to Albert Einstein, who is in a hotel room nearby for some unexplained reason. Marilyn asks Albert Einstein if she can explain "specific" Relativity to him, so he can tell her whether she understands it or not. She calls it "Specific Relativity" to separate it from "General Relativity," which makes a certain amount of sense.
Most of the explanation is totally valid. She begins by explaining how, if she was standing atop a train and threw a book, the book would travel at the speed of the train plus her throwing speed. However, if she drops a book while inside a moving train, the book will fall straight down, just as it would if she dropped it in Einstein's hotel room. And she demonstrates that by dropping a book. Then she begins to explain how the movement of a light source (a flashlight) does not change the speed of light that is emitted, unlike what happens with objects, where the speed of a train affects the speed of a ball thrown ahead of or behind the train.
Then things get a bit off track. Marilyn talks about how if she and Einstein were one light second apart holding up identical clocks, she would see his clock as being 1 second behind her clock, and he would see her clock as being one second behind his clock, since it takes one second for light from the clock to reach the observer.
That's true, of course, but it's not part of Special Relativity. It doesn't involve time dilation, it just involves how long it takes light to travel from point to point. Light does not move instantaneously.
I had to replay that entire section of the movie a second time to make sure I didn't miss anything.
The rest of the movie gets pretty grim as we see Marilyn suffer medical problems and fight with her husband, Joe DiMaggio (played by Gary Busey). Joe McCarthy is in the movie to accuse Einstein of being un-American. And Einstein is suffering guilt resulting from helping to build atom bombs which killed children.
I haven't erased the movie from my DVR. I don't know if I would ever want to see it again, but until I decide it will remain in my DVR.
Meanwhile, I'm still arguing with various people on the Radar Guns and Countermeasures forum I found. It appears to be mainly for people interested in ways to fight traffic tickets and people who want to learn about equipment to avoid getting speeding tickets by using radar detectors. I'm learning a lot by just asking questions, even though the answers so far is stuff I already know.
July 28, 2020 - Ah! I made some progress on my radar gun project! Since it looks like I'll be getting another stimulus check in August, I started checking to see if I can buy a used Stalker II SDR radar gun somewhere. I saw what looked like an ad for a Stalker II SDR at a better price than what I saw on EBay, but I would have to join a discussion forum to respond to the ad. I was really interested in the gun, even though it had evidently been advertised on the forum since August of 2019. So, I joined the forum.
As soon as I did, several people welcomed me and began asking questions about why I joined the forum. When I told them I had questions about the Stalker II SDR, one of them said that he had a Stalker II MDR which he said was "basically the same thing," so he could probably answer my questions.
So, I had to explain to him that the SDR and MDR are different. If they aren't different, why are there two guns?
That caused me to research the difference between the SDR and the MDR. They look almost identical. Outwardly, the only difference seems to be that one says MDR in very small white letters on a red background on the side, and the other says SDR.
I dug through the operators manual for the SDR but it showed no images of what it displays when it is being used. It has places for the TARGET speed and for the PATROL speed. It seems to use the patrol speed location for miscellaneous information, like option numbers. But that could be the same way the MDR also works.
Then I decided I needed to look at the operators manual for the MDR. I quickly found a copy, and it showed me how the target speed and patrol speeds are displayed. Below you see a target speed of 60 mph and a patrol speed of 55 mph being displayed.
Then I suddenly realized what the SDR almost certainly does when it is moving. Why hadn't I realized it before?! The SDR does not show any "patrol" speed. It only shows "target" speed. Therefore, when the gun is in a moving vehicle traveling at 55 mph and is pointed at an oncoming car traveling at 60 mph, the SDR version will only display a target speed of 60 mph. No patrol speed. When the gun is in a car going 55 mph and is pointed at a highway sign or at the road ahead, the gun will show NO "target speed." And, of course, it shows no "patrol speed" either.
That means that if the SDR gun is in a car going 60 mph, following behind a semi-truck going 60 mph, the gun will show a target speed of "60 mph." And if the gun is then moved to point to a highway sign, the gun will show NO speeds. That says that if the gun is INSIDE that same semi-truck and is pointed at the front wall of the truck, it will show a target speed of 60 mph just as it did when the gun was in a car behind the truck. That is what the mathematicians say is "totally impossible."
I was 99% certain that the Stalker II SDR would work that way. Now I am 99.5% certain. I'm certain enough to buy a used SDR if I can find one for a good price. But, I'd still like to have someone on that forum confirm it.
July 26, 2020 - On Friday afternoon, I took tour of Mars - a "virtual" tour. It wasn't a planned tour, but it wasn't accidental, either. I was simply looking for something on YouTube and they showed me a list of videos that are "4K" tours of Mars as seen by the Mars Rovers Spirit, Curiosity and Opportunity. I gathered that "4K" means very high quality. So, being even more curious than "Curiosity," I watched the first video on the list.
It's a very interesting video with very clear views of numerous different locations on Mars. At each location, the camera slowly pans across the landscape, so, if you are watching it on a large screen, it looks almost as if you are there. The image below is a screen capture I took of one location. (You can probably right click on the image to see the full size version.)
I was also somewhat surprised to see that there is more than just one such video. I found at least four of them. There is even one that is over 10 hours long. Fortunately, you can skip through it and just look for interesting things that weren't on the shorter videos.
After taking that tour, I returned to the task I was supposed to be doing, which was to look for videos that might help me explain what I want to put in one of the new science papers I'm trying to write. The paper is tentatively titled either "The Fundamental Question" or "The Fundamental Problem." If it's a question, the question is "Is it a Natural LAW that nothing can go faster than light?" If it's a problem, the problem is "Since there is nothing stationary in the known universe, what is the speed of light measured against?"
While searching for videos related to measuring the speed of light, I found a video provocatively titled "The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics." It's an excellent video. At the 1:30 mark, the narrator says, "If you are traveling at 1 meter per second, light is traveling this fast away from you: 299,792,458 m/s. If you are traveling a 298 million meters per second, then light is still traveling this fast away from you: 299,792,458 m/s. If the speed of light doesn't change, then everything around it must change, such as time and distance."
Unfortunately, the video doesn't really explain much more than that. Here's the video:
While watching that video and some others, I saw some YouTube ads for "Sci Fi Short Films." Being a big sci-fi fan, I viewed one of them. It was called "FTL" (Faster than Light), and it's just over 14 minutes long. It was surprisingly well done. It's about an astronaut who is performing an experiment where his space ship is supposed to go faster than light. And he does, and, as a result, he disappears from this universe. You'll have to watch the video to see how he gets out of that situation.
That video caused me to look for other "Sci Fi short films," and I found dozens and dozens of them. I watched seven of them last night on my big screen TV. They were all very well done, with unexpectedly good special effects, but the stories varied from very good to just so so. I watched one short film that wasn't really a sci fi movie. It was a western titled "The Gunfighter." It's only 8 minutes, 49 seconds long, but the idea behind it is hilarious. It's narrated by someone, and the characters in the movie can hear the narration. So, most of the movie consists of arguments between the characters and the narrator, as the characters repeatedly complain, "No, that was not what I was thinking!"
What the "short films" told me was that there are a lot of interesting videos out there that I never knew existed. It's almost like the fact that there are evidently a lot of TV shows out there that I do not know exist. Some are on networks I do not know exist. I learn about them when a star from the movie appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to plug the movie. Or on Trevor Noah's show, or on Jimmy Fallon's show.
On the other hand, it often seems that when I want there to be a lot of things on YouTube that I haven't yet seen, I cannot find anything new. I want to see a video of a Stalker II SDR radar gun in action. I cannot find any such video, no matter how hard I look. When I did another search yesterday afternoon, however, I did find a video of how a radar gun is assembled. I kept looking for something in it that might be meaningful, but I found nothing.
Sometimes it seems like the universe is trying to prevent me from verifying how a "Type-1" radar gun works. Not only am I supposed to keep away from people for the next six months or more to avoid being infected with Covid-19, the various activities to "defund the police" make it even more difficult to get someone in some police department to talk to me about how their Stalker II SDR radar gun works, or if they have any other "Type-1" radar guns.
I would really really like to be absolutely, positively 100% certain of how the Stalker II SDR radar gun works before I spend a lot of money from my next "stimulus" check to buy one. Sigh.
|Comments for Sunday, July 19, 2020,
thru Saturday, July 25, 2020:
July 23, 2020 - Last night, while watching the local news on TV, they had a brief story about how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered the recall of 75 different bands of hand sanitizers. I don't think I've ever bought any hand sanitizers, but my immediate thought was that some kind of hand sanitizer on shopping cart handles may have caused the bad case of hand blistering I suffered back in June. (Click HERE to see my paper about it.) So, this morning I researched the topic.
There are definitely a lot of news stories on the subject. This is the headline of an NBC news story dated yesterday:
FDA expands hand sanitizer recall to at least 75 brands across the U.S."Harmful"? What does that mean? Digging through article after article, I found they all basically just quote the CDC and the FDA:
Methanol is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to it can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.Not a single story says anything about blistering or pustules! However, when I search for blistering related to chemicals used to disinfect shopping carts, I find stories about young children suffering blisters due to "chemical burns." What's the difference between sanitizers and disinfectants? According to the CDC,
So, it's just a matter of how many germs get killed? Sanitizing lowers the number of germs by killing them, and disinfecting just kills germs? I could be wrong, of course, but it seems to me that if you are trying to kill germs on grocery cart handles, you would use a disinfectant, the stronger chemical. And yet the news stories say it is the sanitizers that can kill you? Of course, when you use a sanitizer you put a glob of it on your hands. When you disinfect a shopping cart handle, you spray it on the handle and then wipe most of it off. So, the handle has less of a stronger germ killer. Here's more from that same article:
If you want to get really technical, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sanitizers as chemical products that can kill at least 99.9% of germs on hard surfaces (that percentage should go up to 99.99% of germs on surfaces used for food service). Disinfectants are, again, stronger, killing 99.999% of germs on hard, non-porous surfaces or objects.That doesn't quite make sense. Disinfectants on shopping carts can give children a rash, but sanitizing chemicals on an adults' hands can kill people without doing any damage to their hands? I'm going to have to research it further. It looks to me like someone is just not putting 2 and 2 together. Maybe it's me.
July 22, 2020 - Hmm. Yesterday, someone in my "Time and Time Dilation" Facebook group started a thread about some physicists who disagree with Albert Einstein. From what I could tell by doing some quick research, they were just more anti-Relativity physicists like the dozens and dozens I have argued with on the sci.physics.relativity forum and in other places over the years. They are mathematics oriented and they will call you names and attack you personally if you cannot discuss math equations with them. Then, this morning I did some more research and found that one of them goes beyond what the others do.
On his Facebook page, that person posted a link to an article titled "The Energy of Empty Space that Isn't Zero." Then he made these comments:
Why are so many Relativists Pedos? LolWow! The article was about a physics conference held in 2006 on the Island of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The conference was arranged by theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss who described things this way:
I invited a group of cosmologists, experimentalists, theorists, and particle physicists. Stephen Hawking came. We had three Nobel laureates: Gerard 't Hooft, David Gross, Frank Wilczek; well-known cosmologists and physicists such as Jim Peebles at Princeton, Alan Guth at MIT, Kip Thorne at Caltech, Lisa Randall at Harvard; experimentalists, such as Barry Barish of LIGO, the gravitational wave observatory; we had observational cosmologists, people looking at the cosmic microwave background; we had Maria Spiropulu from CERN, who's working on the Large Hadron Collider—which, a decade ago, people wouldn't have thought it was a probe of gravity, but now due to recent work in the possibility of extra dimensions it might be.
And the article also contains this:
The topic of the meeting was "Confronting Gravity." Krauss intended to have "a meeting where people would look forward to the key issues facing fundamental physics and cosmology". They could meet, discuss, relax on the beach, and take a trip to the nearby private island retreat of the science philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein, who funded the event.And, like a good mathematician putting 2 and 2 together, this mathematician evidently came to the conclusion that everyone who attended the event was a pedophile like Jeffrey Epstein. Wow.
July 21, 2020 - My plan when I awoke this morning was to write a comment about two scientists who have web pages where they argue against Einstein's theories and promote their own. People on Facebook have been telling me about them. Plus, I've been digging through web sites looking for other scientists who have such theories. There are probably thousands of them. A somewhat dreaded the idea of comparing their various beliefs, but that was my plan this morning. Then, when I looked at the Covid-19 statistics for this morning, I felt I had to analyze those statistics instead.
Starting back on March 9th, I began doing daily screen captures of some of the Covid-19 data provided by Johns Hopkins University. Below is a shrunk-down copy of the main page they displayed as of 7:42 a.m. this morning (you can click on it to view the full size version). I do a screen capture of it every morning:
As you can see the total world-wide number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 this morning was 14,735,331. A graph of the total confirmed cases is shown in the lower right corner as a yellow line that keeps going higher and higher instead of leveling off.
However, on the Johns Hopkins site, when you click on "Daily Cases" option below the graph in the lower right corner, you get a different graph instead of the "Confirmed Cases" graph. It's a graph that is definitely of more value than a "total cases" graph that just goes up and up until it levels off. I'm more interested in how many new cases there are, instead of some running total. And there is something else about that "Daily Cases" graph that has been bugging me for weeks. Here's what it looked like as of this morning:
There appears to be a definite up-down pattern to the cases (a pattern within the upward pattern), and it seems to be a weekly pattern. You can see that the daily cases show as bumps that get repeated, but each bump gets a bit higher each week.
I used the daily worldwide confirmed cases number from the main page to prepare a spreadsheet of the daily differences, i.e., the change between today's total cases and yesterday's total cases, going back for about a month. Here's that graph:
It's a graph of the daily difference compared to the day before, instead of the daily total. As of this morning, as stated above, the total number of worldwide confirmed cases was 14,735,331. The total yesterday was 14,535,008, so the calculated daily difference for July 20 is 200,323. That is presumably the total number of new confirmed cases reported between about 8 a.m. on the 20th and about 8 a.m. on the 21st. It's the number we want to go back to zero.
I'll have to go back further to verify the pattern, but it seems to clearly show that most cases are identified and confirmed on Fridays. (There seems to have been an end-of-month glitch somewhere that resulted in "only" 82,991 cases on June 30. It doesn't show on their graphs, but it shows up when you look at daily changes in the totals.)
I don't know what it means, but I find it very interesting. Do most people wait to get checked after work on Fridays and on Saturdays? It would appear so.
July 19, 2020 - Sigh! Once again I have nothing prepared for today's Sunday comment. So, I'll have to write something from scratch.
I got involved in two discussions yesterday that might be worth mentioning. The first was prompted by a post to the Astrophysics And Physics Facebook page. Someone posted a message about "cold welding." I don't think I've ever heard of cold welding before, but it is definitely not anything new. It appears that, in a vacuum, two pieces of identical metal can automatically weld themselves together. Here is what Richard Feynman said about it in one of his lectures:
The reason for this unexpected behavior is that when the atoms in contact are all of the same kind, there is no way for the atoms to “know” that they are in different pieces of copper. When there are other atoms, in the oxides and greases and more complicated thin surface layers of contaminants in between, the atoms “know” when they are not on the same part.So, in theory, if you are in space and put two pieces of copper together, they will fuse into a single object. In practice, however, the surface of the copper must be without any contamination. And that isn't likely to be the case if they were made on earth and then taken into space. Atoms in the atmosphere will contaminate the copper atoms on the surface of the objects. If the copper objects were made in a vacuum, however, the copper atoms in a surface will bind to other copper atoms in a different surface because the copper has no way of knowing it shouldn't.
The other discussion was also on Facebook and also involved a quotation by Richard Feynman. It is from page 91 in the book "The Character of Physical Law.":
It is evident, is it not, that if you are in a space ship going at 100,000 miles a second in some direction, while I am standing still, and I shoot a light beam at 186,000 miles a second through a little hole in your ship, then, as it goes through your ship, since you are going at 100,000 miles per second and the light is going at 186,000, the light is only going to look to you as if it is passing at 86,000 miles a second. But it turns out that if you do this experiment it looks to you as if it is going at 186,000 miles a second past you, and to me as if it is going 186,000 miles a second past me!That's one of Einstein's thought experiments. I used the calculator at this link: https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1224059993 to help me with the math.
I first used Google to convert 100,000 miles per second to kilometers per second, which the calculator requires. The answer was 160,934.4 kps.
Then I plunked 160,934.4 kps into the calculator to see what percent of the speed of light that is. It's 53.681937522257% of the speed of light.
Then I used spreadsheet software to calculate what 53.68 percent of 186,262 miles per second is, and the answer is 99,999.7 miles per second. Round that off and you get 100,000 miles per second.
So, if I am traveling at 100,000 miles per second and I see a photon pass by me that was emitted by someone stationary, I will see that photon pass by me at about the same speed as photons I create. I'm traveling at 53.68 percent of the speed of light, and at that speed, any light I emit will travel at 53.68 percent of the speed of light as emitted by someone stationary.
But, of course, most mathematicians will totally and heatedly disagree.
The problem is: I awoke this morning wondering if it wasn't possible to perform some form of that experiment. You do not have to travel at 100,000 miles per second to prove the concept. The problem is measuring the one-way speed of light. As I understand it, it is only impossible to measure the one-way speed of light IF you do not know the length of a second at the source. I.e., what is the length of a second used to determine c at the source?
DAMN!!! I did it again! I wrote a comment that ends with an unsolved problem! I really want to stop doing that. The problem looks like it can be solved, but I would need to be 100% certain of my answer before I'd explain it here. And I'm a long way away from 100%. And it's time to post.
|Comments for Sunday, July 12, 2020,
thru Saturday, July 18, 2020:
July 17, 2020 - Back on July 9th, I listened to a 2018 podcast from The Infinite Monkey Cage titled "200 Years of Frankenstein." It was a very interesting episode in which they described Mary Shelly's 1818 novel "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus" as "the first book about the education of a scientist." I'd never heard the book described that way before. By pure coincidence, I had the 8-hour audio book version in my MP3 player. So, a few days later I started listening to it. I finished it yesterday afternoon.
I don't recall ever watching the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff as the monster, although I probably did a some point in the distant past. Of course, I recall seeing clips showing electricity arcing around Victor Frankenstein as he and his servant Igor look upon their creation and Frankenstein proclaims, "It's alive! It's alive!"
The book is nothing like that. Some time in the 1700's in some location near Geneva, Switzerland, all by himself, Victor Frankenstein assembles his creation from body parts he has collected, and there is no real description of what tools he used to bring the creature to life. The creature just seems to wake up:
It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.So, what does Victor Frankenstein do? Does he cheer, "It's alive! It's alive!"? No, he runs from the room in horror at what he has done, he runs upstairs to his bedroom, collapses on his bed, falls asleep and has nightmares. He's awakened when the 8-foot tall monster pulls aside the curtains around his bed.
His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped, and rushed down stairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited; where I remained during the rest of the night, walking up and down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively, catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life.And then the monster goes into hiding. The 8-foot tall monster is able to watch people in the town through cracks in walls and open curtains, and over the course of a year or more he learns their language by just watching and listening to them. Parts of the book are the monster very eloquently telling his side of the story. Since his creator won't talk with him, the monster proceeds to kill Frankenstein's friends and relatives in order to get his attention. Then, near the middle of the book, Frankenstein and the monster have this exchange:
"Devil," I [Frankenstein] exclaimed, "do you dare approach me? and do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! and, oh! that I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!"It's highly dramatic dialog right out of some 18th Century stage play. The monster wants Frankenstein to create a monster female companion for him, but Frankenstein refuses. After more of his relatives are killed, Frankenstein decides to give it a try. For some unknown reason, instead of using his lab in Switzerland, Victor Frankenstein travels to England and then to the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland to build the female monster. And somehow, the monster follows him all the way!
Wracked with guilt, Frankenstein cannot complete the job, and the monster starts killing more of Frankenstein's relatives and friends.
So, this is the first book about "the education of a scientist." It definitely held my attention. I'm not sure I would have been able to read it, but having it read to me by an actor who speaks all the flowery language as if done on a British stage, it was very interesting. And, in some ways it was educational. The word "quitted" is used very often where people today would use the word "left." Two examples:
We attempted to carry him into the cabin; but as soon as he had quitted the fresh air, he fainted.
I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head.But the word "left" is also used. Two examples:
My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a student's thirst for knowledge.Hmm. It appears I have quitted my plan to write fewer comments for this web site. Woe is me! Whatsoever shall I do to regain the impetus to seek clarification of the deepest mysteries of creation?
July 16, 2020 - When I finished reading the book "Range" on my Kindle three days ago, I wasn't sure what to read next. So, the next day during breakfast and lunch I just read from a joke book I'd borrowed long ago. Then, the next day I prioritized the books I have in my Kindle and I started reading a history/science book. The first part is about Time, so it looked like a good choice.
Then, yesterday, my library informed me that "Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" was available for me to borrow. What? When I recommended that my library obtain a copy, I expected to wait six months for it! It was just released on the 14th! But, it was available, so I borrowed it. I'm already listening to a Trump book whenever I drive my car. Do I want to read another one right now? This morning I managed to stick with the history/science book -- at least until I finish the part about Time.
Then, this morning my library advised me that a Kindle copy of "The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission" was available for me to borrow. It had been on my wait list for months. So, I borrowed it. It's another science book that is high on my priority list.
And, two days ago, instead of watching TV or listening to podcasts in the evening, I decided to listen to an audio book. I'll probably finish it later today and write a review tomorrow. It's a book that wasn't on any of my priority lists. It was just a book I felt in the mood to try -- and I stuck with it. It's good to have so much to do in these worrisome times.
July 15, 2020 - Hmm. I think I need to be more careful about what I write on this web site. A couple times last week, specifically on the July 9 and 12, I rambled on and on as I tried to organize my thoughts. That is what I do when writing a scientific paper, where I can continue rambling, revising and editing, until I think I'm done, and I then put the paper on-line. When rambling on this web site, however, I only stop when I've run out of time for the day. And I could be on some wrong track when I stop. Stopping when you are on a wrong track would be viewed by readers of this web site as coming to a conclusion. Actually, it's just the opposite.
On the 9th I was thinking about whether photons oscillate while moving. Yes, they almost certainly do, but my comment could be interpreted as saying "Maybe not." Sitting and pondering the question (along with other questions) for a week made me realize just how amazing particle physics can be. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a photon acts anything like an electron. If an electron's oscillations slow down as it moves closer and closer to the speed of light, that's no reason to believe that a photon traveling at the speed of light cannot oscillate. A photon and an electron are very different, the biggest difference perhaps being that an electron has mass, while a photon doesn't. That by itself says that they can have totally different properties.
On the 12th I was rambling about Einstein's ideas regarding "length contraction." Since no experiment has ever confirmed length contraction, there is no solid reason to believe that it happens. I've studied Einstein's 1905 Special Relativity paper where he introduces the idea of "length contraction," but its too heavy into mathematics, and I have little patience with deciphering mathematical explanations.
I've been researching the subject via Google to see what the "experts" say, and that turns out to be somewhat interesting. An article on physicsworld.com begins with this:
The idea that objects contract in length when they travel near the speed of light is a widely accepted consequence of Einstein’s special relativity. But if you could observe such an object, it wouldn’t look shorter at all – bizarrely, it would seem to have been rotatedI think it's easier to visualize objects contracting than rotating when they travel near the speed of light. But the point is that they just appear that way. It isn't actually happening. And the explanation is "very simple," sort of. At least it is understandable: If light leaves different parts of the moving body at the same time, that light won’t reach the observer’s eyes at the same time.
If you are looking at a space ship that is going to pass by you at some high fraction of the speed of light, the light from the front of the ship will not reach you at the same time as light from the rear of the ship because light from the rear of the ship has farther to travel. So, the ship should appear slightly longer than it really is. But mathematicians say it will appear shorter than it really is. As I see it, it will only appear shorter because you are viewing it at an angle, which means it would also appear shorter even if it was standing still.
And I'm once again doing something I stated earlier in this comment that I was going to stop doing. I'm viewing physics problems from different angles without any firm idea as to which angle is correct.
I should probably erase most of this comment, but I hate to do that because I spent so much time on it. Groan!!!
That also makes it clear that I am spending too much time on writing comments for this web site. I should be spending that time writing papers. I'm going to have to figure out some way to write maybe one or two comments per week here, instead of writing a comment almost every day.
July 14, 2020 - Yesterday afternoon, after I spent at least 2 hours copying all my journal entries for the past month from the journal with the red imitation leather cover that is falling apart into a new journal with a cardboard cover, I finished reading another library book on my Kindle. The book was "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World" by David Epstein.
It was an excellent, eye-opening book that answered a lot of questions for me. The basic premise is that people who do not specialize in a given field but instead change from field to field until they find the one they totally enjoy are the people who are the innovators and top performers in nearly every field, from sports to art, from politics to physics.
For me, that strikes home in many ways. I think it explains why I see Relativity very differently from many professional physicists, and it also explains some memorable events in my life. Most notably, it explains my lone patent. When my brother died, I volunteered to help keep his hydraulic flow meter company running until a buyer could be found for it. I knew nothing about hydraulics, but I was a business systems analyst and systems manager for many years. Analyzing problems and fixing them was what I did for a living for decades.
I was running my brother's company for about a month when I learned that the company was continuously getting requests for a type of hydraulic flow meter that they didn't make. All the company's flow meters measured the flow of liquids in one direction through a pipe. A lot of customers needed a flow meter that measured the flow of liquids in both directions. Before my brother formed his own company, he had worked for a different company that made flow meters. That company also had no bi-directional flow meters because they considered such a device to be impossible using their technology. My brother felt the same way. It was impossible to change his flow meters to be bi-directional. The only way to create such a meter was to start from scratch and build a totally new device.
I didn't see any problem at all. Two months later, I had built a bi-directional flow meter with only 2 new parts, I had tested it and patented it, and we were beginning production. The first order was for $20,000 worth.
I could also see why my brother and his previous employer felt it was impossible to modify their basic one-direction flow meter to create a bi-directional flow meter. What I didn't see was that the meter I had invented had a defect that I didn't know about because I had no experience. However, I discovered what that defect was when I drove to a potential customer's steel manufacturing plant and tested the meter in action. I fixed the problem with a paper clip. The production version had a pin in the place where I'd put the paper clip.
The pin is not part of my patent because it is only needed under certain conditions, which just happened to be the conditions under which I did the first field test.
Innovation is what non-specialists do best. They see things from different angles. Specialists just know how existing things work and how to fix them when they break.
That fact that Einstein was a patent clerk, not a professional physicist, when he discovered Relativity says that he was able to see things from a different angle. He wasn't wearing "mathematical blinkers" that kept him focused on a specific path. Later, things changed. According to David Epstein's book:
As astrophysicist Glen Mackie wrote, “A consensus seems to exist: in later years, Einstein worked with mathematical blinkers, immune to relevant discoveries, and unable to change his method of investigation.” God does not play dice with the universe, Einstein asserted, figuratively. Niels Bohr, his contemporary who illuminated the structure of atoms (using analogies to Saturn’s rings and the solar system), replied that Einstein should keep an open mind and not tell God how to run the universe.Here are a couple additional relevant quotes:
As psychologist and prominent creativity researcher Dean Keith Simonton observed, “rather than obsessively focus[ing] on a narrow topic,” creative achievers tend to have broad interests. “This breadth often supports insights that cannot be attributed to domain-specific expertise alone.”and
Scientists and members of the general public are about equally likely to have artistic hobbies, but scientists inducted into the highest national academies are much more likely to have avocations outside of their vocation. And those who have won the Nobel Prize are more likely still. Compared to other scientists, Nobel laureates are at least twenty-two times more likely to partake as an amateur actor, dancer, magician, or other type of performer. Nationally recognized scientists are much more likely than other scientists to be musicians, sculptors, painters, printmakers, woodworkers, mechanics, electronics tinkerers, glassblowers, poets, or writers, of both fiction and nonfiction. And, again, Nobel laureates are far more likely still.When I argue with the mathematicians on the sci.physics.relativity forum it is clear that they are mostly specialists, and they refuse to even discuss ideas with me unless I learn the special math-based language they use in their specialty. They talk dogma, believe dogma, and are interested in nothing but dogma. And they endlessly argue with others who believe a different dogma.
"Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World" is filled with fascinating examples of people entering a new field and seeing things from a different angle, resulting in innovations and inventions that specialists in that field would never have thought of in a million years. I highly recommend the book.
July 13, 2020 - Groan! I not only write comments on this web site about what I've been doing and thinking, I also keep a journal. These days, the journal is basically just a record of what I did during the day and what kind of day it was. Plus, I weigh myself every morning and record my weight in the journal. During the past month, my weight has ranged from 188.0 to 191.4 lbs. It was 190.0 on June 11, when I started volume #30 of my journal, and it was 190.0 this morning. I'm six feet tall, so that's an okay weight.
The first entry in volume #1 of my journal is dated January 30, 1982, and begins with this:
After exercising 3 times per week at the Chicago Health Club since last October, I'm now down to 201½. I started a 215 or 218.I wasn't involved in science back then, and I didn't have a web site. The journal was mostly about how things were going at the place where I worked.
Anyway, when I started the latest volume of my journal on June 11, I used the only blank journal I had, and the imitation leather cover material seemed to be falling apart. Here's what it looked like this morning:
I bought a new journal, and now I have the question: "Do I continue using the journal shown above, do I consider it complete and start a new journal, or do I copy a month's worth of entries (12 pages) from the one that's falling apart into a new journal and then throw away the one shown above?
Or do I just sit here staring at volume #30 wondering what to do, and do nothing else for the rest of the day? That seems to be the path I am on.
July 12, 2020 - Yesterday I learned a couple things that I'm really going to have to think about. I'm still on the subject of "What is time?". And I've always had a feeling that Einstein's beliefs about length contraction were somehow in error. Yesterday, that became a near certainty.
It all began when I found four more messages from Dono in my log file yesterday morning:
22.214.171.124 - - [10/Jul/2020:16:27:40 -0500] "GET /Stupid_donkey_Ed_Lake___YOU_are_the_one_claiming_I have said very often that I believed "Time is particle spin." That does NOT mean that "time is motion." It means that time is the elementary cycles of sub-atomic particles that have mass. Those cycles are happening for all objects that have mass, whether stationary or moving. Particles such as photons, which have no mass, do not experience time. That also shows that motion is separate from time. Besides, there are different kinds of "motion." Spin is very different from lateral motion.
In addition, "particle spin" does not mean that a particle is actually spinning. It means that the effects of the particle are those of a spinning particle. Science has not yet progressed to the point where the physical appearance of a sub-atomic particle can be studied. We can barely produce images of atoms in an electron microscope. The image below is of sulfur atoms.
Sub-atomic particles are vastly smaller than atoms. According to one source, if the individual atoms in the picture above have a radius of one 10 billionth of a meter, those atoms are 100 million times larger than an electron.
So we have a long way to go before we can produce actual images of electrons and other sub-atomic particles that comprise an atom. Until then we just think of them in terms of other things we can visualize, like little planets orbiting a star.
Since "particle spin" is a term that may have nothing to do with reality, it's probably not a good idea for me to continue to argue that "Time is particle spin." I need a better definition.
There seem to be a lot of clues about what time is and how time works. A few:
1. Atoms seem to have no properties which could also be a property of time. Time must therefore be controlled by something smaller than an atom.
2. Atomic clocks demonstrate that time slows down when the fundamental cycles of sub-atomic particles are affected by motion or gravity.
3. When time slows down due to the motion of an object, time slows down ONLY for the object that is moving, such as an atomic clock. That object's motion affects the rate of time for nothing else.
4. Time also ticks at different rate depending upon altitude.
5. Einstein's ideas about "Length Contraction" seem to be a similar concept, except that, instead of particle spin slowing down, length contraction has particles (and atoms) being compressed in the direction of movement. That compression supposedly slows them down, thereby slowing down time.
6. Einstein's ideas about length contraction have never been confirmed by experiment.
Over 4 years ago, I wrote a paper titled "What is Time?" It seems clear that I need to revise that paper to include things I've learned since then. And I also need to get a better idea of what Einstein was trying to do when he dreamed up "length contraction." It seems he saw certain things the same way I see them:
1. If speed and altitude slow down time, then time must be something that can be affected by speed and altitude. Time cannot be just an idea (or "an illusion").
2. Aging and decay are effects of time. Time causes molecules to break down and disassemble. An idea or illusion cannot do that.
3. Since it is normal for time to pass at a steady rate, time probably consists of something that executes regular cycles of some kind.
4. While it seems strange to describe time as if it were an object, there is nothing preventing it from being an object if everything that shows the effects of time is constructed from such objects.
Okay. Instead of saying that "Time is particle spin," it would probably be much better if I stated that "Time is a property of fundamental particles."
Will that just generate arguments over what "property" means. Merriam-Webster's definitions of "property" seem to help:
a : a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thingSo: Time is a property of fundamental particles that has an effect on everything that is constructed from those particles.
Hmm. I think I'll stick with the short version. It is easier to remember, and everyone should know that if you build something from "fundamental particles," the properties of those particles will have an effect on whatever you've built.
I think Einstein may have seen things in somewhat the same way, except that in 1905 they didn't really know the components of an atom. The nucleus of an atom was not discovered until 1911. In 1905, atoms were considered to be somewhat solid objects (like a blob of "plum pudding"), so compression of such objects in order to slow time could have made more sense. That seems to be how Einstein developed the idea of "length contraction." If speed causes time to slow down for an object, then speed must have some effect on that object. What effect? To Einstein, compression in the direction of moment was the only possible effect that came to mind. And somehow that compression causes time to slow down, just the way compression makes it more difficult for people to move around in a crowded railroad car than a nearly empty car .
I'll have to study Einstein's "length contraction" idea more closely. It is clearly a product of the era in which it was dreamed up. And we know a lot more about atoms today. Einstein was on the right track, but we now know the "track" is a lot longer than Einstein thought, and I think he got off at the wrong spot.
|Comments for Sunday, July 5, 2020,
thru Saturday, July 11, 2020:
July 11, 2020 - Yesterday evening I listened to six podcasts about time. While several of them contained interesting bits of information, none addressed the specific question I am seeking to answer: How does time work? But some of the podcasts were thought-provoking, and some may have caused me to look at certain things in a different way.
The first podcast I listened to was the RadioLab episode on "Time". The episode was mostly about the history of clocks, which I've studied many times before. It is only interesting now because of all the battles they had back in the 19th century to standardize time. It was somewhat like today's problems in getting people to wear face masks. Some people felt it infringed upon their human rights. They wanted to keep their own time, not have some time zone forced on them by the government or by railroads. There were even "time riots", because people refused to change their ways.
Physics Professor Brian Greene was on the program. I'm no fan of Professor Greene, but he did well on this podcast. He stated that time is not universal. So, when you travel fast and experience time dilation, you are only changing the rate of time for yourself, not for anyone else nor for anything not traveling with you. Interestingly, Prof. Greene stated that he has never owned a watch. The point was also made that time is measured by clocks, not by feelings. Duh!
Next I listened to all five parts of the podcast "About Time." The parts were titled:
Part 1 made three interesting points: (1) "Time" is the most frequently used verb in the English language. (2) Time can be subjective or "absolute". (3) Different cultures view time differently.1. The Language of Time
That last point was interesting because primitive cultures tend to relate time to events. It's "hunting time" or "work time" or "supper time" or "meeting time."
Part 2 pointed out that Aristotle stated that "time is a measurement of change." Other than that, the episode was just about how time is an "illusion" because it can go fast or slow depending upon whether we are doing something that is interesting or boring.
Part 3 was more of the same. It had noting to do with physics, only about how time is viewed.
Part 4 was more of the same, only this time it was about biological clocks and cycles that are built into our bodies. It had one interesting claim: "Tissue repair is 5 times slower at age 60 than at age 10." I think that all depends upon how well you protect your immune system.
Part 5 was more about the history of time keeping. It also had a bit of philosophy: "Everyone is born with a certain amount of time. Our job is to use it well."
While there was nothing of significant interest in any of those six podcasts, it was interesting to listen to people who are supposedly physicists talk about time as being an "illusion" because it seems to go faster when you are having fun and slower when you are bored. And no one - absolutely NO ONE - made any attempt to describe how time actually works.
July 10, 2020 - When I turned on my computer this morning, there was an email in my inbox advising the that my "medical" paper "A Different Covid-19 Problem" is now on-line at this link: https://vixra.org/pdf/2007.0058v1.pdf
And, of course, I also awoke this morning thinking about changes I should have made to the paper before uploading it. First, I definitely should have called those things on my hands "pustules" not "sores." Duh! Second, I probably should have mentioned the tiny, tightly-packed pustules that looked like goosebumps that appeared on the back of my fingers and on my elbows for awhile. They just went away and didn't seem to do any harm, but they could be important.
Ah well. There's no reason to believe anyone is going to read my paper anyway. I'm not a doctor, and anyone who happens to read it will probably toss it aside as soon as they see they are the observations of a patient, not a doctor. I just cannot believe that I am the only adult in the world who had such a problem as a result of grabbing a shopping cart handle that was dripping with antiseptic liquid.
Meanwhile, I fully expected that Dono would post more insults and arguments to my log file yesterday. But, he didn't. That's good, because I wouldn't have written about them here anyway. It would just have encouraged him to put more of his arguments and insults on my log file. I am tempted, however, to put something on my blog about them - particularly since the argument really seems to fit in with the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle.
And, by a really weird coincidence, when I looked at The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast web site this morning, I found that their latest podcast is titled "Does Time Exist?" That is exactly one of the arguments I was having with Dono. So, after I completed my morning chores, including writing a first version of this comment, I listened to that podcast. It was mostly a big disappointment. They just discussed silly issues such as "why can we remember the past but not the future" and time travel as depicted on the TV series "Dr. Who." One of the guests, a physics professor, did occasionally try to get people into some more meaningful areas of discussion. But everyone else seemed determined to argue about issues that have been argued about for centuries, like: Why is there there no global "now"? That is NOT the question to ask! As I see it, the key question is "How does time dilation work?" But I don't recall them ever really discussing time dilation.
However, I also found two other podcasts about "time" that I also need to check out. One on RadioLab looks interesting, even though it is from May 29, 2007. And I found a 5-part podcast about Time called "About Time" that might be worth listening to.
Time will tell.
July 9, 2020 - Yesterday, instead of working on one of the items on the list of "things to do" I wrote about, I worked on a medical paper. The paper is titled "A Different Covid-19 Problem." I think I'm about 90% done. The paper consists mostly of color pictures I took of my hands as I went through some kind of skin problem back in June, a problem which I diagnosed as resulting from grabbing a shopping cart handle that was dripping with some kind of disinfectant.
The paper isn't presented as being some medical discovery, it's presented as being something that may be a minor medical issue which doctors and others should be made aware of - if they aren't already. The pictures tell the story. As I see it, my hands were unintentionally exfoliated. Skin cells on my hands were killed by the chemical, and the dead cells were then replaced by new skin cells. The end result was that my hands ended up softer and healthier than they were before I touched that shopping cart handle. If I'm wrong about what I think happened, then maybe someone will correct me. I'm hoping to complete the paper and submit it to vixra.org later today or sometime tomorrow.
Meanwhile, that guy who posts messages to me on my web site log file did it again yesterday. Let's call him "Dono." Dono posted multiple copies of 4 different messages, which were all in response to what I wrote in yesterday's comment. No one responded to what I posted to the sci.physics.relativity forum, so that discussion seems to have ended, and the only other place I can discuss the log messages is here. So, I'll go through them one by one. The first message was:
126.96.36.199 - - [08/Jul/2020:12:01:16 -0500] "GET /You_have_it_ASS_BACKWARDS_moron_Ed___You_use_Interestingly, IP address 188.8.131.52 belongs to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I have no idea how Dono managed to use that IP address, but hackers often use addresses that trace back to Microsoft's web sites, so why not MIT?
Dono wrote "You use time to measure in the same way you use numbers to count." Really? When you use numbers to count, each numerical unit represents an object. But when you use time to measure, what are you using to measure what? Aren't you using numbers to count units of time? But what is a "unit of time"? It's definitely not an object. It is a cycle of some kind, and that cycle is used as a unit of time. For example, one cycle is one "tick" for a clock, one day for the Sun, one month for the moon. You do not use time to measure cycles, you use cycles to measure time.
The second post (also from MIT) was:
184.108.40.206 - - [08/Jul/2020:12:01:46 -0500] "GET /You_do_not_count_NUMBERS__you_use_NUMBERS_But time, when it is measured using clocks, is represented by ticks. And no one said anything about counting numbers.
The third post was via some web host in Hassfurt, Germany:
220.127.116.11 - - [08/Jul/2020:12:07:14 -0500] "GET /If_to_you_TIME_is_PARTICLE_SPIN_then_what_you_Hmm. As I see it, Time is particle spin. But that doesn't mean that "time is motion." Particles spin at a specific rate. Clocks tick at a specific rate. Motion involves no specific time element. The fact that motion occurs in time doesn't change anything. But, it's an interesting look into Dono's thought processes. It is not motion that is important, it is a regular cycle of motion. Regular cycles are used to measure time. And one type of cycle IS fundamental time.
His fourth post was:
18.104.22.168 - - [08/Jul/2020:12:07:41 -0500] "GET /Particle_spin_occurs_IN_TIME___so_it_CAN_NOT_BE_Particle spin occurs in time and it is the cycle that is time itself. It is the fundamental cycle against which all other cycles are measured. All regular cycles of objects can be measured using the cycles known as "particle spin." In fact, that is done every day, since it is just a way of saying you can use atomic clocks to measure all other kinds of cycles.
Wow! That's deep! The fundamental and smallest unit of time (one particle spin) is used to create all larger units of time. All larger units of time are just multiples of a particle spin. That's simple enough to understand. And the smallest unit of time is time itself.
Photons do not experience time, they do not age nor decay, because they travel at the speed of light. That poses three questions: (1) Do photons oscillate as they move? (2) If so, why? (3) If not, how does it transfer its energy?
If a photon does NOT oscillate, then it is still a photon, because it is still a tiny bundle of energy traveling at the speed of light. However, that tiny bundle of energy must also be shaped like a wave. Its shape determines it's frequency. It's frequency is how quickly a complete wave passes a given point. The length of that wave also represents how much energy the photon contains. The more compressed the wave is, the more energy it contains.
Hmm. I'm going to have to think about that. But first I want to finish my "medical paper."
July 8, 2020 - Groan! So much to do and so little time to do it! I've got about 50 books on my list of books to read, and another 30 audio books on my list of audio books to listen to. Plus, I'm still arguing on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum. And I've got a bunch of papers I want to write. And I've got two sci-fi novels I need to revise and self-publish. And I keep thinking I should write a book summarizing my scientific papers. And I've got a couple hundred podcasts I want to listen to. And on and on and on and on and on.
Plus, this morning the tank or flush lever in my toilet stopped working.
It doesn't look difficult to fix, but it's not as simple as the version shown above. And due to Covid-19, it's awkward to ask the maintenance man to fix it. It looks like I can fix it with a piece of string or a piece of twist-tie. I just need to find the time to study the situation. (I can still flush the toilet, but I have to lift the cover on the top of the tank in order to lift the "tank lever".)
In addition, this morning, that person who sends me messages via my log file did it again. I found 5 copies of this message in my log file for yesterday's activity (with my highlighting in red):
22.214.171.124 - - [07/Jul/2020:11:47:08 -0500] "GET /Moron_Ed_Lake_has_not_realized_that_the_word_TIME_And also five copies of this message:
126.96.36.199 - - [07/Jul/2020:11:47:31 -0500] "GET /If_time_stops_for_a_photon_traveling_at_the_speed_of_light___Sigh! "Time is a measurement"? A measurement of what? Time? Time does not tick, but clocks tick as they measure time. Anything and everything that measures time does so by repeating regular cycles of some kind.
A photon traveling at the speed of light does not experience time. It can travel for billions of years and be no different from when it was created. A photon takes 8.3 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth. A photon has no way of knowing that. It is something that humans have figured out.
This looks like it could be a way to explain things to the guy who put those messages in my log file. (What he does is look for a non-existent web page on my web site, and my log file shows he couldn't find it. Error 404. The name of that non-existent file then shows up in my web site's access log as his message. IP address 188.8.131.52 belongs to a web host he uses in Munich, Germany.)
What is time? I wrote a paper on that topic. The only way I can explain it is to refer to time dilation. The faster you move, the slower time passes for you and the slower you age. That suggests that time is particle spin. In order to obey the law that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in our universe, particles must spin slower when they move faster. In doing so, they age slower and they last longer before they decay. (That is demonstrated with muons.) So, time is particle spin. That says that time does "tick." One "tick" is one spin (or oscillation) of a subatomic particle.
That's how atomic clocks work. It is WHY atomic clocks work. It may not be the best way to explain how time works, but it's the best way I've come up with.
And, it seems like something I should try to explain to the guy who posted those messages to my log file. One way to do that is to write something here, which I've done. But it's easier to discuss it on sci.physics.relativity. So, I'll do that, too. Sigh.
July 6, 2020 - Hmm. On my Kindle, I've been reading what might be called a "science book." It's a book about how generalists seem to do better in today's world than specialists. While reading during lunch today, I came across this passage in Chapter 2:
Words that represent concepts that were previously the domain of scholars became widely understood in a few generations. The word “percent” was almost absent from books in 1900. By 2000 it appeared about once every five thousand words.On the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum I've been arguing that Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity is about how time slows down when you travel at very high speeds, and the higher the percentage of the speed of light that you travel, the slower time passes for you. What I read about the word "percent" made me wonder if Einstein ever used the word. I searched his 1905 paper for "percent" and "percentage" and found that he used neither word. The German word for percent is "Prozent." In the German version of is paper, that word does not appear, nor does "Prozentsatz." He also doesn't use it anywhere in his 1920 book "Relativity: The Special and General Theory."
That makes me wonder if Einstein's explanations are so convoluted and difficult to follow because he didn't know the word "percent." "Percentage" wasn't a "concept" that was in common use in his time. And so he had to explain things in a convoluted way because that word was not available to him.
I wonder what other modern words were also not known back then, words which would greatly help to simplify what he was saying.
I could be totally wrong, of course, but I've been editing a lesson on the subject of "Special Relativity" prepared by a physics teacher, explaining to the teacher that the lesson is totally WRONG about several important things - primarily regarding a mistaken belief that "If two observers are in motion relative to each other, each sees the other's clock run more slowly." That is total nonsense and has been confirmed to be nonsense in many experiments. My hope is to get the teacher into a discussion about such "errors." If not that teacher, then I'll try some other teacher who teaches the same crap.
July 5, 2020 - I hope everyone had a great 4th of July, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. In my area, nearly all the city-sponsored fireworks celebrations were cancelled, yet I could hear fireworks going off constantly from about 5 p.m. until after 11:30 p.m., and from my second floor balcony, which faces north, I could see aerial fireworks displays going off in at least three different locations, to the northwest, to the north and to the northeast. And it sometimes seemed there were other locations in-between. Presumably, most were individual celebrations using fireworks they bought in stores outside of town and set off in their backyards, but, if so, it was one celebration after another with major aerial displays.
The arguments I was having on the sci-physics-relativity discussion forum seemed to have died down. I saved the entire thread of 176 posts, some of which were very interesting. I would try to explain Special Relativity as I understand it, and they would just recite dogma in response. I would quote Einstein, and they would claim that Einstein didn't mean what he wrote. But the most bizarre claims came from a guy named "Tom Roberts" who repeatedly claimed I was just making stuff up, when I was quoting from scientific articles. And when I provided the links to those articles, he'd claim they were all lies. He argued that the scientists who wrote the papers were just lying to the public because the general public is simply too dumb to understand real science.
Meanwhile, yesterday I listened to two really terrific podcasts. When I finished all the Infinite Monkey Cage podcasts I had stored in my MP3 player, and all the Astronomy Cast podcasts and all the Space Nuts podcasts, instead of transferring more of those podcasts from the stockpiles in my computer into my MP3 player, I listened to some podcasts in my MP3 player that I hadn't listened to before. Specifically, I listened to two episodes of Big Picture Science. The first episode was titled "Skeptic Check: Science Denial," from February 3, 2020. It was all about how science deniers work. Their tactics began with the scientists who were hired by cigarette manufacturers to argue that smoking cigarettes is NOT bad for your health. They created a counter argument for people who did not want to stop smoking. Today, we see the same thing with Global Warming. There are scientists who were hired by coal and oil companies, and by car manufacturers, to produce data that shows that Global Warming is NOT caused by man-made air pollution, and there is nothing to worry about.
They also talked about "a balanced view" which involves finding one scientist or "expert" who is willing to put on a show that challenges the findings of the rest of the scientific community. So the audience sees two "points of view," when in reality there are just the facts and one person who disagrees with the facts. The people on the podcast called such people "Confusionists." Their job is to confuse the audience in order to break up any movement that might harm big business interests. They're doing a good job, too, since about 30% of the public always deny science facts.
After finishing that Big Picture episode, I listened to "Skeptic Check: Betting on Pseudoscience." In a way, it was more of the same, except it is about how people are being swindled out of MILLIONS of dollars by fake psychics. You hear almost nothing about it on the news, but it is evidently wide-spread and rampant. It affects both the rich and the poor. The rich are swindled out of hundreds of thousands of dollars per case, and the poor are swindled out of smaller amounts, but there are a lot more of them.
Evidently, we do not hear about them because the people who were swindled are too ashamed to tell anyone that they were swindled by a phony psychic. Plus, in most cases, giving money to a psychic is NOT a crime. The psychics promise nothing tangible in return for the money you give to them. Many psychics simply feed conspiracy theories that their victims already believe.
The show wasn't just about psychics, some of it was also about "naturopath" doctors who basically tell you want you to hear when you go to them for some medical problem. So, you not not only lose money, you could also lose your life.
One of the guests on the show was Lee McIntyre, who is a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and lecturer on ethics at Harvard Extension School. He wrote a book titled "The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud and Pseudoscience." My library doesn't have a copy, but I was able to find that it says this in the Introduction:
We live in extraordinary times for the understanding of science. In May 2010, the prestigious journal Science published a letter signed by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences. It began “We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything.”Yes, how many people have I encountered in my lifetime who seem to always think in terms of absolutes: If you make mistakes, you cannot be depended upon for anything. Who wants to trust or even listen to someone who makes mistakes? It's better to listen to someone who tells you what you want to hear - like Trump. And, if you want to hear what Trump has to say, you probably have no reason to bother to figure out what is true and what is not. You can just accept what Trump as to say and ignore those who dispute him. It's easier than thinking.
|Comments for Wednesday, July 1,
2020, thru Saturday, July 4, 2020:
July 3, 2020 - Around 1 p.m. this afternoon, moments before I started writing this comment, I finished listening to a 5-hour, 41-minute audio book that I'd had in my MP3 player for over a year. The book is somewhat of an autobiography and is titled "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" by Carol Burnett.
I started listening to it yesterday afternoon. It's not a very long book. It's 288 pages in paperback, but that includes a lot of pictures. Plus, there are at least 65 (unnumbered) chapters, with blank space at the end of nearly every chapter. The audio book is read by Carol Burnett, doing some very good impressions when she quotes famous people she has met and known.
I chose it because I was in the mood for something funny, after reading two grim books about Donald Trump. The book had plenty of laughs, but a lot of sadness, too. Above I stated that it is "somewhat of an autobiography" because it certainly does not read like an autobiography. It's like listening to a collection of at least 200 brief remembrances, anecdotes and jokes, none of which takes more than 3 or four minutes. There's a lot about famous people Carol has known or met over the years, from a series of awkward weekly dinners with Cary Grant to a brief encounter with John Steinbeck in an elevator, from doing a Broadway play with Lucille Ball, to meeting Barbara Stanwick in a doctor's waiting room.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the audio book, particularly since I'd had it for over a year and had never even sampled it.
July 2, 2020 - Yesterday afternoon, I finished reading another library book on my Kindle. The book was "Front Row at the Trump Show" by Jonathan Karl, another book about President Donald Trump.
I was reading it when John Bolton's book about Trump came out, so I set "Front Row" aside and sped-read "The Room Where It Happened." When I finished that book, I then continued reading "Front Row." Meanwhile, I'm listening to another book about Trump every time I get into my car. Looking at the directory for my Kindle, I see I have at least another dozen books about Trump that are still unread. And I've got at least four others in my MP3 player. However, while I was eating breakfast this morning, I started reading a science book. I don't know if I'll read it all the way through, but if I decide it is not sufficiently interesting, I do NOT plan to read another book about Trump. I've had my fill of Trump and books about Trump for awhile. Maybe I'll read a travel book, or a history book, or some other science book.
"Front Row" was an enjoyable read, even though I am fed up with the subject. It's different because the author, Jonathan Karl, was friends with Trump for about 20 years before Trump became President. Karl wrote this about those early days:
I wasn’t the only one to find Trump entertaining in those days. Heck, Bill and Hillary Clinton went to the wedding when Trump married Melania in 2005. He seemed like a cartoon version of a rich developer. He was fun to be around. There was a sinister side to Trump, but at the time, I did not see it.Here's another passage which explains the title of the book:
I call it the Trump Show because that is the way President Trump sees it. He tracks the ratings and the crowds. He follows the reviews. He slams the critics but craves their approval. And when he can’t get their approval, he sets out to prove them wrong by pointing to his adoring fans and showing that he can command the world’s attention by changing the story line any time he wants to change it. Donald Trump is the creator, chief publicist, executive producer, and star of the Trump Show. He may be at war with the news media, but he is also in love with the news media. In fact, we have never had a president who so eagerly consumes so much TV news. For Donald Trump, the taunts and personal insults are part of the game. He sees the public jousting with the press as a critical component of the Trump Show’s success. But this is a dangerous game. A president’s rhetoric, especially rhetoric that incites hatred or willfully distorts the truth, has consequences.Much of the book is about how Trump constantly lies. Fact checkers have recorded over ten thousand lies that have been told by Trump so far.
Donald Trump lies for comic effect, he lies to make himself feel good, he lies to make you feel good, he lies because he likes to, he lies because he can.Another passage from near the end of the book:
The Trump Show will eventually become a distant memory. The question is whether America will ever be the same again, whether we have become a nation of people who define truth in relative terms, accepting as true only what we want to believe, yelling “fake news” at everything else, a nation so thoroughly divided we cannot agree on what is real. If we can’t agree on reality and have no interest in seeking truth no matter where it leads, we have no hope of overcoming our divisions.That is exactly what worries me the most about Trump and our current situation with the pandemic and what seems like a constant stream of murders committed by police officers. Too many people have no interest in finding the truth. They think emotionally, not logically. They do not like the idea of wearing masks, so they don't. And some will even berate those who do wear masks. The logic behind wearing masks is of absolutely no concern to them. They do what they feel is right, and that probably means they'll vote for Trump again in November.
July 1, 2020 - I've been trying to avoid getting into any arguments on the sci.physics.relativity discussion forum, and I managed to succeed for about a month and a half. But two days ago, on Monday, June 29, I saw an interesting message that seemed to demand that I respond.
The post was by someone named "Mitch Raemsch," and it was very simple and concise:
The fact that he misspelled "absolute" should have told me something, but I thought it was an interesting question, and I replied:Relativity says there is No Abolute Rest.
Special Relativity says that the faster you move, the slowerLooking back on it, I probably should have mentioned that an "inertial frame is a frame that is moving at a constant speed and is not being accelerated." That is the basic definition of an "inertial frame." But, interestingly, no one picked up on that, and all the subsequent discussions were about time dilation. Time Dilation is probably my favorite science topic, so we argued for two days.
Basically, they just argued that time dilation is not real. According to them, it just SEEMS that time is running at a slower rate for someone else when I look from my inertial frame into their inertial frame, and when they look into my inertial frame it SEEMS that time is running slower for me than for them. They believe in what I call The Dumbest Idea In Physics:
In response to an argument from "Tom Roberts," I wrote this:All motion is reciprocal.
Special Relativity is about movement relative to the speed of light, which is the MAXIMUM speed that anything can travel in our universe.That generated a lot of arguments about how Special Relativity is not about the speed of light and how the speed of light is the same for everyone. I replied for about the thousandth time that the speed of light is the same for everyone because it is measured PER SECOND, and the LENGTH OF A SECOND can be different for everyone, depending upon your speed and altitude.
But they do not believe that time is variable, so they just continued to argue their beliefs. Then, when I turned on my computer this morning, I saw a NEW argument. Yesterday, as part of some discussion, I had written,
My office is an "inertial frame." It is moving with the earth's rotation and with the earth as the earth moves through space, but it is NOT accelerating.In response to that, "Sylvia Else" had written:
You must have a very comfortable seat indeed if you cannot feel theSomeone had previously mentioned "acceleration" as being a change in direction when moving around in a circle. It was by someone on my "Do Not Reply" list, so I didn't respond. But, I responded to "Sylvia Else" this way:
Okay, that's a good point, Sylvia.I'm now waiting to see if anyone responds to that comment. I like arguments where I learn something, and I'm very much interested in learning how mathematicians reconcile their definition of "acceleration" with "Inertial Frames of Reference" in Special and General Relativity.