Archive for
October 2020

Comments for Sunday, October 11, 2020, thru Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020:

October 17, 2020 - Hmm.  In a world that seems to be falling apart, I'm spending most of my time trying to figure how how the universe works, particularly light and time.  I suppose it is better than sitting around and worrying about Covid-19, or worrying about whether Trump will refuse to leave office if he's defeated in the upcoming election, or, worst of all, worrying about what could happen if Trump is somehow re-elected to a second term.

And when I'm not trying to figure out how the universe works, I'm reading books on my Kindle, and listening to audio books.  Yesterday evening, I finished another audio book.  It was the 12-hour, 2-minute unabridged version of "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883" by Simon Winchester.


It's a history book, a travel book, and also somewhat of a science book.  It was a very interesting read.  Winchester writes very vividly and eloquently. The first part of the book is about the history of the region where Krakatoa is located, i.e., the area around Java, Sumatra, and Indonesia.  Krakatoa volcano was located in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, and it seems to have been erupting every so often throughout recorded history.  Krakatoa blew itself apart in 1883, but a new volcano immediately began forming in the same location.  It's called Anak Krakatoa, "the son of Krakatoa." Here's a picture from 2018:

The book is mainly about the eruption in August 1883, which was the loudest and biggest explosion in recorded history.  The sound waves went around the world at least 5 times, and they were heard thousands of miles away.  Debris was hurled 24 miles into the air.  But most of the damage done was from the resulting tidal wave which was over a hundred feet high, killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed countless ships and traveled for thousands of miles.  

The book then gets into how the explosion changed the history of the region.  It was then known as the Dutch East Indies, and it was ruled from the Netherlands.  But the Muslims in the area saw the 1883 explosion as a sign from God and started to revolt against the Dutch, eventually gaining independence in 1945.  

The book ends with a travel story as the author visits Anak Krakatoa during a quiet period a few years ago, and he climbs to the rim of the current crater.  It's not just a volcano, it's also a lush tropical island once again, with trees, grass, brush, birds, animals and insects. There a lot of speculation on where all the living things came from.  Did seeds somehow survive the 1883 explosion?  Did insects come via winds?   Not much is known for certain.  Every time someone tries to do an exhaustive study of the island, the volcano erupts again.  Interesting stuff.

October 14, 2020 - The troll who has been putting messages in my web site log file posted four more messages on Monday.  I know that mentioning them here just encourages him to post more, but the four he posted Monday are interesting.  He posted them via a web site in Hassfurt, Germany.  Here are the four messages stripped of all the extra log file coding:
Ed lake is still stupid because he does not understand that Time Dilation has been confirmed MATHEMATICALLY in a mathematical model called Relativity

Ed lake is still stupid because does not understand that Time Dialtion [sic] is a mathematical construct

Ed lake is still stupid because does not understand that Time is a mental construct and it does not exist in the Universe

Ed lake is still stupid because he does not understand that if Time Dilation has been confirmed so has Length Contraction been confirmed
So, the troll doesn't like what I've written about time dilation?   I've never discussed time dilation on the RDForum, I can't even recall the last time I mentioned it on this web site, and I definitely haven't discussed it on the sci.physics.relativity forum in a long, long time.  Back in September, however, I received an email from a psychology professor at a university in a Middle-East country who asked my opinion of a paper he had written on the subject of the Twin Paradox, which, of course, involves time dilation.  In the paper he had developed his own Theory of Relativity that allowed the twins to age equally.

His theory is totally based upon mathematics, of course. He evidently also has a degree in economics.  I read some of his paper and responded, telling him that I was the wrong person to ask about his paper, since my views directly conflict with his.  He responded:

Dear Ed,
I agree with you. You are not the right person. You repeat what you have been told, which is nothing but a fairy tail.
Just look at my page in the [xxxxxx] and see what I was able to achieve with my wrong theory.
I xxxx'ed out the name of the pay-to-print journal where his papers appear on-line. Could he be the same person who is posting messages to my log file?  The evidence definitely seems to point to him, even though he's a professor of psychology.  What he is arguing in his messages in my log file is the same thing he argued in his paper.  He's arguing the same fundamental misunderstanding of Relativity that countless other mathematicians argue:
the twin paradox is unsolvable within the framework of special relativity, unless we make the assumption of a preferred frame of reference, which stands in diametrical opposition to the mere principle of relativity.
What he doesn't understand is: There is a "preferred frame of reference" in Special Relativity.  It is the speed of light.  All motion in the universe can be measured relative to the maximum possible speed in the universe, the speed of light.  That is why Einstein stated that it makes the aether "superfluous."  The aether was a "preferred frame of reference" before experiments showed it didn't exist.

The problem is that Einstein didn't spell things out in simple terms.  You have to follow the logic of his Postulates and how they seem to conflict, but do not really conflict if you understand his theory that time slows down for an object that is moving, and the faster that object moves, the slower time passes for that object.  Against what do you measure those different speeds?  Against the speed of light, of course. 

I just looked up the "ether" on the Encyclopedia Britannica web site and it says this:

With the formulation of the special theory of relativity by Albert Einstein in 1905 and its acceptance by scientists generally, the ether hypothesis was abandoned as being unnecessary in terms of Einstein’s assumption that the speed of light, or any electromagnetic wave, is a universal constant.
So, I am definitely not the only person in the world who sees that the speed of light is a "universal constant" against which all other speeds can be measured.

But mathematicians cannot comprehend measuring a speed against another speed.  They can only measure speeds relative to some object

That is what the arguments on sci.physics.relativity and RDForum are mostly about. It seems to be the fundamental disagreement between Relativists and Quantum Mechanics mathematicians.  And the disagreement has been raging for 115 years!  But it is never argued that way.  Instead the argument is mostly about gravity and General Relativity.  It's like everyone is too busy arguing about big things to spend time resolving little things, even if those "little things" might have the key to resolving some of those BIG arguments.

October 12, 2020
- Last Friday I saw comedian Jerry Seinfeld on some TV talk show promoting his new book, "Is This Anything?"  The book looked interesting, so I checked my local library to see if they had a copy.  They didn't.  But they had an audio book from 2017 titled "Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything" by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.  It also looked interesting, so, even though I had about two dozen other interesting books waiting to be heard in my MP3 player, I borrowed it. 


The audio book is 9 hours and 59 minutes long.  I finished listening to it last night at about 10:40 p.m.  I was a fan of the TV show "Seinfeld" from when it first aired in 1989 through its final season in 1998, and I have the entire series on DVDs. 

Seinfeld on DVD

It was a very interesting, funny and enjoyable audio book.  It definitely made me want to view the entire series again. Did the final episode end with Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer in jail?  I don't remember that at all, probably because the last time I watched that episode from a DVD was in August 2008.  According to the book, reviewers also considered it to be their worst
episode.  Nevertheless, I'm going to have to find the time to watch the entire series again.

Meanwhile, there were three more personal attacks on my web site log when I checked it this morning.  The attacks make it pretty clear that I was wrong in believing the previous attack came from someone on the RDForum.  Everything now indicates that they are from the same idiot who posted attacks to my web site logs in the past, some mathematician from the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum. It's clear he's a mathematician because of what he posted yesterday.  There were ten copies of three different messages in my log file.  Here are the three messages: - - [11/Oct/2020:10:12:39 -0500] "GET /Imbecile_Ed_
so_is_Time_Dilation HTTP/1.1" 404 - "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0" - - [11/Oct/2020:10:13:08 -0500] "GET /Idiot_Ed_lake_
Epicycles_are_to_Geocentrism_[mathematical_constructs] HTTP/1.1  404 - "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0" - - [11/Oct/2020:10:13:51 -0500] "GET /Moron_Ed_Lake_does_not_understand_that_when_he_
HTTP/1.1" 404

- "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0"
What this mathematician doesn't seem to understand is that even though Time Dilation was just a "mathematical construct" when Einstein first proposed it in 1905, it has since been confirmed by many experiments.  That means Time Dilation is no longer just a "mathematical construct" like Spacetime, it is something many different experiments have shown to be real, even though mathematicians will endlessly argue that it is not.

Also, I don't think I've ever called all mathematicians idiots.  I've only called the ones "idiots" who call me names and attack me when I challenge their beliefs, like the idiot who posted those 30 attacks.  I can't just call him a "mathematician," since that would imply an attack on all mathematicians.  There are mathematicians who know that their math is just a pattern they have created. It is not a "discovery."  A mathematical explanation without experimentation is just an interesting pattern.

I made a mistake in writing about the guy's previous post in my Oct. 10 comment.  That just encouraged him to post more personal attacks.  So, I won't be writing about any more of them ... unless he posts something truly interesting.
October 11, 2020
- The arguments and discussions I've been having on the RDForum have been very productive and very interesting.   Yesterday I actually got a mathematician/engineer to discuss something instead of just declaring his beliefs.  It turned out we were saying the same thing, we just computed it in a different way.  I produced a spreadsheet showing how I think radar guns measure target speeds.   The spreadsheet looked like this:

calculating mph from the beat frequency

And I explained it this way:
1. The gun has the Hertz frequency and the speed of light programmed into it.
2. It develops the beat frequency by comparing the transmitted Hertz frequency to the returned Hertz frequency.
3. It then develops a percentage by finding the percentage that beat frequency is of the transmitted Hertz frequency times 2.
4. It then uses that percentage against the speed of light to find the speed of the target.
5. It then somehow rounds off the speed of the target to the nearest whole number and displays it.
A radar engineer on the RDForum figured things a different way.  He wrote:
1. The gun develops the beat frequency by comparing the transmitted Hertz frequency to the returned Hertz frequency.

2. It divides the beat frequency of the target return by the K factor [from the table below:]
@35.5 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~105.873 Hz
@34.7 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~103.487 Hz
@33.8 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~100.803 Hz
@24.15 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~72.023 Hz
@24.125 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~71.949 Hz
@10.525 GHz 1 MPH = K of ~31.389 Hz
3. It then somehow rounds off the speed of the target to the nearest whole number (actually nearest lower whole number) and displays it.
A radar gun is operating on a designed center frequency of 35.5 GHz and receives back target Doppler of 6000 Hz.

6000/105.873= ~56.67 MPH

Round down to 56 MPH and display.
What he produced was just another mathematical way of doing the same thing I had done.  He developed the "K factor" by utilizing the Hertz frequency and the speed of light.  So we confirmed what I'd quoted from a book I recently read:
"Mathematics is simply the catalogue of all possible patterns."
He used one pattern and I used another pattern to get the same answer.  But, more importantly both of us used mathematical "patterns" which measure speeds relative to the speed of light.  That confirmed what I had written to start the debate: Radar guns measure speeds relative to the speed of light, they do not measure speeds relative to some object.

So, we have a solid basis for our next discussion.  Does he agree to what I highlighted in red above?

In another discussion on Friday, I suddenly realized there was a different way to argue about waves versus photons.  Instead of arguing about radar guns, we could argue about telescopes.  Do telescopes receive photons or waves?  How would a telescope work if it received waves?

Photons vs waves in telescopes
The problem however, is that when you look at descriptions of how telescopes work, they don't discuss photons or waves.  They generally discuss "light rays."

light rays into a telescope
But maybe a discussion about telescopes will lead to another point of agreement.  It's certainly worth a try.

Comments for Sunday, October 4, 2020, thru Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020:

October 10, 2020 - Hmm.  Normally I just ignore the trolls who try to attack and insult me by causing messages to appear on my web site logs, but the message that appeared on yesterday's log is kind of interesting.

I check the logs every day to see who has been visiting this web site, and who has been attempting to hack into it.  There's a line on the log for every attempt to read any image or file on the site or to post to the site.  Yesterday, there was an attack from someone at IP address, which traces back to Warrenton, Virginia.  That's not an address the troll on sci.physics.relativity ever used to attack me.  And I hadn't posted to that forum in a long time, so why would the troll suddenly find a need to attack me?

The troll first accessed my very first archive file, which is for January of 2015.  He may have done that just to verify that I wasn't blocking accesses from the web address he was about to use to attack me, but he may also have needed a good web site html address to modify to contain his  personal attacks.  Either way, that access was followed by 20 messages which looked like this in the log file: - - [09/Oct/2020:12:59:52 -0500] "GET /All_your_
OF_HUMANITY_[sarcasm HTTP/1.1" 404 - "-" "Mozilla/5.0
(Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0"
In reality, my scientific papers are all on and and will probably remain there for many years after I shut down this web site.  Plus, my writings on this web site are archived on web archives.  The Wayback Machine archive saved copies of this web site three times this year, once in January and twice in August. And they've been saving copies since I bought the domain name  Plus, other archive sites have been doing the same thing, including Google and Amazon.  So, there's a good possibility that if someone wants to read my "RAMBLINGS" a hundred (or a thousand) years from now, there will be some way to do it.

After I completed my morning routine and finished with the log file, I checked to see what was happening on the RDForum.  On that forum someone had posted this:
You need radar guns to be based on and measure c as part of their operations to support your paper here:

And your blog post here: My Thoughts on the Changing World.
So, he'd just been prowling my web sites.  It seems to be about 95% certain that the person who put the attack on my web site blog was someone from the RDForum.

October 8, 2020
Groan!  There just aren't enough hours in a day!  Yesterday morning I had my annual physical, which took nearly all morning.  I  left for the doctor's office at 8:30 a.m. and returned home at 11 a.m.  Then I had to cram my normal day into the hours that were left.  The physical went fine.  No problems.  I even managed to relax while waiting to see the doctor, so when the nurse took my blood pressure, it was 120 over 60, which is in the "ideal" range. 

The discussions I had later on the RDForum where very interesting and helpful.  It's all very different from the arguments on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet forum where everyone seems to have their own view of science and they're ready to defend it to the death, so there is no possibility for any "meeting of the minds." On the RDForum, where the members (except me) are people who own radar detectors and want to learn more about avoiding and fighting traffic tickets, there are very few mathematicians who can only discuss things in mathematical terms.  But there are a few.  You just have to learn how to avoid them.

Last night I listened to an audio book instead of watching TV and the Vice Presidential Debate.  I recorded the debate, of course.  I may watch some of it tonight.  At around 10 p.m. last night I finished listening to the audio book version of  "A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir" by Colin Jost, who I only know from his playing a newscaster on the TV comedy show Saturday Night Live.

A Very Punchable Face

It's a 7 hour, 43 minute audio book that I borrowed from my library 3 days ago, on October 5.  I listened to half of it on Tuesday night and the last half last night. I was expected a funnier book.  While there are lots of funny parts in the book, it is also very grim at times, and at other times it is also "gross."  (If I occasionally crapped by pants as an adult, I'm not sure that I'd write details about it in a memoir.)

Jost grew up on Staten Island, where his father was a school teacher and his mother was a fire department doctor.  There's an entire chapter in the book about how his mother was almost killed twice on 9-11 as she tended to victims while the first tower fell and then again when the second tower fell. 

Jost is a Harvard graduate and he worked
on the Harvard Lampoon while there. After graduating, he worked at Merrill Lynch for awhile, then for a small newspaper.  Then he became a stand-up comic, and before long he worked as a head writer on Saturday Night Live, a.k.a "SNL".  Then he became a regular as part of SNL's fake news show "Weekend Update" with Colin Jost and Michael Che.  He's been working at SNL for over 15 years, but the book ends with him saying he's about to quit and settle down with his wife-to-be, movie star Scarlett Johansson and just write.  Johansson is only mentioned a few times in the book, mostly about the time when she and Jost were wandering around Paris and they were pelted with tomatoes thrown by some teenagers. 

It's a weird book, so it's difficult to recommend.  But if you are a fan of Jost on SNL's "Weekend Update," then I can definitely recommend the book to learn more about him and his life.  He's only 38, but he's definitely been places and done things.

October 6, 2020 - It used to annoy the hell out of me that Trump would always hold his Corona virus updates at the same time as the evening news shows were on.  So, instead of watching the world news, everyone would end up watching Trump rambling and blathering for an hour or more.  After a couple minutes, I usually just switched to watching something else. 

The networks finally caught onto Trump's game, and they would cut away from his ramblings after about ten minutes and go back to presenting the world news.  Soon after, Trump stopped doing daily briefings.

Does anyone think it is just a coincidence that Trump went to the hospital while the evening new shows were on?  Or that he left the hospital while the evening news shows were on?

The only question is: Does he do that to mess with what he considers to be "fake news" shows, or does he do it because he knows that is when he'll get the best TV coverage?  Either way, he is just demonstrating his creepy narcissism.

Last night I finally watched some of the Trump-Biden debate.  I decided that I'd never be able to sit through it in its entirety, so I burned it onto a DVD.  When watching it from my DVR I had the ability to fast-forward past boring stuff, of course, but when it's on a DVD you can instantly jump forward by 10 minutes, watch a sample, and if it's unbearable, you can instantly jump forward another 10 minutes.  I did that and watched maybe a half hour of Trump's rants and ravings.  If I can stomach it, I can do more of it sometime in the future.  And I erased it from my DVR so that it isn't always there as a reminder when I look to see what I've got waiting to watch on my DVR.  (The only thing I watch while it is being broadcast is the evening news.)

Meanwhile, I'm once again feeling a little overwhelmed.  I'm working on a paper about the physics of radar guns, while at the same time my library seems to be buying more books and providing them to me faster.  Books that were said to have a 6-month wait when I first reserved them turn out to be available in just a few weeks.  I borrowed two books yesterday that I thought I'd have to wait another 5 months or more for, one audio book and one Kindle book.  I started on the audio book right away, but the Kindle book will have to wait.   

And, for some reason, the people on the RDForum suddenly restarted arguments with me.   They are interesting arguments, since explaining things to people causes me to think about those things in different ways, plus the topics are the same topics I'm covering in my new paper.  Also, when you are arguing with someone who refuses to understand, you end up explaining the same things in a dozen different ways, while the other person just argues the same things over and over.  It can be very interesting, but it can also get tedious very fast.  One benefit is that the others on the forum seem to be catching on.  They don't usually join in the arguments.  No one wants to argue with someone who refuses to understand.  But when they write something new you can see they are trying to understand something new.

October 4, 2020
- Yes, we are definitely living in interesting times.  Watching the news about President Trump contracting Covid-19 and having to go to the hospital, and others around him also being tested positive, like Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and my idiot Senator Ron Johnson, plus two other Republican senators, it's like watching some comedy show where the idiots all finally get their comeuppance.  I wanted to create a cartoon about it, but the best I could come up with is the one below.   

Better safe or sorry?


I wanted to create a cartoon where people wearing masks are carrying signs like the one on the left, but I couldn't think of what the people who refuse to wear masks would be doing while carrying signs with a slogan like the one on the right.

Making matters worse, the news broke on a Friday and my two favorite talk show hosts, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah don't do shows on Friday nights.  My third favorite, Jimmy Kimmel does do Friday night shows, and he only talked briefly about Trump contracting Covid-19.  Maybe he didn't think it was very funny, either. It's more pathetic than funny when someone who has been ridiculing people for wearing masks contacts Covid-19 because he wasn't wearing a mask as often as he should have. 

Will he lose some of his supporters because of this?  Maybe, but I think most will just say, "That's just Trump being Trump.  It doesn't mean anything.  I still support him.  It's better than having a politician in the White House."

Comments for Thursday, October 1, 2020, thru Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020:

October 2, 2020 - Hmm.  The news this morning is all about how President Trump and his wife Melania have contracted the Covid-19 virus.  And his senior aide, Hope Hicks, has been infected, too.  The only question seems to be, given how careless Trump has been, why did it take so long for him to get it?

What worries me most about Trump getting Covid-19 is that if he gets really sick, Mike Pence will have to take over some or all of the President's duties.  And that situation was confronted a couple years ago when there was a risk of Trump being removed from office by being impeached.  That's when I created this banner:
Pence vs Trump
And what happens if Trump gets so sick he cannot continue his campaign for a second term?  Does Pence automatically become the Republican candidate - maybe with Rush Limbaugh or Steve Bannon as Vice President?

I hope you get better soon, Mr. President! 

October 1, 2020
- On Tuesday evening I really wanted to watch the Presidential Debate.  I set my DVR to record it, and also I sat down to watch it.  But as soon as Donald Trump started ranting I felt like I was watching a movie I didn't like and I was watching it for the hundredth time.  I figured I'd wait until Wednesday evening and watch it from the DVR, allowing me to skip over things if it got too annoying and depressing.  So, I turned it off and listened to an audio book instead.  It was supposed to be a 90 minute debate, and at 9:30 I turned it on again to see what the news commentators had to say, but Trump was still talking, so I turned it off again and listened to more from the audio book.

Then after supper on Wednesday evening, I sat down to watch it on my DVR, but I just couldn't get myself to turn it on.  I had watched what the evening news shows had to say about it, including all the clips, and from my DVR I watched what talk show hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert had to say about it, including all their clips, but I just couldn't watch the actual debate. So, I spent the whole evening listening to more from the audio book.  At about 10:20 p.m., I finished listening to "A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906" by Simon Winchester.

A Crack at the Edge of the World

It's a history book, of course, but it's also a travel book.  It isn't just about the San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, it is also about a lot of other earthquakes the preceded it and followed it.  And it's about Simon Winchester's travels to visit the locations of some of these events.  I found it interesting that it was already a time when everyone owned a camera, so there are countless pictures of the San Francisco destruction on the web.

San Francisco earthquake of 1906

The picture above was almost certainly taken before the fires really started doing damage.   All the buildings that are still standing in the photo probably ended up in ashes as fires raged through the city, doing far more damage than the quake.

San Francisco earthquake and fire

The 1811 earthquake at New Madrid, Missouri, has always fascinated me, maybe because it wasn't just "an earthquake," it was a lot more than that.  Winchester also writes briefly about that quake in the book.  Here's a snippet:
Jared Brooks, of Louisville, Kentucky, counted no fewer than 1,874 separate earth-shaking episodes in and around New Madrid over the next few weeks. Shocks like the first enormous one of 16 December occurred two more times – once on 23 January and again on 7 February, this last being the mightiest of all. And then the world fell quiet again.
He also writes about the Alaska quake of 1964.  That's one I remember, because I was in Japan at the time, and while quakes were common there, they didn't get anything like the Alaska quake while I was there.  I recall staring out at the Pacific while waiting for news of an approaching tsunami, but it never came.

Alaska earthquake of 1964 

Winchester's book was an interesting read.  I enjoyed it, maybe just because it kept my mind off of the disaster that is known as the Donald Trump Presidency and the fact that there are tens of millions of Americans who are cheering the disaster and are ready to vote for four more years of it.


© 2020 by Ed Lake