Archive for
June 2021

Comments for Sunday, June 27, 2021, thru Wednesday, June 30, 2021:

June 29, 2021 - Groan!  After putting all my science papers in what I thought was the proper order for my book, I found that I need to thoroughly explain Einstein's Relativity Theory before I get into the twists and distortions that the Quantum Mechanics mathematicians are trying to force into the theory.  So, instead of beginning by showing all the different variations of Einstein's Second Postulate as they appear in college textbooks, I'll explain the correct version first, i.e. Einstein's version.  It's not very complicated.  The topic only gets complicated when you get into all the distortions that the Quantum Mechanics mathematicians try to force into it. 

Yesterday, when I realized that I needed to reorganize some of the chapters once again, I decided to get off the whole topic for awhile by researching a new podcast that had recently been mentioned in one of my favorite podcasts.  The new podcast is "Mission: Interplanetary."  They've only produced 8 episodes so far, but last night I listened to the first four, and that was enough to convince me that the series belongs in my Top Ten.  So I modified my list of podcasts to do that.  The  podcast features Cady Coleman, who is a former NASA astronaut and Air Force colonel.

Cady Coleman

In 2010, she flew aboard the International Space Station on a six-month expedition as the lead science and robotics officer.  With her on the podcast is scientist and writer Andrew Maynard.  Both are really interesting to listen to. 

Meanwhile, this morning as I was going through my regular routine, when I checked the latest posts to the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group, I saw someone had asked the question, "If speed of light is same for all observers why do we see doppler shift when observing stars?"  The speed of light is, of course, NOT the same for all observers.  That is just another false claim from Quantum Mechanics mathematicians.  As part of my response, I provided them with a link to my List of Variable Speed of Light Experiments.

A description of those experiments is also going to have to fit into my book somewhere, even though I never included them in any paper I wrote.  The same with my List of Time Dilation Experiments.  And it seems certain that they will fit best before I start explaining how Quantum Mechanics mathematicians argue that the experiments are all nonsense.

At the rate I'm going, I should be done with the book in about twenty years.

June 27, 2021
- I think I'm finally making progress on my new book: "Logical Relativity: Making Sense of Time and Time Dilation."
  Yesterday I finished putting my papers in order as chapters in the book.  As things stand right now, the book is 251 pages long, not including the cover page, the table of contents and blank pages after those two pages.

The problem is:  If printed as is, there would be an incredible amount of duplication.  I think I quote Einstein's Second Postulate in nearly every paper, and sometimes more than once.  Many illustrations are repeated, and in paper after paper I cite and quote invalid Second Postulates I found in various textbooks, very often the same invalid Second Postulates.  Plus there is massive duplication in the References.  Right now, all the Reference material is at the end of each chapter.  In book form it almost certainly should be all together at the end of the book, in which case there would be only one reference to Einstein's Second Postulate in his 1905 paper "On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,"  instead of the 20 or more times it appears in the unedited book.

I also see no point in simply printing the papers in book form, since they are all available on-line for free.  What I'm trying to do as I assemble the book is put the papers in a logical order, where one topic leads to the next, so it reads like a book, not like a collection of papers.  That not only requires stripping out nearly all of the duplication, it requires writing all the new material where one topic leads to the next. 

There are also things I will need to move around.  In my paper "Analyzing the Twin Paradox" I mention a proposed experiment where an atomic clock is put into a large human-size centrifuge and spun around for many hours.  The discussion of the so-called "Twin Paradox" belongs where I put the paper, but the centrifuge part belongs at the end of the book where I propose some experiments to shatter common false beliefs about Relativity, specifically the "radar guns in a truck" experiment. 

I also need to decide on the best way to identify the people who disagree with me:  In my papers, I mostly identify them simply as "mathematicians" or "mathematician physicists."   In the book, I probably should identify them as "Quantum Mechanics mathematicians" or "QM mathematicians."  When you look at all the papers put together, it becomes clear that it is QM mathematicians who are behind all the nonsense beliefs that challenge and distort Relativity.  If it is a physicist mathematician who claims to know little or nothing about Quantum Mechanics, his disagreements are clearly still based upon Quantum Mechanics ideas that he got from somewhere.

The battle between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity is well known, but it's not well described.  A Nov. 2015 article in The Guardian states things this way: 
          At present physicists have two separate rulebooks explaining how nature works. There is general relativity, which beautifully accounts for gravity and all of the things it dominates: orbiting planets, colliding galaxies, the dynamics of the expanding universe as a whole. That’s big. Then there is quantum mechanics, which handles the other three forces – electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces. Quantum theory is extremely adept at describing what happens when a uranium atom decays, or when individual particles of light hit a solar cell. That’s small.
          Now for the problem: relativity and quantum mechanics are fundamentally different theories that have different formulations. It is not just a matter of scientific terminology; it is a clash of genuinely incompatible descriptions of reality.
          The conflict between the two halves of physics has been brewing for more than a century – sparked by a pair of 1905 papers by Einstein, one outlining relativity and the other introducing the quantum – but recently it has entered an intriguing, unpredictable new phase.
As I see it, there is a fundamental problem in the way Quantum Mechanics works.  It may not be a problem when describing how atoms and particles work, but it definitely IS a problem when describing how the universe works.  Quantum Mechanics is about objects, a.k.a. "quanta."  Relativity, as applied to the universe, is about objects in space.  In Quantum Mechanics, space is the empty area between two objects.  In Relativity, space can be infinite and objects can move into infinite space.  Quantum Mechanics mathematicians cannot cope with such a thing, so they create mathematical rules where such a thing cannot exist.  The result appears to be a total absurdity which Quantum Mechanics mathematicians accept as gospel and believe in with closed minds that care nothing about alternative ideas.  In Relativity it is simple logic.  Hence the title of my book "Logical Relativity: Making Sense of Time and Time Dilation."

I state at the beginning of the book that I am an analyst, not a physicist, and my task was to analyze the conflict in the way Relativity is described and taught in schools.  It turned out to be the conflict between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, and all I could do was confirm that the two methodologies are fundamentally incompatible.  Relativists seem to be totally okay with that, but QM Mathematicians seem determined to force Relativity (and Relativists) to accept Quantum Mechanics as the only correct way to view things.  The result is a battle that has been going on for over a hundred years and may never end, since there is only one way to change the minds of True Believers, and that is to convert them to a New Belief.  QM mathematicians are actively and tirelessly trying to do that, but it seems Relativists have no interest converting anyone or in being converted.  Their interest is only in exploring the science, and if you want to join in, you are welcome to do so.


Comments for Sunday, June 20, 2021, thru Saturday, June 26, 2021:

June 24, 2021 - While eating lunch this afternoon, I unexpectedly finished reading another book on my Kindle.  I say "unexpectedly" because on a Kindle you do not know what page you are on or how many pages there are, you just know what percentage of the book you have completed.  The book I was reading unexpectedly ended at the 66% mark, where the "Notes" section begins.  The book was "The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump" by Pulitzer Prize winning critic Michiko Kakutani.

The Death of Truth

It was an interesting, informative and somewhat depressing read.  Of course, I already knew that science and democracy are under attack, but the book contains a lot of details that were somewhat new to me.  I've never read any of Trump's books, so I was a bit surprised to read this:
As his own books make clear, Trump is completely lacking in empathy and has always had a dog-eat-dog view of the world: kill or be killed, and always get even. It’s a relentlessly dark view, shaped by his domineering father, Fred, who gave him a zero-sum perspective, and by his early mentor Roy Cohn, who gave him the advice, when in trouble, “Attack, attack, attack.” “The world is a horrible place,” Trump declared in his book Think Big. “Lions kill for food, but people kill for sport.” And: “The same burning greed that makes people loot, kill, and steal in emergencies like fires and floods, operates daily in normal everyday people. It lurks right beneath the surface, and when you least expect it, it rears its nasty head and bites you. Accept it. The world is a brutal place. People will annihilate you just for the fun of it or to show off to their friends.”
I wasn't surprised that Trump thinks that way, I was just surprised that he would make it so clear in his books.

"The Death of Truth" was published in July 2018, so Trump's actions and comments are a big part of the book.  But, I've never seen some of the statistics the book provides.  Here are two examples:
A 2016 Pew survey showed that 45 percent of Republicans view Democratic policies as a threat to the nation’s well-being, and 41 percent of Democrats say the same about GOP policies. And the animosity goes well beyond policy disagreements; it’s personal. Seventy percent of Democrats in that Pew survey said that Republicans are more close-minded than other Americans; meanwhile, 47 percent of Republicans said Democrats are more immoral than other Americans, and 46 percent said they are lazier.
A 2017 Pew survey showed that Americans don’t even agree about the value of a college education: while 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country, a majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (58 percent) have a negative view of those institutions of higher learning.
Here's a quote from sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein that heads one chapter:
You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.
That's something I think is really depressing, but I can't argue with it. 

Here are two final quotes from the book:
George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 was eerily clairvoyant about the dangers America now faces. In order to protect its future, he said, the young country must guard its Constitution and remain vigilant about efforts to sabotage the separation and balance of powers within the government that he and the other founders had so carefully crafted. Washington warned about the rise of “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” who might try “to subvert the power of the people” and “usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
And, finally, Washington warned of the “continual mischiefs of the spirit of party,” which are given to creating strife through “ill-founded jealousies and false alarms,” and the perils that factionalism (East versus West, North versus South, state versus federal) posed to the unity of the country. Citizens, he said, must indignantly frown “upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”
After finishing such a depressing book, I dug through the other books in my Kindle to see if I could find something lighter and funny.  I found one, but it seems I started reading it some time ago and stopped at the 6% point.  I don't know why I stopped, but maybe I'll find out at breakfast tomorrow morning when I start reading from my Kindle again.

June 22, 2021
- I finally managed to get started on my new book, which until this morning was tentatively titled "Logical Relativity: Making Sense of Time Dilation and Relativity."  On the first day, I wrote the Introduction, then I wrote Chapter 1 and I started on Chapter 2.  The next day I saw I needed to revise the Introduction, and I worked on it all day, pushing a lot of what was in the original Introduction into Chapter 1.   Then on the next day I again revised the Introduction.  And this morning I did it again, plus I felt I needed to revise the title.  I shouldn't have used the word "Relativity" in two places in the title.  I decided a better title would be "Logical Relativity: Making Sense of Time and Time Dilation."

While I was working on the book, I was also wondering about something I found while doing research.  Starting on page 20 of Einstein's 23-page 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies," which introduced to world to Velocity Time Dilation, Einstein begins the final section, Section 10, which is titled "Dynamics of the Slowly Accelerated Electron.

Like the rest of the paper (except for the first page), the section is filled with complex mathematical equations.  If I'm deciphering the text correctly, it is saying that the mass and energy of an electron increases as the velocity of the electron increases. And if you push an electron up to the speed of light, its mass and energy become infinite.  Therefore,
Velocities greater than that of light have — as in our previous results — no possibility of existence. 
I mention this because it seems to support my claim that "Time is particle spin."  The faster a particle (such an electron) moves through space, the heavier it becomes and the more energy it contains.  All I'm adding is that it seems to mean that the particle also spins slower.  And we experience Time because we are constructed of a gazillion tiny atomic clocks (i.e., particles) that are constantly ticking off time at the local rate.  They do not "measure" Time.  They are Time.  And when we build clocks to measure time, those clocks are measuring the local rates of particle spin.

That's going to have to fit somewhere in my book.  I just wish Einstein had spent more time describing his theories in words, instead of in mathematical equations.

June 20, 2021
- Groan!  I keep stumbling across new podcasts that I never heard of before.  And they are nearly all podcasts in my areas of interest: science, history, psychology, movies, etc.  It made me wonder how many podcasts there are in total, since there are lots of areas that are very little interest to me.  A Google search found that there are roughly 2 million different podcasts, and about 48 million individual episodes of those podcasts!  In America, 75% of the population is familiar with the term "podcasting," but only about 55% of the population has actually listened to a podcast.

Last week, I heard about a podcast called "You Are Not So Smart."  Curious, I checked it out and found that it seems to be a psychology podcast.  The episode that attracted my attention was #197, which is titled "Conspiratorial Thinking."  It's 1 hour and 24 minutes long, because it is mostly a re-broadcast of 3 different past shows about conspiracy theories and conspiratorial thinking.

It's an interesting episode and says that "only" 6% of Americans believe the moon landings were faked.  And "only" 4% believe that lizard overlords control everything.  Only 4%?  I'm amazed that more than 1% could believe such a thing - or even more than 0.1%.  But, according to Wikipedia:

According to British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who first published on this theme in his 1999 work The Biggest Secret, tall, blood-drinking, shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from the Alpha Draconis star system, now hiding in underground bases, are the force behind a worldwide conspiracy against humanity. He contends that most of the world's ancient and modern leaders are related to these reptilians, including the Merovingian dynasty, the Rothschilds, the Bush family and the British Royal family. Icke's conspiracy theories now have supporters in up to 47 countries and he has given lectures to crowds of up to 6,000 people.

American writer Vicki Santillano included Icke's conspiracy theory in her list of the 10 most popular conspiracy theories. A poll of Americans in 2013 by Public Policy Polling indicated that 4% of registered voters (±2.8%) believed in David Icke's ideas.

Hmm.  4% of registered voters probably means that the actual number is a lot more than just 4% of Americans.  One of the signs that someone is a lizard person in disguise: He displays a "love of space and science." Uh oh.

While checking out other podcasts I'd never heard of before, I found a podcast called "Armchair Experts."  It is mostly celebrity interviews, but lately it has been doing one show per month about conspiracy theories. So far, I've only listened to 2 or 3 episodes.  One is episode #266, from November 20, 2020, which is a very interesting episode about David Icke.  Icke has been preaching his beliefs for 30 years (since 1990), he has written 25 books, and believes himself to be "the Son of God."  He's also a former BBC sportscaster.  He thinks vaccines are mind control drugs.   He believes 9/11 was a hoax.  And he believes the moon is a mind-control machine.  His packed lectures last from 8 to 12 hours, and he makes as much money from them today as he did 30 years ago.  A lot of people compare him to L. Ron Hubbard.  I've certainly heard of Hubbard, who has a bunch of celebrities who are followers, including Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Catherine Bell, but I never heard of David Icke until just recently.

Researching how many people believe the moon landings were faked, I found that the number is going up.  According to one article, "10% of Americans Believe the Moon Landing was Fake."  That includes 18% of all people in the 18 to 34 age group, 8% of people 35 to 54, and just 3% of people over 54.  And younger people are also more likely to be Flat Earthers.  Interestingly, 75% of the people who think the moon landings were faked also believe that aliens have visited the Earth.  So, there are undoubtedly a lot of people who believe in more than just one conspiracy theory.

The Internet undoubtedly has a lot to do with it.  It all reminds me of a quote from humorist Leo Rosten:
"I never cease to be dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people believe."

Comments for Sunday, June 13, 2021, thru Saturday, June 19, 2021:

June 18, 2021 - In my June 16 comment I mentioned that "what I really want to do right now is sit down and read a detective novel."  I wouldn't call it "an irresistible impulse," but it was like it was preventing me from thinking about anything else.  So, yesterday morning at around 9 a.m., after completing my morning chores, I sat down on my couch, turned on my Kindle, and started reading "Disco for the Departed" by Colin Cotterill.  I took a break for lunch, another to go to the gym, and another for supper, but managed to finish it at around 6:45 p.m.  (In paper form, the book is 177 pages long.)

Disco for the Departed

It's the third book in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series.  I finished the second book back on January 12, and the first book on November 10.  There are only 13 more books in the series left for me to read.  I've got #4 "On Hold" at my library.  The current projected "wait time" is 4 weeks. 

As with the first two books, this book
features Laotian coroner Dr. Siri Paiboun, who is 73 years old when the story takes place, which is in 1977, a couple years after the Viet Nam war ended.  Dr. Siri is the only coroner Laos, and he was put into the job even though he had no experience as a coroner.  He was just a country doctor when the communists took over.  He's also a shaman, of sorts.  He gets weird visions which help him understand the crimes he is trying to solve.  And he has an assistant, Nurse Dtui, plus some friends and relatives who also help.  Fortunately, they all have great senses of humor. 

In this book, a body buried in a cement sidewalk is uncovered at the Laotian President's compound.  The body is taken to the nearest hospital where a Cuban surgeon assists Dr. Siri, and it turns out that the dead man is also Cuban.  Dr. Siri's investigation uncovers a lot of racism involving Cubans, plus strange religious rituals (both Cuban and Laotian) and bureaucratic red tape that sends one of Dr. Siri's assistants into exile in a distant part of the country, where he escapes and starts walking back home. 

It's a crazily complex story, yet it is a fun read because Dr. Siri and Nurse Dtui have great senses of humor.  It enables them to get through all the crazy complications and happenings without going insane.  

Having investigated a lot of conspiracy theories in the past two decades, plus having dug through dozens of different interpretations of Einstein's theories in the past few years, I've found that having a sense of humor really can be the best defense against people who are constantly on the offense as they try to convert you and the rest of the world to their beliefs.

June 16, 2021
- Hmm.  That hour-long Flat Earther YouTube video I mentioned in my June 14 comment really bothers me.  I haven't been able to watch it all the way through (it seems to contain about 50 commercials, which periodically stop the video right in the middle of things), but what I have seen is just plain crazy.  And a lot of it deliberately takes thing out of context, such as having Hilary Clinton talk about "glass ceilings" (for women in business and politics) when the topic of the video is that there is a ceiling of some kind over the flat earth that proves there are no satellites or even outer space.  The fact that, if you have binoculars, the ISS can be seen from the earth is just ignored.  ALL evidence debunking their beliefs is ignored, and instead they promote conspiracy theories that are just plain lunacy. 

I suppose one reason the video bothers me so much is that I'm currently reading a book on my Kindle titled "The Death of Truth" by Michiko Kakutani, which is mostly about the lies Trump tried to foist on the American public, but it also describes the attacks on science that have evidently been going on for decades.

In addition, as part of my morning routine, I check the sci.physics.relativity forum to see what they are arguing there.  It seems like everyone is arguing their own personal theory about something.  And many or most seem to be arguing in some foreign language which gets automatically translated into pure gibberish by a translator program.  

It's difficult to tell how much crap is being spread around, but I think science and reason still predominate.  People who are truly interested in science, physics and astronomy just don't discuss things in the same places as the conspiracy theorists and Flat Earthers.  When I check the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group each morning, it seems like about 20 new discussions are started every hour.  They nearly all seem to be intelligent discussions, but it isn't long before each one comes to an end and everyone moves on to some other discussion.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get started on my new book which will hopefully combine all the science papers I've written into one straight-forward narrative.  What I'm trying to do right now is create an outline.  Which topic do I address first?  And which should be last?  While I sit at my computer pondering that problem, I have to deal with the fact that what I really want to do right now is sit down and read a detective novel.      

June 14, 2021
- Hmm.  This morning, as part of my morning routine, I checked to see what was being posted to the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group.  I found that someone had posted a link to a 20-minute video arguing that all the NASA videos from the moon and from the ISS are faked.  Here's the video: 

The video was attacked by the regulars on that Facebook group, since they are all interested in science, not in the beliefs of Flat Earthers and other NaySayers. I noticed that the video was produced by "ODD TV," so I Google searched for that name and found another video promoting the idea that the earth is flat. This one is over an hour long:

The videos are interesting to watch, but also very frustrating.  The people producing the videos are saying things and making claims which can be easily debunked, but there is no way to show them that they are spouting nonsense when they say they can debunk the debunker's claims.  There are over 9,000 comments following the first video and over 21,000 comments following the second video.  Skimming through the comments, it seems like most support the ideas in the videos.  But the problem may be that it is simply easier to say it all makes sense, than to explain why it is wrong.  They have videos of astronauts saying that the didn't see any stars while they were on the moon, but no one explains that you cannot see stars from the moon because you are in daytime there, and your eyes (and cameras) adjust to the sunlight, causing your pupils (and camera apertures)  to contract, and preventing you from seeing tiny points of light in the sky.

Every claim they make can be debunked, but they won't listen to explanations, so why even try to get them to understand?  On the other hand, some of the things they showed were new to me.  I can assume how they happen, but it would be nice to have some scientists (or photographer) explain exactly what is happening when an astronaut on the space station begins to blur due to some glitch, but his surroundings remain perfectly clear.

June 13, 2021
- Groan! 
It's Sunday again, and once again I have nothing written for my Sunday comment.  So, I'll have to write something from scratch. 

On September 28, 2005, I took this picture of 19 boxes of books in my garage.

books in
                    my garage
Each box contains 44 copies of my first self-published book "Analyzing the Anthrax Attacks: The First 3 years."   Those were the days before Kindle, which wasn't made available to the public until November of 2007.  So, if you wanted to self-publish a book, you had to contract with a printer to do it.  I had 1,000 copies printed, each wrapped tightly in plastic to preserve them.  The anthrax attacks of 2001 were still in the news back then, as they continued to hunt for the culprit.  And my web site was the #1 place for information about the attacks.  I thought for sure I'd be able to sell 1,000 paperback copies of the book via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I probably sold less than 50.

Then, of course, in 2008 the FBI figured out who the culprit was.  Unfortunately, he committed suicide before the FBI could arrest him.  In 2012, I  wrote another book about the case, "A Crime Unlike Any Other."  This time I self-published it via Amazon in both Kindle and paperback form.  I tried to get a regular publisher to publish it, but they felt it just said what my web site said, and people could read my web site for free.  In reality, it summarized what my web site said into 353 pages.  My web site, in printed form, would probably be at least 10,000 pages. 

Additionally, of course, my second book about the case made my first book totally obsolete and definitely not worth buying.   

So, last week, 16 years after they were printed and about 9 years after they were made totally obsolete, I began hauling the boxes, one by one, to the dumpster.  I thought about giving away copies, but I gave 2 to my local library when I first published them.  Who else would want them?  I pondered the idea of just tossing a copy onto lawns around town, or dropping copies in parking lots.  But my name is on every book, and I pictured the police arresting me for littering.  So, into the dumpster they went.  Each box weighs about 50 pounds, which means I got some exercise out of it.  And I have one box of books in my closet, just in case some quirk of fate makes the book newsworthy and a collector's item. 

I should have taken a picture of the boxes before I began carrying them to the dumpster.  In another brilliant move, I put newspapers under the bottom boxes to protect them from water when snow on my car melted and water covered the floor around the boxes.  The newspapers absorbed the water, of course, and the bottom boxes turned to pulp, but the plastic-wrapped books inside were still in perfect shape.

So, now I'm once again contemplating writing another book.  There's no point in trying to find an agent or publisher for it, since once again they just say that people can read my science papers on line for free, so why would anyone buy a copy?  For the same reason I want to write the book!  It would show how all the pieces fit together.  When you see how all the pieces fit together so simply and neatly, it becomes difficult to understand how topics like Time Dilation and the variable speed of light can remain as points of heated disagreement in the world of physics for over 100 years.

Comments for Sunday, June 6, 2021, thru Saturday, June 12, 2021:

June 10, 2021 - When I went to the gym on Tuesday afternoon, they had removed all the "This machine is not available for use" signs that were on half of the exercise machine in order to enforce "social distancing."  While the gym has dozens of treadmills and about a dozen exercycles, they have only two row machines, two chest press (reverse row) machines, and only two each of a bunch of other weight lifting machines.  So, previously, if someone was on one of the machines, you couldn't use the other machine of the same type.  Now you can.

Additionally, only about 10 or 15% of the people there on Tuesday were wearing masks.  I was one of them.  In previous weeks it was about 60%.

When I went to the grocery store after my gym session, the store no longer had any signs on the entrance doors requiring masks to be worn.  About half the customers, however, were still wearing them - including me.  At another grocery store, less than half of the customers were wearing masks.  In both stores the employees still wore masks.

I've been fully inoculated against Covid-19 since March 2nd, but I'll probably still be one of the last to stop wearing a mask.   And then it will because I don't want to look like an odd-ball, not because I think it's safe to mingle with other people without wearing a mask.

But it is still nice to see visible signs that the Covid-19 pandemic might actually come to an end someday.

Meanwhile, I'm still getting indications that someone somewhere is discussing my papers Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories and Relativity and Radar Guns.  Yesterday, I got 14 "reads" of my papers on  That's an all-time record for that site.  The previous record there was 10 "reads" in one day.  Four people each read the two papers about radar guns.  It's possible it was the same four people, but it still a high number.  Most people read my papers via the web site.  There I once got 31 "reads" of my paper on The Reality of Time Dilation in a single day.  The total number of "reads" of my Radar Guns and Einstein's Theories paper on is just 58.  The total on is 806.

I suppose it's possible that I'm causing the "reads" by mentioning my papers in discussions on the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group.  But I haven't been mentioning my radar gun papers.

June 8, 2021
- Hmm.  As expected, rather than continue to argue against solid facts, the person on the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group who was arguing that "
TIME is a measurement we Homo sapians invented to mark the passage of existence and NOTHING more" has stopped posting.  Presumably, he could not conjure up an argument against my claim that humans didn't invent Time, humans observed Time via its effects on aging and decay, so he probably went somewhere else to continue to argue his beliefs.

And that may mark about the one-thousandth time that someone has walked away from a discussion with me because they could not argue against solid facts, and rather than admit that they were mistaken, they just go somewhere else to argue their beliefs. 

That doesn't just apply to arguments about science, it also applies to arguments about just about everything.  I spent more than a decade arguing with people about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  The facts clearly showed that the culprit was an American scientist, but today, nearly twenty years later, you can still find people who do not accept the facts and continue to argue their beliefs.

Politics is the prime example of facts vs beliefs.  No matter how many facts you have, you cannot use facts to change someone's political beliefs.  It is only when their understandings (not beliefs) are based upon facts that you can use new and additional facts to change their minds.  If their beliefs are based on emotions, there is little or no hope.  The key emotion, of course, is self-esteem.  If admitting you are wrong means losing self-esteem, then it can be a fight to the death.  Nothing demonstrates that more clearly than the facts which show that Donald Trump lost his bid for re-election. Admitting he lost is to lose self-esteem.  So, Trump will fight to the death to avoid that.  Meanwhile, his supporters are working to make certain that as many people as possible who voted against Trump are never able to vote again.

The only thing that is different today is that the Trump supporters who are out to undermine democracy are no longer acting in secret.  They are proud of what they are doing and they want everyone to know that.  As they see it, they are fighting for what they believe is "right."  And anyone who disagrees with them is attacking their beliefs and their self-esteem.

Meanwhile, I can see that there is no point in arguing politics with rabid True Believers, so I focus on science.

As I see it, my science arguments are entirely based upon facts.  If there are facts that I'm unaware of that would change my understandings, then I seek those facts. 

I began writing science papers because I found that mathematicians were arguing against science, due to their belief in the infallibility of mathematics.

When I write papers, I'm describing my understandings based upon the facts I'm aware of.  I'm also looking for additional facts to help refine my understandings. And when I learn new things, I revise my papers, I do not destroy my old papers and write new ones.  My errors are there for everyone to see.  A prime example of that is my May 2015 paper titled "Time Dilation Re-Visualized."  It ends with this definition of "Time":
Time is the fourth dimensional distance from the Big Bang to another point.
Huh?  Back then, I was writing sci-fi novels about anti-time.  It seemed logical that there could be such a thing, and in my two novels about anti-time I explained in great detail how anti-time worked.  (I recently self-published the first novel in that series, "Time Work".)  But then I gradually learned that there is no such thing as anti-time.  It's still a good idea for science fiction (Time Lords in "Dr. Who" used it), but it's not good science, and when I rewrote that paper over a year later, the new version ended with this:
We can all theorize about how Time works, but it’s better if someone performs experiments to demonstrate how time works. The key points being made here are (1) Time Dilation is a real, it is a natural phenomenon, and it is not dependent upon Relativity; (2) although time may move at different rates for virtually everything and everyone, we all exist in the same “now;” and (3) there is much we do not yet understand about how Time works.
Meanwhile, I began to examine the idea that "Time is particle spin."  That idea still sticks with me today, and maybe it's time to examine that idea in greater detail.  

June 7, 2021
- This morn
ing produced a "first" for me.  As part of my morning routine, I check to see what is happening on several different Facebook groups, one of them being Astrophysics and Physics.  In a thread about Time Dilation, I've been arguing with "Michael Jones" who keeps insisting that "Time is just a measurement."  A measurement of what?  Of time.   That makes no sense, plus we know that motion and gravity can affect how fast time passes.  I keep explaining that to him, but he just argues the same thing again.

This morning, one of the group's moderators stepped in to say, "Michael Jones you should really listen to Ed Lake because he is correct on all counts."

Hmm.  That is definitely a "first."  I don't recall anyone ever actually supporting me in an Internet argument before, much less a moderator. The most I would get is some "likes," indicating that there were people who agreed with me.  Sometimes I might get a favorable comment, but only if no one was actively arguing with me.

Michael Jones responded to the moderator: " I have been beaten severely about the head & shoulders concerning this in the real world of Science & Technology.
TIME is a measurement we Homo sapians invented to mark the passage of existence and NOTHING more."

Of course, I had to respond to that.  I wrote:
          Time was not "invented," it was OBSERVED in the form of aging and decay. In cave man times, a human lived about 25 winters and then died of old age. The start of one winter was about 12 full moons before the start of the next winter. And full moons were about 28 days apart. A day was measured from noon to noon with a sundial of some kind. Noon occurred at a different time almost everywhere, since it depended upon when the sun was at it highest point in the sky.
          Meat would decay and become poisonous if not eaten within a few days. Different kinds of fruits and vegetables decayed at different rates.
          Days were divided into hours and minutes when people needed to schedule things, like when to open and close a shop.
          Einstein made us aware of the fact that aging and decay are affected by motion and gravity. A man who ages ten years on Earth can have a twin brother who aged only ONE year in that same period of Earth time because the twin was traveling at very high speeds on a round trip to Alpha Centauri.
          Muons are particles that are created when cosmic rays collide with atoms in the upper atmosphere. How long the muon exists depends upon how fast it travels. A slow moving muon will decay before it reaches the earth. Fast moving muons age slower and can easily reach the surface of the earth.
     And that brings us back to the same question: What IS Time if motion and gravity can slow it down?
We'll see what happens next.  Most likely Michael Jones will simply argue his same argument over again: Time is a measurement.

The topic was of extra interest to me because last night I listened to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Astronomy Cast.  It was episode #606 on the topic of "Time Dilation - Skipping Through Time."  While no one on the show said anything that was totally incorrect, what they did say was more confusing than enlightening.  Pamela Gay is an astronomer and one of the hosts.  What she said was okay, but not very clear in what she meant.  The problem was her co-host, Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today web site, who just kept repeating that acceleration was the key to understanding time dilation, but he never explained what he meant by that. 

Acceleration is the key to understanding the so-called "Twin Paradox," since mathematicians will endlessly argue that "all motion is relative, so each twin is moving relative to the other twin, which means that both will see the other aging slower."  The correct response to that argument is that one twin accelerates to a higher speed, the other twin does not accelerate, so he is "stationary" while the twin who accelerated is the one who moved away at high speeds. 

I'm waiting for them to put a transcript of the show on-line.  Then I'll decide if I should write them a comment or not.  I really like their show, which makes it doubly disappointing when they talk about one of my favorite science topics in a very confusing way.

It also makes me feel that I need to overhaul my 2016 paper "What is Time?"  to incorporate all the things I've learned since 2016 that help clarify the subject.

June 6, 2021
- This is another Sunday morning when I have nothing prepared for my Sunday comment.  So, I'll have to write something from scratch.

I was involved in a number of interesting Facebook discussions during the past week, mainly on the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group.  Unlike the arguments I've had on the sci.physics.relativity UseNet group, the Facebook discussions are generally polite and educational.  Additionally, people have the ability to "like" a comment without actually joining the discussion and creating a situation where you have to explain why you agree with a statement.

One discussion was on the topic of time dilation, a favorite topic of mine.  Someone started the thread with the question "Is Time Dilation real?"  I responded by asking "How many time dilation experiments have to be performed before people will accept that time dilation is real."  And I gave them a link to my list of time dilation experiments.  Then, in the same thread, someone asked how "time" is defined in dictionaries. I produced a list of 10 such definitions and explained that NONE answer the question: "What IS "Time" if it can speed up or slow down due to the effects of motion and gravity?"  And, of course I provided them with a link to my paper that answers that question.  The thread is currently going in circles with the argument: Time is a measurement.  A measurement of what?  A measurement of time. So, Time is a measurement of itself?      

In another thread we politely discussed Black Holes.  Since I'd just read a book about black holes (and another book that had a lot to say about black holes), I was prepared to explain how black holes come in various sizes.  If black holes come in different sizes, how can they all have a "singularity" of "infinite density" at their center?  The discussion is mostly about word definitions, but it's still interesting.  And in the 59 comments in the thread, none contains any personal attacks or name calling.

I also spent much of the past week just staring at my computer as I tried to figure out what I should work on.  When that happens, I tend to drift into researching and downloading podcasts.  And then I sit down and listen to podcasts.  I listened to a LOT of podcasts last week, and I downloaded a lot more.  Mostly I wanted to get rid of the celebrity interview podcasts which took up so much space in my MP3 player so that I could create space for more science podcasts.  Somewhere I heard about a new "science" podcast called "Periodic Talks."  I've only sampled a few, and they've only produced about 15 episodes.  One of the two people hosting the podcast is Diona Reasonover, who plays the lab assistant on the TV show "NCIS." That's enough by itself to make me curious.  Her co-host is Gillian Jacobs, another TV actress.  Two TV actresses doing a science podcast?  Why?  How come?  I'll have to listen to a few shows to find out.

Comments for Tuesday, June 1, 2021, thru Saturday, June 5, 2021:

June 2, 2021 - This morning, although I had lots of things more important to do, I sat down and started reading another book on my Kindle.  Less than 3 hours later, I finished it.  The 160 page book was "Black Hole Survival Guide" by Janna Levin.

Black Hole Survival Guide

I read the book because I expected it to be hogwash, and I was curious how the author could justify the opening sentences:

Black holes are nothing.
Black holes are special because there’s nothing there. There is no thing there.
Reading the book, I found more of the same.  Here's one sample:
The black hole is a not a thing. It is nothing. A bare black hole is pure empty spacetime—no atoms, light, strings, or particles of any kind, dark or bright. It’s empty space—or, in physics slang, the vacuum.
And another:
Black holes are a place in space and they barricade their secrets. They are a place that can also behave like an object. They are empty but have mass.
But then the author finally explains:
When I talk about the mass of a black hole and then say there is no stuff there, that seems like a sleight of hand. If there is no stuff, it would be fair to ask, how can it have any mass? The original star might be gone, but the energy equivalent of the mass of the star was imparted to the black hole. In the case of stellar collapse, physical things made of real material and having conventional mass impress their heft on space, leaving behind a gravitational attraction of equivalent value. If we discover a means by which the imploded object could form a remnant, an unrecognizable vestige of crushed matter, deep inside the event horizon, then we might rely on convention and connect the mass of the black hole to actual extant material. But this interpretation would be misleading, would allow the challenge to go unnoticed. The black hole is not the remnant, even if it hides one. Since the event horizon obscures from the outside the fate of the infalling matter, the black hole is indistinguishable whether the matter is destroyed, survives as a remnant, or finds life in another universe.
The author considers the "event horizon" to be the black hole, and it is indeed empty.  It's like an empty doorway, through which things can enter but nothing can exit.  We do not know what is inside, but the effects of the mass inside can be felt as gravity.  You can orbit a black hole just the way you orbit a planet or a star.

The author then clarifies her earlier claim:
So this is what you must remember: The black hole event horizon is empty. The black hole is no thing. The black hole is nothing.
In other words, the black hole event horizon is like an empty doorway.  But if you look at the whole thing, you see a black sphere.  What is inside, beyond the event horizon?  No one knows for sure.

It turned out to be a very interesting book, and the author explains that while the Black Hole itself is "nothing," there is probably lots of stuff inside the Black Hole.  Here's another quote:
A black hole is a place, a location in spacetime, eerily dark and bare and empty. And yet, scientists have not been able to answer the seemingly simple question, Where do we go if we fall in? The mystery of the black hole interior imposed by the event horizon gives black holes a special cultural aura not permitted most astrophysical phenomena.
The book also gets into Time Dilation and the speed of light, but the author writes in a way that is somewhat poetic, and there is absolutely no math in the book.  She loves the mystery of it all, and black holes are one of the most mysterious things in the universe -- even if she does not consider them to be "things."

Although there are some areas in the book that I disagree with, I can definitely recommend the book. 
It caused me to think about some things I've never thought about before.   

June 1, 2021
- During lunch this afternoon, I finished reading another science book on my Kindle.  The book was "What is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter" by astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett.

What is Relativity?

While it was an interesting book, it also got somewhat tedious at times.  I'm totally fascinated with Time and time dilation, and the book seems to explain Time Dilation correctly, but "relativity" can get boring when you get a dozen different descriptions of how different observers will view the same things differently.   And why do so many scientists (including the author of this book) insist that nothing gets "sucked" into a Black Hole?  They argue that things fall into a Black Hole, and then they describe how gravity pulls things in. Here's an interesting quote about Black Holes from the book:
Before Einstein, anyone proclaiming that there could be holes in the universe bounded by event horizons where time comes to a stop and light becomes infinitely redshifted would probably have been considered to be crazy. Even after Schwarzschild used Einstein’s equations to show that they allowed for the existence of the things we now call black holes, nearly all scientists assumed that they were still too strange to be true. As recently as the 1960s, any poll of scientists would likely have found most of them assuming that some undiscovered law of nature would ensure that such strange objects could not really exist. Today, that situation has been completely reversed, and it’s difficult to find any physicist or astronomer who doubts that black holes are both real and common in the universe. This dramatic change in scientific outlook is a direct result of the evidence-based nature of science. No matter how strange any idea may seem at first, if the evidence becomes strong enough, scientists will ultimately come to accept it. That is why my personal favorite definition of science is that it is a way of using evidence to help us come to agreement.
But that interesting quote is later followed by a description of the universe as being like an expanding balloon, with nothing outside of the balloon.  And sometimes the author uses the raisin muffin analogy, with nothing outside of the muffin.  The problem I see is: If you talk about spots on a balloon as being like galaxies within the universe that get farther and farther apart as the balloon expands, then the spots also get larger as the balloon gets larger.  It isn't just the space between the spots that gets larger.  If you talk about the expanding universe being like a raisin muffin where the raisins get farther apart as the muffin bakes, you are ignoring the fact that the raisins (i.e., galaxies) were once tiny particles which came together to form raisins (i.e., galaxies.)  And, of course, he talks about neither the balloon nor the muffin having a center, because that would mean that the Big Bang universe had a center and began at a point. 

The author not only argues that the Big Bang universe is all there is, so there is nothing for the expanding universe to expand into, he also advocates the idea that the universe will continue to expand faster and faster until it becomes a cold, dead fog of particles too far from each other to be drawn back together again.  How far apart would that be if every particle in the universe is attracted by gravity to every other particle?

While the book contains a lot of interesting information, it is also annoying in that it promotes ideas which are not logical.  What it makes me want to do is figure out how a universe that seems to be expanding faster and faster is actually going to stop expanding some day and collapse back into a ball that will then expand and create another Big Bang Universe, maybe the kazillionth one since the process began.  It seems all you need to do is stop thinking about the Big Bang as an "explosion" and start thinking of it as a sudden decompression of a ball consisting of countless compressed springs.  The springs on the outer edge will travel much faster than the springs that were down near the center of the ball.  But when all the springs have been released, gravity is gradually going to bring them all back into a ball once again.  That is more or less the way I describe things in my paper "Logical vs Mathematical Universes."


© 2021 by Ed Lake