Archive for
October 2021

Comments for Sunday, October 17, 2021, thru Sat., Oct. 23, 2021:

October 22, 2021 - Hmm.  I just read a book in less than two hours.  The book was "Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide" by John Cleese.


In print form, the book is just 95 pages long.  But many of those pages are blank, and the ones that aren't blank probably contain less than 300 words.  Yet I somehow got 9 pages of notes.  It was like every paragraph was worth remembering and writing down.

The book is about how the creative mind works.  And, as I've written on this web site many times, it continues to work when you are asleep.  When you have a problem to solve, your brain keeps working even when you are sleeping.  More than that, it is when you are sleeping that your creative brain puts all the pieces together.  A quote from the book:
And in the morning, I’d wake up and make myself a cup of coffee, and then I’d drift over to the desk and sit at it, and, almost immediately, the solution to the problem I’d been wrestling with the previous evening…became quite obvious to me! So obvious that I couldn’t really understand why I hadn’t spotted it the night before. But I hadn’t.

This is how I began to discover that, if I put the work in before going to bed, I often had a little creative idea overnight, which fixed whatever problem it was that I was trying to deal with. It was like a gift, a reward for all my wrestling with the puzzle. I began to think to myself, “It can only be that while I’m asleep, my mind goes on working at the problem so that it can give me the answer in the morning.”

So I began to realise that my unconscious was working on stuff all the time, without my being consciously aware of it.
But it isn't that simple.  Your subconscious mind doesn't always come up with a correct answer.
But perhaps the biggest interruption coming from your inside is caused by your worrying about making a mistake. This can paralyse you.

“Oh,” you say to yourself, “I mustn’t think that because it might be WRONG.”

Let me reassure you. When you’re being creative there is no such thing as a mistake.

The reason is very simple: you can’t possibly know if you are going down a wrong avenue until you’ve gone down it. So, if you have an idea, you must follow your line of thought to the end to see whether it’s likely to be useful or not.

You must explore, without necessarily knowing where you’re going. As Einstein once pointed out, if we know what we’re doing when we’re investigating something, then it’s not research!
In a way, the book explains why I'm having such a hard time getting started on my book tentatively titled "Battle of the Universes."  While I know what the book will be about, I don't know the best way to present it convincingly to readers who might have totally different understandings about how the universe works.  Particularly: Where do I start?  How do I cause them to want to continue reading?  Hopefully, some morning I'll wake up and my subconscious mind will have made a decision that will work when I start doing the actual typing - and I'll finally be able to get past page 3. 

John Cleese's book "Creativity" is terrific.  If the subject is of interest to you, I highly recommend it. 
October 21, 2021
- Yesterday's comment got a reaction from a regular reader of this web site.  In my  review of the book "A Walk Around the Block," I had written:

Did you know there are NO alleys in New York City?  (Some people claim there are three somewhere.)  The cost of land is just too great.
The comment I received said,
There certainly are.  Even got plenty in Manhattan.
The exact number would depend on the definition
of "alley", of course.
Yes, it definitely depends upon your definition of "alley."  And my comment really should have been about Manhattan Island, not New York City.  The passage in the book was about how Manhattan Island was designed to have no alleys.  This morning I researched the subject and took a Google tour of some of Manhattan's "alleys" and found there is at least one.  Here are four snapshots I took on my virtual tour (you can click on the image to see a larger version):


Courtlandt Alley has a street sign identifying it as an "alley."  The sign is in the image on the upper left.  The north entrance to Cortlandt Alley is the image on the upper right.  It runs for three blocks.  It is definitely the most famous "alley" in Manhattan, since various cop shows on TV have filmed many scenes in that "alley."

From the south end of Cortlandt Alley you can see the entrance to Benson Place, the image on the lower right.  It definitely looks like a similar "alley."  However, both "alleys" have sidewalks, and that would disqualify them as being "alleys" for most people.  The Benson Place picture also shows how people pile trash on the street in Manhattan.  In my tour I could have taken a hundred pictures of trash piled on the street.

The one true alley I was able to find was Freeman's Alley, which is in the Bowery, near Chinatown, next to Freeman's Sporting Club.  That's the lower left image.   No sidewalks, and it's a dead end, running only to the middle of the block.  But I suppose someone could argue that it is just a "driveway."
October 20, 2021
- Yesterday afternoon, as I was driving to the gym, I finished listening to CD #8 in the 8 CD audio book set for "A Walk Around The Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)" by Spike Carlsen.

A Walk Around The Block

Wow.  It was an absolutely fascinating book.  As the title says, it is about things you see every day but know very little about.  The first chapter is about front porches.
The golden age of porches glowed its brightest between 1870 and 1920. In an era when the backyard often contained features of drudgery—vegetable gardens, trash pits, outhouses, perhaps clucking chickens or a goat—the front porch offered an oasis of calm.
A front porch is something you do not see every day these days, but I didn't realize that until I read the book.  I was tempted to drive over to my old neighborhood, where I grew up, to see if they still have front porches there.  But, why drive if I can just use Google Street View?  Nearly every house had a front porch back then.  Today it's about one house out of every five.

Other chapters are about electricity, water, mail - Did you know that until 1913 it was perfectly legal to send children through the mail????  The postage was 15 cents, and it was insured for $50! 

There are fascinating chapters about asphalt streets, pigeons, squirrels, alleys - Did you know there are NO alleys in New York City?  (Some people claim there are three somewhere.)  The cost of land is just too great.

There are also chapters about parks, trees, road signs and street names. I couldn't believe some of the names, but a little research show they actually exist.  Farfrompoopen Road?  Yep, it's in Arkansas.  Psycho Path, Divorce Court, Lois Lane, Peace and Quiet Road and When Pigs Fly Drive are all real street names, too.

Here's a "joke" from the book:
     Ole wakes up one morning, looks over at Lena, and realizes something is terribly wrong. He dials 911.
     “Operator, you gotta help me. My wife is unconscious. I need an ambulance right away.”
     The dispatcher asks, “Where do you live, Ole?”
     “On the corner of Rhododendron and Eucalyptus,” he responds.
     "Could you please spell those for me?” the dispatcher asks.
     After a long silence, Ole replies, “How about I just drag her over to First and Oak and you pick her up there?”
It was a very enjoyable book.  I highly recommend it.

October 19, 2021
- Hmm.  It seems that this web site will be shifted to its new host and a new server on October 25.  A couple weeks ago I mentioned that my previous host in Alabama had gone out of business and sold everything to a host in Michigan.  I'm not sure what is going to happen on October 25, but in the process of checking everything out I found that the company that leases the domain name ed-lake dot com to me was still using my old email address: detect at newsguy dot com.  Not only that, but they used that email address as my user name.  I just spent about an hour getting that fixed.  newsguy dot com went bankrupt a few weeks ago.

I used the newsguy email address a lot, but mostly only when some company asked for my email address and I assumed it was just so they could send me junk mail.  That address was getting dozens of junk emails every day.  I may have given that email address to other companies that I need to stay in touch with - like my domain name provider.  Hopefully I've fixed them all.  Time will tell.

I don't know exactly what's going to happen on October 25 when they move my web site to its new host, but hopefully it won't affect access to this web site.

October 18, 2021
- Having nothing else that I wanted to do, around 10:45 this morning I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was "Dean and Me" by Jerry Lewis.

Dean and Me

I think I was expecting a funnier book, but it was far more interesting than funny.  I also forgot how long ago it was when Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in show business.  And I never realized that they were only a team for ten years - exactly ten years - from July 24, 1946, to July 24, 1956.  During that time they also made 16 movies together.

That was a very different time.  It was the time of Truman, Eisenhower and Joe McCarthy. Gangsters owned and ran the biggest night clubs, and movie moguls ran the movie studios.  A quote from the book:
In terms of ownership, and patronage, organized crime played a central role in the nighttime world of cabaret entertainment in the 1940s and ’50s. Inevitably, Dean and I came to know, usually on quite friendly terms, every major figure in the Mob, from Bugsy Siegel in Vegas to the Fischetti brothers, Tony Accardo, and Sam Giancana of Chicago, to Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano in New York. And while it may not be politically correct to say so, I found the great majority of these guys to be men of their word, far less hypocritical about their business than most of the politicians of the day.
The book is also about what performing in night clubs was like for Martin and Lewis in that era, after they started working together (working separately, they were basically "unknowns" working for about $75 per week.  Frank Sinatra was another singer making the same money at that same time, and they would sometimes play the same theater or night club.)  Then one day Jerry Lewis interrupted Dean Martin's performance and they started exchanging insults and quips:
Three years later, September of ’51, we were doing five shows a day at the Roxy Theater in New York and two shows a night at Ben Marden’s Riviera, in Fort Lee, New Jersey. We were taking vitamin C and B12 shots to try to enlist some energy from our exhausted bodies.... Believe it or not, we didn’t look at a girl for the entire two weeks! We called those two gigs our Bataan Death March. The first four shows, at the Roxy, were at ten A.M., noon, 3:45 P.M., and eight P.M. The eight-o’clock show was a problem. We went on at 8:05 and finished at 9:15—then jumped into a car with a police escort to drive across the George Washington Bridge to the Riviera. We’d get there around 9:40, then go on for the dinner show, from 9:50 to 10:50—then drive back to the Roxy for the 11:20 show! Then, when we finished that show, at 12:40 A.M., we drove back to the Riviera for the 1:15 show, which went until around 2:30 in the morning. And over again the next day. And the next day. . . . For two weeks of fun and hell. For this ordeal, the Roxy was paying us $100,000 a week, plus a percentage of the receipts—which brought our end up to around a quarter-million dollars. The Riviera was paying us a flat fee of $125,000 a week. So for almost four hundred grand a week, we did the best we could, groaning all the way to the bank.
Mostly the book is about how two very different people - a quiet Italian Catholic singer from Ohio and a screwball Jewish comedian from New Jersey - managed to get along for 10 years.  With women throwing themselves at both Martin and Lewis, it's also a time when some wives evidently accepted the fact that their husbands were sleeping with other women all over America.

More quotes from the very beginning of the book:
You have to remember: Postwar America was a very buttoned-up nation. Radio shows were run by censors, Presidents wore hats, ladies wore girdles. We came straight out of the blue—nobody was expecting anything like Martin and Lewis. A sexy guy and a monkey is how some people saw us, but what we really were, in an age of Freudian self-realization, was the explosion of the show-business id.

Like Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello, and Hope and Crosby, we were vaudevillians, stage performers who worked with an audience. But the difference between us and all the others is significant. They worked with a script. We exploded without one, the same way wiseguy kids do on a playground, or jazz musicians do when they’re let loose. And the minute we started out in nightclubs, audiences went nuts for us.
But they eventually started getting on each other's nerves.  Golf was Dean Martin's favorite sport, and one day Jerry Lewis asked if they could play a round together.  They did, and Lewis almost won.  It was like doomsday for their relationship, even though they did manage to see each other from time to time until Dean Martin died on Christmas, 1995, at the age of 78.  Jerry Lewis died in 2017 at the age of 91.

Last week, I was reading the book on my Kindle while having the oil changed in my car.  As I was paying my bill, the young woman behind the counter asked if the book I was reading was any good.  I said yes, and told her it was the story of Martin and Lewis.  She didn't recognize the name.  I then said, "Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis."  "Ah," she responded, nodding, "Dean Martin."  She probably knew Dean Martin's music.  She clearly never heard of Jerry Lewis.

October 17, 2021
- I'm still trying to get past Chapter 1 in the new book I'm writing, which is tentatively titled "Battle of the Universes," and which will explain how Einstein was right and mathematicians are wrong about how the universe works.  I've probably rewritten the Introduction
about a dozen times and restarted Chapter 1 about two dozen times.  It isn't because there was something "incorrect" in what I had written, it is because I keep seeing better and simpler ways to describe how Relativity works.  But then, when I've written a page or two, I start seeing how things can be described in an even simpler way.  Or I see that it isn't really "simpler," it's just shorter, and it's too short to make things clear.

In addition, I sometimes get into an area where I have to find a reference, and in searching for that reference I wander off on some research project looking for some detail that I can use to make things even simpler.

And, meanwhile, life goes on.  Every weekday evening I record The Late Show with Steven Colbert and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and watch those shows the next evening.  I like Colbert and I tolerate Fallon, even though I find much of what he does to be annoying.  Lately he keeps commenting on how he doesn't understand how anyone could watch or buy DVDs in the age of Netflix.  I can answer that:  I own DVDs because they contain movie and TV shows I liked very much and wanted to see again and again. I don't watch Netflix because it is like being forced to watch someone else's DVD collection, someone who thinks that "new" means "good," and "old" means "bad."  Recently, the most popular show on Netflix and in the world was Squid Game.  From what I've seen of it, you couldn't even pay me to watch it.  The same for most Netflix movies.  Last night I started watching season 5 of The X-Files again.  The last time I watched season 5 was in August of 2007, shortly after buying the DVD set.  After eleven years, it was like watching it for the first time.

Since I'm rambling, I'm going to mention something else:  On Monday I bought a new mattress.  It's incredible how long I kept a "pillow top" mattress that I HATED.  I wrote a comment on October 12, 2015, about how much I hated that mattress.  Here's part of that comment:

Right now I feel like I'm on the verge of a major scientific discovery.  A few years ago, I bought an expensive pillow-top mattress.  For a year or so it was terrific.  Now I HATE it!  It's a "pillow" that cannot be fluffed up.  This morning I did some research and found I'm not alone.  Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for web pages about how people HATE their pillow-top mattresses. 
So, for six (actually 7 or 8) years I've been experimenting with different ways to make that mattress more comfortable.  But, simple logic says that if your mattress is too soft, there is not much you can do to make it more firm.  You certainly can't do it by adding "memory foam" or any other kind of cover pad.  That just makes things worse.  With some mattresses you can put a piece of plywood or some cardboard boxes between the mattress and the box spring to make it more firm, but a pillow top mattress is just too thick for that to work.  However, if you start with a firm mattress, then you can use "memory foam" or other pads to make it softer - if you need to.

On Monday I finally gave up and bought a new mattress.  It was delivered on Tuesday, and I've slept like a rock every night since, with less and less backaches in the morning.  It's a "firm" mattress, which seems to puzzle some people, since they seem to believe that the softer the mattress is, the more "comfortable" it is.  And they attribute their backaches to getting older or just happenstance.  One person I talked with told me how he's been seeing a doctor about his backaches and became addicted to the opioids he was prescribed.  Any suggestion that he get a more firm mattress would be met with disbelief: How can a firmer mattress be better without being totally uncomfortable?

That's probably the question that kept me using my pillow top mattress for nine years.  It seems to depend upon your definition of "comfortable."

Comments for Sunday, October 10, 2021, thru Sat., Oct. 16, 2021:

October 11, 2021 - I spent much of the past week studying Albert Einstein's "Autobiographical Notes" as they appear in Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist - Volume VII in the Library of Living Philosophers, edited and translated by Paul Arthur Schilpp.  The "notes" are only 97 pages long, however the even-numbered pages are Einstein's German language version, while the odd-numbered pages are Paul Schlipp's translation into English, so the actual paper is only about 48 pages long. The paper begins with Einstein describing what he is writing as a kind of obituary:
HERE I sit in order to write, at the age of 67, something like my own obituary. I am doing this not merely because Dr. Schilpp has persuaded me to do it; but because I do, in fact, believe that it is a good thing to show those who are striving alongside of us, how one's own striving and searching appears to one in retrospect.
I was specifically looking for Einstein's thoughts on his conflicts with mathematicians.  The following quote is from the bottom of page 21 and into the top of page 23:
Before I enter upon a critique of mechanics as the foundation of physics, something of a broadly general nature will first have to be said concerning the points of view according to which it is possible to criticize physical theories at all. The first point of view is obvious: the theory must not contradict empirical  facts. However evident this demand may in the first place appear, its application turns out to be quite delicate.  For it is often, perhaps even always, possible to adhere to a general theoretical foundation by securing the adaptation of the theory to the facts by means of artificial additional assumptions.
That appears to be what mathematicians do.  If their equations do not fit reality, they made "artificial additional assumptions" to force them to fit.  It also seems clear that the term "mathematicians" is not meant to apply specifically to Quantum Mechanics mathematicians.  Einstein uses the term to refer to people who believe mathematics is "infallible" and akin to "the word of God," people who will argue to the death that if their equations are mathematically correct, they must reflect reality. 

The following quote is from page 27:
The equations of mechanics (for example this is already true of the law of inertia) claim validity only when referred to a specific class of such systems, i.e., the “Inertial systems.”
That's an issue I ran into when describing how you can use identical radar guns to measure the speed of a truck from inside the truck.  To many mathematicians, the inside of a moving truck is an "inertial system," since all the walls are stationary relative to each other, and therefore they believe you cannot measure the speed of the truck while inside.  But the truck is actually a "propelled" system, which means light will hit the back wall at c+v and the front wall at c-v, even though mathematicians consider that to be totally impossible.

Einstein believed that all the laws of physics should be simple and easy to understand, while mathematicians seem to be fond of complexity.  This quote is from page 33:
A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises is, the more different  kinds of things it relates, and the more extended is its area of  applicability.
Here's a quote from page 53:
If I pursue a beam of light with the velocity c (velocity of light in a vacuum), I should observe such a beam of light as a spatially oscillatory electromagnetic field at rest.
In other words, contrary to countless arguments I've had with mathematicians, a photon's electromagnetic fields oscillate, and if you were traveling alongside a photon, you would see it oscillating even though the photon would be stationary relative to you, and time will have stopped.  How is that possible?  Evidently it is possible because time only stops for matter, and there is no matter in the oscillating electromagnetic fields of a photon.  A photon experiences no time while traveling, yet it oscillates at a specific rate per second.

Here's another quote from page 53:
One sees that in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained. Today everyone knows, of course, that all attempts to clarify this paradox satisfactorily were condemned to failure as long as the axiom of the absolute character of time, viz., of simultaneity, unrecognizedly was anchored in the unconscious.
In other words, if you cannot accept the reality of time dilation, you cannot accept Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.  That claim is also behind this explanation from page 61:
Remark. The speed of light c is one of the quantities which occurs as "universal constant" in physical equations. If, however, one introduces as unit of time instead of the second the time in which light travels 1 cm, c no longer occurs in the equations. In this sense one could say that the constant c is only an apparently universal constant.

That's about as clear as Einstein can make it when he explains that while c is always 299,792,458 meters per second, the length of a second varies with motion and gravity, so "
the constant c is only an apparently universal constant."  In reality, the speed of light is different almost everywhere - even though it is measured by the emitter to be the same speed per second everywhere.

That is often misunderstood.  The speed of light is measured by the emitter to be c everywhere.  In other words, just as Einstein's Second Postulate says,
light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body.
And yet, most college physics textbooks falsely claim that light travels at c which is independent of BOTH the emitter and the receiver 

The quotes I extracted from Einstein's Autobiographical Notes help make that more clear, but, unfortunately, mathematicians don't give a damn.  They're going to believe what they want to believe.

October 10, 2021
- During breakfast yesterday, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year” by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

I Alone Can Fix It

I started reading it on August 23, reading only while eating breakfast and lunch. 
It's a very long (592 pages), but very interesting book.  When reading on a Kindle, you don't see any page numbers.  It only shows what percentage of the book you have completed.  The book ends at the 60% mark, which is page 520.  After that are the Acknowledgements, Notes and Index.  Undoubtedly due to all the links, the index takes up the last 28% of the Kindle book, while it takes up only the last 12% of the paper versions.  I mention that because, while it was a very interesting book, I was sometimes reading less than 1% of it per day.  One percent seems to be about 27 Kindle "pages."

Needless to say, the book shows Donald Trump to be the worst President this country every had, and probably one of the most loathsome human beings on the planet.

The book's title is from his July 21, 2016, speech when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland.  Trump vowed, “I alone can fix it.” As the book says, "He offered himself to the forgotten men and women of America as their sole hope for redemption.  He governed to protect and promote himself."

Here's another quote from the book:
Most of Trump’s failings can be explained by a simple truth: He cared more about himself than the country. Whether managing the coronavirus or addressing racial unrest or reacting to his election defeat, Trump prioritized what he thought to be his political and personal interests over the common good.
Trump argued that no one who ever won the majority vote in Florida, Iowa and Ohio has ever lost the Presidential election, yet he won those states and was still found to be the loser.  That and the January 6 insurrection riot are the bases for another quote from the book:
“Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted,” Trump said of the rioters. “They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before. There’s tremendous proof. There’s tremendous proof. Statistically, it wasn’t even possible that [Biden] won. Things such as, if you win Florida and Ohio and Iowa, there’s never been a loss.” He was referring to conventional wisdom that historically the winner of the presidential election has carried that same trio of states that Trump won. This was one of the traits that had led Trump to the White House on full display: his extraordinary capacity to say things that were not true. He always seemed to have complete conviction in whatever product he was selling or argument he was making. He had an uncanny ability to say with a straight face, things are not as you’ve been told or even as you’ve seen with your own eyes. He could commit to a lie in the frame of his body and in the timbre of his voice so fully, despite all statistical and even video evidence to the contrary.
I keep telling myself that I've read enough books about Donald Trump.  I'm telling myself that again, even though it seems like a new book about him comes out every week and there are probably 40 or 50 that I haven't read, including the one by Stormy Daniels that I have in my Kindle.

But, in my Kindle I also have "Dean and Me" by Jerry Lewis.  That should be a real "change of pace."  It's what I need.  So, I started reading it at lunch yesterday. 

Comments for Friday, October 1, 2021, thru Sat., Oct. 9, 2021:

October 4, 2021 - Hmm.  Facebook is "down."  Earlier this morning I was posting messages to the Science Fiction Facebook group, and then later when I went to check to see if a thread I had tried to start had been approved by the monitors, I got a message that said:
Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.

We can’t connect to the server at

If that address is correct, here are three other things you can try:

    Try again later.
    Check your network connection.
    If you are connected but behind a firewall, check that Firefox has permission to access the Web.
I next tried about a half dozen other Facebook pages.   They're all down. I get that same message for all of them.  I don't think I've ever seen that before.  I looked for news about it, but couldn't find any.  Then suddenly it was everywhere.   One site had this report:
Facebook is down, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus VR

Just as Facebook’s Antigone Davis was live on CNBC defending the company’s policies and its handling of research data suggesting Instagram is harmful to teens, its network of services suddenly went offline. On Twitter, Facebook communications exec Andy Stone says, “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

A peek at Down Detector (or your Twitter feed) reveals the problems are widespread.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the owner of Facebook just decided "The Hell with it" and shut it all down?  I can certainly live without it, but it appears that a lot of people depend on Facebook.

Facebook and the others were back after about 6 hours.  Facebook blamed the problem on "configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers."  Ah!  Okay.

October 3, 2021
Groan!  It's Sunday, and I've written a comment for this web site every Sunday since January 4, 2015. So, I have to write a comment for today.  But what about???  About the posts I've done on the Science Fiction Facebook group?  Why would anyone who reads this web site care about that?  Here's the latest image I created for that forum:

X-files joke

45 minutes after I posted it, it had 5 "likes," 3 "hahas" and 2 "Loves."  It's like an "inside joke" that you need have seen another movie to enjoy.

And what about the book I'm thinking about writing?  How many times have I already written about that?

I plan to get to work on the book, but before I can do that I need to do more research into Einstein's comments about his endless battles with mathematicians.  And before I can do that I have to finish rearranging and reorganizing my bookshelves. 

In the past two weeks I hauled about 45 plastic bags full of books to Goodwill.  I took 8 bags there on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday. That's it for now.  I've opened up all the space I need for my DVD collection.  The six shelves of TV shows on DVDS and Blu-Ray shown in the image blow used to be five shelves of books, with more books stuck behind the ones you could see. 

Part of my TV show DVD collection
The shelves are all about twice the depth needed for DVDs, so I turned the fourth shelf into two shelves by building a cardboard step to put behind the outer row.  Then I put the inner row of DVDs atop the step.

And then came the chore of moving the DVDs from one shelf to another and inserting all the DVDs that I previously didn't have room for into their proper place alphabetically.  I've finished with the TV shows, and now I have to do the movies - about 2,640 of them.  I also have to work backwards through the alphabet.  Unfortunately, it seems to be the A's B's and C's that are really stacked atop filled shelves.  It may be weeks before I'm done, or months.

But I won't write any more about it here.  I'll try to continue to write a comment every Sunday, but there's no point in spending hours to write comments about things no one else cares about. 

October 1, 2021
-  I finally found the exact source of this Einstein quote, including the number of the page it is on:

Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore.
The sources I previously found told me it was supposedly quoted in the 800 page book Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist, by Paul A. Schilpp.  I have a pdf copy of that book, but it is not computer "searchable," so I had to go through it page by page to see if I could find the quote.  I gave up after skimming through about half of it, and tried a different method: I looked for it once again via Google.  Most references I found just told me what I already knew, but I finally found a source that said it was from "To Albert Einstein's Seventieth Birthday" by Arnold Sommerfeld.  That article begins on page 99 of the book I was searching.  And I finally found the quote on page 102.  Here it is in context:
Born in a small Swabian Jewish community, Einstein attended the Humanistische Gynmasium in Munich, where his father was temporarily a businessman. After graduation he first went with his family to Italy and then studied at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Strangely enough no personal contacts resulted between his teacher of mathematics, Hermann Minkowski, and Einstein. When, later on, Minkowski built up the special theory of relativity into his "world-geometry," Einstein said on one occasion: "Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more."  
So, it is technically an unverified quote. I had been hoping that the quote would be just some small part of something Einstein had written or a talk he had given, and that is where I had focused my searches.  But, I can still use the quote, although I probably need to study some of the related things Einstein said and wrote, since he was talking about the fact that Relativity is not as complex as mathematicians make it appear.  Einstein believed the basic ideas are simple, and I agree.  That is the point of my paper "Relativity's Fundamental Ideas" and is the premise for the book I want to write.

The fundamental ideas are simple but mind-boggling.  You may need complex mathematics if you want to put the ideas to work or to verify them in an experiment, but, as I have written in paper after paper, mathematicians have distorted things to the point where it is more common for them to make claims that are the the direct opposite of what Einstein said and wrote instead of what Einstein actually said and wrote.  And they do not seem to care about verifying anything via experiment.  They appear to simply believe that, if their equations have the same values on one side of the equal sign as on the other, then the equation is valid -- even if it does not represent reality.  Which is what Einstein said in another quote from a talk he gave to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1921:
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
I think I may be able to find a lot of related quotes in the part of Paul Schilpp's book where Schlipp translates Einstein's autobiography and in a section of the book where Einstein responds to the articles other people wrote about him and his theories.  I just need to find the time to work on my new book.

© 2021 by Ed Lake