Archive for
May 2022

Comments for Sunday, May 22, 2022, thru Tues., May 31, 2022:

May 31, 2022 -  I'm still trying to get back to work on my new book.  The arguments I've been having on the sci.physics.relativity forum have showed me that the reason that most college physics textbooks have an incorrect version of Einstein's Second Postulate is because the authors of those textbooks are mostly Quantum Mechanics mathematicians.  For over one hundred years Quantum Mechanics mathematicians have been disputing Einstein's Relativity and trying to twist it and distort it to fit their own beliefs.  In addition to the arguments I've been having, the book I'm currently reading on my Kindle says the same thing: When it comes to defining the world around us, Quantum Mechanics is WRONG.  Quantum Mechanics only works when looking downward into the actions of atoms and sub-atomic particles.

What still amazes me is that no one seems to care that so many college physics textbooks are WRONG.  Or, if they do care, they don't say anything because it would mean arguing with the college physics professor who uses or wrote the textbook. 

In my April 20, 2017 paper "An Analysis of Einstein’s Second Postulate to his Theory of Special Relativity" the abstract says,
An analysis of books, presentations and scientific papers about Albert Einstein’s Second Postulate to his Theory of Special Relativity shows that there is a fundamental disagreement between what Einstein wrote and how what he wrote is being interpreted by mathematician-physicists and taught in colleges and universities around the world. An analysis of the evidence shows that Einstein was correct and the vast majority of interpretations and teachings are incorrect.
I shouldn't have written "mathematician-physicists," I should have written "Quantum Mechanics mathematicians."  And I probably should have included a lot more than just 4 or 5 examples.  I have an unreleased paper that contains more than 20.  In my book I should probably include as many as I can find.

In a world where it seems totally impossible to get any agreement between Republicans and Democrats, I see no hope of changing the mind of any Quantum Mechanics mathematician.  But maybe it will help to point out where Quantum Mechanics mathematicians are WRONG and can be proven to be WRONG.

May 29, 2022
-  I'm still reading Prof. Lee Smolin's book "
Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum."  I'm also really beginning to dislike any discussion of Quantum Mechanics solutions to problems. Smolin has pointed out that Quantum Mechanics is about percentages and averages, it's not about "reality."  Albert Einstein's  Relativity is about reality.  That is another reason why Quantum Mechanics and Relativity are incompatible. And since I am only interested in reality, to me Quantum Mechanics is just a tool that mathematicians can use in situations where reality is unknown.

The problem is that proponents of Quantum Mechanics cannot accept that their mathematics-based reasoning cannot be applied to the whole universe around us.  All the planets that orbit the sun do so at different distances from the sun, and they move at different speeds.  Would a Quantum Mechanics mathematician just look at the average planet's orbit?  Who cares about that?

On Thursday, I noticed some comments in a sci.physics.reality discussion thread that seemed to apply to what I was reading in Smolin's book, so I posted a comment.  As a result, I've been arguing there ever since.  The arguments have been very interesting, since they highlight the differences between Relativity's reality and Quantum Mechanics' computations.  Richard Hertz posted this:
I never read about any scientific attempt to define time, in the following 100 years. This is because time is an auxiliary variable to describe motion, and only has any value as a relative interval or duration. Not an absolute mark with physical meaning.
Years ago I wrote a paper titled "What is Time?", so I had to respond and give him a link to that paper.  Hertz responded with a lot of comments about how Relativity is "old physics" and today everyone uses Quantum Mechanics.  And I responded to him with some quotes from Lee Smolin's book about how Quantum Mechanics is WRONG when describing the universe and is only valid when describing smaller systems like atomic interactions.  That seems to have ended my discussion with Richard Hertz.

Meanwhile, of course, Paparios posted his two cents' worth, arguing the Quantum Mechanics nonsense that you cannot determine who is moving and who is stationary, therefore you can only compute "elapsed time" for moving clocks.  You cannot claim that one clock ticks slower than another clock just because one is moving faster than the other, since all motion is relative, therefore either clock can be considered to be moving faster than the other.

That prompted me to discuss how Clock-A is moving at 1% of the speed of light and Clock-B is moving at 2% of the speed of light, therefore we KNOW which clock is moving fastest.  But Paparios then argued Quantum Mechanics again and claimed you cannot say that Clock-A is moving at 1% of the speed of light because you have to have a "frame of reference" and the speed of light cannot be a "frame of reference" in Quantum Mechanics.

The arguments are still raging.  I see 14 new comments were posted overnight, including 5 messages addressed to me from 5 different people.  Since they look interesting, I'll respond to them as soon as I finish writing this comment.

Also: The Science Channel has been showing 2 episodes of "How The Universe Works" every weekday morning at 4 and 5 AM.  I've recorded and saved about 25 of them so far, and I watch them when there is nothing more immediate to watch.  The other night, I watched part of "Did The Big Bang Really Happen?" from Season 7.  It reminded me of something that really bugs me:  Why do scientists claim that the Big Bang began at a single point smaller than an atom?  The only answer seems to be:  Because that is the only way mathematics can compute it. 

The Big Bang could have started with a ball of compressed energy (Dark Energy?) that was a million miles in diameter, but there's no way to compute that, since there is no way of knowing the actual size of that ball.  But there is also no reason to believe that all the energy in the Big Bang universe can be compressed down to a spot smaller than an atom.  The basic idea behind the Big Bang is that all that energy could not be contained, and it suddenly released, like a bursting dam.  That is certainly understandable, but it is incomprehensible that it was all somehow compressed into a tiny dot smaller than an atom.

And this morning, as I did my morning routine of checking various web sites, on the Astrophysics and Physics Facebook group someone started a thread about how gravity bends light when the light passes near the sun.  I've got a problem with that, too.  We know that the path of light is bent when that path passes through glass, water or air.  How do we know the path of light isn't bent by passing through the gasses surrounding the sun?  The path of the light might indeed be bent by gravity, but how do we know it isn't simply bent by passing through those gasses?

There are a lot of unsolved mysteries in our universe.  I just wish that more of those mysteries would be solved by examining all the possibilities, instead of just declaring one answer to be correct.

May 27, 2022 -  I'm beginning to regret that I started reading Lee Smolin's latest book, "Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum."  He poses a lot of questions, with no indication that he is going to provide any answers anywhere.  One of the questions that Quantum Mechanics poses that always puts my teeth on edge is: "Is a photon a particle or a wave?"  The question should be "How can a photon act like both a particle and a wave?"  Obviously a photon has both properties.  So, it's just a matter of visualizing how that is possible.  People have been writing about the answer for years.  A photon is a particle that consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields.  Those oscillating fields give the photon its wave-like properties.  I visualize a photon this way:


And when it is coming toward you, the oscillating fields would appear this way:

But, so far, Prof. Smolin's book just discusses the question, without any hint that he is going to mention or propose an answer.  Here's a quote from the book:
Quantum physics describes a world in which nothing has a stable existence: an atom or an electron may be a wave or a particle, depending on how you look at it; cats are both alive and dead. This is great for popular culture, which has made “quantum” a buzzword for cool, geek mystification. But it’s terrible for those of us who want to understand the world we live in, for there seems to be no easy answer to the simple question, “What is a rock?”
Another quote from the book:
What is so crazily fabulous about this is that waves and particles are quite different. A particle always has a definite position, localized somewhere in space. Its motion traces out a path through space, what we call its trajectory. Moreover, according to Newtonian physics, at each moment a particle also has a definite velocity and, consequently, a definite momentum. A wave is almost the opposite. It is delocalized; it spreads out as it travels, occupying all the space available to it.

But now we are learning that waves and particles are different sides of a duality, that is, different ways of visualizing one reality. A single reality with a dual nature: a duality of waves and particles.

Photons spread out, but a single photon does not!  Prof. Smolin seems to mix up masses of light photons spreading out as they move away from the emitter with individual photons which cannot spread out.  Generally, when discussing light, you do not see "waves of photons."  You see individual photons as they arrive.  The more photons you see, the brighter and clearer the image you see.  But radio signals are transmitted as "waves" of photons.  The artificial differences in the wave patterns are transformed into different sounds by the receiver. 

But, so far, Prof. Smolin gives no indication he is going to resolve any of the Quantum Mechanics mysteries, other than why Quantum Mechanics only works when describing atoms and particles we are made from and does not work when describing the Universe around us. 

I really hate reading about unsolved mysteries when we know the mystery results from not having enough information - or from not knowing how to put the information we have together correctly. 
I want to read about how such mysteries were solved. 

May 25, 2022
-  Yesterday, as I've done many many times before, I did a Google search for "Relativity vs Quantum Mechanics," and I found a long list of articles about the conflict.  It seems, however, that each article is a different view on the subject, some siding with Quantum Mechanics, others trying to be neutral. 

One of the first articles on the list was from the November 4, 2015, issue of the British newspaper The Guardian, titled "Relativity versus quantum mechanics: the battle for the universe."  It's a fairly long article, but definitely worth reading.  About half way through the article it mentions Lee Smolin.   Professor Smolin teaches physics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and he's the author of several books.  I've encountered his name many many times while doing research, and it seemed we tended to agree on most things.  Here is some of what the article says about him (with my highlighting):
Smolin thinks the small-scale approach to physics is inherently incomplete. Current versions of quantum field theory do a fine job explaining how individual particles or small systems of particles behave, but they fail to take into account what is needed to have a sensible theory of the cosmos as a whole. They don’t explain why reality is like this, and not like something else. In Smolin’s terms, quantum mechanics is merely “a theory of subsystems of the universe”.

A more fruitful path forward, he suggests, is to consider the universe as a single enormous system, and to build a new kind of theory that can apply to the whole thing. And we already have a theory that provides a framework for that approach: general relativity.
I also checked to see what books he had written, and I found that his most recent book is titled "Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum."  I browsed through it and found it was definitely a book I wanted to read.  So, I obtained a Kindle copy and began to read it.  I underlined passage after passage.  I'm only about 8% done reading it, but here are two quotes from early in the book:
In the first quarter of the twentieth century a theory called quantum mechanics was developed to explain quantum physics. This theory has been, ever since its inception, the golden child of science. It is the basis of our understanding of atoms, radiation, and so much else, from the elementary particles and basic forces to the behavior of materials. It also has been, for just as long, a troubled child. From the beginning, its inventors were deeply split over what to make of it. Some expressed shock and misgivings, even outrage. Others declared it a revolutionary new kind of science, which shattered the metaphysical assumptions about nature and our relationship to it that previous generations had thought essential for the success of science.
In these chapters I hope to convince you that the conceptual problems and raging disagreements that have bedeviled quantum mechanics since its inception are unsolved and unsolvable, for the simple reason that the theory is wrong. It is highly successful, but incomplete.
And the reason it is incomplete, as I see it, is because it involves looking down into the atomic structure of things, where only objects exist, with space between objects, and the mathematics involves how one object interacts with another.  As Prof. Smolin says, "quantum mechanics is merely 'a theory of subsystems of the universe.'” 

Yes, Quantum Mechanics may work just fine when looking down at the sub-atomic world, but the problem is not that the sub-atomic world is just a sub-system of the universe, the problem is that w
hen you look upwards into outer space and the entire universe, you encounter infinity.  And Quantum Mechanics cannot cope with infinity.  "Quantum" is defined as "a specific amount or quantity."  "Infinite" is defined as "limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate." 

That is the crux of the problem. "Crux" is defined as "the decisive or most important point at issue."  Quantum Mechanics cannot deal with a fundamental fact about the universe: it is apparently infinite. 

May 24, 2022
-  I've finally managed to get back to work on my latest book, now tentatively titled "Logical Relativity."  I now say "tentatively" because when I started working on the third draft on Sunday, I also started to think that maybe it should have a different title.

The first draft of the book began with a lengthy introduction about how I got interested in the subject of Relativity.  Then when I started the second draft I realized that I needed to open with information about Relativity, not with information about me.  And I started with a chapter about "Stationary Points in Space." 

Then on Sunday I realized that I needed to provide the reader with a lot of additional information before discussing "Stationary Points in Space," and when I started the third draft I decided I needed to open with a chapter titled "What Einstein Knew," which would describe what scientists knew to be facts in 1905, when Einstein developed his Theory of Special Relativity.  For example, they knew that light did not travel at an infinite speed, it traveled at about 300,000  kilometers per second.  And they had just learned that there was no "luminiferous ether" that filled the universe and conveniently provided mathematicians with something stationary to measure all other speeds against.  They also knew that the earth was rotating at 1,040 miles per hour at the equator and significantly less than that in Berlin and London
, yet measurements of the speed of light always resulted in the same answer in all locations.  And Einstein knew that Quantum Mechanics was being developed.

Einstein's 1905 paper started the battles between proponents of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, battles which have now raged for over 115 years.

And I'm wondering if I shouldn't get into those battles at the front of the book instead of waiting until after I've thoroughly explained Relativity.  The subject of "Stationary Points in Space" exposes the point of conflict.  To Quantum Mechanics mathematicians, there can be no "stationary points in space."  But if you want to understand Relativity, you have to understand "stationary points in space," since it is what Einstein's Second Postulate is all about.  And that is evidently why so few college physics textbooks provide students with Einstein's actual Second Postulate.  Instead, they provide a phony Second Postulate that is compatible with Quantum Mechanics and claim that it is what Einstein meant.

So, this morning I woke up thinking I need to research the conflict between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity to see exactly how it is described in books and papers.  My recollection is that it is generally described as a mathematical problem: no one has developed an equation that fully incorporates both theories.  The reason seems obvious: Quantum Mechanics was developed to describe the actions of atoms and sub-atomic particles.  It's about quantifiable objects.  When you get into the subject of the universe, you encounter something that is not quantifiable: infinity.  The Big Bang Universe is apparently expanding into an infinite universe that appears empty or mostly empty.  Quantum Mechanics cannot deal with that, and thus we have a conflict.

So, I have to decide if I want to get into describing that conflict at the start of my book or at the end.  I'm beginning to think I need to get into it at the beginning.  And that would mean several new chapters at the start of the book before I get into what I've already written.

Sigh.  But changing the order of things is a fairly common problem when writing books.

May 22, 2022
-  Ah!  I've  finally completed week my 3-week project to get my computer files and my apartment cleaned up and organized.

So, now I can get back to work on my new book "Logical Relativity." 

But, during lunch on Friday, I also finished reading another book on my Kindle.  So, I first need to write a comment about it. 

The book was "Crime In Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump" by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.

Crime In Progress

The book made me realize that there were a lot of things about politics that I knew very little about.  It never occurred to me that a company like "Fusion GPS" would or could exist.  According to Wikipedia,
The company conducts open-source investigations and provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research. The "GPS" initialism is derived from "Global research, Political analysis, Strategic insight".
The company was founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal, and Peter Fritsch, a former Wall Street Journal senior editor.  They are also the authors of the book. 

Fusion GPS, the company they founded, is usually called "a consulting firm."  That's a term I've often heard mentioned, but I never thought to research what it actually meant.  I assumed it was some kind of law firm where you "consulted" with lawyer to find out if you had a valid legal case against someone, or if someone had a valid legal case against you.  Instead, "consulting firms" are more like intelligence agencies, collecting information about suspicious activities and controversial subjects.  And customers will then pay them to access the information they collected.  A key character in the book is Christopher Steele, who also co-created such a company.  Here's a quote from the book:
Christopher Steele was back on his heels when he first met Simpson in 2010, at a noisy Italian restaurant called Franco’s in the tony London neighborhood of St. James. The year before, Steele had retired after two decades of government service and set out with a fellow MI6 colleague, Christopher Burrows, to create Orbis, a private consulting firm specializing in the collection of intelligence from a network of sources around the world.
Another quote about Christopher Steele:
Steele’s official government biography described him as a Foreign Office diplomat. But it was well known (at least in investigative circles) that his real employer was the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service—better known as MI6. He’d had prestigious postings in Moscow and Paris and, as head of the Russia desk at HQ, was considered one of Britain’s foremost Russia hands by a shrinking circle of Kremlinologists in the United States and the U.K. who had done battle with the Soviets during the Cold War.
Here are three quotes from the book which show some of what Steele found when researching Donald Trump.  One:
Trump’s reputation as a savvy billionaire was further belied by his creation of Trump University, a for-profit, unaccredited real estate training school that had drawn a raft of lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny before it shut down in 2010 after five years of operation. The school was an obvious scam. Why would a supposed mega-billionaire set up a fake university to con a few thousand strivers out of their meager life savings? There were really only two possible explanations, neither of them comforting: Either Trump wasn’t nearly as rich as he claimed to be and needed the money, or he was a pathological cheat who could not resist preying on the weak.
The more Fusion dug into Trump, the more he appeared to fit the textbook definition of a charlatan. Here was a supposed business genius whose career was littered with bankruptcies and failures. A purported multibillionaire who was almost certainly worth a fraction of what he claimed. A supposed self-made entrepreneur whose wealth actually sprang from an accident of birth. An immigrant basher who employed countless immigrants—and was even married to one. A “Buy American” proponent whose own clothing line was made in Mexico. A proud straight-talker with a long history of prevarication and outright fabrications—including under oath.
Trump, who had claimed in his presidential candidate forms that all of his projects were fabulously successful and incredibly valuable, insisted in his tax lawsuits that his properties barely made any profits and were practically worthless.
During Steele's research and investigations, he had also come across mentions of the infamous "pee tapes."  He advised GPS Fusion about them in a memo.  The books says,
The memo went on to recount a bizarre episode that allegedly took place in the presidential suite of Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in 2013. Steele’s sources said that Trump’s hatred of the Obamas ran so deep that he had asked “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him,” to defile the bed in which the Obamas had slept years earlier. The report said Russian intelligence had it on videotape for potential use as a tool of blackmail. Steele would later point out that one of his sources was a hotel staffer who had been on duty at the time.
And another source GPS Fusion found provided similar information:
It was a report that appeared to be written by some kind of investigator, but it was sloppy and unformatted; it looked like a reporter’s raw notes. Its findings, however, were explosive: They echoed Steele’s own reporting that the Russian FSB spy service had tapes of Trump having sex with prostitutes in Moscow.
Combined with tons of information about Trump's connections to Russian criminals and American mafia types, mostly for purposes of money laundering, it's amazing that Trump hasn't been thrown in jail countless times.  But then you have to realize that this is also politics, which means that Republicans will simply dismiss it all as "nonsense" made up by Democrats to attack Trump.

I've got 20 pages of notes from the book.  But, what they all boil down to is that the "pee tapes" and sex tapes have never been shown in court.  So, all we know about them is what consulting firms like GPS Fusion have found.  The same with most of Trump's criminal connections and the very likely possibility that Putin is blackmailing Trump in some way.  So, as the book's title say, it is a "crime in progress," awaiting the time when solid evidence will be presented in court.

"Crime in Progress" is a very interesting book, and I can certainly recommend it.

May 15, 2022 -  Okay, I've  now completed week #2 of my 3-week effort to get my computer files and my apartment cleaned up and organized.

Of course, I spent most of last week just sitting in a chair and wondering what to do next.  Occasionally, I'd move some books around on my bookshelves, trying to decide which I should bag up and give to Goodwill.  Last week I didn't give away any books, but I bagged up a few empty 3-ring binders.  I also found I have nearly a dozen 3-ring binders filled with stuff about the anthrax attacks of 2001, and in one binder I found copies of an unpublished "newspaper" called "Ed Lake's News" that I started creating in June of 1996 and continued with for about a year.  My scanner doesn't seem compatible with any of my current computers, so I had to use my camera to take the photo below.  (It says "Volume 2, Issue 1" at the top of the page, but I can't find any Volume 1.) 

Ed Lake's

Evidently, I created the "newspaper" as a way of playing around with a new computer, a new color printer, and some new graphics software I'd just bought.  And I was pondering the idea of somehow connecting to the Internet.  The only way I could connect to the Internet at that time was to use a computer in the library at a nearby university.

At that time I had about 30 years of experience working with business computers, programming them and designing systems for them.  But the idea of having a computer at home was a very new idea.  And so was the idea of connecting to other computers around the world via the Internet.

Looking at the main article, I see that it says I spent "thousands" of dollars on a new computer.  I couldn't believe that was true, but then I found an article in the next issue of the newspaper that says I paid $2,207.09 for a Packard Bell computer, another $367.84 for a color monitor, and $420.39 for a Lexmark color printer.  Wow!!!  I also had to buy an 8-foot long table to put the stuff on.  The table is the only thing I still have from those days.
In the third issue of the "newspaper" I have an article about connecting to the Internet.  Some of the ways would require long-distance calls, which would be prohibitively expensive.  Other ways were very very slow.  In issue after issue I examined different ways to connect, I try them out for awhile, and I found them all to be too expensive - except for briefly accessing email accounts and certain discussion forums. 

Meanwhile, as all that was going on, I was writing screenplays and submitting them to agents and to contests. 

I didn't "publish" the newspaper anywhere except for producing one copy via my color printer for myself.  Between June of 1996 and December of 1997 I probably produced only about 20 issues, some only 1 page long.  But they show my thinking at the time.  And they show me as bumbling around.  The headline in the image above is "Ed Lake Goes Berserk!!!  Buys New Computer!!!"  The headlines and stories in the other issues were along that same line.  A headline dated August 1, 1996, says "ED LAKE ACCESSES INTERNET CIA FILES."  The story is about me finding a CIA file about Poland.  Another headline in that same issue is "Ed Lake Gets New E-Mail Address!"  The first two paragraphs are:
Ed Lake discontinued his use of American On-Line and Prodigy and signed up with a local on-line service provider, Wisconsin Net.  He can now be e-mailed at his new address: [a wi dot net address that is apparently still valid].

Ed said, "One of the first things I did was to send an e-mail message to the film critic, Roger Ebert, to advise him that I didn't agree with his negative review of 'Independence Day', and Roger Ebert e-mailed me right back saying, in effect, that he didn't give a shit.  So, I knew my e-mail worked!"
According to one source I found, the Internet began operating for the general public on April 30, 1993.  Another source says the same thing.  So, it was only 3 years later that I was prowling around and getting written about in newspapers and magazines for exposing fake photos I was finding on the Internet.  It was just a bit over a quarter-century ago.

Comments for Sunday, May 8, 2022, thru Sat., May 14, 2022:

May 11, 2022 -  While driving around doing some chores this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #18 in the 18-CD audio book version of "Mike Nichols: A Life" by Mark Harris.

Mike Nichols: A Life

I "borrowed" the audio book from my local library on April 14, 2021, back in the days when you could "borrow" a book when it became available and read (or listen to) it when you found the time.

I wasn't totally sure I wanted to listen to it, since I didn't really know that much about Mike Nichols, other than that he was once part of the terrific comedy team of "Nichols and May."  But that was enough to make me want to check it out.

The book, however, is not about the comedy team.  The team is barely mentioned, although Elaine May is frequently mentioned separately in the book as an actress, writer, director and friend of Mike Nichols.  The book, however, is primarily about Mike Nichols' career as a stage and movie director and producer.  And it seems he was one of the greatest, even though, like virtually every actor, director and producer, he did have an occasional flop.  His first try at movie directing was in 1966 with "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," which won 5 Oscars.  His last picture was "Charlie Wilson's War" in 2007.  While reading the book, I viewed some of the movies he directed, like "Regarding Henry" and "Working Girl," which I have on DVDs.  I also have "The Graduate," "Closer," "Catch 22" and some others, but I didn't have the time to watch those.  (I last watched them about 10 years ago.)

I started by just burning onto CDs the first 8 of the 18 MP3 files that comprise the audio book.  Then I burned 5 more, because I'd gotten interested.  Then I burned the last 5 when I was sure I wanted to hear it through to the end.  Nichols died in 2014.  He was born to Jewish parents in Berlin in 1931 as Igor Mikhail Peschkowsky and immigrated to the U.S. before WWII.   And, according to his biographer, "He had a childhood reaction to a vaccine that resulted in the loss of all of his hair and his inability to grow hair."  I would never have guessed that.  I also didn't know that Mike Nichols was married to broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer for the last 24 years of his life.  She was his 4th wife.

All in all, I can recommend the book.  It was listed as one of the top 10 books of 2021 by NPR, People and Time.

May 9, 2022
-  Shortly after lunch yesterday, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was "Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight" by Margaret Lazarus Dean.

Leaving Orbit

The book was published in May of 2015 and basically concludes around October of 2012 with the first flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, about a year after the last space shuttle flight, which was done by the space shuttle Atlantis in mid-July 2011. 

The author is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and she's also a writer, having previously written a science fiction novel in 2007.  That means she's not a scientist, and the book has a lot of extraneous detail that is better suited for a novel.  She is, however, a fan of the space shuttle program and witnessed many launches, plus the final return of Atlantis

The problem I had with the book is all the details about driving from Knoxville to Cocoa Beach, Florida, finding hotel or motel rooms, finding a good place to eat, standing in the crowds watching the launches and how people jockey for better views and bring their kids to see the launches.  And when the author managed to get press credentials because of her sci-fi novel, her Facebook page, and her friendship with a NASA employee, she got to see a lot of things that weren't open to the general public.

While it's an interesting book, it is also filled with the author's personal beliefs and opinions about women's rights, author Norman Mailer, and America's space program.   Here's a quote from the book:
NASA is partnering with private companies to get astronauts and cargo back and forth from the International Space Station, and NASA will now focus on long-range spaceflight. The same story we’ve been hearing all along, yet the Space Launch System is still underfunded and unpopular with many spaceflight advocates. In a best-case scenario, SLS won’t get astronauts back into space before 2021, and won’t get us any farther than we’ve already been until 2025 or later. This is tough to get excited about, especially when so many in Congress are eager to make a name for themselves by killing this relatively unambitious plan altogether.   
Getting astronauts into space via the SLS system has been delayed until August of 2022.  I haven't been paying much attention to the SLS, and I find that the various Mars Rover missions are totally fascinating, so I'm not sure if I should be as concerned as the book's author is or not.  Here's a pessimistic quote:
only twenty-three years after railroads replaced the wagon trains, the Wright brothers flew their first plane at Kitty Hawk. Only fifty-nine years after that, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. Seven years later, Neil and Buzz walked on the moon. Some of us do math in our heads, dismayed. How long will it be until we can add another leap?  
Here's another downbeat quote about using private companies to do our missions into space:
as long as spaceflight is run by a government agency, any American child can reasonably dream of flying in space one day. For many of them, that dream will shape their early lives in important and beneficial ways. If spaceflight belongs to private companies, space travel will be a privilege of the incredibly wealthy, and space-obsessed children will have no particular motivation to do their algebra homework or serve in the military, knowing that their only hope of earning a seat lies in getting rich.
And another:
since the beginning, it has been part of NASA’s mandate to make its projects available to the American public. This means that everything—images, films, discoveries, transcripts of crew chatter—belongs to all of us. Not so with SpaceX. As a private company, SpaceX can keep private whatever they want, and they do. Some of my online space friends have been indignant to learn that they can’t download specs and diagrams for Dragon and Falcon, as we have always been able to do for shuttle and other NASA spacecraft—the SpaceX designs are industry secrets. NASA makes moon rocks available to scientists all over the world for the asking, and they have let scientists send experiments to space on their spacecraft for very negotiable fees, often negotiated down to nothing. SpaceX is under no obligation to do anything of the kind, and I don’t expect they will.
She's probably right.  It gives the reader a lot to think about, but if you pick up her book thinking it will be an enjoyable read about astronauts and space flights, you will be disappointed to read so much about the negative aspects of letting private companies lead the way into space.

I can still recommend the book, even though it can be a depressing read. While depressing, it is also eye-opening.  But these days, "eye-opening" can be just another way of saying "alarming" and "sad."

May 8, 2022
Sigh.  I've finished week #1 of my 3-week cleanup project.  I've taken several bags of books to Goodwill, I've gone through my computer to see what files I should get rid of, I've backed up the things I know I need to keep, and I put them onto a flashdrive which I put in my safe deposit box, and I've done a lot of general housecleaning around my apartment.  But there are also a lot of things I postponed to do in weeks 2 and 3.

Going through my computer files, I found a lot of stuff from my days working on the anthrax case that I'd forgotten about.  For example, I found  that I have several CDs I received from the FBI after I filed Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get pictures and documents from them.  I also found the software CDs for Final Draft, the program I used to write screenplays a quarter century ago.  But they're for Windows 95, and I don't have any reason to even try to install the program on my current computer.

I also looked through some non-textbooks about Special Relativity to see if they contained a correct version of Einstein's Second Postulate.  The vast majority of college physics textbooks contain an incorrect version, but it seemed to me that if some author wrote a book about Special Relativity that was meant for the general public, he'd have to use the correct version of Einstein's Second Postulate.  If he didn't, editors, reviewers and readers would point out the error.  Wouldn't they? 

On the first page of his 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", Einstein clearly states his second postulate as:
light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the
emitting body.
So I searched through these 10 books that I hadn't classified as "textbooks" to see if they have correct versions of Einstein's Second Postulate:
1.  "Special Relativity" by A. P. French.
2.  "Special Relativity" by Benjamin Crowell.
3.  "Special Relativity" by Carl Ramirez
4.  "Special Relativity" by N. M. J. Woodhouse
5.  "Special Relativity" by T. M. Helliwell.
6.  "Special Relativity" by Valerio Faraoni.
7.  "Special Relativity - A First Encounter: 100 years since Einstein" by Domenico Giulini.
8.  "Special Relativity and Motions Faster than Light" by Moses Fayngold.
9.  "Special Relativity in General Frames: From Particles to Astrophysics" by Éric Gourgoulhon
10. "Special Theory of Relativity" by C. W. Kilmister.
#1 has this incorrect version of Einstein's Second Postulate on page 72:
The speed of light in empty space always has the same value c.
#2 correctly quotes Einstein on page 48.

#3 has this incorrect version of Einstein's Second Postulate around page 7:
The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted c, is the same to all inertial observers, is the same in all directions, and does not depend on the velocity of the object emitting the light. Formally: the speed of light in free space is a constant in all inertial frames of reference.
#4 never uses the word "postulate."  It contains this on page 22 (with my highlighting in red):
Light travelling with speed c in one frame should have speed c + u in a frame moving towards the source of the light with speed uThus it should be possible for light to travel with any speed. Light that travels with speed c in a frame in which its source is at rest should have some other speed in a moving frame; so Galilean invariance would imply dependence of the
velocity of light on the motion of the source.
#5 has a somewhat okay second postulate on page 29:
The velocity of light does not depend upon the velocity of its source.
But it also has this nonsense on page 31:
Sound obeys Einstein's second postulate in only one special frame of reference, in which the observer is at rest in the air.

The crucial difference between sound and light is then immediately clear. Since there is no ether (which would correspond to the air in the case of sound), light has to obey the second postulate in all inertial frames. Without the ether there is no preferred frame to be chosen above any other. The velocity of light cannot depend on the source velocity regardless of the reference frame of the observer.

And it has this nonsense on page 32:
Therefore the velocity of light is independent of the observer's motion. It is the same in every inertial frame of reference. This is a revolutionary idea, unprecedented before Einstein. It took considerable nerve to write down postulates that had as a consequence that light always goes at the same velocity no matter how fast the observer is moving.
#6 has this incorrect version of Einstein's Second Postulate on page 14:
Constancy of the speed of light: The speed of light in vacuo has the same value c ≈ 3 · 108 m/s in all inertial frames, regardless of the velocity of the observer or the source.
#7 quotes Einstein's Second Postulate correctly on page 41, but it has this nonsense on page 3:
the velocity of light measured by an observer is independent of
the state of motion of either the source or the observer.
#8 has no version of Einstein's Second Postulate but discusses the Sagnac experiment on page 133, and says that the speed of light seems different under some circumstances (with my highlighting):
Now, I did perform the experiment and I see that when there is no rotation, the photons that were emitted simultaneously in the two opposite directions return simultaneously. I accordingly
interpret this as another confirmation of Einstein’s postulate about the constancy of the speed of light. However, when I repeat the experiment during rotation of the disk, the photons do not return simultaneously. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the speed of light in a rotating system is different in different directions. And this must be true not only for the average speed, but also for local speed in any location.”
#9 has this nonsense on page 121:
The velocity of light as measured by any observer at a point of his worldline has a norm always equal to the constant c.
#10 quotes Einstein correctly on page 188, but it is very difficult to find anything else about the Second Postulate in the rest of the book.

So, while just 3 of the 10 books contained an "incorrect" version of Einstein's Second Postulate, only 3 have correct versions, 1 is somewhat correct, 2 do not mention Einstein's Second Postulate at all, and the remaining 1 and some of the others require a lot of deciphering to understand.  What this exercise tells me is that I need to get back to work on my book "Logical Relativity" as soon as I can.  It explains Relativity in very simple and easy-to-understand terms.  However, it has also become more clear than ever before that the main reason I'm writing my book is to clarify my thinking about a subject that countless others have already tried to explain in their own terms based upon their own beliefs.  I can't hope to change any minds, but maybe I can generate some interesting discussions.

Comments for Sunday, May 1, 2022, thru Sat., May 7, 2022:

May 1, 2022
- Groan!  I'm really getting bogged down!  For the next three weeks, I may be writing fewer comments here, because I'll be busy on other things which have a higher priority  and need to be done before mid-May.  Plus, that recent discussion I had on the sci.physics.relativity forum about "Stationary Points in Space" posed some questions I needed to research.

That discussion is still going on.  For what may be the first time ever, there are people on that forum who are supporting things I've said. 

Last Wednesday, I had a couple arguments with someone who calls himself "Odds Bodkin."  In the first argument, I had quoted a passage to him from the textbook
"University Physics with Modern Physics - 14th ed." by Hugh D. Young & Roger A. Freedman, which I said was ranked #3 among the top physics textbooks.  Odds Bodkin then claimed:
It might amuse you that Young and Freedman is not one of the top 3 physics textbooks by ANY measure. Whatever gave you the idea that it was?
Whereupon I responded by providing him with links to 3 websites which rank physics textbooks and include that book.  I wrote:
It's number 3 on this list:
It's number 7 on this list:
It's number 1 on this list:
When I combined the various lists, it seems to fit in position #3. 
Odds Bodkin's response was a rant that those were "blog" sites and just one person's opinion, and they didn't mean anything.  So, of course, I asked him to provide a list of the top ten physics textbooks.  And, of course, he just ignored my request. 

As part of another argument, he claimed that all college textbooks disagree with me about everything.  I responded that there were some that agreed with me on certain things.  I told him that I had a collection of over 100 college textbooks, but at that moment I didn't have the time to hunt through them to find the ones that agreed with me.

Odds Bodkin's response was:
A hundred TEXTBOOKS? I’d like a listing of the first 30 please.
Note that Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos is not a textbook. Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is not a textbook.
So, I provided him with a list of over 70 textbooks that I have.  His response was (with my highlighting):
OK, so let’s have a small moment of truth-telling here, Ed. You have provided a listing of 70 books, but you fell short of claiming that these are actually in your possession. I would have doubts without a link to a photo of your bookshelf showing all of these. I can explain why I have doubts. About 40 of the titles you list below are first-year introductory physics books. None of those are available in PDF except illegally or at costs close to print books, and they do not render at all well on Kindle (and in fact are not available as official Kindle editions). You also cite multiple editions of the same textbook, which is a lot to pay for essentially the same content (what changes from edition to edition is mostly the end-of-chapter problems and worked examples, which you do not care about). The average storefront (online or bricks-and-mortar store) price for each those introductory books ranges from $100 to $125. This means that if indeed you had those 40 first-year textbooks on your shelf, you’d have spent $4000 - $5000 on them, since the onset of your interest in physics a couple years ago.
By the time he posted that comment, I had already quit the thread.  But "The Starmaker" responded to Odds Bodkin with this comment:
It turns out that I have 152 books in .pdf format, 11 books in .epub format (which my computer can read to me, if I want), and 2 books in .mobi format which I can theoretically read on my Kindle. I also see that only 31 of the 152 books in .pdf format are non-searchable (I'll explain later why that is important).
To which Odds Bodkin replied (with my highlighting):
Kindle-native ebooks are trade books, usually, not textbooks. Free PDFs are usually crap books self-published and posted for attention by loons.
I have no doubt he has lots of books that he can listen to in audio format. For obvious reasons, those will not be physics textbooks.
Odds Bodkin continued to argue that textbooks simply cannot be in PDF format. 

Then Paparios posted this:

There are a few legal sites to look for books and articles. One of them is, which has books for download or borrowing. Using the search word "relativity" there are 26,548 books and articles listed (for instance see for Lectures on General Theory of Relativity from Emil T. Akhmedov).

Of course, there are some russian sites that have everything, like the book Gravitation in
And "The Starmaker" responded with this:
Here is one of many sites
There are seven more messages in the thread after that, but none from Odds Bodkin, of course, and none with additional links to sites where books are available in PDF format.  They are all just arguments over words and terminology.

I was tempted to rejoin the discussion and mention Project Gutenberg where you can find over 60,000 books for which the copyrights have expired, including just about everything by Albert Einstein, Jules Verne and Phillip K. Dick.  But, I had too many other things to do.  One of them turned out to be to look through, since I didn't recall ever visiting that site before.  I ended up downloading several books about the physics of spaceflight that I didn't have in my collection.  Reading them will be another thing on my "to-do" list.  I only need about thirty or forty years to finish the things that are currently on that list, but, of course, in thirty or forty years the list will probably be much much longer with new stuff. 

© 2022 by Ed Lake